Wednesday, December 12, 2012

If you find my Motivation, please return it!



This month has been horrible for my family and I. We have experienced so many sicknesses and injuries. I am just counting down the day's December is over.

I have been out of running since Thanksgiving. I am truly missing it and, finding myself slip into lack of motivation mode. I signed up for the 100 miles in Winter challenge to help with my motivation, but here I am halfway through December and have logged a big goose egg.

Right now my number one priority is getting myself and my boys healthy again. Hopefully, this is our last chain of sicknesses and we can move forward.

I wanted to update my blog just so that I can promise myself, (When it's in writing I do better at keeping it) once we are all better, I am going to hit the ground running.

My running group and I have signed up for the Cherry Blossom lottery. I am hoping we get in so I have something to work towards. There is a pace requirement and I will be running on the edge of it. I want to be able to work on speed so that I won't be swept!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving Wattle Waddle Fun!!




Thanksgiving morning I woke up bright and early to head out to run a Thanksgiving 5 miler. Some may think I'm crazy for running on Thanksgiving. However, I think otherwise. I have so much to be thankful for this year. Besides my family and friends who I am the most thankful for, I am very thankful I am able to still be running. When I started my journey with running I was struggling with getting to a 5k finish line. Here I was waking up to run a 5 miler for fun on Thanksgiving. I have accomplished a ton this year towards my running goals.

After waking up and getting my gear ready, I headed to pick up one of my BRF's. (Best Runner Friend) We drove to Emmitsburg, MD. where the race was taking place. It was freezing out. Probably one of the coldest day's since last winter. Brrr. I wasn't ready for it. We met up with some of our other BRF's at the race start. It was great to be able to run with everyone again. I absolutely love these ladies.

I had run this race last year so I wasn't really nervous or worried what it would be like. There were only about 100 people there. It was small but a very nice crowd. We knew a lot of the people there because it was one of the 16 races in the Steeplechaser's Grand Prix series. Which a lot of us are apart of.  Once introductions and prayers were said we were off to run. I stayed pretty consistent with my pace and, was near the rear of the pack as I usually am.  Wow, I had no memory of how many hills were on this course. With a mix of the cold and not having ran a run since the OBX I was struggling. Thankfully, I had my BRF with me and we chugged along. We finished at around 1:09. Not a PR for me but... hey I got off the couch that morning and, I was able to eat a piece of pie later and not feel guilty about it!!
One of the most amazing things about this race is even though the majority of the runners are done between 30 mins to 45 mins. Everyone waits until the last runner comes through before starting the awards. As a slower runner myself this is very awesome. I have come in quiet a bit of finishes where no one is around or cheering you in. Every single runner/spectator at the Emmitsburg Wattle Waddle was there cheering all the runners in. Right down to the very last runner. Awesome!!

It was a challenging race for me but, the atmosphere was fun and I loved being there with the rest of the ladies!
The race volunteers were amazing too. They were very motivating. They could have been still asleep in their beds, but they made the trek out to help. That's pretty awesome!
I will most likely be doing this race again next year!
We look cold right?!? Lol.

The course was on the roads around Emmitsburg Community Park and Town.

My BRF and I coming in to the finish!

Three Things Thursday


It's the last Thursday of the month. Where did November go?  I am not ready for December to be here.




1. Product Reviews/Giveaway  

Check out all these amazing products!!! I was very fortunate to get some awesome sponsors to help fill this AMAZING Swag bag I gave out to the wonderful ladies in my running group for our OBX weekend. Great news...I will be posting my review of all the products inside and will be sending one lucky reader their very own bag! Exciting right!?!
So, if you haven't already...make sure you are following me somehow so you know when the Giveaway will be!

2. Germs

My family has been hit with sickness overload. All of us have been sick off and on all month. I am hoping we are all well for December. There are so many activities planned for December. It will be busy.

3. Motivation  

Since I have been battling sickness and taking care of my sick boys, I haven't run since Thanksgiving. I feel so lazy and sluggish. I have signed up for an online challenge in hopes it will help keep me motivated through the winter. The challenge is to run 100 miles in December through February. If you'd like to join me go see the details over at The Running Mom.

Friday, November 16, 2012

3 medals, 2 races, and a PR!! OBX Half Marathon Recap



This past weekend some of my girlfriends and I took a trip to Outer Banks NC to participate in their Gateway Banks Outer Banks Marathon weekend.

Outer Banks is about a 5 hour drive from where we live so we knew we would need to add a day of driving there, and a day to drive back to the schedule. We decided leaving Friday and returning Monday would be the ideal plan. The Marathon weekend included so many events you could choose to participate in.

