Archive | October, 2011

Best Weekend Ever

31 Oct

I had the best weekend, and I want to tell you all about it!

 Thursday evening, my boyfriend Zack came into town for a weekend visit. I took the day off Friday so we could have lots of time together. First up on the Friday morning agenda was to go to Brianna’s (Zack’s sister) and see his nieces.

Sweet Reese!

 

Beautiful Bridget!

 After a perfect morning with the cutest little girls in town, we headed downtown to shop for costumes and see Paranormal Activity 3 (scarrry). Next stops included dinner with family, a trip to the haunted houses and  a night cap at a (very smoky) local  bar.

6 hours before I was running 18 miles...

 Saturday morning came WAY too fast and it was time for me to run my longest distance ever – 18 miles! Stacy and I started at a pretty slow pace and it felt good. I could still feel the pain from last Sunday’s half marathon though. By mile 12 I was really getting sore, especially in my booty and hammy’s. The last 6 miles went by pretty slow…I am praying that the next long run isn’t as hard as that one was. However that one will definitely include proper hydration and 8 hours of sleep the night before.

 Following the run, Zack and I had a BIG breakfast and watched some scary movies. Then it was time to  get ready for the evening festivities. Zack and I decided to go as a scary couple this year. He was Lucifer and I was his dark angel. What a fun night we had – but angel wings can be quite difficult to wear in a crowded bar!

Very Scary!!!! (Yes I am wearing a pleather dress)

On Sunday, we went to Zack’s parents for a chili cook off contest.  I made a yummy white chili (which was actually a really healthy recipe), but unfortunately did not win the contest. There is always next year!

Like my hat?

This morning I had to say bye to Zack, which totally sucks. I won’t see him until Christmas, but I am praying the time goes by fast. I have a ton of fun things planned between now and then (stay tuned for more details on those), so it should help pass the time. Long distance relationships are no fun at all, but I know it won’t stay this way forever.

 Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween! BOO!

 Ali

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Sweet Baby Reese

26 Oct

Last Thursday, Reese Louise Bruening made her introduction into this world. Reese is the newest daughter of Brianna and Mike Bruening, Zack’s sister and brother in law.

8lbs 7oz of perfection!

 I felt so special to be included in this special day, and to have been at the hospital when Reese was born. She is the sweetest little thing I have ever seen, and I am so excited to be there to watch her grow up. I am also so excited to now have two sweet little “nieces” to be “Aunt Awi” to 🙂

So happy

 Bridget & Reese -I love you two so much!

Ali

The Woulda Coulda Shoulda’s (Race Recap)

25 Oct

I am having a major case of the Woulda Coulda Shoulda’s following the Rock ‘n Roll St. Louis half marathon yesterday (hence the title of the post). However before I get into the reasons for this, I want to share with everyone what an awesome weekend I had in St. Louis. So here we go!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, I picked up Stacy, my Mom and friend Kara and began our journey to St. Louis. Our journey took much longer than expected due to us having quite a few pit stops (staying hydrated on a road trip does not equal fast travel time!). Once we arrive in St. Louis we got checked into the hotel and Stacy and I took a run around the city to freshen up our legs. Following the run, Stacy, my Mom and I headed to the Expo. At the Expo we finally got to see Diana, who had been in the city since Friday. We maneuvered our way around, shopped a bit and then headed back to the hotel to see my Dad, Aunt Holly and friend Emily (who was also running).

The nerves really started to set in on Saturday afternoon and I began having a minor (or major) meltdown over my outfit. I was worried I would get too hot during the race. Oh well though, there was nothing I could do at this point. I got a pep talk from Zack (my bf) and took some deep breaths. Our group then headed to dinner at Charlie Gitto’s for a pasta dinner. When we got to dinner I was still a bit on edge (ok, a “bit” might be an understatement) and asked my Dad permission to have a glass of wine. He told me one glass wouldn’t hurt me, so I slammed it and felt better.

After dinner, Diana, Stacy, Emily and I had a pre-race pow wow. We committed to our goals, planned out our water stops, and decorated our race numbers. We also enjoyed some cookies and frosting – a pre/post race ritual for Stacy and I. Then it was time for bed. We went our separate ways and attempted to get a good nights rest.

I love to color.

