Thursday, May 14, 2009

Graduation, Personal Training, Women & Weights

Yesterday marked 1 month till the wedding. I can't believe it. I know this month is going to fly by. We're still getting RSVPs in each day, and some lovely gifts as well. My (almost) mom-in-law just mailed out rehearsal dinner invitations. It was fun to get an invitation to my own rehearsal! It is going to be great. Now I just have to find a dress....

Billy and I both graduated this past Saturday! Our families collaborated for a cookout/graduation party.
With the 'rents:
My fam minus my older brother who lives in Arlington:
and Melissa!

Now that graduation has passed, I am enjoying massive amounts of free time. I am officially starting my new job at the physical therapy clinic tomorrow, though, and will be working 9-5 for my first day (yikes!). From there on out, I will only be working around 25 hours a week. I definitely need to work more than that, so, starting July 1st, I will most likely be personal training at Fitness Together.
I am excited to train at Fitness Together versus any other gym because it really is a unique experience. The "gym" is really broken into 2 small, separate gyms. The trainer takes the client into one of the fully stocked "gym" rooms, where the client is trained one-on-one. There is no waiting for equipment or having other people watch you because you are the only ones in the room.
The only problem is, even though I have a Bachelor's in Exercise Science, the owner wants me to get my official certification. This isn't a real problem, because all I have to do is take the test, but I have to fork over a couple hundred dollars for the test. Kind of funny that 4 years of college in a related field isn't good enough, while passing a test that someone straight out of high school could take is! Plus, the state of VA doesn't even require certification to train. But, like I said, I really like the company's structure and the location is perfect because it's right down the street from my job at the physical therapy clinic.
Billy and I are insanely excited to be signing our lease to our new apartment next Friday. Billy will be living there alone till the wedding, and we'll get everything moved in. We are proud owners of a Tempur-Pedic mattress (thank you Grandma and Grandpa Beaumont!) and a Natuzzi leather couch, both of which we got fabulous deals on. We got the couch for $700 less than selling price, and the mattress for $600 less. I still don't really understand how either of those deals happened, but one thing I have learned about furniture shopping at privately owned stores: just ask, and you can work something out! I have my mom to thank for my bargaining skills.
Onto the Exercise:
Since I haven't posted in so long, I'm not going to write down each exercise session I've done, but I have been really enjoying my workouts. While I'm still running, I'm spending more energy on shorter interval/speed/hill runs of about 2 to 3 miles each, and incorporating about one "long" run of 5 or 6 miles a week. The speedwork really is shocking my body, and it's great! I've also been doing about 2 strength training sessions a week, and have increased my core work as well. I also bit the bullet and signed up for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in September! Here we go again.
Have you ever tried interval training? Intervals can be done on virtually any cardio equipment (or on your own 2 feet outside!). Intervals are simply short bursts of speed followed by recovery at a moderate pace. For example, for my interval run on Tuesday, I used the treadmill to warm up at a moderate pace for 5 minutes. Then, I alternated 20 second sprints at 8.0 mph with 1 minute recovery at 6.0 mph. I repeated this for roughly 2o minutes, then cooled down at a moderate pace for 5 minutes. This quick, 30 minute segment packed in more muscle and cardiorespiratory challenge than an hour plus run at a moderate pace. Not only that, but intervals are exhilerating and break up the boredom and monotony of cardio. They're great for days when you need to get in and get out of the gym.
I'd like to add a little something from one of my favorite exercise books, The New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler. This section deals with the confusion between women and weight lifting, because it's something I get asked about all the time. Women are afraid to lift heavier weights because they only want to "get toned."
"Weight-training advice for women revolves around what I call the three dirty words: toning, shaping, and sculpting.... The way 'toning' is used in books and magazines catering to women, and then by women themselves, it means 'make your muscles look better without making them bigger.' The idea is that there are specific types of workouts-usually involving lots of repetitions with light weights-that will help you acheive this. But that's not a realistic or healthy way to look at your muscles. If the weights are unchallenging, your muscles won't grow. If your muscles don't grow, they won't look any better than they do now, even if you could somehow strip off whatever fat sits on top of them."
"So this brings me to the fourth dirty word: 'bulky.' As in, 'I don't want to get too bulky.' I'll say this as simply as I can: Unless you're an extreme genetic outlier, you can't get too bulky. Your body won't allow it. "
And my favorite section:
"But here's something I've observed over my many years of hanging around in gyms: A woman who's willing to work like a galley slave in Spinning class, twist herself into Gordian knots in the yoga studio, and build enough core strength with Pilates to prop up a skyscraper will walk into the weight room, pick up the pastel-colored Barbie weights, and do the exact opposite of what will give her the results she wants."
He then goes on to discuss watching a woman do a triceps kickback, "a simply and useless exercise in which you lean over a bench, hold your upper arm parallel to the floor, and straighten your elbow while holding a very light weight," followed by a one-arm row "in which you lean over a bench with your upper arm perpendicular to the floor, and row the weight up to the side of your abdomen." While he explains how the rowing exercise uses many accessory muscles and targets the large muscle groups of the back, and the tricep kickback only uses the muscles of the back of the arm, the woman proceeded to use a 6 pound weight for the triceps kickback, and a 7 pound weight for the row! That's a mere 1 pound increase between a simple, single-joint exercise and an intricate, multi-joint exercise, when clearly larger muscle groups are equipped to handle heavier weights.
Ladies, your body is amazingly created and your muscles, especially the muscles of your back, are designed for strength. What a shame to ignore the potential you have for building strength to stay healthy, reduce or prevent pain, improve your posture, feel better, and help with activities of daily life, such as lifting kids and groceries, or to be so afraid of getting "bulky" as to not challenge yourselves in the weight room. Give it a shot!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

