Back to Real Life

It’s been a little quiet on my end for a bit. Hubs and I got back this morning from a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise with our friends Linda and Jimmy.

Middle of the ocean means no internet which was kinda nice. There’s nothing like going back to the olden days of using lobby phones and needing a watch to tell time. We had a lot of fun and I so needed a vacation in a bad way. More on that goodness later.

Today has been hectic with getting off the ship, driving home from Pt. Canaveral, unpacking, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, picking up Jon Hamm from the hammysitter, and picking up Pants from the bunnysitter. I always worry about Pants when someone else is watching her. Apparently I had nothing to worry about as she was feeling right at home.

I got that picture from our friend who was watching her. I’m glad she put her best foot forward. Thanks Pants. Way to represent us.

Hubs and I are still playing the game, “Am I drunk or is it the ship?” because everything is moving and I’m pretty sure I’m sitting still. It’s a super freaky feeling. Anyway, it’s time to finish some chores and watch all the season finales I missed while we were away.

Storm the Campus 10 Miler

Sunday, I ran the Storm the Campus 10 miler at the University of Central Florida.

It was my last race of the season *sniff* and now I’m all alone and raceless until October. In the meantime, I’ll need to find another use for my treadmill.

The usual happened race morning – woke up, got ready, ate a PB&J for breakfast, and picked Michelle up. Ok, picking M up is not the usual. She always picks me up because I am spoiled. But Sunday, M got to be spoiled because, for once, the race was on the way to her house instead of the other way around.

Once we arrived, we immediately ran into our new race friend, Tyler.

That’s him vogueing on the ground for Michelle. (Do you drop the e in vogueing? These are things I’m too lazy to Google.)

I think Michelle finally found a pace twin in Tyler. We met him at Best Damn Race, then saw him again at the Winter Park Road Race. Now, we’re Facebook friends and meeting up at races intentionally. So yeah, it’s getting pretty serious.

We also ran into my insanely fast friend, Brian, at the start. He was so fast, I didn’t get a picture of him. (He ran the race in 1:01:09 and came in third overall because he’s a super badass.)

This was an inaugural race and a lot smaller than I expected – only 229 runners, but that’s cool with me because I love small races the best. This is what the start line looked like pretty much until someone yelled “go!”

The start wasn’t clearly marked so I was a little worried about the course markings. M and I even made a joke about having 16 miles on our Garmin at the end. Turns out, it was one of the best marked courses I’ve ever run that included signs for all upcoming bathrooms. All races should have signage for bathrooms. I zone out so easily that someone could be stabbed to my right and I probably wouldn’t notice so the signs were appreciated.

The race started at 7:30, which is late for a March race in Florida. We really lucked out with some cooler weather, but I think  it should start 30 – 60 minutes earlier in the future. Anyway, the race winded around the UCF campus, so it was really pretty.

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And because the race was on a Sunday, it was nice and quiet.

I ran one other 10 miler before this and that was a year and a half ago. I ran it in 1:45:52, so I was using that as my basis. I was pretty sure I could run a 1:40. I would have loved a 1:35, but I hate having goals. If I’m being honest, I suck at reaching them and I just end up letting myself down unless that goal pertains to alcohol or cupcake consumption. So, I was cool with a 1:40. Which I guess is a goal, but one I thought I didn’t really have to work for that was still a PR.

Just like my last two races, I felt like I was putting in a good amount of effort. It was manageable, but not exactly enjoyable. There was some nasty wind, and a couple turn-arounds that really screwed with my pace – one just after a water stop in which I almost ran into an oncoming car because I thought the last cone was the turn-around point and not a separating-runners-from-traffic cone. Everyone else was doing the same, so a cone for the turn-around would have been good. Or maybe a chalk marking.

I saw Michelle (and Tyler) three times during the race, which was fun. Usually I don’t see M at all, so I felt like I must have been keeping up pretty well. She even snapped a picture of me just before the finish.

Right in front of the burger place which seems about right.

Finish time: 1:31:15.  A fourteen minute and 37 second PR. And 7th in my age group! I’ve never been 7th in anything. (There were not seven women in my age group by the way. There were 29. That was my first question too.)

