Category Archives: Goals

Long Branch Half-Marathon Race Recap

Finally! Remember when I used to have recaps up the day after my race, or sometimes even the day of? Those were the good ole’ days. Sorry to leave you guys hanging, but life’s been busy! I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten a new promotion at work, which has been a big reason for me falling off the radar. I’m still adjusting and transitioning into my new role at FITNESS, but I couldn’t be more excited. But while posts still may be slightly sporadic around here for a bit, I’m going to do my best to get back to regularly scheduled programming.

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Now, on to the race report! I tackled my seventh half-marathon in the beginning of May over in New Jersey. That’s seven half-marathons in seven states in the last two years. Crazy! I still can’t believe that only two years ago I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t, really – I just pretend now) and the thought of running 13.1 consecutive miles terrified the bejeesus out of me. 21-year-old Sam, you had no idea what you were getting yourself into.
After racing in Maine, I spent April maintaining my fitness level and figured if I sprinkled in a few speed sessions, I might be able to get a PR in Jersey. After all, the course was MUCH flatter and I wouldn’t be fighting wind for 80 percent of the course.
My ultimate goal was to go sub-2, but a part of me knew that was an unrealistic goal. I’ve been struggling with hip tightness and a nagging pain since February, so I didn’t take training as seriously as originally planned for either race. But still, I managed to PR in Maine, so I knew anything was possible.
About a week before race day, Dustin and I convinced our friends Tristan and Katie to make the trip with us and be official cheerleaders. They had never watched a race before, and Tristan is becoming curious about running, so I thought this was the perfect trip since the race was only a few hours outside of the city. With them on board, and a big crew of running friends coming out to cheer, I knew I wouldn’t be lacking in inspiration.
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I got to the corrals without any problems, and although I had a few bathroom issues that made me nervous about what to expect for the rest of the race, I went in ready to run. The organizers blasted “Sweet Caroline” before beginning the wave start, and this New England girl-at-heart couldn’t help but beam with pride and wipe away a few tears.
The whole race went seamlessly for me. I saw all of my cheerleaders at each point that I expected to, and had surprise pop-ups from the NYC girls once! Let me tell you, seeing them all go crazy once they spotted me made me feel so special. I don’t get to make it to nearly as many running meet-ups as I’d like, so hearing them cheer their hearts out made me so unbelievably happy and gave the surge of motivation I needed to keep pushing.
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I ate a Clif shot blok every three miles, starting at mile 4. I had the opportunity to meet with some of the experts behind the Clif company a few months ago for work, and we thought that I might be hitting a wall more often than I think because I wasn’t taking in enough fuel, and I wasn’t starting early enough. With this new strategy (which I also used in Maine), I definitely felt more energized throughout the race.
Around mile 10 was when my legs started to realize what was going on. When people say this course is flat, they’re not kidding. It’s like a pancake. Perfect for running fast, but it only engages the muscles in one way. Two days post-race, I experienced soreneess like I hadn’t felt since my first half. Ouch.
Mile 13 was really rough. By that point we had hit the ocean views, which were a great mental distraction, but they also brought wind. A lot of it. The whole mile was a straight headwind. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as strong as the winds I faced in Maine, so I just kept repeating, “You made it through Maine” to keep my head in the game.
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By the time I had hit mile 10, I knew I wasn’t going to go sub-2, and I was honestly OK with that. Missing a PR, however, wasn’t kosher with me. I turned the last 5K into a big race, and even though we had the wind in the last mile, it was the first time I had the pleasure of picking off large groups of runners. For once, I felt fast! I sprinted the last half-mile, spotted Dustin, Tristan and Katie right before the finish line, gave one last kick and finished with a smile and a new PR of 2:0
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Overall, I would highly recommend this race to a beginner racer, or anyone looking to PR. Sure, the wind at the end wasn’t fun, but the race was really well organized and the views are nice. It’s extremely spectator-friendly, so bring lots of friends! There were extra security measures, but that was to be expected – and they made everyone aware of it ahead of time – so it was totally cool.
So what’s next? Originally, nothing. But it looks like I’m now doing the run portion of the NYC Triathlon with a few friends (say what?!), and I may be doing a June half-marathon with Lauren. No concrete plans on that yet, but we’ll see! And if not, I’ve got my eye on Philly in September. So for now, I’m just going to enjoy the start of summer in the city.
Catch ya later!

Racing Through The Year

One of the items on my bucket list is to run a half-marathon in every state before I’m 30. I’ve run five already, and to stay on track, I hope to run six in 2013. I told you I would share the races I had my eye on soon, and there’s no time like the present! Before we get to it, though, let’s recap what states I’ve already covered 13.1 miles in (you can find all of my recaps here):

  1. New York, New York – FITNESS/MORE half-marathon
  2. San Francisco, California – Nike Women’s half-marathon
  3. Washington, D.C. – Run Rock ‘n’ Roll USA half-marathon
  4. Nashville, Tennessee – Run Rock ‘n’ Roll Country Music half-marathon
  5. Orlando, Florida – Disney World Wine and Dine half-marathon

So I’m not headed to any races in those states this year. Instead, here’s where I’ve already registered to run:

  • Long Branch, New Jersey – Long Branch half-marathon on May 5. I’m currently building my base with the Lululemon run club and am hoping to break sub-2. Can you say speed work? 

