2018 York Half Marathon Recap

Happy long weekend! I hope that you all are enjoying the warm weather 🙂

I want to take a moment to thank all service men and women who have fought for our freedom and continue to fight today. Thank you for all that you do.

Last weekend, I took part in the York Half Marathon, a fun local race.

Leading up to the weekend, I was still recovering from the Pittsburgh Half. I was taking my time with recovery since I ran harder than I ever had before. Additionally, on Friday, I started feeling REALLY bad…like horrible stomach cramps, nausea, and headaches bad. The stomach pains were enough to make me stay in bed after work on Friday and most of Saturday morning. I did make sure that I watched the royal wedding, however! How beautiful and sweet was it?!

After I got ready for the day on Saturday, I told Steve that I was going to play the race by ear…if I felt better, I would do it. if not, I wouldn’t worry about it. I had already PRed, so I didn’t need this race.

As the day went on, I began to feel slightly better, and I even got to help my sister get ready for her senior prom. She was on Prom Court. Isn’t she stunning?!

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Also, I chopped my hair two weeks ago, and I love it!

After the prom festivities, I made my way home and got to bed. I set my alarm and promised myself that I’d listen to my body in the morning.

When I woke up, I was surprised that I felt much better. I got ready, ate my breakfast, and then Steve and I drove down to the race area.

When we got there, I picked up my packet, which included a great race shirt and bag. I was so impressed! I then took my swag back to the car, put on my bib, and started to stretch out.

My goal for the race was simple: to finish. I wanted to take my time and truly enjoy my surroundings.

As the start time approached, I lined up at the start area and waited to begin.

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As ready as I was going to be! 🙂

Before I knew it, it was time to begin. I started off slowly and settled into a comfortable pace. We started in the heart of York and quickly headed to the York Heritage Trail, a beautiful rail trail that stretches a wide area.

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We mainly rain on the gravel trail roads (as you can see here), which were a nice relief for my legs after months of pavement and treadmill running.

The miles were going pretty quickly. I was feeling good so I neglected my run/walk and kept running. I did stop for water breaks and took my time through those.

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The course was an out and back trail, which I liked. I knew what to expect towards the end of the race. The course was also pretty crowded for a local race. Because the course is so flat, many runners travel to try to qualify for Boston (there’s also a marathon during the weekend). But, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of runners by any means.

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I was feeling pretty good through mile 10.5, and then the sickness started coming back. I began to have stomach cramps and get pretty nauseous. I knew that I was almost done, so I decided to keep moving and get the race over with as quickly as possible.

The rest of the race was honestly a blur. I put my head down and kicked it into gear.

I quickly made my way to the finish line and crossed it with the smallest fist pump. I was just so happy to be done.

I got my medal, grabbed some water, and made my way to find Steve. He snapped this really sweaty photo of me before we headed home. At that point, I just wanted to go home, shower, and lay down.

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I spent the rest of the day in bed before venturing out for lunch with Steve’s parents for their anniversary. I was not able to eat much, however. I made sure that I got to bed early that night because I was so exhausted and felt so poorly.

I later learned that I had a 72-hour stomach bug. It was AWFUL!

I’m proud of myself for pushing through this race, and I can honestly say that it’s one of my hardest earned medals. I finished with a time of 1:57:50, which I am very happy with considering the circumstances. Because of this, I can always look back and smile when I think of this race, even though I felt so crappy.

So, what’s next? I actually am happy to say that I’m taking a slight break from half marathons. Nothing major, just a few months to let my legs rest after Dopey and the harder spring races that I completed. I’m hoping to get back into it in the fall or next spring!

Do you have any upcoming races? What are they?!

Design

2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon Recap

Hi, friends!

It’s absolutely beautiful outside today…at least in Central PA! As I admire the blue skies outside my window, I thought it would be a great day to recap my Pittsburgh Half Marathon experience.