 

Pre-race fuel

Sunday

The alarm went off at 5:40am, and I was ready to face the day. I got dressed in my lululemon outfit, put on my make up (yes, I always run races in my full make up face), did my hair and ate half a zone bar. I also drank half a cup of coffee and drank some water. I headed up to Stacy and Emily’s room to pick the girls up and then we went to meet Diana. We found Diana on the corner of the street dressed in a trash bag. Apparently she had been told that she should do this to stay warm(?). After quite the entertaining walk to the starting line, we got situated. We said bye to Diana, and headed to our coral. Next thing I knew – the gun went off and we were running.

Di in a trash bag

 

Mom and Dad, supporting my running since the start!

 

Rock Stars!

 

Ready to run!

 

Aunt Holly came to watch!

 

The running crew

  

One last prayer!

I was running, and I felt pretty good. Mile one hit and I was on my pace to PR, then mile two and mile three hit and I realized I was slower than what I needed to be. It was ok though – I had miles to make it up. I decided that mile 4 would be where I got in my running “groove” and tried to start hitting those 7:10 miles I needed. Well, mile 4 ended up being a 7:26 – far from my 7:10 pace I needed. I had quite a pick me up at mile 6 where I heard familiar voices cheering me on. Kara and Lindsey were yelling loud and clear “Go Alicat!!!” and it was the best thing ever! It motivated me SO much that I ran a 6:58 mile! Finally – I was getting on pace!

This photo made me laugh! Dad somewhere along the course cheering!

The second half of the race wasn’t at all what I had been imaging and envisioning. I was hot, I shoulda worn a tank. My energy was depleting, I wish I woulda eaten the entire zone bar. Had I not had these issues, I coulda been running my PR pace. I am not a mental runner. I can usually block out my head and continue to run without trouble. But during this race I was really struggling. At no time did it feel easy or feel like I remembered that 1:34 feeling 3 years ago. I was constantly telling myself that, “you can do this, you can do this. Don’t lose hope, you can do this.”

The last few miles of the race flew by. I was high fiving anyone that would offer one up, and encouraging any of the runners I was passing that I knew could use it. My focus was on the finish. I knew I wouldn’t be hitting my new PR, so I just ran as hard as I possibly could. Finally I saw the finish line and started pumping my little arms and legs as hard as I could. I heard Lindsey scream “Go Alicat!” and I threw up my arm to acknowledge that I knew they were there and cheering me on. Then the finish line appeared. The relief I felt crossing that line was unbelievable. I was so happy to be done and proud of myself for finishing. Then I looked at my watch and felt the disapointment – 1:36:39. I didn’t PR, I didn’t even come close.

Waving at my cheerleaders

 

YES YOU CAN!

 

Finish line - come to me!

 

Never looked hotter.

I stayed at the finish and waited for Stacy and Emily to come through. Stacy wanted to run under 1:40, and she made it with 5 seconds to spare. We found our families after getting our post race photo together, and took a few photos.

We did it!

 

Such great friends!

 

Showing off!

After Emily finished we got in the car and headed to mile 22 to cheer on Diana. The spirit she had at mile 22 was amazing and inspiring. She was so happy and running steady with the 4 hour pace group.

So happy!

 

The 4hr pacer let her hold the pacing stick at one point!

Next stop was the finish line, where Diana graced us with her happy face far ahead of her 4 hour goal. We screamed at her and cheered our hearts out as she crossed the finish line. We hugged, jumped up and down and screamed together. She did it – she ran a freaking marathon!!!

Thank goodness, the races were over!

Post Race Thoughts

As soon as I got back to my hotel room, the “woulda coulda shoulda’s” really set in. I wasn’t happy, I was straight up disappointed. I felt like a failure. I hate not meeting my goals, and today I was far from meeting my goal. I started thinking of all the reasons why I didn’t make it. I wish I woulda trained harder, maybe those track days I coulda run a faster pace, and then I shoulda been happy with the results. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of myself. I know what I accomplished is a huge deal and I did amazing, BUT it is still hard to be happy with.

I have been thinking about that PR I so deeply crave. Is it possible to ever run a 1:34 again? Or is it the same situation as my 5k time (which is that I know will never be able to run a 19:40 again)? I know what I need to do. I need to be happy with what I ran and move on to the next big race. But it might take a few days to do that. I apologize if my enthusiasm is lacking when you tell me “good job!”. I appreciate everyone’s support so much, and hopefully soon enough I will let it go and move on.