2010 Logo_New Jersey Marathon

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Run Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia half-marathon on September 15. I’m hoping I can convince my brother to run this one with me, since he’s currently living in Philly. But he’s a med student, so I’m not sure how feasible it is for him to squeeze in training the same year as his rotations. Fingers crossed, though! 

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las-vegas-rock-n-roll-half-marathon

Other races that I have in my schedule, though I’m not registered for yet:

  • Des Moines, Iowa – Des Moines half-marathon on October 20. Running again with Karla! This year is the year of running for us – yay for running buddies, despite being in different states! 
  • Manchester, New Hampshire – Manchester half-marathon on November 3 (tentative). The official race date hasn’t been announced, but this would be an easy race for me to get to and the course goes right by my aunt’s house!

So I’m in need of one, possibly two more races this year (in case I don’t do Manchester). Any suggestions? Because of my budget, I’m looking to tackle some of the states closer to home, with a few that require more travel (Des Moines, Vegas). I was hoping to do one in March, but the only one in a new state that I’ve found so far sold out too fast! Any ideas for the early side of 2013 would be much appreciated 🙂

And there ya have it! My running race calendar for 2013. I’m also hoping to run Reach the Beach and complete the RAGBRAI bike race, so it’s definitely going to be a full year.

But you tell me: what races are you gearing up for?

13 for 2013

Now that January is basically over, I guess it’s about time I share my goals for the year. I always wait until the ninth to finalize them in my head – it’s my lucky number and I believe it allows time for the “OMG, it’s the new year, let’s make all these crazy resolutions right now” hype to die down a smidge. Now that it’s the end of the month, and according to multiple statistics, most people have already given up on their resolutions, I’ll share mine. Spread some more optimism.

1. Do more yoga. I believe that I went to yoga all of 10 times in 2012. I’m not kidding. Instead of me setting some crazy goal of going from zero to twice a week like I did last year, let’s just try to do more than I did in 2012. If I manage to stretch myself out 11 times this year, I’ll deem this one a success.

2. Be able to do 20 push-ups in a row. Bringing it back because I really want to do this one. I’m ready for buff biceps. And I just want my entire upper body to look nice.

3. Run a sub-2 half-marathon. Another goal from last year, but I’m so much closer to crossing this off the list than I was then. My current PR is 2:06.41, and I’m ready to train hard and slash 6+ minutes off my time. Goal race to make it happen: New Jersey half-mary with team Lululemon in May. Here we go!

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4. Participate in the first Manhattan Relay for Life. It’ll be my seventh Relay, but the first in the city I now call home. And the first in Manhattan, ever. I’m on the planning committee to help make this big dream a reality and I could not be more excited. My mom will be celebrating her 50th birthday this year, which makes this Relay even more special to me and my family. Get ready, folks, there are some great fundraisers in the works and I would love to see you.

5. Run in a relay race. I’m already starting to make this one happen with Abby and a bunch of other fabulous ladies who plan on running Reach the Beach in Massachusetts this May. It’s 12 days after that goal half-mary, so I’m hoping to be in prime running shape to do my fair share of running legs. But more importantly, I’m excited to have fun with 11 other run-crazy women, crammed in a van for 24 hours. Doesn’t that sound like a great time?

6. Run six half-marathons this year. One of my big life goals is to run a half-marathon in every state before I’m 30. I did the math at the end of last year, and in order to do that, I need to run six every year. Phewwwwwwie. It’s not impossible, but it’s a jump for me. I’ve done five half-marathons total, so jumping to six more in one year is a big leap. But I’m ready to take the plunge and will reveal which races I have my eye on soon.

race rack

7. Go on vacation at an all-inclusive resort. Dustin and I had the cruise experience and loved it, but now we want to check out another way to relax. We’ve been intrigued by the concept of all-inclusives for a while now, so let’s make it happen this year. We’re thinking about the Dominican Republic, but are open to other suggestions. Please share!

8. Pay off one student loan in full. I’ve paid off one loan completely and am on track to do it again soon. Ideally, I’d like to check this one off before the end of summer, but sometimes life gets in the way. I’ll be happy if it’s completed by December 31st.

9. Read two books per month. Last year I read one each month and you all know how much I loved it. I’m picking up the pace this year and will continue to get my knowledge on. For a quick recap of the books I devoured in 2012, click here.

10. Read my personal training certification books. This is separate from goal numero nine because I don’t consider text  books to be a part of my leisure reading. Nonetheless, I’m excited to bust these babies open and get back to studying.

11. Buy curtains. It might sound dumb, but I’ve been living in New York City for almost two years and I still don’t have them in my living room. 2013 is the year to purchase appropriate window fabric. 

