the best ever!

Absolutely, positively, hands down, bar none! If you have had the opportunity to run in any of the Nike Women’s Half Marathon series races, I bet you know what I’m about to share. Yes, the best finisher’s medal necklace EVER! Compliments of Tiffany & Co.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I paid for that finisher’s necklace in a round about way, but it’s the only medal necklace I ever wear. Nike was pretty smart, I thought, when they paired with Tiffany & Co.  What girl doesn’t want a piece of Tiffany jewelry that showcases her favorite sport and passion, running! Drum roll, please!

IMG_2227

We Run DC 2013 & 2014

And then there was the Nike Expo.  My BFF & BRF, Holly, ran Nike with me in 2013 & 2014 and when we were at the expo we were like, TAKE.MY.MONEY.NOW! I mean who can’t resist a pair of these awesome sneakers. Not me 🙂

Honestly I’ve run my share of 5k’s, 1/2 marathons, and marathons, but nothing compares to the Nike races I was fortunate enough to run in Washington D.C. You can read the race recap here.

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While I’m on the topic of extremely impressive race swag, I can’t help but to mention the Baltimore Running Festival.  Their UnderArmour race shirts are the best and they never, ever disappoint!  I have several half marathon shirts and a 5k shirt.  I just need the marathon shirt to round out my collection. I may, just may, earn that shirt this fall but I’m truly on the fence.  I would love to run Baltimore again in the fall because when I ran the half-marathon last fall, I came home with this:

Yes, I’m a sucker for commemorative race jewelry and chances are if Pandora is going to show up in Baltimore, I’ll be there too in some fashion.  In the meantime, I’m headed to the beautiful city of Pittsburgh on Sunday to run the 1/2 marathon.  Who knows what I’ll bring home from there, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

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1/2 Marathon Recap 2012: Q & A Style

Q: Was this your first 1/2 marathon?

A:  It is actually my second.  Check out my post called  What a Difference a Year Makes to see my recap of the Baltimore Running Festival 2011.

Q: Did you follow a training plan?

A:  I followed Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 training plan.  For the most part I stuck to it.  I never skipped a long run, but I did drop a few mid-week runs (Exercise Log) and I did get in a Runner’s Rut from time to time.  I wish I could have kept up with my cross-training, but I was super happy that I ran completely injury free, unlike my 1/2 marathon last year!

After the race,
My feet were still attached!
My legs still worked!
Yay!

Q: How many runners were in the race?

A:  There were a total of 10,229 runners in the 1/2 marathon.  I was the 2,048th runner to cross the finish line.  In my age group there were 597 runners and I was the 65th runner to cross the finish line for that category.

Q: Did you have a goal you wanted to reach?

A: Yes, my goal was to run the 1/2 marathon in two hours and run injury free.  I knew in order to reach that goal I could not run slower than a 9:09 pace.  A 9:09 pace was certainly attainable, but I wasn’t sure if I could maintain it for 13.1 miles.  To my surprise, I  surpassed my goal.  Here are my mile splits:

Race Stats

Q:  Did you run the race with any friends?

A:  My hubby ran the full marathon, so I partially trained with him.  I did all my long runs with a new running buddy and we started the race together.  However, it was so CROWDED that we got separated at about mile two.

I also met a friendly runner during the race. I chatted with her at the beginning of the race and we were shocked how CROWDED it was.  I think we were actually quite unnerved.  I saw her several times throughout the race up until about mile marker eight, but then I didn’t see her until we were in the home stretch on Eutaw Street.   When I saw her I told her it was time to wrap this up…LET’S GO!  We crossed the finish line just second apart.  Later I found out she was barking on my heals and following me on those miles when I thought she disappeared.  She was so sweet and thanked me for pacing her through the race.  The marathon photographers got a fantastic shot of us chatting on that home stretch, but I couldn’t pull the trigger on purchasing that photo, $$$$, not yet anyway!

Post Race
Me & My Hubby

My Training Buddy
Yes, it was cold before the race!

My New Friendly Running Pal!

Q: Did you win anything in this race?

A:  Funny you should ask me that!  A few days before race day, I was talking with four of my students about the race and explaining to them what a 1/2 marathon is.  One of them chimed in and asked me if I thought I would come in first place.  Oh my!  I just had to laugh!  🙂   No, I was not going to come in first place and win $25,000, but in my eyes everyone who ran the race was a winner.  I did, however, receive an awesome medal and flowers from my hubby.

Everyone’s a Winner!

Flowers from the Hubby

Q: Do you have another race scheduled in the future?

A:  That depends who you ask.  Pink Runner has been bullying me politely asking me to join her for a 1/2 marathon in December. I’ll keep you posted on that!  I am thinking that I may possibly like to run the Turkey Trot 5k in November. I am mentally exhausted, so right now I am looking forward to a break.

Q:  Did you learn any life lessons because of the race?

A:  At the beginning of the race I saw a spectator holding a sign that said:

“Pain Is Temporary

But

Pride Lasts Forever”

Yep, that about sums it up.  I pushed through and finished proud.  It was a great day for a run!

