she believed she could…

My last post was about the medal holder I made with my dad over Thanksgiving, and it turns out he spent a little more time  in the garage (or should I call it Santa’s workshop) after I left! 

  
He made this race bib holder to go along with my medals. How incredibly thoughtful, right?! Though I had to ask how he got so good at painting letters in the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I won’t give away his secret though. 

So if you love a runner, here’s a tip: make them something that enables them to show off their hard earned bibs and medals! 😉

medal chasing.

When I first started running, I spent tons of time researching it (as with anything that I do). By researching, I mean I read tons of blog posts, bought a few Runner’s World magazines, asked my experienced running friends questions, and all but memorized dozens of Race Day Dos & Don’ts lists. Early on in my reading, I came across a blog post or a pin on Pinterest that said something to the effect of only racing for the bling (medals). I rolled my eyes and thought, “Oh my gosh – how materialistic. I would never sign up for a race just because of the medal!” Fast forward a year and here I am writing a blog post about my medal holder.

I looked around on Etsy and saw some ideas that I liked, but nothing that really matched what I was looking for. In true Leah fashion of putting the cart before the horse, I ran out to Hobby Lobby and purchased four drawer pulls/knobs because they were on sale. Then I pitched the idea to my dad.

Thankfully, he was just as excited as I was and trekked out to my grandpa’s old packing barn and found a piece of wood that needed a little TLC then it would fit my needs. So while I was home for Thanksgiving, Dad and I spent some time in the garage sanding and cleaning up this piece of wood. Next up, we had to drill the holes for my knobs. I learned my lesson in spacing knobs when I helped make a valance to hold curtains a year or so ago, so this time I was golden. I tend to forget you need to measure for one extra section so your holes line up correctly. Sometimes math is hard for me.

IMG_1491

Once we got all the woodworking done (and the garage swept up and some Christmas wreaths hung), we had to venture to the store to find a clear coat and stencils for my numbers. Apparently, I thought I would be an expert at painting numbers on there because I’ve taken one calligraphy class. Yeah….not so much. Hobby Lobby came to the rescue, yet again, and I found stencils that were a good size for my project.

IMG_1476(Thanks, Dad!)

Then I went home and painted to my heart’s content. After the paint was dry, Dad assisted me with installing the knobs and cutting off the excess on the back so it would lay flat against the wall.

Then the hard part came…hanging it up on my wall by myself. I was actually quite terrified it would fall off in the middle of the night. Actually…I’m still kind of scared of that. But it’s still hanging up there! (Fingers crossed that it hasn’t fallen when I get home from Christmas vacation).

IMG_1529

Not too shabby, right? That’s what about $20 in supplies, 70ish miles, and quality time with your dad will get you. 🙂

 

632.6

I never thought I would ever be considered a runner. I will leave it at that because I’m sure the five people reading this know all about how I started running, how I hated running, how I found running buddies, and how I now wake up at an ungodly hour to pound the pavement. In fact, I calculated it all up this morning and I’ve run 632.6 miles this year. I’m not going to hit my goal of 1,000 miles this year, but that was lofty to begin with. 632.6 miles…that’s about as far as Disney is away from my apartment. Crazy, right?!

Anyway, yesterday I got home from work and run club to find a box sitting on the counter waiting for me. I was confused for a moment because I’ve had this vow to not online shop (that and the things I “accidentally” bought online this week aren’t due for another couple of days…). So what was in the box, you ask? This bad boy…errr….girl:

Trophy

The Danville Half-Marathon was my second half-marathon, and the first of three I had signed up for during October, November, and December. I did not have high expectations and had to be reminded by my mom many times that I was running my own race and it didn’t matter what other people were doing. That seems to be the constant battle of mine – I’m too competitive with others and not competitive enough with myself.

It was a really chilly October morning and I was one of two people I saw running with a camelbak on. I was nervous. And scared.  “Would I finish?” “Can I actually run 13.1 miles still?” “What if that race in February was just a fluke?” “I’m not cut out for this.” It’s amazing how much you can doubt yourself before the gun goes off.

Then the gun went off…or rather the guy leading the show yelled, “GO!” and off we went. People passed me. My hands were cold. My earbuds didn’t want to sit in my ears right. I was annoyed I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Then I remembered that I enjoy running and noticed that I enjoyed running through my hometown. I started trying to find the silver lining.

When I got to the first water station, I ran on by because I had my trusty CamelBak. At this point, I was almost 3 miles in and feeling good. By mile 6, I grabbed a GU but still didn’t slow down. At mile 8, I realized I had been running the whole thing with no walk breaks and I would be incredibly mad at myself if I stopped running to walk for a bit with 5 miles left to go.

Long story short, I ran all 13.1 miles to a personal record of 2:11:56 and placed 3rd in my age division. I took 25 minutes off my original half-marathon time from February, and I was seriously in awe of what you can do when you set your mind to it. Oh, and when you’re hydrated. 🙂

running real talk.