I loved this race and I’m so happy with the way I ran it. It gives me warm running fuzzies. If it were a half marathon, I would have had my sub-2:00. #bittersweet. Three PRs in a row is more than I ever thought I would get so I’m happy to end the season here and look forward to working hard to make next season even better.

 

Five for Friday

Time for a little catch up of all the things I’ve been meaning to talk about but somehow haven’t found the time for. This would normally be a couple posts but I already forgot what I had for breakfast so I should probably get this out now.

1.  I ran the Winter Park Road Race 10k a couple weekends ago.

I didn’t want to run it this year even though Michelle was already signed up. I’ve run this race the past two years in a row and each time I was so burned out from racing all season that I hated it. So this year, I was going to skip it and avoid the agony. But, I’ve run half the races this season that I normally do and wasn’t feeling the burn out, so I knew I could PR. So I caved in and registered a week before the race solely for the PR I thought I could get.

And I got it!

Finish time: 57:23 (for a 5 minute and 23 second PR)

The whole race was an effort, just like Best Damn Race, and I can’t say I enjoyed it but I never felt like I was going to die so I kept going. It’s nice to have a couple PRs under my belt this year. I seriously thought it would never happen. I have one more PR attempt at a 10 miler on Sunday. So, we’ll see how that goes.

2. I saw Divergent last weekend. That guy that plays Four? Ugh. So gross.

He’s 29 and 6’1” and English and plays the guitar and sings not that I looked that up directly after the movie or anything.

I liked it. A lot. It was a long movie but I think it did the book justice. I also liked Shailene Woodley a lot more than I thought I would, so now I’m looking forward to The Fault in Our Stars movie even more. (She’s the lead and the dude that plays her brother in Divergent plays her boyfriend in it. Wrap your mind around that one.)

3. Last Friday night, I went out for drinks with Lisa (the bestie) and this happened at the table behind us.

The guy fell asleep so his friends stacked beer bottles and silverware on him. I was about three beers in so I  found it extremely entertaining at the time.

4. On Monday, Hubs and I went to the Miley Cyrus concert.

Throughout the whole thing I kept thinking, did I just see that? Yes. Yes I did.

Hubs scored some tickets from work that are in a fairly nosebleed section but they include free parking downtown, a buffet dinner, and free beer and wine. So basically everything I love and nothing I don’t.

When we walked in, the woman at the door searched my purse, saw my sweater in it, and was not going to let me freaking bring it in because “extra clothes” were not allowed. I told her not to worry because, you know.

I guess they were worried about people throwing clothes on stage? I don’t think I could have thrown a baseball on the stage from where I was sitting, but whatever. Anyway, say what you will about Miley, but I like her crazy ass and she puts on a great show. Hubs and I both said we’d easily pay to see her next time.

Is it even possible to hate a show in which she enters the stage on a tongue slide coming out of her mouth?

Or where she dances with a giant wolf?

Or when she shares the stage with a giant floating space kitty?

I say no.

5. Because I’m sure I burned some of your corneas with #4, here’s an adorably pathetic picture of Pants after she flopped.

We’ve been trying to get video of her flop for years. The only warning we get is when she starts licking the carpet. It only lasts for about five seconds, so we pretty much need our phone in hand and ready. After the carpet lick, she goes from a standing position to flopping on her side in about two seconds. Afterwards, her ear is slicked back and she looks so pathetic. It’s the best time to get the good pets in too.

Who do you love that everyone else hates? For me, it’s Miley and Ke$ha. Although, I’m sure I could come up with an even longer list.

Out of Retirement

You might remember my friend and former blogger, Melissa.

She lives in DC and wrote Hungry, Healthy, Happy for awhile. We met through our blogs, decided to take our online stalking relationship to real life stalking and the rest is history.

Well, Melissa just finished her first marathon and because I’m selfish and wanted to hear all about it, I asked her if she wanted to guest post. She totally fell for it. I don’t normally accept guest posts. In fact, this is my first one. Probably my last one. But I love hearing about this kind of stuff and I was thinking you might too.

