My Stepmom’s Coming to Visit <3

Short post today, and I think the title may have given it away.  My stepmom is flying in this weekend!!  If you remember, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January and had a double mastectomy last month.  This is the first time I’ve seen her since all of this cancer business started so I’m super excited!  She’s such a strong and amazing woman – I can’t wait to hug her neck!

She’s flying in for just a very quick visit to watch my stepsister’s college lacrosse game. I’ve been trying to get all my usual weekend stuff done so I don’t miss any time with them.  This included a 10 mile run after work last night. It sounded like a great idea when I thought of it but after not sleeping much the night before and a very long day at work, all I wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed. But I didn’t. (Yay, Gina!!)  Instead, I drug myself to the beach and got going. It was actually pretty nice.

My view. <3

My view. ❤

The first 6 miles went by quickly and then I took a potty stop.  We have a mini-Vegas like casino strip where I live so I ducked into one of their bathrooms. Hooray for not having to use a portopottie!!

Swanky, I tell ya!

Swanky, I tell ya!

Bonus, my running girls met me and finished out the last 4 miles.  I was exhausted the last mile of the run so if I decide to do this again, I’ll at least make sure to get a proper amount of sleep.

Not sure what this weekend has in store, other than watching my sister kill her lacrosse game, but it’s going to be a fun one.  I’m just so excited that Starla is well enough for a visit!!

Question:  What fun plans do you have for the weekend?

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Getting Away

Between my husband’s job and his masters program, I really don’t get to see him much from mid-November through the end of December so each January we try to take a mini-vacay just to say ‘hi’ to each other again.  And that’s exactly what we did this weekend.

Hello from Florida!

Hello from Florida!

We left Friday morning, headed to the sunshiny state of Florida; specifically our favorite place – Panama City Beach.  Ok, I realize that I live on a beach but there’s just something magical about the emerald green waters that Florida’s beaches have.  We got there Friday and got checked into the condo and hauled in all of our stuff.

suitcases

Yes, that’s two suitcases for 4 days.  I’m normally a light packer but I knew I had a 20 mile run on schedule for Saturday and I thought I might hit the gym a few times while I was there.  Don’t judge.

Temporary home away from home.

Temporary home away from home.

IMG_2550

After bringing all of our stuff in, we got to do our very favorite thing while in Florida; watch the sunset.  I know, call us Grandma and Grandpa but it’s really what we like to do.

Sunset day 1

Sunset day 1

Sunset Day 2

Sunset Day 2

Sunset day 3

Sunset day 3

Since I had the run scheduled for Saturday morning, I fixed some pasta for supper (love having a full kitchen!) and the we called it an early night.

After knocking out the run Saturday morning (don’t worry, I’ll have a separate post on Friday about it), the hubs and I headed down to the pool.  With temps in the high 60s it was the perfect weather to soak up some much needed vitamin D.  It’s funny how big of an impact the sun can have on your disposition.  Oh, and the view didn’t hurt either.  I had a book with me so I was content to sun bathe for awhile.

PCB pool view

The thing that I love most about our mini-vacations is that we have no schedule.  No need to feel like we have to do things or pack our days full of stuff.  Sometimes it’s just nice to hole away and not go, go, go.

The vacation was filled with lots of good food.  Some healthy, some not.  Typically, I try to stick to my clean eating guns but I really didn’t feel like it this weekend.  I still ate healthy but I indulged, too.  Life’s about balance; not deprivation.

fruit

Breakfast. YUM!

Post 20 mile run meal.  Confession, I was only able to eat 1 1/2 chicken strips and 1/2 the mac n cheese.  It was just way too rich.

Post 20 mile run meal. Confession, I was only able to eat 1 1/2 chicken strips and 1/2 the mac n cheese. It was just way too rich.

My cute hubby waiting patiently for me to take the picture before devouring the massive ice cream cake. Oh emmm gee, so good!

My cute hubby waiting patiently for me to take the picture before devouring the massive ice cream cake. Oh emmm gee, so good!

We had a little bit of excitement Saturday night. As we were heading out to supper, Jody noticed some water on the kitchen floor and before we knew it, there was water running down the walls of the condo.  We went outside and were greeted by a waterfall coming from the floor above us.  Long story short, the condo directly on top of us had flooded.  It had over 12″ of water in it.  So we moved.

Yes, that would be water coming out of the electrical panel. And also the waterfall from the floor above us.

Yes, that would be water coming out of the electrical panel. And also the waterfall from the floor above us (it’s not rain).

