Tag Archives: Family

Marvelous Mondays – February 6th

6 Feb

Great news to all my readers. Ali is back to her happy self!

I finally shook my mood from the past couple weeks and I am feeling normal again. Cheers to that!

Now let’s get excited about the week, shall we?

Nicole’s Birthday

Obviously today is marvelous because it is my best friends birthday!

Throwback pic from 2003! We were WAY too tan for February.....

Happy 26th Birthday, Nicole!!! I love you and cannot wait to be your maid of honor in 4 months!

Foggy Run

I had a stellar run this morning in the fog!

No, this isn't really from this morning, but it is such a cool pic!

It was a bit scary because it was super dark and super foggy, but I felt great and ran a good pace. Isn’t a great run the best way to start off your day? I think so!

Chocolate Ale

People in Kansas City have been crazy obsessed with this seasonal beer made by Boulevard Brewery. It is called “Chocolate Ale”.

After bar hopping with my friend Kim this weekend, we can now contribute to conversations about Chocolate Ale. It tasted like beer, with chocolate in it!

You would NOT want a glass bigger than this.

Sweet Baby Time

Yesterday I attended my first “play date”. My boyfriend Zack’s sister has two of the sweetest little babies, and they had a little date setup to play with their cousin Gia. I invited myself and tagged along!

I love these girls so much and see them every chance I get! Being Aunt Awi is the best thing ever.

Bridget drinks lots of water just like Awi!

Ummm, for real....look at that sweet face!!!!

So what are you looking forward to this week? Or did something great already happen that you would like to share?

Wishing everyone a happy, positive, upbeat week ahead!

xo,

Ali

Marvelous Mondays – January 23rd

23 Jan

Wow, I cannot believe that it is Monday again, and time for another weekly post.

I will admit that I have been mighty grouchy today…so I am hoping that this post boosts my mood. Nothing serious going on, just letting things annoy me that I can usually brush off. I also think my ugly nail polish is bringing me down – it looked so pretty in the bottle!

So here we go…let’s see how I well I can write a marvelous post while feeling quite un-marvelous.

The Killer 1,000

This week at boot camp, we will be doing something called the Killer 1,000. I have NO clue what this workout entails, but apparently it is quite the killer. I am hydrating like a mo-fo to prepare for this thing, because the last thing I want is to crash due to inadequate hydration.

Pinterest


I created a board on my Pinterest that is titled “Things I’ve Tried”.

The point of this board is to give reviews on the Pinterst projects that I have actually tried. There are so many great ideas and recipes on Pinterst, but I wanted to share my views and opinions on them so others know if it’s worth doing as well! I think everyone should do this…

*You should follow me, then I can follow you!

Running Groove


My running groove is back, and that is making me happy!

My accountability partners and I are back on a schedule of meeting 3 times a week for a morning run. Our mileage has been averaging 5-6 miles per run, and pace hasn’t been discussed (which makes it relaxing!)

Being back with the girls starts my day off the right way. And also serves as a 3/week therapy session.

Guest Blog Post

This week I will be featuring my first guest blogger! I love the idea of doing guest blogs, and I think this one will interest and help a lot of people.

Just a hint, the content goes perfectly with my blog name!

Girls Night


To finish off the week, my Mom will be hosting a girls night at her house.

Wine and appetizers will be served, and I am quite excited to try out another Pinterest recipe.If you have one I should try, please send it my way!

Have you caught on to my obsession with Pinterest?

 

What does your week have in store? Exciting workouts or time with friends/family? Please share!!

(and I totally feel better already after writing this ūüôā )

xo,

Ali

A Year in Review: 2011

4 Jan
One of my Twitter friends recently asked a question. It was: “If you could use one word to describe your 2011, what would it be?”. I quickly replied with: Happiness.

2011 was a wonderful year filled with many memories worth noting. Below is a month by month snapshot of my favorite memories of 2011. Please excuse the delay in writing this blog post.

January

January was a cold and snowy month in Kansas City. January brought me to St. Louis for my dear friends Lindsey and Joe’s engagement party.

