Monday, December 16, 2013

Strength Training

I finally purchased the medicine ball, rolled out my yoga mat and booted up the Nike Training App on my phone for a lunchtime workout today. Since it's the holidays, and I have a deep love for anything with Christmas sugar, the Ab Burner seemed like a good one to start with.

My dog had other ideas. He thought the 6 pound ball was a new toy (more funny for me since he obviously couldn't do anything with it). I pushed him away and began my work out. TOUGH when strength training is not a normal part of the routine. The first times of anything are always hard, then it gets easier as time goes on. The Nike app has 15-60 min workouts and you choose the areas you want to work. There are 30 second or 1 minute routines that it filters through.

Side plank: each side 30 seconds...except when your dog pushes you over because he thinks its a game.

Swivel Frogger: push up position, swivel the legs under you (hard to explain without the video) and then frogger the legs close to your hands on the ground. Hard to do. Hard to do when your dog decides this position MUST mean he wiggles his 80 pound fuzzy body under you. I must have looked like I was in the dog is ready to play stance.

Got through 10 minutes of the workout before I was both sore, and tired of pushing the dog away. Next time, I'm getting a bone to occupy him while I attempt this again...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vegas Half Marathon

Sunday I finished my 10th race in 10 states when I ran the Vegas Rock n'Roll Half Marathon. I am officially 1/5 of the way to my overall goal! I've realized every race I've done its been with at least one friend, I feel so blessed I can share the experience with people! It was Elyce's first half marathon, so it was a double bonus to be able to encourage a new runner to the sport! She said beforehand she was either going to never want to run again, or get hooked. She text me on Monday saying she was looking at marathon training programs, so she's officially hooked!

It was my first time in Vegas, so Saturday we did a little touring around the Strip. What an unique and amazing city. So many different things to see and do! It feels like you're touring around the world in just a little four block radius. We made friends with an Italian man on the shuttle from the airport, his name is Roberto and he's from "Roma". So fun to meet an international runner and learn of his running travels. He actually ran in the Chicago Marathon in 2012 as well! I love small worlds like that, it makes the running community feel like family.

The race started at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, so Elyce and I got on the shuttle from The Mirage to the start line. The starting area was really secure, they were checking to make sure everyone had a bib going in, and were checking all bags. It was a hassle, but a welcomed one. I'd rather be secure than annoyed about the 'wait'. It was still well before the start time anyway. We wandered through the runners area, saw lots of "Elvi" around...oh Vegas.
Elyce and I at the start of the race! We finally get to our starting corral, #23 and stretch out and wait, making friends with other runners around us. Since it's Vegas, they were conducing some weddings at the start of the race! There was also a Rock n'Roll in San Antonio that morning, and a collection of people had ran that race, hopped on a plane, and came up to run the Vegas race! Talk about hardcore, there is no way I am in enough shape to do that!

The race finally started, and as a corral we moved along toward the start line. In the corral in front of us there was a lady with a push stroller. Now, push strollers are not allowed in Rock n'Roll races. This is for safety and such. The lady was gripping about the volunteers moving 'too fast' with the rope holding our corral, so some people started mentioning about the stroller rule. She finally moved over to the other side of the corral where it was more open, then turned around and flipped everyone off. Very classy.

Overall the race was good, it was so amazing to run through the Strip at night! With the lights, and all the fan support along the side, it was so much fun! Irvin was at about mile 6, and got a sweet picture as we were running toward him!
I ran up and gave him a kiss as we went by. I was so happy he came out to support us in our race, what an amazing man he is!

The only grips I have about the race is there were not many volunteers to hand out liquid, I'm not sure if its because it's a night race on a Sunday evening, or Vegas in general, but I was definitely appreciative of the volunteers that did make it out. There wasn't any Gatorade until about 6 miles in, which was a little rough. The other thing was after we turned off the Strip to head into some neighborhoods before we hit Old Vegas, it was very dark, only one light, and there was no support or security in a sketchy area. Thank goodness we were in a pack.

Elyce and I ended up running the entire race, and came in at 2:21, almost a PR for me! Which afterward when I realized if I had ran 10 seconds faster per mile I could have hit that, but considering the most I had ran since July was 4.5 miles, I was pretty impressed. Thank goodness for Elyce! As we finished, the volcano at The Mirage went off, what a sweet way to come into the finish line! I had a blast with the race, and it was a good way to end my running year!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wounded Warriors

Last Sunday was the Wounded Warriors Half Marathon and 10k near Dallas, TX. It was my eighth race, sixth half marathon, and my mom and little sister's first race! They did the 10k, and I couldn't have been more proud. My little sister is 18, she is my sweetheart and had just graduated from high school the Thursday before. She's an short-distant athlete, and played lacrosse a little but had never done a big race.

My mom is my inspiration. My mom has always been on the heavy side, she hasn't been too active or healthy, although when I was a kid we'd go on bike rides, or hike as a family a lot. In the past two years shes started to exercise more, and just recently started to really watch what she was eating. When I told her I saw there was a half marathon/10k the weekend I was going to be in Dallas, she decided to sign up for the 10k and committed to walking it. I have her a training guide (Hal Higdon of course!) and she started her new adventure.

Fast forward to race day: up at 5 to be out of the house by 6. Mom and Haley followed my lead on what to eat before a big race, I've never thought about the fact that I guess I'm a 'seasoned' runner now, that I am not so much a newbie to the sport. I know I have still so much to learn, but kind of cool that I have a routine now! We left for the race, got to the parking garage and walked out to the hotel. As we were walking there were drops of raining appearing, and by the time we got to the hotel it was an all out downpour! Quickly followed by flashes of lightening and the monsterous booms of a true Texas thunderstorm, the race was delayed.

