Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: The to-do list picks up

I have a long running update tomorrow, things have been fun/busy in that department, but it is Wednesday, and what better reason to talk more about my wedding :)


The countdown is slowly starting to begin. We are at less than 4 months and to be very technical, 16 weeks until the wedding. For a runner who thinks of my life in terms of 16 week training cycles, we are moving into the final cycle of it all and my to-do list has certainly picked up, there is lots going on, luckily, this is all the fun stuff!


The crafty, do it yourself projects have begun! I am NOT a crafty, artisticly inclined person, I tend to think in solid colors, no patterns, and straight lines--> this also tends to be very boring. My fabulous craft inclined friend Heather has brought her skills to the table and we are embarqing on some fun projects!

Joann Fabric has become one of my new favorite stores! It is amazing how many random things they have than seem to fit my wedding needs, and I feel like I am starting to develop the right side of my brain a little more.
 One of my favorite tasks that we are taking on is making custom water bottle labels. Lets face it, it will be hot, there needs to be water, it might as well look fun right?

We are just getting started with these, and I am very anxious to see how they turn out! 


My invitations have come in and the stuffing process has begun...

We are keeping these a secret until they actually go out, but I was super happy how they turned out. I chose an existing design, but had them custom make our invitations to fit our color scheme and my taste, they are a little more modern than I usually go for, but I am super happy with them!

I went back and forth a lot about how I wanted to have the invitations addressed, first world problems, I know!!!! The women in my family were very quick to remind me that hand written invitations are expected in the south, but I really dislike the look of caligraphy and my own hand writing kind of blows, especially in mass quantity. I thought the easiest thing to do would be print them in a nice scripty font, but I also knew I would hear about it from our older and more traditional guests and family members. Luckily, I had a very naive volunteer with literally flawless handwriting agree to hand address the invitiations- yippee!!!

Most people use printed envelopes now, am I being too old-fashioned following tradition? I feel like the older people will care and appreciate that we made the extra effort, but my guess is most people wouldn't have noticed either way.


As much as I love to shop, it was about time that I finally have an excuse to get a little crazy! While we don't have a 'theme' per say, we definitely have a cohesive element/style that we are using to tie everything together, and it is going to require some shopping...

At this point, I really feel like I am going to be saying  "Stephanie's wedding, brought to you by Etsy". I have always read wonderful things about Etsy, and spent time perusing their site, but have never purchase anything, I never felt I truly needed it, whereas I always needed more running shorts ;)

I have fallen in love with a zillion things on Etsy that I want to bring in to 'decorate' our wedding and gifts for all the fabulous people involved in our special day, but I am trying not to get too out of control yet.

Jewelry... I have been starting to think about my bridesmaids jewelry and what shape and color I think will look good with their dresses. While I will be giving them their wedding day jewelry, John's mom is actually making it for me (them) and I love that we can basically design it to be anything we want!

I have had lots of fun trying on different styles

And colors. I think we have a pretty good handle on what we want it to look like, and I can't wait to see the first few designs she has for me!

Shoes!!!!! I LOVE shoes, like own so many pairs I don't need just because they were pretty, but that's the fun of it!
I have had lots of fun finding shoes that I love and having an excuse (or 4) to buy them. Showers, parties, rehearsals, wedding, after parties, etc. all a good reason for new shoes! Here are a pair of my favorite recent find!

We have more things coming up soon that I am very excited about! Will have to get back to them next Wednesday!!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back to Training

Happy Monday! I trust everyone had a great weekend!

For the last 6-7 weeks I have been running without a plan without a pattern and without the was nice. Mentally, I need a break, time to figure out what I wanted to do next, work on getting faster, etc.

Well my nice no plan phase has pretty much come to an end. I am 5 weeks our for my goal 5k race of the summer, and 4-5 weeks is about all I can handle focusing on the insane paces needed for an impressive 5k PR. After that race it is right into base building for the fall race season. My goal after my last spring race was to make sure that when my fall races came around, I was in a totally different pace range, so here is hoping it all worked.

I am just about finished finalizing my fall and winter race schedule, and should have all the fun details up soon.

Over the past 3 weeks, I have been getting back to my normal routine after a 2 week illness and also getting acclimated to Florida Summer.. oh yes, its already here! Between the 2, most of my runs the last 3 weeks have been pretty sub-par, average paces, plenty of struggling and frustration, but I was reminded that one day I would head out and it would all just click again. I would hit my new fast paces with ease, every step wouldn't feel like my feet were bricks, and it would all go back to being natural.

Well this weekend, it all came back

Saturday Long run:
7 Miles- 1:01:29, 8:47 average pace
Mile 1-  9:33
Mile 2-  8:58
Mile 3-  8:55
Mile 4-  8:45
Mile 5-  8:26
Mile 6-  8:25
Mile 7-  8:23

I made sure to start out super easy, especially since I had been running so slow recently, and I just kind of assumed I would hover in 9:00-9:30 the whole run, but it just kept getting faster- always a nice feeling!

This morning it was back out to the bridges, which are not my favorite workout of the week, but I have definitely seen a lot of improvement, so I always try to go. I never try and hit fast paces while doing bridges, I figure the inclines themselves are enough to get my heart rate up without me trying to kill myself, so I always just go with it. Today, it seemed to go better than usual:

5 Miles-
Mile 1-  9:32
Mile 2-  9:28
Mile 3-  9:21
Mile 4-  9:29 --> up the big beast
Mile 5-  8:56

So these might seem like a snails pace in comparison to Saturday's run, but with 4 separate inclines to tackle, that is actually quite nice to see :)

I have a fun workout planned for tomorrow morning, sort of a fun take on a progression run, and I am running for time not distance- cannot even tell you the last time I did that. I think I am anxious to see how far I can push in the time allotted, and then of course see if I can beat it next week!

Do you prefer to run for time or distance?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

So it has been quite a while since I have managed to doa wedding post, or really any post, but I have been a busy girl!

