2014 – First Half Marathon, Engagement and Life Lessons!

2014 was a fantastic year for me! I hope all of you feel the same way.  I think its really important to reflect on the year and focus on the positive!

January

I hadn’t started this blog yet, but it was brewing in my mind!  I started my training for my first half marathon!

February

I began this blog! It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I have loved the community that I’ve found with you guys! Its nearly impossible to articulate how encouraging each one of you is!

Michael and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together and he spoiled me rotten.

tiffany necklace

Its so beautiful!

 

March

I ran my first half marathon – Shamrock! Not only did I run my first half, but I completed the Dolphin Challenge by doing the 8k and Half Marathon in the same weekend. It was such a rewarding experience.

Celebratory beer and 8k medal

Celebratory beer and 8k medal

My race bling!

My race bling!

Michael and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary.

We know we are obnoxiously in love and we don't care! :)

We know we are obnoxiously in love and we don’t care! 🙂

Pretty roses!

Pretty roses!

We also went to see comedian Gabriel Iglesias!

At the Gabriel Iglesias show!

April

April was my favorite month this year!

Michael and I went to Florida and I got to go to Key West for the first time!

photo 3 (2)

Sunset Cruise in Key West

 

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Key West Sunset

 

photo 1 (2)

Sunset Cruise in Key West

 

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Pool in Orlando

 

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Hotel in Orlando

Hotel in Orlando

The water was so clear and warm

The water was so clear and warm

On April 19th, Michael proposed!

Happy!

Happy!

The ring!

The ring!

On April 21st, I celebrated my 27th birthday.

Michael's parents

May

In May, I ran the Chickfila 5k and logged my worst 5k time ever due to major sinus issues! But the Chickfila sandwich at the end totally made up for it.

June

I bought my wedding dress in June and did lots of other wedding things!

say yes to the dress

I said yes to the dress!

 

July

In July, I fell out of love with running, then made a re-commitment to get my act together for my fall races.

August

I started to focus a lot on a balance of different types of workouts and came up with a killer workout schedule that I kinda kept to….

September

September brought a lot of anxiety and stress, but also brought things like my 1 year anniversary and a great anniversary trip.

cape charles 2

cape charles 3

cape charles

October

October was a busy month.

I ran my second half marathon – Crawlin Crab.  I did both the 5k and the half marathon for the Shell Yeah Challenge.  I learned a hard lesson about proper fueling when I bonked early.

crawlin crab 5k 2014

Allyson and I after the 5k

shell yeah 2014

After the half!

 

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Shell Yeah Challenge bling!

Michael and I took a mini vacation to the mountains and got our engagement pictures taken.

engagement 2

engagement 3

engagement

Later in the month, I ran the Wicked 10k.

wicked 10k 2014

Wicked 10k 2014

 

wicked 10 2014 2

I’m such a cheeseball.

 

November

In November, I ran my third half marathon – Harbor Lights.  I was very pleased with my mental fortitude during this race as well as my fueling plan!

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!

 

harbor lights finisher

Harbor Lights!

 

 

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

December

Who doesn’t love December?!

I ran my first 5-miler at the Surfin Santa. It was also my first twilight race.

surfnsanta

Then of course, Christmas with my dear family and friends.

Merry christmas

Engaged ornament

 

2014 was a great year and 2015 promises to be ever more incredible!  Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

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Surfin Santa 5 Miler Recap!

surfnsanta

So apparently I’ve been getting the name of the race wrong.  It’s Surf N Santa! But I’m still gonna call it Surfin Santa, cause once you get the name wrong, you gotta own it, right?

Packet Pick-up/Expo

Since this was a “twilight” race that started at 4:30pm, packet pickup was same day from 12-4pm.  I like race day pick-up in general, so I was ok with the concept.  They suggested getting there early, because pick-up would be crowded from 2-4pm – which makes total sense, people run late by nature.

Fiance dropped me off at 1:11.  By 1:15, I had all my stuff…so I then had 3 hours to sit around and do nothing.  If I had to do it again, I would have planned to get there around 3pm.

Everything was super efficient, J&A races are always very well organized.  The expo was small compared to some of their bigger races like Shamrock.  I didn’t really spend much time in there.

Race Day Conditions/Attire

I knew it was going to be a cold one….FINALLY, a cold race! Temps were in the upper 30s, but since it was a night race, there was no sun to warm you up.

I opted for my Under Armor running tights that I LOVE with all my heart.  I wore a long sleeved technical shirt, and in a last minute wonderful decision, I opted for a vest.  It was just what I needed to keep my trunk warm, but without all the extra fabric to get me too overheated.

Pre-Race

Everyone hung out in the convention center and I can’t say I blame them…it was a bit chilly out.  They did a great job of announcing to the crowd that there were more bathrooms available with shorter lines.  I really appreciated that.

I got to see friends!!!! I got to see Christy and Phil – a couple from work.  Christy is our Wellness Director. Then I ran into my friend Becca from college.  I tend to run into her at local races.  Its always a great surprise.  She just got engaged and I got to meet her fiance!  I was really focused on finding a few friends of mine from college and ran into them by chance.  Laura and I were on worship team together, and Jessica and I were in a  bible study together.  They brought another friend with them that I’ve never met.

