Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Marathon training

As many of you are aware, I am a runner.  I started two years ago and  this Spring (my third year running), I have decided to run a marathon.  Yes, that 26.2 miles.  Am I crazy was my first thought? Can I do this? (my second thought)  I was contacted  a race ambassador by a running company and they wanted to follow me as a train and run my first marathon.

I am terrified of this distance. All of my running friends have told me that if I can run a half marathon (13.1 miles), I can run a full marathon. Why should this frighten me? I'm not sure but I think it's more the distance and the time involved in training. So, I have decided to try to remember what running has taught me in the last couple of years. Here are my top ten things that running has taught me:

1. I've learned to embrace early mornings. Since I work full-time, mornings are the best and sometimes only time for me to run.

2. I've learned when to listen to my body, and when to tell it to shut up and keep moving. I tell myself that when I'm hurt to not train as hard. However, most of the time, my body just doesn't want to do what I want it to do so I just say “shut up” and keep moving. I normally feel great after a run like this too.

3. Running has taught me discipline, humility, and confidence. I have learned to follow routines, learn from my mistakes and be kind to others and myself while feeling a sense of accomplishment.

4. Running is honest. Running leaves me filled with adrenaline rushes and pure emotion. Sometimes I feel great, other times not. I've learned that I need to savor the highs and remember that the lows are temporary.

5. Running is 90% mental. Yes, I have come to realize this. My mantra; “Mind leads, body follows”.

6. Running with a friend will test your relationship. Running/training partners are wonderful in keeping you accountable, being company while keeping you motivated. They can really help you but if you don't do your training, they will you know. However, I like to run by myself the majority of the time because it is hard to run for me to train with someone.

7. Nutrition and hydration are incredibly important and difficult. I am still trying to figure out this balance however I feel more confident in my ability to keep hydrated and eat well. I purchased Runner's World cookbook which is great with quick, easy recipes designed for runners.

8. Training does not mean you will lose weight. I learned this the hard way. It took me almost two years before I saw any weight loss which was why I started running in the first place. I have lost inches and feel great.

9. It doesn't get any easier; you just get better. I remember when I couldn't even run a mile, now I run 13.1 and don't really think about it. Sometimes, I remember that person and still feel like it's a struggle however the difference is that I know that I can do it now.

10. I am an athlete and a runner. This is a surprise for me. I was never an athlete and hated anything physical. I'm a girly girl but I love running. I love how I feel after a run, how I feel when my feet hit the ground, the sights and sounds I hear when I run and the feeling of accomplishment after a run or a race. I love the running community which is very supportive. I love my running friends and seeing them at races, congratulating sweaty hugs and tears and especially the medals. I still struggle with my self-doubt with running but I'm finally beginning to believe it.

So, where do I begin on this journey? I start my training in January 2015 (five months before) my marathon in May 2015. Wish me luck as I venture on this new journey with my running.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Stress-free holidays

As we approach the holiday season, many of us experience extra stress in our lives. Some of our stress is due to the hectic schedules that we endure, family situations, staying healthy and eating well, or traveling. So, what can you do to lessen your stress and enjoy the holidays this year?
For stressful family situations, I recommend Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin and A is for Attitude by Patricia Russell-McCloud.
happier home a is for attitude

If staying fit and eating well are bothering you, check out: Breaking the Food Seduction by Dr. Neal Barnard, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers, Psy.D., Crave by Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D., and Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet, and Nutrition.
breaking food seduction50 ways to soothe yourself without foodcraveeating well for optimum health

If travel is a concern (or while you’re waiting at the airport), try some of our new services at Zinio is great for reading magazines, while Hoopla has music, audiobooks, television, and movies available. What a stress-free way to enjoy those long hours at the airport or while riding in a car! I love getting my favorite magazine through Zinio to read on my tablet.

Lastly, try journaling. Journaling is a wonderful way to relieve stress. I keep a gratitude journal beside my bed. Every night, I write five things in my journal that I am grateful for that day. I found that it helps me to sleep better at night, reduces my stress while making me more gracious for many of life’s blessings that I experience every day.

Remember, enjoy the upcoming season while building those memories to cherish with friends, family, and loved ones. Remember to eat and sleep well, exercise (for me it's always running) and don't worry about the little things.  Happy Holidays and happy trails!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Columbia Turkey Chase 10K and relay

This past Sunday, I ran the Columbia Turkey Chase 10K & Relay.  I didn't make it to packet pick-up due to work however my relay partner was able to get everything for the race.  I had to decide what to wear for this race and decided to make a turkey headband.  

Sunday morning came early; 5:30 am and off we went.  My relay partner doesn't want to any pictures or names so I'm respecting his privacy. :)  We had decided to have breakfast at Wegmans which was across the street from the race.  I normally don't have coffee before a race but decided since it was only a 5K I would treat myself.  Wegmans even gave me a cup to match my running outfit!  I saw a friend at Wegmans and we only got to hug but it was great to see Jill!

