Archive | October, 2012

Maintaining Perspective (or at least trying to)

30 Oct

So this girl is a little stressed right now. Ok, a lot stressed right now.

Why, you ponder?

Because I am supposed to run a marathon on Sunday, and this marathon is one that I have been preparing to run (physically and mentally) the last 8 months. This marathon is also my DREAM race and I have coordinated a 5 day vacation around the event – complete with show tickets and dinner reservations.

In case you haven’t turned on the TV, a hurricane decided to hit NYC and beat the city up pretty bad. The photos I have seen are unimaginable, and the damage is just plain crazy. The thought of the clean up to be done makes me so sad for the city residents.

And through all these photos I have seen, news coverage I have watched, and articles I have read, I am still sitting here stressing out about whether or not I will get to fulfill my dream on Sunday and run in the New York City Marathon. How much more selfish could I be?

This afternoon, I went out on my lunch break for a quick run. I needed to clear my head and most importantly I needed to get some perspective on the situation.

While on my run I started thinking about the people affected by storm, and the people who lost their homes or even their loved ones. I realized that me not getting to run NYC this year is not the end of the world. It is just a very big letdown. And although I will be very sad and angry if that scenario plays out, I will live, and I will still have everything I had before. Which is more than some people can say right now.

I am not giving up on my dream though. I don’t leave until Friday morning, so I am hoping that things will be up and running by then and I will be able to get into the city. Until I hear otherwise (and the amount I am checking twitter for race updates has got to be unhealthy), I will act as if I am running towards a dream on Sunday. And I will continue to envision the finish line in my head.

Wishing everyone affected by this storm a speedy recovery process. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

And as Nicole just reminded me, “Let Go and Let God”. He knows what’s best.

xoxo,

Ali

5 days people – let’s make it happen!

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NYC Marathon Training – Week Twelve

29 Oct

Week twelve of training was my first official week of marathon tapering! I love to taper, but I hate to taper. It is a total catch 22.

Why? Because it kind of plays with your mind. When you taper, you aren’t running nearly as much as you were throughout your training. It makes you feel like, “OMG I am not doing as much as I should”. It also makes you say, “Am I going to lose all this speed that I have been working towards the last 12 weeks?”.

Although we have these fears, the best thing to do is relax, and trust that you have done everything you can do. “The hay is in the barn” as my running coach would say.

I will say that I had some issues this week with my asthma. My body is fighting off a cold, but I have been drinking Emergen-C like water!

Monday – Off day

Tuesday – 6 miles at 8:30 pace. 3 miles at “goal pace” (2 of which were a little slower than goal pace…oh well!).

Wednesday – TRX Class

Thursday – 5 miles at 8:20 pace. 2 miles at a faster pace (7:30 and 7:09). Was hoping to pick it up a bit more but my asthma was getting in the way.

Friday – 4 miles at 8:24 pace. One of those runs where I could’ve run forever!

Saturday – 12 miles, 9 at 8:29 pace. I ran 3 of these miles while spectating the KC Marathon (don’t know the pace). Two of my amazing friends were running and we followed them through the entire course. Such a fun day!

After my 9 mile run, I did 35 minutes of yoga. I freaking love yoga!!!

Sunday – Off day

Total Miles: 27

After my Thursday morning run. I totally colorblocked my outfit!

Running 26.2 in the Rain (It’s not as bad as you may think)

26 Oct

Happy Friday, everyone! And happy race weekend to all those running Saturday or Sunday!

Yesterday, I received a text from a friend who is running the Marine Corp Marathon Sunday. She was looking for some tips on running a marathon in the rain, due to the fact that Hurricane Sandy is most likely going to have an impact on their racing weather. I have experience running 26.2 in the rain (read about that experience here and here), so Andrea knew I would have some ideas on ways to salvage her race.

