Sunday, February 16, 2014

Will Run For Kingcake

   Well folks! I have completed my 2nd race and my first 10K of the new year! For the second year in a row I ran the Mardi Gras Mambo 10k.  I have to say: I LOVED IT!! I had a blast! I was nervous going into the race because it had been almost an entire year since I had ran 6.2 miles continuously. I was worried it would take me longer than my friends who opted to run the 15k which was an extra 3 miles and that my legs would lock up due to the longer distance. I am happy to report that according to the official time keepers of the Mardi Gras Mambo I finished the race with a time of 1:11:52 AND my legs didn't lock up. I was super stoked about this! According to my Nike app I finished in: 1:10:13. However, my runner friends and I had a long discussion regarding our apps and how the race coordinators measure the miles. We found that all of our apps were slightly off compared to the actual race course. For example, my Nike app yesterday told me I ran a total of 6.44 miles when the race was a 6.2 race technically. I would love to go off my Nike app because it helps me when I am training but also because it obviously makes me look like a bad mama jamma running my 10K yesterday. After much debate I have decided to go with the official chip time from the race and look into re-calibrating my Nike app so that it is more accurate.

My recap and thoughts:
I was very fortunate this year to run with a great group of ladies! I ran with my favorite running partner K.J of course but also our good friend Rebecca and her really good friend Kitty! Along for the ride up there and back were Kitty's daughter and her daughter's best friend. The two girls were great! They were so kind to watch all of our stuff and were there to encourage us before and after the race. They were super sweet and made sure that we got food and drink after the race as well. This year, thanks to Rebecca and Kitty, we decided to dress up for the occasion. Rebecca made us amazing headbands and we all wore shirts, custom made, that read, "Will Run For Kingcake" Kitty and Rebecca took it one step further and made adorable tutu's to wear. For those of you who know me, know how much I love to be matchy matchy so naturally I was totally down for having matching shirts and headbands!! We actually got a lot of compliments on our outfits. I also loved the fact that we were unified as a group. It was so great to ride up to the race with us all talking, laughing and encouraging one another. It was even better to watch each of my friends cross the finish line.

Before the Race 
My 3 friends ran the 15K portion of the race. I was there to see all of them cross the finish line and I was so proud of their accomplishments but more importantly the fact that they didn't really let their time be a factor or an issue. Some were hoping to do better than they had done but ultimately, as discussed on the way home, we were all grateful for the blessing to be able to run and to run well. As I was waiting for my friend to cross the finish line I was able to watch tons of other people cross that finish line, some of them for the first time. It was so great to see the relieve and the excitement on their faces as they finished the race. One of my other really good friends ran her first 10K that day and I was really fortunate to not only see her cross the finish line but be there to snap pictures of her and be there to congratulate her. When you really break it down, running isn't about who is fastest. A good friend once told me that running is a community, a group of people who in the end are there to support you and congratulate you on your accomplishments! This is exactly what I witnessed yesterday while I was both running and standing at the finish line.

                                                                       The Headband          

The Front

The Back                                                            

The spectators at the race were AMAZING! There was so many people standing throughout the route yelling and shouting encouragements. There was one patron who actually had his little sound system set up outside of his house playing some jamming music to help boost our energy. At one point in the race, a fellow racer tripped and looked as though she had sprained her ankle. It was great thing to see so many other runners stop to help her out and notify the police so that she could get the proper care. It's things like that, that give me hope in humanity in a world that sometimes is full of mean and hateful people.

All in all the Mardi Gras Mambo did not disappoint. There were some things that could have been done a little better such as the water stations being better positioned with colder water and the venue not running out of food after the race but those are minor things compared to the scheme of it all. I want to say thank you to my little group of running buddies who, throughout my running hiatus and now, have always been there and encouraged me to do my very best. They have been very encouraging. My friends and family members who aren't runners have also been really great. They encourage me to do my best but also to take care of my body.

