Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marine Corps Marathon

I survived!

I have lived to tell the tale of ANOTHER amazing marathon! Yes, this past Sunday I ran the roads of Washington, D.C. along with 30,000 of my closest running friends. What an amazing race!! So many people, so many stories, and soooo much motivation.
My DNation team

I'm so grateful for the experience I had this weekend. I ran officially with Team DetermiNation for the American Cancer Society and more or less, un-officially, with my training team Capital Area Runners (CAR). Everyone has been so supportive and uplifting. Many friends helped me raise over $1,200 for the ACS in honor of my best friend, Katie Ball (as well as their loved ones!), and even more spoke encouraging words and offered well wishes throughout my training, as well as on race day.
Picking up my bib and checking out the expo

Thank you all for being amazing friends! I am so blessed to have the support that I have in you all! 

A view of the start! Only a fraction of the 30,000 runners
Race weekend loomed with the threat of hurricane Sandy destroying the day we had all worked so hard for.... But as we rose early Sunday morning, there was no rain, the temperature was perfect for a run and I felt GREAT! ACS had it's own tent pre/post race with lots of food/water, close access to (and no waiting) port-a-potties, bag storage, and a short walk to/from the start/finish lines. Thankfully, we had a very stress free pre-race morning not having to mess with the metro, parking or most of the crowds. In our tent I was able to meet up with Melanie, a friend I made on a long training run through Dnation/CAR.

Melanie and me at the start!
Melanie's super fit and fun, and we ran most of the race together (thankfully). Melanie had an extra boost of energy around mile 22 and I told her to kick it without me. My butt was burning so badly going over that stupid bridge I wasn't sure how I was going to kick it up the stupid hill climb to the finish!

One of the few action shots of the three of us! :) Love it!
Around mile 15 my girlfriend Kristen joined us to help keep our pace, carry our water/food, and run to the boys for additional supplies if needed. She was INCREDIBLE!!! She found us at the perfect time (we were still feeling good at that point) and stayed with me right until the finish (and through the time around mile 23 I thought I was going to barf) sending me through the crowds and around the curve before the dreaded hill climb with positive words and an extra boost of energy!

My finishing time: 3:43:24.

I was quite happy with my time. Ultimately I was shooting for 3:30 (my Boston qualifying time), but when I had to stop running 3 weeks ago due to an injury and move my workouts to the pool, I knew something might have to give and NOT getting to the starting line was not my option!! :) Thankfully my pool time kept my heart and lungs in marathon shape (for the most part), but I could tell my glutes and hamstrings hadn't been on a run recently! They were spent by mile 22.... after that, I think I was just pushing off with my calves.

Or so, that's how my legs felt Monday. 

Post race - At this point, my legs were locked
up and I was FROZEN! Todd practically
had to carry me to the car.... Okay, I leaned 
on him a whole lot. 

So, where I had planned to kick it up "another notch".... I more or less just kept going around the same pace I had been going. I listened to Coach George and despite my lack of kick at the end, I feel I did a great job doing as I was told to do for this race. I was spot on with my pacing from mile 1.... start slow, finish fast. I'll continue to work on the finishing fast part... since miles 25 & 26 were my only slightly faster than the pace of my first 8.

Overall, it was a great race. I wouldn't change much! I shaved 12 minutes from my last marathon, I didn't come close to pooping in my pants (refer to posts on my last race), the crowds were outstanding, and I'm looking for my next race.

Nihad (Melanie's Husband) and Todd - Super Husbands! Best road crew yet!

Recommendations? :)

Better yet --- what's your next race?!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Big Fat Greek Salad

I love salads.

Especially crunchy, feta-filled ones. :)

I found this one on Women's and pretty much make it all the time. I switch up the beans and us cannellini beans too.... They're just buttery!! Yum-o! You also can't skimp on the olives. Buy GOOD olives.

You might catch yourself trying to lick the bowl when you're done too.

.... or is that just me?


In a large salad bowl, mix the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, and pepper with a fork.
Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, cucumber, red onion, parsley, and olives. Toss to mix well. If you have time, let marinate for 15 minutes.
Add the greens and feta and toss again.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Stand [UP] 2 CANCER

Tonight is the big, annual, television domination for the Stand Up To Cancer, celebrity endorsed tele-thon on all the major networks.

It's amazing.

Really. I think it's incredible what they are able to accomplish for this cause. (plus, it sure as heck bets all the politickin' on tv these days!)

But, it really makes me a bit jealous too. I mean, why didn't I get invited?!?! Don't they know I'm raising money for the cause too? Plus, I'm a sassy southern girl with red-hair..... won't that attract SOME DONATIONS!?

;) geez!

You may recall back in March when I informed everyone that I was running the Marine Corps Marathon. (Well, in case you missed that... catch up here.) Not only am I running this marathon, I'm running it to BEAT THE HECK OUT OF CANCER!!!!!

