Happy Fall!

Happy fall y’all! Fall is one of the best times of year (in my opinion) and it is definitely a great time for running! While it doesn’t exactly *feel* like fall here on the gulf coast quite yet, we have definitely had a few glimpses that let us know that wonderful weather is right around the corner. The cotton fields are starting to bloom and it is candy corn season, what more could a girl want?


This is so very random, but I have really been wanting to watch the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” It was one of my absolute favorites growing up and something about traveling to NYC and fall has me really itching to watch it again. I am going to make that happen before we go back to New York! Okay, tangent over. Carry on.

At the beginning of this week, I was feeling kind of run down and like I was starting to get sick. I am right in the midst of the “peak” weeks of marathon training and I definitely didn’t want this to turn into a full-blown sickness. I was torn because while I didn’t want to miss any important training runs, I also didn’t want to ignore my symptoms and end up sidelined for longer than necessary. I decided to run this by my coach and see what he had to say.

In typical fashion, he was full of very helpful information. He told me to lower my mileage for a couple of days until I was feeling better (basically I did half of what I normally would have done). He said that some running is good because it can stimulate the immune system and help to clear congestion. He sent me the link to a blog post that he had written on this exact topic (you can read his blog post here).

I thought this information was very helpful, so I wanted to share it with you guys. Here are his basic guidelines of when to push through and when to back off:

1)  If there is a fever present then no running is allowed.
2)  If there is stomach distress (nausea, vomiting or diarrhea) then no running is allowed.
3)  If congestion is present and lingers more than a couple of days, then runs are cut back to 50% of the normally scheduled amount and stress days are replaced with 50% of a normal easy day.  This is done for 1-3 days or until feeling back to normal again.
4)  If you are in the first few days of congestion, or what might be the onset of a cold, and you start a stress workout and feel drained (sub-par), cut the workout short and take a couple of days of half runs (see #3).

5)  If light congestion is present but you are feeling and breathing normal, continue training and closely monitor the symptoms.

I didn’t have any sort of fever or stomach issues, so based on his recommendation, I did short, easy runs on Monday and Tuesday (six miles and five miles). Also (based on Daniel’s recommendation), I took Sudafed for a few days to help clear up my congestion. Thankfully, after a few days of decreased mileage, Sudafed and lots of Emergen-C, I was feeling much better.

Daniel and I were able to do a 5 mile tempo workout together later in the week, so that was great! It’s really nice when our schedules line up so that we can do a workout together. The goal range for the tempo miles was 6:25 to 6:30 and we did 6:46, 6:27, 6:31, 6:21, 6:22. The first mile was somewhat of a rude awakening, as we were dealing with darkness, a few hills and a slight headwind, but after that we pretty much settled into the pace and were able to complete the rest of the tempo miles at a respectable pace. I have gotten into a habit of doing my workouts on the treadmill and this was a good reminder for me that I need to try do more of my workouts outside when possible to simulate the actual conditions that I will face during the race.

This morning I had a nice little 18 mile steady state run (I have been doing 12 miles for these) on the schedule with a goal range of 7:05 to 7:15 pace. I was supposed to ease into the pace for the first two miles and then do the remainder of the run at the goal range. I ended up with 18 at 7:13 average (which included my two warm up miles of 8:48 and 8:04). I am very happy to have this run in the books! I ran the same route as Daniel and his buddy, Ali, but they were doing a different workout. They did 3 miles “easy” (relative terminology, of course) and 1 mile “hard” for the entire route. It worked out really well, because they kept me in their sights pretty much the entire way, but I basically ran the entire workout by myself (which is rare). Mentally it was really tough, but I got it done and felt great. Definitely a good confidence booster.

I mentioned that I was in the middle of some of the most important weeks of my training for NYC. I about fell out of my chair when I saw my training plan for the next few weeks …


So we’re looking at 3 X 3 mile repeats, a 24 miler, 6 X 1 mile repeats and a half marathon. Yowza! It seems quite intense, but I am excited and ready to put in a few more weeks of hard work! I have already put in lots of work over the last couple of months and I know that when I toe that start line in NYC I will be very well prepared to race this marathon.

I don’t know about you, but to me fall just seems to be such a busy time of year. We have lots of fun stuff coming up, but while exciting, it can also be kind of overwhelming. I sat down this week and made a list of dates and events and things that coming up over the course of the next month and it is a lot. I got overwhelmed and started feeling like there isn’t enough of me to go around (moms, I don’t know how you do it!). I thought that my intentions were good when I sat down to “plan,” but now I can’t help but to be reminded of Matthew 6:34 which says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”


I have a pattern of saying “yes” to things far too often (part of that whole people-pleasing, perfectionistic thing) and then once I get too many items on my plate, I have a tendency to shut down. I am having to learn to say “no” to certain things. I saw this quote recently and I really like it … “A river without boundaries is a flood. A life without boundaries is chaos. Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is say no.” Healthy boundaries mean saying “no” without guilt, saying “yes” because you want to, not out of obligation or to please others, taking responsibility for your own happiness and not feeling responsible for someone else’s happiness.

