Sunday, November 29, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Week 17 Marathon Training

November 23-29, 2015

I am joining the Weekly Wrap hosted by  Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin. The Weekly Wrap is a blog link up where bloggers share their active lifestyle and other exciting things weekly. To find out more, click on the image below. Feel free to join in on the fun.
I am currently training for my second marathon at St. Jude Memphis this December. I just completed Week 17 of Hal Higdon's Novice 2 Marathon Training Plan. I will recap my training and other highlights from my week here in the Weekly Wrap
Monday, November 23rd
Monday was a scheduled rest day for running. I slept in until around 8:30 since we were out of school for the whole week of Thanksgiving. I worked on my blog posts recapping the Magic City Half Marathon and catching up on the Weekly Wrap link up. I got some exciting news that I was accepted into the 2016 Honey Stinger Hive Sponsorship Program. I started using Honey Stinger waffles while training for my first half marathon two years ago. Since then, I've relied on Honey Stinger's all natural products to fuel my long runs. I'm so excited to be part of this program and receive awesome discounts on products that I love!
Tuesday, November 24th
Tuesday was my 29th birthday. I really didn't do anything special to celebrate. I took an extra rest day from running because I was still a little sore from the half on Sunday. I slept late and woke up to some nice surprises from Michael. Not only did he outdo himself on the cake last Tuesday, he showered me with too many gifts. He gave me my favorite Bath & Body Works holiday scent Winter Candy Apple gift set, a book signed by Meb, and my first piece of jewelry from Tiffany & Co twist knot earrings.


To top it off, he brought home ice cream cupcakes from DQ. When I was younger, they had these in the freezer. You could just walk in and grab one, but now they have to be special ordered and they're only available at certain Dairy Queen locations. It was a real treat!

Wednesday, November 25th
I ran 3.1 miles as part of the Girls Run Fast Women's Virtual 5K/10K. I've never done a virtual run before, but as a Girls Run Fast Ambassador I thought this would be perfect for my first. I submitted my results and was informed that they had to order more shirts and medals. I was glad they had great participation in the event. I can't wait to get my goodies in the mail.
Thursday, November 26th
I did not participate in a Turkey Trot or Turkey Burner event, but I loved seeing everyone's photos on Facebook and Instagram. I did run 4 miles before going to my parents house for Thanksgiving lunch. Afterwards, I came home and walked Allie. Then, I took a long afternoon nap. I woke up and had leftovers for supper. I was stuffed!
Friday, November 27th
I got my final long run of 8 miles done. I had to test out my Heroes singlet. Nothing new on race day! I can't believe I'm coming to the end of my training cycle. Just a few short runs left before St. Jude Memphis Marathon.
We decorated for Christmas on Friday afternoon. Then, we went to my friend's house for potluck dinner and a bonfire later that evening.
Just one picture of our decorations. No, that's not a real fire. It was 80 degrees here on Friday!
Saturday, November 28th
Mom and I ran Ryan's Run 5K with Kylie from Ainsley's Angels. We were so excited for the opportunity to run with this organization which ensures that everyone can experience endurance events. We hope to do more runs with Ainsley's Angels in the future. To read more about our race, click here.
Later Saturday afternoon, we watched the Iron Bowl. The game was nerve wrecking at times, but Bama put the game away in the final quarter. I was so glad Derrick Henry got that final touchdown to beat the school record for most touchdowns in regular season play. Our kicker, Adam Griffith also had a great game putting 17 points on the board. ROLL TIDE! SEC Championship bound!
Sunday, November 29th
I woke up with a terrible headache. It feels like sinus pressure, so I've been drinking my apple cider vinegar. I'm praying it's not the onset of a sinus infection. Ain't nobody got time for that! I've got a marathon to run in less than a week.
Michael and I met my parents and grandfather for lunch. Then, we went by the school to decorate for Christmas. I want it to be nice when the kids return tomorrow. I took a long afternoon nap, which helped some with the headache. Later, I cleaned house and got the laundry caught up.
I'm so excited (and a little nervous) that race week has finally arrived. It's going to be a busy week at school, especially since I will have a sub on Friday to travel to the race. I'm riding with my parents to Memphis. Michael is staying at home for this one. He was there for my first marathon and I know he'll be tracking me from home. I've got a few 2-3 mile easy runs on the schedule for this week, which means I won't have to get up as early before school. The weather is looking nice for Saturday (I've been checking it obsessively). It might be a little on the warm side this year, but I won't complain as long as it's not raining and there's no ice storm (hence 2013 cancellation).
How do you deal with prerace jitters? Any last minute tips for the race?

