Monday, May 7, 2012

St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon (Nashville, TN)

This post was a long time coming, I just haven't had the time to do a thorough write up! And warning, it's a bit long.

On April 28th, I completed my very first half-marathon, which was the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN. Now I've been looking forward to this for months and months, and I can't believe that this weekend finally happened! I'm pretty sure my friends and co-workers are going to be pretty happy it's over, so I can finally stop talking about it!

Since I haven't had any personal days since the Christmas holidays, I decided to treat myself to a weekend in Nashville and a couple of days at home in Georgia (this also let me pay for just 1 plane ticket). I flew into Atlanta on Thursday night (after a mad dash to the airport, PSA: give yourself a LOT of time to get yourself to LaGuardia airport on a rainy Thursday afternoon), and did the 4 hour drive on Friday morning (after picking up Chick Fil A breakfast of course). I've done the drive between Atlanta and Nashville many times, since my parents moved to GA my senior year of college when I was living in Nashville, so it was literally a trip down memory lane. Luckily the traffic was nonexistent, and I cruised easily into Nashville, where I picked up my friend Kate from the airport (she flew down from NY for the race as well). Kate had also picked up 2 fellow racers on the plane, so I gave them a ride to the Expo as well. I had never been to a marathon expo, so it was an interesting experience for me, even though it was a bit overwhelming. Met up with some other out of town friends, and ended up having a late lunch at Noshville, one of my favorite casual restaurants in Nashville. Yes, I know that going to an "authentic NY deli" in Nashville is a bit weird when you're visiting FROM New York, but they have amazing french toast and I figured it would be a good pre-race meal.

Then we ended up walking around Vanderbilt's campus, which I haven't stepped foot on in years. It was a bit surreal, it was different but still familiar at the same time. The lawn was set up for graduation which is next week, and it just made me feel a bit old. Reminded me that it's been a whole five years since I graduated from college. Eep! Apparently I haven't changed much though, as I discovered after just a few minute of reuniting with my old college roommate, who still lives in Nashville! I was super excited to hear that she would be doing the half marathon as well when I asked if I could crash at her place. After a simple and hearty dinner at another old college standby, Jackson's, and a quickie cookie run at the grocery store with Kate, I went to bed early with several nervous butterflies in my stomach.

The race was to start at 7am, and we were staying about a mile from the starting line, so we figured waking up at 5am would give up plenty of time. I woke up and had some oatmeal and my daily Diet Coke (I know it's so bad for you, but I'm addicted), and got dressed. I wasn't 100% sure what I would be wearing, since I wasn't sure what the weather would be like, but since it was pretty warm even at 5am, I decided that the smart thing to do would be to wear as little clothing as possible. Decided on my lululemon Cool Racerback Tank in Flash with the matching headband, and a pair of the lululemon Speed shorts with some reflective ruffle detail. Kate and I totally matched, as she rocked the lululemon No Limits tank in Flash. Flash is one of my favorite lululemon shades right now, and it's super bright and easy to spot, which is great for races. By the way I spotted a LOT of lululemon during the half marathon, it was one of the ways I was entertaining myself!

Twinzzzzz! Look how happy and excited I look right here. Little did I know...

When we got to the start in Centennial Park, we finally realized how big this race was!! And.... how long the lines were for the portapotties. We started to panic a little bit when we realized that we were probably going to miss the starts for our assigned corral numbers. But we both needed the security of going before we started the race. Kate bolted as soon as she was done, and I ended up about 4 corrals behind the one I was originally assigned to. I wish I had taken the time to stretch a bit more before just jumping in, which is one of the major mistakes I made that day. 

Warning: there is a LOT of whining coming ahead. This was a very tough race for me, and I'm going to learn from my mistakes in the future, but it was a very frustrating ordeal. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I'm Still Here

I’ve neglected this blog way too soon after I started it. I have a terrible work life/personal life balance, and have been busy with work lately and have neglected everything else. Since last Sunday, I’ve gone on about 2 runs. The first was nothing special, just an early morning (ok, maybe not that early) attempts at getting a few miles in before work. Ran for about 30 minutes to and along the East River, so it was about 2.85 miles (10:05 pace), which wasn’t too difficult, but I was short on time to make it to work and just wanted to work up a sweat. My plan for last Saturday was to run at least 10 miles. That didn’t happen. I’m a bit disappointed in myself. I ran the Central Park Loop on a gorgeous day, but it was barely over 6 miles. (My Nike+ App has been acting wonky, so I’m not even going to bother trusting my pace). It was great and sunny, and I actually ended up taking off the tshirt I was wearing over my tank top halfway through the run. Runners were out in full force, along with the tourists, and I felt pretty good about the run, even though it wasn’t as long as I would have liked.  