This is us waiting for the storm to pass!

An hour later, the race was back on. Us half marathoners lined up to the start, sang the National Anthem and were on our way. It was still raining, but at least it was warm. Reminded me of my first half where it poured the entire time! About two miles into the race, they diverted us up this muddy hill to the road, and when we were crossing the bridge, we looked down and the trail we had been running on was completely covered with a waterfall. It had rained so hard so fast the stream overflowed and quickly hopped the trail. It was crazy! Back to the trail, we continued on. I was running under a 10 minute pace to about mile 8 and was feeling great! The rain stopped and it started getting warm, my fingers started to swell so I made sure I grabbed powerade at the next stop.

At about mile 10 1/2, the was a little under a foot of standing water on the trail we had to ford through, so sadly that really hit my time. Back running, I knew I needed to hurry up so I could PR. Coming up to mile 12, I walked for a sec then started up again, coming up on the finish line, I pulled on the little Coug flag I had stashed away and got ready for the end. One of my former YL girls from West Point, was at the finish and called out to me! Got a real great picture too:

I finished at 2:20:04.....which means it's an official PR for me! If I hadn't walked through that standing water, I would have been under 2:20, but you can't never predict a race so it is what it is. Taylor ran to me after the race, so good to see her. Found my momma and little sister after the race and teared up a bit, I was overwhelmed by pride and happiness that mom had done it! Best moment of my running career by far.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Run Strong for Boston

Ever since I got back into running, the Boston Marathon has been an iconic event for me. It's something I love to watch, and would love to run. The purity of the race, the history, the tradition. 27,000 people, who put in so much time and effort to qualify, to be able to register. 27,000 people who, for the past few months or longer have put blood, sweat and tears into training for this one day. They have sacrificed time to spend with family and friends, missed out on so much pleasure to put all their effort into this race.

I admire these people, the dedication they have to qualify, the dedication they have to make it to Boston. I admire the people who support these runners, the family, friends, co-workers. The Bostonians who take off work, leave their homes to cheer on these people. Even if they only know one runner, or no one, they support. They are what keeps us runners strong, keeps us going. When we want to quit, when our legs hurt and we're tired and we just don't think we can finish, we run for them. We run BECAUSE of them. Their cheers, their signs (my personal favorite is still "Worst Parade Ever"), their offering of little treats like Sour Patch Kids. These cheerleaders are my heroes.

To have what happened on Monday, for some coward to take such a sacred event, such a patriotic event and attack innocent people is senseless. Whoever this was will not win. They didn't just attack the United States, but they attacked the world. The thing is, this has backfired on the intent. Because if the intent was to make us fearful, the complete opposite has happened. People have united, people are standing strong. The response from the running community yesterday, the support was amazing. The #runforboston could probably be seen all over the world. People joining together to get out and run, to not let this horrific event stop us. The London Marathon is not cancelled. Runners will still unite to run 26.2 miles. Spectators, cheerleaders, family and friends will still come out to support these marathoners.

This is why I love running. This is why I will continue to run. This is why I will run the Big 5, I only have four to go after all! I will not live in fear to attend events, to cheer others on, to be cheered on myself. And I will take an extra second to thank those people, those supporters, those volunteers. So thank you. Thank you for your support, and I will run strong for YOU. I will run strong for Boston.

Yesterday runners everywhere united to wear a race shirt to support Boston, so wanted to share mine!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 races!

Decided to add two more states to the list this summer. My little sister graduates from high school in Dallas beginning of June, so the runner in me googled "half marathons in Dallas June 2013" and there JUST so happens to be on June 9th near where mom and Haley life. Score! It's a Wounded Warriors Half too, I love running in races to support my military. My mom is going to run the 10k, I am so proud of her and can't wait to see her finish!

Wanting to get another close state out of the way, my FAVORITE state has a half in mid-July, the Missoula Half. Might spend the week up in Montana exploring my youth, then run the race. Really want to get in Idaho this year, so will have to do some research on that one.

Three states, will get up to 10 so far toward my goal so pretty stoked about it! Who knows what the fall looks like, there could be a random race always thrown in the mix.

It's been great training this week, my lab puppy is over a year old now and loves to run. He keeps my pace quick and sleeps well after so best of both worlds. Although whenever we run by the water, instead of taking a sip in the stream he crawls in it. At least he's entertaining!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, new goals

Ah the annual New Year's Resolutions day....where people everywhere vow to accomplish goals throughout the year, typically intangible ones like "I resolve to eat healthier" or "I vow to work out more", these goals typically die out within a month or two of the turn of the year. Also why I like to stay away from gyms. Sitting at a church in Tri-Cities on Sunday, the pastor mentioned someone he knew who wanted to run 1,000 miles in 2013. My boyfriend and I are both avid runners so this is a 'resolution' I am going to borrow, however it's going to be more of a challenge. We've challenged each other to see who can run 1,000 miles in 2013 FIRST. Not quite sure what the prize is, but it's something that's easy to track, the competition will add a little motivation in the attempt to complete the goal. I am going to do a weekly update to show the progression of both of our results and how we're doing. Apart from this fun challenge, I'd like to continue my quest to run at least a half marathon in every state. Last year I hit Washington, Oregon and Illinois. I don't have any travel destinations planned at the moment, but living in the Pacific Northwest I know I can at least hit Idaho and Montana, perhaps venture down to California. These seem like good places to race this year, they are close by, therefore easy to travel to. Setting these tangible goals for the year, things like 'exercise more' and 'eat healthier' will come naturally. I challenge everyone to make some goals for the year that they can track and see the progression throughout the year, instead of goals that are set up for failure without the proper accountability.