Y’all, someone needs to come take my credit card and running shoes away from me. I just signed up for my second half-marathon in less than a week. I’m starting to think I enjoy the thrill of hitting “Register” and typing in my info more than I actually enjoy running. Anyway, I managed to get signed up for the 2016 Disney Princess Half-Marathon last week despite the runDisney website crashing and being cumbersome. That means Abbydean and I will be getting our mulligan to run this race as sisters (and maybe Cruella DeVil and Lucky).  It’s so hard to believe that it has been a year since I began my running journey. In that year, I have racked up over 500 miles on these little legs of mine. Is the human body incredible or what?!

races

 

In those 500 miles, I have run in 7 races, picked up a regular running partner in the mornings, and joined a running club that meets 3 times a week. Who knew running could be so social?! But back to the taking my credit card and running shoes thing…

What started as a “Hey, let’s run this half-marathon on my 25th birthday” novelty has turned into a “Hey, let’s run 5 half-marathons while being 25!” So here’s what I have coming up.

  1. Danville Half – October 17
  2. City of Oaks Half – November 1
  3. Baton Rouge Beach Half – December 5
  4. Disney Princess Half – February 21, 2016

Yes, that is quite ambitious. I know. But I’m not trying to PR every race. I will probably train to PR the Danville half and finish respectably at City of Oaks. I’m running with my pal, Leigh, in Baton Rouge and I have to work that weekend, so that will be easy. Then two whole months to prepare for Disney! So yeah…someone please tell me to stop signing up for races.

Race Recap: Esprit de She

I ran the Esprit de She 5K race in Cary last night, and I desperately tried not to be annoyed at the whole situation. Why was I annoyed? Great question. There are several reasons:

  1. I signed up for this race in January not knowing it was going to be 90+ degrees for the majority of June
  2. I signed up for the 10K race and had it ripped away from me the night before thanks to an email that politely said “Hey – it’s too hot. We’re not letting anyone run more than 3.1”. Well thanks guys…I’m not an adult or anything. I don’t make decisions for myself on a daily basis. *side eye*
  3. I was running alone.

The event was pretty awesome if I’m honest. I wish I had a friend with me because I think I would have enjoyed it more. There were all sorts of vendors set up for before and after the race. There was an emcee on hand and a Bubbly Bar (you got two complimentary glasses of champagne for registering). I’m not really sure how anyone drank after running in that God awful heat, but more power to them.

Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 32:21
Overall Thoughts: Running alone sucks. I’m so used to chatting the miles away that I seriously couldn’t focus on anything other than my feet pounding the pavement without having someone by my side to talk to. Also, I saw the pictures from crossing the finish line. Dear Lord, I don’t make pretty faces when I run. I also need to invest in some non-cotton tanks to run in. End of story.

This is the last race on my schedule until September, then a half-marathon in November, December & February! That is, unless I can convince my dad to run a July 4th race next weekend. 😉

Happy Running!

Life Lessons from a Half-Marathon

Y’all – I did it! I am a half-marathoner. I have a hard earned medal to prove it. Getting here was interesting to say the least. Throughout this whole process, I learned so much about myself. I’m still learning, but I thought I would share a few things that I didn’t know 7 months ago.

medal

  1. You don’t have to follow a training program to the mile. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal. For example, I restart games over all of the time if I don’t do something perfectly. In my world, I’m either 100% or not doing it. So when it came to my training program, I hit every mile assigned to me consistently for four weeks, then I hit a wall. I just didn’t want to run that week, and I struggled with feeling like I was failing. That I wasn’t really a runner if I couldn’t get all 310 miles of my program in. Then I cut myself some slack. I went from not exercising at all to volunteering to run 13.1 miles at once, so it was okay if I didn’t want to run every day. That was a big moment for me. I realized that I don’t have to live and breathe by a training schedule, but I need to listen to my mind and body. I also have learned to determine the difference between exhaustion and laziness.
  2. Listen to your body. It knows what’s best for it.
  3. Running is cheaper than therapy (including retail therapy). The more time you spend hitting the pavement, or treadmill, the less time you can shop online.
  4. You don’t need fancy things to get started. Just a decent pair of running shoes and determination. A planned running route wouldn’t hurt either.
  5. There’s no such thing as a “runner” body type. I saw all kinds of ladies and gentlemen out there getting their run/walk on. Don’t think because you aren’t currently a runner that you can’t accomplish something as significant as a half or full marathon.
  6. Foam rolling is as amazing as they said it would be. Once you learn how to do it, that is. It took me a few months to learn proper techniques, but I found a helpful little video that covers IT stretches, calf stretches and a neck roll.
  7. Like most things in life, you get what you put into it. I got a little discouraged going into the last leg of this journey. I didn’t follow my training program, I got lazy with the cold weather and snow, and I let my insecurities get the best of me. But when race day came along, I realized that I had been dedicated and determined and I knew I would finish, even if I had to walk the whole way. And I finished 10 minutes faster than my goal time of 2 hours 45 minutes.

