Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

I was very tempted to use my recent weak workouts as an excuse not to run today.  I sent my hubby out on a bike ride and intended to stay curled up on the couch, claiming I needed more rest.  After about 5 minutes of reading race recaps on my favorite local healthy living blog, Peanut Butter Runner, however, I was ready to get out there and give it whatever I had.  I stepped outside briefly to get a feel for the weather and then put on shorts and a tank.  I'm so glad I went for this run!  The sunshine and warm temps felt wonderful and although I was still plagued by lightheadedness after a short time, I finished with some really great speeds!

1 mile - 9:55 (9:52 average pace)
.25 mile - 4:17 (walk break)
.5 mile - 4:50 (9:36 average pace)
.05 mile - 1:03 (walk break - I thought I was done after this and sat on the front porch for a couple of minutes soaking up more sunshine, but then I decided there was no reason I could bang out a final .2 so that I could finish at 2 miles)
.2 mile - 1:41 (9:03 average pace)

It was a nice final run for 2011, even though I wish I was out there doing my 9.5 mile long run that's on the schedule for this weekend!  I still haven't managed to get in the 8 mile run that was scheduled for 2 weeks ago, so 2012 will definitely be loaded with some back-to-back long run weekends to get ready for the half!

Tomorrow I plan on writing a post about goals, hopes, and dreams for 2012 so I thought today I would recap a little of what has gone on in 2011...

I've bounced around a lot this year, trying out 3 different jobs.  I started off doing about 8 weeks straight of document review, which I tend to enjoy but got really tired of in March.  My mom had been begging me to come work as a contractor with her in the real estate department of a local supermarket chain's corporate headquarters, so I decided to give that a try from March to July.  It was fine, but I felt the company really took advantage of me.  They paid me next to nothing, I was constantly told about rumors about how I was going to be hired permanently and was being considered for a job in the legal department, only to be rejected less than 24 hours after sending in an application.  I called it quits there and decided to try working in my husband's law office.  This was nice as I had an extremely flexible schedule, but my husband and I just weren't meant to work together and that's okay with me.  In September I headed back to document review and that's where I've been since.  It's still only a contract job, but I enjoy the work and I've made several friends there so it makes it much more enjoyable.  It also pays pretty well!  I still don't have any sort of game plan for an actual career that I'll be happy pursuing for years to come, but it's in the works.

During the first half of the year, I put on a significant amount of weight and floundered around with P90X and Insanity, completing about 2 weeks of each program before giving up and doing nothing for several more weeks.  During the summer, when I became too fat to wear any of my clothes, I reached my breaking point.  I made a conscious decision to start running and be patient with it, and in September I signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I've made huge progress from the beginning, when running for 90 seconds/walking for 120 seconds for 30 minutes was a challenge.  My longest run to date has been 8 miles, and I can now run a sub-10:00 mile!  My fastest 5K time has been 33:00!  I haven't lost a ton of weight yet, only about 7 pounds, but the difference in how my body feels and how I fit in my clothes is apparent.  Still a long way to go, but I'm so proud of how much I've done already!

The year has been pretty stable as far as my personal life.  My husband and I have a very happy marriage, we've stayed best friends, and still really enjoy spending time together after a year and a half of marriage and 5 and a half years of being together.  We did complete several things on the (very long) list of home improvements we need.  We fixed our pool, which had been a big hole with ripped liner and nasty green water for the past year, we had our bathroom completely retiled and a new shower put in, we replaced an air conditioner that had broken in fall of 2010, we furnished our dining room, and we got a baby grand piano!  We also went on our dream vacation to Maui, which was beyond incredible, and did a lot more traveling here on the mainland to Asheville, Charleston, New York, Savannah, and Myrtle Beach.  The only real bump in the road has been recently with our unexpected pregnancy and the heartbreaking loss a week later.  It's really thrown us for a loop but now we're both excited about moving on to a new year and our decision to start trying for a baby now!  Already the idea that we're trying to bring a new little person into our home has motivated me to tackle several home projects, including cleaning out and reorganizing our pantry!

{luau in Hawaii}

{traveling the road to Hana}

{Jackson Square in New Orleans}

{Top of the Rock in NYC}

Despite the hardships of this last week, it has been a truly wonderful year and I'm so thankful for all of my blessings.  I hope to make 2012 even better!  Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011


I have been MIA lately, and that's because I haven't been running.  My last official training run was Monday, December 19.  Later that night after running, I found out I was pregnant.  Four days later, I found out that my hormone levels were severely low and that my pregnancy would end soon if they didn't drastically increase.  After a difficult and tearful Christmas, I found out on Tuesday that my levels didn't increase at all, and on Wednesday I miscarried.  I'm thankful that if this baby wasn't going to make it that it happened early and I required no medical intervention, but it's still been heartbreaking.