Then the suffering started. My left ankle has been bothering me for a few weeks now, but on the 6 mile run it didn’t hurt too badly. But even in my most comfortable non-running shoes, when I walked up and down stairs, it just felt funny. Uncomfortable. And even though I thought I had stretched plenty before I set off on my run, I was sore all over. I did do some lunges and squats with some hand weights in the gym, and sat in the sauna for a bit. But afterwards, I was so incredibly sore. Even more sore than any of my longer runs or even my 15K. Not a good feeling. I know I’m a newbie runner, and I didn’t want to overdo it this week. Which is why I’ve been taking it easy and haven’t worked out at all since Saturday. The cooler weather didn’t help, either. I’m feeling incredibly lazy, but I’d rather be in good shape to run the half marathon on Saturday. Did some weights and walking on the treadmill on Sunday (it was also rainy and gross out) at the gym. 

 I can’t believe the Country Music Half-Marathon is this weekend!! I signed onto running this months ago, even before I ran my very first race. I am incredibly nervous as I’ve never run 13.1 miles before. I am very confident that I will finish, but I’m still scared! I registered my predicted finish time as 2:15 for the half, but I’m hoping to be under 2 hours. I know that even if I don’t achieve that goal, I’ll still be proud of myself for finishing my first half-marathon. And the fact that it’ll be in one of my favorite cities ever, and with some of my favorite people ever, makes it that much sweeter. Leaving tomorrow night for Atlanta, where my parents currently live. Then I’ll be driving to Nashville early Friday morning, pick up my friend Kate from the airport, and head to the Expo! Then we’re planning on meeting up with my old college roommate who lives in Nashville, and some other friends. I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!! I’m screaming from the roof tops. This is a much needed break, both from the office and the city. As much as I love NYC, sometimes a girl just needs some fresh air. 

 Now if I only remember to pack everything I need…

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekend Workout

Ran ~3 miles and then ~2 miles, so around 5 miles total

Ran 3.5 miles

So I didn't run as much as I would have liked this weekend. Going to make a strong push to wake up early this week and try to go for some morning runs. I WILL wake up early and go. No excuses.

The weather this weekend was AMAZING, like hands down gorgeous and beautiful, so I knew I wanted to take advantage of it and go running in the park. Saturday, decided to go running the Central Park Loop with my friend LV. Unfortunately, LV was a bit hung over, but was a major trooper and kept up a decent pace with me. We didn't finish the whole Loop, but it was nice to have something to chat with while running. Made the time go by a lot faster. Then we met up with some friends and attempted to play some wiffleball (ok, other people played but mine was a half assed attempt, I'm horrible at sports that require hand eye coordination). When someone suggested a run around the Reservoir, I decided that I should do it. Unfortunately I was not as fast as the two others that were running, but I tried my best and only gave up after halfway around. I'm glad I squeezed that extra 2 miles in.

Sunday was just as nice out, and I reaaaaally, reeeeally wanted to go for a longer run. But I had a bit too much prosecco the night before, and gave up after a slow 3.5 miles. Afterwards, I ended up running a bunch of errands on the UES, so I still enjoyed the sunshine. Really annoyed with myself, but my left ankle has been bothering me, so I didn't want to suffer through it and injure myself. Today I'm giving myself a day off from running (I ran 3 days in a row, Fri-Sun, which is a lot for me and I feel like my body is surprised!) but will try again tomorrow.

Friday, April 13, 2012

4/13 Workout

Distance: unknown
Time: around 35 minutes of running (I forgot to turn my Nike+ on this morning)

I'm really happy that I got to squeeze in a run (albeit a short one) this morning because there was no I would have wanted to go to the gym after I got out of the office tonight. This week was extremely busy and I ended up staying a lot later than I would have liked.