Although you might freak out about the thought of running a marathon in the rain (been there, done that!!), it really isn’t that bad. And it isn’t going to totally mess up your race. My first marathon experience was in the pouring down rain and 40 degrees. And I still look back at that day as being one of the best days of my life. I also got a BQ 🙂

So now let’s talk strategy about preparing for a run in the rain…We will start with at the bottom and work our way up.

Feet
Your feet are going to get wet no matter what, and your shoes are going to get super soggy and annoying. Make sure you put plenty of aquafor/vaseline/deodorant (deodorant is my favorite way to prevent chaffing and blisters) on your feet before putting on your socks. This will prevent friction and blisters from wreaking havoc during the race. I also suggest investing in a pair of dry fit socks. Those will deal with the rain much better than cotton.

Hands
Luckily for the MCM people, it won’t be nearly as cold as it was for my marathon in the rain. I made sure I had back up gloves for the race and switched them out halfway through. Dry fit gloves were my saving grace for the second 13.1.

Core
Wearing the proper clothing will be very important on race day. I tried on every potential outfit I brought for the race the night before, and threw water on each one. This way I could see what instantly absorbed water, and what didn’t.

I also got pretty crafty and made a waterproof vest out of my expo bag. The reason why I didn’t just buy a vest was because I knew I would want to shed this thing at some point of the race. And I didn’t have someone there to throw things to at designated spots. I swear that everyone running that race commented on how smart we were for making our own vests. This kept our core warm and dry, and I ended up wearing it for 24 miles!

Another must do is wearing a poncho as long as you can up until the race start. This will help you stay dry before the race starts.

Running in the bag!

Those ponchos were a life saver.

Head
A hat is a must on race day. This will keep the water from hitting your face and driving you insane. It will also help you not look like a wet dog with sopping wet hair in every photo (the race photos matter, people!). I put an earband over my headband so I could toss it off if I wanted to and not have to remove my entire hat. It also helped hold the hat down because it was windy (which it will be for the MCM people as well).

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I believe I have covered all areas of the body to prep for this race.

As I said early…running a marathon in rain isn’t as tragic as you may think it is. You can do it, and you can still have a great race!!

Good luck everyone, and let me know if you have any questions! I am happy to help out my fellow runners!

XO,

Ali

The proudest moment of my life – crossing that finish line in 3:32!!

Weighed Down

23 Oct

Lately, I have become a little obsessive about my weight.

I have NEVER been someone to be crazy about the number on a scale, until I read a blog post from a fellow runner, and an article in Runner’s World about the importance of “race weight”.

After I read these blogs and articles, I sat there and started reflecting over the last year. I know that I have not been watching the food and drinks that I put into my body like I should. I also now know that I currently weigh more than I ever have (even more than I did when I was in my beer drinking, pizza eating years of college). Think those two items are related? You bet they are.

So why didn’t I watch what I was eating? “Well duh! I am training for a marathon! I can eat whatever I want!”

So that thinking right there, so WRONG. And I learned that the hard way last week when I stepped on a scale for the first time in months.

When I saw the number that appeared, I about had a meltdown (ok, I did have a meltdown). Yeah, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, because I have noticed that my body seems a little different than it did a few years ago, and shorts don’t fit me like they used to. But I wasn’t expecting the number that appeared.

The number on that scale was 12 pounds heavier than it was when I ran my first half marathon 4 years ago (still my PR to this day – 1:34).

See those itty bitty size zero shorts?? Yeah…I can’t get into those anymore.

Now I am in a total freak out mode that I am going to ruin my chances of PR’ing the NYC marathon and running under a 3:30 because I weigh too much. Can my body carry that extra weight 26.2 miles under an 8 minute pace? Did I run my 13.1 PR of 1:34 years ago because I was so thin?

I know it isn’t smart to diet before a race, but I have been paying attention to what food I put into my mouth for the first time in a year. I have been making much smarter choices (no pizza, no fried food, nothing with gravy), and not going back for seconds. I have also cut out all alcohol except on the weekends (I used to drink a glass of wine every night). With these habits, I hope to see the number on the scale drop a few pounds before I run NYC. Which will also relieve some of my stress about the situation.