Work, running, wedding planning, Bachelorette weekend for Jaime, so yeah it has been a busy one.

So onto the wedding update:  this week John and I got to do something fun... we took our engagement pictures, and it was super fun!!!! I even think John started to enjoy himself towards the end, not that he would let on to that.

At first we John was a little skeptical of the whole engagment session thing. He is not a huge fan of posed pictures, which is why so many of my race photos are all of me talking and looking dumb, but I promised I we would take the cheese factor out as much as possible, I think like everyone I wanted our pictures to look like us and how we normally interact.

We are not cheesy stare into each other's eyes touch your face kind of people, so I tried to convey that to our photographer early on. While we certainly have a few of your more traditional poses in our photos, I really loved how they turned out, for the most part we look like ourselves, and like we actually like each other :) I am so thankful that we decided to haev these pictures done as part of our wedding package, it will be nice to have non-wedding pictures of us when we were still young and pretty. Considering the only professional pictures I have ever had done were baby pictures and senior portraits in high school, I thought we deserved some nice pictures of ourselves!

Our photographer, Tonya Beaver is just fantastic! She and I clicked as soon as we began exchanging emails, and I am so excited for our wedding and all the great pictures to come out of it! It made

Check out her blog HERE to see some moe pictures from our session!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting Wednesday

Happy Wednesday all! I have my life back after a super busy last 2 weeks of the semester here, and life will pretty much be smooth sailing through the summer since we run at 1/3 our load all summer :)

Today is a day that I have been waiting for for weeks, no months, and yet it is already 9:30am and I am STILL waiting! Today is the announcement of the winners of the NYC marathon lottery, and while I have tried really hard to not get my hopes up since the odds are pretty crappy, it doesn't change the fact that I want in! We will just have to wait and see, I have been holding off on all of my fall plans and races until I knew whether or not I would be doing New York, I am glad my wait is now mere hours instead of days.

On to more fun news- I am back to normal! I know I mentioned it last week how sick I had been, and even though I ran 6 days last week, it was a struggle to say the least. While many of my fellow runners are excited and welcoming the beautiful days of spring and nice weather, it is officially summer here- 90+ degrees ar the highs we have seen for the last week or so. So in addition to sucking it up big time from being sick, my body is also trying to acclimate to the inferno like conditions it will be expected to run in for the next 6 months.

As much as last week was rough and this week is still leaving me a little frustrated with my times, I must say that I would rather have 2 bad weeks trying to get used to the weather AND get back from being sick then to have had 2 weeks coming back after illness followed by 2 more slow weeks of getting used to the heat- so kill 2 birds with 1 stone I suppose.

Last week I did try to get in my track workout which was 8x400, but it was literally 92* when I was supposed to go to the track at 6pm, and my coach told me that with only being back for 3 days AND the heat that I may literally die and renounce my love for running so he sent me to do it on the treadmill- it was rough, I average a 7:25 pace which is about 35 seconds slower than my usual 6:50ish pace for 400s.

This week I felt I had enough energy finally to get back to my normal workout schedule, so this is my week:

Monday AM-  4 miles bridges run (3 hills covered) 37:42 or 9:26 pace
              PM-  Spin class + 10m stair climber

Tuesday AM- holy tired legs!!!   4M tempo run (2 @8:00) HA that didn't work- 35:17 (9:31, 8:00, 8:24, 9:22) average pace 8:49  + 45 min full body weights
    Lunchtime-  2M run easy (9:26 pace) this was stress induced, I was not supposed to run again! 15 minutes bike, 15 minutes stair climber

Wednesday AM-  TRACK! I went to morning track today to avoid today's 94* high, and it was the most lovely thing ever- I think I will be going to morning track every week! On the schedule 4x1200

When I was out there I felt like such a slow-poke, like seriously thought my times were awful because my range that I have for 1200s is 5:15-5:30, my actual times were

5:33, 5:34, 5:42, 5:38

I went back and checked, and the last 2 times I have done 1200s my times were all ~5:40, so maybe that's not so bad, but it felt bad at the time. Hopefully by this time next week my legs and lungs feel back to normal.

Another fun waiting for: The Royal Wedding. I plan to actually watch the early morning coverage from the treadmill at the gym, I figure this may accidently turn into my long run this week just because I don't want to leave the tv coverage to go shower.

Is anyone else planning to watch the Royal Wedding Friday????

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back from the Sick

Wow, so I couldn't even tell you the last time I blogged, but it has been a while.

I have been sick for the last 2 weeks, like sleeping all the time, can't breath, sore throat, on bunches of meds, kind of sick. We all know with that kind of sickness also comes 0 workouts. The first week of the sickness I would waiver back and forth between feeling awful and feeling ok. When I felt ok I would go run, and then I would begin to feel like death again. So per Doctor's orders, I have taken a full 2 weeks off- it sucked!!!!

Don't get me wrong, I guess I needed the break, and mentally I am so eager to be back, so I guess that's good, but a 2 week break is a little harder to come back from. It's not like 2 weeks of no running where you cross-trained and kept some endurance or 1 week off where you can see it as a break- after 2 weeks of nothing there is most certainly a noticible difference in my cardiovascular capabilities.

I was allowed to pick it back up yesterday, but was told to cut my normal load in half and build back up- ha! In my head I would cut my run shorter but still hit my 90 minutes for the day through some sort of cross-training combination, so I had a plan to do a 3 mile run and then go to spinning.

I knew the run would hurt a little, but was determined to hit my pace ranges for what I am working to become the new easy (8:55) and the new moderate (8:25). I took the first mile super easy, even for 2 weeks off it felt easy and then did one at each of the 2 other paces. While they were certainly tougher than they were before I got sick, I didn't feel like I was dying, so a small victory- then again, this was only 3 miles.

After I finished my 3 miles I just did not have the energy to throw into a spin class. I had enough energy to finish my workout, but not at the intensity that a spin class requires- and the revelation of how much fitness I lost sinks in. I do 35 minutes between the arc trainer and the bike and call it a day at 60 minutes, not a great feeling.

