Saturday, June 9, 2012

Intervals for summer

Initially I planned on keeping up with my long runs during the summer because I really didn't want to lose all the endurance I built during half marathon training.  But as the days get hotter and the humidity gets thicker, I've realized that I'm just not going to be able to do that.  I'm not going to get out of bed at 7am on a weekend to go for a run - I'll save that for when I have children and I have no other choice.

Instead I've decided to devote my summer training to getting faster in 5Ks.  In order to do that I'm going to incorporate intervals into my training.  The plan is to do three interval runs a week, and then hopefully a long(er) run of about 5 miles.

Short intervals: 3 to 6 x 3 minutes at faster than 5K pace
Long intervals: 2 to 4 x half mile at 5K pace
Tempo run: 10 minute warm up, 15 to 25 minutes tempo, 10 minute cool down

I'm just in my first week of this training plan but I'm hoping I'll be able to see a difference in my 5K times by the end of the summer.  I'm determined to break 30:00 - I'm so close I can taste it!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The day running became more than exercise

Tonight I had one of the best runs I've ever had.  I didn't run super fast or super long, or achieve some big goal, but I noticed for the first time how good running makes me feel.

I had a bad week and have just been feeling angry and somewhat depressed for the last several days.  I never felt like doing much but sleeping and I couldn't muster up the desire to go for a run.  Tonight my husband has some friends staying at our house and I sucked it up to go be social, but I knew I wanted to run while the boys went out to dinner.  I planned on it being a 5 mile run and I planned on taking it at a slow, comfortable pace.

As soon as I got out there I felt the weight lift from my shoulders.  My head cleared and I could think straight for the first time in days.  I found perspective for my troubles and also found hope.  I found the courage and the strength to put a smile back on my face and to relax.

I suppose I knew that running could do this for people, but I never imagined it would do this for me.  Running is becoming more than just a means of exercise or losing weight.  Tonight's 5 mile run, done in 57:57, might just be my favorite run ever.

Beach Tri

This past weekend I got to enjoy a nice weekend at the beach with my hubby because he was participating in the Bridge 2 Bridge Triathlon at Oak Island!  So far he's only done and signed up for sprint triathlons, but this one was longer - 600 yard swim, 18 mile bike ride, 4 mile run.  He's been nervous about it but he did outstanding, finishing in 1:51:51!  He had done a practice run the weekend before with the same distances and it took him about 2:15:00, so he was thrilled with his time.  And he actually enjoyed it than all the other shorter triathlons - I think it had to do with the ocean swim!  That boy does love the ocean.

We left after lunch on Friday and arrived Saturday evening.  We stopped by the beach to pick up Pete's race packet and go check out the beach.  Neither of us had ever been to Oak Island before and we were stunned to see that when the tide was in the ocean came right up to the dunes!  It was beautiful though, so quiet and less crowded than the beaches we usually visit.

We had dinner that night with Pete's law partner, Earle, and his family.  Earle is the one who really got Pete started doing all of these triathlons.  He is super fast though, he always wins his age group and usually the Masters category as well at our local races!  He cooked his traditional pre-race meal - whole grain pasta with chicken, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes.  It was delicious!

Friday was an early night to be up early for the race.  Pete left before me and then Earle's wife, Laura, picked me up so we could go spectate together and not have to leave quite as early...but we still left at 7:15am!  Another lawyer from Salisbury was also participating so we hung out in a big group waiting for the race to start.  I brought my sign, which is going to be a staple at any race Pete and Earle participate in together!

The participants were assigned to waves by age group, so Pete went out first.  I knew as soon as I saw him go into the water that he was going to love it and do awesome!  Swimming is his strong point in any tri but I knew the ocean would be great for him...he will ride waves all day long if you let him.

Since the bike ride was long and I knew I'd only be able to see Pete at start and finish, I went for my own run on the beach during that portion of the race.  It was my first ever beach run and I was nervous about how the sand would feel.  It was certainly a challenge and it took me about a half mile to feel warmed up to it, but after that it was amazing.  The sand was packed hard and the tide was out so I had plenty of space to run.  Oak Island is a pretty non-crowded beach in general, but at that hour there was hardly anyone out and I felt like I had the beach all to myself!  It was beautiful, perfect temperatures with a light breeze, and I wish I'd had time to do more than just 3 miles!

After the race, Pete and I hightailed it back to the hotel to clean up and then we headed straight to the beach for some relaxation.  I brought a book to read but ended up just talking with Pete and enjoying the views.

We had dinner that night with our little group at a delicious restaurant called the Provision Company.  I had grilled tuna and Pete had crabcakes, and it was just a great evening of hanging out with friends and talking about races and training strategy.  The other 2 couples had kids about the same age so they all sat at the end of the table and played card games together.  Afterward we took a walk out along the pier and enjoyed the weather and the sunset.  A wonderful end to a wonderful weekend...just wish we could have stayed longer!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week off

Other than going to 2 yoga classes, I've taken this week off from working out and running.  My leg cramps were such an issue last week that I knew I needed to take a few days off from running, but I've actually felt so tired I've just given myself a rest from everything.

I've been struggling a little feeling guilty, panicking I'm going to get fat, or that I'll lose all my endurance, but I'm trying to put those feelings aside and embrace the rest.  I've gotten to catch up on sleep this weekend, get some things done inside the house and outside, and it really has felt good.  The previous couple of weeks I was going pretty hard with 3 yoga classes a week, running a lot immediately after yoga class, plus making it to work and other obligations.  I've gotten to sleep in 3 days this week and it's felt AMAZING!

I was supposed to run a 5K on Saturday morning, but we actually ended up being in Mooresville until midnight on Friday because my husband's grandma wasn't doing well.  Even though I could have still had 7 hours of sleep before the race, I just wanted to sleep.  Pete got up and made it to the race and came in at 27:53.  Yesterday afternoon my husband's grandma passed away so this week we'll have the visitation and funeral.  She was 91 and not doing very well so we're all happy that she's not in pain anymore.

Because of family events next week, I'm probably not going to make it to all 15 yoga classes for the month of commitment.  I've been to 11, but the studio is closed on Monday (which aggravates me that they would have this challenge during a month when they're closing for a day, but oh well), so unless I go to 2 classes in 1 day a couple of times I probably won't make it.  I'm still really proud of myself for going to as many as I have, but I do hate leaving the challenge unfinished when I've come so close.  More guilty feelings.

Workout guilt is such a difficult thing.  It reminds me of being in law school when I had some kind of homework to do but I was doing something fun rather than working on it - sometimes I couldn't stop thinking about the work I should be doing and couldn't enjoy myself because I was so preoccupied.  I had to just accept that I wasn't going to my homework at that moment and put it out of my mind so that if I was going to procrastinate, at least I could have fun!  I think rest days (and especially rest weeks) are the same.  So I've been telling myself that it's okay for me to rest and it will actually be good for me because I'll be ready to work out hard next week, and to enjoy the rest time while I can!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wonderful Saturday

I started off the day by attending my 9th yoga class of the month!  I got up bright and early to head to the studio for the 8am Hot Vinyasa class.  My last hot class was actually the last yoga class I went to before finding out I was pregnant and I've definitely been wary to go back.  I had forgotten how wonderful I feel after hot clean and warm and open!  The teacher started class by telling us about her sons and their fascination with superheroes and super powers, and how her family often had discussions about what their own super powers would be.  She told us to think of the possibilities if our super power was the ability to unconditionally, unequivocally love.  What things could we accomplish in the world if we had the power of that kind of love?

