Lately.

Standard

Someone give me a bad blogger award, because that’s exactly what I’ve been the past two weeks — a “bad” blogger.

I do have somewhat of an excuse — I was on one epic road trip with 14 other church friends and leaders last week to Birmingham, Alabama! We went to Church of the Highlands for their annual GROW leader conference. It was an awesome learning experience, and although I could have done without the 15-hour car ride (twice in four days!), it was fun hanging out with friends and growing together!

The highlight of the trip was definitely this video…

GROWOur church was one of the fastest growing GROW-network churches in America, and a film crew came a few months ago to capture a few services and talk with our staff. It was so awesome (and humbling!) to have our video shown at the conference last week…I love my church!

After getting back from Alabama, it was time to restock our cabinets and get back on track. (Even though I packed healthy snacks, there was a lot of not-so-healthy eats as well!) I decided to try out a local farmer’s market for the first time, and wow, was it awesome!

Farmer's market

I scored…

  • 2 lbs. bananas
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Four Braeburn apples
  • 1 lb. Brussels Sprouts
  • White onion
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 lbs. strawberries
  • 1 lb. blueberries
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 2 avocados
  • Cherry tomatoes

…all for $19.50!

I did have to pick through the produce to find what was fresh, but overall I did pretty well! Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with the strawberries (they were fine to eat, but a little flavorless) or the cucumbers (they were both mushy when I went to cut them), but overall, I’ve been pretty happy! I think I’ll be making this a weekly occurrence.

Although I haven’t done much blogging about my workouts lately, my half marathon training for Rock N Roll Philly is in full swing!

8 milesYesterday, I got out for an early morning run, and it was amazing! Finally, the weather was cool (only 62 degrees when I started running at 5:45 am!), and it definitely worked in my favor. I mastered the art of the progression run — my first mile was 8:59 and my last mile was 7:59. Perfection! I am finally learning to pace myself and start off slow (it’s never been my strong suit).

That’s what’s been happening here lately! Catch ya’ll later!

 

 

 

Exhausted arms + summery oats!

Standard

Good morning! Sorry for disappearing for a few days…last Thursday after work, I headed off to the beach with a friend for a short weekend and tried to completely unplug. Although it ended up raining most of the time we were there, it was still a lot of fun!

I’ve been working with my friend Leslie for the last few weeks to help her train for her first post-baby 5K, and we completed the race on Saturday morning on the Ocean City Boardwalk…she did so great! She originally wanted to finish under 35 minutes, and before the race, I told her she should push for 33 minutes…and she ended up finishing in 31:30! Congrats, Leslie — you did awesome! (Sorry for the blurry phone photo!)

5K race

 

As for my own workouts, I banged out 30 minutes on the elliptical this morning followed by three rounds of this upper body workout…

  • 10 bicep curls (each arm)
  • 10 shoulder presses
  • 10 bent over rows
  • 10 flys (each arm)
  • 15 tricep dips
  • 10 tricep extensions
  • Cardio: 30 jumping jacks, 30 high knees, 30 tuck jumps

My arms are seriously exhausted right now!

I followed up my workout with a great big bowl of chia seed oats with some vanilla protein powder, peanut butter, strawberries, and blueberries…I love the addition of summer fruits in my morning oats!

Strawberry and blueberry oats

 

I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow for WIAW…but before that, be sure to check out the Lean Green Bean. I was featured in her weekly food prep inspiration post on Sunday! 🙂

I think you and my friends should hang out on, on the weekends

Standard

Does anyone else think of the Skrillex song “Weekends” every time they say weekend? No? Just me? Okay, moving on then…

(P.S. I used my iPhone for all my photos this weekend since I was too lazy to pull out my real camera. You’ve been warned that you’re about to enter a post full of blurry photos…)

This weekend was so fun! It started out with heading back to the University of Delaware for Alumni Weekend to meet up with a few friends, and then I ended up meeting with Andy who was with some friends. They had set up Kinect Sports on a huge 13 foot screen and it was so fun to play! Has anyone else tried it? 

Kinect

 

We were there pretty late, so I finally got to bed around midnight and was up bright and early yesterday morning for a run with a friend. I pulled out my new Under Armour top for the first time and loved it! It was loose fitting and kept me really cool on a very hot morning…

UA top

 

After our five miler, I treated myself to a big iced coffee and did some work for the afternoon. Eventually, Andy and I headed up to Philly for a friend’s wedding, which ended up being so much fun! Any party with glow sticks is bound to be fun, right?