My partner dropped me off at the start/finish line and headed to the relay point.  I saw my running coach, Susie (it was fantastic to see you!) and my friend, Katie.  One of the reasons I love races is that you see running friends and make new ones!  
The race was very well organized and the course was on the road.  There were a lot of volunteers and police officers-thank you!  My three miles were hilly but it was a beautiful day with temperatures in the 50s. At about mile 3, I had been passing a mom and her young daughter (about five or six).  The daughter was struggling and the mom said that they were almost at the relay point and meeting dad.  I turned around and gave her my turkey headband, wishing her luck and hoping that it helped her finish.   I met my relay partner and off he went!  I drove back to the start/finish line and about twenty minutes, he crossed the finish line.  We both got our medals and headed home.  

This was my second relay race and I look forward to attending this race every year.  It was well done, easy and quick.  Nothing better on Sunday morning than coffee, a running medal followed by Church!  Happy Thanksgiving!  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

10K Across the Bay

Fifteen months ago, I saw this advertisement for a 10K Across the Bay.  I went with my good friend, Kim and we registered for this run.  I was fortunate to meet one of the race directors, Sparrow Rogers and started a dialogue with her about becoming a race ambassador.  

I was chosen two months later as an official race ambassador and my journey with the Across the Bay 10K began.  I was very excited to see this event as I never had the opportunity to walk across the Bay Bridge when it was an annual event with the state.  Now, as a runner I would have the opportunity to run across the bridge!  Actually, the bridge scares me at times but running across it would provide a different perspective. :)
I was able to register people for the 10K as a race ambassador while talking about my concerns of running the bridge  (that fear of mine about the bridge and I wasn't the only one) while being involved in this inaugural race for Maryland.  

The time finally arrived and I was off to Annapolis, Maryland for race weekend.  I stayed at O'Callahan's hotel in historic Annapolis, was able to walk to many places and enjoyed the accommodations.
Friday during the day involved a Make it Count workshop with the Lilabean Foundation and  race director, Dave McGillivray.   Dave is one of the top race directors in the U.S., he  directs the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and other iconic road races such as the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod, the Bellin Run in Green Bay and the TD Beach to Beacon 10K in Maine. He is considered a legend in the running world for his race management skills as well as his personal feats of endurance, including his groundbreaking run across the U.S. for charity in 1978. Dave also bought Boston people to help with the race-THANK YOU!  

Friday evening there was a VIP reception.  Sparrow Rogers, one of the race directors, spoke about the time involved in planning this race.  Four charities were represented at this race:  The Yellow Ribbon FundBosom BuddiesTeam in Training and Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  Over a quarter of a million dollars was raised for these charities in this race.  I made several new friends including one that I ran with during the 10K.  

We had Appletinis on the Bay along with crab balls along with other wonderful food and drinks. Upon leaving, we  received wonderful swag bags!  Thank you to all the sponsors!

Saturday morning came.  Breakfast was at Chick and Ruth's; what fun and a huge thank you to a coworker who told me about this restaurant.  Then it was off to the Runners' Expo at the Navy Stadium and meet up with friends.  The Runners' Expo was small and it was cold.  I picked up my shirt and bib and bought a magnet for my car.  

It was then off to meet my friend Ashley with her son Connor who was running in the Clearshark Shark Sprint kids race.  It was so much fun to see the kids run around the Navy Stadium and the excitement on their faces!  I don't know who had more fun-the kids, the parents or me!  Thank you to Ashley and Connor for meeting me and sharing Connor's first run with me and John.  Ashley recently told me that Connor asked when his next race is going to be; looks like we have a runner here!  

I met several friends later in the day at Panera Bread to catch up and have lunch.  Thank you to Jessica, Heather, Kim and Stephanie for meeting us.  What a wonderful group of running friends I have;  I am so blessed that you are with me on my running adventures!  

Saturday evening consisted of the Race Ambassador reception at Hemingway's Restaurant. The view of the bridge from the restaurant was beautiful.  What a wonderful time to meet my fellow ambassadors and the race directors.  A huge THANK YOU to Sparrow and Peter for hosting us. I couldn't have asked for better race directors organizing this race to ensure the success for us, the runners, the spectators, the volunteers and everyone!

Dinner followed with wonderful seafood along with a perfect waitress followed by dessert; Smith Island Pumpkin Pie cake.  This cake is absolutely amazing; you have to try one!  

Sunday morning came way too early!  As runners, we all know when that alarm goes off, it's cold and dark and we think why am I doing this again? :)  I caught the bus from the Navy Stadium and was on my way!  

At the VIP reception on Friday evening, I met a wonderful staff member from Senator Mikulski's office.  Rachel sent me a text and we had agreed to meet at the Runner's Village.  The view from the start line of the bridge was fantastic!  I was so excited and couldn't wait to start!  Thank you, Rachel for running with me!  

