Saturday, December 13, 2014

Reindeer Fun Run Recap

Let's call this post a race against the clock!  I am currently sitting in the RDU airport trying to finish this up before boarding a plane home!  Well first I am stopping in Denver...but then home. Luckily this was a 5k, so I only have 3 miles to recap!

 Computer airport selfie or it didn't happen right?

As always, if you want the more technical review and less of the personal stuff, head on over to my BibRave review.  For the personal stuff, keep on keeping on.

Let's lead this up by saying this was my first time running after the marathon. I totally thought I was ready to go and I even considered doing the 12k's of Christmas.  Blame the super cute finisher medal for my temporary lapse in judgement.  Luckily I decided on the 5k and counted it as a good idea because it would make me get out and run again.

I also thought this race was going to be really small because the town it's in isn't all that big. I was wrong. There were a ton of runners!  I want to say over 1000 5k runners.  This made the whole thing feel so much more festive!

I picked up the race packet the day before and I was so excited!  It all came in a cute logo drawstring bag and we got antlers and a mason jar!

The morning of the race is was a little chilly and drizzly, but the race was so well hosted that i still felt super festive.  I few of us sat in a coffee shop across the road from the start.  I was super well prepared and hadn't had any breakfast, so coffee was my last hope at that point.  After a few pictures we headed over to the start line.

There were no markers for estimated finish time to line up with, but people were doing really well at sorting themselves out.  The race did specify that walkers and those with strollers and dogs should start at the back.  They also had the course well marked asking walkers to stay right and runners to stay left.  I was pretty impressed.  There was also a bagpiper playing along the way which was awesome.

Of course I hadn't checked out the course ahead of time, so the very uphill start was a bit of a rude awakening and, sadly for me, a pretty good indicator of what was to come.  I also quickly realized it was a very good thing I had not signed up for the 12k. I could have made it, but I was more sore than I realized and the 3 miles was a good distance and plenty challenging!

My running buddy and I just had fun with this race and I could not have asked for a better time to shake out my legs and get back out there.  I really enjoyed the shorter distance and stopping to take pictures when I felt like it. 

Because when you see a yard this decorated, you pretty much have to take a selfie.  It's the rules.

As we came up to the last bit we realized we were coming in to a downhill finish! Apparently if you read the website you would know this ahead of time...did I mention I was unprepared?  Once the finish line was in sight, I realized they were also making snow at the finish line so you got to run through it. I didn't see the photographer at the time so my pictures are a little funky.  My unofficial race photographer also got stuck on the other side of the train tracks from the finish line.  It was an odd moment but made for a bit of fun sitting and watching the train go by.  I felt like a kid again.
To continue the kid feeling, we went an took a picture with Santa too.
The snacks after the race were pretty great and there was a coupon in our race packets for a free Chik-fil-a sandwich at the store down the road.  I saved that for another day and we continued a post-race tradition of iced coffee and carby goodness at Dunkin Donuts!

It was, overall, an awesome event and everything ran so smoothly!  I could not have asked for a better experience.

And with that, I've beat the clock! Plane boarding starts soon, so my next check in will be from a different time zone! Have a fabulous Saturday!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Space Coast Marathon Recap

Better late than never right?  It's been almost two weeks since I headed to Florida for the Space Coast Marathon on Sunday November 30th...and I think it has taken this long for it to actually sink in that I ran that far and lived to tell about it.

If you are looking for a more race review without all the personal info, head over to BibRave and read my review there.  If you like all the personal info, welcome aboard.

I will admit that I was a bit of a stress basket leading up to this race and I was the party pooper on Thanksgiving.  I also left the party early so I could go home and go to bed at a reasonable hour.
Rather than getting up early to go Black Friday shopping, I got up early to make the 8ish hour drive to Cocoa Beach, FL.  I am usually a non stop road-tripper and only take breaks when I need gas.  Drinking sufficient water to hydrate my body for the marathon ruined that approach and led to many more stops.  The weather just kept getting better and better as I went though, so I wasn't complaining.

I stayed at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront, one of the recommended hotels, and had a great room with a fabulous view.
As a general rule I tend to think Hiltons act fancier than they are, but I had truly great service at this one and the private beach access was very much appreciated.
Friday night there was also a mingle event at my hotel for all runners in town early.  It had gotten a little chilly out so I didn't stay outside too long.  I was also tired from all the driving! However I did meet some really great ladies from Jacksonville and really enjoyed chatting with them.  One of my main concerns going into the weekend was that I was traveling alone and I was totally convinced it would make my first marathon less special.  I was so appreciative of this event because it gave me a reason to get out of my hotel room!