I am constantly working to maintain a healthy balance in my life. I think different people probably define “balance” in various ways, but for me it means having a handle on the various elements of life (both external and internal) and not feeling like I am being pulled too hard in any direction. Right now, I can feel myself starting to focus too much on the external things in my life (work, social things, hobbies, etc.) and not focusing enough on the internal things (spiritual and emotional well-being). Thankfully, blogging helps me to check in with myself and examine the areas where I can make some changes. The goal this week is to take it one day at at time, focus on my spiritual and emotional well-being, while balancing work, coaching, training, relationships & activities. Easy enough, right?!

Anyone else out there really love fall? What is your favorite thing about this time of year?

Back to Reality

Hey guys!

I have a feeling that it is really going to be hard to top my last post, but it’s not every day that you get to go to NYC for a photo shoot … It’s back to normal life now, but hopefully you will enjoy reading about normal life (and running) as well.

Like I mentioned before, Friday was our anniversary. When Daniel got home from work, we headed to a little gender-reveal party for a couple in our small group (congrats Molly & Trent on baby BOY #2!) and then we went out to eat to celebrate our anniversary. We tried a new restaurant downtown called The Bone & Barrel. Daniel and I both got tuna and it was really good. The restaurant was really loud (but most places downtown are) and the atmosphere was more like a bar than a restaurant, but they definitely have the food part down. We both enjoyed it and we will definitely be back.

Daniel likes to do the traditional gifts by year for me each year. 5 years is the wood year and he is very crafty, so he made me a jewelry box. It turned out great! I love it.


I was excited to see my training group Saturday morning! They had 16 miles this week, which was their longest run yet. We did two 8 mile loops and I ran the first loop with them and then got on the bike for the second loop.


Daniel ran 20 miles with a few of his buddies Saturday morning and they had a really solid run. He met me back at the store when they got done and we headed to Coffee Loft, because … well, coffee. I got a text from our friends in Auburn Friday evening saying that they were down at the gulf for a charity bike ride and that when they looked at the route, they realized they were going to be coming right through town. What a lovely surprise! We headed over to their check-point to catch a quick glimpse of them as they passed through.


It was a quick visit, but we will take anything we can get and thankfully they will be back in about a month.


After they took off, we headed back home for an afternoon of rest and football. I was worn out from the trip and started feeling like I was coming down with some sort of cold, so I was very thankful for an afternoon with nothing to do. I took about a 4 hour nap (I think that one probably needs to go in the “mini-sleep” category). I woke up feeling more stuffy, but hopefully it is just some sort of sinus mess. I feel fine otherwise, but decided to pick up some Emergen-C at the store just in case.

Saturday evening, we stopped by to see another couple in our small group that just had a baby. I didn’t think about it until we were on the way there, but I didn’t want to risk giving Baylor any germs, so we only got to see the baby from across the room, but he is precious! Congrats to Kayla & Brock! We came back home to a beautiful sunset. The picture turned out a little dark, but you get the idea.

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After that we “watched” the Alabama game, which unfortunately A) didn’t start until after 8 p.m. and B) was a bit of a train wreck (or so I heard). I feel asleep at some point during the first quarter. Lame, I know. I think I am finally getting caught up on my rest though. I was ready to go when my alarm went off this morning for my long run. My run today was powered by UCAN, Emergen-C & Nuun (not all mixed). I did purposefully pick out the pink lemonade Emergen-C to go with the strawberry lemonade Nuun though. It’s like a runner’s cocktail, full of vitamins and hydration.


I met the group for a 6 a.m. start and Lizzie and I ended up kind of doing our own thing. We did 15 together and then Daniel and Karl met us. I had 7 more to go and she had 5 more, so the guys went with us for those last few miles, which worked out perfectly. Daniel really helped me those last few miles. He was fresh and happy when he met me and I was … well, the opposite. The humidity was back in full force this morning, and I was starting to struggle, but thanks to his encouragement I was able to hold on to my pace. I ended up with 22 miles at 7:35 pace. That was the third 22 miler of this training cycle and those long runs are definitely giving me more confidence going into the marathon.

We hung out at Coffee Loft for a little bit after our run before catching the late service at church. Now it is time for napping chores. We are working on lots of laundry and headed to the grocery store soon. I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday. Hopefully I will manage to get a mid-week post done this week!

