Carpe Run

Seizing the day (and the run) one day and mile at a time!

Battling the 5k and Days 27-32

I know I’ve talked about this on the blog before, but me and 5k’s don’t really get along.  Last night was the Tidewater Striders Memorial Scholarship 5k at Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  I’ve been participating in the Summer Series races since the first summer after I started running, 2011, and it is always a great time!  The Memorial Scholarship 5k is the last in the series of races and it is a chip timed 5k with all the pizza, beer, and fruit you can eat for $10.  I repeat, $10.  Doesn’t get much better than that!  Furthermore, it is a super chill and fun environment with awesome raffle prizes for a good cause.  I was even more excited this year since my sister and Dad ran as well as my friend Lauren.  Ben was off work and able to join in the fun as well, as seen in this ghostly image below, he was trying to photo bomb but didn’t quite make it.  Creep.

Banana hoarder.....

Banana hoarder…..

As usual, I had my internal struggle between pushing hard and not wanting to be in pain.  I read recently that if you aren’t extremely uncomfortable during a 5k (barring actual injury), you aren’t pushing hard enough or giving it all you have.  That’s how a 5k has to be run, and I’ve yet to master it.  I was telling myself this last night but I just couldn’t get it together.  I didn’t even think of a PR since it is summer, but I actually only missed it by 2 seconds.  Time = 28:48 **Kicks self in the ass because I totally could have picked it up the last mile**

I don’t know my exact splits at the moment but I know my first mile was sub 8:30 and my 3rd was a little over a minute slower.  I am positive with more work on the short distance speed and a little more push I can do 3 8:30 miles easily.  I am looking for a race that I can PR in the fall and the ultimate goal is to Beat the Ball at this year’s New Year’s Eve race.  Lofty, but not out of the realm of possibility if I work for it.

80 Day Weight-Loss Challenge

Day 27:  Does your family support you in your weight loss?

Definitely!  I think a lot of the time I have to be the motivator in the group but they motivate me as well.  My family (definitely myself included) loves food so there is always that challenge, but at the end of the day I have to be accountable for my own decisions and actions.

Day 28:  What is your favorite type of snack?

I snack pretty consistently, once at 10:00 am and once around 3:00, and my current fave is my afternoon cottage cheese with some sort of veggie.  Right now I am dipping baby carrots in it.  I also really enjoy celery and salsa or hummus.  Morning snack is almost always greek yogurt or usually, a banana.

Day 29:  Write your current weight. Have you lost anything in the past week? If not, what are your plans for this week?

Excited for this one!  My weigh-in this weekend was once again a success!  Last week I predicted that I wouldn’t see a big loss again like last week, and that was true, but I still lost nearly a pound (.9) and that was before my super sweaty long run on Sunday LOL.  159.2 this week and chugging along towards vacation GOAL!

Closer to 155 vacation goal!

Closer to 155 vacation goal!

Day 30:  Are you a vegan or a vegetarian?

I honestly don’t think I could ever go vegan.  I respect that lifestyle and those who chose to follow it but it is too intense for me.  I love my eggs first of all and don’t think I could give up dairy either.  I did go vegetarian for a while in college, and I’m still not a huge meat eater.  I eat a lot more now than I used to since I am putting an emphasis on protein but I can go several meals without and not miss it at all.  I definitely did the vegetarian thing all wrong in college and ate lots of carbs, which lead to weight gain.

Day 31:  What are your favorite workout clothes you own?

I have a few lululemon pieces that are nice, but given the price I don’t think they are that worth it.  Most of my gear is either Nike, which is definitely my favorite for the fit and style/colors, but I also love Old Navy’s active collection!  The compression capris are awesome and they are my go to for my big marathons or halfs when it is chilly.  Just tried the running shorts out this summer too and love them!  Shoes are Saucony all the way.

Day 32:  Try a new fruit today. Learn how to cut/eat it and enjoy! How was it?

I am headed to the store after work and plan to pick out a new fruit!  I will have to head straight for the tropical/exotic section since I am a heavy fruit eater anyway.  Will update tonight or tomorrow!

Finally, meals from the weekend…

Friday night cookout at home:

BBQ chicken, grilled fresh corn, roasted carrots and grill eggplant strips

BBQ chicken, grilled fresh corn, roasted carrots and grill eggplant strips

Sunday Fish Dinner:

Grilled lime cilantro tilapia with brown rice and peppers and grilled fresh green beans

Grilled lime cilantro tilapia with brown rice and peppers and grilled fresh green beans

Excited to fire up the grill again tonight for a couple of my best friends and former college roomies 🙂

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Catching Up: Days 18 – 26

80 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Day 18: Try to use as little salt as possible today or maybe even none! Don’t buy microwave meals and don’t eat foods high in sodium.  Day 18’s total sodium intake was (estimated) around 1800 mg….opps!  That sounds pretty bad but I guess it isn’t awful.  I try to be mindful of sodium intake and it is definitely something I monitor on my food logs.  I don’t usually eat frozen meals anymore so that is one big plus.  Soup days always get me because canned soups (which I love when it is cold…or when it isn’t) are often full of sodium.  This particular day’s biggest offenders were the pre-packed Mediterranean salad I had for lunch which contained 700 mg of sodium and the cottage cheese for my afternoon snack at 440.  According to this article from the CDC, the average American consumes a whopping 3,436 mg a day, so I guess comparitively speaking I am doing okay!  The maximum recommended daily allowance is 2,300 mg while 1,500 mg is sufficient for most.

