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!

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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. 😉

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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!
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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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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.

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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?

Finding Some Balance

An “About” page has been absent from the blog… Until now!I haven’t known what to write. Even though I should have a general idea of who I am, it’s seemed daunting.
We’ll come back to that but, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately.  I feel like I have so much to do, but never manage to get any of it done.  I like to make lists, but what good are lists if you never cross anything off?PostIt
Does anyone else keep track of their lists like this?  I have tried about 450 different check list and note apps, only to eventually have them fall by the wayside because they don’t do everything I want.  Instead a chose to use this fancy piece of technology as a glorified post-it holder.
These post-it note lists, mental lists, and event reminder dingers on my phone (for the ones I really need to remember) have been accumulating.  Steadily.  I keep thinking that I need a break and that it’s OK to take a break sometimes.Yeah! It is! But not a permanent break!  Too long of a break leads to longer lists, more (unnecessary) stress, and if you’re me, a bad mood.  (Sorry, boyfriend).And that’s when it occurred to me.  Balance.  I know that we all need balance.  I usually think about balance when, after a perfectly crafted dinner of lean protein and veggies, I’m scooping myself a bowl of ice cream… for the third night in a row.  That’s called rationalization, not balance.  I need to learn the difference.So when I got home from work the other night, I checked off the majority of my post-it list.  And ya know what?  Four out of the five took me 15 minutes combined.  WHEW.  The last of the 5 involves going to the bank during “normal business hours.” I work during “normal business hours,” so that does involve some pre-planning.  Or some research to figure out how to do it online.  Either way, 4/5 is a win for me.

Sometimes I have to do things that I don’t want to, because they have to be done, and getting them done relieves a burden, however small.  Sometimes I have to go for a run, because I know that it will help in the long run.  Sometimes I have to eat the veggies and not the ice cream because I’ll feel better afterwards.  Balance.

This was all a long way of saying… that’s how my About page was born.  Balance.  We all need it, and I’m going to have to make a conscious effort to keep working at it.

Balance

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?

Friday Five: Inspiration

Happy weekend eve!

This week’s Friday Five hosted by the DC ladies is all about inspiration. Where does your fitness inspiration come from? To be honest, it was a little hard to come up with five! A lot of the items on the list are really related to each other.

1) I’m inspired by goals. Goals to run new distances, or to get a PR. Goals to try something new, which leads to…

2) I’m inspired by new activities and progress. I’m inspired to try new things. Maybe a new class at my gym and to see improvements.  When I can run farther, run faster, lift heavier weights and do more reps, I’m inspired to keep going. To keep pushing myself to run even farther, even faster, lift even heavier weights and do even more reps!

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3) I am inspired by being outside.  The weather lately has been perfect for running outside.  I love getting to spend time outside soaking in the fresh air, finding new trails and being in the sunshine (or rain, it happens).

4) I’m inspired by people. I joined a group to train for my current half marathon, and it has become a little circle of inspiration. I was inspired to join the group to meet some new like-minded folks, and now I’m inspired by these hard-working people I’ve met. It just goes round and round.

5) Lastly, I’m inspired by chocolate! I know you cannot out train a bad diet, and a few pounds have snuck up on me in the past when I have forgotten and my food has gotten off track. But that can be inspiring in itself to get back on track when you feel blah. But that certainly doesn’t meant that I haven’t earned dessert after 10 mile long runs!

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See what I mean? The goals, new activities and progress are all pretty much related. Setting goals, and seeing progress while working on the goals. Making progress on the new activities/events/classes, setting goals to make improvements. All wrapped up into one!

Thanks to Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run for hosting! Go on and check out what inspires others and fine some new motivation!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

What inspires you to keep fit?

Half Marathon Training: Weeks 9 and 10

Half marathon training is plugging along! Six weeks to go!
When we left off at week 8, I had big plans for week nine!

I am join yesterday’s Fit Dish link up with Jessica Joy at The Fit Switch and Nicole at The Fit Pepper!  Go check it out!

My running group meets on Wednesdays, but a running buddy couldn’t make it that week so we met up after work on Monday to get a run in. We ran 5.5 miles around my work. I haven’t run that far leaving from work before, so we ventured into uncharted territory. Our scenery turned out to be some biiiiig houses. I decided for the sake of not-being-a-creeper, I wouldn’t plaster pictures of strangers’ houses all over the internet, but seriously. Mansions.

Tuesday I had every intention of running with a friend, and then going to get wine and dinner with her. Wellllll, we went straight to the wine and food. Worth it.

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By Wednesday I was having a crazy week and for mental health’s sake as well as knee’s health’s sake I skipped out on group running and had a night in to myself. It was seriously needed. A run may have helped the stressfulness of the week, unfortunately the nearly 2 hours of driving involved to get to the group (thanks rush hour) do not help the stress.