The next morning I woke up bright and early to grab breakfast and head to the expo to pick up my packet.  I had intended to go watch the sunrise on the beach, but it was cloudy so I watched fro my room.
As a Hilton Honors Diamond member I got free continental breakfast which made me very happy.  Sadly the whole Hilton ego kicked in and I was only able to get the cold breakfast and oatmeal. I would have to pay for the hot options.  So much for feeling special right? That said, the greek yogurt bar and croissants were fantastic. And really as long as breakfast comes with coffee I won't fuss too loudly.
I really meant to get to the expo right at 9 when it opened.  Then I started watching HGTV and left a little closer to 9:30.  The expo was held at the Radison just a few minutes down the road.  I had driven past it the day before so I was very excited to be able to drive there without needing my GPS. One road there and back for the win. The line to get my bib was non-existent and the line to get my shirt was also pretty short. Unfortunately they were out of my shirt size, but I was able to go up a size and it still fits pretty well.  They did have the option to have a shirt mailed to you, but I am a big fan of instant gratification so I went with the bigger size.  From what I heard later, they ran out of a lot more sizes as the day went on.  The expo itself was jam packed, especially in the licensed merchandise area.  I think they could have spread it out better to solve some of the problems, but the people working it were doing their best to manage the situation as best they could.  There were things that were selling out pretty quickly but I got a Tervis tumbler and a Brooks short sleeve shirt with the race logo so I was more than happy.
There were also local running clubs and area races at the expo which I enjoyed. I also had to stop by the My Soxy Feet table to pick up some new socks.  I was between sizes so I was excited that the vendor had samples I could try on.  I ended up picking a cat pair and a dog pair that benefit animal rescues.
Another highlight, for me, was seeing all the medals for the upcoming years.  I can't wait to go back next year and grow my own collection
The one downside to traveling alone is the lack of a photographer, so I was not able to make use of the photo ops.  I am sure one of the super friendly runners would have taken a pic for me, but I honestly wasn't that dedicated to wait in line haha.

After the expo I stopped and did a little souvenir shopping at Ron Jon then headed back to the hotel.  The road the hotel was on also had great sidewalks and plenty of other runners, so it made it easier to go out for my easy two mile shakeout run.

I wish I was more exciting, but the truth is that after my run I just took my textbook to the beach and studied in the sand and sun. As far as studying goes, it could be much worse so I was ok with it.

I got a fresh mex bowl from Chili's for dinner (because rice=delicious carbs!) and laid out sorta flat Jess.  It was another early night followed by a very very early morning.

The first shuttle bus was scheduled to leave Sunday morning at 4:30...I was puttering around getting ready and happened to look out the window around 3:45 and realized the bus was already there so I got hustling.  That was lucky since the first bus was full and leaving by about 4:00.  Parking directions had been provided, but the bus made everything much easier since I had no idea where I was going!

When we arrived, I sat on the swing set and ate my bagel and peanut butter for breakfast, put my Nuun in my water bottle, checked my bag, and got in line for the restroom.  There were lots of porta-potties open at the time, but I really wanted to be able to wash the vaseline off my hands as well.  By the time I got through the line it was almost time for the Half to start.  The Full started half an hour later so I worked my way over to the starting area gradually.
 It was pretty surreal to stand there and realize that this was actually happening.
 I started way to the back with the 5 hour finish group. Time would tell how optimistic that was.  The national anthem was sung beautifully and we started off to a countdown and a video of a rocket launch.  I was off and rolling with no idea what to expect.

For the first few mile everything felt great.  It was very exciting but pretty uneventful. I was beyond thankful for the gorgeous view and the wonderful volunteers at the aid stations.  I knew there was no GU until mile 9, so I was carrying one of my own which I took at the water station just after the 4 mile marker.  So far so good.

By about mile 8 my left hip was starting to give me trouble.  I had honsetly expected it, but had hoped it would hold off a bit longer.  Apparently luck was not on my side.

At mile 9 I took a GU from an aid station and for some reason my gag reflex kicked in immediately.  I trained with GU for most of the summer and fall with no problem. I had taken it on days hotter than this with no problem. I have absolutely no idea what went wrong, but it was very very wrong.

I kept plodding along though I very nearly called it quits at the half mark.  It would have been too easy and I would have just gotten my half time and all that jazz.  I think my ego kicked in a bit and I kept going.  According to the results, my half time was 2:48, which I am pretty happy with.

By about mile 16 my ego was nowhere to be found and all I wanted to do was sit down and cry.  I tried another GU around that time and had the same awful reaction and my stomach would just not settle. My back was also starting to remind me that this was a terrible life choice.  I was suddenly very aware of how completely under trained I was.  I was convinced I would never ever run another marathon again. I think I was even convinced that I would not finish this one. Up until then I had kept adjusting my goals slightly, aiming for just slightly slower times.  At that rather soul crushing moment I gave up on goals other than just making it to the finish line.