So without further adieu…

Out of blogging retirement to tell you all about my marathon?!?! Yes, please! After all, the only real way to validate my achievement is to toot my own horn via the internet, amirite? ;)

So, those of you who read my little old blog back in the day may remember the following chain of events:

  1. Run a 20 minute PR in the half marathon (1:34:38) to my complete and total shock. Qualify for the NYC Marathon.
  2. Train for a different marathon (because NYC couldn’t possibly be my first <eye roll>). Become horribly, debilitatingly injured to the point that I could barely walk. Cease marathon training. Avoid the doctor because: uninsured.
  3. Rest and (sort of) heal injury. Train for NYC Marathon.
  4. NYC Marathon cancelled due to devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
  5. Be salty about NYC Marathon cancellation.
  6. Run Richmond Marathon the following weekend only to have my bastard knees soul-crushingly give out about 8 miles in. Fight through until mile 20. Hobble off the course feeling extra super sorry for myself.
  7. Continue to feel sorry for myself and not run again for 4 months.
  8. Run another (slower) half. Get injured again.
  9. Get insurance. Go to PT. Have my body beat into submission so it will work as designed.
  10. Be HEALED!

The PT really worked. I got back to running in November of last year and joined P and Michelle (among many lovely others!) for the Celebration Half Marathon in January. When I mentioned to my co-worker that I was thinking of running the DC Rock n’ Roll Half in March, he asked, “Why not the full?” I didn’t have a good answer, so I signed up. Seemed like a well-thought-out plan.

I proceeded to tell myself my goal was simply to finish–not for time, not for glory, just for the achievement of actually RUNNING A MARATHON (<–yes, that requires all caps in my world). Running a marathon is a pretty sweet accomplishment, and I wanted to be part of that club.

If you followed me in the past, you know I was militant about my training. This time? I was so un-me, it was mildly baffling. I made a training plan, but if I missed a workout, I didn’t really think about it. (It was a long, cold winter, yo.) I slowed down my runs to 9ish minute mile pace (instead of the 8 minute insanity that likely caused all my injuries) and did exactly 2 speed workouts. Not 2 speed workouts per week. Two speed workouts TOTAL.

HOWEVER–in typical Melissa fashion, I fell. A lot. Well, twice. Once on the ice just one mile in to my 18 miler. I got up and finished the run, then went to urgent care for a pretty seriously sprained right arm. It was really fun not being able to feed myself or fasten my bra for the two weeks following that. The second fall, sweet baby Roo (that would be my dog) got under my feet, and I fell on my face. Because I have no shame and needed to be coddled, I took selfies of my scraped fat lip and posted them on Instagram. The world needs to see that kind of thing. I also tore my favorite running tights and made mincemeat of my knee in that fall. I actually had to sit down and put my head between my legs because I was seeing spots and thought I might pass out. So that was super fun. Oh, and that happened just a week before marathon day. Naturally, I went out the next day and blew through 11 miles like I had something to prove. I know that if you don’t post it on Instagram, it didn’t happen, but I took a picture of my Garmin, which is almost the same. Also, running fast miles less than a week before my race might not have been the smartest move, but since when do runners do smart things?

Roo sees me taking selfies and needs to get in on it. I understand.

After serious taper crazies (I have never had so much nervous energy in my life), I woke up on race morning completely terrified but also strangely ready. I was able to meet up with Steph, an old friend from Michigan and my training partner, before the race, and seeing her calmed my nerves a tiny bit. I still felt like I was going to throw up, but felt better that a friendly face was nearby to hold my hair back.

When my corral finally set off, I was so cold/nervous that my teeth were chattering. I know–I’m not dramatic at all. But after about a half mile, I settled in and just felt excited that I was RUNNING A MARATHON.  I tried not to run too fast and reminded myself that my primary goal was to FINISH. Still, I did have a secondary goal in mind of finishing in 3:45–Chicago qualifying time–so there was a fair amount of people dodging going on. In general, though, I tried to enjoy the energy and not lose sight of the fact that we were running along the National Mall, which in itself is pretty cool.

About 6 miles in came a killer hill. I’d run it before and knew it was coming, but we’re talking at least a quarter mile of steep incline, so I basically hated my life for those three minutes. There was a ton of crowd support, though, so that ensured I wouldn’t wuss out and walk or anything. Around mile 8, I spotted a co-worker who’d come out to cheer me on, so that made me pretty happy, and shortly after that, I caught up with the 3:40 pacers. While I said my primary goal was to finish, and my secondary goal was to qualify for Chicago, my tertiary goal (I’m so annoying) was 3:40. Or–more specifically 3:38. I have no idea why I picked that number, but I wanted it. I wasn’t going to be heartbroken if I didn’t hit it, but I knew I could, and I was going to try for it.

