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

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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

Racing Spur of the Moment

I’m not usually a spur-of-the-moment kind of person.

But I did just register for a 10K on Sunday. Yes, this Sunday!

That’s just four days away. Or, um, three days, twenty-three hours, nine minutes and twenty-seven seconds…according to the countdown ticker.

Have I been training? Well, kind of? (It’s probably not a good sign when my answer to that question has a question mark behind it.)

Have I been training enough to reach my new 10K goal of sub-50 minutes? Uuuuuhhh…probably not, but I will surely try my hardest! Since I haven’t had this goal in sight for all that long, I’m not going to be too hard on myself. If I achieve my goal, then it’d be amazing (and I’ll have to treat myself to some sort of frozen yogurt treat!), and if I don’t, well, I’ll have a great time regardless (and hopefully talk someone into getting a sweet treat with me anyway!)

What better way to jump start my motivation again, cross off one of my September goals, and prove to myself that life does go on after my marathon. Hopefully this is the start of a new race season that will include at least two other 5Ks (I have my sights set on this one…sub-24 minutes?) and my second marathon next spring (anyone in?!)

Now, speaking of the motivation…it’s time for me to go hit the gym for some strength training (and now, maybe some speedwork…)!

ang

What To Do Now? September Goals

I have spent the past five days attempting to be as lazy as I possibly could. (Successfully.)

I have thoroughly enjoyed it, but I’m getting a little bit antsy…every time I hear a blood-pumping song on the radio my legs get an itching to start running!

I definitely did not think I’d be wanting to get back up and run so soon after my marathon. I heard many people say that as soon as their first marathon was over they vowed never to run one again…heck, even to never run again. I prepared myself to feel the same way and I was convinced that after awhile I’d have to drag myself back up to go for a run. However…now I don’t think that is going to be a problem.

I do feel a little bit lost though. My training plan is still pinned up on my refrigerator…completely filled out with pretty purple stars. I kind of don’t want to take it down. All my running clothes are…drumroll please…clean. My hair actually smells like shampoo…not sweat…or sweat mixed with love spell body spray (I think the husband appreciates this one).

After I achieved my New Year’s resolution and finished my half marathon back in April, I knew that I had to just keep going. That’s when and why I decided to run a marathon. Now, since I have finished my first marathon, I have to decide what is next!!! This fall and winter I do not have very much going on, so it will be the perfect time to knock out some new goals before I start classes for nursing school! (Oh my goodness, it sounds awesome to say that!) I asked the hubs what he thought I should do next and his response was the train for an ultra marathon (probably with a pinch of sarcasm thrown in)! Don’t worry mom, my immediate and natural response was, “Yeah right!!!” However, I do see another half marathon, maybe another full, and definitely another 5K in my future.

So without further ado…September Goals!

1.   Find a new race to sign up for! This can be either a 5K, 10K, or half marathon (or all three!)

2.   Make a new workout schedule, even if it does not revolve around a race plan or goal. I know that working out makes me feel oh-so-happy, so even if it is not working toward a particular race, I need to find out how to keep exercising anyway.

3.   Strength train at least two times a week. I have never felt so strong in my life and I want to keep feeling that way. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll be able to do a pull-up! (Should that be a goal, too?)

4.   Blog more! Summer is nearly over, the hubs is back to work, and I am currently not taking any classes, so there is no excuse not to share my whole life, every detail, with you on a daily basis! I’m just kidding, but I do want to participate in the blog world more!

5.   Finish unpacking a decorating our new place. This might be a long shot considering that when we lived in our house I never accomplished this in almost three years, but I’m getting closer here.

6.   Do yoga. My gym offers yoga classes, so I definitely need to look into the cost of that. If it costs too much, then I own my own yoga mat, I just need to make myself do it!

7.   Cook. I was going to say “cook more” but I don’t think I’ve earned the right to say that. By “cook” I mean more than popping in a frozen pizza, boiling a pot of noodles (plain with no butter or sauce), or microwaving some canned soup. Do you have any suggestions for easy recipes for two? (By easy I mean super-duper-I’m-a-terrible-cooker-and-will-mess-it-up-if-it’s-too-hard recipes!)

