Indoor Insanity Marathon Relay Recap

So what would make a person want to run a marathon relay on a 500m indoor track?!  Awesome friends and a promise of food and beer when you finish!

Two teams of Woo Hoo Crewers showed up last Sunday to run the inaugural Indoor Insanity Marathon Relay.  Katie and I were Team Woo Hoo Crew Girls, each running a half.  We were the only 2 person girl team!  Hells yeah!  Bekah, Daniel and Cara made up Team Three’s A Crowd, each running slight under 9 miles a piece.  Amanda and Bob ran the earlier indoor 5K race and they both stayed to volunteer and cheer on the runners. 936268_10200524476409075_1550927806_n

All teams, or if you were brave enough to run to solo, had to complete 84.4 laps around the JDL Fast Track.  Thankfully, the relay was “free form” so each team could decide how they would complete the marathon.  Some teams went for the speed approach and alternated every 1000m (2 laps); other teams opted for trying to get some miles under each leg before handing off to their teammates.  That was our approach to tackling the marathon.  We each thought running 7 laps (3500m, just over 2 miles ) for as long as we could be the best way to break the mileage up and maybe help us not to tire quickly.  Each team also had a lap counter and ours was Craig, who was awesome and super supportive!  He cheered for us each time we passed through the start/finish line.  He also kept us on track for finishing under 4:30, my goal for our team, though I’m not sure Katie knew that I made that goal.  I just thought if we ran really well, we could finish around 4:30.   I didn’t want to pressure her but I had complete confidence that we could do it!

I started ourme and katie team off, which the .4 was tacked on so my first leg was almost 2.3 miles.  With all the excitement of the race, I ran the first leg a little too fast and knew that I had to back off just a bit to be able to keep a good solid pace for the remaining legs. The course was similar to an Indy Car track.  We made left and right turns with each lap around the track, which was key to saving our legs and avoiding injury.  The layout of the track lent there to be a lot of crowd support from all of the other runners and volunteers.  We ran through the middle of the track where a lot of runners waiting for their turns were camped out.  The back side of the track and one of two straightaways was where I would recover and then work to gain speed again for the rest of each go around the course.  The other straightaway was behind a set of bleachers and out of view from the crowd, so it was my other time to recover a bit.  I really ran each 500m much like a Fartlek…running quickly through part of the course and recovering along the straightaways.  Not sure when I thought that was my approach, but I stuck with it for the entire race.

Katie ran the next 3500m and we kept this plan for for 3 legs a piece.  On the fourth leg, we were going to back down to 5 laps, but Katie, luckily great at math at that moment, realized we needed to run 6 so that we didn’t end up with a lap a piece at the end.  She quickly found me on the course and told me to run 6 laps.  After 6 laps a piece, we dropped to 5 laps each until the finish.  We finished the first half of the marathon right at 2:05:25.  It seemed like we’d have the 4:30 goal easily if we just kept up our momentum.600632_10151672177190351_277292052_n While Katie was out on her second to the last leg, Craig and I were chatting and looking at our time to see where we stood as far as the 4:30 goal.  Katie and I had been running really well.  At this point, we easily had 4:30, so Craig said if his math was right, we could have 4:20!  He had been tracking how fast Katie and were running each lap and he thought 4:20 was in reach.  He told me on my final leg of 5 laps, I needed to get back to the exchange zone by 4:00 in order to put us at 4:20 or under.

Katie finished up her 5th lap and she handed off to me.  I remember looking at the clock and thinking I only like 14 minutes to get all 5 laps in and get back by 4:00.  I am awful at doing math when I run, so that seemed almost crazy!  I took the time bracelet from Katie and just went.  I stayed with my Fartlek approach and with each lap I’d take a glimpse at the clock and try to figure out how fast I was running each lap.  I knew I was running each 500m about 2:45-2:50 so when I came through on my last lap, I had to keep a quick pace in order to make it back by 4:00.

I came rolling through the last turn and headed for the exchange zone just staring at the clock.  It was on 3:59:58!  Holy moly, I made it back in time!  I handed the bracelet to Katie945082_10151672185145351_1597229900_n at 4:00:02.  Katie had to just finish up her last 5 laps in 20 minutes.  Craig and I watched the TV that had the live results on it, looking at our time as Katie passed by for her first few laps.  We started doing the math and realized after her first 3 laps, we were going to be faster than even 4:20?!  Katie was running each lap progressively faster.  GO girl!!  She came through and started her last lap.  I joined her and ran with her for the last go around.  I filled her in while we ran at how well we were doing.  We looped through the course and came through the finish line, 4:16:56!