Yes, that means I'm raising money.
Yes, that means I'm going to ask you to donate.
Yes, it means a lot to me.
Yes, you should.

I could give you all the reasons you should support me, but I'll just show them to you instead. I'm a visual person and pictures mean more than words sometimes.

Katie Ball - Angio Sarcoma
My best friend from the first week of college. Katie was a vibrant, extroverted personality that instantly meshed with mine. We simply were "Red and Ched" throughout our time at UNCG. People knew us, knew our friendship, and probably were a bit jealous of it. ;) haha Just teasin'... We really were sisters. We grew up on completely opposite ends of the great state of North Carolina... and met in the middle. (Over make-up too!!!) After our initial introductions, we only were separated by miles. After we graduated, Katie went to ECU to work on her master's. I went to work. For months, she wasn't "feeling right" and it seemed almost a constant battle with her health, pain and problems. Then it came. I'll never forget the call. I was in the Pittsburgh airport returning home from my work week when Katie called. All I heard were tears. Then... "They think I have cancer!" came screaming through. I said nothing. The tears and fear followed. Not much was said after that. I said I'd be there tomorrow morning and as we hung up, the lady sitting next to me in the waiting area, put her hand on my back and just sat with me. I never even said a word to her, but she knew. She knew the fear that I felt. The fear that I had for my best friend who was now, starting the hardest fight of her life. 

For 5 months, the battle was constant. With her and her family, we saw this shining spirit that we all loved so dearly, being destroyed by this cancer. No matter how hard she worked, her doctors and nurses worked, or how much the rest of us prayed... Katie was loosing this war. On December 14, 2007, we lost Katie to cancer. 

Since then, my life has changed. I've been motivated by her in ways a lot of people don't even know. I'm a nurse because of her. Every challenge presented to me, I push through because I know she had it worse and was still smiling. :) Now, I've ran a marathon and am running my second FOR HER! 

These are the other's I know, love and run for. (and yes, their names will be on my jersey too!)
Lee J. Ball (Katie's half-brother) - Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma
My Aunt, Karen  & Ms. Betty - Breast Cancer
Melanie Ketner - Colo-rectal Cancer

My maternal Grandmother - Hodgkin's Lymphoma

There are many patients who have also touched my life who have fought, are fighting, or have lost their battles with cancer. Each of them have also earned a special place on this journey to fight cancer. Together, each mile of my 26.2 mile journey will be dedicated to my friends, family and the loved ones of those who support me on this challenge. 

Currently, I have 6 donors and I have 52% of my fundraising goal. That means I need sponsors for the first 20 miles!! :) Come on... You know you want to!! 

Go on. It's easy: Donate NOW! You won't regret it. 

And tonight while you're watching S[UP]2C on your TV, you'll know you helped someone you know doing good for the cause. 

Thank you all for your support. You're amazing! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy Anniversary to US!

It's crazy to think that 4 years ago today, Todd and I got married!! In a small chapel in Linville, NC, 21 days after our "official engagement", with only our very immediate family (parents, siblings, nephews and grand-parents) present, we made our commitment to each other "for better or for worse". We also knew in 2 weeks Todd would be deploying to Iraq. I will forever be grateful for our friends, Natalie and Dan Watson, who were able to be there to capture this day for us always.

I know in the grand scheme of things, 4 years isn't all that much (I look forward to 10, 20, 30+!), but I can't help think about how quickly they've gone by!! What an amazing relationship and friendship I have with Todd. He truly is my joy. He just gets me. Without even having to say a word, Todd can just put a hand on me and instantly everything feels better.

God has given me so much to be thankful for in Todd. I love the life we have together and look forward to the future God has in store for us too. Yes, one day, I hope to become a parent with him. We're hopefully going to own our first home together very soon! And we're convinced retirement is going to be awesome!

You Are My Joy by Snow Patrol became one of our favorites right as he was deploying. To this day it remains one of those emotional favorites between the two of us. It just seems to say it all so easily.... I even had "You are my joy" engraved on the inside of his wedding band. :) Here's the cute video you can watch while you're at work today. I'll just go about my day taking care of patients knowing that I have the world's most patient, kind and honest man as my husband. I also know that I am loved just as much in return....

And my cup runneth over. I love you Todd. You are my Joy -- Happy Anniversary!  :) xoxo

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Full Steam Ahead.... Choo! Choo!!

Okay - So, even at work people have been sort of harassing me about my blog. Er, well... the lack there of. I'm not going to name names, *cough* AMY *cough*... but I'm going to try to do better. Today, I'm sitting down working on several postings.

Maybe this will make some of you happy! Geez! ;) Tough crowd.