Day 19: Are you losing weight the healthy (<2lbs/week) or the unhealthy (>2lbs/week) way?  Healthy!  My goal is to lose 2 lbs per week until vacation for a total of 10lbs and then slow down to 1 pound a week until I’ve reached ultimate goal.  It would be virtually impossible for me to lose more than 2lbs a week anyway, I would have to literally starve myself!

Day 20:  Who is your biggest weight loss inspiration and why?
I really struggled with this question.  Many members of my family and I worked to become healthier together, so maybe we inspired each other?  I am always inspired by stories of successful weight loss, from people who lose a ton of weight to those like me who finally learned how to make it work for good!

Day 21:  Do you focus more on getting “lean and mean” or “tiny and fragile”? The terms “tiny and fragile” make me think of a little old lady.  Who would have that goal?  I think this question is weird but maybe that’s just me.  Lean and mean fo sho!

Day 22:  Write your current weight. Have you lost anything in the past week? If not, what are your plans for this week?
Oh Sunday morning weigh-in, I’ve been waiting for you.  I actually did really well last week but not as good as I could have.  I expected to lose 1 lb instead of 2, but was SHOCKED by what the scale said.


I refused to believe that I lost that much weight (4 lbs) so I ran to my other scale to get a second opinion.  The physical scale usually weighs 2 lbs heavier than the Wii, and its voodoo magic told me I weighed 161.2.  WHAAAAAT?  Don’t know what I did last week but I think maybe it was all the sweating from the intense heat.  I’ve also been walking at work during lunch again.  My plan for the upcoming week is to keep eating healthy, meeting my calorie goals, and staying on track for vacation weight loss!  I think things may balance out some this week.  I celebrated my Sunday morning weigh in with a delicious pancake breakfast 🙂

Egg Whites & Chicken Sausage + Whole Wheat Pancakes

Egg Whites & Chicken Sausage + Whole Wheat Pancakes

Day 23:  How much water do you usually drink in a day?
My goal each day is around a gallon, or 128 oz.  I almost always meet this goal on the weekdays as I am really good about constantly drinking at work.  Some of my coworkers think I am funny for having so many different water bottles/vessels.  The weekends I really have to stay on myself when I am go go go!  I sometimes drink more (closer to 150 oz) if I am sweating or exercising a lot.  I also eat a lot of hydrating fruits and veggies.

Day 24:   Have you ever had an eating disorder?
Although I haven’t always had healthy eating habits, I don’t believe I’ve ever had an eating disorder.  Even when I’ve been stuck in a rut of bad eating, I always have the ability to make changes and get back on track and I think that is part of the difference.

Day 25:    Today you will try a new smoothie. Find a new healthy recipe online and mix & match fruits and veggies and enjoy! But it must be totally new and adventurous!
I didn’t do this yesterday, but I would like to this weekend!  I guess I am lazy in that I am always in a hurry to and from work and other activities and dragging out the blender is annoying.  I do enjoy smoothies but only usually make them on the weekend.  I will concoct something and post it soon 🙂

Day 26:    Do your friends know about you wanting to lose weight? Do they support you? I know this is a weight loss challenge, but I would say most of my friends know about my commitment to a healthy life style, not just losing weight.  Although I am trying to get to final goal, I am more interested in making these choices a lifestyle.  I can say that I have a lot of support, but there are always temptations or those who will say “it won’t hurt you” or “just skip your morning run”.  I know they don’t mean to bring me down or discourage my goals, but it is always my responsibility to do what I need to do for my health anyway.

Off to do some speedwork and Body Pump, which should be interesting considering I haven’t been in a month!  I’ll leave you with some recent summer eats!  Clearly we love the grill 🙂

Skinnytaste Naked Turkey Bruschetta Burgers

Skinnytaste Naked Turkey Bruschetta Burgers

Favorite Summer Salad Combo

Favorite Summer Salad Combo

Winner Winner, Steak and Grilled Brussels Sprout Dinner!

Winner Winner, Steak and Grilled Brussels Sprout Dinner!

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Day 7 and My First Triathlon Recap

My first triathlon was the first of the Virginia Triathlon series, the Smithfield Sprint!  This race features a 300 meter pool swim (shorter than most sprints), a 10 mile bike, and a 5k run.  The race itself is well organized and held in early April (hence the pool swim) and the bike and run are through relatively nice and scenic areas.  I personally feel the run leaves some to be desired but I was delirious by that point anyway.  My wave for the swim didn’t start until a little after 10:00 so I had two hours after setting up my transition area to sit around and crap my pants about the swim.  I had no idea what I was doing so I just wandered around like a lost puppy and gathered my materials, got people to write numbers on my body, and set up my stuff as best I could.

THE SWIM.  I can’t remember exactly, but I estimated my swim time sometime between 7 and 8 minutes.  I am not a swimmer and did NOT complete enough training swims for this race.  I did a few with my friend Nicole and had her swim right in front of me to get used to that, but I was definitely not prepared.  My adrenaline was already surging from nerves by the time it was almost my turn to get in and boy did I have no idea what I was in for.