Following the superhero theme, the class involved lots of balancing in "flying" postures like airplane, stork, and standing splits.  It was challenging and I could see the sweat dripping off my arms but it felt amazing!  After class I stopped by Starbucks for an iced green tea, but the barista placed my order incorrectly and made me an iced passion tea.  He realized his mistake immediately and was going to make me the green tea, but I told him I'd try the passion tea.  It was tasty, but I think green tea is still my favorite!  I'm going to have to try an iced chai latte soon because chai is the best ever, but it's getting too warm outside to keep getting hot drinks!

When I got home I went for a quick run with the hubs.  My leg cramps/shin splints/whatever they are have really been bothering me this week and today was no exception.  I wonder if it's connected to all the yoga I've been doing, but I would think that yoga would be good for me because it builds strength and stretches me out.  I hope I can shake them because tomorrow I'm hoping to go for a 10-miler in the morning!

We made plans to have dinner with my parents so I decided to whip up a few things.  First were the Strawberry Nutella Muffins I read about on Peanut Butter Runner!  They were surprisingly simple to make and I had all the ingredients except fresh strawberries and buttermilk on hand.  The verdict: delicious and very light!!

We went to the produce market around the corner to get the strawberries and picked up a few other things to make a salad as well.  I wanted something different for the salad, so I got some potatoes, okra, tomatoes, and corn.  I sort of pulled things from various recipes I've pinned on Pinterest and created my own little concoction.  I cut red potatoes into bite-sized pieces and tossed them in olive oil and one ranch dressing seasoning packet along with about a pound of okra and a small package of grape tomatoes.  I roasted the potatoes for about half an hour before adding the okra and tomatoes, and then roasted for an additional half hour.  I put spinach in a salad bowl and then topped it with the roasted mixture and some grated parmesan cheese!  I was nervous since it was kind of an experiment but it turned out delicious!  We had a great night of food, wine, beer, and Wii Tennis.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Girls on the Run 5K

On Saturday my husband, brother-in-law, and I ran the Girls on the Run 5K in Mooresville.  I picked out this 5K a long time ago because I love the Girls on the Run organization and wanted to support them.  For those that don't know, Girls on the Run is an after-school program for pre-teen girls to help teach them about fitness and promote self esteem.  Volunteer coaches guide the girls through a 12-week training program leading up to their big 5K.  Almost every girl has a running buddy, either a friend or family member or another volunteer, who runs with them and motivates them through the 5K.

I expected there would be a lot of young girls running the race with their running buddies, but I also thought there would be many people like us - non-affiliated people running the race just for another 5K and to support the organization.  Well, I was wrong.  I think we were the ONLY people there who were not running buddies, coaches, or connected to at least one of the girls in some way.  I didn't let it make me feel awkward, but I think Pete and Kevin felt very out of place amongst all the 10-year-old girls!

The race was two laps around a 1.5-mile loop at Lowe's Corporate Headquarters.  I was surprised at how hilly it was!  I did a lot of speed work earlier in the week and I was feeling like this could be the 5K where I finally broke 30 minutes.  Unfortunately, right before the race started as we were standing at the start line I started to get a little hot flash.  I'm slightly claustrophobic and sometimes when I'm in big crowds or small spaces I'll get very hot and a little bit dizzy.  It was pretty minor but I wasn't able to shake it before I started running, so it affected my run a little bit.  I did the first mile in 10 minutes and finished the first lap before I had to stop and walk for a little bit.  I actually started getting really awful stomach cramps and had to take another couple of walk breaks, but when I was running it was at a 9:40 pace.

I finished at 32:53 which was disappointing sine I know I can go faster, but it's still much faster than I used to be able to go even without walk breaks, so I didn't give myself too much of a hard time.  Hubby finished at 27:09 and Kevin at 26:43, so they were pretty close!

The best part of the race was actually listening to dads who were running with their daughters try to motivate them.  "We can get water when we're done!"  "You're a swimmer, you can go faster than that!"  "Power up this hill, we'll walk at the finish line!"  It was a really great experience to be around all these young girls achieving their goals, but I'm not sure if we'll do this race again.  I think I might volunteer as a running buddy next year and participate in that way!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fast run, slow yoga

I recently wrote about how I suddenly noticed a big boost in my speed.  The speed I've noticed improve, though, is my comfortable pace.  I'm a fan of distance running because I love the comfortable pace...just running along, feeling good but not pushing too hard.  While that's all fine and dandy for long distance races, it's not helping me any for 5Ks.  This summer is going to be full of 5Ks so I've decided it's time to get my butt in gear and learn how to run fast.

For today's run I wanted to do three 1-mile repeats, with a .25 mile warm up and a .25 mile recovery walk/jog between each repeat.  When I do repeats like this, I generally do laps around my cul de sac because it's relatively flat compared to the rest of my neighborhood.  I did my nice little warm up at an 11:00 pace, and then I beasted out a whole mile in 8:40.  Lesson learned: I CAN RUN FAST.

However, at the end of that mile I wanted to fall over.  I did my .25 mile recovery walk...and then walked some more.  I knew doing that two more times would kill me, so I opted to just do an easy 1.5 mile run to get to an even 3 miles for the day.  The nice part was that my mind and body obviously had gotten into a rhythm with the fast running and I maintained very close to a 10:00 pace for the rest of the run.  I was hurting, though...legs were aching, had minor side stitches.  But overall I really enjoyed it and I'm actually blown away by the fact that I can run an 8:40 mile!  Now if I could only maintain that pace for a whole 5K...something to work towards!

After my run I headed to yoga for a Long Slow Deep class.  This was class 5 out of 15 this month.  I'm doing great with my month of commitment!  This week's focus was hip openers, which I love, but my hips are really feeling it!  It was a great practice and I'm making a lot of progress towards letting go of my fears.  I've tried to focus on living life this month and enjoying myself, drinking wine when I want and doing tons of yoga.  My body feels so good!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Yesterday North Carolina voted to amend the state constitution to state that marriage is between one man and one woman.  I cried when I heard the results.

Generally, I try to avoid political discussions with friends and family, I tune out political commercials and news clips, and I keep the majority of my beliefs to myself.  I think of politics as a necessary evil, but it only stresses me out and upsets me to hear about it so I avoid it.  There is one political issue, however, that I feel very strongly about - the right of every person to marry who they want, and have their marriage be legally recognized.

Amendment One is an embodiment of hate, discrimination, and bigotry, and I'm appalled that it's going to be part of North Carolina's constitution.  At church last Sunday my pastor said something in his sermon that resonated with me and will stay with me forever:

If anyone tries to get you to use your faith to promote hatred or bigotry,
you need to run in the opposite direction.

