Thursday, August 28, 2014

Friday Five - Fall Schedule

I was just thinking about this week's topic yesterday.

Thinking about it a lot.  

As in . . . trying to tell myself I'm not as overextended as I was last year.  

I think I'm right!

I know I'm not the only one who is ready for fall!  Cooler weather (YAY!!!), pumpkin patches & gorgeous falling leaves . . . yes, please!

I am *so* excited as well for fall racing to get here!  I have so many races I'm super excited about . . . I just wanted to share.


First up.  The Showdown Half Marathon.

This is one of my favorite halfs of the year.  The course is great, all the other racers are just awesome and the medals are *beautiful*.  This race falls on the same day as the Red River Shootout; OU vs UT.  You have an option to "pick a side" or be team neutral.    This is a hilly, challenging course, but the vibe is so incredibly positive, it's hard not to love this race.


A *BIG* fall marathon.

I have to vagueblog, but I just can't share this one quite yet due to some unresolved logistics.  But trust me, it's a big one.  

I realized earlier this week I'm about 2 weeks behind in my training (not sure how that happened), but after a couple of really great training runs this week, I think I will be ready to kill it.
I have some BIG goals to go along with this BIG marathon and I plan to meet them all.


I've never actually done a duathalon, and I was supposed to have done this last year, but due to my overextended scheduling of my one human body, I sat this one out.  While all of my cool tri friends will be racing their ultra speedy bikes, I'll be the one on the pink bike with a basket.  

It's a run 2 mile, bike 9 mile, run 2 mile course with champagne at the end.  Everyone wins really.


Speaking of ultra, it's time that I do one.  Again, I was supposed to have crossed this one off my list last year, but sat it out.  Lucky for me, I found another one on a weekend I am free that is closer to home, meaning no travel or overnight in a bed other than my own (kind of important when you're running 31 miles).  It should be a good training run for my double marathons in December!


One of the very few reasons I signed up for this one was because of the low cost entry free because of the cancellation last year.  I ran this course in 2010 and had a great race, 2012 notsomuch.  It was actually my worst race ever.  I almost quit.  I puked several times.  I was SO mad at my craptastic time because I was running training runs that put me at a 4:20 finish.  I finished in 5:20 and some change.  Abysmal.  I am out to avenge this course.  I say this now, but I think this will be the last time I do this race for awhile...

And that's just the fall!! 

What race are you looking forward to the most this fall?  Local friends, which of these races are you doing?

Until next time....have a *great* LONG weekend!!

Linking up with lovely ladies Courtney @Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @You Signed Up For What?! for the Friday Five!  As always, thanks for the link up!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Weekly Chase v24.0

This is a big week for my lil' family and many of my friends.  It's 'Back to School' for all of our kiddos.  I know my little was much more excited about this than I was.  We lucked out with another fantastic teacher this year.  Seriously, I think L's elementary has some of the BEST teachers in this city!  So there's that.

I have a hard time believing I have a 3rd grader. 

Marathon training continues to forge forward with some bumps in the road this week.  I found out mid week that my gym was closed for the week.  At least the cardio floor was.  I had to end up doing my tempo run outside after it had cooled down to 92 degrees at 9pm.  It went surprisingly well.

Yesterday was definitely the highlight of my week in running.

My MRTT chapter hosted their bi-annual virtual summer run.  This one a "summer safari".  Although it involved a 5am wake up call, it was worth it.

It was dark.

I needed 11 miles and ended up doing the half marathon distance.  It wasn't pretty, it was hot, but it was FUN.  I ran the first 6ish with cupcake baker extraordinaire Nicole, and the second half with my other running friends, Marissa and Tracy.  13.1 miles has never gone by so quickly.  I've decided I'm going to keep doing my long runs outside.  As long as I have someone to suffer with, I'll be ok.

We had a *huge* turnout!!

...and of course there were cupcakes involved.

It was back to the gym for speedwork today, which was tough after the long run yesterday.  I ended the week with a little over 22 miles.

