Naperville Half Marathon Recap

Time is running away from me! I’m behind on writing up this race recap for my most recent half marathon!

I talked some about it here, mostly just the day and night before the race.  I have now learned that you should not go wedding dress shopping the night before a big race… when you try to sleep your mind is thinking about pretty white dresses rather than letting you to go to bed!

start

I did manage to get some sleep, but morning still came to early. I piled on a bunch of clothes, grabbed my gear and my overnight oats and climbed into the car. I got dropped off near the race and went to finding my running group. One by one we found each other as we hung out in the nearby high school gym AKA warming room for the runners. After one last trip through the port-a-potty line, we got into a start corral.

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After the national anthem, we were off! There was music playing around the start area, and the song was Fireball by Pitbull. Love. That. Song. And all other Pitbull.  It caused me to run-dance for quite a while in the beginning, and then random moments throughout the rest of the race. #noshame

After about a mile or so, I shed my outer layer.  During my first half I learned the wonder of throw away clothes.  Prior to that I thought it was silly, and then I was stuck running the last 8 miles with a zip up tied around my waist. Live and learn.  Before long, we passed the first water stop… two miles down!  We decided against stopping; we weren’t thirsty yet.  By mile three I decided that the first two miles went faster than the third.  It must have been the inital dancing session to Pitbull that distracted me. 😉

race

We started winding through some neighborhoods, and there were people everywhere!  It was a lot of fun to see all the support.  We were checking off miles at a pretty good pace!  Before I knew it, we were almost to mile 7.  I was excited for mile seven because I knew I had some spectators there 🙂 After a quick hug, I continued on.

Then mile 8 happened.  Yikes.  The tired began to happen just before mile 8.  Just enough to know it was there, and that feeling of dread knowing that more tired is coming. Ha!  We had been walking through water stops, but this was the first one where my legs were giving a little resistance to starting again.  About half a mile or so after the water stop we ran on the road that runs next to the prairie path where we had been training!  It felt good to be on home turf (well, next to it), and I got a a burst of energy.

However then there was a hill.  And it just kept going up! And my happiness was going down.  Then someone shouted my name! A fellow runner I know!  Spirits lifted!  If it it isn’t apparent, just before mile 8 to just after mile 10 was a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

We slurpped up some water at the mile 10 water stop and got back to running.  “Just a 5K to go!”  If this makes you feel better, I am happy for you.  This makes me want to go all interrupting starfish on the speaker of this sentence.  5Ks can be hard, too! And generally I don’t do 10 miles as my warm up!

However it was right around here I realized just how fast we were going.  As a side note, if you ever see me running with a scrunched up thinking face, I’m probably trying to do pace math. This was probably happening at this point.

Our group of 4 runners ended up splitting into 2 groups of 2.  The two fasties split off as I continued to try to focus on math and not hwo much my knees and hips were hurting.

Everything after mile 10 blends together a little.  Somewhere in there was a man grilling on the side of the road.  Grilling bacon for runners.  Heck yes I had some bacon!  Was greasy bacon the most effective mid-race fuel?  Um… perhaps not.  But mental fuel? Heck, yes!  It’s bacon!  I think I nibbled on it for at least half a mile, making sure I wasn’t totally going to ruin my stomach with it.

I do remember a glorious downhill.  I was so very excited to run down.  Around said downhill, I realized that a 2:10 MAY be in my grasp and I tried to push it.  I ditched my water belt when I saw my family in an attempted to lighten my load.  (I ruined all of the pictures my mom tried to take – I felt SO BAD.  I’m taking off my belt in all of them!)

