New Years & Race Recap

I talked in previous posts about how excited I was to get into a half-marathon on New Year’s Eve. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run because it was full, but luckily a few spots open and I was at the top of the waitlist!

The race was local, just one town over from my hometown. It’s called the New Year’s Double was fairly small by some standards, with about 600 total finishers for the 1/2 and full marathon. I think there were about 200 for the 5k.

What is really unique about this race, though, is that they offer all the same distances on New Year’s Day as well! I guess a lot of people do races back to back! Personally, I could not imagine running such a distance 2 days in a row! Unless one was a 5k…

I was really anxious in the couple of days leading up to the race because the forecast was rain rain rain. While I have run in the rain before, I have never done so for a race.

There was a great Facebook page for the event and tons of people were having similar fears. Fortunately, a bunch of well-seasoned runners gave some excellent advice for race day!

In addition to the rain, it was pretty cold. I ended up wearing the following:

  • Running tights
  • Thick socks
  • Long-sleeved DriFit shirt
  • Rain Jacket
  • Ball cap
  • Ponytail hat
  • Waterproof gloves
The one pic my dad was able to take on the course...it was COLD!

The one pic my dad was able to take on the course…it was COLD!

It sounds like a lot, but it worked! In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t worn the raincoat. I was HOT 2 miles in. It was a last minute decision to wear it, and I put it on knowing I’d regret it. Lesson learned: trust your instincts. 

The half-marathon course was 2 loops. I actually found out during my last half that I really like this concept, because half the time you don’t know what to expect, and the other half, you do!

The course was really nice and kind of different from what I was expecting. It was pretty much all through a big park and neighborhoods. I don’t think I’ve ever run a race that wasn’t on roads!

I talked with someone for a few miles, which definitely helped the time fly by. I don’t feel like I ever hit a wall during the race! 

I wasn’t really shooting for a certain time, just ideally around 1:55. I ended up finishing in 1:54:31, which I was totally happy with. However, I did wear my Garmin, it showed the course as being 13.5 miles?? 

Apparently, this was the case for a lot of people, because Later on the race director posted a really interesting link about how courses are measured, so I am convinced that I really did run 13.1 miles

I actually didn’t find this out until later in the day, because I pretty much left right after the race for the sake of dry feet, but I placed 2nd in my age group!!! Like I said, it was a small race…but still pretty exciting 🙂

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What a perfect way to end 2012. After some recovering in my new socks  and otherwise relaxing, I packed up my belongings because I had to fly out New Year’s Day.

LOVE

LOVE

I was able to have some fun with friends to celebrate the New Year, though! We just went to a local pub, nothing fancy, no big crowds, just fun with good friends 🙂 

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Silliness ensued...

Silliness ensued…

 

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Yeah, tequila shots may have been involved at some point 😉

And that concludes tonight’s recap!

What did you do for New Year’s? Any new resolutions?

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Bye Bye, Hair!

Happy weekend! Another long week on my end.

I can see the end in sight, though! One more week then I’m headed back to Texas for the holidays. Icantwait!

However, I am actually looking forward to the rest of my time here. Tomorrow I am going to a family Christmas party! I also have lots of baking on the agenda for this week, as I am planning to make a few treats for my co-workers and friends. A good hunk of my morning was spent deliberating which recipes I wanted to use, and creating lists for the ingredients I’ll need (I’ll do a post with the creations later this week!)

I’m also looking forward to catching up with a couple friends mid-week, and a holiday shopping trip we have planned with the students on Wednesday.

One other bit of random exciting news: I got into the race I mentioned in my previous post – I will be ending the year in style with a half-marathon on New Year’s Eve morning!

Ok, so onto the title of my post! So, last night I did something I never thought I would do – I chopped off nearly 10 inches of my hair!!!

I was talking with my friends a few weeks ago about how annoying my hair has been lately; I was tired of having to braid it all the time to work out and sick of it being tangly all of the time. I was in desparte need of a trim (it had been over a year, I know, I’m terrible).

Anyway, my friend started talking about how she was thinking of donating hers. I had never even considered doing the same with mine, but as soon as she said it I really didn’t need any convincing! We decided sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas we’d do it together.

Everyone I told about my plan asked me if we were going to donate to Locks for Love, but we’d both actually heard it’s a bit of a sketchy organization – that they charge people for their wigs and don’t even necessarily use the hair sent.

After some research of our own through the American Cancer Society website, we decided that Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program was best for us. They are partnered with ACS, the minimum is only 8 inches, and they provide very clear directions about the process. 