Today, was back to the weights, and I knew I would have to drop certain weights as I would not do very well with some higher weights after not lifting for 2 weeks. I made it through my normal routine and felt pretty good, I am sure I will be sore tomorrow, but I can deal with that. I did 20 minutes of cross-training and am planning an easy 4 mile run this afternoon, here is hoping that it doesn't kill me.

I have not had to take a break like this since I started running. Sure injuries kept me from running, but I could cross-train, bike, swim, etc. Doing nothing for 2 weeks has made me feel like a lazy ass and a blimp, and it seems so hard to get back into my routine, but hopefully I can pick it back up easily after a week or so, I have a big race in just 8 weeks that requires some serious attention and I need to get at it!

Hopefully regualr blogging will also resume now that I am an active and functioning human being again!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Confessions

I hope everyone is looking forward to their weekend as much as I am! As much as I have been MIA lately you had better bet there have been a lot of things I haven't fessed up to, so here it goes.

-  I have been sick as a dog all week this week, and yet for some reason I will not let myself call in sick. In my last job you could bet your ass you would be fired if you called in sick for anything other than losing a limb, you had to go in sick and be so bad that they would send you home- I guess I still have this fear instilled in my brain.

- While out of town last weekend I did a glorious "long run" of 7 miles at an 8:43 average elevation...on hills- I know ridiculous!

-I have been sidelined all week from this lovely ailment, but refused to miss Wednesday's track workout...The Mizuno Bus was coming to let everyone test out their new shoes lines, get discounts, and a fun tshirt. Yes I should have been in bed, but I coughed, sniffled and hacked my way through 6 miles with 3x1600 (at 7:43) to get to try some fun new shoes and get my tshirt- I have issues.

-I have picked back up my addictive reading habit this week to replace my running addiction. I have finished 2 book in 5 days...and I have my eyes on another before the weekend is out :)

-I found my wedding shoes!!!!! And then someone stole my size :( My size 10 foot will not fit in a teensy little pair of 5.5 sandals that is left. FAIL!

- Bridesmaids dresses are still causing problems. We found a dress that was great, and it is not laying right on people the way it did in the pictures...hoping this issue can be resolved as the idea of finding another dress highly disinterests me.

- I think I have eluded to this a bit, but John has started doing CrossFit recently. He has been going for a little over a month and absolutely loves it. He has amended his diet some with it also which has been great for both of us too. He has urged me to come try it, and part of me is intruigued, but then I hear the word pull-up and panic...sheer panic.

-Very Serious Confession: I have never done an unassisted pull-up. Ever. No, this is not an April Fool's thing, I really can't do it. The idea of pull-ups scares me, I don't know why, but it seems so hard and taxing and diffcult, and people lash about all weird to get themselves all pulled-up. And besides, knowing I can't do one now, why would I try. Everyone at the gym would laugh at me as I haphazardly attempt to pull myself up over the bar with no success, so I figure I will stick to dumbbells at the gym and call it a day.

Is there anything strength related you struggle with?

I can handle push-ups, but talk about pull-ups and I will run away.

Have a fab weekend everyone, hope Spring has shown up where you are, it's already summer here!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So I have been missing- between work, life, and running I have been busy I guess, but mostly not training= pretty boring. Here is a general update since I last left:

  • After a super speedy week that I mentioned here, I decided to go out and race a 5k the next day...after my fast-for-me 8 miler. Yeah, I'm real smart.
  • One of my very good friends has started running and I blame her for enabling me at this race. She did awesome and beat her previous 5k time. When my coach found out I was going to do the 5k, he told me to shoot for a 7:30 pace...umm don't think so,
  • On race day I decided to go for a new PR (old PR was 25:08) and get myself into the lower half of 24 minutes.
  • I now have a new 5k PR- 24:27 or 7:52 pace. While it is certainly an improvement and a testament to all my recent speedwork, I still have a ways to go to get to where I want, however I feel like I can finally call myself a real runner having broken into the 7:xx pace range- it hurt though, all 24 minutes of it.
  • Oh and another age group win

  • Weight and Cross training has been going really well, it feels good to be on a mileage break at the moment, and I actually really like the results I am seeing right now from all the weights, it has been fun for sure.
  • Wedding planning is actually coming along quite nicely, there have been a lot of little things we have been checking off the list like stationary, crafty projects, dresses and accessories, scheduling some of our appointments for final meetings, and some bigger things, but things are going well in this department. Hopefully next week I will have some fun details that I can actually share.
  • There may have been a Trader Joes raid recently also, I can away with some really yummy stuff :)

So there you have it a quick catch-up, maybe I will have some more entertaining things to regale you with soon.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Week 1: Speed Training

I hope everyone is enjoying a nice Saturday. I am a hundred and five so I am at home on this lovely evening watching more basketball and eating ;)

So after an awesometastic race last weekend, I had a break coming. Now my idea of a break is not what most people would call a break. What I mean is my mileage has been cut from ~40 miles per week to about 20-25, that is a break.

I am using this break as a mental rejuvination from the exhaustingness of maintaining high mileage (for me) for 9 months, and as an opportunity to make myself faster. Late spring and summer in Florida are like running through a sauna, so they don't let you race anything longer than a 5 mile race anyways, perfect opportunity to drop the distance and pick up the speed game.

With my eyes on some major PR's this year, I knew I needed to be able to devote a couple of months to speed work, and making what I consider tempo and race paces feel only moderately uncomfortable instead of my current puke threshold- this was week 1.

