Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Worth the Wait

Six years ago this girl

set me up on a date with a guy from our work I had been drooling over. This guy...


Over the years we have had a lot of fun, he took me to Europe for the first time

And became my football buddy

My go-to confidant

 And my best friend

He keeps me in check, goodness knows someone needs to

But I know no matter what, he is there for me always

I know he will love and support me with any and everything I do, no matter how rediculous it may be

And even after all these years, I am even more in love with him all the time

So on Christmas Eve we sat on the floor of our apartment lit by our Christmas Tree to exchange presents

and the most amazing man offered me the most amazing ring

and asked me to be his wife


and I said yes!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Disappearing Act

Happy Belated Christmas Bloggies!

I have pretty much fallen of the face of the Blog world since my vacation started almost 2 weeks ago! But we are home and slowly resuming a routine, so hopefully a more routine blogging schedule will resume.

SO much has happened in the last 12 days, where to start....

Penny came up and we ran the Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon.


I missed a new PR by 16 seconds, and finished 1:58:58 but considering I was literally numb from the cold and not really trained I will not complain one bit. I am actually anxious to see what kind of PR I can set with some real training behind me.

It was without a doubt the coldest run I have ever done. I dressed as it would get a few degrees warmer as we ran. Well it got 10 degrees colder and started to rain- needless to say we didn't stick around for the awards ceremony.

We went to Atlanta to celebrate Christmas with my Dad's side of the family. It was loads of fun, a little crazy, and I am beyond lucky and literally received my entire Christmas list in boxes.


We spent Christmas Eve here in Jacksonville with my Mom's family. Lots of food and time with people we don't see very often.

Christmas day I got in a short run (like 1/3 the length I had planned) and then spent the next 2 days with all of John's huge family. It is so much fun when they all get together- how can it not be fun with a family that that big!

We also went to the Jags/Redskins game on Sunday- it was the coldest I have ever been in my life. It was 37* with 20mph winds, and it snowed before we left the house!!! I do not know how you northerners do it, I was so cold!

John and I have been back in Jacksonville for about a day and half now. We have managed to take down the Christmas decorations, put aways tons of clean laundry, all the presents, and clean the house. I have had some errands to attend to since we got back also that have slowed my to-do list, but it has been so much fun!

We have 2 more day trips planned before returning to work next week, and I am so thankful to be able to get back to my routine. My running has been pretty slack since we have been on vacation, I have always seemed to have something else to do, but I think when we get back to the day-to-day it will fall back into place.

I have a super-fun and super-exciting announcement coming tomorrow, as well as a 2010 recap and 2011 goals, it should be a busy week!

Check back tomorrow for the fun news!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Last Day

Happy Christmas break day everyone. Today is our last day on campus before our winter break begins, I am so thankful to have time off for the holidays without having to guilty, like at my last job!

I am a super busy girl today trying to get everything wrapped up before heading out this afternoon, so here is a quick running update.

Yesterday I decided to try a double, didn't get in nearly the mileage I had wanted because, get this, I was sore from my massage??? She told me that would probably happen, but I thought massages were supposed to relax the soreness, not cause it...Oh well, I am supposed to take today off, but spent some quality time with the arc trainer.

Yesterday AM run: 3.5 miles, 31:29 or 9:00 pace.
PM Track workout:  4x1000 (supposed to be 5x1000- stupid soreness)
1 Mile warm-up- 9:25
4x1000-  4:56 (7:53p), 5:01 (8:03p), 4:52 (7:47p), 4:44 (7:26p)

With the recoveries and cool down I got in another 4.5 miles to make 8 for the day. I find the 1000 distance awkward, I think because it is not a full lap, you have to add in an extra half a lap, and sometimes I think of it as a long 800 and sometimes I think of it like a short 1200, so my pacing tends to waiver back and forth between 1200 pace or 800 pace. I was supposed to take them relatively easy since we are all racing on Sunday, but once I fell back into my rhythm after the 2nd one, I was good to go. I was supposed to be doing 5x1000 but when I said my hip was sore, my coach made me drop the last one, especially when he found out I already ran that morning :) I was instructed to rest today to make sure I was feeling good going into this weekend, here's hoping it works.

