Ironman 70.3 Training – Week 6

Miscellaneous

This week’s training went well. It included a 5AM, 20-mile ride on my spin bike, but I made it work! It’s all about adjusting your schedule to make sure you get your training in. Most people (I’ve learned) will not understand this, but your journey isn’t for them to understand anyways.

Week 6 Overview:
8 Activities
6 Hours + 55 Minutes
61 Miles
3,860 Cals Burned

Week-6-OverviewThis week was another dreaded pool swim. I’m actually really proud and happy when it’s over and when I’m sitting in the hot tub or sauna knowing I just swam a mile. BUT actually driving to the pool and getting in the cold water is another story – especially when it’s super early in the morning and you’re rushing around before work to make sure you get your training in.

I ran 10 miles yesterday on a gorgeous, spring morning. It quickly warmed up and was 82 degrees near the end. I loved every second of it though. For some reason I was keeping my mind occupied by just thinking, so the miles ticked by fairly quickly. {These type of runs are few and far between, but it sure is nice when it happens and your mind is distracted.}

Like I mentioned before I had a 4:45AM wake up call on Thursday to get in my 20-mile bike. I started at 5AM and finished around 6:30AM. I had to be at a work location at 8AM so it was a race against the clock, but I pulled through and fit everything in! I also built out a nice little “pain cave” the night before and spent my ride watching two episodes of The O.C. (Yes the show that came out in 2002! It’s so, so good.)

pain-Cave-TheaterThis weekend we are traveling to Chicago for my husband’s birthday! (His b-day was in March, but I got him a trip to Chi town with a 5-hour pizza tour included!) It’s going to be a field day. We’re so excited! We’ve never been to Chicago either so stay tuned for our adventures. I made sure there was a fitness center at our hotel, so I plan on doing my “long” run (10-miles) super (crazy) early on Friday morning since we leave Friday night. Then Saturday I’ll get up early and workout at the hotel and then take Sunday off.

Again – it’s all about adjusting your training schedule…and staying calm 🙂

Happy Week 7!

Training Like It’s My Job

Miscellaneous

Cardio training has been at an all-time high lately. I can’t even remember the last time I picked up a set of weights. Between swimming, biking and running – I haven’t wanted to be sore enough to weight lift between cardio training. And it’s good I’m training so much lately. I’ll have raced every weekend in June after this weekend.

This weekend was jammed packed and despite going out on Friday night (and having a little too much wine) I still managed to get in 14 miles of decent running.

Saturday morning I did a soggy 5 miles alone while it rained. I pretty much hated life for this hour, but felt better afterwards. Then Saturday night we had a Zombie Run 5K. (The fiancé and his friends wanted to run this. I’m not much of a “fun run” kind of gal, but I figured I’d give it a shot.) This race was weird. Fun, but weird. It took us 45 minutes (obviously we stopped running for most of it). Between walking and running on muddy trails, hole-filled fields of grass and a Christmas tree farm – it was hard to actually run. I was terrified I would step in a hole and twist an ankle and there’d go my running season. It was also very humid. And to mention a little scary dodging zombies (AKA people dressed up with make-up on. PS. some of them were REALLY fast.) Overall it was fun, but I probably wouldn’t do it again. Not worth the money and it wasn’t a “real” race I decided.

zombie-run3zombie-run1Sunday morning was the Willoughby Hills Run for the Hills 10K. It was my first time running this race and I didn’t look at the course beforehand. I had assumed it would be hilly considering the name – and it actually wasn’t too bad. It was nice since it’s less than 10 minutes from my house. I finished the 10K in 56 minutes, beating my PR by three minutes so I felt ok about that. I also didn’t feel like I gave an all-out effort though, but my legs were tired and heavy. I got second out of 6 in my age group, but I didn’t even stay for awards (I saw online).

Yesterday morning I did another 5 miles in the morning before work and my legs were even sorer. I decided it would be a slow, recovery run so I stopped even looking at my watch. Tonight I am going to a track workout with Cleveland Triathlon Club. I can’t decide if I love this workout or if I hate it. I am the slowest person in the group (but I don’t mind) so I have to fight to keep up. It kicks my butt and is much more effective than me training alone…but like I said – it kicks my butt.

This weekend is the Milton Man Sprint Triathlon. Like always I’m a little nervous for the swim, but it’s because someone told me that we jump off a dock into the water to start. I’ll survive though and the one saving grace about triathlon is that you get the scariest part over with first.

