Monday, September 29, 2014

Marathon Monday - Taper Time

This weekend was the beginning of the end of marathon training. I can't believe it!!! I ran my second 20-miler on Saturday morning. It was beautiful weather, unlike my first 20 where it rained for the first few miles!

I met up with some friends who had 10 miles to run, so I could have some company for the first half of my run. I ran 10 with them, stopped at my car to refill water, and headed out to do the 10-mile route again! Along the way, my friends Jeremy and Steph both did drive by cheers for me (and Jeremy shared some much needed Gatorade) - so that was a nice encouragement! I also came back to a few signs on my car - so fun!

After an ice bath, some yoga, and a massage - I recovered nicely! 

And now...

What is taper anyway? It's basically a tapering of my mileage the 2-3 weeks before the race. This allows my body to rebuild and refuel so that it's rested and ready to conquer 26.2! I'll do a 12-mile long run this weekend and 8-mile run the weekend before the marathon. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five on Friday

1. Tomorrow I tackle my second 20-miler in marathon training. And then -- TAPER! I can't believe it's actually almost here. I'm not really nervous for this one at all. I've done it once, so it's not as big of an obstacle this time. I'm really just looking forward to it being done! Marathon training has actually been great -- and I definitely see another marathon in my future. However, I am ready to shift my focus to something else!

2. I've been running most of my marathon miles in Mizuno Wave Rider 17s. I scored them on Zulily for $67. Wave Riders were my first pair of "real" running shoes, but I had been a Brooks devotee after that. However, my feet have been so very, very happy in my Wave Riders!! There was a semi-painful blister/callus forming on the side of my foot that has actually gone away. I never thought my feet would IMPROVE during marathon training!  I have a pair of Wave Sayanoras to test out too, but I'm saving them.

3. I'm excited that Fall is here for a few reasons. I'm excited because I can wear leggings and boots and scarfs again. Also because I can make good soups and stews and hot food that I love. And there's lots of fun activities in fall! (Did anyone else just think Stepbrothers "So much room for activities"?!)

4. I know some of you are inquiring minds and have seen on my Instagram or on the blog the more regular appearance of photos involving myself and a certain blonde fella. And yes, he's my boyfriend. I feel 14-years-old when I say that word for some reason. I feel like there needs to be a more adult term for this - haha!! That's about all the info I'm giving you for now, maybe someday I'll share more!

5. Did you enter my Local Love giveaway? You should! I am sad that my jar of Pumpkin Pie nutbutter is empty. But - the fabulous folks at BSNB have just introduced a new product that I'm super excited to try -- Thai Peanut Sauce!! I'll share my thoughts on it, don't worry!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pumpkin ALL THE THINGS! {a giveaway}

It's fall...and that means....

Now let me be clear...not all things should be pumpkin spiced. M&Ms, for example...and Hershey Kisses..and Greek yogurt...and some coffee. Bleh. Ok, I'm a little picky about my pumpkin flavors.

The reason is --- I don't like pumpkin pie.

I know. It's practically un-American.

It's a texture thing really.

I do, however, like a lot of pumpkin spiced things.

Like....this nut butter.  From (who else), Blind Spot.

Fellow Nutbutter Addict, Laura, called Sheri (half of the BSNB owner duo) a "nut butter wizard" and I have to say, this is an accurate description. This flavor is fantastic! It's the perfect mix of nut butter and fall spices. I've been enjoying it every morning on a slice of wheat toast topped with an egg. I know, that sounds weird - but it's delicious!

And because BSNB is awesome -- they want to share some of this Pumpkin Pie yumminess with you guys! BSNB is creating these "Local Love" baskets filled with goodies from around Southern PA. This basket contains products from BSNB, Simply Ghee, Nuts About Granola, and RelishThis !

One of you all will win by entering below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 22, 2014

Remix Race Weekend

This past weekend, some friends and I packed up and headed to Philadelphia for the Rock 'n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. Everyone else had run this race before, but it was my first time. We spent Friday night laughing, eating cheese steaks, and hanging out on South Street.