Here are the before and after photos! 

Before 

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After: 

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So happy with how it turned out! It feels so much better. And I’m hoping at work I will be mistaken for a middle schooler a little less frequently 😉

I’m off to whip something up for tomorrow’s party. I am thinking these will be first?? Peppermint = always a winner! 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks!

Rest of Thanksgiving & Believe 2012 5k Recap

This past week was a busy one!

I didn’t get back to my apartment until almost 1 am on Monday, and the week was literally non-stop between school, babysitting, and my internship. I just finally unpacked yesterday…oops.

Anyway, I mentioned I had a few more exciting things to share from my trip home…so I am doing that now.

First was that I got to go to an Eli Young Band concert (country music, for all you non-country folks) with some friends. You may know this currently popular song

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The concert was a lot of fun! It was at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, which I had never been to. It’s a really big place and very unique in that there are lots of things to do (i.e games, dance, watch people ride bulls, etc.). The band is actually from a town really close to my hometown, and I saw them years ago when they weren’t quite so big yet…much bigger crowd than the last time I saw them! 

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It’s funny going “out” when I’m home now, because I obviously wasn’t old enough to do so when I actually lived there…places are so different from what I’m used to in Boston. After the concert we went to another bar for a little bit that was soooo honky-tonk. I don’t even have words to describe it, except to say that I have never seen anything like it. Amusing to watch, but definitely did not fit in there!

We didn’t get home from the concert until almost 3 a.m (!!!) and I was unsure about whether I’d run in the 5k I had intended to the next morning. I really wanted to do the race because I have the past 3 years and wanted to continue the tradition, but purposely didn’t register in advance because I didn’t know how my plans would unfold. Plus, it’s a pretty small race so I knew I’d have the option of day-of registration.

I decided to set an alarm and see how I felt when it went off in 4.5 hours. I definitely wanted/could have used more sleep, but when the alarm went off and I could not fall back asleep after 20 minutes, I decided to just go for it. I literally got ready and was out the door with my dad (who generously drove me to the race) in 10 minutes.

The race was supposed to begin at 8:30, and we got there at 8:20. Thanks to the fastest/most efficient registration process ever (all computerized), I was set to go within 3 minutes of being there!

Clothing-wise, I was a little unprepared for the temperature that morning. I think it was around 35 degrees, which was definitely unexpected given the rest of the time I was home the temperatures were at least in the 60s. Fortunately, I had an old long-sleeved tee at home and coincidentally had ordered some new gloves to be delivered at home, so I was able to wear those and feel comfortable in the cold.

Despite my lack of sleep and unpreparedness, I finished with a time of 24:23, which totally shocked me. I didn’t have my Garmin with me so I had no idea what my pace was like, and I definitely felt sluggish. 

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I was just happy that I got up and did the race! It’s always a fun one. Lots of little children dressed up running with their parents, and it starts/ends in the adorable downtown area of my hometown. Plus, my dad gets to come with me, which is usually not the case with me being so far away! 🙂 

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We left pretty quickly after the race because I was in desperate need of a nap before jetting off to my next event (a Christmas show with my mom and aunt), but I later found out that I placed 2nd in my age group!! I never would have expected this because my age group is typically is so large and I am in no way an elite runner, but still pretty cool!

Until next time everyone, have a great weekend!

Surprise, Surprise!

I’m BACK!

While I’ve missed writing, I feel like I just haven’t had the time these past few months. I do really enjoy writing though, so I’ve decided to reprioritize to make it a more frequent activity in my life.

Since it’s been so long, I’ve updated all of my pages (About, My Story, Recipes, and Running/Races)

Before I fell of the face of the blog world, I was getting ready to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon. I was feeling very apprehensive about this race because I was coming off a knee injury (patellar tendonitis) and hadn’t done much distance since taking a break after my marathon in June.

However, I am happy to report that the race went REALLY well! I finished in 1:55:05 and felt pretty decent the whole time. I am convinced that the credit for this goes to 2 things.

  1. These shoes. SO glad I switched.
  2. I have really changed my running form these last few months by focusing on running on my toes. Hugely helpful indeed!

Continuing on the running front, I also ran the Bay State Half-Marathon in October and PR’ed! My final time was 1:48:49. I am really happy I decided to run this at the last minute. I had some friends who were running as well, which made it really fun. The course was super flat, and much appreciated by my legs.