Steve and I traveled to Pittsburgh the Friday before the race (May 4). We left after work, so we got to our friends’ house in Pittsburgh pretty late. We did get to spend a few hours catching up with our friends, which was great! We went to high school and college with a lot of our friends there, so it’s always great to catch up and share old memories.

We woke up pretty early on Saturday to get to the expo when it opened. I was really looking forward to this expo because in previous years, it’s always been full of awesome vendors and free samples.

We ubered down to the Convention Center and got in line at 8:45 (the expo opened at 9). Luckily, they let us in a few minutes early, and we raced over to the packet pick-up area to grab my bib. Three of our friends were also running the half, and we were able to go to the expo with one of them.

After picking up our packets, we headed toward the main expo area to check out the official merchandise and other vendor booths. Overall, I was sort of disappointed in the expo this year. I did buy two items (a “Runner of Steel” tank and a metal rack extender for my current metal rack), but it just seemed like the entire expo was taken down quite a few notches from the last two times I visited it. Not terrible, but not as great as I remember….and definitely not as many free samples.

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After we finished up at the expo, we headed to Smallman Galley where we ate a delicious brunch! I went to the Banhmilicious booth and got the egg and avocado rice bowl. IT WAS SO GOOD! I also got a raspberry herbal tea to help calm my nerves from the impending race.

We then took a leisurely walk through the Strip District, which I had never done before! We got so many free samples, and I was sure to purchase a bottle of wine and a homemade cannoli – YUM!

Then, we headed back to our friends’ house to drop off our stuff and hang out for a few hours before dinner. I took this opportunity to take a nice nap and keep my feet up. I knew I needed it!

After my nap, we headed down to Benny Fierro’s to get my pre-race tradition of pizza. I had never been to Benny’s before, and boy was I in for a treat! I wish I had taken a photo of my pizza slice – it was GINORMOUS!

I also made sure to get a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory…because…..when in Pittsburgh, you get a milkshake from The Milkshake Factory…always!

We made our way back to our friends’ house and I got ready for bed. I knew that I wanted to go to sleep fairly early since we had to leave the house early the next morning due to traffic.

We woke up around 4 the next morning, got ready, and ate our breakfasts. Then, we called an Uber and headed down to the race area. We got there about an hour early and chatted as we warmed up and stretched.

When it was about 30 minutes to race time, we all split ways and headed to our respective corrals. I was B, so I knew I wanted to get a good position so that I could run pretty quickly after starting. I knew going into this race that I wanted to PR. I had worked hard for it, and I was ready.

Before I knew it, we were off! My goal was to NOT do my typical run/walk interval and instead run the entire race, minus the water stations. How people run and drink at the same time completely blows my mind….that’s talent!

I honestly didn’t take any photos during the race because I was trying so hard.

The miles flew by as we ran through the different neighborhoods (Strip District, North Side, etc.). I honestly didn’t even look at my watch until we headed across the river around mile 6.5. I was feeling great and knew that this was going to be a great day for a PR.

It was definitely humid, so I focused on my breathing…slow and steady, especially while running up the notorious Pittsburgh hills.

I kept my spirits high and my feet moving as I ran through the Southside and up the Birmingham Bridge. YIKES! I definitely forgot about how long the hill is from the beginning of the bridge to the other side of the river (it’s almost a mile long!)! But, I got through it, and I knew that it was all downhill from there.

In the meantime, Steve texted me when I was at mile 11 and said that he was at mile 12. I kept my eyes open as I was flying through the streets. I passed the mile 12 marker, but I did not see him. I didn’t text him back because I knew that I would be finishing soon and could get him after. He would have never made it to the finish line in time any way.

As I quickly approached the downtown area, I knew that I was so close to the finish line. I tried to avoid looking at my watch during this stretch, and instead, I focused on running as fast as I could. So, I had know idea how far ahead I was…I knew I was making good time though. I passed the mile 13 sign and really kicked it into gear – I mean FULL OUT SPRINTING!