Monday- 4 Mile tempo, 34:26, 8:36 average pace
Mile 1-  9:16
Mile 2-  8:00
Mile 3-  7:58
Mile 4-  9:12

I thought this tempo would be killer, and while it was definitely a tempo effort, it felt good. My tempos are usually 4 miles at tempo pace, so just 2 seemed manageable, maybe there is something to this low mileage thing.
+ 20 minutes intervals on the bike (7 miles) + 10mins stair climber

Tuesday- weights + 20 minutes steady on the bike (6 miles)

4 Miles Easy, 4
Mile 1-  9:17
Mile 2-  8:38
Mile 3-  8:36
Mile 4-  8:44

Those 8:xx miles were what we will call half marathon pace, and they felt comfortable, especially after Monday's uber-fast effort, and that would be the idea behind this whole process. I want 8-10 miles at that 8:30 pace to feel manageable, so starting at 3 miles seems about right.

Wednesday- TRACK
I was actually really excited about this week's track workout, my favorite...Ladders! I knew I was supposed to back off since I was recovering from last weekends race, but my brain was only thinking about getting faster, I spent some time on McMillan looking at goal paces for my track workouts for the race times I wanted, and I was determined to see where I was at, so I went out with everything I had.

1 Mile warm-up- 9:41
1600- 7:38
1200- 5:40 (7:35 pace)
800-  3:44 (7:29 pace)
400-  1:41 (6:50 pace)

1/2 mile cool down- 4:40

4 Miles- 33:04, 8:16 average pace

I was so thrilled that that 7:38 didn't kill me. I did not progress as much through the next 2 as I had wanted, but I rode the high from that 7:38 and took the fact that I got progressively faster as a positive.

Thursday- Weights
15 minutes stair climber
20 Minute intervals on the bike (7 miles)

2 Miles easy- 17:59 (9:08, 8:51)

Thursday was set up like a brick workout and an easy day after 3 speedy days in a row. Despite low miles, my legs felt super tired, I think the added cross training has helped to make sure I still get in my butt kicking workouts, it has been nice having to much to do, it makes the time fly.

Friday- Rest day

Saturday- "Long Run"
8 Miles- 1:09:54, 8:44 average pace
Mile 1-  8:46
Mile 2-  9:09
Mile 3-  9:04
Mile 4-  8:30
Mile 5-  8:30
Mile 6-  8:39
Mile 7-  8:48
Mile 8-  8:24

So this was a pretty stellar long run- I started my first mile at what was my goal pace for the run and then reminded myself to take it easy. 6am is A LOT darker than it was a week ago before daylight savings time, and I had to back it off down a dark road and make sure I didn't trip and kill myself.
I don't know if it was the no pressure to hit certain paces with no upcoming race, or if I am actually getting faster, but this run felt easy. Only in mile 7 did I start to feel a little sluggish, but I didn't eat breakfast, took no gu, and only had water once at mile 5.5, so I figure that was actually pretty good. I was really happy to see a run like this and to have several points where it felt great and effortless, obviously there are moments when it doesn't, but I love runs like this.

I actually have another run planned for tomorrow, so I skipped my weights today, I have been doing a super good job staying on top of them, maybe it's because I have been seeing the definition return to my arms and abs, that is always a major motivator!

I will have a fun recap of tomorrow's run once we get back!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Dress Bonanza

So this week we are talking about Bridesmaids dresses, fun right!

From day 1 I didn't have an overwhelming opinion about my bridesmaids dresses, after all, I wasn't going to be the one wearing them. I wanted to make sure my 4 girls felt classy and comfortable in whatever was chosen, especially since with different tastes and shapes, it is highly unlikely that all 4 of them will think it was the absolute perfect choice, but I have still been very active on getting their input on possible dresses because, again, I don't have to wear it, they do.

I didn't try to convince myself of the ever popular "they will wear them again" because while I *might* get lucky and have 1 that will, the odds just typically don't fall that way. Considering the above statement I wanted to make sure I found something that would be affordable and as I have already said, classy.

When the dress search began I looked at several designers, including the one who made the wedding dresses I fell in love with. I spent much of the first few weeks looking at Jim Hjelm dresses and some Priscilla of Boston.

While I certainly found some beautiful dresses, when it was time to go try them on many of them were not as elegant and flattering in person as they were in the pictures. Bummer. I found that many of the styles looked funny, bunched weird, were too low, or too preggers looking. Also, many of the fabrics were very "bridesmaids-y".

In my opinion,a bridesmaids dress should look like a great dress that 4 people happen to be wearing, I hate when something looks like a bridesmaids dress when it is just sitting on the hanger, and some fabrics just have that effect.

After a few strike outs at the bridal salons, I decided to hit up my 2 favorite stores, Ann Taylor and JCrew. Both carry bridesmaids line and I think put out an elegant and quality product.

Well apparently every other bride agrees with me, in that all of the 4 styles I liked had several sizes sold out in the color I wanted, and after a few phone calls I found out that either the style is being discontinued or my color will not be appearing in the summer line that will be re-released at the end of April :(

Next up I tried some of your nicer department stores: Macy's, Nordstrom, and Dillards, they all carry nice designers like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren so I figured I might find one or 2 options, right...

I found like 10! Great news right, except the same situation happened there as with JCrew, all out of the sizes I needed with no hopes of getting more in, I was pretty heart broken. And once I found the one I wanted, and found out I couldn't have it, nothing else seemed to look as elegant.

I did not think picking a bridesmaids dress would require this much work, but maybe I am being too picky??

I have been very apprehensive to try a mass retail chain like David's or Alfred Angelo thus far as I feel like their fabrics kind of define that bridesmaids look I am trying to avoid, but at the same time I feel like I am running low on options with less than 6 months to go now.
Have you ever been a bridesmaid before? Did you get to be a part of picking your dress? Was it fun or work?

Do you think I should turn to the traditional bridesmaid dress stores and designers or keep looking for something a little more mainstream???

***Edited to Add:  Patience pays off! I went back this morning to my favorite dress that was sold out in 2 sizes I needed and magically they were there. Bridesmaids dresses have been ordered, and I feel so relieved!!! I love them and have gotten positve reponse on them, they had over 20 positive reviews online and I am really hoping they look great and my girls like how they look and feel in them!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2011 Gate River Run

So after some slacking here is this weekend's race recap.

