A Buggy, Fishy Weekend

It’s been a while since I have linked up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap. I’ve kind of gotten back into a good schedule with the blog, so hopefully I will stay up to date and make this a weekly thing again!

First of all, it seems silly to blog about running in the wake of the terrorist attack in Orlando this weekend. I know that there is nothing I can write or say that will make this any easier for anyone, so I just want to share a few things because not saying anything definitely seems like the wrong thing to do.

I don’t want to minimize the event itself. It is truly horrific and mind-boggling to me. If we are being completely honest, random acts of violence and attacks like this make me incredibly fearful and scared to live in a world full of such senseless evil. My sense of security and safety are shattered all over again.

The only thing that brings me comfort is to remember that we are living in our temporary home. We weren’t created for this earth, we were created for eternity with Our Lord. We will undoubtedly experience problems and tragedies in this life. However, we are not merely earthly beings, we are eternal beings. Life is precious and life here on earth is short. If you are alive today, be thankful and know that God has a plan and purpose for your time here on this earth. Use it wisely!

I will cling to My Savior, knowing that He alone is my source of comfort, my wisdom in confusing times, my strength and my hope.

 

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So now … let’s talk about the weekend runs!

Saturday morning Rebecca tricked convinced me to run trails with her. I was actually really looking forward to it. I hadn’t run on trails since the 10 mile trail race I did in April and I was eager to do some more off-roading. As it turns out, June is not (I repeat is not) the time to run trails in lower Alabama.

We don’t have a ton of trails to choose from in this area, but we do have a 67 acre historic park with some pretty decent trails. The last major battle of the Civil War was fought on the park grounds at Fort Blakeley. Here are some of the remaining breastworks that protected soldiers from enemy fire.

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We wanted to get an early start because … summer in Alabama. Unfortunately this meant that we were blazing the trails so to speak and we ran through just about every spider web known to man. Also, the bugs were out of control! We both had on bug spray, but we still had a constant swarm of horse-flies, mosquitos, etc. all around us. They were circling our heads and hitching rides on our clothes. The only way I can think to describe it is it using this Pig-Pen Peanuts cartoon, except for all of those little specs are bugs and not dirt.

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After about two miles, we were both over it. I did at least thankfully get a really pretty picture from the trail that runs along the Tensaw River.

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We tried to push through, but we only lasted a few more miles. We ended up with just over 7 miles, but I’m fairly certain that we worked a lot harder than normal. If nothing else, we got an upper body workout in by flailing our arms about all around us the entire time to swat the flies! Rebecca also yelled “PEACHES!” about once every minute! This is her code word for … well, anything ugly (she has an almost two-year old).

Since we entered the park earlier than it opened, we stopped by the guard gate to pay on our way out. We thought we were trying to do the right thing here, but the guard was clearly not happy with us. He told us it was against the law to enter the park prior to 8 a.m. (clearly he doesn’t understand summer running). Don’t worry, sir. We will absolutely NOT be doing it again!

It’s really funny now, but y’all. We were so. miserable. I’m questioning this whole “trail running” thing that I was so gung-ho about a couple of short months ago.

We stopped at Starbucks after our run. Ironically, the Starbucks closest to us was the store that was closed for about a week because a swarm of termites got in the store and it just recently reopened. Bugs eerywhere! We ran into our friend Jessica, who had run at RW that morning instead of joining us on the trails (clearly she was the smarter one) and we ended up hanging out at Starbucks for several hours. Oops.

Daniel had to do rounds at the hospital this weekend, but thankfully he was home just after lunch both days. He has been working a lot and he was pretty tired when he got home, so we didn’t do anything majorly exciting. Resting was totally fine with me!

Sunday morning I had a 20 mile long run. Daniel ran the first few miles with me before work. When we started our run at 5:15 a.m., the *feels like* temperature was 93. Holy Moses. I knew that it was going to be a long run! Daniel ran 4 miles with me and then I continued on for a couple of miles before meeting up with our usual Sunday morning crew. I ran 8 miles with them and then 6 more miles on my own. It was kind of nice to be able to break the run up into several different segments (even though I did it continuously) and it went by a lot quicker than I was expecting!

