Big News!!

Hi friends! I have big exciting news. Well, perhaps it is only big and exciting in my world, but I’m going to share it with you, and I hope you think it’s exciting too!

But first, I want to talk about my awesome speed sesh with Ashley this morning! I am trying to be a legit runner, and stick to my training plan, which means today was my first official training speed session. I mean, I definitely made up some of my own in the past with no idea what I was doing or why I was choosing certain distances, just in the hopes of getting faster. They were killer and I think they worked pretty well, but there is something about seeing it on the plan and the determination to reach that goal that really excites me!

All 3 of my previous speed work outs (maybe there were only 2? who knows…) were done at 800 meter intervals. This training plan uses exclusively 1600s (1 mile). I have a small confession. In the past, if I didn’t feel like I could make it, I wouldn’t just slow down like an honest non cheating runner, I would stop, pause my garmin, catch my breath for a second (or 10), then be on my merry way. It was easy to let myself give up, and I felt like I was cheating…and honestly, I kinda was. I am determined for no more cheating!

Today the plan called for 4 miles including a 1 mile warm up, 2x1600s @ 8:45 with an 800 recovery jog in between, and a cool down. The first interval was challenging, but I knew the entire time that I could do it. I never felt like I was going to die or anything, which I take as a good sign. I finished the first 1600 in 8:42. Not bad, self. Not bad at all. Towards the end of our recovery jog, Ashley asked if I needed to stop before the next interval and I proudly denied the possibility of stopping and said my 800 of jogging should be plenty of rest, and if I have to slow down, and I don’t meet my goal, that is my problem, but I’m not allowed to stop. See friends, I have turned over a new leaf!

The second interval was challenging, but I never felt like I needed to stop. It just felt hard, but running is supposed to be hard, and that’s why I like it! I finished the second interval in 8:37, and after the cool down, I completed 4 miles in 38:24. Not too shabby. The whole run felt challenging, but great! Tomorrow is a rest day, and then Friday it says 8 miles at a snail’s pace. Or at least, it might as well. ;) After the run, I got lots of twitchy needling done. Today was a little rough. The more your muscles twitch and grab onto the needle, the more painful it is, and today Gabe got all excited talking about how I was “getting so many good twitches” while I was fighting the urge to yell obscenities because the pain was a little ridiculous. But you know what? If it works as well as it did last week, NEEDLE AWAY GABE!!!!! For real.

Okay, so that news….

Drum roll please………..


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Excuse me, but I don’t believe you actually made a drum roll sound, can you please play along?

I’m sorry, I’m 5.

This is me when I was actually a child. Now I just act like one.

 

*** I SIGNED UP FOR A FULL MARATHON!! ***

That’s it? We had to drum roll for that? I’m never reading this blog again!

It’s okay friends, I’m not very observant, so even if you only pretend to be excited, I will never know the difference ;)

But wait…there’s more! It’s not just any marathon. Let me explain. While Kara and I were training for PF Chang’s, I started musing about the day I would complete a full marathon. I remember saying to her that when we did our first full, we should go somewhere special, and make a big celebratory vacation out of it! Well I was training for my first half, while lots of awesome running bloggers were training for and running the New York City Marathon. I remember thinking “How amazing!!! I want to do that!!” I declared to Kara that this would be our marathon. Well, remember that I am a new runner, and I didn’t know about the lottery system or anything like that. Once I discovered that not just anyone could sign up, I cried because my dreams were crushed, I moved on to other options. I had all, but decided on San Diego, when I heard terrible things about the race, and resigned myself to the fact that PF Chang’s in Phoenix next January would be my race. Which, don’t get me wrong, would still be awesome, but I remember so clearly dreaming about New York.

Well, Monday I went to get my hurrrr did (yes, that is how I say it), and Allison mentioned that Chances for Children had spots open for NYC. I couldn’t even believe it.

