Friday’s Five

1) An awesome birthday present from Tuna.

Can you figure out what this is? I had the hardest time – it took me a little while…

presentfromtuna2) Proclaiming that next week will be the official start of eating clean again.

No excuses.

fuel1.jpg3) Loving the cold spring weather while everyone else is hating it.

Yes, that probably sounds annoying, but my allergies are quite thrilled with this whole no pollen thing.

weatherpollen24) Realizing that I can make salad without lettuce.

Dinner last night: delish. I had to use up all my produce because I’m going out of town this weekend.

lettucelesssalad5) Packing for a weekend trip to visit my mom in Durham!

It’ll be my first train ride. 🙂

What are your weekend plans?

Are you doing anything special for Easter?

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What’s Next?

I finished my first half marathon. So what’s next?

A half marathon every month? A full?

Nope.

Well, maybe a full down the road – eventually. I think I need a few more half marathons under my belt first! I do want to keep running races, but it’s also nice to have a little break.

It seems like going with the flow and doing whatever exercise I feel like doing that day/week might work better for me. I always stress about getting the exact workout in that my current training plan calls for, which kind of defeats the purpose of using exercise as a healthy outlet.

Since my cross-training wasn’t so stellar during my training for the Shamrock Half (how do you guys have time for cross-training AND get all of your runs done?!) I’m going focus on a variety of workouts for a little while.

I can’t deal with going straight into another intense training cycle right now.

Instead, I’m going to take fun classes at the gym that I’ve been wanting to take, like Yoga Anti-gravity Wings.

I’m not sure my body bends that way, but we’ll see!

With glorious spring weather around the corner, I’m going to hop on my new bike and be one of the annoying bikers on the trail near Tuna’s house.

newbike

My fam is thinking that I would be good at triathlons, though I’m not sure I want to get into them yet. They’re expensive and I know approximately zilch about them. However, I could probably be convinced to do one…maybe during the summer. [Vicki?]

For now, I’m signed up for a 10K in May [with Mal, Rose, Stephy, and others – yay!] 

We’ll be doing the Capitol Hill Classic, which I am excited for. A 10K seems like the perfect distance to run next.

I think this whole athletic event/race thing has officially turned into a hobby.

Stove Popped Popcorn

I bought popcorn kernels a few weeks ago after I heard that stove popped popcorn is healthier than microwave popcorn [it doesn’t have added butter, etc].

The kernels were sittin’ up in the pantry for a while, so I almost forgot about them until I walked out of my room one day and Tuna had made some! He looked up how to make it on a blog.

popcornmain

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsp canola oil or vegetable oil
  • salt to taste

You’ll need: a large pot with a lid.

popcorn1

popcorn2Directions:

Pour the kernels into the pot and add oil (don’t add the lid yet).

Turn the burner to medium-high.

Heat up for about 4 minutes. While it’s heating, shake the pot back and forth on the burner to distribute the heat evenly.

When the first kernel pops, put on the lid. Keep gently shaking the pot for another 3/4 minutes until the popping slows and stops.

Add some creative seasoning [suggestions, please!] and enjoy!

popcorn4

popcorn10

popcorn6Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Looking Back: Shamrock Half Training Cycle/Race

Looking back at this training cycle and the Shamrock Half Marathon, it’s hard not to analyze every single little bit of running slash running things that occurred.

There were a lot of good things, bad things, and…random things surrounding the past few months of my life.

To train, I used Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan [Novice 2]. It followed a twelve week training schedule with adequate rest that slowly added a mile to each week’s long run.

whatishouldhavedone1

whatididdo1Whoops. There’s a lot more rest days on there than are supposed to be!

*****

thegood1

  • I built up my mileage.

Pretty much every extra mile I ran during this training cycle was a new experience for me. This was my first real crack at distance running, and I had a lot to figure out. Moving forward with my mileage base makes me feel more confident that I can run farther than I ever thought I could.

  •  I got the basics down.

Now I know some of the little tidbits about running, like which gear to use and the difference between normal running discomfort and actual bad pain [like if a muscle is strained, etc].

