Thursday, October 24, 2013

A New Thing & A Wedding

Oh remember this?  

Yeah....I have some serious catching up to do.  But, I will have 30 new experiences total before my 30th birthday and you will hear all about them. =)  So far, this is truly one of my favorite experiences.

Seriously, my family is awesome!!

Ok, let’s start from the beginning.  We woke up super early (thanks Dad) and headed into the blistering arctic cold of an Iowa October morning. 
It was actually colder when I woke up, but I was too groggy to take a picture to prove to you that Iowa is basically inside the arctic circle
The half-marathon started at 8:00am – but the 5K, which my mom and I were running, didn't start until 8:30am.  So, my mom and I graciously allowed my dad and sister-in-law to leave the hotel without us and I promptly spent 20 additional minutes drifting in and out of sleep.  heavenly.

Finally, around 7:20, I decided it was time to drag my weary body out of bed and get ready for my first run EVER with my mommy!!  We got down to the start line just a few minutes before the marathon/half-marathon start.  
I love how the state capitol building is in the background.  It is such a beautiful building!
After the half started, my mom and I lined up for our 5K, which didn’t start until 8:30am.  Did I mention it was freezing? 

I really enjoyed running 3.1 miles with my mom.  I know I've mentioned this before, but my mom has become much more active in the recent past than I can ever remember her being before.  I am *so* proud of her!!  The first .5 mile or so were headed straight to the base of that beautiful capitol building.  My mom was running an excellent pace and I was bumping some Katy Perry and Lady Gaga out loud on my phone (sorry to anyone around me that was annoyed).
My mom ran for 2.5 miles straight!  I was so impressed!!  I think she was a little disappointed in her overall time because it was slightly slower than her last 5K, but she did set a new Personal Record for distance run without walking and that definitely counts for something..... I think it actually counts for a lot.

Once we got done, we headed over to one of the last turns on the race course and hung out with my brother and my super adorable nephew while we waited to cheer for my daddy.  My dad was hoping to run the half in under 2 hours.  We were super excited to see him running in the general vicinity of the 1:50:00 pace group with approximately 0.5 miles left!!  I was very excited when I received the automated text message that he clocked in at 1:50:05 - What a great time for a first half marathon!!!

Everyone was super proud of him, but there was no time to sit around and celebrate because we had a very special wedding to get to on the eastern end of the state!  No rest for my speedy daddy.  While we were getting ready to head to the wedding, my brother let us know that my sister-in-law finished the half right around 2:20.  It was a great day for running and celebrating!

First, the whole family runs and then my parents and I get to witness the wedding of my friend that I’ve known since the age of 2!! (check out that link for some AWESOME recipes - she is super crafty in the kitchen!)

The wedding was beautiful and it was so fun to see someone so special to me find such happiness.  
After the wedding we headed to the lovely reception.  The food was awesome (I would have taken a picture of the most scrumptious strawberry champagne cupcake, but I basically devoured it before the flash on my camera went off).  The drink selection also really made my day.
312 two weekends in a row?  yes, please.
Side note, I did just find a place I can order this online.  Be right back, I'm going to get my credit card.
It was also really great to see so many people that played such an important part in my childhood through high school years.

Congratulations dear friend.  I am excited to hear about the many years of happiness to come.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Very Iowa Weekend =)

I'm having an awesome family weekend this weekend.

I arrived in dear old Des Moines, Iowa on Friday night so I could visit some of the most important people in my life.  Seriously, Iowa is basically the greatest state.  I know that very few of you are going to believe this, but you’ll never convince me otherwise.

It is going to be a jam-packed weekend! I flew in on Friday night and got to have a homework session and slumber party with my very favorite friend.  It felt almost like we were back in college except for the giant yellow lab loudly chomping on his bone in the background….that was sadly absent from our college years.
Saturday morning, the three of us (including the previously mentioned lab) went for a refreshing 3 mile run/walk to catch up even more.  I really love Iowa in the fall.  It really is the most charming place.

