My Gazelle Girl 1/2 Marathon Experience and PR!

Ok, first off… I am SORRY that I stunk at blogging for the last 8 weeks. Seriously, it’s been that long since I last posted!!! I have grad school, work and training to get a PR this past weekend, and I just didn’t have time for a quality post. I pinky promise to do better from here on out! 🙂

I had trained so well for this race, from several Peak-8 sprint workouts (I even ran 5 miles at a 7:49 average pace TWICE) to multiple 10+ mile runs at below a 9:00 pace…. Those things may have been interesting to you to hear about on this little journey to a PR, but like I said, I have been SO BUSY! I was definitely ready for this race!

On Saturday, I met up with my friend and we rode down together. We met at the perfect time, because just as we had gotten to Grand Rapids, our area up north got hammered with a freak storm! I’m not kidding, nobody told us this storm was coming! I still didn’t have electricity or internet, obviously, (OH MY WORD) when I got home from the race on Sunday around 4 PM.

 

Some CRAZY damage…

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I’m just thankful I didn’t hear about any injuries! However, if you get some time, send our little towns your thoughts, prayers and good vibes that the river levels go down because there is some major flooding possiblities as a result of this weekend that the area really doesn’t need!

Back to Gazelle Girl, we got our packets and drove to my friend’s apartment. Got our carbo-loading on and relaxed on the couch watching movies the rest of the night and deciding exactly what we were going to wear! Michigan weather is the best… NOT. You just never know what you’re going to get in the next couple minutes, let alone a whole morning later!! I decided on capris and short-sleeves and hit the hay, although I maybe got 5 hours of sleep from the nerves! I kept having dreams I was buried alive! NO, NOT KIDDING! But that means I was stressed out / nervous right?? That’s what Mr. Google said anyway.

 

All of the gear for the morning!

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In the morning, everything went smoothly. My wonderful friend took us to the race and stayed the entire time to watch! The weather was a perfect temperature with no sun beating down on us, but more humidity than I was used to. Oh well – like I said, it’s Michigan. You couldn’t really have asked for better in mid-April!! I was going to do this thing. My goal time was a 1:50.00 (8:23 pace), which was kind of a reach and I knew that, but I did the first 10 miles at an 8:15 or faster pace, with three miles at sub – 8:00 miles! That would be why the last 3 miles were SO HARD! I ended up finishing with a 1:51.55 and I am INCREDIBLY HAPPY WITH THAT! That was an 8:32 pace and a 4:46 personal best time after nearly three years of not being able to beat my 1:56.41 from 2011!

The best part of the day was seeing everyone else finish and getting their personal bests, too! My friends Sarah, Caryn and Alyson all finished with happy faces and a new “time to beat” for our next races! Megan was so smart and listened to her body – I know it was hard for her, but there’s always another race! Then I got to meet up with my friend…. AND MAN FRIEND CAME! This is the first time he’s ever come to watch me! I can’t really blame him because if you don’t like running, it’s not fun until the end to be spectating!

My amazing friend, Trisha, who let us sleep in her bed and shower at her apartment, and then came and stayed the full 2+ hours to be our support system! Thanks, dude! You are the BOMB!

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MAN FRIEND!

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I was so excited about the PR, and because he really came, that I tried to hug him right away. I don’t think he appreciated how sweaty I was… I know, rude! 😉

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All of the girls from our neck of the woods (minus Caryn)!!!!!! 

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I’m so proud of all of us and can’t wait to do more races with the wonderful ladies in my life!

Oh, let me show you the BEST “medal” ever! Gazelle Girl switched it up and gave us an amazing charm that we can truly wear on a daily basis if we want to! 🙂

#PureMichigan of course!

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You all want to run this race now right?! 🙂 Have a great Easter-week! I am in bed with some sort of crud, probably from Megan!! 😉 However, it gave me time to get this jotted down and shared! Maybe I’ll even get my homework done while I lay here!

 

Did anyone else run Gazelle Girl this weekend?? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!!!! 

What’s your favorite part about the running community? 

– I love, love, love the random support from strangers in the crowd – especially when they read your name on your bib, look right at you and tell you that you’re awesome and you can finish the race. I had an older man call out to me individually twice. He has no idea how much he helped, so thank you to him!!!!

8 weeks until Gazelle Girl 1/2 Marathon!

Yup, that’s right. 8 weeks from today. That scares me a little, especially since I have BIG goals. I want to improve my time by nearly 7 minutes from my previous PR, which was over 2 years ago! I feel like I’ve been training so well, but…. what if? How is the training going for your guys’ spring 1/2 marathons? What kind of speed work are you putting in?