I started the race at 7:19 am which was a half an hour earlier than my original time.  It was thrilling to be a part of this inaugural race and I was ecstatic!  The view from the bridge was amazing!  To be a 185 feet above the Chesapeake Bay; I was thanking God for the beauty of the Bay along with the ability to be a part of all of this!  I didn't have any fear running this bridge which surprised me.  I think it was due to the amazing views!  

One of my favorite things about running across the bridge was a sign stating that I was crossing onto the Eastern Shore; what fun it was to say that I was now in the Eastern Shore part of Maryland!  

I had my best time for a 10K, made a PR while finishing this race!  The medal was great along with a finisher shirt.  I was met at the finish line by John and we were able to rest a bit in the VIP tent where I got coffee, quiche, water, juice and pastries.  Finishers were given bananas, water, a bag with pretzels and bagels.  There was food galore along with a beer garden at the finisher's village with several bands playing until 2 pm Sunday afternoon.  

Coming back on the bus, everyone was so happy and excited to be a part of this race!  Huge smiles, gratitude and happiness was abundant.  I am extremely blessed to be part of this race having been an ambassador and I look forward to many more years of being involved in this venue!

A huge thank you to John, my wonderful love, who supported me throughout this weekend and was my official race photographer!  

Again, a huge thank you to the race directors-Sparrow, Peter and Dave for allowing me to be a part of this! 10K, 6.2 miles, 20,000 runners, 4.35 miles of bridge and 185 feet above the water.   I came, I ran and I beat the bridge! 

I would love to hear about your experiences; please leave comments for me.  Who's joining me next year?  :)  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Big News Announcement

You've seen it on my Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr's the Big News!  I've been chosen to be the first ever race ambassador for the Delaware Marathon on  May 10, 2015!

This is exciting for this hometown girl from Wilmington, Delaware.  I grew up and lived in Wilmington until I was a teenager.  I have friends and family still living there  including my 106 year old Babcia (Grandmother).

The most exciting news-I'm going to train and run my FIRST MARATHON!  Yes, 26.2 miles.  I'm crazy, right? :)  I'm ecstatic and a bit afraid.  I have only run that distance once and this is scary for me. So, please cheer me on with your comments, advice, suggestions, anything that would help ease my fears.  I will start training in January and keep you posted on my progress.

I will have regular updates starting next week about the Delaware Marathon.  So stayed tuned and a huge thank you to Wayne and Joel for helping me with this new adventure in my life!  The journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Second year runiversary!

September 13, 2014 was my second year runiversary!  I really can't believe that I've been running and blogging for two years now.  If you had told me that I would be doing this two years ago, I wouldn't have believed it.

Two whole years and I'm still going strong!  I love my running life along with all the wonderful friends and memories.

I ran the Nike Women's Half marathon in Washington, DC in April.  I met old friends and made new friends.  I think my favorite moment was while I was in the corral and I heard, "There she is!" as I looked around for someone famous. Suddenly, I was bear hugged by a wonderful woman and she was shouting, "It's Gracious Warrior Princess; please take my picture with her!" to her friends.  What an amazing moment for me; realizing that I was that well-known person!

Another amazing moment for me was running my first relay race.  It was the Frederick Half marathon in May.  Thank you, Jen for being my partner and helping me achieve another goal!

I ran the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K in June with a wonderful friend that I met last summer.  I am so proud of Brooke and her accomplishments with running.  June also brought my first wine race-what fun!  Running and wine; couldn't be better!

I was a race ambassador for Espirit de She in Cary, NC.  What a truly beautiful race and the food afterwards was amazing!  Thank you, Lifetime Fitness for my sponsorship and helping me build new memories.  This is a race that I will look forward to attending again next year!

Spring and summer brought along several virtual races, my first ones ever.  I will probably do more of these in the future!

Fall brought along several races and ambassadorships.  Again, I was fortunate enough to be a race ambassador for Shape Diva Dash 5K.  Bragging a bit here,  I was the number one ambassador nation-wide for them.  Again, what a tremendous race, challenging me with the obstacles, giving me greater confidence while seeing old friends and making new ones!

September has brought a new ambassadorship for Spunkwear.

September also brought me back to the Biggest Loser Walk/Run in Washington, DC.  I accomplished the 5K race this year.  Unlike last year's race, this race was held at a better venue and the organization was great!

October brought a new race for me with my first ever under 30 minutes 5K.  Running with Army Rangers via phone really pushed me to getting that PR!

 November offers me an ambassadorship with the 10K Across the Bay Bridge run along with the 10K Columbia Turkey Trot.

My facebook and twitter continue strong-thank you!  Instagram has been a new avenue for me and going well.

Two years strong and continuing to looking forward to new running adventures, memories and friends!  The journey continues....If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

#RIOTS Week Six and Seven

It's weeks six and seven for the #RIOTS.  I got a week behind as I had a lot of personal things going on these last two weeks. I ha...