change and crosstrain

A month and a half till the wedding! I never thought we'd be at this point! It's felt so far away for so long. The RSVPs are still rolling in. I'm getting an alteration done on my dress this weekend (just a little one on the bustle). I've started stocking up on bathing suits and dresses for the honeymoon. Can't believe we'll be in Jamaica so soon....
I had my final day of work at the job that I've been at for 2 and a half years on Tuesday. I cried once I got in my car! I really loved that place and all the people in it...even the crazy patients.
Everyone decorated this mirror in the gym. If you look closely, you can see a runner girl (who I think looks like a ninja turtle) with a sparkly ring and flowers in my hands. Sounds like a perfect logo for this blog! And yes, that is my imposing hand taking the picture.
Just a few of the ladies I worked with. The 2nd to the left and the last on the right are physical therapists that I've learned so much from.

My good friend Maricel who is starting PT school this summer! Proud of her.

As sad as I was to leave, I'm pumped about my new job. I already started training and will officially start on May 15th. Here's a sneak peek into my new company! Take note of Justice, the therapy dog!
Onto the sweat:
Last week I took 3 rest days, not because I wanted to, but because school was insane and I wanted to be able to have a social life as well. I ran a total of 6 miles last week. A big dive from the 20-25 I've been running the past few months, but like I said I want to ease up on the miles this month and focus more on crosstraining. I did do 2 strength training sessions, had an exciting outdoor run with Billy and his roomies' dogs Mako and Bella, and went for a nice long bike ride.
This week I rested on Monday, and on Tuesday I met Joanna at the infamous Mount Trashmore for some 90 degree sweatin'. I was super nervous to run/exercise in the heat. We did a slow run around the mountain (mount? pile of trash with grass on top?), got some water, and repeated for a total of about 2 miles. Then we hit the stairs! I had Joanna pass on the stair running and run uphill on the grass and walk down the stairs instead for the sake of her knees. After I ran the stairs long enough to get suicidal, we did a couple more hills, then hit the kid's playground for some pull ups and hanging leg raises. I'll admit I felt a little creepy exercising in the playground in just a sports bra. In total, we probably ran about 3 miles.
Today Billy and I hit the student rec center gym (love it!). Warmed up with a quick mile run on the track, then did weights for a good long while. Finished with some sprint/jog intervals back on the track (hurt so good). Oh, and I succumbed to Billy's plea and played racquetball with him. You know I love any exercise challenge, but this...let's just say this must be the worst sport ever invented. I hated it! I tried to be a good sport and try my best, tried to pretend it was just tennis, but I couldn't get over thinking that racquetball would make a great torture device. Sorry Billy!
How are you getting your sweat on this week?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Well I just realized it's been quite a few days since the race and I haven't updated the blog. That's what happens when it's finals time...graduation is sooo close.