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I caught up to my two fasties that took off earlier as we were nearing the finish line.  Then there was an uphill. From maybe 12.8 miles to about 13.0 we had to run up.  Evil.  But I made it up the hill!  And could see the finish!  And I ran as fast as I could, which wasn’t very fast at this point! Haha! I flew across the finish line! YAY I’m done!
finish
Then my legs nearly collapsed.  That’s the sign of a good race, right? I got my medal, and found my family who saw me finish.  And who were all standing there thouroughly impressed that I managed to cut off SIXTEEN MINUTES from my time!  Craziness.
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I found my running mates, we all gloated together, took some pictures and found some food.  I won’t plaster their faces all over the internet though 🙂
At this point, it got pretty cold!  The wind picked up a lot, and I was shivering as I was drinking my post race beer.  But I earned that beer! It was from a local brewery and I knew it was going to be good.
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I still cannot believe I managed to finish this race in 2:11:36.  My previous time was 2:27 and change!  I went from an 11:14/mile pace to a 10:02!  If I wasn’t so excited about that pace, I might be upset I missed 10 minutes by OH TWO!  Guess I’ll have to find another race and try again! 🙂
I’m going to link up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday (racing is always a treat!) as well as Jessica Joy and Jill for the Fit Dish.  The Fit Dish topic for the week is fitness accomplishments, and this PR was a HUGE accomplishment!
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Thinking Out Loud

I’ve wanted to link up with Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud for a while, and decided today was a good day to start! I’ve got a ton of thoughts bouncing around my head, why not share the random?

1) I had a donut for breakfast. And it was glorious. Someone brought a few boxes into work today, and there were a ton left, so I just had to rescue one. And it obviously had to be the chocolate with chocolate frosting. I haven’t had a donut for soooo long I nearly forgot how good they are when they’re fresh.

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2) I have only worked out once since my half marathon. Yes, it was a week and a half ago. Which I probably shouldn’t admit to after telling you all I ate that donut. Ha! Anywho, we had an arms day at the gym, and my arms were dead for two days. Nothing like easing back into it, sheesh.

3) Wedding planning is fun! Trying on dresses and veils… dreaming about cakes and flowers. Yay! And we checked the big stuff off the list, namely A DATE, the church, a pastor, and a reception venue.

4) Wedding planning is hard! Pick a photographer? What? How? Find bridesmaid dresses? They’re either cute OR affordable. Block of rooms at the hotel… oh they won’t return my phone calls? Ok that’s nice. Uuuugh. I keep trying to remind myself of the prior exclamation of “wedding planning is fun” and that if we have a church and as pastor, that’s the whole point of the day. But my bridesmaids would prefer not to be naked, and my guests would like a place to sleep.

5) Christmas is coming! Yay! I’m all about Thanksgiving, don’t get me wrong, but I love Christmas. There’s pretty lights, and fun songs and everyone is cheerful! Sorry, these are Instagram repeats!

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6) Have you heard of the podcast Serial? Yeah, I hadn’t until Tuesday. My roommate said it was good so I put a few episodes on my phone to listen to at work on Wednesday. Ohmygoodnessitissogood. Go listen.

 I suppose I can stop rambling now… I’m sure I could keep going, though.

What is happening with you? Random thoughts to share? Ideas for keeping wedding planning sanity?

Dresses and a Race

This weekend was PACKED with fun times.
Unfortunately… there is very little photographic evidence of it. Whoops…
However, I was had so much fun, I’m not even that upset there are very few pictures.

Friday the first stop was packet pick up for the race on Sunday, followed by a Chipotle dinner. Yum! Once our bellies were full, we wandered around the mall a little, dreaming about things we want to put on our registry. Eventually we will actually have to pick things instead of just walking around the store pointing at pretty grown up objects like crock pots and silverware.

packet

Saturday morning I went out to breakfast with a friend. We have opposite work schedules, so it’s always a treat to see her. And the two pots of coffee we polished off at the restaurant were a pretty good treat, too 🙂

I headed home after breakfast to wait for my parents to get into town. My mom and I went wedding dress shopping! There are pictures of this, but as the fiancé occasionally makes a stop by the blog, I can’t post them! I didn’t buy one, but I found one that I like A LOT. But this was the first time I tried on dresses, so I want to check out a few other places. I have a feeling I’ll come back to this one though 🙂 Instead of a dress picture, how about this picture of me showing off my ring (like a cheese-ball)?

ring

After dress shopping was pasta for a pre-race dinner! I had shrimp and scallop linguini. It was fantastic. And I only had one sip of my mom’s margarita. Water only otherwise!