Smiling, blissfully ignorant

Smiling, blissfully ignorant

It was a snake swim up and back each lane and then repeat until we reached the end of the pool.  The first lane went great, and I felt like I was doing alright.  After that, the wheels fell off.  I probably started too fast and my breathing became pretty frantic.  I started off breathing every 3 strokes, alternating sides as my friend had advised, but even that wasn’t enough.  I felt I couldn’t get a good breathe and just started breathing nearly every stroke.  I wasn’t ready for the roughness of the pool with all of those bodies in it (duh!) and I also swallowed a ton of water and was choking and gasping for air simultaneously.  I didn’t think I would make it.  Even the depth of the pool at 15 feet on the deep end freaked me out and caused me to panic at that point since I mentally wasn’t ready for that as I trained in a 5ft pool.  I know that probably sounds stupid but it scared me for some reason.  I was sure that every spectator thought I was drowning (it felt like it) and was waiting any second for a lifeguard to scoop me out, but none came to my rescue (darn).  I finished in 8:01 exactly (10 seconds of that bruising my knees trying to get out the pool fatigued) and miraculously, my sister said she thought I looked fine while in the pool and didn’t even notice my panic.

Super sexy coming out of the warm sweaty pool to 50 degrees. YIKES!

Super sexy coming out of the warm sweaty pool to 50 degrees. YIKES!

My transition area was right in the middle, so I cruised over and threw on my running shoes and sunglasses.  I knew not to TOUCH my bike until the helmet was on, so I made that a priority.  This transition was longer than I wanted at 2:24, due mostly to the fact that I was hyperventilating and struggled getting my socks and pullover on.  I grabbed the bike and rolled that sucker out of there for 10 miles of torture.

Off to the races!

Off to the races!

THE BIKE.  The bike was mostly fine.  I don’t mind hills on a bike (there were a few) and the cold wasn’t too bad.  I wanted to use a few of these minutes to guzzle some water but about 1/3 of the way in I tried to put my bottle back in the holder and it straight rolled off to the side of the road to probably find its final resting place next to a dead opossum or something.  It also sucked being on a hybrid commuter amongst a throng of road and tri bikes, many of whose riders obviously took pity on how slow I was having to go and were super nice and encouraging to me.  This part went by pretty fast, and I literally spent the majority of it trying to slow my breathing as I was still hyperventilating from the swim portion.  I could NOT catch my breathe to save my life (no pun intended).  Bike finish in 44:12 and I cruised back into transition thinking the worst was over and boy was I wrong HAHA!

Transition 2 was much faster, as well it should have been.  All I had to do this time was rack my bike and ditch the helmet since I was already wearing running shoes.  I did both grabbed some water and got on the course in 1:16.  The hardest thing about this transition was the fact that HOLY CRAP my legs still want to go in circles and now I’m running with them instead.  I did not anticipate that feeling and I thought I would fall over. Fun times.

THE RUN.  The run was supposed to be my reward, the fun part for me.  I never thought I would be so tired and unable to move!  That funny feeling in my legs lasted until about mile 1, and by then I was exhausted.  I saw my cheerleaders, Mom & Dad, my sister and Ben while running through downtown Smithfield, so that was a nice surprise!  I still struggled just to run the whole thing and finish and came in at 31:31 for the run portion, much slower again than anticipated.  My look nearing the finish line says it all.  I am so tired I can’t even lift my head.

My how far we've come from smiley swim girl.

My how far we’ve come from smiley swim girl.

Total time = 1:27:22.  Good for someone whose only goal was to finish and give swim bike run a try!  Although from my recap it basically sounds like I was miserable and hated it I definitely didn’t!  Was it extremely hard and painful at times?  Yes!  Would I do it again, probably!  I want to do this again for sure and improve but I need to do myself a favor and train better this time, especially for the swim.  I have been contemplating trading in my hybrid for a road bike or possibly keeping the hybrid for fun rides and investing in a used road bike to start.  I can’t even think about longer tri distances until these things happen.

OBSERVATIONS.  My first observation and one that I am still amazed by is HOLY SHIT triathlons are hard and everyone that does them is a total bad ass.  I have an indescribable amount of respect for these athletes now and know that they have to put in a great deal of hard work and dedication to make it even physically possible.  My second was OMG how do people do an Ironman?  For me the biggest hang up is the swim, and maybe once I get better it won’t seem so unattainable.  I guess there was a time when I thought the same thing about the marathon.  In the meantime been there, done that, got the tan lines, number tattoos, and the medal.



Looking tired as I felt

Looking tired as I felt

Can’t wait to give it a try again sometime soon, and this post has inspired me to go do a swim workout this weekend!

80 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Day 7: What is your least favorite healthy food?

I actually had a really hard time with this one!  I love almost all fruits and vegetables a lot!  I am pretty happy to say I have no trouble getting down nutritious foods including one of my favorites, raw spinach! As I mentioned last week I just discovered I like cottage cheese, and that’s one that is definitely a no-go for many people due to texture.  I had a hard time with the thickness of Greek yogurt the first few times I tried it but now I’m hooked and regular yogurt is nasty and thin.  After much deliberation my LEAST favorite healthy foods are bananas after they are too ripe and kale.  I am so weird about bananas and once they start to get mushy and have hardly any black spots on them, you can forget it!  I will sometimes freeze them when they get to this point so I’m not wasting and I like to eat them chopped up frozen with chocolate syrup to in smoothies.  I try to eat them when they are on the brink and I nearly gag every time.  Ditto for kale, tastes fine in smoothies but I’ve not had the best experiences with it otherwise.  I got a huge bushel of it in our produce basket last summer and tried to make kale chips which turned out a disaster.  I have had kale at a nice steak house before and liked the way they prepared it, so I think I just need to learn to cook it better.  Not a fan of it in salad.

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Days 5 & 6 and Independence Day

Happy 5th of July!  I wasn’t around to post yesterday since I was busy getting up at the crack of dawn to run a 5k with my Dad, helping him set up a new pool, and then swimming, eating, and hanging out with family and friends for the remainder of the afternoon and evening!

My adorable nephew and I in our 4th outfits after my run!

