Harbor Lights Half Marathon Recap

harbor lights finisher

Harbor Lights!


The Harbor Lights Half Marathon was held in Norfolk, VA. With this race series was a 5k, Half Marathon, and Get Lit Challenge for those who want to run both!

I opted for the half-marathon only. My fantastic fiance was kind enough to drive me to the race, see me off at the start, and wait for me at the finish line.  I don’t know how I got so lucky.  The race started at 7:30am, so we got on the road at around 6am.  After staying warm in the car for awhile, Michael and I headed out to the start area.  I went to do gear check and they didn’t have a spot for my bib number…odd.  I had a minor freakout that I accidentally registered for the wrong race, but I didn’t.  Michael put my stuff in the car and waited out most of the race in starbucks 🙂  I even found Hollie there!

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

So cold!

So cold!


I'm not awake at this point...

I’m not awake at this point…

I had been obsessively checking the weather and while it was going to be in the 40s at the start, it was going to be in the 50s by the time I finished.  I opted for short capris and a shortsleeved t-shirt.  BAD CHOICE.

I found my friend Diane at the start with the 2:45 pace group.  This was her first half and we were gonna stick together the best we could.

Miles 1-2

I was able to stay with the 2:45 pace group.  They were a little fast at the start, but I wanted to stay with them. I was pretty cold at the start, it took me a little while to warm up.  I watched Diane pull ahead of the group a little and was excited for her.

Miles 3-4

Diane left me in the dust (which is totally a good thing). The 2:45 pace group started pulling away but were still in sight.  I struggled keeping up with them during all the millions of turns on the course.  I ate a few Gatorade chews.  I learned my lesson at Crawlin Crab, not getting enough fuel early on.

Miles 5-6

Had a few more chews.  Energy levels felt good and my mental attitude was good.  I tried as much as I could to smile at the spectators and thank the many police officers on the course.  I realized that even though I had worn my shirt before during a race, for some reason it started chafing my arms.  The ONE time I didn’t have glide with me.  I rolled up my sleeves in hopes that it would help with the chafing.

Miles 7-8

These were a little tougher mentally.  I took a few walk breaks and tried to just dig in and push through until the 10 mile mark.  More chews! I didn’t thank any police officers.  I was too focused.

Miles 9-10

My left quad/hip flexor started seizing up.  I tried to push through it but had to take a few walk breaks. I think I realized at this point how cold I really was.  The temperatures were not where they should be, and it was overcast, so no warmth from the sun. I was regretting not wearing my long sleeved shirt. And holy chafing.  I seriously contemplating ditching my shirt, but that wouldn’t help with the fact that I was cold. More chews!

This was also a time to thank all the police officers.  It was a good distraction from the pain train.  I got kind of emotional because a lot of them responded to my thank you with a “you are doing a great job, keep it up!”

Miles 11-13.1

I was ready to be done. I was trying to finish under 3 hours, but I couldn’t seem to get my legs to cooperate.  It was really hard seeing the finish line and all the runners that had already finished.  My feet hurt, my quad/hip flexor hurt and I just couldn’t seem to move as fast as my brain wanted me to! I saw my friend Catherine and stopped for a hug because I just couldn’t resist an extra little boost!  I hit the 13.1 mile mark at exactly 3 hours.  However, because of all the turns on the course, it was actually longer.  I hit the finish line at 13.24 miles and 3:01:51.

I gathered a few high fives from Diane and her family right before I crossed the finish line.

I found Michael at the finish line.  I got my medal, water, gatorade, pretzels and awesome space blanket thingie to keep me warm.  Did I mention I was cold? We found Diane and her family.  She ROCKED it! Finished in 2:44:xx! I’m so proud of her.  SO PROUD.

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!


Michael and I stayed around for awhile and got a beer.  I was too cold to enjoy myself so we headed home for a day of relaxation and recovery!

I’m ok with my time.  It was about 5 minutes slower than my fastest (Shamrock) but about 13 minutes faster than my slowest (Crawlin Crab).  I’m pretty proud of myself for pushing through a lot of mental blocks.  I think this was absolutely my best race mentally.  Victory!

