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.