We got our medals and gave each other a big hug!  I was so proud of us both and how well we ran.  We stayed upbeat and positive the whole time!  Sure we were tired and achy, but we did it!  Both of us went into this marathon relay just for the fun of it.  We knew that 9407_10200527620927686_866026197_nno matter what, we’d each run a half and it would take us a long as it would take.  Little did we know that we’d end up running not only faster than 4:30 or even a 4:20.  We were the first all girl team to come through the finish line!   That was just the icing on the cake. WOO HOO!

As promised there was beer and food post race.  Everyone grabbed a beer, some went over to get massages and we decided that we’d head to Foothills for post race grub.  It was an awesome event!  We look forward to returning next year and bringing even more people with us.

To read about Team Three’s A Crowd’s experience, read Daniel’s race recap: Indoor Insanity Marathon Relay

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You can bet your Uranus! Breaking Barriers!

Guess whose life got hectic and crazy this month?!  This girl!

Geez, I had a full intention of writing a recap of the Flying Pirate half weekend, but by the time we got back from that wonderful trip, I was running a local half, Owl’s Roost Rumble which left me just two days before I shipped out…okay, we really took a bus…to Washington DC with 200+ 8th graders and I was finally running the Nike Women Half Marathon this past Sunday. Breathe..phew!  3 half marathons in 14 days + 2 trips out-of-town = 1 tired runnergirl.

So this will be an action packed recap of each race!

Flying Pirate Woo Hoo Crew Weekend

If you are ever want an excuse to go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to run then this is your event!  This race became my instant favorite from when I ran in its inaugural year in 2010.  This marked the 4th year of this race and it just keeps getting better!  I opted to run the Pirate’s Challenge again this year, the First in Flight 5K on Saturday and the Flying Pirate Half on Sunday.  3 medals, 2 tees and some sweet swag, it is a no brainer!

18 of us traveled to OBX on Friday, getting in at various times.  We weren’t able to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Outer Banks Brewing Station, for dinner.  The place was too packed and we wouldn’t be able to sit together as a group.  So we opted for Five Guys instead.  Once we finished dinner, we all headed back to our rental house and settled in for the night knowing we had an early morning.

Saturday morning, 15 of us were taking part in the 5K!  That is the largest group we’ve had doing an OBX race ever!  Some of us were running together; others were walking with their boo’s.  Nick, H and I were running another family 5K together.  The course for the 5K is pretty fantastic!  You actually circle around the Wright Brothers Memorial before climbing the hill to the very top.  Once on the backside of the hill, you trot down the Greenway for an out and back.  Though H is usually enthusiastic about running, she wanted NO part of it that morning.  She wasn’t feeling her best, I was trying to keep my cool, and Nick was trying to keep both of us from losing it.  It wasn’t our finest moment. By the time we reached the finish line, H had declared she was back in retirement.  However, within 5 minutes and some water and bananas, she was already talking about our May GoFar 5K.  She makes me laugh!girlsonlypic

On Sunday, 8 of us were running the half.  We all were in really great spirits that morning.  None of us were stressing the race.  Most of us were running the race for the experience vs a time.  I had thoughts of trying to PR, but once I hit mile 10, my legs had another idea and I struggled a bit through the trail section of the course.  By the time I hit mile 12.5 and started the single track trail section, I was done.  The sun and heat were at play this year vs the torrential downpour we ran in last year.  I was beaten down by the end of the race and was happy to see that downhill finish.  I was pleased with how I ran, doing the best I could, given the conditions.  Everyone had the same opinion: we all wished it was just a bit cooler.  We enjoyed the post race festivities for a bit and made our way to Mama Kwan’s for a round of fish tacos and Bushwackers. We spent the rest of the long weekend relaxing on the beach, visiting the Currituck Lighthouse and enjoying an afternoon in Manteo.  We can’t wait for next year’s race!half runners

Owl’s Roost Rumble Trail Half

After running this one last year, I was hooked!  It’s a great trail half covering 4 different trails and Greenway near Bur-Mil park.  I’ve only trails just a handful of times and by no means am I good at it.  I run very cautiously, fearful I’m going to take a tumble at any moment.  So running this one, it always pushing me outside my comfort zone.  Katie and I signed up to run it, but found out that Melanie J and Dena were also running it too.