The last two nights have been full of indulgences. Wednesday night I went to a "bartending class" with a vendor, which was pretty much a glorified private open bar, where a bartender stood by to help us make whatever drink we wanted. I pretty much stick to the basics when I drink, vodka sodas are my liquor drink of choice, I stick to white wine or champagne, and I like light beer. Don't like to mix in anything too crazy (except the occasional Dark and Stormy) because I get the worse hangovers ever. But I felt like making my own vodka soda was too boring, so I made some fruity concoction whose silly name I forgot, but it had Malibi, 2 different kinds of flavored vodka, and champagne (my only qualifier for a cocktail suggestion was that it have champagne in it). I regret making this beverage immensely. Woke up on Thursday with a splitting headache. It wasn't a full blown hangover, but I had a hard time shaking this headache from the sugary drinks.

Thursday night I ended up going to a restaurant called Veritas which was pretty darn amazing. They have a pretty simple menu, but I had such a hard time choosing what I wanted to eat. Ended up getting the "Ocean & Land" as an appetizer (lobster & bone marrow) which was really scrumptious, although it wasn't the best bone marrow that I've ever had. That was followed by Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops. Doesn't that just sound delicious? And then my favorite part of the meal, dessert. I ordered the Root Beer Float, which really isn't a traditional float at all, but instead had root beer sorbet, vanilla ice cream, and some interesting foam. But when you took a bite of it all together, it really felt like I was eating a root beer float with a spoon! (I need to go back to Halo Pub for the delightful root beer floats of my youth.)

But I digress. The point of outlining all of the gluttony above is to show how I was guilted into running this morning. Now I am completely aware that running is good for me, and I will never, ever regret going for a run. But why is that first step out the door so hard. I hit snooze on my initial early wake up alarm, figured I'd get some extra sleep before headed to work. But then a little tiny voice inside of me was urging to go for at least a short run. I knew it was going to be nice out, and I knew I'd regret it if I didn't make at least a small effort.

I'm really glad I went. Unfortunately I forgot to turn my Nike+ GPS on when I started out (apparently I was too intent on listening to my favorite One Direction song at the moment), which really isn't a big deal because it isn't 100% accurate any way (can't quite justify getting a Garmin until I prove that I'm going to stick to running), but I do like it because it'll tell me when I'm half way through my timed work out (which is useful during the weekdays when I need to make it to work). I hadn't been running along the East River in a very long time, preferring Central Park for my longer runs, but this morning I ran for about 35 minutes total: running from my apartment to the East River, up along the East River, back down, and headed back west home to hop in the shower and rush to work.

I tried to push myself a bit today by sprinting on the cross streets between avenues while I was headed back to my apartment. When I go running by myself, I tend to just go at a leisurely pace and don't really put an effort into speed. Not that that is my main KPI (ugh, hate when work terms crawl into my personal life), but it would be nice to beat my old times whenever I have a new race. It's very motivating, and you're challenging yourself, not really competing with anyone else.

Want to know what else made me happy this morning? I went running in shorts and a long sleeve tee!! This is amazing! I feel like I started running too late in the season last year to get some great outdoor runs in. So this year I *will* be taking advantage! I mean I love my running crops and running leggings, but sometimes you just want to run in a pair of shorts! This adorable camo pair is from lululemon (duh) and now I can finally wear them outside of the gym or my apartment. They are a bit short, but I have short legs so they're not very scandelous on me. I think it's supposed to be really nice out this weekend. My goal is to run at least 10 miles this weekend (doesn't have to be in one go).

Also just want to share...
2 weeks until Nashville!!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4/11 Workout

4.24 mile jog/run (41:36, 9:48/mi)

I have a confession to make. Yesterday, I had brought my gym bag with me with all intention to go to the gym after work. I ended up working late, still had enough time to go to the gym, but I skipped it to grab some wings and a beer with my friend. I was exhausted and thought the after-work workout would just burn me out some more. But I justified it to myself saying that I'd be more well rested to go running in the morning.