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The pace was a little slower than I would’ve liked, but given the pretty extreme conditions I’m cool with it! I definitely wish it was actually cool out. During the summer it is important to adjust your pace as needed for the heat and humidity. I wrote a post about that last summer –> here. I went back and looked at my chart and realized that I was right in the adjusted range for my easy pace.

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I was absolutely drenched by the end, so I decided to hop in the bay for a few minutes to cool off.

This picture popped up on my Timehop yesterday.

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We went snapper fishing a few years ago. That was the only time that I’ve been and it was so much fun. I actually caught the fish in the picture, but I couldn’t reel him in. Hopefully after all of my push-up training this summer, I will be able to do things like reel in my own fish! Ha. We’ve been wanting to go back out. Yesterday afternoon, one of the doctors that Daniel works with texted him and told him that he had some extra snapper that he was going to bring us. So nice!

In typical Sunday evening fashion, we lit up the grill. We usually just cook chicken and burgers or something like that, but yesterday it was snapper and salmon burgers. One of the many perks of living on the gulf coast!

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I have one last thing to share and then I promise I’ll be done.

I am going to be coaching with my coach! I had no idea when I took the RRCA course and even until a few weeks ago that this would be an option. I even referenced my coach on a blog post that I wrote a few weeks ago and said, “I hope to replicate what he is doing for my athletes!” As it turns out, replicating what he is doing is exactly what I will be doing!

I am so grateful for this opportunity to work alongside someone with so much knowledge and passion for the sport and someone who I respect. I also shared in the same post that I felt like I was being called to help people and for now that meant helping people meet their running goals, helping people to discover and fall in love with running and being an encouragement to them along the way. I feel like another door has been opened with this opportunity and I am so thankful!

If you have ever wanted to work with a one on one coach, check out Maximum Performance Running!

I hope everyone has a great week! What is something that you are looking forward to this week?

Home is Where the Heart is

Happy Monday folks! Did you have a good weekend? Here’s what I’ve been up to …

Started off Friday morning with a run that felt really good! Some days you feel good, so days you feel okay and some days you just feel bad. Friday was one of the good ones and I welcomed it with open arms. Daniel and I ended up doing an unintentional progression run (steadily dropping the pace) for the first few miles and then I was supposed to pick the pace up during miles 11 and 12. Done and done.

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I had some errands to run. One of which was getting my driver’s license renewed. It expired a few weeks ago. Oops! I didn’t have to wait in line at all at the DMV. I couldn’t believe it. In all of my 14 driving years, I don’t think that has ever happened!

Next errand (not quite as important priority wise) was to purchase a swan. Our Ragnar family is planning a swan fleet reunion and we are all going to float on our swans.

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Then I picked up lunch for Daniel and his co-workers Friday and took it to them at work. Five Guys for them and some froyo as a treat for the delivery girl.

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I came home to find a snake in the yard. By “find” it, I mean that it was less than a foot away from my foot while I was throwing the ball for Brooks. Ick. I took Brooks inside and then all I could think about was that dang snake. Sometimes when we are gone during the day, we leave our porch door cracked so that Brooks can go sit on the balcony. He loves to sit out there. Unfortunately that also means that it is possible for critters to come inside. I like to think that Brooks would bark and/or scare them away if they tried to come in, but I’m not entirely sure how logical that line of thinking really is.

Needless to say, I was a little bit skittish after we came back inside the house. Everything that brushed against my leg made me jump out of my skin. I knew what I had to do … I had to go find and kill that snake. I went outside, found a shovel and sure enough the snake was laying right in the middle of the yard waiting for me. I was so torn. I wanted him dead, but I didn’t really want to kill him. I know that makes no sense.

I found this awesome picture, which sums up my sentiments perfectly (and coincidentally looks almost exactly like the snake) …

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To make a long story longer, I swung at him with the shovel, but only hit his tail. He scrambled back off and burried himself under our kayak in the bushes right beside the house again. Lovely. Daniel actually “found a dead snake in the yard” the next day, so I’m going to just pretend that was the same one and that he died of natural causes. I didn’t ask any questions.

Moving on …

The Grandman Triathlon (a sprint tri) was Saturday morning. One of our Ragnar teammates, Becca, did the race and several of us met early to run and watch the race afterwards. We made several signs. My two favorites were Ride the Swan and GrandWOMAN!

