Getting it Done (Somehow)

Did you all know that Meri is a Cityfit Girls Ambassador, and at the beginning of March, they had an Instagram photo challenge? Well they did! The prompts were great and full of variety so despite the fact that I suck at photo challenges, I joined up. The first prompt was “March Goals”. I grabbed a pen I wrote down a few things I needed to tackle.

March_Goals

By the end of the first week, I’d forgotten that I’d written them down. I know. I’m busy and very easily distracted. So, that green notecard got shuffled into a pile of papers on my desk and I got on with life’s tasks.

It feels like my life revolves around dates and deadlines. There are strict deadlines at work, due dates for homework and looming exam dates, not to mention actually spending time with friends and family. This month was particularly tough because my husband and I were getting our house appraised for a re-fi, so there was THAT whole ring of cleaning and organizing Hades. I was so focused on that whole process and all it entails that I completely forgot about my March goals. On the plus side, we’re done with spring-cleaning!

So when I stumbled upon my green note card on Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised. I got really excited when I realized I could actually CHECK THINGS OFF. OMG.

Goals_After

Like, I ACCOMPLISHED STUFF this month, you guys! This is exciting because I don’t always finish what I start. Here are the goals I forgot I cared about:

Goal 1: Get a good grade on math test. Okay, this one I was totally aware of because I studied my boo-tay off for that exam. I scored an 84% on the test, which pushed my grade up to a firm C. Yeah, I was in desperate need of that 84%. Also, did you know that math sucks?

Goal 2: Keep Training for AC Half. This one suffered a bit as deadlines took over, but I still managed to run a 5k twice a week. I feel guilty about not running more, but I’m trying to forgive myself and look ahead.

Goal 3: Add to Disney Race Jar. My Disney plans changed a bit because since the 2016 GSC takes place on my husband’s 40th birthday, I will be skipping it. Instead, I saved (a little more) for the AC Half.

Goal 4: Practice Calmness. This is always hard for me, but spring break helped and so did regular runs. Exercise is a balm for the mind and soul!

Goal 5: Tile Kitchen Backsplash. DONE. SO DONE AND SO HAPPY ABOUT IT. The completion of this project means that we are done with our four-month long DIY kitchen update project. I’m confess, I’m quite proud of us, and by ‘us’ I mean me and the Mr. He did the cutting, I did the laying. We decided we should start a tile business working together. *taps chin and daydreams* If there is a home project you’re nervous about tackling, I urge you to research, and then take a deep breath and jump. It’s so rewarding!

Kitchen BeforeKitchen_After

Goal 6: Get House Ready for Appraisal. We are purged, clean, organized, and valued higher than we expected!

Bonus Bucket List Goal Accomplished: After thirty-five years, I finally learned how to French braid my hair!

I write this post a satisfied woman. It feels really good to finish things. More than that, it feels awesome to stand back, look at my kitchen, and know that we did that hard work. Sweat equity is the sweetest! It’s also a comfort to know that although I don’t often write my goals down, nor am I always cognizant of them, I seem to accomplish them anyway. It’s quite reassuring.

How do you track your goals and manage expectations? Got any tips for finishing what you start? Please share your wisdom with me, brilliant readers!

How I spent my Spring (non)Break

The orange blossoms are blooming.  The bees are buzzing.  The noses are sneezing.  It can only mean one thing, Spring has sprung.  Now, here in Socal, spring is no big thing.  Really, it’s just like winter, but with more allergies.  We do, however, still get to celebrate spring break and let me tell you, I need this break like no other.  I’ve wrapped up my second quarter of grad school and my fifth graders are suffering from the hormonal imbalance I (and Thumper) like to call, twitterpation.  I very much do not want to see the inside of a classroom for a good long while.  Or at least a week.  Which is exactly how much Spring Breaking I get to do.

Beside prepping to see my gals in Atlantic City next month, I am going to be spending this week not working out.  That’s right, I’m banning myself from the gym.  Except for kickboxing.  Because shit gets crazy when I have to carry around all that pent-up aggression.  Trust me, it’s for the good of everyone that I get to kick and hit things twice a week.  But other than that, I’m taking my fitness to the streets, Step Up style.  I’ve even compiled a list.

10 Ways I Will Kind of Not Workout This Week  (a la Letterman)

10.  Bowling – Serious arm workout, son.  I plan on using a heavy (well, heavier than the normal 7 pounder I throw) ball and switch arms with every throw.   Luckily I care not about my score!