The race was...great! Hard. Rewarding. I finished in 2:09, 8 minutes faster than the Shamrock. Here are some stats I got emailed to me afterwards:

Your time 2:09:22.99 gave you a 9:53 pace per mile.

Your 3M time was 29:09.62 for a pace of 9:43 per mile.

Your 6M time was 58:44.30 for a pace of 9:51 per mile.

Your 10M time was 1:38:13.99 for a pace of 9:52 per mile.

I was excited to realize I ran the whole distance under 10 minutes per mile! I can run a lot faster for shorter distances, but tend to hit 10 minute miles tops for long runs. It's interesting to see how my pace slowed slightly as I neared the end.

My day started with a 4:30 am wakeup call. Yikes! I had breakfast, got ready, and woke up Billy (he stayed at my parents) to drive me out to the Dismal Swamp. People, I never go to the Dismal Swamp. What a name! It took us about a half hour to get there (would have taken much longer if it hadn't been so horribly early on a Saturday morning).

We met up with my friend Brittany and one of her friends, and spotted some friends from church as well. I was getting pretty nervous before the start because I didn't know how my stomach would react to the long run...especially since my training had been going pretty rough. I am thankful to say that my stomach cooperated! I did, however, get a random side stitch that threatened to explode the whole run, but I did my best to ignore it.

Brittany and I ran at the same pace--I wanted to slow down at a couple of points, and even stopped to walk for a second when my side stitch burst open and hurt so bad at--get this--mile 12! One stupid mile from the end. She was a great motivator and wouldn't let me stop, which I was not too happy with at the time but am grateful for now that I look back!

I will say that I make it a point to pray during my runs. In this case, I really wanted to throw in the towel the last 3 miles. I told God that He can move mountains, and to please give me some of His strength, that I couldn't do it alone but could only finish with His help. This may sound dramatic to some, but it's really mentally and physically exhausting to know that you have no choice but to finish what you started, and you better find some way to figure out how to do it. It made me feel a heck of a lot better and stronger to know that I didn't have to do it on my own.

Other race mishaps include me grabbing a pack of carbohydrate gel around mile 10. I struggled to get the thing open and managed to get it to explode all over my hands. I ran the remaining 3.1 miles with sticky hands!

The course itself was really boring--it was a straight out-and-back course. Literally. We got 6 and a half miles out, turned around, and went back. Thrilling! Our scenery? Trees and dry field, with the occasional run-down barn shack. Nice. The "beware of bears--frequent sightings" signs definitely kept me on my toes!

Billy was waiting for me at the finish line, as was Tropical Smoothie. That sweet, sugary smoothie was the absolute best way to refuel! Yum.

Right before we took off:

Yeah...he beat us:

Taking off! Note: this is how the start of a race looks (and this was a very small race--under 900 compared to 20,000 at the Shamrock). You basically dodge other runners until you fall into your pace and they fall into theirs. It thins out after the first mile or so.