This part of the race is always so fun – the crowd is so loud and you truly get chills as you cross the finish line. As soon as I crossed, I stopped my watch, and to my surprise, I had PRed by 4 minutes! My official time was 1:48:29! I couldn’t believe it!

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I immediately texted Steve and made my way to the finish line festival area where he was waiting. We celebrated with a few photos of course.

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We then met up with our friends and headed to brunch/lunch on Mount Washington. I got a pierogi bowl, a typical Pittsburgh dish, and I was given a free beer from my waitress for participating in the race. How sweet?!

Then, we headed back to our friends’ house so that I could shower. Because Steve worked the next day, we knew that we had to get back fairly quickly.

I, however, took the day off on Monday. I spent time with my pup , relaxed, and celebrated my PR.

Overall, my experience at the 2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon was FANTASTIC! I always love this race and the crowds that it draws. It’s definitely an experience like no other.

But, that’s it for now. Next up: my recap of the York Half Marathon, which I completed last weekend!

Have you ever run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon? Tell me about your experience!

Design

My Current Workout/Nutrition Regimen

Good evening, friends!

Is anyone else watching the Penguins vs. Capitals game?! We are! Let’s go Pens!

Anyway…I thought I would take some time today to write a little bit about how I’ve transitioned from my rigorous Dopey Challenge training to regular workouts/half marathon training.

As you may recall, Dopey Challenge training took a lot of effort….early morning wake up calls, a strict nutrition plan, and lots and lots of miles each week.

Now that I’m slowly getting back into my regular training groove, I’ve decided take what I learned from Dopey Challenge training and apply it into my current workout regimen.

Each week, I focus on several different types of exercises to keep my legs strong for running.

  1. Monday: 3-5-mile run, arms
  2. Tuesday: 30 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the stair master legs, and abs
  3. Wednesday: 3-5-mile run, arms
  4. Thursday: 30 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the stair master, legs, and abs
  5. Friday: 3-5-mile run
  6. Saturday: 6-mile run (or more, depending on where I am in training – could be as high as 11 miles)

As you can see, I’ve definitely added some variety to my workouts. While training for Dopey, I tried to do the elliptical twice each week to give my legs a break from running. But, my legs weren’t really building any additional strength.

Since then, I’ve learned that by adding the stair master, I can work different muscles to optimize my leg strength for my races. It’s definitely a harder exercise for me, but I know that it has really been helping!

Additionally, I’ve also added more weight lifting into my weekly routine. Honestly, I couldn’t lift too much during Dopey Challenge training because my body couldn’t handle it with all of the miles that I had to put in each week. But, now that I’ve been adding lifting back into my workouts, I can really see a difference in my muscles – they are finally starting to get toned!

Not only did I switch up my normal training workouts, however. I also decided to keep some of Dopey Challenge training nutrition habits. While I’m not being as strict as I was last year, I’m really focusing on eating nutritious foods that really work to keep me full and my muscles happy.

For example, I’ve been focusing on getting more protein and finding fun ways to use vegetables. Check out these photos of our dinner the other night: pot roast with carrots, onions, celery, and cauliflower mashed “potatoes.” THIS WAS AMAZING! And, it kept me full all night – without a tummy ache!

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Yum!

I’ve also been trying to limit my carbs to whole grain options like oatmeal. Whole grains keep me full, while still providing the nutrition that my body needs after a long workout.

With all of these changes (and the lessons I learned from Dopey Challenge training), I’ve really managed to keep my weight down to my pre-Disney weight, which was my lowest ever!

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I’ve had more energy, and I’m really excited to see how my race goes this weekend! For those of you that didn’t know, I’m running the Pittsburgh Half on Sunday – say “hi” if you see me!

But, that’s all for now, folks! 🙂

What is your current workout/nutrition regimen?

Design

It’s Spring, and I’m Back!

Happy spring, everyone!

