A Look Back

Hello, friends!  I hope you’re all having a good week.  I’m very pleased to say I’m almost at the end of mine.  We have P/T conferences tomorrow night which means no school on Friday.  Can’t we just all agree to institute four day work weeks already?  I feel like that might be the answer to all world problems.

So in the last few months of 2015, I started thinking about a recap I wanted to do of the entire year of races that Dad and I did.  Then, of course, the incredible busy schedule that is the holidays distracted me followed by a comatose January as I tried to recover from it all.  All that is to say, that a few days ago, it struck me out of the blue that I never did get around to writing it!  So I am here to rectify the situation.

We traveled A LOT in 2015, and saw a quite a big chunk of the country.  Each race was pretty different, and I liked different things about all of them.  So I’ve come up with a few categories and picked my favorite race to put in those columns.  I hope this guide is helpful for those of you who are considering some destination races this year!

Best T-Shirt

This one is hands down the long-sleeve 1/4 zip we got from the Santa Hustle in Indianapolis.  I seriously want to sign up for another one in this series this year just so I can get another!

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Best Medal

I’m going to give a nod to the Ft. Smith race on this one.  The medals were huge and pretty cool plus I fought extremely hard for it.  Here’s hoping I get another one next week, and that it’s a little bit easier process!

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Best Crowd Support

I’m going to choose the Dallas Rock ‘N Roll for this one.  Not only were there large crowds throughout the entire race course, but we had a large number of family members that made it out to support us there.  I say it every time, but, non-runners, don’t ever underestimate the difference having you there can make!

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Best Weather

We could not have had better weather than the September race in Omaha.  September can be hit or miss for us in Oklahoma as far as weather is concerned, but it already felt truly like fall in Nebraska.  The race started out fairly chilly, but quickly warmed up enough to be a perfect autumn day.  I believe the kids would say it was on point.

Friendliest Race

The Albuquerque race had very little going for it, but I can’t say enough about how friendly everyone was.  It was a really small race so that may have contributed to it, but, as we ran along the out and back course, it seemed like everyone we passed said “hello” or “great job!” or “looking good!”.  It was so noticeable that I remember commenting about it during the race!

 

Most Beautiful Course

Well, I’m sure I’m biased, but this has to be the Colorado Springs race.  You had a great view of the mountains throughout most of the course which makes the actual running part a whole lot easier to handle.

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Favorite Overall Course

Without a doubt, this award goes to the Blackberry Mountain Half in Kentucky.  It was a moderately tough course but not too bad, it was beautiful, and NOT BORING which all runners know is very important.

Best Travel Experience

Again, this was our trip to Kentucky because we didn’t just go to Kentucky.  Dad and I are both teachers which means, in June, we had all the time in the world to get there and back.  A few weeks before our race, Dad says, “You know, if we take a southern route home we can hit a few states we’ve never been to.”  We’re both pretty obsessed with checking off all 50 states (I’m sitting at 30 now!) so I was on board with this plan.  That quickly evolved into, “Well, hey, if we’re going to be in South Carolina we might as well see Charleston!”.  We literally drove to Kentucky, raced, drove to Charleston and spent one night, drove home, and we were only gone about four days.  Not many people would’ve enjoyed that trip, but we had a blast!

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Favorite Overall Race Experience

You guessed it-Kentucky.  It was just such a fun race.  We loved the course, the area was pretty and shall we say, interesting, and the trip itself was great.  It’s the race we’re still talking about 8 months later, and I would be willing to do it all over again this summer if someone wants to come along!

So there you have it!  It was a really fantastic year, and, although I’m enjoying the break from the constant travel, I miss it already.  Who knows-we may do it again in a year or two! (Don’t tell my husband, ;))

Currently: January

 

Hello, friends!  Despite my best intentions, I went MIA last week.  I honestly have no excuse other than I’ve been reading a ton lately, and I’ve been picking up a hard back in my free time rather than my computer! However, I’m back today with a Currently post because it has been a hot minute since the last time I wrote one, and they are my favorite way to give you a snapshot of what’s up in my world.