9. Roller Skating – The skating rink in my town is offering a discount in honor of spring break and I plan to take advantage.  I’m seriously looking into becoming a Derby girl, I just have to see if I still got the skillz.  Couples skate, anyone?

8.  Hiking – I want to do a one-nighter, overnight hiking trip this week.   In preparation of the Muir trail, of course.  And to try out my portable potty.

7.  Body Boarding – Yes, I plan to get my booty in that cold Pacific and ride some waves.

6.  Moving Furniture – I love rearranging furniture.  When my stuffs in one spot for too long, it kind of makes me crazy.  I’ll be mixing things up this week.

5.  Zoo/Disneyland – San Diego Wild Animal Park and Disneyland are on the docket for kid entertainment.  We have passes that are sitting at the bottom of my purse so it’s time to put them to good use.  Must resist the Churro cart.

4.  Backyard Wrestling – This may or may not include alcohol.  I love to wrestle.  I know, it’s weird.

3.  Trampolining – We’ll be frequenting the local Sky Zone as soon as my kids start bouncing off the walls at home.  Trampoline dodgeball is also a possibility.

2.  Bike Riding – I don’t even own a bike, but I really want to start family bike riding excursions.  I live very close to shops and the fact I get in my car and drive the mile down the street to the grocery store is super sad.  Time to get me a dope ride with sick shocks, yo.

1. Rock Climbing –  This week I want to go to high places and I want it to be hard to get there.  No gym required.

 

South Jersey Running: Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k

This past weekend I ran the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k. Again! Nowadays, I don’t do too many 5ks, but this race is one I picked up at the very start of my running career four years ago and it’s a favorite. It kicks off the start of spring and without a doubt, I’m guaranteed to see my favorite Jersey running family.

runningfam

Thanks to Brandi for this pic!

These are the local people who were instrumental in my running in the first place (in addition to their counterpart, Vic – my far off running guru). These are the people who comment on my Facebook running posts, without fail. They’re the ones who know about all the local races and dollars to donuts (mmmm, donuts), I’ll see a component of them there. Who wouldn’t want to see these smiling faces all over the South Jersey/Philly area?

My husband began running this race in 2013 and since then, we always stick together. You know him, right? The reluctant runner? 

At 2013 finish line

At 2013 finish line

The night prior, we both made new playlists. Dude doesn’t necessarily like to talk during races. And apparently, he doesn’t want to be talked to either. Hey, he’s running. If he doesn’t want to chat with me, that’s cool.

adrenalineplaylist

I asked if he’d like to share his playlist with the fair readers of Scoot a Doot but he declined. Personally, I think he’s embarrassed that he has Taylor Swift on there. Just sayin’.

The day before the race, it snowed in New Jersey. Four days prior to that, it was mid-60s. Out like a lamb, March. OUT LIKE A LAMB. What was the weather race morning?

Ice ice baby. Too cold.

Ice ice baby. Too cold.

Not the 60s we’d been hoping for, however it was warming up quickly, depositing icy plops of snow on us this entire race. Jolting? A little. But also a bit refreshing too.

Just before 9am we said our goodbyes and good lucks to our faster friends. We placed ourselves toward the back of the start corral and waited for the air horn. This race attracts a lot of fast runners; I believe the winner this year finished in 14:30! I wonder how that must feel. Seriously. I’ll never know. But I definitely wonder!

I let him set the pace and put myself a few steps behind him, following along the way. He’s been following a great training plan for the Broad Street 10 Miler and was feeling good about PRing during this race. The first year he finished in 39 minutes and last year he shaved about a half a minute off his time. This year he confided in me that he would like to hit the 35 minute mark, but also realized it might be a bit ambitious.

During this race, they have timing clocks at miles 1 and 2 so I have a pretty good idea of how we’re doing (my watch was buried under layers of clothes). However, mile 1’s clock wasn’t working so I really was pretty clueless. I was just jamming to my playlist and trying to howl along with Adam Levine at that point. Dude uses RunKeeper so he always hyper aware of pace, but like I said, he was a couple of paces ahead of me. And not talking. Ho hum.