Warning: I have not loaded the pics yet, so this will be a word heavy post.

Just some background, the Gate River Run is the largest 15k in the country with approx. 20,000 runners, and is also the US 15k National Championship.

After 2 years of wanting to do this race and not, I was beyond excited to finally get my chance at our city's biggest race. I had also never done a 15k, so it was an automatic PR, but despite that fact I was plotting out so many different race scenarios in the days leading up to the race. I had an A goal and a B goal, because I honestly didn't really know what I was capable of.

I warmed-up with my group pretty lightly, and lined up in the seeded corrals with a teammate. He was going to start out at my goal pace and then get faster, but with a neon-yellow shirt on, I knew I wanted to keep a visual on him and that would be enough.

I made sure to let him go early in the first mile so I didn't go too fast and so I didn't slow him down. My race plan was to keep a moderate pace for the first 5k and then pick it up, I think I followed instructions pretty well, but I was able to pick it up in the 2nd mile, and once I felt it out, I knew I could hold it until I hit the monster bridge at the end.

Mile 1-  8:38
Mile 2-  8:29
Mile 3-  8:30
Mile 4-  8:33
Mile 5-  8:31
Mile 6-  8:36
Mile 7-  8:30
Mile 8-  8:51
Mile 9-  8:40
9-9.4-  2:48 (7:14 pace)

So I felt super consistent throughout the whole race, I think my paces pretty much dictate that. I kept it easy in mile 1, and hit my 8:30 goal until the bridge. Now this course did have some rolling hills, it was in no way flat, not even by New England standards, so I was really pleased with my pacing on such a tough course, all the time I put in doing Monday morning bridges really did pay off.

Now...The Green Monster...

We started up the on-ramp onto the bridge at mile 7.5, so it pretty much killed my right on track mile 8 split, but I had planned for that. Once Mile 8 beeped, I still had another half mile of up to go- that's right 1 whole mile straigh up hill. My effort never dropped, but my pace dipped into the high 9:00 range, like seriously 9:50-10:00 pace up that bridge, it was just so steep and never ending. As soon as it leveled off I looked to my right and saw my dreaded Monday morning bridge and wispered sweet nothings to it about how awful I had been and how I would never take its short 1/2 mile incline for granted again, ha!

Once at the top, I just took off, I knew I still had almost a mile to go, but it was literally all.down.hill. The downhill of the bridge goes straight onto the off ramp that goes downhill straight to the stadium, and the finish line. I knew I would be well under an 8:00 pace, and I was right. I took huge strides and became almost reckless trying to see how fast I could fly down that hill. I knew I was close to a sub-1:20 which would have been great, but I was aiming for anything in the 1:20:xx range.

The downhill and reckless sprinting took its toll, my quads were absolutely trashed, and I was almost certain I was about to throw up on a bystander, but I managed to keep my breakfast down. I felt like I really had left every ounce of push I had in me out there on the course, and was beyond thrilled to stop my watch and see 1:20:13 over 9.4 miles, or an 8:33 average pace, whoa!

1:20:13, 8:33 average pace
60/786 in F20-24

In addition to an amazing time, and not puking, as I walked through the masses towards the water and medals, I had a lady hand me a hat. I told her those were only for the top 10% finishers, and she said "I know".... I had somehow managed to finish in the top 10% of the female race field, I am still not sure how that is possible, but it made my perfect race even sweeter. I have never been so happy about anything or any race performace, I had done everything right and it had all payed off.

After stumbling around and finding someone's phone to use, I managed to meet up with John and my parents.

Showing off my new hat! Seriously I am obsessed with it at the moment, I would wear it to work if they would let me ;)

Post race I grabbed a banana, water, beer, and walked over to meet our friends Jesse & Crystal who had ran the 5k and their first races ever. We stayed for a good hour or so chatting, it was an absolutely beautiful day out and they seem to have also caughten the dreaded race bug now ;)

Sunday morning I woke up...and could barely walk. My quads were screaming any time I went from sitting to standing or vis-versa, but it was a great feeling to know I had raced so well. Sunday was a lazy day for me as I knew I had big plans and a new training cycle starting Monday morning, which you will have to wait and hear about!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Birthday at the track

Wednesday night's track workout was the last for many people and since almost everyone is racing this weekend, we had super short and speedy intervals to get us ready for the weekend.

My workout- 6x200, with 200 recovery, goal was :45, which for those of you who aren't mathematically inclined is a 6:02 pace...umm no pressure.

The last time I did this workout, I did well, but it was still tough. I was excited to try it again, especially since I raced well when I did it before.

A nice long warm-up and we were ready. The weather was nice, cool, low 60s, and the impending monsoon seemed it would hold off until we were done, the wind however was killer- not sure what is up with all the wind lately.

We actually ended up moving to the opposite side of the track to start so that the wind would be at our backs instead of slamming us in the face.

200s looked like this

:39, :44, :44, :44, :42, :41

I have no idea how I did that :39, my watch must be lying because that is a 5:20 pace- no way I did that. But the rest were tough and I felt myself getting used to getting that longer stride and kick that you need to finish strong at the end of a race. I am anxious to see if I can make it look as pretty at the end of my race this weekend.

After practice, we had cupcakes! A sweet ending to a nice short workout!

Now before you get all excited, this is not a normal thing we do. I wish I got cupcakes after all my workouts! Tuesday was our coach's birthday so of course we had to celebrate! These were ice-cream cupcakes, so the bottom was cake, then ice cream, then icing- yum! I had 1/2 a strawberry and vanilla combination one and it was amazing!

We also got our new race shirts in, so adding to the amazing Christmas like feeling of the night, I get cupcakes and presents! It was almost like my birthday, and now I have something new to wear this weekend, always fun!

What is your favorite track/interval distance???

I really love 400s, the are my absolute love, but I could get used to this ideal of the all out 200s!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: The Registry

So...we've registered!