Training for this marathon in October has been uber taxing. I'm not sure exactly why, but I am feeling especially drained today. I'm quite convinced that if given two seconds to close my eyes, I'd be out for a few hours. Marathon training is tough. It's time consuming and hard. It's constant.

I try to plan my work schedule to allow me certain days off a week to get to the track once a week for interval and/or tempo workouts with my team, to give me a few days off to get in some mileage and at some point, I'm running my long runs. The rest of the time I'm eating and sleeping. Well, almost.

August was hard on me because as luck would have it, my schedule gave me only ONE weekend off between the two hospitals. Well, then I messed up my back the first weekend I was supposed to work and had to call out (Which I HATE to do!! It's horrible to be the ones at work without all of your teammates and you're one of the few having to help pick up where the absence is felt. So, I don't ever do it unless I'm practically dying or immobile. Both of which I was, or thought I was, at some point.). Then we got a crazy hair and bought a house!

YIKES! Holy cow. We really might be going mad! :)

Okay, well excitingly so. But it's down right NERVE WRACKING! But, now we're under contract and just awaiting our final loan approval and dotting all the "I's" and crossing all the "T's".

AHHHHH! I just want to KNOW already!? I mean, they pre-approved us and all... so that's good enough right? :) 

So, in my head, I'm planning every fine detail of my future home that I can. (And that's exhausting in it's self!! Please, someone, make this brain turn off!!) Thank goodness my sister will be down soon to stay with us for a few weeks to help! :) YAY!

Maybe not working this weekend and having an extra long weekend with my sweetie to rest and be lazy (when we aren't out running) is what I need.                                Or maybe a massage?

Best part of this crazy month so far:
FINDING OUT MY SISTER & ROAN ARE HAVING A BABY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She has appropriately been named "Lady Ellis" until Meg & Roan decide they can let the world know her name. But who knows, "Lady Ellis" is quite awesome and as far as I'm concerned, it might stick!

 :) More soon Lovies,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Training Plans

What's yours? 

Training for a marathon is very different than training for weight loss or health.

I lost a cup size in my bra training for my last marathon (and my boobs have NEVER shrunk for any reason until now!!), my periods kept getting farther and farther apart, my feet have never looked so rough and don't even get me started on the acne I had due to the heat/friction from my sports bra and my visor. 

Training is fun, but lots of hard work. Lots of preparation and planning. Eating, drinking and sleeping became HUGE aspects of my focus this Spring.... Some might even tell you I was (almost) crazy. Thankfully though, Todd gets it. He's ran his own races before too. He was a MAJOR help making sure I had food, fuel, water (he knew when I got home from work that the first thing I always wanted, was my jumbo Hardee's cup filled to the brim with ice-cold-aqua!) and a plan. He also understood when I fell asleep on his lap/shoulder/arm/leg/etc on the couch every night for several weeks. 

This marathon I know a little more. I know what worked well and what didn't. I know what was hard for me to do and where I struggled. I've got great running partners. I'm adding more speed work and tempo runs in to my weekly plans.... and I've got a new goal:

BOSTON. (for me: 3hours: 35minutes)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Workout: Rolling


Not rolling in the hay or rolling down the road...... Foam Rolling! 

I've had a foam roller for a while now and I'll admit... it has done more to get in the way than to be of use to me in the past. After running my first marathon I learned a little more from my muscles and my body. I'm not a beginner runner so I have to work for injuries. In other words, I'm past shin splints and knee issues... it's all down to stress build up on these mighty muscles! 

Over time and as my distances have gotten longer, my time and commitment to stretching properly has been cut so short that I'm barely doing anything at all. [slacker] Seriously - it's a major issue I have to address pronto or I'm going to be paying for it with a nasty injury that I might not be able to bounce back from. 

I know, I know! ---- I'm working on it! 

Foam Rolling is part of this big correction. I've found that my legs hurt a lot when I roll. Seriously... I'm so tender in many of these tiny muscles I've almost brought tears to my eyes. I've also discovered how amazing it feels on my back and shoulders after one crazy weekend at work! :) Sooooo.... I'm moving the foam roller off of my back and to my glutes, hammies and hips. 


If I'm going to tough it out, I want company. "No pain, no gain!" I use this mantra sparingly, but when it comes to rolling, I'm afraid it's more truth than theory. 

Here are a video you can use to get started. Roll what feels good (or hurts). There are TONS of options when it comes to rolling. Be smart and a bit creative if you must! 

There's not a real science to using a foam roller. Some say use before exercise, others say after. Some say just do 10 rolls per area, some say you should roll until it's pain free. Regardless.... I just roll. A lot of these moves require odd positioning and upper body support so I'll go until my arms are too tired to hold much longer. This is often when I roll on to my back for a bit of a reward. :) 

All hard work deserves a reward. Save the best for last... trust me, your back will love it! 

Roll On my friends! :)