Chances for Children is committed to improving quality of life by supporting programs that provide access to sports, physical education, and character education for youth. We provide fitness training, nutritional programs and educational services to students at schools throughout Arizona. Chances for Children was founded on the belief that in life everyone deserves the chance for opportunity. Research shows that diet and exercise promote a balanced well-being, resulting in positive life achievements.”
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The opportunity to raise money for a foundation that provides health and fitness opportunities for kids?!?! And the opportunity to run the NYC Marathon?!?!?! It kind of seemed like fate. Within 24 hours, I filled out a form and secured my spot. Lots more to come about the foundation, my plans for how to raise the money (it’s a $5,000 commitment that I hope to not just meet, but exceed), and my training.

Being a part of this program, I get a personalized training plan as well as coaching which is absolutely amazing. I also am thrilled about the idea of working with a team, being a part of something bigger, and running for more than myself. I get to run to help all of those kids struggling with health and self esteem like I did when I was their age. I have the opportunity to open doors for these kids, and possibly help them from struggling with weight, health and self esteem until their mid 20’s like I did. I could help someone like me, and make their life better. And isn’t that what it’s all about? As someone who works with kids every day, and knows all too well the challenges of being an overweight child, I cannot think of a more relevant organization to accomplish this life long dream with. I haven’t been this excited about something in a very long time, and I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you!

The Great American BBQ and Beer Festival

Saturday evening after the race, Jason, Nacho and I met up with Bethany to head over to The Great American BBQ and Beer Festival in downtown Chandler. It was a beautiful day to be spending outside! I love this time of year in Phoenix.

This place was packed with BBQ stands, and local beers. Perfection. Nacho thought we were at the Renaissance Festival and bought a turkey leg.

Umm, good choice Nacho! This thing was delicious! We all picked at his food while waiting in the bbq line.

After we got food and drinks (I had some super yummy bbq sandwich, which is totally something I would never order, but I was glad I did!), we went to the lawn by where the bands were playing.

Nacho & Me. We match.

We were waiting for Bethany and Jason to get more beer, so we played Scrabble on his iphone and took a ridiculous amount of pictures.

We still match. In case you forgot.

Fiiiinnnaaalllllyyy, our friends returned!

I have a confession to make that may surprise you. Back in the day, I used to think I was “punk rock”. I had piercings (eyebrow, labret AKA below the lip, and nose), I hated bands that were “sell outs” like Blink 182–I loved them, then they got popular and I talked a lot of crap about how they sold out and now I only liked their old music. I was special. Anyway, Bethany and I used to actually go to punk shows together–like in the mosh pit! My fav bands were Greenday (even though they sold out–my aol email was ARiLuVsGrEeNDaY….oy!!) and Less Than Jake, and Bethany’s favorite band was Face to Face. I still have some of that old music on my ipod, and honestly, I do still enjoy a lot of it, but definitely don’t get into the punk rock culture these days, unless being punk rock means being ready for bed by 9pm, and sipping a beer off to the side lines of a concert. Let me tell you folks, I am one exciting lady.

Anyway, the entire reason we decided to go to this event was because Face to Face was playing.

One time Bethany and I had even driven to Northern California (about 14 hours straight) to go to a Face to Face show. Well, I don’t know how long we sat around in the stupid grassy area listening to crappy bands before we realized we were in the wrong place and had missed most of their concert thinking we were waiting for them to come on! Total bummer. We set out to the other side of the festival, and Bethany started full on running to make it there. It’s funny, she’s generally so reserved, but every once in a while she gets super excited about things, and this was one of those times.

We didn’t get over there until near the end of their set, but we still got to hear a few songs, and it was really fun! I enjoyed seeing them more than I expected, and Bethany really had a blast!

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my best friend. I love her. We couldn’t be more opposite, but she cracks me up and we get each other. Like Meredith and Christina (yes, I LOVE Grey’s Anatomy and you can judge me all you want).

This was one of the funnest evenings I’ve had in a long time. It was really great to spend some time with some of my favorite people, and get out to do something fun and different! The event was a little pricey ($10 to just get in, then $5 drink tickets, and approx $8-$10 a plate for food–doesn’t seem like much, but adds up quickly), but it was well worth it, in my opinion. I would definitely go back next year!

