Wednesday, March 19, 2014

These are a few of my favorite things

Products that saved the day...

I am normally pretty conservative when buying clothing but I try and spend more when it comes to workout gear.  I've found that, like many things, the better product is, most of the time, more expensive.  I'd rather buy a good pair of shorts once than keep purchasing them as they disenigrate in my wash.  I am a Nike girl through and through.  I just haven't worn a Nike running shoe I didn't like and over time, realized most of my running clothes were from a brand that just fit me well, lasted a long time, and were also very comfortable. 

I wore Nike tempo shorts, the Nike Miler Tank, and Nike Air Relentless 3s.  I was unsure about my shoes at first, normally I switch between Nike LunarGlides and DualFusions but these were on sale so I got them instead.  I went through three pairs of shoes training for this race and shoes are expensive so I thought I'd try to save some and get these.  I felt as though they might not have been the best for trail running as they didn't feel as supportive around the ankle as my other shoes but I finished injury free and my feet felt good the whole race.  I probably won't be a repeat buyer and will go back to my standbys.  

Lululemon Bitty Bracer, despite it's absolutely ridiculous name, this bra is awesome.  I returned it twice because I kept thinking it was too tight (hello, that never happens) but the girls that work at the store convinced me keep the size I had and to go for a long run in it...if I still didn't like it, I could take it back for a full refund (pretty great return policy).  I took it for my 20 mile training run and loved it.  She was right, as soon as I got my heart rate up, the material just melted into your skin.  It is a great bra that gives is comfortable and supportive.  Worth the money.  I tried many different sports bras on longer runs and most caused some chafing from a seam under my arm that didn't bother me during normal runs (3-5 miles) but over the course of a couple of hours were pretty painful.  
Smart Wool running socks.  Seems strange to use wool as the material for a hot Florida run but these socks have been great.  They last forever, they wick moisture away from your skin and I've never gotten a blister while wearing these socks.  

A run belt.  I bought a SPIbelt one for the Gasparilla and my marathon.  It is way better at holding my phone steady and easily accessible than my arm band and I can also pin my race bib onto it if I want.  It is super easy to adjust/tighten/loosen while I'm running and the wide elastic doesn't dig into your skin.  I spent a couple of extra dollars to get the water resistent one mainly because of my phone.  During the race this held about 20 dates and a pack of Gu Chomps (Blueberry Pomagrante-my new favorite!).  

Bluetooth Headphones.  If you listen to music/books/podcasts while you run, these are worth the investment.  I got the Motorola S10-HD Bluetooth headphones for my birthday last year and love them.  I have ears the size of a small child and most headphones are really painful to wear, these are great and come with multiple ear bud sizes, are water resistant, and not having a sweaty cord hanging from my face is wonderful.  

Music/Books.  I have a Spotify and and Audible account that I got when I started training for my half marathon last year.  I try to get books that I can get lost in (Harry Potter has the best narration/Gone Girl had the WORST/Divergent and Hunger Games trilogies are just ok).  I started the last book of the Hunger Games around mile 20 of my marathon and it helped take my mind off of those last (what ended up being) 9 miles.  For music, I like Spotify so I can switch up my playlists frequently and not get bored.  Honestly, I didn't plan for the race playlist I made to have 26 songs, that's just the magic of the marathon folks.  

Roar- Katy Perry
Work B**tch- Britney 
Merry Go 'Round- Kacey Musgraves
Cocaine- FIDLAR (not to throw anyone under the bus here but this is Matt's band de jour....I thought it would be a sweet reminder he was waiting for me but it was a loud reminder that we share different music preferences)
Dark Hourse- Katy Perry
Holy Grail- Jay Z
Back to the Beginning Again- Switchfoot
All Night- Icona Pop
Pompeii- Bastille
Celebrity Skin- Hole
Itchin' on a Photograph- Grouplove
Can't Hold Us- Macklemore/Ryan Lewis
Hard Way Home- Brandi Carlile
Badge and Gun- John Mayer
Sweeter- Gavin Degraw
Team- Lorde
The Man- Aloe Blacc
Magic- Coldplay
The Mother We Share- CHVRCHES
4x4- Miley Cyrus (clearly I have no shame when it comes to music and can easily enjoy cheesy pop music....this was unenjoyable)
Follow Your Arrow- Kacey Musgraves
The First Single- The Format
In Love with A Girl- Gavin Degraw
Mirrors- Justin Timberlake
Brave- Sara Bareilles
Silver Lining- Kacey Musgraves

I also listened to the whole Twin Forks album...twice.  I love it...I know Dashboard Confessional isn't for every emo girl but this little heart o' mine sure does miss some good Chris Carrabba songs.  This was a perfect fix.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The second best day of my life.