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Becca did great! She finished in 1:32:17, which gave her 2nd in her age group and 10th place overall female! Beast mode!

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After the race I came home and looked over some of my coaching stuff. Training plans and excel formulas … oh my! I am pretty sure that I have found the perfect job that combines my love of all things Excel and RUNNING. Someone pinch me please.

Side note: I knew this computer was going to come in handy at some point. I hardly ever use it for accounting anymore (not that I’m complaining).

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My brain and body needed a rest Saturday afternoon. The weather was a little bit iffy and it made for perfect napping conditions. Now that I think about it, I don’t know what imperfect napping conditions would even be.

I finally wised up and got my stuff laid out ahead of time for my long run. The 4 a.m. alarm Sunday morning is never fun, but if I have everything organized and ready to go, I can get out of the door a heck of a lot quicker and without distributing Daniel. You’re welcome honey.

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The 4 a.m. alarm went off and unfortunately there was 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Rebecca and I decided to play it safe and not run. There’s always next weekend. I ended up doing 7 miles (that felt like 20, so maybe we can count that) on the treadmill. The treadmill and I are having some issues lately. Basically this …

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After my run, I packed up and headed to see my mom and dad for a quick 24 hour trip. They are in the process of cleaning out (in hopes of moving one day soon-ish) and they needed my help to sort through the mess in my old room. I lived in the same house my entire childhood (where they still live now) and there was what felt like approximately 20 years of accumulation. Lots of memories! 

It took about 6 hours to sort through, but we made some good progress. Seeing all of the old pictures and cards, etc. that I kept over the years was fun. It was a flood of memories and now I am feeling super nostalgic. A little piece of my heart will always live here on the Alabama River. 

Meanwhile, the rest of my heart (i.e., Daniel and Brooks) are still at home on the bay. Daniel sent me a picture of the beautiful sunset sky while I was gone. 


He also sent me a picture of my little booger.  


As we sorted through the closets, we found some gems. Please note: 1) my eighth grade cheerleading uniform, 2) some size 6 rain boots that I got at some point in college even though they are about two sizes too small, just because they were cute and 3) a crown (I have no recollection of why in the world I have this). 


It was quite a walk down memory lane! I’ve still got soooo many pictures and old notes to still go through. That’ll be a job for next trip though. I’m headed back south today. 

I hope everyone has a great week! 

2016.047-054: The One without a Race Recap

Hey guys!

How is it time for another week-end recap post already? I guess one good thing about tax season is that time really starts to fly by (which I’ll admit, can definitely be both a good and bad thing depending on how you are looking at it). Let’s catch up on the non-work related stuff that happened this week (which will be somewhat minimal).

We are one week away from the New Orleans Rock ‘N’ Roll half! I’m really excited to go back to New Orleans and to only be racing the half this year. This will be my first race running with an “elite” bib. I’m pretty excited about that! Thank you to Rock ‘N’ Roll for the sponsored entry!

This week was a cut-back week in training for me. I took a day off and I didn’t run any doubles. I’m hoping that the cut-back will payoff next Sunday in the form of fresh(er) legs. I saw Dr. Justin again this week and I definitely feel like we are making some good progress on the feet issues, which is very encouraging.

This was also the first week in several weeks that I haven’t had a race. Instead, I got in a good, quality mid-week workout. My schedule called for 6 X 1 mile repeats at 6:05 to 6:15 pace with a 400 (0.25 mile) recovery. I hit the treadmill early Thursday morning and here is 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: 6:15 (9.6 mph)

Mile 2: 6:11 (9.7 mph)

Mile 3: 6:07 (9.8 mph)

Mile 4: 6:03 (9.9 mph – this felt too fast)

Mile 5: 6:10 (I was originally trying to negative split each mile, but I had to re-evaluate and re-group during mile 5 – I ended up with a “blended” pace of 9.6, 9.7, 9.8 and 9.9 mph for a quarter mile each during this mile)

Mile 6: 6:03 (after backing it off, I was able to comfortably pick it back up to 9.9 mph)

1.5 mile cool down: 7.0 mph

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Daniel and I got in a solid 10 mile run Saturday morning. We averaged 8:02 pace for the run, which is a little bit faster than our normal, everyday pace. We both felt good, so we just went with it!