South Mountain Classic 5K Race Recap

All in all, I still feel pretty torn about feeling good and blech about this race. Jason and Nacho got to South Mountain early and had plenty of time to kill waiting for the race to begin. As it got closer to the start time, I did a quick and easy jog around the area to try to get my legs warmed up. This race was super small with no bells and whistles. When it was time to begin, some man just yelled at us to come up to the start, then the horn went off and we began. The very beginning started with a slight down hill, so I took off pretty quick at first, but almost right away my legs were not feeling super fresh. Hey, who would have thought basically taking a month off from long runs and speed training, then running 10 miles and doing a race the next morning would leave you with heavy legs? The human body really is shocking.

My goal was to run the first mile at around a 9 min pace, mile #2 around 8:45 and mile #3 with whatever I had left. Well, that slight downhill was really short lived and before I knew it, we were heading uphill up until the turn around. I will say this, that it was kind of like what I imagine Whiskey Row will be like, so I feel like it was good from a training standpoint.

Mile 1– 9:07
Mile 2– 9:01

Not what I was hoping for, but I hoped I could make up for it with the last mile being mostly downhill. I got to mile 3 and felt like I still might have a chance at a PR. I had kicked it into gear, and although I wanted to stop about a trillion times, I didn’t walk (with the exception of like 2 seconds to not choke on my water). No way in hell after making it through an entire half marathon with no walking breaks, I was taking one at a 5K. Even though my lungs were burning and I kind of wanted to die.

Mile 3– 8:37

I was doing the math in my head and I knew if I kept it up, it wouldn’t be a huge PR, but it would still be a PR. Well then I got to 3.1 and I still could barely even see the finish line. I almost completely just gave up and walked. I was exhausted, it was already feeling hot out (the high yesterday was 91!!!!), my legs felt tired, and I felt super lame knowing I wasn’t going to beat my time. I struggled through and finished in 28:05.

Okay, so here’s what’s annoying….My 5K PR is 27:56 which is an average pace of 8:59. Well, according to my garmin, my average pace for this race was 8:52. I know I should just be excited that my pace was faster and not focus on the difference in course length and it not officially being a pr and blah blah blah, but the thing is, I’ve really been enjoying my “I just started running 6 months ago and I PR in every race I do!!” that’s been going on. There are not a ton of fun things about being a new runner. Everything is hard. You feel like a turtle compared to others. You have to spend money on running clothes, and you don’t understand any of the terms that the fancy runners use! But lots of PRs is the fun part, in addition to the new challenges you get to face on almost every run.

So, yes, I am a tad disappointed. However, I’m not a total moron, and I get the fact that I ran faster than before, and I think that’s awesome. This was also the first time that other runners have come up to me after a race and mention that they thought I did well!! A couple of people that I was near on the course, came up to me after and said that they had seen me and I was doing awesome! YAY!!! I also got some extra push from Nacho who was back and forth with me during most of the first half. Unfortunately, he tried to speed up to pass me near the end, and hurt his knee :( After I saw Nacho finish, I jogged back to find Jason and run with him to the finish line. I knew with the hills and the heat, he might need some motivation towards the end. I found him pretty quickly and ran with him until just before the finish line. He finished with an average pace of 10:53 which is amazing!!! I’m ridiculously proud of him!

After the race we went to The Farm at South Mountain for some breakfast.

In the middle of one of the biggest cities in the US, we have this beautiful green and rural farm with lots of restaurants and beautiful outside dining.

I discovered the editing options on iphoto--fun!!!

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast outside, then walked around. It was almost like a farmers’ market with several independent local businesses set up with stands, and tons of interesting items for sale!

There was a man and this was in his green house. It was humid inside there and he had lots of cacti for sale. It was cool, but I liked the bread man better. Obviously.

Look Nicole!!! Baby saguaro???

And we got to see real chickens!!!

Hello chickens. I hope the eggs I ate came from you. That would be sweet. Sorry, I know that's like I ate your children, or something. I hope you don't mind...

Rooster!!!

I absolutely loved eating and walking around at The Farm. In  addition to their breakfast restaurant, there is also a bakery, and a super romantic looking dinner restaurant that I would love to try as well.

The New Plan

Today is a wonderful day in running land!

