Ugly Sweater Run

This week I was just easing back into running, so it was perfect for the most laid back race on the planet… The Ugly Sweater Run!

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You basically wear ridiculous Christmas clothes, drink hot chocolate, and sort of run 2.6 miles. (Yes, it didn’t even end up being the full three miles!) Sometimes it is nice to just mess around with running and not worry about anything but having a good time with your friends.

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We were a little disappointed with the cut backs from last year. There was not much fake snow, I only saw one pile, and there was not hot chocolate at the water stations this year. There was only hot chocolate at the end. Last year we got two beers, and this year we only got one. Oh well, it was still fun! The people you are with is what really makes it fun, anyways.

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There were fun decorations along the course. You can’t really tell, but that is an inflatable reindeer behind us. The best part though, is the other people’s costumes.

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I think this woman really loves cats….

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These guys had a really hard time running in the gnome/elf costumes. We actually saw one fall off the edge of the sidewalk and roll into the leaves right after this picture was taken.

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Running in a full suit is impressive!

Next year, we are thinking about just organizing our own low key unofficial Ugly Sweater Run. We can make hot chocolate, and we might even rent a snow machine. Then, we won’t even have to drive into Philly!

Do you have any fun Christmas runs?

Last day of the running break!

Tomorrow is the big day! I start back up to running after a two week rest from the marathon! It feels good to come back from a break. The legs will be a little stiff, but they will be fresh! After my last break, I made a large jump in speed, I am excited to see what I am like after this break!

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It’s amazing how much free time you have when you don’t spend four hours of your Saturday on a long run! I went to look at bridesmaid dresses, and I think I found the one! This lovely little number in golden yellow, more accurately called “sunbeam.”

We also picked a venue and a date! August 8th look out! It is going to be some fast and furious planning, but such is the life of a teacher. Gotta get married in the summer! We are planning on getting married at the college we both went to. That is where we started dating!

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I am thinking about this for invites, too. Can you guess what our color scheme is?! I found my wedding dress, too, but I am not going to post that one online. You will have to wait for the after pictures. Now we are off to pick registry items! Woohoo! I promise the next post will be running related! :)

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I Ran a Marathon

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I did it! Less than a week ago I ran my first marathon. It was amazing. I can barely believe it actually happened. It was actually a whole week of festivities.

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Don’t worry, I shared most of this!

My lovely coworkers wanted to make sure I was carb loading to the max. They made me this awesome cookie cake and brought me some delicious apple pie.

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I stayed at the Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia. It was extremely convenient because it was less than a mile from the start.

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Mandatory pre race photo.

I walked on over to the start, waited for about 45 minutes. Then, it all started! It was perfect weather. When we started it was 35-40ish. The race was a little congested at the beginning, but after 5-6 miles, it started to thin out. At mile 9 there was a big hill, and I was impressed how easily I went up it. After that, I was on an adrenaline high for a few miles. Then I hit some rolling hills in Manayunk from approximately miles 18-20, which was the hardest part for me mentally. Then, once I hit that home stretch, I felt good. I am really pleased with how the race went. I finished in 3:54! I am so happy that I finished under 4 hours. I really feel like I pushed myself as hard as I could and am really proud of myself.

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The Fab 5 first time marathoners, as we like to call ourselves.

After the race, we walked to a local bar to celebrate. It was a really great time to celebrate. I had my running buddies by my side, but my mom, sister, and brother-in-law also came to visit.

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My mom isn’t the greatest at taking clear pictures…

In my mind, there isn’t a thing I would change about my first marathon. Although, only time will tell if I can ever bring myself to train for another one. Never say never… :)

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Non – Running News!

Today’s post is short, but very sweet! I cannot believe the marathon is one week away exactly. It doesn’t quite feel real yet. I am both nervous and excited at the same time! If that wasn’t a big enough life event…I also got ENGAGED!

1102142143Two weeks ago, we went on a nice little hike in the Leigh High Valley. He planned out a cute trail, that led directly to this waterfall.

