2016.030-031: Big Beach Half Recap

Hey friends! I’m linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.

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We ran the Big Beach Marathon & Half Marathon in Gulf Shores, AL this morning, and so I’ll be coming at you with a race recap today. This inaugural race started and finished at The Hangout, which made for a really awesome pre and post-race atmosphere. The course itself ran through the paved trails of Gulf State Park and finished on Beach Blvd with some amazing views of the gulf.

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If you notice the distance on the race map above, you will see that the actual race was close to 13.5 miles, so … not a half marathon. I’m still a little bit baffled at how something like this happens. The half marathon distance isn’t an estimate, it’s an exact distance. 13.1 miles. This was the race map from the event website, by the way. The marathon was certified, but they didn’t certify the half. In my opinion, that is really just not acceptable. That is my only complaint though. I know this was a first-year race, so I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but … if you want runners at your race, you really need to certify the course.

It was a really warm day here on the gulf coast, which made for interesting race conditions. It was mid-sixties and 95% humidity at the start (read: not ideal for long distance running). Now that I have adequately set the stage, let’s talk about the race itself. I’m sure if you are reading between the lines at all here, you know that it didn’t go exactly as planned.

Going into the race, my A goal was to PR (1:24:41). With that being said, this wasn’t specifically an “A goal” sort of race. I wanted to run it because it was a first-year race and it was here locally, but otherwise it wasn’t specifically a race that I was targeting. I kind of feel like my A goal at pretty much every race is to run my personal best, so that’s why I am saying that my A goal was a PR. I think that I am in shape to run a PR, but today wasn’t my day.

I started the race off with 3 pretty strong miles (6:28, 6:22, 6:29). At this point, I was pretty much on target with the pace I wanted, but by mile 4, I was already starting to struggle and I knew that I needed to readjust my goals. That’s when it hit me … I didn’t really have any other goals. Oops. I just made a conscious effort to reign the pace in a little, as I knew there was no way that I could hold 6:30 the rest of the way.

Miles 4 through 8 were 6:45, 6:56, 6:49, 6:49, 6:56. We ran on the paved trails in Gulf State Park from mile 2 through basically mile 10. The trails were pretty winding and they were actually slick because of the crazy humidity. There were also a few rolling hills along the way, which I wasn’t really expecting. I ran the first 4 miles completely by myself, which was pretty tough mentally. Around mile 5, a guy came up beside me and we ran together for several miles. We chatted for a little bit and that helped to pass the time.

Miles 9 and 10 were both 6:57. Once we came to mile 10, we (finally) exited out of the park and headed back towards the finish along the main beach road. Around mile 10, Daniel and his buddy, Kenny passed me. I was excited to see them, but they didn’t exactly hang around to run with me … they pretty much left me in their dust. I was totally fine with that though. I was just really happy that Daniel was having a good race. He has still been battling the piriformis issue, so he wasn’t really sure what to expect. They were approaching the race as a workout, instead of an all-out effort, and man did they have one heck of a workout! They started out conservatively and picked it up at the end, which was pretty much the exact opposite of what I did. Their way is definitely recommended, by the way.

Miles 11 through 13 were 6:55, 6:50, 6:53. At this point I was just chasing Daniel. I kept my eyes on him and followed him to the finish. For whatever it is worth, my last .1 was 0:47. I lapped my Garmin at this point, so that I would know what my actual half marathon time was. It was 1:28:53. The “extra” distance that we ran added another 1:41 to my time, so my “official” race time is 1:30:34. I was 5th overall and 1st female, so I am very pleased with that. Daniel got third overall, which was awesome!

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We hung out (at the hang out) for a while after the race. We had several friends running the full and we wanted to see them finish!

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A special shout-out to my friend Jill, who ran a 1:33 for her very first half marathon ever. What?! Who does that? This girl. She’s amazing! She has so much potential. I can’t wait to see what she is capable of.

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Also a special shout-out to Rebecca, Lizzie and Jessica, who ran the full marathon in crazy hot, humid conditions.

