Monthly Archives: April 2011

Simple Pleasures

When you think about it, shouldn’t wine bottles ALWAYS be blurry in pictures?

Deuce approved.

A New Plan

Now that I’ve successfully taken a WEEK off of running thanks to my body’s rebellion, I’ve been thinking about revising my “training plan” for the May 22 half I’m running.

I literally haven’t done more than sit on the couch, make tea and sleep since Thursday. I feel like a prisoner in my own home and I’m going a little crazy. I’m hoping I feel 100% tomorrow so I can at least hit up yoga and Trader Joe’s.

Anyways, it turns out Runner’s World has a SWEET tool called Smart Coach that helps concoct training plans for all lengths of races. You basically enter in a past race time, the distance of the race you’re planning to run, how “hard” you like to train, your current weekly mileage, and the amount of time you have until race day. Then it spits out a pretty little calendar with your training plan all worked out. It’s kind of awesome.

Here’s what mine suggests for the next 3 weeks until the race:

I’m actually really surprised by this plan. It wants me to run an 11 min/mile pace?? That seems a little crazy?? It also only wants me to run a max of 7 miles for my long run, even though I had planned on doing at least 11 before the race. Currently the furthest I’ve gone for this training cycle is 9 and change, so I really think I need to squeeze in at least a 10 miler. Although, my body did kind of rebel against me this week, so maybe I need to take some of my runs a bit easier…

Here’s what all that gibberish in the training plan means:

I’m going to try and stick to this as much as I can. It doesn’t work perfectly for my schedule, but I rearrange a few things if necessary. I also think I’ll attempt another 9 miler or maybe a 10-er. I can do this. My only goal for this race is to beat the time of my 1st half marathon. I know for sure I can…my PR is currently 2:18ish, which is a 10:30 pace. I am confident that’ll be CRUSHED.

In other news, it’s time for some wine. Even though my body isn’t feeling 100%, it’s Saturday night and I’m not letting that go to waste. Even if it means sipping a glass on my own whilst surrounded by cats.

Ehhh...we just pretend to like you so you'll feed us.

6 Months and…

A whole lotta stuff to do.

We’re getting hitched in exactly 6 months. Where did the time go?! Here are the things I still need to do:

  • Send save the dates (although I’m pretty sure EVERYONE already knows the date)
  • Find a florist
  • Taste some food
  • Book the photographer (found her, just need to make it official!)
  • Book the band (Brian’s taking this one on)
  • Figure out hotels and transportation (also on Brian’s plate)
  • Book the honeymoon (so close on this one…more deets to come)
  • Send out invites
  • Do ALL the little stuff, whatever that may be.

According to theknot.com I actually have 154 “things to do”. Um what?! I find theknot to be a bit overkill.

No matter how much is left to do, I’m super excited for October 29th. SO PUMPED TO CELEBRATE!

Next year that'll say WIFE.

We're in love.

We're gonna party like it's 2008.

Be Gone Foul Sickness!

I’m sick. Like can’t move, can’t swallow kind of sick. I puked my brains out on Monday night, took Tuesday off from work, went to work on Wednesday and then woke up this AM with no voice. I tried to man up and get in the shower and move on with my day and I ended up fainting. Scared the crap out of me. I felt it coming on (total tunnel vision and extreme hotness took over my body. And not “hotness” like damn-she’s-finnneeee, I’m talking firey heat) so I crawled out of the shower and onto the floor completely covered in soap. I definitely scared the cats…

Anyways, long story short I called Brian in a panic and he came home and whisked me to the urgent care center. LAME. They think I have tonsillitis and the fainting was thanks to my lack of proper nutrition after the pukefest on Monday night. She saw me for all of 2 minutes, so I have no idea if this is a legit diagnosis. She said, “you’re a small person so if you get up too quickly you could faint”. I’m sorry but that really doesn’t help me at all..

I chugged chocolate milk when I got home and managed to choke down some eggs and tea. I haven’t moved much today and canceled all my meetings and activities through Saturday. It sucks.

This is how I feel about the whole thing:

Go away sickness, we hate you!!!

And yes, that is my cat Mr. Chips. He does actually have legs and is quite a nice fellow. I caught him in an off moment.

