I want candy

Okay.  So, when do I get my life back?

I have just been running and running and running lately, literally and figuratively!  It’s tiring.  Also, I forgot my camera today.  Bad blogger.  So you get iPhone photos today.  I’m sorry.

Morning snack.  I really very much like these Kashi bars with the fruit sludge inside.  They’re delicious.

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Lunch was some Annie’s Bernie-O’s, along with some Greek yogurt.  I like to think they’re the more mature, health conscious version of Spaghetti-Os, but really, they’re shaped like bunnies.  Anyway, they’re delicious and I am not ashamed.

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And an afternoon snack:

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Candy season is almost over, folks.  It goes from Halloween candy to Crimmus candy to Valentine’s candy to Easter candy, and then we are in a veritable candy famine until then.  I had to get at least one Reese’s egg in under the wire.

Running today?  Technically, I was supposed to do 3 miles, but 3.1 is more fun because I can call it a 5K which sounds much longer.  So a 5K it was.  And I was determined to break 28:00.  My BIG speed goal is to break 27:00 on a 5K, and not long ago this seemed completely impossible to me.  But now it’s right around the corner!

Anyway.  Thusly:

  • Mile 1: 6.7 mph pace
  • Mile 2: 6.8 mph pace
  • Mile 3: 6.9 mph pace
  • Mile .1: 7.2 mph pace

Total?  5K in 27:42.  Boom goes the dynamite.

Anyway, tonight is nuts.  I have to pack, and I just realized I really have no casual shoes appropriate for my trip to Chicago, so I’m going to the shoe store with Tim in a bit.  Why do I have to pack tonight, you ask?  Oh, because tomorrow I have to run 11 miles after work…and my flight leaves at the asscrack of dawn on Friday morning.  I seriously feel like I don’t remember which way is up anymore.

Current RSVP count: 53 yes, 20 no.  And someone bought our cookware off our registry!  Woo!

Finally, Tim caught Buckley in the act of dog food theft.  (He has his high beams on.)  Eating the dog’s food is his latest interest.  Strange cat.

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Anyway.  Shameless plug: check out me talking about how awesome I am over on Run, Eat, Repeat!  Monica’s a rockstar and I have started listening to Pitbull when I run because of her.

What’s your favorite candy-related holiday? I’ve gotta go Easter on this one, strictly because of Cadbury eggs.

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Jingle Bell 5K

Well, this morning was my second-ever 5K…and I blew it out of the water TOTALLY unexpectedly!

The morning started off nicely.  It was about 50 degrees and cloudy, so great weather for running.  T and I decided to bring Milhouse to the race to hopefully tire him out for the rest of the day.  When we got there, I picked up my packet and we waited around for a little while.  Since this was the Jingle Bell Run, lots of people were decked out in Christmas attire and I was instructed by the race packet pickup guy that I had to pin jingle bells to my bib.  (I did, but man, by mile two I was about ready to rip those things off.  Talk about annoying!)

We had some time, so we took a fambly photo:

Milhouse very kindly sat for the picture like we asked, but the wrong direction.  Oh well.

The Christmas decorations were in full force.  I love Christmas:

Milhouse was excited to pee on the biggest tree he’s ever seen:

He was a very good dog and got lots of love from people.  Everyone thinks he’s a puppy, though!  He’s 19 pounds, which means he’s a tiny beagle, but he is definitely full grown. Poor guy.

Anyway, the race got started shortly thereafter.  I knew there were going to be a lot of walkers and people for the 1 mile “fun stroll” so I lined up near the front.  I was not a fan–I started out WAY too fast and had to slow down.  It was really de-motivating to be passed by lots of people!

When the starting horn went off, the scariest thing happened–a guy towards the front tripped and fell and was literally trampled right in front of me.  He was shrieking in the fetal position.  It was really scary, BUT he must have been okay because I saw him pass me about ten minutes later!

I was also thrown off because there was no starting mat for chip timing, even though there was one at the end.  I’m assuming they just started all the chips at the gun, which is fine because I was near the front.