First of all, I want to apologize for my rather long break from the “blogosphere.” I’ve had a lot on my plate over the last month with work, my sister’s games, and house work. Even though I’ve been gone, I’ve gotten a lot done, and I appreciate your patience.

So…what have I been up to, and what’s next for me?

Well, since my last post, I’ve started to refocus on my nutrition (since I let it slip after Dopey), and I’ve been training for my two upcoming half marathons next month (UPMC Pittsburgh Half Marathon and York Half Marathon). So, not much has changed 🙂

In terms of my plans for the year….well, I plan to get back to blogging and really take my training/race schedule at a very easy pace. I really only have my eye on one more race this year, the Hershey Half Marathon. Steve has recently started running with me every few days, so I’m hoping that he will want to do that race with me. How fun would that be?! But, other than that, I plan on taking it easy the rest of the year since last year was so busy with Dopey training.

Today’s post wasn’t long, but I wanted to give you all an update on what’s been going on. I’ll be back soon with another post, but, for now, I’m signing off.

Have any ideas on future posts? Send them to me!

Design

Week in Review – December 8, 2017

Happy Friday!

Time for another “Week in Review” post – let’s get started!

Workouts

After my 13-miler tomorrow, Dopey Challenge Training week #27 will be complete. We are getting down to the wire! I’m still feeling strong, and I’m ready to finish this training. So….how did I do this week?

  • Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Saturday: 9 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Sunday: 20 miles around the neighborhood
  • Monday: Much needed rest day!
  • Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 8 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Friday: 30 minutes on the bike and some leg exercises

As you may recall from last week, my 20-miler was actually supposed be a 19-miler, but I was feeling so good that I didn’t want to stop! That was the best I’ve felt during a Dopey simulation weekend. I can’t wait to do my final one next week!

I have a 13-mile maintenance run tomorrow, and then I plan to take a rest day on Sunday. Only 26 days to go until Dopey!

Favorites:

Experiences

My favorite experience for the week was definitely cuddling with my puppy. Now that he’s getting older, he’s wanting to cuddle more, and I am DEFINITELY all for that. I was slightly under the weather during the second half of this week, and I do really think that he knew that. He always wants to make me feel better 🙂

Books:

And…I didn’t read anymore of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. You guys, this book is not going well. I’m definitely enjoying it, but the timing is just not right. I just need to buckle down and finish this baby!

Food:

As I said before, I was feeling slightly under the weather over the last few days, so food was definitely not on my priority list. I tried to just eat a bland diet, so nothing was too special this week. But, I am already looking forward to next week because I’ll be having PIZZA next Saturday! My fave ❤

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

My sister had her first basketball game of the season tonight, and she has another one tomorrow. I love watching her play! It’s her senior season, so it’s a bit bittersweet. She has a couple of games next week as well, so you better believe I’ll be there!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

Design

Week in Review – December 1, 2017

Happy December!

I can’t believe that we have just begun the last month of the year! This year has flown by so fast! It could be because of my training, but it feels like it was 2016 (or even 2012) just yesterday!

I apologize for being late on this post again – we’ve been doing a lot of shopping for our loved ones AND for our trip. I definitely plan to do a post in the next few weeks with some of our purchases for Marathon Weekend. We got some great stuff (mainly me :))!

Workouts

After my 19-miler tomorrow, Dopey Challenge Training week #26 will be complete! A little over 4 weeks to go! I know that I say this every week, but I can’t believe how quickly this training is going. After this weekend, I will only have one more virtual Dopey week and 2 maintenance runs. THAT IS INSANE! But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s talk about how this past week’s training runs went.

  • Friday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at home
  • Saturday: 12 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Sunday: Rest day!
  • Monday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at home and some leg and arm exercises
  • Tuesday: 5 miles around the neighborhood
  • Wednesday: 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 2-mile walk on the treadmill at the gym and some leg and arm exercises
  • Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym

I did 9 miles on the treadmill at the gym this morning, followed by 10:00 of walking to cool down. Tomorrow, I have the last leg of this virtual Dopey training weekend: a 19-miler. I’ve already begun drinking a ton of water, so I’m hoping that this run will go as great as my last one!