It’s a Runner’s World, We’re Just Living in it

Y’all. Oh my goodness … I have so much to tell you about.

First, let’s (quickly) catch up on NYC training and then I want to give you a play-by-play of my actual trip to NYC as part of the Runner’s World cover search photo and video shoot. Before I do that though, I want to say Happy Anniversary to my best friend, running partner, soul mate and my most loyal reader, Daniel! We have been married 5 years today. If you are new to the blog, you can check out the story of how we met here. I am so thankful to have him by my side and that he was able to go to New York with me. It made the whole experience even more special.

When we left off last, I was looking forward to some cooler temperatures for my long run Sunday. The weather definitely came through for me, and I got in a solid 18 miles with the middle 9 “up-tempo.” My goal range for the tempo miles was 6:45 to 7:00 pace and I did 6:47, 6:56, 6:56, 6:46, 7:00, 6:54, 6:52, 6:54, 6:48 with an average of 7:40 for the entire run. Luckily one of Daniel’s training buddies was there (Daniel was working) to help me keep the pace. Nothing like fall weather to make you feel good about your training!

Monday was a really busy day at work, and I knew I would probably be there a little late because I still had a few September 15th deadline tax returns to wrap up before leaving for NYC. I got an easy six mile recovery run in before work and thankfully I was able to get the returns done by Monday evening. Then it was time to pack and get prepared for the trip!

Tuesday morning I decided to go ahead and tackle one of my workouts for the week, since I didn’t think I would really be able to get a workout in while we were gone. I hit the treadmill for a 12 mile steady state run. I did a 2 mile warm-up and then kept the pace between 6:55 and 7:10 for the remainder of the run. That is the second steady state workout I have had this training cycle and these are definitely a mental challenge for me. I got it done though. Hopefully I am strengthening my mental “muscle” as well as my physical strength and I will be able to channel that on race day. Fingers crossed!

We dropped Brooks off at Dog Ranch (aka doggie spa) for a few days of play and then we headed to the airport. Our flights went very smoothly and we landed in NYC around 11 p.m. Tuesday evening. We got some good rest on the plane, so we were ready to tackle survive the city once we got there.


Yes, two can play at this game and I knew it was a risky move to post this one. You’ll have to keep reading to see the payback … This was our first time to NYC, so neither one of us really knew what in the world was going on, but we were together, and I am so thankful for that. I don’t think I could’ve managed without Daniel!

We got a taxi to Manhattan and found our hotel pretty easily. We stayed on 8th Avenue at The New Yorker, which seemed like a great location. Everything we did was within walking distance. Once we settled into our room, we decided to venture out in search of something to eat. It was getting fairly late at this point, and we were kind of amazed at how many people were out and about. The city definitely has an exciting vibe. We got to bed around 12:30 a.m., which was the latest I have been up in a while!

After a few hours of sleep, we were up and at ‘em, excited to explore the city and run a few miles before we officially met up with the rest of the group. We hit snooze a time or two, so we didn’t have a lot of extra time, but we managed to make it over to Central Park and ran a mile or so in the Park before heading back to the hotel to meet everyone. The first “scheduled” event Wednesday morning was a group run with Bart Yasso (how cool is that?) by the Hudson River along the West Side Highway at 6:30. We all met in the lobby at 6:15 to get to know each other for a few minutes before hitting the streets for a few miles of bonding.


Those of you who know me in real life know that I am not really a social butterfly. Don’t get me wrong, I love people and I usually get along well with everyone that I meet, I just tend to be more quiet and reserved in big groups. Needless to say, I was a tad anxious about meeting everyone and anxious about the whole experience in general, really (you can read by post on anxiety here). Fortunately, I felt very calm the entire trip and I was instantly at ease as soon as I met everyone. The group was incredible!

Seriously, I could go on and on about all of these runners and how friendly, inspirational and downright amazing they were. We had an incredible amount of diversity in the group, but the group chemistry was very strong right from the start and it felt like we had known each other for years. This is partly because we all knew a little bit about each other (and by a little bit, I mean a lot of really personal things, as we had all read the other finalists’ stories) and partly because we are runners and runners just get each other. Some of the best friendships that I have were created through running and I definitely added some new friends to that list this week!

After our group run it was time to get ready for our photo shoot at Jack Studio. We arrived at the studio for our photo and video shoot around 9 that morning. This part was so much fun! I don’t know about you, but I had never been to a photo shoot before, much less been in one (until now), so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It was everything you would hope for and more! The studio was beautiful. Everything was white and crisp and there were running clothes and photographers and videographers with cameras all over the place.