All of Lindsey's Ladies, minus Kara

February

The month of LOVE! In February, Zack and I took a trip to Louisville, KY. This was Zack’s first meeting with my family that lives there. What a wonderful weekend we had!

At the Jim Beam Distillery

March

March was a crazy busy month for me! In March I ventured to Texas to visit Zack, then hit up Louisville to see my family and topped off the month with a fantastic trip to NYC!

My first time riding a horse in Louisville!!!

Aunt Holly and I outside of 'Catch me if You Can'

April

April is my birthday month! In April I celebrated a few other birthdays with friends, and then celebrated my own. Easter was also a highlight of the month, and I was happy to spend that weekend with my family and Zack!

Yes, sometimes I wear extensions.

Bridget looks right at home...

May

In May I got to see my parents new getaway home they had been working so hard on. The home is amazing and the view is even better!! I also took a trip to Texas in May to visit Zachary!

This is what you see from their front porch

June

What a month June was!! It started with a trip to Boston for work, that also included quite a lot of fun! Then I went to Key West with Zack’s family to celebrate his parents 30th Wedding Anniversary.

Boston Harbor in the morning, so peaceful!

Sunset Cruise in Key West, FL

I swam with the sweetest Dolphin, Santini!

July

July brought me to California for my first ever visit to the state! My best friend Nicole lives there now, so a trip was in order. I went over the 4th of July weekend and we had the best time in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach!!

In July I also ventured to the Lake of the Ozarks with Eileen, Louisville to see my Cousins and St. Louis for Lindsey and Joe’s wedding shower.

We climbed a mountain, in skirts!!!

We LOVE wine!

I had the most relaxing Friday of my life in Louisville with a Skinny Girl Marg and To Kill a Mockingbird

We were oh so tan!

August

August¬†took me to Chicago for Lindsey’s Bachelorette party. Such a fun weekend. I also took a trip to Lawrence, KS in August to celebrate Zack’s BFF’s birthday.

Lindsey's Ladies!

And OH SO CLASSY

Fun Friends

September

September was another busy month in my life. It began with me running my frist 10K race, and getting 2nd place right behind Stacy!!

Next up for September was a trip to Indianapolis for #ET11. We saw Katy Perry and partied our butts off.

To round out the month Lindsey and Joe got married! It was the most beautiful wedding. Remember the bouquet toss?

We made a podium.

DEG after Katy Perry

Some BM's

Party Central

October

In October, I started this blog!! I also co-hosted a “sprinkle” for Brianna and Baby Girl Bruening #2, met Reese Bruening, ran a half marathon- Rock ‘n Roll STL, and celebrated Halloween as a devil-angel!

Ready to Pop!

A little princess whom I love so much!

How cute are these shirts that Stacy made??

ohhhh scary! Espcially scary is that pleather dress I'm wearing....

November

In November I signed up and committed to run my very first marathon!!! November was full of training, hard. November also took me to Chicago for a girls weekend with Mom and Aunt Holly and Louisville for Thanksgiving.

So much fun!

The best family ever.
 

I am TERRIFIED of mascots!!!! (At Churchill Downs)

December

2011 ended with the best month of all for me. In December, I experienced one of my greatest life accomplishments – I ran a marathon. I also qualified for Boston at that marathon!!!

Christmas came in December, as did time with family and friends.

We ran 26.2 in the pouring down rain.

My biggest cheerleader!

BFF Nicole came home for Christmas!

Bridget turned two and celebrated another Christmas!

My Mom had this made for me - amazing!

Ringing in the New Year with perfect company!

 

2012 – Here We Come!

2011 was such an amazing year. It is hard to believe that 2012 could top it, however I have a feeling it will. I have many plans ahead for the new year, and can’t wait to share them all with you on future posts.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to my fabulous year, and to everyone that will make 2012 just as special.

xoxo,

Ali 

I Had the Time of My Life! Race Recap – Dallas Marathon

6 Dec

This weekend was one of the best weekends of my life, and I cannot wait to share it with you. This blog post will be a little long, but I hope you enjoy!

Let’s get started.

Friday

Friday evening Stacy, Diana, my Mom and I arrived in Dallas. We got settled in our hotel and then headed down to the bar to enjoy a beer (consider it last minute carbo-loading).