Favorites:

Experiences

My favorite experience for the week was decorating everything for Christmas!

Christmas is my favorite time of year, so we go ALL OUT on decorations. And, of course, many of our decorations feature something from the wonderful world of Disney.

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I just had to throw this picture in here too…I mean look at how cute he is!

Another one of my favorite experiences for the week was doing a paint night with Steve’s family! I went with Steve’s mom, aunt, and cousin. We had a blast, and our paintings turned out great!

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Books:

I was VERY busy at work this week, so I was only able to read about 50 more pages of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I still have a good bit to go, but I’m hoping to take a bath tomorrow night and read some more then (and during my lunches this week).

Food:

Steve and I didn’t do anything special for food this week because we were trying to use up some of the food in our freezer. Why?…BECAUSE WE GOT A NEW FRIDGE! It is so beautiful! We are still getting it hooked up and in its correct placement in our kitchen. But, I promise to show it in my upcoming post with our finished painting photos.

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

Steve and I will be going to dinner tonight to have my pre-long run pizza. I am so excited, and I’m ready to eat! We are also going to go see Coco tomorrow, which will be fun. I have tried to avoid Disney social media accounts so that I can be surprised when I see it for the first time. I’ll let you know what we think!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

Design

Week in Review – November 3, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy November!

It’s been an incredibly busy week! This weekend will also be busy, so let’s get this recap started!

Workouts

Only two runs stand between me and the completion of Dopey Challenge Training week #22! Less than nine weeks to go until race weekend. It’s getting so real!

  • Friday: 25 minutes on the exercise bike at home and some leg and arm exercises
  • Saturday: 6.9 miles around the neighborhood and 3.1 miles at a local 5K (read my recap here)
  • Sunday: Rest day!
  • Monday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at home and some leg and arm exercises
  • Tuesday: 4 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Wednesday: 7 miles on the treadmill at the gym
  • Thursday: 30 minutes on the exercise bike at the gym and some leg and arm exercises

This morning, I did 2 miles on the treadmill and the gym. I have 7 miles on the schedule for tomorrow and 17 on Sunday. We have plans to paint most of our house this weekend, so both of these runs will be done at the crack of dawn. I’m definitely not looking forward to waking up early on my days off….

Favorites:

Experiences

I only had one favorite experience this week. On Sunday, my husband and I celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary. Holy moly….this past year FLEW by! To celebrate, we went to The Melting Pot on Saturday night, and then we got our favorite donuts on Sunday morning to commemorate our special day (we had our favorite donut shop make donuts for our wedding instead of getting a cake or cupcakes). And, everything was AMAZING!

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Books:

I’m currently about 1/4 of the way done with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I wanted to be a lot further by now, but I forgot to bring it home over the weekend. I’m hoping to continue to read big chunks during my lunch breaks over the next few weeks.

Food:

Again…Steve and I went The Melting Pot, and we had our favorite donuts this past weekend…so both of those meals definitely won. No need for further competition 🙂

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

Well…I wouldn’t exactly call it “exciting”…But, we will be painting most of our house this weekend. I’m excited to finally get this done, but I can’t say that painting is my favorite activity. Luckily, my dad and his wife and Steve’s parents are going to be helping us. So, because our house is so small, we should get most of the painting done on Saturday. We plan to get pizzas for everyone Saturday night, so I guess there is an upside to the activity haha.

What are you most excited for this weekend?

Design

2017 CC Mini Thon 5K Recap

Happy Halloween, friends!

This past weekend, I completed the Cedar Cliff Mini Thon 5K as part of my 10-mile maintenance run. I was the 4th girl (according to my sister), but the race experience wasn’t what I expected. Follow along to find out why.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early and completed 6.9 miles around my neighborhood. I kept my pace nice and slow (averaging a 9:44 minute/mile pace), and really focused on my breathing. After completing the preliminary miles, I changed out of my clothes (it was very cold and I knew I needed to get into dry clothes!), grabbed a Gu and water, and headed out the door.

