Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Goals for my next half marathon! + Training Tuesday

Hey friends! I’m BACK for Training Tuesday! Thanks to Tamara for going solo last week!

I originally thought this series/link up would be only while I trained for my first half marathon. Then people seemed to really like it, and I’ve LOVED seeing everyone’s progress and hard work. And now, I’ve signed up for another half marathon. So I’m thinking I’ll keep this thing going, yeah? If people link up, great. If not, nbd. It’ll still help me to look back on my training!

Workouts this week:
So far, only one! Eeep! Yesterday I went for my second run since my half marathon! (I’ve been busy!) I did pack all my running gear for my trip to Oregon, but I never made it out. Oh well.

My run yesterday was two and a half miles. They weren’t super easy, but they definitely could have been worse. I think most of the difficulty was mental – knowing I hadn’t really run in two and a half weeks. But I scoped out a park on my first day in town (only about a block from where I live!) and ran on a bike trail that runs through the park.
The trail kept going after I quit, so I’m excited to keep exploring on future, longer runs!

So I signed up for another half.

I’m hoping that the second time through will be more fun, less stressful, less emotional. I mean, I’ll have already done a half before!

I started my half with goals last time. Here’s what I’ve got for the second time around:

1. Try new kinds of workouts.
The workout plan I bought for my first half has two types of training plans. I mostly did the one that’s goal is just to finish the half – every day there was a number of miles to run and I ran them. Easy peasy. But the book came with another training plan that’s for people with a time goal or who are looking to improve, and that plan has several kinds of workouts/runs. I already did some of the interval runs, but the author also recommends tempo runs (where you hit a goal pace at a certain point in the run) and hilly runs.

I’d also like to incorporate more cross-training – I always intended to the first time around, but with school and work I barely had the time. I’m hoping that, with no classes this summer, I’ll be able to do more different things.

2. Do 85% of my training runs.
Same as last time – I’d like to hit most of my runs. This time, I’m including the long runs in this number. I know I’ll do most of the long runs because I know how important they are. But if I miss one or two here at the beginning (when they’re 5 miles, not 10) I’m going to try not to worry about it too much.

3. Get to the point where I can run my whole half.
Since I have this goal for the actual race already, I guess it’s worth acknowledging now: I want to run the whole half, no walk breaks (with the exception of aid stations, because otherwise all the water will be down my shirt rather than in my mouth, which is less than ideal). So I think it’ll be good for me to keep that in mind with my training runs. I was always scared to push myself too hard in my first round of training. But now I know I can do it because I’ve done it. Yes, there are variations, like if I don’t get enough sleep or if it’s a million degrees outside. But I want to run my whole race, so I need to train like I’m going to run the whole race.

I’m about the same amount of time out from this race as I was when I signed up for my first half, give or take a few days. My 15 week training cycle started yesterday – and I’ve already got one star up!

Here goes nothing!

How is your training going? Do you have any new healthy living goals?

Monday, May 27, 2013

The last two weeks or so...

Hey friends! It’s been a while! How ARE you?

I’ve been away, in Oregon. Well, not this whole time. Let’s see… the last time I posted was my half marathon recap two Tuesdays ago. Since then…

ONE. I finished and turned in a 15-page paper, officially ending my first year of grad school.

TWO. I packed up and went to Oregon for a week! We flew out Friday the 17th and stayed through the following Thursday. Those days were pretty much travel days, but we spent the rest with Pat’s family. We played with cats a lot.
And I found old pictures of Pat and watched the tape of his 2nd-ish grade musical, in which he had a tearjerker of a solo!
 We also took a day trip to the Oregon coast!

We ended up buying matching(ish) hats from the restaurant we ate at because it was windy and rainy, but the weather definitely didn’t slow us down – we still went everywhere on our list!

This is called the Devil’s Punch Bowl. Water whooshes in and swirls around and it’s really cool!

We also went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. We saw otters being fed and lots of other cool animals, like sea lions and puffins. These guys were probably my favorite of the fish – look at the guy at the top! They would open their mouths and their gills would kinda pop out all red and weird.

Not many of the animals were photogenic, but me and Pat tried to be. :)
Trying to get something cool in the background -- got a shark in the third!
Last stop was Agate Beach/the Yaquina Head Light House. We went there the last time I was in Oregon, too, but last time was at high tide. Pat always told me his favorite was low tide, so we made sure to get there at the right time to see low tide this trip!
During low tide, the water goes out and reveals all these little tide pools. We saw these green tuber creatures that close in when they have food or when they’re out of the water. I threw a seashell into one (and feel slightly guilty) to see part of his body curl up around it. We also saw lots of star fish and mussels!