My overall thoughts:

1. Next time, wear the long sleeves.

2. My fueling was MUCH better.

3. Say thanks to more volunteers…they have a hard job.

4. Train better!

5. One word: GLIDE.

Did you race this weekend? Have you ever made poor wardrobe choices for a race?


Weekly Update – 11/17


Yoga with Jaye.  I skipped yoga all last week, which made this class feel really good.  Lots of stretching and popping and cracking.  She tends to go over the class time (its already a 75 minute class!) and then people start leaving during shavasana.


Danny night.  This felt pretty good.

First Round (3x):

A. 5 – I don’t know what they are called or how to even explain them.

B. 5 backward lunge (each side)

Second Round (3x):

A. 8 hex bar deadlifts (95 lbs)

B. 12 (each side) TRX SA row


Yoga with Jaye.  We did a bit more of a restorative class.  Not a true restorative class, but MUCH slower and simpler than normal. We did some restorative poses with the block that helped my back feel really good – something that has been a challenge!


OMG. Insert fan girl scream here:

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1!!!!

Michael and I went to the 8pm showing.  Apparently midnight showings were so popular, now they are doing 8pm showings the day before it officially comes out.  I’m a huge Hunger Games fan and loved the film – even though its a bit darker than the others. (Side note: I’m such a big fan, I’m watching the Hunger Games as I’m writing this). Its nice to have a date night on weeknight.


Rest for the weekend since the half marathon was on Sunday. Michael and I just spent some time relaxing 🙂


Got up and went to the expo to pick up the race packed for Sunday.  The expo was small but efficient.  Afterwards, we went to Running Etc and I got fitted for some new shoes.  A really nice woman helped me, and go figure, she knew Hollie!  I’ve been saying for sometimes that I think the updated model of my Saucony Guides are causing my feet issues.  After a few different shoes, I settled on the Asics Kayano.  The Brooks Ravenna were a close runner up, but just didn’t have the stability of the Asics.  We’ll see how they do!


Harbor Lights Half Marathon – recap to come!

Half Marathons, supporting a friend + challenging yourself

I felt compelled to write something about how I feel about the half marathon I have this weekend, but honestly, as I’m trying to write it, my thoughts are completely all over the place.  This may not make any sense, but I need to get the thoughts out of my head.

Before I start my whining/complaining/pity party, etc, I wanted to thank you guys for coming along with me on my journey.  Thank you for all of the encouragement along the way.  You have given me valuable advice that I really cherish and you have been a support when I choose not to follow your advice 🙂

So the Harbor Lights Half Marathon is this Sunday.  I’d be lying if I said I felt prepared.

My friend Diane is running it too – its her first half marathon.  She is going to do AWESOME.  She had logged some really solid training runs and I bet she’ll finish under 2:45.  She wants to start with the 2:45 pace group – yay for slow(ish) paces groups! I told her that she should attempt to stay ahead of them.  I will start with her and the 2:45 pace group, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull away from me, and that’s ok.  I want to try my hardest to keep up with them, if only for her.

I knew after my performance at Crawlin Crab and with all my silly feet issues that Harbor Lights was not going to be a stellar race for me.  I’d like to finish faster than I did at Crawlin Crab.

However, my goal is to finish and to finish healthy.  A few posts ago I talked about refocusing my running goals for next year. I really feel that half marathons should be a rare race distance for me, something that I do maybe once a year.  I have to recommit to the training for that distance. I’m very much looking forward to next year.

But I need to finish what I started this year.  I have contemplated not running Harbor Lights, but I know for me…I have to do it.  I told you guys about a really encouraging conversation I had with Danny about my “why.”  Why do I run? I run because its a challenge.  I want to do what I never used to be able to do.

Harbor Lights represents that “why” for me.  Its a challenge because I haven’t trained like I should (but don’t worry, my fitness level is safe for me to run it), its a challenge because I’m having feet issues, its a challenge because its a new race course…I will not be satisfied with myself if I don’t accept this challenge.