I will pray for the people who supported Amendment One.  I will pray that God releases the hate within their hearts.  I'm sorry for these people because somewhere along the way they have been misguided, they have allowed their faith to become a tool of oppression and discrimination.  I will pray for them to be forgiven.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Month of commitment

Today was the first day of the month of commitment in which I'm participating at my yoga studio.  51 yogis have signed up to commit to attending 15 classes during the month of May.  That's definitely a lot of yoga for me, but I'm really excited about the challenge.

I took the Slow Flow class tonight, which is labeled as Gentle Yoga on the class schedule, but Tammy made us work.  It was slow paced and more relaxed but we did some serious engaging of our bellies and legs.  My lower back was aching all day and this was just what I needed.  I actually ended up getting off work at a random time and considered just heading home since it was an hour to go until class started, but I decided to wait it out at Starbucks and sipped a green tea while catching up on emails.  I'm so glad I did...I felt rejuvenated after class and excited about my commitment.

At the beginning of class Tammy invited us to explore what we were committing to through the 15 classes - was it a commitment to be more fit?  A commitment to be more relaxed?  A commitment to making our practice a priority?  It could be anything we wanted.  I knew that I was committing to overcoming fear and getting back to my pre-miscarriage self.  I want to overcome the fear that yoga somehow contributed to my ectopic pregnancy (a fear for which I have no support or evidence) and return to loving yoga and wanting to practice 2 or more times a week.  I want to let go of being a person desperately consumed by trying to get pregnant and get back to enjoying each day.  I think 15 yoga classes in May will help push me towards that place.

Monday, April 30, 2012

I am faster

I don't know when exactly it happened, but I am faster.  Suddenly my runs are all averaging a 10:30 pace.    I think I've really noticed it since the Tar Heel 10 Miler.

Every time I've noticed progress in my running it's been sudden like this.  What a wonderful surprise!  Hopefully in another couple of months I'll be able to knock out sub-30:00 5Ks!  I think I could probably do it now, but I have a hard time pushing myself during a race.  I'm spoiled by distance training and half marathon pace - I like to feel comfortable when I run!  But I think it's time to step up and know how to be uncomfortable during a short race in order to reap the rewards at the end!

Peonies are my favorite flowers.  Last summer I planted two peony plants in the backyard.  They did not grow, did not die, did absolutely nothing for the entire summer until they went dormant for the winter.  When spring began this year they shot up like crazy!  There are more than 10 buds forming on them and I have been waiting for the last couple of weeks for one to finally burst into bloom.  Today, I got my wish!  Looking forward to summer!  :)

FUMC Missions 5K

Saturday I ran the First United Methodist Church Missions 5K.  This was the first 5K put on by my church so I was very excited to participate!  Hubby and I went out a few days beforehand and ran the course just to see what it was like.  The course was 3 laps of a 1-mile loop surrounding a local park.  It was a nice course, but there was a long gradual incline on one side of the loop and a short, steep hill on the other side.  There was also a nice downhill portion.

When the alarm went off at 7:15am I did NOT want to get out of bed!  Even when I got up and got moving I just wasn't feeling like running.  I kind of resigned myself to having a bad time because I couldn't get myself geared up.  But I got out there anyway and decided to do my best!

Pete has been running all fast lately so I knew he would leave me in the dust early on.  It seems that in 5Ks I'm always the very last runner before all the walkers.  I don't love it, but I remind myself that this is the pace I'm comfortable starting out with and if I run faster my legs will cramp and it will take me 40 minutes to finish!  According to Toby I was starting out with a pace of 10:30 anyway so I enjoyed the scenery and kept my pace steady.

I finished the first mile at 10:44.  Right about the time I reached mile marker 1, the boy in the lead comes flying past me.  Fun - I'm getting lapped already!  As I made the next loop a few more of the lead runners passed me as well.  The two mile marker happened to be right next to the finish line and as I was approaching it, some of the first runners were finishing.  This was a little annoying because the people who had come in first had turned around to run backwards on the course and give encouragement to other runners.  I happened to be right next to the woman who actually won First Overall Female.  The guy was shouting, "You're almost there, this is the home stretch!" to us and I wanted to say, "Nope, not for me.  One more lap to go."  Also, a very speedy friend's wife was standing on the sidelines as I ran past and she saw me and said, "Tina?" in this stunned voice!  I laughed and told her I was just starting my final lap.

I finished my second lap in 10:33.  I was feeling tired and not wanting to do the uphills again, but I pushed through and tried to keep my pace up so I could finish with a kick.  Lately, the final mile has been where I really shine in 5Ks.  I start passing people like crazy - they've used all their zip at the start of the race and mine is just kicking in!

As I came over the hill and started approaching the finish, Pete was there cheering me on!  There was a clock at the finish line, but I couldn't see it until I rounded one last curve.  It was at 31:40.  I found new energy to try and beat 32:00!  I really kicked it into high gear and was running about a 7:00 pace as I barreled towards that finish line!  I crossed at 31:58 - a PR for me!  *Does this count as a PR since it's only my second 5K?  I'm counting it!*  I took second place in my age group (out of two, but I still did well) and Pete actually took first in his age group with a time of 27:29!  Great race for the Smith family!

My third mile was completed in 9:43 and the last .1 (Toby measured it as .13) was in 00:57.  I'm really starting to enjoy 5Ks and I can't wait for the others we have on our schedule this summer!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The big shift

Let me just say - I knew this was going to happen.  I knew because I've been able to think of little else for the last couple of weeks and hubby and I have been talking about it constantly.

We signed up for the 2013 Disney Marathon.

This means, of course, that we're going to have to put baby plans on hold until the race.  But I'm okay with it.  Honestly, the whole experience of trying was really painful for me.  It was consuming me and I hated feeling so desperate.  So my goals are undergoing a big shift - from getting pregnant to running 26.2 miles.  It's going to be tough and it's going to be a lot of hard work, but I know that it will absolutely be worth it.

Training won't officially start until September, but we've got to keep up the endurance we've built so far.  I can't wait to put that 26.2 sticker on my car!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Weekend in Chapel Hill

One of the best things about running the Tar Heel 10 Miler was getting to spend a weekend in Chapel Hill!  I lived there for 3 years while in law school and I miss it so much.  Chapel Hill has all the things I love about big cities (lots of things to do, great restaurants, excellent shopping, parks, safe places to run) but it still has that small town feel.  There are no skyscrapers in Chapel Hill, and "downtown" is Franklin Street, which literally opens up onto the oldest part of UNC's campus.  I could go on and on about the wonders of Chapel Hill, but I'll try to contain myself!

I was so happy that we were able to book a pet-friendly hotel so our baby girl could come along.  She always stares at me with this broken-hearted face when she doesn't get to come along for a ride, so I was happy to grant her wish this time!  When I first got Honey, I bought a little bag to carry her around in.  She doesn't often go out in the bag, but she sure does love it.  It stays in our coat closet but whenever I bring it out she flips out and immediately jumps in!  We decided to record her excitement this time, but it wasn't quite as cute as usual (I know, it's already so cute).  Usually she jumps right in the front of the bag and then immediately turns around so her head is sticking out the right way!  She's so adorable.

We had a lovely drive up I-85 (I think I've spent half my life on that road) and when we got to Chapel Hill we made a quick stop at University Mall to pick up our race bibs and then headed to the hotel.  Honey enjoyed the ride but was glad to have arrived at our destination!

