Turn This Day Around

Well, all those pretty little endorphins finally wore off, and the post-marathon blues have set in. It’s crazy how a person can go from feeling on top of the world to feeling not so hot so quickly. If there is a secret to not letting that feeling go away, someone please tell me!

I’ve been endlessly searching through local race websites to find another race to do before Chicago. But my calendar is still raceless until October. Turns out there aren’t many marathons in the heat of the summer here in mid-MO. It’s not like it’s too hot or humid here in July. (In case you’re not from around here, that was blatant sarcasm.)

And, on top of the post-marathon blues, I have this inner thigh muscle that is giving me some trouble. I don’t think it’s serious, however, it’s just enough of a worry and a bother that I don’t think I should be on it. All that bottled up energy I-can-do-anything-I-want and I-can’t-wait-to-run-faster mentality has pretty much been shut down. I can count the number of times I’ve ran on one hand since April 21st, and that makes me pretty sad.

But I’m going to turn this depressing blog post, day, and mentality right around. It’s time to get back into the swing of things…fitness, eating better, and blogging. To start I’m going to take this pretty little thing for a w-a-l-k (I can’t say the word yet or she’ll go crazy!)…

…do some light strength training at home, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of yoga. Then later I get to sit in the beautiful outdoors at a ballpark watching a high school baseball game. I think that’ll make for a pretty darn good day!

ang

Just Got the Butterflies

I’m running a marathon the day after tomorrow.

I feel like I have been so nonchalant about this whole training process. With nursing school consuming so much more of my life than I’ve ever been used to, I just never had time to sit and think about what it is I’m going to be doing.

But it has finally hit me. I am running twenty-six point two miles in less than forty eight hours.

I just got the butterflies!

ang

Two Thousand and Eleven, It’s Been Lovely

In two thousand and eleven I…

…started a blog! Never before in my life did I have the intention of writing and then sharing my writing with anyone and everyone on the internet. However, I’ve ended up absolutely loving it, and I credit my blog along with other blogs I read for being the fuel behind two thousand and eleven’s greatness!

…started out the year with a four mile race, Love 2 Run, in February. My blog wasn’t born yet so I wasn’t here to tell you about it, but I did PR (it was only the third race I’d ever done before in my life, and the second time in this race) with a time of 35:15.

…ran my first 10K…then my second 10K…then my third 10K…each one with a PR!

…trained my dog to give high-fives.

won a local race! It was a small 5K race…a very very small race, since I won with a stopwatch time of 25:09. Nonetheless I won an awesome trophy, and it was for a super great cause to support a local little girl with osteosarcoma. The same little girl who happens to be my Make-A-Wish wish kid and who is a huge inspiration to anyone who knows her.

…greatly improved my body image.

didn’t get into nursing school.

got into nursing school!

…ran my first half marathon, which happened to be my one really big goal that I wanted to achieve this year! I also had a secret goal of running it in less than two hours…which I also achieved with a time of 1:59.10!

went to Mexico with all my amigos!

…was a blonde for awhile. Literally, not figuratively. Well, maybe both.

…ran my second half marathon and PRed with a time of 1:52.52.

…got my husband to run a 5K with me…and my mom, sister, and stepdad! It was for the Susan G. Komen race in Kansas City, obviously a great cause, especially considering my mom kicked breast cancer’s booty.

…coached middle school volleyball with some of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met!

tried mushrooms…grilled…and liked them.

…raised money for Girls on the Run as a SoleMate!

…ran a marathon. A MARATHON! A ridiculously hilly but beautiful nonetheless twenty-six point two miles all over Kansas City, Missouri, and I loved every single second of it…all four hours and fifteen minutes! I set out the year with hopes of finishing a half marathon…what I didn’t know was that I was going to fall in love with running. Once my half was completed in April I knew I needed more! Never before in my life did I imagine I’d run a marathon, but crossing that finish line was the proudest moment of my life.