My mom and dad were in town this weekend and Mom and I got in two good walks. Our fire hydrant friend is ready for St. Patty’s Day!

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I had a tennis match Saturday morning. I am playing on the same 4.5 USTA team that I played on last summer and we each have to play two qualifying matches to be eligible to play at state in June. This was the first time that I have played singles in quite some time (possibly since state last summer) and I was definitely rusty! I’ve been playing doubles on a semi-regular basis, but haven’t been playing singles at all. I typically prefer singles, but I have to say, I’ve gotten quite used to and comfortable with doubles.

I felt so alone out there on the court during my singles match. It was like I was missing my security blanket or something. I’m really baffled by this phenomenon, as I tend to prefer singles and individual sports in general (um hello … running). Maybe things are changing and I am growing up?! Whatever it is, we’re going to just pretend assume that it is a positive thing.

Rebecca and I ran 16 miles Sunday morning with our usual Sunday morning group. Thanks to our friend Larry’s coercing, we ended up with a slight variation in the normal route. This variation involved lots of bugs, a lake, hopping a barbed-wire fence, and some cross country running. We like to keep things interesting (or something like that)!

Sunday afternoon we had our first “official” team meeting for Ragnar Tennessee. I haven’t told y’all about this yet I don’t think, but … we have a group of 12 local runners (i.e., our friends) and we will be conquering an approximately 200 mile journey between Chattanooga and Nashville in May. I have done two of these relays in the past and I am so excited about this race and the group we have going! We met at the Warehouse Bakery Sunday afternoon to talk race details and logistics.

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If you aren’t familiar with a Ragnar Relay … You and 11 of your craziest, most-awesome friends pile into two vans and tag team running 200 miles, day and night, relay-style. Only one runner hits the road at a time. Each person runs three times. Each leg ranges between 3-8 miles and varies in difficulty.

Daniel and I did Ragnar Del Sol in Phoenix, Arizona in February 2011 (less than 6 months after we got married). I remember a friend telling us that if we could survive a 24 hour relay race together, our marriage would be one that would last. We definitely survived and both had a blast!

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Love on the run!

Ragnar Del Sol

I also ran Ragnar Northwest Passage in Seattle in July 2014. Unfortunately, Daniel wasn’t able to go on this trip, because of school and work (you know silly, adult-type stuff).

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This time around, Daniel is taking charge and he and his buddy, Kenny, are organizing the trip! He even has a spreadsheet of all of the estimated costs, etc. My kind of man!

Country Music, Honky Tonk Row and a course designed for ultimate adventure await us this year. We will start in Chattanooga and run along the Tennessee River, heading northwest towards Nashville. We will run, day and night, across the rolling hills of middle Tennessee. The race will finish up at the Country Music Hall of Fame, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Woo hoo! I’m pumped! Have you ever done a relay race?

2016.040-046: Double Bridge Run Race Recap

Hi friends!

Apparently I am back to my once a week posting regimen. Lots has happened since last time we talked … let’s catch up with some week-end highlights!

I got some new shoes and y’all, I love them. I finally see what all the fuss is about with the Hokas. They may look like shape-ups, but they feel like pure bliss. Hokas are cushiony soled running shoes for distance runners and are known for their light weight and maximal cushioning. They are basically “maximalist shoes,” as opposed to minimalist shoes.

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My feet are really appreciating the extra love and support. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve been dealing with plantar fasciitis on my right foot and also some extensor tendonitis on my left foot. I saw Dr. Justin last week about it. He recently got a new pressure wave machine. It sends pulses of high-pressure waves through the skin. The soft tissue and bone that are subjected to these pulses heal back stronger, due to the growth of new blood vessels in the affected areas (that is my understanding of it, at least).

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 Are you guys liking my feet pictures?

Rebecca and I finished the #runlovechallenge Thursday evening. We ran 8 miles Monday morning and 5 miles Thursday evening, which gave us exactly 214. We even had a few days to spare! We both really enjoyed the challenge and it was great to spend some quality miles together over the last month and a half. We are both busy, but we stayed accountable to each other and completed the challenge. 214 miles together was a pretty lofty goal (in my opinion), so go us! Haha.