Then I met up with another runner who I am convinced is the only reason I finished.  She was going at it with a run about 10 steps, walk about 10 steps approach and I asked if I could just stick with her.  For the rest of the race I let her set the pace and just focused on keeping up.  We ran when we saw photographers and walked a lot more than I had originally planned.

The road seemed forever long, but when we finally got to mile 19 and turned back towards the finish line (with the sun FINALLY to our backs rather than blazing in our faces as it had since mile 7) I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It was still a struggle but it suddenly seemed possible. When we got to mile 25 I ran ahead as much as I could manage and told myself I would run at least the last .2 miles and give it all I had.  I had no idea if I had anything left to give, but it was worth a shot I figured.  Starting at the mile 26 marker, the road was lined with people cheering you on all the way to the finish.  My name was on my bib and it was so surreal to have all these people encouraging me by name and telling me not to stop.  I ran.  It may not seem like much to some, but in that moment it was like my entire world was narrowed down to the sound of people telling me I could do it and my legs doing everything they could to make that true.  I started crying somewhere in that time and didn't stop completely until I was probably halfway home. I got my medal and beach towel then headed over to the beer truck. Given my messed up stomach this was perhaps not the best plan, but I really like beer. The pancakes also looked amazing and I had been ready for them since I signed up to run! Unfortunately one sniff made my stomach nix that plan immediately. I was very thankful that the nice man at the Publix tent gave me a couple bananas which did help settle my stomach so I didn't repeat my post half marathon experience. That was a big relief.
When people think of major, life changing moments I doubt sitting on a towel in the grass, covered in sweat, a little chafed and nibbling on a banana tops the list. But that was exactly when I started to realize the scope of what I had just accomplished. It was also the moment I started to plan my next marathon primarily because I want to see how much better I'll do if I just train properly.
Then of course I tried to stand up and adjusted my thinking a bit ;)

The moral of the story: I ran a freaking marathon and I can't wait to sign up to run Space Coast again next year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

10 significant moments from my first marathon

I ran the Space Coast Marathon this past Sunday. I'll have a full recap to post soon, but here's a little taste in the form of ten significant moments from the race.

For details of the race you can also check out my BibRave review here.

1) The starting line- it was so overwhelming to realize that this was really it and I was really there. I don't think there are enough words for the million feelings in that moment.

2) Mile 6- This was the first split clock and I realized I was doing alright and keeping the pace I wanted.

3) Mile 9- My hip started to hurt. It has good days and bad days and this was when I began to realize it might be a bad day.

4) Mile 13.1 - I almost quit here. It would have been easy. But the people cheering and knowing I would have regretted it forever kept me going.

5) Mile 16 (ish) - I met up with another runner here and stuck with her for the rest of the race.  She kept me going and chatting made the time pass less painfully. Without her I honestly do not know if I would have finished.

6) Mile 19 - We turned around and started running towards the finish line.  I knew there was still a long way to go, but it was mentally a huge boost to know we were going the "right" direction.

7) Mile 23 - knowing that there was only a 5k left to do was another huge boost.  I wasn't moving any faster but this was the moment when I realized I was actually going to be able to finish my first marathon. I almost started crying. Or maybe I did.

8) Mile 26 - I told myself I was going to run the last .2 miles but I really had no idea where the energy was going to come from.  When I hit mile 26, there were suddenly people on both sides of the course cheering me on by name (yeah I had no idea how much I would appreciate having my name on my bib until then) and they gave me the power to get through to the finish line. The many photographers didn't hurt either.

9) The finish line- it's cheesy, it's cliche, I am still going to say it.  This was a life changing moment. I cried. A lot. Off and on for quite some time.

10) Sitting in the grass after - this was the moment I started wondering what would be different if I actually followed my training plan. It was also the moment I started wondering when I could do this crazy marathon thing again.

then I tried to stand up...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

That marathon thing

Four days from now I will be running in my first marathon. Insert a lot of expletives here.
I have mixed feelings about it really. I am excited to do it. I am not expecting spectacular results because my training has been awful. But I believe I will be able to finish it.
Then there is the part of me that's just a little sad and not that interested in going. Things worked out so none of my friends were able to go and my guy can't leave North Carolina. Not because he was arrested, promise ;) So it is turning into one of those events that you plan out so much in your mind that you really aren't sure what to do when it doesn't go according to the plan.
And that's where I will end the pity party. At least I can be thankful that I got my replacement phone in time for the trip...oh and the drive is easily diverted to make me past the Orlando outlets on Black Friday!  Lululemon and Kate Spade here I come!

Happy Thanksgiving eve everybody!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A little thing called life happened

I’m going to go ahead and be very honest here for a moment: life happened and my marathon training totally derailed.

