Friday, May 1, 2015

Goal Crusher.

My current half marathon PR (personal record) is 1:59:45, which I earned last year at the Ocean City, Maryland Half Marathon.

When I started training, I had 2 goals in mind. My first goal was to finally crack an 8 minute mile at some point in training - and I did that on my first speed run in February! My second goal is to get a new PR. This course is flat and fast, making it definitely PR worthy.


But, to be honest...I'm not going into this race with a great deal of confidence for a few reasons.



I actually typed a whole post listing the excuses reasons I wasn't feeling confident but I deleted it.

When I started training, I bought myself this "goal crusher" tank from Fellow Flowers. I imagined myself going into this race with perfect training and feeling totally badass. For the past week, I debated even wearing the tank in the race because I don't feel badass.

But then I realized this -- I may not crush the goal I have for this race, but I have crushed a hell of a lot of other goals. In fact, just the fact that I kept going through training when it wasn't going the way I wanted to is a goal crushed. The fact that running 13.1 miles isn't even the slightest bit intimidating to me anymore is a goal crushed. Losing 70+ pounds is a goal crushed. Showing up when you don't feel confident is a goal crushed.

I used to weigh 250 pounds. I couldn't run one whole lap around the track at a 12:00 mile pace. I'm now heading into my NINTH half-marathon, I weigh 179 pounds, and I plan on running somewhere around 9:00 miles tomorrow.

Am I a goal crusher?

Definitely.

"The odds are against me. Too slow. Too old. Self-doubt. Having a baby. Just had a baby. No time. No training partner. The kids need me. It's dark out. It's too early. I'm tired. I have to work. It hurts. I'm scared they'll laugh. Doctor said I shouldn't. Can't find a sitter. Life is too busy. I look in the mirror and don't see a runner. What if I fail? 
NO MORE EXCUSES...I'm doing this anyway."
{quote from the Fellow Flowers purple line}

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Charlottesville Half Marathon Race Recap

During my 2 month blogging hiatus, I ran the Charlottesville Half Marathon! Let me begin by saying, this was one of my favorite race courses! I've now run half marathons in Baltimore, D.C., Brooklyn, San Diego, and Ocean City. This one goes on the top of the list as far as overall course awesomeness.


I love the city of Charlottesville. If you're within a few hours of it, and are looking for a great long weekend destination - put Charlottesville, VA on your list! It's home to the University of Virginia, Monticello, a host of great wineries and breweries, lots of fun restaurants, and beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains!

One of my running pals, Lauren, is a UVA graduate and fellow Charlottesville lover, so we signed up for this race together. Kudos to Lauren for smashing the course and earning herself an unexpected PR!! She's super awesome and speedy!

I fell in love with Charlottesville when I went there to visit my college roommate, Kellie. She and her family were so awesome during the race! They scoped out the course, got up bright and early, and were at a few points along the way to cheer me on and take pictures. It was so fun seeing them along the way!!
(support crew selfie!)

(mile 2!)

(one of my favorite parts of the course - running past UVA!)

(mile 8 and a nice, long DOWNhill!)

This was my least favorite part of the course - a 2-mile stretch from miles 9-11 that was a path along the river. It was flat, which was a nice break from the hilly course, but it was really boring. Miles 9-11 are typically my toughest miles so this was not a place for boredom!

Since this course was really hilly, and I was treating this as a training run for the Ocean City Half (this Saturday), I wanted to come in around 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Goal met!

 
Of course I had to sport my Nuun hat and my Blind Spot Nutbutters racing shirt!

Gotta love a bottle opener medal!!

I really enjoyed this course because of the variety. I had heard nightmare stories about the hills, but coming from Southern York County, I didn't find the hills to be any more difficult than the ones I encountered on training runs. The course wound through the city of Charlottesville so there was constantly new scenery. I actually appreciated the hills because there was a lot of variety in the elevation, which helps my legs keep from getting too heavy. 

If you're looking for a fun destination race, definitely add Charlottesville to your bucket list! They offer this half marathon, which also has a full 26.2 option and an 8k option. There's also the Charlottesville Fall Classic, which has half-marathon and 10k options.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hey - Remember me?

I'm still here! In fact, I have a few blogs saved up that I've been starting and then not finishing in the past 2 months. I can't believe it's been 2 months since I blogged last!! There's been a lot going on in life, and God's been teaching me lots of things - it's just not yet time to share them. But I will!

So anyway, allow me to sum up the past 2 months in one simple meme:





Ugh. So I haven't gained "all" the weight - but I have gained 10 pounds. Which didn't seem like a lot until I tried on my capris yesterday and felt like a stuffed sausage. Ugh again.

I have a theory about why I've been eating all the food and gaining all the weight, and it has to do with some life things and stress. I'm totally an emotional/stress eater!!

My first thought as I stood in my bedroom with tears in my eyes last night was - I can't tell anyone about this. I mean - I post pictures all the time of my runs and my healthy food. I can't admit the 10 pound gain.

But then I remembered what helped me to be so successful in the first place - blogging. I shared every detail of my journey. So, here I am admitting it to you. My scale currently says 179 pounds. The lowest it has been is 165, but I really settled happily at 169 pounds.

I feel the effects of the 10 pounds. I feel sluggish. My clothes don't fit well. I'm cranky. My runs haven't been awesome. Really, my meals have been on point. It's just the in between meals that have been getting me - pretty much if there's frosting on it, I've eaten it daily for the past month. SUGAR OVERLOAD.

So what's a girl to do? 

First - I stood in front of my mirror and reminded myself how far I've come and how hard I've worked and that I'm no longer someone who fails at this.