They had a nice breakfast spread for us when we arrived and I got started with the wardrobe staff pretty much as soon as we got there. We were asked to bring some of our own options and then they also had things there for us to try on and wear if we wanted to. I basically packed every black, white, gray and navy item of running clothing that I owned (those were the colors we were asked to bring). But, I got it all in one bag and didn’t even need a carry-on. Daniel has taught me the art of packing over the years. He spent several weeks in Europe after college and was only able to take one bag with him, so he’s basically an expert. I guess I should probably note that I used the same bag to pack for two days in NYC that he used on his entire trip to Europe, so maybe I still have a little bit to learn …

I tried on a few different options at the studio, but we ended up settling on one of the outfits that I brought from home (Brooks top and Oiselle shorts purchased at Running Wild, of course). After we got that settled, I headed over to get my hair and makeup done. I really enjoyed this part. I don’t typically like to get all “dolled-up,” but every now and then it is fun. The majority of the day was spent hanging out in the studio, getting pictures made. We also had some short interviews that were filmed and there was a videographer that filmed a lot of the activities over the course of the few days that we were there. There was a lot of “down time” at the studio while other people were doing their photos, etc. so we had lots of time to get to know each other better and we got to hang out and talk with several of the judges as well.


You know, just hanging out with Bart Yasso and Natalie Morales … no big deal. For those of you who are curious, Natalie is one of the nicest, most down to earth people that you’ll ever meet. She is also an awesome runner! It was really neat to get a chance to talk, run and just hang out a little bit with all of the judges over the course of the few days that we were there.

Daniel had some time to explore the city and he was able to stop by the studio for a while. I texted him at one point to see what he was up to and he responded that he was doing some shopping at Macy’s. For some reason, this just cracked me up. Probably because he is not a shopper. In typical Sam fashion, he “forgot” to pack a nice shirt to wear for dinner so he had to go to Macy’s to pick one out. He actually did forget to bring his shirt and he about croaked when realized how much he had to pay for a Polo at Macy’s. I used to pull this stunt growing up when we would travel to tennis tournaments on the weekends. I would “forget” to bring enough outfits and then I just had to buy something new. My parents quickly caught on to my little trick though. Major bummer. Anyway, I am getting off track here … Daniel stopped by the studio and I was so glad to see him. Having him there was so comforting in the midst of all of the lovely chaos.

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Here are all of the girls …

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We wrapped up the shoot a little early, which is apparently unheard of. Hopefully that means we did really well! Here are a few shots of all of us with the judges.



We had a little extra time on our hands at this point before we had to be ready for dinner, so obviously we all decided to go for another run. This was not planned, but everyone was all in. I love it! We ran over to Central Park and got to run through the park. I am so glad that we got to do this. Daniel and I had been there earlier that morning, but it was completely dark then and seeing it in the daylight was definitely worth a second trip. The final miles of the NYC marathon run through the park, so I was really hoping to get a feel for what this was going to be like prior to race day. A full loop through Central Park is just over 6 miles and runs along the Park Drives on the West and East sides using the various paths to cut across the park and there are some shorter variations as well. A few of us did the entire loop.


We cut it a little close getting back to the hotel, so we had to do a quick change for dinner (think less than 20 minutes … eek). I even texted to tell them that we would just have to meet them at the restaurant, but somehow we managed to get cleaned up and ready before the group left. We met everyone in the lobby of the hotel and were going to try to catch taxis to the restaurant. Don’t y’all like Daniel’s fancy new shirt? He looks good in blue.

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I’m so glad we made it down in time because, long story short, we ended up catching a limo instead of a taxi. That wasn’t planned, it just kind of happened, but it was so cool and just really added to the whole rockstar feel that we had going on that day anyway.


We ate dinner at a wonderful restaurant called The Park. We sat outside on the patio and were able to soak in the fall weather and catch the sunset over the skyline. We were all starving by this point and the food was excellent.


I had hibiscus-dusted grilled salmon with corn, sugar snap peas and farro and Daniel got one of their wood oven pizzas. He was pretty excited about getting an authentic pizza in NYC and it didn’t disappoint. I had two pieces of his pizza, so I can attest to that statement. A couple of the guys in the group were wearing activity tracking devices and with our two runs and all of the walking to and from the studio and around the city, we ended up with over twenty miles for the day. That pizza was much deserved (and much enjoyed)!

We were all worn out after such an emotional, fun-filled, event-packed day and I slept like a rock. We woke up a little bit later Thursday morning and headed out for another group run. This time we went South along the Hudson River and got to see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance. We attempted a Lady Liberty pose.


Here I am with some of the Runner’s World staff and judges: David Willey, the editor; Tish Hamilton, the executive editor; and Bart Yasso, the chief running officer.