Needless to say I haven’t been for a run since my 7 miler on Saturday. I attempted 5 on Monday, but failed miserably at mile 2.6 and got Brian to come pick me up. Apparently my body knew what was in store for it…

The 7 miles on Saturday weren’t too shabby at all. It was an enjoyable run and seemed short after my 15k the weekend before. I love how training works like that. I have a 10 miler scheduled for this weekend, but I’m thinking that’s not gonna happen. Now that I’ve had practically a week off from running, I don’t see 10 miles in the cards for me. I may attempt something on Sunday if I’m up to it, but will just have to work a little harder next weekend. The Williamsburg Half is less than a month away!!

And just as a random thought…ever wonder what you’d look like as a Neanderthal? Well thanks to the Natural History Museum in DC, you can. I visited the museum a few months ago and took this lovely picture. There’s also a free app for iPhones – GREAT party trick.

Evolution would have weeded me out...

Happy Royal Wedding Day (almost!).

Bridesmaids – Black and Purple

Bridesmaids - Black and Purple
Bridesmaids – Black and Purple by carrie_on featuring a sleeveless dress

I’ve decided to go with black dresses for my bridesmaids. Shopping for six different people has probably been the HARDEST part of this whole wedding planning thing. I looked at lots of dresses in bridal salons and absolutely HATED the fabrics. It’s no wonder bridesmaids never want to wear the dresses again. I mean, if they’re going to drop $150-$200 on a dress they should be able to wear it again. Call me cheap, but to me that’s a lot of money for a one time thing!

So, the maids will be choosing their own dress. My only “stipulations” are: knee length, “formal” looking, NOT shiny or silky, and “nothing weird going on”. I don’t care if they match and I want each girl to fell 100% comfortable. The boys will be in black suits with purple ties (or some sort of purple thing…I’m clueless when it comes to male attire), I’ll be in white (duh?), and Bridawg will be in black with a white tie. In my head it works, so let’s hope it doesn’t look too whack-a-doo come wedding day.

I whipped up this Polyvore to make sure my vision was at least somewhat aesthetically appealing. I have on clue what flowers I’ll end up choosing…I just know they’ll be bold and purple. I’m still not 100% decided on the shoes, and I don’t care if they match. If the girls all end up liking the same thing, we can go that route, but ultimately I don’t care either way. The girls will all wear matching earrings to pull it all together (not really a huge fan of the Polyvore selections, but those will do for now).

Whew, another BIG OLE CHECKMARK on the wedding planning to do list. Next up, hotels, transportation, music and a photographer. And we’re only 6 months out – y.i.k.e.s.

Cupcakes, 15k, Date Night, and HEAT

High five for me…I had quite the jam-packed long weekend.

Brian and I took a half day on Thursday to squeeze in a cupcake tasting for the wedding. YUM. We got to choose 5 flavors to try, and they brought us TWO of each cupcake for a total of TEN cupcakes. On a good day I can polish of 1.5 and feel like exploding so this was a bit overkill. But, wow…they were AWESOME. I highly recommend Pearl’s Cupcakes in Richmond, VA if you want a yummy treat (and excellent service).

We ended up splitting one of each flavor and took the rest home.

Delightful.

They were all so yummy, it was kind of hard to choose. We ended up ordering Chai Honey, S’mores, Mocha and Lemon Blueberry for the wedding. It’s a nice mix of flavors so our guests can pick and choose. YUM.

No cupcake makes it out alive.

Next up on our agenda was a trip up north to see the Phillies play (they won wahoo!). We ended up coming back down south earlier than expected, so I had a chance to run in a local 15k. This was perfect since I planned to do 9 miles this weekend anyways.

The 15k was a small local race – maybe 110 runners or so? It didn’t really feel much like a race to me, but I think that was because I was running with a training run mentality. Oh and it was RAINING the whole time. We had some pretty serious weather down here this weekend and I don’t think I would have had the guts to get out and run if it weren’t for the race. I ended up finishing in about 1:31, not too shabby for me!

Mr. Garmin survived the rain, thank goodness! That random 11:30 mile in the beginning was me messing with my iPhone to keep it dry. I have no idea why I didn’t at least walk and fiddle…Oh well. I felt pretty good the whole time and didn’t really push myself. I figured I’d PR no matter what, and I really just wanted to get the miles under my belt.

After the race I napped and cleaned the house a bit and Brian and I went out for a date night. The restaurant was just OK (Stronghill in Richmond, VA), but I was happy I got to wear my favorite shoes again. I’m kind of obsessed.

Swoon.

I scored the dress at the Banana Republic outlet for like $20. I don’t think I’d know how to dress myself if it weren’t for dresses…they are so EASY!!