Second - I fessed up to some of my girlfriends and asked for their help.

Third - I picked a start date for Whole30 round #2! (May 4)

Fourth - I'm committing to blog about it. Good, bad, and stuffed sausage ugly. I will check in here on Mondays. I will finish the unfinished blogs! And I will share some of the stuff that's on my heart and causing me stress - sharing helps me.

So there you have it. Me, 10 pounds heavier and not loving it. But doing something about it!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Magic in the Misery

Let me give you a peek into some of my runs lately.

I'm super pleased with my paces this training round, but man...it has been COLD!!!!!! I'm a cold weather runner, so I actually love it. However, it does get a little tiresome having to decide how many layers to wear every time I run.

(This was the first time EVER that I went out to run and ended up putting on MORE layers. I ran a mile warm up and then was doing hill repeats right by my house so I went in and added a vest and my heavy gloves!)

 
(Don't worry, the place I was actually running on was mostly clear of snow!)


 
(this was my "Why's it gotta be so windy EVERY TIME I have a tempo run?" face!!)

 
Then there was this run on Saturday. I had a 12 mile long run scheduled. It was supposed to snow all day Saturday and then I wasn't sure how the roads would be on Sunday. So, I tried to beat the snow Saturday morning - and failed. Miserably. At mile 1.8, it started snowing. I was running down this country road with fields on both sides, so the wind was whipping across and it was pretty awful. Then, I turned onto a road with woods on one side that blocked the wind and I started to feel better and thought "Snow running is beautiful, let's take a selfie" (the top 2 photos).

I kept running along and started bargaining with myself. At 3 miles, I decided to turn around and head towards home. At first I thought "6 miles is enough", but then I figured I was already cold and snowy so I should try to get at least 10 in. At about mile 6, as I wiped the ICICLES off of my eyelashes, I decided that 8 would be plenty. (I had 2 more miles to run to get home so I had to do at least 8).


But somewhere, in the cold, windy, icicled eyelash misery -- there's a little bit of magic. There's this just something special about pushing yourself to do more than you thought you could. As I'm out there, and the wind is blowing and I find myself thinking "WHY AM I OUT HERE?" - I remember my goals. I think about how it will feel in Ocean City (in warmer weather!) to cross the finish line knowing that I gave my all. I will remember the snow and the wind and the cold and the HARD WORK that I put into my training, and I will be proud - no matter what the clock says!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Grocery Adventures


While enjoying some delicious Thai food at a local restaurant a few weeks ago, my date and I were discussing whether we could make similar food at home for a lot cheaper. He had recently visited the Asian grocery store in the city, and thought they'd probably have the noodles there, so we went on a little adventure.

This place was noodles galore!! They had noodles made out of all kinds of fun things! The kind we were looking for, that they used at the restaurant, are made out of mung bean.  Of course, I couldn't JUST buy the mung bean noodles. There are so many kinds I want to try!
 

Since I was doing the Whole30 at the time, we chose these "purple sweet potato" noodles. The only ingredient is "purple sweet potatoes", so they are Whole30 compliant! We also picked up some red curry paste because I was out.

We picked up a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, some chicken, lemongrass paste, and coconut milk at the grocery store on our way home and planned some cooking the next night!
I basically just sauteed all of that stuff together and served it over the sweet potato noodles. The verdict was -- GOOD. I think next time I'd add a tablespoon or so of soy sauce. I didn't add any salt at all to the dish, and it needed a little bit. The noodles...well...they were alright. I'd eat them again, but they weren't fabulous. They were a little slimy. Not a favorite, but definitely a fun experiment!

 
On Valentine's Day, the guy cooked up another stir fry to top the mung bean noodles with. These noodles were so much better than the purple ones! I'd definitely use these again. For this stir fry, he did a seafood mix (mussels, clams, shrimp, etc) with another bag of stir fry veggies, some red curry paste, a little coconut milk, and some other spices. This was yummy too! 

If you have any kind of ethnic market in your area, you should check it out! It was definitely a fun adventure. We had a great time looking at all of the different things they had and coming up with something to cook together. Grocery store adventures make great date nights!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{five}

 
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died." (1 Thes. 4:13-14)

Thank you, God, for the hope we have.

To read my thoughts from previous years - check out these posts: Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Recipe Reviews

I cooked up a few yummy things this week that I spotted on blogs, and I wanted to share my reviews with you in case you're looking for some new recipes to try. These were all easy, healthy, and delicious!

My mom sent me this recipe the other day and I couldn't wait to try it! It's SO GOOD!!! It tastes like a soup I'd get in a restaurant. The only substitution I made was that the recipe calls for 4 cups of unsweetened SoDelicious coconut milk (the kind you find in the green carton in the refrigerated section) but I wanted more coconut flavor. That kind of milk doesn't have a coconut flavor. So I added a can of lite cooking coconut milk in place of part of the SoDelicious. I also forgot to buy the cabbage it calls for so I didn't include that, but I added rice instead.
 

Oh. My. Goodness. These are AMAZING. I'd never made chicken wings before, so this recipe was an adventure. I think this sauce would be awesome on some chicken thighs too. I did this one exactly as the recipe calls for (oh except I used low sodium soy sauce because I was out of coconut aminos). It's so, so, so good. Go make this. Right now.

These are paleo-ish - they contain protein powder, so the kind you use will affect how paleo this is. I can't believe how fluffy these are. Paleo baked goods can be kind of flat and heavy, but these came out great! I used Tera's Grass Fed Whey Powder in coffee flavor and pecans instead of almonds. I will definitely make this again...maybe I'll try muffins next time!