For the last 3 months, I've had my alarm set at 5:45 am. For the last 3 months, I've turned that one off and gone back to sleep. Today was the first time that I've made it to a morning workout in a very long time. I heard the early alarm, and just made myself get out of bed. If I'm conscious enough to check my Facebook news feed when i wake up, I can definitely change into running clothes and haul my butt outside.

My plan was to run the Central Park Loop, which is just over 6 miles, but I hadn't really run outside in the past 2 weeks except for my 15K and 10K, so I decided to just take it easy this morning. I ran from my apartment to the park, along the Loop for a while, and ran around the Reservoir. I used to LOVE running around the Reservoir, but it gets very crowded on the weekends with walking tourists, so I've been sticking to the Loop for the last few months for my Park runs. Early in the morning, it was a lot better and had mostly runners.

I could have pushed myself to run faster, but my left ankle has been bothering me a bit so I didn't want to hurt myself. The time above also incorporates me pausing along the Reservoir to snap some photos, and stop to get some water at the fountain. Even though it was kind of a half-assed attempt at running this morning, I'm really glad that I forced myself to get out of bed and squeeze this workout in. I made it to work earlier to work than normal (I got home after the run before the time I usually wake up to get ready for work!) which was awesome. Now that it's warmer, and it gets lighter out early (impossible for me to run in the dark during winter mornings), I have no excuse to not go for these lovely morning runs.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lululemon Reviews

Like I've mentioned in my very first post, Lululemon is a strong motivator in my attempt to get into running. I never really invested in work out wear because I hated working out so much, and didn't think that it would make a difference. Today, it's a completely different story. I will admit that I am a full blown lulu addict. I love the way the clothes fit, and they make me feel so much better about myself because I know that I look cute when I'm working out. They have definitely upped my confidence level. Also, after spending all that money on work out wear, I feel like I HAVE to make it to the gym so that I get my money's worth.

Above is an outfit that is similar to the one that I wore while running my very first race in Brooklyn. I'm wearing a Define Jacket in Heathered Paris Pink, Scoop Neck Tank in Paris Pink, and Run: Inspire II Crops in Wee are from Space/Indigo. The Define Jacket is great because it has pockets that you can tuck your iPod in, and it keeps me warm on cooler days while not getting too hot. I like the Scoop Neck tank because I don't have to wear a bra with it (I don't need much support) but the higher neckline can get a bit bothersome. Not sure if I'll buy any in the future, but I do love it in the bright pink color.

Scoop Neck Tank and Run Inspire II Crops

The Run Inspire crops are probably my favorite item from lululemon to work out in. They are great for both the gym and running outside. I don't get too overheated in them, even while running on the treadmill indoors. They have pockets to stash my ID, gym card, and keys, which is really key to me running outside without having to carry anything around. I own a few pairs in solid black, but this pair of indigo stripes are fun! I think they look pretty good with my vibrant work out tops. Lululemon always comes out with some great color combinations for these that always tempt me, but I definitely have enough.

This look is definitely over the top girly, with the bright pink. But this bright color made me really easy for my sister to spot me while she was waiting at the finish line!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Scotland Run 10K

The Scotland Run 10K was on Saturday and it went great! It was such a gorgeous morning out, I was almost able to ignore that I was up so early over the weekend. The race course was simply around the Central Park Loop, which I am pretty familiar with it. It did go in the opposite way that I normally run the Loop, and you can definitely feel the hills a bit stronger that way.

There were a LOT of racers in this race, apparently over 11,000. It was definitely very crowded when I started out, and it didn't really let up that much during the whole race. I started off a bit slow, trying to avoid running into anyone, and I definitely got into a good groove around my third mile. It was so nice out, I really enjoyed the entire 6.2 miles.

I ended up finishing with a time of 54:00, at a pace of 8:43/mile. The goal that I had set for myself was to have at least a 9:00/mile pace. I was hoping to do just a bit better, since I know that I've run it faster during my practice runs, but overall I was pleased with the result. I have three weeks left to train, and I'm aiming to finish the half marathon in under 2 hours. Wish me luck!

I wore a lululemon long sleeve Swiftly tee layered under a college t-shirt with my lululemon Run: Chase Me Crops. These crops are my new favorite! I usually stick to solid black bottoms, but these are super comfortable and fit great.