  • Fuel. I understand the importance of fuel on – and off the trails.

guchompsDuring the Shamrock Half, I took 3 GU chomps around mile six or seven and 3 at about mile ten. Gels are an acquired taste that I’m still working on ;).

I get how important eating the right food is when you’re training, and how shitty you feel if you don’t.

  • I found the perfect shoes. 

lovebrooksAbout halfway through the training cycle, I realized that with longer mileage, I needed a bit more padding for my feet than I originally thought. I bought the Adrenaline GTS 13 from BROOKS and I am obsessed.

the bad1

  • Cross-training.

So, uhhhh if you look at the chart of “What I Should Have Done” above, you’ll see that every week had one cross training workout. Cross-training was virtually non-existent during my training for the Shamrock Half, except for the occasional yoga DVD. I don’t think I would understand how to work a spin bike anymore.

  • I’m slow.

longrun11miI like to run slowly. Or maybe I’m just convincing myself that I like to because I do run slowly. Anyway, I think I would like to get faster. Perhaps there shall be some speed work in my future.

  • Timing matters.

Timing as in time of year. Training in the winter kind of sucked. It was always too dark to run outside by myself, forcing me into a few too many treadmill runs. I think late spring or late fall might a good race season for next time.

  • Water.

I need a large-ish handheld water bottle stat. Long runs tend to be rough for me trying to grasp on to a teensy plastic water bottle. Maybe I’ll invest in one with an extra cool mesh storage pouch.

therandom1

  • The need to run at my own pace.

Yes, it’s good to run with buddies that run at different speeds than you from time to time – but not when you have a pace you need to keep in a race! Now I know what I’m capable of, and I need to start running selfishly (whether that’s faster or slower than others!)

  • My running form needs some work.

That heel strike is making me cringe.

What are some lessons that you’ve learned from a training cycle or race? Good, bad, or random?

Friday’s Five

1.) Bangs.

I went a little cray cray and decided to get bangs yesterday! I think I like them, but I’m still getting used to it. It’s been awhile since the last time I had bangs…i.e. in the fourth grade.

bangs22.) Rest.

I took the week off from running and the gym. I’m loving the extra time to do stuff I normally wouldn’t have the time for during the week! Though I am starting to feel the itch to lace up my Brooks.

3.) Sipping on a refreshing Sparkling Ice.

Has anyone else tried these? I am OBSESSED with the grapefruit flavor. I know the sugar content probably isn’t that great, but it’s better than a glass of wine, right?

sparklingice1 4.) Indulging in a fast food treat.

You can’t keep me away from my chicken nuggets! No. Seriously, I get to have one McDonald’s meal after running a half marathon, okay?

mcdonalds25.) It’s March Madness time.

Not that I know anything about the teams/stats/etc, but it at least gives me some friendly competition with Tuna. The winner gets something TBD.

bracketWhat are you eating/drinking/loving right now?

Did you make a bracket for March Madness?

Shamrock Half Marathon Race Recap

Great life decision: taking a Benadryl on Saturday night.

I was ready to go when the alarm went off at 5:30am on Sunday morning. Mal, Rose, and I each downed a Clif bar and I had some coffee to get things going.

Saint Jenna woke up with us and drove us as far as she could down Shore Drive until they started blocking off streets for the race.

We bag dropped, porta-pottied, and split off to our separate corrals. I was in corral 9 with the rest of the Richmond crew. I was so glad I found Britt, Sam, and Andrew at the start because I was getting a little nervy!

preracephotoIt wasn’t that cold out, but I swear to you that the Garmin wind mph is lying.

weatherWhen the wind blew (especially at the start) it was frickin’ freezing. But no matter how cold/windy it felt, it didn’t rain – which was all I cared about! I don’t think I could have handled a repeat of the Tough Mudder.

The gun finally went off at 7:12am and our corral inched up to the starting line. Dummy me forgot to press the “Run” button on my Garmin for it to start [finding location] until the gun went off. That meant I was having a slight panic attack but luckily my Garmin listened to my cursing and found its location in less than two minutes. It literally found location as the announcer said, “Corral 9, in three, two, one…!”