My Weekend in Numbers

Homecoming Weekend: Friday, October 12, 2012  

  • Homecoming football game: Central 54, South Western 13.  Yay Panthers!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

  • Woke up at 4:45 am
  • Drove 60 miles to the Baltimore Running Festival
  • At 8:00 am, watched my hubby start his 26.2 mile marathon with 3,020 runners

Baltimore Running Festival
2012

  • At 9:45 am, joined 10,207  runners to get in place to run 13.1 miles

Me & My Running Buddy

  • Ran 13.1 miles in 1:54:05 at an 8:42 pace!
  • Congratulated my hubby on his 26.2 mile personal record of 4:13!
  • Drove 60 miles home
  • At 3:45 pm stepped into Rockin’ Mom mode and joined 2 great kids for 1 great Homecoming celebration

Two Great Kids
One Great Night

Sunday, October 14, 2012

  • Read 50+  pages of Gone Girl
  • Did 5 loads of laundry
  • Watched the Ravens win:  Baltimore Ravens 31, Dallas Cowboys 29

Way to Go, Ravens!

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Stay tuned for my race recap!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Almost There

This Sunday will mark the last long run of my 1/2 marathon training.  Currently, I am in week 11 of my 12 week training program.  The program I am following is the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan and it has worked splendidly for me, although I did drop a few mid-week runs over the last few weeks.  Needless to say, it has been a challenge for me to keep up with my cross training too.  I can’t remember when the last time was that I went to the gym (check out my Fitness Log)! I am missing Body Pump and CX Worx.

I have been running alone, with my hubby, and my running pal, Sandy.  I even had an impromptu run with Pink Runner for two miles last Sunday! 🙂 I think it is really beneficial to switch it up a bit.  Tonight was a 3.1 mile solo run. Hot and humid once again, but I was pleasantly surprised with my results. I LOVE when I run negative splits! Seriously, I LOVE it!

1/2 Marathon Training Run

This could possibly be due to the fact that I purchased new music.  Unfortunately, I needed to purchase a new iPod too.  If you remember my post a few weeks ago, 1/2 Marathon Must Haves! My Top Ten List, my iPod was from 2007.  For whatever reason, that old sucker decided it didn’t want to sync anymore.  Whatever, I truly didn’t feel like wrestling with it, so I bought a new one.

Tiny Blue iPod Shuffle

Then I loaded these songs onto the Tiny Blue iPod Shuffle:

New Running Playlist

The music really motivates me just to start my run, and once I’m going it pushes me right through to the end.  Speaking of the end, I am almost there because next week at this time all the training runs will be complete.  I will be carb loading and trying to calm my pre-race jitters.  I’m almost there, I’m almost there, I’m almost there!

Hold your head up high

Don’t be fool

You’re the thoughest guy

Stay smart be cool

Do the best you can…

Workout Wednesday

I wanted to puke…

I thought my heart was going to explode…

And, I was pretty sure I was going to D.I.E.!

But I didn’t. Rest assured, I’m still here.

I’m in week 10 of my 12 week training plan for the Baltimore Half Marathon.  (Check out my Exercise Log if you want to see my training runs.) My workout for today was to run 5 milles.  No biggy, been there, done that. So, I decided to run with my hubby and let me tell you, he kicked my butt.  Here is what unfolded:

Week 10: 5 Mile Training Run

Yes, oh, yes, indeed I was cursing the last mile as I was trying to catch up with him, but to no avail it just didn’t happen.  Top that off with the return of the humidity and it made for a very uncomfortable run.  Once again I was a sweaty mess, but I had two rewards waiting for me after my run.

Some people like gatorade, some people like beer, but not me.  I love ginger ale.  It keeps my stomach calm, if you know what I mean. 🙂

My Recovery Beverage!

My second reward was getting all of that grimy sweat off of me in the shower.  Sugar scrub to the rescue!  My dear friend over at Crafty…Not Artistic made me a giant jar, yes a GIANT  jar, of  exfoliating sugar scrub.  Not only does it smell fantastic, it feels magnificent on my skin.  I’m addicted to it.  Thanks, Heather!

It’s time to sign off because I don’t want to miss the first episode of Modern Family. Then, it’s off to read.  I’m really enjoying Gone Girl.  Check out the GoodReads links that I added to my home page.

 Hope you had a Wonderful Wednesday!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

What a Difference a Year Makes

A flashback from last year…

The Baltimore Running Festival ½ Marathon, October 2011

Baltimore Running Festival
2011

It was during the last few days before the race that I came across this quote:  “The only difference between try and triumph is a just a little umph!” by Marvin Phillips.  I don’t even know who Marvin Phillips is, but regardless the quote stuck with me. Participating my first ½ marathon, I had all kinds of crazy nervousness “running” through my mind…would I have enough umph to successfully finish this race?

Overall, I have to say that my training went well until I ran my 10 mile and 12 mile training run.  I just didn’t have it in me to run the long runs without being in severe pain. And, needless to say, the disappointment crushed my spirit.  Not to mention the little voice inside my head asking me what in the world was I thinking when I signed up for a ½ marathon. And the the self-doubt, would I even be able to finish the race?