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Current books:  I’ve definitely hit a reading sweet spot in the last few months, and I had to hit the library Saturday to refresh my stack.  Last week I polished off Code to Zero by Ken Follett and loved it so I picked up two more of his along with a few others.  I started with The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine, and it is starting off sloooow.  However, it’s one of those annoying books that is just intriguing enough to make you stick with it if for no other reason than to find out what the heck is going on.  All I can say is, I hope it’s worth it because it is a hard read for me at this point.

Current music:  My new Audible credit came through over the weekend, and I used it on another one of The Great Courses.  This one is A History of Russia from Peter The Great to Gorbachev, and I’m excited to dive into it.

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Current food:   I’ve bought strawberries on my last three grocery trips, and each batch has been a home run.  Let’s see how long my streak lasts.

Current shows:   Recently a show called When Calls The Heart popped up on my Netflix, and I decided to give it a try.  I’m a huge Dr. Quinn fan and this seemed to be in the same vein so why not?  This particular series is based on a set of books by a Christian author which, if I’m being honest, gave me pause.  Generally, I’ve found that Christian literature usually isn’t very good, but I wanted to give this series a shot and I’m glad.  The story lines have a few holes in them and some of the acting leave a little to be desired, but, overall, I really enjoyed it.  The first two seasons are on Netflix right now, and season three starts on Hallmark in February.

Current wish list:   I’d really love a truly delicious Italian meal.  I’ve had such a craving lately!

Current needs:  New jeans!  I’m so awful about shopping for jeans, and I tend to only ever have one or two nice pairs.  The pair I’ve been living in for multiple years now have finally developed a whole.  It’s strategically placed right now so I’m getting away with it, but won’t last for long!

Current triumphs:  My piano lessons are going so well! I’m starting to get into some more challenging pieces, and, though I’m still far from perfect, the nuts and bolts of the playing the piano are starting to make so much more sense.  I’m very excited about it!

Current bane of my existence:   Politics.  Enough said, right?

Current celebrity crush:  In celebration of my below indulgence, here you go:

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All of Downton Abbey fandom can keep Matthew Crawley.  Give me Tom Branson!

Current indulgence:  Who are my fellow Downton Abbey fans out there?  I’ve been a huge fan for many years now, and I, along with many others am sad to see it go this season.  Last week’s episode featured a scene with a character from season 1 which led to many of the characters to reminisce about a character no longer alive.  Well, that made me miss some of those old characters, and since Sunday I have binge (re)watched all of season 1 and I’m two episodes into season 2.  This is definitely an indulgence, and, also, impressive when you consider I have a full-time job, a husband who had surgery this week, and various other obligations.  I’m a hugely talented multi-tasker :) 

Current blessing:  A blissfully free schedule.  I have a total of four weekends that have set plans in between now and July, and that makes me so happy.  I’ve been so busy for the last several months, and I really want to slow down this year.  So far, I’m doing a great job :)

Current outfit:  Jeans!  To school!  On a Wednesday!  We were able to pay $5 to wear jeans all week for a National Honor Society fundraiser, and, let me tell you, that’s $5 spent that I don’t even think twice about.  All you teachers out there know what I’m talking about.

Current excitement:   We are very close to breaking ground on our new house!  There’s just a few days of work that needs to be done on the land itself, and then the real fun starts.  Hopefully, I’ll have some progress pictures to show you before too long!

Current mood:   Feelin’ groovy :)

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What’s going on with you currently?

Rookie Mistake

Hey there!  Happy Hump Day, and I hope you’re making it through this week a little better than I am.  Last week was fairly easy in respect to getting back into my regular work routine and I think I got a little cocky because this week has hit me like a ton of bricks.  As in, the alarm went off this morning, and all I wanted to do was lay there and cry.  Or, you know, go back to sleep.  I saw this meme on Facebook yesterday, and all I thought was, “I feel ya, bro.”

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So some of you that follow me on social media may have noticed that I ran another half last weekend.  You just thought I was done for awhile, didn’t you?  So did I, but, apparently, I have a sickness.

I’m not going to leave you in suspense.  I’m going to be up front and tell you that this was not my sub-2:00 half.  The good news is I knew going into it that it wouldn’t be.  I’ve gotten in several runs since Indiana, but I also took it easy and didn’t push myself.  Then I came down with a pretty intense cold right before I went back to school.  My body was in rebellion, and I knew that I wasn’t healthy enough to really push for a sub-2:00.