The women’s wave started at 8:15 and we were off!  We ran down to the Greenway and hit Owl’s Roost, the first trail.  This one is my favorite of all four.  It follows along Lake Brandt and it is pretty fun to run.  There aren’t too many roots or rocks and I fell into a good groove for the 5 mile trek.  Once I popped out of the trail and ran down the Greenway to the next trail, Nat Greene.  This one is a bit tougher for me.  A little hillier and more technical than Owl’s Roost.  It too follows along the lake and has a some really great views. I hung in there for the 3 miles along this trail. 552881_10200316853618635_1097519077_n

After another quick water break, the course takes us down Lake Brandt Road near the dam to Piedmont trail.  Although this trail is fairly flat, the roots on this one are ridiculous!  I have big feet and I have a really hard time tip toeing through all of the twisty roots.  I had a near fall on this one, snagged my toe on a tiny stump and both feet came off the ground.  I totally caught myself somehow before I took a spill.  I was getting tired through this 3 mile section and I was not picking up my feet as much.

I was relieved to see the Greenway again.  Stretched my legs out a bit while I made my way to Big Loop, the last trail.  This one is pretty easy to run other than the mile long uphill finish.  By the time I reached the finish line, I was ready to be done running.  Although I had hopes of running this one faster than last year, I was a bit slower.  I felt like I had run it better this year than last year, so I’m not sure what that means in regards to my time.  Overall, I was pleased and had a great time at our post race celebration at Ham’s.

Nike Women Half Marathon

I had mentioned in an earlier post about my sheer delight when I got into this race and the day to finally run it was here!  This was also the first race that I was doing everything entirely by myself.  With most of our group’s races, I usually have at least one other person running it too.  Not this time.  I was on my own with everything.

I was up in DC already with our school’s 8th grade field trip and after leaving them on Friday afternoon, I made my way to the Expotique via Metro to pick up my bib.  I stopped by the Nike Georgetown to pick up some Nike DC gear.  The branding for this race was awesome and I spent a lot more money than I had planned, but everything was so badass!

Expotique was really cool. Not like any Expo I have ever been too.  It was definitely made to have a spa feel and totally catered to women.  There were bra fitting areas, shoe demos, places to get your hair and make-up refreshed by Paul Mitchell and bareMinerals, and 400765_10200357145865916_784835968_nplenty of samples of Nuun and Luna Bars.  My favorite part of the Expotique was the “make your own” race day sign at the Luna station.  It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!  I made H a race day sign. There were plenty of places around the Expo for photo ops.  It was well-organized and super quick to move through.  I was thankful.  I feared long lines with over 15,000 women registered to run.

I headed to Virginia in the late afternoon.  We were staying with some dear friends Friday night.  Nick and H made their way to Virginia also on Friday.  I was so happy to have them up there with me in DC to be at the finishing line.  On Saturday, we said good-byes to our friends and headed to DC to stay closer to the finish line.  We stayed in The Churchill Hotel, one of the Nike discounted hotels.  The hotel was amazing!  We were thrilled with the location (we were across the street from the Washington Hilton where the Correspondent’s dinner was taking place!).

We settled in and headed out for food. I yelped some nearby places and we decided to try Founding Farmers.  It had great reviews and was featured on several Food Network shows.  It did not disappoint!  We shared the Deviled Egg and Smears, Dips and Table Breads appetizers.  Nick ordered the Farmhouse soup, a kicked up Chicken Noodle soup.  H opted for their cheeseburger.  I would have liked to say I tried that, but she killed it!  She ate the whole thing and said it was the best burger she’d ever had. I was torn between two different entrees, the Black Pepper Gnocchi and Sausage and the Chicken Pot Pie.  I chose the Gnocchi dish and I was so glad I did.  It was rich and creamy.  The basil thyme amaretto cream sauce complimented the peppery-ness of the gnocchi.  The sausage and mushrooms added to the overall flavor of the dish.  I can’t wait to visit this restaurant again when we come back to DC this summer.  We took H by the White House and ended up catching the Presidential Motorcade as President Obama was escorted to the Correspondent’s dinner!  An adventure filled pre-race night!

Race day finally arrived!  I woke up at 4:30am to give myself plenty of time to walk from the hotel to the Metro.  I had a short ride on the Metro and short walk to the race start.  Because I 936907_10200357153026095_232417616_narrived so early, I was able to visit the port-a-potties only having to wait just a few minutes.  First time ever!  I was in my corral by 6am, an hour before go time.  I just took everything in as the hour passed.  More and more women streamed into the corral and by 6:40am, it was fairly packed.  At 6:55am, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Shalane Flanagan came on the stage to announce the start of the race!  It was amazing to be in the presence of two Olympians.  They were both running the race too and I secretly hoped I’d see them on the course.  No luck!577554_10200357153666111_1015203709_n

At 7am, the horn sounded and we were off!  I thought that perhaps they would stagger the corrals, but that wasn’t the case.  It was a whole group start which lead to a bit of chaos.  It was fairly hectic through the first few miles.  I saw some women go down, others would stop and start walking without any kind of warning.  It was a little unsettling.  By mile 4, the craziness had calmed and I started to enjoy the race.