The streets of Haddonfield have had a rough winter and they’re peppered with potholes. They’ve always been present but this year it seemed particularly crater-filled. Thankfully the good people of Haddonfield Running Co. placed cones in the worst spots so we had a heads up. Or a heads down. Or eyes on the road. Whatever, you get the idea!

garminadrenaline

Dude slowed down slightly going past the water station (which is around 1.5 in) and looked back to see where I was. He hadn’t so much as glanced in my direction most of the time so I figured he was feeling good and gave him the “RUN” face. You know the one. Or maybe you don’t. It basically consists of me mouthing the word “RUN” and shooing him along with my hand.

On we went. We slowed down on the hill right before mile 2. I saw the clock at the top of the hill was under 24 minutes and was very happy to see that he was on target to PR. When he saw the clock, he began to run again. At the top of the hill I wound up next to him and we ran together from that point.

As we crested the last small hill, the opening strains of Paradise City flooded my eyes. I could see the finish line and I saw the time clock had 36:xx, so I hit the gas for that last little stretch of road hoping we could get there. We’d started the race a bit further back so I thought in the 35 minute range was possible. Instead we came in at 36:16 and 36:31, which is still a huge 2 minute PR for Dude!

finishlineadrenaline

We partied it up at the Haddonfield Running Company store after, making sure to use our medal bottle openers for the beer offered there because that is obviously the best part. Since the store is currently in their 18th year, everything was 18% off. And you better believe we took advantage of that!

adrenalinemedal

10th year of the race and they did it up BIG with the medal!

So, in summary: A PR for Dude. A rockin’ playlist for me. Beer and food (om nom nom) Good friends. Great race.

South Jerseyians, do this race. And if you do, come find me so we can discuss its awesomeness.

merafteradrenaline

Tell me about your most recent PR! What’s your favorite song on your playlist? I haven’t made a new playlist in awhile but this one was great, it had the perfect songs at the perfect places. 

Come Run With Me!

Back in January I alluded to some exciting news:

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 6.44.30 PM

 

Welp, I’m happy to share that I’ve been chosen as one of the 2015 Navy/Air Force Half Marathon Ambassadors!

NAF Half Ambassador

This year, the race will be run on September 20 and as an ambassador, I’m ambassador-ing all of you to join me. Well, you know, if you want. But it’ll be a great time.

Anyone who has done a race in DC knows that few things are greater than running past the US Capitol building, the monuments and the White House. Living in the Nation’s Capital spoils me – I can run on the National Mall right alongside history whenever it strikes my fancy. To finish a run on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is one of the best feelings there is.

'Merica

‘Merica

The Navy/Air Force Half winds its way through the District, starting on the National Mall in front of the Washington Monument (within view of the White House), around Hains Point, past the Lincoln Memorial and up through Georgetown along Rock Creek Parkway. You’ll get to see some of the best parts of the city!

course map

I’m really looking forward to this race because it supports a great cause: mental and physical fitness for our troops. As the race website says: “The Navy-Air Force Half Marathon is an annual race hosted by Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR). This prestigious race began 11 years ago as the Navy 5 Miler and has grown to over 6,500 runners! The year 2015 will mark the 4th year for the Half Marathon and the 12th year for the 5 miler. Our mission is to foster and support high productivity for our Navy-Air Force audience through mental and physical fitness, personal growth, a sense of community, positive values and Family well-being.”

It’s a win-win situation – the joy of running with a purpose.

Registration is open and if you register using my Ambassador Code: KYLE, you’ll be entered to win a tech shirt!

Click it. You know you want to.

Click it. You know you want to.

And if you’re coming in from out of town for the race, I’ve got the low-down on places to stay and, more importantly, where to eat. So, come run with me!

Spring Means Summer and Summer Means Frozen Treats!

According to science and planets and stuff, Spring is here. Allegedly. As I’m writing this (Thursday night), I’m looking at a snowflake in my forecast for tomorrow, so really, I’ll believe that Spring is here when I see it.
But, being that Spring is technically here, I think it’s fair to say that Summer is right around the corner. That makes me really excited. Because Summer means sunshine and warmth (and humidity… but I’m not really excited about that part). Summer means running outside and sunburns (I’m Irish and German. We don’t do tans). Summer means movies in the park and laying by the pool. And Summer means frozen treats to beat the heat!
Last week… I cheated and got a head start on Summer because I’m impatient and I just couldn’t wait. Here I was, meandering through Whole Foods, and while I was in the frozen foods aisle, I was struck with a craving for my favorite smoothie meal.
Acai Bowls.

