Half Marathon #3: The Bourbon Derby

A couple of weeks ago I finished my third half marathon–the Bourbon Derby. I thought I was crazy signing up for a half marathon in Central Kentucky in the middle of June, but it actually turned out to be a gorgeous Saturday morning. It wasn’t too humid and it wasn’t too hot when the gun went off at 7:30 am.

The course wound around side roads and horse farms around Paris. The start/finish line was at the Bourbon Drive-In, which allowed for parking and room to warm up. There were only a few times that some cars drove through the course, but they were great about driving slow and waiting for runners to move to the side.

Adena Springs = GORGEOUS!

Adena Springs = GORGEOUS!

The race had a four-mile and 10-mile course option along with the half marathon, and each race got to run around at least one horse farm. The half marathon wound around Hillcrest and Adena Springs. If you want to talk about gorgeous scenery, along with some wicked hills, those horse farms had it! The entire course was rolling hills, with one particular hill that I swear if you leaned forward a little too much, you’d smack your nose on the asphalt.

I went into the race not expecting to get a personal record, since I hadn’t been able to train as well as I had. I wanted to stick to around a 10 minute mile. To my surprise, I finished the race with a new PR by two minutes from the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon last year! My official time was 2:06:49!

Everyone’s GPS devices were a little screwy with this race–my Garmin said it was only 12.66 miles long, but the Bourbon Derby course was certified. There has been a lot of discussion about the distance of the race, but I know that not all GPS devices are reliable. There was a thought that maybe a turnaround was misplaced on one of the horse farms, which could make a difference. If that’s the case, then my PR doesn’t hold, which would be a big bummer.

Even so, here are my splits from my Garmin:

Mile 1: 10:03
Mile 2: 9:41
Mile 3: 9:49
Mile 4: 9:50
Mile 5: 10:06
Mile 6: 10:00
Mile 7: 10:14
Mile 8: 10:05
Mile 9: 10:17
Mile 10: 10:08
Mile 11: 10:31 (walked a little)
Mile 12: 10:12
Mile 13 (“0.66 nubbin”): 5:49
    Total: 2:06:52

I pushed through and ran for the first seven miles, feeling strong and comfortable. After some step inclines around the farms, I’d walk at the top to catch my breath, then started running again.

Do I look like I'm running strong?

Do I look like I’m running strong?

For a first-time race, this was very well organized. The announcer/DJ was great–he kept cheering everyone on through the last runner. There were plenty of hydration stops along the routes, and the offerings for after the race were plentiful. I hope I don’t sound petty, but I was bummed about the menial medals, but maybe I’ve just been spoiled with the previous races.

I felt great after the race–I cooled down while cheering on the rest of the finishers. I loved being able to meet up with the Striders, my running group, to cheer on and discuss the race before and after. If you haven’t joined a running group, I totally recommend it.

John's Striders ready to tackle the Bourbon Derby!

John’s Striders ready to tackle the Bourbon Derby!

Will I run this race again next year? I think so! I don’t know if I’ll be so lucky with the weather again like we were this year, but the course was pretty shaded by lots of trees along the way, so that was a big help.

Your turn: Tell me about your most recent race!

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October Goals Review

Every month I’ve been setting small, attainable, goals to accomplish. Some I rock with no problems, others I might struggle with, but the fact that I’m putting them out there for everyone to see has made me more accountable. Now it’s time to fess up and see how I did with my October goals:

  1. Run/walk 70 miles. Oh yeah, finally rocked this goal!! The total ended up being 78 miles! It might have been walking than running, but I’m OK with that.
  2. Continue to work on my kipping pull-ups. I wasn’t as successful as I’d like to admit. I did work on kips a few days here and there, especially with doing toes to bar, but I really need to be more serious about it. If I want to compete at a CrossFit competition soon, I have to be able to do unassisted pull-ups, which means I need to kip!
  3. Plank A Day. I didn’t do a plank everyday, but I made sure I did one at least a few times a week, and holding them for at least 90 seconds at a time. It made me more aware that I need to do more core strengthening on top of my running and CrossFit workouts, so I think that’s an accomplishment.
  4. Re-work/Re-design my blog a little bit. Well, this one everyone can see–I did at least redo my header–what do you think? I’m stuck on how else I should change things, so I need your help. What do you think would make my blog more attractive and more inviting for you to read?
Kept track of my mileage on our awesome chalkboard. (Disregard M's mileage haha)