We all met up at our friends house and loaded up the car. We made for great timing only stopping once to take a bathroom/lunch stop halfway. We chatted about past races, future races, PR's, playlists and so much more. The drive down seemed to go pretty fast. We made a stop at the Expo to register before checking into our hotel. 


The expo was a lot smaller than I had imagined it to be. We went on through and picked up our race bibs (with timing chips attached) and, race tee's. I also purchased a 13.1 magnet for my car. I have ran two half marathons already before this past weekend, and still hadn't gotten myself a magnet. I guess I was trying to prove to myself it wasn't just a one time deal.
 
After we were all settled in and unpacked we headed out to go grab a bite to eat. We were starving and it was getting late. Not but 5 minutes after we had stepped out of the hotel, the hotel and surrounding area had lost power. We figured it was just someone had hit something, or something along those lines and it would be right back on. We decided to drive farther down the island to try and find an area with power.  My friends and I were super bummed after we drove around for 30 minutes realizing it had spread through the whole island. The radio broadcast had told us it was a "Massive" outage. Oh, great! Now what? We headed to the only grocery store we found with a generator and bought some snacks from there to hold us over. We had signed up for the Rum Runner's Challenge which meant there would be a 5k race on Saturday morning and, a half marathon race on Sunday morning. We started to worry this would effect the 5k run in the morning. Sure enough not even 10 minutes checking out of the grocery store the island got it's power back. We headed out to find somewhere to eat. 3 hrs later we were headed back to the hotel. We had the worst experience at dinner. Optimistic that things would go up from here we headed off to bed.

The beach! Ahhh!

The crowd getting ready for the 5k.

Saturday morning we headed over to the Buccaneer 5k run. It was held at the First Flight High School track in Kill Devil Hills. They had an 8k event that was going on before our 5k event. The 8k event was like our 5k event. You could either run it as a single race or you could run it with the half or Marathon race on Sunday to make it considered a challenge. We opted to do the 5k/Half Marathon challenge. The race start was located on the high school track. There was tons of entertainment for families located inside the middle of the track. Bounce houses, slides, face painting, temporary tattoo station, rock wall climbing. It was a very fun atmosphere. My friends and I walked around taking pictures and, enjoying some of the stations.  After a restroom stop we were ready to run our race. The weather was a little warm at a 10am start. The race course was an out and back course wrapping around the school and neighborhood. There was some rocky, sandy and, grassy terrain as well as, blacktop and, the track. My ankles hated the uneven terrain and my PF hated the rocks digging into my heels. I was surprised to see so many children signed up for the race. My friends and I decided to take it easy and not full out run the course, since we were running again the next day. However, I had to hightail it out of there at the start. There were so many people walking this race we had to weave in and out. I know that a 5k race is where a lot of beginner runners start out, and they don't know the etiquette of where to go when walking and how to let others pass you. But, I felt there was no common sense from a lot of people on how to slow down on the outside of the course. I had to stop myself from tumbling over people who had stopped right in front of me countless times, so that I wouldn't barrel them over too. Thankfully, I found my slower rhythm and was able to relax a bit and settle into the race. We stopped for our friends at the end of the race and finished together as a group. It was fun finishing together. 

Group picture at the 5k. Picture provided by Shannon Doughty
Cheers to our finish of the 5k! On to the next!

The other half of our group was meeting us down there a day later than us. We met up with them Saturday night to enjoy a nice dinner at Kelly's Restaurant. We had some amazing meals and, enjoyed each others company. Kelly's was super accommodating and, even allowed us to sit at a private table on a  private floor. Very nice people running that restaurant! 

Our group at Kelly's Picture provided by Tonya Wise
At the start of the half marathon. Picture provided by Jenni Gilroy.