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This post is in no way asking for people to tell me, “You are so skinny, you should love yourself” blah blah blah. I know I am skinny, but I am not happy with myself relative to where I have been in the past.

The point of this post is to get feedback from other runners and athletes on their thoughts about “race weight”, how they trim down before a race, and also how they keep themselves feeling full during training (I am ALWAYS starving!).

Please share any thoughts and tips you have. I always love to hear from you all!!

xoxo,

Ali

I will make one positive comment – although I weigh the most than I ever have, I am also the happiest than I have ever been 🙂

Ten Questions Answered

21 Oct

I saw this post on Jennie’s blog, and decided to copy. Because let’s get real…who doesn’t love answering questions about themselves!

1. Best run ever?

The 2011 Dallas Marathon. It was my first marathon, and one of the best experiences of my life. I exceeded everything I thought I could do and qualified for Boston! I don’t think I have ever been so proud of myself.

It was the best run ever in a plastic bag…because it poured down rain the entire race!

Wondering about my worst run ever? Check out this post.

Following the worst run ever.

2. Three words that describe your running?

Dedicated, Therapeutic, Fun

3. Your go-to running outfit?

Anything from Lululemon is a go to. I don’t have one piece of Lulu clothing that I don’t love!!

Lulu 4 life

4. Quirky habit while running?

I always run cul-de-sacs in the neighborhoods. This drives some people insane, but I love it because it can add on so many miles! I cringe when I run next to a cul-de-sac and don’t take advantage of it!

5. Morning, midday, evening?

If I don’t start my day with a run, it throws everything off (unless it is a designated off day). Few things are better than getting in miles before the sun comes up.

6. I won’t run outside when it’s…

Thunderstorming. Other than Thunderstorms I have ran in every other kind of weather. This is why a large running wardrobe is necessary!!!

Two of my go-to items when I am running in chilly weather – a headband and a neck warmer!

7. Worst injury—and how you got over it.

I have been SO fortunate over my running career to never face a major injury (knock on wood). I have dealt with plantar fasciitis (who hasn’t) and some knee pain, but both of these were corrected with KT Tape and rest.

Prior to the Dallas Marathon, I looked like this!

Maybe God has kept me injury free since I have dealt with Asthma my entire life. I have no idea what it feels like to be able to to run without breathing issues or puffing on an inhaler before each run.

8. I felt most like a badass runner when…

I run an insane amount of miles before work. This training I completed every one of my 20 plus milers before work. Which means that I started these runs at 4am. I felt like a total badass when I got to work knowing that I had already run 22 miles, while other people had only rolled out of bed to come to the office 🙂

9. Next race is…

New York City!!!!!! The day I found out I got into NYC I jumped for joy. This is my DREAM race and I get to run it in 2 weeks. I am so excited, I just want it to be here!!

10. Potential running goal for 2013?

I am already registered for the 2013 Boston Marathon, so that checks off one big race!

I am also thinking about shooting for a half marathon PR and running the Chicago Marathon this year.

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There are my answers…now it’s your turn to share yours!!

xoxo,

Ali

Thankful Thursday – Feeling the Love

18 Oct

Today I am feeling very thankful for some the amazing people I have in my life.

I always feel blessed by my friends and my family, and I talk about it a lot on this blog. But one group I don’t give enough credit to are my coworkers at DEG.

The entire DEG group.

A few of the super special ones 🙂

We have a lot of fun together too 🙂

My coworkers have had the pleasure of listening to me talk about running (A LOT), listen to my ups of training, and my downs of training. Many of them are kind of enough to reach out and ask me each day how it’s going and how my inevitable early morning run went that day. Not only do these amazing people inquire about my running, but they actually care about it too.