Mike and Tim, the pace group leaders, introduced themselves and made me introduce myself to the group (Melissa, from Michigan, Project Manager, first time marathoner). Now, I have never been a particularly social runner–or person, if we’re being honest. I’m a little shy and usually feel awkward and like I’m talking too loudly and saying stupid things. But this group felt different–safer somehow. They were supportive and interesting and actually super helpful. Mike and Tim told us when to ease up on the pace, gave us tips about the course, and were generally entertaining throughout. Miles 8-20 flew by. I’m not even exaggerating. I was smiling obnoxiously the whole time.

I also saw my parents a few times and a couple other co-workers who’d come out to cheer, which was the best. I got so excited when I saw them, and it was really nice to have people there for me–I’ve never had that before, and I was surprised at how much it helped! I also pointed out to my spectators that I was “running with the fast people!!!” I am so embarrassing.

About mile 21, we headed out to a long and lonely loop around a park, and my legs started to get tired. I kept up the pace, but I started to feel a new kind of pain around my upper thighs that I’d not experienced before. This is where it got pretty mental, and I really had to talk myself through. The pacers were about 20 yards ahead of me, so I told myself to run my own race. That I knew it was going to be hard. That if I wanted to hit my goal, I was going to have to work for it. That I could slow down, make it easier, still finish in 3:45, but I wanted that 3:38, so I kept pushing.

Then, it got hilly. I was displeased. After 3 rolling hills, I figured we had to be leveling out. Nope. Another hill loomed a half mile ahead as I crested what I had hoped was the last hill, and a rather loud expletive escaped. Pretty sure I just shouted what everyone else was thinking. While the hills were probably good for my body because they forced me to change pace, they were not good for my mind, which didn’t want a challenge at that point. I wanted to be done.

But even though I was tired and even though the pacers were closer to 40 yards ahead by now, my Garmin told me I was still running in the 8:–teens, which was PLENTY fast for me. And while the last few miles should’ve felt long and endless, they weren’t. Before I knew it, I was rounding the bend to the stadium with the finish in sight. My Garmin clocked the course about a half mile long (running through a tunnel confused it), so it was just slightly infuriating when I thought I should be done, but still had a half mile to go. When I realized where the actual finish was, though, and how close I was to it, I bolted. I have never been so happy to see a finish line in my life. Evidence: last mile: 7:21. I may have been a tiny bit excited. I saw my parents as I entered the chute, too, which made me even more excited, if that’s possible. I think I yelled to them, “I RAN A MARATHON!!!!” So much cheese.

 

When I crossed the finish line, I was handed my medal. I saw my pace group leaders right away and went over to them to give them hugs and fall all over myself with gratitude to them for helping me through. Mike took my medal from me and put it around my neck and told me I’d earned it. I kind of got all weepy, but recovered quickly when he revealed that he was actually a Secret Service Agent. I guess that makes sense given the horrific events in Boston last year and the fact that we were in the Nation’s Capitol and all, but still. Took me right off guard. Oh, and his name wasn’t Mike, either. Heh.

Official finish: 3:38:06.

What’s next? Not sure. If I never run another marathon, I will always be happy with the one I did run. The fact that I did it is enough. Reaching my goal is the icing on the cake, and honestly, I don’t know that I can top this experience. And after several (ahem, three) false starts in the marathon distance, I’m just so freaking proud of myself that I finally finished one.

The Day Before the Best Day Ever

Now we’re back to last Tuesday, which isn’t going to be as exciting as last Wednesday. Nothing will ever be as exciting as Wednesday ever again. Life has peaked and now things will never be the same again.

Hubs and I arrived at LAX and took the shuttle over to the cluster that is Budget Rent-a-Car. Seriously, they do not have their shit together. Every seat was taken on the shuttle and it was packed with standing people. People had luggage on their laps because the luggage rack was full yet the driver kept stopping to pick up more people. Then we waited in a line for a half hour to get our car, which may not have been as annoying as it was if it wasn’t for the shuttle situation. Anyway, we got our car, a Chevy Impala to be exact, also known as the least fun car ever. But whatever, it got us from point A to B.