Most of all, I want to have FUN! I want to enjoy the course, I want to enjoy the weather (why is it going to be in the 60s, I want cold!!!!), I want to high-five every little kid on the course, and I want to thank and smile at every volunteer.  Races are about community – and running is one of the best communities I’ve ever been a part of.

Why do you run? What is your favorite part of a race?

Do you have any advice I can share with my friend Diane for her first half?

Weekly Update – 11/10


Skipped yoga because I was working on some major house projects!


Nice and simple workout with Danny. Four rounds of the following:

1. Single arm deadlifts with 20 lb kettle bell – 12 each side

2. Reverse lunge to RDL with 10 lb kettle bell – 8 each side


Skipped yoga again (bad Lauren) because I needed to finish cleaning up the mess mom and I made all weekend.


Honestly, I don’t know if I even remember this workout!

Three (four?) Rounds of the following:

1. Some sort of stretch

2. 8 Paloff presses (each side) – we actually pressed the resistance band out, held for three seconds, pressed three times, then returned to starting position. That counted as one rep.

Three (four?) Rounds of the following:

1. 8 Squat hold with KB overhead press(3 times while holding squat)

2. 12 SL/SA bent over row (each side)

3. 20 resistance band face pull


Got to spend some much needed relax time with the fiance.  We watched Hitch 🙂


Woke up to a text from Danny that he was sick and needed to cancel, which was actually kind of perfect, because we had a family function to get to.  My stepmom’s brother was in town and I’ve never met any of her family.  My brother and his fiance came too, and its always great to see them.

We went to Old Navy and I bought the cutest shirt! I haven’t bought clothes in awhile, so its nice to get something new.  We watched the movie, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” with Steven Martin and Michael Caine – hilarious!


Got up and went to church, then headed down to Elizabeth City to see Michael’s parents.  It was a chilly day, so Michael built a fire in their fireplace.  I so wish I had a fireplace.

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A boy and his fire…


Then I made him take a million selfies.  Why does he put up with my weirdness!?

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This was actually my favorite, but I thought my head looked really big since I was sitting in front of him…so I made him take more…


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Then I started getting silly…


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Finally, a nice picture!

Did you have a good week?  Are you ready for the cold weather?


4 day weekend + DIY Home Improvement

Disclaimer: totally non-fitness related post. Don’t let that scare you away – there are lots of pictures! Pictures are good…right?

I decided to take Monday off when I realized that we had Tuesday off for Veteran’s Day – and I made a 4 day weekend for myself.  I have had a lot of home improvement jobs shelved for myself. Since my mom is so handy, I recruited her to help me out and bribed her with free lunch!

Also, I’m HORRIBLE about taking “before” pictures, but I take the “after” pics! So…you’ll have to use your imagination about how horrible things were before I fixed them 🙂


After waking up with a horrible earache and going to Patient First, I took all the recommended drugs they gave me and went on my way!

At the bank I work at, we use a lot of technology vendors to purchase servers, applications, and use services.  One of those companies, Endurance IT, offered Michael tickets to the ODU Homecoming game.  We arrived around 1pm to the tailgate and got to enjoy some drinks and Beach Bully BBQ before the game.

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We ended up in some really incredible seats in the endzone – right near all the box seating.  Two tickets for the season in this section go for a total of $2500.  We ended up sitting two rows in front of our CIO (aka our boss).

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These were great seats!


At the beginning of the 3rd quarter, they invited us ON THE FIELD to watch the rest of the game! How cool is that? I tell you what, its pretty scary when a 6 ft tall football player runs out of bounds and is hurling straight toward you.

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The group from Endurance


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“Look Mom! I’m on the field!”


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We were this close!


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These guys were huge


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Football signed by the ODU coach 🙂


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Not gonna lie, mascots creep me out a bit.


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It was SO cold!