8.   Find a book to read and think about starting a new book club series. Any suggestions for books? I’ve heard a lot of hype about The Help and would like to read the book before seeing the movie. I’ve also heard a lot about other books here in the bloggie world. What are you reading right now?

9.   Create something artsy. I went to college for art and have tons of art supplies just sitting around…so why not use them!

10.  Enjoy life! Yes, I love setting goals and then killing them, but it is also so important just to enjoy the moment you are in! I’m going to try not to stress the small things and just have some fun!

What are your September goals?! Do share!

ang

P.S. I am completely overwhelmed by all the love and support and comments from my marathon recap. There have been so many people say that I am their inspiration…but in all honesty…YOU ALL have been MY inspiration! Thank you!!!

Forty-One Days

Forty-one days.

Forty-one days until my fundraising for Girls on the Run comes to an end!

Forty-one days until I tackle twenty-six point two miles!

Marathon training has been very challenging, but at the same time very rewarding. I am beginning to reach new distances that I never even dreamed possible (and what’s crazy is I have so much more to go)! I am also learning a lot about time management, injury prevention, rehabilitation, effects of heat and humidity, and what the world looks like before 6:00am.

Along with all the good things that has come with marathon training, I am also learning about disappointment. I was scheduled to run fourteen miles this past Wednesday, my longest distance yet, but I was unable to go more than ten. You see, my left knee likes to be a pain by being a pain. I was feeling fine for my entire run, that is until I stopped after mile ten to have a drink of water. As I was drinking, my muscles were feeling a little bit tight so I decided to a do a few stretches before I went out to tackle the last four miles. As soon as I put all my weight onto my left leg, it was all over.

I walked back inside feeling disappointed. The run had been so great so far, with no knee pain, and I was feeling like I could accomplish all fourteen miles easily. I so wanted to finish the run, so I tried to walk it off around my house for a few minutes, and then I headed back outside to try again.

I immediately had to turn around and come back home.

I told myself not to be disappointed. As important as this marathon is to me, it’s not worth hurting myself over. And besides, with the proper care, I should probably be able to try again in a few days.And that is what I did!

Saturday morning I planned out a fourteen mile route, laced up my shoes again, and headed out the door around 5:30am. As I ran, I tried to be more aware of the movement of my legs, knees, and heels. I focused on my breathing and how my body was feeling. I also took in the scenery…I didn’t know that my new town had such beautiful surroundings.

Hello Bambi and Bambi’s mom!

And I did it. I ran all fourteen miles!

I felt a lot of things after finishing…exhausted (although as soon as I stopped I felt like I could’ve ran more!), proud of what I had accomplished, and grateful…grateful that I had stopped on Wednesday and gave myself the opportunity to heal.And this week…sixteen miles, here I come!

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

I Heart Strength Training

I heart strength training. I really, really do. I never thought I’d say that in my whole life.

When I think back to my freshman year of high school, I give some of the unfortunate credit to my negative body image to strength training. Obviously this makes no sense at all, but let me explain.

I had to participate in weightlifting workouts in order to participate on the volleyball team at my school. I love volleyball, so I did what I had to do. I lifted weights…and I hated it. First of all I found it intimidating. Being in a room full of sweaty boys and grunting and yelling is not really my style.

Secondly, weightlifting made me get “bigger”. I had always been very petite and the smallest girl my age, so when that wasn’t the case anymore…it scared me. (I didn’t take into consideration that I was having a growth spurt, and that it isn’t that common to go into ninth grade being a twig standing at 4’9″.) So in my skewed mind, weightlifting equaled getting bigger, and getting bigger equaled getting fatter, and getting fatter was just unacceptable.

Now fast forward to today.

I cannot wait to get in my strength training workout today. I have been craving strength training, especially since I missed it earlier this week. Since I started half marathon training in January, I incorporated strength into my routine consistently for twice a week! I started out with hesitation, but I soon fell in love. After my half marathon, I made sure that I included strength training into my full marathon training plan as well!

What made me change my mind? Why do I love strength training now? Well, I’d love to tell you!

Strength training has made me bigger.