I attempted to go to bed at a reasonable hour Saturday night, so I could get up and, ya know, run a half marathon. But all-the-thoughts were running (get it?) through my brain. Laying in bed went something like this.

Go to sleep, self. You need to get up early!
Ugh, so early! It will be dark still!
I bet it will be cold in the dark.
I don’t want to run in the cold.
Why did I sign up for this race again?
Oooo that one dress was really pretty… except for that weird ass bow on it.
I’m cold now! It will be so much worse in the morning… outside.
Gloves! Don’t forget gloves! (I got up… and gave flat Kat gloves)
Do I want white or ivory?
Ivory… but a light ivory?
GARMIN! Don’t forget your Garmin! (I got up… gave flat Kat her Garmin and road ID)
Whew, fiancé would have been annoyed if he had to go home and get the Garmin (again… like last time)
Why can’t I SLEEP?
I reeeeeeally liked that one dress…
I want to tell fiancé about it.
CAN’T! Must. Keep. Secrets!

Clearly it was a long while before I managed to fall asleep.  But I did and morning came, way too early and way too cold.

I put on all my layers, ate my oatmeal, and climbed in the car.  I got dropped off at the race.  I found my running buddies, and before too long, we were off!  I’ll save all the details until later and an actual recap, but I ROCKED IT.   I had vague dreams of a 2:15 race, but I didn’t really put it out into the universe because I wasn’t sure it would happen and didn’t want to be disappointed.  Well IT DID happen… 2:11:36!

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I’m linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday as well as Jessica Joy and Jill for the Fit Dish.  The Fit Dish topic for the week is wandering minds during work outs.  My mind was certainly wandering about running… it’s close!

Does your mind take over when you’re trying to sleep?  Mine was out of control!

Friday Five: Staying on Track During the Holidays

It’s always challenging for me to stay on track with working out and not eating all-the-things during the Holidays. It’s dark when I leave the house, it’s dark when I get come. It’s cold. There is snow. And that’s all before we get to Christmas. Then there are cookies. And wine. And more food in my eyesight than I should ever considering trying to consume in one sitting.

Every year I go into the holiday season with good intentions, and come out feeling like I ate my weight in cookies (which is probably because I did). This year is a little bit different though. I’ll be entering the holidays coming off half marathon training (three days to go!), and not to toot my own horn, I’m in pretty decent shape right now. I’d like to keep it that way instead of backsliding like normal.  And on top of that, this girl is getting married come spring, and I don’t want to be working on losing Christmas-weight (yep, it’s a thing) while I’d really like to be working on toning up for my wedding.

My half marathon is this Sunday, and I’ve been catching myself thinking how nice it will be to not have to run all the time. Of course I will have to give myself a break, but I just need to make sure it’s not a 2 month break. I’ve been thinking about ways to not fall of the wagon after my race, so this weeks’ Friday Five link up with Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run has come at a perfect time. How to stay on track during the holidays!

Staying on Track

1) Yoga! My favorite yoga class meets on Wednesdays, and I haven’t been able to go because that’s when my half training group met. I’m excited to get back to the class after the race.

Yoga

2) The treadmill. I mentioned on Instagram how much I hate the treadmill. How does it make 2 miles feel like 8? But it’s a necessary evil for an Illinois resident who will not run outside if it is a million below zero. I did the first few months of training for my first half on a treadmill and I’m still here to tell the tale. (Barely)

3) 7 Minute Workout app. I mentioned before how much I like this app, but I tend to forget about it. I’ll have to work on remembering to use it. I know there are similar apps out there, so I’ll have to investigate those, too.