Thursday I made up for it, and ran somewhere between 4 and 5 miles around work. Ever pause your Garmin at a stoplight and then forget to start it again? Yeah, that’s the “between 4 and 5 miles” bit. I went yet another route this time and found this crazy building. I tend to get distracted by shiny things and paths I haven’t been on before. I knew the general idea of where this path went, but then there was a fork that I didn’t know existed. I just had to take it; I can’t help it. 🙂

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Saturday’s long run started out OK, then the whole knees-hurting-business. Ugh. This was a run that may have turned into a walk if it weren’t for my running buddy. I was encouraged along by renditions of Shakira and Meghan Trainor. (Love)

Monday of week 10 started off with a after work walk with boyfriend. Mondays can be dumb, and getting to be outside and just chat with him improved the Monday-ness.

For Wednesday’s run, some of the group was doing 8. Now I don’t know about that came about. It seems to me that if the previous week’s long run was 9, we don’t need to be doing 8 on a week day. Not when I have to do 10 coming up! This seems a little high, for my liking and my knees liking, so we knocked it down to six. My knees were over it by mile 4, so I’m glad that wasn’t the half-way point!  It was pretty dark by the time we were done, so I was OK with that choice.  I did get to try out my new shoe lights!

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Thursday I went to the gym! I haven’t been there in a while. Like… over a month. It’s been too nice outside! We did an arms work out, and let me tell you did I feel it the next day. I gotta go to the gym more often!

I mentioned last time that Saturday’s long run was 10 miles. Always feels good to get a double digit run under your belt!  For the most part, it was pretty uneventful.  It was oddly humid, which made it a bit of a struggle, and there were certainly times that I wanted to lay down and take a nap.  My knees held out for 4 or 5 miles before they started hurting.  I was tired afterwards!  And I had a full day of travel and fun for the rest of the day, and I was only a little loopy from being tired with no nap!

We are getting closer to to the end of training and I’m getting excited! Six weeks to go!

Friday Five: Bloggers!

Happy Friday!  And can I say FINALLY?  Wowza this was a long week.  Work was hectic…  they’re rearranging our cubes at work so I was evicted to a conference room with a couple other ladies.  Which hasn’t been too bad, it’s just a little extra stress.  Ah well. Weekend!  And there is FUN in store! Yay!
But before we get to the weekend, here is some fun for Friday.  This week’s Friday Five hosted by the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run is all about bloggers!  It was SO HARD to narrow it down to five!  So without further ado… in no particular order… some new blogs for your feed!
1) Back to Her Roots.  I first started reading Cassie’s blog back in 2011 when a friend sent me a link to one of her A Day In My Life posts.  After that, I never looked back.  I’ve been an avid reader of not only her blog, but it was a gateway into all of my blog reading (and eventually blogging myself!)  Cassie shares great stories about her adventures living in Southern Indiana with her family, growing her own food and taking gorgeous photographs of all of it.  She introduced me to overnight oats!  On her blog along side her delicious recipes focusing on real whole foods, she shares fun DIYs and has great thoughts on life.  She is all about seasons of life, and understanding that priorities and goals change along with these seasons.
2) Pearls & Scissors.  Hanna’s blog is on a completely different note!  I also quite enjoy reading DIY blogs.  Hanna lives in Estonia and sews and refashions adorable clothes like this.  And this.  Also, she just got married and you can read about Estonian wedding traditions (which was really cool).
3) PreventionRD.  Nicole blogs about food.  Lots of it.  My love of baked donuts is because of her blog.  She always shares nutrition stats, and I love it when she gives a “husband approval.”  Some of my favorite recipes of hers are Spicy Thai Noodles with Shrimp and Parmesan Lemon Orzo which we made along with chicken.  Seriously, I will never run out of recipe ideas with her site.  She has published two cookbooks; I have the Everyday Healthy Cooking and love it.  Also, she is currently adorably very pregnant.
4) Olives’n’Wine.  Becky both cracks me up, and motivates me.  She is basically a rock star.  She’s training for the Chicago Marathon, just completed Body Pump training, and has the cutest wardrobe.  Her antics running around Chicago (soon to be Florida! Jealous!) are never ending fun.
 5) Life Half Full.  Katie’s blog’s tagline is “living a balanced life with a positive attitude” and she strives each day to live this out.  Throughout each post she shows how she works towards balance in her life.  She posts Weekly Refresh posts, to reset and set goals for the week, which has inspired me to set mini-goals each week as well.  She has a lot of fun in Chicago too, and I enjoy reading about here new adventures and new workouts!
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