Sunday was just another day of laying around, sun bathing, and eating.  I really should have gone to the gym like I had planned, but I was just enjoying doing nothing.  And then Monday we went home.  Back to the real world – bleh.  I wanted to stay in Vacationland just a bit longer.

Goodbye.  Until next year, you stay classy, Florida!{Please tell me someone got that Anchorman reference...}

Goodbye. Until next year, you stay classy, Florida!
{Please tell me someone got that Anchorman reference…}

I stayed {mostly} unplugged during the weekend which was really nice.  Between the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and e-mails, I can get a bit overwhelmed with all the notifications and constant checking of my phone.  Plus it’s really annoying for my hubby to carry on a conversation with someone whose constantly connected to her phone.  The next time you get away, I definitely encourage you to unplug.  Spend some quality time with each other and not 500 million of your ‘closet’ friends. 😉

Question: When you go on vacation, do you have to have things to-do planned or do you just relax?

MCM Weekend Fun

Happy Halloween y’all!! I hope you have something spooktacular planned for tonight! Me? I’m just going to take it easy at home.  I know, I’m such an old lady…

I did it!! I’m officially a ‘marathoner’!!  It was the most amazing experience and I seriously can’t wait to do it again!  But before I recap the race, I want to recap the weekend first.  It would be sensory overload for me to try to mash everything into one post.

*MARATHONER*

The weekend festivities officially started Friday with Jody and I flying to DC. I was so excited to board the plane with him because up until late Thursday afternoon we were thinking that he wasn’t going to be able to go thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  Thankfully he was able to get his flight worked out to where he left right after the race.  Me = happy!

We had a layover in Atlanta where we grabbed a highly overpriced turkey panini before boarding the plane to DC.  After a very uneventful flight –just the way I like it– we arrived.  I’m a sucker for American flags so it was nice being greeted by the red, white, and blue.

We hopped the shuttle to our hotel and enjoyed a splendid sunset from our room before heading out to grab some grub.

Jody and I decided to claim Friday night for ourselves since the rest of the weekend would be spent doing marathon stuff.  We ended up at Kora where I ordered a hand-tossed pizza (carbs, right?) and a super tasty pineapple-lime mojito.  Then we went back to the hotel and waited for Mary (she’s like a mom to me) and her husband Greg to arrive.  Mary’s been training in San Antonio to run this race with me.

The next day we headed to the expo to pick up our bibs, t-shirts and free stuff.  It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to me to pick up my bib.  I’m always afraid that something’s going to go wrong.  Like me forgetting my e-card, or me getting lost in their system.  But, like normal, everything went fine.

After picking up my shirt and bib we headed across the street to the expo.  I have to admit that I was fairly disappointed in the expo.  I don’t know if it was because we hit it the last day or what but it just had a wonky feel to it.  I wasn’t crazy about the vendors and there wasn’t very many freebies.  C’mon, we all know freebies are the best part of the expo.

One really fun thing at the expo was they had a Marine Corps band playing some swing songs.  This made my former band nerd self incredibly happy.  It was really cute because there was an elderly guy (obviously retired military) that plucked a young girl out of the crowd and started twirling her around to the music.  You could tell that he was having a great time!

This was a really cool tribute bike in memory of fallen Marines.

Wall of motivational blurbs for the runners.

After the expo we met up with my hubby for lunch.  (Jody had to stay at the hotel to work on a presentation that he was giving Monday – boooo.) Mary and I opted to carb-up for the marathon during lunch instead of having a heavy supper to make sure everything digested well.  I ordered some sort of chicken farfalle pasta in a spicy vodka cream sauce.  Maybe not the safest pre-marathon meal but I like to live on the edge a bit.  Also, I knew I’d have at least 16 hours if my system decided not to like it.  And it. was. tasty!

After lunch, Mary and I took the Metro back to the hotel to relax while the guys went and did some sight-seeing.  We stopped and picked up some celebratory wine for after the marathon.  I also had a mini birthday celebration at the hotel thanks to my dad and my cousin Bridget but I’m saving that for my birthday post.

Finally, it was time to head to bed.  I laid out all of my gear that way I wouldn’t have to search for stuff the next morning.

With Hurricane Sandy I didn’t know what type of gear to wear I needed. So I had cold weather and warm weather laid out. I opted for warm weather.

This is when it started to hit me that I was running a marathon in just a few hours.  I don’t know why but I didn’t experience any pre-race jitters.  I was incredibly excited but I didn’t have any of the doubts or second guessing like I expected.  I think after spending so much time preparing for the race I was just ready to run it; there’s only so many emotions you can go through before you’re just ready to be done.