Kept track of my mileage on our awesome chalkboard. (Disregard M’s mileage haha)

A couple of brags from the month of October:

* My new 5K PR that I set in the Race for the Cure in early October:
* New front squat (130) and clean (110) PRs set at CrossFit!
* M and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary and my mom and dad celebrated their 40th!

I need to finalize my November goals, but I don’t want to keep repeating what I have up here. Hopefully in the next day or so I’ll be able to post them for you.

Your turn: How did October go for you? Any big accomplishments to celebrate? Brag about it!!

September Review

I can’t believe it’s October already! Though I have to admit, it feels like September was a really long month. I almost forgot that I had written out my September goals, but luckily I pretty much stuck with them. So, let’s review my goals from September and how I stacked up:

  1. I’d like to finish LaMesa’s Excellent titles in agility this month. Well, I already accomplished that within the first day of the month. Yay! LaMesa’s been an awesome little agility dog lately. Here’s hoping we continue working well together. (You can read about her accomplishment, and watch the videos on their blog, Agility On Stumps.)
  2. Meet my September deadline early, and then get a good head start on my October article deadline. OK, so I wasn’t the best at deadlines this month. I did meet my September deadline a little earlier than the actual day of, but I’m still working on my October deadline (which is due next weekend), so I’m not working as far ahead as I would have liked. Gotta do better at deadlines!
  3. Take my women’s multi-vitamin everyday. I’ve been rocking this one!
  4. Get in at least 70 miles of walking this month. Unfortunately I only reached about 65 miles of running/walking in September. If I hadn’t gotten hurt last week, I was going to do a 5 mile run on Wednesday, which would have definitely helped me meet my goal. Oh well. I will repeat this goal for October!
  5. Keep a positive attitude and try to not let things get to me as much as I have lately. Things have started to look up for me lately, so I’m going to say this was a success! This is always going to be an ongoing goal, though.
  6. Work on my kipping pull-ups everyday I’m at the box. Total fail at this one. After I ripped open my hand a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had to take it easy on hanging off of things. So I’ll be working on this, still, and that’s OK!

So I was 50% for the month–that’s OK, I still made some big strides with everything, so I have to be happy with that, right?

Your turn: How’d you do for your September goals? Ready for October?

A Look at the Week Ahead

Mondays are often viewed as a chance to re-start things. You often hear people saying they’ll get back to their diet come Monday. Even though, technically, Sunday is the start of the week, we always view Monday as the stepping stone for the next six days.

This morning I woke up already thinking about how I can make this week better. I didn’t go to my morning spin class because Sunday night I felt like I was starting to get sick and went to bed at 9:30 (!!) and decided I wouldn’t set my alarm for the usual 5 am wake-up. I woke up feeling better, thankfully, and fully-rested to start the week.

So here’s my look-ahead for the week ahead:

Monday – Evening spin class (the legs are feeling good today, after my rest day Sunday that consisted of just a 2-mile walk with the pups), followed by dinner and then tackling today’s HealthysELF challenge of a nagging task. My task is our bathroom cabinet. It’s a cluttered mess! Yesterday M and I bought an organizer for the cabinet in hopes that’ll help things, so I’ll use that to hopefully get the cabinet organized and cleaned.

Tuesday – Morning run on the treadmill and probably weights in the evening. I really need to start working on a couple of freelance articles, so this will be the evening I get that going.

Wednesday – Morning run on the treadmill. I might take the pups to do some agility training after work, so I want to be sure to get a good sweat in the morning.

Thursday – Yoga in the morning, weights/cross-training in the evening. More freelance work, hopefully.