Despite all this, I headed down to Dad’s house last Friday so we could run the Resolution Run Half-Marathon in McKinney, Texas Saturday morning.  Luckily, the race was only about thirty minutes from Dad’s so we had a break from what has become our standard long drive and hotel stay.

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Start time was at 8:00 at McKinney Boyd High School, and let me tell you it was cold!  While it didn’t touch Birmingham in terms of temperature, it was much cloudier with a heck of a lot more wind making it seem like the coldest race I’ve yet to run.

This was a very small race with only somewhere around 100 runners, and I appreciated the laid back feel to whole thing.  We took off right at 8:00, and almost immediately turned onto a paved path in a residential park area where the entire out and back run would take place.

I had a little trouble with my breathing at the beginning which was no surprise given the cold temperature, but I got it under control (by my standards) pretty quickly and was pumped to find that my legs had not forgotten how to run fast.  We settled into a sub-2:00 pace (Dad said he was going to pace us for it until we couldn’t maintain it anymore), and I cruised along for a few miles.

Unfortunately, just after mile 3 the whole race ran into some problems.  Due to some recent rains, parts of the path were covered over in water, and runners were forced to either go through it or slip and slide through the muddy grass on the side.  All of the sudden, I had flashbacks to last year’s rain apocalypse in the San Juans.  Let me be clear-I HATE RAIN!  This section was not fun, and we continued to battle small sections of it here and there for the rest of the race.

Despite that, I managed to stay in front of the 2:00 pacer for the first half of the race.  I wasn’t getting any illusions of grandeur-I knew I wasn’t healthy enough to maintain that pace for the duration.  However, I started to think that, perhaps, my time wouldn’t be as bad as I feared.  It was a nice thought 😉

Just before the turn around, I felt my knee start to give a little twinge, and that’s when I realized I had made a rookie mistake.  Before every race, I take an ibprofuen and then pack two in a Ziplock bag to take during the race if I need to.  This time I had forgotten.

Of course, that means that my knee plagued me for the rest of the race, and all hope of a respectable finish went out the window.  Even though I had spent the whole preceding week talking myself into not being disappointed by whatever finish I managed, I couldn’t help but be a little aggravated with myself.  Had I not forgotten this very basic pre-race ritual, I would have done MUCH better.

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So we crossed the finish line at 2:08:16 to cheers from my step-mom, Alex, Caite, and Justin.  I have to say it was so nice to see all those familiar faces at the end especially since I was kind of bummed.  Side note:  If you’re not a runner but you have them in your lives, do not underestimate the power of a great spectator.  I will say it until I’m blue in the face-seeing familiar faces out on the course is a HUGE pick me up, and it makes all the difference.

In spite of health and course problems, I will say I really enjoyed the actual race.  I loved the smaller feel (those are nice every once in awhile) and I thought the course was really peaceful if a little bit on the flat side.  I would really like to do another race there!

The sub-2:00 still eludes me, but I have a feeling it’s not far off.  We’ve got the Fort Smith Half and the Cowtown Half coming up next month so keep your fingers crossed!

The One With The Resolutions

Hello, friends!  As I sit down to start this, I feel the overwhelming need to write, but I’m not entirely sure what I want to say.  Buckle your seat belts-this could get rambling!

Work is back in session, and I’m actually looking forward to getting back into a normal routine.  Fall through Christmas is always such a busy time, and this year was even more jam-packed with all the traveling we did for our half marathons.  My calendar for the next several months is looking a lot less full, and I’m really excited about that.  However, we will be building a house, and I hear that process can be a little stressful so stayed tuned.

The Internet has been deluged with resolution style posts the last few days either by people making them or people being snarky about those who do.  I, personally, am firmly in the resolution camp.  I love the idea of setting goals for yourself, and I’ve always believed in the pursuit of a better self.

So, all that being said, here’s my contribution to the resolution game.  As I’ve thought the last week or two about the things I’d like to accomplish in the next year, I’ve actually had to work hard on focusing my goals.  There are so many things that come to mind, and I’ve tried to narrow it to a few things that I really think are manageable going forward.  Without further ado, here’s what I’ve come up with!