Sunday – Rest Day

Monday – 4 easy miles with Megan in 41:00 (10:15 Pace)

Tuesday – 2.01 in 16:11 (8:03 pace), Leg Strength Training

Wednesday – Abs/Arms Strength Training

Thursday – 3.14 in 30:00 (9:33 Pace) Abs/Arms

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – 10 Miles with Megan in 1:44:50 (10:22 Pace)

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On Saturday, for the long run, we did the walk/run method that Megan has consistently been using for over a year now. She swears by it and we actually included those walks breaks in the overall time it took, so I definitely believe in it as well. We did 1 mile run / 1 minute walk intervals. It has allowed me to do more miles than I could have without the breaks, and the pace during the run section is faster because I’ve had a small recovery. I didn’t want to do it at first, but I definitely have learned to love and appreciate my one minute walk breaks. I don’t have any intention of walking during the actual half marathon, but many people have done the run/walk and even qualified for Boston doing it. Try it if you’re struggling to up your mileage. A 12 minute miles is just as far as an 8 minute mile! 🙂

Oh yea! Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Hope you guys had a good one. I won the best dressed contest at work! I pretty much killed it. I’m not competitive at all 😉

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My boyfriend happens to think VDay is a pretty stupid holiday, and therefore doesn’t want to celebrate it. So, instead of a Valentine’s Day card, I got a “Thank You” card. I’ll take what I can get.

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Oh, my gosh! And the bestest part of my week was the photo shoot I got to do (I did mention I dabble in Photography) with my good friend and her little 3 month old.

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Have a good week. Get your speed on! 🙂

A Week’s Worth of Happiness and Exercise. Oh, AND a trip to SPAIN!

I had a great week. I am fortunate enough to have an amazing job and they have even okay-ed a  Study Abroad trip that I have to complete for my Master’s program. I will be spending 6 weeks in Spain this Summer, taking classes and even doing a little traveling! I wonder what kind of running trails they will have in the city I’m in! I will still have races to run in the Fall when I get back, so I’ll have to stay in shape!

If you didn’t know, it’s REALLY cold here. I finally have mastered the right amount of clothing for runs as I actually was sweating yesterday and did not have frozen fingers. As I was on my way to church this morning, I couldn’t help but notice how absolutely beautiful it was, as FREEZING as it is. So, I’ll be thankful for that, but at the same time, I will note that we only have 41 days until Spring. Hallelujah.

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Random, but important: I got my man-friend to shave off his beard this week. I’ve had to “deal with”it for over 3 months. He looked like a lumberjack, still handsome, but it was time for it to go. Again, thank you Jesus!

I also hit 22 miles this week, so I am actually on par to get my 84 miles per month, leading to 1,000 miles for 2014! Yay! I just have to do a few extra to make up for last month’s slacking…

Sunday: 6 miles easy, in 1:10:00 with Megan  (11:40 Pace)

Monday: 2 miles (easy) in 19:00 (9:30 Pace), Gymnastics Conditioning

Tuesday: 5 Miles of Speedwork with Megan (4 miles at 9:00 pace, 2 min rest between miles and ½ mile warm up, cool down)

Wednesday: Rest Day! 🙂

Thursday: 3.12 miles in 26:40 (8:33 Pace), Gymnastics Conditioning

Friday: Arms/ Abs Conditioning

Saturday: 6 miles in 57:40 with a new running buddy / old friend Sarah! (9:37 Pace)

 

Have a GREAT week! – From the furry friends in my life. And yes, the second one is also a dog. 😉

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#AmericaIsBeautiful. Short and Sweet.

I’m sure someone is going to get angry. You’re entitled to your opinion. However, it really hurt my heart to see the bashing of the Coca-Cola commercial, as it was probably my favorite one. I am absolutely HONORED to be an American and HONORED to have a song about America sung in other languages. It showed compassion, peace, love and UNITY.

The Bible has been translated into nearly every language (Also, ENGLISH wasn’t the bible’s original language) and I’m sure God looks at it as though it’s amazing to have all these different languages praising Him and learning about Him. Isn’t that what Coca-Cola did? They praised America in SEVEN languages! That’s pretty awesome! The song was a tribute to and from all different ethnicities and nationalities that make up the “Greatest Country in The World.”

I encourage you to please listen to it again, this time with a little compassion and respect for the melting pot that has always been our country, and also for the sweet voices of the beautiful children singing it. Thank you.

 

This winter is dampening my running spirit, for real.