The Finish Line 

As I complete each run whether it be a training session or a race, I realize more and more how blessed I am and how much the Lord has a hand in my life. I love running and I am so grateful that I am able to do it again. I am incredibly grateful for all my friends and family members who continue to encourage me in not only my running but also as I continue to earn my college degree!

I look forward to my next 10K which takes place in March. I will be running a local race for St. Patty's day with my BF and running partner K.J.  Stayed tuned for another blog update and of course pictures with K.J and I wearing matching shirts and headbands. :) I know it's sickening..


The route

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"I really regret that run"- Said No. One. Ever

I have a bit of catching up to do since my last post. I started my student teaching and life got a little bit crazy. Not to mention the crazy weather we have had in the south. I clearly have not been a huge fan of it. We had 4 snow days total in this wonderful state. We aren't equipped to deal with the ice/sleet so what else is a state to do but shut down?
Anywhoo.. I digress. Back to my running:

I have been trying to run at least 2-3x's a week. Somedays my runs are awesome and sometimes I can't wait to be done running. The weather has put a damper on my running goals because it's too cold or too icy. I managed to make some runs in between and after the "snow" days which I am grateful for. Let me share a few of my thoughts from my last few runs...

January 21 & 25:
(21) I ran around the indoor track at SELU because it was just too cold for me to run outside. I was not a huge fan of this run because I really don't like running around in circles on the track. I ran a whopping 2.01 miles but I ran. I don't regret the run. I felt good after the run even if it was a slow pace. I went running and to me that's all that matters. The run on the 25 was awesome though! It was after our first "snow" day of the year. My running friend K.J and I decided to venture out into the icy tundra that was our town. K.J let me lead the way and I decided it was time to go on a little adventure so that we weren't just running around campus like we normally do. I have learned my way around the areas/outskirts of the places near the college and felt comfortable going a different way. I am really glad we did. By running a different route we only had to make the SELU loop once and managed to run 4.2 miles! It was a lot of fun even if it was cold. There was one point where I thought, "hey let's cross over this little wooden bridge that connects the park back to SELU" Well, I clearly didn't think there would be ice on it but I was definitely wrong. haha We had to stop running at that point and walk very slowly and carefully over the bridge.  Our pace was really great this day. I managed to run an 11'37" minute miles which I am proud of. Slowly but surely I am getting better! It took us about 48 minutes to run. I definitely didn't regret this race and it was just what I needed for the days to come. Enjoy this lovely picture. (I have decided I am going to be the girl who doesn't match her running clothes) Thanks to my running partner K.J for following me on our running adventure!

I <3 to run!

February 3 & 8:
These two runs haven't been my best time but I still enjoyed them. On the 3rd I managed to run 3.53 miles and the weather was actually fairly warm. It was in the 60's and I loved it!! I managed to run this in 43 mins. My average minute per mile was 12'18". This definitely hasn't been my slowest minute per mile but it hasn't been my fastest either. Even though this was slower than I have been running I still felt better after running. I am trying to be grateful for even the "bad" runs. I don't regret that run :) My run today was as equally as slow but longer. I ran 4.25 miles at a 12 min/mile pace. It took me a total of 51:02 miles.  I ran a few stairs while I was running today. It probably wasn't the wisest idea because my calves were in a bit more pain than normal but it was a nice workout. I decided to run a different route today as well. I feel like it will be easier for me to run longer if I have different scenery to look at. It worked today. I ran longer because I simply wasn't just running around main campus. I hope to be able to look up, different & safe, routes depending on how many miles I plan on running that day.

What I have learned (thus far anyway)
No runner is the same. I was told by a good friend that I should train a little easier than I would a race. I have been trying to consider this as I run but sometimes I just like to take off running. However, it leads me to run slower and slower as I get further along in my run. It's a trial and error thing and I am determine to keep it up till I find what works best for me. That's what I recommend anybody to do. No runner is the same which means what works for me may not work for you. Even though every run doesn't turn out the way I envisioned I am still grateful that I am able to run and live an area where I can run. I may run at a slower pace than some and I may not love that particular run but I never regret the runs!