4) Keep the focus on good food. During the winter the last thing I want to eat is cold veggies. I need to work on finding food that is comforting in the winter, and still fuels my body with good things. However, there will still be cookies to eat and cocoa to drink, just with a side of some veggies.

5) Weight training. I like to do weight training at the gym with the fiancé. One, so I don’t drop the bench press bar on my head, and two because I’m kind of new to free weights and still don’t know what I’m doing. I used to avoid the free weight section like the plague (the men over there have biceps bigger than my head!), but I’m getting better provided I have an escort to tell me what to do. And it’s a fun opportunity to get to do something together, which is always a plus.

As a bonus item… setting a plan. I need to focus on actually DOING all these things. During the winter I never want to do any of the above wonderful things. I put it off for “one more day” and the next thing I know it has been 3 weeks since I did any sort of physical activity. Though trying to keep warm during polar vortex time has to add up to some sort of calorie burn.

What do you do to keep on track during the holidays?
Do you have any favorite work out apps? I need more! I like the 7 minute workout app like I said before, and my Fitbit app! Wanna be friends?

Half Marathon Training: Weeks 13 and 14

Two weeks left!  I’m excited for the race to get here, and excited to sleep in on a Saturday once training is over.  Oops… did I just say that out loud?

Tuesday of week 13 I used the Johnson and Johnson 7 Minute Workout app to get in a quick sweat session.  It may be only 7 minutes, but it sure gets your heart pumping!

7Minutes

Wednesday was the usual group run, but it was a little tough this week.  It had rained all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so it was pretty humid.  My lungs were feeling it, and my legs were pretty tired too.  We got through six miles though, and it wasn’t a too awful pace.

Thursday after work before dinner, I decided to go for a walk.  No destination, just around a few blocks.  It was full of pretty fall leaves! Love it.

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Saturday morning I was prepared to run 12 miles, but when I got there it had been changed to 11.  Woo hoo!  We were on track to run 13 miles for our longest run before the taper, which seemed a bit much to me, so I was fine with the drop to do 11 two weeks in a row and then 12 as the longest.  The weather was a little nuts.  I had eventually decided on a t-shirt, which I ended up regretting when it started raining.  Blech.  The last few miles were ROUGH.  Which was later explained by final pace: 10:03! WHAT?! I do NOT run that fast, especially for that far! Except for the fact that I did!  I got a little teary at the accomplishment, but sssshhhhh.

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I then rewarded myself with this kind of afternoon:

fb11Sunday evening I did a little at home arm work out.  I did this Sexy Shoulder Workout from Erin over at The Almond Eater.  The squat / overhead press?  Love.  Fits in with my squat challenge slash operation-fix-the-knee-pain.  It adds some new variety to squats, and works shoulders.  Excellent.

Going into week 14, we’re getting down to crunch time.  There’s been a few weeks where I’ve only gotten in two runs, rather than the three I would prefer.  This is due to a combination of 1) being a bum, and 2) blisters and knee pain.   More like using the blisters and knee pain to rationalize being a bum.  Running with the group on Wednesdays has been longer runs during the week than I’m used to; my body wasn’t doing well with running 6/7/8 miles on a Wednesday and then 10+ on Saturday.  That wasn’t enough recovery time, so I decided to do similar mileage this week, but spacing it out to three runs rather than two.

I was sitting at my desk on Monday being impressed with the superstar pace from Saturday’s long run.  The thought jumped into my head that if I’ve gotten so much faster recently, that maybe I could break my 5K PR.  If I can run 11 miles at just over a 10 minute pace, maybe I could beat the 5K at a 9:20 pace.  I set it two years ago, and it was kind of a freak accident.  I talked briefly about it here.  Well, I don’t have any 5Ks coming up due to no-free-weekends-ever, so I decided that I’d try to break it after work.  Nothing like 4 hours of preparation.  Anywho, Monday at work kinda sucked, so I was grouchy when I set off on the trail, and busted out an 8:34 mile. WOAH too fast, though that’s probably a 1 mile record.  So the next mile was about a 9:51 trying to recover.  I was doing math and figured out what I would need to hold my pace at to get under 28:59 for my 5K.  Well I ran, and it hurt, but I did it!  Yeah, I know it’s unofficial, but I’m not too concerned, I just wanted to know if I could do it! Next time, I’ll go for more even splits!