Training schedule this week looks like:
Monday – AM 5 miles
Tuesday – 5 to 7 miles @ track practice PM
Wednesday – afternoon stair mill @ work gym and PM Liquid Lifestyles swim clinic at Fairport Harbor
Thursday – Rest day OR deciding if I am going to bike to work one way (15 miles) and then have the fiancé pick me up after
Friday – AM 5 miles (super easy pace)
Saturday – 30 mile harbor bike ride with Lake Metroparks
Sunday – Milton Man Sprint Triathlon

I’ll leave you with a picture of my mom and I at last weekend’s Sunday in June bike ride. We managed to get in 30 miles. PS. There’s still time to donate to our 50-mile Cleveland Clinic VeloSano bike ride on July 18th! Please help support us.

sunday-in-june

Cinci Flying Pig Half Marathon {Race Review from a Cleveland Native}

Miscellaneous

Best. Race. Ever.

That’s how I would describe the 2015 Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon.
From an awesome expo, to an awesome swag bag, to an awesome starting line, to an awesome course – this race was incredible!

flying-pig-logoWe spent the night in downtown Cinci on Saturday and I woke up on Sunday at 5AM for a 6:30AM start time (the earliest I’ve ever seen, usually it’s 7AM.) I was pretty tired from spending the day and most of the night before in Downtown Louisville for the derby, but a light breakfast and an energy gel did me well.

I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to find my way to the starting line since I was in an unfamiliar city, but as soon as I hit the hotel lobby it was like an explosion of runners in neon colors had hit. I followed a few large groups of people to the starting line and after accidentally getting stuck in the wrong corral (I couldn’t find the exit!) I found where I was supposed to be with about 6 minutes to spare.

Music blasted over the speakers and the crowd was dancing as our corral’s turn got closer to the start. We counted down from 10 and suddenly fireworks and fire flew over the starting line as a buzzer sounded. It was awesome! I beamed as we ran through and the crowd cheered us on. (Another cool thing – they broadcast the race live on TV!)

Photo courtesy of Flying Pig Marathon Instagram.

– Photo courtesy of Flying Pig Marathon Instagram.

The course was fantastic. There were a good gathering of hills around miles 6 to 8, but nothing too crazy. One of my favorite moments was a man at the bottom of one of the hills holding a giant letter “F” who kept shouting “Get the F up this hill!!” Another favorite moment was hearing a runner next to me say to his friend “Mile 5 is the fastest mile on the course, you’ll see why in just a second…” and we suddenly turned a corner and entered a one mile straight away lined with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people cheering on the runners. (I ran an 8:30 that mile.)

Another favorite moment was early on in the race, crossing the bridge over into Kentucky and looking out across the Ohio River and seeing the sunrise. You could see a hot air balloon shadow in the distance too. It was so beautiful and I heard another runner say “Take a mental picture in your head.” And I sure did.

Photo courtesy of Flying Pig Marathon Instagram.

– Photo courtesy of Flying Pig Marathon Instagram.

I was laughing out loud when I saw the finish line with a giant sign reading “The Finish Swine” across the top. The pig related signs and costumes were hilarious to see out on the course and I really enjoyed the theme, oppose to just another “So-and-So City Marathon.”

The finisher’s party was fantastic too with tons of good (free) food for the runners and lots of tents and booths with local groups and restaurants. It was also great to be able to walk back to the hotel afterwards and see the hordes of other runners all around the city enjoying the day and the beautiful weather.

finisherThe only complaint I have about the event is that there was no post-race free beer ticket! (I’ve never ran a race of this size before without a free drink at the end! It’s still not enough to spoil it for me though.) Also a bag at the finish line would have been nice instead of juggling all the free food items you got. (Hey they were free though so I’m not complaining that much!)

After the race we went over to Newport Kentucky and had drinks and lunch out on the deck overlooking the Ohio River. We were feeling so crazy we each got out own pitcher of margaritas in honor of Cinco De Mayo. It was so wonderful to relax with my family in the sunshine after a wonderful race. I saw other runners out walking around too with their families, the Flying Pig metal hanging proudly around their neck.

margsOverall I would give this race 9 out of 10. The marathon is also named a top 10 “Most Fun Runs” and ”best named” Marathon by Runner’s World Magazine and it sure lives up to both!