We took it easy on Friday with our usual pre-race dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then turned in early.  Saturday it was up bright and early for the race, which you can read the recap of here!

Pete and I knew exactly where our post-race meal would be from the moment we signed up.  I think it might be our favorite restaurant in Chapel Hill - Pepper's Pizza.  Their toppings are always so fresh and they have an enormous variety, combined with the soft doughy crust--not thin crust, but not heavy like chain pizza crusts either--it's pizza perfection!  The only problem is that we usually argue somewhat about what to get.  I'm a big fan of white pizzas and all veggies, while Pete likes to pile on every kind of meat they offer.  You can order by the slice, but we really wanted to get a whole pizza (something about the experience, ya know?) so we compromised.  We selected a pizza piled high with veggies and then added pepperoni.  I think the toppings consisted of broccoli, onions, black olives, artichoke harts, bell peppers, and pepperoni, but I feel like I'm missing a few things!

We didn't bring Honey along to Pepper's so after we ate we headed back to the hotel so we could bring her out for the afternoon.  The thing that got me through the final miles of the race was thoughts of a large waffle cone full of Oreo frozen yogurt at The Yogurt Pump.  This place seriously has the most delicious flavors of yogurt.  Oreo is always there, but they change up the others.  In the past I've had cookie dough, strawberry, and mint chocolate chip, to name a few.  As soon as we got our yogurt it started pouring down rain, so we took cover under a little awning on Franklin Street and lapped up our cones while staying dry.

No trip to Chapel Hill would be complete for us without a walk on campus.  We visited the Old Well and of course had drinks from the water fountain.

Honey also consented to pose for a picture, although she was much more interested in chasing squirrels.

Feels like home...

Tried to capture a family photo in front of Wilson Library, but Pete got a little lost in the mix!

Wilson Library is one of our favorite spots on campus.  When you climb the steps to the top, it's quite easy to walk out onto one of the ledges flanking the steps and sit on the edge.  We almost always go there and sit for awhile because you have a beautiful view of one of the quads, but on several occasions we've sat out there for over an hour just talking and being together.  It's particularly nice on summer nights because you can smell the magnolia trees near the library and everything is quiet and bathed in the soft glow of the street lamps.  We actually had some of our engagement photos taken at our spot at Wilson Library in 2009!

It was too wet to sit at our favorite spot, but we hung out for a bit at the top of the stairs where it was dry.  Honey enjoyed the rest but was ready to go looking for more squirrels!

That night we had dinner at one of our other favorite Chapel Hill spots, Top of the Hill.  Top of the Hill is an awesome restaurant and brewery.  It's one of the first places I ever ate in Chapel Hill and they have a really excellent selection of beers and other drinks.  Unfortunately, I don't drink beer (I've tried but no matter what, I just don't like it) but Pete was very excited to see that they now offer a chocolate stout.  He enjoyed that while I had a yummy glass of Pinot Grigio!

For an appetizer we had our all-time Top of the Hill favorite, Sweet Potato Cheese Fries with cheddar and gorgonzola.  These things are to die for and they didn't last long!

We usually like to order 3 or 4 appetizers and feast on those, but they actually no longer have our other favorite, Hot Crab Dip, on the menu so we were a little stumped as to what to order.  We eventually decided to just each get an entree and I had the grilled cajun salmon on a bed of corn maque choux...

and Pete had the Pork Mac & Cheese!

After we finished eating we decided to go sit at the bar and enjoy another round of drinks.  Pete ordered his standard Top-O beer, Old Well White, and I had a glass of Prosecco.  The drinks were delicious but we were sleepy and so decided to head back to the hotel and crash.

When we woke up Sunday it was cold and rainy, so we decided to just head back home.  What a great weekend!  Can't wait until we head back to Chapel Hill in July for one of Pete's triathlons...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Running rite of passage

Looks like I earned not one, but three, black toenails at the Tar Heel 10 Miler.  My right big toe and the second toes on my left and right feet.  Big toe still hurts a bit, but not so much that it's painful to run.

Woohoo, black toenails just in time for flip flop weather!  Before today and I had the cutest, most summery bright coral pedicure.  Sigh.

lulu Love

Went for a run this afternoon in my new lululemon outfit!  I have many lulu items for yoga, but not quite as much for running.  I did get some great tights and a pullover in winter for cold weather running, but for quite awhile I've been wanting to get some lulu running shorts.

If you know lululemon, you know that they have a huge variety of shorts.  It has been really tough deciding which ones I wanted to try, especially since the closest store is an hour away and I don't get over there very often.  I usually order online so I don't always get to try things on first.  The Speed Shorts are what I considered most strongly, but I've never been able to bite the bullet on those because they seem so short...I tend to like just a little extra length on my shorts so that I don't feel like I'm running in underwear. The Turbo Shorts are the long version of the Speeds, but I just didn't think they looked very flattering.  I also considered the new Shorty Shorts, but I had a feeling that the tight leg openings would give me reverse muffin top of the thighs - not pretty.

Then last week something happened to make my decision much easier!  Lululemon introduced the Tracker Shorts in the color flash.  Flash is a neon highlighter shade of pink that I am kind of obsessed with!  I read every single review of the Trackers - many people said the length was between the Turbos and the Speeds and that the elastic waistband (which looks really weird in the model photos) smoothed out very nicely in person and actually looked super cute!  I was sold.  I ordered the Tracker Shorts in flash and for good measure snagged a Cool Racerback tank in gray that was on sale.

Well, my new gear came today and let me just say that I have a new favorite running outfit!

The length of the Trackers is perfect for me.  They're short enough to be cute but not so much that I'm self conscious and constantly trying to tug them down.  I also followed the recommendation of several reviewers and went down a size.  I wear either a 6 or 8 in bottoms depending on the fit, so I went with the 6 and I'm very happy with it.  Other reviewers said that in the larger size the shorts had kind of a baggy diaper look to them, rather than the signature fitted cute booty lululemon is known and loved for!  The one complaint I have about the Trackers is that the liner is a little on the thick side, so my bum got pretty sweaty on the run!  Nothing serious enough for me to take back my new shorts, though!

And about the Cool Racerback - I have run in my Power Y tanks several times since the weather has warmed up and they are very comfortable.  My problem with them is that they are pretty thick and they just don't breathe enough to keep me cool on 80 degree days in North Carolina.  Power Ys are PERFECT for yoga, though, they don't even show sweat!  Anyway, I had been wanting to try the CRB in hopes that it would be a little cooler and I wasn't disappointed!  This tank is so flattering and so comfortable, I'm going to start collecting it in every color (I wish)!

Any other lululemon devotees out there?  What are your favorite running shorts?

*Disclaimer: lululemon has no idea who I am or that I'm writing this post, I just adore their clothes and wanted to do a post about my quest for the perfect running shorts*

Find all the things I mentioned in this post:
Run: Speed Shorts $54
Turbo Run Shorts $54
Run: Tracker Shorts $54
Run: Shorty Shorts $58
Power Y Tank $52
Cool Racerback $42

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Let's work out

Last night I had a Stella & Dot event in Charlotte and my very sweet husband offered to go with me to help.  It was a good thing he did, because I had a lot of stuff to haul in and out and he was a huge help!  We had a great time but we didn't make it home until 9:30pm.  As we were pulling into the garage, Pete looked at my and said, "I want to work out.  Let's work out."