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And, that’s where it happened! He couldn’t get down on one knee because of all the rocks! So begins the wedding planning madness! For now, though, I am going to enjoy being engaged and my first marathon!

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Have a wonderful week everyone! Enjoy every moment!

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Another Day Closer

Not too much to report in the land of marathon training. The taper has begun, and boy, am I ready. The last 2 speed workouts were intense – longer than I have ever done for tempo paces. On Tuesday, I ran 7 miles at an adjusted tempo pace of 8:30ish. Then, today, I ran 9 miles easy, then 9 miles at 8:30ish again. I surprised myself at how easily I ran these workouts. I guess there really is something to this training thing!

One of my running buddies was talking about running a 4 hour marathon. We are all right there on the edge. I think it would be awesome, but I don’t want to psyche myself out too much. I don’t want to be disappointed. Finishing my first marathon should not be disappointing at all. Instead, I will think about this hilarious video one of my other running buddies showed me from Buzzfeed. Enjoy!

Do you stress yourself out with time goals? How do you cope?

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What I Think About for Four Hours in the Rain

great-gatsby-quotesToday was the last 22 miler of marathon training. It was was awful weather. Beyond awful really. Freezing cold, rainy, and extremely windy. The worst. I was out there for a total of 3 hours and 40 minutes. For the first hour and a half, we didn’t really encounter a single sole on the road. That’s when it dawned on me. There is probably a reason no one else is out. They aren’t crazy.

Why was I? 22 miles gives you a lot of reflection time. My mind wandered to my favorite book – The Great Gatsby – and the awesome quote above. We keep going out there, logging the miles in the pouring rain, to keep chasing the dream. As Fitzgerald said, “to run faster, stretch our arms father…” That’s why I signed up for the marathon, after all. After several half marathons, it was time to “stretch farther.”

1101140648And so, I ended up running 22 miles in a trash bag. What else do you wear in a downpour? Who pays money for jackets?! The strange part is, I’ve run so many times in the pouring rain this training cycle, that it really didn’t bother me a ton while I was out there. Then, I came home. Do you think it is possible for your soul to be tired? My body seemed to be functioning, but I got really weird and emotional. I guess you just go into survival mode out there in the storm. Then, you don’t really have anything left. And you cry for no reason and weird everyone out.

Thank goodness for the taper coming up. Otherwise, I might be barrel rolling to the finish line. (That might not work on the big hill on the course…)

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Maybe race day will be like this picture? If not, I don’t know if I can survive another training cycle. But really, you know I will be on to the next big thing before I know it.

Does your soul ever get tired?

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Not Every Idea is a Good Idea

1025141148This weekend was full of running. Probably too much running. This weekend was the first of two 22 milers in my training. 22 is the farthest I go, though. Then, the taper begins. We went to Philadelphia to race parts of the course. While in theory that seemed like a great idea, the roads weren’t closed like they would be for the race. Stopping at traffic lights and running around outside restaurant seating got to be a pain downtown. At one point we even ran through a flea market. I almost stepped on a ceramic plate. There were also plenty of hills. The weather was great though, and the run was pretty good overall.

Now, you would think I would have stopped there. I had a 10 mile race scheduled long before I really knew what marathon training entailed. It is a great race that I didn’t really want to miss. I was going to run 12 before the race to make my total 22, but two of my training partners convinced me to do the 22 on Saturday, do the race slowly on Sunday, and then just take Monday off. I should have gone with my gut. I bet you will never guess who didn’t show up at the race Sunday.

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NOT the race bailers!

Oh well. The race course was beautiful, and the weather was amazing. I had plenty of friends running, so I wasn’t lonely. I didn’t go as slow as I probably should have, but nothing hurts too bad. Just a little soreness. Tomorrow I will take a needed rest day.

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At least there was an awesome hoodie and some of the best post race food of my life. They had a full buffet of grilled chicken and vegetables with a coffee bar. While this wasn’t the ideal way to work the race into my training, everything really turned out fine in the end. Next time I will listen to my gut though. After all, you’re the one who actually has to live with your decisions.