Here are a few more pictures from this weekend. (Also – the race already has race pictures up! Another reason the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon rocks!)

fly-pig-1derby1derby2flyingpigcheetahexpowalkin

Autumn Leaves 5 Miler With a Side of Cough

Miscellaneous

Life has happened.

Work is a mad house. We moved into our new apartment. My parents moved to Cincinnati. I’m planning one of my best friend’s bridal showers and helping with the wedding in December. I’ve been incredibly sick and coughing for over three weeks… I’m not even going to pretend that I haven’t fallen way behind on training and running. In the past three weeks I’ve had two workouts: 1.) I jumped on a trampoline for about 6 minutes before I coughed up both lungs 2.) I ran a five mile race, which was hell.

After last year’s post marathon 4-month hiatus, I was determined not to let it happen again this year. Sure I didn’t need to be running 20 miles every weekend, but a 10-12 miler here and there and hitting the gym a few days a week wouldn’t hurt. I know it has only been three weeks, but I can already feel my decreased fitness level, not to mention my diet has been awful, which in turn makes me feel awful.

I finished up some antibiotics a few days ago and I am slowly starting to feel better. I still have an obnoxious cough though and I’m nervous to run or do any vigorous, long-term activity.

Last weekend I ran the Northeast Running Club’s Autumn Leaves 5 Miler at Lake Farmpark because A.) I had already signed-up and paid for it B.) I wanted to knock out my November race ASAP since I hate running in cold weather.

al-1
The race was muddy and cold, but it was manageable. I didn’t talk to anyone. I was simply there to run the race, get it over with and go home. I started off SUPER slow because I didn’t want to be coughing the entire race. Anytime I coughed a little bit, I slowed my pace even more. My finishing time was embarrassing compared to the five miler I ran back in April, yet someone I placed second in my age group. (What a joke.)

al-2
I ran straight through the finish line to my car, where I coughed hysterically in semi-private. At one point I looked over and saw a man cleaning off his shoes (because the course was incredibly muddy) and he was eying me cautiously, probably wondering if I was about to die or not. I wanted to shout “WHAT!!? HAVEN’T YOU SEEN SOMEONE COUGH BEFORE? DON’T LOOK AT ME!!” but instead I took off my muddy shoes, got in my car and continued coughing.
al3
Since we moved to a new area we bought new gym memberships. The fiancé has gone a few times this week while I’ve stayed home and gotten the apartment under control (we’ve been there less than a week now). I am planning on going to the gym tomorrow if it rains, but if it doesn’t I’m going to go on a slow, “exploring the city” 5 miler. We’ll see how the weather turns out and how I feel come tomorrow morning. I just hope I can enjoy some sort of activity without coughing like I smoked for 50 years. Tonight we are having the sister-in-law over for drinks and dinner and continuing to unpack and get our lives under control.

Life is happening that’s for sure and I am going to make it a priority this next week to fit in workouts, work on my diet and try to see opportunity in all the new changes and challenges life is throwing at me.

Keep running!

Portage Lakes Triathlon 2014

Miscellaneous, Running

Welp. I did it again. I conquered a terrifying swim and finished it with a bike ride and then a run. This past weekend was the 2014 Portage Lakes Triathlon in Akron and I competed in the sprint distance – 1/2 mile swim, 13.1 mile bike, 5K.

Like many other triathletes, the swim was the most terrifying part for me. The entire race got postponed 30 minutes because fog had taken over the swim course and you could barely see the first buoy. The sky was overcast with dark clouds and it was only 48 degrees, however the lake was a warm 70 degrees. It actually felt better to get in the water than to just stand around shivering on the beach waiting for the start (which of course didn’t help my nerves).

Fog covered the entire swim course.

Fog covered the entire swim course.

Around 8 AM the fog began to clear and the first wave of the mini triathlon went. I kept hinting to the fiancé that a “mini” might be good for his first triathlon race. He has terrible knees issues, but kept complaining that he wanted to be out there competing the entire time.