Saturday morning I ran the Pensacola Double Bridge Run. This race has been on my running “wish list” for years, but I hadn’t ever been able to do it until this year. I really enjoyed the race and will definitely be back again!

The race has an early start time of 7 a.m., which meant that we had to leave at 4:30 a.m. in order to get there and get on the bus to the start. The course is a point to point course, so you park at the finish and take a bus to the start. The busses stop running at 6 a.m., so you have to be prompt! There were five of us who all met up and rode together, which made for a fun race-day experience. Running friends are the best.

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Photo Cred: Tim Ard

The course is unbelievable. It starts in downtown Pensacola at the Vince Whibbs Community Maritime Park, winds through historic Pensacola, over the 3-mile bridge spanning Escambia Bay, through Gulf Breeze, over the Bob Sikes Bridge and the Intercostal Waterway, and finishes at the Pensacola Beach boardwalk.

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I made a conscious effort to start out a little bit more conservatively than I have in the past few races. My goal pace was 6:30 to 6:35, so I planned to start out at around 6:45 and then was going to drop the pace down if I felt good. My first two miles were 6:39 and then I dropped it down to 6:33 for the next two. We went over the first bridge during mile 5, and my pace slowed to 6:37. I got back into a groove during miles 6 and 7, which were 6:29 and 6:33.

I settled in with a pack of three or four girls and we worked together for most of the race. One really nice thing about bigger races, is that you have people to pace with. Here we are coming across the first bridge.

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Photo cred: Tim Ard

We went over the second bridge during mile 8, and my pace slowed down a lot more to 6:54. I was able to regroup and I finished the ninth mile at 6:35. The last 0.3 was 2:12, for a total time of 61:44. I placed 46th overall and 10th for the women. This was a pretty competitive field, so I am happy with a top 10 finish. There were over 3,000 runners!

Jessica, Lizzie and I did a 6 mile cool down. They are both training for Boston and needed to do their long run Saturday, so of course I joined in for the fun.

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I got home from the race just in time to catch the second half of the U.S. Olympic marathon trials, which were run in Los Angeles, CA. I was so happy for Amy, Desi and Shalane! It was really cool to watch Amy and Shalane work together to make the team. Their teamwork and friendship is truly inspirational and really made appreciative of the running friendships that I have. I was also stoked for Meb! He is just legendary. This is the 4th Olympic marathon team that he has made. That is 16 years of marathoning!

We enjoyed a fairly uneventful Valentine’s Day. Daniel had to work Sunday morning, but he made sure to get my card and flowers ahead of time. He got me the cutest card with roadrunner on it. You make my heart beep-beep fast. I love it.

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When he got home from work, we got in a run together, picked up dinner to-go from Vinny’s and watched Friends. It was a perfect evening!

I hope you guys had a great Valentine’s Day and have a wonderful week! Gotta run!

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?

 

2016.016-017: Weekend Recap

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

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It seems as if the weekend absolutely flew by. How does that always happen? It was a pretty uneventful weekend as far as planned activities go. I was totally fine with that.

Saturday morning I headed over to Running Wild for the group run. There are two half marathon training groups going on right now, and so there were lots of people there for the group run! I love it. It was super foggy out when we started and we could feel dew drops on our eyelashes. People did varying distances. I ended up doing nine miles with Lizzie.

Later that morning, mom and I got in one final walk before she had to head back home. We will sure miss her! My mom is really stylish (thanks to Lizzie’s help) and I had to copy her outfit (Brooks tights, Saucony vest and Lucy long-sleeved top). No shame. Daniel thinks it is really fun to take pictures before we are ready …

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There were better ones, but that one was just too funny. I think we were both getting on to him for taking pictures before we were situated! Now that I think about, I am probably just reinforcing the shenanigans by using that one. Oh well. We set out on a walk with a mission. We walked up to a local cafe and got breakfast. You can purchase a coffee mug for $16 and then every time you go to refill, it’s only 50 cents. We’ve got two mugs. Hopefully we will use them enough to make it worth it. Seems like a pretty good deal to me!