Wait? Wasn’t that what I was afraid of in the first place? Yes, however, weightlifting has made me get bigger in all the right places! I have never had biceps before…until now! (Even though I still max out on twenty pound curls!) Now I can’t wait for the unlikely opportunity to come up where I need to flex for someone!

curlsI have always been self conscious about my legs…my thighs to be more exact. I’ve always just felt like they were unproportional to the rest of my body. But this summer when I was at the pool with my sister and she told me that my legs looked strong, I was actually flattered rather than embarrassed. A huge accomplishment if you ask me!

Strength training has helped me with running injury.

I’ve been having some pain in my knee (which is a pain in my gooloo) for awhile now, and I’m not sure why. However, whenever I strength train, my pain almost instantly goes away. I can’t explain the physiology of it, except for the muscles around my knee must be getting stronger to support the pressure running puts on my knee. Whatever the reasoning, I’ll take it!

Strength training has made me taller.

Since my sophomore year in high school, I had always been somewhat embarrassed to list my height on all the volleyball rosters. I love love love volleyball, but when you see all 5’3″ of me, it’s not very scary. I’m sure the other high school teams would check out our roster and say, “Oh, we better watch out for that number 4…she’s five foot three! Keep the ball away from her!

The truth is, I haven’t measured my height in a long time, so I can’t say for a fact that I’m actually taller. However, I feel taller. I’d be confident listing my height at 5’4″ if I was ever on a roster again. I credit this to strength training because I stand up straighter now. I walk around with my shoulders held further back and my chin lifted slightly higher. Which brings me to my next point.

Strength training has given me confidence.

I can’t explain this one. I just know it is true.

Strength training makes me happy.

I think that everyone knows that exercise improves a person’s mood. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, and it makes you feel all good inside!

With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to strength train?! (I think it should go without saying, but this is based on my own personal experience. If you haven’t weight trained before, make sure to do it safely and correctly with the consent of a doctor.)

Do you heart strength training? What do your weightlifting workouts look like? What makes you feel all happy inside?

ang

Marathon Training, W.O.W., Soaps By Di, and GOTR!

Good morning lovelies! I have missed you!

I missed my Book Club post this week…I am so sorry!Tip of the DayKeep your book in a handy location. For example, I have switched over to using a very big purse so that I can fit my book in it (and wallet, and four different lipglosses, and mascara, and bottle of water, and comb, and camera, and phone, and headphones…) and take it everywhere! Therefore, it will be too hard for me to forget book club again!

So girls who are following along with the reading, I will make this week’s book club post tomorrow (only two days late), and it will just be over chapter eleven, The Bonds of Pop Culture.

In other news…I received and e-mail yesterday informing me that my first marathon is eight weeks away!

Um…what?!?! Only eight weeks!?!? I’ll be honest…that number did scare me a little bit, but I got in a great thirteen mile run this morning, thanks to some lovely girls!

So…if you know me, you know that I typically run by myself. Yes, I beg and beg and beg my hubby to join me (and he has…twice now!), but I usually end up lacing up the shoes for a long, lonely date with my headphones.

But a couple months ago I was told about a womens running group in my town for all types of runners and walkers. I joined the group on Facebook, and saw all their postings for group runs several times a week, but I was always too scared to go meet up with them. Most of you just know me through my blog, but my family and friends that do know me know that I can be a little awkward in real-life…shy with a tiny, high-pitched (mistaken for a twelve year old) voice. Awkward. On top of my already awkward shyness and not knowing anybody in this town, I was always afraid to join in on a group run because I worried about not being fast enough or going too fast, or I worried about whether or not I am supposed to make conversation or if I should be be focused and quiet, or if I am breathing too hard and they think I’m in terrible shape or if I’m not breathing hard enough and they think I’m about to die. Nevertheless…I’ve always been afraid!Last week I saw that one of the W.O.W. girls was organizing an eight mile run on the exact same day that I was scheduled to do an eight mile run for my marathon training. I thought that’d be a good time to make an appearance, but I was still afraid for all of the above reasons. Then I saw someone else ask about the pace of the run…and lo and behold, the pace matched my pace exactly! I thought it must be meant to be, so I decided that I’d actually join the girls for my first group run!