Basically, this week looks about the same, with a 12 mile long run.  I actually can't wait to meet up again with my MRTT girls to knock this one out (even though it apparently involved hills)!

Have a great week and happy back to school!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Friday Five - Friday Funnies

In honor of all the kids going back to school and me being off school for a week (after a hellaciously - that's a word right? - busy class), I'm being super lazy this week.

Here are five Pinterest finds that made me smile (and in some cases laugh a lot).  I hope they make you smile too!


I have a feeling this is something Ryan would do if I ever dragged him into the craft store.


Perfectly acceptable for Monday morning school drop-off, right?


After spending so much time in MN over the past month, I just had to.
A good reminder why I no longer live there.


Happens a lot at my house and I only have one cat.


I couldn't just decide on one of these...

Inspired by Roscoe (my 100lb lab), who polished off a chicken, bones and all, while I was gone last week and lived to tell about it.

Have a great weekend!!

Thanks to  Courtney @Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @You Signed Up For What?! for the Friday Five link-up!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Weekly Chase v 23.0

Another week has rolled around.

I hope y'all had a great weekend!  I know I did!

Lots of travel, wrapping up assignments for my class & week 3 of marathon training are all in the books.

my awesome travel companion....don't mind the nasty stains on the carpet at DFW

My running last week was a little off due to weekend travel.  I ended up scrapping/rescheduling my speed work for another week, but got in an awesome 7 mile tempo run, a 3 mile easy, social run with my girl Letty and a 10 miler on Sunday.  The last time I saw double digit miles was mid April!  It was almost kind of like running that distance for the first time all over again.  I hope 11 goes by a little better next weekend.  I was hoping to have done my long run while I was in MN, but time and the swamp humidity on Saturday didn't really call for that.  In all, I got a total of 20 miles in (hitting the 700 mile mark for the year!) and got in 4 barre classes as well.

I made a super quick trip to MN to pick up my little, who had been staying with his grandparents for a few days.

A bonus of getting to go back again?

Dinner with this girl!  My oldest (not by age-we are eternally 26, but length of friendship) friend Lisa!!  I haven't seen her in a few years, but we are the kind of friends that just pick up where we left off.  We have seen each other through A LOT!  We had a fun dinner in St. Paul before I had to drive 3 hours to SW MIN.

Saturday, Louis and I made the most of the time we had left in MN.

We went on a bike ride (and yes, the dog sat in the basket the entire ride) to see my sweet Grandpa Louis.  I am so happy I was able to see him not once, but on three separate trips in the past 3 months.

This week brings on week 4 of training.  I'm going to try and sneak in that extra speed work day, plus my usual speed, tempo and long run.  I am looking forward to my long run this weekend with my MRTT ladies!  It's our "virtual" 5k/10k/half marathon & is always super fun.  I'll be happy if I can get to barre twice this week.

We are trying to squeak out every last bit of summer vacation that we can.  Louis is ready to go back to school, but I'm not ready for him to.  Third grade is going to commence sooner than later, whether I like it or not.

And that's my weekly chase!

What are you looking forward to this week?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Friday Five - So you want to be a runner...

Being a new runner often comes with intimidation, trepidation and a huge learning curve.

I never liked running early on in life.  Flat out hated it….in fact, I skipped the day of school where we had to run 2 miles for PE.  It made me that anxious.  I was slow.  I was usually last.  It made me feel defeated.

So when I took up running at the age of 33, it came as a surprise to many.

I didn’t have a lot of support, had no real running group or partner and basically was on my own for accountability. 

I started running a little bit in a boot camp class I had taken at Lifetime Fitness.  Soon I was able to run 3 miles!  Then I decided I wanted to run a marathon (big jump, right?).  Not just any marathon either – the New York City Marathon. I researched what I needed to do to make it happen.  I entered the lottery with little chance of being chosen, picked a training plan and before I knew it, was toeing the line on Staten Island.