We ran a few miles and were headed back to the hotel, but made a slightly impromptu decision to stop by the Today Show to see Natalie again. I mean, she did tell us the day before that we should stop by … so of course we did! We were able to walk right up and we caught part of the show and part of the Duran Duran concert.


We cut it a little close getting back to the hotel again and had to do another quick change (this time we had closer to 25 minutes). The husbands that were with us told us decided that we couldn’t tell them we needed more time to get ready ever again because they saw first-hand how quickly we can work under pressure. Ha. I am just really thankful that “messy” hair is in these days and I can just wash it and let it do its thing without a hairdryer, straightener, etc. If it isn’t, don’t tell me. I choose to remain blissfully unaware.

We headed over to the Asics showroom for breakfast and for a few more pictures and short video interviews Wednesday morning. Asics is one of the major sponsors of the contest. Walls and walls of shoes and some really cool Asics “swag” greeted us at the showroom. I semi-recently discovered Asics running shorts and I have a good collection going already, so it was really fun to get some more Asics gear! Check out what I got (shoes, sports bra, tank top (that matches the shorts I already have), several pairs of socks, and tights)!


Thank you Asics! Once we wrapped up there, it was time to check out of the hotel and head to the airport. It was sad to have to say good-bye, but we are planning a “Runner’s World Cover Search Class of 2015 Reunion” at a race sometime in the hopefully near future. Several of the finalists are running Chicago in a few weeks and I am having major marathon envy, but I get to go back to NYC soon enough and run a little marathon there myself so I guess I can wait a few weeks longer to take on my next 26.2. It was so neat to get to see the city (and to get to see it with some big wigs of the running community) before the marathon. We ran right by the expo location, were able to see the starting point off in the distance and got to run part of the actual course in Central Park. It just got real folks!

We took an Uber (I don’t know if that is the correct way to phrase that) to the airport, so that was another first for us. We got into the car and the driver, who was from Liberia in West Africa, had on a Christian radio station and we had a really awesome conversation with him about Jesus on the way back to the airport. He told us a little bit about his story and his journey of faith and asked us to pray for him. We talked briefly about how God uses obstacles in your life to grow you and to lead you right along the path that He has set out for you. What are the chances? It was a wonderful confirmation for me that God is using this situation and guiding my path.

Our flights back home went very smoothly as well. I worked on this post some at the airport, as I was full of #runlove and inspiration and I wanted to type it up before any moment of it escaped me. Our flight didn’t get back to Mobile until almost 11 p.m., and I took advantage of having nothing to do but rest on that last late flight. This is where Daniel got me back. I woke up when we hit the ground, turned my phone on and I had a text message waiting for me with this lovely little gem. My first question, was “Oh my word, have you already posted this?” He was nice enough not to do that, but it is just so darn funny that I have to share it anyway. Who wouldn’t want to see that face on the cover of Runner’s World? Am I right?


This morning I slept a little bit later than normal and now it is back to reality (which if we’re being honest, is pretty amazing itself). I had a mile repeat workout on the schedule that needed to be addressed and I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to get done if I didn’t go ahead and bite the bullet this morning. Luckily, I was still on Clould 9 and I powered through the workout and felt great. I tested out my new Asics kicks and I loved them. They are super cushiony and I felt like they were giving my feet a big hug. Here is how the workout went down:

2 mile warmup: starting at 6.0 mph for 2 minutes and increase the speed by .2 every 2 minutes

1st & 2nd miles: averaged 6:15 (9.6 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 7.0 mph after each mile

3rd & 4th miles: averaged 6:11 (9.7 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 7.0 mph after each mile

5th & 6th miles: averaged 6:07 (9.8 mph) with .25 mile recovery at 7.0 mph after each mile

1.5 mile cool down: at 7.5 mph


After my workout, I headed to pick up our little buddy. We got in too late to pick him up last night and we missed him so much. He absolutely loves Dog Ranch and I know he was in good hands, but I was ready to have him home with me and for some Brooks loving.


11 miles on the treadmill this morning gave me plenty of time to think and I am just so thankful and feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to share my story (through running nonetheless) on such a large-scale, just a few short months after I set out on this blogging adventure. Ultimately, that was the whole point of this blog, to share my story and my passion with well … anyone that would listen really. Revelation 12:11 says, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” I want to encourage all of you out there to share your story and your struggles, whatever they may be with someone. There is power and healing that comes from speaking the words and having someone to talk to, whether that be a pastor, a therapist, a friend or family member. Don’t struggle silently. Speak up and I think you will be amazed at what can happen.

