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Bitten By the Marathon Bug

On January 15, 2012, I ran my first marathon. Check it out:

Mile 22 - Running by my sister's house where she and all of my friends were cheering!

Rewinding back to May when I signed up, I never thought the day could actually come. But it did. I ran my first marathon in 3 hours, 39 minutes and 25 seconds. I am 4 minutes and 25 seconds too slow to qualify for Boston…. this time. Now that I’ve completed my first marathon (on my 23rd birthday!), I’m ready to get out and hit the trails (and track) to improve my speed and fitness for my next marathon. Yes, I just said it, I will do another one. And it will be this year.

I hope to keep this blog up to track my training, so I can see better how I am using my time each week and to see where improvements may be made. I also want to keep up with this blog in order to join the online running community I have been following for about a year now.

I wrote the above a few days ago. As of yesterday, I will be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon on June 3. I am SO pumped. Although I got a little sick of running toward the end of my training for the Houston marathon, the runner’s high post marathon has carried over into week two post-marathon. Post-marathon blues left me without a plan and without a goal. I don’t like not having a plan or goal to work toward. Plus, there’s a marathon in one of my favorite cities in the world in roughly 19 weeks. This couldn’t be more perfect!

So here we go. Tomorrow I start running more often (it’s taken me a bit to recover), tomorrow I start blogging about my training/ life in training, tomorrow it’s on! For about 1,000 reasons so far, which I cannot share yet, I can already tell that 2012 is going to be an amazing, life changing year!

Oh, and here’s another picture of me crossing the finish line, holding a special someone’s hand! We met on the marathon course and we were holding hands by the end!! I kid, I kid, although that would be hilarious. (He jumped in with me for the last 10 miles!!):

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GRE Down, Time to Hit the Road

As you all don’t know because I have not kept up a blog at all, I have been studying for the GRE over the past few months and today I took work off to take the test. I am very pleased with the results and now I feel as though a great weight has been lifted! I am one step closer to grad school, which makes me so excited! I miss school so much. I’m a nerd. I’ve been out of school for only 5 months now…

I have been really busy with getting my life in order since school ended — settling into a new job, working 8:30-5:30, creating my gym routine, studying for the GRE, moving into a new apartment, buying furniture for the first time ever, keeping up with UT football, starting marathon training, going to Austin City Limits Music Festival (7th year in a row!) etc, etc, etc. After taking the test today, I finally feel as though I have some room to breathe!

My friend Ry and I at Pretty Lights

 

So now that I’m feeling settled and the GRE is behind me, I am going to buckle down on marathon training. I am running the Houston Marathon on January 15, 2012 (my 23rd birthday!) and it’ll be my first marathon ever. I have run 3 half-marathons, and I always wanted to run a marathon before I finished college. Well, that didn’t happen. I never got too serious about it. But now I am very serious about running this marathon, and I’m pumped because it’s in my hometown! My godmother and my boyfriend each said they’d run part of it, and I hope to see a lot of friends and family cheering me on as I run those familiar streets! I am super goal-oriented, so I have already started an 18-week training program and I’ve got a goal in mind. I want to run the marathon in less than 4 hours. I am wondering the best way to achieve that goal. I know it’s really tough, and my ultimate goal is to finish, but I’d really like to push myself to under 4 hours. Marathoners out there, do you suggest joining a running group before your first marathon? If not, which running plan did you follow for you first marathon? I would love any tips!

 

 

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Cubicle White

Written on August 5.

My friend at work introduced me to a new term today: “cuble white.” It’s the color your skin turns throughout the years as you work 40 hour weeks in cubicles in air-conditioned offices as the sun beats down on those suckers outside in the 105 degree heat.

I want to be one of those suckers in the 105 degree heat. “Cubicle white” is never a color I want my skin to turn. Not because I’m vain, but because it’s a sign of being inside too much. I am an outdoorsy girl. I like to do everything outside. Sitting in an office 5 days a week just feels wrong for my personality. I’m that girl you see running and swimming in this heat that everyone complains about on their walks from the office building to the parking garage. Cubicle white is the color of me turning into someone I don’t want to be.