Had church in the morning then I came back and got started on house projects.  I went through my closet and all of my dressers (yes, plural) and started purging stuff I don’t wear.  I did this a few months ago, so it wasn’t a great success, but I did get rid of some stuff and managed to switch out my summer and winter clothes.  I also dug out a few pair of old jeans that fit!


Monday was the start of the chaos. Mom came over around 10am, and we started making our list for Home Depot.  I showed her all the things I wanted to get done over the next two days. So we made our trip, grabbed some lunch and then got to work on the backyard.  Here’s all we managed to do outside:

1. Clean out the gutters for the first time in 3 1/2 years – ya’ll, there were plants growing out of them.

2. Rake the lawn

3. Mow the lawn

4. Trim back my roses and butterfly bush

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My last rose for the season!

5. Dig up old plastic flower bed liners

6. Install stone pavers to line the flowerbeds

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This is only a very small part of the yard, but you can see the nice stone pavers!


7. Fix the fence

8. Clean the storm door (since its a target for bird poop)

9. Clean out the shed

10. Clean up our mess!!!

We rewarded ourselves by watching the Eagles game and having some salmon and green beans 🙂


After Monday’s work, I was exhausted, but no rest for the weary! There were inside projects to be tackled! We managed to get a lot done, but it was not without its challenges.

1. Replace kitchen and bathroom cabinet hardware. Sound easy.  Never is 🙂

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New and pretty on the left, old on the right.

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New and pretty on the right, old on the left.

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New and pretty on the left, old on the right.

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Old hardware

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New hardware!

2. Replace upstairs bathroom vanity light…which involved a trip back to Home Depot to get dimmable light bulbs to work with my dimmer switch. Then we had to clean up the mess we made.

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New pretty lights! I put the same fixture downstairs as well.

3. Install towel ring in upstairs bathroom.

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Ignore any mess you can see, and look at the awesome thing I installed!

4. Install downstairs bathroom vanity light.  That involved painting the wall where the old fixture used to be, then installing the light.

5. Putting 2 layers of kiltz and repainting a wall in the office (it had a horrible mural from the previous owner that I finally painted over!)

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The paint is still drying but the old mural is GONE.

My mom ROCKS.  She did so much work with me, there is NO way I would have been able to get it all done without her.  She’s pretty much the coolest ever.

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My fiance brought me pretty flowers for my house!


Have you ever done a “project weekend”? Do you enjoy DIY projects?

Weekly Update – 11/3


Yoga with Jaye.  Class was pretty difficult this time, but it flew by.  We did a lot of flows, but yet it didn’t quite feel like a Vinyasa class.  I think she just makes up her own thing.


Danny night – I’m hating this move back inside now that it’s getting colder.  I love the outside!

Three Rounds of the following:

1. 12 hex bar deadlifts (65 lbs)

2. 8 (each side) single leg jumps over a rope

3. 1 minute jump rope

4. 100 meter row

I don’t know about you, but jump roping and rowing kick my butt.  And the single leg jumps are really difficult.


I really wanted to go to yoga, but Michael and I met with our baker for our wedding! I’ve known her since we were kids and we now work for the same company.  She’s a fellow runner too 🙂  I’m super excited and she’s going to do a great job!


Danny night.  We had to shorten the workout cause Danny thinks I’m a magician sometimes and can do ALL the things in one workout 🙂 It was supposed to be a 5 to 1 workout, and the rowing was supposed to go from 500 meters down to 100 meters, but we ended up just doing 100 meters every time. All of this was done with a 15 lb dumbbell. Since everything was single arm, we did all the right arm exercises first, then all the left arm, then row.

1. 10 SA high pull

2. 10 SA cleans

3. 10 SA RDLs

4. 10 SA reverse lunges

5. 10 SA squat and press

6. Row 100 meters

The next round, we dropped the 5th exercise, then on the following one we dropped the 4th and so on.  We ended up not being able to finish the last round.


Nothing exciting on Friday 🙂


Supposed to be a Danny day but I woke up with an excruciating earache and went to Patient First. Turned out to not be an ear infection but just backed up sinuses pressing on my ear.