Training for that race kept me sane.  At the time I was going through a divorce, was sorely underweight (what girl ever says that?!) and struggling with depression and anxiety.  I credit running with getting me out of that fog.  It made me happy.  I felt alive when I ran.  Invincible even. 

Over the years my race resume has grown….I went from wanting to run one marathon, to wanting to run 50 by the time I turn 50.  I love distance, the challenge, the adrenaline at a race start.

So….my pearls of wisdom follow.

Here are some great tips to get started!

1     Invest in a good pair of shoes.  Don’t buy the ones that are “cute” or that your friend swears by….go to a legit running store and have them look at your stride and gait.  Most shoe pros recommend that your running shoes be a full size or size and half larger than your regular, everyday shoes.   They will put you in a pair of shoes that were meant for you.  Be sure to ask about the return policy though, just in case they don’t work for you.  Replace those shoes every 300-400 miles.  Yes.  It’s good to keep track! J

2    Set a goal.  There is nothing better than a deadline.  Look for a local race that is 2-3 months out.  Most training plans, even for 5 and 10k distances require a full 10-12 weeks of training.  It doesn’t even have to be a race.  You can set a time or distance goal for yourself too.  Ex…I want to be able to run ten miles, I want to run a sub 30 min 5k, etc.  Personal goals are the best!  The allow you to give yourself that extra push to dig deep.

3    Get a plan.  There are lots of free plans on the internet!  I have used Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method (which btw is *awesome* for new and experienced runners alike), Hal Higdon’s plans and last year even hired a coach who personalized a plan for me.  Runkeeper is a great ap for plans as well, they are also free.  I recently used their sub 2 hr half marathon plan and it got me within 5 minutes of a sub two.  I also love the runkeeper ap as it helps track miles and gives you the opportunity to “check off” training runs.  Couch to 5k is another great ap that has a lot of success stories.

4    Find a training partner or a running group.  I belong to an awesome group called “Moms RunThis Town”.  It is free and nationwide.  Just plug in your city and see if there is one near you.  If there isn’t, you can start your own!  I am co-lead of a group that started one year ago and we are now 500 members strong.  Belonging to a group is great for motivation and accountability.  If you know your girls are waiting on you for that Saturday long run, you are a lot less likely to hit snooze on the alarm at 6:30am on your weekend off.  It’s also fun to meet up with friends at races and other events.

  5       Invest in some good socks.  They can make a huge difference between a good and bad run,    blistered/chaffed feet or pretty feet (the same goes for the shoes).

I can’t imagine my life now without running.  Running is my chance to be with my thoughts.  Sometimes it’s the only hour or so out of my day where I’m not talking to anyone.  The feeling when the run is finished is the best!  If you have ever heard the term “runner’s high”, who ever said it wasn’t exaggerating!  Running gives me more energy and allows me to splurge on a cupcake or two and not feel bad about it.  Running to eat good things without feeling bad is totally legit in my world.

In closing remember….

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Weekly Chase v.22

Another week of marathon training in the books!

20 solid miles broken down into a long run, a tempo run and a speed work out (which I felt like I *nailed* for once!).  I also managed to get in 3 barre classes, despite being gone for most of the week.

I got my long run in on Tuesday, instead of the typical weekend, so I could take advantage of the cool MN weather!  I'm so glad I did, because a) 9 miles on the treadmill seem quite daunting right now and b) it was 100+ degrees all weekend in TX.  Plans changed for the week a little bit and I'll be able to do this weeks long run in MN too!

This was difficult to leave behind.

I spent most of this past week in MN with Louis and will return there this weekend to bring him back home.  I miss him to pieces, but get to talk to him twice a day (unlike when he is at his dads, where I am forbidden to call) and I *know* he is having a blast.  I'm also thankful that I'll get to see my sweet grandpa again!  When I left him on Wednesday, he was in the hospital.

This week brings probably the most challenging speed workout yet, a 7 mile tempo run and a 10 mile long run + 4-5 barre classes (23 classes away from 100!).

