Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Year in Review-The Top Ten of 2013

So here we are at the end of the year. It's hard to believe how fast it has gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was debating on whether or not I should attempt a full marathon. As I look back on what I've accomplished this year, I figured I would do a little "Top Ten of 2013" as a sort of countdown, New Year's Eve Style.

Before I get started with that, I just want to thank all my friends and family for their support this past year. Marathon training made me a little crazy at times and I definitely wasn't always on my best behavior (i.e. I was tired and rungry all the time...and then there was also the times when I was just plain rangry; and don't forget about the taper madness.). 

Ok, moving on. I ran my final run of 2013 this morning. It was nice to get out there and get in a few more miles before the end of the year.

I finished the year with 759.8 total miles! That's almost 260 miles more than last year! I'm hoping to match that total next year, but who knows what the New Year will bring.

Here's my Top Ten of Running in 2013:

10. Registered for the Chicago Marathon

9. Completed my second year as a member of Team Beef of Kentucky.

8. Ran my 3rd Half Marathon, Run the Bluegrass.

7. Starting my blog. I may not be a great blogger, but I like having a record of my training experience.

6. Becoming involved with the local running community and the Lex Run Ladies. Running friends are great!

5. Finding new running routes. 

4. New Running shoes. I love my Brooks!

3. A new 10k PR at the Bluegrass 10k!

2. 759.8 total miles! Wow

1. Crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon with my family there to support me!

What a great year! It went by so fast! May God bless you all in the New Year!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:10-14 (NIV)

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 Days Until Christmas!?

Wow! I'm not sure where the time has gone, but it's already the fifteenth!
I haven't been very good about updating my blog lately, but with the holidays coming up, I've been busy and let the whole blog thing slide for a little bit. Truthfully, I just haven't had much to write about. I'll give you a brief run down of the past week. It has been pretty uneventful, but that's probably a good thing!
Last weekend the weather was crummy and I didn't run at all. Good thing I'm not training for anything, otherwise I'd probably beat myself up for that. I did get a few short runs in this week; there's not much to tell there either. All three runs could be summed up in a few words. It was dark, cold, and my toes were numb. The end. Speaking of cold toes, I've really got to find some warmer running socks, my poor little toes have been freezing! I've been told that Smartwool has the best winter socks, but they're pricey, but I may just have to get some anyway. I hear they make great stocking stuffers too...hint hint ;)
I planned on a group run yesterday morning, but it was cancelled. So I ended up torturing myself with a fitness DVD.

I love Jillian's workouts! They are brutal, but I feel so great afterward!

I've also been attempting to follow along with a 25 Day Fitness Challenge from Monica at Run Eat Repeat. She's one of my favorite running bloggers. Today's challenge was to hold a plank 20 seconds longer than I did on day 1. 


                  Day 1                                Day 8                        Day 15

I did make it out the door today for 4 solo miles after church. It was pretty windy but overall it was an enjoyable run. I've still been listening to podcasts instead of music. It definitely takes my mind off the run and makes the time fly by. 

Well, I guess that's all folks! Hopefully, I'll be more consistent with the blogging and the running for the next few weeks. I'm 13 miles away from 750 for 2013, so that's my goal for the rest of the year!

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Goals

Wow! It's already December! Where has this year gone? Well, I don't know, but it sure went by fast. Anyway, it's that time again. What are my goals for this month? Ha! That's a good question! As of right now, I'm not signed up for any races and I'm not quite sure what my plans for 2014 will be.
 I'm considering Run the Bluegrass (RtB) again this year, but NOT the half marathon. It's too expensive for me at $85 and it's a really hilly course so I may just sign up for the Rookie's Run and save some $$ and the torture of running all those hills in the latter half of the course. In the meantime, I plan on maintaining my fitness, while working on getting faster. This year, RtB is hosting weekly group runs on the course itself at Keeneland, or downtown Lexington starting from BodyFit Punch. I ran 4 miles from here on Saturday morning and it looks like it's a cool place! 
Their Tread and Shred Class looks awfully tempting to me as it combines treadmills, resistance, and core training. They have a free week of classes for newbies, so I may have to check it out!