Finish line:

I had a glorious rest day on Sunday and did some gentle Hatha yoga, a 20 minute free download from My legs were DONE. Monday, I did an easy 2 mile run just to keep the running muscles fresh. I also did some incline powerwalking--not my fave. I'd rather climb stairs or run, but walking up a steep hill is b-o-r-i-n-g. Also did some core. I can finally hold side plank for 1 full minute at a time! I usually hold it on one side, then the other, and repeat for a total of 2 minutes each side. You WILL feel this the next day. I hold front plank, too, but that's not as challenging, so I usually add some extras like lifting up one foot at a time for about 10 seconds, alternating feet until I hit at least a minute. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Side plank example:

I can't stress it enough--start doing planks and you will never do another crunch or sit up again. Well, hopefully you stopped doing sit ups in middle school.

I'm already thinking hard about the Rock & Roll half in September...I figure I can take it easy with running this month, then pick my training back up in June--maybe some speed work to improve my time? Who's in with me?
PS: congrats to my girl Joanna aka j.liv for meeting a PDR (personal distance record) of 4 miles this week!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Much Needed Motivation

Motivation Tips from Complete Running:

Sign up for a race as soon as you feel up to it.

Find a committed running partner. It is much harder to skip a run when you have someone else depending on you.

Remember that you will have plateaus in your progress and tough days along the way.

It gets easier.

Accept and appreciate the fact that not every single run can be a good one.

Be prepared to remove the words “can’t” and “never” from your vocabulary.

Do not compare yourself to others. Run within yourself and for yourself first

Don’t expect every run to be better than the last one; some of them will hurt.

Don’t think too much about it or you won’t do it.

Even a bad run is better than no run at all.

If you normally run with music try skipping it and listening to your feet to hear your pace and your gait.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t experience weight loss immediately.

Start a running blog and read other running blogs regularly.

Running is not an excuse to triple your intake of doughnuts because runners gain weight too.
*I can fully attest to all of these tips in some way or another. One of my favorites is "even a bad run is better than no run at all." Lately, my runs have been hurtin' and I have to remind myself that at least I'm doing the dang thing. My motivation has definitely needed a pick me up lately as I've been seriously considering whether or not I'm officially insane for signing up for my 2nd half marathon within a few weeks of my 1st. Here are the stats:
  • Last Monday: 6.25 miles on the TM (some hills, some speed). This was my last decent run and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  • Last Thursday: 5.5 miles outside. This was just plain hard. I was recovering from a sinus infection...enough said.

  • Saturday I ran 10 miles outside at the oceanfront. Positives: it was beautiful out and Billy rode a bike alongside me, acting as my traveling aid station equipped with water, tissues, and Clif Shot Blocks. Negatives: it was just plain hard. I was slow and struggled with cramps (which I never get!). This run left me wondering what the heck I'm thinking with another half next week.

Aside from running, I've been doing well with incorporating crosstraining. Last week, I ran 3 days, crosstrained (weights & some alternative cardio) 3 days, and took 1 rest day. Hopefully I can continue this trend because it felt very well balanced. I honestly don't know how I'm going to perform this Saturday in the Dismal Swamp Stomp. I definitely don't think I'll PR; in fact I'll be surprised if I can run the whole thing without taking a couple of walk breaks. I'm hoping this weak streak will pass before then.

Wedding News:

April 4th was my bridal shower! I had an amazing time. My mom's good friend Amy hosted the shower, and my MOH Chelsea organized and ran it. I was so overly impressed with both of them and the work they put into it. The food was incredible, the games were fun, and the gifts were generous, to say the least. Most importantly, the company was wonderful.

My cousin Rachael (who is a bridesmaid) flew in from GA. She plays volleyball on scholarship for Kennesaw!

Enjoying ourselves (Joanna did too regardless of her deathly bored expression!)

I get to open these little letters on the wedding day, wedding night, honeymoon, and our 1st anniversary!

How cute is this cake?

I love these girls.

The story behind this one--the chocolate fountain lost its flow! That didn't stop us from eating it, of course.

