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.

By the Numbers

Oh hey blog. I’ve been neglecting you and I don’t mean to. I was about to say how I’m so busy and have no extra time but that couldn’t be true since I can recall large periods of time doing absolutely nothing. So here’s the nothing I’ve been up to:

1. I made it to season 4 of Justified. I love it! Especially the dialog and anything Boyd does. I’ve also never seen a Marshall kill so many people, so often. No one seems phased by it, particularly his boss. There were three consecutive episodes in season 3 when he didn’t kill anyone and I thought something was wrong. So now, hubs and I just like to see how many people Raylan will kill. Hubs loves it, because then he gets to say:

Every.time. But now he likes to try to trick me and make up some elaborate story like he’s not going to say it, but it always ends the same way.

2. I’ve also been keeping busy by changing my blog theme. And then changing it back. And then changing it to something else. And then back again. So basically, I spent two days working on it to make no changes whatsoever.

3. I’m officially registered for the Chicago Marathon! When I say registered, I mean I signed up for the charity I want to run for and am good to go to start my fundraising as part of their running team (more on that later). That means I need to run 26 miles again and train during the summer.

4. I’m still going to Crossfit three times a week. I feel like I never talk about it anymore, but we just recycle the same workouts over and over so I have nothing new to share. But every now and then, my trainer likes to surprise me with something new. Hubs and I did this workout last week and our legs were “hurts to stand up from the couch” sore for two days.

I did the lateral jumps over two low steppers while hubs used a higher box that I was too afraid to use because I felt like I would land on my face. So use a box or find a couple phone books (those exist, right?) and put them on the floor. It’s all good. We almost did a third round and I’m really glad we didn’t because I don’t even want to know how that would have felt. I think the leap frogs are what got me since I don’t normally do those?

5. One of these things is not like the other.

I heard some rustling in the pantry and I found our little mess maker.

6. This is the office of a dude that sits near me.

That desk is my nightmare. I don’t know how it’s possible to work like that. Every time I walk by, I feel the need to organize something of my own. I might even venture to say it looks cleaner than normal in this picture. And OMG I just noticed there are pants on the floor.

7. I didn’t drink in the month of January. Ok, there was one (planned) exception, but this is big news. I basically became a hermit to do it. I’m excited to say that it’s February now, a.k.a, open boozing season, which I celebrated on Saturday night by putting on pants with no elastic and going out.

(From left: me, my bestie Lisa, hubs, and our friend Angie)  #proof #fitfluential

Anyone entering the lottery for Chicago? What other good fall marathons are there? I need a second one and I’m afraid it’s going to be Space Coast if I don’t come up with something better.

So about that plan

After I ran the Orlando Half, I mentioned that I was formulating a plan for the next race but didn’t really talk about it. Mostly because I can talk all I want but when it comes to doing – eh, I don’t have that much drive to actually succeed.

I don’t know if it was the plan or luck, but I ran the Celebration race 20 minutes faster than the Orlando half and I felt great the whole time. Since the plan maybe sort of worked, I thought I’d talk about it. Basically, I wanted to focus on three things before the race:

  • Lose 10 lbs. (I lost 3 lbs. Over two months. <— LOL)
  • Run outside more and on the treadmill less. (Check)
  • Fix my attitude. (Ehhh…nope)

So I stuck to some of the plan and that’s more than I usually do. I did significantly more running outside, which makes me work harder because I don’t have a treadmill to propel me forward. It also made my weekday runs a mile or two longer because I wasn’t going to drive out to the park for just 2 or 3 miles.

Besides my second marathon, the 3M half is the only race where I felt good the entire time. So I had a brilliant pre-race plan as well. Do exactly what I did before 3M. I know. Amazing. Somehow, that didn’t cross my mind before.

That plan was:

  • Limit my workouts the week before. (Check)

I went to Crossfit on Monday, ran 2.25 miles on Thursday, and sat and stared at walls the rest of the week.

  • Drink the Friday night before the race. (Work with me here.)

I used to always think drinking the week before a race was a horrible idea, but every time I do it, I have amazing races. I mentioned this to hubs and he thinks it has something to do with water retention the next day. I have no idea if that’s true, but I’m going with it. Because beer.