My husband NEVER wants to work out in the evenings.  Before we really committed to getting fit, he would say that he couldn't work out less than 2 hours before or after eating, and he couldn't work out less than 2 hours before going to bed.  I pointed out that that meant he needed a 5-6 hour window at the end of the day to be able to work out - kind of ridiculous.  He realized that and started bending his rules a little bit.  I told him it would be fine to eat before or after a work out as long as he was eating the right things!  Don't pig out on fajitas right before a run, but if you're hungry then have a banana and some peanut butter or a bagel.  So he's lightened up a lot, but he still hates to work out late at night, so I was stunned when he said he wanted to work out at 9:30pm!

I quickly got changed and asked him what kind of work out he wanted to do.  Both of us were still pretty sore in our quads from the 10 Miler on Saturday, so we decided to work on arms.  We have a few weddings to go to this summer and my shoulders and chest need a lot of work before I'm ready for strapless dresses!  Pete hadn't done any arms in a long time and I think he was surprised and how tough it was.  I've been doing this workout once a week for about 3-4 weeks now so I did a little better.  But it was great to work out together!

When I started running, one of my reasons for running was to encourage my husband to work out more as well.  His birthday is next Wednesday and he's been having trouble deciding what he wants as a birthday gift.  Sunday night, after he spent a considerable amount of time on the computer, he told me that he'd just registered for 4 more triathlons this summer and that's what he wanted his birthday present to be!  I was so surprised but so happy!  He signed up to do the half marathon and his triathlon this year but that was largely because I really pushed him to do it.  I don't think he was that into it starting out, but now he's definitely caught the racing bug!  We're also looking into planning our vacation in October around a run somewhere in New York, DC, Virginia, or elsewhere!

I'm beyond thrilled to be a fit family!  I love racing with my husband and working out together.  It feels great and I think it's brought us closer together too!

I don't have another long distance race on my calendar right now, but I'm still looking.  I don't think there are many half marathons during the summer, so I might just be doing lots of 5Ks and 10Ks and keeping up my endurance on my long runs.  Pete and I have, however, been talking a lot about the Disney Marathon, which is in January.  Obviously I won't be running any marathons if I'm pregnant or have recently given birth.  At this point, we won't be having a baby before January.  I'm trying to take the whole TTC (trying to conceive) thing very lightly this month and just put it out of my mind - it was too stressful and too heartbreaking last month.  But I've come to an unspoken agreement with myself that if I'm not pregnant by the end of the summer, I'm going to take some time off from trying and we are going to train for and run the 2013 Disney Marathon.  Big decision, but I'm very happy about it!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tar Heel 10 Miler

Saturday my husband and I ran the Tar Heel 10 Miler in Chapel Hill, North Carolina!  We both graduated from UNC and love it there so this was the perfect race for us!  We decided to get a hotel room and just make a whole weekend of it so we could relax and enjoy one of our favorite towns.

Dinner at California Pizza Kitchen has become our traditional pre-race meal!  We had pasta there the night before the race and then called it an early night.  Before bed I got all my race gear laid out and ready to go!

The start line and finish line were both located in Kenan Stadium.  We were running a little late on race morning and we made it to the start line just minutes before the race started!  But we did have time to take one last bathroom break before the race.  I had drank lots of water the day before and had a little that morning, and I fueled with a bagel and peanut butter.  I carried 4 packs of chocolate Gu with me...I was going to make sure I had plenty of carbs in this race and not get grumpy like I did at the end of the Princess Half!

Pete took off ahead of me at the very start of the race.  I was already running much faster than I usually do at the beginning of a race (about 11:30 pace) and I had to keep reminding myself that if I tried to go faster I would either get leg cramps or run out of steam way too soon.  I kept it steady and felt very happy!  I was certainly moving much faster than I usually do at the beginning of a run, but I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard.

The course wound through all the most beautiful parts of campus!  The first water station was at the Old Well and the volunteers were all girls decked out in lululemon (might they have been representing the new store going in at Southpoint Mall?).  I told the girl who handed me water that I loved her lulu!

Shortly after I passed the Old Well the pace police made their first appearance!  There was a 12:00 minimum pace requirement for the race that we were slightly concerned about.  The race officials even sent emails about the pace requirement in the days leading up to the race!  I had done some research and knew that they didn't pull you from the course if you fell below pace, but that you would have to run the rest of the race on sidewalks without police assistance or closed roads.  We were running on some busy roads and I did NOT want to tackle that without police assistance!  When the pace police showed up I was actually the last person before the bicycle that was following us, but I was bound and determined not to fall behind.  I actually moved up pretty quickly and did not see the pace police anymore after that!  Major accomplishment for me.

There were a couple loops through historic neighborhoods and I kept thinking I'd see Pete coming out as I was going in, but we were just far enough apart not to see each other!

I did wish that there were more aid stations during this race.  There were only three - mile 3, mile 5, and mile 8.  I was so thirsty and was actually staring longingly at the fuel belts some racers were wearing and wondering if they'd notice if I reached out and snatched one of their water bottles!  I guess I was spoiled by having water at every mile marker during Disney races.

The night before the race Pete and I had driven the course, so I knew what was coming at mile 8.  Shortly after mile 8, the course went up a mile-long road called Laurel Hill.  Laurel Hill is actually 2 (very steep) hills, climbing about 200 feet over a little less than a mile.  I had been doing great during the whole race, but I was tired at the end and I knew I was going to walk up Laurel Hill.  Thankfully, there was a nice little downhill stretch in the middle so I could run and make up some time, but I and everyone around me was walking up the steep parts!

At the top of Laurel Hill, the finish line was only about a half mile away.  It was mostly downhill, but I pushed myself and even ran the last little uphill stretch into the stadium and actually put on a huge burst of speed in the last tenth of a mile and passed five people!

My finish time was 1:56:51with an average pace of 11:41!  I actually did a little better than that, though, because Toby measured the course as 10.31 miles and I finished in 1:58:something with an average pace of 11:23!  Whichever pace I look at, I am so proud of myself for keeping a pace under 12:00 for 10 miles (which included at least a mile of walk breaks so I know when I was running I was even faster than that).

The only negative part of this race was the finish line logistics.  About 20 feet after crossing the finish line, there were huge bins of Vitamin Water.  Volunteers were there handing them out but they were obviously understaffed and not able to let all the racers know that they could have a Vitamin Water.  I don't even like VW, but I was so thirsty at the end of this race I was ready to drink one!  It was room temperature - not appetizing.  I was dying for some water, and apparently there were water bottles there near the VW being passed out, but I did not get one or even see them.  Then we were directed to climb to the top of the stadium steps (after just running 10 miles...seriously?) to get our finisher's medal.  There was no order to handing out the medals - just a couple people standing there handing them out.  I think any person could have walked up and been given a medal.  It took me awhile to even figure out where the people giving out medals were.  But I got my medal and then had to walk even farther around the stadium to find water.  I couldn't find water bottles or any station giving out water, but I did find a water fountain so I dumped out my Vitamin Water and refilled the bottle from the fountain.  Finally, as we were leaving the stadium we found a Primo Water station handing out water bottles and providing places for people to fill them up.  A note to the race organizers - don't make finishers climb hundreds of steps immediately after running a 10 mile race, have clearly marked and easily accessible stations to hand out water, and make receiving the finisher's medal at least feel a little special.  Other than that, excellent race!