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Focus on lifting

Last year was all about running, and, while running will still be a big part of 2016, I really want to focus on hitting the weights.  I’ve been lifting with John and a couple of our friends two days a week for the last 6 months, and I’ve already started to see a little bit of a difference.  I won’t be adding any more days a week, but I really want to get the most out of the days I’m in the gym.  I’ve been accused (looking at you, John Ford!) of phoning it in while I’m lifting, and there will be no more of that!  I really want my arms to look fantastic so I’m committing to putting in the work.

Make Meal Prep and Cleaning Eating A Habit

This goes hand and hand with my lifting goals.  I definitely understand that those fantastic arms start in the kitchen, and I really want to get into a better groove with my eating habits.  I typically eat fairly healthy, but I’ve definitely let some unhealthy habits sneak in over the last few years.  While I don’t want to get as strict as I once was years ago, my diet would benefit from a little more scheduling.

More Yoga!

I discussed this on the blog a few months ago, but I am definitely committed to adding yoga into my routine.  John and I did a restorative yoga class on New Year’s Eve, and it reinforced once again how much I love to practice.  My goal is to make one class a week with a some at home sessions sprinkled in.

Run a sub-2:00 half and a sub-25:00 5K

I came so close to running a sub-2:00 half in the last few races of 2015, and I feel sure I can make it happen in 2016.  My plan is to keep training until it does!  I have actually ran a sub-25:00 5K during a half-marathon so I would like to do it in a race.  I have one or two other running related goals that I’m kicking around, but I haven’t fully committed to anything yet so we’ll all have to wait and see!

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Become A Better Dresser

Yes, this is a real resolution.  Guys, I am not stylish.  I have very little interest in clothes, and I would rather have someone stick things under my fingernails than spend one hour shopping.  BUT I am getting to an age where I can no longer pull off looking cute in shorts and an old ratty sweatshirt (Not to mention, that I’m starting to think that was never all that cute anyway).  So I’m going to try.  I got some new stuff for Christmas, and I even went shopping a few days before and picked out some things that weren’t too bad.  I also commit to putting on earrings even when I don’t feel like it, and taking off my digital watch when it absolutely doesn’t match my outfit.  My mom is going to be so proud.

Practice Piano 30 minutes A Day

I’ve been taking piano lessons for a year and a half, and I love it!  I’ve definitely been making some progress, but I know I could put in more time practicing.  I feel like my practice time took a backseat in 2015 since I was having to run so much so this year I will have more time to devote to it.

Take Up One New Hobby

This is one of those resolutions I had to make to keep myself from taking on too much.  I have about ten things right now that I would like to get into or learn more about, but I’m realistic enough to realize that I can’t do everything.  I think I have this new hobby narrowed down to two choices, and I’ll let you know when I pick the winner!

Read 65 Books

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember, and that love has never waned.  However, as an adult, it has been more challenging to find the time to sit down with a good book.  I’ve tracked by reading the last few years out of curiosity, and last year I read 52 books which averages out to one a week.  That’s definitely not shabby especially in comparsion to most adults, but I think I could do better.  65 is high enough above 52 to make it a challenge without setting a goal that’s insurmountable.  I’m already one book down!

There you have it!  As a goal-oriented person, this is one of my favorite posts to write.  I’m excited to get started!  Happy 2016, everyone!

Happy New Year!

Hello, friends!  I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday with your family and friends.  We’ve had a very merry but very busy couple of weeks, and I am currently taking advantage of a slower schedule until school starts back up next week.  I’ve got a few fun posts planned for the early days of 2016, but, for the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this little break.  However, I wanted to pop in, and wish each of you a very Happy, Healthy, and Safe New Year!  See you in 2016!

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In The Books!

We did it!  Our year of 12 half marathons in 12 states in 12 months is completed, and, if I’m being completely honest, I’m sad to see it come to end.  I may or may not have spent the last two days looking up races that I can do next month :)

But, before we get into my final thoughts on the year, let’s back up and talk about our final race in Indiana this last weekend!  First of all, check out the awesome shirt Caite designed for our final race.

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I thought it was really cute, and it’s so handy to have a talented sister!