There was entertainment along the course about every 2 miles.  The two drum bands in 644496_10200357154866141_1908155560_nthe tunnel at mile 1 and again at mile 10 were outstanding.  I was throwing my hands up, keeping up with the beat.  It was awesome!  In addition to the entertainment, there were the “miles of encouragement”, as I called it.  It started off around mile 6 with inspirational words on signs, mile 7 were posters of quotes and sayings and mile 8 were reasons why we run.  It was really cool and the miles passed by quickly.  Once we passed mile 10, you could feel the surge towards the finish line.  We were headed back towards the start/finish line and we just had 2 miles left once we turned onto Pennsylvania Ave headed towards the Capitol.

Those last two miles flew by and once I could see the finish line, I just kept a good even 935122_10200357156586184_1334792668_npace and pushed towards it.  Once I crossed the red carpet, my bib was scanned and I was congratulated for finishing the race.  I was ushered towards men in tuxedos with silver trays holding little blue Tiffany boxes, our “medals”.  Each participant receives a Tiffany finisher’s necklace.  DC firefighters were passing out the boxes to each runner.  I quickly snapped a picture and headed towards the post race food line.  I grabbed a blue Tiffany bag and a few snacks.

The finisher tee tent was next.  Nike has it set up right.  Each runner gets in a size line where you grab your finisher tee.  You can try them on, right then and there and make exchanges once you exit the tent, if needed.  It’s a brilliant concept!  I wish other races would do that.  It’s much more convenient than having to return later to an Expo to make an exchange.  I found Nick and H in the crowd by this point and they followed me down the line as I passed each station until we could reunite.

Just like the Expotique, Paul Mitchell and bareMinerals had tents set up for you to have your hair and make-up refreshed after running.  I didn’t take advantage of these areas.  The lines were really long.  We did wait in line to take pictures with the Nike background. I didn’t realize until then that there were not photographers at all along the course or finish line.  I am disappointed about that now.  I usually purchase a picture from each race, luckily I have some great pictures that I can use. I hope they change that for future DC races.

The whole Nike Women half experience was first class!  Nike does it right.  I had an awesome time at the race and the whole event was fantastic.  Other than a few bumps, the mass start and the lack of photographers, this is an amazing event!  I am now thinking I might put my name into the lottery for San Francisco.  I’m hooked.476313_10200355588626986_1195147229_o

Half Fanatic status update!

By having run 3 half marathons in 14 days, I moved up in the ranks!  I am now at Uranus!   And I might just stay there…it makes me laugh. I’m at Uranus. Now that’s funny.

All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing until you decide that your essential purpose, vision and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations.

~Robert White

A Color Me Awesome Week!

The last two weeks have been jammed pack and I really had all intentions of blogging about it but I just was holding on, waiting for Spring break.

The weekend after Wrightsville was the start of the local Spring racing season and we kicked it off in true Woo Hoo fashion at the Old Town Beerun.  It was a great time spent with friends even though the weather was less than cooperative.  Find our recap here:

I celebrated my 39th birthday the day after the Beerun.  It was the only good thing about a Monday…haha!  Nick and H bought me some beautiful tulips and some other goodies (my favorite coffee and sea salt chocolate) and we went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Lindley Park Filling Station.  It was low key day, but it was perfect.  We were hosting a cookout the following weekend with some of our closest friends.

This week also brought another surprise.  I had applied through Active Ambassadors to become a member of Team ZonePerfect.  It had been several weeks since I filled out the application and I didn’t expect to hear anything for a few more weeks.  I received an email inviting me to join 99 other moms to joint the Team.  They are asking us to spread the word about their kiddo friendly line, Kidz ZonePerfect bars.  I still am learning everything that will be involved with the sponsorship, but I’m excited for the opportunity.  My bars and other goodies should be here any day.  H and I are pretty excited to try them out and pick our favorite flavor! #sponsored

We finished off the school week with a “Run to Frozato” with our girls running club.  We had 35 girls show up to run/walk the 2 mile trip to get some yummy frozen yogurt.  The girls did amazingly well.  The group I ran with held to a 3 minute run, 1 minute walk for the whole 2 miles. They have really come a long way since our first time meeting.  I’m really proud of them!  It was a lot of fun and they were super proud of themselves too.