One of my biggest motivations for running this race was the awesome bling!

Honey was proud of us too, but mostly just happy to not be alone in the hotel room anymore!

We had no entourage at this race so it was a challenge getting a picture of us together, but we managed!

We loved the Tar Heel 10 Miler, even though it was tough, and I'm sure we'll run it again in the future. It was hard not to enjoy a run through the most beautiful campus in the country!  Combined with the perfect weather and beautiful historic homes, I don't think you could ask for a more scenic run in the Piedmont of North Carolina!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thoughts on miscarriage and trying to conceive

I know I haven't been trying for long enough yet to label myself infertile, but I can't shake this feeling that there is something wrong with me and making a baby is going to be difficult.  I thought it might help free up some space in my over-crowded mind to get out some of my totally irrational thoughts on this subject.

Things that happen when you have a miscarriage:
- You get angry at every pregnant person or young mom that you know.  Clearly, they are flaunting their pregnancy and/or baby to hurt your feelings.
- When someone announces they are pregnant, you realize that they got pregnant as a personal attack directed at you.
- You get even angrier at moms announcing they are pregnant with their second child.  They already have one, now they are being just plain greedy.
- You constantly think about what point you would have been at in your pregnancy if the baby had lived. "I would be 22 weeks today, with a cute little baby bump but not feeling huge and uncomfortable yet."
- Your desire to have a baby becomes desperate and obsessive.  You NEED to have a baby in the same year that you would have had a baby if it weren't for the miscarriage.
- If you know someone who got pregnant on their first or second try with no complications, you want to punch them in the face.  Freaking show offs.
- Seeing parents who look less than responsible (very young, etc.) out and about with a baby makes you want to punch someone in the face.
- If your husband is an attorney who deals with a lot of clients accused of child abuse or neglect, or who willingly give up their parental rights, but get pregnant time after time, you want to punch everyone in the face.

Clearly, I now spend a lot of my time wanting to punch people in the face.  No, I haven't actually punched anyone (just my pillow).  I understand that many of these things happen when you are just trying to conceive and it's not going so well, but all these things are intensified when you've had a miscarriage.  I was so close.  I saw 2 pink lines on those tests.  But my baby got taken away.  And it just isn't fair.

I need to cheer up.  And honestly, I have been a lot more cheerful since the miscarriage has been officially over.  But now the realities of trying to conceive are sinking in and bringing up more negative emotions.  This month I'm going to try to push through a lot of the negative because it's not doing me any good.  Crying and daydreaming about punching people in the face will not help me make a baby.  Obsessing over what's happening in my body will not help me make a baby.  Here is my action plan - lots of yoga, lots of running, relax.  Easier said than done.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dear Yoga, I Miss You. Love, Tina

Dear Tina, Then come to class more often.  Love, Yoga

I went to my first yoga class today in a loooong time!  To be honest, I stopped going to yoga so much after my miscarriage because I had this scary idea that it contributed to the ectopic pregnancy in some way.  I am trying so hard to get over that because I truly love yoga and the way it makes me feel.

The yoga classes I have been to recently have been gentle or deep stretch yoga.  Since I had the day off work today and I was meeting my sister-in-law and nephew for lunch today, I decided to get my lazy butt out of bed and go to a morning class!  I was hoping there would be a hot vinyasa class on the calendar today but instead there was regular vinyasa with Tammy, one of my favorite instructors.  Tammy's classes are great because they are very physical and always leave me drenched in sweat.  I'm still a yoga novice so the physical aspect of the practice is a lot bigger for me at this point than the mental aspect.  I do love quiet, gentle yoga where I can close my eyes and relax, but I was really craving some serious lunging and balancing and today's class delivered.  

Even though the sweat was pouring off of me in class, yoga always leaves me feeling clean and refreshed and not slimy and smelly like other workouts.  I threw on a tshirt and met my SIL and nephew for a yummy lunch at On The Border and then headed back home.  Time for some productivity!

No workout tomorrow (unless I make it to another morning yoga class, which I'm strongly considering) because the Tar Heel 10 Miler is in 2 days!!

Finding a happy paced career

I've posted several times about my career and how I feel lost in it.  I recently decided to step WAY outside my comfort zone to try something new and see how it works for me...

Generally speaking, I've always disliked direct selling companies.  I've resented being invited to Thirty-One, Willow House, and other parties and usually didn't go.  But while reading one of my favorite fashion blogs, J's Everyday Fashion (a truly wonderful blog that's helped me find deals on clothes and be a better dresser), I learned about Stella & Dot.

Stella & Dot is a direct sales company that designs jewelry and handbags.  I immediately fell head over heels with the jewelry!  I wanted every single piece, I wanted to dress in all Stella & Dot every single day!  At first I didn't even realize they were a direct sales company, I just knew I had to have the jewelry.  As I read more and discovered that I could be an independent stylist and share the Stella & Dot love with others, I felt like I should give it a try.

People who know me, my husband especially, thought I was absolutely crazy.  I'm a very shy person and no good at talking to people, but I thought Stella & Dot might be a way for me to get past that.  It also might be a way for me to meet new friends, other young wives and moms, and branch out from my very limited social circle.

Well, I decided to take a leap of faith and I signed up to be a stylist, and I'm loving it already!  I get to wear fabulous jewelry every day, I've found motivation not just with my business but in my everyday life, and it's helping me become a more open and fun person.  I still struggle with shyness, but once I get the ball rolling with someone conversationally I find it to be much easier than I expected.

I'm certainly not trying to sell to anyone here, but if you want to know more about Stella & Dot just let me know or check out my website HERE!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blogging fail

How have I not posted anything in a whole entire month?  I have been a big, huge blogging slacker.  In all honesty, I just haven't felt like writing.  I felt like I haven't had anything new to say and my mind I'm always consumed with the same old things (babies, jobs).  I've still been running, although I was a little bit slacker in that department for the last two weeks as well!  Before that, though, I completed two long runs of 8 and 10 miles each.  And this Saturday is the Tar Heel 10 Miler in Chapel Hill!

Today marked the end of our second month of trying to get pregnant and being unsuccessful.  I'm trying to fight off the fears that something is really wrong with me and we're not going to be able to conceive without serious help, but it's hard because I felt like everything really lined up perfectly this month and it should have been it.  Maybe I just thought about it too hard and too often this month - I could feel it taking over my brain but was powerless to stop it.  I've got to do better from now on because I need to stay positive.  This month I'm going to try hard to engage in other activities so I can hang on to my sanity.

I've also had jobs on my mind a lot lately.  I've posted plenty of times that I'm just not into the whole attorney thing.  My parents and husband aren't thrilled about that fact, but they are as supportive as they can be.  I know I went to a lot of school and a lot of money was spent (on my part as well as my parents'), but at the end of the day I don't want to do something that I don't enjoy.  First of all, I've been completely unsuccessful in finding a permanent job for the last 3-4 years.  In law school, you start looking for your permanent job around the end of your first year of school.  That was 2008 for me.  I've applied to lots of jobs, haven't even had an interview.  I've applied to jobs that I honestly thought would be a great fit for me and I really thought I would get...but I didn't.  And I'm smart - I graduated with honors in the top third of my class and was an editor on the Law Review - so it's not like I don't have the grades.