John, Dad, and I left super early Saturday morning to make the 10 hour drive to Indianapolis.  Yes, I said 10 hours.  Yes, we are crazy people as everyone in our lives have told us the last few days!  It was a long drive, but we made it to Indy around 6 o’clock their time.  It was my first time in Indiana so I was happy to check off two new states on this trip (we drove through Illinois which I had never been to either).

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This race was the Santa Hustle, and I was so pumped to end the year with a completely Christmas themed race.  I am ALL about Christmas (as is Dad) so we were in our element.

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Packet pickup was held at the JW Marriott in downtown which was decked out with holiday decorations, and part of our packet included a Santa hat.  Not to mention, in lieu of a regular t-shirt, we received a sweet long-sleeved 1/4 zip shirt which I’m wearing as I type this.  Despite the Santa on it, I’m going to be wearing this all winter long!

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After pickup, we grabbed dinner and crashed at the hotel.  The next morning race time was at 9:00 so we had plenty of time to sleep in a little and get to the starting line at Lucas Oil Stadium  From what I understand, some important football team plays there :)

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The start line was blaring Christmas music, and featured a giant snowman and real-live reindeer.  That had to be our most interesting pre-race selfie!

The race started promptly at nine, and we took off gunning for that sub-2.  I had decided to race sans-watch again in favor of letting Dad pace us.  That works out so much better for me, and that’s probably what will happen in all future races we do together.

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My legs were dead at the beginning.  Between a few of the runs I had done last week and sitting in the car for 10 hours, they were just not having it, and it took several miles before they felt all right.  Finally, around mile 5 I started to feel comfortable in our pace, and the next several miles sailed by fairly easily.

The course was mostly flat, which I’ve decided I am not a fan of, and not particularly scenic. However, in Indy’s defense, it’s December, and it was a seriously gray day.  I think it would have been a beautiful course in mid-October!

My energy seriously started to diminish around mile 11, but I knew we were right on the border of making sub-2 so I did my best to push through.  With just under half mile to go, we saw John at the corner, and judging by his yelling I knew I was close to my goal.

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As we entered the shoot, I kicked up a notch, and focused on Dad’s voice beside me telling me to go.  I sprinted across the finish line, and, as I stopped, felt my legs go out from underneath me.  Luckily, Dad caught me around the waist, and kept me up right until I found my legs again!  All I remember is asking, “Did I do it?”.  For some reason, the clock wasn’t turned on at the end so I really had no idea what my final time was.

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Unfortunately, we were close, but no cigar.  Final time was 2:00:06.  That’s right.  I missed it by seven stinking seconds.  Despite a new PR and, in general, a great race, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed.  I just knew I had it, and it would have been so poetic to hit it on the last race of the year.

Dad made me feel a little better by saying the conditions just weren’t in our favor this time.  For six months, we had worried about facing snow in Indiana, and, instead, we ran in temperatures that were in the low 60s and crazy humidity.  Even so, those seven seconds still sting.

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So our little adventure is in the books.  It was a crazy undertaking, but one of the most memorable and fun years I’ve ever had.  I’m planning a post next week to recap the year in general that I really think you’ll enjoy.  In the meantime, stay tuned for the whatever awesome adventure we think of next!

You Mean I Only Have to Run 3.1 Miles?

Hey, friends, and Happy Monday!  While Mondays are not normally cause for celebration, at this point each day brings us just a little bit closer to Christmas break which is all that’s keeping me going at this point!  Can I get an amen from my teacher friends?

We had a nice, relaxing weekend which was perfect since it’s the last one until the new year.  Mom, Joel, Caite, and Justin came up for a mini-birthday celebration for Justin and myself.  Mostly, it was just an excuse to get together for some quality family time, and to participate in what is quickly becoming a yearly tradition.

The first weekend in December our town always plays host to the Choctaw Nation Sleigh Bell 5K.  There is always a huge turnout, and it is one of my favorite races of the year.  The course isn’t anything special (in fact, it’s the same old one that’s used for just about every race in town), but since our town has such a huge running community is always a good excuse to say hi to some familiar faces.  Not to mention this race always sports some pretty good t-shirts!  All runners know what an important factor that is!

This year Caite, Justin, Joel, and I laced up for my third annual Sleigh Bell while Mom and John cheered from the sidelines.  The race had an unusual noon start time so we had a leisurely morning before go time.