And finally this weekend brought the much anticipated Color Me Rad run.  As soon as H saw the website for this race, she HAD to do it.  We were excited to be able to run another 5K as a family too. Several of our other running friends all signed up too, so we had a pretty large group all running together.  The race itself was super fun but before that, not so much.  It was a little hectic at times with over 7,000 runners and I had flashbacks of how I felt running the Cooper River Bridge Run a few years ago.  I do not deal too well with the lack of true corrals and although we were in the 9am wave that really meant nothing.  Everyone was all jammed together at the starting line.

We got separated from our group of friends moving to start the line.  Every time we’d look for someone, all you would see were white shirts.  It was hard to pick anyone out of the crowd.  I held on to H’s hand for fear that we’d get separated.  We ended up starting with only 1/3 of our group.  We stopped on the side of the road once we took off, hoping to be reunited with everyone else.  We ended up finding Bonnie and her kiddos and Carole and Henry and his niece and nephew.  We didn’t catch Christie and Eric.  (We later found out they were in our same corral, not behind of us like we thought).

We got moving along the course and the hectic feeling went away pretty quickly.  It was still tough keeping up with the kids with everyone dressed alike.  Need to figure out something different to do next year, if we run it again.  The kiddos had a blast!  The color stations were spaced out well, just far enough apart where the kiddos could walk/run and not get bored or whiny.  This one of the first 5Ks that H was probably disappointed to see the finish line. We arrived back at the start, fully colored from head to toe and smiling.  It was a wonderful time with our family and friends.  We stuck around for the last “color bomb” where everyone throws their packets of colored goodness everywhere then headed home, leaving dusty reminders of our fun all over the car. 601344_357524511035679_323518562_n

“You’ve got to be noisy and colorful and lively.”

~Mel Brooks

What just happened?! Somebody pinch me.

I started this Friday like any normal Friday.  I headed to work, looking forward to the weekend, but by mid-afternoon, I was registered for the Nike Women’s half marathon in DC this April.  What just happened?!

Back in November of last year, I threw my name into the lottery for the race, hoping that I would be one of the lucky 15,000 to run the inaugural race in DC.  I’ve had the Nike Women’s half in San Francisco on my ultimate “races to run” list.  Several things drew me to the race itself: it is a women centered half marathon, the charity it benefits is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), which has special meaning for my family, and  the Tiffany “finisher’s medal” necklace. I love my bling!  So when I found out Nike was bringing the race  to DC, the chance to run it was within reach.  I just had to be picked.

I waited for the week of December 10th to arrive and checked the NWM 26.2 Facebook page and my email daily, hoping for some insider’s information on when the drawing would happen.  On Dec. 11th, I started seeing comments from women on the Nike FB page, excited about finding out they were selected to run the race via email. Others posted that they were checking their bank accounts and found that Nike had drafted the money for the race fee.  By the end of the week, I received the email that I was not one of the chosen runners.  I was disappointed.  I’m sure everyone feels the same way when they want something so badly.  I think it was made worse too by not having a great marathon just days before.  I was looking for a redemption of some sorts to reconfirm my faith in my running and to make me love running again.  That would come later in retrospect, at the Myrtle Beach half.  Whether or not I got into this race wasn’t going to do that.

The new year started and a group of us vowed to make this (as Christie puts it) the year of the FRUN (fun run).  We started the year off with some fun races and made plans for others throughout the Spring.  I forgot about the lottery, the disappointment and knew that I would try again next year.

Fast forward to Friday

On Friday, our 7th grade students were going on a field trip to the ACC Women’s tournament and I was staying back at the school with the students who were not going on the trip.  I looked forward to an easy day and enjoyed the time with the kiddos.  During the morning, we were in the computer lab and I logged onto my personal email and saw an nikeemail from Nike that mentioned a second chance to run the half.  I opened it reluctantly knowing I didn’t want to get my hopes up if it was a hoax or the requirements for entrance were too much.  I read through the email and it all seemed legit.  I also checked their Facebook page to find other women also received the same email.  I quickly contacted Nick, and told him that there was a chance I could run the race still!  I couldn’t seriously believe it.  The whole thing just dropped out of the sky and landed in my lap, but the question was, could we pull it off?

Nick emailed our close friends who live near DC to see if we might be able to stay with them a night while I made sure that I wasn’t going to be needed on the bus ride home from DC the Friday before the race.  Here’s the funny thing, our 8th graders will be up in DC the days before the half for our yearly trip and I would already be in the city.  It was meant to be!