The race was only 10 minutes from my house, so the drive did not take long at all.

Once I got to the park where the race would be held, I walked up to the pavilion and picked up my packet. I will say that I was VERY impressed with the race packet! The race was run by my sister’s class, so I wasn’t expecting to get so many goodies! In the goodie bag (which was a nice, sturdy string bag), we got our race shirt, some Four Diamonds stickers, Halloween candy, a nice ballpoint pen, a Four Diamonds lanyard, and two complimentary one-week passes to our local LA Fitness. Not bad for a local race!

After I took my goodies back to my car, I began stretching out my legs and doing what I could to warm my muscles back up. About 15 minutes before race start, I took my Gu and met up with my sister and dad (they came to watch me since they live 5 minutes away).

After a few moments of chatting, I headed to the “start line.” My dad snapped this pic, which made me giggle.

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My dad is too funny!

Then, with some non-descriptive, last-minute course descriptions from the race director, we were off! I started out nice and slow and really focused on settling in to a comfortable pace. This race was not about winning or getting a PR. I really did it to donate to a good cause and break up another training run.

As we exited the park, I realized that I totally forgot to start my watch….oh, Sara….

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I made the 5K Instagram post. Clearly, you can tell that running makes me happy haha. And, no, I was not last. There was just a big gap between my part of the race pack and the next.

I had heard that this race was going to follow the annual Turkey Trot course exactly, so at what I’m guessing was the 1.5-mile mark, we hit the school. Now, I’ve run the Turkey Trot for the last 4 years, so I’m very familiar with the course for that. At first, it seemed like we were following the course, but as soon as we hit the school, about .15-.2 of the course was cut out. This really confused me, and I hesitated when everyone else went a different way…BUT no one was there to direct us otherwise. Usually after the school, we head up and make a loop around the library before heading back to the main road. So, thinking that we’d make up the distance later, I followed the rest of the pack to stay on track.

Well….I was very wrong…..

We never officially made up that distance. We ran a straight shot back to the park, and before I could even comprehend what had happened on the course, I was crossing the finish line.

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And, at that moment, I so wished that I had worn my watch. Just how short was the course? Should I have run more earlier?

I walked through the finisher’s shoot and headed towards my family. My sister informed me that I was the 4th girl to cross, so that sort of brightened up my mood. I felt so guilty…like I had cheated the 5K somehow..even though I followed everyone else.

After I met up with my family, we headed towards the pavilion to get some food and water. The amount and quality of food that they had out was AMAZING! There was fruit, applesauce, hundreds of pastries and donuts, water, and CapriSuns!

As we entered the food line, we overheard some of the race volunteers chatting about how so many people cheated and cut the course. My sister, intrigued by the conversation, went up to chat with the volunteers (since most of them were her classmates). When she came back to our area, she noted that most people cut out the library and just headed back to the park. So…they were talking about literally everyone who ran the race…This frustrated me a little. There wasn’t anyone on the course to direct us to the library, and thinking that there were some changes from the Turkey Trot course, everyone just headed down the main road. But, I put that behind me. I did the best I could, as did everyone else on the course.

Although the race course wasn’t ideal, it was still nice to get out to do another local race. I’ve been doing so many RunDisney races in the last two years that I haven’t really had time for too many local races. While I probably won’t do this race again next year, it was a nice change of pace. And, although the course was cut short by the runners, I’m happy that I was able to get out and add to my maintenance run.

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Do you like to do any local races?

Design

Week in Review – October 27, 2017

Happy Friday!

This has been such a great week, so let’s get this recap started!

Workouts

After my 10-mile run tomorrow, Dopey Challenge Training week #21 will be complete! This training is just flying by, you guys. It honestly feels like I just started!