It’s the coldest and snowiest one I can remember in my lifetime. I’m from Michigan so it’s not like I have never seen a cold day. I thought the bitter cold was over. And I woke up this morning to this…

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I set a goal to run 1,000 miles in 2014. That comes to (approximately) 84 miles per month. That’s totally doable. I failed this month and I blame it on the cold and snow. I also blame it on me for not checking the weather and realizing I wasn’t going to be able to accomplish that many outdoor runs. I got in 52 miles. However, there are positives of less mileage and more strength and speed.

My average pace was over 30 seconds per mile faster on every run.

I have truly loved the runs I was able to do because there was never a day I felt forced to do them.

The emphasis on strength-training has made a noticeable impact on my overall enjoyment of working out. Variety is the spice of life. 😉

Here’s a recap:

Monday – Peak 8 Sprint workout. Then I walked a couple miles while chatting with a cool man I met that works at the same place I do. Such a small world!

Tuesday – 5.04 miles in 43:00 (8:32 pace)

Wednesday/Thursday – no running. Lots of abs/arms and stretching

Friday – 4.02 miles in 33:50 (8:25 pace)

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – 6 easy miles with Megan.

This weekend was a busy one. I had to work, babysit, participate in my graduate conversations all while getting another 6 inches of snow. I’m super thankful my Dad loves me as much as he does.

Then I had bridesmaid’s dress shopping and  a super bowl party – where I ate the best fruit pizza and I tried my hand at making a dish to pass as well – brownie batter dip!!! 🙂

 

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Sock Buns and Creepy Man Pants and Faster Times.

Sorry that I totally failed with the idea of a regular posting schedule. I have no idea if you know this but I speak Spanish so I got a side gig translating some documents. It’s consuming my life! But, it’s fun and nice to know that I am capable of doing large-scale tasks like this one.

For running this week, I didn’t get huge mileage numbers, but boy did I have some interesting workouts!

Sunday: 8.5 miles with a friend. I got us lost, in the arctic tundra that is Michigan lately. She wasn’t pleased. My Garmin died halfway through, because it was too cold, so I don’t even know our pace. It was NOT the best long run I’ve had.

Monday – Peak 8 (2.16 miles) and gymnastics-based conditioning. This week I held my “jog” at 7.0 MPH and my sprint at 10.0 MPH. I’m amazed at how fast I’m already getting (SEE FRIDAY’S RUN), and I have 11 weeks before my half marathon still. I am SO excited. I did, reluctantly, complete 10 chin-ups again. 😉

Tuesday – I did a super easy 2 miles and then stretched really well… Did I mention people point out my tight hamstrings a lot at the gym? It’s sort of embarrassing…

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – 3.02 easy miles with Megan in the bitter, bitter cold. I love Michigan but c’mon… it’s cold. Please lighten up on us!

Friday – 4.02 mile in 33:00! This is my best run this week and I am so excited about the 8:13 (FAST TIME) pace I averaged.

Considering my goal pace for the ½ marathon (in 11 weeks) is an 8:23 pace, this makes me VERY happy and even more motivated (yes, I know it’s 9.1 more miles, but still).

Although I’ve definitely had my fair share of chocolate and ice cream this week, I’ve also seen a lot more of these types of things in my diet, and I think it’s truly helped with my energy:

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Okay, now for the reason my post is titled the way that it is… THIS is what I have to look at every time I go down to my boyfriend’s basement.

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And EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I think someone is in those pants and is going to kill me. Why do they have to hang there, right behind the treadmill? Why? Why? Why?

I’m going to enjoy the rest of my night, playing with the new sock bun I got and drinking yummy hot cocoa… away from those creepy man pants.

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It’s the little things in life…

I haven’t been feeling 100%, so I’ve run a total of three miles since I last posted, but hey it was at an 8:41 pace and I’ve got a ten-miler in the morning with one of my favorite running buddies, so I’m feeling very happy about all that still!!!

Anyway, the things that did go on in the last few days  have been great. It truly is the little things in life for me.

I played with my absolute favorite person before she zonked out. This is my niece. We shall call her FiFi and she shall be mine and she shall be my FiFi… Name that movie and you WIN!

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She took my glasses off my head and decided she looked better in them. I think she’s right. Then she gave me a photo shoot of funny faces for a good 5 minutes. Best. 2 year old. ever.

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It looks like I might have something stuck in my teeth….. That’s what I get, I guess. 😉

I also successfully cooked AND cleaned, which is quite an accomplishment. My domesticated skills are far below average for a person my age.

I leave you with this wonderful photo of the piece of chocolate I found right when one of those chocolate cravings hit. Ladies, you know how that goes. All I can say is THANK YOU, Jesus!

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Get your run on this weekend! 🙂

When you Feel Like Poo, But you Have Miles to Do!

Today I feel sick. I’ve already considered using a sick day tomorrow because I could just really use the rest.