The only job I've been able to get is as a document reviewer.  Document review consists of reviewing hundreds/thousands/millions of emails from large companies involved in litigation to weed out what's relevant and not relevant to the case, as well as determining if the information is privileged.  The work is fine, but what isn't fun is that I'm working as an independent contractor.  Sometimes they need me, sometimes they don't, and when they don't, I don't get paid.  When I work I make $25/hour so it's great when the work is steady, but I haven't worked for the last week and a half (although I've really enjoyed being at home).  Document review is fine, but it's not rewarding or steady.  It's also giving me zero experience for all those real jobs out there.  I mean, I'm really excellent at reading email and checking boxes on a computer if you know of any jobs that prize those skills, let me know!

I did apply for a new, non-legal job yesterday.  We'll see what happens...

But between all the obsessing over babies and jobs I have still been exercising!  I actually got on a little Insanity kick over the last couple of weeks so I've done those workouts a few times.  Running continues to go well and I'm expecting a cute new pair of running shorts from lululemon to arrive sometime this week!

I need to get some more races on my calendar to carry me through the summer.  We've signed up for several 5Ks, but the Tar Heel 10 Miler is the last distance race we have scheduled. I need another big goal to work towards!  The Disney World Marathon has been in the back of my mind for awhile...but I haven't been able to commit because of our baby plans.  Should I throw in the towel on baby plans and make marathon plans instead?  Part of me wants to, but I know in my heart I can't do it.  We'll just continue to try and maybe if we continue to be unsuccessful, it'll be a sign that it's time to make these marathon dreams a reality.

After all, it is the 20th anniversary of the Disney World Marathon and I'm DYING to know what the super special surprise at mile 20 is going to be!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Where did all my miles go?

Well, after feeling pretty yucky all of last week (only one 2.6 mile run that I barely made it through) I was ready to get this week off to a good start!  It has turned to summer overnight here in North Carolina, with daylight until about 7:45pm and temperatures in the high 70s.  I am SO happy to be running in shorts and tank tops again, but suddenly I am a super slow poke!  I'm guessing my body is just going to need some practice to get adjusted to running in all of this humidity.  No fun, but I'll get over this hump!  Got to get ready for the Tar Heel 10 Miler on April 21! :)

Today I decided that I would run the following distances this week: 2 miles, 3 miles, 5 miles, and 10 miles.  Then I went out and ran 4 miles.  Not sure where that's going to fit in!  I'm worried that because it's been a month now since the half marathon, I might should scale back to 8 miles instead of 10 mile week and aim for 10 next week.  I would be ecstatic to get in 20 miles this week, though!  Maybe I'll switch my plan to 4 miles, 4 miles, 4 miles, 8 miles.  Hmmm, we'll see how I feel tomorrow!

But I think now I'll go do some abs...I feel like I need to work a little harder to earn a glass of wine tonight!  I averaged a 12:30 pace on the run tonight.  I wasn't too happy with it, but my legs were stiff so I was slowing down to keep the old cramps from flaring up.  I shouldn't criticize myself - I went out there and ran and even though it was slow, it felt great!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St. Patrick's Day 5K

This morning I ran the St. Patrick's Day 5K here in Salisbury with my husband!  I'll be honest, at 7:30am when I was supposed to get up the bed felt super snuggly and warm and I did NOT want to go out in the cold and run!  But I finally dragged myself up around 8 and got ready to go.

The race was just about 5 minutes from our house so we didn't have a long trip.  I knew hubby would beat me at this race and I just reminded myself not to be concerned about time and to just have fun!  We did a short little warmup jog around the YMCA parking lot before starting and at 9am we were off!

It was a very small race so it wasn't too crowded.  I was definitely in the back of the pack of runners at the beginning.  But I kept reminding myself to run my own race (also I reminded myself that I just ran a half marathon, so I'm a badass) and I definitely did well.  My first mile was 11:41, followed by the second mile at 11:38, and the third mile at 10:25!!  I am pretty shocked at how well I've been doing on negative splits since the half, but I love it!  During the last half mile I picked off about 10 runners that had been in front of me the entire time.  That was a great feeling!  The last tenth of a mile was 00:54.

And...I was third place in my age group!!

I was so happy!  And there were more than 3 people in my age group, so I actually beat 3 or 4 girls!  The race was sponsored by the local fire department so there's a little fire truck on my trophy.  Hubby got third place in his age group too with a time in the 29:00-30:00 range!  He definitely beat 30 minutes and I'm so proud of him!  Doing these races together makes me so happy because I know we're building a healthy life and hopefully we'll always have a healthy family that exercised together!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Endorphins make you happy

I'm not sure if it's the endorphins or not, but I sure am feeling happy lately!  I know that exercise plays a large part of it.

Over the last year, I have distanced myself from people, shied away from social engagements, and pretty much tried to stay at home in sweatpants as much as possible.  That's all been because I've been embarrassed about the way I looked and none of my clothes fit.  Since I've been running and losing weight, all that has changed and I can't believe how amazing it feels.  I don't think I even realized how much I missed wearing cute clothes and spending time with people.

I went to visit my best friend last night for a long overdue girls night and she asked me how I'd been doing.  My response: "I feel like a new person."  Actually, I feel like a combination of brand new and the me I used to be before I gained all the weight - and this perfect blend of new/old Tina has me feeling ridiculously happy all the time!

When I was younger I remember having so much fun getting ready to go out - I'd blast music in my room and dance around while I put on makeup, styled my hair, and tried on different outfits.  The past year I've been throwing on my regular rotation of baggy clothing and putting zero effort into hair and makeup.  But now, I actually try on things the night before to decide what to wear to work...I look for cute outfits and cute accessories...I've figured out a way to style my hair in the morning without taking too much time...I enjoy going places and trying to look good again!

On top of all that happy, I had a great 5 mile run this afternoon!  I've been off work the last two days so I got to have a lovely run in the sunshine!  Back to the grind as usual tomorrow, though.

Hubby and I are doing a St. Patrick's Day 5K on Saturday here in Salisbury.  I seem to have unlocked the key to preventing my leg pain - very slow miles to start out.  It seems like I don't really warm up till mile 2, and not until mile 3 do I feel totally loose and ready to go.  I'm planning to do at least 1 mile, maybe 2, before the race on Saturday so I don't have a ridiculously slow time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mind over matter

Since the half marathon, I feel like I've overcome some huge mental hurdles in running.  I had the best run I've ever had, running 7 miles before I needed a walk break.  That was a huge deal for me!  Granted, I kept my pace very slow until mile 4 or 5, but it just felt great to know that I could run for that long.

During my first run after getting home I was still very sore and wanted to take things slow.  I staying between a 12 to 13:00 pace the entire time, not feeling guilty because I knew I was giving my muscles some recovery.  Running for 30 minutes or 3 miles straight has always been a challenge for me, and I now believe that it's a mostly mental challenge.  When I was out there, even if I felt like I was getting a little tired, I would think, "I ran 7 miles without stopping!  Why in the world would I stop now when I've only done 1 so far?"