So what prompted this sappy blog? Well, let me tell you…

Last week I was having one of these mornings where you forget things at home and have to turn around to go back (twice). It was also one of those mornings where you are flustered and not feeling 100%. When I finally made it to work grouchy and annoyed, I noticed a card sitting on my desk.

Kinda looks like me??

“Who is writing me cards?!” I thought, as I ripped it open. Then as I read the card, my frown turned upside down, and I got the biggest smile on my face.

Inside the card were encouraging words from 8 of my amazing coworkers. These words of encouragement were good luck wishes for my upcoming marathon, hand written and signed by each of them. As I read these warm wishes, I was overwhelmed with their kindness and love. Each wrote something from the heart, and something they knew would make me smile.

See if you can read any of those sweet comments. They are the BEST!

Inside this card was also a little Lululemon pouch, which I discovered had a gift card inside. They got me a gift card to my most FAVORITE running store so I could be properly outfitted for the marathon. Is that not the sweetest thing??

You know me so well!!!

To my dear friends – Lauren, Sarah, Jenn, Cara, Chandra, Whitney, Jenny, and Bethany,

I hope you understand how much your gesture meant to me. The fact that you all listen to me everyday means the world, and knowing that I have your support on race day means even more.

You are all amazing, and I cannot thank you enough. Because of you, I know I will have all the support I need to run my best race on November 4th, and I also know I will have the cutest outfit out on the dang course while doing so.

Thank you again, and I look forward to returning the favor someday soon!

XOXO,

Ali

NYC Marathon Training – Week Eleven

15 Oct

Week eleven training I was back in my game and ready to rock it. I felt better mentally and physically, and had a new outlook on the marathon.

I also came to a realization that the rest of my speed workouts should be completed in shorter sprints, or timed out by a certain number of minutes. The reason why I decided this was because I had been feeling very burnt out and overwhelmed by having to run mile splits at crazy fast paces. I was also overwhelmed with running certain track distances at certain paces. It had become too much pressure on me and made me lose confidence in my training (and we can’t have that!).

So here goes my recap for my last intense week of training!

Monday – 4 miles at 8:02 pace. Ran a lovely little lunch time run.

Tuesday – 7 miles at 8:01 pace. 3 minutes of tempo running 5 times. Was running about 6 min/mile pace on my sprints. Felt really good!!!

Wednesday – 3 miles at 8:39 pace. Followed by TRX class – which was insanely awesome this week!!!

Thursday – 22 miles at 8:27 pace. Last “long” run before the marathon. Felt great was very proud of my pace. I had actually planned to only run 20 miles, but decided to add 2 more in so I had a 22 mile training run this cycle. Pushed it harder the last 3 miles to simulate race day and running fast on tired legs (< 7:30 pace). Very thankful I had friends to meet me during the run so I was only alone for 13 miles!

Friday – Off (much needed!!!)

Saturday – 3.2 miles at 6:40 pace. Ran a 5k and pushed myself during it! I plan to have a little recap of this race later in the week. It was a lot of fun and has a funny story to go along with it! I was also the 2nd place female finisher!

Sunday – 3.5 miles. A little run / walk with Ramsey. It was an amazing afternoon the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. We had such a great time just jogging along chatting and enjoying the fall scenery!

Total Miles: 42.7 miles

Post 22 miler feeling on top of the world!!

I also wanted to share some pictures from the weekend, which was the cause of having to do the 22 miler on a Thursday.

Friday evening I went to an event where I was given to opportunity to fly over Kansas City at night in a little airplane. I am a nervous Nellie when it comes to flying in little airplanes….but luckily they gave me a bottle of champagne to ease the nerves!! Overall, the experience was amazing and I am so glad I did not chicken out!!

Holding on tight!!!

Woohoo!!!

Saturday evening I went to wedding which was such a bast! And best of all, they had a photobooth – which always offers entertainment and laughter!

Wishing everyone a fabulous week ahead!!!

xoxo

Ali

NYC Marathon Training – Week Ten

15 Oct

This was a week of redemption for me following the awful experience of week 9 training.