I’m having trouble adjusting to the “real world,” life outside of college. I know it’s normal to go from college to a 40-hour week job in an office building with air-conditioning. And I feel absolutely blessed to be given a job, working with some really, really nice people and making enough to live off of right out of college. However, I wonder sometimes if this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

A wonderful side to my new job is my ability to get up and work out in the morning and still get home in time to get ready and enjoy my coffee and apple with peanut butter. My last job (that I was absolutely in love with but ended with my student career at UT) started at 7 a.m. every morning. So if I wanted to fit in a morning work out, it would have to start at 5. No thank you!

Each morning has been a little bit different with length of run (depending on what time I get out of my warm, marshmellow-y bed), but each has been the same in how I feel. I start moving out there while everything else is still. I see a few cars and runners here and there, but mostly it’s just me and the outdoors. I absolutely love that calm of the morning as the joy of running takes over my head and my legs move rhythmically at my pace. I love it especially when it’s still a little cool out, and the sun starts to rise on me as I head back on the home stretch of the run.

That is the best part of my day! Unless of course I see my boyfriend or friends in the evening, then running takes second…

Speaking of friends and boyfriends, does anyone have fun weekend plans? Now that I am working all day every day, I will be cherishing my weekends. But this weekend I have to move my stuff out of my apartment. I don’t get to move into my new apartment until August 19 so I’ll be living with friends for 11 nights! And then on the 19th I get to move in with one of my best friends from college. We are so excited to have our first “grown up” place. I digress. So aside from packing, I will be spending my time riding my bike, swimming at Barton Springs, running, playing volleyball with friends, playing tennis, and ensuring that I do not turn cubicle white.

One of the best places on earth, Barton Springs!

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White Rock Centennial Half Marathon Recap

Today was the Dallas White Rock Centennial Half Marathon. It was my third half, and although I had prepared for it since my last half in February, I was really nervous. I had never seen the course, and honestly was just nervous that I wouldn’t meet my goal.

I stayed at my friend CJ’s house Friday night, and OH by the way, Ceej ran her very first half marathon today and did SO well! She ran 6 miles for the first time less than two months ago. How amazing is that?! Anyway, both of us had really long weeks so we picked up some gels at academy, went home, ate dinner, set out all our stuff for the big day, watched a little Say Yes to the Dress (nerd alert…) and then hit the hay by ohh 9:15. It was awesome.

Both of us got up around 5:15 because we are serious morning people. And I had some serious nerves… we had breakfast (apple and pb + 2 cups of coffee for me, like every other morning of my life) and then geared up with the above. And below is how we looked right before we headed out.

CJ and Me

 

Then we drove to the race. We had no trouble parking like we thought we may have, so we ended up being there about an hour early. It was windy and chilly, maybe because the start (and whole race) is around a huge, beautiful lake in Dallas. The temperature was perfect to start, though. Cool but warm enough for just shorts and a tank.

Since we got there so early, we got to hit up the porta-potties and see all these really intense runners that made us feel weird/unprepared. We kept asking each other, what is that tape for in the designs on peoples’ legs? What are those compression socks for — shin splints, soreness or just cause they look cool? There’s a warm-up? But we’re about to run 13 miles, I’m not warming up.

At about 7:45 we headed for the start line. Before we knew it, we were off. I started off at about a 7:58 pace and kept that up for pretty much the whole race, give or take a mile when the wind was blowing right into my face.

The course was awesome. The first three miles we did through a neighborhood and looped back to the lake, which takes up about the other 10 miles. There was a bridge a little after mile six, and I seriously thought I was going crazy because the cement felt spongy. I felt like I was running on something soft, but it was cement on a bridge. At that point, I really thought I was about to die or pass out or something because I’d never had that sensation before, but my body felt okay and after checking my heartbeat with my hand, it seemed fine, so I kept going. **After talking to some other runners after the race, they felt the same way on the bridge so I’m not that crazy…**

After hitting mile 8, I had the same thoughts I always do: I still have 5 more? But then I’d think, no 4.8, 4.6, and then I always feel better.

I had never taken a gel before because I really worry about stomach issues during a race. (my last half I had to stop at a porta-potty around mile 6…. yeah, no fun) but at mile 11 my legs were really tired, especially with the headwind. I spotted a water station ahead, took my gel with some water, and felt pretty good at the finish! I will definitely try that again for my next race and maybe experiment with them during training.