Acai amazingness

These things tho.
I think I’ve had one of these a day for the last week. I’m not exaggerating. I might need to get some variety in my diet. Right now though, I really just want another one of these beauties.
“Caveman” Bowl
Half of a frozen banana or a handful of frozen blueberries
Tablespoon of Peanut Butter (or 2 TB of PB2)
1 cup of almond milk or coconut water (or whatever liquid you want. I don’t usually measure it, I just throw it in the blender and add more if I need it.)
Dates
Unsweetened Coconut flakes
Granola (Gluten-free if you can find it. Trader Joe’s has a couple of delightful varieties.)
Chia Seeds
Throw the frozen fruit, acai, PB, and liquid of choice into the blender. Make it creamy dreamy. Pour into a bowl. Top with sliced dates, coconut, Granola, chia… the options are endless. Mostly, just fill it up with delicious stuff. Then nom. Hard.
Those acai bowls fill me up and keep me full for hourrrrrrssssss. Not joking. I’ve made one for breakfast the last couple of days and I haven’t even felt a little bit hungry until lunch… six hours later. Brilliant. Sometimes I like to experiment with the plethora of possibilities for these delicious treats. I think the next one will be green – I have some spinach that I need to use up – and I have some frozen mango and strawberries that might be tasty together. We’ll see. We’ll see.
Mayhaps these delicious frozen treats will help propel me through marathon training (because if you haven’t heard, I’m toying with a few options for 26.2 this summer. San Fran? It could happen. Or Baltimore? To be determined.) Or maybe they’ll just make me feel better after a long day at the office and in the gym. I’ll eat them either way.
What are your favorite summertime treats? Do you have any tried-and-true, go-to meals to fuel your training? 

 

Do I rest or do I run?

I ignored the slight pain when I ran Princess. I iced and rested my knee for a full week before I tried my hand at my next training run of 10 miles. But a sharp pain in my left knee stopped me in my tracks as I ran with friends several weeks back.

It was my own fault. I ran too far in snowy conditions on a test run. But I felt good, until I didn’t.

I stopped running for the next 10 days. Walking wasn’t painful. I traveled to Belgium with my husband and we walked all over four cities. No problem. I decided not to run a planned half marathon in DC in mid-March because I didn’t want to do further damage.

On the 10th non-running day, I headed to the gym to see what I could do.

Three times, I ran one mile. I followed each mile by walking a quarter-mile. By the time I finished, I felt great.

Two days later, I headed outdoors for a five-miler with my running partner Gary.

“How do you feel?” he asked me several times as we ran.

“Great!” I said several times. Then just after our fourth mile, I felt a twinge and asked Gary if we could walk.  Not a problem. We walked about 3 or so minutes before finishing our run. My knee wasn’t throbbing. but rather still felt tweaked.

So I’ve taken off since then. I’ll try again tomorrow.

I haven’t been to a doctor. My knee is just strained, I think set off from running on uneven snow for months on end this summer. But here’s my dilemma:

Coming up this Sunday is the Syracuse Half Marathon, and I have a half in Atlantic City and another in Rochester next month. I’m torn on what to do. I’m considering run-walk intervals and taking my sweet time with the Syracuse race, but am wondering if doing so would just set me up for further injury? That, I don’t want to risk.

 How do you handle a knee injury? What would you do in my shoes? (pun intended)

Registration open for Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon

Registration opened today for the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon, to be held Saturday, Oct. 10 2015.

600x600_BK15_announce_series

Competitor Group, which operates the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, last week announced the return of the road race. The 13.1-mile course replaces the former RnR Brooklyn 10K, held from  2011 to 2013.

Early registration to tackle the new course comes with a discounted prerace fee of $55. And please note that because registration is steeply discounted, discount codes like mine – RUNNINGWITHVICTORIA – won’t work during the prerace sale (but it will once the race is full price – which will likely cost more than this special.)

I’m excited for the big day as I love fall in NYC. The crisp air, the changing leaves and this just happens to be my birthday weekend! And yes, I will likely be there as part of the Rock ‘n’ Blog ambassador program.

The race begins in Prospect Park and includes out-and-back jaunts along Eastern and Ocean parkways, before runners complete the final three miles in Prospect Park. Click here for the course map. Like other RnR races, this Brooklyn course will feature live bands along the route and a concert at the finish line. The concert headliner has not been announced.

More than 17,000 people are expected to participate in the new half marathon, according to the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series. In comparison, nearly 20,000 people competed in yesterday’s NYC Half Marathon.