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Tuesday was a weights day at the gym with the boyfriend.  Productivity + my favorite person?  Not a bad evening.  Judging by the pain (in a good way) in my arms the next day, we had a pretty good work out too.

Wednesday I did my second 5K of the week.  I tried a new route, got creeped out in the woods, went back the way I came instead of completing my planned circle… I need to stop watching so much TV.  Still got in the three miles, even if the Garmin map looks like I am crazy.

I took Thursday and Friday off in preparation of Saturday’s final long run before the taper (YAY! Taper).  Got to give my knees and blisters a rest before 12 miles!  Saturday’s run ended up being pretty warm out.  I wasn’t properly hydrated, and I didn’t sleep very well the night before so it was a bit rough.  My knees ended up being OK, but my hips were killing me.  I just can’t win.  Regardless, finished!  It’s taper time!

12MInstaI’ve been happy with how this training has been going, but I’ll be glad when it’s over!  I’m getting tired!

 

The Fit Dish: Top 3 Healthy Living Tools

The topic for this week’s Fit Dish link up is “Top 3 Healthy Living Tools.”  Thanks to Jessica Joy at The Fit Switch for hosting!  Go check it out and #Dishthefit!

1) Love my Garmin!  This weekend Garmin and I hung out for 11 miles.  (I posted this on Instagram; are you on Instagram? I am now!) I like being able to see how far I’ve gone when I’m out for a run.  Not to mention when I get back home and plug it in it makes graphs and maps.  I love maps and graphs!  I’ve also worn it hiking, biking, boating… any where I can really, just to get the maps!

Garmin

2) I also love my Fitbit.  Apparently I’m a fan of wearable items.  Want to be Fitbit friends? Find me here!  I need to work on getting in more daily steps, though.  It’s a work in progress.  🙂  But I do love big numbers from long run days!

Fitbit

3) Another favorite has to be my water bottle.  I feel so much better when I’m drinking enough water, and I’m much more likely to drink enough water when I have a cute, water-holding side kick! This isn’t the first time this guy has made an appearance here!

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Some other things that could made this list are my RoadID, hydration belt, flip belt, and of course all of the adorable work out clothes I can’t seem to stop buying!

What are your favorite fitness accessories?

Goals: October Update

Back at the beginning of September, I recapped how my 2014 goals were going and now I’d like to do it again!

Goals Upadate

So how was September?

1) Meal planning.  I know I am never going to be super planner, at least not now, but I’ve been doing pretty well at eating pretty delicious and healthy meals, so I check this one in the win column.

2) Vary my workouts.  I started a squat challenge to hopefully strengthen my legs and take some strain off my knees.  I haven’t been able to do the squats daily like I had hoped.  On days when my knees already hurt like on days I’ve ran, I don’t do the squats so I don’t aggravate them more.  I also headed back to they gym a few times to work on some arm strength!

3) Half Marathon Training.  This is going great! Next to the knee pain, of course.  I have worked up to a 10 mile long run with the group two weeks ago, and this past Saturday we got a reprieve with only eight miles. Woo!  Here are recaps of weeks 7 and 8, and weeks 9 and 10.  I can see my paces staying steady as the distances get longer, and sometimes even picking up.  Always good to see progress, which is great inspiration to keep going forward!

For October, I’m not looking to change much.  Meals have been pretty good lately.  Cross training isn’t too bad; I wouldn’t be upset with more, but don’t want to burn myself out during half training.  And the half training itself… going great.  Just keep on going!

I’m linking up with Jessica Joy at The Fit Switch and Nicole at The Fit Pepper for the Fit Dish!  Go check it out and #Dishthefit!

How are your goals going?