VIP in our Suite!

After the drink, we went through our many clothing options for the race. We knew it might rain, but we wanted to be prepared for everything. Next up was sleep, which we knew was very important! After I scolded the girls for chatting too much, we went to bed and had sweet dreams about the days to come.

We could have opened a running store.

Saturday

Saturday morning we got up and went for an early morning jog around downtown. Our goal was to run for 20 minutes, and enjoy the new scenery. The weather was pretty annoying – warm, humid and WINDY. My hat actually blew off my head a couple times, which I knew was a bad sign for the next day! We were able to enjoy downtown Dallas though, and see part of the Christmas parade!

Following the run, it was Expo time! We got to the Expo and I was like a little kid in a candy shop. It was just so much fun! I cannot even explain how exciting it was to pick up my packet from the “Marathon” line. I felt pretty cool! And I felt even cooler when the workers all screamed out and cheered that it was going to be my first marathon (first timers wore a different bib color)!

My first marathon expo in my cute new running top!

The best investment from the¬†Expo was some KT tape. I hadn’t ever tried it, but my Mom thought it would be a great idea seeing that I had been having some major leg pain the last couple weeks. They got me taped up and sent me on my way. I felt better immediatley!

Very colorful KT tape.

After the expo, Diana, my Mom and I headed to the Northpark Mall for last minute shopping. I needed a new hat and Diana was looking for a jacket. We found a hat, but no jacket. Then we headed back to the hotel.

Saturday night was intended for carbo-loading. We had dinner at an Italian place, then walked back to the hotel. Of course it started pouring down rain on the walk back, but we all toughed it out.

Dallas, you are pretty.

We made it back to the hotel and the obsessing really began. What the heck were we going to wear?! At this time, the rain chances had gone up to 100%. I would be running my first marathon in the rain, and there was no way around it. I was trying on every potential outfit and throwing water on them. I needed to see how things reacted. The running skirt was out, it stuck to my legs as soon as it got wet. A couple other shirts were out because they held in the water. I then decided what my outfit would be: Lulu capri pants and my purple Lulu long sleeve top.

Ta-Da!! By the way that purple top was never in the running to wear, but I am glad I packed it!

One thing had still not been figured out, and that was how the heck we were going to stay semi-dry for the first few miles. Then Stacy had probably one of the top 5 best ideas of her life…she said, “Do you think we could make our expo bags into vests?”. We all looked at the bag and collectively said, “I think we need to give it a try”. I then cut holes for arms and a hole for the neck. Next thing to do was try it on for size. It was a tight bit, but we got it on. Then Diana and Stacy got theirs on as well.

We got them on!!!

Lifesaver.

We colored them up, added our race numbers and our names, and the saying, “It’s in the bag”.

It's in the bag baby!

It was then time for bed. We needed to rest up for our big day. Little did I know that it would end up being one of the best days of my life.

Sunday – Morning

5:30 am and the alarm woke us up. The big day was here, and of course it was pouring down rain outside. Looks like mother nature wouldn’t be on our side today, but we knew that the last 5 1/2 months of training would be. We got dressed, put on our rain gear and headed down to the lobby.

My Mom snapped a few photos and gave us last minute hugs and words of encouragement. We put on our ponchos, and headed out to face the rainy day.

Pre-Race, Pre-Rain

Now check out those vests! Thank you, Stacy!!!

Rain, we are ready for you!

Totally was not my idea of the perfect marathon outift.

We arrived at the race around 7am, an hour prior to the start. One last bathroom break was in order, as well as some stretching. Around 7:45am we headed to the start. Stacy and I got in our coral and saw Diana off to hers. We said our goodbyes and wished each other luck. The biggest race of my life was about to begin. Bring it on.

Sunday – Race Time

At 8:05am, Stacy and I crossed the starting line. We hit our watches and got in the zone.

The first 3 miles were miles of dodging. I have decided that I am an expert dodger though, and can work my way through any crowd. We ran our first two miles slow: 8:49 and 8:37. The third mile was fast, right at 8:02. Our pace goal was about an 8:15, but we did not want to get too greedy in the beginning. I was insistent that we take advantage of the downhills, and it seemed that we kept hitting them.