I also ran my first 10k a few weeks ago with a friend. It was Halloween themed, and while many people were in costumes, we chose to keep it simple and rock the knee-high Halloween socks (aka we didn’t have costumes). I have no idea how people were running in some of the costumes that they were… one guy was in a suit with a horse attached to it?!

Anyway, the 10k might become a new favorite distance for me. My final time was 49:46 and I’d love to start doing some speed work to see how fast I could get. I do still have strong feelings for the half marathon as a distance, though.

My running page  has been updated with a few future races I have on my mind…but I am still in the thought process regarding next year’s schedule!

In other life news…

In September, I started working at a different school. This year I am at a middle school working as a behavior therapist for a program for children with Asperger’s. Basically, I go to the students’ academic classes with them, help them with organization and stressful situations, and teach social skills in 1:1/small group settings. I’m enjoying it a lot so far. The group of people I work with is AWESOME, the program is one of the best in the area, aaaand I can’t say enough good things about the school in general – I wish I had gone to a middle school like it! I will reflect/elaborate more about this on a future post…

I also started an internship at Children’s Hospital Boston. It’s at the Lab of Cognitive Neuroscience and I am LOVING it. It’s very part time (5hrs/week) but it’s great experience and it’s definitely a good way to get my foot in the door. I am getting to do a lot of data analysis/review on my own, and observing some studies when I can.

Even though these two things are going great, I’m feeling pretty stuck about my career plan in general. I am so more than ready to be back in school, but I’m still having a tough time figuring out exactly what I want to do with my life. I am loving the research aspect of my internship, but I also really enjoy working with children in a more direct way. I also have some interest in the field of nutrition, but I literally know nothing about that field as far as careers go. I feel like everything sounds so interesting. Clinical psychology, school psychology, nutrition etc., etc….what to do?!?

Another aspect that’s really tearing me apart is whether or not I want to stay in the Boston area for school or go back to Texas. I have so many pros/cons for both locations. So basically, I haven’t narrowed it down at all and I’m mega-stressing about it. I did get a GRE book, as I would like to take the test in the next few months, so I guess that’s a small step in the right direction.

Ok, well I think this post has been more than sufficient for catching up, so I think I am done for now….be back soon 🙂

Beach Lovin’ & 5 mile success

Hello all!

Sorry it has been a rather long time since I last checked in. This is kind of going to be a random post, just FYI.

I have been busy with/ exhausted from camp, but am really happy that it is going great this summer. I LOVE my group and the other counselor I am working with, and things are just a lot less stressful compared to last summer.

I have been to the beach the past 2 weekends in a row, which I am super happy about because as close as I am, beach opportunities just don’t happen that often!

Last weekend, I headed down to the Cape to visit some of my family. It was an excellent beach day!

Cousins!

Today, I went to Crane Beach (North Shore) with a friend. The water was COLD, but very refreshing because today was super hot!!

In other news, running has been going pretty well! For the past couple of weeks, I’ve run a few times (just 2-3 miles at a time). Although my pace is super slow, I’ve felt very little pain in my knee!

Today, I made it my goal to run 5 miles…I figure I do need to start doing a few longer runs if I’m going to attempt my race in August. Well…….It was slow, it was hot, but it WAS 5 miles. Fingers crossed my knee feels a-ok tomorrow!

Also, recently made Mama Pea’s  Thai Crunch Veggie Burgers and they were delish! Highly recommend – great flavor and texture. I got the recipe from her cookbook, but I’ve seen it posted here.

Ingredients

Processed

Pre-flip

Done!

Goodnightttttt!

I Finished!!! My First Marathon – Part 1

Hi friends!

I am so happy to report that on Sunday I finished my FIRST FULL MARATHON!!!

I had mentioned before that because of my knee injury, I was having a lot of doubt that I would be able to make it all 26.2 miles.

Thanks to a lot of rest, stretching, KT taping, and most of all, the amazing support of Team and Training, I did! And I couldn’t be happier.

Here’s a recap of the race weekend (warning – will be long!)

Friday

Leave Boston around 4:00pm.

Someone switches seats with a teammate of mine, we chat for a good part of the flight (life stories shared!), while the rest was spent sleeping/reading. Flight flies by!

Arrive in San Diego around 7:30pm (10:30 in Boston).

Go to hotel, eat, stretch, ice, and pass out for several hours (so needed).