This year has been amazing. However, it wouldn’t have been nearly as great had I not walked into the women’s restroom back in February and discovered a little post-it note on the mirror that said, “You are beautiful.” That’s when I discovered Operation Beautiful and the entire world of blogging…a world of inspiration, motivation, and support from some pretty amazing people.

Two thousand and eleven, it’s been lovely.

ang

A Few Friday Favs

Good afternoon pretties! I’m geared up and excited for the weekend! It seems kind of strange that I’m running a half marathon on Sunday. I remember for my first half marathon there was so much excitement leading up to the big day…even weeks before. This time around the whole process has seemed somewhat casual.

I’d come home from a long run, and the husband would ask me how far I went. When I would tell him, “Nine miles,” or, “Ten miles,” he would reply, “Well that’s not very far.”

I promptly told him if that’s what he thought then he should go out and try it.

Yeah. That’s not happening.

No matter what, though, thirteen point one miles is a long way. It is hard, it is challenging, and it is rewarding. It is going to be exciting!

In honor of my thirteen point one to come, I want to share with you some of my favorite things right now.

Number one:

This hot pink running jacket. I’ve shared it on the blog before, and I will say it again. The color pink, specifically hot pink, has magical speedy powers. I hope this theory proves true again come Sunday.

Number two:

Black cherry Clif Bloks. I think I’ve had enough mocha flavored Clif Shots to last me for awhile now, so I picked up these at the store to give them a try. These bloks are delicious…seriously…they are like big fruit snacks. They will definitely be stowed in in the pocket of my hot pink running jacket on Sunday.

Number three:

A pretty and sparkly pink headband ear warmer made by the one and only Mamzie (my grandma). I have worn a special creation from my Mamz at every big race I’ve done this year…my first race of the year, my first official race recap, my first half marathon, and my first marathon.

I have a funny story about this particular headband. In August I had asked her to make me a headband for my marathon. I said that I wanted a pink headband with a flat, sparkly flower on it. When I said headband, I was imagining a regular elastic headband to hold my hair from sweating into my eyes. When she heard headband, she imagined what you see above…an ear warmer. So, that is what she made…and ear warmer headband with a flat, sparkly flower.

“Mamaw, I can’t wear this in August in the 90 degree weather,” I had to tell her. She replied, “I thought it seemed odd that you wanted one.” She’s too cute.

So, I will be wearing that headband on Sunday…in much more appropriate temperatures.

My last two favorite things do not have to do with the race…

Number four:

This fabric. I will be creating something this weekend using this pretty awesome looking fabric. I wonder what it will be?!?!

And last but definitely not least, it wouldn’t be a complete favorites things list without a picture of this…

Number five:

Goodness she is cute!

Have a good weekend!!!

ang

P.S.  I can’t forget a Friday affirmation! We are deserving of all things good in our lives. When something good happens to me, I can use that to do something good for another person.

Mr. Thirteen Point One

In three short days I have a date with a very lucky fellow! His name is half marathon. Hello again thirteen point one pretty miles!

My last (and first) date with Mr. thirteen point one went very well. Better than expected. But I have high high hopes for this next date…I mean, like…flowers upon arrival, long walk on the beach ending with a bonfire and s’mores, and a kiss on the front porch kind of high hopes. The kind of date that leaves you weak in the knees and short of breath…but in a good way.

It’s going to be hard to live up to my date with Mr. twenty-six point two. Probably downright impossible…but they are two different types of guys. Mr. twenty-six point two is the kind of guy who takes weeks, sometimes excruciating long weeks, to plan an extreme romantic getaway. Finally, when the time is exactly right, he sweeps you off your feet, flies you on a private jet to a secluded island, makes you feel like a true queen…and at the end of the date he’ll plant a whirlwind of a kiss on you. It’s the kind of kiss that sets the world spinning. And then the date is over before you know it. From my experience, there are many highs and lows along the way during preparation for and the actual date with him. Sometimes he makes you hurt…sometimes he makes you cry. But sometimes, most of the time, he is amazing. Sometimes you might doubt that you deserve someone so wonderful…but then he reminds you that you are worth it.