Oops, got a little off track there!
Here is my December goals:
1. Run at least 3 days per week (join the group runs on Saturdays)
2. Stay active this month by following the 25 Days of Fitness from RunEatRepeat.com.
    (Day 1 complete! Plank 1:00:00)
3. Get all my Christmas shopping done early
4. Send out Christmas cards
5. Eat as healthy as possible ( No candy, cakes, cookies, donuts or sweets until Christmas Day)

What are your December goals?

Thoroughbred Classic Recap

Now that I've recovered from my turkey and pie coma I'm capable of rational and clear thoughts...well maybe. I guess we'll find out!
The Thoroughbred Classic is a 5k run/walk that takes place at Keeneland Racecourse on Thanksgiving morning at 9:00am. I've done this run/walk before, running in 2011 and pushing Liam in the stroller in 2012. Leading up to race, I had gotten several emails encouraging participants to pick up their packets before race day. I'm glad I took their advice because it was a rush to get to Keeneland on time, and traffic was backed up to get in and park. Luckily Mike and I made it in on time and had about 10 minutes to warm up try not to freeze before the start. I've been looking to PR in a 5k since the marathon, but I knew today was not going to be the day. Wednesday I woke up with a kink in my neck and it did not go away. So when I woke up Thursday with the same pain, I was just hoping for a strong effort and finish. This has become a fairly large race (2400 participants), so this year strollers and dogs were not allowed on the course for safety reasons. (It'd be nice if people listened)

Please remember: NO pets/strollers at the #ThoroughbredClassic. It's a big race, so this is a safety measure for all participants. Thanks.

Since we got to the start late, of course we were lined up behind the walkers and people with strollers and dogs. Go figure. The first mile or so involved weaving through the crowd and after that I was able to set a decent pace.  Thankfully, the pain in my neck didn't really affect my running, although I wasn't really able to check my blind spots. Sorry if I ran into you! Oops! I ran most of the race at a comfortably hard pace. I tried to push it a little during the last mile, and I was able to finish in 32:02. Not my fastest time, but considering the fact that I wasn't really feeling it, and since I spent a significant amount of time dodging other runners, I'm really happy with my overall effort.

Although, it was a cold morning, it was a great run even if it did take 2.5 miles for me to be able to feel my toes!

I almost ran an extra .10 miles with all the weaving around!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a relaxing weekend!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving and the Thoroughbred Classic

Happy Thanksgiving friends!
This will be quick since I've just gorged myself on turkey and pie and it's time for a nap!

I started the day with the Thoroughbred Classic 5k at Keeneland to burn off some pre-meal calories. (I'll do a race recap at a later date.)

After getting home from the race, I finished getting the meal ready. I love making a big meal! It's so much fun :)

I got done cooking just in time to watch the Packer game! Too bad Rodgers is  out, but I still cheer them on win or lose! Go Pack Go!

Now it's time for a nap!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Southern Lights Stroll 5k Run/Walk

Last night I walked the Southern Lights Stroll through the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP). For the last 20 years the KHP has set up a 4 mile driving tour of Holiday lights. The 5k run/walk kicks off the season with a great family event and is a fundraiser for KYHP.

I know I'm all about running these days, but this one was a walk for me. My son, Liam, loves Christmas lights so I pushed him in his stroller while he smiled and waved at Santa! "Hi Santa! Mom! I waved at Santa!" Fun night! 

Some of the light displays:
Churchill Downs

Wizard of Oz:

Star Wars:

Snow Men:

Dragon in the water:


A partridge in a pear tree:

The lights are so neat! Liam and I had a great night!

I've actually participated in the Stroll several times. Technically, it's my first 5k, although I've never run it. Walking at the back of the pack was a good reminder of how far I've come. I heard some people talking about how far this 5k was. One person thought it was 3.1 miles, but her friend was adamant that it was only 2.2 miles. I guess she was in for a surprise. Another group of girls got to the halfway point and I heard them talking about being tired and out of breath, and when is it going to be over. While we were passing the runners as they headed back to the finish, I heard lots of the walkers say, "I wish I could run!" It was like déjà vu! When I first did this walk in 2004, I had no idea what a 5k was or how far it was or that people would actually run that far for fun. I walked it every year from 2004 to 2008 with a group of my closest friends and our dogs. I remember thinking that it was such a long walk and at the halfway point I was ready to be done! Last night, it went by so fast and didn't seem tough at all. What a difference! 
Maybe next year I'll get to run this 5k. Either way it's a great event for everyone!
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Running in the Cold

Winter is coming (yes, I've been reading "Game of Thrones"). It's mid November, but the last two mornings have been bitter cold! Clearly, winter and colder temps are coming to stay.