In addition to all the fun and exciting things that I knew were coming, there was also one major surprise.  

Last Monday I was supposed to go to lunch with my boyfriend.  I walked out to the parking lot at work thinking about cheeseburgers and onion rings and wound up with a very different kind of ring!

Yup, this girl is getting hitched!

Gratuitous ring pic...conveniently taken after I went and got an emergency manicure.  He asked if I was surprised or if I had been suspecting he might propose...I told him if I was expecting it my nails would have been painted and all one length!

The day before, I also went on an awesome hiking trip with Hank and some friends (both two and four-legged) which I justified as replacing my long run even before we started. Halfway through I realized that hiking was actually way more exhausting than any run I have ever been on.  
We got some pretty great pictures though :) By which I mean I got good pictures of Hank. I looked like a goof.

I also started my MBA last week. Because I totally needed one more thing to add to the list of activities!  My book didn't get here this weekend as planned so tonight I will be doing lots of homework.  I really hate to start the class this way but I don't have much other choice.

But before homework it's time to go do a little running (on the treadmill because the weather has turned brutal!)

Hope you have an amazing Monday evening!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A spooky (and not in the good way) Halloween half marathon

This weekend I ran the inaugural North Carolina Halloween Half Marathon in Spring Lake, NC.  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, the race started at 4 in the afternoon, and it was a five minute drive from my friend's house so it was a guaranteed winner.  Until I got there.

If you want the quick and easy recap, hit up my BibRave review. This is the more broad overview :)

This half was meant to be part of my overall marathon training for the Space Coast Marathon on November 30th.  I didn't count on hurting my calf leading up to it. I hadn't run much in the past couple weeks in an effort to speed up my leg's recovery process so I was actually pretty nervous about this race.  The apprehension got worse on Friday when I looked at the weather and realized I would likely be running in the cold and the rain. The forecast was a 70% chance of rain with temperatures in the mid 40s.  Eww.

The expo sounded really cool on the website, but when we got there it was two or three tents. I am blaming the rain for that one and like to tell myself it would have been a much better event if the sun was shining!  I grabbed my bib and shirt and bundled myself back up in the car without visiting the tents so I suppose I am part of the problem.

The race bag was pretty basic. There were entry forms for a couple other races and a 13.1 sticker. This was my first half so I was really excited about the sticker...until I realized it said Key West Half Marathon through the middle. Major bummer.

After warming up at my friend's house for a while, we headed back to the race a few hours before it was scheduled to start to avoid traffic and parking problems.  I was very very excited that there was a Dunkin Donuts truck in the parking lot and promised myself a delicious treat after the race! I wanted the coffee then, but was not willing to deal with potential consequences.  

We watched a super cute kids race before the half started which was neat. When it came time to line up it wasn't very clear where to go and there was no order in the starting area.  From what I heard there were under 400 runners so luckily the chaos was minimal.  By that point I was just ready to start running in the hopes of finally getting warm! Luckily the race is posting all the pictures on their Facebook because my fingers were too frozen to take any while running.

Pre race! Wishing I could run in the vest

And we are off!
Around mile one I started to wonder where the mile markers were, then I made a new running buddy and plugged along with her for the next 3 or so miles.  The first part of the route took us through a trailer park then back through the start/finish at which point I started asking her if we perhaps started with the 5k group on accident.

5k down, 10 miles to go

Apparently we didn't and we kept going.  By mile 4 we accepted that there were, apparently, no mile markers.  Having someone to talk to was great at that point and I was doing much better than I had hoped. I certainly wasn't going fast, but I was running everything but the water stations. By mile 4.5 my new friend had to stop to stretch out her foot so I was back on my own.  Through more creepy neighborhoods.  There were no real spectators so I felt very much alone.  The course was also not clearly marked so many times I was just hoping I was going the right way.

Around mile five, I realized that the course was also still open to traffic.  I spent a good amount of time running in the mud alongside the road trying to avoid getting clipped.  Runners were yelling out to each other when a car came up.  Hooray for camaraderie at least.

We passed within eyesight of the finish line around mile 11 (according to my Nike app since that was all I had to go by) then were sent for a long loop back though the first trailer park.  At mile 13 (again according to my phone) the finish line was nowhere in sight.  I finally saw it just shy of 14.5 miles and hustled to the end.  Partially to get warm, partially to get to safety. (Did I mention a guy on the course told me the reason he ran marathons was to look at the girls? Hello creepy)  My finish time was 2:28:?? so I was THRILLED to come in under my unofficial goal of 2.5 hours.