Has a massage ever left you sore or tight the next day? This is a first for me, but I have heard that getting really deep into the muscles can do that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Hello all! I have been a MAJOR blog slacker, I kept trying to get some fun stuff up, but I have been slammed at work this week, although I can't complain since Thursday is my last day until January 3rd... don't you all wish you worked in the fabulous world of post-secondary education where everyone's goal is to work as little as possible :)

So onto my confessions, there are definitely a lot of things I have been avoiding, so it's time I came clean:

1.  I ran twice on Saturday. My normal long run days are back, and I sure did miss them. Saturday morning I went and met my group to do a "long run", it really wasn't long, only 8 miles- 1:13:40 (9:13 pace). I also raced that night, hehe! Per instructions I was supposed to run at 10k-15k pace and not truly race, since A, I have a much more important race this weekend, and B, it was my first week back to normal post-injury.
5k Race - 26:55, 8:27 pace course was long 3.20

2. I learned something at this litte 5k race- I am a mean person when I race! This was a cute little race- actually not little like 3000 people, but a cute race. It is called the Festival of Lights 5k and you run all through the historic (and expensive) neighborhoods along the river at night and it is all lit up by luminaries- fun right! Well since it is so cute and fun, it is heavily family/stroller/stupid-people friendly. Despite the director saying for 20 minutes pre-race that anyone who was walking, with kids, or with a stroller needed to go to the back, they all ignored him and lined up right next to me (only 10 yards from the start line). I have never experienced the cluster* that people talk about at big races and taking forever to get up to speed... I finally get it. There were so many people walking within .1 miles of the start, people who dressed up all Christmas like somehow dropped all their stuff while run/walking and decided to stop in the middle of the course to re-dress themselves- I literally almost ran over a small child, and then yelled at her mom, and no I don't feel bad about it. I was SO angry in the first mile trying to dodge all the non-racers who had started at the front, and kept me stuck in the 8:45 pace range since I couldn't break free, that my last mile and half were at killer paces, and my last 1/2 mile was sub-8:00 pace....

Yeah, as much as I told myself since I couldn't PR, I would just run for fun, apparently I can't do this- I guess I am a bad person- or at least a bad racer.

3. My next marathon is 60 days away. That's it, 60...and the furthest I have run since the last one is 13 miles, and even that was a struggle. I have some serious work ahead of me if I plan to still run that race, and I find my motivation to be wavering some. Maybe because I wasn't able to jump in and follow my training as originally planned, but I have some serious work to do and not so much time to do it in. Any advise from those of you who have done a fly-by marathon training???

4. Despite the fact that I am a native Southerner and Floridian, I am actually really loving the freezing cold weather we are having, like literally freezing

Our highs have been in the 40's and lows in the 26-32 range. Nothing at all like I am used to, but it makes me run fast, and I don't get all gross or over-heated, I really think there may be something to this whole running in the cold thing. Not to mention all the cute sweaters and coats that haven't been touched in a while are getting put to good use these last 2 weeks, and maybe we will actually have a Christmas this year where I won't be wearing flip-flops...

5.  The downside to the cold is it makes it almost impossible to get out of bed in the mornings to go run. I even have a hard time convincing the dog that she needs to emerge from the cocoon she has built herself  to get a treat

And really who would want to get out from underneath that big bundle of snuggliness!

6.  Yesterday I skipped my run in favor a massage instead. My it band and hip/glutes were all so much better than my last visit, and hopefully all the deep work will pay off in my race this weekend. And since I skipped yesterday's run, I am doing a double today...3 days before a race, oops! Looking a double digit day which is actually kind of exciting I miss doing double digits during the week, I used to feel so accomplished when I would run 10 miles and then go to work like it was nothing.