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I was actually a little nervous about this race which sounds absurd considering all the running I’ve done this year.  However, experienced runners will know that a 5K is an entirely different animal than a half.  Because of the shorter distance, a 5K is basically an all out sprint which means no small amount of pain!  I have a habit of holding back during a race for fear of not having anything left in the tank at the end, and Dad gave me strict instructions to avoid that mentality.  I was told to go out fast from the beginning and give it everything I had so my stomach was turning over a little bit at that thought as I stood at the start line.

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Knowing that the race was just gun time, I positioned myself as close to the front of the pack as I could, and took off from the word go.  I am super familiar with this particular course so I knew that the only monster hill was about 3/4’s of the way in, and, because I knew it would slow be down, went VERY fast for that first bit.

As expected, the hill did slow me way down, but I was still able to maintain just under a 9:00 minute pace as I made my way to the top.  I flew down the backside of it to try to regain some time, and then tried to maintain a steady pace for the rest of the course.

Around mile 2, I did stop for about a 10 second walking break mainly because I could not get my breath under control.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I am a terrible breather, and one of the things I want to work on in 2016 is trying to master that.  Here’s hoping yoga helps!

This was my first 5K since March so I was definitely curious as to what my current time would be.  I ended up crossing the finish line at 26:35 which took almost a minute off my previous PR.

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Does anyone take attractive race pictures?  Mine are always horrendous!

Joel came across not long after at 29:28, and Caite and Justin followed at 30:42.

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Most of you might remember that my brother-in-law is super fast, but he decided to hang back with Caite on this one.  She did a fantastic job considering she only started running again a week or two ago.  I’ve long said that she’s the one blessed with the athletic ability in our family!

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Joel’s finish was good enough to earn him 1st place in his age division!  I came in 1st in my age group and 6th overall female.  All in all, I’m pretty proud of my performance, but I think I’ve got a little more in me.  I think I can get under 26 minutes, and it looks like I’ve got a new goal to shoot for!

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Our group took in a quick birthday dinner before Justin and Caite had to head home.  Luckily, Mom and Joel were staying around another night so we headed out to the Poteau Christmas Parade before ending up back at the house dozing on the couch before ten o’clock.  Or maybe that was just me :)

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The next day we loaded up the pups, and took Mom and Joel out to our new land.  Speaking of, we are getting VERY close to major things starting to happen over there, and I’m excited to show you guys some progress soon.  Even though the property is in town, it’s unquiely located in a pretty wooded area, and there are all kinds of trails to walk.  It is really going to be a wonderful place to live!

Mom and Joel took off for home not long after, and John and I spent the rest of Sunday relaxing and trying to gear up for a truly intense few weeks.  Next weekend we’ll be heading to Indianapolis for our 12th (!) and final half of the year, and then the weekend after that we’ll be going on an extended trip to Albuquerque to see some very good friends tie the knot.  There will be no shortage of fun and excitement, but I guarantee you John and I will be very glad to hibernate in our house for a little while as soon as the holidays are over!

Magic City Half Marathon: An Even Greater Almost

Hello, friends!  Nice to chat with you again!  It’s been a little while, hasn’t it?  The week before Thanksgiving was full of school insanity, and then, of course, I had a big holiday week last week.  Fellow teachers:  why is the week before a break so much crazier than others?  It always seems like there are three times as many things going on, and let’s just say the kiddos definitely react to a looming holiday and amp up the nuttiness.  Of course, the three weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas break takes it to a whole new level, and the mere thought of it was enough to give me a serious case of the Sunday blues yesterday.

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Seriously, we deserve hazard pay.

In other news, I raced over the holiday break!  Dad and I traveled to Birmingham for #11 in our 12 in 12 in 12 series, and, spoiler alert, I had a repeat of the Great Almost from last month.

But let us begin at the beginning.  Saturday morning before last, I woke up IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT (well, it was like 4:45, but that might as well be the middle of the night for the first day of Thanksgiving break) to start my ten hour journey to Birmingham.  Dad and I weren’t meeting up until Monroe, LA so I had about a five hour drive by myself.

Thanks to the fortuitous timing of The Trail Show‘s new episode, I was kept entertained during that drive, and those five hours zipped by pretty quickly.  I met up with Dad, we combined our stuff into one car, and headed east.