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In conclusion, today was a really fun, really hot race. It didn’t go exactly as planned, but really, when does anything ever really go exactly as we plan it to? All we can do is do the best with the circumstances and situations that we are faced with day in and day out.

Mission accomplished!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

 

2016.029: Smiling is My Favorite!

FRIDAY. Woo hoo!

I’m linking up with the DC area bloggers Mar at Mar on the Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?! and Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC for the Friday Five linkup. This week is  “free Friday,” so you basically get to write about whatever your little heart desires.

My little heart desires to tell you about 5 things that made me SMILE today. I know, I know. I just did a post about things that made me smile, but what can I say … I like to smile. Smiling is my favorite! See, just typing that made me smile (but I won’t count that in my five things … that was just a little bonus for you). Elf quotes never get old. Ever.

1st … A morning run with Daniel. When our alarm went off this morning, neither one of us were really wanting to get up, but the morning before we went through this early-morning, half-asleep discussion about whether or not we were going to run. Daniel ended up not waking up to go and so I decided to just run on the treadmill. He ended up with major runner’s remorse and told me that he really did want to go, but he thought I didn’t. He claims that I tricked him into sleeping in and also instructed me to not let this happen again. This morning when he told me that he didn’t want to get up we had a somewhat lengthy (and probably somewhat incoherent) discussion about whether or not this was one of those times that he really wanted to go and he wanted me to be the bad guy and force him to wake up. Turns out it was. We were both so glad that we went!

Runners. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.

2nd … An emoji text-versation. We have been debating whether or not we could go an entire day only using emojis in our texts. We were on a roll for a little while today, but we didn’t make it the whole day. In case you are wondering …

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Sam: “Heeey. I love you too!”

Daniel (crying): “My wife. She cracks me up.”

Sam: “I know. I was feeling silly.”

Daniel: “Heeey. Points finger up.” (I kind of lost him there).

Sam: “I was really sleepy, so I had some coffee. Now I’m staring at computers and general ledgers doing some addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of dollars.”

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Sam (get’s flower delivery at work): “Flowers! You got me flowers?! Thank you!”

Daniel: “I’m glad you like them.”

Sam: “I love them. Wonderful surprise.”

Sam: “What are you having for lunch?”

Also in case you are wondering, I’m pretty sure this is the epitome of healthy communication in a relationship. I’m so glad that we could set a good example for you guys.

3rd … The above-referenced flowers! I actually got two flower deliveries today.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

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One was supposed to be delivered today. They are “Happy end of January tax season” flowers. Daniel scheduled the others to be delivered at the end of February, but that didn’t happen quite right. Worked out pretty well for me though. I love them! Daniel is so thoughtful and I really appreciated the gesture.

4th … Possibilities. I know that is kind of vague … but today, I smiled knowing that there are possibilities out there waiting for me. I think too often we place pre-conceived limitations on ourselves. We tell ourselves that we are fill in the blank (not smart enough, too old, too slow, untalented, etc.) and we place limits on the possibilities that we truly could have. If left to our own devices, we are truly limited, but if we put our faith in The Lord and trust His plans, nothing is impossible. Don’t get me wrong, it might take a lot of faith, trust, dedication and hard-work, but He has a plan and it is out there waiting for you. Whatever it is that you are feeling called to do … you can do it!

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5th … Cows. I don’t know if I have ever told y’all this before, but I love cows. It’s odd, I know. When I drive by a field of cows, I like to say, “Heeey Moos!” On my way home from work, I saw a momma cow giving her baby moo a bath. It was the cutest thing. I smiled.

There you have it folks, five very random things that made me smile today. I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend! I’ll talk to you soon!

 

2016.027-028: Work It Out

Hey guys! It’s almost Friday! What up.