I can't believe how much fun I had at my bridal shower. My only complaint is how fast it seemed to go by. I will definitely remember that day.
Billy and I worked hard on getting the invitations and the envelopes put together. I don't know if I mentioned, but my neighbor offered to print out the names and addresses on the outer and inner envelopes (she is a computer whiz and has all the software for that type of thing). This saved us a couple of hundred dollars that we would have spent on a calligrapher, or the time it would have taken me to address them by hand! I finally took the invitations to the post office today. Everyone in line and behind the counter could tell that I had my arms full with boxes of wedding invitations and gave me congratulations! I thought that was sweet. I can't believe today marks 2 months till the day!
I think I mentioned last post about my job announcement. Basically, I was offered a sort of promotion by my friend/ex-boss (she left our company a year ago to start her own physical therapy company!). She's actually more of a mentor to me and I really look up to her and admire her work ethic. I've actually been thinking about going to work for her ever since she left my current company, and I finally feel like God opened the right doors for this to happen. It is definitely a promotion, which will help out financially and also help out with my current job boredom (I feel overqualified and as if I've peaked with my current position). The sad part: I work with some amazing people. I'm going to miss my friends there! I put in my notice about a week ago.

I'll be back with a race re-cap (if I survive)!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Philipians 4:6-7. Read it.

Hi loves!

It's good to be back on the blog. Thanks for all the congrats on here and on facebook regarding the Shamrock. It feels like so long ago now!

I definitely took the day off from exercise after the race. I planned on 3 days off, but after the first day I was getting so antsy! I opted for some easy elliptical and upper body strength, as well as lots of stretching. Good stuff. I took 2 runs last week: a 5 miler on the indoor track at ODU (as well as a Body Pump class with Chels), and a 6.4 miler outside to take advantage of the beautiful Saturday weather. That 6.4 miler was totally unscheduled and impromptu. I literally ran out my front door and kept going, deciding I would turn around once I hit the end of Little Neck Road. I always plan out running routes and distances, so this was so freeing and made me feel super spontaneous.

This week, I've completed 3 runs so far, all outside: a 4 miler from ODU to North Shore Road, another 6.4 Little Neck route (same as last week's), and a 3 miler Larchmont loop. Sounds simple enough, but these past 2 runs have flat out sucked. I didn't give myself enough time to digest after an apple with PB before the 6.4 miler, which equaled that apple with PB nearly coming up to say hello the entire time. Then today, I thought 3 miles would be a piece of cake, but I huffed and puffed my way through it. Oh well, better luck next time! I'm shooting for a 10 miler this Sunday. I want to get in one long run before I start my taper for the Dismal Swamp Stomp on April 18th!

In non-running news:

Graduation is in a month! Insert dance here. As much as I can't wait to say sayanara to my undergraduate career, I really will miss seeing the faces of all the friends I've made. I have really enjoyed college and learned so much in all apects of life.

My wedding shower is this Saturday! I am beyond stoked. I get to hang out with all (or most) of the ladies in my life! I'll definitely post pictures.

Yesterday (April Fool's) marked Billy's and my one year engageaversary! Yep, we got engaged exactly one year ago yesterday. Man, that went fast.

Did you play any April Food's jokes this year? I didn't...I'm boring, I know. I actually had a fairly decent one planned out (I was going to call my mom and tell her I spilled coffee all over all the wedding invitations) but I never got around to it.

I'll also post later with some very exciting, although bittersweet, news in my life regarding my work. God has once again shown me how silly it is to worry and be anxious about things, when His plan is so much greater. I pray I find joy, contentment, and fulfillment in Him through the hard, trying times and not just the new, exciting times.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Half-Marathon Recap

We did it! We are officially half-marathoners. I can't believe it...we signed up for this race back in September I believe, and have trained our booties off since then for this race. I totaled up my mileage from when my training officially began in November and realized I've run nearly 300 miles in preparation for this race! I'm so thankful the Lord has seen us through without any injuries. There were times when all I wanted to do was throw in the towel, because let's face it, it's a lot easier to quit than to push through the discomfort. Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." It is only because He has created our bodies so unique and beautifully that we are able to do things like run for 13 miles straight.