Let me tell you…I LOVED it!

Running with a group made the time and miles just fly by, and it motivated me to pick up my pace a little bit and keep it up!

For this morning’s long run, I ran two and a half miles to W.O.W.’s meeting place, ran five with the group, then ran another three with one of the beautiful ladies, then finished the last two and a half miles running back home. It was a great run, but Missouri’s humidity is ridiculous! I have never been more sweaty in my life! It looked like I jumped in a pool with my clothes on!

So, thank you pretty W.O.W. girlies for a great run!

ang

P.S. Soap It Up, Gourmet Soaps By Di has donated $42 to Girls on the Run through my fundraising website! Girls on the RunYou have nine more days to take advantage of her special (for each soap sold she donates $1 to GOTR)!!! It ends on July 15th! I just used one of my favorite scents, cotton candy, for my post-run shower! YUMMY!

 

I Need Your Running Advice…Part Two!

I bought new running shoes a few weeks ago, and I had a lot of anxiety over the fact that they weren’t pink.

But, I had to choose comfort over cuteness for 26.2.

However

I decided to give these babies a little makeover!

Much better!

I am doing pretty good with my mini goals. I have been waking up earlier, consciously drinking more water, taking princess Tia for more walks, and sort of sticking to my training plan.

Monday I ran five miles (because I was supposed to do that on Sunday, but took a nap instead), went to yoga, and did some strength training.

Yesterday I ran a three mile tempo run. I ran .5 of a mile at 6.0 mph, .5 of a mile at 6.2 mph, .25 of a mile at 6.3, then at 6.4, then at 6.5, then at 6.6, then at 6.7, then 6.8, then 7.2, then I finished up at 6.2. Does that make sense?

Today I just finished my long run of the week…nine miles. It was a great run! Today was just supposed to be a four miler, but since I will be running a 5K race on Saturday instead of my long run, I did it today.

Now on to my new running questions!

I need help on hills!

source

So far, I’ve done the majority of my training on a treadmill, therefore I haven’t had much any hill training. The course for my first full marathon has 3 out of 5 star rating for difficulty and for hills.

Ummm, what?

Although common sense is not one of my strengths, I do realize that hill training should probably be incorporated in my training, especially since the weather is now nice enough to go outside. So, what is hill training? Do I just run routes with lots of hills? I’m pretty sure my nine miler today was FULL of hills…so does it count as hill training?

Also, what is the technique for running hills?

Or maybe I should also just ask what is the technique for any running. As I’ve said before, all of my running experience has come from conditioning for other sports, so I guess I’ve never really been taught how to run. I’m also pretty sure that I’ve come up with a funky looking running technique since I watched myself run as I past a series of reflective windows today…it’s a booty-sticking-way-out with an awkwardly-straight-back kind of look. My quads and knees haven’t felt completely normal since my half marathon, and I think I am running funny (or maybe this is normal?) to compensate for it.

You see, I need your help! Please and thank you 🙂

ang

What’s A Girl To Do?

Since my semester has ended, I have been having a hard time staying motivated. It is so much easier to workout when there is a set schedule…but when that schedule is gone, what’s a girl to do?!

With that said, putting my mini goals on my blog will hold me accountable to actually following through! Sooooo….what are my mini goals?

1. Wake up before 8:30 am on weekdays.

I’ll admit it. I love sleeping in. My bed is so much more comfortable between the hours of 6:00am and 11:00am. However, those morning hours are the best time to just get stuff done!

2. Drink more water!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Enough said.

3. Stick to my marathon training plan.

This week’s training plan looks like:

Monday: yoga and strength training.
Tuesday: three mile tempo run
Wednesday: four mile run
Thursday: three mile run with sprints and strength training
Friday: rest or yoga
Saturday: cross train
Sunday: nine mile run

4. Stretch! Like, everyday.

5. Design!

Now that I have the summer off school, and possibly the fall, too, I really want to expand my design business! I have just created a new logo for a client that I cannot wait to share with you, but I want create more!

6. Floss everyday. This is a weird mini goal, but I always forget to floss.

7. Take my princess Tia for more walks!

The end!

ang