Friday – Run in the morning and maybe a light session in the evening. I won’t be doing a long training run this weekend because I will be out of town for an agility trial, so I’m going to throw in an extra run Friday morning to make up for the lack of miles.

Saturday & Sunday – Kick some doggie butt with my two girls at the agility trial in Ohio and hope for the best!

Another positive start to the week? M and I finally got a new blender with some wedding gift cards and leftover Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons, so I got to have a protein shake for breakfast for the first time in months! Yay! But now I need to buy more protein powder. What’s your favorite?

How’s your week looking?

10 Things to Know How to do by 30

So it might be a little odd that I post this now, since I turned 30 in November, but I received an email from The Nest with an article titled “10 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do by 30” and I took a look at it to see if I succeeded in that, now that my 30s are a few months old…

  1. How to budget
    OK, so maybe I’m not the best at budgeting (M certainly has that over me), but I do know when I have the cash and when I don’t, and I’m generally pretty good about not overspending. I do need to work a little closer with M, and not expect him to do all the financial work for me, and that’s why it’s one of my 2013 goals to be more financially fit together. This just poked me into more action…
  2. How to cook (at least one) signature dish
    I would have to say I have at least a couple signature dishes that I make…maybe not on a regular basis, but I still can make them. I’ve expanded my horizons with cooking lately, thanks to Pinterest and healthy bloggers that I follow, so this one is always a work in progress.
  3. How to write professionally
    If there’s one thing a freelancer should know how to do, it’s how to write. But I did take some professional writing classes in college so I knew how to write memos at work, resumes, etc. It’s definitely a different type of writing, and one that everyone, no matter what profession you are, should learn.
  4. How to not part with your hard-earned cash
    This goes right along with #1. I tend to be pretty stingy with money at times, and I always have buyer’s remorse, even when I buy just one shirt! I think for me, I have to learn to be happy with purchases I make for myself and not feel so guilty all the time–I work hard for the little bit of money I earn, so I should be able to enjoy it every once in a while.
  5. How to change a flat tire
    Oh yeah, I’ve got this one in the bag! I knew how to change my own flat tire when I got my license at 16. And when I started hauling our horse trailer to shows and rodeos, I learned how to change the tires on our horse trailer (with and without a horse in it). My dad made sure his girls were very self-sufficient and independent (and poor M is reminded of that a lot).
  6. How to look up your credit report
    I somewhat know how to do this…I’ve done it before. But I’m so worried about how they say the more you look up your credit, it affects your numbers, so I don’t do it very much. Perhaps I should try it to see where things stand right now…
  7. How to manage your money…digitally
    Online banking is the way to be. M does all of our banking online (he doesn’t even have checks, and it drives him nuts that I do–hey, entry fees for agility trials take check, not credit!). I can manage my money online, and have been toying with getting our bank’s app on my phone, but then that scares me if something were to happen to my phone. So I think I’ll wait on that one.
  8. How to swim
    I think this should be something you should learn before you’re 15! Knowing how to swim can save your life. I know how to swim to get by, but I wish I knew how to swim effectively and proficiently. It’d be great to be able to incorporate that into my workouts more (I did do some swimming when I had a stress fracture in my foot a couple of years ago).
  9. How to move on
    From the slide: “We mean this in the broadest sense possible, whether it’s moving on after you didn’t get the job you wanted, after learning that the mortgage for the home you loved is way out of your price range, and, okay, sure, getting over old relationships.”

    I have a hard time with this. I’m afraid of letting go or change, so moving on from things like an unsatisfactory job, friendships that aren’t fulfilling, etc., is hard for me. However, things like the house, etc., that are more physical and I can see money being taken away from me is easier to handle. I tend to hold onto friendships that might have been dying for months, just because I have a glimmer of hope we might be able to rekindle things. And it’s draining for me in so many ways.

  10. How to strike a balance between work and life
    I think I have a decent balance between work and life, because it’s my life that helps relieve the stress from work. But I need to strike more of a balance in my life outside of work–see more friends, expand my horizons to learn more and do more, etc. I think it’d lead to me having a happier and more fulfilling life.