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Since it’s Thursday, let me go ahead and tell you about Workout Wednesday (which was actually supposed to be done on Tuesday). I know. Life is complicated, but better late than never, right? I actually did my workout Wednesday evening (i.e., after work). I think that might be a first, and let me just tell you … that took some serious dedication. It seems like lately, all I really want to do when I get home from work is put on my pajamas and snuggle under some warm blankets on the couch. The struggle is real.

This week’s workout called for a 5 mile lactate threshold wave tempo (it sounds more complicated than it really is). Here is my coach’s explanation. Basically, I was supposed to alternate my pace from (slightly slower than) 10K pace and (slightly faster than) marathon pace every half mile during the tempo portion of the run. I really enjoyed this workout because I was mentally able to break the run down into half mile segments, which made it seem more manageable.

Since I didn’t do the workout until Wednesday and I have a half marathon this weekend, Coach suggested that I shorten the tempo to 4 miles. I did a one mile warm up and then I alternated between 6:40 and 6:15 pace for the “wave” portion and then did a one mile cool down.

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I was pleased to get in 6 miles at just over 7 minute average pace. I was definitely working to hit those paces and I was dripping with sweat by the end of the workout. There is something about a good sweat session. It clears your head and makes you feel … alive.

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The rest of the week I am taking it nice and easy to get ready for the Big Beach Half Marathon this weekend. It seems like almost everyone that we know will be there this weekend, so I’m really getting excited!

Speaking of races, I am also really excited to be participating in the 2016 Crescent City Classic as a “blogger.” It seems so official. Basically my job is to promote the race and convince some of you other wonderful folks to come join us in New Orleans on March 26th! This will be my first year to run this race. In an effort to learn a little bit more about the race itself, I’ve been doing some research (shocking, I know).

From the race website:

The CCC 10K is New Orleans’ (and the region’s) premier 10K road race, and one of the oldest 10K races in the nation. For 37 years, it has combined world class competition, amateur participation and great fun for all participants. Starting in 1979 with 902 participants, the Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic has grown to become the preeminent fitness event in Louisiana.

Each year, over 20,000 people (20,000 people?!) gather in Downtown New Orleans for an event that attracts everyone from international Elite Athletes to those who walk the entire route carrying cocktails or wearing bunny suits. Young, old, fit and not so, the Crescent City Classic was the first 10K to be televised nationally, and is, to this day, perhaps the most fun you can have over 6.2 miles.

Here is the course map:

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I was also super curious about why New Orleans is called the Crescent City. Apparently, it is because the Mississippi River flows in the shape of a crescent around the city. Random fact of the day. You’re welcome.

I’ll be sharing more Crescent City Classic tidbits between now and the end of March, so stay tuned! Is anyone else racing this weekend or racing the CCC?

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016.024-026: SMILE!

Why hello! I hope your week is off to a good start.

Sunday morning, Rebecca and I knocked out a huge chunk of our #runlovechallenge mileage. We ran 24 miles! We had been planning that one for quite a while. We were both (at one point) training for New Orleans and both had 24 miles on the schedule as our long run that week, so we were pretty pumped that it worked out like that. Fast forward a few weeks … I decided not to run the marathon in New Orleans, but I definitely still wanted to do the 24 miler with her. We had been counting on that mileage to help us meet our goal of 214.

We got an early start and ran an out-and-back route towards Weeks Bay, with bathrooms and a gas station conveniently placed around mile 10 (on the way out) and 14 (on the way back). Rebecca is pacing the 3:40 group at the Big Beach Marathon in Gulf Shores this weekend, so she wanted to practice that pace on our long run. It was completely dark when we started (the moon was gorgeous!), so we waited until about mile 10 to start trying to consistently hit 8:22 pace. It was definitely harder than it seems, so it is a good thing that we practiced! By the end of the run we were able to consistently hit 8:20 – 8:25 without stalking the Garmins.

We enjoyed some warm post-run beverages at Coffee Loft. Notice the very eccentric table art …

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I also got to play tennis Sunday afternoon. I know, pure craziness … but I don’t get to play all that often and I’m going to be playing on a team again this summer, so I want to at least hit every now and then (aka whenever someone asks me to play) and keep my skillz from getting quite as rusty as they did last year.

