Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekly Wrap

January 11th-17th, 2016

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 not training for any one specific race. I've registered for several half marathons over the next few months. I'm hoping to moon up in half fanatics by March 19th by completing 4 half's in 28 days.
I always have a hard time staying motivated in the winter months, so I'm hoping this challenge will give me something to work towards. My goal for the next few months is to run 20-25 miles per week and get back to incorporating long runs of 8-12 miles each weekend. Hopefully, I will stay healthy and injury free in the months ahead. I always seem to get sick this time of the year.
Monday, January 11th
I took a rest day for running. Monday was a busy day at school and I was exhausted by the end of the day. I came straight home and took an afternoon nap. I was going to be up late watching Alabama vs Clemson in the National Championship game.
The game was back and forth and a little nerve wrecking at times. Special teams made some great game changing plays with a successful onside kick and a kick off return for a touchdown by Kenyan Drake. OJ Howard had an awesome night scoring two touchdowns, his first ones since 2013. The whole team played as one unit and pulled off a big win. ROLL TIDE!
Bama celebrates their 16th National Championship
Tuesday, January 12th
I stayed up until midnight watching the trophy presentation and commentary from the National Championship game Monday night. I was too tired on Tuesday morning to run before school. I thought I might run after school, but that didn't happen. I always talk myself out of running by the end of the day.
On Tuesday, the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon announced a promo code: SWEET16 to save 16% off registration fees to celebrate Bama's 16th National Championship win. I've had this half on my radar, but I hadn't registered yet. Needless to say I registered Tuesday night and saved a total of $13. Can't wait to run Tuscaloosa on March 5th. That will be one of my four half's in 28 days.
Wednesday, January 13th
I ran three miles before school on Wednesday morning. I realized I'm sporting LSU colors with our Bama flag in the background. Oops, ROLL TIDE anyway!

Thursday January 14th
I ran another three miles before school on Thursday. Winter is definitely here with temps in the low 30's real feel in the 20's. I don't envy people running in snow, but I do love seeing running pics of people with icicle beards, eyebrows, and lashes this time of year. If you're running in snow, you amaze me! Kudos for getting out there day in and day out.

Friday, January 15th
It was pouring rain on Friday morning. My sinuses starting acting up earlier this week, and I didn't want to risk making things worse by running in the cold and rain. I slept in a little later since this was a teacher inservice day and we didn't have to go in until 8:00. We've had three four day weeks in a row due to holidays and teacher inservice days. I'm not complaining. Our breaks are few and far between after Spring Break in March.
Saturday, January 16th
I finally had an opportunity to play around with my Christmas present during my run on Saturday. I've got a lot to learn with my GoPro, but here's a halfway decent shot from Saturday's run.

Sunday, January 17th
I spent most of the morning tracking my friends who ran the Louisiana Marathon and Houston Marathon. My friend Mary PR'd the half in Louisiana and landed on Mars in half fanatics. Valerie finished her 4th full at Louisiana and ran a huge 13 minute PR. Lisa ran her second full marathon and ran an 11 minute PR in Houston. I was so excited for all of them.
I needed to do a long run since I'm running the Inaugural Big Beach Half Marathon in two weeks. I'm a little nervous to do my first inaugural half, but I'm already familiar with the course from previous races in the area. I just hope the water stations are well stocked and there are plenty of volunteers. I've heard too many horror stories about inaugural runs. This won't qualify for one of my four half's in 28 days. I originally registered for it when I was hoping to complete 6 half's in 6 consecutive months.

I spent Sunday afternoon blogging. I recapped the Cruising the Creekwalk 5K from last Saturday. You can read my recap here.
Did you watch the National Championship game?
Do you have a GoPro? If so, what tips could you offer a newbie like me? What photo editing app or program do you recommend?
Have you ever ran in an inaugural race? How was it?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cruising the Creekwalk 5K

January 9, 2016

This was my fourth year running the 9th Annual Cruising the Creekwalk Run hosted by Leadership Autauga County to support youth leadership programs in the county. There are always plenty of volunteers, good food, and great door prizes at this run. The t-shirt designs are cool looking, and they are long sleeve which I love to wear in the fall and winter. I love the course that runs by the Creekwalk and through downtown Prattville.

                                                             photo by Just4Running

The race starts and ends at the Doster Community Center in downtown Prattville
photo by Just4Running
This run usually attracts 200-300 runners, but there were only 120 runners this year. They held it a few weeks earlier and there were two other races on the same day. The weather was in the high 50's with a light drizzle on race day. I haven't raced a 5K in six months, so I really didn't know what to expect for this race. I PR'd during this race the past two years, but I wasn't expecting to beat my current PR of 24:33. That is going to be tough to beat!

Michael snapped a picture of me at start of the race
I started out way too fast as usual. I passed several people in the first mile which ran past the creek and through downtown Prattville. I stopped to walk through the water stop around 1.5 miles. A few people passed me at the water stop including one woman who I suspected was in my age group. She stayed ahead of me as we ran through the cemetery. I could feel myself slowing down in the second mile. Although, I didn't realize by how much until my Garmin vibrated and displayed my time. I knew I needed to speed up if I was going to have any chance at winning my age group. We had half a mile to go when we turned out of the cemetery. I was stride for stride with the woman who passed me earlier. I waited until the final turn to kick it in to the finish. I finished just a few seconds ahead of her. When she crossed the finish we both congratulated each other on a great race.
Mile 1- 8:02
Mile 2-8:53
Mile 3-7:47
Photo by Just4Running
Photo by Just4Running
My official time was 25:05. It was not a PR, but it was good enough to place 1st in my age group. Turns out the woman I thought was in my age group was a year older than me. I was so happy to finally place first at this run because it meant I got a medal, 2nd and 3rd place get certificates. I've wanted a medal from this run for the past two years. Both years I got second in my age group. 