During our morning outing, we passed this awesome "Little Free Library" in some random front yard.  Basically, it is a little book swapping post.  I *love* this idea and would totally do this if I have a front yard like this someday.
He was such a good boy - isn't he so photogenic?
Also, living in the desert has made me forget how beautiful autumn is in places that have actual trees!!  
Blue skies, bright fall colors - what a perfect morning!!

Bonus my only favorite sister and her husband decided to make a trip to Des Moines just because I was in town!!
In addition, my brother and sister-in-law also came to Des Moines. 
Oh yeah, the brought my favorite little man with them – but I’m thinking that he should just come back to Vegas with me, don’t you think?

Sadly, Husband couldn’t make it this weekend.  He’s basically the only component that is preventing this from being a perfect weekend.

So, the first reason I came to Iowa this weekend is for the IMT Des Moines Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K.  Both my daddy and my SIL are running the half.  This will be my daddy’s FIRST half!!!  I also think, but I might be wrong, that this will be my SIL’s first half since the birth of the cutest boy on the planet.

I think my daddy has caught the bug.  He doesn’t know it yet, but within 8-10 hours after his Half is completed, I will have convinced him to do a marathon within the next six months.  I’m not sure which one….but it will happen. 

While my dad is busy obliterating my fastest half time, I’ll be running the 5K with my mom.  I think I mentioned this awhile ago, but my mom has seriously been kicking butt in the weight loss and fitness departments.  She started out on the elliptical machine and now mixes in a few 5Ks here and there.  In the last year, she has reduced her 5K time from ~48 minutes to under 40 minutes!!  Isn’t that awesome!?!??!??  I’m going to be running alongside her to make sure she keeps that 5K under 40 minutes. 

Have you ever worked out or completed a race with one or both of your parents?


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Chicago Marathon 2013 and the lessons I learned . . .

Obviously, I took a little blogging hiatus.  I went through a little phase where I was just completely done with running and training by myself.  This phase lasted pretty much the entire month of September….which is pretty unfortunate timing when you’re supposed to be doing an October marathon….whoops! 

But, I’m kind of a dumb jock when it comes to these things.  Even though I knew I was completely undertrained, I decided to run the Chicago Marathon anyway. 

Even to the extent that I am a “dumb jock,” I’m not completely irrational.  I recognized that this was not going to be a marathon in which I attained a PR.  Rather than attempt to do this marathon in a manner that would injure my woefully unprepared body, I decided to treat this marathon like a Long Run for my marathon that I’ll be running in December, the St. Jude Memphis Marathon
So, last Friday night, Husband and I met in the greatest city on the planet.  We got to our hotel super late and pretty much crashed. (Have I mentioned what a pain it is to fly from Pacific Time Zone to Central Time Zone for just a weekend trip?!?)  On Saturday, we had three missions: (1) packet pick-up; (2) hydrate; and (3) eat all the carbs.  We were *very* successful.
I have to say, Race Expos are among my favorite things in the world.  I just love the excitement of picking up my race bib and wandering around the many booths of various running and fitness wares. 
This year, my favorite booth was probably the Nuun Hydration booth.  I, like everyone else in the running world, am basically obsessed with Nuun.  A while ago, I purchased a four pack of the Nuun Tropical and a four pack of the Nuun All Day Grape Raspberry.   I’ve been burning through them relatively quickly, but hadn’t had an opportunity to try any of the other flavors.  Chicago Marathon Expo to the rescue!!!!   At the Nuun booth, they had set it up so you could try out about a dozen flavors in cups the size of Dixie cups.  Genius!!  I am no officially obsessed with watermelon and strawberry lemonade.  Seriously, buy these flavors.  I really think you won’t regret it.

(This is where a picture of the Nuun booth would appear…but apparently, my little hiatus from blogging made me forget everything about blogging and I neglected to take a picture – won’t happen again.)