Saturday morning arrived a little too early (as clearly evidenced in this photo) and Mark and I headed to the start line of the 1st ever Rock 'n Roll Philadelphia 5k! RnR is doing the "Remix Challenge" at several races this year, where you can run a shorter race one day and the longer race the other day. This earns you an extra "Remix Challenge" medal! The 5k was a great, flat course. It was an out and back along the river, so we got to see the fast leaders coming back!

Saturday after race was mostly spent relaxing and eating! Sunday morning we woke up bright and early again to get ourselves ready for the big event! Steph and I planned sparkle skirt outfits! It was fun to get ready for a race without a time goal. We just wanted to run the race (technically, it was a cut back weekend for me in marathon training between 2 weekends of 20 mile long runs!) and have fun.

We lined up in our corral...and we were least we hoped! Haha! (Mark was well ahead of us in speedy corral 1!)


By far, my favorite moment on the course was at about mile 2 for us, when the lead packs passed back by us. The arrow in this picture is pointing to my favorite female runner - Kara Goucher. It was very cool seeing her and Deena Kastor (America's fastest female marathoner) run by!!

The race course runs about 5ish miles through the city, then heads out along "Boathouse Row", across this bridge just before mile 9, and then back up the river to the finish. I was not feeling great most of this race, but the part in the city was the worst. It was SUPER humid - you can see in some of my city pictures that the buildings were obscured by heavy fog - and in the city there was just no air. I kept feeling like I had a fever, and was sweating even more than I normally do.


 (This face is a fairly accurate depiction of how I felt most of the first part of the race. Clearly, I didn't spot the photographer in time)

See all that fog?? You can't even see the tops of the buildings! And this is coming up the last mile!

We finished in my 2nd slowest half-marathon time (2:24), and the finish chute was so crowded I nearly had a panic attack. I bee lined for the exit as fast as I could! After we finished, we enjoyed a much needed beverage and watched the awards ceremony.
Mark and I sporting our half marathon medals and Remix Challenge medals.

The weekend of medals!

One of my other favorite moments of the race day was the awards ceremony. Deena Kastor is 41 and currently holds the female American record for the fastest marathon. At the half, she came in 3rd for females and along the way broke 4 world records! She races in the "Masters" category (over age 40), and she broke Masters world records for 15K, 10 miles, 20K, and half-marathon. The cool thing was, she only knew for sure she'd broken the half-marathon record -- so as they were announcing all of the other records, we got to witness her reaction! She was so genuine and humble and surprised, it was awesome and inspiring!  

It was very cool to be a part of a race that held Kara Goucher's return to racing and Deena's record breaking performance! What a great weekend!!

(Deena's finish!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review: "Onward!"

I recently finished Onward: The absolute, no B.S., raw, ridiculous, soul-stirring TRUTH about training for your FIRST MARATHON by Brook Kreder. (Check out more info HERE!)

I couldn't have picked a better book to be reading during marathon training. The title is completely accurate. Brook doesn't pull any punches or sugar coat her journey.

If you are a runner, especially a female runner - you will appreciate this book! It was perfect motivation for my training, especially as I approached high mileage runs. I highlighted and snapped pics of so many moments in the book that I identified with.

"Run when you want to. Run when you don't. Run when you're sad. Run when you're pissed. Run when you're feeling hella good. It's all part of showing up and proving to yourself you can and will do this...regardless of the circumstances."

The book is an edited compilation of the blog Brook kept during her training cycle, starting at Day 1. She's sarcastic, honest, inspiring, and funny. It might sound weird, but there were times during my long runs that I was thinking of things I had read in the book the night before and it felt like I had a virtual running buddy. To read about someone else's experience doing the same thing you're currently doing - it's a great encouragement.

So, if you're a female runner looking for a little smart ass inspiration, this one is for you. Download it today!

Follow Brook on Facebook too!

(Just for the record - no one asked me to do this review or gave me free stuff for doing it. I just liked the book and thought you might too!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

20 Miles

This weekend, I ran my longest training run to date - TWENTY MILES!