Anyway, the first mile was sad because I kept getting passed.  However, I did make the good decision NOT to wear an iPod–I honestly think that running without music forces me to focus on my breathing and lets me push harder.  So, thumbs up for that strategy.

T got a good picture of me around mile 1.25 or so:

Around mile 1.5 I could feel the asthma coming on.  My throat was closing and I felt like I was underwater and my chest hurt.  So, I did what I had to do–I slowed to a walk for about 30 seconds through the aid station.  I said, “forget about the sub-30:00 goal, just finish upright and running.”

At about 15 minutes in I seriously considered quitting.  I was in a lot of pain in my lungs/chest and my heart rate had spiked to the high 190s.  Instead, I just slowed my pace.  I also thought about Caitlin’s motto: “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.”  And I did not want to have to chalk this up as a quit.  I just kept telling myself, “You’re halfway done…you’re halfway done…” until it turned into “you’re two-thirds done…you’re two thirds done…” and “half a mile to go…half a mile to go…”

Around mile 2.25 I had to take another quick walk break, about 30 seconds, up a killer hill.  I didn’t realize how fast I’d been running, so I thought I was doing 10:00 miles and the walk breaks would kill my sub-30:00 goal.

But…I turned the corner for the last .1 sprint and saw 27:55 and thought, “What the eff?  That’s weird.”  I then realized that I’d paced myself with the fast runners unintentionally since I started up front, meaning that the walk breaks weren’t an issue.  Here’s me at the end.  I’m a blur I’m so fast!

My final chip time isn’t in yet, but I think it’s 28:45!  (EDIT: Final chip time was 28:51!)  I feel incredible about this.  This race was really a struggle for me, and at the end my lungs hurt so bad I could barely walk.  But, now after a shower and and my inhaler, I feel great.  I feel bad that I totally forgot my inhaler at home, but I’m new to this whole asthma thing so in the future I definitely will.

Another victory?  A race shirt that ISN’T horrendously ugly.

The logo is a little bit obnoxious, but at least it’s white and not pumpkin orange or chimp-poo brown!

Anyway, that’s it for me racing for a little while.  There isn’t much to choose from around here in December and January.  I did just register for my first 10K at the end of January–the Children’s TLC Groundhog 10K. I am a sucker for races in interesting locations, and this fits the bill–it’s a totally underground indoor race in one of the largest underground structures in the world.  Cool!  I am also looking forward to not having to race in ice and snow.  Also, I am a nerd and ordered the tech shirt for the race, because it was only $20 and it’s my first 10K and it is navy and cute.  And I’ve never been in a race that offered a tech shirt before!  Anyway, so that’s what’s on deck–I’m also looking at a 5K on Valentine’s Day.  Hopefully I’ll find a few more races that will help prep me for my half marathon in April!

What’s been your hardest race experience?  Were you happy with the results in the end?

Operation Beautiful: Feline edition

Erm, so, I’m running a 5K tomorrow.  Want to know my super awesome strategy?  Run real fast.

This is the first race all season where I’m setting a somewhat aggressive time goal.  Before, all my records were instant PRs because they were the first I’ve done in each distance–a 5K, an 8k, and a 4 miler.  This is my second 5k.  At my first 5K, I came in at 30:18 BUT the course setup was kind of crappy and it was actually 3.25 miles, not 3.1.  My goal for this 5K is to finish in under 30:00.  Full recap to come tomorrow!  Wish me luck!

Today was a lovely day.  We had an early lunch with my old friend Mary and her fiance Matt and sat around chatting for a long time.  It’s always so good to see my friends from college–we’re spread across the country so it’s generally pretty sporadic.  Hopefully I’ll see her again in a few weeks!  He is in the army and is stationed not too far from here, and KC is the closest airport, so she’ll be passing through on her way home.

Then I did a little shopping.  I generally wear either brown or black heels to work every day depending on my outfit.  Unfortunately, they are not exactly nice shoes and this week the leather on my brown ones ripped!  So, I replaced them:

I can’t find a pair of black heels I like that’s less than $140, unfortunately.  I might just spring for them–I wear them every day and hopefully a nice pair will last a long time.