I was handed my (awesome and huge) finishers medal and a bottle of water, met up with my boyfriend, and headed over to the aid and food station. Oh wait, that was my imagination. There was no aid station at all, and the "food" was a bunch of empty pizza boxes on the ground.  The Dunkin truck was even gone :( I got a dixie cup of beer...which I poured from the keg without anyone IDing me. Woo security haha.

 Talking to other runners I found out that many of the top finishers had run only 11 miles.  This is not to say I would have beat them if they had run the full distance (or been even close lol) but that they were frustrated that the "certified" course they had run was short. According to a statement on the race Facebook some runners were misdirected which accounted for the short distance.  For some reason that just doesn't seem like a good thing to me!

Anyways, I wanted to stay and watch the rest of the finishers, but I was just too cold and hungry.  There were no space blankets or anything of that nature so I was a little worried for my health.

We tried to stop at Red Robin for dinner (because who doesn't love burgers?) but as soon as I got out of the car I started to feel sick. I bailed and proceeded to make my boyfriend pull over twice so I could get sick. I am super glamorous like that. He is very lucky to have me.  Or the other way around.  Probably that one.

Once I got home and got warm I felt better, so I guess all those times my mom made me bundle up after volleyball practice she was right.  Getting cold after getting sweaty is a recipe for disaster.

Lessons learned: eat better before afternoon races. Pack gloves. Pack a coat. Pack your own snacks.

Perk: I can manage to look pretty good around halfway through a half marathon! Also I fell 100% totally and completely in LOVE with my running shoes.  They are the bee's knees.

Overall, my legs were sore at the end but I wasn't overly tired so I am actually feeling better about my marathon now!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Breathing life back into the blog

Can a blog die of neglect?
Oops.  Life got a little nutty and I couldn't keep up with everything anymore...and I ran out of data on my phone which was pretty much the death stroke.

To attempt to breathe some life back into this space, I am kicking off with a ten things Tuesday post. Mostly because that is the level of thought my brain is capable of creating at this point!

This one is pretty random:

1) I was pretty sure they were going to come find me and tar and feather me when the cleaning people went in my hotel room last week.  I am usually very good about leaving things tidy, but I made my tutu for my Halloween costume and there was glitter everywhere. Like really everywhere. It was awful.

2) I am kinda freaking out because I think I have a minor calf strain and my half marathon is this weekend.  I can work through the pain and I know I can do it, I just don't want to do more damage before the full in a few weeks.  Tomorrow will be a test run of a few easy miles to assess the situation.

3) I am obsessed with an online store that a new friend introduced me to.  Apparently it is soon to be a real store in Nashville, TN as well.  It is and she seriously has the best stuff.  I am ordering this llama sweater as soon as it restocked!

4) I tried Nuun for the first time yesterday. Jury is still out on that one. My stomach tolerated it well though, so I will try it on a run next time.

5) I finally did Meatless Monday for the first time! This is partly due to the fact that I lived on coffee and donuts for a large portion of the day...but I did pick all veggie things at Panera for dinner so I call that progress.

6) Speaking of Panera, I have a new favorite! The autumn squash soup has been my go-to lately, but yesterday I tried the mozzarella and tomato panini and  was pretty blown away. Of course I also ate the pecan roll.

7) Are there support groups for veg-curious people?  Now that travel is winding down I am considering going at least part-time vegetarian.  But I struggle to get enough protein as it is, so I want a veggie coach. Or something of that nature.

8) I wanted to run today to test out my leg...but I started getting dressed and realized I did not pack a sports bra.  Go figure.

9) It's really interesting to be signed up for two races in November and seeing the difference in the way they are coordinated. Today I (finally) got an email about where packet pick up will be for the half marathon this weekend.  Two weeks ago I got my bib number and race info from the marathon that is at the very tail end of November.

10) Boyfriend can't go to the marathon with me. The Army won't let him go that far away.  So yes, I am pouting a bit, but life will go on.  Now it is time to find a friend to be my one person cheer squad/co pilot.

10.5) I am an awful blogger because I am total crap at taking pictures throughout the day!

Hope you are having a marvelous week!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marathon training confession

I am going to have to go ahead and admit that my mileage lately does not look like I am training for a marathon. Last week I logged about 12 miles total. That is not okay. Admittedly work has been crazy and life has been happening, but I can't let that be an excuse. This week I am going to get turned around and hit my mileage. I have to.  At this point I am terribly unprepared and I can't waste any more time.
Anyways, that's my bummer of a post for the week. Tomorrow I am getting my butt back on track!
in other disappointing news, my shoe is already wearing out!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nutrition While Traveling

I love food. Love love love food. My travel weakness is going all out and eating everything that sounds good at the time.  It happens every year...and every year I have a rude awakening that makes me reevaluate what I am eating.

