Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holidays at Home

Sorry I have been a little MIA lately! Earlier this week was a little crazy with getting ready to travel, and now we are in upstate NY visiting my parents for the holidays.

So far it has been wonderful. We made it East without too many flight issues, even though there were big storms in Denver. Since we got to NY, we have visited with friends and family, wrapped Christmas gifts and eaten lots of cookies! Ryan and I have been trying to go to the gym most days, doing both some running and weight lifting.

Posting will continue to be light through the new year, but I will do my best to post when I can. I hope everyone enjoys their holidays! Spend time with those you love and care about.

What are you doing for the holidays?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

How was your weekend??

Mine was full of holiday cheer!

Of course, first I had to get in a run. Last week I had a dream about doing a 10 mile long run (yes, I seriously dreamt about it! guess I was really missing running!), but that just didn't fit in with the busy day for Saturday. I did squeeze in a chilly but speedy 5-miler. It was actually really great run because I almost beat Ryan and did beat Matt back to our starting point -- that never happens!

General run stats: mile 1 in 9:35, mile 2 took 9:03, mile 3 was 8:33, mile 4 8:09, and finished off with mile 5 in 7:58. Sweet! I actually passed both guys, but Ryan just couldn't let me beat him! Haha.

Chilly morning, so I layered up. Compression pants and socks, and a long sleeve shirt

After the run, we packed up and headed to Reno, NV for the night. The drive out was a little snowy, but nothing too crazy. Mostly, I just loved seeing all the snow stuck to the trees.

We went to Reno for the Reno Santa Pub Crawl! So once we got there and checked into our hotel, we got all dressed up in our holiday gear, ready to run around the town.

It is quite the event with thousands of people showing up. We had heard of it this fall when the guys went to Reno for a trip, and saw the zombie crawl. Overall, it was a blast! So many fun costumes! Not only were there Santa's all over the place, but there was also elves, reindeer, and even some Christmas tress. I don't have a picture of it, but my personal favorite was a group of people who dressed up as a plate, cookies, and milk.

At midnight they try to get everyone to congregate at the Reno arch for a picture. This one is from last year:

from santa crawl website

We made it just in the nick of time! The crawl was definitely a blast! I'd love to go to it again next year if we can.

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, December 14, 2012

What's Next?

Now that my marathon is past, and we are quickly approaching the new year, I thought it would be good to start thinking about my next big goal. (I always like to have goals!)

I'm working on my spring race schedule still, but I am really hoping to PR in the half marathon. I haven't ever integrated much speedwork into my training routine, so I plan to try to do at least a little bit of that. I'm looking forward to researching speed workouts -- is that weird?

My current half marathon PR was on a course with a couple long hills, so I think that if I can push myself I should be able to do pretty well on the flatness that's found in most of the races around Sacramento.

Two races that are definitely on my schedule are:

Davis Stampede (still deciding between10k or half marathon)
Shamrockin' Half Marathon

Still not sure what else, but most likely another half marathon or two, and possibly even a late spring marathon. Any suggestions of what I should do somewhere on the West Coast??

Some good reads about running just for fun:
The Golden Rules of 26.2: Steve Smythe describes some of his biggest takeaways from years of training and racing for a marathon. A good read --just thought you might all enjoy his tips as much as I did.
How to recover from a marathon: Lots of good tips. Paula Radcliffe says after a marathon, "I take a month off to recover, do yoga, and cross-train"
Oscar Pistorius races a Horse: Find out how he did! By the way, I think this guy is incredible.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

1st Day Back to Running

Today was officially my first run since the marathon. And it was GLORIOUS.

Over the weekend I dared to do a leg workout at the gym, and was surprised that I pretty much felt normal. Since then I have been itching to get in a running workout! But since a lot of my weekend was full of holiday parties and being lazy after said parties, I didn't get a chance to until today. It seriously felt great to get my legs moving again. I did a progression run on the treadmill at the gym. I don't usually like the treadmill too much (I get too hot!), but I kept the run pretty short and just tried to keep increasing my speed to keep it interesting.

Also, since it is already the middle of December, and I haven't had a chance yet, I wanted to review my November goals & talk about December goals... or at least for the rest of the month.