Running a marathon was magical, so so incredible, and I will never stop being grateful that however much training sucked, I stayed healthy throughout the whole process.  However, in all of the fairy dust I'm about to spew about how life changing running a marathon is, it was also very very hard.  

Like screaming to a forest of pines all alone hard.  

The trees are good listeners.

About 10 minutes into the drive home, I realized I'd forgotten the bad parts.  The really really bad parts (perhaps I called Matt in the middle of the woods sobbing...) sort of melted away and I'd completed something that was hard.

That is one of my many faults, completing things after they get difficult.  But I finished.  I was a "finisher".

I don't think this is a sentiment that only runners that have run a marathon will understand, but anyone who has ever gone a distance that is so physically straining, you don't feel as though you could take another step, a monumental distance, and then being still have farther to go.

So imagine running 26 miles, enjoying 99% of each step, each mile, each runner you passed.  I was already planning running the Baltimore Marathon in October to celebrate my 30th birthday with my brother.  I was making my time and pace goals and felt obnoxiously great.  I CAN DO THIS! I've caught the bug!

I checked my GPS, saw I was at 26.17 miles and before me I saw the beautiful site of a giant tent...this was it, the finish line.  I sprinted to at least what I thought was the finish line.  Imagine my surprise/horror/complete unraveling when I realized it was an aid station.  

No, I didn't want any *$#*#$* Gatorade.

What I wanted was to sail into the presence of my family, husband, friends, dog, be crowned my finisher's medal, celebrate, and drink lots of beer water.  Where was my finish line?  

I asked the volunteer how much farther until the finish, expecting, however ridiculously that she would say ".2!" but sadly was greeted with "3 miles".

I saw black.  This was where I sobbed while calling Matt and crying u-g-l-y tears.  At the time I thought the course was mis-marked and I got angry. Turned out though that those last three miles were actually the most character building of the entire training period.

I'm still not sure what went wrong as far as mileage.  It could have been my GPS but I was running at a pace that made sense with the mileage/time it showed.  I did find out after studying the trail maps this morning that I idiotically followed the 50K trail for bit accidentally, without knowing it.  Womp womp.    

Honestly, it doesn't matter.  I never ran this for an amazing time and those last three miles made me an ultra-marathoner*, if only by my own recognition.

*After consulting the ever reliable wikipedia, an "ultra marathoner" is anyone who runs farther than the traditional marathon distance of 26.2.  So if you've ever run about 10 feet past the finish line I guess we are both part of the same club! Woo-hoo!
I am so thankful for my support team.  I thought about them a lot those last hellish three miles.  I read through the texts of prayer and encouragement that I missed while running hard the 26 miles before.  I read each one aloud, for if I didn't seem crazy enough for screaming in frustration before, by now the squirrels thought I was positively mad.  

I am thankful for my husband for being amazing even though he was getting his wife at 50% these last few months (I know I was a real peach of a Proverbs 31 woman on the days where I got up at 5 am to run 1,000 miles)....

I am thankful for my parents for their incredible support, driving me back and forth to the race site to scope out the trails, letting me use their beautiful neighborhood to train, their pool to ice my legs, and helping me find safe places to run my miles...

I am thankful for my friends for texting me during the race, waiting at the finish on a hot Sunday afternoon with flowers and hugs, for running with me when I didn't want to run early on cold Saturday mornings, for praying for me all Sunday as I ran, not knowing the battle I had raging in my head, desperately needing prayer.

I am #blessed in a completely un-ironic way.  

The course itself was incredible.  So so beautiful.

It will be hard to ever run a normal road race again.  Running through the woods is exhilarating and challenging and never boring.  A runner before me shaped some pine cones into a heart right around where marathoners took off on their own, it was a sweet reminder of others were running this with me.

I did manage to smile as I crossed the REAL finish line and was greeted with subs and beer.  