My run yesterday was the same.  I went a little faster and actually ran over to my parents' for a short visit, so I ended up logging 3.5 miles instead of the 3 I had planned.  The weather here has been beautiful, although it turned a little cold today so I stayed inside.

I'm planning on a 10 mile run sometime next weekend...because I've already picked out my next half marathon and it's on April 14!  It's the Charlotte Racefest Half Marathon, so it's in my neck of the woods and I won't have to travel too far.  I'm sure it will be slightly more hilly and not nearly as entertaining as the Princess Half, but I'm still looking forward to it!

My husband is also getting geared up for his very first triathlon season.  Since he did the Princess Half with me he's been focused mostly on running the last few months, but now he's ready to get back in the pool and on his bike!  Seeing him go on bike rides has me thinking I might want to start biking too...hmmmm.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend - Part 3

Race recap!

We woke up at 3am on race day to get ready.  It was very early and we were pretty bleary eyed, but we got energized fast because we were excited!

The night before we picked up whole grain bagels and peanut butter from Panera Bread to have for breakfast.  We packed a little bag with these along with some bananas and water to eat once we got to the start line - we knew we'd have plenty of down time before we started.

There was a long line waiting for the buses at the hotel, but it only took about 10 minutes for us to get on the bus.  Once at Epcot there was a little party set up, complete with DJs and vendors, to entertain the Princesses until they were ready to race!  We had our breakfast and then made a quick bathroom stop, and then began the trek to the start corrals.  Lots of people complain that you have a roughly 20-minute walk to the start line for all Disney races.  I didn't think it was that bad and actually enjoyed the chance to warm up my cold muscles a little bit.  They also warn you about it in advance so you'll be prepared.

Pete was placed in Corral D and I was allowed to drop back from my corral to join him so we could start together.  We had about a 45 minute wait from the time we got to the corral before our start, so we sat on the ground and enjoyed listening to the music and to the race officials interview various Princesses.  We had worn some long sleeve shirts over our race clothes that we planned to discard (race volunteers pick these discarded clothes up and donate them to charities), so those kept us warm.  It was 50 degrees, so really not that cold, but we were glad to have them anyway.

At 5:45am, the wheelchair racer started.  Not long after, Corral A, Corral B, then Corral C...and all of a sudden, we were at the start line!

Fairy Godmother started us off with the words, "Shalamazoo, Menchickaboo, 3...2...1...GO!"  And we were off, with fireworks and everything!

Pete had told me ahead of time that he was sure I would speed off at the start and leave him alone, but I decided to stay right there with him to control my pace and hopefully avoid some leg pain.  It wasn't long before we saw the first sideline entertainment - a high school marching band!  It was really cool that those kids came out at that ridiculous hour of the morning to support all the racers.  We high-fived them as we ran past!

A little while later, we came across a pirate ship where Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbosa were posing for pictures!  They were also playing the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, which I find incredibly motivating, so I really enjoyed the stretch of road where we could hear the music!

I remember looking at Toby at various points and thinking, "Wow, I've ran half a mile and my legs don't hurt yet...Wow, we've run a mile and a half and haven't had to stop and walk... Oh my goodness, we made it to three miles and we still haven't walked!"  After the 3-mile mark, I stopped looking at Toby and being shocked that we hadn't walked yet.  We were running along a stretch of highway that led to the Magic Kingdom and on our way we saw all the villains posing for pictures - Malificent, the Queen of Hearts, Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters, Cruella DeVille, etc. - and also saw all the Disney princes!  They were fun to look at but we were focused on our run so we didn't stop for any pictures.  I did carry my camera with me for the entire race, but I didn't end up with many photos that weren't super blurry since I kept moving the whole time.  Any high quality photos in this post are professional event photos from Brightroom Photography!

It seemed like no time at all when we came upon the entrance to the Magic Kingdom!  I got really excited at that point!

Running through those gates was so much fun and at this point I forgot about distance completely.  I only checked Toby occasionally for pace and to see if we were at the castle yet, because I knew that would be between miles 5 and 6.  It was a long time after running through the gates when we actually came through a back entrance to the Magic Kingdom and suddenly we were on Main Street USA!  That was really exciting and I couldn't wipe the grin off my face!  I knew my mom was going to be here watching us so I ran close to the side near the spectators, and then we saw her!  She snapped a picture as we were running by and gave us high fives!

Then came the very best part - running through Cinderella's castle!  Mickey and Minnie were there waving and high-fiving the runners, and trumpeters on the balcony heralded our arrival!  It was definitely one of the most fun experiences I've ever had.

We ran through Tomorrowland and Frontierland, spotting Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story on the way. 

Far too soon we were out of Magic Kingdom, and this is when I started paying more attention to the distance.  I was still feeling good and told myself I wouldn't take a walk break until we at least passed 6.55 miles, the halfway point.  Around 7 miles I knew I was ready for a short break and I also wanted to eat the Gu I was carrying in my pocket.  Pete said he didn't want to walk so I told him to keep going.  I ate my Gu pretty quickly and could see Pete easily in front of me, so I decided to speed up a little to catch him!  This actually proved to be very easy because right at this point there were speakers playing Stronger by Kelly Clarkson, which has been my theme song of late, so it gave me the extra push I needed!

From that point on we were retracing our steps back to Epcot and saw lots of the same characters we had already seen, like Jack Sparrow and the princes.

At mile 7.5, Pete and I both said that we had reached our tired point.  We started taking walk breaks for a minute or so every time we passed a water station so we could drink our water and recover a little bit.  We kept trucking along, and it was around mile 10 that I really started to get tired.

I don't remember what characters we saw from that point on, but I do remember that we hit 10 miles in under 2 hours and I was incredibly excited about that!  I knew that my 2:30:00 goal was within reach, but I was feeling so tired I was wondering if I had enough left in me to speed through the last 30 minutes.  I decided not to worry about the total time, because the overall run had been so amazing and so good for me that I was proud no matter what my finish time.  Pete probably could have sped up and finished in 2:30:00, but he was a sweetheart and stayed with me so we could cross the finish line together.

At miles 10 or 11 there are some exit ramps you run up, which are pretty steep hills.  I wasn't too worried about them because I trained on a lot of hills in my neighborhood and the rest of the course was very flat, but after you've already run 11 miles, a big hill is the last thing you want to see!  We made it up the hill and back into Epcot, and I didn't pay attention to hardly any of the sights in Epcot as we made our way to the finish line.  I do remember passing Fairy Godmother, but I was entirely focused on getting to that finish line!

About a tenth of a mile out from the finish, I spotted my mom and she waved us on and snapped another photo!  That was energizing and gave me the last little boost I needed.

Pete and I crossed the finish line at 2:34:40, hand in hand!

We were exhilarated but exhausted!  We took time to pose for a few pictures, and then we loaded up on bananas, Powerade, and snack boxes and got in line to take the bus back to the hotel!  It was definitely time for a shower and a nap!

My finisher's medal is absolutely my new favorite piece of jewelry!  I wore it for the rest of the weekend!