Go figure, because I set a goal to run 1000 miles this year, which comes to like 84 per month… I’ve run 18 this month… Yea. I didn’t run because I felt cruddy today, and if I’m smart, I won’t try to run tomorrow. Sometimes, I think I’m invincible, though….

People yell at me when I run when I feel sick, because I end up feeling ill for way longer than I probably would have. My friends and family are always trying to poop at the party (party poopers.) Hahaha!! Please watch this video if you didn’t understand my little joke that I just made:

Jennifer poops at parties?

I really hope you laughed as much as I do at that!

Anyway, let’s take for example, Megan. She always gives me the proper words of stern advice when I would like to do things that I shouldn’t do:

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She does it out of love!

Sometimes it’s a little threatening. She has to be, though, or it typically doesn’t work. 😉

Yesterday, I did take a totally-toned class, though, at my local gym. It wasn’t terribly difficult but it WORKED a ton of different muscle groups. I also was informed (I already knew, but was in denial) that I desperately needed to do more hamstring stretches and that, “you’re too young to not be able to do a full extension!” Here are some great ones that I’ve done the last couple days and were recommended to me by more than one person. They’re super simple and effective!

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Stretch, strength-train AND Run! So important to do all three to get the most out of your body!

Dopey Challenge Shoutout!

I inhaled ice cream and other less-than-impressive foods of choice while watching my Instagram, Twitter, Reader and Facebook feeds fill themselves with those of you who completed the inaugural Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World’s Marathon weekend. My first and most obnoxious shoutout goes to Megan from Running Toward The Prize.

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Running off adrenaline after completing 48.6 miles in four days! Congratulations to you, Megan! 🙂

I trained with Megan for this event so she wasn’t all alone on all of her long runs. I emphasize all, because although I was with her for a good amount of long runs, she still doubled my mileage the last two months! It has been so much fun this weekend to see her excitement as she finishes the biggest race of her life to date! I cannot wait until I’m not poor anymore and can do it as well! 😉

Congratulations to the rest of the Marathon-weekend runners as well. Your accomplishments are amazing, regardless of what race you did!

On a less productive-note, I dog-sat my boyfriend’s puppy this weekend.

First, he helped me keep-up with Megan and the others whose blogs I read / whom I knew that were participating in the events at Walt Disney World:

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If you are ever in need of some computer help, I have an eager doggy for hire.

After that, we went on a 3 mile walk with his brother puppy and my friend, Brooke!

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3.06 miles, if we are being exact.

It’s good that we did that, because I ate A LOT of (AMAZING) Häagen-Dazs White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle ice cream… I’m still planning to run this evening, but you know, incase that ice cream puts me in a sugar coma and I don’t run, I did get a nice walk in.

On a side note, Beau and brother Harley have been doing this since we got back,

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Congrats again, WDW Marathon-Weekend finishers! I can’t wait to be a part of that finisher group one day!

I will do chin-ups. I will do chin-ups.. I WILL do chin-ups!

Strength training is crucial, I get it.. I was a gymnast until 2012 so I am strong, just not near as strong as I once was. And.. I have NEVER been able to do pull-ups or chin-ups. It baffles everyone.

Last night, I went to the gym with some of my lovely workout buddies. I’m pumped because I brought the AB workout and we were going to get a good run in.

Well, we did those things first.

Started out with this workout called a Peak-8. Do you know what that is? I didn’t – today was my first rodeo:

3:00 Warm up run (6.0 MPH)

1:30 Jog (6.5 MPH)

0:30 HARD (9.5 MPH)

Repeat the 1:30 Jog and 0:30 HARD sections 8 times. Peak-8, get it?

3 minute cooldown (6.0 Pace) = approximately 2 miles / 20 minutes

 

Next, was an awesome abdominal activity that I came up with and it was just perfect!

 

25 Crunchers

1:00 Plank

25 R. Oblique V-Ups

0:45 Plank

25 L. Oblique V-ups

0:30 Plank

50 Toe Touches (25 each side)

0:45 Plank

25 Sit Ups

1:00 Plank

25 Crunchers

 

Then my friend came up with this great idea to make us do 10 chin-ups every time we work out, starting today, because… it’s good for Tough Mudder training? No, I’m certain it’s because she just wants to laugh at my attempts.  But guess what, everyone??! I did TWO! Haha, actually I did ten, but with assistance on all except two. By September, I will master the chin-up!!

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Those muscles will be rockin’ by September. Just you wait! 🙂

 

I finally finished my workout with 3.01 more treadmill miles in 26:30 (8:48 Pace).

If I can keep up with these kinds of workouts, I’m going to reach all my goal times for sure! 😉picstitch

Off for another 6 miles today. Have a good weekend!