Michael and I went to an ODU football game on Saturday afternoon. More on that in another post 🙂


Church in the morning, then went home and got a lot of housework done.

How was your week? Have you managed to fight off sickness this fall?


Why are you here?

Why are you here?

For my running/fitness bloggers – Why are you running? Why are you doing yoga? Why are you trying to eat healthy? Why are you _______?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always think about that.  And even if I think about it, I definitely don’t know how to answer it.  And even if I answer it, its probably not honest.

Saturday’s nutrition panel for OneLife’s FIT360 program was very different this week.  My trainer, Danny and several other wonderful trainers lead the program.  Danny is getting frustrated (and rightfully so) when they put together material for the class and other PT clients, and they don’t listen, they don’t absorb.  And I’m included among those people.  My nutrition is not where it should be and I know it.  And I don’t change.

So he had something different for us on Saturday.  He wanted to know why we were there.  And it was not in an accusatory way, but a thought provoking way.  Every one’s “why” is different.

While these are good reasons, they are very superficial:

– I want to lose weight

– I want to be healthier

– I don’t want to get diabetes

– I want to get stronger

C’mon.  Those are reasons, but those aren’t the core of the issue.  I commit to personal training and exercise in general for a variety of reasons…some good, some bad, some stupid. We are so afraid to show our true selves and our true “why.” I think some people feel that if they show their true selves and true motivations than they will be perceived as weak.  I think its actually the opposite. It takes a much stronger person to be honest.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, our why looks more like this:

– My parent/grandparent/etc died of diabetes and I’m terrified that I’ll get it and be sick like them

-I don’t like the way I look, I feel fat

-People don’t judge me as much when I’m heavy because they know I work out

-I want to be a good example for my kids and I don’t want them to be embarrassed of me

When people are truly honest with themselves and others about their “why,” something really incredible happens.  People share that they feel the same way.  They find camaraderie.  Your story may touch someone else so deeply and affect them so much, but they’ll never know if you don’t share it.

Danny spent some time asking around the room why people where there.  I suspect that he knew most of our answers before we even did.  He’s pretty perceptive. Some people were refreshingly honest.

One person chimed in and asked why Danny was there.  His answer could have been simple, like, “Because I like helping people.” Or, “because this job pays well.”

His answer? “Because I’m not supposed to be here.”  Danny is a survivor of suicide.  He has found a renewed purpose in helping others in their journey to health and that is what drives him.  He’s been given a second chance at life, and he pours everything he can into being a great trainer and support system for his clients. I can say personally that he’s challenged me in ways I wouldn’t have challenged myself.

I hope that sharing his deepest “why” was a liberating experience for him.  And you know what? No one judged him.  He received nothing back but support. And I’m quite sure that he touched and affected at least one life in that room.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is what I love so much about this community of bloggers. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging.  Feel comfortable in sharing your struggles.  Feel comfortable in being honest.

So why am I here?

– I do yoga because I want to become more flexible….and because it keeps my (sometimes horrible) anxiety at bay.

-I run because I like the challenge….. And because people in my life think I can’t. And sometimes I don’t like it.

-I (sometimes) eat healthy because I know it will fuel my physical activity…and because I feel guilty and feel like I should.

– I workout with a trainer because I like the structured workouts….and because I’m afraid I’ll lose motivation without that accountability.

Why are you here? What’s your “why”?

Is it too early for New Year’s Resolutions?

Thanks for letting me whine the past few days.  This community is so wonderful and so supportive.  After much counseling from you all and from my trainer, I think I’ve got a game plan for next year that’ll make me happy, not burn me out, and hopefully keep me injury free.

So, I’ve been doing some reflecting on the races that I choose.  I’ve come to learn that as much as I love the challenge of a half-marathon, I don’t know that I’m meant to do a lot of them (at least at this time).  I remember a post from my friend Lee when he talked about being a 5k-er.  That is HIS distance.  Sure, he can do half marathons and marathons (and is a total beast at them!) but in his heart of hearts, he loves a 5k.