How do you stack on this list? 

Here’s to a Healthier, Happier, More Prosperous 2013

So you know I couldn’t let New Year’s go by without put my goals for 2013 to paper computer screen. I’ve already made mentions of them before, so this shouldn’t be a surprise:

Collage

Fitness Goals
* Complete my second half marathon — I’d say complete two half marathons within 30 days, like I had been thinking about doing, but the high registration costs might make me re-think that. (Why do races have to be so expensive?)
* Run in a few more races and work to continue PRing — I actually didn’t run in very many races in 2012, except for the major ones (Derby Half Marathon, Bluegrass 10K) and the obstacle races, but I’d like to do a few more 5Ks and maybe a second 10K.
* Try CrossFit — I’m already off to a positive start, as I purchased a Living Social deal for 10 classes, or one month of open gym, at the new CrossFit ManOWar that’s just right by my house! (I’ve been a little turned off by the high cost, because I don’t want to give up my regular gym.)
* Get back into shape and stay in shape — Easily understood (I gained some weight back after the wedding with relaxing the training due to honeymoon and holidays)

Healthy Eating Goals
* Continue to find/create health recipes — I’m trying to embrace being an “adventurous cook” by taking recipes and trying to make them a little healthier.
* Eat out less — This will just save us more money and more calories in the long run.
* Do my best to avoid sugar rushes — I’ve got to break the sugar craving I’ve had lately.
* Try to get M to make healthier food choices — They say the best way to create change is be the change…let’s see how this goes.

Financial Goals
* Work with M more on setting budgets — We’ve talked about it, but now’s the time to really do it, with M still trying to find a job.
* Sock away freelance cash — Continue to grow the savings account with the freelance jobs.

Life Goals
* Really sit down and think about my career — It’s not that I’m miserably unhappy in my job. I’m happy in my job, but I don’t know if I see it as the exact fit for me. I feel like I’m at a crossroads, yet again, and I need to really figure life out. What’s ironic is right now M and I have the perfect opportunity to pack and move wherever a job would take either of us, but we’re afraid of big changes and moving.
* Reconsider personal training certification? — A few years ago, I was all set to start studying for my personal training certification, and then some big changes came to my full-time job and I had to put that on hold. There’s a part of me that still wants to be a personal trainer, but I’m not sure if my life can fit that in right now.
* Grow this blog — I’ve really enjoyed blogging the past year, but I’d like to grow it more in many ways; perhaps by joining blogging groups like FitFluential, or anything. I love the healthy blogging community that I have been lucky enough to be a part of.

Shew…that’s a lot!! Better get started!

Last Week of Elf4Health Challenges

elf4healthThis is the last week for the Elf4Health Challenge. It’s been a fun six weeks and I’ve enjoyed getting to know new bloggers. I have to give a huge shootout and thanks to Elle and Lindsay for putting this together–I don’t know how they do it!

Here’s the line-up for the last week:

Monday, Dec. 31 — Make a healthy dish to bring to your New Year’s celebrations. We’ll be traveling to spend the night with a good friend of M’s (he was one of our groomsmen) in Dayton, so I’m not too sure what I’ll do about this challenge. I’m sure I’ll come up with something, and when I do, I’ll share it with y’all!
Tuesday, Jan. 1 — Clean the house from top to bottom. Again, we’ll be in Ohio for most of the day, but I already got a headstart on cleaning on Sunday–even cleaning out some of the cabinets again. This will be an ongoing project through the week.
Wednesday, Jan. 2 — Set a fitness goal. Done already–I want to complete my second half marathon, and try to get in a few more races in 2013.
Thursday, Jan. 3 — Eat at least three food groups at each meal today. This should be fun! I’m already picturing my scrambled eggs with a piece of whole wheat toast and a banana for my breakfast, and endless possibilities for lunch and dinner.
Friday, Jan. 4 — Walk or run a mile as fast as you can! I’m going to be at a dog agility seminar Friday and Saturday, so I’ll be doing this challenge earlier in the week. I’m excited about this and about pushing myself. It’ll be interesting to see how I do pushing myself in the cold air.
Saturday, Jan. 5 — Get up and move during the commercial breaks while watching TV. I’ll be at the seminar most of the day, but I’m going to try to do this throughout the week–a great idea for everyone to try!