We stayed at the airport Hilton and had a pretty nice view of the pool and the airport from our room. Oh hey there four jacuzis!

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We only enjoyed the pool from the room. We napped instead because sitting for a 4.5 hour flight and then standing in line for 30 minutes is hard and we are old. After nap time, my brother picked us up at the hotel.

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He drove up from San Diego to visit once he realized I was in town for fun instead of work. We met up with one of my brother’s friends in Manhattan Beach (where he lived before he moved to San Diego) and walked from his friend’s house to Shellback Tavern. We admired all the multimillion dollar houses we can never afford along the way.

That was a two mile walk. Good thing it’s scenic because I’ve never put in so much effort for a beer.

Later on when the hunger set in, we walked over to Manhattan Beach Brewing Company for more drinks and food. I ordered the most amazing Mediterranean Chicken Kabob. I mean, it was unbelievably delicious. Just look at it in all its low-light glory.

It looks like a hot mess in that picture but if you are in LA, you need to eat at this place. Everyone loved what they had.

After that massive platter, I needed the two mile walk back just to make room for more beer. We dropped my brother’s friend off at his house and then went to another bar, played some pool (which I am horrible at), and had a few more drinks but our livers had enough and we were tired, so we called it a night. My bro walked back to his friend’s place and hubs and I caught a cab back to the hotel where we passed out hard by 11:30.

Wednesday morning, I wanted an omelet. A spinach, tomato, and mushroom egg white omelet from IHOP specifically. Sorry to all you haters that only love fanci breakfast, but IHOP is delicious and I will forever love them.

Omelets are especially delicious paired with those cheesecake pancakes in the background.

Normally I hate eating at a chain when I’m in a different city, but eh, it happens sometimes. Hubs must love me because he did not want IHOP. He didn’t even want what he ordered but toward the end of breakfast, half of my pancakes went mysteriously missing and hubs was in a surprisingly better mood.

After breakfast, we had a little time to kill so we wandered around Westfield Mall for awhile. I love that mall. It has every store I love but really, all I need is an Express and a Mrs. Field’s in a mall to make me happy.

You all know what happened next. And if you don’t, read this. We were only in L.A. for two days, but we packed in so much fun that it felt like we were there a week. We had a really great time. It’s hard to be back to real life.

That Time I Went to a Hollywood Movie Premiere

So, this happened.

Tuesday, hubs and I flew out to Los Angeles to attend the Veronica Mars premiere in Hollywood. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile or know me personally, you know that Veronica Mars is my favorite TV show. And you probably also know that Kristen Bell is my favorite person. And you may also know that both of those things combined make me giddy like a school girl so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I contributed enough to the Kickstarter a year ago to score tickets.

The Kickstarter had options for the premiere in LA, NYC, and Austin. Austin would have made the most sense financially (and I super love Austin) but helloooo?? Authentic Hollywood movie premiere? No-brainer right there.

Anyway, our little two-day vacation started with a visit from my big(gest) brother but I’ll get to that in the next post. I’m going to work backwards, kinda like the movie Memento. But terrible.

Let’s fast forward to Wednesday when we’re dressed and ready to drive over to Hollywood from our hotel in LA. We had to be at the TCL Chinese theatre to pick up our tickets by 6:00pm but we got there around 3:00pm so we could wander around, get some lunch, skip some traffic (but not really), and not be rushed.

We went to lunch first at a place called The Pig ‘N Whistle. The name got us. Pigs? Whistles? What’s not to like? The menu looked good and the place was mostly empty but they still managed terrible service and mediocre food. We stayed for a few drinks after we ate and the bartender told us she didn’t have any grape vodka. Now, I don’t want to tell anyone how to do their job but…

Around 5:30, we walked over to the theatre and there was already a line at will call to pick up tickets. I expected to be in the line for awhile but we got through and grabbed our tickets in about 10 minutes. At that point, fans were already packing the street across from the theatre.

Once we had our tickets, we walked across the red carpet to the viewing area for all the Kickstarter backers. Now, I’m not saying I had the best spot but…I had the best spot.