Ryan's Run 5K

November 28, 2015

Ryan's Run is held each year on Iron Bowl Weekend in memory of Ryan Colburn, who was an avid sports fan and loved the Iron Bowl Rivalry between Alabama and Auburn. Proceeds from this run benefit the Frazer Youth Worship Arts Program and the Ryan Colburn Youth Scholarship, which supports youth with disabilities to attend the National Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs Conference. This run attracts over 100 participants. Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite team colors.

This year Ryan's Run partnered with Ainsley's Angels, an organization that ensures everyone can experience endurance events. In addition this organization aims to build awareness about America's special needs community through inclusion and activism throughout local communities.

Mom and I learned about Ainsley's Angels at a 5K we ran in Tuscaloosa last August. When we heard Ryan's Run was partnering with the organization we knew we wanted to participate. We were so excited to be partnered with our assisted athlete, Kylie. Kylie has run in several events through Ainsley's Angels. She loves to run!

We had some time beforehand to visit with Kylie and her family. Kylie's mother is an ambassador for Ainsley's Angels and she helped organize everything for this race. Kylie's dad and grandmother were also at the race. Kylie had a busy weekend. Her family just returned from a Disney trip on Friday night in time for the race on Saturday. We took some prerace photos before lining up at the start line.

Pre race photo with Kylie
The Ainsley's Angels team of runners and assisted athletes
The race started promptly at 8:00. This was mine and mom's first time pushing a stroller. We were overly cautious, especially maneuvering through the crowd and around turns. We took turns pushing and we both had to push up one big hill.

Mom, Kylie, and I at the start of the race

We had so much fun running with Kylie. We looked at the houses decorated for Christmas. Kylie really liked one house with an angel out front. She kept saying, "Big house". We later realized that she refers to her grandmother as her "Big" and her grandmother has an angel at her house.
This was a down and back course. We cheered for the other Ainsley's Angel runners and assisted athletes on the course. Kylie was especially excited when she saw them. She sat up to get a better view of them coming by.
At one point Mom asked me, "Want me, want me?" She was asking if I needed her to take over with pushing, but it sounded like the beginning to the Whip Nae Nae song. So I started singing to Kylie, "Watch me, watch me. Let me see you whip, let me see you nae nae." She laughed. I asked her if she liked to dance and she smiled and shook her head yes. Then, I remembered she had a twin sister. I told her that I have twin boys in my class who love to dance to that song. She laughed again.
In the final mile, we underestimated how close we were to the finish. We kept telling Kylie, "This is our last big hill." "This is our last turn." Her mom told us that she would probably throw her blanket off at the finish. We noticed she gripped her blanket with all our talk of the finish line. When we made our final turn, I told Kylie we would run to the finish. I thought it was a straight shot, but I forgot one last maneuver. I stopped to walk through the final turn and Kylie sighed. She was ready to fly through the finish.
Kylie knows how to embrace the crowds and cheers of the finish line. She sat up in her chair and threw her arms out wide with the biggest smile on her face. Seeing Kylie's excitement made my mom and I even happier that we could take part in this race with her.

After the race, Kylie and other assisted athlete were recognized and presented their medals. Kylie was so excited to receive her medal. It had a football that moved to go with the Iron Bowl football theme of the race. She liked playing with the football. She couldn't wait to show her mom, dad, and her Big. She spotted them in the crowd and pointed to them. We knew it was time to say our goodbyes. Mom and I had so much fun meeting Kylie and running this race with her. We hope we can do more races with Ainsley's Angels in the future.


Have you ever heard of the Ainsley's Angels organization or participated in a race with them? Doesn't Kylie have the prettiest finish line photo you've ever seen?


Monday, November 23, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Week 16 Marathon Training

November 16-22, 2015

***Sorry the formatting is so crazy on this post. Some of it is centered and some of it is not. I've spent all afternoon trying to correct this, but Blogger has a mind of its own.
I am joining the Weekly Wrap hosted by  Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin. The Weekly Wrap is a blog link up where bloggers share their active lifestyle and other exciting things weekly. To find out more, click on the image below. Feel free to join in on the fun.
I am currently training for my second marathon at St. Jude Memphis this December. I just completed Week 16 of Hal Higdon's Novice 2 Marathon Training Plan. I will recap my training and other highlights from my week here in the Weekly Wrap.
Monday, November 16th
Monday was a scheduled rest day for running. I enjoyed the extra hour of sleep. My legs were still tired and sore from my 20 miler on Saturday.
My St.Jude Heroes singlet arrived in the mail. I also received two more donations towards my fundraising. Thanks to everyone's generous donations, I exceeded my goal of $1,000 raising $1,120 for the children of St.Jude.
Tuesday, November 17th
I ran 4 miles at an easy pace to begin week 16 of marathon training. There was a beautiful sunrise.