November Goals
Run a strong, evenly paced 20 miler -- met my goal pace for this race, but decided I needed to improve a little on pacing. Did much better at this (minus the wind!) at the turkey trot
Eat healthy through Thanksgiving in prep for marathon -- also did ok with this. only ate too much pie on Thanksgiving Day.
Make a good salad at least once a week for lunch-- was good about this except for maybe the last week. I think the holiday parties started and kept me away from the lunchtime greens.
Keep up with the yoga -- did yoga at least once a week! actually, last week was the first week I haven't done any yoga in a while. definitely getting back into it this week.
Enjoy your fun upcoming events with friends -- had lots of fun with the Giro D'Vino, and Lake Tahoe for Thanksgiving

December Goals
Run my first marathon!
    Sub-goals for this race were: Don't hit the wall, Finish!, Reach goal..finish under 4:25.
Don't eat too many Christmas cookies --just pick one or two of your favorites.
Run when you feel like it, but at least keep getting to the gym (workout at least 3-4x/week)
Make the most of time with friends and family for Christmas

Monday, December 10, 2012

Waking Up in Vegas

After the marathon, we spent a few days hanging around in Las Vegas with friends.

[photo from Colleen]

Sunday night we tried to stay on our feet to help in recovery. We didn't want to go back to the Strip after going back to our hotel and showering, but luckily there was a little bar across the street. We were basically the only ones there. Ordered up some chicken wings, and played a few games of shuffleboard. 

Monday we walked the Strip, and went to Serendipity for lunch. Then we walked some more and finally found a sports bar in the NY, NY casino to watch Monday Night Football. Afterward we went to Wolfgang Puck at MGM for dinner. The food was SO delicious! I have been there 3 different times, and loved their food every time.

Tuesday we decided we had spent enough time on the Strip, so instead we rented a car for the day and visited the Hoover Dam! On our way there we stopped for lunch at In-N-Out. This is a West Coast  must for those who haven't tried it.

 [photo from Colleen]

The Hoover Dam is pretty incredible. It is quite the feat of engineering, and incredible to see. I would highly recommend visiting if you are in the area. The drive from Las Vegas is only about 40 minutes. There are two different tour options -- I recommend the more expensive one ($30) because you get to walk through more of the dam, and really see of how it was constructed.

 not the greatest panoramic, but still looks pretty cool.

Overall, it was a great trip to Las Vegas! It can be so fun to travel for a race because you get to see more of the area. Already trying to figure out where the next destination race should be! Let me know if you have any good suggestions.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon (My First Marathon): Part 2

See RnRLV Recap Part 1 here.

There were 8 corrals in the full marathon. I wasn't really sure if I should line up in the 7th or 8th. I had signed up for the 7th (way back in April!), but I was a little nervous whether the other runners would be too fast for me. When I got into the corral though, the 4:25 pacer was there, so I wasn't worried anymore. She said she was going to run a 9:55 min/mile to account for bathroom breaks or water stops. Sounded perfect!

The race started right on time at 3pm. The weather was great -- around 70 degrees and sunny. Except for the wind!! The wind advisory said 25mph sustained winds and gusts up to 45! I tried not to let that make me too, when our corral was finally released, I was just SO excited! This was finally happening!! Here. We. Go!

 [photo from Rock'n Roll LV Facebook page]

We started by heading away from the main part of the Strip for a mile before turning around and heading back down the entire Strip for 7 more miles. This part of the run was amazing. There were so many people out along the road, the wind was at our backs, it was the first few miles and everything was going great. There was so much to look at with all the big casinos! I tried not to start out too fast and really wanted to keep this part easy so I didn't burn out later. I ended up running the first 10k in 1:02.

At mile 9, we headed away from the Strip and the wind started to pick up. Sometimes it felt like no matter which direction we were going in, the wind was against you. My legs were already feeling heavy by mile 10, which I got a little nervous about, but I tried to keep my mind focused on just a few miles at a time instead of that I still had 16 miles to go. I past the halfway point in 2:13.50.

One of the most difficult parts was miles 13.5-16, which was a long stretch into the wind. It really took a lot out of me. It was an out and back, so I did my best to push the pace again until mile 20. These miles were also tough because it was super dark by that point and there weren't too many people out since it was kind of an empty/commercial area.

The last 6-7 miles were all against the wind, and seriously so tough! My legs were tired from running so many miles already, and pushing it against the strong winds. At this point, it seemed like everyone around me was walking. I only let myself walk the water stations, and then kept pushing as hard as I could once I past by them.