So there you have it…one last week as an Elf for Health! I hope this inspires more people to try new things like this challenge has inspired me!

Goals: Week #2

Last week I started the inaugural weekly goal post because I wanted to be held accountable for making better/healthier choices and be proud of how I’ve done because everyone who reads this blog can keep me honest.

So, let’s recap last week:

  • Drink more water: I did very well with this, drinking at least three water bottles’ full everyday, for at least the recommended two liters.
  • Chill on snacks: I did decent with this one, until towards the end of the week when I was exhausted and just craving carbs (i.e., Baby Swiss Cheezits in my co-worker’s desk) like crazy.
  • Run and stretch more: I did my yoga DVDs twice last week, which was great, and I ran three times on the treadmill, adding more stretching at the end of my runs than I had.

This week I’m going to keep the above goals, but add one other:

  • Decide on what half-marathon training program I’m going to go with and then design it to fit my schedule and my ability, then start and stick to it! I officially start my 12-week half-marathon training program a week from today, so I’m already starting to get nervous, as I previously shared. I just want to be able to be on the right track so I can get through the 13.1 miles without injury and around 2:20.

Last week’s workouts consisted running on the treadmill, weight and circuit training on my own, two yoga DVD workouts, plus quite a few walks (some running, especially in grass and up hills) with the dogs for their conditioning.

Another Monday means another week to do better!

Resolutioners–Sticking with the Goal

January is halfway complete, so it makes me think of those who made that annual resolution to join a gym and get healthy.  How successful have they been?

First off, let me say that I am one of those that gripes and grumbles at the increase of cars in the parking lotand having to sign up earlier for spin class. I catch myself rolling my eyes at gym newbies (aka what I call “resolutioners”) who take their time on the machines. The resolutioners tend to slow me down when I’m on a mission of a quick HIIT (high intensity interval training) session, which I never appreciate. However, I totally understand that they really do mean well and they are trying to better their life. You can’t fault anyone for giving it a good old fashion try. (And if I am ever able to study and get my personal trainer’s certification, I’ll welcome any client–resolutioner or pro!)

I wish there was a handbook for the resolutionist–just for every new member of a gym to encourage them to keep with the program, while not looking out of place:

1.) If you don’t know how a machine works, ask! I don’t mind pausing to show someone how to get the best use of the machine. You don’t want to hurt yourself before you get started.

2.) Don’t sit and dawdle on the machines or benches. I’m always on a time limit. I don’t want to wait to do a 30-second exercise.

3.) Leave your phone in the car or in your gym bag–it doesn’t belong on the elliptical or on the weight room benches. Once again, my time is precious. I also appreciate my time being unplugged from technology (minus my MP3 player and the treadmill, of course). Trust me, you will too.

4.) Don’t be afraid to park farther away from the front door. It’s not Christmas. You don’t need to stalk me for a close parking spot. (I park my truck towards the back of the lot, anyway.) You’re here to workout and burn calories. Start that process by walking a few more steps.

And, finally…

5.) Stick with it! Don’t get discouraged if the scale isn’t moving as quickly as you’d like. A change in your health takes a long time. Be proud of every minute you spend in the gym, sweating away your stress, sadness, lunch, etc. Any little bit helps!

I celebrate March as being free from the resolutioners because they usually slack off by then, or they’ve morphed into a regular, like me. This year I hope to see more regulars at the gym.

What other tips would you share with a resolutionist at your gym?