Miles 4 and 5 were miles made of rain. It started raining hard. So hard that the only option was to laugh. I kept saying to Stacy, “Are you freaking kidding me?”. Although it was raining we still ran a good pace. 8:11 and 7:49. We were feeling great.

Miles¬†6 and¬†7 were the miles of mansions. We ran through some of the most amazing houses, and I couldn’t stop looking! Maybe that is why mile 6 was an 8:16. Mile 7 I was starting to get over the awe of the homes and hit a nice 8:01 mile.

Mile 8 was the mile of the river. Why? Because we ran through a freaking RIVER. Dallas had been in a drought, and you could tell. There was standing water everywhere, including in the streets. We were dodging water puddles left and right. I really put my good jumping skills to test! Mile 8 was a solid 8:04.

Mile 9 was mile of the tummy. My tummy hurt, but I was not going to admit it. I still don’t want to talk about it, because the race really was perfect. Mile 9 was an 8:25.

Miles 10 and 11 were miles of the “groove”. It was still raining, but Stacy and were trucking along at a solid pace. We were happy and enjoying ourselves and we got in a 7 minute groove. We ran 7:54 and 7:48.

Mile 12 was the mile of the lake. This is when we really started to get to know White Rock Lake. This is also when Stacy and I started to part ways and seperate. Mile 12 was an 8:01.

Miles 13 and 14 were the miles of seperation anxiety. I started to get sad that Stacy and I were no longer running together, and that we most likely wouldn’t finish this race together. I started thinking, “Who am I going to talk to for the rest of the race? Who will encourage me?”. Miles 13 and 14 were 7:54 and 8:02.

Mile 15 was the mile of the GLOVES! I gave my mom an extra pair of gloves just in case I needed them. We actually practiced signals where I would point to my hands if I needed the new pair. Well, I needed the new pair! My hands were wet and FREEZING. I spotted my Mom in her big yellow rain jacket (aka the Crab Catcher/Deadliest Catch) and started waving my hands. Well, she didn’t see me. She actually didn’t see me until I was standing right in front of her screaming, “GLOVES!!!”. I ended up pulling the gloves right off her hands and threw my wet soggy gloves back. Thanks Mom! Mile 15 was a 7:54.

Miles 16, 17, 18 and 19 were miles of new friends. I ran these miles with three other girls that were all about my age. We chatted, and everyone had the same goal: a 3:35. 3:35 would qualify us for Boston. Which was always my super top secret goal. These girls were great, and got my through my seperation anxiety. These miles clocked in at an 8:02, 7:58, 7:49 and 7:54.

Mile 20 was the mile of “All by myself” (sing that…). I felt alone, but great. We were out of the lake and on to the city streets. Everyone says that the race starts to hit you at mile 20…well I was not willing to experience that “hit” today. Mile 20 was 8:00.

Miles 21, 22 and 23 were the miles of hills. Now let’s get this straight, I thought this course was SO easy. There wasn’t a hill I couldn’t handle and hadn’t run on in almost every training run. These were the biggest hills I would encounter though, and they were approrpriatley named the “Dolly Parton Hills” by the race. These miles were 7:58, 8:31 and 8:24.

Mile 24 was the mile of the bag. Remember the bag we made into a homemade vest? Yep, I was still wearing that thing at mile 24. I kept pushing off my time to take it off. I just couldn’t part ways with it. I decided that mile 24 would be my time to lose the bag. I ripped it off like the incredible Hulk and kept on running. Funny thing is that Stacy saw my bag laying on the ground a few minutes later. This was her que to remove her bag as well, and she ripped hers off. Mile 24 was a 7:59.

Mile 25 was the mile of rain. Ok, so technically they were all miles of rain, but this was hard rain. I kept thinking, “why did I take my bag off?!”. I got through the mile though and ran a 7:57.

Mile 26 was the mile of finishing. I kept thinking, “Ali, you are almost done. You can do this, and you will do this race fast. You are so tough and you will finish. You are almost there”. Mile 26 was a 7:48. Not too shabby.