The Lord has continued to use running in my life. From the day of the attack, to the day that I first met my husband, to the day that Daniel and I ran a 5K the morning of our wedding, to the day that I broke the tape in New Orleans, to the day that I learned that I was a finalist in this contest … each day has brought different lessons, different meaning and different perspective to my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today or who He was calling me to be had it not been for each of those days, and all of the days and miles in between.

Thanks for reading!

Life & Training

Hello friends!

Is it just me or did this week feel extra long to anyone else? I know we had a holiday Monday, but still … it felt long. Oh well, the good news is that we survived and since we did, now it is time for a weekly recap. I got an email this week that said there are 7 weeks until the New York City Marathon. What the what?! That seems so soon!


Monday was a pretty low-key day. Daniel had to work, so I did a little bit of work from home myself and ran a few errands. Nothing super exciting. But low-key is pretty much my favorite, so I was content. Monday evening Rebecca, Lizzie, Squishy and I did an easy five mile recovery run. We had all run long (and fast!) on Sunday, so it was nice to get in some easy miles, although we were all struggling a little bit.

After our run, Rebecca and I took a “then and now” picture with Squishy. It’s so hard to believe that she is already turning one, but at the same time it feels like she has always been here. Rebecca and I ran (and walked towards the very end) tons of miles together throughout her pregnancy and we have run tons of miles with the stroller this year. Squishy loves it. She just doesn’t like it if we stop.



Tuesday morning I woke up extra early to meet Rebecca at dark:thirty for a medium-long run. We got 12 miles in and I got to work by 6:30 am! Boom. I had a very productive day and left feeling tired like I was in much better shape for the September 15th deadline.


Wednesday morning was back to the usual #workoutwednesday. This was the first workout I have done since the whole rib situation, so I was ready to get back to it and interested to see how I felt. It has been just over two weeks since my last workout, but for whatever reason like feels like so long ago. Of course my head had me questioning whether or not I had lost all of my fitness. Dramatic much?

I had 3 X 2 mile repeats on the schedule with a goal range of 6:25 to 6:30. I headed to the treadmill and got going early. Here’s what I did …

2 mile warmup: starting at 6.0 mph for 2 minutes and increase the speed by .2 every 2 minutes

1st 2 miles: averaged 6:31 (9.2 mph)

2nd 2 miles: averaged 6:27 (9.3 mph)

3rd 2 miles: averaged 6:24 (9.4 mph)

2 mile cool down: at 6.5 to 7.5 mph (not adjusted at regular intervals)

I ended up with 10 miles in about 74 minutes, so right about a 7:25 average pace. I was pleasantly surprised with the results of this workout! I love early morning runs and workouts because they give me lots of time to think and pray and get my day off to a good start.

I was planning to do a post Wednesday, so I was thinking about what I was going to do while I was running. I have been wanting to do one of those What I (Fill in the Blank) Wednesday posts. I have seen WIAW (what I ate Wednesday), WIWW (what I wore Wednesday), etc. You guys probably could care less to know what I ate or wore. Heck, you might not want to know anything else about me, but alas you are reading my blog so we will just pretend that you do. What I came up with to share is WILTW (What I Listened to Wednesday). In case that didn’t work out, I also took a few pics of what I wore as well.

So … here is WIWW.

  • Workout clothes: One awesome benefit of having a treadmill is that it doesn’t matter at all what I wear for my workout. I’m usually in something that I would probably not otherwise wear in public or admit to wearing on the internet.


  • Real work outfit: I do dress in something other than running clothes every now and then.


  • After work clothes: Usually after work I promptly change back into my running clothes (even if I am not running again). One of the main reasons I was thinking about doing a WIWW post this week is because I had a fun little activity scheduled after work. I had a hometown photo shoot as part of the Runner’s World cover search. All of the finalists are having a hometown shoot and we are all going to NYC next week (woo hoo!) to participate in a photo shoot there. I am so excited about that! Runner’s World is treating us so well. Daniel and Rebecca came to the shoot here to watch and they got some pretty cool pictures. I only did two outfit changes, so it wasn’t as good of a WIWW opportunity as I was thinking it would be, but it was a lot of fun and now I am even more excited about NYC.



And … here is WILTW.