Then it was beddy-by time for Gina.  I needed to get some beauty rest before the 3:45 alarm went off.  It was definitely a great weekend and a great kickoff to the run.  The only bummer was my training girls stayed at a different hotel so we didn’t get to do a lot  together. I did get to meet up with them at the race. 🙂

Stay tuned….The race recap is next!

Question:  Do you typically get pre-race jitters or are you just ready to get it over with?

MCM Training Recap: Week 15

For some reason I had the hardest time writing this post.  I don’t know if it was because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to report due to the reduced miles, or if my reluctance to write this post reflects the fact that  by writing it, I’m actually acknowledging the fact that I’m officially in my last week of training and will be running a marathon in 6 days.  Either way, this post was hard to write (hopefully not hard for you to read).

Like I said a minute ago, I had reduced miles this week.  Only 24 miles to be exact.  A year ago I would have died laughing at the idea of me complaining about only running 24 miles but now that I’ve been running in between 30-40 miles for the past few months that number seems foreign.  So how did it break down?  Well, Monday was a short 3 mile run with strides.  This was the day after I ran the Gulf Coast 1/2 Marathon in Mandeville, LA, and it was nice to shake the legs out.  The professional race pics from the 1/2 are finally up so I thought I’d share one with you.  Proof that I did actually run the 1/2 and not just douse myself with water and steal a medal. 😛

It’s like Where’s Waldo? I’m even wearing a striped shirt….

Cheeeeezzzzzze

Wednesday was another short 4 mile marathon pacing session. Boring.

By Thursday I was beyond ready to move and I knew I’d get the chance during the 7 miles of speed work that was on the calendar.  However, I spent the first 4 miles feeling sick to my stomach and wishing I could hurl.  It was bizarre but I pushed through it (after stopping several times) and got the speed work done at a faster pace then was on the plan.  I think I just wanted to be done.  I was worried I was getting sick but I’ve felt fine ever since.  I guess it was just one of those freak runs.

And then finally it was time for my final “long” run.  It was 10 easy miles .  I got up at 4am to meet a couple of my running girls.  It was a chilly morning (temp was 53* – don’t judge, I live in MS) but it was absolutely gorgeous.  The stars were out for the first hour and then I got to see a gorgeous sunrise.  It was strange stopping after 10 miles.  My body was confused and then I had all this pent up energy the rest of the day.  Grrrrr….

Random big fish right before the sunrise.

These girls stuck out the entire training with me! ❤ Stacey (L) is running the MCM and Lorena (M) trained even though she’s not running the race.

So now I get to play the waiting game.  I have 3 easy runs totaling 10 miles before next Sunday.  I guess my legs will be good and rested but I question if they’ll remember how to run or not.  Either way, functioning legs or not, I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon in memory of my brother.

Question:  What is your favorite time of day to workout? Do you ever get to see amazing sunrises or sunsets?

MCM Training Recap: Week 12

I can’t believe it’s October 1st. Not only does today mean it’s officially the month of the Marine Corps Marathon (yikes!!) but today is also my brother’s birthday.  Roger would have been 31 today so in memory of him I’ll be running 3.1 miles this morning (then doing my scheduled training run this evening.  Who doesn’t like 2-a -days?).  And in just 27 short days (on my birthday) I’ll be running in memory of Roger again. This time instead of a 5k it will be the real deal 26.2!

I’ll have a post on the 5k run for my brother’s birthday later this week but for now, onto week 12’s recap.  I feel like I need to pre-apologize for the amount of whining that’s in this post.  Sorry.

I can honestly say this is the first week I was less than enthusiastic about my training.  In fact, I downright disliked it.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, I was just exhausted and overwhelmed. We had a huge fundraising event at work that I’ve been helping plan since March.  It was one of those weeks where training and work collided and there were a few times I {briefly} considered hiding under the blankets and refusing to come out.  However, I’m not really a hide in the closet type person so I grabbed the bull by the horns and got everything done.

Adding to the mix, I ate terribly, too.  A Larabar here, a peanut butter and honey sandwich there, I literally snacked my way through the week.  I didn’t eat a real meal until yesterday so I definitely didn’t properly fuel my body for the miles.  And let’s not talk about what I ate at the event Saturday night.

So back to the running.  Tuesday’s 7mile run was the best run (which isn’t saying much) of the week and included an amazing sunset.

Wednesday’s run was tough.  It was another 7 miles but it was 7 miles of speed work and because I read the training plan wrong, I had us (me + one of my running friends) running a much faster speed then we should have.  Oops…  By Thursday my legs were just beat.  I got the run done but it really wasn’t pretty.  I was so happy to have a rest day on Friday.