Yesterday morning there was snow! 

This morning it was freezing, but the skies were clear and I saw a shooting star as soon as I stepped outside.

Even though the temperatures have dropped, I still have gone running outside. I could get a gym membership and hit the treadmill, but honestly I'd rather run outside in the cold. Maybe that's crazy, but treadmills just aren't for me. 

I did realize this morning, that I may need to find some lined running pants or tights because my legs were freezing and bright red once I got done.  Or maybe I'm just a wuss, either way, I'd rather be comfortable.

The best part about running in the cold, is the hot coffee and warm breakfast that I get afterwards.

I've been really enjoying my oatmeal, banana, and peanut butter combo. Yum

I came across an article from 110% today that gives tips about Running in the Cold. The timing of this article comes at the perfect time considering how the temperatures have dipped below freezing!

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thankful on Veteran's Day

As today is Veteran's Day, I would like to start with a thank you to all active and retired military! 

I planned on starting my day with a run, but I have been feeling sick and I woke up with an awful sore throat. I decided that running out in the cold would not make my throat feel any better and I figured today would be a good rest day.
Hopefully I'll be back at it tomorrow!
Night all!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Running Up Hill Into the Wind

Happy Saturday! What a beautiful fall day! My parents are in town visiting this weekend and getting in a little deer hunting. Yay for venison sausage!

I slept in a little bit this morning, then headed out for my run. I was planning on 4-6 miles today, depending on how I felt. Well, once I got going, I felt pretty good, but it was really windy! The first half of the run was ok since the wind was at my back and I was running downhill most of the way. But then I had to turn around and come back. I was lucky enough to run uphill into the wind...I was ready to quit at 3 miles and walk the rest of the way home. I toughed it out to 4 miles and called it a day. I'm glad I got a run in, but it was challenging today.

Running in the morning always makes me more productive throughout the day.
I spent the morning cleaning and even shampooed the carpets! Smells so fresh and clean! Yay

I love anything pumpkin and I've been dying to make some pumpkin bread. Since I had some time, I got to make some! Yum yum yum yum yum

What a great day, I got in a run, spent some time cleaning, baked my pumpkin bread, and Wisconsin beat BYU! Go Badgers!
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Runday and Daylight Savings

It's been three weeks since the Chicago Marathon. It's hard to believe so much time has passed and it's already November 3rd! Today also happens to be the New York City Marathon. Following the coverage kind of has me wanting to run another full. But don't worry, if I do, it won't be anytime soon!
Anyway, I finally feel like I'm fully recovered from the 18 weeks of training and running 26.2. Since I've been feeling so good, I've had the bug to run just about every day. Extra bonus for Daylight Savings and getting an extra hour of sleep this morning!

I set out to run 4, but I drank way too much coffee this morning and had to head back to the house sooner than I planned.

I made it to 3 miles on this beautiful Sunday morning! I love this weather and the changing colors of the leaves!

Post run breakfast. I guess I really like pumpkin. Yum yum yum!

I figured today was a good day to add in some yoga today too.

Now to catch up on some Breaking Bad.
Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New Month New Goals

With the marathon behind me, I'm starting a new training plan. It's the get faster plan...I know that's not really a specific plan, but it's all I've got at the moment. For the time being, I'm scaling things down a bit and I'm focusing on shorter distance races, mostly 5ks and maybe 10ks. My goal at this point is to complete a 5k in under 30 minutes.
My weekly plan includes 4 days of running; two of those days will include speed work (intervals and tempo runs). I am also going to work some yoga and strength training into the mix.

So, this morning my plan called for 4 easy miles. 

It felt great to get out there and run this morning. I've been thinking about running all week and how much I love fall weather. 
On a side note, I made it through the whole day yesterday without eating any candy. Go me! Here's to day number 2!

No touching!