  • Workout playlist: I plug my iPod into the treadmill and I love having music to run to. Another perk of having a treadmill is that I can listen to whatever I want out loud and not disturb anyone else or worry with headphones. I have an old iPod that I only use for running. It is over five years old, but it is still going strong (especially considering all the sweat and jostling that it gets when I run with it). My playlist Wednesday was a pretty random shuffle of songs …

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  • In the car: On my way to and from work, I rarely change the station from K-LOVE. I just love this station. It truly is nothing but positive, encouraging music, news, stories, etc. I enjoy some worship time in the morning on the way to work and it puts me in a good mind-set to be ready to tackle whatever the day brings. My favorite song right now is “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave. Fun fact: this band got their start at University of Mobile, which is where Daniel went to school. Here are a few of the lyrics …

If I told you my story

You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go

And if I told you my story

You would hear Love that never gave up

And if I told you my story

You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine

If I should speak then let it be

Of the grace that is greater than all my sin

Of when justice was served and where mercy wins

Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in

Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

If I told you my story

You would hear victory over the enemy

And if I told you my story

You would hear freedom that was won for me

And if I told you my story

You would hear Life overcome the grave

 This is my story, this is my song

Praising my savior all the day long

  • At work: Occasionally I will stream Pandora during the day, but this isn’t an all the time thing. I try to reserve it for “special” times, so basically on Fridays or if I feel like I just need a little extra something to get me through the day. I usually rely on coffee in times that like, but sometimes even caffeine is not enough. The struggle is real. Anyway, I currently have my work Pandora station set to “90s country,” because let’s face it country music these days just isn’t the same as it was when we were growing up.

I feel like an official blogger now. My first WIWW and WILTW post. Well … It is technically not on Wednesday, but I reckon that gives me something to work towards. Can’t knock it completely out of the park the first time right?


Thursday morning Lizzie and I did an easy eight miles before work. I saw Dr. Justin again Thursday evening and the ribs are definitely on the mend. One more visit and I should be good to go.


Friday I was supposed to do a hill repeat workout. The workout is usually 12 miles, so I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do my typical route before work, as it would be too early and too dark. My coach had mentioned that I could do this workout on the treadmill if I needed to, by adjusting the pace and the inclines to simulate what the “pickups” would be like on actual hills. I texted him Thursday evening to ask questions like what incline do I need to go to, how long should I stay at the incline and what pace should I do for the pickups. He suggested a 4% incline, but basically said that exact incline/pace/time wasn’t critical.

Um … I don’t understand. Exact numbers aren’t necessary? I can’t comprehend this. My brain is exploding a little. Maybe I’m just weird, but I like exact amounts and goals. I told him that I could deal with it, but then I didn’t. Ha. I ended up doing the workout outside, just shortened the distance so that I could run on some actual hills and could start when it was lighter out. Daniel and I did a couple easy miles after work, so that I could still get the total distance for the day. #runnerdproblems.


This week has been an easier, cutback week for my marathon training group and they were happy to only have 13 miles on the schedule today. They have done 15 twice now and we jump back up to 16 next week, so this week was a nice breath of fresh air. Speaking of fresh air, the weather is getting amazing. It felt pretty good out this morning, but it has been getting even better all day and tomorrow morning we are supposed to have temperatures in the low 60s!

I stayed on foot with the group this week (and successfully stayed upright). I was a little wary of getting back on the bike, mainly just because of the photo shoot coming up this week. All of my wounds are pretty much healed up, so if I can make it through this next week without falling that would be really nice. I’m setting some pretty lofty goals for myself these days.

After the run, I headed to Squishy’s birthday party! She is absolutely adorable and she was really loving her some birthday cake.


I came home after the party and took a nice, long nap. It was glorious. Sleeping has to be one of my very favorite activities. Now we are (and by we are, I mean Daniel is) watching some football and relaxing at home. I plan to take full advantage of those low 60 degree temperatures tomorrow morning for my long-run. I have to do some up-tempo miles in the middle of the run, so hopefully the temperature will help make that doable. I will definitely take any help that I can get!

I think we are officially caught up now. This has been a good week of training and I have some really fun stuff coming up next week! Hopefully I will be able to fill y’all in on some of that when I get home. I hope everyone is having a great weekend and enjoying some wonderful, fall weather.

Love at First Run

Hey guys!

I’m taking a break from my typical weekly training recap because I want to tell you the story of how Daniel and I met. The US Open is on, which always reminds me of meeting Daniel (we both like watching tennis and we were both big fans of Melanie Oudin at the 2009 US Open), and our anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks, so this seemed like an appropriate time to do a little reminiscing.

First, let’s get the training part out of the way. I got good news at the doctor Monday. Thankfully, my ribs are not broken (or cracked), but I have a sprained muscle somewhere in there. With Dr. Justin’s blessing, I was able to run this week, but I had to take it slow and steady. I wasn’t really able to do any workouts, because deep breathing was causing me a decent amount of pain.

I saw him again later in the week. He taped me up and he said that it was probably okay to try some workouts.

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I discussed the situation with my coach and he agreed that I would continue my regular mileage this week (including my regularly scheduled long-run) and we will pick back up with the workouts next week. The crazy thing is that I actually fell again yesterday! This time I was biking with my training group and I was so lucky that I didn’t fall on my ribs. I got a few new and improved scrapes, but otherwise I came away fine. I had a really good long run today, so I am ready to get back to it this week!