Then it came Saturday.  This was a cut back week so it was only 14 miles.  Easy, right? Well it should have been but not quite 2 miles into the run it started down pouring, complete with sideways rain.

We took shelter and waited for it to stop but it didn’t.  It wasn’t thundering or lightening so we decided to tough it out and finish the run.  At one point in time we were running in ankle deep water. Bleh.  It eventually stopped raining in between miles 6-7 and we finished with just enough time for me to run home, shower and help set up for Moonlight Masquerade (the work event).

I ended up working about 55 hours last week but by the end of Saturday night, it was worth it.  We had a great turnout of people (almost 500) who enjoyed a great evening raising both domestic violence awareness and critical funds for the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence.  I’m going to leave you with some of the pictures from Saturday night; I may or may not have enjoyed several of the desserts from one of the pictures…

A few of my fellow gorgeous MCM’ers!

Yes, that is a replica Eiffel Tower filled with various wines.

Question:  How do you bounce back from a difficult week?

MCM Training: Week 10

If you remember waaaaaay back before training for the Marine Corps Marathon started, I posted my training plan with the caveat that week 10 was where I started to get nervous.  These past few weeks I just kept watching the training weeks pass by and week 10 creep up closer and closer.  At more then one point I wanted to put the breaks on training just to slow it down a bit.  Turns out 1.) you can’t slow time, and 2.) I really had nothing to worry about.

Source

So what’s all the fuss I was worried about? Well, the name of the game for week 10 was speed work coupled with an 18 mile long run.  Yes, 18 miles…in one shot….the longest distance I’ve run to date.  At the beginning of the week, I wasn’t sure if my body was going to cooperate with trashing I was going to give it.  Monday’s run was an easy pace but had 4 strides (short bursts of running as fast as you can) mixed in.  I loved this run! I met my running buddy Lorena at the beach and we got to enjoy the most beautiful sunset!

Tuesday’s run had me doing Yasso’s which are basically like intervals.  They’re named after Bart Yasso who I’m pretty sure is a masochist.  But his method is tried and true so even though my legs don’t like it, I know they’re just getting stronger as a result.

By Wednesday’s 5 mile run, my legs were pretty trashed.  Typically I let my legs rest on Wednesdays and run on Thursday but I had a work event so I switched around my days.  Since my calves and shins were sore, I was curious to see if compression socks might help.  I wear them after long runs and love them but I know people who swear by the benefits of wearing them while running.  I didn’t really notice a big difference, but that’s a whole different post.  If nothing else, I was at least visible! I’m so glad that I have some awesome running girls who are willing to take incriminating pictures of my bad sense of fashion.

Finally, Saturday’s 18 mile run.  Friday night I was on the phone with Stacey trying to help her map out our route.  Something I really took for granted before I started running was how much prep time goes into planning the perfect route.  After about 30 minutes of frustration, we finally decided on a spot that took 45 minutes to get to.  When you start running at 5:30, one of the last things you want to do is drive 45 minutes to get to the start.  We actually ended up getting lost for about 20 minutes, too.  By the time we got there, I was in a pretty apathetic mood.  I also noticed that my hips were really tight and achy so I pretty much mentally chalked the run up as bad before I even began.

Boy was I wrong to do that! It turned out to be an amazing run! The weather was in the low 70s when we started and for the first time since May, my clothes weren’t drenched in sweat at the end.  I forget how much easier it is to run when it’s not in the 90’s.  Hooray for fall!!  The miles really seemed to fly by and before I knew it, we were at 10….and then 12….and then right before we got to 15 someone from the group yelled out that we only had a 5k left.  A 5k? Man, I can do those miles in my sleep!  I remember hearing my Garmin beep at mile 17 and thinking I can’t believe I only have 10.5 minutes left! (On the downside, the last 1/2 mile was uphill.)  And then BEEP mile 18!  I felt fabulous like I could have even tackled a few more miles. I may or may not have enjoyed some {definitely not clean eating} pizza with Jody after the run. YUM!

All that worrying for no reason!  I did notice last night that I had a pretty painful spot on my foot so I guess I’ll be headed to my favorite running store this week to see what they think.  Any excuse for new shoes, right? I’m learning so much about myself and I really think I’m starting to realize that I’m stronger then I give myself credit for.  I can’t wait for this week’s 20 miler – I hope it’s just a fabulous!
Question:  What’s your greatest accomplishment, something you thought you couldn’t do?