Next Race:
My next race is coming up this Saturday. A few of my running peeps and I are participating in the annual Mardi Gras Mambo and of course we are planning on wearing matching shirts. I mean I wouldn't be me if I didn't try to match in some form or fashion right? Don't worry there will be pictures! Wish us luck!!!

(On a totally different note I am going to begin P90X3 and I am considering blogging a little about that and showing my progress via pictures. I have completed the original P90X twice and the results were pretty awesome. Any thoughts on blogging and sharing my progress through pics?)

Why She Sings

So my really good friend and former teaching partner Becca has a pretty great blog. She has been blogging for months now. She mainly posts about shopping on a budget and how to remix the clothes you already have. Trust me folks she is really great at it! She actually came over tonight to re-make my closet for me. Tonight alone she made 43 outfits out of clothes I have had in my closet for years. She actually has picked out every teacher outfit, except for one, I have worn thus far for student teaching. You can check out her blog here ( Make sure to check out her post about how society is ruining our self image. This particular post is probably my favorite one she has posted!

Make sure to keep checking her blog to see the great outfits she put together for me. Until then here is a picture of my first week of student teaching that Becca put together for me!  THANKS BECCA!!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

1 of 14

Today marked my first race of the new year and I have to say, I picked an excellent race to start off my year of 14 races!! My running partner K.J actually told me about this race and I am sooo glad that she did. It is part of the Louisiana Marathon series but it was a 5K that was mainly sponsored by The Advocate, the local newspaper in Baton Rouge. Before I tell you about how great the race was let me back track to the day before when we (K.J and I) went to pick up our racing packets!

The Drive
Normally I wouldn't blog about the drive to or from a race but this drive was exceptionally painful mainly because I have road rage and traffic was horrible. Our 45 minute drive to B.R turned into a two hour drive because a lovely semi truck somehow managed to veer off the interstate and crash into a tree. Now normally this would cause a slight back up but this particular semi was apparently carrying paint of some sort which resulted in the haz mat team being called in. When we finally passed the sight of the crash there were at least 4 cop cars, and 5 other vehicles which we assumed were the haz mat vehicles but who knows. (I am not sure of the condition of the driver of the semi but I truly hope he is ok because the truck looked awful) Luckily I have Netflix on my phone and I was able to introduce K.J to the oh so cheesy Disney Channel original movie, Teen Beach Movie. She watched about 30-40 minutes of it before we were able to inch our way out of traffic and to the expo. It made for an interesting drive there for sure. K.J. and I always have some fun adventures when it comes to Expo trips.

The Expo
I am not sure how many of you are familiar with racing Expos so let me give you the skinny on them. Running Expos are generally where you pick up your race packet with your bib, shirt, and any extras they might throw in your bag. In addition they usually have tons of booths that represent the many different races going on in and around the area (probably my favorite part of the expo) and they have booths where people are trying to sell you running merchandise from headbands to shoes and everything in between.  I hate to say it but K.J and I have yet to attend an expo where we didn't find something we loved and bought. For example, this trip I bought two headbands, one for the summer races/looks and one for the winter races (like today's). We also each bought a car decal for our cars. Luckily, K.J. and I are bargain shoppers and we didn't spend over $13 combined! It was pretty great! This particular expo got us both pretty fired up about some upcoming races that we plan to do together. Before the expo we had I believe 6 races on our list so far and now we have 9 or 10. (She has done and is doing more races than I have committed to thus far.) One particular race we really want to do is a 1/2 marathon relay race in MS. We are both pretty stoked about this one and we really hope we can pull it off.  I'll keep ya'll updated.  I wasn't incredibly excited for my race the next day but after going to the expo and being around all the other runners, not to mention how excited K.J. was for me to be running again, my excitement level increased drastically as we drove home to prepare for our upcoming race! Long story short, if you ever get the chance to go to a running Expo before a race, I highly recommend it :)  

The Preparation
K.J and I made a pact to get everything ready the night before so that we would be ready to go as soon as we all woke up. I met them at their place at 6am! I took a picture of the main essentials I knew I would need for this race. 