Some more pics...

THREE. After my trip to Oregon, I had two and a half days in Lawrence – mostly, I was packing! I am now writing to you from Decatur, Illinois! I have a summer internship here and moved in yesterday. My apartment doesn’t have internet yet (booo) so I’m posting from a Panera. I have a one bedroom apartment to myself and several other interns live here in the same building. So far I’ve only explored Decatur a little bit, but I’m sure I’ll get to know the city and the campus better as the summer progresses! For now I’m cleaning and unpacking. :) I start work tomorrow and I’m terrified!

Tell me – what are some of the scariest-but-good-for-you things you’ve ever done? This internship definitely ranks in my top few, along with attending a diversity retreat and starting to walk and run!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Go Girl Half Marathon Recap (+ Training Tuesday link up)

Hello everyone!

It's time for Training Tuesday! Link up here to tell us about how awesome you are and your healthy-living goals, and grab a button, if you want. :)

My first half marathon is over.

I’ve been thinking about how I would write this post since before I even ran my half. I still don’t know how to write it.

Here’s the thing: I need to put my blogger hat away a little bit on this post. I need to just be a person.

I need to talk about a Big Awful Thing that’s happening right now without ever telling you what that Big Awful Thing is, and I need you to understand because you’re a person too, and maybe also a blogger too, and you know that everything that happens in your life isn’t always something you can share on your blog or talk about with everyone. Some things are too hard or too close or not your story to tell and that’s ok.

So please understand: there are some parts of this post that refer to the Big Awful Thing. I’m sorry it’s obnoxious that I’m not telling you what’s happening. But please understand, because I don't know how to write this post pretending everything was perfect. I don't know how to not tell that part of the story.

If you don't read any of the rest of this, please read the last paragraph!

All that being said, I’d love to share with you how my half marathon went.

Friday morning, after an emotional night with little sleep, I drove home to my parents’ house, which is about 30 minutes outside of Springfield, where my half marathon was. I hung out with my mom, took a nap, and then chilled at home until my little sister Anna got out of school. My mom, Anna and I went into town and went to the race expo, of which I have no pictures.

Basically it was several tents in a parking lot where you could pick up your registration or buy discounted (but still expensive) running gear. I got my shirt and my race number and timing chip and it all felt a little bit like this race was actually going to happen.

Friday night I went to the mall with my mom and Anna and then hung out at home. We had pasta and garlic bread and I tried to control myself so I wouldn't have stomach issues the next day, even though those are pretty much my favorite foods. I went upstairs to bed around 10:00 and actually went to sleep about 45 minutes later.

Saturday morning, I woke up early – I think around five. I showered to wake up a little bit then ate peanut butter on toast and most of a banana. I drank about half of my 750ml water bottle. I should have used the bathroom again before my race but I forgot.

I pinned my race bib on. It started to feel real.

My dad and I drove to the race. I posed in front of the Go Girl backdrop and cried when he hugged me before the start. I tracked down Layne. And then we were running.

Here’s the thing, guys – I don’t remember a whole lot of the race. Some miles I was so there, thinking about my pacing and about my training and taking in the gorgeous weather and the awesomeness of 850 women all running a half marathon. Other miles I was thinking about the Big Awful Thing. Here’s what I can tell you:

One. Layne and I ran together for about 5.5 miles and then she pulled ahead. It was really nice to have someone to run with. We talked some and listened to our headphones some.

Two. I went into the race really concerned about my pacing. I planned to run the first half at 10:30-10:40 and then see how I was feeling. That did not happen. While Layne and I were running together, our miles ranged from 9:56 to 10:33. Even knowing my pace was faster than I'd planned, I decided not to rein it in at all. My reasoning was that I wasn’t short of breath or unable to hold a conversation – we were talking regularly without much difficulty. So I felt pretty comfortable with my pace. I kept my pace pretty steady for the two miles after Layne and I split off and then it later slowed.

Three. Early on in the race, a Ke$ha song came on in my playlist and I told Layne I liked running in a big group, but I didn't like that it meant I couldn't sing. A lady running near us told me I should sing! I laughed.

Four. There were some really great signs. I wish I could remember them all. Two that I do remember: "Smile if you're not wearing underwear!" and "Run like Ryan Gosling is at the finish with wine and cupcakes!" to which Layne said, "The wine and cupcakes are the best part!" There were lots of kids out cheering for their moms, men out sitting in lawn chairs cheering for wives and girlfriends. The atmosphere was really great, and I think that's partly because it was a women-only run. Less pressure, more funny/cute supportive boys and men, and lots of "You go girl!"-ing.