I ended up losing all of them when I took my last  bathroom break, so I just headed out to my corral.

Race Time

The corrals were very well organized as always. I found Laura, Jessica and their friend (whose name escapes me!).  Let’s call her Jill.  Laura and Jessica wanted to take it easy and told Jill to run with me.

Jill and I set out at a nice comfortable pace around 11:15 min/miles. Mile 1 flew by without an issue.  Mile 2 brought the first water stop and the turn around onto the boardwalk.  The lights were fantastic.

I hung with her really well till about 3.5 miles.  My left hip flexor had started to irritate me and I couldn’t get it to stretch out or warm up.  I lost her after the last water stop.

The last mile and a half was rough without my partner, but I hung in there.  The last half mile or so was pretty dark and made me a little nervous.

I finished at 1:03:49. Since this was my first 5-miler, it was technically a PR, but even my worst 8k time (running) was 1:01:39. Oh well.  Still a PR!  🙂

After Party

J&A after parties are always fan-freakin-tastic. They had a chicken and corn chowder, which was to die for. Sam Adams provided the beer – so I got to enjoy a nice winter lager.  The band was great and most importantly, the party was inside and cozy warm!

I love this race and I’ll definitely plan on it again next year!

Have you ever done a twilight race? What is the best post-race food you’ve ever had?

Weekly Update – 12/15

Pretty uneventful week other than the Surfin Santa 5 miler.  Can’t wait to share that recap with you!

Monday

We had another “Christmas” yoga session, something I’ve really begun to love! Christmas music, Christmas lights, AND yoga?! Amazing.

So my gym has what they call the “Mind and Body” studio where yoga, pilates and abs classes (and a few others) are held.  We walked in last night and they added bars all around the room.  Perhaps they are going to add a Barre class?

For anyone who practices yoga, you’ll realize that this makes it more difficult to practice inversions, as oftentimes you use the wall for support.  Sigh.  I guess time will tell what the bars are for!

Tuesday

Danny night!  I think his goal was to make my butt hurt the next day.  He succeeded!

First Round (5x):

1. 200 meter row

2. TRX rows (10)

Second Round (3x):

1. SA Suitcase Deadlifts (10 each side)

2. Diagonal lunges (50 meters)

Wednesday

My mom had her annual Ornament Exchange where we play Dirty Santa.  I ended up getting the ornament I wanted! 🙂

Thursday

Danny.  I was DEAD tired.  I stayed up way too late on Wednesday night, then had to be at work an hour early. I was also incredibly sore from Tuesday.  I don’t know why it kicked my butt so bad, but it did!

As many rounds of this as possible in 30 min (hint: only 2!):

*Do all of the exercises on your right side, then all exercises on your left.  That counts as one round.*

1. SA Cleans? I can’t remember (10)

2. Plank – :15

3. SA Bent over row (10)

4. Right side plank – :15

5. SL step ups (10)

6. Left side plank – :15

Friday

All the rest in all the world was had.  It was a crazy week!

Saturday

Surfin Santa 5 Miler!  Recap to come!

Sunday

Church in the morning, then had a pretty lazy afternoon.  We went to Belmont House of Smoke (BBQ place) for a work dinner in the evening.

Upcoming Christmas Race

This Saturday, I will be running the Surfin’ Santa 5 miler.  It’ll be my first “twilight” race, as it starts at 4pm.  I’m excited at the prospect of a race that is not in the morning, since I’m not a morning person, but I’m a little unsure how to fuel properly for this race.

The course will take through the Christmas lights at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  Christmas and running combined?! What could be better? I’m really excited about this one.  I love running new races!

I am nervous about the weather.  We are supposed to get rain on Saturday night and its supposed to be in the low 40s.  Yuck.  I’ve been so beyond lucky, that I’ve never run a race in rain.  Its rained right before, and right after, but never during the race.

Also important to note: this is my first 5 miler! I’ve done plenty of 8ks, which we all know are basically a 5 miler, but not actually (4.97)! So technically, whatever time I get will be a PR!

Any tips on how to fuel for a night-time race? Any tips for racing in the rain?

Winter Race in the cards again?

Look, I know its August.  I know that we haven’t even gotten into the fall racing season – but this girl is looking forward to CHRISTMAS.

About a few weeks ago, I got some news at work that made me sad.  We have a huge project that will take place over the first weekend in December.  That meant that I would not be able to do a Christmas themed 10-miler that I really wanted to do.  It would have been my first 10 miler.  However, I was a bit nervous about doing a 10 miler only 2 weeks after my goal half-marathon (so I was secretly relieved).

But the wind has changed direction, and there were some big changes!  The race is now a 5 miler and changed weekends!  It’ll be on December 20th in VA Beach.  In addition to changing it to a 5 miler, they have made it an evening race, starting at 4:30pm.

I have mixed feelings about this change.  I LOVE that I can do it now, but am unsure how I feel about an evening race, that’ll be a new one for me.  I am indifferent about the race distance changing.  A 5 miler is still a new race distance for me (though I’m no stranger to an 8k), but I was really looking forward to the 10 miler.

Anyways – the Surfin Santa is back in the cards for me!

Do you have a Christmas themed race you like to do? Have you ever had a major change to a race you wanted to do?  Has work ever kept you from doing a race?