Let's start with the why.  Why does it matter what I eat while I am traveling? The first year I traveled for work I was convinced I was going to gain a ton of weight from eating out all the time.  Two important life lessons came from that. The first was that it was exhausting and frustrating to try to count calories while also working crazy hours and going from place to place. The second was that, after I gave up tracking it and started to just eat what sounded good, I actually lost weight.  Depending on your reason for travel this may or may not be the case for you.  In the office I usually sit still all day, on the road I am on my feet all the time. having discovered these things, I paid a little less attention to what I was eating.  Then it comes to the real why.  At home I am not a perfect eater, but I try to eat pretty clean and healthy meals most of the time.  The food that is sometimes provided and other times just easiest to get does not usually match up to that eating approach. Last week I kept going to fairs that fed us...lasagna, Chik-fil-a, greasy garlic bread galore.  I loved it and it all tasted so good.  And I figured I was running enough I deserve a few goodies now and then.  The problem really was that my stomach didn't know how to handle these foods. I was in pain and miserable. This is probably way more information than you want to know, but I was getting acid reflux like crazy and I was convinced I was going to get sick during some of my college fairs.  I took a day to really focus on eating things that I woud normally eat at home. I avoided anything greasy or fried. And by the next morning all my problems were gone. Ok, at least the ones involving my tummy.

The point I am trying to make, is that eating well is going to play a huge part in how you feel both at home and while traveling. It's just a bit more challenging when you are away from your usual food sources.

10 Tips for eating healthy while traveling:

1) Balance. Just like every other part of staying healthy, balance is key. If your friends/family want to go out to get ice cream or pie, you don't have to deny yourself.  It won't make you happy in the long run. That said, if they are eating pie and ice cream for every meal you should probably opt out of a few trips or your stomach might not agree with you.  I try to keep y meals simple and healthy for mot of the day, then have one indulgent meal.  Some days you won't feel like there is anything all that tempting, some days there will be multiple meals that sound great.  As long as you can find the balance that keeps you feeling good, embrace it.
If there's a diet that doesn't include Cowfish I don't want it!

2) Find your "safe" restaurants. I love Panera and the Whole Foods salad bar.  When I go to either of those I can find something that is delicious and will keep me full without the stomach churning grease and such. When I start to feel like I have overdone it, I will go to these places and it helps me get back to feeling well.

3) Embrace the grocery store.  The other day my lunch was yogurt, and apple, tea, banana chips and crackers.  Does it sound exciting? No. But it is what I would be eating at home and it had the nutrients I needed.

4) Keep snacks in your car/purse/fannypack(?). I have snacks on me at all times.  I can be driving somewhere and get so hungry I will pull over at the nearest gas station/McDonalds/anything I see to get food. And decisions made while hungry are usually not healthy. I usually just aim for whatever looks like it will fill me up. When I am in my office I pretty much snack all day, so having food with me helps avoid the hunger panic that sets in when I really really want food and have nothing on me.

5) Stay hydrated. This is another thing I am great at in the office and terrible at when I travel. And as we have all been told a million times, being dehydrated can feel like being hungry.

6) Watch out for sneaky bad foods.  I drink a lot of coffee on the road, but after reading all the things that are in a pumpkin spice latte, I do a lot more research on my coffee choices. I am a nerd so I enjoy researching things anyway, but I really do find it important to know that the "healthy" foods I am choosing while out and about are as healthy as they sound.

7) Do your research before leaving home. I like to find any local restaurants specializing in healthy foods.  I also like to find out which regional dishes I really have to try.  This way I can better plan out what I will eat when.
Shrimp and grits were a must in Charleston

8) Yelp is your friend.  If you don't do your research ahead of time, or you are like me and leave the research sitting on your desk/couch/binder at home, it is a great way to see the reviews of what is near you. And menus. I like to know what I am walking in to before I get there.

9) Track your macros if it helps.  If I feel like I need to get back on track I will track what I eat. I don't worry about tracking perfectly, I just aim to get close to the right percentage of carbs, protein, and fats.

10) Keep it fun! I "treat" myself to the healthy foods I usually don't buy for myself at home.  Again, the salad bar at Whole Foods and delicious (nutritious) smoothies. Also the kombucha teas with chia seeds.  Usually these are above my budget at home, but they are ofter cheaper than eating out.  The basic idea is to get the healthy foods you think of as a special occasion food.

So there you have it, ten tips for keeping your healthy eating happening while least in my own humble little opinion!

Hope you have a splendid Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

10 Fall Favorites!

Well today I was going to post 10 tips on nutrition while traveling...but yesterday I lived on Starbucks and the lasagna they served for dinner at my college fair and I was feeling very unqualified to write that post at the moment! Maybe next week :)

Instead, I want to share my 10 favorite things for fall. And fall is my favorite season so I am pretty excited!