Wedding 1

Wedding 2

 

It’s cliche but we definitely “danced the night away!” It was so fun to be reunited with some college friends and celebrate a beautiful marriage for two special people! It was well after midnight until I finally got home, so I brushed my teeth and immediately passed out in bed. When I woke up this morning, I was really tired and sore (I guess that’s what three hours of dancing + a five mile run in one day does to you), so I opted for a short yoga DVD before heading to church for the day. 

Now, I’m doing some major food prep for the week and trying to do some cleaning around the house. 

How was your weekend? What’s your favorite part of a wedding? 

Life after 26.2

Standard

So, it’s been over a week since I completed my big goal of 2013 — to finish my first full marathon.

Since then, it’s been a crazy ride! Immediately after my marathon, I experienced a huge outpouring of support from friends, family, and co-workers which meant so much to me, especially since they were the ones who had to listen to all my talk about splits, paces, and tempo runs for the past four months!

Marathon collage

When I took on this challenge, I turned to other food and fitness blogs to read about other blogger’s experiences with marathon training and completing their first marathons. Since I didn’t know many people who had run a marathon in my life, this became a great resource and inspiration for me. If they could do it, so could I!

I want to take some time today to address what I’ve learned and some resources for any of you out there contemplating your own first marathon! If you’re tired of my marathon talk by now, I don’t blame you…leave now and I’ll see you tomorrow for a non-running-related post 🙂

What to know before tackling training for your first marathon: 

  • You have to do your long runs. I followed a training plan that had me run three times per week, plus two or three cross-training workouts each week. During marathon training, you can get away with skipping a run or cross-training workout here or there, but you can’t get away with skipping your long runs. Building mileage is extremely important for success on marathon day, so whatever you do, squeeze that in!
  • You need time. I’m used to getting up to run or hit the gym in the morning, so I didn’t think it would be that much of a stretch to train for a marathon. However, once your mileage starts creeping up and you’re doing mid week seven or eight miles runs plus 15, 16, 18, 20+ mile long runs, you need time. It’ll start to take you between two and a half and three hours (or more) to complete those long runs + the time you spend getting ready, driving to a place to a run, stretching afterwards, etc. If I was going to do a long run (15 miles or more), I knew I needed at least 3 1/2 hours from the time I put my running shoes on until the time I was back home after a run. And, it’s pretty exhausting to run 15+ miles, so the chances of me doing anything truly productive afterwards was pretty darn slim…
  • You’re probably not going to think or talk about anything else for four months. As runners, we can’t help it…we just have to talk about running, even with non-runners who could care less that we found the perfect gel shot that fits in the pocket of our favorite running shorts and doesn’t bother our GI tract during a run. So yeah…I don’t recommend making any other big goals to achieve during this time of your life!
  • You probably won’t be able to wear flip flops. I’ll spare you the gross details, but your feet will be in bad shape. And be prepared to say goodbye to a toenail or two.
  • Respect the taper. After intense training for four months, the idea of taking time off is hard. I began my taper three weeks before my race, and the week of the race, I took some serious rest. I completed only a four mile run, three mile run, and yoga the week before my race…and I couldn’t have been more thankful come rest day. My legs were fresh, and having earlier 20 and 21 milers under my belt, I still felt confident.
  • It’s really hard. It’s hard. It’s hard to get up everyday and squeeze in an eight mile “short” tempo run before work. It’s hard to have to say no to invitations to a party or ice cream out with a friend because you have a training run the next morning. It’s hard to be glued to your GPS watch to watch your paces, splits, etc.
  • It’s really awesome. It’s awesome. It’s awesome to watch yourself move from considering four miles a solid “short” run to considering eight miles your “short” run for the week. It’s awesome to get up and run more miles before 7 a.m. than most people will run all week. It’s awesome to envision yourself crossing that finish line.