Friday, November 1, 2013

October Highlights and November Goals

October was an amazing month! Once again, I am reminded why it's my favorite! Besides celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and having fun on Halloween, I ran a marathon! It still hasn't really sunk in yet. It's almost like it wasn't real. But it was real, I've
 got the photos and the medal to prove it. October was a somewhat stressful month, but in the end it was completely worth it.
Yesterday was Halloween. Kids dressed up, candy, decorations, and scary movies! I love it!

Arrg! My favorite lil' pirate!

Trick or treat was supposed to be on the 31st, but there were weather concerns so they moved it to tonight. I can't wait!


Now that it's November, I've been thinking about what my running plan will be. So far, I've decided to focus my attention on shorter distances for awhile and work on my speed. A week ago, I ran the Black Cat Chase 5k in 31:16, so I figure that is my new starting point. In a few weeks I'll be running another 5k, and attempt to beat that time.

So here they are, my November goals.

1. Run the Thoroughbred Classic and finish under 31:16
2. Train consistently, running 3-4 days per week
3. Add in yoga and cross training 1-2 days per week
4. Strength training 1-2 days per week
5. Clean up my diet. Yikes! It's been atrocious! No. More. Candy

The whole no more candy thing is going to be rough, considering the fact that my house is full of Halloween candy, plus Thanksgiving and Christmas are quickly approaching. It may be a lost cause, but I can try right!? Since I have zero willpower, please don't offer me any candy, donuts, cake, and any other sweets, ok? Great, I'm glad we understand each other.
Happy November!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Flu Season is Here...Blah.

Fevers and coughing and frequent trips to the bathroom...oh my! Flu season hit home early this year. I feel fine (knock on wood) for the moment, but the boys are sick. 
I was up early and got in 2 easy miles before playing nurse the rest of the day. I like running this time of year. Crisp, cool fall weather, plus I get to look at all the Halloween decorations. I love Halloween!

I ran to Kroger to get some "sick supplies".

Since I got home from the store I've been cleaning everything. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the sickness passes me over this time. I got a flu shot last week Thursday, but who knows if that will help me out or not.
Oh well...this too shall pass. Stay healthy friends!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Black Cat Chase 5k Recap

Last night I ran my first race since the marathon, the Black Cat Chase. This would be my third year running it. It also happens to be my favorite 5k!

"Black Cat Chase Run hosted by the Frankfort YMCA and sponsored by Mainsource Bank - An annual, local 5K run/walk around Downtown Frankfort and the State Capitol with festive atmosphere, costumes, music, and fun for all ages and experience levels." -Frankfort YMCA 

Since the race is run near the end of October, the race tends to take on a Halloween theme, and many of the runners dress up in costume. I've never dressed up for a race, but I like seeing the all the costumes. Plus Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

                                                 Every year, they take a photo on the Old State Capitol Lawn.

I had been nervous about this race all day. I'm not sure why. Obviously, I can run 3.1 miles. Maybe I was nervous because I have only run 6 miles since I was in Chicago. Maybe I was nervous because I was really worried about what my pace was going to be. Before I began my marathon training, my average pace had been between 10:30-11:00/mile. Toward the end of training, I was running around 12:00-12:30/mile. I think that lots of factors contributed to me slowing down. I think it began with the heat and humidity during summer training, then the fatigue started to set in toward the end of training, and I just got used to my long slow run pace. Either way, I knew I was not going to PR (30:15) this year, and I decided early on that my goal was to finish under 33 minutes, and see if I could push myself the whole way.

After lining up at the start, I tried to get my Nike+ watch set up, but it never got a signal. Irritating! At least I had my Nike+ app on my phone and used that instead. It's not quite as accurate, but at least my run is recorded. I usually use my watch to check my pace, so I basically ran this 5k blind. My strategy quickly changed to, picking out a person who was ahead of me and then attempting to pass them. This worked really well, as we headed up the large hill to circle around the Capitol Building. I was passing people left and right! I continued using this strategy the whole race, and I ended up passing a person who I thought I would never catch! It was tough, but I finished strong. Official time was 31:16!

I'm really happy with my mile splits, especially since I was really unprepared for this race.