  • Friday: 25 minutes on the exercise bike at home
  • Saturday: 6 miles around the neighborhood
  • Sunday: 16 total miles (2.9 miles around the neighborhood and then 13.1 miles at the Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon)
  • Monday: Rest day!
  • Tuesday: 4 miles around the neighborhood
  • Wednesday: 7 miles around the neighborhood
  • Thursday: 4 miles around the neighborhood

This morning, I did 30 easy minutes on the exercise bike at the gym, and I also did some light arm and leg exercises. I have 10 miles on the schedule for tomorrow, but I’m doing a local 5K for my sister’s school as well. So, I plan to run 6.9 miles around the neighborhood before the 5K to make sure that I get my full 10 miles in tomorrow. It’ll be another interesting training run for sure!

Favorites:

Experiences

My absolute favorite running experience has to be PRing at the Blue-Gray Half Marathon on Sunday! I definitely was not expecting this PR, and I’m so happy my training is working and that my body is getting stronger and faster! Be sure to read my race recap here.

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Another favorite experience for the week was attending Farmers Fair in Dillsburg. Before Steve and I went to pick up my packet in Gettysburg on Saturday, we stopped at the Farmers Fair festival in Dillsburg. It was our first time at the festival, and we were sure to try all of the food! My friend, Alexa, who goes to school in Florida, and her mom have a booth every year, so I’m so happy that I was able to see her while she was home!

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And, finally, we got to see plenty of Miss Milly this weekend 🙂

 

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Books:

I made some more headway on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Steve is going golfing tomorrow, so I think I’m going to try and read a big chunk while he is gone. Even though Order of the Phoenix is probably my least favorite movie in the series, I’m really enjoying the book so far!

Food:

Steve and I went to our favorite restaurant after my half marathon, and we had ALL OF THE FOOD AND PUMPKIN MARTINIS! I didn’t take any photos, but believe me, it was SO GOOD!

Anything Exciting Happening Next Week?

YES! Steve and I will be celebrating our 1-year wedding anniversary on Sunday. I can’t believe that it’s already been a year – where has the time gone?! We have plans to go to The Melting Pot on Saturday night, and then we plan to get donuts Sunday morning. We had donuts as the dessert at our wedding, so this is very fitting. I’m so excited!

What are you most excited for this weekend?

Design

2017 Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon Recap

Happy Thursday!

I’m excited to finally recap the 2017 Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon!

The day started off slightly different than other race mornings. The entire reason that I registered for this race was to break up one of my longer training runs. I was scheduled to run 16 miles on race day, following a 6-mile training run on Saturday.

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and did a relaxed 2.9 miles around the neighborhood. It was pitch black, but the weather was beautiful!

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I was shooting for 10:00/mile pace (or higher), so I remember being slightly nervous that I ran a 9:47 pace.

After my run, I ate my Uncrustable sandwich, changed into my race outfit, and then we headed to Gettysburg. The drive to Gettysburg takes approx. 45 minutes, so I was trying to keep my legs loose in the car with my stick roller and stretchy strap.

We pulled into the parking lot of the starting line at 8:00 a.m., which was roughly 1 hour from the start of the race. I immediately started stretching and tried to keep my nerves at bay. For some reason, I get EXTREMELY nervous before every race – even though I’ve done so many!

After I spent some time stretching and doing some last-minute hydrating, Steve and I headed up to the Gettysburg Gateway Theater to use the real bathrooms. All of my fellow runners out there will appreciate how amazing it is to have real bathrooms at the starting line!

After using the restroom, Steve and I headed to the starting line area. There was some music playing and A LOT of crowding.

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With about 5 minutes to start time, Steve and I said our good-byes, and then I made my way to the middle of the crowd of runners. I don’t consider myself a fast runner, but I do consider myself to be in the middle of the pack. By starting in the middle, I don’t have to worry about passing too many runners…usually.

After the National Anthem and some last-minute announcements, it was time to start the race! The wheelchair athletes were first, and then it was our turn!