Sunday afternoon the weather was pure perfection. It was sunny and warm, which is the opposite of what seems to be our regular weather these days. I really enjoyed being out on the court and soaking up some rays. Even though I am outside running quite a bit, it is usually dark out and it sometimes feels like I never see the sun, especially during this time of year.

Since today is Tuesday, I wanted to share a few Tuesday Tangents with you, in the form of things that made me smile recently …

First up is this little guy. I think that he just like a lion king character, but Daniel thinks that he looks like Yosemite Sam. What do you think? Regardless. It’s cute.

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And what about this guy!? He was decorated as Santa a few weeks ago and now he is in the Mardi Gras spirit. A regular chameleon!

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This sunset … just wow.

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Rest! Lots of rest. I took running rest day Monday (a well-deserved rest day, if I do say so myself). Unfortunately I did still have to tend to other grown up activities, such as work, but I gave my legs a break at least. In fact, I think Monday might have been the fewest steps I’ve ever taken since I’ve had my FitBit. I only took 940 steps all day (less than half a mile). Impressive, right?!

Brookser enjoyed my resting as well. Don’t let the slightly annoyed face fool you, he is just in the zen zone (and possibly aggravated at daddy for taking his picture).

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I got a Stitch Fix box Monday evening, which was a nice surprise. Usually those come mid-week, so I wasn’t really expecting it.

What is making you SMILE this week?

 

2016.023: The Plan

Hey friends! Happy Saturday!

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I hope you are all staying warm. It is quite chilly here in lower Alabama. Not as chilly as the majority of the country, but still chilly for us. It is also super windy, which makes the chilliness seem … well, chillier!

Chilly temperatures just mean that we throw on a few extra layers, get out there and get it done! Rebecca and I got in 12 miles this morning with the Running Wild group. 123 miles done and 91 to go.

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After that I headed to work for a few hours. Not ideal perhaps, but totally worth it (in my opinion) to get caught up on a Saturday and be heading in to next week ready to tackle whatever the week throws at you, without being behind from the get-go.

The rest of my day involved grocery shopping, napping, you know, the usual.

I did, however, finally come to a final conclusion on my spring racing schedule.

Here’s the plan …

01/31: Big Beach Half Marathon

02/07: Joe Cain Classic 5K

02/13: Double Bridge Run 15K

02/28: Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans HALF Marathon

03/19: Spring Fever Chase 10K

03/26: Crescent City Classic 10K

Woo hoo! Lots of run races! Stay tuned for more information about the CCC 10K. I’m pretty excited to be participating as a “running blogger” this year. I don’t even really know what all that entails, but I’m pretty excited about it.

Talk to you soon!

 

2016.019-022: The Catch Up Post

Hey guys!

As I suspected, this week was a tad bit hectic. We made it to the weekend now though!

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First let’s catch up on running …

Tuesday morning Daniel and I headed out for a very chilly 8 miles. We were both completely bundled up. The feels like temperature was 25! Brr.

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Tuesday evening Rebecca and I got in 6 #runlovechallenge miles, which put us at 111 down and 103 to go. Not our best pic, but probably not our worst either.

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Wednesday morning I hit the treadmill for #workoutwednesday. The schedule called for 6 X 1 mile repeats at 6:05 to 6:15 pace. Here’s what I did …

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2 mile warm up: starting at 6.6 mph for 2 minutes and increase the speed by .2 every 2 minutes

Mile 1: 6:18 (9.5 mph)

Mile 2: 6:15 (9.6 mph)

Mile 3: 6:15 (9.6 mph)

Mile 4: 6:11 (9.7 mph)

Mile 5: 6:09 (1/2 mile at 9.7 mph and 1/2 mile at 9.8 mph)

Mile 6: 6:03 (9.9 mph)

2 mile cool down: at 7.0 to 7.5 mph

Thursday morning Lizzie and I did 8 miles before the rain set in. It was almost 60 degrees.