I ran all 20 of these miles by myself, but I did have plenty of inspiration on the way! Instead of a pace band, I took an idea from Kristin Armstrong (author of Mile Markers, one of my favorite running books). She and some of her running friends make "prayer bands". Instead of listing a split time with each mile, they list a person to pray for each mile.

So, the night before I ran, I made mine. It was an awesome tool, and I'll definitely be doing it again for my next 20-miler (one more in the training plan!) and for my marathon. Each mile was a person, or group of people, that I prayed for and thought about. When I started getting tired, I thought "What would _______ say to me if they were here?" and it was a huge help!

Another little piece of inspiration was this pic that my BFF tagged me in on Instagram. I can't tell you how many times this image flashed in my mind while I was running!

And yet another source of inspiration for me was thinking about how far I've come on this journey. Almost 2 years ago, exactly, took the picture on the left - celebrating the first time I'd ever run 3 miles consecutively. I honestly teared up 3 different times during my 20 miles just thinking how grateful I am that God has given me the strength to get this far and do this much. (I also nearly hyperventilated with tears at mile 16 - which was the mile for my mom and dad...adrenaline, exhaustion, and endorphins do nothing to help me control my emotions haha!)

The final source of inspiration that was much less meaningful, but oh so important, was the thought of post-run brunch. And no - this is not all my food. The plate in the front is mine, the 2 plates behind it belonged to Mark - who also did his first 20-miler this weekend. And, might I add, the guy did it 1 hour faster than me at an average pace of 8:08 per mile - he's awesome. (mine was 11:08)

Today (it's Sunday when I'm typing this), my legs feel surprisingly good. I have even gone up and down the stairs a bunch of times with no pain. They're actually not sore at all so far today - hooray! (Let's hope that doesn't mean I wake up Monday morning with sore legs!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Training Update and a Wedding!

Sooooooooo how did I get to week 12 of marathon training already? And are there really only 36 days until I actually run this thing?!

A part of me is at the point where I'm ready to just get the race over with. I've been training for 3 months now, and combining that with the longest months of the year (aka - the first few weeks of school), it feels like I've been training forever.

I kinda didn't believe people when they said marathon training consumes your life. I should've believed them. It really does. Even if it's not the actual running, it's thinking about running - mapping long runs, planning runs, buying fuel for runs, washing laundry so my favorite long run pants are clean. Man oh man!!!!

After my super rough 17 miler a few weeks ago, I was ready to tackle my 18 the next week and make it a great run. By the way, thank you for the many, many kind and encouraging words and comments on that blog! I can't tell you how many times I thought about your comments and it kept me going on my 18 miler!

My 18 mile run had to be done on a Friday afternoon because that weekend there was a big event! One of my best friends got married!!! (more on that below) Luckily, we had teacher inservice that Friday so I was able to drink lots of water and sit most of the day so my legs would be rested. I planned an 18 mile route from my school. It contained some Rail Trail, and beautiful country roads. I planned it so that I would hit a water fountain and bathroom (at Brillhart Station, for my local friends) at the halfway point.

I, unfortunately, didn't look too closely at the elevation of this run. And thus spent miles 14.5-16.5 climbing. I walked when I needed to, and just enjoyed the beautiful surroundings! I felt great and being able to complete 18 miles on a Friday afternoon after the 2nd week of school gave me confidence that I'll be able to conquer 26.2 on fresh legs!


Now for the wedding. Let me tell you - my girl is beautiful, and I mean that both inside and out. I had the privilege of standing beside her as a bridesmaid. The wedding was at Lakeview Farms in Dover, PA. It's a beautiful setting! Bethany and Seth got married outside with the lake behind them and trees overhead. The reception took place in the barn on site. Bethany did an amazing job planning the reception with a rustic, shabby chic - but with a touch of glam - kind of feeling. It was a gorgeous day and so much fun!

Once the photographer (who was our fabulous friend Jessica Velarde) shares the photos with the newlyweds, I'll post more because they are going to be awesome!!! Jess was so much fun to work with and has this really unique eye for capturing moments. I can't wait to see all of her pictures from the day!

Here's a few photos from the day courtesy of my iPhone!