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I was pretty lazy the rest of the afternoon (I mean I guess it doesn’t really count as “lazy” since I ran and walked prior to said-laziness set in). We managed to get some grocery shopping done, so that was productive and we watched the sermon that we missed last weekend because of the relay, so that was also time well spent. I got a glorious little nap in. This week wore me out! I needed the extra rest for sure.

We grilled out (steak, grilled chicken and a sweet potato) and made a fire Saturday evening. Has anyone cooked sweet potatoes on the grill successfully? We definitely don’t have that mastered. It didn’t get near cooked enough. I am so spoiled with the crock pot sweet potatoes, though. It would be hard to cook them as good as the crock pot does.

Brooks likes to just hang out under the grill, hoping someone gives him some food!

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Daniel built a blazing fire (I know my dad will be proud)! We sat outside and enjoyed the fire for a while.

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This morning it was time for second workout slash long run of the week. The schedule called for 20 miles total with the first 16 easy and the last 4 at 6:40 to 6:50. I had really good company for the first 16 miles and the time absolutely flew by. We ended up averaging just under 7:55 for those miles. The crisp air kept us swift.

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The wind was absolutely out of control! You can kind of tell from the looks of the bay in the background, but it was crazy. It felt so cold out there, especially right on the water. After we finished 16, I had to resist the urge to call it a day. I’m so glad that I finished up my workout. I needed to prove to myself that I could! I averaged 6:50 for the last 4 (the first two were a little faster and the last two were a little slower) and ended the run at Coffee Loft, to meet back up with the rest of the crew. Whew.

I’m leaning more towards doing the half at New Orleans instead of the full at this point, but I haven’t made the final decision yet. Just coming to the realization that I don’t have to do the full has made a huge difference in my outlook towards training. It even makes me kind of want to do it more. Goodness. What a mess. I know.

Today we continued the series on fear, specifically the fear of failure. Fear of failure causes you to miss opportunities for success. Here are a few more takeaways:

  • We are called to take action to advance the kingdom of God.
  • A life with no action is a sign of a life with no God.
  • We must have a Biblical understanding and definition of success, which comes from studying the Word, surrendering to the Word and following the Word.
  • Our lives should emphasize character over achievement. I love this! It’s about the person you are (becoming), not the things that you do.
  • Our lives should emphasize management over ownership. The things that God has given us are not our own.
  • Our lives should emphasize both weakness and strength. I also love this. I think that transparency with our weakness can open so many doors if we let it and it helps us to learn and grow.
  • Our faith must lead to action as we leave fear behind.

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It was a great message and Pastor Chris really challenged us to get out of our comfort zone and take action with our faith.

I got in another nice nap this afternoon! I’m ready to tackle week #3 of tax season now. This week is going to start getting a little bit crazy I have a feeling. We’ll see.

Experiment #2 is currently in progress in the dehydrator. We are making banana chips. They’ve been cooking (I guess that’s technically not the correct terminology) for quite a while and aren’t entirely crispy yet. They already taste good as they are though, so I guess it’ll be successful even if they don’t get crunchy.

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We just got home from a wonderful dinner and evening with our friends, Molly and Keith and their son, Miles. Brooks got to make friends with their dog, Pacer.

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We played life-sized Jenga! It was so much fun.

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What was the highlight of your weekend?

2016.010: First Light Relay Recap

Hey guys! I’m so excited to tell you about the First Light Marathon relay that we ran today. If you run and you haven’t ever run on a relay team … you really need to! It is hands down, one of the most fun running experiences you can ever have, especially if you have a wonderful group of teammates, which I most definitely did.

As per usual, I’m going to be linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.

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The marathon course is divided up into 5 legs for the relay. Runner 1 runs 1 – 5, runner 2 runs 6 – 10, runner 3 runs 11 – 15, runner 4 runs 16 – 20 and runner 5 runs 20 to 26.2. Our goal this year was to run under 3:00 (6:52 pace) and get a new course record. We needed to beat 3:01:39 to get the course record.

We had an early wake up call, as all of the Running Wild relay teams met at 5:45 to caravan to the start. Daniel dropped me off and headed over to Mobile to run part of the course with some of his friends. Running Wild is one of the race sponsors and they always have lots of relay teams in the race.