We made it to Birmingham around 4:30, and were able to hit up packet pick up right before it closed up shop for the day.  After taking our obligatory t-shirt picture, we grabbed some dinner, and went to the hotel to crash.  Turns out a ten hour drive can be really exhausting!

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The next morning we were able to sleep in a little bit as far race days are concerned since start time wasn’t until 8.  We woke up and immediately checked the temperature since we knew a cold front was expected to blow in overnight.  Sure enough, the temps were hovering right around the freezing mark, and the wind was fairly strong.  That meant a return to my running capris, and we busted out our long-sleeved running shirts from Omaha.

The Magic City Half Marathon starts at Regions Field, and we didn’t have any trouble getting downtown and to a parking spot.  We even sat in the car for about 15 minutes to avoid spending that time in the cold weather!

About ten til 8, we made our way to the start line, took care of last minute bathroom essentials, and waited for go time.  The gun sounded just a few minutes after 8, and we were off!

Right away, I knew I was in for a little bit of discomfort.  I don’t know how much I’ve mentioned it, but I am a terrible breather.  I just do not do it well while running, and the cold simply excarebated it.  The first few miles my legs felt frozen, and I sounded like I was dying.  At one point, a passing runner turned around and looked at me because I sounded so bad.  I know he was worried something was actually wrong!

Our pace was pretty fast, but I started worrying fairly early that a sub-2 wasn’t going to be possible.  I knew I was struggling, and I doubted my ability to keep up that pace.  I decided to race sans-Garmin this time (which I’ll talk more about in another post) so Dad was solely in charge of pacing us, and he kept saying we needed to be moving a little bit faster.

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Despite all of that, the 2:00 hour pacer remained in our rearview until the 8.5 mile mark.  At that point, we played leap frog with the group for the next 1.5, but a steep hill finally allowed them to pull away from us.  I was crushed because I saw my sub-2 slipping away.

At mile 11, Dad told me there was still a possibility we could hit my goal, but that I had to push.  Just after mile 12, I saw Mom and Joel cheering us on.  They along with my grandma and aunt had decided to take a quick trip to Birmingham to see our race and do a little sightseeing so they were on had to be our cheering section.  All you runners out there know what a huge boost it is to see family and friends on the course, and this was no exception.  I was so happy to see them, and loved that they even made a sign!

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With less than a quarter mile to go, we entered the baseball field to run the warning track to the finish.  At that point, we had around thirty seconds to get the sub-2, and, unfortunately, it was just too much to cover.

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Official time was 2:00:41, and, perhaps, I should call this an Even Greater Almost.

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It was definitely a bittersweet ending because while I did PR, I was 42 seconds short of my goal, and that was disappointing.

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However, it’s time to move onward and upward, and our very last (say what?!) race for the year is in two weeks.  I’ve been putting in the work, and I’m hoping that I close out 2015 with that sub-2 finish.  We shall see!

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Marathon: Will I or Won’t I? A Fitness Discussion

Hello, folks!  How was the weekend?  John and I (and Max and Gus!) went home to spend some quality time with some of my favorite people.  We got a little exercise in the beautiful weather, ate pizza, and took in a show.

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We like to take advantage of the Broadway shows that come to Dallas as often as possible, and we knew we couldn’t miss The Sound of Music.  It was so good!  The actress who portrayed Maria could use a little more polish, but she’s young, her voice was wonderful, and overall she did a really great job.  The star of the show was the Mother Abbess.  Girlfriend had a voice that you wouldn’t believe, and I felt myself wishing she had more time on stage!

Over the weekend, I got to thinking about my workout routine, and I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve really broken down what I’ve been doing here on the blog.  You guys know I’ve been running a ton of miles this year, but that’s not all!  So today I want to give you a clear picture of my schedule, and also look forward to what I’m anticipating once the year of 12 in 12 in 12 is over.

Here’s what the schedule loosely looks like right now:

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I say loosely because it definitely depends on what I have going on that day.  The last several weeks I’ve had to do some rearranging to fit everything in, but, in general, this is the schedule I like to keep.  I just started yoga last week, but I anticipate making the Wednesday class for the foreseeable future.