Thank you again to everyone that has supported me throughout my training and throughout this race. I cannot wait to return the favor to you all when you are working hard towards something in your life 🙂

xoxo, Ali

The Hay is in the Barn.

22 Oct

As my Dad likes to say before big races, “The hay is in the barn!”. I have put in the miles, done the speed work and prepared as best as possible. What is done is done, and I hope that every bit of it pays off in about 33 short hours.

I am nervous, but excited. I have good feelings, and I am staying very positive. We leave tomorrow morning at 7:30am, followed by a trip to the expo and a short 2 mile run to spice up our legs a big. Then dinner at an Italian place tomorrow evening for some last minute carbo loading. I plan to be snuggled in bed by 9pm 🙂

I expect this weekend to be full of fun! I cant wait to see how my running buddies do on Sunday! I have no doubts that they will be overjoyed with their results and the time on that clock when they cross the finish line. Sunday will be Diana’s first marathon and I cannot wait to see her cross that finish line with the pride that she just ran a marathon! I know she will do amazing. I am also so excited to see how Stacy does. She has been working so hard and deserves every last second of the PR I know she is going to run!

I am already excited for my post-race blog update sharing all the details of Sunday. Good luck to all the runners out there!! #RnRSTL

Cheers!

Ali

the little things

20 Oct

Tonight I came home from work to a surprise on the kitchen table. It seems I had a little houseguest during the day that left me a treat! This special houseguest also left treats for Stacy and Diana, knowing that I would see the girls tonight.

Check out the artwork on those bags!

Well, it turns out these treats were from my Mom. And inside were GU packs, a 26.2 sticker for Di, inspirational cards, a Sweaty Band and homemade granola bars! This act of kindness meant the world to me. How sweet of my Mother to take time out of her day to do this for us?!

Full of goodies

I was thinking tonight about how much the little things have meant to me during my training. Whether it be a friend asking me about my progress, or my running partners giving me a “pep talk” when I needed it the most – the little things have gotten me through this, kept my chin up and kept a smile on my face. And the thoughts of those little things will get me through those 13.1 miles on Sunday.

I also found out this week that not only will I have my parents, Aunt Holly and friends Lindsey and Joe cheering me on during the race Sunday, but my amazing friend Kara will be joining as well! I cannot wait to see their smiling faces as I bust a** on that course! I doubt that they even realize just how important their presence is to me. The fact that all of these people are taking time out of their day, and weekend is the sweetest. I will return the favor to each and every one of you!

 Thank you to everyone that has taken time to wish me luck, and to everyone that will tell me good job 🙂

 xoxo, Ali

What a Weekend!

17 Oct

Whew! What a weekend I just had. And the best part about it – I spent it all with friends and family.

Let’s start with Friday night. After a very long week at work, I went to Diana’s for dinner. Diana’s husband Lee was preparing to run his first marathon the next day, so we had to make a spectator plan and also make some signs. By the time the evening was over, we had made three big signs and mapped out a spectating route to see Lee 7 times during the race! Diana was nervous for her hubby, I was excited!

Saturday morning began with a 5:30 wake up call, which was a little brutal considering we weren’t getting up that early to run! Di and I packed up the signs and all our spectating goods and headed downtown. When we got there we were lucky enough to see Lee at the start and wish him luck. After watching him cross the finish line we headed to mile 3. Mile 8 was the next stop, then we ventured to Brookside to catch miles 13 and 18.

Super Spectators!

The last stop before the finish was mile 21. Lee was looking awesome and seemed to be in   really great spirits! Next stop – finish line. We had to wait for a bit, but then we saw him! He ran so well, finishing in under 3:30! Pretty good for your first marathon if you ask me!

Crossing in 3:39

Following the marathon I headed to the City Market for breakfast. My Aunt Holly was in town for a birthday party, and it was perfect timing that she was downtown just as I finished up! We did some floral arranging after breakfast, then spent some time admiring the beauty of Lake Tapawingo. It was such a perfect and beautiful day out there.

I felt like a florist

Lake Tapawingo

Aunt Holly's Fab Fur Flips

Sunday morning kicked off with a visit to Arthur Bryant’s BBQ for Uncle Greg’s birthday. The party was great and seeing my cousins was even better! Following the lunch, Stacy and I ventured to Lululemon to pick out our race outfits. After a very long time of deliberation, we picked our outfits for race day. Stacy got shorts and a T, I got a skirt and T. Best part about my skirt is the booty ruffle on the back! I am praying the weather stays as it says now so we can actually wear them.