The race started at 7:30 a.m. in downtown Mobile. The weather was chilly, but perfect for running. It was low 40s at the start and stayed right around that for the entire race. There is so much energy at the start line of a marathon. It’s really cool to experience. Everyone was lined up and ready to go!

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Jessica was our first runner. She had a phenomenal day today! She ran our first leg and then continued on to run the half marathon. She ran 4 PRs (i.e., your personal record or your best time) today … the 1 mile, the 5K, the 10K and the half marathon. Holy moly.

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She came blazing into mile 5 and handed off to Lizzie, our second runner. Lizzie also had an amazing run and she made up some serious ground on the first two relay teams during her leg.

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At mile 10, Lizzie handed off to Jill. Jill also ran great (and on a really hilly leg)! She caught and passed one relay team and came into the exchange less than a minute behind the lead relay team to hand off to Rebecca.

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Only problem was that Rebecca was in the bathroom. Eek! I started yelling at Rebecca, telling her that she had to HURRY! She flew out of the bathroom and got to the exchange seconds before Jill came through. Whew. Definitely cut it a little close, but it’s the stuff like that that makes relays so much fun!

Rebecca ran the hilliest of all the legs and killed it! She averaged 6:38, which was only 2 seconds per mile off of her course PR for that leg (which was also pre-baby).

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Rebecca and I have had a few “mishaps” at past relays, like that one time when we tripped each other during the handoff (2012) or that other time when she made it to the exchange point before we were expecting her to get there, I was still out doing my warmup and had to sprint (over half a mile) to get there before she did (2015). In typical fashion, this year we flat dropped the bracelet that we were supposed to pass off at the exchange (like the baton in track) on the ground. I had started to run, but then had to stop and pick up the bracelet. On top of that, my first attempt to grab it was unsuccessful so I pretty much was at a dead stop by the time I got the bracelet secured and took off.

We were less than a minute behind the lead (MEN’S) relay team at that point, so I knew what I had to do. The last leg is 6.2 miles and it is flat (if not slightly downhill) and fast. I was ready to run. Maybe even a little too ready … I came through the first mile in 5:56. Too fast, too fast! It’s really hard not to start that section of the course too quickly, because you are on a slight decline.

I told myself it was no big deal, I would just slow my roll a little bit. Well, I passed the lead relay team runner during the second mile, so that really got me pumped up. Second mile was 5:59. After that I pretty much ran by myself the rest of the way in. Mile three was 6:05 and then the fast start caught up with me a little bit. Miles four through six were 6:17, 6:20, 6:17 and the last 0.28 (I didn’t exactly run the tangents very well) was 1:43. This gave me a total time of 38:37 for the 6.28 miles, which is an unofficial PR (I say unofficial because my results will not be listed separately). I ran this same leg in 39:06 last year. I love being able to see tangible fitness improvements and so this definitely gave me a boost!

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I did have one other slight mishap out there. I started out with gloves on because I was freezing while I was just standing around waiting. I really didn’t even want to take my long-sleeves off to run, but I knew I would warm up. I just didn’t realize quite how warm I was going to get. The second half of the race I knew I had to lose the gloves. I was burning up! Unfortunately the bracelet was wrapped around my gloves and when I took them off it hit the ground. Again?! Thankfully I heard it and was able to stop and grab it. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t had it at the finish, but better safe than sorry.

I carried my gloves with me the rest of the way and decided to toss them to Daniel as I came into the finishing stretch. See them?! Ha. Side note: I tossed them straight up and not actually towards him very much so they actually landed in the middle of the street.

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We finished in 2:54:53! The results aren’t posted yet and there seemed to be a little bit of confusion about the finishing times. An almost 2 minute confusion at that. I don’t know how that really happens, but it did. Regardless, we do know that our time is somewhere between 2:53 and 2:55. We met both of our goals and we were the first relay team to finish (out of everyone … men, women, coed, etc.). We were so excited!

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We hung around downtown for a while, got some coffee to stay warm and waited to get our awards.

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The relay came at just the right time in my training journey. I am so thankful for the friendships and connections that running has brought into my life and today was a wonderful reminder of those things. There is something really special about a hometown marathon too. It is great to see so many familiar faces out there and to see everyone cheering and supporting each other. That’s what community is all about and we have (in my opinion) the best running community around.

I ran with joy today!