Have you run in NYC? Have you completed any Rock ‘n Roll race?  Would a new course in Brooklyn interest you?

 

The Final Countdown

Yesterday was March 12th. Do you know what happens on April 12th? My first half marathon. YUP. My. First. Half.

I’m getting nervous, you guys, and I need a pep talk. I’m not where I want to be physically, and I’m beginning to wonder if I will ever feel ‘ready’ for a race. I’ve got a few weeks of training left, and I intend to make the most of them, but yeah, the jitters are setting in.

Part of my nervous tummy twitching is definitely excitement over seeing Cam and Mer again, and meeting Vic in person for the first time. The three of us last saw each other in 2012, which is WAY TOO LONG AGO. And I love Vic already, so there’s THAT.

BostonScoot

We miss you, Bec!

But I’m also a tad worried that race day will be like when you go skiing with all your awesome friends who are really good at skiing and they have to spend their day helping you down the bunny hill. Yeah, kind of embarrassing.

I’m staying positive, though, focusing on areas where I excel. For example, since I live at 5k feet elevation, running at sea level will be a snap, right? Won’t my oxygenated muscles feel faster than ever before, and my lungs be as strong as steel? I should be able to breathe in so much oxygen that my asthma will be a forgotten memory. Say yes. PLEASE SAY YES.

I *might* be relying too much on my perceived altitude advantage. I also * might* be over-thinking and over-worrying this entire thing.

Usually, I’m calm and cool before a race. Chill, yo. Since I’m not in it to be fast I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just happy to be out there trying. There’s something different about this, though, and I’m pretty sure the difference is the distance. Plus, every time I try to run for longer than 4 miles, my knee pretty much tells me to eff off.

So these next few weeks will see me doing as much running as I can without making the knees hurty, and, since I have one and it’s convenient, a lot of elliptical work. Then strength training. There will be endless strength training. Luckily, I was smart this semester and fulfilled one remaining elective requirement with “Jogging and Walking”. Yes, folks, that right, I’m getting college credit for my training. Thanks to that, I’m getting in more days that look like this

IMG_1761

 

How do you cope when the race jitters have got you? How do you keep from puking weeks in advance?

Tell Me What To Do, Internet!

I remember the first time I heard about Pinterest. I was at a Stroller Strides class and it was the hot topic of conversation. Intrigued, I checked it out as soon as I got home. A place on the internet where I could collect my favorite ideas and look at my friends favorite things? Yes. Please.

I pinned motivation. Inspiration. Quotes. Hair styles. Craft ideas.

And workouts. Lots and lots and lots of workouts.

Well, pinning and doing are two very different things. Since I’m living in the “weather hell” that in New Jersey (I’m sure the majority of you out there can feel me on this. Florida, California, and Hawaii friends… you guys can just pretend), I decided to flip through the Pinterest Rolodex and do a couple of the workouts I’ve pinned through the years.

Using the very scientific method of closing my eyes and pointing at the screen, I landed first on PopSugar treadmill workouts and then on this one specifically.

popsugartreadmill

What’s that you say? I’m not a new runner? You’re right, I’m not. But I figured that this would be a good way to switch it up a bit and do something that I normally wouldn’t, especially because I’ve been on the treadmill every day hitting my five mile goal (running, walking, skipping, whatever). Plus, I can tell new runners my thoughts on it… you know, in case they want to give it a go!

I’m a Galloway runner (that’s one who does intervals, for the record) so this type of workout was right up my alley.

letsrun

Off we go!

Staying at the 3.0/3.5 pace was a bit of a challenge on the psyche for me because I’m more accustomed to keeping a 3.8/4.0 walking pace. But, I had a good playlist on the iPod so I jammed out, waving my hands in the air like I just didn’t care and patiently waited for the first jump in pace to 5.5.

5.5 is a comfortable speed for me but getting up to that from 3.5 was a bit jarring after hanging out at 3.0/3.5 for 10 minutes. I’m thinking an intermediate step might be more comfortable (for me and for a beginner). Maybe 4 minutes at 3.0, 3 minutes at 3.5, and then 3 minutes at 4.5? That’s my non-professional opinion right there.

And then going down, down, down from 5.5/5.8 to 3.5 was sad and wonderful all in the same breath. The 2 minutes of running to 4 minutes of walking was very nice though; it gave me time to bring down the heart rate, only to jack it back up again. It was attainable and while I wasn’t maxing out on my running, it felt good and I enjoyed the 40 minute workout.