I’m not sure if I really addressed it here, but, obviously, I’m not doing Crossfit anymore.  I could blame it on all the miles I’m having to run, and that is a big part of it, but really that’s not the whole truth.  It just ended up not being a good fit for me so instead I lift with John and our friends, Michael and Hanna, twice a week in their garage.  I can’t explain how much better I like this, and that will definitely remain part of my routine.

So what will the next year look like?  Well, running will still be a part of the equation.  I’ve become a little bit addicted to racing, and I don’t see giving it up any time soon.  A lot of it will depend on my next two races.  It’s no secret that I’m aiming for a sub-2:00 half, and I am so close.  If I don’t break it in Birmingham or Indianapolis then I’ll be looking for a half pretty quickly into the new year.  I don’t want to lose any of the base I built up before I hit that goal.

Once I do, it will be time to re-evalutate.  The obvious question is “Will you run a full?”.  Trust me, I’ve been getting this one quite a lot in the last few months.  The answer?  I don’t know.  I think it is the obvious next step, but I am still scared to death of the distance.  Much like before I started running half marathons, I’m just not sure if I’m capable of going the full 26.2, and I’m definitely not sure if I want to commit to training for one.

I do know that I want to work on my 5K time.  I feel like I can shave a minute or two off of my current 27:28, and I’d like to aim for that in the first few months of 2016.  I also plan on adding in at least one more day a week of yoga.

Basically, 2016 hasn’t fully formed yet as far as fitness and goals are concerned, and I’m okay with that.  I told you last week that I plan on slowly down a bit in 2016, and I very seriously meant it.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any adventures, and I’ve got a few things I’m dreaming and scheming about.  Here’s hoping 2016 is less busy but just as fun!

The Year Of No

Hello, friends!  Did everyone enjoy their Halloween weekend?  I did exactly what I wanted to do which was lay on the couch watching Hocus Pocus while John passed out candy.

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I’ve told you before just how much he looks forward to trick or treaters, and this year was no exception.  Unfortunately, we didn’t seem to get as many as we have in years passed.  Does it seem like people aren’t going door to door as much?  I know in our part of the world Fall Festivals have become huge at just about every church in the area, and more and more people seem to be opting for that.  I think it’s kind of sad!

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my weekend because I spent most of it just basking in some down time which leads me to the topic at hand.  I’m sure many of you have noticed that my posts have been few and far between in recent months, and that is a direct result of how much I’ve had going on.  Some of it is personal life related, but I’ve also taken on a large extra chunk of duties at school.  Between the two, I feel like I’ve been spinning out a little bit.

It seems like it’s really come to a head in the last month or two, and the extra amount of general busyness has of course meant extra stress.  That has manifested itself in some not so pleasant ways.  I am tired all of the time, I feel like a lot of things are only getting half done, and my neck and shoulders have been in a knot for two months.  I’m educated enough to understand that this is really NOT GOOD for me so I’ve been thinking lately about how to combat this, and I’ve come up with a few things

  1. Give Myself A Break

Sometimes things just don’t get done.  Maybe the towels don’t get folded or I have to leave the dishes in the sink for the night in favor of crashing on the couch.  I do not have the type of personality in which things like that sit well with me, but I’m learning to let go.  I’ve actually made huge strides since John and I first got married, and I’m getting better all the time.

2. Yoga

Poteau has finally entered the 21st century and yoga is coming to town!  The first class I can make is Wednesday afternoon, and I am most definitely going to make this a regular part of my routine.  I really think it could help my neck and shoulders a lot.

3. Learn To Say No

This one is huge, and really what I want to focus on.  I don’t say no very well, and it’s not just when being asked to perform some task or duty.  Someone will come up with something fun to do or try, and I jump on board before even thinking it through.  This can be just as dangerous as taking on too many tasks, and I’m trying to be mindful about really thinking through these kinds of invitations.  Is this something I really want to do?  Will it be better for my body and peace of mind to just sit this one out?

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2015 has been a really wonderful year so far, but it’s also been jam packed.  I’ve joked a few times in the last few weeks that 2016 is going to be the Year of No, but I’m starting to think it’s not such a joke.  It will definitely be the year I slow down, and I feel like that will make the things I choose to pursue that much more meaningful!

How do you manage stress? Are you guilty of saying “yes” too often?

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