I had a nice surprise when I got home from school Tuesday evening. Michael has baked me a cake every year for my birthday since we've been married. I didn't expect him to bake me one this year because he wouldn't have an opportunity when we weren't both together. He told me he was working his off day because they really needed the extra help. He left the house for work as usual. Turns out he came straight home after I left for school and began baking my cake. My birthday is not until the 24th, but this was the only chance he had to make my cake. He made this triple layered chocolate ganache cake from scratch. It tasted as good as it looked!

Wednesday, November 18th
When you oversleep by 30 minutes and you're under a Wind Advisory with wind gusts up to 30 mph you adjust. I was supposed to run 5 miles at marathon goal pace on Wednesday morning, but I swapped it for Thursday's run of 4 miles easy. I was able to get this run in before the downpour later that morning.
Thursday, November 19th
I ran 5 miles at marathon goal pace. It cooled off a bit since the rain on Wednesday. It was foggy with a light drizzle.
Friday, November 20th
Friday was a scheduled rest day for running. We had a laid back day at school. All the students were eager to get out for Thanksgiving Break. I stayed late to do my lesson plans. I still need to go back sometime over the next week to get my Christmas stuff put out. I always like to surprise the students when we get back with the Christmas tree and the arrival of our class elf.
Saturday, November 21st
I had a 12 mile long run on my training plan for this weekend. My friend Paula convinced me to sign up for the Magic City Half Marathon in Birmingham, AL. It probably wasn't wise to sign up for a half this close to my full at St.Jude, but I planned to treat this as a training run and take it easy.
Michael and I arrived in Birmingham around 12:30 and got an early check in at our hotel. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and settled into our room. Michael was ticked because the hotel didn't have the SEC Network, so he couldn't watch the Bama game. He refused to go to a sports bar nearby to watch it. When Paula and her husband arrived, I walked with them to get my packet at Regions Field. There really wasn't much to the packet pick-up. We got in and out quickly. There were a few sponsors set up and clearance merchandise from the Trak Shak.
Michael and I ordered Pizza Hut to eat in the room while we watched other football games. I went to bed around 9:00, but I tossed and turned most of the night.
Sunday, November 22nd
I ran the Magic City Half Marathon. It was the coldest morning that we've had all fall with temps in the 30's, real feel in the 20's, due to the wind chill. I took it easy as planned. It was actually more fun running with no pressure for a PR or time goal. For the first time ever I brought my phone with me and tried to take pictures along the course. Click here for a full race recap and more pictures.

Magic City Half Marathon

November 21, 2015
Packet Pick-Up

My friend Paula convinced me to sign up for the Magic City Half Marathon in Birmingham, AL. This was the 5th Annual Magic City Half benefitting the Ruben Studdard Foundation for the advancement of children in music arts. The race started and finished at Regions Field, the new home of the Birmingham Barons Baseball team.There were over 1,700 runners for the half marathon, 5K, and 1 Mile Fun Run.

Michael and I arrived in Birmingham at 12:30 on Saturday morning. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriot at UAB. It was within walking distance to the start/finish line and convenient to restaurants. We checked in early and grabbed a quick bite to eat for lunch. Michael was ticked because we didn't get the SEC Network at the hotel, so he couldn't watch the Bama game. He refused to go to a sports bar to watch it.

When Paula and her husband Mark arrived, I walked with them to packet pick up at Regions Field. Packet pick up was quick and easy. There were a few sponsors set up and some clearance merchandise from the Trak Shak.

Saturday night, Michael and I ordered Pizza Hut and watched other football games. I went to bed around 9:00, but I didn't sleep well. There were a lot of ambulance sirens being so close to UAB and Children's Hospital. Then, fireworks went off at Regions Field around 10:00. I tossed and turned most of the night.
November 22, 2015
Race Day

I got up at 5:30 to get ready. I ate my usual Belvita Biscuits and a banana for breakfast. I met Paula and Mark in the lobby around 7:15. The race started at 8:00 and we were just a short walk to Regions Field where the race started and finished. It was the coldest day we've had all fall with temps in the 30's, real feel in the 20's due to the wind chill. I ate a small bag of pretzels and drank my water as we walked to the start line.  There was a long line for the bathrooms in the stadium, so I used the porta potties outside of the stadium. The line began to form for the porta potties when I got out. I hit it at a good time.
It probably wasn't wise to sign up for a half marathon just two weeks out from my full at St.Jude. My plan was to treat this like a training run and have fun. I lined up between the 2:20-2:30 pace groups at the start.