7.  I am drastically behind on my Christmas shopping, like embarrasingly behind. My house has been decorated for 3 weeks, and there is not a thing wrapped under my tree yet, this could be a problem. I am hoping to tackle a lot of it this weekend, so here's hoping that works out. I think the biggest problem is I have no idea what to buy for all the men in my life, they all buy everything they want anyways, so what does that leave me????

So that is enough embarrasing stories for today, back tomorrow with a track recap:)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Consecutive Days

Woohoo for the weekend! I have a ton on my plate for the next 72 hours, but it should be lots of fun:)

I was planning to get up and run yesterday morning like I usually do, but when the alarm went off less than 12 hours after my speedy track workout I could feel how tight adn tired my legs still were, so I decided to do some weights and a little cross-training and give my legs some more time. Since the weather is actually nicer in the afternoons than in the morning it was easy to swap my schedule and run after work- something I haven't done in a while!

This was the first chance I have had in weeks to head out solo and do my own run on my own terms. Well apparently my own terms were quite quick:

5 Miles- 44:15
Mile 1-  9:01
Mile 2-  8:48
Mile 3-  8:59
Mile 4-  8:40
Mile 5-  8:43

So yeah, that was great! Once I saw the first mile split I decided I wanted to try and do this like a tempo- except without the warm-up/cool-down, so just a fast run. While it may be a long shot, I am going to try for a new PR in my half next week, and that will require a sub-9:00 average, so I wanted to see how 5 miles at/near that goal pace would feel. Answer: it wasn't too bad! My lungs burned some, but I mostly blame the cold for that... still only 48* at 5:30PM! But another great run in the books, and the leg is still holding up.

My biggest thing when building back up this week was being able to run consecutive days. I feel like that is one of the most helpful things for me because it gets me used to running on tired legs. My goal was to get back to my pre-marathon schedule of running Monday-Thursday, Saturday, and cross-training Sunday. While I wanted to get in 30 miles this week (and I will) it was more important to be able to run every day with no pain or issues, I can always build the mileage back over time, but I really needed to be able to feel good running for 4 or 5 days in a row- so I think that turned out to be a major success!

I do have a couple runs planned for this weekend, as well as a long bike-ride, starting my Christmas shopping (and hopefully finishing it), a fun date night, and plenty else to keep my busy! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Back to the Track

Happy Thursday, we are beginning to get away from our arctic temperatures today and will actually see a high of 55* today- a little rediculous that 55* is warm now!

I have been enjoying the cold weather this week, and am kind of sad that it will be warming up to normal (68/45) this weekend. Don't worry, we are getting our arctic temps back on Monday with lows back in the 20's and highs in the 40s, lets pray the 40's stick around for my half next weekend.

After another successful and painfree run on Tuesday I knew that I needed to throw myself back into my normal routine to make sure my IT band could handle the higher intensity of training that it is literally about to be thrown back into. So yesterday (Wednesday) I got up, went to the gym to weights (including legs) and some time on the arc trainer and stair climber (which I have avoided like the plague since the ITB thing). I felt great, put in a hard effort, and was left still nervous and excited to go to the track after work.

I hadn't been to the track in 3 weeks, so I knew no matter how my knee felt that I would be dying out there from the effort. Since everyone in my group is racing either this weekend, next weekend, or both, he kept the workouts relatively light: 1600,1200, 800, 2x400, expected times (8:05, 6:00, 3:58, 1:53, 1:50)

I was planning to get there early to get in a few extra miles before we started, but I left my Garmin at home :( John was so wonderful and brought it to me at the track. Since I wouldn't have time to get in the extra miles I needed to hit 6 for the day I opted to just swap today's 4 mile run for the 6 and do 6 today.
The weather was perfect, 48*, a little windy and dark, I am really going to miss the cold weather come summer, it seems so conducive to my speed. The workout went down like this:

1.25 Mile warm up-  12:16 (9:12 pace)
1600-  7:58
1200-  5:55 (7:56 pace)
800 -  3:49 (7:40 pace)
400 -  1:43 (6:54 pace)
400 -  1:39 (6:38 pace)
1/2 mile cool down-   4:52 (9:42 pace)

4.5 Miles total- 38:12 (8:29 average pace)

First of all, I love how fast this actually makes me look, but I'm really not. I was surprised how easy the warm-up felt, I just kept getting faster, and was under 9:00 for the last half mile of it, maybe it was the cold, but I felt good. Since it had been a few weeks and we didn't know how my knee would feel, my coach wanted me to take it easy until I saw how my knee felt, so he told me to start at about 8:05 and then drop about 5 seconds per mile for each interval.

With the 1600 I was determined to make it in under 8:00, that is my standard, and as hard as it was and as much as my lungs were burning, I paced it well to finish just under 8:00. The 1200 was tough I felt like I started to quick and so when I back off it lap 2 it made it too hard to get my speed back in the last lap, but I still dropped my pace some and that is ultimately the goal. By the time we got to the 800, I was ready to start dropping the paces, my knee felt good, and I wanted to start trying to hit my normal times. The last time I did this workout (2 weeks PRE-marathon) my 800 time was 3:49. Boom 3:49 like cake, I probably should have pushed more at the end, but 7:40 pace was my aim, and I hit it.

When we started the 400's I was told to try and hit 7:10 for the first and 7:00 for the 2nd. 1st 400- 6:58 pace, and it felt good. After my coach saw the 1:43 he told me to try to hit 6:40 pace for the last one, I took off with one of the faster guys who pretty much pushed me the whole lap, he was great, and even though I totally was dying in the last 100m I hit 6:38 and was elated! My knee felt great and I was hitting my pre-marathon track times after a 3 week hiatus, so refreshing!

It feels so good to be able to run hard and fast again, and hopefully even with only 2 weeks back at my normal level, it will be enough to bring good things for my upcoming races. In the interest of staying healthy through my training I have another massage scheduled for next week a few days before my half to make sure everything is in working order and to break up any lingering scar tissue before jumping back into my longer runs the following week. I am excited to get back to the 18 and 20 milers, I have missed my long weekend runs! It seems there has been a lot of rebounding on the injury front this week amongst many runners, and I am so very happy that everyone is getting back to healthy and running, myself included!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Running Solo

My Tuesday is shaping up quite nicely, hopefully yours is too! I started my day with another balmy 5 Mile run. It was 34* today, felt like 25* and 15mph winds. I seriously almost ditched my mom to go to the gym, but I am not that mean!

Since I have been taking so much time off to try and rest the IT band thing, I have realized what I really missed the most were my Tuesday/Thursday solo runs. Now don't get me wrong, I love my group and the push that they give me, but I have really missed going out with my ipod and my thoughts and not having anything else to worry about. I was hoping today I would get my chance to fly solo, but my mom is leaving town for the rest of the week tomorrow, and hasn't run in a few weeks and since she refuses to run alone (no idea why, it is so fabulous!) I decided I would be a nice person and sacrifice 1 more run for the greater good, and I am praying to get in that solo and fabulous run on Thursday.

So today 5 miles-48:28. I did the first 3 miles with my mom, and then was on my own for the last 2.
Splits were 10:04, 9:58, 9:53 and then 9:22, 9:11. When I am with my mom I usually run up ahead of her a bit and then turn around and come back and meet up with her. That way I get in a bit more mileage and don't sacrifice my pace too much. I was REALLY wanting to do some fast miles today, but I will have to save it for another day. I was pleased with my last 2 miles considering I wasn't really trying to push since the first 3 had been so slow.