Five. I saw my parents for the first time between miles 7 and 8, I think, and that was really great. My mom ran over and high fived me and my dad yelled a lot. :)

Six. Shortly after seeing my parents, I walked for the first time. I had planned to walk some – I walked during all my training runs at least a little bit – but I kept it short and started running again.

Seven. I started to really, really need a bathroom. And all the port-o-potties, which had been at every aid station on miles 1-6, disappeared.

Eight. I saw my parents again between 10 and 11, maybe? I yelled at them about how badly I had to pee, and they managed to take this picture while I was yelling.

Nine. After seeing my parents I passed a port-o-potty, but I only had the 2.11 left and thought I could push through. I maybe should have stopped, but if I had, I might not have finished the race. But the last few miles were pretty miserable.

Ten. I walked a LOT in the last 2.11, and even in the last mile. That’s what I’m most disappointed in. I should have been able to pull the motivation from somewhere, been able to power through. But I just didn’t have it in me. I was tired. I was overly emotional.

Eleven. During another walking break, I pulled my phone out of my armband and read through the texts and tweets from you all. Because of your encouragement, because I knew my friends and parents were at the finish line, and because I knew there were bathrooms at the finish line, I was able to finish the race.

I finished at 2:22:11, a 10:52 mile pace. My secret time goal was 2:24, an 11 minute mile pace, so I just barely made my goal, but I did it. I’d had secret dreams of blowing that goal out of the water, but considering all the emotions, the lack of sleep, and not having Pat there to cheer me on – I really think I did the best I could do. I missed being in the top half of the competitors by six people and placed 36/52 in my age group.

Mostly, I'm disappointed not with my time, but with how much I walked. It could have been my early, fast pace -- but honestly, I think I was physically able, just not mentally and emotionally able to run the rest or the race. I think my next goal is to run a half with no walk breaks, or with only walking through the aid stations, which was what I was hoping to do at this one.

At the finish, I got my medal and my wine (aka my I’m drinking everything from this for the next year) glass. I grabbed Layne at the finish and cried for a bit. I couldn’t talk at all for a few minutes and she helped me open my water bottle.

I felt dizzy and had to go sit down. I drank a slushy/smoothie they were passing out and thanked Meleah and her husband for coming and thanked my parents and Layne and everyone who got close enough. I took a picture near the start line and called it a day. I went home and reread all your lovely encouragement and took a nap.

Even not remembering all of the race, I know that it was a good run. The weather was beautiful, the women were encouraging, the spectators were awesome. My mom was so stinking proud of me and she kept saying so, which is always nice to hear. I felt so loved by you all and by my friends who were at the race. And I finally did it. After fifteen weeks and over 178 miles of training runs, I did it. I ran my half marathon.

Read this part!

I don't think there's any way I could express my thanks to you all for all your encouragement and cheering. This run was really, really hard -- emotionally and physically. (Although, maybe all half marathons are.)Your comments on my pictures and tweets are what made it feel like something to be celebrated. Your texts and tweets really are what got me across that finish line.  Thank you so much for running this race with me. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The end of an era (I bought a car!)

So.... I bought a car last weekend!

I always said I'd have my old car, Betsy, until she died. But, after this trip, my family kind of decided that waiting for Betsy to just stop working was a little too stressful, and we began car shopping.

Last Friday, I went to a local dealership just to look and left in a new-to-me car!

It actually was really sad for me to give Betsy up. A week before, I thought I was going to buy a different car (which someone else ended up scooping out from under me) and I actually started crying thinking of giving Bets up. She's been really good to me -- the car I've had since I was 16.

She definitely had personality -- if you unlocked her with the button on the fab, the alarm went off, so you had to use the key. I always told Pat that you had to treat Betsy like a lady! She had a few other quirks as well.

I know that it's weird to get sentimental over a car but eight years is a long time. I lived a lot of my life in that car -- or sitting on -- and I loved her a lot. So here's to Betsy. Here's to shoving the entire high school newspaper team into one car to sell advertising. Here's to smoothies at Sonic and drive-in movies perched on her hood. Here's to the trips between college and home, the trips to the airport, the trips to friends' houses, and the trips to class. Bets, you were loved and will be missed!

All that being said -- I'm having a lot of fun driving a car that wasn't made in the 90s! I have a sun roof! And seat warmers! My new car was named for one of my favorite adventure seekers --

so I'm pleased to introduce you to Ellie the car!