I also spent a lot of time dwelling on the fact that I was undertrained and that I wasn’t going to be happy about the outcome.  I do this sometimes, dwell on things over which I no longer have control.  I know, I’m probably the only one out there that does that. (sarcasm, I promise)  I especially felt overwhelmed by the task I had placed before myself for the following day when I looked at the marathon course map.  But I sucked it up to smile pretty for a picture.  Oh, the sacrifices I make!
We spent the rest of Saturday relaxing and was really a very lovely day!  We even went to a movie with one of my very best friends, at which I ate an extremely delicious soft pretzel (more carbs).  Then, we had a delicious dinner of carbs on carbs (bread and gnocchi for me) with the same very good friend at a charming little restaurant in Lakeview.  

After dinner, we traveled back down to our hotel and I couldn’t stop thinking about how grateful I was that our hotel was just a few short blocks from the beginning of the race.  I needed the sleep because 5:00 am central was going to come very early for this Pacific Time Zone runner.

It seemed like I had barely closed my eyes, when my alarm went off and it was time to see how my body was going to hold up over 26.2 miles.  We got a bit of a late start, but not too bad and I arrived in my start corral with plenty of time to spare. 
The weather was beautiful!!
Wishing I could somehow will more fitness into my body, I approached the start line and I was off on my third consecutive Chicago Marathon.  I felt really great as we headed north and wound through River North a bit before heading back south to the Loop on State Street – past the Chicago theatre and then we headed back north on La Salle.  I love running up La Salle because it reminds me of the first summer that I lived in Chicago.  In fact, the 4-mile marker is directly in front of the apartment in which I lived that summer. 

All the north bound miles passed pretty quickly and I felt great (of course I did, I had only run 8 miles).  I love the section through Lincoln Park because the course goes right by the apartment in which I lived for my second summer in Chicago.  (I don’t like to think about this one as much – too many stressed out, terrified memories of studying for the Illinois Bar Exam)

We finally started back south and before I knew it we were back in the loop and headed west and if you’ve run the Chicago Marathon, you know what that means….HALF WAY!!!  My half split was 2:25 which felt pretty good, but I suspected that it was too fast and I was going to have problems eventually. =(  And I did.  I didn’t start really falling off until sometime between Miles 16 and 22.  I know, I know.  That’s a pretty big span of time, but the second half of marathons is always a blur to me. 

By the time I reached Mile 22, I was fed up with myself, with running, and with marathons.  I seriously thought that this was going to be the first time that the 26.2 beat me.  If I had been near an “L” stop, I might have just gotten on a train back to Grant Park.  However, there are pretty much ZERO “L” stations once you pass the station by the White Sox Stadium (Mile 21ish, I think).  Well played Chicago Marathon planners. 
Yes - I hit the wall, big time.
(via WikiCommons)
Anyway, I was pretty down-trodden around Mile 22 and seriously considered walking the entire 4.2 remaining miles.  I also considered stopping and sitting on a curb and crying (someone please remind me to train more for my next marathon!).  However, I did neither of these things.  I ran bits and pieces and then sometime between Mile 24 and 25, the spirit moved me, or something, and I started running and ran most of the rest of the marathon. 

I think I say this every year, but I was never so happy to see that finish line….

…and the cup of frothy 312 Goose Island waiting for me after the finish line.

It wasn’t even close to what I was hoping for a few months ago.  My time was about 25 minutes slower than my goal time and 16 minutes slower than my PR.  So, let’s just say this isn’t a marathon that I’ll be bragging about to my friends and family.  I think this will one will be filed under “Remember that time I was dumb enough to run a marathon when my longest run leading up to it was a half?”

I’m supposed to be doing the Memphis St. Jude Marathon at the beginning of December.  I think this was a step towards my fitness for that and hopefully the cooler temperatures of October and November will help me stay motivated to train.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to redeem myself a bit in Memphis.