Tape, body glide, compression socks, stick, water, ready to go! Oh and rain boots that have been sitting under the coffee table since the last time it rained. Yes, I do live in Phoenix.

I returned to long running with Kara.

Pre run breakfast. Toast, pb, banana, iced coffee. You know, the same thing you see on every other running blog.

We had a fabulous 10 mile run. We also discovered that it’s apparently summer already here in P-H-X and we’re going to have to start running earlier. You know, by May our runs will start at 3am. We finished in 1:45:51 for an average pace of 10:35.

Long run times are tricky. I’m trying to get used to the whole easy pace thing, but my paces were all over the place. I used to just run as hard as I could keep up for the amount of miles I had scheduled, but now I have to actually figure out what different paces feel like in my body. It’s also hard to look at a 10:35 pace and think “Great job! Right on target.” But, I actually hooked myself up with a real legit training plan from Smart Coach. I put in my Lost Dutchman time, and the date of RnR Seattle (Laaaauuuuurrreeellll…it’s calling to us!!!) in the hopes that it will work out and I’ll be able to run it, chose the hardest plan (naturally) and got a really manageable looking plan with an end race of *gulp* 1:56. I’m modifying it a little bit. It has 4 running days per week, and I’m changing it to 3 because my body likes that better, and I’m gonna switch some of the days around, but otherwise, I’m really gonna try to stick to it.

Smart Coach - Intelligent Training Plans, Just For You

Here’s your individualized training program:

Current race time: 2:05:00 for a Half Marathon.
Distance training goal: Half Marathon
Initial weekly distance: 16 – 21 Miles
Training intensity level: Very Hard
Long run day: Friday
Plan start date: Monday, 3/19/2012
Race date: Saturday, 6/23/2012
Training plan length: 14 weeks

Print Adjust my plan

For more explanation of a workout, click the title of the workout.
Week
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
1
MAR 19
MAR 20
MAR 21
MAR 22
MAR 23
MAR 24
MAR 25
12 Mi

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:54

Dist: 8 Mi
@10:54

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:54

2
MAR 26
MAR 27
MAR 28
MAR 29
MAR 30
MAR 31
APR 1
16 Mi

Dist: 4 Mi, inc
Warm; 2×1600 in 8:45
w/800 jogs; Cool

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:53

Dist: 8 Mi
@10:53

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:53

3
APR 2
APR 3
APR 4
APR 5
APR 6
APR 7
APR 8
18 Mi

Dist: 5 Mi, inc
Warm; 3 Mi @ 9:13; Cool

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:49

Dist: 9 Mi
@10:49

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:49

4
APR 9
APR 10
APR 11
APR 12
APR 13
APR 14
APR 15
20 Mi

Dist: 5 Mi, inc
Warm; 3 Mi @ 9:09; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:45

Dist: 10 Mi
@10:45

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:45

5
APR 16
APR 17
APR 18
APR 19
APR 20
APR 21
APR 22
17 Mi

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:41

6
APR 23
APR 24
APR 25
APR 26
APR 27
APR 28
APR 29
22 Mi

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 3×1600 in 8:35
w/800 jogs; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 11 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:41

7
APR 30
MAY 1
MAY 2
MAY 3
MAY 4
MAY 5
MAY 6
23 Mi

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 4 Mi @ 9:07; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:37

Dist: 11 Mi
@10:37

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:37

8
MAY 7
MAY 8
MAY 9
MAY 10
MAY 11
MAY 12
MAY 13
25 Mi

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:33

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 4 Mi @ 9:03; Cool

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:33

Dist: 12 Mi
@10:33

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:33

9
MAY 14
MAY 15
MAY 16
MAY 17
MAY 18
MAY 19
MAY 20
27 Mi

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:30

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 3×1600 in 8:25
w/800 jogs; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:30

Dist: 13 Mi
@10:30

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:30

10
MAY 21
MAY 22
MAY 23
MAY 24
MAY 25
MAY 26
MAY 27
22 Mi

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:26

11
MAY 28
MAY 29
MAY 30
MAY 31
JUN 1
JUN 2
JUN 3
29 Mi

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 4 Mi @ 8:56; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 13 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:26