Saturday

  • Eventually get out of bed to stretch and eat some breakfast.
  • Meet team to go to the race expo.
    • Overwhelmed – I have never been to an expo this big! Also, so excited.
    • I buy a shirt, then get in line at the Sports Authority booth to get my knee taped.
    • The line takes FOREVER. Luckily, an awesome friend of mine is nice enough to wait with me!
    • Finally, it is my turn. The guy explains to me what he is doing (cutting two pieces in half, stretching bottom piece out to 100% then back down to 75%, next piece out to 100% then 30% for this half 80% for that, etc) – I just nod my head. Never going to remember what he said.
  • Finally done! Back to the hotel.
  • Lounge around in one of my teammate’s rooms with the rest of the team. She was one of the top 10 fundraisers of all of TNT (over $10k!), so she scored the presidential suite, which was out of control ridiculous.
  • Boston TNT chills hard

  • Get ready;  walk back to convention center for Inspiration Dinner
  • Great speaker, crappy food.
  • Decorate our singlets in the presidential suite.

    Very concentrated

  • Back to my room; lay out outfit/gear/fuel.

    Note the brightness & in-tactness of the puffy paint on the singlet…

  • Stretch/ice one last time. Say a prayer that my knee will hold up.
  • Lights out, alarm set for 3:45!

Sunday

  • Wake up at 3:15. Drank wayyyy too much water.
  • 3:18 – back in bed…somehow manage to fall back asleep for 20 minutes.
  • Up and at ’em!
  • Quickly brush teeth and start to get dressed, then realize my fail of the night before. It didn’t occur to me to put a piece of newspaper in between my shirt, so the paint bled right through to the other side, and onto the bedspread! OOPS!
  • Gently put my still-wet singlet on, and head downstairs to meet my team.
  • Take team photos(full team photo coming soon)

    See that puffy paint now? Yeah, lesson learned.

  • Get on shuttle bus. SO NERVOUS
  • It is cold. Perfect running weather, though – 65 and cloudy. Very thankful that a friend had an extra throw-away shirt she let me wear 🙂 Noted for next race.
  • Get in line for porta potty.
  • Chat with teammates to ease each other’s anxiety. 45 minutes later, it is our turn!

Mile by Mile

  • Head to Corral 27. Myself and 6 others decided we’d all start there (some of us were in earlier corrals)

    Love this. Clearly, we all have different expressions of anxiety

  • First gun goes off at 6:15 am

    *Not sure when this was taken (borrowed photo)

  • About 40 minutes later, we are finally crossing the start line! Everyone is dancing and so excited.
  • Immediately break off into two groups (of 3 and 4).
  • Mile 1: Instantly feel knee pain. Thinking there is no way I will finish this race.
  • Mile 1-3: Great much awesome spectator energy! Great bands/music.
  • Mile 3: I am already so unexpectedly sweaty. Humidity? See best sign of the day: “I just farted. Keep running!”
  • Mile 5: Run through the Padres’ stadium!
  • Mile 5.5: Vanilla Gu + water. Decide that my knee will be fine unless pain gets worse
  • Mile 6: The other 3 girls I was with go ahead; I know I should be maintaining a slower pace.
  • Mile 8: See my coaches standing above me at an overpass!!! So glad to see them.
  • Mile 8-10: Highway stretch. Mostly uphill, and the road was totally slanted. Super uncomfortable. Also, so quiet! No bands/cheerleaders.
  • Mile 11: Chocolate GU + lots of water.
  • Mile 11-14: a bit of a blur…I remember feeling really cold at one point – maybe dried sweat? Gross.
  • Mile 14: Knee goes numb. Feeling GREAT! Thinking about when I should sign up for my next marathon.
  • Mile 16: Why have I not seen ANYONE I know in so long?!?
  • Mile 17: Finally pass friends headed the other direction. Ecstatic to see them!
  • Mile 17.5: Vanilla GU + salt packet + lots of water. See favorite runner costume of the day: Gumby!
  • Mile 18 – 20: Beginning to slow down a bit…
  • Mile 20: EFF this. Body is done. Everything hurts.
  • Mile 20-22: take a walking break every mile. Walk about 1/10th of a mile, very slowly run the rest of each mile.
  • Mile 22:  Chocolate GU + water. A coach hands me another salt packet, which I figure can’t hurt.
  • Mile 22: TNT coach runs with me for about .25 mile. Welcomed distraction/conversation!
  • Mile 23: See my coaches again! Cross over the water to run around a 2 mile island. Thinking I can still maintain sub-5:00
  • Mile 23-25: ISLAND OF DEATH. Normally, this part of the course would have been beautiful. I mean really, an island in San Diego?? Plus, it was super flat. But, during this time, I wanted nothing more than to lay down. Everything is hurting so much. I begin taking a LOT more walking breaks. There are also more TNT coaches (from other teams) during this stretch, so I frequently get asked how I’m doing/if I need anything.
  • Mile 24: Realize sub-5:00 is out of the question. Primary goal becomes finishing.
  • Mile 25: 1.2 miles has never seemed so long.
  • Mile 25.8: Finally see my coaches again after getting off the island!! Try my best to smile for a picture
  • Mile 26: Clearly see the finish line. Want to start crying. A random coach runs with me
  • Mile 26.4 (race was off a bit): DONE!!! Want to immediately start crying. Get handed a metal. Do my best to compose myself for the professional pictures