Daniel and I got in a very windy 9 mile run this morning.

To sum up the weather, we went from 30 to 60 to windy, which is taking us back to 30! Pure craziness. Such is life weather on the gulf coast.

Now that we are caught up on running, let’s get caught up on some other various pics and topics that I have saved up throughout the week and meant to share before today …

The First 5 devotionals have been so good this week! The first one was about fear. How fitting, since that is the topic of our current sermon series?! I love to see God’s timing in even the smallest things like how a devotional can be so on point with something you are currently discussing at church or small group.

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The next one that I wanted to share was about dealing with uncertainties. Life is full of uncertainties, but God’s got this. We don’t have to fear or be anxious, because He is in control.

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The actual devotional that went along with this one was wonderful, so I snapped a picture of part of it to share with you guys as well. I feel like someone else out there probably needed to hear this, so here ‘ya go …

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I don’t have any other specific things to catch you up on this evening, but I have a few random thoughts for you. Typical.

Obviously I completely fell off the blog wagon this week. Apparently sitting down at the computer after sitting at a computer all. day. long. isn’t all that appealing. Who knew? The only problem is that I have all of these thoughts running around in my brain and I sometimes I just feel like I need to document them before they escape. I might try actually writing in a journal this week and then sharing the high points. I haven’t done that in years, but it seems like it would be a good solution to the technological overload. We’ll see.

I saw this little quote on Instagram and loved it!

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Speaking on Instagram … Some of the people that I “follow” on Instagram have these incredible running pictures every. single. day. How do they do that? Rebecca and I are constantly trying to figure this out. People are so creative. Not me though. I’m most definitely a left-brainer (i.e., I focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy as opposed to those right-brainers who focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity). It almost just wears me out thinking about all of the creativity. I just googled left-brain vs. right-brain so that I could make sure I was thinking about it correctly. Sigh.

In other semi-exciting news … We have added a new crockpot staple to our diet. Spaghetti squash!

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I’m obviously not winning any awards for food photography either. Ha.

Well, that is all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed my little Tuesday Tangents, Workout Wednesday and Thinking Out Loud Thursday smorgasbord post!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Stay warm!

2016.018: This Chip is Bananas!

(Singing … ) Hello, it’s me!

Monday is in the books, so that’s good news right?! I had a super productive day at work. I hope you did too!

We started the day off pretty early this morning (like 4:40 early). The First 5 app was so good this morning. It’s a wonderful little summation of the gospel. Seemed like a good one to share!

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Rebecca came over this morning and we got 10 miles in before work. We majorly fell off of the #runlovechallenge mileage bus last week, so now we are on a mission to run all. the. miles. together this week! After 20 yesterday, our legs were feeling it this morning, but we got it in. Daniel joined us for the first 5 miles and then he had to get ready for work. My Fitbit read 9.90 for the 10 miles! I am so close to finding the sweet spot of Fitbit stride length for my easy run pace. I’m adjusting it slightly now to 3 ft. 4.5 in. and will report back.

We are holding up 10 fingers for 10 miles, because we are just super clever like that.

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You can’t really tell in the above picture, but the sunrise was so pretty again this morning. So was the sunset! I think I am just a little bit obsessed with sunrises and sunsets, but I’m sure y’all probably figured that out by now.

Our banana chips turned out really good. It took them close to 16 hours to get crispy, but they finally did. You can’t really tell from this picture, but I want to show them to you. Just trust me that they are crunchy. I’m trustworthy.

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In the past, I probably would’ve avoided buying things like banana chips and dried pineapple because I would have labeled them as a “bad” food (because in my mind they had too much sugar). I’m sure there is processed sugar added to the ones at the grocery store, but fruit itself has sugar and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, we are supposed to get at least 2 to 3 servings of fruit a day. The dehydrator is helping me to “expand” my fruit horizons and stop categorizing foods as “bad.”

I’m going to leave you with a picture of that beautiful sunset I told you about.

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See you tomorrow!