Annnnyway, I ended up somehow winning 1st place in my age group (it was a really small race). That was awesome. My time was 1:46:02. My Garmin said the same time but 13.29 miles…. regardless, I PRed, beat my goal and got a trophy!

Philippians 4:13 — what gets me through every race

That’s my “how did I get this trophy, I’m flattered but confused” face, after accepting my unexpected trophy.

That’s me and Ceej after the race! We had fun.

Her cousin Jason placed 1st in his age group and 6th overall, which was pretty awesome! And CJ ran her first half marathon after a little over 6 weeks of training! So amazing. She’s off to Guatemala in a month for a 6-week mission trip so she wanted to do this before she left. So cool.

Anyway, I’m off to continue this project that I’m missing my sister’s birthday party for. Yes, I realize it’s Saturday night. I promise I’m not totally lame, I just really need to graduate from college. It’s due on Monday. Tuesday a paper is due. Two weeks from now I’ll be graduating from UT and onto the next thing. Anyone out there have a job for me??

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Guilt Trip Trip

I have a problem. It’s a guilt trip trip. Yes, I meant to type that twice. I am the only sister and sibling to one very lucky girl, MStew. She is turning 24 on Friday, and her friends are throwing her a bar golf party on Saturday night. If you don’t know what that is, you should try it out if you can stomach 9 drinks at a sub-3 hour pace. By that I mean don’t try this unless you’re a 250 pound frat dude. I RSVPed yes, and thought it would be a blast (because I’ve done it before and apparently am a 250 pound frat dude).

That's us with the drinks in hand. Sister, like sister. She threw a surprise party for my 21st birthday. Even more of a reason why I feel guilty and horrible and like I wish I could be at her party or throw her a cool party like she did!

One problem. I live in Austin, the party’s in Houston, I’m running a half-marathon in Dallas on Saturday morning. If you’re not from the gigantic state of Texas, that means A LOT of driving. Austin to Dallas = 3 hours. Dallas to Houston = 4 hours. Houston to Austin = 3 hours. Oh, and I haven’t finished either of my final projects due next Monday and Tuesday in order to graduate from college.

Hmm…. not finishing those projects and staying in college for another semester, yeah that doesn’t sound so bad actually….

So after excitedly announcing my heroic plans to my sister — to come to Houston from my half-marathon in Dallas, then doing a marathon drink-fest that night, then celebrating mother’s day with my beautiful mother, then coming back to Austin that same day to do WORK to graduate — I g-chatted her today telling her I can’t make it. I feel like I put too many eggs in one basket. Or my eyes were bigger than my stomach.. or whatever phrase would work with the situation I’m in.

Us last year at a wedding... she's the best!

She said she’s disappointed and I shouldn’t have gotten her hopes up in the first place. I feel horrible. So I e-mailed her back that I would come because I feel really guilty for being a bad sister. So it’s a guilt trip trip that I’m taking. But my mom keeps telling me not to do it.

What would you do in this situation? Would you make the trip for your awesome, wonderful, super-fun sister’s birthday or would you try to make it up to her later?

Now for the more fun part of my post, I have a half-marathon to run on Saturday! I am so pumped. Since my last marathon I’ve kept up my long runs each week (for the most part) and have been keeping my mileage up. I feel really prepared for this one.

I am a to-do list person; I always want to know what I have ahead of me and like to set goals (even though many of my to do lists are just made for pure enjoyment and tossed aside after I make them).

This will be my 3rd half marathon. My first half I ran in 1:52:52, the second I ran in 1:55ish, and the third I want to run in under 1:50, or at least beat 1:52:52.

A few weeks ago I bought the greatest invention ever made for runners:

My Garmin!

I’m debating whether I should use it on Saturday.

Do you think wearing a Garmin in races makes you faster, anxious or just plain frustrated?
Now I’m off to finish my paper, hopefully.

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Happy Easter Everyone!

Happy Easter to everyone! What a happy day today is.

Woke up fairly late for me, around 8:30. This could have to do with the fact that I took NyQuil before bed, thinking it would keep the sore throat away that I’ve been getting when I wake up in the mornings. It didn’t and it made me super groggy. Nevertheless, got out of bed and had my typical breakfast of an apple with peanut butter and coffee. That is pretty much the only thing I ever eat for breakfast. Coffee is also a necessity to every morning. My mom used to wake me up in high school with a cup of coffee and breakfast in my room. Not until college did I realize how awesome that was.