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Where’s Waldo?

A few people asked how I got such a great spot or if I paid for it. Nope. I just saw it and then I stood there. Pretty technical.

Also, I’ll have to give Melissa and hubs props for encouraging me to wear a pink dress instead of a black one because I stood out like a sore thumb. Being 6 feet tall in heels that night also helped, I suppose.

(Source)

That’s Tina Majorino taking the picture by the way. If you don’t know who she is, well, then we can’t be friends anymore.

For the past year, I’ve been getting email updates on the progress of the movie, etc. (It’s a perk of being a backer.) A few of the emails said the cast wouldn’t be taking individual pictures or signing autographs so I was just expecting to spectate and drool as my faves walked by. So let me just say, I was not expecting what happened to happen next.

#LoVe

I saw Kristen walking around the corner and got super excited so I asked her to take a picture. While I was getting my camera ready, Jason Dohring (Logan) walked around the corner and it surprised me in that fan girl pee-your-pants kinda way. Kristen noticed and called him over to get in the picture too. Smile I’m pretty sure I thanked them, but one can’t be sure that more than gargling noises actually came out of my mouth.

From there, the night just kept getting better.

That’s Ryan Hansen (Dick) <3  I super love him. He’s in two other TV shows that didn’t last long but are totally worth the watch: Party Down (which has tons of people from Veronica Mars in it and is also created by Rob Thomas) and Friends with Benefits. Who needs fresh outside air when you can sit on the couch and watch those? No one. No one needs that.

Then, Tina Majorino (Mac) rounded the corner. She’s so adorable and tiny!

I also took a picture with Dax Shephard and met Chris Lowell (Piz), which somehow made the Veronica Mars instagram page.

(Source)

Is anyone else watching his new show Enlisted? It’s pretty funny so far.

Anyway, I. got. to. meet. them. all. It. was. amazing. We saw the rest of the cast as well (Keith, Weevil, Wallace, Madison Sinclair, Cliff (the lawyer), etc) but I’m already doing enough of a photo dump and I’m sure these names mean nothing to those of you who haven’t seen the show. And if you haven’t seen it, what is wrong with you? Honestly. Have I taught you nothing? (Don’t answer that.)

It was so fun to watch the cast wander around the red carpet, talk to the press, and take pictures. They were all so nice. Plus, my front row view made it even better than I was expecting.

Jerry O’Connell

Kristen and Dax Shephard

After a little over an hour on the red carpet, we made our way into the theatre. The theatre has assigned seating so I didn’t have to body check anyone for a good seat. It also had something I’ll never see again in this lifetime: COMPLIMENTARY popcorn and drinks. < —- I die

The theatre is really beautiful inside. It’s more like an Opera House than a theatre. Check out the ceiling. Even that was like a piece of artwork.

The cast was wandering around the inside of the theatre as well. We ran into Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin (Logan’s mom and dad) at the concession stand, so we said hello. I’ve loved Lisa since the Days of Our Lives days (I’m so old to know that) and hubs was excited to see Harry since he’s a big Clash of the Titans fan. I also ran into Jason Dohring outside the women’s restroom. I smiled while expelling some incoherant babble and then he said to me, “I heard the best seats are in there.” Heh

Before the movie started, Rob Thomas came out with the cast and thanked us all over and over for making the movie happen.

The movie was great by the way (hubs liked it a lot too), but I was so freakin’ excited from everything that happened on the red carpet that I can’t even tell you what happened in the first 20 minutes. In fact, I even tweeted Kristen Bell a question during a live tweet a few days later THAT SHE RESPONDED TO.

Then, 100 fans kindly tweeted me the same answer all. day. long. The answer is in the first 20 minutes of the movie. The same first 20 minutes in which I was recovering from a fun-induced heart attack. And to be fair, Kristen didn’t know the answer either, so I should get a pass.

So yeah, that pretty much made my year. The trip was not cheap and it killed all my vacation time, and because of that I really considered not going. I’m so glad I changed my mind because when am I ever going to have a chance to attend something like that again? Probably never.

Completely worth it.

By the Numbers

I had a bit of a hectic weekend and I have a hectic (but fun) week coming up (more on that later) so this will be short and sporadic.