Mile 26.2 was where I hit the finish, and accomplished something amazing. Mile 26.2 I crossed the finish line. And I crossed that finish line in 3:32:12 according to my watch. Holy crap. I just ran my first marathon, and I qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Here is my proof.

Sunday – Post Race

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was overcome with emotions. Yes, I cried. I couldn’t believe it. Then I pulled myself together. I would not be celebrating until I saw Stacy cross that finish line. Then I saw her! I hobbled over to her and we hugged and screamed! We shared our times and together yelled, “Oh my God!!!!!” while jumping for joy! Stacy ran a 3:37. She beat her PR by 7 minutes, and also qualified for Boston (again). We both couldn’t believe what we had accomplished!

After we celebrated for a minute, it was time to get warm. Those foil blanket things were not doing the trick. We headed in a building and took a post-race photo. Then got our finisher shirt and hit the snack line. After that we went to the family meeting area where my Mom and Stacy’s family were waiting. We found them and before we could really cheer for ourselves we had to get dry. My Mom had dry clothes and we headed behind a curtain to change.

At this point, my Mom thought that Stacy and I ran a 3:36 and finished together. When she said this I was quick to correct her. “Mom, I ran a 3:32! I qualified for Boston!!!!!!”. She jumped up and down and we all cheered! Stacy shared her amazing time¬†as well and said, “Nana, we are going to BOSTON!!!!”. It was so exciting and such a priceless moment. I am so glad she didn’t know my real time and that I got to share that with her. Then I got to call my Dad and tell him too. He was just as excited and surprised as my Mom was. That news was the best I had ever shared, and I felt so accomplished and happy.

Sharing my news with Zack, and oh so cold!

We knew Diana would be finishing soon and we would all be reunited. I am not sure if you recall, but Diana just ran her first marathon 5 weeks prior (RnRSTL). This marathon would be for fun, and she wasn’t focused on her time so much. We were all reunited and she told us she ran a 4:09. She was happy and upbeat, as she always is. She also had a good race and felt great, aside from being so cold and wet.

We had to rush back to the hotel and get ready for a flight home. We couldn’t stop talking about the race and how excited we were. We are all on a runners high and nothing was going to bring us down. I was amazed at all the support waiting for me on my phone when I checked it back in the room. I had numerous messages of good luck and well wishes for the race. I couldn’t wait to read them all and respond, after we got out of room!

We had a few moments of downtime and took time for pictures in the hotel lobby before the flight home.

26.2, we go all the way!!!

Accountability Partner. Wouldn't have gotten out of bed all those mornings without you!

BFF's

Love you "sister"!

The best Mom in the world. Thank you for being my biggest cheerleader all these years.

We got to the airport, had dinner and a beer, and headed home. What a great day.

Post Race Thoughts

Yesterday was probably one of the best days of my life. At this time, I am having trouble coming up with any day that was better than yesterday was. I don’t think I have ever felt so happy or proud. I enjoyed every moment of that race, and never had a thought of doubt go through my head. I get emotional thinking about this and still can’t believe that I conquered a marathon. I did something that so many people dream about, and I did it pretty fast. I also achieved another dream and goal, which was qualifying for Boston.

I had the time of my life yesterday, and will forever cherish the memories I made during the race.

Thank you so much to everyone who supported me and encouraged me. Your words meant so much more than you realize, and I cannot wait to return the favor someday.

xoxo,

Ali

A Thankful Thanksgiving

24 Nov

*Sappy post alert*

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that you are all having a fabulous morning while preparing for the Holiday. Over the past few weeks I have done a lot of reflecting of all the things in life I am thankful for. And there are quite a few things to be thankful for this year. So let’s get started.

Running
Seeing that this is a running focused blog, I will start with the obvious. I am thankful for being able to run. Running has brought a lot of joy to my life, and has also been a w0nderful stress outlet for me. Running has brought me closer to friends, and given me pride in myself. For those reasons and many more, I am thankful that I have the ability to run.

Fashion
Next stop on my thankful list: fashion. I am thankful to have fashion in my life. I love to shop, and it brings joy to my life. This might seem silly to some, but I am very thankful for this.