Needless to say, this has taken an emotional and physical toll on me.  After the first doctor's appointment, I was so upset I couldn't find the energy to exercise for several days.  On Tuesday I felt better and went to the Y with my husband so I could start trying to recover some normalcy.  I did a 10-minute running segment at 5.5mph and I think I covered about 10 more minutes over the rest of the workout.  I kept having to stop and walk because of lightheadedness.  I didn't look at my total distance for that workout, but I know I spent about 45 minutes on the treadmill (mostly walking).

Yesterday I really wanted to run and wanted to get my training back on track, so I went to the Y again.  This time I completed a 15-minute running segment at 5.5mph, but was only able to run about a minute longer after the walk break.  I had the same lightheaded feeling which I'm guessing is connected to the fact that the miscarriage is still in progress.  I walked for the last 15 minutes and ended up completing 2.25 miles.  I tried to ride the bike some, but I still didn't feel quite right so I stopped after 5 minutes.  I don't want to overdo it and I'm really hoping to be back in the game by the end of the weekend!

As a bright light through all of this darkness I've been living through, my husband gave me a really wonderful Christmas present.  The plan for my 1/2 marathon all along has been that I would go to Orlando with my mom because my husband couldn't get off work, and I would run the race while she cheered me on.  My gift on Christmas morning was finding out that my husband bought himself a plane ticket and hotel room to come down to Orlando the day before the race and leave that night after the race, and that he will be running the race with me!  I am so, so excited!  It will be so wonderful to do this together!

I have been wanting a change in scenery for my runs lately.  The idea of running through our neighborhood in the dark and the cold just hasn't excited me the last couple of weeks.  I really just want some sunshine and maybe some natural areas (with nice paved paths) to run through!  I think we might try out something different over the weekend.  I'm hoping I'll be up for a longer run!

While this pregnancy was unplanned and a big surprise for us, my husband and I were really excited about having a baby after the idea settled on us.  The loss, though early, was devastating.  We've decided to significantly change our plans and go ahead and start trying to get pregnant, because it's hard to imagine not having a baby now.  So we'll see what happens, but I'm hoping that soon this blog will be about running for two!

Monday, December 12, 2011

101.44, baby!!

That's right...I have run more than 100 miles since getting Toby!  And there are a few runs that I did before Toby came along, and on the treadmill since I've had Toby.  It's great to see the number there in my stats, though!  It feels like such a big accomplishment.

I'm thankful I have that accomplishment to make me feel better about the crappy runs I've been having lately!  My old shin and ankle pains have come back and have been torturing my short runs.  Ever since the awesome 3.28 miles in 34 minutes I have been struggling.  I think the problem is that I stopped icing after every run because I thought I was better.  I'm icing as I write this and I hope that will make a difference on my next run.

Tonight I covered 3.15 miles in 35 minutes.  Not horrible, but not where I'd like to be at this point.  My ankles were aching almost from the beginning, but I managed to do 12 minutes before stopping for a 3 minute walk break to start out.  Then I pushed through another 13 minutes of running, 2 minute walk break, and ended with 5 minutes of running.

I really, really hate these leg pains.  I haven't had them in so long I'd forgotten how discouraging they were and how they could ruin what would otherwise be a really pleasant, fun run.  Tomorrow I'm going to hot yoga so that should get me nice and stretched out, and hopefully these ice packs will do the trick as well!

I ran to my parents' house again tonight and this time they were home, so I didn't have to run back :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Approaching 100

I've got 2 runs to sum up in this post...well, maybe 2 and a half.  My goal this week was to run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday--all short runs.  Monday was my fast, fantastic run!  On Wednesday the hubby and I set out despite some pretty chilly temps and some pretty fat rain drops.  I was all set to be hard core and run in the rain, but my feet started getting wet and the rain drops were splattering me in the face and making visibility pretty low (it was also dark).  So after 10:08 and .98 miles, I steered us back inside the house.  Hubby was very grateful.  I was disappointed, but no sense running with cold, wet feet!