What you need to know about actually running your first marathon:

  • Enjoy every second. You’ve trained for the last four months for this…don’t let it pass you by! This was some of the best advice I received, and I really took it to heart. I enjoyed the race expo, my pre-race meal, getting ready the night before with my sister and friends, and (gasp) even the race itself. When I was running over Pittsburgh’s famous bridges, I made it a point to look to my left and right and enjoy the amazing views of the city. It may cost you a few seconds, but it’ll be totally worth it.
  • Know the course map. I studied the course map and knew that the second half of the race started with a big hill. (I don’t think I realized the hills never really stopped after that!) However, I was prepared for that big hill at mile 12, and that made a big difference. I also went against every piece of racing advise and purposely went for positive splits (meaning the first half of your race is faster than the second). I knew that I’d need that borrowed time later in the race, and I’m glad I took that approach or else I never would have made my four-hour goal. (Also, if you’re looking for a great pacing tool, check out Taz Running!)
  • Expect momentum to carry you through the first half…expect your training to carry you through the second. One of the things that surprised me most is how difficult the last three miles of the marathon were for me. I had trained up to 21 miles, and I just assumed that adrenaline (combined with my training) would carry me through until the end. That distance is so hard on your body, and I remember seriously contemplating quitting less than two miles before the finish line. I was really surprised at the amount of people who had to stop and nurse an injury or stretch out or walk during the final miles of the race…it was a very draining experience. Worth it, but draining.
  • The last few miles will be a total mental game. Just keep telling yourself you can do it! I had written Phillipians 4:13 on my wrist and glanced at it quite a few times in my final miles…at that point, your body will definitely want to quit and things that you think would help (like telling yourself “I did 23 miles, only 3 more to go!”) really don’t help. Keep pushing, keep pushing…it’s worth it.

The Aftermath:

  • Expect an emotional roller coaster… You’re going to thank God it’s over. Then you might just cry (because of pain or joy or, more likely, both). You’re going feel like you’re on top of the world — you just ran a marathon! You’re going to feel like you can’t move. You might ask for strange things. (Ex. I’m never really hungry after long runs. After my race, all I wanted was a freeze pop and ended up settling for the most amazing shaved ice ever.) That’s all within the first hour.
  • …for awhile. The day after the marathon was awesome for me. I was sore, but felt so blessed by all of the support and well wishes I received from family and friends. The second day after the marathon I woke up feeling like I had just been hit by a train. I was really tired and nauseous and just felt out of it. I later realized I was probably dehydrated because after drinking a lot of Gatorade, I felt much better.  (Side note: Stay really well hydrated after your race! I thought I was drinking a lot of water, but I didn’t have any type of sports drinks, and those probably would have helped a lot.) The third day after the marathon, I must have forgotten about all of the pain because I was already contemplating running another one.
  • You’ll feel a little lost. People talk about “post-marathon depression”…and I definitely have it. It’s difficult to describe, but when you lived your life for four months focused on a single goal and then achieved it…what comes next? You feel like you need a new goal, but you’re not quite ready to sign up for a second marathon, so what do you do? I’m still trying to figure this one out…

So, there you have it! It’s been a crazy journey, but so worth it. Thanks for being part of it with me!

Food prep Sunday!

Standard

How’s your day going? After a pretty busy weekend, I finally had a chance to relax and get some stuff done around the house, including some serious food prep! But first, let’s do a quick weekend recap…

After work on Friday, I headed home and started cooking since Andy’s mom and aunt were heading down for the weekend. I made some turkey burgers with homemade chipotle dressing, roasted asparagus, and fresh strawberries. It was a win all around! We ended the night by making some homemade almond pecan cashew clusters that were a-mazing. Be on the lookout for a step-by-step recipe later this week!

Almond cashew pecan nut clusters

 

Saturday morning, I woke up and had one thing on my mind: running!

I promised myself that I’d take a whole week off after my marathon to rest and recuperate before diving back into any type of activity. Although I walked a few times last week, I did nothing else — no running, no gym, no nothing! I figured I made it six days, so that was good enough for a full rest period! I went out yesterday morning for an “easy” three mile run. I started out at a comfortable pace (8:24 first mile) and ended around 7:56. It felt awesome!

I was back before 8 a.m. so I whipped up some breakfast (egg whites, homemade blueberry banana bread, and strawberries for me), and then took Andy’s mom and aunt up to one of my favorite walking spots. We did two more miles together before heading to our local natural foods store to pick up some stuff.