**Side note to highlight my electronic prowess in relation to my Garmin. Mal informed me on the ride home that the Garmin 10 gives pace throughout the entire run if you press the down arrow. Now I can’t wait to try out this extra main feature of my running watch.**

The race started off down Shore Drive, which is basically parallel to the boardwalk and led us down a street lined with beach houses.

mapI ran the first four miles with Sam, which made them fly by! We started off a teensy bit fast (low elevens).

We split up around mile four, when the runners all ventured over to a tree-covered highway. This section was my favorite part of the course because it was pretty and serene, but let’s be honest – probably because it was the only section of the race that blocked out the wind completely.

At about mile six, I started to get tired.

shamrockhalf1I took 3 of my GU Chomps at mile six and a half.

We entered into Fort Story, the military base in Virginia Beach. This was my (and the rest of the group’s) least favorite section of the race. Once we turned a corner near the lighthouses, we were pounded with high winds from the ocean. Say hello to one of my slowest miles!

Even though the wind sucked, the elevation made up for it.

chartsThe course was so flat, which was glorious. No doubt the best thing about the route.

After a two-ish mile stretch, the course spit us back onto the beachy neighborhood down Atlantic Avenue. Cones narrowed the road to one lane, which was annoying because some people we running with strollers and blocking the way.

But it was really cool, because in the opposite direction, we got to see the elite marathoners starting off and running at the speed of light. It was crazy to see them pretty much sprinting knowing they were going to keep that up for twenty six more miles.

I tried to speed up a teensy bit in the last half a mile when we got to the boardwalk.

shamrockhalf6I started passing people for the first time in the race. 🙂

Even if I run as slow as shit during the race, I like kicking it up a notch and striding at the end…i.e., pretending I’m fast.

splitsRose and Mal cheered me through the finish line as my headphones blared some Miranda.

shamrockhalf5

summarySee the 13.19 miles? It’s from me zig zagging around the street through people to snot rocket. #sorryi’mnotsorry

After the finish, I slowly stumbled through the vendor line giving us more and more free stuff. I haven’t been to too many races, but even I knew the swag from the race was good!

We got sweet medals, a fleece finisher blanket, a running hat, and draw-string bag – not to mention the above average tech race shirt.

I met up with the rest of the group and we wandered into the post-race party in a heated tent.

postrace1I had a shamrock cookie and a Gatorade (best Gatorade ever), and was even able to choke down two and a half beers, unlike the aftermath of the Tough Mudder.

shamrockhalfmalandroseI’m already spending all of my time scouring race search engines for more half marathons.

Are you sensing an addiction?

Pre Half Marathon Expo and Eats

We probably did more this weekend than I usually do in a month, so let me start at the beginning.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:30am to head over to Mal and Rose’s apartment in Arlington.

They are both my BFFLs/college roomies from THREE YEARS ago even though it does not seem like that long ago! (I’m the one that always forces us to do a funny pic – don’t judge me).

We missed you, Allyson!

We missed you, Allyson!

We all wanted to leave early on Saturday just in case there was any traffic on the way to Virginia Beach. Luckily, there was zero traffic, and we zipped on down to the beach in no time.

Mal’s friend Jenna (who is a saint for letting us crash) let us stay at her house with her three-legged cat, Franco.

2013-03-16 16.48.25After we settled in, we headed over to Taste with the Richmond crew for lunch. It was a delish gourmet sandwich place that reminded us of Take It Away in C’ville.

taste1The rest of the afternoon was spent at the race expo. Thanks for posing for me, Rose!

conventioncenterIt was my first race expo, and it was pretty darn cool. There were tons of vendors with overwhelming amounts of running gear. It was running heaven for sure.

expo1I think everyone’s favorite thing at the expo was testing out The Stick.

sticking1I’m surprised we didn’t all walk out with one!

sticking3For our pre-race meal, we went to another one of Mal’s friends’ beach house for a potluck dinner, which I sneakily captured on film. It’s normal to constantly take pictures of food, right?

potluck1I tried to limit myself to only half the tray of crab dip, since supposedly you’re supposed to steer clear of dairy the night before a race.

potluck2I loaded up on pasta, garlic bread, and a little bit of salad. We were all fearing fiber that evening.