Some of my friends have inspired me to start the Whole 30 diet.  Again, not a diet, just a plan of eating fresh foods, free from preservatives and high in protein.  It's not as much of a diet, but more like a healthy way of eating (spoken like the girl who found some frozen cookie dough in the freezer this past weekend and is feeling bad about her "choices").

this week's airplane reading

Have you ever done the Whole 30 plan?  Thoughts?

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Friday Five - Favorite Race Memories

I'm linking up with Courtney @Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @You Signed Up For What?! for the Friday Five - Favorite Race Memories.

My favorite race memories?  Only 5?!  That’s like asking me to tell you what my five favorite flavors of cupcakes are.  There are just so many….
I’m sure after I write this I’ll think of 5 more that may be in the running, but let’s go with these!
My first “big”race.

The Dallas Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  It wasn’t anything super spectacular, but that race will always be in that special place.  In fact, I’ve done it every year since it’s started here.  It’s just the race I do every year.  I was a legacy runner after 5 years and I plan to be in 10 as well.  I set a goal and I met it.  Spot on.

My first 5k. 
An untimed 5k for the love of the SPCA of Texas.  It included a small amount of fundraising for my favorite cause.  Animals.  Dogs particularly.  It seemed like I trained forever for this race.  In fact, it probably took me 4-6 months to build my endurance in order to actually run the 3 miles.  What makes this one so special is that I did it with my very first pet, Kirby T. Ferguson, bad dog extraordinaire.  

In fact, we kind of smoked it.  Even though it was untimed, my watch said 26 something, making it unofficially, the fastest 5k I’ve ever raced.  It helps, of course, when you are bring pulled by a 80lb black lab. 
Love Marathon
I’m noticing a lot of “first” on this list, this one being no exception.  Earlier this year I did my first trail race (it was the first time I’d even run on a trail) in Huntsville, with a giant circle of friends from MRTT.  

Not only was the race really cool, the trip was *so* fun. It involved a lot of laughing, a lot of really good food and some seriously legit ladies.  It was a small race, but gorgeous and peaceful.  I not only placed (for the first time), I became a Marathon Maniac (#8766) with a BRF Luisa (#8759)!  I will move mountains to make sure I do that race again in 2015.
Chicago Marathon 2012
This wasn’t because of an epic run, or a cool t-shirt or medal, it was because of something really sweet I saw on the course.  Around mile 7/8, maybe earlier?  All I remember is that I was still in a great mood.  The race went by a second story assisted living/nursing home facility.  The residents were eating breakfast by the windows and they were all waving at the runners, smiling ear to ear.  It was so touching that it made me tear up a bit.  For the majority of my nursing career, I have worked with that population so it made it definitely put a little spring in my step.
sorry, no picture of adorable seniors waving out the windows, just this
New York City Marathon 2011
I had to break away from the “firsts” and go with a second (it was my second NYCM – the first didn’t really go so well).  Because I had actually trained well and didn’t have a million other things on my mind, I was able to just take it all in, the craziness of it all.  BUT, the best part was, my parents were able to see my finish (a PR at the time), making marathon fans out of them (I think!).  My now fiancĂ©e (then kind of new boyfriend) and dear friends Jodi and Shirley were also at the finish.  It was something unforgettable.  To me, it’s all about the people at the finish.  They see you through all of the ups and downs of training, the 5am get ups to beat the heat and the frequent absenteeism because “I have to get my miles in”.  The people at the finish are likely just as much a part of running a race as I am. This year, it will be my son who gets to see me finish a HUGE race. I can’t wait. 

So that’s my list!
What is your favorite race memory?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer #fuelyourbetter Review

I don't know about you, but there are days where I wished I had just an ounce of the energy my 8-year-old does.  I often get asked "how do you have the energy to do all of that"? ain't easy!  I just repeat my dad's mantra "get 'er done" and just try to *look* full of energy doing so!