Walk photo

 

After a quick shower, we went back out for lunch with Andy’s mom, aunt, and other family who joined us. Since it was Mother’s Day Weekend and we figured most restaurants would be super busy, we just hit up our local TGI Friday’s and I decided to have the same thing I had last time I was there — the Sedona Black Bean burger, which is amazing! I need to find a recipe for that…

TGI Fridays

 

The rest of the afternoon flew by, as I was at church all evening for our service and then a small group leader training.

Today, it was back to church for the morning to help out with a few things…I finally left around 4 p.m. and was able to spend the rest of the night cleaning and doing some major food prep for the week. Check it out!

Food Prep_5.13.13

 

Meals for the week:

  • Avocado Black Bean Burgers with roasted sweet potatoes
  • Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad (I followed this recipe for Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad but used TJ’s balsamic vinaigrette dressing instead of Caesar.)
  • Banana almond butter bars (I cut them individually and froze most of them for easy, pre-workout snacks.)
  • Yogurt “toppings” –> I put together some puffed wheat, sliced almonds, and raw oats to use on Greek yogurt throughout the week

For more food prep ideas, check out the Lean Green Bean Sunday Food Prep Inspiration!

Oh, and happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms and moms-to-be out there!

Race Recap: Pittsburgh Marathon 2013

Standard

Did you miss the start of my Pittsburgh Marathon adventures? Check it out here before moving on to my full race recap…

The morning of my marathon, I ended up waking up right after 5 a.m., got dressed, and ate my pre-race breakfast of a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and flaxseed. I only managed to eat half before we left, but I wrapped up the other half and ended up eating on the way to the starting line, which I was thankful for a few miles in!

Race breakfast

After breakfast, it was about a ten minute walk down to the start line from Kate’s apartment, and the four of us snapped a quick photo before taking off to our different corrals.

Race Beforehand

Ali and Kels were in Corral B, Kate and her boyfriend were in Corral D, and I was the only one in Corral C. Luckily, the weather was nice but it was still chilly in the morning, so I was pretty thankful for my throwaway shirt!

Since I was in Corral C, I figured I wouldn’t cross the start line until 7:15 or so, but they were incredibly efficient. Even though I was in the third wave, I crossed the start line by 7:05…and I was off!

Now, I’ve read all the blogs and Runner’s World articles about the importance of not coming out too fast, but I studied the typography and knew the second half of the course was really hilly, so I wanted to come out fast knowing I’d need that time later. So come out fast I did!

The first six miles of the race were just awesome! We started in downtown Pittsburgh and headed across three of the bridges within the first five miles which were absolutely packed with spectators. I felt great, my legs felt fresh, and I loved the crowd support! Some of my favorite signs included “You’ve been training longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage,” “Most people won’t even drive 26.2 miles today,” and “You Go, Glen Coco!” Yay for Glen Coco and Means Girls.

Miles 1-5 –> 8:04, 8:01, 8:18, 8:14, 8:21

Race bridge

It started feeling a little bottlenecked around mile 7, since we were still with the half marathoners and the roads were pretty narrow. I ended up doing a lot of swerving, but I was still feeling good, even with the rolling hills.

At Mile 10, I broke out a gel and actually stopped at a water stop to take my gel and drink some water which was a good choice! It gave me a quick break and let me refuel before taking on the next part of the course.

Miles 6-10 –> 8:28, 8:28, 8:24, 8:31, 9:02

At Mile 11, the half marathoners broke off from the marathoners, and I won’t lie…I briefly considered following the half marathoners. At that point, I was feeling really good and would have LOVED to finish up strong (2 more miles versus 15 more miles? The choice seemed easy at that point…) buttttt I kept on going and hit the second half of the race.

I studied the course map and knew there was a killer hill at mile 12…guess what?! The course map didn’t lie. The hill was long (over a mile long), but I just pulled back my pace and kept going up. Around here, I started a new fuel strategy: Stop and walk through every fuel station. It was beautiful. There was a fuel station every 1.5 to 2 miles, so I simply grabbed a water and walked through each station from mile 12 through the end of the race. I had a chance to stop, focus on hydration, and just keep going. So glad I took the 15 seconds to stop rather than trying to drink and run at the same time.

After mile 12, the hills didn’t really stop. There were long, rolling hills for the rest of the race, which got quite tough after awhile. The middle part of the race was pretty much a blur, but I knew I kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other.

Miles 11 – 15 –> 8:39, 9:13, 9:19, 9:36, 9:08

To the woman who gave me an orange slice at mile 19 – I love you.