We are 6 months out from our wedding, so it seemed like the right time frame to try and get the whole registry thing completed. I had heard everyone tell me how fun it is and how their fiances' got really into it, and I was really beginning to think there was something wrong with us- we weren't giddy at the idea of registering, in fact, it was stressing me out! It wasn't until after we completed our registries that people started opening up to me that I wasn't alone in realizing what a big challenge this was.

Now that it is over, I will say, it was fun, and it is nice to think about the cool things that we will hopefully be receiving for our wedding, but there was A LOT of research and work that went into putting this together that people kind of forget to tell you about. So I want to share my experience and things I learned so that hopefully someone else out there who has this on their to-do list won't be as overwhelmed as I was.

My Registry Experience:

So the first thing I did was have to decided where we were going to register. EVERYONE and I do mean everyone who spoke to me about our wedding seemed to have an opinion of where we should register, and they all usually had valid arguments for their stores, but let me tell you, there are TONS of options:

There were so many stores to pick from I had to think about which stores would have the most items we were looking for, so that I didn't look like some greedy kid registering at 5 different places. I also had to think about accessability for our guests- while there are plenty of people out there who prefer online shopping, there are also a few who will only buy something once they can put their hands on it, so I wanted to make sure there was something that everyone could easily get to.
We ended up going with 3 different stores, but were able to encompass a store we each wanted that the other didn't, plus 1 mutual location. With a guest list as large as ours we can get away with it I hope without looking too greedy.

Once we had our locations picked out, then began what I will call "pre-registering". I started by making a list of the things I thought we would need and want to make sure we wouldn't forget the important stuff. Then, I did some searching into other registries seeing what other couples have asked for, what typically got bought, how much they registered for based on the size of their wedding, etc. After I felt comfortable with the trends and my starting list, I started doing research.

I spent hours researching different items and browsing reviews. I didn't want to ask for some kitchen electric that based on all reviews would brake after a year of use, or something that was so difficult to use and clean that it would likely just collect dust rather than help me in the kitchen. I wanted to make sure that I was asking for quality products that would last and that we would use. I will tell you the one thing that I never thought about that I now can't imagine not having is a hand blender.

Obviously we have this on our registry, and I am really hoping someone buys it!

So this might seem like a lot of work for something that is supposed to just be fun and like a mass shopping spree, but to me it seemed almost reckless to walk into a store and pick things based on just price or how pretty they looked. Pots and Pans were a big one for us- I originally thought I wanted a non-stick set, I have always used non-stick, I mean how else do you cook eggs? And I really don't like cooking with excess oil, so I figured teflon was the way to go. After some reserach, I learned that even the expensive "high quality" non-stick sets still have their teflon surfaces start to flake off at some point, and the life expectancy of those pots/pans would be no more than 10 years...10 years, that's it? I wasn't about to ask someone to spend several hundred dollars on something that might last 10 years. In the end, all the work I put into researching our big ticket items and reading the reviews really paid off, and I feel confident about every.single.thing on those lists right now.

My other big stressor was space. While I know we won't be in our current apartment forever, we are now, and everything that comes into our house need a place. And since we don't know exactly how much space our next home will have, I have to make sure I have a plan to store everything. Part of this process will be getting rid of old things we are replacing, but there will also be a lot of new. This was probably the biggest thing stressing me out, but we do have a plan for storage right now that I feel goood about.

John also wasn't uber-excited about walking around a few home stores for several hours each to pick out things that he didn't necessarily care about, so we did like a pre walk-through and looked at the big things that I wanted his opinions on- electrics, dishes, silverware, sheets, and towel colors. He could have cared less about what chip and dip bowls I picked or what color kitchen towels, same with the baking dishes, so I let him off the hook and once I had his opinion on the big stuff, I went back later when the store was almost empty- I think this was a God send for us. No rushing for me, no boredom for him, and it worked great.

I walked into the store with a list already made- proper names and pictures included. I was able to breeze through the store pretty easily since I already had most of my items picked out. Sure, there was more I added, but it didn't overwhelm me and I didn't have to stand around trying to decide between 2 different options for an hour, because you know, spatulas don't get that intense. However, I did get really hung up in the shower curtains, and I was glad that John wasn't there because he would have gone crazy at how long it took me to decided between 2 for our bathroom.

The nice thing, now that the registries are complete, John and I can change anything we want online and that is amazing! At the end of it all, I did have fun, but I was glad I went about it the way I did, because if I had just walked in and started gunning things down I think it would have ended very badly.

What I learned:

-Do it your way.   Everyone told me to stop thinking and just go to the store and go nuts, I knew that wouldn't work for me. I am a researcher and a planner, and the thought of that reckless abandon gave me hives. I also knew John and I could not "shop" for multiple hours together in 1 store, so we didn't. I made 2 trips, 1 with him and 1 without, and it worked better for us. Don't let anyone tell you you have to do it one way.

-Research!   This was SO helpful! I was glad I knew what I wanted when I walked in, and had taken the time to learn what products were reputable and worthwhile.

-Consider Space.   What you want and need is great, but if you don't have anywhere to put it, its kind of a waste.

-Break it up.  Break it up into multiple stores and mutiple trips. It keeps it from being overwhelming, and it allows you to keep options open for your guests.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Long Run and running updates

Hello fabulous people, I have missed you!

Yesterday I came into work to discover my computer had fried over the weekend :( I was computer-less for most of the day yesterday and that made blogging not so easy. So on the running front I have lots to discuss:

Friday I did an easy 3 miles, I have not been wanting to take rest days recently, even if it is cross training or a short run, I have been craving workout I won't complain and have just played it smart.

Friday- 3 miles, 27:09, 9:03 average pace

Saturday = long run day
On my schedule was 8 miles, and after talking to my coach this week, we had some discrepancies over what my goal race pace should be, so we decided I would try 6 miles at his goal pace for me ~8:30s
It.Was. Rough.