The race had a beach start (different from my first race in that we started already in the water and there was far less panic and splashing going on). I was  near the front because I told myself that I needed to be more aggressive. The siren went off and basically all hell broke loose. I fought to keep my spot as we bounded toward the water, arms and legs splashing everywhere. I got hit in the head and back a couple times and did my fair share of hitting too. The first couple times I accidentally hit someone I stopped to scream “Sorry!” but then realized it was slowing me down and wasting my energy. It was still considerably crowded by the time we hit the first buoy, but then we had another problem…seaweed. Now I wouldn’t consider myself a girly girl who is terrified of unnecessary things, however this seaweed freaked me out! I later told my fiancé that it felt like a movie or video game because it felt like the seaweed was wrapping itself around my arms and legs and I couldn’t get away from it. The more I panicked about it, the more I began to sink. I tried treading water, but of course I was STILL over the stupid seaweed. I flipped over on my back for a brief second and out loud I said “CALM DOWN. YOU’RE FINE. RELAX.” At the time I didn’t care how crazy I sounded talking to myself because it began to work. I flipped over and put my head in the water, telling myself that I just needed to get around the buoy and everything would be better. And it was. Around the first turned it cleared up, the seaweed was gone and I found my stride. I began to make a rhythm in my head from my stroke (something I did my first race) and it gave me something to focus on. “Arm-Arm-Leg-Leg.” Around sixteen minutes later I was out of the water – and incredibly happy to be done with it!

The bike course was beautiful and I would have liked to just cruise and take in the scenery, but I kept telling myself “No this is a race.” During my last triathlon, I felt like I was taking a casual bike ride and kept forgetting I was “competing”. Not this race. I hit the ground running (well, biking), powering down the open road and giving it my all on hills – which can I say – the hills were UNREAL on this course. Another runner told me that the course was hilly, but good Lord! By about the 8th hill I groaned out loud “COME ON” (since there was no one around me at that point). The bike course took me way longer than I had anticipated and I got to T2 already disappointed with my time. I forced myself to keep going. I normally run a 5K around 25 minutes, but because of the hills I cramped up around mile 2 and finished the run in a stupid 31 minutes. I met a really nice runner on the trails though and we ran together for a good chunk of it. Sometimes that’s all it takes to push you and I think that if I had still been running alone I would have been even longer on the run.

portage-lakes-2

The straight away into the finish was glorious because my whole body hurt and I was fighting a major leg cramp. I honestly couldn’t wait to be done! There was another woman a little ways ahead of me and when I saw my family standing there cheering for me, I made up my mind that I was going to pass her (mainly because she looked like she could have been in my age group!) The girl’s family was standing close by mine and both parties started screaming loudly as I came sprinting up behind her. The girl’s family was screaming “Hurry up she’s going to pass you!!” and my family was egging me on. I did end up passing her by just a hair at the finish line and the announcer said into the microphone “Don’t worry you guys aren’t in the same age group!” It was actually really funny and the girl and I laughed about it afterwards.

portage-lakes-3
I had terrible leg and stomach cramps for about an hour after the race. Not sure if it was my nutrition (I may have had a few beers at a friends house the night before) or if it was just a challenging course. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed with my time, but I tried telling myself that this is only my second triathlon and I’m still just a rookie. I actually PR’ed my swim time on this race though, finishing in 16:41. (I was 17 something at my first race.) I still need to work on my transitions though. It took me almost 4 minutes in T1 and almost two minutes in T2. T2 should only take me about 30 seconds! I’m not sure what I was even doing. Watching TV? Painting my nails? Seriously though, my time was ridiculous.

So that’s the wrap on triathlons for 2014 – one indoor race and two outdoor sprints. I’m already thinking about doing an Olympic distance at some point next summer. I think it might be my goal to compete in 3 triathlons during the season. I’ve also decided that this winter I am investing in a wetsuit and I’ve made it my goal to join Cleveland Triathlon Club in the spring. I only want to get better and more into this sport so I have to get out of my comfort zone. Another goal for next summer – find someone to race with! The friends I’ve asked all basically said “Hell No.”  I can only image racing along side someone would help, however I’d never be one not to do something because I was afraid to do it alone. (Stay tuned for finding a racing partner.) Next race is my absolute favorite of the ENTIRE season – The 2014 Akron Marathon on September 27! I feel like it’s soon going to be Christmas morning soon. And don’t worry, I have one of my best friends to run this race with 🙂

portage-lakes-1

Training Season

Miscellaneous, Running

I love August.