Sunday morning we woke up early to drive to the start of the half marathon. There were quiet a lot of runner's there already. We took our bags to bag check, took a restroom stop and, took some group pictures before lining up in our corral's. Must of us in my group was lined up in corral E. We heard the announcer announce that the start would be coming up in a couple minutes. We then heard a cannon sound off. It was a little surprising but got my adrenaline pumping. The announcer started counting each corral down to start. My corral was let out of the start only a short time after the 1st corral. The course was very beautiful. It ran around some of the ocean, scenic neighborhoods, and along the highway. The weather was gorgeous but, a little hotter than I had thought it was going to be. Whenever I hit the highways the sun beamed down on me. I struggled finding my pace and breathing the first 3 miles of the race. I seem to do that a lot. Once I hit the 4 and 5 mile seems were starting to look good for me. I took a gel and upped my pace a bit. I caught up to one of my friends and ran with her for about a mile before taking off again. I was feeling wonderful. The best I had ever felt during a half. I wasn't regretting my decision of signing up at all, unlike last time. My feet were feeling great too. At about mile 10 is when things starting to change for me. The race course as of yet had been pretty flat. I knew that there was a bridge that others had talked about. They had mentioned it was a big hill and a lot of people struggled on it. I had forgotten all about it. When I hit it, I almost thought it wasn't real. This was a pretty massive bridge. I was a bit scared I wouldn't make it. I scaled the hill in what I call turtle pace. I was run/walking but felt like I was making no progress. Once I finally made it to the top, my legs took over and ran down the hill. I was exhausted and still had a little under 2 miles left. 

Part of the bridge at mile 10.  Picture source
 
I had a time in my head of where I wanted to finish. Looking at my Garmin I knew I wasn't going to make my time if I didn't full on sprint it. I tried to run as fast as I could but my legs were so week. My breathing was all off again. According to my Garmin I only had the .1 left of my half. However, every bend that I made thinking it was my last, kept getting longer. I felt it was never going to end. Finally I could see the end in sight. I ran as fast as I could to get there. Coming down the finish chute I saw part of my group on the side waiting and cheering me on. 

Coming into the finish. Picture taken by Jenni Gilroy

After the half!

I crossed the finish line and seriously felt as if my legs were going to give. I was super excited I finished. Once seeing my time I was a little sadden I didn't make my goal. However, I still managed to shave 4 minutes off my last half marathon time. I met up with the rest of my group and waiting for the rest of our group to come through. One friend of ours was running the Marathon so we waited for her to come through too. If you've never seen people come to the finish line at a marathon, it is very motivational. You see all kinds of people come through. Some people are in pain, some are crying out of happiness, we saw old runner, young runners, we even saw military runners running with full gear.  It's pretty amazing. We also got to see a world record being made by Team Extreme. They had the 1st woman to finish a marathon in a Gas Mask. That to me is super impressive.

Team Extreme coming to the finish. Picture courtesy of Tonya Wise.


 
After everyone had finished we walked to get our bags and race goodies. We then hopped on to the shuttle bus which took us back to our car. We refueled with some lunch on our hotel's gazebo on the beach It was an amazing lunch with great friends. We then dipped our feet in the ice cold ocean and took pictures! Who needs an ice bath when you have the Ocean in November. Lol. After than we enjoyed a dip in the hot tub. It felt amazing on our sore muscles. I don't know how I will ever run a race and not use the hot tub afterwards again. It was beyond amazing. After showering and getting ready, we enjoyed our final night together as a group. We went to Pamlico Jack's for dinner. Again, another amazing place to eat while in the OBX. Amazing management and delicious food. 

Taking an ice bath for my feet in the Ocean!

I was super sad to say good bye to the OBX and, my wonderful friends but, was eager to see my boys at home. I can not wait to do it all again next year. I see the OBX Half Marathon being in my future for a long time.





Thursday, November 8, 2012

I survived the Zombies!!


This past weekend my girlfriends and I participated in one of the most entertaining races yet.
 Yep, that's right...The Frederick Maryland  Mud Dog Run: Zombie Edition. I have been talking it up for the last couple weeks. I was super pumped but, really nervous too. This was my first mud run as well as first zombie run.

After meeting up with the ladies, we headed over early to the farm to get bibs and pictures. Everything went really smoothly at registration.  In Maryland this past weekend it was freezing. Thankfully, they had fires going for all us runners to keep warm while waiting around. I thought that was super thoughtful. After some pictures and dropping off our coats at the car we were ready for some fun.

We lined up among the sea of people, all excited to see our first Zombie. The race director started the race and we were off. What I thought was going to be an easy run/walk with some obstacles came to a screeching halt. The first obstacle was among us, tons of hay bales scattered among the course with a lot of Zombies coming at you. I screamed and ran as fast as I could. Dodging zombie left and right , as they reached for my flags. (Think flag football style.)  Some were hobbling and others were full on running after your flags. If you weren't running sprinting  from Zombies, you were doing an obstacle. The obstacles were pretty fun. Some were pretty challenging too. We faced a spiderweb of ropes to weave through, barbed wire to army crawl through with water underneath, chest deep water to stomp through, a slide to slide down, huge haystacks to climb over, fire barrels to go around, a couple walls to climb over, a balance beam log to walk scoot across. Then we finished with a jump over logs on fire!! Of course all the water ones were my least favorite because of the freezing temps. My fingers and toes were frozen when I was finished.Even with the freezing temps, it was the most fun I've ever had at a race before.