They went over the course turn by turn. Then, they played the National Anthem and we were off. The first mile ran past Railroad park with beautiful trees, ponds, and nice views of the city.

I caught up to the 2:20 pacers within half a mile. There were a handful of runners sticking with this pace group, so I decided I would try to stick with them too. I thought it would help me maintain an easy pace. Miles 1-3 ran through downtown. At mile 3.5, we ran over the "Rumpshaker Bridge" and got a good view of downtown. 
Mile 1- 10:25
Mile 2- 10:14
Mile 3- 10:20

Just past mile 4 when we ran through this tunnel. Apparently, this used to be home to the original Welcome to the Magic City sign. The tunnel was dark and dreary. I feel like we ran faster through this part of the course.

Around mile 5 we ran past the Birmingham Museum of Art and Linn Park, home of Birmingham's main government buildings. I was still maintaining a consistent pace and sticking with the 2:20 pace group. I ran into Kristin from BamagirlRUNS at this point on the course and I struck up a conversation with her. She was really nice. We talked until we got to the water station around Mile 6.
Mile 4- 10:11
Mile 5- 10:01
Mile 6- 10:07
The race photographer captured a pic of me with Kristin

 Birmingham Museum of Art
I ate my Honey Stinger waffle at the halfway point. We began to make our way out of downtown Birmingham towards Legion Field. This part of the race was a down and back. We turned around at 9.5 miles at Rickwood Field, the original home of the Birmingham Barons.

Mile 7- 10:23
Mile 8- 10:33
Mile 9- 10:35
This part of the race brought back a lot of memories for me. When I was younger we came to Birmingham to watch the Barons play at the Hoover Met. It was neat to see their original stadium. We also came to Legion Field for a few Alabama football games.

Rickwood Field
Not the best picture into the sun
Legion Field
I stuck with the 2:20 pace group up until Mile 10. They were pacing a few minutes fast and decided to stop and walk to allow others to catch up. I walked several of the up hill climbs, but I still wound up getting ahead of the group. I felt good, so I kept going. We made our way back towards downtown in the final miles of the race.
Mile 10- 11:06
Mile 11- 10:12
Mile 12- 10:33

 One last view of the city before turning right toward Regions Field

The back of Regions Field
In the last half mile of the race "Happy" by Pharrell Williams came on my iPod. You may remember, that song played when I crossed the finish of my first marathon. Every time I hear that song it reminds me of my brother Raymond. He would have loved that song. I listened to Happy as I passed by Children's Hospital where Raymond received his cancer treatments. I thought about him a lot during this race, how much he loved the Bama games at Legion Field and the Baron's Baseball games.
I ran my last mile in 9:45. I guess I got a little carried away with the music and thinking about my brother. My finish time was 2:17:37. I ran a little faster than the 2:20-2:30 pace I originally planned to run. Although, I don't feel like I pushed it too much. I didn't feel completely depleted after the race.
I met Paula and Mark at the finish line and we snapped a few pictures.

I saw Kristin from BamagirlRUNS again at the finish and we took a quick picture. It's always fun meeting other bloggers at the races and it was so nice to meet her.

Overall this was a great race and I'm glad I ran it. There was plenty of support on the course with water stations every 2 miles and porta potties at several points along the course. There weren't a ton of spectators. I can't blame people for wanting to stay out of the wind and the cold. The ones that did spectate went all out with signs and cowbells.They didn't have a ton of stuff post race. They had some fruit, bagels, and craft beer. There was no post race entertainment that I noticed. Ruben was at the finish. I hate I missed him.
Michael was supposed to meet me at the finish line and I tried calling and texting him several times. Paula and Mark were getting ready to head back to the hotel and I didn't want to walk back by myself, so I took off with them. It was 11:00 and Michael should have been there by then. As soon as I left the stadium my phone rang. It was Michael. Apparently, he had been waiting in the stadium since 9:30 and he had tried to reach me. He didn't have any missed calls or texts and neither did I. Crazy!

I love the shirt design. They are a lightweight, super soft cotton. They offered Women Specific cut shirts. I always size up to a medium in women specific, but these ran super small. The mediums were all gone when I got to packet pick up, but the Large fits just right. I guess everyone had to go up in size. The medals are really nice and heavy weight metal.