Everything has come together.  We’re headed to DC in April!  Nick and Hayden will head up to DC on Friday to meet me.  Our friends are more than happy to let us stay with them while we are up there.  We secured a hotel just blocks from the start for Saturday night AND I am officially one of the 15,000 runners to take to the streets of DC on a spring Sunday.  I’m still in complete awe and I thoroughly appreciate Nick and Hayden for going along with all my craziness when it comes to running.

As part of the requirements to run the half, I had to participate this weekend in a virtual 10K, by using the Nike+ app (iPhone) and syncing my run.  In addition to that, posting pics on twitter with #letsturnitup.  In return, all participants are receiving a Nike 10K shirt. I have a Garmin watch that I run with so carrying my phone on a run was new for me.  The app itself is really good.  I was pleasantly surprised with the accuracy (I still wore my watch) and the amount of info provided by the app.  The graphics are awesome and cool looking.  There is also ways to earn badges the more you run and you can share your runs across most social media sites.  I would actually use the app again in the event I ever forget my watch or even if I didn’t. It’s pretty great. Since I was running with my phone, it also meant I was taking pictures.  I grabbed shots of my running group, The Woo Hoo Crew, while we ran our long run yesterday.

nike10KcollageI also want to quickly add I’m still working at the March Running Streak, I completed day 9 yesterday, as well as my 14th consecutive day of working out.  I have a CXWorx class planned for today and my daily mile to run, so going for 15 days!  I’m going to have to assess how I feel as the week goes on with the Wrightsville half this Sunday, something might have to change.  We’ll see…

In case you never get a second chance: don’t be afraid!  And what if you do get a second chance?  You take it!

                                                                    ~ C. JoyBell C.

 

 

 

A Balancing Act

7 days of exercise this week, really?! I’m still in awe that I did it and I wasn’t totally shattered by the end of week and it didn’t disrupt our family life. At the start of the week, I wasn’t sure I was going to get any runs/exercise in with a school meeting Tuesday night and the hubby traveling for work, but somehow everything worked out!  Funny how that happens…

Here’s some of this week’s highlights:

Monday and Wednesday: Some running with some of my runner girl friends (Christie, Amy and Amanda), a solo run and Body Pump (Monday).

Tuesday:  Body Pump with 2 of my friends, Katie and Bekah.  Total bonus day of exercise!  I left school, hit the 4:30 class at the Y near my school, stayed through 5:15, freshened up, and headed back to school for parent night at 6pm.  True testimony that anyone can make time for exercise…where there is a will (or craziness) there is a way.

Thursday:  Another girls running club day!  We had 45 girls show up for some yoga.  Andrea led us through breathing exercises and several poses.  The girls (and Bekah and I) had their share of giggles, but settled down after a bit.  They really did a great job! I also realized how much I missed yoga! I need to find a way to mix in classes again.  I grabbed H from school and we headed out for dinner.  No cooking while Daddy’s gone!

Friday: March 1st started the March “RUN EVERY DAY” challenge hosted by I ❤ to run.  I was so torn because I didn’t really have time to run at least one mile before a group of us were heading out to celebrate Katie’s birthday, but I really wanted to see if I could even keep up with a streak for a month.  I finally gave it amends and thought, worse comes to worse, I could just start my own streak on Saturday.  After a few brews and some yummy pizza at Brixx, the hubby and I headed home for the night.

On the drive home, I couldn’t get the challenge out my head.  It was 9:30pm, I had a few beers and a full tummy, but I kept thinking I only have to run a mile, I only have to run ONE mile.  I could run a mile, just one, right?  I changed into my running clothes, threw on my reflective vest and called on the 12athon God and reminisced about our Drunk Pregnant Bunny run from last year’s challenge and headed out to run.  Though that day was way crazier than my mile run, who knew that all that 12athon silliness would be a prelude?!  Nick looked at me like I had literally lost my mind…perhaps I had.  I intended to stay just within our cul-de-sac, but actually felt good and headed out along my normal running route.  I giggled a lot about the ridiculousness of all this, I talked and sang to myself (not a big fan of running at night by myself), and knew that this would make a great story at some point.  Nick was waiting for me out on our driveway, just shaking his head when I showed back up.  March running streak…it’s on!

Saturday: A group of girls had made plans to run a local trail, Owl’s Roost mid-afternoon.  I wasn’t sure if I’d meet up with them or not, but H wanted to stay out another night at her grandparents and Nick was still tired from his trip, so it was the perfect time to get a run in without missing out on family time with them.  4 of us (Katie, Andrea, Sarah and I) met out 5 by the 5that the park and headed out for the 5 mile trail.  It was also the perfect distance for this month’s Mommy Run Fast 5 by the 5th challenge.  We all stuck together and had a great run!