I decided to make up for Wednesday's short-lived run by running on Thursday.  I set out alone planning to run 3 miles.  After the first two, my legs were cramping pretty badly and I considered throwing in the towel.  I turned off Toby and came in the house, but I did a few stretches and felt better so I decided to finish it up!  I headed it back out and randomly decided to run to my parents' house.  I've considered doing it several times as they live less than a mile away in the neighborhood right next to ours, but just hadn't done it yet.  Of course the first time I decide to surprise them, they aren't home!  I finished up my 30 minutes right at their driveway and went inside to say hello to the puppies.  Now at this point, I didn't really want to run anymore and had intended that my parents would drive them home.  I considered calling my husband to see if he was leaving work soon and would pick me up, but then I remembered my parents don't have a landline anymore!  I sat there for a few minutes, debated waiting on them, and then decided I'd just run back home.  It actually turned out really well because the last leg of the run went great and I finished at 4 miles in 43:15 (not including the breaks I took inside)!

This afternoon was time for a 3 mile run, which I considered making a 4-miler because I was pumped from Thursday night, but my legs were so tired today and I just didn't have it in me!  I actually fell a little short of my goal of running for 3 total miles, not including my walk breaks, and finished up at 3.1 in 34:37.  I did some yoga this evening to help stretch out my legs...I definitely need to get back into my 2 class per week routine!

On two of the runs this week I got to try out my FABULOUS new lululemon gear!  On the rainy run that wasn't meant to be I wore my Run: Essential Jacket.  It was really comfortable!  So soft and light I didn't feel like I was wearing anything, but it definitely helped protect my body from all the raindrops!  I also L-O-V-E the thumbholes!  They are absolutely my favorite thing about lulu clothes and I wish all my long-sleeved tops had them!

On my 4-miler I wore my Run: For It Tights and Run: For It Pullover.  I wish I could wear these all the time!  I got both in black so I look like a running ninja!  They are lined with tech-fleece, which is so soft and so cozy.  As soon as I pulled on the tights I felt warm.  The rise on the tights was perfect--they didn't slip or side a single time during my run!  And the pullover...oh, the pullover!  Be still my heart.  It's so flattering...I adore the asymmetrical half-zip and the cuffins kept my hands nice and toasty until I got warmed up!  I really have no negatives about either item.  I want it to keep getting cold so I can keep wearing them on every run!  Although as it gets colder I'm gonna have to wear a tank under the pullover.  I did wish I had a little more warmth in my core by the end of the run.

All in all, a very good week!  I might go for a little run tomorrow as well because I'm less than 3 miles away from hitting 100 miles on Toby!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I used to watch several TV shows religiously.  My DVR was always packed!  I had at least 8 shows set to record every week, and none of them were shorter than an hour.  I've had to give up a lot of that TV watching since I graduated from school but I really don't mind that much.  Right now, though, I'm watching one of my favorite shows--The Biggest Loser!  I used to watch it every week when I was in school, but now I catch it when I can.  I made absolutely sure to be around for tonight's episode because it's the marathon episode!  The race just started and all the contestants look so amazing!  The funny thing is...I'm actually feeling jealous of them!  I'm so excited for my race and can't wait for it to get here!

I went for a short run yesterday after work and decided to consciously try to go faster.  I ended up running up every wicked hill in our neighborhood and did three 10-minute running segments with 2-minute walk breaks in between.  I hit the 3 mile mark at 32:00 and 3.1 at 32:33!  I was so excited!  My legs were really tired (but I'm sure that had a little to do with the 8 miles I covered on Saturday and all the hills I did during the short run), but I wasn't struggling with the speed.  After I uploaded my stats from Toby I saw that I averaged a 10:21 pace!  It just felt EXCELLENT to know that I could run that fast at this point and that I'm only going to get better!  The long runs have been hard but not unbearable and the half marathon is feeling so doable at this point!  My 2:30 goal even feels pretty close!

With all the accomplishments I've made in my running recently, it's really bringing a lot of joy to my life!  I feel so happy and strong after a run, I actually want to eat healthier, I feel better in my clothes and I'm able to fit into things I couldn't wear a few months ago.  I'm so glad I made the decision to make running a part of my life and I can't wait to just keep pushing myself and making myself a better and healthier person.

My sweet husband who spoils me oh-so-much got me another early Christmas gift.  He took me to lululemon and let me pick out whatever I wanted to get outfitted for cold weather running!  I got some super cute stuff and I can't wait to post about it after I've gotten to try it out (it's been in the 60s every day here lately so a little too warm for my new toasty duds).

I'm keeping up with my yoga as well and feeling more flexible and more connected with my breath at every class.  I am thisclose to achieving a full headstand, I just need to get a little stronger in my core!  I've been doing little snippets of yoga at home as well, mostly some easy hip openers because I've got really tight hips and they need all the work they can get.