You have to have a whole lot of heart to put up with Mr. twenty-six point two.

Now Mr. thirteen point one…this guy is sweet! Flowers, chocolates, and a kiss on the cheek sweet.

I can’t wait to see what our date goes on Sunday. I hope it will be filled with good spirits, laughter, and confidence. I know guys like confidence in a girl. I’ve put in all the effort to make the date as good as it can be. I have my outfit picked out and my mascara ready.

However…I hope it only lasts one hours and fifty-five minutes.

ang

Running Encouragement From Princess Tia

I am officially registered for my second ever half marathon, and day two of training goes down in the books! I am determined to set a new personal record for this half marathon, even though I am still extremely pleased with my first half marathon time. This means that I am trying to focus a lot more on my pace and incorporate more speed work into my routine.

Maybe I should take some running advice from my little baby Tia.

Let’s back it up…

I’m definitely a summer baby. I love the sunshine, the hot temperatures, swimming, being outside, and sweating. I love that I have my husband all to myself in the summer. I love everything about summer…that is, until I started seriously running.

Running in the humidity is utterly ridiculous.

So, I have to admit it, I’m kind of loving this fall weather right now. It’s cooler, but not too cool. The sun is still shining so vitamin D has not become a rarity yet. I can step outside without feeling like I’m going to suffocate. And best yet, Tia and I get to spend more quality time together outdoors!

I have taken her for a couple of run/walks with me, and she absolutely adores it! However, I get nervous having her little six pound body run for too long…her lungs are probably smaller than a couple slices of bread! I try to break it up by half miles…walk half a mile, run half a mile, walk half a mile, run half a mile.

Somehow, though, she always stays ahead of me. That little princess can run her little booty off! She uses the technique of a gazelle, I think…it doesn’t look like a dog’s run. Every now and then she will slow down to run next to me, or she’ll turn around and encourage me to catch up, “Come on Mom!” Sometimes she stops to smell something, and as I pass her, she runs up ahead again.

It’s kind of like running with a little kid. Have you ever been in a race where there was a ten year old boy running near you? You see them up ahead and think to yourself there’s no way I’m letting a little kid beat me! Then you see them slow to a walk and you think you’ve got them. But lo and behold, as soon as you make your way up to them, they take their little adolescent body and sprint ahead again…always staying in front of you.

Frustrating…but maybe they’ve got this running thing figured out. I know I haven’t yet!

I laced up my shoes this morning to complete a forty minute tempo run on the treadmill, and when she saw me putting on my running shoes she got excited. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure doggies aren’t allowed at the gym, so I had to break the news to her that she wasn’t going to run with me today.

I guess I’m just going to have to improvise and add a few more 2 miles run/walks into this new training plan!

ang

Did I Really Do That?

I can’t believe it has been almost two whole weeks since I ran my first marathon.

I think back to that day and have to question whether or not it actually happened.

I mean, I remember running it…I remember waking up in the morning, meeting up with all my friends, and arriving at the race sight. I remember starting the race, running alongside Dean Karnazes, meeting some amazing people, seeing my friends at the transition points, and seeing all of my family along the course. I remember my sister screaming, my mom crying, my dad running, and my husband providing me with fuel and water. I remember crossing the finish line, and I remember crossing the finish line for a second time with all of my girlfriends.

I remember hugging all my family at the finish line, drenching my mom in my own sweat, and eating strawberries and blueberries after the race. I remember sitting in the grass cheering on the final runners as they neared the finish line. I remember being too sore to climb a staircase without using all four of my limbs.

But did I really do that?

If it was actually reality (although I’m still unsure at this point) then it was one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It was a feeling that I wish every person can experience at least once in their life, and it was a feeling I want to seek out again.