Once we headed back to the parking lot,  Amy was just finishing up with her run and we headed for a quick brew.  After many appetizers and two desserts (!!), I headed home for movie night with the hubby.

Sunday: Long run day!  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel this morning, but I slept great and 2013-03-03 13.07.23apparently all my carb loading Friday and Saturday worked perfectly.  Kathy and I hung together for our 9.75 miler along the Greenway.  We both had a great day running and I enjoyed our time together this morning.  H and I had plans to see Annie this afternoon at a local theater, so I instead of doing the normal bagel trip, I opted for some homemade Mexican eggs instead and got home shortly after she did from the in-laws.

I learned a lot about balance this week, how to continue to juggle all the things that I have going on daily (work and family).  I learned that I can always do more within any given hours of the day.  I also reconfirmed that exercising and running doesn’t have to affect my family life.  I can make it all work with the help and support of Nick and H.

We need to debunk “work[out]-life balance.”  It’s not about continuing an impossible balancing act. What we need is a stronger support system.

~ Amy Tiemann, “Mojo Mom”

Weekly Mash-up — Herding Cats and a Team Challenge

This week has been an unusual one!  With a workday, some icy weather and just getting back into town from last week’s amazing girls’ trip, I didn’t have time to really sit down like I intended to write about this week’s fun — so a weekly mashup it is!

Thursday was our 2nd girls running club meeting.  We had 45 eager young ladies show up to begin our first day of our official Couch to 5K training run.  Andrea mapped out a route for us to take through the neighborhood near our school.  Heading out for our run, we walked as one huge group for 5 minutes to warm-up.  After that point, we were going to run/jog for 1 minute with a 1.5 minute walking recovery.  That’s when the group started to break up into smaller groups based on abilities–Let the herding cats begin!  Andrea took the lead with the girls who could run the whole route, I hung out in the middle with the girls who were running and walking, and Bekah was at the back of the group with the girls that were walking most of the route.  Luckily for us, we have a great group of girls and they payed attention, tried their bests and kept up well.

The girls did so great!  Most of them, I think, surprised themselves, at how far they could run and everyone was just beaming with pride when they realized that we had completed a 2.7 mile route.  They are excited to meet this coming week and to do it all again!

As the week came to a close, I was looking forward to this weekend’s long run.  Four of us from our running group, The Woo Hoo Crew, were participating in the #Anywhere5K Team Challenge, each team member’s time will be added together for a group time.  Daniel, Cara, Carole and I all signed up to be on a team and ran our 5K as part of our long run this morning. The weather was absolutely perfect!anywhere5K

PR…not just in running, but friendships too!

This weekend was one for the books!  I seriously cannot stop smiling and all the fun and accomplishments from the trip keep playing in my mind like a great movie that you just want to watch over and over again.2013-02-16 19.46.28

Five Woo Hoo Crew girls (Carole, Kathy, Katie, Amanda and me) and Five Sole Sisters (Christie, Cindy, Christine, Amy and Sarah) all headed down to Myrtle Beach, SC for an all girls Dasani Half Marathon weekend.  We all traveled early in the morning and most of us arrived around lunchtime to the Grand Strand.  We met for lunch at River City Cafe for some grub and a few celebratory beverages.  The EXPO was right near where we had lunch and we went there after to pick up our bags, bibs and swag.  I really didn’t know 2013-02-15 17.27.50what to expect, having heard some horror stories, about the MB race shirts.  This year’s shirt is awesome!  It’s a blended shirt that can be worn as a tech tee or an every day shirt.  I was thrilled! We all grabbed our goodies and Cindy checked in at the pacer booth.  She was pacing the 2 hour half group, which was exactly the pace I was hoping to run!  How cool is that to know the pacer, but to also have someone who is personally rooting for you, you can’t beat it!

After a grocery store trip and dinner run, we settled in for an early night with Cindy teaching us some relaxing yoga.  For me, planning out what I’m going to wear on race day is always fun!  The weather was going to be about perfect in the morning, 42 degrees with partly 2013-02-18 20.42.25cloudy skies.  I gathered my outfit, pinned on my bib and laid everything out.  With a 4:30am wake-up call, most of us were in bed by 9:30. Christine also had a surprise for all of us!  She got each of us a pocket stone from Lift Your Sole.  We all randomly picked one from the bag and all ended up with the one that suited each of us perfectly.

Race day morning was finally here!  We all woke up and got ourselves ready, making sure we all had our flowers (Fellow Flowers) pinned in our hair.  Cindy had to go earlier to be in place for her pace group. Though our plan was to all go together, we ended up falling behind.  We left later than we had planned and the two cars ended up getting separated as we headed to the race start.  The 4 of us in my car all stayed together at the start and only separated when it was go time.  Kathy and I started near the 2:15 hour banner, Carole and Katie moved to their starting corral.  I wanted to start a bit slower out of the gate with the hope of catching Cindy and her 2 hour pace group by mile 3.