Miles 16-20 –> 9:27, 9:35, 9:11, 9:04, 10:06

Around mile 20-21, I saw the pacer for the 3:50 group and I glanced down at my watch – just over 3 hours, which meant my goal of finishing in 4 hours was in reach. That kept me moving…until I hit another gigantic hill at mile 23.

Miles 21 – 24 –> 9:06, 9:26, 9:40, 8:53 (finally downhill!)

To the spectator who told me this was the last hill of the race and that once I got up it, it was all downhill from there – I love you.

(P.S. He lied. There were two more hills, but hey, at least he got me up that hill!)

I can’t explain how painful miles 24-26 were. I considered stopping multiple times and seriously contemplated walking to the finish…everyone around me seemed to be walking or pulling over to stretch, and I was pretty jealous.

However, I knew four hours was in reach and no matter how much I wanted to quit, I knew I needed to finish as strong as I could. In those last two miles, I wasn’t running for me. I was running for every single person who loved and supported me these past four months. I looked at my arm a lot at that mile…

Race arm

Technically, I got myself to mile 24, but it was God, family, and friends who got me to 26.2! (Or more accurately, 26.5…apparently I did a lot of weaving!) Mile 25 was my first split over 10:06 (at mile 20), but I dug deep and pulled out a 8:44 for my final mile.

Miles 25 – 26.5 –> 10:20, 8:44, 4:16

Right before miles 26, I saw my family and friends for the FIRST time…at that point, I knew I was going to finish strong (and under four hours!), but it gave me the final push I needed!

At 3:57:31, I crossed the finish line. I got my finisher metal. I had done it!

Racefinish

It wasn’t until I pulled out my phone that I started crying. A ton of my friends had signed up for live updates and texted me along the way! It was so amazing to see all the times they texted me throughout the race encouraging me…and shortly later, I met up with my family!

Race hug

I love how I'm hunched over! Pretty sure I couldn't stand at this point...

I love how I’m hunched over! Pretty sure I couldn’t stand at this point…

Race Katie and Abby

Normally, I can’t eat after a long run butttt I happened to get the most phenomenal post-race snack — shaved ice! I think it was almost as sweet as finishing the race — I was in heaven.

Race shaved ice

“Amazing” is the only way to describe this experience. Thank you to each of you for reading along these past few months and sending your support as well! I promise I’ll try to get you some more fun workouts that don’t revolve around running and good recipes that aren’t all focused on the correct ratio of carbs:protein, haha… Thanks for being on this journey with me!

And one last thank you…to my husband who’s put up with early morning runs and lots of complaining these past few months! When I got home from work yesterday, he had framed my race number and got me a little race shoe for my Pandora bracelet. Perfect!

Marathon number Andy

I’m a marathoner!

Standard

After four months of training, I’ve achieved my biggest goal of the year – I’m officially a marathoner! And not only am I marathoner, but I achieved my time goal of under 4 hours – 3:57:31!!

Words can’t even describe how emotional the day was, but I’m so excited to share every step with all of you!

On Saturday, I woke up and headed over to pick up my friend Ali so we could meet my sister and her sister who both live in Pittsburgh.

On the road!

On the road!

We made it to Pittsburgh by 2 p.m. to meet my sister and the three of us headed over to the GNC Live Well Expo to pick up our bibs and shirts and such. It was pretty busy, but we were easily able to pick up our race essentials and then walk around a little bit before calling it a day.

Marathon expi

 

2908 ... represent!

2908 … represent!

Signing the wall to commemorate Boston. #bostonstrong

Signing the wall to commemorate Boston. #bostonstrong

Me and Ali

Me and Ali

 

Me and my sista!

Me and my sista!

 

 

Once we got back to Kate’s apartment, we hung out and then met up with our moms who had driven out after us. I whipped up an awesome pre-race dinner… healthy chicken parmesan, whole wheat pasta, roasted brussel sprouts and zucchini, and some whole wheat garlic bread. Lots of carb and protein = perfect!

Marathon dinner

We headed to bed around 10 p.m. since we had quite an early wakeup call – 5:10 a.m.! I set all my stuff out beforehand to save time in the morning…

Marathon ready

I’ll be back tomorrow for a full mile by mile update (lucky you!), so I’ll catch ya’ll then!