I took some deep breaths, and then we were off! It was truly a mad dash at the start line. There were so many fast runners that started too far back in the pack. I felt like I was being passed by everyone!

For every race, I like to skip my intervals for the first 2.5-3 miles. I find that helps me to avoid being trampled while walking so early (when everyone else is sprinting). So, I started off nice and easy and settled into my pace for the first few miles.

The first mile took us on a long pathway to get out of the massive parking lot for the theater. This part reminded me a lot of a Disney race…lots of pavement and parking lot.

Then, we headed directly for the battlefield. I wasn’t able to read too many of the signs on the way through this area, but I believe a lot of the Virginia troops were stationed at this part of the battlefield. It was so cool to see the cannons and beautiful rolling hills!

I felt great through Mile 3, so I decided to keep running through my intervals. My pace was averaging around 8:35/mile, so I was excited that I was doing so well!

After two miles of battlefield, we made our way back to some paved back roads in Gettysburg, where we remained for the next 6-7 miles. This was an out-and-back course (with only a slight difference in the course on the way back), so we did see a lot of the same scenery.

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This was around the 5-mile mark (also the 10-mile marker) – right before I took my first Gu.

And…this is where it started to get tough…

All of the sudden at mile 5, my legs started to feel like jello. I could feel them getting tighter. I decided to add some of my walking intervals back in. I ran 9 minutes and walked 1 (as opposed to my 4 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking). This helped a lot, but I knew if I walked anymore than that, I would not be able to finish. My legs were just tightening up that fast.

At this point, I just wanted to be done. But, even though my legs were so tight, my breathing and stride were great, and I was somehow managing to average an 8:34/mile pace…..WHAT?!

At mile 10, I took my second Gu. While I took a short break, I realized that if I kept up my pace for the next 5K, I would PR. I had a brief internal argument with myself…do I really want to risk messing up my training this week (or more) for a PR? I knew that this was crazy, but my competitive side got the best of me, and I kicked it into gear. The miles were flying by, and my pace was looking great!

At mile 12, the course really opened up. At this point, I knew I had my PR. Although my legs were more sore than ever, I couldn’t stop smiling! At the same time, I found myself stride-for-stride with another gentleman who was smiling and singing his way to the finish line. He asked how my race had been so far, and I let him know that I was extremely tired, but I was going to PR. He told me to stop talking to him, and go for it! So, I did just that. I kicked it into high gear and sprinted to the finish.

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If you can’t tell, I’m almost in tears in this photo.

My official time was 1:52:23. I finished 94/483 overall, 31/280 in my gender, and 3/20 in my age division! I DID IT! I PRed by over 2 minutes! I honestly never thought that I would break my previous PR, let alone do it during Dopey Training!

After I crossed the finish line, I found Steve and immediately headed for water and a banana. I was so hungry and knew that the potassium would help my sore muscles!

I cooled down and watched some of my fellow runners finish. As I was stretching, the race director made an announcement that official times could be reviewed at the tent. So, I made my way over to the tent and gave the race director my bib number. As he handed me my print-out, he noted that I had won a prize and that I needed to stick around for the awards ceremony. WHAT?! I won a prize?!

About 20 minutes after I finished, the awards ceremony started. First, the overall winners were announced and given their prizes. Then, the director went through each age division and gave out pies to the top 3 finishers in each division. I came in 3rd in the 19-24 division, so I received my own apple pie!

Then, the annual North vs. South competition was scored and announced. Each year, runners have the opportunity to run for the North or the South. The race directors then average the times of the top female and male finishers on each side. The side with the lower time wins a prize. And, our side (North) won, so I also received a free race glass!

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Overall, this was one of the hardest half marathons I’ve ever done. But, it was so worth it! I’m so incredibly proud of my PR and for finishing 16 Dopey miles that day.

Now, it’s time to buckle down and really focus on Dopey – there’s only 69 days left until Marathon Weekend!

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