  • Eat a burger and fries for lunch the day before. (Check)
  • Eat a PB&J for breakfast the morning of the race. (Check)

I think that’s the the formula that works for me. I’ll be trying it out again for my next race on March 1. The race is on a Saturday so I guess that means I’ll have to drink on Thursday. The sacrifices I make…

Oh, and for those with morbid curiosity at what it looks like to catch a sidewalk with your face.

It looks worse than it feels and only hurts when I accidentally bump it. It’s low enough on my chin that most people think I’m either an abuse victim or ask if I have ink on my face. So yeah, it could have been in a cooler spot.

Inaugural Celebration Half Marathon

This weekend came and went so fast. I guess that means I had fun, but damn, slow down time. I picked up my Washington DC sugar mama, Melissa, from the airport on Friday night and immediately took her to a bar.

I like to take all house guests on scenic boozing tours of Orlando. Speaking of which, that was my first drink since New Year’s Eve. That’s 24 days for you non-drinkers who are wondering why that’s so hard. My liver has been desperately looking for something to filter. By the way, alcohol has not lost its deliciousness in those 24 days. Just had to make sure though. Drinks also effectively put us to sleep for the night.

Saturday, we met up with my chauffer for lunch at the Relax Grill at Lake Eola. There’s a lot of new artwork around Lake Eola and Melissa knows a photo op when she sees one.

After lunch, Melissa and I picked up our race packets and stopped at a few stores. Next time we looked at a clock, it was dinner time and we wondered where the day went. I was an amazing host and took her to a vegan restaurant (her fave) and supported her mostly vegan ways by eating unpronounceable things with her.

A tempeh and quinoa salad. I kinda liked it. (Don’t tell the meat of the world.)

After dinner, Melissa watched me go in full freak-out mode over what to wear for the race. She loved that. Like, a lot. Then we went to bed and I slept like total shit. There is nothing like knowing I have to be up at a specific time that makes me wake up every hour and look at the clock.

Sunday morning, Melissa and I got up at 4:45am. Melissa did not want to be up and it was obvious. And kinda funny. #grouch We got ready, picked up Michelle, and headed to Celebration which is about 45 minutes away. We were running a little late (or maybe that was just me) and parked a mile from the start, so we ended up running the mile to make it to the start on time. Now, some people would call that a warm-up mile. I call it an unnecessary extra mile I had to run.

Once we got to the start, we split up quickly. Melissa and Michelle went to their pacer areas and I went to the port-o-potty. By the time I got out, the race already started and I was back with the five hour marathoners. It was pretty humid for being in the 50s so I was already hot from the mile run. Then I spent the first four miles cursing the heat and dodging slower runners who like to stop and walk in the middle of a packed course without looking behind them.

Five miles into the race, things were getting much better. I was feeling good, the crowd was thinning, and the temperature was dropping. I felt like I was running in Miami Vice – basically down a long road with lines of extremely tall palm trees on either side. After the Miami Vice road, we ran several miles on a wooded boardwalk which was amazing. It was so peaceful and quiet and I felt super fast. We also ran sidewalks around several lakes and by white picket fence homes I’ll never be able to afford, even with my part-time dancer job. All in all, it was a really pretty course and really well run for an inaugural race.

I ate a few peanut butter pretzels every couple of miles but around mile 7, I could tell if I ate any more I’d have to stop at a port-o-potty. So I didn’t eat the rest of the race which sucked because I needed it, especially around mile 10. My legs felt good, but my energy was dwindling. That’s when mile 12 happened.

I took a giant nose-dive into the sidewalk.

A really nice guy helped me up and another kept asking if I was ok. They were really concerned so I know it didn’t look good. I appreciated them stopping but was worried about them losing time on their race which made sense to me, all sprawled out on the sidewalk, at the time. But seriously, I heart runners. They are the best.

Alright, so I had a mile to go and I was hurting (mostly my chin, which hit the sidewalk pretty hard, and my scraped-up hands from catching my fall. Oh, and my forehead that I just noticed this morning.) So I turned off my music to get rid of distraction and finished that last mile as quickly as my body was allowing. It felt fast, but apparently wasn’t because it was my slowest mile.