1) Chili. In particular this chicken chili. I found this recipe from My Home Is Rich With Love last year and love love love it. I didn't use the kale but might try it next time. Not my photo, it goes with the recipe!

2) Cooler running weather. Ok, my part of NC is a little behind on this and not cooling dwn very fast, but it's getting here!

3) Seasonal beers.  It is a proven fact that fall has the very best seasonal beers. My taste buds proved that and will be testing the evidence again this year!

4) Sitting by the fireplace. Bonfires are also great but I am so excited to use my new fireplace.

5) The clothes. I love boots, sweaters, and scarves. And hats. Fall means I get to start wearing all of these things and it makes me smile. (Oh and I get to see my mom's dog again soon!)

6) Halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays and I go crazy planning costumes every single year. Just disregard the 4 or 5 years in a row I wore the same witch costume back in the day.

7) Not having to run the air conditioning. It makes my eyes dry and it makes me sneeze.  Not having to run it also usually means being able to go outside without immediately dripping sweat.  Hallelujah.

8) Thanksgiving dinner.  Another holiday where I go fairly overboard. Last year I made all this food for myself and the boyfriend. Well he fried the turkey but the point is the quantity of food. My gramma has always cooked too much for every holiday and I am proud to keep that tradition alive and well!

9) Pumpkin soup. Since I seem to be on a food tangent, this is another one of my favorites.  I got hooked on pumpkin soup while studying abroad in northern Italy.

10) Mums. These flowers are just beautiful and they make me smile! If I wasn't living in a hotel at the moment I would be sharing lots of pictures of all the ones I have on my front porch!

So happy fall and happy Tuesday to all!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Marathon Training Monday: week 8 recap

After my long run last weekend I was feeling on top of the world. This week started with the same feeling but fizzled a bit at the end.

Monday was supposed to be a rest day, but I met up with a group run going out of thru Fleet Feet in Mount Pleasant, SC for a 3.5 mile run and had a blast.

Tuesday was a long travel day so I used my Monday rest day. I also walked many miles around Charleston so I got plenty of exercise in that way.

Wednesday was 7 miles which I did on the treadmill. I couldn't remember if it was supposed to be at race pace so I did it that way just to be on the safe side. Turns out it wasn't, but I felt great finishing up at a 9:58 pace!

Thursday I picked playing with my dog over the 4 miles I was supposed to run.

Friday was rest day... which I completed successfully.

Saturday I worked all day and took my dog back to his sitter so I used all the walking at work as my cross training and figured I would do my best to fit the long run in on Sunday morning.

Sunday I woke up and decided to run the dirt road by my house for the first time.  I had no idea how long it was, but it beat dodging cars and it was close enough to my house that I could get back home in a hurry.  I got 8 miles done (of the scheduled 15) before I realized I was not going to have enough time to finish the run. Yay for traveling to college fairs on weekends lol. I tried to convince myself to finish the rest of the run last night on the treadmill when I got to the hotel, but by the time I found dinner I just wanted to go to sleep!

This week I am scheduled for 4 miles Tuesday, 7 miles at race pace on Wednesday, 4 miles on Thursday, and 13 miles on Saturday. I am considering trying to fit 4 in tonight so I have a bit of a buffer. But I don't get done with work until 8 so that might not be a real option.

This weekend will be another challenge with getting all my miles in, but I am going to try a FlyWheel class on Sunday for the first time, so I have that to look forward to!

Hope everybody is having a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What weekend?

Happy Saturday everybody!

I’m back in the office today killing time between when I picked up my rental car and when I need to go answer admissions questions for some baseball players. And by killing time I mean I am about to send out over 3000 emails via ConstantContact. Also known as my all time favorite program for sending lots of emails. And no they did not pay me to say that lol.

I will admit I actually woke up in time to go for my run this morning, but I decided to be lazy and go back to sleep instead. I wanted to make coffee at home but my almond milk was mostly frozen and probably way past being good anyhow. So of course in had to stop and get some creamer on the way to the office.  And of course the peppermint mocha kind was sale so it was really the only logical choice. I know winter is still way far away, so let’s just keep this a secret purchase for now J

Yogurt was also on sale and I am excited to try the new aspartame free Yoplait. I really don’t like light yogurt all that much, but all the good flavors are light.
Gotta love the office coffee pot... and apparently I love pastry flavored yogurt!

After work today I have to go drop Hank off with my friends for what feels like the rest of my life. Tomorrow morning is the most viable option left for running tome, so that means packing all my stuff tonight. Assuming my pace is more like my Wednesday run and less like my run last Saturday I should have plenty of time to knock out 15 miles before I need to hit the road for an afternoon college fair. Doing my long run tomorrow also means I can get two drinks at Starbucks after the college fair (during their BOGO) totally guilt free.  Because who doesn’t love free coffee?  The drive after won’t be more than a couple hours, but I am so glad #Runchat is at 10 so I won’t miss it!