Honestly it might be one of my favorite months. I don’t know what exactly it is, but I’ve always loved the end of summer. Don’t get me wrong, the start of summer is incredible and filled with anticipation of so many events and activities, but the end of summer has a different vibe. The end of summer usually means being in top physical shape for us runners. After training all summer, the end of August should be your peak performance state. You should also be your tannest and happiest considering you just spent the last three months enjoying flowers and fresh air rather than dragging yourself through snow and slush! There’s just something about knowing you had an amazing summer behind you, but also knowing that there is still some more amazingness to squeeze out before autumn closes in. I always loved feeling the rush of the last few days of summer break before returning to school. Like in college when you spent all summer at home and then suddenly you got to pack up all your stuff and head back to have fun at school. The excitement, the nerves, the newness and the warmth of the summer encompasses everything.

For me now-a-days, the end of summer and watching it fade into fall means that the Akron Marathon is closing in. I’m so excited I get giddy just thinking about it. Last year I ran Akron as my first full marathon. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it changed my life. No other memory can give me goose bumps and chills the way thinking about the Akron Marathon does. I loved every single beautiful, painful second of that experience, and I know only other marathon runners can relate to those feelings.  I’ve been doing my long runs on Saturday mornings and there’s nothing like waking up early, excited to run 15 miles. I guess that’s why they call runners crazy. I know I’m not alone in feeling like this though and I can’t wait to be around thousands of other people who felt the same way all those Saturday mornings during training. Running a marathon is an experience like no other and I absolutely cannot wait to get out there on the blue line again in 56 days.

August also means competing in the Bellefaire JCB Biathlon again. It’s a charity ride featuring a fast, flat 5K and then a 13 mile bike ride. Last year I won my age group and it was my first glimpse into the world of competitive biking. Speaking of bikes, I bought an amazing, fast touring bike from a fellow biker in Chardon about a month ago. I have yet to get clip in shoes yet though, so stay tuned for that. (I have visions of myself toppling over and unable to get my feet off the pedals.) I’ve taken the bike out on quite a few rides and every single time I’ve come back thinking “Wow that was fun!” Best feeling ever.

touring-bike
As if training for a full marathon and biathlon weren’t enough, I also signed up for my second triathlon in September. I’ll be competing in the Portage Lakes Sprint Triathlon in Akron on September 14. Yep – then two weeks later I’ll be back in Akron again, but this time running 26.2 miles. With that being said, other athletes can image and appreciate my intense training schedule. Most weeks I train 6 days a week, forcing myself to take a rest days on Sundays after my weekly long run. Sometimes I’ll cave and do a quick bike ride though. My diet and nutrition have been on point as well. Nothing is worse than eating a ton of pizza for dinner and then waking up early to get in a workout (especially a pool workout) and having that greasy pizza sitting on top of your stomach. It’s bloat city. I used to be naive and think that nutrition had nothing to do with athletic performance. (Yes I’ve now learned that lesson the painful way.) It’s still frustrating to me though when we are out at a bar on Friday night and my friends are drinking beer and eating burgers and I’m sipping on some water. Then someone makes some comment “Are you dieting? Why aren’t you eating!? Are you trying to lose weight?!” And I have to explain that I need to do a brick workout in the morning, AKA bike 10 miles and then run 5 miles and being even slightly dehydrated from drinking or bloated from eating a greasy burger just isn’t going to cut it. I constantly have to remind myself that not everyone understands the journey and that it’s OK because they don’t need to understand it.

So basically I meal prep almost everything I eat during the week. It keeps me on point and never in a position where I have to stop and get fast food. It’s a challenge, but then again this entire journey of training for 535263 events has been a challenge, but one that I wouldn’t give up for anything.

meal-prep-july
I only ran one race in July, which was a quick 5-miler in Painesville called the Johnnycake Jog. It was strange to only run one race last month though  because I ran a ton in June.

johnny-cake-jog-2014
Even though training is at an all time high, we still found time to squeeze in our engagement pictures last week. Here’s a sneak peek.

PS. Just looking at these  I cannot stop smiling – we are so excited for NEXT August. Yes, we are even getting married in my favorite month 🙂

kiss-path-engagement
engagement-picture-jump-flowers
us-looking-bench
Keep running!

A New Year — Race 1 of 12.

Miscellaneous

Happy New Year! I am super excited for 2014. I’ve got big plans for racing, running and beginning to plan a wedding. I also plan on rocking my career even more and continuing to be an awesome auntie to my four little ones – actually soon to be five come June!