Once the race started, I went.  I had the goal of catching Cindy and just found a great pace early and stayed patient, knowing that I would 2013-02-15 21.26.31eventually catch up to her.  Around mile 3.5, I finally made it to her group.  I was so happy to see her!  Knowing that I had started behind them, the time on my Garmin (chip time) would be less than her group and my goal was just to stay with or slightly in front of her group so that I could finish under 2 hours and hopefully, PR (personal record).  I stayed with her group through mile 7.  Right at mile 7, I pulled ahead by just a bit, which in retrospect was not the best decision, but I felt good so I went.

Mile 11 is when I knew that was a bad decision…

I started feeling bad and I was getting tired quickly.  I realized that I hadn’t taken my 2nd Shot Blok at mile 10 as planned so I quickly popped a blok and hoped that the caffeine would kick in soon!  I was starting to head into a few dark miles, questioning whether or not I could keep going at this same pace.  I struggled through mile 12.  Cindy’s group passed me by this time and I just had to keep them in sight.  By the beginning of mile 13, I regained my composure and just talked myself into finding a pace that I could keep without having to stop to walk.  I ended up going from a 9:33 pace for mile 12 to a 8:55 pace for mile 13.  I finished strong for the last .10, pushing as I neared the finish line.  Seeing Christie and hearing her yelling at me on the bend helped me to kick it and I ended up finishing in 1:58:03!  A new PR by over one and half minutes.  Everyone had a great race day!  Some girls also had personal bests, other met milestones they set for themselves.  Overall, it was an awesome race experience!  After the race, we took the time to take some fun pictures, sit on the hill and enjoy some post race brews.  223490_10200152608851747_728938145_n

Later that night, the post race party was at the House of Blues.  We all got gussied up after taking much needed naps and had a great night dancing and having fun at Dick’s Last Resort.

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Back at the condo Saturday night, we all just hung out and watched it snow (yes, it was snowing at the beach!).  Ten girls in one condo might scream disaster and drama to some, but not for us.  Some girls met everyone for the first time this weekend, others of us have known each other for years, but when we all came together this weekend, the whole group all had an amazing time and the memories we made will be with us all for a lifetime.  We spent all weekend laughing, telling ridiculous stories, teasing each other and just enjoying each others’ company, a PR for an awesome weekend!

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

~Albert Schweitzer

Virtually Running It! recap

This month kicked off another 5 by the 5th virtual run sponsored by Mommy Run Fast.  Runners can sign up to run a 5K or 5 miler during the first 5 days of each month from January to June.  She has awesome prizes lined up monthly, as well as at the end of the series. What better motivation than to get out there and run for goodies!  There is also great support and camaraderie on her Facebook page from fellow runners through comments and pictures.  There are 465 runners signed up to participate, mostly women.

I had an 11 miler, which turned into a 12 miler, so my 5 miles were tied into my long run.  I mapped a pretty hilly route for the WHC to run.  Thanks to Carole for the route suggestion, yeah right?!!  524 feet elevation gain over the course of the run!?  In her true positive light, she reminded us that Myrtle Beach half in two weekends should be a breeze after this route.

I choose to count the middle 5 miles, since it takes me so long to warm-up on a long run and with all the hills early on, I wasn’t sure how great I would feel towards the end.  I ran the middle 5 miles in 45:30, which was an improvement in time over my 5 mile run last month!  A total side benefit of this virtual run series!  We can easily see how each month compares to previous months and we can celebrate our successes!

In addition to this virtual run, my hubby and I also signed up to compete in the Super Bowl Edition of Runner’s Wager #MilesofShame by PavementRunner.  Nick choose the 49’ers and I took the Ravens.  Carole and her boo, Henry also opted for the challenge with her taking San Fran and Henry, being the smart guy he is, picking Baltimore.  As we all watched the game, I was razzing Carole and Nick about their possible mileage when at one point Baltimore was up by 22 points (miles).  I thought that Carole was going to get her marathon run this year! After the “moment of darkness” in the Superdome, the Niners came back to finish just 3 points (miles) behind the Ravens.   Nick and Carole have just under a 5K to run this week.  BOO!  I was hoping for at least a challenge for those two.  Maybe next year!

… to connect people in a virtual world, exchanging thoughts and ideas, when in the physical world we might never have the opportunity to cross paths.

~Demi Moore