My adorable nephew and I in our 4th outfits after my run!

Wednesday night was spent catching up on laundry and chilling out from vacation recovery, which is such a funny thing!  We come home from vacation and need to recover from it.  We made a delicious dinner of grilled chicken and lots of veggies topped with a homemade jam we bought at the Arts and Crafts show in Lockport, a Roasted Red Pepper Horseradish jam! It tastes awesome on chicken and we hope to try it on shrimp next.

dinner 7-3

Grilled Chicken with Pepper and Onions, Salad and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Yesterday morning for the 5k was HOT.  As someone on the Tidewater Striders facebook page accurately put it, “What a hot, muggy, and humid run this morning but I’m glad I did it!”.  Amen.  I started off way too fast yesterday with my first mile coming in at 8:30, and I was burning up and feeling pretty fatigued right away.  I had a feeling that Dad was going to finally catch me today and spoiler alert….he did!  Mile two came in at 9:55 and I literally struggled just to make that happen at that point.  I wanted to walk (it was that bad for me) but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I did.  I don’t even remember looking at my Garmin to see what mile 3 and .1 registered at but I know it was really slow going.  Dad came from behind at the 3 mile marker and I didn’t have it in me to battle him.  Final time a sorry (for me) 30:51.

This race told me 2 things and reminded me of 1 I already knew.  1) My Dad is awesome (sort of already knew this one too) and his training is paying off!  It doesn’t hurt that he is naturally athletic but I have no excuse because I think I get that from him.  2) I HAVE to get back into the swing of regular training.  I have done a few training runs but they’ve been on the treadmill and not outside where they belong.  I am going to remedy that this weekend.  I WILL! 3) I suck at the art of the 5k.  It really is difficult for me to push myself to endure the pain necessary to push it to the limit for a good 5k.  I want to work on that and make it my goal to run at or close to a 25 minute 5k by New Year’s Eve.  I realize this is pretty ambitious based on my current PR but I know I can do it if I work for it.

Weight Loss Challenge Days 5 & 6:

Since I was MIA yesterday, I’m making up for lost time.

Day 5: What is your favorite healthy food ?:

This one is easy!  If you’re actually reading this and you’ve read posts in the past, I am a sweet potato freak!  I am also a reformed sweet potato eater.  Growing up the only way I knew to eat sweet potatoes was mixed with lots of sugar and butter in sweet potato casserole (which is still delicious at holidays I might add), in sweet potato pie (also yummy) or at a steak house topped with lots of butter and brown sugar.  Even before I started this weight loss/running journey after getting married, I was STILL eating them this way.  Ben mentioned that he never liked them sweetened and ate them with only a little bit of sea salt instead, so I gave it a try and have never looked back.  The salt brings out the natural sweetness of the potato (duh) and there is no need for any other seasoning.  We enjoy this awesome orange vitamin and potassium packed side baked with salt sprinkled on or plain, or cut up and roasted as chips, fries, or just quartered bites on a regular basis, at least twice a week.

Day 6: What is your favorite unhealthy food?:

Easy peasy, DONUTS!  I enjoyed some yesterday after my race as well.  I have always maintained and continue to do so that if I could eat one food calorie free for the rest of my life, it would without a doubt be donuts.  So many delicious possibilities.  Yesterday we did Krispy Kreme and had a few hot regular glazed and a few others including chocolate glazed cake and of course, red white and blue sprinkles.  I have to be very careful with donuts because I have a VERY hard time controlling myself when they are around.  I was on a good streak for a while where I would just have half of a few or even fourths of four and I need to get back to that, among many other habits.

I am going to weigh in this weekend, probably Sunday morning, so there will be no more playing around after that accountability bomb drops!  Have a nice weekend and do something fun and active!  I am hoping for two good training runs and a nice bike ride or two.

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Race Recap: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon 2013

I know it has been 3 months, but I am SO excited to do this race recap!  I don’t have as many pictures anymore as I wish I did but I love talking about this race weekend and all the awesome things it holds for me.  I have to preface by saying that Shamrock weekend is by far my favorite race production I’ve participated in thus far.  That’s not saying a WHOLE lot since I haven’t done huge races in a lot of other towns, but it is pretty daggone top notch.  Shamrock was my first half marathon in 2011 and it holds a place in my heart for that reason too.  Plus the weather is always great and it’s pancake flat, what’s not to love???!


Starting from square one, emails leading up to this race are great and very informative.  They send out newsletters beginning in the fall with race information, tips, news, etc.  I like that they keep me focused on my goal throughout the training season.  Before the expo they send out race bib emails with numbers and corral information which makes packet pickup a breeze.  Speaking of the expo and packet pickup, I find all of J&A races’ to be convenient and fun, but that is my opinion.  Shamrock’s expo is held Thursday (I think?) through Saturday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center which has plenty of free parking and is right off the interstate.  I did take pictures of the expo, but they were misplaced sometime between March and now…opps.  But there are always a good smattering of the usual suspects.  Plenty of shopping and free crap you will throw away in two weeks, if you are into that sort of thing.  I always get excited about the free stuff until I realize how much I don’t need it.  I bought a shirt from Raw Threads this year that I actually wore for the marathon.  I never do that but I really liked their shirts a lot!  It ended up working out well and being super cute, I also got lots of compliments and shout outs on the course with it on 🙂

Nerdy pre race pic

Nerdy pre race pic

The swag for this race, and all J&A races, is always great in my opinion. We received a long sleeved tech shirt, bag, and personalized bib. Shamrock is big on finisher items, and they don’t disappoint. The medals are always awesome, and this year’s special item was a soft fleece blanket that had everybody stoked and I was happy to wrap myself in after I finished and went from hot to sweaty and freezing.