1. Another reason I love Best Damn Race: free cute and sweaty race photos.

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I wasn’t able to score an ultra cheap registration by being one of the first 30 or so people to register, because apparently everyone has faster fingers than I do, but I did still score free pictures for signing up early. I wasn’t feeling great during the race, so I didn’t look like a floating fairy princess per the usual, but it’s still a pretty cool perk.

2.  Best Damn Race and the Celebration halves are the only races where I’ve worn compression socks and I gotta say, my legs have felt amazing after both races.

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I’m worried it’s a fluke. I usually wear compression socks after a race but never really noticed a difference in how my legs felt. During the race? Whole different story.

3. I’m all caught up on Justified. I love it so much. I love the casting of every character and I especially love the dialogue.

chicken

Ok, not kidding about the dialogue. Deputies need chicken too. There are few shows that keep getting better by the season and this is one of them.  (Also on that list: Supernatural seasons 1-5 ,Weeds, and House of Lies.)

4.  Hubs and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary last weekend (and 12 years together, but who’s counting).

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That was not last weekend (I picked it because I’m thinking of going back to that hair color). We got dressed up all pretty and went for an amazing dinner at Eddie V’s and I took zero pictures. Hubs even asked why I didn’t take pictures of the food as we were walking out. Well, I don’t know why. That’s why.

5.  FOUR DAYS.

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6. The little princess requested some more blog time. She said her fans are demanding it.

I hope you all have a good week!

Best Damn Race Orlando and a PR!

I really wanted to PR this race. Ok, I want to PR every race but I’ve resigned myself to thinking it will never happen because trying over and over for three years and 14 half marathons can do that to you.

This race was a little different. I actually had a pretty good feeling going into it (that never happens) mainly because my speed training (mostly tempo runs on the treadmill) have gone surprisingly well. Also, race morning my body gave me the greatest pre-race gift it could: I pooped.

Michelle, and her friend Tracey, picked me up per the usual, we found close (free!) parking easily, and walked over near the race start where we found, like, one billion bloggers.

Pretty sure I stole that picture from Meghann, but one can’t be sure. It was a nice boost to see a bunch of friends (and even more unpictured) before the race and I was oddly excited to meet this little cutie since I’ve been stalking her on social media forever.

After some socializing, we lined up at the start. There was an acapella National Anthem, which I really liked, and we were off.

This is the first race I’ve run where I didn’t have to dodge other runners for the first several miles. So either everyone was lined up where they were supposed to be or they capped the race at the perfect amount of runners. Either way, it was nice.

The course was a nice change from the Orlando Half that starts in the same area. They did a good job of avoiding most of the brick around downtown, which sucks to run on since it’s like an obstacle course with all the dips and raised bricks. I also loved the last minute course addition of running around Lake Underhill that was added two weeks before the race. That’s where I do most of my training runs so it was nice to be in familiar territory. There were three or four turnarounds that I wasn’t a big fan of but other than that, it was a good course.

So now about that whole running thing. From mile one, I felt like I was putting in maximum effort. I wasn’t miserable out there but I wasn’t exactly feeling great either. I walked four times which I don’t think I could have avoided because I felt like my heartbeat was too high. After the first walk around mile five, mentally I was out as far as a PR was concerned. I wasn’t feeling well enough that I thought I could do it. (Yep. I’m easily discouraged.) So I just used the walk breaks as opportunities to eat some peanut butter pretzels. (Not loving those during a race by the way. Probably going back to PB&J.) I would kill for a sugar free vanilla or chocolate Gu to exist. Can anyone make that happen for me?

Anyway, around mile 11, I realized had a good chance of PRing. That surprised the shit out of me, I gotta tell you. So I picked up the speed as much as my body was allowing for a 27 second PR (and a 7 minute improvement from the Celebration half last month).

Finish time: 2:02:14

It’s not the sub-2:00 I’ve been trying to get forever or even a sub-2:02, but at least I know I’m finally improving. Running 14 races and never besting my time (while everyone else around me does) has taken a real shit on my mentality. So at least I know I’m capable now. And you better believe I had some sexy-time with that PR bell.

It’s nice to end my last half of the race season this way. I’ve been waiting a long time for this. Next up is a 10 miler at the end of the month.