Advocate 5k

I actually wore a red long sleeve shirt over my race shirt because it was 38 degrees when the race began at 8am! The polka dot fabric you see is the fancy new headband I bought at the expo, I used it to cover my bright yellow headband used for the warmth factor, also bought at the expo. I needed extra protection. I am a baby when it comes to the cold weather! It's hard to tell but those are power energy gummies! A MUST have for any race I do. I usually take 2 for a 5K. They give me extra energy when my body thinks it can't possibly run any further :) I also NEVER run a race without my arm band, iPhone (not pictured) and my head phones. I was fortunate enough to be able to run with a  new arm band that fit my iPhone better than my previous one! Not to mention it matches my headphones and we all know I love to match!! I also decided to wear my sparkly leggings under my sofie shorts because like I mentioned before it was freaking cold! Last but not least no race is complete without my bib!! (I save all of these bibs on my cool display that my cousin B made for me!) After my preparation I went to sleep like an old lady at 8:30pm. It was the best night sleep I have had in a very long time though :) 

The Race
The Advocate 5k was incredible!!! We (K.J, Joshy and I) all got up and began our drive at 6:15am! We left a little early in case there was ANOTHER back up due to the same accident the day before. Luckily for us the haz mat team wasn't out that early but there was definitely a back up for everyone going towards BR later that morning. Anywho I digress... We arrived at the race 55 mins early but we found free parking!! You know it's the little things that count. K.J.'s husband was our lovely driver so that we could rest before and after the race. When we got to where the actual race was I began getting a little nervous because it was cold, I was worried my legs would lock up, I really want to do the race in under 40 mins etc. The thoughts just starting racing through my mind. Luckily K.J. is an excellent friend, running partner, and motivator. She just kept saying how excited she was for me to be racing with her again and how great I was going to do etc. We also met up with another fellow runner that was running her first race back after having a baby in November. It was nice to have somebody in the same boat as far as not being able to run a lot prior to the race. We gathered in the choral to begin the race. The race began and I just started running. I was doing really well too. The music was good and the air was energized! I actually kept a steady pace throughout the entire race. We even had to go up a hill (overpass) and back down and back up and back down. I took the hill slowly, walked briskly once at the top and then allowed myself to run/coast down the hill each time. I picked up my pace the last 1/2 mile once I could see the finish line. I wanted to throw up once I started running faster but I managed not to :)  It felt so freaking great to cross the finish line!! I did it in under 40 mins too. My official time according to my print out was 34:25! I was so stoked that I did it under 40 mins. Everyone also received a finisher medal after crossing the finish line! It's not about the medals but it is a nice motivator :)  This race is exactly what I needed to keep my spirits high as I continue to work my way back into running!   I highly highly recommend this race for any beginner or seasoned runner!

My Splits

A little collage from the race today! 

Post Race
On the drive home there was another back up due to an accident but luckily Josh got off and was able to avoid the very long wait. The interstate was literally at a stand still. No cars were moving :/ Semi-trucks really like to wreck on I-12! While driving home I was able to reflect on my year thus far and my recent race. While my year believe it or not has not gone like I thought it would, it still has been a great start to 2014!! I felt so great about this race. I wasn't incredibly exhausted afterwards or discouraged. I actually rode the stationary bike for about 5 miles once I got home to work my hip flexors a little so they wouldn't hurt tomorrow. In addition to that I made sure to do a good amount of stretching to avoid the pain the following day. Not to mention my adorable 2 year old niece thought my medal was so cool. She had me run down the hallway towards her so that she could place the medal around my neck and said, "Congratulations Nanny! You won!" (We did this several times.)  haha I love that little girl so much! 

Life is good folks! Count your blessings no matter how big or small! And just keep running!!!