Race details:

The party started yesterday, when I forced bottle after bottle of water down Billy's and my throats. I was so full of water I hardly had room to eat the spaghetti dinner we had at our friends David and Rachael's house along with our Pastor Kevin, who was also a first time runner. We attended a "carbo load" party, complete with spaghetti, garlic bread, and my own maple sweet potatoes. I told Billy it was pretty funny that people are always talking about cutting out carbs and going on low-carb diets, and there we were headed to a carb fest!

After dinner, I got in bed by 10:15 but wasn't able to fall asleep until close to 10:45 due to nerves and excitement. My alarm went off at an hour that should never be seen by anyone on a clock: 4:20. I anticipated hitting the snooze button a million times, but rather shot out of bed and made a breakfast of a small bagel with PB and a banana on top, as well as a cup of coffee. Around 5 I woke Billy up (he stayed in our guest room due to the early morning), and we were out the door before 6. It took us a good half hour before we parked--traffic was already piling up and roads were closing. The race was due to start at 7, so we lined up by the bathrooms to go one last time along with everyone else in the world. As I was opening the door of my port-a-potty to come out, I see a girl, about my age, run full speed smack into my opened door. She had been running (either to warm up or just to get to the start of the race) right in front of the line of port-a-potties, and my door happened to open just as she happened to be sprinting by. I was in absolute shock as I watched her fall to the ground off the curb. I just stood there with my hands over my mouth, feeling so confused and so horrible. The girl started sobbing crying, which made me feel better because at least she wasn't knocked out, and her mom or whoever was with her rushed her off to the medics. I tried to talk to the girl or her mom, trying to apologize or be of some help, but they completely ignored me (not that I blamed them; the girl's head was a little more important here) and walked off. I should mention that as they were walking off, they still walked in front of the line of port-a-potties and the girl almost walked into another opening door and had to dodge out of the way. Had she been running, she would have for sure hit it again. Lesson learned: be mindful of any opening doors, whether it be a port-a-potty, a car, or what have you. Billy came out to find me crying and really upset, but honestly there was nothing we could do. I can't feel guilty because it wasn't my fault; it's unfortunate that she got hurt and I pray to God she's okay.

After that rocky start, we finally started our run. Man was it crowded! It took us a good 10 minutes almost to get across the start line, and then from there to weave around people until we found a good pace. The pace we held was comfortably hard. Miles 1 through 7 flew by and I have no recollection of any of my thoughts, other than I can't believe we're doing this and I can't believe it actually feels pretty darn easy! Unfortunately, around miles 7 to 9, Billy was plagued with a horrible cramp that wouldn't subside. I know he was really frustrated and did not want to stop, but he was in pain and I made us pull off to the side for a while to walk and for him to stretch it out. We really slowed our pace for those 2 miles, and they were not very fun. I couldn't enjoy the run knowing that he was hurting. He started feeling a little better around mile 9, so we picked it up to a moderate pace for miles 9 through 12, stopping at a few Gatorade stops (God bless em, the Gatorade was like cups of heaven). It was so great to have the entire run lined with people cheering us on. Around mile 9 to the end I spotted my dear friend and ex-boss Jennifer on her bike; she's a runner but decided to not run this year in order to cheer on her friends! She cheered like crazy and took tons of pics; hopefully she'll send them to me and I can post them here. Towards the end of the race, around mile 12, I told Billy I was going to just take off and see what happened. I sprinted so hard that I swear I've never put so much physical or mental effort into anything till I hit the end. My body felt numb; my lungs were burning; I was grunting and huffing and puffing and crying out of happiness, pain, and sheer overwhelment (is that even a word?). Nothing felt better than crossing the finish line! I quickly turned around and scanned the crowds for my friends and Billy, who crossed the line a mere 2 minutes after me, cramp and everything. After reuniting, we tried to get into the crowds to look for our friends, but were shuffled off to the massive heated tent on the beach, where we got a quick snack and then had to walk a few blocks down the beach till we were allowed to exit onto the boardwalk. We searched up and down, but couldn't find any of our friends! After a while we decided to give up and head home; I found out later that all our friends were in the same spots we had been, looking for us. I'm so super bummed we missed each other, but want to thank all of my lovely friends for taking the time out and waking up early on a weekend to come cheer us on. It means more than I can say!