2013 was an amazing year for me. I’m almost even tempted to call it “adult” like, which is funny because I am the farthest thing from being an adult. I mean I still laugh at poop jokes and I’m 24 years old. Anyways, in 2013: I got a new car, landed my first big kid job, ran my first marathon and got engaged. 2014 has BIG shoes to fill, but the possibilities are there and I’m excited for it all.

It’s one of my resolutions to run a race every month of the year in 2014. I’m glad January’s race is already said and done, because I am not a fan of cold weather running. I’m already dreading the February and March races, plus sometimes April is cold around here too. I’m also dreading the race fees, so hopefully that doesn’t stop me either.

So to start off the New Year and to cross 1 of 12 races off my list, I set off to run a 5K on New Years Day. I ran the race with Nicole (one of my best friends, future bridesmaids and marathon running partner). It was the Cleveland Commitment 5K on New Year’s Day in Beachwood. It’s a free race dedicated to starting a national conversation about living a healthy way of life. This race was one of 35 that took place all over the U.S. on January 1st and of course I loved that it was free entry.

Snowy 5K route

Snowy 5K route

Despite having a good amount of champagne the night before and staying up pretty late with friends, Nicole and I braved the cold 17 degree weather to run a quick 3.1 miles on New Years Day. The course was a little boring as we ran through a neighborhood and down snowy sidewalks. I was pretty much miserable the entire run and joked that the 5K was the worse thing to ever happen to me. I was tired, freezing and a tiny bit hung over, PLUS I’ll be honest – I’m a little out of shape considering I haven’t ran in about 3 weeks. I’m too embarrassed to even post my time, but let’s just say I ran a full 10 minutes faster in the 5K I ran in June when I was training. I wasn’t happy with my time nor running the actual race itself, but let me tell you  how happy I am that my January race is over.

I look happy, but I'm not. [Nicole and I post-race]

I look happy, but I’m not. [Nicole and I post-race]

Here’s my list of other 2014 race possibilities:
JanuaryCheck!
FebruaryDirty Run 10K in Willoughby Hills, $30 OR Chili Bowl Classic 5K in Cleveland, $20, plus the fiance would love to be able to taste all the different chili offered post race with the fee.
MarchLifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon in Beachwood, $35. (It would be my DREAM to be able to do this.) OR Strides of March 5K in Kirtland, $18. (It’ll also be important to run lower cost races now since we have a wedding to start planning for!)
April – Chardon hosts a Maple Sap 5K every year in April for an annual festival. It’s two streets over from my house and probably no more than $20, so this will probably be my April run. No information is currently posted about it.
May – My wonderful fiance registered me for the 2014 Cleveland Half Marathon for this month. He’ll run it with me too. (Guys – take note of this gift idea if your woman is a runner. I was seriously SO excited when I opened the envelope!)
JuneMentor Flag Day 5K, $20.  I ran it last year and placed in my age group. Plus there was an awesome post-race picnic after.
July – Painesville Johnny Cake Jog Five Miler, $20/$25. I loved this race when I ran it last year. It’s a fast, flat course and just an all around good event with great food and activities post-race.
August – I’d love to be able to do the Bellefaire JCB Biathlon again. It’s a 5K race followed by a 13.1 bike ride. It was an awesome event and I placed in my age group.
September – Hands down I’m running the 2014 Akron Marathon again.
October – Not sure about this month’s race yet. Not many races for this late in 2014 are posted yet. I know there’s a half and full marathon somewhere up by the lake (maybe in Fairport). I’m also not sure if the Rock and Roll Half Marathon will be back either, but I don’t particularly want to run that again. I’m not even sure if I’d want to run another full or half marathon if I’m running Akron the month before though. Stay tuned.
November – This past Thanksgiving the fiance and I were traveling the day of, so we didn’t put much of an effort in to find a Turkey Trot to run even though we both said we wanted to. 2014 will have to be different or else I’ll need to find another November race.
December – More than likely I’ll run the Legacy Village Jingle Bell 5K again. I’ve run this race the past two years and have enjoyed it. I love the holiday themed races since they are always so fun and festive.