I’ve been scouring race sights all week trying to pick a race that fits into my work schedule, volleyball schedule, dinner club schedule, and budget. It’s not the easiest task in the world, and I’m going stir crazy not knowing the next time I will get to challenge myself. I have a few races in my sights…maybe a 10K soon…a half marathon before the end of the year, and I definitely need to find a 5K so that my hubs and I can actually finish our bet! I have my eyes set on another marathon for beginning of next year.

It has been interesting working out this week without a set schedule or training plan. I’m such a goal-oriented person and I miss having my training plan stuck to my refrigerator, but it has been kind of nice to just go with the flow this week and enjoy the magnificent weather!

My first post-marathon run was Saturday and I ran three easy miles and walked an additional mile. I was definitely nervous as I was leaving my house that my legs might have forgotten how to run, but somehow they started moving on their own!

On Tuesday I ran four miles on the treadmill (a shame, I know, since it was beautiful outside) and did some strength training. (Yay for biceps!)

On Wednesday I decided to try some Yasso 800s (don’t worry, I didn’t know what they were either until just recently). I learned about this track workout on Emily’s blog last week, and I was very intrigued! I’ve been very inspired by reading about Emily’s running (and swimming and biking) experiences on her blog, so I thought this workout must be legit! Basically you run timed, speedy 800s on a track with an un-timed cool-down 400 in between. You start by doing four 800s the first week, and then you add another 800 each week until you reach ten. Your time during your 800s should (possibly…) reflect your marathon time. For example, if you run an 800 in three minutes and forty seconds, you should be able to run a marathon in three hours and forty minutes (I really hope I’m explaining this correctly!)

Yesterday consisted of some random crosstraining, and today I set out bright (well, it wasn’t actually bright yet) and early for a nice four miler with some of the girls from the WOW running group. It was refreshing to get in another easy run with some awesome company!

While I may not know the next time I will be racing, I do know that these shoes aren’t ready to retire!

ang

August is Making Me Smile

Oh my goodness, this week is turning out to be so amazing. Actually, this entire month has been super great, and each coming day brings something new and exciting!

This week started out awesome on Sunday with the Susan G. Komen 5K in Kansas City. I have never been a part of a Susan G. Komen event before, and I highly recommend it to anyone who ever has the opportunity. There were over 30,000 people registered to be a part of it…it truly was a sight to see!

Not only was it a moving and inspiration event, but it was also the hubs’ very first 5K race! I was so proud of him, and it felt great to cross the finish line together! I will post a race recap with more pictures very soon!!!

On Monday I became a television star! ;)

On Tuesday I received this little gem…

I got accepted into nursing school for next summer! I knew the letter would be coming soon, and I obsessively checked the mail everyday. (Usually I only check it once a week…not really the best idea…I don’t think any of my mailmen have liked me!) When I saw where the letter came from, I started having unwanted deja vu from the last time I received a letter about nursing school…but as soon as I read “happy to inform you” I was relieved…and excited, and nervous, and just so darn happy!

On Wednesday I got to go to a cabinet training for my job. I got to watch a bunch of other cabinet specialists play Family Feud with questions about cabinets. (I, of course, did not volunteer to play!) It was totally awesome.

Sounds awesome, right? ;)

Actually, the winning “contestants” won a ten dollar gas card, and the lady sitting next to me gave me her card because she knew I was ten miles until empty and had no clue where the closest gas station was. She also looked up directions for me. It’s nice to come across genuinely nice people in the world!

The actual excitement on Wednesday came later when I got to see…

…drum roll please…………

Katy Perry!

Okay, this picture is obviously fake (and puts my graphic design degree to shame!) But I did get to see her pretty face from afar, witness her witty self, and listen to her catchy songs! (I know I’m a firework! Thanks, Katy!)