Going back a bit, the half marathon starts at 7:00, which trust me, is brutal if it is cold, but the marathon doesn’t start until 8:30. I really like the marathon start time since it gives me more time to sleep and not have to eat so early. I like to have time to eat and…ahem…digest/empty my stomach etc. It goes without saying that the start is always super organized and the corrals are perfectly spaced. It definitely makes running any other large race pale in comparison.

The after party is stellar. Irish stew + the usual after race snacks + 4, yes you read that right…4 Yuengling beers.  That is actually pretty ridiculous but I was able to share with my supporters, so that was cool.  There was no way I was drinking even a full beer after a marathon, but that’s just me.  They also have cookies but I usually don’t even want to look at them after….shocker.

Blurry up close of the medal, which is large and yes, a beer opener also

Blurry up close of the medal, which is large and yes, a beer opener also

My Race

I think I am still glowing from this year’s experience.  This runners high is lasting so long, I am getting ready to sign up for marathon #2 for 2013.  I know I usually say I will only stick to 1 a year, but this was THAT good.  Apparently last year I blurted I would never do another one after finishing, but this year I was all smiles and ready to do it again.  Hmmm amazing was training does!  Feast your eyes on a comparison, last year at the finish v. this year approaching finish.  Both super unattractive but it proves my point:

Clearly dying

Clearly dying (2012)

Stoked! (2013)

Stoked! (2013)

Miles 1-6 were a breeze I think.  I was feeling great and really confident with my choice of attire.  It was threatening rain all morning and around 45 degrees at the start, but I knew I would get hot and just wore a toss windbreaker and cheap gloves.  The windbreaker was dunzo at mile 2 and the gloves came off at 4.  I don’t remember my splits off hand, but I know I was on pace to PR for sure IF I kept it up.  I reached the 7 mile mark in 1:07.

Miles 7-13, also not bad.  I was getting really nervous because right after the half mark is where I took my first gel and had the bathroom incident that really slowed me down, but I saw my cute friend Lauren who ran the half and her sister, and that gave me a jolt that re-energized me for a few miles, which was great because we were headed for the long haul down Shore Drive.  My 13.1 split was 2:11.

Miles 14-20.  This was the toughest section for me last year.  I struggled to 19 and then had to walk run the rest last time, so that was a mental block for me.  I was still struggling this year at this point, but I knew my training had me prepped and I used that as my mantra to push on.  I got past 20 without walking and I knew there was no turning back.  I thought I had an 18 mile split somewhere but can’t find it, but the thing was, I knew I was rocking it at this point.  Many people hate this part of the course, but I like the serenity of the base and love the lighthouse!

Small sliver of lighthouse in the corner

Small sliver of lighthouse in the corner

Miles 21-26, it was go time. I was determined not to walk at this point, and by some miracle, I didn’t. Shout out to some random dude on the last stretch down Atlantic, we basically paced each other and ran side by side. We never spoke, but we were definitely helping each other hang in there. After the finish line I looked for him to say thanks, but he disappeared into the crowd. I had lots of people try to get me to drink their beer on that last stretch, but I told them it would be my reward for finishing! I loved that my shirt got me lots of healthy encouragement along the way. At this point I was delirious I guess and made all kinds of ridiculous gestures and signs to the photogs. When I saw my family on the boardwalk, I was feeling golden. Finish in 4:49:24.  Nearly an hour off of last year’s time, and well under my goal of breaking 5.  I couldn’t have been more on cloud 9 than that moment.

Post race badassness

Post race badassness

I enjoyed that beer I worked hard for, well half of it anyway, and then went home and had a couple of harps and made my parents and Ben cook me the most random recovery meal, Ham, Potatoes and Cabbage, and rolls.  I wanted to feel St. Patricky lol.

Sweet victory in the finishers tent

Sweet victory in the finishers tent

I can’t say what the future holds, but I will run this race as long as I am able. I love everything about it and it is hard to beat the organization and hard work that go into this race. Other fun weekend facts, the 8k on Saturday is super popular and fun as well. I usually know people running so I hang out and the after party is always just as kickin on day 1. The live music is stellar, and the atmosphere is spot on.

Glad to finally get this out, and looking forward to a sweaty run and RPM class at the gym this afternoon. Getting back to healthy habits by staying accountable, getting sweaty, and posting my meals again! Last night’s dinner, BLT’s and sweet potato tots for the win, always with greens 🙂



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I’m Not Dead and….It’s March???

February came and went!  Lots happened and I’ve been putting blogging on the back burner to make sure I’m getting all my last training in (the bulk of which is now done!) and keeping up with school work, which unfortunately turned out to be much more time consuming than I thought.  Instead of going over it all, I’ll recap with a few pictures I’ve had laying around:

Super fun ski weekend with my boo!

My slope buddy

My slope buddy


Fresh snow and mountain sunrise


how you should start your weekend…carb load


and chocolate loading

please take your crock pot skiing.  8 hours on the slopes = dinner.

please take your crock pot skiing. 8 hours on the slopes = dinner.

then you have the energy to go back out and night ski

then you have the energy to go back out and night ski

and if you're lucky your husband knows how to make fire

and if you’re lucky your husband knows how to make fire

...and have dessert (hot toddy not pictured)

…and have dessert (hot toddy not pictured)

my lonely skis on an empty slope, hitting it early for freshness!

my lonely skis on an empty slope, hitting it early for freshness!

some sexy snowboarder I met...

some sexy snowboarder I met…

why he would hit the slopes with a dork like me...unsure.

why he would hit the slopes with a dork like me…unsure.

the brunch every session should conclude with....breakfast nachos??!

the brunch every session should conclude with….breakfast nachos??!