My trainer has always been a firm believer that you always keep your treadmill at 1.5 incline to mimic the feel of the road more correctly so out of habit, I had hit 1.5 and didn’t realize it wasn’t on 1.0 until I was nearly done. My bad!

This workout is based on speed and time, but not distance. I stuck to the script the entire time and finished the 40 minutes in 2.72 miles.

corechallenge

What I find particularly interesting about Pinterest is that sometimes the image pinned doesn’t lead back to the direct source. Tracking this one down only took a little bit of sleuthing, thanks to the TribeSports watermark on the image! You can click the picture to go directly there.

I like this one a lot because while I do core work at the gym, I don’t usually spend more than a couple of minutes at a time working at it. This one had my abs shaking toward the end, in the best possible way!

corecollage

The hardest part of this workout? My dog truly wanted to be a part of the process. I got licked in the face more times than I’ve kissed my husband this month and she also tried to crawl under me when I was holding my plank and bridge. It was nearly more challenging than the actually core work itself.

Finally, my head space has been very cluttered with extraneous chatter and unnecessary worry lately. Therefore when I saw City Fit Girls’ Instagram post mentioning Headspace I knew I had to check it out. Try a gym membership for the mind.

Also, I really like accents and this guy has a lovely one. (How’s that for clarity?) I’m currently on day 5 of 10 and I start each day with a 10 minute “take 10″ meditation. It’s good stuff; I like starting each day off with more of a clear intent. Sometimes it doesn’t last more than a couple of minutes but sometimes it does. And that’s some pretty powerful mojo!

So tell me, do you actually DO the workouts that you pin on Pinterest? Got any good ones for me? What’s something recently that’s surprised you? What would you like to do more of? Random: One of the coolest things was when a friend sent me a link to a picture of Cam, Vic and myself on Pinterest board for RunDisney costuming ideas.

Guest Post: Hooters Half Marathon

Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.

hooters

That’s what Hooters says about itself. I say they have delicious wings, curly fries, and good beer. Also, they know how to throw a pretty sweet half marathon.

This past Sunday I laced up my sneaks and headed out for my second half marathon ever. Well, the first one was only in January so it wasn’t like I took a long break or anything. In fact, the Hooters Half almost didn’t even happen for me. I floundered back and forth about signing up until I finally just bit the bullet and went for it.

After I signed up I was feeling pretty stoked. I ran the Disney Half Marathon in January (and met Mer and Brooke, YAAAAAY) and had an amazing time with my running buddy. We kept a good pace and finished at just over three hours, which I couldn’t tell you if that’s a good time or not, I just know I made it.

I figured for my second half I should set some goals, right? Okay, after my running buddy texted me and asked if I had any goals I decided to set them. Basically my goal was to beat three hours. I figured that was a doable goal considering it was only my second time running this distance.

The week leading up to the race wasn’t anything special. I wasn’t nervous like I was before Disney. I had this, right? I prepped the Saturday before by carb loading. By that I mean I ate a lot of Boom Chicka Pop and pretty much an entire box of macaroni and cheese for dinner. (Note: this is probably not a post you should take advice from, just saying.) I watched some videos on how to apply KT tape for some pain I’d been having, then I made my sister help me. She’s a personal trainer, so she’s good for stuff like that. I also planned my outfit, because you can be cute and comfortable to run thirteen miles at the same time. Also, I’m single and you never know who you might “run” into.

You can't go wrong with Mean Girls.

You can’t go wrong with Mean Girls.

I went to bed at a decent hour, my alarm set at my normal-everyday-wake up time. For Disney my wake up time was 2:30AM. Thankfully, I only live about two miles from Hooters, so I didn’t have to get up that early. I was feeling pretty good the night before, but my nerves got the best of me Sunday morning. It probably had to do with the dream I had about my grandma beating me at the race. I blame the carbs.

Breakfast was a small event: coffee (because I do nothing without coffee), oatmeal, and a banana. I don’t eat a lot in the morning, but I know it’s important to fuel up before a long run. My nerves were still going crazy by the time I met my friends in the crowded parking lot. This year’s race had about 1,100 people sign up and, as per the results, 800 finishers. We made a pit-stop at the Port-o-Johns because there’s nothing worse than having to run long distances while having to pee. Side note: I ran a ten-miler in October with no bathrooms on the course. Uncool. Anyway, after a bathroom stop we headed to the start line, just as that beautiful Florida sun started to rise. Oh, and ran into these beauties.