Job
I am very thankful for my job. I love the company I work for, and I am constantly reminded why it is a great place to work. Everyday isn’t always the happiest, but the majority for them are and I think that is pretty darn great.

now lets get deep

Friendships
I have the best friends in the entire world, and I am very thankful for this. If ever I am having a crisis (which is often) I can call a number of people for support. My friends are the best, and there is no arguing that or convincing me otherwise. I love them all.

Relationship
I have the best boyfriend, and I love him very much. He supports me, and loves me. He is there for me when I need him and is always willing to offer up advice when I ask. Although he is far away from me right now, I know this will not last forever. Everyday I think about how lucky I am, and realize that most people go their whole lives without ever experiencing what I have.

and saving the best for last..

Family
I have the best family EVER. They are funny, loving and always supportive. I couldn’t be luckier for the people I get to call my family. My parents are always there¬†for me,¬†my brother is a great friend, my grandparents are so very loving, my aunts/uncles/cousins are wonderful, and my dogs make me laugh and provide unconditional love. Without these people in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Thank you to everyone in my life that has made me so happy, and made my life so beautiful. Although I don’t say it outloud everyday, I do think about it constantly.

Wishing you, your family, and your friends a very happy holiday.

xoxo,

Ali

A Fabulous Chicago Weekend!

21 Nov

First of all, I apologize for being away so long! Last week was quite busy at work, with running, and with life in general. But hey, I would much rather be busy than bored!

I just had a fabulous weekend in Chicago, and would love to tell you about it.

Saturday morning, my mom and I headed to Chicago from KC. My Aunt Holly was driving up from Louisville to meet us. We all arrived and got settled in around 11am. First stop would be eating (with a drink as well) at Frontera Grill.

Nothin like a little Mexican food! (And margs)

Following an amazing lunch, we hit Michigan Avenue and shopped. We shopped and shopped, and then it was time to get ready for dinner. Saturday night we had dinner at MK (my pick) and stuffed ourselves with some amazing food. If you are ever in Chicago, go to MK for dinner. And do the tasting menu with wine pairing, it made the dinner. Following dinner, it was time for bed!

How many wine glasses can you count?

 

Stuffed and happy

Sunday morning kicked off with a 5 mile run (for me). The weather was perfect and I was feeling great. I am pretty sure the Garmin was being funky though..because it read that I ran a 7:30 first mile. I mean, maybe I did – but after 5 glasses of wine the night before I wasn’t quite sure how the run would go! Halfway through the run I stopped and took some pics. They don’t do the city justice to how beautiful of a day it was.

Not sunny, but still lovely!

Following the run, we got ready and went to the Sunday Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues. It was the best Church service I have ever been to – what an experience!!

Amen! They could sing.

The rest of Sunday was reserved for shopping. And boy did we shop. Most exciting purchases of the day included a Christmas outfit from Ann Taylor, two pairs of Tory flats from Bloomie’s and some great steals at Banana. Let’s just say that by the end of the day, my shopping high was through the roof. Seriously, it was hard to contain my excitement from the purchses!

Shopped till we dropped!

After a LONG day of shopping, we needed some Chicago style pizza at Giordano’s. And it was good.

Who wants to guess the calorie count?

Monday morning, it was time to leave. We had breakfast at Corner Bakery and made a last minute trip Nordstrom. I got quite the amazing Christmas gift there,¬†but I can’t really talk about right now since it isn’t Christmas yet! I will give you hint though – PETA would not be happy with me.¬†

A 6 hour car ride, and we were back to Louisville. We have a full week ahead, full of Thanksgiving preparations. Running a marathon the weekend after Thanksgiving might not have been the best idea….But I will make it work!

I hope that everyone reading also had a fabulous weekend. I promise to be a much better blogger this week.

Until next time, xo!

Ali

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 ‚Äúnieces‚ÄĚ to be ‚ÄúAunt Awi‚ÄĚ to ūüôā

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 ūüôā

xoxo, 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 ūüôā

 xoxo, Ali

What a Weekend!

17 Oct

Whew! What a weekend I just had. And the best part about it РI 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 Рfinish 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

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