I seemed to have again hit the perfect balance of "enough clothes to keep you from literally turning blue, and not so many that you die from heat stroke" it is a very thin line! My knee held up today, no pain, but some IT band talking. I think it was mad that I made it take really hard about-face turns so many times, but the fact that it never actually hurt was nice. The last 2 miles were actually flawless, so proof that running faster really is easier on your ITB, haha! After the run I went to the gym to defrost get in some core work and weights. Well Even though I brought a light shirt to change into, I was dying walking around our 75* gym in my tights, so I only managed to get in the core work and some stretch/rolling action before heading home. I am planning to head back tonight to get in the weights and such.

Do you prefer running solo or with a group?? I think it really depends on the workout for me, I love being with the group for speed workouts, but long runs and easy runs I really do prefer to do alone!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Being Cautious

Hello and Happy Monday everyone! I trust everyone had a nice weekend, mine was jam-packed full of a whole lot of everything!

Saturday I went to help my mom with her annual Christmas party most of the day, and didn't get home and in bed until after midnight, I was SO tired!
Yesterday I woke up at 7am with a zillion things I wanted to get done. The to-do list looked something like this:

-Do Laundry :)
-Put away laundry :(
-Wash towels
-Peachie Bath
-Clean Kitchen
-Prep food for the week
-Clean out closet/dresser
-Re-organize closet so John can actually put his shoes in there :)
-Clean off the counter
-Clean Bathrooms
-Coffee Table
-Organzie china cabinet
-Throw out old magazines/organize others
-Clean out office closet
-Goodwill trip (clothes/old electronics)
-Weed out old toiletries under bathroom sink
-Clean out pantry

Now even for me, this is a pretty lofty list for one weekend, let alone one day. There were certainly priorities, but I somehow managed to cross everything off that massive list EXCEPT Miss Peach's bath- although technically John does that, so I win again, I crossed everything off MY part of the list ;)

I felt so unbelievable accomplished when I went to bed last night, my house was spotless, all my clothes were clean, my closet looked great, I was ready for the week, had gotten to watch Love Actually while cooking, and I also tacked on 1 extra fun project. All my bibs and medals were cluttering up my jewelry stand, so I decided with as many as there are now, they probably needed their own space, so here is what I threw together

Ideally I would like to get something else for all my medals, but I had an extra cork board lying around, and a little extra time on my hands, plus I am impatient, and once I want something done, it has to be done right that instant or else I will turn to dust!

So now we are to Monday, and what I have been waiting for, my first day back to running. I was beyond excited all day yesterday, I was so ready to be able to get up and go run like normal, I have felt so naked without it the last few weeks. I actually planned out what I would wear last night and got everything ready, pathetic, a little, but in my defense I was also having to prepare for something I had never done before: 36* run! Now I will say that last winter I did 2 runs in under 45*, but both were during the day when the sun was out- my Floridian blood was about to attempt an all dark 36* run + wind, very scary!

I don't own real running tights because well, I live in Florida and that seemed rediculous. Although for some reason I have also convinced myself that owning 4 peacoats when you live in Florida is completely rational;) I have some imitation running tights that are dry fit and tight, but they are really baselayer spandex to wear when you go skiing, but with 36* feels like 28* on my phone this morning I decided faux-tights were better than capris, and I will say it was a good choice. I also layered up with a cold-gear mock tutleneck, another long-sleeved shirt over it, gloves and a fleece headband for my ears. I ALMOST took my wind-breaker, but ditched it at the last seconds, and over all I ended up feeling comfortable on the run- Big Win for me, I ALWAYS overdress!!! Needless to say, I will be needing to go and apprehend some real winter running gear tonight, the lows through the weekend range from 28*-36*!