Sunday was spent lazing about and cleaning the house. I also went to my favorite yoga class and hit up Trader Joes. I love that place.

Today I decided to run a quick 5 miles during lunch. This was all fine and dandy until I realized it was 82 degrees outside. I don’t have too much of a problem with heat, but it’s quite a transition going from 40/50 degree runs to 80+ degree runs. I think I have some sort of sweating problem because I didn’t FEEL like I was sweating at all during the run. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized how soaked I was. Ewwww!

I don't normally glow like this.

Sweat was dripping from my body and I didn’t even notice. Is that normal? Yuck.

Not too shabby considering the heat. It’s amazing how “easy” 5 miles feels after doing 9! I’m always pleasantly surprised how training WORKS!

Brooks Love and IT Band Hate

I’ve become a Brooks convert.

I used to run in Asics (not even sure what type…that’s how much of a serious runner I once was), but mainly bought them because I thought they looked nice.

Nice shoes, bad form.

I ended up with some pretty horrific IT band issues seemingly out of no where during my senior year of college. I walked around campus a lot and by the end of the year I could barely make it up and down hills. I had no idea what was wrong with my knee (that’s where it hurt) and figured that the few times a week I was jogging on the treadmill couldn’t be the culprit. The pain got so awful that I ended up seeing a doctor. I literally could not walk without pain and I wasn’t even running more than a dozen miles a month.

The doctor told me I probably had IT Band issues and sent me to physical therapy. There it was discovered that my hips are completely out of whack, probably due to the 10+ years I spent as a competitive figure skater. Falling on your butt multiple times a day can do that to your hips. One leg ended up “longer” than the other and was causing my IT band to stretch and rub a bit unnaturally (and painfully!!).

After 3 months of PT and constant hip realignments the doc gave me an insert for the shoe on my short leg to balance things out a bit more. He also told me to strengthen my thighs and to do lots of stretches.

I minimally listened to him and ended up running some pretty terrible races due to the pain.

Doctors are smart. Listen to them. I didn't and really suffered through this race.

Eventually, in summer 2010, I got smart and decided to train for races like a “real runner” and to pay attention to my IT band issues. To kick off my new plan I went to a local running store to find new shoes. And BEHOLD, my introduction to Brooks.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS

I don’t know what it was about these babies, but they REALLY helped with my IT band issues. At first I could feel the usual tightness and pain in my knee, but eventually it just seemed to disappear. Obviously I was getting stronger the more I ran, but I really believe these shoes provided the support to get me there.

I did experiment with an IT Band strap, which also seemed to help. I don’t wear it anymore, so I must be doing something right! I still wear the insert in my “short leg” but other than that, I really think the shoes were meant for me.

TWO THUMBS UP FOR HAPPY LEGS! Hi IT band strap.

Go shoes go!! Oh and I promise I have more than 1 running outfit...

I logged over 400 miles in my first pair of Brooks and loved every mile of it. I’m on to pair #2, but still wear the originals out and about.

The lesson here…listen to your doc, listen to your running store, and buy yourself a pair of Brooks!

p.s. Not that I really need to say this, but I think I’m supposed to say that I am just a straight up Brooks lover…no affiliations whatsoever with the brand!

Another weekend, another race!

Another race? Don’t mind if I do!

I’m officially registered for the CrossOver Challenge 15k!

With my half marathon just a bit over a month away I’ve scheduled myself to run 9 miles next weekend. So the fact that a 15k is taking place that weekend practically in my own neighborhood makes this race a no-brainer. And it’s a fundraiser race to boot – win win!

I won’t have to worry about hydrating myself, watching for traffic or running alone.  Win win win! Oh and I’ll automatically PR since I’ve never done a 15k. WIN!

In other news, I caved and bought a hydration belt. I ran in it for the first time yesterday and had a pretty terrible time for the first 4 miles of my run. I had it tightened as much as it would go and it was just bouncing like crazy around my waist. I ended up strapping it around my lower hips and it didn’t budge for the last 4 miles of my run, thank goodness. I guess I was just wearing it incorrectly to start?

I ended up doing 8 miles at a 9:35ish pace. My Garmin started acting weird and ultimately died around mile 5.75, so I’m not exactly sure what my real stats would show. All in all I felt great, so I’m hoping the 15k will go smoothly. It was nice having water and Gatorade with me at all times!

Bring it on MONDAY!