Now that we are caught up there, let me tell you our little running fairytale. First let me set the stage …

Daniel and I both grew up in the same hometown. We were in different grades and went to different schools, so we didn’t really know each other. I took piano lessons with his sisters, but that was about as close as we got to actually meeting each other (apparently he wasn’t paying all that much attention at those recitals). We ended up as Facebook friends somewhere along the way, but we didn’t really know each other.

Daniel ran cross county at the University of Mobile and I moved to Mobile after school to start my first “big-girl” job as a CPA. At this point, I wasn’t running very much (comparatively speaking). I ran a few days a week, never more than 15 to 20 miles per week and I always ran inside on the treadmill. This is going to sound crazy, and it is totally a God-thing, but I felt like I was supposed to contact Daniel about running. I didn’t really even know this guy, but I knew that this was something I was supposed to do. After deliberating about that for a little bit, I finally got the nerve up to send him a message.

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So that’s where this whole thing started. He basically responded to me with a ton of information about local running groups, local races, etc. and after going back and forth a few times, we decided that we would meet after work one day to run together in Mobile. Keep in mind, we really didn’t even really know each other at this point. He knew who I was, mainly because of what had happened to me (he didn’t remember the piano thing at all, haha) and he knew that I was a big tennis player. I knew that he was a preacher’s kid and that he ran XC at UM and that was about it.

We met for a run one Friday afternoon (September 11th, 2009 to be specific) and we ended up running 4 loops of the route that we planned to run, which was 8 miles total and I don’t even know how I even survived. That was the longest I had run in a while! We talked the whole time (about running, tennis, skiing, people that we knew in common, etc.) and the rest is kind of history.

But that’s not as much fun, so I am going to tell you more …

We ran together a few times after that. I met his training group for track on Tuesday evening and we did a long run together. We were supposed to do another long run the next Sunday, so I got up really early and drove across the bay to meet him. And he didn’t show up! I was majorly disappointed. He texted me later in the day saying that he was so sorry and that he had set him alarm for PM instead of AM (he was working nights shift at this point, so that was semi-understandable) and that he wanted to make it up to me.

I invited him to come over to watch the sunset, play croquet (so random I know) and go to dinner. Later he told me that he was a little bit scared when I invited him to play croquet. I think he was picturing some fancy polo-type game, but really it was just an old croquet set that my grandparents had for years and we always played for fun. Nothing fancy. At all. Anyway, he came over that night, met Pop (my grandfather) and my mom and we played croquet, got eaten alive my mosquitos (but neither one of us mentioned it to the other one, we just kept talking and getting chewed up) and ate dinner at Cousin Vinny’s.

If he wasn’t scared off at this point, I figured we were doing pretty good, but I still couldn’t figure out if he actually liked me like *that* or not. I figured that first dinner out was more of a “pity date.” If he hadn’t stood me up that morning, it wouldn’t have happened. It was always just very friendly and casual, but we got along really well and we always had a great time together. We hung out a few times over the next few weeks. We went kayaking, ran a 5K, went to dinner a few times, but it was all still just as friends.

Spinners 5K

Until it wasn’t. One Friday evening (October 16th, 2009 to be specific and yes, I have all of this documented in my planner from 2009) we went to dinner and had “the talk.” I had always called it a DTR (define the relationship), but Daniel called it the WUWU (what’s up with us). What do kids these days call this I wonder? Anyway, this was like the ultimate DTR. That night we decided that we were officially “dating” and that we were going to get married. I kid you not. It was just like one of those things that we both knew. It was just right and it was a total God-thing. Daniel called his parents that night to tell them and his parents said, “Yeah. We knew she was going to be the one.” How cool?!

I mean, he didn’t propose to me that night or anything crazy like that. He waited a month or two to buy the ring, talk to my parents and then finally to ask me on January 9th, 2010. We got married here on the bay on September 18th, 2010.



Oh and of course, we ran a 5K the day of our wedding!

Wedding Day 5K

That pretty much concludes this installment of how we met. Something that really stands out to me now, that I hadn’t really even realized until somewhat recently is that had it not been for what happened to me, I would have never sent Daniel that first message asking about “safe” places to run and looking for people to run with. It’s really amazing to see how God takes a bad situation and uses it for our good and for His glory. Genesis 50:20 says, “Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good.” I love that verse.

We have now been married (almost) five years and while there have definitely been highs and lows (we have both had some great accomplishments and both have made some really bad decisions), the most important thing is that we are in this thing together. As Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “two are better than one” and I am very thankful to have found my lifetime “plus-one.”

How did you meet your significant other? I’d love to hear about it!