So my coach told me to keep it easy to do and do 4-5 miles, I started the first mile with the group of girls I had normally done the bridges with, but after the first mile I was ready to speed up so I just took off on my own. My knee and IT Band felt good I was able to settle into a comfortable pace, and I was really surprised that after so much time off I wasn't feeling winded finding my normal pace, especially since I was able to maintain it on all the bridge climbs. I was really concious to keep my downhills in check since I knew that could be where my ITB would flare up, and I didn't even notice it until the very last downhill in the last mile where I started to feel a slight soreness come from my actual IT band in the middle of my leg. I rememebered everything I read and have felt the last couple weeks and decided that picking it up rather than staying slow on the downhill would probably be better in the long run, so I did- 5 miles, no knee pain ;)

5 Miles- 47:24, 9:28 average pace
Mile 1-  9:50
Mile 2-  9:28
Mile 3-  9:44 (tackling the big beast)
Mile 4-  9:26
Mile 5-  8:56

I was so happy that I still felt so good despite everything. I know that running a lot of hills while trying to build back up is not the best way to keep my ITBS in check, but I wanted to at least get out there this morning with the group. Over the 5 miles we ran 4 ambitious uphills with the accompanying downhills, and each had their own mile so I was glad to see the efforts I put in on each incline. I stretched and foam rolled like a pro when I got home, I am hoping to stay on top of this thing as much as I can. I also iced my knee once at work, again proactive is better. I am *hoping* to get back to my normal 5 days of running this week, even though the mileage will be lower than usual (~30 this week), it is about getting my body (and IT band) used to the 4 days in a row pattern again, and then I can increase mileage from there if it holds up! I am still being cautious, both mentally and physically, while I realize I did everything I could to try and disolve this problem, I still need to be prepared it may show up again.

Thanks to everyone for sticking through my 10 day hiatus, I aprpeciate all the support! It certainly was boring, and I never realized how much I would miss just being able to go run.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

4 More Days

Only 4 more days until I can run again...Thank God!!!!!!!!!!

Like seriously I am irritable, feel bored, lost, confused, lazy, boring, annoyed, etc. I can definitely tell there is something missing in my life right now, so I am happy to get back to my running obsessed schedule, oh that and use all of the cute new running gear I practically stole from Dick's during last week's Black Friday Sales!!!

So when I don't run I feel like there isn't much to talk about, but I will regale you with the fun tales of my week. Monday and Tuesday I slaved away on the arc-trainer, the only faux-running machine that doesn't aggrevate my knee (or brain) and it leaves me sweating and gasping for breath, so I guess I can't complain.

Yesterday I went to my favorite Wednesday night 5:30 spin class. I haven't been since long before the marathon since my track workouts are usually Wednesday nights, but since I'm not running, no excuses. Well there was a new instructor teaching 5:30 spin, and I can't think of anything else to say other than that she reminds me of a jack-rabbit!!

Honestly, during class when I was sucking wind and wondering why on earth I subjected myself to this torture, I thought that this instructor and this class is probably exactly what hungryrunnergirl's spin classes are like- super bubbly and super quick, so I just imagined her as the instructor and it made not want to throw my waterbottle anymore ;) At one point she told us she was born in 1976, and that we were going to do 76 - 2 second consecutive jumps, umm yeah, that hurt!

So despite the lack of running I have gotten in some quality workouts since my half last week, and a week off so far, has left my knee/IT band feeling good. I have focused a lot on getting in some strength exercises so that all my weak muscles are no longer weak when I get back to it next week.

All local runners are still safe, I have not taken any further action into my plan to stone the local running groups on their morning jaunts, but now that our winter is officially here, 54/37* today (yes that is winter in the FL) I am starting to get a little resentful again of all the people running in the cool weather, it will probably be back up to 80* by the time I get back out there next week.

Being December 2nd now, I should probably start my Christmas shopping, but I find it difficult to buy presents for the people in my life who go out and buy everything they want, what is left after that???? Any good ideas for brothers, sisters, moms and dads???
All none of the running variety, oh if only my life could be that simple to only have to buy for runners, I would have been done weeks ago!