We had a great time skiing and eating, and skiing, and drinking and eating. Please check out Devil’s Backbone brewery for the food and brew if you are ever up near Wintergreen…phenomenal.  It was February, so Valentines Day happened.  I had a romantic 9.5 mile date with the treadmill followed by pizza and wine with my honey at home!  I also made him a special Valentines Day breakfast.

Pinterest has turned me into a weirdo...

Pinterest has turned me into a weirdo…

In other Valentiney news, I ran the Virginia is for Lovers, and as indicated by the PR page, crushed last year’s (and Ben’s last) time! My training this spring has paid off and it is showing. I wanted to do a full race recap but it just aint happening this month folks.



I also ran my final Distance Series of the winter and it was also a great success! It was cold and rainy but around 200 runners still showed up and made it happen for a 20 or 30K! The 30K distance was my best ever, keeping my pace under 10 minute miles throughout. I feel super confident and ready to race at Shamrock after that run. What didn’t excite me was what happened after. The bouncing for 18.something miles plus rain and wind ended with a ponytail that completely matted and hair that looked like this:

Nappy as hell is all I can say...

Nappy as hell is all I can say…

Ben combed my hair out for almost 1.5 hours…HUSBAND OF THE YEAR AWARD! I want to keep up with monthly goals, so although I still won’t be around much for the next few months, lets revisit February’s goals:

1.  Complete at least 1 swim workout per week Yikes!  I got in two all month….

2. Run at least 115 miles Only got in 100, but they were productive ones!

3. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables Stellar on this one

4. Lose around 4 lbs (closer to final goal!) Still working on this…have to find a good hunger from running balance!  Didn’t gain though!

5. PR at Virginia is for Lovers 14k

6.  Clean out 3 dresser drawers I did this!!!!

I also signed up for my sprint tri, so I’m on my way towards completing that resolution!  Now I just need to get on those swim workouts….

March Goals

1.  At least 1 swim workout per week…a MUST!

2.  Run 80 tracked miles (marathon recovery!)

3.  Lose 3 pounds and keep progressing towards goal

4. Run Shamrock and PR!

5.  Weight Train 2x per week

6.  Reorganize Closet

7.  Create system for household chores (this sounds dumb, but I get behind!!)


Here’s hoping for a more productive month that doesn’t fly by quite so quickly!  I’m going to try and be more consistent here, at least twice per week for now but I have to keep my priorities in line 🙂

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Race Recap: Hair of the Dog 5k

I’ve been slacking on my food photojournaling lately!  I didn’t take a picture of breakfast or lunch yesterday but I did snap dinner.  Breakfast was the usual egg white muffin while lunch was vegetable and whole grain noodle soup.  I am on a big soup kick since winter has set it!  For dinner I grilled some boneless pork chops before heading off to the gym.

Boneless Pork Chop with Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potato

Boneless Pork Chop with Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato

Besides slacking on the photojournaling, I am going to be slacking on this race recap today too since I didn’t take any pictures! It was cold and raining and I was doing good just to make it there and cross the start line so I didn’t take any photos of the race set up or course. This was my first time participating in this particular race but it seemed like it would be a lot more fun with cooperative weather! This was the race’s first year down at the Oceanfront as a boardwalk out and back course (used to be at Mt. Trashmore).  They had plenty of New Year’s garb and trinkets for everyone to wear at packet pick up and t-shirts were pretty decent.  No extra bells or whistles and the start was nothing fancy, but the race was chip timed!

As I mentioned, the race was out and back on the Virginia Beach boardwalk.  There were probably only around 400 runners so this is definitely a small race, although some may have stayed in due to the ugly weather (and maybe the fact that they were hung over?!).  The organizers handed out party poppers for runners to pop at the start which was pretty cool as well.  I barely made it out the door and to the start, so I didn’t even have my Garmin 10 on for this race!  I didn’t wear my phone with my Nike Plus app either since it was raining, therefore no splits to post.  I had no idea how I was doing other than how I felt, which wasn’t that great.  I couldn’t breathe very well due to gunk in my throat and I felt like a lot of people were passing me.  I was surprised to see the clock as I neared the finish line and finished in 28:46, a new PR!

My average pace per mile was 9:17 which is pretty typical these days and my half time was 14:08.  I actually ended up placing 2nd in my age group, which has never happened to me before but I didn’t know it until I got home.  I pretty much crossed the finish line and walked straight to the car where Ben was waiting to take me home to a hot shower and a cup of tea.  There were supposed to be awards for the top 3 in each age group but I guess I’ll never know LOL.  I did manage to snag this picture of my sweaty red face after the race as additional proof that I was there!

Red face = always looks like I'm dying

Red face = always looks like I’m dying

Other fun facts, the race has a couple of different categories other than the run entry, such as formal wear and weight! Some of the formal wear I saw was pretty fun and many people were also dressed in pajamas as they encouraged runners to “come as you are”. The 10 AM start time was also nice for someone who had just run at midnight race and probably good for those who actually went out for New Year’s too! I would definitely do this race again in the future.