Shoe Love

After reading this post here by Julie, I was inspired to start my own Nude Shoe Search (yes it’s capitalized…it’s important). I read through the comments section of the post and came across a pair of shoes from Land’s End Canvas suggested by another reader. At first I was skeptical…Land’s End?? Isn’t that for 40+ year old lake people? However, I have been PLEASANTLY surprised by the Land’s End Canvas line.

I literally could not pass up the deal on these shoes in their sale section. They were just a mere $34.99 and I Googled around for a free shipping code. The reviews were good, the shoes looked pretty banging, and the stars literally aligned for me to buy these shoes (not that I needed an excuse or anything…).

BEHOLD.

Land's End Canvas Women's Suede Heels in Maplewood

L.O.V.E.

And yes, that is the actual pair of shoes I ordered, sitting on top of our guest room dresser. They are a neutral suede and have a small elevated platform in the toe. Oh and did I mention that they were $35 measly bucks?! They fit like a glove (I’m a true 7.5 in shoes like Nine West and my feet are pretty narrow so I stuck with a 7.5 based on the reviews I read) and they are super comfortable. I just wore them for 8+ hours at the office and even did a little shopping during my lunch break.

Here’s the image from the Canvas website.

The neutral color would go with a lot of things in my closet, but here’s what I wore today.

Sorry for the sad iPhone pic…maybe we need to register for a real camera. I digress…

Here’s a real picture of the dress. It’s from F21 and actually looks nothing like camouflage in real life. I scored it here.

The grays/neutrals are MUCH darker than this photo suggests. Weird. But still cute.

I’m hoping these shoes will carry me a long way and I’m kind of wishing I bought them in navy as well!

Monument 10k Recap

My history with the Monument 10k is a long one…at least for me. It’s the one race I’ve done consistently since I decided to “take up” running (and by take up I mean run at least 1 race a year for the last 4 years).  It’s one of the largest 10ks in the country and is just a fun race. It’s an interesting course that is completely jammed with spectators and bands the entire way. It’s flat, although parts of it are kind of cobblestoney.

The one major downside to this race is the CROWDS. This year the race maxed out at 41,000 people. FORTY. ONE. THOUSAND. That’s a whole lotta runners.

Get ready to weave...

The first wave started at about 8:00am and the last wave left after 10:30am. It’s close to 3 hours of people just STARTING the race. Granted, there are a lot of walkers in the latter waves, it’s still just a constant mass of people.

The course is super simple. It’s a 3.1 mile out and back up and down Monument Ave. There are literally people EVERYWHERE which is a nice distraction. Anyways…

My wave did not officially depart until 8:53am on Saturday but I decided to start with my friend and maid of honor, Emily, since this was her first race ever. She’s training for a half marathon and used this race as a practice run. So I started out with people who run about a 10:30 pace. No big deal but I did end up having to weave a TON. There is really no avoiding it in this race. The crowds LITERALLY never thinned out and I sort of kicked myself for not starting at my original wave. But it was super nice to get to hang out with Emily until we took off.

During the first mile I got really distracted with all the weaving (people TEXTING in the middle of the road in a super crowded race…I mean come on!!) and ended up going way too fast. I thought the first mile would take me over 10 minutes since it’s hard to find space to run, but I somehow managed to pull an 8:46 out of my butt. Major OOPS.

I tried to play it smart and slow down the second mile, but kinda failed at that too. I was still running a sub 9 minute mile, which is TOO FAST FOR ME. I really need to learn to pace! By the halfway point I was feeling a little crappy and ended up stopping for some water. I managed to keep it together for the 2nd half of the race, but only by stopping 2 more times. According to my Garmin my average moving pace was a 9:08, which is awesome, but when you factor in my stops, my total pace was 9:14 (for a long course). My official pace was 9:17.

But hey, I’m not complaining…I got a 10k PR!!! I really really really wanted to finish in under 1 hour and wanted to keep my pace between a 9:10 and 9:20 mile. In the end it all evened out despite my terrible pacing in the beginning. I promise I’ll learn one day…

I’m a little bummed I started out too fast because it made my legs feel a bit lead like towards the end. The horrible race photos are proof of that. Usually I like to smile and wave and go all crazy, but I wasn’t feeling so hot and it was almost impossible to see the photographers in the crowds. Annoying!

Clearly didn't see this happening

I run all floppy.

Lame. I’m crossing my fingers for better photos at the half in May. Is that vain?! What good is a PR if you don’t have the awesome photos to enjoy after the fact, right? 😉

 

Happy running!