 Photo by Just4Running

 Photo by Just4Running

I also got to meet Valerie, Facebook friend and fellow Half Fanatic, at this race. She had a great race and placed 2nd in her age division despite being sick all week. I look forward to seeing her at many more races.

Me and Valerie



Sunday, January 3, 2016

Weekly Wrap

December 28th-January 3rd, 2016

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.
It's been almost a month since my second marathon at St.Jude Memphis. I'm now following Hal Higdon's marathon recovery plan.  I just completed week three of the four week reverse taper recovery plan. I'll recap my recovery and New Year's on the weekly wrap.
Monday, December 28th
Monday was mine and Michael's three year wedding anniversary. We usually don't exchange gifts being so close to Christmas, but Michael did surprise me with some more adult coloring books and an art set. We go to the beach each year for our anniversary and eat out at least one nice meal. We didn't leave until Wednesday night because Michael had to work Monday and Tuesday.
December 28, 2012
We got married at our local courthouse.
It was a small ceremony with only immediate family members. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, December 29th

It was rainy and stormy here during Christmas. Tuesday was the first day in almost a week that the sun came out. The temps were in the 50's. It was perfect running weather, but it wouldn't last long.

 Wednesday, December 30th
Wednesday was my last run of 2015. I didn't make my goal of 1,200 miles this year, but this run made exactly 1,000 miles for 2015. I will keep trying for 1,200 miles in 2016.
After my run I got showered and packed for the beach. We ate a quick lunch and hit the road. We arrived in Orange Beach around 5:30. We got settled in and unpacked. Then, we headed to the Wharf for dinner.  The lights at the Wharf were beautiful even in the rain.


Thursday, December 31st
It was raining most of the day Thursday. We went out for lunch and did some shopping in Foley. Then we went back to the condo, watched some football, and rested. We went to my sister in law's house to watch the Bama -vs- Michigan State playoff game. They had a shrimp low boil with several other dips and dessert. We had a great time. What an awesome game! Bama is headed to the National Championship! ROLL TIDE!!!
Friday, January 1st
I ran my first run of 2016 on Friday. I only planned to run 5 miles, but the rain held off and I felt good so I kept going for an extra mile.

Michael and I went to lunch and then did some more shopping at the Tanger Outlets in Foley. There's really not much else to do during this time of the year especially when it's rainy and cold. Later that evening, we celebrated our anniversary with a nice dinner at Shipp's Harbour Grill. I ordered the filet and Michael had the grouper. It was delicious! I'm not normally one to take pictures of food, but Michael's meal was presented nicely with the orchid. I thought I would be a good blogger and take a pic.
Saturday, January 2nd
I went for another run on Saturday morning. It was much cooler out and windy. I did enjoy the change of scenery. Sure beats the same loop around the neighborhood day in and day out.
We wanted to see Bellingrath Gardens this trip. I've never been and thought it would be nice to go for our anniversary and see the lights. It's a little over an hour drive from the condo, so we decided to head straight home from there. We got to Bellingrath a little after 3:00. We walked around the garden and did the home tour. The sun was just beginning to set when we toured the lights. I wish it was a little darker, but it was still beautiful.
You can read about our trip to Bellingrath and see more pictures by clicking on the photo below.
Sunday, January 3rd
I'm glad we came home last night and had today to relax before going back to work tomorrow. I cannot believe Christmas Break is over already. I spent some time blogging today and getting the laundry caught up from our trip. We have inservice tomorrow before the students return to school on Tuesday.
Next week will be my last week of the marathon recovery plan. Hal Higdon recommends a 5K or 10K race on the last weekend of his plan. It timed out perfect because the Cruising the Creekwalk 5K is this upcoming weekend and I run it every year. I'm excited to run it again on Saturday.
How was your New Year? Did you do anything special to celebrate?
Do you already have some races planned for 2016?



Bellingrath Gardens

January 2, 2015

Michael and I spent the New Year at the beach. We stopped at Bellingrath Gardens before heading home to see the home and lights tour. Bellingrath Gardens and Home is a 65 acre public garden and historic home of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath, located on Fowl River in Theodre, near Mobile, AL.

Walter was one of the first Coca-Cola bottlers in the Southest. He built the estate garden and home with his wealth from Coca-Cola. He and his wife Bessie lived in the home which is now converted into a museum.

We arrived late afternoon to do the home tour before seeing the lights. The home was gorgeous! It was over 10,000 square feet. We toured the main rooms including three formal dining rooms. One dining room overlooked the Fowl River with large windows and exposed brick. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside.

 The courtyard at the home reminds me of New Orleans.
 This represents the builders initials and the year the home was built

It was almost 5:00 when we finished touring the home. The sun was just beginning set. I wished it was darker when we did the lights tour, but it was still beautiful. It was packed when we were leaving, so we really toured it at a good time. We enjoyed our tour, but we were both ready to get back home and settled.
 Here's a few pictures from the lights tour.








If you've never been to Bellingrath Gardens, I would highly recommend it. The lights tour begins the day after Thanksgiving and lasts through the day after New Years. They are closed on Christmas and New Year's Day.