Thursday was kind of a plain day. Nothing crazy-exciting happened like the rest of the week, but I did get to spend most of the day with my handsome hubby before he went back to work today. Tear.

I truly am a lucky gal…he still loves me even though our kitchen floor looks like this…

Sorry honey, I’ll put those away today. Well, maybe.

Another reason this week has been great is because I have raised so much more money for Girls on the Run with my blog giveaway!!! I’ve received $90 in direct donations and seven new orders for notecards (that’s $49 more)!

I have a lot of printing, cutting, and folding to do!

Thank you so much for all your support. This puts me so much closer to my goal, but I still need your help! You can still enter my giveaway! For every $5 you directly donate you are entered to win three Soap It Up soaps and three notecard sets. There are more ways you can enter, just head to this post and see!

You can still order notecard sets also, just contact me with the design of your choice! And last but not least, today was my last sweaty, semi-long run before the big day, my first marathon, and I followed it up with a nice shower with a special new soap!

A new scent in honor of this awesome day! :) Do you think it’s edible?

ang

Are You a Runner?

I never know how to respond when someone asks me that. I’m trying to be one?

Yes, I run…but what actually makes someone a runner? I have had a hard time actually calling myself a runner, because I have always felt like I need to reach some unknown standard of eliteness. I like to play tennis, but does that make me a tennis player? I like to sing, but many people can attest that I am not a singer!

On the other hand…I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished through running! I’ve exceeded my own expectations of what I thought I was capable of in the sport…and hopefully I will keep doing so as I continue to increase my mileage…I am only seven weeks away from my first marathon!

What I’ve come to realize is that anyone can be a runner if they want to be. It doesn’t matter what age, what sex, what size, what distance, what speed, what you wear, or what kind of shoes you have. It doesn’t matter if you run for physical health or for mental health. It doesn’t matter if you stop and take walking breaks. It doesn’t matter if you run tons of races or no races at all.

I know I am a runner because running makes me happy. It is hard, and some days it feels really hard…but I love the way it makes me feel. I love you precious little endorphins!

I know I am a runner because I have dreams about running.

I know I am a runner because I find it more efficient to blow dry the sweat in my hair rather than wash it.

I know I am a runner because I wake up every hour of the night to make sure my alarm is set because I’m afraid that I’ll miss my 5am wake up call to join other crazy people to go for a run.

I know I am a runner because I get excited to go shopping for new sports bras.

I know I am a runner because I think it’s acceptable to eat a bowl of noodles at midnight.

I know I’m a runner because I realize how much confidence running has given me.

I know I am a runner because I contemplate skipping taking a shower because I know I’ll just be sweaty again in less than twenty-four hours. (Sorry husband.)

I am a runner because my mind and especially my heart has been set to be a runner.

So yes, I am a runner.

ang

More Than Just A Race Recap

Thank you for all the support and prayers regarding the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, and now also in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. It looks like today is going to be another difficult day…as I am writing there are warnings all around Kansas City…even closer to home.

But as I had mentioned, something really great happened to for me this past Saturday, and I’d like to share it now…

A few weeks ago I was searching the internet for races. I found a 5K race that was in my town, and I thought it’d be a great race to sign up for since I’ve recently become a new resident here.

I decided to register for it.

Also a few weeks ago I got my weekly e-mail from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Kansas City with a list of all the local children who needed Wish Granters. I typically never even open these e-mails because I am too afraid that I won’t be able to devote enough time to do everything I could to make a child’s wish come true. I was trained in wish granting and volunteering almost two years ago, and although I have volunteered at some events for Make-A-Wish, I had yet to sign up to actually grant a wish.

Something told me to go ahead and open this e-mail.

I first skimmed down the column that said where the children were from. Then I noticed that there was a someone from my new town. Then I skimmed over and saw her name and condition.

Gabrielle S., 9 years old, Osteosarcoma.

I had this meant-to-be feeling about her, so I decided to sign up to be one of her Wish Granters.