Here are a few pictures from our New Year’s Eve festivities. Since I worked basically the entire holiday and the fiance (still weird to say since our engagement is so new) has been off work for the past two weeks, he did the NYE planning coordination. He arranged dinner with 20 friends and family at a local winery a few streets over from the house. The place is called Your Vine or Mine in Painesville and it was fantastic. I’d recommend it to anyone local and looking to support a family owned business. We had awesome wine and a light dinner, then everyone came back to the house to drink, be merry and watch the ball drop. The fiance’s sister did an awesome job with decorations and food. We all had a great time and still avoided the overly-crowded-too-loud-no seats-available-can’t-get-a-drink bar scene. I was a happy girl.

Our large group of 20

Our large group of 20

The fiance and I being overly festive and cute for NYE.

The fiance and I being overly festive and cute for NYE

New Year’s Day we followed our normal tradition of getting sushi and then seeing a movie. We saw American Hustle, which kept my attention, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it “good” by any means.

Delicious way to start the new year

A delicious way to start the new year

What are you looking forward to in 2014? I’m excited for the possibilities of the New Year ahead and I hope you all are too.

I’m ready to work hard, run hard and play even harder.

Happy New Year!  

Look in the mirror — there’s your competition.

Miscellaneous

Well…it happened…

I signed up and am officially running the Akron Marathon on Saturday, September 28. marathon

It still seems unreal. I’ve dreamed about running a marathon for years — even when I thought 4 miles was soooo long during my early college years of running. Now, I finally feel ready enough to attempt it.

All summer I went back and forth with the decision to run it or not. I had planned to do it and then suddenly prices dramatically increased. Then I was out of commission for three weeks because I got my wisdom teeth out and developed a terrible infection. Then people I spoke to warned me “Oh no you don’t want to run Akron as your first marathon.” Or “It’s stupid, don’t ever run a marathon.” Etc. Etc. Etc.

I got so inside my own head that I shut out the idea for a little bit. Then suddenly something just clicked inside of me. I trained all summer (well minus three weeks) and I knew that the Akron half marathon would be too easy. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to feel proud of myself. I wanted to be the person I had watched at the Cleveland Marathon finishing strong and crossing mile 26.2.

Suddenly I felt a huge surge of inspiration and motivation. I would never be more ready then I would be right now. Of course I would (and am) continuing to train up until the race, but if I didn’t take advantage of this right now, I would spend all winter wondering what if?

Of course I’m still terribly afraid. I’m petrified I’ll get to mile 18 and just be done, but I’m also so excited that it keeps me awake at night. The past two weekends I woke up with a giant smile at 7 a.m. because it was the day for my long run.

I’m also nervous because I’ll be running it alone. Of course there will be the other 2,000 runners, but in general, none of my friends will be there running next to me. The BF just could not do it with his bad knee and of course he feels awful about it, but I’m not holding it against him. This is more of my dream now and I’m finally going to make it happen. I’m scared out of my mind, but I was even more scared to have to wait a whole year to get this opportunity again.

Stay tuned, because this race happens in three weeks!

The BF and I at this weekend's home opener.

The BF and I at this weekend’s home opener.

In other races and life news, I’m a happy gal because my Cleveland Browns are back at it! I’m sad that summer is ending (actually borderline depressed), however I love football season!

I also ran the South River Winery Vineyard Run two weekends ago and it was awesome, but undoubtedly the toughest course I’ve ever ran before. It was all grass trails in and around the grapevines of the winery. Of course it was cool and very scenic, but after almost twisting my ankle 28 times and missing my 10K PR time by two minutes, I was happy to see the finish line.

Friends, myself and the BF post race.

Friends, myself and the BF post winery race.

That’s it for now. I am so focused and excited that I’m practically giddy about it being 91 degrees today, because I plan to get in at least five miles tonight after work. I’ve got to keep this motivation and fire lite!

clearurmindpic

Summer Goodness

Miscellaneous

I’m being a typical girl when I say this, but where has the time gone!? I can’t believe it’s mid July already! Two seconds ago it was May 19 and I was running the Cleveland Half Marathon with an entire summer before me. Now I’m sitting here on July 16 with a full calendar of events every single weekend between now and Labor Day.

This summer has been awesome — even as I started my big kid job this past month and was officially welcomed into the 40+ hour work week. (P.S. What did I do with myself before I started working full time?!) So since I’ve been feeling like a real adult lately (although I could do without the car payment) my mom and I decided to throw a wine tasting party last Saturday. Pinterest was a huge source of inspiration – check out my Wine Tasting Party Board.