I’ll be in Greenville and Spartanburg, SC this week so if you know of a fun running group I can drop in with please let me know! I already plan to run through Falls Park, but particular route suggestions are also more than welcome!

P.S. did you know fall officially starts on Tuesday?! It’s my favorite season so I’m pretty excited. And by pretty excited I mean I have the day marked in my planner at least three different ways J


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Long Run: Short Weekend

Today was my last day off until October 11th I I went to bed early last night and didn't set an alarm.  I figured if I woke up with time to run outside that was great, if not I would have time to log those miles later in the day on the treadmill.  No 14 miles on the treadmill did not sound fun, but setting an alarm also sounded awful.

I woke up at about 7:15 all on my own so I put on some running clothes and headed out...into the rain. Woo. The rest of the run just went downhill (except literally uphill a lot) from there.

I was running a new trail and the rain was coming down so hard I totally missed the parking lot for the trail access, got totally lost, and finally found another trail access down the road somewhere.

I filled up my new hydration backpack...and it leaked all over my lap because apparently the tube wasn't screwed in all the way.

My Nike app would not start.  After three attempts I finally gave up and thanked the good Lord I also have RunKeeper on my phone.  As a side note it was remarkably accurate, even in the awful weather, so it will possibly be my go-to running tracker from now on.  I really just need a watch.

In other news about disappointing Nike products, my "rain jacket" was compltely soaked through in a matter of minutes.  Running with the sleeves of your "rain jacket" plastered to you arms is great fun. I totally recommend it.  Only not really.

I started out the run on some super fun and muddy downhills.  I wallked a few because it was just way too slippery and I don't really like red mud on all my clothes. It stains and just sorta feels gross. But it was nice to know that even if I was walking, I felt good enough to be running.

When I finally got thirsty I tried to drink out of the little mouthpiece and nothing happened.  I was peeved and paused to take the whole thing apart (which meant spilling probably half my water in the process) and still couldn't get a thing to drink.  Until I finally (accidentally) pulled the mouthpiece out and it worked like magic.  Go figure, it closes so it doesn't leak.  Score one for the smart kid over here.

Oh and did I mention my dinner the night before was two tortillas and a can of tuna?  It tasted good but was doing about nothing to fuel this run.  Hooray for margarita shot bloks and their deliciousness.

At some point I gave up and strapped my rain jacket to my backpack because it was doing me no good at all.  And my earbuds were slipping and sliding all over the place and bugging the heck out of me.  I was terrified I was going to have to go most of the run with no music.  I just don't have that much willpower. Luckily the rain stopped and they dried out enough to stay in place a little better.

Other than the many many stops to adjust my stuff, I was actually making pretty good time.  I didn't pause RunKeeper so this is not a scientific fact, but it felt good.

Then I got to mile 7 and got to turn around.  The perk of out and backs is that as long as you can will yourself to go the first half, it is pretty easy to convince yourself that it's just plain easier to run back than it is to walk back.   I was very glad for this fact because I ran out of water at mile 7.

I tried to convince myself it was all good and it would be no big deal, but the rain had stopped and the humidity and heat were kicking in.

At mile 10 I hit the Wall.  I was pretty sure this was the worst idea I had ever had.  Then I met a nice couple and their dog.  The man asked how far I was going and when I said 14 he asked if I was crazy.  I didn't even pause before I said yes.  This carried me through a little longer, but somewhere around 11.5 miles I took hitting the wall to a level I have never experienced before.  I was dehydrated and convince I would probably die in the woods. Yes I am very dramatic when things get rough.  I hit Twitter and got some awesome encouragement.  I walked most of the last 2 miles because it was uphill in slippery mud...and also because I was dehydrated and couldn't get my heart rate down.  I did run the last quarter mile because I am stubborn like that and felt like I needed to finish strong for it to really count.

I could have kissed my car when I finally got to it.  Instead I chugged a ton f water, changed clothes, and headed home to shower and crash in bed for a bit.  It was the best shower of my life.  And crashing in bed for half an hour after might have been even better.

I finally drug myself out of bed (by promising myself iced coffee from Dunkin) to meet a friend to do a bit of gift shopping.  Now I am at Starbucks pretending I don't need to go home and pack my belongings.

Tomorrow I head to Charleston and it feels really good to know that my long run for the weekend is done!

The greatest thing about this run is that I finally feel like a runner.  I got up early. I ran in the rain.  And I powered through 14 uncomfortable miles.  And even though it was rough, I was happy and actually enjoyed it. Ok, until mile 12. But it counts :)

Happy weekend all!