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. 🙂

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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!

arm party.

I lead a conflicting life. I really love my fitbit, but I really love having an arm party. What’s an arm party? Well, that would be a stack of bracelets that create joy every time you wave your hands erratically while talking. Oh? You don’t do that in every conversation? Me either…..

Anyway, I switched from a fitbit flex to a fitbit charge HR at Christmas. I was so excited for my new shiny fitbit, but I was bummed because I saw no point in wearing my fitbit and a watch. Furthermore, there was no way of disguising this thing as something other than a fitness tracker.

So after months of meticulously trying out new things, I have found a solution.

fitbit

 

That would be three parts Alex + Ani bracelets, one Is it or Isn’t it cable bracelet, an 8 year old Tiffany’s bracelet, and my newest addition: a silver and rose gold Pandora bracelet.

I feel like the mixture of metals with the sporty band of the fitbit is a good mix. Or is that just me?

Happy fitness tracking!

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.

Week 8 – Who do we appreciate?!

I know I should have posted a running update yesterday, but I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t succeed in Week 8 of my program. Last week was a bit of an uphill battle, and I just couldn’t force my body to run more than my mind was. I finished a couple of the runs, but the long run just didn’t happen. Long story short, there was a break up and a lot of work going on last week. I was being pulled in so many directions and I needed to focus on landing on my feet ready to start this week with bright eyes and a strong heart.

With that being said, I am back on track with 5 miles under my belt already this week (at a sub 11 minute mile pace, no less).

Here’s to new beginnings and kicking Mickey’s butt in 27 days!

5 miler.

My goal this weekend was to break 5 miles during a single run, or at least that’s what I told my co-worker who inquired about my training at the end of last week. Saturday morning came and I wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything, then Shane started making a list of things we needed to get done. He needed to get a few things from Home Depot, we needed to finish his sister’s birthday present, then he made the comment “I should probably go to the gym – I know I would feel better”. Unfortunately for him, that statement meant that we were going to the gym if I had anything to do with it.

So off we went on our little mid-day gym date (after waiting an hour for his gym clothes to finish washing/drying – so high maintenance). Sixty minutes later, I had hit 5.02 miles and was profusely sweating. But I felt awesome!! After that, my knight in sweaty armor took me to look at paint at Home Depot then for a protein refuel at Chickfila. Who says romance is dead? 🙂

monster face(excuse me while I pick out my Halloween costume)

 

High points so far: FIVE MILES!!
Biggest challenge: Back to the mind game – it is a constant battle to keep myself running. The little lazy voice in the back of my head is all like “No, Leah, stop…you’re tired and need to rest.” Lazy ass.
Next goal to accomplish: Running a 6 miles in an hour!
Things I’m excited about: Learning some new stretches – all this forward motion takes a toll on you.

5K does not equal $5,000

The last time I checked in with you I told you all about how I’ve started to run and I briefly mentioned signing up for a 5K. Well the 5K came and went and it was pretty awesome! I mean, it was cold and rainy and torturous, but it was awesome! Abby and I both set goals for ourselves and squeaked out times that were respectable and met our goals. Well I squeaked by; Abby annihilated her goal. (You goal, girl!)

First medals!(Post-race with our first-ever running medals! We both finished second in our age groups.)

My favorite part of the whole thing is that it was this big group of people, of all shapes, sizes, and ages, working individually towards one goal. I was surrounded by people who wanted the same thing I did – to cross the finish line – the entire time. It was also pretty cool to run through a town I had driven through countless times, and get up close and personal with it’s charming qualities. The cute little cheer teams around each corner didn’t hurt either.

All in all, I think I like running a lot more than I anticipated. I mean I went to Tennessee last week and packed my running shoes before anything else. I’m pretty sure I said, “That was the best treadmill I have ever seen!” to about 4 different people when talking about working out in the hotel fitness center. Six months ago, I would have laughed at the idea of going to the hotel gym on a trip!

High points so far: I have just been over-the-moon impressed with myself for getting up to 4 miles.
Biggest challenge: Running is a total mind game. I get in a mental fistfight with myself every day before lacing up my shoes and heading out the door. That and I think I have a bunion. It hurts. I need to go see a doctor.
Next goal to accomplish: Running a 6 miles in an hour!
Things I’m excited about: Making a final decision about our costumes for the half-marathon!