A New Year of Goals…Not Resolutions

Happy New Year!! There have been quite a fair share of resolution blog entries covering the realm of things like weight loss, financial freedom, education, etc. I think it’s great to see what everyone else hopes to accomplish in the coming year. Writing things down is a great way to make yourself accountable for what you say you resolve to do. You can always look back on that blog post to remind yourself of either how far you’ve come or how far you still have left to go.

For example, my brother-in-law and sister set out on 1/2/11 on the typical weight loss journey. Jerry started out by changing his recipes to be healthier and in smaller portions. He started working out using first a hand-me-down treadmill then a new elliptical and a weight machine Matt and I gave them for Christmas. My sister, Erin, stuck with her gym membership and went along with Jerry’s meal plan. I’m proud to say that 364 days later my sister is at least 40 pounds lighter and my brother-in-law is at least 100 pounds lighter, and they competed in their first 5K on 12/31/11. How amazing is that?? I’m so, so proud of them. Sure they didn’t finish towards the front, but they finished…and they weren’t last…and they are both proud of themselves. Both of them still have more weight to lose, but they’ve come so far that it showed how this is more than just a typical resolution, but a change in their lives for the better.

2012 Goals: Career and fitness satisfaction, agility achievements, and wedded bliss!

I don’t really do “resolutions.” It’s more like I set goals for myself (sure goals are about the same as resolutions, but I feel a little less cliché saying “goal”). I try my best to look forward, and 2012 is definitely the year to do so. I’ll be celebrating five years of living in Lexington and working at my current place of employment, which is pretty good considering how much moving I did after college. I hope this is the year that I can take more of a bigger role at the office and be able to celebrate some of my work as my own. I’m also starting to freelance again, which has excited me and rejuvenated my love of journalism. I’m hoping to grow this aspect of my professional life and be organized with deadlines, sources, and payments.

Speaking of payments, I’m excited to have such a wonderful person to help me with my finances in Matthew. He says that this summer we should both be debt free, minus our auto payments, which was his goal before we got married. How exciting is that!? After all the credit cards are paid off, I may only use a credit card once a month or less just to fill my truck’s gas tank…only to be able to pay it off that month.

Of course I have some fitness goals for 2012. Last summer I ended up losing 14 pounds, which was perfect for choosing my wedding dress. I’m at the lowest I have weighed in a long time, but I know I need to lose a few more pounds (5-10) to be at the typical “healthy weight” for my height. Plus I want to be sure that that darn dress will zip up easily and that I will look my best! I want to start toning my body more–my legs are pretty darn toned (and for someone who doesn’t wear skirts, I never really show them off), but my arms need more toning, as well as my core. And, of course, I will be running in my first half-marathon at the end of April, so my main fitness goal is to be able to finish all 13.1 miles in less than 3 hours. I hope that this summer I’ll be able to finally accomplish my goal of running in a 10K (I know, a little small after finishing a half-marathon, right?), so that’ll keep me motivated to keep running after April.

My dog agility goals are simple–I want to get Dally qualified for the 2013 AKC National Agility Championships in Tulsa, Okla. We qualified for the 2012 Championships, but they’re in Reno, Nevada, in March, which is exciting but very hard to go to participate. I can’t afford to fly Dally and myself out there, plus get a rental car and hotel room, and driving the 31+ hours because I would have to take off a lot of time from work, which won’t work very well since I have to take quite a few days off for the wedding and honeymoon in October. So, I’m hoping we can earn the six double “Qs” (called “QQs”) and 400 speed points (1 point for every second under the standard course time)…and do all of this in a limited agility schedule, since I have to cut back for the wedding.

And, of course, there’s the wedding that’s been hinted at throughout this blog post. I’m excited to start seriously planning the wedding the early part of the year and then enjoying every moment leading up to it. I do not want to be one of those “bridezillas” and I want to be able to enjoy things with my family and friends. I know it’s more about the marriage and the time after the wedding than the actual day itself, and I hope we can keep that in mind. I can’t wait to continue growing with Matt in more ways than just in age and solidifying our happy little family.

What are your goals/resolutions for 2012? Whatever they are, best of luck and stick with them!!