12
JUN 4
JUN 5
JUN 6
JUN 7
JUN 8
JUN 9
JUN 10
31 Mi

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:22

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 4 Mi @ 8:53; Cool

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:22

Dist: 13 Mi
@10:22

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:22

13
JUN 11
JUN 12
JUN 13
JUN 14
JUN 15
JUN 16
JUN 17
33 Mi

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:19

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 3×1600 in 8:15
w/800 jogs; Cool

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:19

Dist: 13 Mi
@10:19

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:19

14
JUN 18
JUN 19
JUN 20
JUN 21
JUN 22
JUN 23
JUN 24
23 Mi

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:16

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:16

Dist: 4 Mi, inc
Warm; 2×1600 in 8:12
w/800 jogs; Cool

13.1 Mi @8:51
Time: 1:55:58

Well, obviously I already failed at sticking to it this week, but I didn’t make it until the middle of the week…excuses, excuses. I ran too far and not at the correct pace today. Sorry Smart Coach. Just wait for next week when I amaze you with perfectly on target 1600s!

Easy run day will be Mondays with Jason, speed work/tempos will be Wednesdays, and spin will be Tues/Sunday. The rest will be whatever Saturdays will be whatever I want, and maybe sometimes I will strength train like I should ;)

I’m ridiculously excited about having a real live plan to follow with specific speedwork, pace goals, and accountability. In fact, I feel like it’s a little ridiculous that up until now I thought I was smart enough to create my own. To be fair, I didn’t really know about Smart Coach, and it is magical. All you have to do is go to Runner’s World, create an account, go to the Smart Coach and put in your info! Super easy and free. You all know I like free things ;)

Has anyone else used Smart Coach? Like training plans? Like to create your own?

Lisa & Sam’s Wedding Reception

Remember my super awesome speedy friend Lisa that I registered for The Lost Dutchman as her wedding gift? Well her wedding was very small. So small in fact that no one was invited. Lisa and Sam were engaged and before they knew it, they were driving to the courthouse to elope! Super romantic. Lisa’s mom wanted to throw them a reception so that we could all celebrate their happiness, and on March 17th, Steve and I attended Lisa and Sam’s wedding reception.

I’ve known Lisa a long time. Since my sohpmore year of high school. I’ve seen her with a lot of different guys, and let me tell you, not a single one of them compares to Sam. He is so kind, and warm, and creates the perfect calm to her big and bubbly personality. Obviously we’re nothing alike. It was truly amazing getting to celebrate such a happy moment in her life, and just seeing my friend absolutely glowing. I also got to see a few ladies from high school that I hadn’t seen in what feels like an eternity!

Margaret, Lisa & Me. The three of us were pretty much inseparable junior year, but I haven't seen Maragret in entirely too long.

It was also great to see Lisa’s mom. I’ve always really liked her, and look how great she looks!

Ummm, Sandy, you look fabulous. I need your skin care regiment ASAP.

Sam’s parents were super nice! They came around and introduced themselves to everyone, and when I introduced myself they knew right away that I was the one that ran with Lisa, and they congratulated me on our time! So sweet! Look at this happy mama and her son!

Lisa and Sam seemed to be having a blast. Sometimes I feel like weddings get so stressful that the couple isn’t able to really enjoy themselves, so it was nice to see them having fun!

Also, can we talk about how freaking incredible Lisa looks?! Her hair, her dress…she just looked absolutely stunning. After some toasts, they did some special dances–father daughter, mother son, and then look at these two on the dance floor! Prepare for a montage that borders on creepy.

They just look so great together!

Their dancing pictures were my favorite, so I couldn’t choose and ended up posting about 100. Sorry about that…

They look so happy! I was totally an emotional hot mess trying really hard not to cry. People don’t generally cry at receptions. I was just so happy for them. And I’m a sap.

My favorite.

Runner up.

I even got on the dance floor for a little bit. Usually I have to be pretty tipsy for that to happen….

....because I look like this.

Steve and I had a great time! I’m so glad that it worked out on the weekend he was in town!

And my beautiful friend, I could not be more happy for you, and I don’t think you could have chosen a more perfect partner.

I love love!