The Outfit

The goal for this week will be sleep and relaxation. Which is where I am headed now. Watching the Kansas City marathon made me really excited for my race. I have a good feeling and even had a dream that I ran a 1:19 half. Might be a bit ambitious but a little optimism never hurt anyone.

Ta ta!
Ali

Rock ‘n Roll Baby!

14 Oct

Currently, I am training for the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon in St. Louis. The race is on October 23rd, and I couldn’t be more excited (or more nervous) for it to finally be here. The last 3.5 months have been dedicated to training. I have fought early mornings, extreme heat and very sore muscles. I have also sacrificed almost every Friday night  in that time by having to adhere to early bedtimes and last minute hydration efforts.

I would love more than anything to PR this thing, I even have dreams about it! I constantly think about how amazing it would feel to kick ass and cross that finish line under 1 hour and 34 minutes. I will do everything I possibly can to reach that time, however I feel that it is necessary to have a “back up” goal time just in case. I mean, I have to beat at least one goal I set for myself that day! That being said, my “back up” goal time will be a 1:38. If you have any PR suggestions for me, please pass them my way! I will also be accepting positive thoughts you have for me 🙂

So the official countdown is on. I have 10 days until race day, approximately 226 hours. I want to ROCK this race, I have to ROCK this race, and I will ROCK this race!!!  

 Time for bed, early morning ahead for my very last long run before race day! Goodnight!

Ali

Welcome to my Blog!

13 Oct

Welcome!

I am Ali. I am 25 years old, living in the wonderful midwest (Kansas City area). I love my life, and I love sharing my life with other people. I have many favorite things, one of which is running. I decided to write this blog to keep people posted on my running progress as I train for upcoming races. I will also share other important life updates, since I have many other interests in addition to running!

So why do I run? There are numerous reasons why I run, aside from the obvious that I have always had a passion for it and I love it. Many people don’t really understand why I run, and how I can actually enjoy it! For my first blog post I would like to explain my reasoning for why and how I could enjoy running miles and miles, and also give you a little taste as to who I am. So here we go!

I run because…

My running buddies are the best
I love my running buddies and our morning chats. Sometimes when I don’t get my morning started with my running girlfriends, my entire day is out of whack. I need them in my life to keep my sane.

The shoes are so dang comfy
No explanation needed on this one, I love my Brooks running shoes.

Running skirts are fabulous
Running skirts are the best thing that was ever introduced to running. I love skirts in general, and the fact that I can now incorporate them into my running attire makes me smile. Running skirts actually motivate me to run just so I can put those cute things on!

It makes you feel like a bad ass
It is impossible to run 16 miles on a Saturday morning and not feel like a total bad ass. When your friends are sleeping, you are running. The high I get after running is similar to that high I get after shopping, and it is much better for my bank account.

Food is too good not to enjoy
I am a sugar-holic, most notably when it comes to chocolate. I am also a carb-a-holic. Pasta, bread, donuts – bring it on!

I often indulge in wine
Nothing is better after a stressful day (or just a regular Tuesday evening) than a glass of chilled white wine. But then in college I learned the hard way that alcohol actually does make you gain weight (darn it!). I have to cancel it out somehow – because I refuse to give up my wine.

I like music
Few things relax me more than an evening run with Justin Beiber, Britney or MJ blaring in my ears.

My boyfriend lives far away
Zack lives in Texas. Running helps to take my mind off how much I miss him every day and gives me something else to focus on.

I love to shop
I am a certified shopaholic. I love it. I am one of those people you hear about that gets the incredible high after making an exciting purchase. Shopping would be my life if I didn’t make an effort to prevent that from happening (and didn’t have the financial constraints). But how does my obsession with shopping become one of the reasons why I run? Distraction. Running helps to distract me from thinking about shopping all day and to keep me from using all my spare time to shop!

You can always count on me to have a perfectly matching running outfit, and to repeat those outfits very rarely. You can also always count on me to share my feelings on the latest fashion trends and trending topics during my morning runs.

I love running. I love shopping. I love life!  I run miles and miles, and you bet I do it in my “Ali Style” for each and every one of ‘em!

See you next time!

Ali

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