Week 10 began strong, and also gave my legs some time to recover. I knew that it was important for me to give myself some rest, and listen to my body.

I went on a little weekend trip to Louisville, KY this week to visit my family that lives there. That definitely offered some relaxation and fun to get my mind off training. I threw in some photos below for your viewing pleasure 🙂

Monday – Off

Tuesday – 8 miles at 8:00 pace. Ran 3 minutes hard for 6 of the miles. Overall, this was a really good run and offered a break from the track and mile repeats (which can be mentally exhausting).

Wednesday – 4 miles at 9:15 pace. Great run with Diana following her big marathon!

Thursday – 10 miles at 8:40 pace. Great run with Stacy and Emily! Picked it up for 2 mins 5 times. Probably should’ve done my pick up 10 times, but was giving myself a “break”…

Friday – 2.3 miles on the elliptical. I haven’t been on an elliptical and years, but I really enjoyed this 30 minute workout!! It offered me something different and gave me the chance to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy!!

Saturday – 16 miles at 8:37 pace. Good run in Louisville with Ramsey by my side on his bike! Hilly run but overall pretty good. Hit my 1,000 mile mark for the year on the run!

Sunday – Off

Total Miles: 40.3 miles

Betting on some horses at Keeneland!

Mom and I at Keeneland.

Aunt Holly and I at Woodford Reserve tasting some Bourbon!

One of my biggest running cheerleaders! What a trooper to ride his bike next to me for 2.5 hours while I ran!!!

Ridin’ a Wild Turkey!!

 

NYC Marathon Training – Week Nine

15 Oct

Getting caught up again….I really suck at tracking my training on my blog….

Week 9 was another rough week. I had my worst run of training, and my first real mental breakdown. But I just kept reminding myself, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

Monday – Off

Tuesday – 6 miles at a SLOW pace. This was possibly the worst run of my marathon training….was supposed to do 4 x 1600, all I could do was 2 x 1600 (6:44 and 6:55) and 1 x 800 (3:28). I hate running in the evening, but had to due to tstorms in the AM.

Wednesday – 6 miles at 9:40 pace. Legs and mind were still recovering from that horribly awful run the day before!

Thursday – 6 miles at 8:39 pace. I really tried to push it a bit in this run but I just couldn’t get back up to speed.

Friday – 20 miles at 8:45 pace. I did my long run on a Friday due to a very busy weekend schedule. I ran with my friend Emily and we were both feeling a little beat up and discouraged by our training. We were glad to see this run go smoothly, and we both felt 100 times better. The course we ran was super hilly as well, so that made us feel better too!!

Saturday – 5.5 miles at 7:40 pace. Ran this with Stacy and Kerry, who were in the middle of their 20 miler. Surprised by how fast they were running, but it was good for me!

Sunday – 2.5 miles of stairs and hills. I wanted to try out stair running. It was pretty darn hard but we had some fun while doing it!!

Total Miles: 46

1,000 Miles

14 Oct

Last week, I completed quite the feat..I hit 1,000 miles of running for the year.

Originally when I made my goals for 2012, I said I wanted to run 800 miles. Well, after training for a few half marathons and two marathons, I far exceeded my goal of 800. The few weeks before I hit the big 1,000 mark, I had been monitoring my Daily Mile stats. Every mile closer to 1,000 made me even more excited and motivated.

I realized before going on a 16 miler, that I would hit 1,000 miles at mile 9. As soon as I reached mile 9, I stopped, did a little dance, and took a photo.

1,000 miles was an incredible accomplishment for me. I have never run so many miles or trained so hard in my life. The last year of training has really proved to me what my body is capable of, and has given me so much more confidence in myself.

Although every single mile has not been fun or enjoyable, every single mile has been something I am extremely proud of.

Do you have a mileage goal for the year you’re about to exceed? Or a dream mileage goal you’d like to achieve?

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!!

xoxo,

Ali

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