I also picked up two Gap turtlenecks (my latest obsession–snuggly and soft but dressy enough for work) and my absolute favorite hand lotion:

Then I went to Target and picked up the fixins for Thanksgiving dinner.  We’re going to be with T’s family, and I arbitrarily decided to bake Chocolate Crumb Bars (I hate pumpkin pie) and Tillamook Bacon Beer Mac n’ Cheese.  These are absolutely not healthy recipes, but Thanksgiving isn’t a day for calorie counting.  I want to enjoy the day with family and relax!  One day is never going to make you gain ten pounds–it’s the big picture that matters.

We are also bringing wine!

In other “bored on a Saturday” news, we Operation Beautifulized Southpaw as we felt a little bad for commenting negatively on her weight lately.  (If you haven’t checked out Operation Beautiful yet, click the link and do so.  It’s a wonderful project that I’m happy to support!)  She was nonplussed.  And then Milhouse started eating the note, so we had to throw it away.

Tonight’s plans will involve more invitation printing!  Have a good one!

 

I’m back!

Phew.  That weekend was absolutely nuts.  I don’t even know where to start!  I’ll probably chunk this into two posts, so it doesn’t get too long!

Friday

I will keep this short–nothing too exciting happened Friday, except we drove 9 hours to get to Chicago.  We stopped at the World’s Largest Truck Stop in Iowa, and arrived at my mom’s house (she lives elsewhere because of her job) to find several dead smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector batteries chirping.  We took down two smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector before the annoying noises stopped.  Then I gave T a fashion show of my old prom dresses.  Look, it’s too big!

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I still kind of like this dress, if I ever had anywhere to wear a florescent orange/pink gown.  T thinks it’s hideous.  But, whatever.

Saturday

T and I woke up bright and early for our sisterly 5K.  My sister and I exchanged texts before she came to drive over with us and I believe they involved the words “cold as balls.”  It was!  When I woke up, it was 28 degrees, and only warmed up to 32 by the time the race started.  Brr.

T kindly served as race photographer.  Here’s me and my big sis before the race, numbers 7 and 8:

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I have to say, I was super impressed by this long sleeved running shirt.  As usual, it’s C9 by Champion from Target, and I LOVED running in it.  When we were waiting for the race to start, it really kept me warm, but it was nice and cool along the race.  Gear-wise, my only regret was that I didn’t wear a pair of gloves.  My hands were frozen by the end of the race, especially after I spilled water all over at the only aid stop.  I didn’t run with an iPod, either, for the first time!

Here we are at the starting line:

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I can’t really break this into miles, per se, because there weren’t mile markers along the route.  But chronologically speaking…what I assume to be the first mile was pretty standard.  My sister told me her plan was that we’d pace together for the first 20 minutes, and then she was just going to sprint it to the finish.  (She’s generally a bit faster than me.)  We both regretted not starting more towards the front of the pack, because the race was on a fairly narrow trail and we had to pass a lot of people.  Anyway, the first third of the race was nice.  We ran on a trail full of pretty fall foliage and a bit in a quaint downtown suburban area.

The second mile, or what I think was the second mile, was a little tougher.  My sister and I broke away from most of the runners and were in probably the top third.  It started to get windy and hilly.  The path was kind of boring but it was fun running with my sister.  At one point, she saw a hot guy on a bike and started to sprint!  It was really funny!  She was also laughing at all these old men in skintight running tights.  I wish I lived closer to her–she’d be a great running buddy.