Pre-race potluck dinner = awesome.

potluck3potluck5And was even better because we got to go check out the beach!

beach1beach2All the runner girls for the weekend:

girlsatbeach

beach3I couldn’t let the night end without a funny one.

2013-03-16 19.28.36Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Shamrock Half Marathon Teaser

The Shamrock Half Marathon was a success.

shamrockhalf3Finishing Time: 2:36:31.

It didn’t rain, and I didn’t die. So all in all, it was a pretty good day.

I ran the entire time – which was my ultimate goal!

shamrockhalf2It was a great weekend in Virginia Beach – hanging with old friends and meeting new people. The overall experience of my first half marathon was definitely a positive one.

2013-03-17 13.04.46A full race report to come soon!

shamrockhalfsandpic

Friday’s Five

1. Hydrating like a mo’ fo’ this week.

I found a brand-new water bottle that my dad gave me for Christmas hiding in my car. Perfect size for inhaling ridiculous amount of H2O.

waterbottle2. An article from the newest edition of Runner’s World informed me that quidditch actually exists.

How am I just finding out about this now? This sure beats any rec kickball or softball team that I know of.

3. A killer mutant avocado with an orange pit.

I accidentally cut through the pit of this baby (and a big ol’ chunk of my finger) at lunch earlier this week. I left the half-pit in to keep it from rotting…and it turned bright orange. Apparently it has something to do with its tannin content/oxygen exposure, but it just looks pure evil to me.

avocadowtf14. A new(ish) bike for springtime.

My aunts lugged my mom’s barely used biked over to my apartment and I am very excited to use it after the half. I think I need a teensy break from running – or at least some new workouts to supplement it.

newbike5.  A belated birthday dinner for Tuna with his fam last night at Fogo de Chao in the city.

It reminded me of our time in Brazil! How I’ve missed you, pão de queijo.

Have anything fun or cool to share from this week? I want to know!

Shamrock Half Marathon Playlist

I’m starting to get pumped for the Shamrock Half Marathon!

Here’s my playlist for Sunday (on shuffle):

shamrockhalfplaylist4

A-Punk Vampire Weekend
Such Great Heights The Postal Service
Electrify MuteMath
A Praise Chorus Jimmy Eat World
Gold Guns Girls Metric
Everlasting Light The Black Keys
22 Taylor Swift
Wild Ones (feat. Sia) Flo Rida
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Taylor Swift
Try P!nk
Treacherous Taylor Swift
State of Grace Taylor Swift
Starlight Taylor Swift
Runaway Baby Bruno Mars
Rumour Has It / Someone Like You (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast
Red Taylor Swift
Picture to Burn Taylor Swift
Mama’s Broken Heart Miranda Lambert
Lip Gloss Lil Mama
Kyoto (feat. Sirah) Skrillex
Home Phillip Phillips
Girl On Fire Alicia Keys
Gangnam Style (강남스타일) PSY
Fastest Girl In Town Miranda Lambert
Even If It Breaks Your Heart Eli Young Band
Diamonds Rihanna
Creator Santigold vs. Switch and FreQ Nasty
Catch My Breath Kelly Clarkson
Blown Away Carrie Underwood
Bang Bang K’naan & Adam Levine
Honey Bee Blake Shelton
Pro Nails (feat. Kanye West) Kid Sister
Suit & Tie (feat. JAY Z) Justin Timberlake
Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Radioactive Imagine Dragons
Man! I Feel Like a Woman! Shania Twain
What Makes You Beautiful One Direction
Tubthumping Chumbawamba
(Kissed You) Good Night Gloriana

I added a few new songs as a treat, but most of these are oldies that I’ve been training with/used in past races.

It’s funny, some songs are almost like comfort songs now – since they got me through all of my long runs. A handful of the songs are from Vicki’s cadence playlist, too!

I’m crossing my fingers that my iPod knows to play Miranda Lambert a few extra times for shits and gigs.