There is so much more I could share about the race itself.  What I ate before,during, after, what I brought with me, what I listened to to get me through 4ish hours alone...another post I guess, as this is getting pretty long.  I'll share the bad parts hips feel like they are going to actually disintegrate into ash, and my lower back issues that plague everyday life have been magnified by the race.  The hills were brutal and I definitely didn't train for anything like that.  If you were curious to know if Florida has any mountain ranges, they do, and they are in the Withlacoochee State Forest.  I had a terrible headache yesterday from the dehydration, but after drinking lots of water, beer, and maybe one margarita, I feel much better this morning.  

Even if I'm still scrubbing dirt from my feet. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 2....I want all of the food.

Second week of marathon training is in the books.....and I'm tired and hungry.

Monday- 3 miles
Tuesday- Rest
Thursday- 7 miles
Saturday- 9 miles
Sunday- 2 miles

Please don't count my rest days.  They were not all scheduled correctly but I have stuff to do.  The 2 miles on Sunday wasn't on my plan but I felt really sore and tight and believe it or not, running really slow (like slower than my usual brand of slow; more like walking with more bounce) helps me feel better.  I was less tight and less sore for the remainder of the day.

I signed up for two more races last week, the Gasparilla Classic (a 15K) and another trail run in April that is a 10K and one of my favorites of the year.  It goes right along the Hillsborough River and last year I ran it with my dad.

Funny story about that race.  He runs really fast and I run really slow and it's embarrassing when your dad who has had a knee replacement and turns 60 this year runs faster than you.  Anyway, he really wanted to sprint the last 100 yards but because I was completely winded from running 6 miles faster than I am capable of, so I told him to go ahead while I took my sweet time to the finish line.

And then the timekeeper switched our times.

I love timekeepers that switch your time with someone faster.

And then post it on the Internet...FOREVER.

I wish that happened more often.

This week it is supposed to get cold in Tampa.  "Cold", I guess being relative to where you live, but "cold" meaning lows of 40 degrees to me.  I have no cold weather running clothes so my workout attire gets rather creative when the temp dips below 50 degrees.  Think sweatshirts from college that Luke has ripped holes in plus some "sweatpants" that I got from Old Navy online during a sale that I only thought were "sweatpants" but ended up being more like Jams.

Matt calls them my "Yoga Jams".  And they are pretty ridiculous.

Good thing I have a fleece onsie I won from from a Christmas party I can wear.

My neighbors have much to look forward to this week.

Monday, January 6, 2014

10 weeks till 26.2

Marathon training began last Thursday with a three mile run.

Mmmm, after looking at my next couple of months of running, a three mile run sounds like a day at Disney World, riding around on an electric scooter with a Disney hot cocoa in my hand and no one else in the park except for Matt and my dog (and park employees pouring us hot chocolates and letting us ride Space Mountain over and over again) <--heaven. And also a very easy day.

I know I'm normally a genius but because I didn't correctly judge my time to train in relation to the day of my marathon (March 15th) I have ten weeks to get in shape.


Especially after a super fantastically delicious Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year.

There was a lot of feasting, drinking, and repeating.

Both of those champagne toasts were probably mine.

That brought me to Saturday with 13 miles on my schedule. Double woof. My last run was in NC and totaling a whopping five miles which I kept pretending was actually ten because it was on hills and hills are hard.

Yeah, I'm ready to tattoo "tough stuff" on my butt cheek because of my generally hardcore nature.

I was complaining about this (I should clarify, as I complain of many things, I was complaining about my 13 miles the next morning) on our way to dinner on Friday night and my super awesome friend told me she'd come along for half to keep me company and from collapsing. Friends are awesome.

I woke up late because the stars aligned in my favor and extended the cold front towards the afternoon to which I took full advantage of and I got to sleep in. I ran two miles with Luke,`2.5 miles to my friends house, 6 miles round trip to Tampa Bay Times Forum, and the 2.5 back to my house. Because the entire run was split up, it seemed to fly by. And we still got a runner's high upon finishing AND I got to high five someone other than my dog.

Tampa seems smaller when you can run from your house to your cities' downtown and back. We thought yoga seemed swell on Sunday evening until the instructor decided to take us through thousands of lounges and squats and our legs were shaking like a Polaroid picture terribly. Again, can't wait to get that tattoo. Yoga is tough y'all.

Today is another 3 miles which sounds just lovely. After a season of divulging in decadence I'm kind of craving kale, kale, and more kale so that I don't feel (or look like) a slug anymore.

Kale Protein Smoothie

Steamed Kale with Carrot/Quinoa Salad from here

Cheers to a new year and my first (maybe last) marathon!