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Race Recap: Surf n’ Santa 10 Miler

First, our dinner from last night:

Apricot Sage Stuffed Pork Loin Chop with Mixed Veggies and a Petite Sweet Potato

Apricot Sage Stuffed Pork Loin Chop with Mixed Veggies and a Petite Sweet Potato

I have to start by clarifying that I am not responsible for these delicious pork chops, all I did was pop them in the oven for 30 minutes.  Harris Teeter has a new line of “Chef Prepared” meats that are stuffed, flavored, or seasoned in the fresh meat section that you basically just bake and we decided we would give one a go.  We were both really busy with things around the house so it was nice to just throw this in the oven.  I have to say it was super delicious but the nutritional stats weren’t all that great.  There was more fat and sodium than I would have liked  involved but I just had half of a chop and loaded up on veggies instead.  I had to save room for the chocolate chip oatmeal cookies we made later that night!  I had some dough and a few cookies and shipped the rest of the batch off to work with Ben this morning so they aren’t laying around the house to taunt me.  I was in a big hurry this morning and so breakfast was just plain oats with no milk with some low sugar craisins thrown in them.  I desperately wanted some cinnamon but forgot to grab some on the way out.

Plain Oats with Craisins

Plain Oats with Craisins

Now on to the race recap!  I love all of the races that J&A racing puts on, I truly believe they have nailed every aspect of what runners look for in a race and I will continue to run all of their races throughout the year because I am OBSESSED!  The Surf n’ Santa 10 Miler and Frosty’s 5k are no different.  This year’s race was totally different from last year weather wise and it was kind of nice for someone who doesn’t like super cold temps.  It was borderline hot for me at around 55 degrees and humid, but I was pretty comfortable.  Last year it was really cold and extremely windy, so I’ll take it.  The course starts out in front of the Virginia Beach convention center, which is nice because if it IS cold, you can wait inside until close to the start.

Waiting at the start by the convention center.

Waiting at the start by the convention center.

The interesting thing about this race is that the 10 Miler runners and the 5k runners are corralled together based on pace and run together for the entirety of the 5k where the 5ker’s go right to finish and the 10 Milers head back out for 7ish more miles.  This is a little crappy if you are not 100% up to the 10 miles and can’t bear to watch them knowing they are done (me last year!) but if you love the long run there will be no worries for you here.  It is also pretty crowded until they split off but not too bad.  I didn’t mind the corral situation because it meant I got to start with Lauren and her sister Katie who were running the 5k!

Hanging out at the start!

Hanging out at the start!

After mile 3 we headed back out towards the oceanfront for more of the “strip” and the boardwalk. I was feeling pretty great the whole race and felt like it went by quickly. My approximate splits were as follows:

Mile 1


Mile 2


Mile 3


Mile 4


Mile 5


Mile 6


Mile 7


Mile 8


Mile 9


Mile 10


I struggled a bit between miles 6 and 8 but was able to stay under a 10 minute mile and pick it back up a bit at the end to finish. My goal was 1:40 and I was able to come in under that at 1:38:29! It was actually one of those goals you think is pretty optimistic but everything fell into place and I was able to make it happen. My time last year was right at 2 hours so this was a vast improvement and one I am proud of!  I keep having to remind myself that this is my new pace now, and that it is normal for me to be able to run under 10 minute miles for 10 miles but I still have a hard time believing it.  I keep thinking that I will crap out and there is no way I can be running this many miles at that pace but it is happening.  I am still adjusting to maintaining this pace evenly so it will take a lot of work on my part to even out those splits.  The other neat thing about this race is that the finish is inside the convention center, and there are bleachers set up for spectators to sit inside and watch you cross the finish line!  I was feeling good and zoomed right on in there, glad to have gas left at the end!

Not me finishing, but a view of the finish line.

Not me finishing, but a view of the finish line.

Finishers all get a surprise finisher’s item, which was a Samuel Adams Surf n’ Santa pint class that was pretty cute! I forgot to snap a photo of it. The medals are pretty neat as well and double as a bottle opener. Other perks include the long sleeved half zip top that was a pretty blue this year as well as santa hats and sleigh bells for your shoe. I have to admit that the sleigh bells annoy me a lot, and I don’t wear mine. I actually turned up my music so I could drown out everyone’s bell cadence throughout the race. Maybe that makes me a Scrooge??  The fine folks from J&A also have chicken tortilla soup in bread bowls and Sam Adams Winter Lager and a race party with live music waiting at the end.  Worth 10 miles?  DEFINITELY.  I actually have a hard time being satisfied with other races after being spoiled by J&A.



Looking rough after with my beer and bling

Looking rough after with my beer and bling

Can’t wait for their next race in February, the Virginia is for Lovers 14k, which also has an indoor finish!

Workout: 3 miles (road), abs

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Race Recap: Christmastown Dash 8k

The Christmastown Dash 8k took place at Busch Gardens last Sunday and the weather was fabulous!  The last time Ben and I ran this race in 2010 it was SNOWING at the start and I couldn’t feel any of my lower extremities for the first half mile.  Not to mention I was snotting (not a word and TMI) throughout the whole race and using my gloves for tissues….SEXY!  Anyway Sunday’s 47 degree start was fabulous and I knew to dress less warm.  I was hot and sweaty before mile 1 so I know I made a good choice!

For starters, the traffic getting into this race is horrible.  I don’t know what happened last year as we didn’t run it, but our first year the race was delayed due to traffic getting into the park.  Last Sunday, SAME story.  The race was scheduled to start at 8:30 and I’m not 100% on what time it was but it was at least 8:45 or later before the gun went off.  This is only the 3rd year of this race but it seems to me that they could have worked these issues out by now.  I think part of the problem is that portions of the race course interfere with the entrance but as big as Busch Gardens is I think they could do some reconfiguring.