Helloooooo, beer!

Helloooooo, beer!

My running buddy and I placed ourselves at the back of the pack, just to be safe. We both had goals and were prepared to help each other out with them, but we wanted to be comfortable with our starting pace and there’s really no pressure in the back.

Let's do this.

Let’s do this.

We got started just after 7AM with a pretty steady pace. Like I said, I wasn’t out to impress anyone but myself, but I was feeling pretty good at a twelve-minute mile. I know I don’t have a lot of speed, but what I lack I make up for in enthusiasm. By mile two I had to go to the bathroom, so we got water and I went. Water and bathrooms were both available every two miles, which was pretty awesome. The weather on this race (compared to 40s in Disney) was a little rough. It was in the 70s and muggy, typical Southwest Florida, but more difficult when running thirteen miles.

The course we were set on was nice, especially with the weather like it was. We had a great view of some nice neighborhoods on the river. The streets were flat, shady, and provided a nice breeze to counter the humidity. One of the things that I liked that most about running through the neighborhoods was the fact that people were hanging out in the streets cheering for us. Sometimes it was whole families, sometimes just a single old woman sipping her coffee (which I would have killed for), and once there was an innocent looking little girl with a sign that said: “Run fast. I just farted.” I’m still kicking myself for not taking a picture of that one.

I started feeling some pain in my taped leg at about mile five, but I pushed through. Pain is temporary, you know. The first seven miles were like a cake walk compared to what came at mile eight. I’ve ran the Edison Bridge three times and the Hooters Half makes four. It never gets easier. In fact, this was pretty much my downfall.

Actually the worst.

Actually the worst.

I had a GU at mile nine (Salted Caramel – yum) and some Gatorade because they were out of water at the station, and we kept on trucking. By mile ten my earphones died and I was left in silence.

Worst.

Thing.

Ever.

I’d like to blame the rest of the run on the fact that my headphones died and I had nothing to listen to so I couldn’t keep a pace or DO ANYTHING PRODUCTIVE. But, it’s probably more of the fact that I was starting to feel dehydrated and the pain I’d started feeling around mile five started to intensify. I told my running buddy to go on without me. I’m pretty sure my exact words were “Just leave me here to die!” so she did. She pushed me through those first ten miles and I was so, so grateful, but I knew she had a goal and I wanted her to reach it. I felt pretty good about still having her in my sight, like we were still going together, but eventually she turned a corner and I was on my own.

Of course, running is pretty much a solo sport, so it wasn’t too terrible. I tried to focus on the fact that I’d made it TEN MILES when this time last year I only had a few 5K under my belt. I ran-walked the last three miles, keeping up with intervals with a couple that was in front of me. (They were super cute and ran across the finish line with their kids.) At some point an elderly gentleman came up behind me and said something like “I’ve been following you for six miles, you can’t quit now!”

Game on, old man!

After that I pulled my phone out and just listened to my music on speaker. My pace was still under fourteen minutes and I was looking good to finish under three hours. By the time I came around the back of the mall and toward the finish line I could have cried. People (volunteers and spectators alike) were still waiting and cheering, which is a great feeling. My friends met me just a few yards from the finish and ran the rest of the way with me, because they’re awesome and the best people I could ever imagine running with.

Cute owl bling!

Cute owl bling!

Of course, being the Hooters Half, there was free beer and wings at the finish line. As much as I wanted to take part in those delicious things I settled on water and grapes. I was feeling pretty dehydrated and in serious need of a nap, so I passed on the yummies, which was a little sad. I mean, how do you run the Hooters Half and not eat the wings and drink the beer?

It’s okay, there’s always next time. I really enjoyed this race, even the last three miles that completely sucked. It wasn’t a big crowd and the course was nice, plus it’s pretty close to my house so the travel time is minimal.

And hey, a Hooters girl give you a medal. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Also, according to my Nike+ app my finish time was 2:57:47. So, I managed a PR on my second half marathon, beating my old (first and only) time by ten minutes! Now I’ve got two half-marathons under my belt, but I’m ready to focus on some shorter distances. I prefer 10Ks and have a few lined up for the year already. But, of course, it’s all about the swag.

swag

You can find me on Instagram and Twitter with @thisgirlash_ if you like to talk about books, cats, and running (sometimes). I also blog at Ash Does Stuff.