Are any of you weirdly attached to your cars or other inanimate objects? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Last pre-half marathon Training Tuesday

Hi friends!

It's time for Training Tuesday! Link up here and grab a button, if you want. :)

I'm not going to go into my workouts for this week. I'm antsy and in my taper week. Ain't nobody got time for that. It's been pretty standard except that my long run this weekend was 5 miles instead of you know like 11 or 12.

But ya'll. How can I talk about this week when all that's on my mind is Saturday?


I can't believe it's almost here and all I think about during my training runs now is the race. I've already been stressed about packing (packing is NOT my strong suit) and wondered if I should start my suitcase while I'm thinking of all the things I'm sure I will forget. I think, How should I pace my race? Will I go out too fast? What's this deal about race times being 30 seconds faster than training times? Do I need to make that happen or will it happen naturally?

Here's the schedule of events for this weekend:

Friday: Pat and I will head home probably as soon as we wake up and eat. I'll drag him and maybe Anna to the expo, which I forgot about until yesterday, so that should be pretty fun. I'll try to go to bed as early as possible.

Saturday: My race starts at 7:00 am. SEVEN AM. So, you know, I'll probably wake up at like four or something. Actually I haven't decided what time I'll wake up, but I'll try to choke down some food and then head to the start line. My book says to be about an hour early.

The starting gun will go off and then I'll run for 13.1 miles and then I'll collapse and eat a smoothie because they have those at the finish line.

Saturday night I'm hanging out with my friend Layne, who got me into this mess in the first place. :)

So, I started this journey forEVER ago with some goals for training:

The first was "hit all my long runs." If you read last week, you know I'm not sure if I did that or not. I got out there for all my long runs, but I quit my last long run early and sat in the grass in front of a bank until Pat came and got me. So, you know, not a super successful run.

Run at least 85% of my total runs. I actually didn't think that would be a problem. I think I've missed 6 runs at this point? I was allowed to miss 8. So, cut it close, but made it. I'm really glad I had this built into my goals because having perfect training was too much pressure, and life happens, and some weeks I was just tired. So it was nice to be able to take a break without beating myself up too much.

Know myself by race day. Basically, I wanted to know what to eat, drink, wear and do to make my run successful, and I think I know as much as you can. I know what I'm going to eat the day of and the night before and I have a couple options of what I'm going to wear, depending on the temperature at start time. I'm still not sure 100% about what pace to run, but that's race jitters more than not knowing what I'm capable of.

As far as goals for the actual race, first time half racers are usually advised to not have a time goal.

But of course I have a super secret time goal that I will tell you after the race if I get it. :)

Other than that, my goals are pretty simple: get a good-ish night's sleep the night before, make it to the start line on time, and finish.

Oh, and ENJOY it. This is my only first half marathon ever. It might be the only one I have my parents or either parent at, and Pat. My college bff will also be running, though we probably won't stick together the whole time, and my high school bff might be there to see me run.

That's a whole lot of good wrapped up in one day, folks.

So the next Training Tuesday, it'll all be over. And I'll have a shiny medal. And an etched wine glass, which you KNOW I'm going to use for everything -- water, milk, milkshakes, smoothies. Anything I drink for, oh, the next year is going to be in that dang wine glass.

Think of me on Saturday! :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book review: Before I Fall

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

I think if you go into this book knowing NOTHING about it -- you will not make it through. Go back up and read that second paragraph of the description again. Looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend -- these features are important to characters in a lot of young adult books, but at the beginning of this book, it is ALL Sam cares about. And it makes her a mean, mean girl.

Had I not known the premise of the book and guessed a little bit of what it would entail, I wouldn't have made it through the first chapter because Sam does not start out likeable at all. And neither are her friends. They're not sympathetic, their shallow and vain, and they are mean.

But that ended up being one of the things I loved about this book.

Before I Fall does not advocate being a mean or shallow person. It doesn't glamorize that life -- it shows the gritty truth of it -- why the girls behave the way they do, what their thought process is, how they got to be like that. It humanizes the mean girls in a way I've never seen any other book do, but still shows that their behavior is wrong. In the end, I couldn't hate the mean girls at all -- I loved them for their good qualities. Which is so like real life.

I gave this book four stars. Loved it. Which I should have known I would, since it's the same author as Delirium, which I loved. It's got a few mature scenes (parties, drugs, lots of talk about sex) but I think it's great for high school girls who are probably going through all of the same things as these girls. Well. Maybe not living the same day over and over. But all the rest. :)

Have any of you read Before I Fall? What did you think? 


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