Pictures credited to: Key 103, Malleus Combat Sports and, Crystal Raines

At the end of the race you were corralled into two different finish lanes. One was for if you finished with flags, the other was for those with out. I somehow ended up in the alive. Ok, so technically I should never have finished with that flag, but somehow one got stuck up my shirt and well...the rest is history!

After the race you were given a Flying Dog beer glass. Which of course I was super stoked. I love Flying Dog beer. It's one of the best recovery drinks ever! Inside our glass was a token for a free beer and a coupon for a free sandwich or soup. Really?!? How did they know I was super hungry! We went and got our sandwiches. The after party band was pretty amazing. I was also pretty surprised to see the party tent was heated.

We followed Mud Dog's advice and packed an extra set of clothes. After we wrangled those wet muddy clothes off and warmed up in out sweats and sweatshirts all was good in the world again. We were adrenaline rushed and toasty!

Overall a fantastic time, I would run it again!! My girlfriends and I talked about doing the regular Mud Dog in the warmer weather next.

Check out this video that Key 103 posted on their Facebook. They had 5 or so people participating with us. They were with us for the most part. You can see us in the video a bunch of times. The dude with the head cam on even knocked one my friends down on the water slide. Lol. Too funny!




Check back for more pictures!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Marine Corps Marathon Weekend! OORAH!

To all who ran the 10k and Marathon this past weekend at the Marine Corps Marathon, Congratulations!!




I participated in the 10k event because, we'll let's face it...I'm no marathoner. Although I had a really great time, I had some boughts of  bad luck and, emotional moments.
My morning started out by hearing my alarm clock go off. I looked over at it and saw 5:00 flashing. I looked over at my phone which is next to my clock and saw it flashing. Immediately I freak out. At some point my alarm clock messed up and instead of going off at 4am it went off an hour late. My friends had been calling me wondering what was wrong. Did I get in an accident, sick or, eaten by Zombies? Nope, freaking overslept. Thankfully, I have super awesome friends and they came knocking at my door. I threw clothes and shoes on and, grabbed my bags in record time.
Along the way I realized I had forgotten my fuel belt water bottles and, my honey stingers. I was bummed but, figured this was just a 6 mile run I would be ok with the race water and Gatorade. We picked up the rest of our friends and were on our way.
Maryland had been under a state of emergency because of a Hurricane due to hit land some time on Sunday or Monday. We saw no real signs of "Sandy" except a bit of wind and cold weather. It was actually great running weather.
We arrived at our parking garage and, made our way to the start of the 10k. The start was at the corner of 12th and Madison on The National Mall. It was still pretty dark out but, everything was so beautiful. We could see the Capital and Washington Monument.















It was pretty crowded but not too bad. We went to bag check and successfully dropped off all our bags. The bathroom lines were ridiculous. We started to wait in line until a nice man told us that we could go to a public restroom no one was at.

The crowd from our bathroom line.

My friends and I in the Bathroom line.

We made it to the start just in time to hear the National Anthem and take off.

In our corral. 

The starting line! Picture taken by a friend.

The race course was very nice. You were able to see a lot of DC area landmarks. It was a bit industrial but, you kind of expect that since you are in DC. There was tons of race spectators along the way. Alot of support groups were there ringing their bells and holding signs, cheering us along. I got quiet emotional while running a couple times along the course. I saw so many runners running in honor of falling Marines, wounded veterans running, and even runners with prosthetics. Of course then there were the Marines. All of which were there cheering us on too. Smiling, extending their arms for high fives. Everyone yelling "oorah" and "Semper Fi" every time I thanked them. It was amazing.

Somewhere along mile 3, I landed wrong on my sore foot causing it to send intense pain up the back of my heel into my calf. It was one of the worse pains Ive ever experienced running. It made me stop a minute and stretch it out. I wanted to call it quits right there and then but, kept seeing all these runners running for bigger reasons and said to myself could I really stop right now. There is no excuse, I must finish. The last 2 miles of the course were so brutal for me. I pushed so hard to finish. I wanted to beat my last 10k time but, sadly knew I wasn't going to make it due to the time I took stopping to stretch out my foot. The last hill of the course was almost my breaking point but, seeing so many people cheering you on and Marines holding their hands out to get you in case you need help just made you suck it up and push through. I finished my race and continued through the finish corral to get my medal. At the end there was a line of Marines holding medals. The Marine who was in my line looked at me, put the medal around my neck and said "Congratulations" he then saluted me and, I saluted back.