Celebration half

Official time: 2:09:13. Not what I wanted but I felt good (finally!) and it’s a big improvement on my half in November (2:21:54) and my half in December (2:28:11).

I met up with all my girls after the race, including Katy and Victoria.

Hat triplets! (Not planned though it should have been.)

Melissa and I left pretty quickly since we had to shower, eat, and get to the airport on time. It was just as well, because after that fall, I was achey. Not life and death or anything, but I wanted to leave. Despite the fall, I loved the race and will definitely do it again next year.

Oh, and a big congrats to Michelle who ran a PR and Melissa who felt miserable during the race but still won second in her age group. Love you ladies!

Here We Go Again

If you read my running lovah’s blog, you know there’s been some marathon talk lately. Ok, a lot of marathon talk. Especially now that my year and a half wait is over for her ass to get pregnant, have said baby, recover, and get back into running.

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I guess he was worth it. ;-)  Also, it took me five minutes to decide if I was going to use “ho’s” or “hoes.” I need to find a better way to spend my time.

Anyway, I could have trained and ran a marathon on my own, but where’s the fun in that? I feel like my whole running career has included Michelle and I don’t want to change that. Enter marathon #3.

If you follow races, you know the Chicago Marathon is based on a lottery system this year (of course it is). You only have guaranteed entry if you’re fast enough (I’m not) or if you ran the race for the past five years (I didn’t). You can bypass the lottery if you run for charity (ding, ding, ding). Running for charity is a great idea in general so that’s the way I’m leaning. I already have one in mind but I’m still doing some research.

I’m also searching for marathon #4. I’m not sure which one it will be, but I know I’m not going to train for a full and only run one. That seems like a waste of training to me. my chauffer already has a few other races in mind so I’ll either pick my own (maybe in CA so I can see my family at the same time) or be “coerced” into one she picks. Like this one, cuz I’m a sucker for travel to new places.

I know this is a little premature, but I’m fairly certain marathon #3 and #4 will be my last marathons. Ever. Training is hard, time consuming, and I don’t always enjoy it, especially in the Florida humidity. But it will be worth it for Chicago. Not only is it my hometown, but I get to take hubs with me and make a mini-vacation out of it. I’ll also get to see my (non-San Diego) brother who I haven’t seen in so long it’s embarrassing. Oh, and the pizza. THE PIZZA. I’m gonna make Lou Malnati’s my bitch.

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So that’s the plan. What does this mean for you? It means a good five months of weekly bitching about long, humid runs, how my shoes suck, and how I pooped in a stranger’s yard. So basically nothing is changing.

A Clif Bar Giveaway cuz They’re Delicious

So I just learned something new.

Did you know that the Monday of the last full week in January is called Blue Monday and is considered the most depressing day of the year? That’s this Monday – January 20 for those that are wondering when exactly you need to be depressed.

Depression

The reason for Blue Monday?

  • The holidays are over.
  • Credit card bills have arrived.
  • We’re back to 5-day work weeks.
  • New Year’s resolutions have failed.

So basically, we are all doomed this week.

Luckily I love Clif Bars. And even more luckily, they contacted me and want to give FIVE readers Clif Bar packs with their “Banish Blue Monday Woes with Clif Bar” promotion.

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Clif recommends taking your workout outdoors for new motivation because it helps concentration, productivity, and releases endorphins to boost your mood. Or if you’re in a blizzard, get on the treadmill and I’ll post some Orlando pictures for you to look at longingly. That should help.

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See? You’re feeling better already.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. You get an extra entry for tweeting about it. (Remember to enter with the Rafflecopter after you do.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends at midnight on Thursday.

In with the New

Nothing like chopping your hair on one of the coldest days of the year. (It was 39ºF coming into work this morning, which might as well be -10ºF by Orlando standards.)

My hair has been driving me crazy lately. Just drying and styling it is like an all-day event that requires bathroom breaks and catered sandwiches for when you get hungry. So it was time for a change. I got a natural ombré to darken my hair a bit (which my friend matched to my roots) and a long inverted bob (that I’ll get more inverted next week now that I know I like it).

Here’s what I look like today (in poor lighting).

I’m not really great at styling it yet. I need a couple days to figure out how to do it. But, it’s so nice (and scary) to get rid of all that hair.