How do you work races into your training? Ever get any bad training advice?

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I Get By With a Little Help From my Friends

IMG_754632939633001This morning I ran a beautiful 17 mile route in Philadelphia. Do you ever run parts of your race route? We decided we needed to prepare ourselves for the dreaded hills we will encounter in the Philadelphia Marathon next month. We got to try out the brand new Schuylkill Boardwalk. It was beautiful. I only wish it was longer!

IMG_1408I ran with my trusted running buddies. It is amazing that we all run about the same pace. Running partners share a very unique bond, especially ones training for the marathon. Most of my friends don’t understand why I wake up at 5:45 am on a Saturday to spend three plus hours sweating in the heat and pouring rain. These people get it. We run in downpours, we have our own lingo, and we know more about each others’ bodies than we ever should. You usually can’t shout “code brown” to your friends without them thinking you are completely disgusting. Anything happens on the long run. And no one wants to be the one that bails because of weather or cuts the run short. They make me a better runner and a better person.

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Although, they definitely test my kindness when they plan out hills like this at the end of our 17 miles! I have always contemplated trail running, but today’s Wissahockon Trail was no joke. Check out that elevation change. If it wasn’t for my buddies, I might have quit, but they kept me going. Sometimes we just need a little help from our friends.

How do your running buddies affect you as a runner?

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Trying New Things!

1007141616This week I tried hemp hearts for the first time ever! I am all about chia and flax, so I figured these would be right up my alley. The kind folks over at Manitoba Harvest hooked me up.

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First, I tried the hemp hearts with strawberries in plain Greek yogurt. They added a nice crunchy texture. They taste similar to both a nut and a seed. I was surprised at how much flavor they packed. While they have a similar crunchy texture to adding granola,they definitely do not taste anything like granola. This would be an acquired taste for me, but worth it because of all the protein and Omega 3’s in these little guys.

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Next, I made hemp butter, which was AWESOME. I used this recipe that I found online. I spread the butter on my toast in the morning for a protein packed breakfast that kept me full through most of the morning. I definitely preferred the hemp hearts in this form. If you would like to try some hemp, use the code HHSweatPink at Manitoba Harvest’s site.

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If that wasn’t exciting enough…I am also trying out the Handana! It is a sweat band that you wear around your hand. It can be used to wipe sweat, or according to the company…snot. I took the handana for it’s first spin today. I barely noticed it was there. It was too cool outside to really be sweating, but I think it would be perfect for on the treadmill. I will gave that a try soon. It is something I probably wouldn’t purchase on my own, but if you have a real sweating problem and hate carrying a towel, this would be perfect for you!

Have you ever eaten hemp? Any recipe ideas?

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Manitoba Harvest and Handana provided these products to me, but all opinions are my own.

Life Moves Pretty Fast

I cannot believe it is October already. Where did September go?! School is already in full swing, and I have already been observed! (Don’t worry! It went well!)

fall_wallpaperMarathon training is moving right along as well! I am up to 19 this weekend! Woohoo! On another exciting note, I got some free workout gear to review from Victoria’s Secret. They sent me their Incredible sports bra and their Knockout Capri.

0902141555bThe bra is super supportive, but it is a little tricky to get in and out of. The capris are awesome. They are my new favorite. They are thicker than many capris, which I really like. They are similar to compression, but not full compression. Speaking of thick…they even held up to another one of my falls….

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This one is not nearly as bad as my last fall. I just have a huge bruise on my knee. I was actually really worried about ripping the capris, but they actually held up to the fall surprisingly well. Thank goodness! I was also worried about spraying myself with my pepper spray…

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I have been feeling a little nervous running in the dark these days, so I invested in some pepper spray. Between the nervousness and the fall, I think the neighborhood around my apartment might be too dark for early morning runs. There are not many street lights. My headlamp wasn’t even enough. I am either going to have to switch to the gym or go after school. (At least until daylights savings time!)

How do you feel about running in the dark?

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These products were provided to me for free by Victoria’s Secret, but all opinions are my own.