Along the run I ate a power bar, and a few ShotBloks. I had water at every water station. I also decided to take some salt with water near two different stations to make sure I didn't cramp or maybe help the fatigue. Not sure if it did anything, but I didn't have any issues either. I passed mile 23 with 30 minutes to finish under 4:30. I knew I wouldn't quite make it but I decided to push it as hard as I could to see how close I could get.

The final 2 miles were back on the Strip, and it was great to have the crowd support again! One of my favorite spots on the route was running through the Freemont Street Mall area. SO many people, good bands, bright lights...just an all around fun atmosphere!

The last couple miles were alongside the half marathoners. The marathoners had just a small lane since there weren't as many of us. With so many walkers at this point in the race, I had some trouble sometimes getting past people, but I did my best to keep pushing it all the way to the end.

I finished in 4:32:01 with an average pace of 10:23/mile. 

I was hoping to finish a little faster than this based on my training, but I think the wind took some  energy out of me. I also think for me, doing a night race was difficult. I found it harder to stay focused in the dark (especially since I don't listen to music). Walking so much the day before probably also didn't really help -- something to consider for my next race. But overall, I am SOO excited and proud of myself for finishing my first marathon! I think I kept a fairly consistent pace throughout and had so much fun! I was smiling almost the whole time even when I was in pain.

Thanks to everyone for your support. It is so incredible to finally cross that finish line and call myself a marathoner. It was less than two years ago when I decided to train for my first half marathon. I was so worried about how my knees would hold up, or if I would really be able to do it. I truly never thought I would one day run a full marathon! I think there will be another marathon in my future. And I'm already looking forward to it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon (My First Marathon): Part I

I'm still a little bit amazed that my first marathon is actually finished. After putting in months of training, the day has finally passed...and I made it to the finish line!

Let me start from the beginning...

We arrived in Las Vegas late Friday night, and just went to our hotel to meet up with the friends we were staying with. We ended up staying up pretty late just talking / catching up -- they live in CT, so we don't see them very often!

On Saturday, we headed to the expo. It was held in the Convention Center near the Venetian. I was hoping we wouldn't have to walk too much, but it is hard to get anywhere on the Strip in Vegas without walking, or paying a ton for a cab.

The expo was gigantic! The check-in process went really smoothly, and we didn't have any issues getting our bibs or t-shirts. Afterward we wandered around to check out some of the vendors since we had never been to an expo like that before. We didn't buy anything, but it was cool to see what was out there.

For the rest of the day, we wandered the Strip (a few friends had never been there before, so it was fun to see their reaction to all the huge casinos and lights). We got tickets to David Copperfield's show, so we slowly made our way down to the MGM. On the way we checked out the street performers, ate an early dinner at Toby Keith's I love This Bar, and bought a bunch of treats at the M&M store! We ended up walking way more than I wanted to (probably almost 6 miles on the day), but at least it was spread out over the day.

After the David Copperfield show (which was pretty cool by the way...better than I expected), we cabbed back to our hotel and all shared a small pizza as a late night snack. We decided to go to bed a little later than we usually would for a morning race since this run didn't start until 3pm.

Sunday morning was spent lounging in our room. We slept in until about 10, then stretched and ate before getting ready. We decided to cab to the start of the race since our hotel's shuttle put us about 3 miles from the starting line. We got there super early, so we found a spot inside to hide from the crazy winds until closer to race time.

About 2 o'clock, we headed to the start area to check our bags and get into our corrals. Before I knew it, the race was about to start!

Overall I felt surprisingly calm all day. Earlier in the week I figured I was going to be nervous all day about the run, but I really wasn't to bad. I believed I would be able to make it, and tried to stay confident. The thing that made me the most worried was the wind. It had been beautiful on Saturday, so I hadn't expected the wind -- and I know how hard a windy run can be!

Stay tuned for more about the race!

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm a marathoner!

I finished my first marathon yesterday! I am so excited to say that. :)

I'll have to wait to give you all the details because I am staying in Las Vegas for a couple more days and don't have access to my computer, and I haven't mastered this phone posting thing yet.

But I wanted to let you know I made it and live to tell the tale. And even though I am so sore today, I am considering when should be my next race!

Thanks for all your support! Will tell you all about it soon -- hopefully Wednesday!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

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