I don’t know that I feel a strong pull toward any one distance, but I do know that I’m not defined by the distance that I do/do not run.  Any distance at all makes me a runner.  I just have to decide what keeps me happy AND healthy.

So, I think my strategy at this time will be to do no more than 2 half-marathon’s a year, and stick with shorter distances.  I’d like to do a spring half and a fall half.  But if I only want to do one, it’ll be the spring half (Shamrock!).  It was my first half, I love it, and I’ve already signed up for it 🙂 There are so many good short distance races in the fall, and I’d like to be able to do more of them.

This is what a dream schedule (not necessarily actual) would look like for me:

March: Shamrock Dolphin Challenge (8k and Half) *signed up already

May: Chickfila 5k or 10k

Maybe something in June/July/August?

September: Rock N Roll 5k

Early October: Crawlin Crab 5k

Late October: Wicked 10k

Early November: CNU Alumni 5k

Late November: Harbor Lights 5k or Half

Early December: ChristmasTown 8k

Late December: Surfin Santa 5 miler

I think I’d like to stick with 10k or under.  I want to end up with more quality races than quantity. I think I can do 5k’s more frequently if I’m doing far fewer long distance races.  My fall would be pretty race heavy, but if I drop the half and just do the shorter distances, I think I’ll be ok.

Realistically, if I need to cut down, I’ll just do the J&A Races: Shamrock, Crawlin Crab, Wicked, Surfin Santa.

I want to enjoy the run.  I want to stay healthy.  I want to do the races I love and not have the training kill me.  If I’m honest, I want to get back to my faster times.  The only way I’m going to get there (speaking for me personally) is if I stick with shorter distances.

Also, I want to try to keep some more consistent weekly mileage, even if its relatively low mileage.  I’m really enjoying all the other activities I’m doing, so I want to keep room for them.

I’m starting to have a sense of peace about this plan.  Its given me direction and focus to push through the end of the year with the promise of a new start.

Thank you guys for being so awesome.

Are you already thinking about new year’s resolutions? What race distances do you love? How do you find balance when planning a race schedule?

Weekly Update – 10/27


Yoga with Jaye.  It felt so good to get back to yoga.  It was a pretty tough class but I really enjoyed it.


Danny night – we went outside with the absolutely horrible mosquitoes.  Its really hard to work out with mosquitoes constantly in your face and biting you!

First Round (3x):

1. 12 hex bar deadlift (95 lbs)

2. 8 (each side) backward lunge with KB goblet hold (20 lbs)

Second Round (2):

1. 10 single leg deadlifts (each side) with 10 lb dumb bells

2. Bear crawls


Yoga with Jaye.  I really enjoyed class a lot.  I felt really strong. Super sore from the previous day’s workout with Danny though – ouch on those hex bar deadlifts!


Danny night – outside in the amazing fall weather!

First Round (4x):

1. 12 squat and hold with 30lb KB press

2. 6 each side, single leg hamstring stretch w/back row (10 lb dumb bells)

Second Round (2x):

1. 12 weighted hip hinges

2. 6 each side split squat and hold with overhead DB press (10 lbs)


Halloween! I froze my rear end off while sitting outside with the fiance and the neighbors handing out candy!


Danny asked me to come to the nutrition panel at 9am before our training session at 10am.  I’ll write more about that later – but it was really awesome!

The workout was pretty simple, 4 rounds of the following:

1. Split Squat hold with 12 single arm T bar shoulder presses

2. 8 Paloff presses

3. 6 box step-ups with 20 lb dumb bell in hand of side stepping up


Church in the morning, then mom and I went to try on my WEDDING DRESS!!!! AHHHHHH! I want to keep it secret from Michael so I don’t want to put it on the interwebs, but to quote Hollie: “Omfg, you look absolutely beautiful Lauren”

Also, shoutout to my friend Allyson Wolf who rocked it at the NYC Marathon with a 4:28 finish! She met her goals of running the first half non-stop (which she did, under 2 hrs!) and running every bridge!