Stay tuned for a Part 2 – post-race recap + my reflections on the race!

So much “Friends”

***I mentioned on my last post that I thought a post had been deleted by mistake, but actually the mistake was that I accidentally published a post from a couple of weeks ago as a page! It is fixed now…click here! 🙂 ***

Hi everyone!

I feel like I was just writing about last weekend, and now here we are with the weekend again! Not that I’m complaining, though…

I’ve had a very relaxing weekend so far! Watching an embarrassing amount of ‘Friends’ has contributed to the relaxation.
Weekend Recap

Yesterday, one of my teammates had a pool party. It was the perfect day for it and we stayed for hours chatting away and sunbathing. And quoting Bridesmaids (which I really want to rent again, pronto!) I also got to play with this adorable dog, whom I may have tried to kidnap.

Today, I walked around on Newbury Street with my aunt and cousin. Highlights included new Lululemon purchases (!) and frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. I had been craving froyo for a while, and this fit the bill perfectly. After a lot of debating about style and color, I ended up with these shorts (except my trim is white instead of black).

This was my first pair of shorts to buy from Lululemon, and I am so excited to wear them next weekend! They fit like a dream and are soooo comfortable. Now I know why so many of my teammates have been raving 😉
Running Update

Still haven’t been running, still have been FREAKING OUT. I am so so so nervous about how my knee is going to act. I just want to get through the race!

Current plan of action:

  1. Ice and stretch at least 2x per day
  2. Chiropractor (Tuesday)
  3. Sports massage (Wednesday)
  4. Try to get knee KT taped at race expo on Saturday
    *Optional Required: 1 episode of ‘Friends’ per stretch sesh

I’m hoping that these combination of things will keep the knee feeling happy, and while I am hopeful, I am also trying to mentally prepare myself for the possibility of having to quit if it becomes necessary.
Recent Eats 

Earlier this week, I made Mama Pea’s Coconut Curry Kale Stew in the crock-pot. It felt a bit unseasonable to be using it, especially with the warmer weather we’ve been having. I just really wanted soup, I guess. It came out tasty, but definitely needed a lot more spice added to it.


I also recently made this Vegan Cheeze Sauce with brown rice penne pasta. I left out the onion powder because I didn’t have any, but added a bit extra garlic powder and pepper. Love how quick and easy this recipe was!!


I wanted to bring something to the pool party, and have had this box of gluten-free choco chip cookie mix in my cabinet FOREVER, so I thought it was a great time to use it up!


I pretty much never buy boxed mixes because I enjoy the process of baking from scratch, but I had gotten this from a friend who wasn’t going to use it.

I was super impressed by a) how few the ingredients the actual mix had , and b) how well these cookies came out! I didn’t have high expectations, but they tasted great and no one could tell that they were GF at all!

COOKIE DOUGH!

Two thumbs up for the finished product!

Finally, a few weeks ago I attempted to make mashed cauliflower. I read a few recipes online first, and then decided to just wing it.

Mashed Cauliflower


Ingredients:

1 Head cauliflower
1-2 cloves garlic
Almond milk (unsweetened/unflavored), or any other neutral milk
Salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Chop cauliflower into bite-sized florets.
2. Steam cauliflower in microwave or on stove.
3. Combine cauliflower with rest of ingredients in food processor, until desired consistency is reached.

NOT potatoes!

I really loved the texture and taste of these, but I definitely added a disproportionate amount of garlic. Just use your best judgment based on how big your head and cloves are…you can always add more!

Ok, that was a LOT of food at once. I think my work here is done.

Off to watch more Friends sleep! Hoping for yoga in the am 🙂

Goodnight!