 

 

 

Register for All the Races

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who donated to the charity I’m supporting – from my friends, to those who donated anonymously, to my internet friends that I haven’t met personally. I’m at 43% of my goal and I owe it to you guys and your big hearts. Thank you so much.

 ***

I have a little registration button clicking problem lately. Besides the Chicago Marathon, I’ve registered for three other races in the past week and will now be eating Ramen noodles and stealing other people’s lunches at work for the month of March.

This might be the most races I’ve registered for so early in the year, so race registration PR going on here.

1.  Space Coast Marathon - 11/30/14

Space Coast

That’s the medal, yo.

Self peer pressure made me do this one. I guess that’s a thing? I’d rather run the half but I also want to run two marathons this year and this one happens to have perfect timing after Chicago (6 weeks) where I don’t really need to keep training much. In other words, I could stop 80% of my training and still run it no problem so it leaves the option to be a lazy piece of crap after Chicago wide open. Also, it’s 40 minutes away from home and that = no hotel cost. So I peer pressured myself into this one even though I really wanted to enter the Houston Lottery. *sniff*

2.  Lake Nona Half Marathon - 10/26/14

This is an inaugural race and I’m a sucker for new races. It’s super cheap ($40), close to home, and two weeks after Chicago so hopefully my legs will function.

3.  Storm the Campus 10 miler -  3/30/14

This is another new race on the campus of UCF, my alma mater. I’m running Best Damn Race Orlando (it’s a half) this weekend and was going to stop running over 6 miles (at a time not cumulative, though that doesn’t sound bad either) after that until training starts for Chicago, but I love running through UCF so that will be postponed a month. That was a long sentence. Anyway, the campus is pretty and I can pretend like I’m a young, carefee college student again without an obscene amount of taxes to pay by April.

So that’s the schedule so far. Next, I need to figure out my training plan for Chicago.

 

Why I’m Running Chicago for Charity

The Chicago Marathon has been on my “to run” list for a few years now. Chicago is my hometown so I knew if I ever did another full marathon, Chicago would be it. So when they announced the race would be a lottery this year, I was a little bummed, but I thought running for charity would be a good way to bypass the lottery while in turn giving me Heaven points.

I researched charities and nothing really clicked. I was really discouraged because during my research, I realized I’d rather not run Chicago at all if it meant raising money for a charity I didn’t care about. (I know. I’m just as surprised as you are that my heart is not cold and black.) Just when I was ready to forget the whole charity thing and take my chances with the lottery, I found the American Heart Association (AHA).

I just knew AHA was it. I have to raise more money as a part of AHA than other official Chicago Marathon charities, which is a little scary for me since I’ve never done this before, but AHA is the only one that felt right for a few reasons. Not only do I try to make physical activity a part of my everyday life, but I lost my dad to a heart attack five years ago.

His senior year and the hunky days, apparently.

I lost him two weeks after his birthday.

One month before we were going to spend our first Thanksgiving together.

And four months before he was going to walk me down the aisle.

So that sealed it. I’m running with the American Heart Association in memory of my dad.

As long as I knew him, he always had a weight problem, which probably has something to do with my workout and food obsession. My dad loved food too. I think butter was his favorite food group. Whenever we talked on the phone, I’d ask him if he was getting on his stationary bike and eating well (and he’d ask me when I was going to finish college, heh). If he told me he wasn’t being good about it, I’d always tell him to get on the bike for me so he could stay around a few more years.

He was one of the most positive, good-spirited people I’ve ever known.  My ridiculous sense of humor came from him. He made friends easier than I’ve ever seen. When we went out to a restaurant, I’d have to wait 10 minutes to order food while he asked the waitress 20 questions about her life because he was genuinely interested in other people. He retired to Florida from Illinois three years before he died and made enough friends in that time to pack an entire church full of people at his funeral. It was ridiculous. My brother and I even said that we’d be happy to have a fourth of that amount of people at our funerals.

Everyone loved him. Especially me.

Anyway, that’s just a little about my dad. I’m going “home” and running this race for him. Or someone like him. If the money I raise can help just one other person’s dad stick around a little longer than mine did, then it’s all worth it.

So, if you have the means and are interested in donating a few dollars, you can donate on my personal page. I will be so grateful.