I recently had the opportunity through the Sweatpink community to review the Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer for the #fuelyourbetter campaign.  Here's a lil' something about this product:

Vega: Sport Pre-Workout Energizer is a pre-workout drink mix sporting a unique blend of 13 synergistic plant-based performance-improving ingredients, like green tea, yerba mate, coconut oil and rhodiola, specifically selected to

  • Provide immediate and sustained energy
  • Increase endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • Enhance mental focus and recovery

  • Featuring two complementary carbohydrates, Pre-Workout Energizer is balanced to provide both instant and slower-burning fuel for your workouts. Organic sprouted brown rice syrup has a high glycemic index (90), entering the bloodstream quickly, while organic palm nectar has a low glycemic index (35), providing slow, steady energy that will not spike or crash.
    Take Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer 20 minutes before your workout to help you get in the zone with energy to burn!
    Available in Lemon-Lime and Acai Berry flavors (VegaSport. 2013).
    I received a box of Acai Berry for review. 

    To be honest....I had actually won a small sample of these a couple of months ago.  I tried to take one before a race and couldn't get over the smell.  I guess it just wasn't what I thought Acai berry smelled like?  

    So when I was chosen for this opportunity, I was ready to approach trying it with a fresh and open mind.  
    The instructions are pretty easy....mix it with some water  (8 oz. if you're into details like that)!

    Stir it up well.  I like to add A LOT of ice.  I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor, it wasn't terribly "berry" like, but it wasn't awful either.  It leaves kind of a bland (but not bad) taste in my mouth, but it's easily corrected with a water chaser.  I'd also like to experiment mixing it with a berry flavored juice  (low sugar, of course).

    Everything is better with a bunny straw!

    Anyway....on to the important stuff....the energy!

    I tried this product before 3 different workouts as I didn't feel as though 1 was a big enough sample to give a well rounded review.

    The first workout/run was a speed workout.  I was getting faster again this spring and have kind of slowed down again, so I was curious how this workout would go.

    Nailed it.

    I felt energized the entire run and even did much better towards the end.

    Second workout - long run for the week.  Once again, I killed it.  My goal was marathon pace + 30 seconds and it was more like 15 seconds.  I'd been having problems with my longish runs the past couple of weeks, so I was wary of this one too.  Of course it helped to have beautiful MN weather and peaceful road in front of me.  I felt energized the entire run!

    Third workout - tempo run.  This run wasn't the best, but I think my legs were just tired from the long run the night before, yet I still felt like I had energy to spare, my legs just weren't feeling it.

    I did a fourth workout on Tuesday night (another long run) without it, just to see if there was a difference.  Same route, nearly same mileage as Friday.  My pace was a good 25-30 seconds a minute SLOWER because I didn't feel like I had the energy to complete it.

    My thoughts?  IT WORKS!

    Overall, despite my beginnings with this product, I've actually come to like it.  There is no crash and burn effect, but it also doesn't make you feel buzzed and jittery like caffeine does.  I like that it is plant based energy, including some big energy producers such as beet (maybe that would account for the bland aftertaste?).  Another bonus is that you can purchase it in sample sizes.  This way you aren't committed to a 30 serving supply of something you may or may not like.  The samples are very affordable as well (around $2)!  I also LOVE that it contains *real* food products.  There are no chemical concoctions.  They actually provide you with nutrition, versus just energy and mega doses of vitamin B12 (it also comes in sugar free!).

    More nutritional goodies....

    Vega Sport also has a wide variety of other products, for both during and after your workout.

    I will continue to use Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer as part of my routine.  I'd really like to try the lemon lime flavor next, but will continue to experiment with the acai berry for now!

    Have you ever used Vega Sport nutrition products?

    What is your pre-workout routine?

    Disclaimer:  If you haven't already noticed, this is a blog.  All opinions stated here are my own.  I am not responsible for opinions or outcomes should you decide to use this product (aka, I am not liable).  Vega Sport nutrition provided these samples for me to review free of charge in exchange for my thoughts.