Little did I know that these two decision I made would relate to one another! A few days later I realized that my 5K race was created to benefit little Miss Gabi!

The Race T-shirt

I was able to meet Gabi on Friday to talk to her about her wish. She is seriously an amazing little girl…and she is beyond precious. Since I now knew I was running for her, I made sure I got her autograph on the t-shirt that I was going to where for the race!Saturday morning my hubby drove me to the race. This is the first race that he has been to, and since the race was pretty small and had no timing chips, I had him time me because of our bet. I didn’t think I’d run the 5K in 24 minutes or less, but I wanted him to witness it, just in case I actually did.

We got to the race a little bit early, so I drank some water and stretched a little bit in the hub’s rusty ol’ truck. There were a few people warming up for the race, and one looked to be a seventy-year old man. The hubby looked over at me and said, “You better not let that guy beat you!”

Gabi’s oldest sister was going to sing the National Anthem before the race, and I didn’t want to miss it, so the hubby and I left the truck and headed over to the crowd. We got to the start area with perfect timing as Gabi’s dad gave a speech thanking everyone for their support and saying that today was a good day because Gabi was full of smiles. A good day indeed. Then their priest said a prayer. We prayed for Gabi and her journey ahead, for Gabi’s family, and we even prayed for the rain to hold of until the race was over! Then we all said the Lord’s Prayer together. This was very touching moment. Then Gabi’s sister sang beautifully, and it was time for the runners to head to the start line. As I made my way to the start line, I stopped by Gabi’s wheelchair and stole a hug from her! :)

Before I knew it, I was off and running! I ran fast, passing and passing and passing people until I fell into my pace. Pretty soon I was huffing and puffing, but I tried not to slow down. This was my first 5K in a long time (almost a year) so I wasn’t used to running the shorter distance. I told myself it was okay that I was breathing so hard because the race would be over before I knew it. I was keeping up with some men, so I just told myself to stay with them. A little ways in I came to the realization that I was following a bunch of men…not women. I didn’t see any girls up ahead of me.

After about two miles I ended up passing one of the men I was keeping up with. I rounded a corner and just went on by him and it felt great (sorry guy). But soon after, I was passed by another woman.

Nnnnnooooooooo!

I told myself, it’s okay Angela…you are doing your best. Just don’t let her get too far ahead!

Then I was passed again…by a man…by that old man who was warming up in the parking lot! That seventy-year old man!

Nnnnnoooooooooo!

But I just kept going and running the fastest that I could. Once I knew I was at the home stretch I felt a little inspiration. I picked it up a little bit, and guess what? I passed that woman back up! I didn’t know if there were more girls ahead of me, maybe just beyond where I could see, but when I came to the home stretch, one of the volunteers informed me that I was the girl in the lead! I was so excited that I ran a little bit faster!

I was the first female to finish, and with a time of 25:09. It wasn’t under 24, but I was still ecstatic to have won!And even though the bet was initially that I had to run a sub-24 minute 5K for my hubby to run a race with me, I must’ve sparked a little somethin’ something’ in him, because afterwards he said, “What do I get if I run a 5K under 24 minutes?” After a bit of talking (and some playful trash talking), our conversation turned into, “You can’t be sad when I beat you at the next 5K!” So, he’s going to sign up for a race anyway, and we have a small wager on who’s going to win! :)

Since my hubby was only spectating (and timing), he told me that Gabi had been pushed in her wheelchair with the start of the walker’s for awhile, and when the winning male runner rounded the corner for the final stretch to the finish line (after only about 14 minutes!) Gabi was pushed back through the finish alongside him, and that he slowed down so that she could win! What a special moment for her!

All in all, this was an amazing day, an amazing race, an amazing run, for an amazing cause. Beyond my happiness for having a great run and winning, it was more amazing to see the support for this precious jewel of a little girl. I am positively sure that her autograph and hug were good luck for me and probably the reason I won. :)

ang