The most astonishing thing I learned was how much I learned about who I am through this whole process. I mean it really shouldn’t surprise me being that running is spending quality time with yourself (and putting one foot in front of the other). I’ve learned that I need time to process things – or more accurately put, obsess over things until I’m tired of thinking about them. I’ve learned how to motivate myself and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting my butt out of bed or off the couch. I’ve learned that if I can sing-dance while running, I’m a lot happier. I’ve learned that I’m good company even on my grouchiest of days.

castle

Thanks for joining me on this journey! I can’t believe it’s already over. Now onto my next adventure!

week 11

Race day is one week away!! Oh my goodness – I probably should be packing instead of writing this. (I will not over pack. I will not over pack. I will not over pack.)

This week was a modified version of the Nike+ Running program. Mainly because I was listening to my body and because it was friggin’ cold this week. I was not made for this mess.

I found a running club on MeetUp this week, and joined them for a 10k run on Saturday morning. It was so awesome! There were six of us, and while on the surface we had nothing in common, we all started out at the same pace and got it knocked out in just over an hour. I’m looking forward to joining them for more runs in the future.

Monday – 4 miles (1.5 in the rain)

Tuesday – 4 miles (killed it on the treadmill)

Wednesday – worked instead of ran

Thursday – rest day

Friday – 2 miles

Saturday – 6.2 miles

Weekly mileage: 16.2

Yearly mileage: 143.7

race day gear.

I have spent countless hours pinning and researching what other runners wear on their runDisney race days. I’ve read about gels and GI issues. I’ve read about costume malfunctions and chaffing. I’ve read about socks and tennis shoes lost in airline baggage mishaps.

That’s all well and good, but I’m a new runner. I don’t own a fancy GPS watch or use a hydration belt. What am I supposed to run in?

race outfit

I’ve decided to stick with what I know. Above you can see what I’m planning on wearing on race day!

  • lulu lemon running capris
  • gray old navy ankle socks
  • black long-sleeve semi-fitted top
  • flipbelt for my chapstick, starbursts and phone
  • asics
  • hello alyss crown hair piece
  • Not pictured: Disney Birthday Button!

Maybe one day, when I’m an experienced runner, I’ll look back and laugh at my affinity for old navy socks, but I swear they are my favorite things ever. I have them in black and gray, and I always feel like I run better when I wear the gray ones.

That’s what I plan to wear when I take on my first half-marathon. I’m curious to see what my future race gear will look like.

two weeks away!

Two weeks from right now, I’ll be finished with my first half-marathon experience. I can’t believe it’s almost here. I think I’m at the point in my training where I feel confident that I’ll finish, and I’m not worried about beating a certain time so I took it a little easy this week.

Monday – 5 miles

Tuesday – none

Wednesday – none

Thursday – 1.5 miles

Friday – none

Saturday – 12 miles

Sunday – Rest day

-If you sign up for the hard stuff, then

 

I heard this quote while listening to a podcast yesterday running. It’s a great reminder that the miles and the hours and the time spent on the treadmill are building up mental toughness and perseverance.

Here’s to spending the next two weeks logging the miles I need to and focusing on going to sunny Florida and turning 25! 😀

Weekly mileage: 18.5

Yearly mileage: 127.5

week nine & feeling fine.

Y’all – I ran 12 miles at one time. 12 miles. Let that sink in for a minute.

I’m starting to realize that this training program may not be the best one for me. It seems way too intense compared to other training programs that I have reviewed. I think this one would be great if I was working towards a personal record, but I’m not. My goal is simply to finish. I’ll probably use this program again next year for the Disney Princess Half, but for the other races I have in 2015 I think I’ll try out a different program.

Monday – 5 miles – 53:50

Tuesday – 3 miles – 34:24

Wednesday -9 miles – 1:39:01

Friday – 2 miles – 23:12

Saturday – 12 miles – 2:23:09

Sunday – Rest day

This week I got back on the horse (treadmill) so to speak. Monday started out great with a 5 mile run before work and I had to juggle around some of my workouts to accommodate a birthday dinner with a friend, but I feel good about how I did. Saturday really showed me how much I’ve grown in running and knowing myself. I was visiting Abby & Alan and had every intention to get my 12 miles in before breakfast. I got up, dressed, and went downstairs to their treadmill but could not will myself to go. I was sleepy, hungry, and I felt like if I didn’t finish quickly enough, I would ruin everyone’s day. Instead of forcing myself and resenting the run, I stopped and decided I would try again later in the day. Though the 12 miles at one go was overwhelming to think about, and at mile 7 I was ready to stop, I kept pushing the second go around and got it done. I feel confident that on race day, I will finish strong.

Running box

In other exciting news, race day is 20 days away! Woohoo! To celebrate, Abby & Alan gave me the most thoughtful box of goodies to get me through the last leg of training. Sorry for the blurry picture, but it contained epsom salt, body glide, two bundles of soft hair ties, a bag of starbursts (my preferred race fuel), and an awesome tank top that says “Forget the glass slippers, this princess wears running shoes” on the front and “& she ran happily ever after” on the back. I can’t wait to wear that post-race! Also, they found the cutest 13.1 decal for my car. I’ve been on the fence about whether or not to buy one, but this one is just too cute and matches my car’s sideview mirrors that I can’t resist. I’m so excited to put it on Gizmo when we get back from Florida.

Weekly mileage: 31

Yearly mileage: 109