My official end time was 2:17:46, and Billy's was 2:19:47. Currently, it hurts to move at all. I definitely strained a little something in my right achilles tendon, and my left anterior tib feels wrongly sore. Yikes! We immediately hopped in the hot tub, then I napped for a good long while. Oh, and been slowly eating throughout the day to make up for the over 1,300 calorie deficit.

What's next:

I plan on resting until my body feels back to normal. I hope to get back into yoga like I was a few weeks ago; I could use a good stretch. Then, it's back to training for my next half on April 18th! I can hardly wait:)

Thank you to everyone for your support, prayers, and encouragement. We love you!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One Week! week till the Shamrock Half! Time sure flew by quick.

I'm actually a little bittersweet about the race...I feel ready to take it on comfortably and successfully, and while I will enjoy getting back into a more "normal" exercise routine (strength training!), I am going to miss my scheduled runs. Yes, they took up so much time and energy, but they provided great satisfaction. I am thankful that the Lord has seen us through our training without any major injuries and I pray everyone running next weekend makes good decisions and listens to their bodies.
This week's running was strange. As it was spring break, and I spent 3 glorious days of it in D.C. with two fine ladies (shoutouts to Joanna and Liss!), I plain didn't have time to squeeze in all of my runs, and I missed out on a 4 miler.
Right before we hopped in the car to leave for D.C. after I got off of work on Tuesday, I raced to the gym and raced through 3 miles in 26:23. I'm pretty sure that was a PR, but let's call it a treadmill PR since I doubt I could have gone that fast outside!
I took Wednesday off, as I was busy with this:

Tian Tian--bump on a log.



Thursday morning, I woke up bright and early, saw Joanna was awake too, and we decided to hit the hotel gym (which was insanely nice with TVs on all the treadmills and a refrigerator with cold towels!). I ran 3 miles pretty fast, but boy was it painful. I felt about ready to throw up after the run...I should have known better than to run hard on an empty stomach (your stomach juices slosh around and make you nauseous).
Friday: off. Saturday: 6 miles on the TM next to the love of my life done in 59 minutes. I took it slow and steady; my stomach decided to cramp up every time I tried to increase the speed (I got bored going so slow for so long!), but it ended up being a very enjoyable run.
As you can see, this week was really scaled down. It was more of a "taper" week to prepare us for the mighty distance. This coming week is going to be even easier! I feel like I'm cheating somehow by running so little...I'm almost itching for more, but I know better.
I've pretty much decided to sign up for the Dismal Swamp Stomp half on April 18th. I recruited a friend/fellow runner to do it with me!
I have exciting news: Billy and I have found a perfect apartment to call home after the wedding! We get to start moving in/decorating mid-May. While the complex is a tad on the expensive side for us, we are getting a "promotional deal" that will reduce rent significantly. We will be able to enjoy a new, clean unit with unique lighting (my favorite part), a washer/dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, and a balcony. All those little extras are luxuries that we never believed we'd be able to afford having our first year of marriage. The complex is walking distance to Town Center (which, Lord willing, is where Billy will be getting hired to work), has a parking garage, a gym (!), and a rooftop pool/hot tub area. I am still in shock as this all happened extremely fast (we drove by, walked in the leasing office, toured the place, and came back an hour later with my parents), but I could not ask for a better fit for us. This opportunity is 100% a God-thing! While I am known to make hasty decisions from time to time, Billy usually doesn't. We just both felt a peace about it and decided to take the plunge. Actually, as we were filling the paperwork out, 2 other couples walked in, one after the other, inquiring about one-bedrooms (we got the last one available! Had we waited, it would most likely have been swept out from under our feet).