8 Miles- 1:09:43, 8:44 average pace
Mile 1-  8:33
Mile 2-  8:41
Mile 3-  8:41
Mile 4-  9:07
Mile 5-  8:49
Mile 6-  8:23
Mile 7-  9:05
Mile 8-  8:33

So I hit a few (only 3 miles) in that 8:30 range. I hit what I think should be my goal pace of 8:40 pretty easily, and the bridges killed me and gave me 2 miles over 9:00. This was actually a really great run for me, like amazing overall pace, probably fastest "long run" I have ever had- but I felt like I was racing the entire time. I felt spent at the end, and honestly all day long I was exhausted- over only 8 miles. I think this showed that a sub- 1:20 is possible, but it will be really really tough, and I have not yet decided what I am going to pace myself for. We will see how Saturday starts to shape up with my legs, weather, etc. I really don't want to crash and burn from going out too fast, and especially since there is...

the "Green Monster" the last mile and half of the race. The first .8 miles is the incline, with the last .5 as a steep downhill straight into the finish line- a bad time to burn out.

So after Saturday's long run race :) I took Sunday pretty easy, did some cross-training, took the dog on a long walk, but conserved some energy. To prevent ITB flare-ups, all of those racing this weekend were banned from Monday morning bridges, so I was on my own.

I did an easy 4 mile run, since I am "tapering" for this race. All my runs except track are supposed to be easy this week, but too much easy running bores me, so I decided to try some pace recognition.

At least 1 if not 2 runs each week have included pace miles at my goal pace for Gate, just to get my legs (and lungs) familiar with the pace they should be running.

Mondays run = 4 Miles, 35:45, 8:56 average pace
9:24, 8:41, 8:34, 9:06

I threw in 1 mile at each goal pace, since my race plan is still TBA.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend, running and otherwise. I have a wedding post ready to go up tomorrow!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday all! In following a trend that seems to be popular this week in the blog world, I have some confessing to do...

Yesterday's tweet by Runner's World asking for running confessions got me feeling guilty.

1. I do not shower after lunch time workouts.
I do not even feel guilty about this one, especially after seeing that the super hard-core Emily does the same thing. Yes I dry off the sweat, even dry off the edges of my sweat-tastic hair and put on fresh deoderant. But gym showers creep me out, and to waste 10 minutes taking shower #2 of the day seems silly, especially when I can sneak another mile in.

2. I have NOT been getting up in the mornings to all!
The only AM workouts I have gotten in within the last month are my long runs, and the truth...I don't hate it. Yes, it would be nice to have it done, but I have also found that even if I run in the morning, I still go back to the gym after work.

3.  I rarely wash my fruit.
Ok that's a lie, I like never wash fruit unless its visibly dirty. Yeah I get it, I'm gross, but I seem to have a rocking immune system and it hasn't killed me yet.

4. Easter candy is my favorite, and absolute weakness!
Mini Cadburry eggs and sour patch kids shaped like, yes please!

5. Recently my brain has felt like this Cross-Training > Running
Rediculous right?!?!?! I have still been getting plenty of running in, but have been enjoying some shorter distances and the opportunity to get my heart pumping with other things. I have a mild addiction to the spin bike and stair climber at the moment.

6. I am more overwhelmed than excited about doing our wedding registry this weekend. I know it is supposed to be fun, but I haven't found that emotion in it yet.

7.  My name is Stephanie, and I am a dress-a-holic.
Please tell me I am not the only one! I have procured.....5 dresses, just this week alone. Something about the emerging spring weather reminds me that it is almost dress season, I would rather wear a cute and comforable dress than anything else. Yes I have a problem, no I don't intend to seek therapy.

So there you have it, some crazy neurosis... surely I am not the only one out there?!??!?!

Have you ever registered? Fun or tiresome? I am kind of ready to be done with it. Finding enough stuff for our huge guest list to have options + not cluttering up our house took far too much research in my opinion. And I don't even get to shoot the cool gun :(

What is your favorite type of clothes??? Jeans, shorts, dresses?

Do you have anything to confess?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Killer Track workout

So I skipped over yesterday's wedding update, but I will make it up to you by telling you about how cruel my track workout was.

Rewind to Tuesday...John and I went to Gainesville after work for a basketball game and got home very very late that night. While I slept in Wednesday morning, but the time last night rolled around I was dragging.

Originally on the schedule for this week was 6x800, as much as I truly do loathe 800s I felt up for it. Well the plan changed, and we were doing 4x800, 3x400, but alternating. Ok, so I got on board, I really like 400s I thought this would make it easier, right? Wrong!

Warm-up mile- 9:26
800-  3:44
400-  1:44
800-  3:42
400-  1:43
800-  3:40
400-  1:42
800-  3:39
400 (threw in 1 more for good measure)- 1:39
Cool down mile- 9:22

5 miles- 40:21, 8:05 average pace

So the goal for 800s was 3:45 and I had to make the 400s 2 minutes faster than the 800s, so 3:45 and 1:45.
Most of my laps at last weeks 12x400 workout were at or under 1:45, so I figured I was ok.

I got progressively faster with each one which is great, but I felt like death. Normally 400s feel great to me until the last 100m or so, but I felt dead after the 1st 100m, not cool! The 800s I felt good, but by the time I would finish the first lap I was ready to be done and yet had 1 more lap to go.

I can't complain because my times look great, however I felt SO out of shape during this workout. I think that was the design, because you were dragging after the 800s, but I guess it all pays off in the end.

Next week is a race week which means one thing...200s! The last time we did 200s they were tough in a good way and I am excited to try them again!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crazy Busy Girl

Hi friends, it's Tuesday, and as you might have guessed, I have been a crazy busy girl!

This weekend was back to normal with a Saturday morning long run. I realized it has been quite a while since I prepared for a long run from home with just me, it brought back memories of marathon training. Not sure I miss that.