Fast forward to race day…The Baltimore Running Festival, October 15, 2011. When we arrived in Baltimore, I told my hubby to lock me in the back of the Jeep and just get me when the race was over!  Well, as you can guess, that certainly did not happen. I think he truly understood my nervousness and said he would run the entire race with me.  After all, he’s a pro; he already ran a full marathon.

We found our starting point and anxiously waited to move to the starting line. It was a grand start!  There was so much scenery to take in that I didn’t even notice that I was running.  I was amazed by the amount of people clapping and cheering for us, complete strangers!  There were bands playing and even kids dressed up in Halloween costumes anxiously awaiting a “high five” as we sailed by them.

Being a school teacher, I allowed myself a reward every two miles.  What was the reward you ask? Well, every two miles I was allowed to have a piece of my SHOT BLOKS (black cherry flavor, yum!).  I love SHOT BLOKS and it’s funny how something so simple can be motivating.  But then, there was my ultimate reward. At mile marker 10 and mile marker 12, I called my daughter.  I told her it was just a matter of time before we triumphantly crossed the finish line. “You can do it, Mom,” she said.  The sound of her voice and her words of encouragement brought tears to my eyes!

My hubby and I ran the entire race together, and I ran the race without any of the excruciating pain that I had during my training.  We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. He flew like an Oriole and I soared like a Raven with a completion time of 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 16 seconds. It was a triumphant race indeed!

~The Oriole & The Raven~

Zoom in on Today, September 2012

I didn’t think I would ever be sitting here a year later preparing to run yet another race, but I am.  I am strong both physically and mentally. In my mind, I already have have crossed the finish line for this year’s ½ marathon. My hubby will be running the full marathon and my hope is that we will meet up at some point in the race and once again triumphantly cross the finish line hand-in-hand.

As I look back to a year ago, I am pleasantly surprised how much my life has changed.  It only leaves me wondering what will unfold in the next twelve months.  What a difference a year makes!

1/2 Marathon Must Haves! My Top Ten List

Currently I am training for my second 1/2 marathon.  I am excited to say that I will be running in the Baltimore Running Festival again this year.  As I have said before, my life as a runner has literally come full circle in just one year.  When I look back to last year, I relied on Matt and Pink Runner to keep me in check.  They pretty much told me how long to run, and how I would run.  While I miss training with both of them this time around, I have gained much more confidence and just have to chuckle to myself when I look back to last year.  With that being said, I would like to share some of my favorite running gear.

  • If I am running alone I must have my iPod Nano.  It’s an old Nano, but it works splendidly!

iPod Nano circa 2007

  • I love, love, love my Garmin.  Did I mention I love my Garmin?  The model I have is the Garmin 405.  At first I was really concerned that it would rub my wrist or just be too bulky, but it is truly perfect.  Garmin is unveiling a new model and it is sweet!  It is much smaller, comes is awesome colors, and you can’t beat the price point.  Check out the new Garmin Forerunner 10 and other models at the Garmin webstie.

Got Get a Garmin!

Garmin 405

  • Training in the hot weather and high humidity calls for lightweight running attire.  While I paid more for my Saucony tank top than what I wanted to, it was well worth it. Pair it with my favorite running skirt from Reebok and I am ready to go!

Saucony Tank Top and Reebok Running Skirt

  • Now let’s talk about running shoes.  Yes, running shoes do make a difference.  I am a huge advocate of getting your feet properly fitted and wearing the correct shoes.  My running shoe of choice is the Mizuno Wave Inspire 7.  I wore this model to train for my full marathon in the spring and I had absolutely no injuries.  I was a happy camper…runner I mean (I abhor camping!).

Ugh…those laces, but they were on sale. My hubby told me they look like Pittsburg Steelers laces. That’s a problem because we bleed purple & black at our house!

  • For my long runs I need to carry water with me.  This is a continual problem for me because I haven’t found a water bottle that I enjoy carrying.  Currently, I am using an eco-friendly water bottle.  It actually holds 10 oz. of water and when it is empty, it is completely flat.  I don’t adore it yet, but I don’t loathe it either.

Ecooasis Water Bottle

  • Not only do I need water for my long runs, but I also need snacks and a place to carry my snacks.  I use a SPI Belt to carry my goodies and SHOT BLOKS are my fuel of choice.  The shot bloks seem to work well for me and not make me sick.  I know that they can play havoc on digestive system of some people.  And, let me tell you, I have seen first-handed what can happen if the shot bloks don’t agree with your tummy.  🙂

SPI Belt

Shot Bloks-Black Cherry Flavor

  • After my run I like to cool down and wipe all that grimy sweat off of me with my Frogg Toggs Chilly Cooling Towel.  This thing is marvelous, magnificent, and superb!

Frogg Toggs Chilly Towel…pure happiness!

  • And last but not least, after my run I need to reward my legs with some sexy compression socks!  I know you are jealous, but Pink Runner said they are the best.  Where do you get these sexy socks?  Why, Wal-mart, of course.

Sexy Socks from Wal-Mart

There you have it!  My top-ten must haves for my 1/2 marathon training!  What are some of your marathon must haves?

Enjoy your weekend and

thanks for visiting my blog!