 I'm also really happy about my overall effort that I put into it. There were many points during the race, that I wanted to slow down, but I never did! So, no, it was not my fastest 5k, but it's a new starting point. I've been thinking about what my next goal is, and I have decided that for now, I want to work on getting faster. I'd like to get my 5k time under 30 minutes. My next 5k is the Thoroughbred Classic on Thanksgiving Day. Can't wait!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Marathon Weekend

For starters, what an amazing weekend! It went by so fast! The BoA Chicago Marathon put on world-class event. The expo was well done and easy to navigate, and race day went off seamlessly. The volunteers and spectators were fantastic, cheering for everyone all day. Traveling through all the different neighborhoods of downtown Chicago as a participant was awesome! I felt like I was on a sight-seeing adventure. To top it off, we had perfect weather too! I couldn't have asked for a better experience for my first full marathon.

My weekend began early Saturday morning with a 2 mile shakeout run. I had been so nervous and anxious that it felt really good to get a short run in before we left for Chicago to get my packet at the Expo.

The Expo on Saturday was pretty cool. Packet pick-up and lots of vendors to look at. I didn't buy anything, but I did try several different samples of protein bars and energy gels. If I would have had more time, I would have looked around a little longer, but none of us had eaten lunch and I was anxious to get to the hotel and eat!

I got my bib#! So exciting!

We ordered dinner from a place called Giordano's. Yummy! Carbs!

After dinner, I got all my gear ready for the following morning and set my alarm for 3:45am. I tried to get to bed early, but it ended up being 9:30 pm anyways. We didn't stay downtown since the hotel prices were $300-$400 per night. Instead, we stayed near O'Hare airport and I had planned on taking a shuttle to the train station and then took the Blue ('L) Line all the way to the start.

This is my "omg it's 4 am on race day" face!

I left the hotel at 5:00 and road the shuttle to the train station to get downtown by 6:00. There was a lot of runners and spectators on the train with me. It was really convenient, and the 45 minute ride was well worth saving $$$ on the hotel room.

I was set to start in Wave 2 at 8:00am in Corral H. It was kind of chilly waiting to start, but I wore a throwaway sweatshirt and gloves and that worked really well. (The only complaint that I have for the weekend is that there was not enough porta potties, and the lines were long. Really long!) Right before the start, I tossed the sweatshirt into a large pile of throwaway gear. 
I finally crossed the starting line at 8:15am. For the first mile, my Nike + watch was really off. My watch said I ran the first mile in 10:38; it should have been 12:38. I'm guessing that the tall buildings and running through tunnels at the start threw the GPS off a little bit. The first few miles went by really fast. I had to stop at 5 miles to hit the porta potty and waited in line for at least 5-6 minutes. I knew my family was coming a little later and was planning on seeing me around mile 16, so that was my whole goal for the next 11 miles. Just get to mile 16. Keep moving forward. I had my headphones in, listening to some podcasts, but there was so much to look at and tons of spectators yelling and cheering, it was hard to pay attention to the podcasts, so I switched to music instead. When I finally got to 16, it was the best feeling in the world to see my family. Liam was such a trooper! He gave me a high 5 and told me he made a sign for me! What a sweetie!

Miles 18-26 were really tough. My feet hurt a lot and my hips felt really tight. I just wanted to get to the end! I stopped at the porta potties again at 18. Then saw my family at 23. Next stop was the finish line. One of my only goals race day, was to run the last 1.2 miles across the finish line. I saw lots of people walking in the last mile, but I just kept running until I crossed the finish line. Ahh, sweet relief! Official time: 5:45:04

After a quick ice bath and shower, we went out for dinner and to celebrate. Naturally, we went to the Hofbrauhaus! Beer, Bratwurst, and a Polka Band, just like being in Germany, sort of. 
The perfect ending to a perfect day!

18 weeks of training has come to an end. So what's next? I'm not sure exactly. Will I ever run another marathon? I don't know. While the end result was worth it, and I learned so much about myself along the way, it was a very time consuming, exhausting process. Will I keep running? The answer to this is YES! Running has changed my life in such an amazing way, I will definitely continue, but for the time being I am sticking to 5ks or 10ks, with maybe a half  marathon every so often. But, at the end of the day, I did it! I am a marathon finisher!