I went to church at 10 for Sunday School, then the 11 a.m. church service. It was awesome. I love the joyfulness of Easter. Then I made lunch for the bf and me, took a nap, and now I’m avoiding homework by writing this post. I’ve decided today is my day off from working out.

where I'm spending my time today. it's a twin. i'm in college.

Right now I’m training for the Dallas White Rock Lake Centennial Half Marathon on May 7. The last race I ran was the Austin Half Marathon on February 20. It was my second half, my time was 1:55:44, and I didn’t PR. My time for my first half-marathon, the Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio Halfin November 2009 was 1:52:52.

Me and Tina at the crack of dawn before the Rock 'n Roll San Antonio Half

I am so focused on trying to beat that first time. I have been reading so many running and fitness blogs lately that really motivate me (SkinnyRunner, Carrots’n’Cake, FlyRunner, and TheBlueEyedRunner to name a few) . I know it can be done. Every runner can improve and go farther with training, right? I really want to run a sub-1:50 half, so I’m hoping this one in May will be the one. But then again, the race is in May in Texas. It is going to be H-O-T unless some miracle, never-happened-in-May-before cold front comes in. I am going to be a sweaty mess. Hopefully a PR-ing sweaty mess!

Friday I did my long run: 12.44 miles in 1:47. I am going to have to speed it up in two weeks to reach my goal, but I always feel that when racing I have way more energy than anytime I am training. Hopefully that’ll be the case! Yesterday, the bf and I ran a 5K. We finished in 24:01. Pretty good for a really boring course! My weekly mileage for last week was 33 miles. I think it’ll be about the same this week and then taper off for the race in the last week.

After reading so many different runners’ blogs and race recaps of the Boston Marathon, I have decided I want to run a marathon within the next year. I’m thinking before I turn 23, I want to run a marathon. Where have you run your favorite marathon or half marathon? What made you decide to do it?

Does anyone have tips or suggestions on training for marathons during the summer? Particularly if you live somewhere that gets H-O-T (we’re talking the 100s) and can’t stand treadmills?

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10K + Lazy Sunday

This morning I ran in the Statesman Capitol 10K race in Austin. It is the largest 10K race in Texas and the fifth largest in the country. The picture in the banner is Town Lake, which is where the race started and ended.

I have had a friend in town all weekend, and we have been going from party to party since Friday around 2 p.m., so I didn’t know if I’d be able to get there mentally (or physically) to do well this morning. As she slept in, I made the decision to run. I’ve never done this race before. I had to!

chips and queso - so delicious but will make you feel ill.

Plus, I had a lot of chips and queso and beer and whatnot so I thought I would jump-start a good, healthy week with this race.

I also had some great encouragement from my boyfriend which always helps. We headed to the race (on our new bikes!) at around 7:50 a.m. We got some misinformation though. The race started at 9, and we got there in time for an 8:15 a.m. race. So we stood around for a while. A long while. It was a cool, cloudy morning, and we bumped into some friends out there so it ended up being a good way to wake up pre-race.

We hit the first mile at about an 8:30 pace. After that, I didn’t really pay attention. The course was so great with some hills, always followed by downhill and a lot of flatness at the end. Lots of spectators were out to cheer us on so it was fun and we breezed through the whole thing. We finished the race in 49 minutes, averaging 7:54/mile, which we thought was pretty good!

Does anyone else get hooked after races and want to sign up for the next one right away?

I would love to sign up for the San Diego half on June 6, but I don’t have a job, housing, or enough income at the moment to pay for travel, hotel and the half, so I think for now I’ll keep that idea a dream. Maybe next year because outside of Austin and Houston, San Diego is next in my top 5 cities in the U.S. I want to run a half (or full) in all of them!

The rest of the day has been lazy. Ate a nice lunch at Max’s Wine Dive with my sister, her friend Rachael, and my friend Anna. Had the Bloody Mary Salad with grilled chicken. It was delicious. Kind of spicy and tangy but really delicious, even with no cheese!

Then I came back to my house and laid in bed.. all day… On to work on some schoolwork!

Close to where the race ended - beautiful Austin, Texas

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