While the temps were nice 67*, it was certainly warmer than what we have had recently, add in 97% humidity, and it was the perfect run to prepare for summer, I still can't decide if I prefer cold or hot running, I think 50* is ideal.

Long run was supposed to be 10 miles, with 7 @goal pace. Goal pace being my goal pace for gate which is kind of scary, but very doable. I gave myself a few back-off miles which helped tremendously, and overall I felt really good after this run.

11 miles- 1:37:33, 8:52 average pace
Mile 1-  9:26
Mile 2-  8:34
Mile 3-  8:31
Mile 4-  9:28
Mile 5-  8:47
Mile 6-  8:37
Mile 7-  8:11
Mile 8-  9:06
Mile 9-  8:31
Mile 10-  8:45
Mile 11-  9:37

So pretty much the most amazing long run I have ever done, actually, that had the makings of the most amazing half marathon I could have ever had if I had kept going.  My goal pace for Gate is approx. 8:41, not that I've checked or anything, and while a couple miles were a little higher, I really can't complain about the performance I put up. I *hope* that another run like this this upcoming weekend will be enough to give me a good race.

After my run I had to hit the road, I had a bridal shower to go to Saturday afternoon.

We celebrated this girl who is getting married in about 6 weeks. It was a St. Patrick's Day themed party, so I did my best to get into the spirit....

We had some snacks, played a game, and then got to the good stuff....

Several times at the shower people kept reminding me that I was next, yikes! It was fun watching her get into all these fun presents, there was a lot of fun stuff in there that I made mental notes to make sure I put on our registry ;)

Sunday, John and I ran errands and decided to embrace the beautiful day and went out for a long bike ride. I gave it a little more effort than I usually do on our leisurely Sunday rides and managed to average about 15.5 mph for our 25 mile bike ride.

On to Monday...A million wedding things that I had to catch up on, phone calls and emails to return and I found myself quickly at the end of the day.

I had a hill workout planned for the afternoon, what I did not plan for was 84* and 20mph winds. It literally felt like my marathon all over again, and I was SO happy I was only doing 5 miles and not 26.2.

Like literally the same run, up and over huge bridges, lots of wind, and sun, it was like de ja vu- crazy!
Since Gate has a HUGE bridge at mile 7.5 I went to do 3 bridge repeats, the first bridge is shorter, maybe 6/10 of a mile from one side to the other, the 2nd is a solid mile, maybe a little more from start to finish, and the last has a .5 mile climb and a .15 mile downhill, so a little funky.

5 Miles- 45:23, 9:05 average pace
Mile 1-  8:40
Mile 2-  9:08
Mile 3-  8:51
Mile 4-  9:34
Mile 5-  9:10

A successful run and no itb pain, thank goodness! I didn't realize how excited I was going to get about this race, but it is such a big deal here in Jacksonville, and it is the one I have really wanted to do since I started running and I haven't, so I am excited about that, plus I have lots of friends running it too!

Is there a big race on your radar that you haven't had the chance to do yet? If so, which one???

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Speed Work

So back on the running front, I have been trying some new things this week. My next (and last) race for a while is a 15k, my first ever 15k, but I have something to prove after a lackluster start to this race season.

This week has been 100% focus on speedwork, and every single run so far this week has been a killer. For whatever reason I have not been able to drag my butt out of bed early enough to run in the morning, and with spring in full bloom, it has made for some interesting runs this week.

Monday: schedule 5M tempo (3 @8:40), after work
5 Miles- 44:41, 8:56 average pace
9:26, 8:34, 8:41, 8:37, 9:21

This tempo was a beast. I haven't done a good tempo run in weeks and it showed. On top of the fact that I was running in temperatures a good 20-30* warmer than what my body is used to, I was gasping for air by the end.

Tuesday: Schedule for 1M warm-up, 10x1:00 @7:30, 10x1:00 @9:00, 1M cool-down
1M warm up- 9:26
10x1:00 @7:30- 8x1:00 @7:30, 1x1:00 @7:24, 1x1:00 @7:19
10x1:00 @8:55-9:13
1M Cool down- 9:19

This made for a total of 4.5 miles, and it was not as tough as I was expecting. The middle minutes of sprinting were harder than the last few where I picked it up. I did this run on the treadmill mostly for the ease of tracking everything since it was so involved with specific paces and minutes. I knew I would have botched somthing if I tried to do this outside.

Wednesday: Track day. On the schedule 12x400, goal time = 1:48 (7:15pace)
1:00 recovery after each 400, 2:00 after every 4th

Let me start by saying I was dreading the track, not quite sure why, but I even called my mom on the way and tried to bribe her to go to the mall with me instead of to the track, but in the end I was glad I went.

1M Warm-up 9:38
12x400- I am going to break this into groups of 3 since we got a 2:00 break after each 4th lap

1st 4- 1:45, 1:41, 1:44, 1:43
2nd 4- 1:41, 1:41, 1:45, 1:45
3rd 4- 1:48, 1:42, 1:47, 1:39

Usually we run with 3 groups and I run with the middle group, but considering our middle group was really only 3 people he said only 2 groups and gave the 3 of us the choice to run with either the faster group or the slower group. A girl who is my exact speed and we usually split who beats who at the track each week opted to run with the fater group, I decided to lead the slower group- I beat all of her times by at least 2 seconds even though she ran with the fast group.

I decided I would perform best trying to lead the slower group, I should finish first every time and that was the push I needed to make sure I maintained my paces. I never started to feel tired until the last 4, but I managed to stay below my goal time, and hold sub7:00 pace for most of the intervals- I was very pleased with the outcome of this workout, and I think my coach would agree.

I have 1 more run this week (3-4 miles easy) and then my long run (10M) which has 7 miles at goal pace to see how I am shaping up for Gate. Hopefully all this speedy running pays off, it has been a little different and very exhausting for me this week, but hopefully it pays off in the end.

Do you like running fast, or nice and easy? I go through spurts where I appreciate each, but I think my ADD brain is enjoying the break-up of all these speedy runs!