The last third of the race was a little frenetic.  Since there were no mile markers, I had no idea where I was.  At 20:00, my sister asked if it was okay and sprinted about 100 yards ahead of me.  I stayed within her sight line for most of the race, but right before the finish I lost her.  She’s speedy!  I started panicking because I couldn’t see the finish line when my watch was at 29:00 or so–I started it with my chip, and I was really shooting to finish in under 30:00 if I could.  Anyway, I got a nice burst of energy after passing a guy who looked young and in shape, and finished strong.  Or…well, whatever this is:

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My official chip time was 30:14!  My public goal was to not walk (I didn’t!) and finish in under 31:00 (I did!).  My not-so secret goal was 30:00, and I’m honestly surprised I didn’t get that.  My sister finished in 29:20, I think, and we both felt it might have been a longer course than 5K. (Edit: mapmyrun.com and a running forum both confirm that the course was actually 3.25 miles long, meaning I did actually run about a 29:00 5K.  Boo, hiss for the course setup.)  Given the effort level we were exerting, I would have guessed we were running 9:20 miles, but my official pace said 9:45.  Still, that’s a :30 better pace than my last race!  Yay!

We then rushed home and showered and went to our food tasting.  YUM.  We decided on:

  • Appetizers: stuffed mushrooms and bruschetta
  • Salads: spinach and Italian tossed
  • Pastas: Rigatoni D (marsala sauce, chicken, rigatoni, mushrooms) and ziti with meat sauce
  • Entrees: beef braciole and chicken marsala
  • Desserts: Still TBD!

Then I went and met with a hairstylist (I liked her, so that’s taken care of) and the pastor (he’s nice, and will be great.)

Here’s where we’re getting married, again, because I love it so much:

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There was a wedding going on, which kind of gave me butterflies.  So exciting!

We then drove home and had a lovely dinner with my good friend and bridesmaid and her husband, and her sister and mom.  We all grew up together, so it was so comforting and awesome to spend a night just eating great Italian food together, drinking wine, and catching up.  (Wine recommendation: Foxwood Cabernet.  I LOVE cab and this was awesome.)

Anyway, part two will be up later.  We hit a snag in our dog adoption with our landlord (they misrepresented some stuff to us, we’re bargaining and waiting for a phone call) so we don’t get to pick him up tonight, but we are both hoping and praying it will work out.  Send more vibes!

Active Rest for a Cause

Every week, I take two rest days away from the gym.  One day, usually Saturday, is absolute rest–I lay on the couch and do as little as possible.  Sometimes I don’t even leave the house.  The second day, usually Sunday, is what I call active rest–I don’t go to the gym, but I try to do something a little bit physical, whether it’s heavy cleaning around the house or a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or Wii Fit or some extra stretching.  Yesterday I rested hardcore–I basically didn’t budge from my armchair all day long.  Today, though, I’ve had some pretty fun active rest planned for awhile.
This morning, T and I participated in the Whisper Walk for Ovarian Cancer.  It was a 5K walk, so no runners, and obviously, for a great cause–to raise funding for ovarian cancer research and to spread awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer so women can detect it earlier.  Sadly, T’s Aunt M has been fighting ovarian cancer for the last few years.  She’s been through countless surgeries and experimental medications and chemotherapy, but still has a wonderful spirit and attitude that we absolutely love.  She was able to walk the entire 5K with us today and we had a lot of fun for a great cause.

Before the walk, there was lots of food and milling about in a courtyard:

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Lots of people were wearing signs on their back showing who they were walking the course for.  This one was my favorite–the guy wearing it was probably in high school  (sorry it’s huge, I wanted you to be able to read it!):

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Hee.  And finally, here’s me in action:

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I had someone take a picture of our “team,” but she wound up taking a video instead!  Boo.  We were nine strong and all enjoyed a lovely brunch after the walk.  All in all, it was a great experience.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the weather was nice and mild.  It was also nice to see the course, because I’m running a 5K at the same place on November 22nd.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a way to get in some good active rest for a good cause, look for charity walks in your area!  It was a fun experience and obviously helping a good cause is a worthy bonus.  Since I don’t have a job right now, I’m trying to put a lot more effort into helping out causes I care about.  I currently have a regular volunteer position at one of my favorite charities and I try to donate platelets once or twice a month.  I also have a few bigger public service projects brewing behind the scenes that I’ll hopefully have more information about later on.

What charities do you support?  Does the charity benefiting from a race influence your decision to do it or not do it?