My beautiful husband excited about traffic 😉

Our first stops upon arrival were the lovely port-o-potts and bag check.  As for the potties, there were TONS of them and I was pleasantly surprised to find mine clean, fresh smelling, and with PLENTY of toilet paper, a rarity at some races.  The lines were super short and we had that business taken care of rather quickly.  On to bag check, there was a new rather interesting system they were using.  They used yellow school buses and each window was open with designated race numbers on that window.  People were manning the windows and you just walked up to your slot and handed it over.

The magic school bus

The magic school bus

Again, I thought this was pretty cool and something I hadn’t seen before until I went to pick up my bag.  The lines were really disorganized and there was no rhyme or reason to how they were getting people’s bags to give them back.  Same concept, you just walked up to your window to get your bag, but I think a lot of shuffling went on inside that bus and the bags weren’t all at the corresponding windows.  Again, not a huge issue just took a couple of extra minutes.

Ben LOVES being my photog ;)

Ben LOVES being my photog 😉

Ready to run :)

Ready to run 🙂

Now down to the race!  As I mentioned we have done this race in the past and enjoyed it and it seemed like the race course itself changed a bit from last year.  Our biggest complaint in 2010 was that so much of the race was in the parking lots around Busch Gardens instead of in the actual park.  I don’t know if it changed that much since there was still quite a bit of parking lot to run, but it at least seemed that way to me.  Running through the park when it is so still and quiet with tons of runners is really fun and I SO enjoy this race just for that.  Even though it is day time all the lights and music are on and you even get to run through snowfall in Germany 🙂

The finish chute was very organized as well and timing was excellent (posted and emailed in real time immediately after).  My splits were crazy and I’m blaming it on the hills!  They are a little off because they are based on my Nike App but approximate:

Mile 1 8:28
Mile 2 9:02
Mile 3 8:59
Mile 4 9:46
Mile 5 9:18

Not sure what happened on mile 4….I remember feeling a little sluggish at that point and I think just the speediness (for me LOL) of my first 3 miles combined with my really pushing it up the hills in the park wore me out a bit.  I picked it up on the last mile, especially knowing I was going to come in under my goal of 48 minutes and that the last .3 or so was all downhill.  Also where the hell did that 8:28 mile come from?  Not sure what I was doing/thinking on that first mile.  Official time was 47:07 for a new hilly PR!

Even though this race still needs a few tweeks, I will continue to run it because I like running through BG plus the perks aren’t too shabby!  Included in the race packet and at the finish are a coupon for a free Chick-fil-a sandwich, a nice long sleeve tech shirt, a medal that doubles as a tree ornament, AND a one day ticket for BG in the spring.  They also give you $5 off Christmastown admission which is an added bonus.  We had Oberweis chocolate milk after that was mighty tasty too.

Anyone else think my thumb looks alien??

Anyone else think my thumb looks alien??

Looking forward to one more holiday themed race coming up this weekend before VACAY.  More on that later 🙂

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Thanksgiving & Turkey Trot 10k Race Recap

Happy Black Friday everyone!  Hope Thanksgiving was everything you wanted it to be and more!  I got to spend time with friends and family all day!  Add in a new PR in the 10k and the Redskins beat the Cowboys and it was a FABULOUS day!  I managed to stick to my eating strategy for the most part and I’m not feeling gross at all today, but I am ready to get a good sweaty workout this evening.  We also had a huge group go for a walk after lunch which I was super excited about!  The scale will tell the real tale on Sunday on how I did this week but I’m really not sweating it.

I woke up a little late yesterday and rolled out of bed to get dressed for the Turkey Trot.  I knew it would be mid 50’s so I tried not to overdress despite the cooler temperatures when we were headed out.  Ben and my friend Lauren and I zoomed over to the race site and grabbed our chips and were ready to go!  I’m not sure on the numbers but the race seemed to have ballooned in popularity from last year and there were tons of people there!  I think Turkey Trots are just all the rage right now and I think it is great that people are getting out and working for the turkey collectively!  The first mile was really packed since there are no corrals but I was able to navigate successfully to find a comfortable spot.  I knew I was flying along when I got to mile 1 and Ben was still within touching distance of me.  My splits went approximately like this:

Mile 1 8:56
Mile 2 9:10
Mile 3 9:00
Mile 4 9:23
Mile 5 9:16
Mile 6 9:27

I’m trying to get to a point where I can do negative splits, but I’m just not there yet.  I think I’m still starting off faster than I should and then burning out a bit, but it was interesting that I did a lot of up and down here in this race pace wise.  I knew I could PR by mile 3 and pushed a little more to come in for my first sub-hour 10k (58:55)!  I know it’s not much but I’ve been working for it for a long time and I wasn’t sure I could make it happen after my so-close-but-not-quite showing at Wicked in October.  I finished 66th of 141 in my age bracket and I am pretty happy with that!

Sweaty Post Race Posing with Ben

The course is always well marked and the Tidewater Striders folks always do a great job of running an organized race.  I am hoping I can continue doing this race each year and make it a tradition no matter what I have going on.  I’m so glad that Ben and Lauren joined me and I can’t wait to keep bugging people to run with me for years to come!  Turkey Trots are a great way to be active on Thanksgiving and feel a little less guilty for indulging in all that delicious food!

Don’t Mind the Movember Mustasche

Almost Got Run Over While Being Excited About Taking the Photo by this Pretty Tree

I’ll be back with my Weekend Weigh In after Sunday as well as a recap on some pretty awesome things going on this weekend like one of my favorite training runs of fall and CHRISTMAS DECORATING!!

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