After receiving my medal, I met back up with my friends. I let out some more tears of pain and sucked it up. We got our water and Gatorade and walked to go find our bags. Our bags seemed miles away from the finish. We were freezing and wanted to change. Once we found our bags, changed, went to the bathroom, warmed up and even got FREE massages, (Which were the real deal and amazing) we headed back to the finish line to watch our friends finish the Marathon.

I had never watched a Marathon finish before. Wow!! What an emotional event. So many people crying, being helped to the finish, holding hands. We saw men and women pushing chairs with quadriplegic partners inside. It was amazing. We saw two of our friends accomplish something they worked so hard for. Seeing them from the start to finish was something else and being there to cheer them along . I was and am so truly proud of them. I joke so much here on my blog and in person about never being able to run a marathon but, seeing them accomplish something they set their hearts on really makes me have hope that one day maybe I will be able to run a Marathon too.

After meeting up with our friends who ran the Marathon we headed back home. Unfortunately, everyone else was too. The Metro was backed up, the line was wrapped around two streets. We decided to walk to the next station. However, we had no clue how long that walk would be. Once reaching the metro, I was beyond exhausted. Running the 10k and the 4 hours of extra walking around really irritated my foot more. I was so happy to be on my way home. All I wanted was ice of my foot and to lay down!! :)


All of us before heading home!

The best and the worst:
The best was: All the race support and, of course the Marines!! Also it's one of the few 10ks around you get a medal for!
The worst: All the walking around to get to your bags and family meetup. The traffic to get home was a bear. Lastly, there wasn't a water stop until mile 3 and, when I finally got to one I got the smallest bit of Gatorade I've ever gotten. (There was only 2 water stops on the course and no fuel stations.)

Would I do it again?
I really am not sure. That night I swore to never run it again due to the bad points but, now that I am reviewing it. I really did enjoy the atmosphere!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Virtual Running

Have you ever participated in a virtual run/race? If not you're probably wondering what one is. I'll admit before last year I had no clue what one was. I had seen a couple tweets come up on Twitter about virtual races but didn't pay much attention to them. That is until one of my favorite bloggers Run with Jess posted about one on her blog. A virtual race is a “race” that can be run anywhere you are, no specific starting time or starting place. They occasionally have specific dates, or sometimes the dates will range a week or two to give you time to finish it.  Just pick your favorite course and run.

Last year, Run with Jess posted on her blog that she would be planning a race in her hometown a 5k with cupcakes at the finish. YUM! I wanted to run. However, Jess lived to far away for me to come run with her. She decided to allow others in other states to run with her "virtually". All you had to do was email her your time and you'd be considered a finisher. You could run the race at anytime during the week of her race. I thought it was a great idea. I decided to sign up. She had two options to join. You could join for free and be entered in the raffle or pay a small fee and, receive a race tee. I opted to receive the tee. 

Last year, I went out and ran it alone..came home and devoured my cupcake. It was a great way to get myself motivated to run alone. 


Last weekend, my Run, Mama, Run! running group decided they would all participate in Run with Jess Cupcake Classic 5k. We would all meet up and run it together. Then receive our cupcakes after. What fun!! I loved the idea of doing it with friends this year. However, I am in the process of training for some longer races coming up and, had 9 miles on the schedule for that weekend long run. My running buddies and I decided we'd run 6 and then meet up with the rest of the group and run the 5k. So we would get 9 miles in.


The first 6 miles went really great. I was in the zone. I was in minimal pain due to my PF but, I felt good. After the 6 miles we had to stop to meet the group. We waited about 30 mins. before the 5k started. I have no clue how some people do two a days. The 5k race hurt me like no other. I was in such pain. I think part was due to the cold weather and the stiffness of my muscles. Other was my PF was flaring up big time. One of my running buddies and I kept it slow and steady. We finally finished. Exhausted!! 

One of the ladies in the group had brought cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes, one of the most delicious cupcake shops around where we live. I opted for the red velvet of course. Yumm! It was heavenly!


This year, Run with Jess had a medal option you could purchase. I did not order a tee or medal this year. I'm disappointed I didn't, they were super nice.

Virtual Run's are a great idea if your looking to do something as a group or solo... yet, don't have the time to do it on a certain day. You have the freedom to get it done when you can.
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