I'm in such a happy place right now! :) The Biggest Loser already has me crying and feeling all sappy and emotional about how far those people have come and how strong they are, but I'm also a little teary thinking about what I've accomplished as well.  Another quick short run coming up tomorrow...maybe I can beat my time from yesterday!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sunny run

Today's run was nice because it was my first run in the sun in awhile!  My weekday runs have been in the dark lately because I always run after work.  But the sunshine sure felt great today and gave me the extra boost I needed to make it through 7 miles of running, 8 miles total!

I was trying hard to make sure I ran slow when we started out (hubby went with me - yay!), but I ended up throwing myself off.  I was running all wonky and ended up feeling more tired after the first 3.5 miles than I did after the 3.25 mile run at the 10:30 pace earlier this week.  During the second half I allowed myself to pick up the pace a little bit and just run where it felt comfortable, with the result that I didn't have any shin pain and felt better on the whole.

At the halfway point we stopped at the house for a water break and to fuel up.  Today I tried Clif ShotBloks, strawberry flavor, and I really liked them!  I felt like they really did give me a tiny burst of energy, they tasted great, and they didn't leave my mouth feeling salty like the gel did.  I will definitely be trying these again!

I felt like the ideal plan for this run would be to do four 1.75 mile segments, with the usual .25 mile walk breaks in between.  However, I was prepared to have to split it into five segments rather than four, if I was feeling tired.  I started off feeling very strong, though, and we ended up running 2 miles before the first walk break, followed by a 1.5 mile running segment and then our halfway break.  I was feeling so bad after the first half I really thought we'd be splitting the last half into 1.25-1.25-1 segments.  But changing up my pace and attitude really helped and we made it to 1.75-1-.75!  I would have loved to just do two segments in the last half instead of three, but after that 1 mile my legs were feeling dead so I knew I'd have to have a break!  I'm okay with it though because it put us at a nice even 8 miles total!  We finished in 1:35:13 with an average pace of 11:53...which I think is AWESOME!!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Back in the game!

I haven't posted in awhile, but I have been running!  On Sunday my husband and I managed to make it out for the 6 mile run!  I was tired, and feeling really beat by the end, but we did it and it felt great.  The goal was four 1.5 mile segments, but I was really dragging at the end so we split the last segment in half at .75 miles.  That put us at four .25 mile walk breaks for 1 mile total of walking.  We ended up at 7 miles in 1:27:12 with an average pace of 12:27.  I would liked to have gone a little faster but I just wasn't up for it. I was still getting over the tail end of my wicked cold!

I also tried a gel for the first time on the 6 mile run--PowerBar chocolate flavored.  It was a lot tastier than I expected!  It actually tasted a lot like liquified Nutz Over Chocolate Luna Bars, which I love!  I didn't notice that it gave me a huge energy boost, but maybe I would have really been dying if I hadn't had the gel halfway through the run.  The one thing I didn't like was that it tasted a bit salty and my mouth felt dry during the last half of the run, even though I drank almost an entire bottle of water with the gel.  I've got 3 more kinds to try, so I'll check one of those out on the 7 mile run I've got scheduled for Saturday!

Last night we went for a 30 minute run (I'm so glad my husband has been joining me lately, we've been having such a great time together!), our first run in sub-50 degree temperatures.  I wore a Nike DRI-Fit Cotton long-sleeve tee and my Nike pants, and because it felt so cold out I also wore my North Face jacket.  About 5 minutes into the run I definitely didn't need the jacket and unzipped it almost all the way. Being so insulated also kind of through me off my game--I ran at a very slow pace for a short run and I also was running with poor form because my legs were bothering me at the end.  But I'm super proud because we ran the whole 30 minutes without any walk breaks!  That's the first time I've been able to do that since my very first day of Princess Training!  We resolved that we both wanted to run a little faster the next time, though!

Next time was tonight--we went out for another 30 minute run.  This time I was better prepared as far as what to wear.  I ditched the North Face, and since the Nike cotton tee is too thin for these temps, I wore an Under Armour shirt that I've had for awhile.  It ended up being perfect!  I was a bit cold at first but quickly warmed up.  The sleeves were long so I could pull them over my hands (just wish they had thumbholes) and the top had a half-zip up top, which zipped would make a mock turtleneck.  It even had a little zipper garage so the zipper wouldn't scrape my chin!  I wore my Nike pants again because they are amazing, and I felt great the whole run!  We definitely achieved our goal of running ended up being my fastest run to-date!  We did two 15-minute segments with one 5-minute walk break, so we ended at 35:00 with a total of 3.26 miles and an average pace of 10:44!  WOOHOO!!!!!!  Now if I could just run that fast without the walk break!  I'll be getting pretty close to 3 miles in 30 minutes, which is at the top of my goal list!

So far, I'm really liking running in the cold :)