We sent out super cute party invites to guest (which I had a few pictures of, but two weeks ago I ran over my cell phone with my own car — and no, alcohol was not even involved surprisingly). We ended up having around 30 guest Saturday night, and the theme quickly changed from a wine tasting to more of a wine social. By the peak of the night, we probably had 40+ bottles of wine at the “tasting” area.

Beginning of the night.

– Beginning of the night

The party was a blast though. We had grape vine lights strung up as decorations, along with cute wine quotes in pretty frames, plus the weather was gorgeous. The week of the tasting Chardon was actually going on 16 straight days of rain. It was miserable. But the wine gods were shining on us Saturday and the sun was out.

1 of 5 outside tables

– 1 of 5 outside tables

We ended up with a ton of food, even though we supplied a majority of it. Red velvet cup cakes with little frosted grapes on them (they took forever to make), veggie cups, homemade pepperoni roll, a giant platter of sushi, cheese and crackers and of course enough wine to fill a pond. Nothing was better than sitting out on a deck sipping wine with my best friends, gossiping and chatting about everything under the sun. My girlfriends and I all vowed to host a wine or BBQ event once a week from now on. Stay tuned as to how that one plays out.

Food table with a gorgeous rainbow fruit salad

– Food table with a gorgeous rainbow fruit salad

Up next on the summer list looks like Painesville’s Party in the Park event this Saturday, followed by a 5-miler called The Johnny Cake Jog. The weekend after that looks like a

An overview of the decor

An overview of the decor

trip to Put-N-Bay, then Vintage Ohio Wine Festival and a Miranda Lambert concert. Oh plus I think I’m convinced the boyfriend to do a Biathlon with me on August 25. The Biathlon includes a three mile run and a 12 mile bike ride. Check out the 2013 Bellefaire JCB Biathlon & Walk.

Hope everyone’s summer is going just as awesome as mine. If you’re in Northeast Ohio like me — enjoy it now, because we don’t get to 85 percent of the year because of the snow.

Keep Running!

Train all winter, race all summer.

Miscellaneous

I think this might be the summer of races, and I’m not mad about it either.

I’ve ran a couple races the past three weeks and have so many more marked down on my calendar over the next couple months. The boyfriend and I seem to be in an official racing kind of lingo lately. There’s just something so exciting about running a race. The registering, the bib number, lining up, the mile markers, the crowds, the excitement. I love hearing pace times being yelled out, running along side complete strangers and the cheers as you sprint the last few feet into the finish line. Anyone who trains all winter on a treadmill is really missing out if they don’t run any of the races offered in the summer around Northeast Ohio. I mean we only get four nice months of weather anyways, so as a runner you better take advantage of it!

I ran a 10K in Northfield two weeks ago. You could run either a 5K or a 10K. All proceeds from the race went to stop human trafficking and it was put on by a local church. The race size was relatively small, but the route included mostly bike trail running and a few good hills. My mom walked the 5K and set a new PR for herself! I finished the 10K in just under an hour, which I was happy about. More info on the race can be found here.

Mom and I after the race.

Mom and I after the race.

Yesterday night the boyfriend and I got a group of friends together to run the Mentor Flag Day 5K. It was supposed to storm, but it actually only ended up sprinkling as everyone started to cross the finish line. The event included post race food, which was awesome. I set a new PR for my 5K time (26:45), which isn’t amazing, but the last 5K I didnt was in December and my time was 34 something, so I’ll take it. The race was on Wednesday night at 7 p.m., which I actually really liked after a long work day. This is a great family event too. More information on the race can be found here.   

America!

America!

I really wanted to run The Lake Health Half Marathon this Sunday, but the race is sold out. Why they stop accepting entries? I’m not sure, but I’m pretty bummed. Plus the race was only a cool $50 compared to other halfs AND only 15 mintues from my house, but oh well.

This week marks 16 weeks out from the Akron Marathon. I’ve tossed around the idea of trying to run the full, but it’s not set in stone yet. I’m following a bare minimum training schedule for a full, but who knows if I’ll just stick with the half instead. The mileage is way down to only 18 miles a week right now, so it’s currently no big deal. We’ll see what happens I guess!

I hope everyone is taking advantage of summer and running a few races!

Keeping Running!