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12. Finish a scrapbook. I used to make time for this little hobby o’ mine back in college, but it’s fallen to the wayside since graduation. I really enjoy making them, for myself and others, and think it’s a great way to package photos and memorabilia. I have one that’s been in the works since 2010 (eek!), so let’s aim to at least finish that one up.

13. Ride in RAGBRAI. What’s RAGBRAI, you ask? Oh, it’s just a bike ride that starts at one end of Iowa and ends on the other side. Karla, our co-worker, John, and I are gearing up for the race in July and I am pumped! Have I done a bike race before? Nope. Do I know anything about bikes? Not so much. But has that ever stopped me before? Not a chance. Remember, my first running race was a half-marathon. Go big or go home, right? (If anyone in NYC wants to teach me how to ride well, that would be great)

There ya have it, folks. 13 goals for 2013. Now it’s your turn: what goals have you set out to accomplish this year?

12 Photos for 2012

After I wrote about last year’s resolutions, I got a comment about how it still sounded like I accomplished a lot, even if it wasn’t what I originally planned to accomplish. I kept thinking about this and ya know what, that person was right. I knew I had a great year, and I wasn’t upset about the lack of accomplishment toward the goals I had set at the beginning of 2012. But when I wrote that post, I didn’t appreciate everything that I did  accomplish and experience.

So let’s give credit where it’s due. For me, 2012 was awesome. I experienced so many amazing things and crossed a lot off of my bucket list. Let’s take a look back on the last 12 months and every wonderful thing that happened.

January: I celebrated my three-year anniversary with Dustin. He’s a pretty cool guy, so it’s fun that he likes to stick around.

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February: I danced the night away with Dustin and our friends from his hometown while one of his close friends, Cayla, tied the knot. We got a surprise the day of the wedding, too: she was pregnant! Now she has a beautiful little boy who is adorable and unbelievably well-behaved.

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March: Dustin and I traveled to Washington, D.C., where he watched me run a half-marathon for the first time. Oh, and I got an unexpected PR.

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April: After a lot of tears and a tough decision, I dropped from the full marathon distance and raced the half in Nashville. This was the first time my dad ever saw me race, and while it wasn’t even close to my best performance, I wouldn’t change any of it. I learned about leaving it all out on the road, and how to really push through to the finish line.

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Seeing Rodney Atkins in concert post-race was pretty cool, too. I got one of his guitar picks and a T-shirt. WIN.

May: A lot of fun things happened at work while we celebrated our 20th anniversary, like hanging out with a bunch of awesome bloggers and meeting Mia Hamm.

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June: I surprised my mom for her 49th birthday, then returned home a few weeks later to participate in my sixth Relay for Life. I walked over 26 miles and helped raise over $78,000 for the American Cancer Society.

relay

At the end of June, I moved out of my old apartment and into a new one. During that same weekend, I drove 12 hours round-trip and danced the night away at another wedding. We are never packing that much stuff into one weekend again.

July: Dustin and I roadtripped it to Boston so I could go to Fenway for the first time! We crossed an item off the bucket list and caught a Red Sox vs. Yankees game.

fenway

At the end of the month, I hiked my first mountain with my brother!

August: I had a skin cancer scare and vowed to be better about my skin care.

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We also sent summer off with a bang at the annual Lefave summer party, where we raised money and collected toys and canned goods for local charities. Before that though, we saw Keith Urban in concert. Since he’s my favorite musician in the world, I could not have been happier.

September: Check another one off the list! Dustin and I went on our first cruise vacation and had a blast out in the Bahamas. 

cruise

The week after I came back from vacation, I hightailed it up to New Hampshire and had a girls weekend with my Aunt Sue, where we caught the opening show for Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away tour. Amazing.

October: Seriously, I dominated my bucket list this year. This month I  learned how to surf and went stand-up paddleboarding for the first time.

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I also threw my best friend a baby shower and found out I was officially named Kassidy’s godmother and guardian. #warmfuzzies

November: I flew down to Disney World for the Wine & Dine half-marathon – my first night race!. Despite my lack of training, I pushed through for a shiny new PR.

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I also celebrated my 23rd birthday, saw Wicked on Broadway, reunited with Karla, spent Thanksgiving upstate, and went back to my roots as a guest lecturer for creative writing and journalism students at SUNY Oswego.

December: I went to my first football game ever and saw the Bills actually win for once (note: I am not a Bills fan. That’s all Dustin. Go Pats!) I also ran the Race for Recovery 5K to raise funds for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and got a new PR. A week later, I  ran my first 10K race on Roosevelt Island (I still owe you a race recap, I know).

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Dustin and I also saw The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, sent out our first Christmas card together, traveled to visit a ton of family for the holidays, celebrated his 24th birthday and rang in the new year down in Chattanooga, TN with my dad, step-mom and step-brothers. Phew.

Like I said, 2012 was a great year! I have a feeling 2013 is going to be even sweeter.

Tell me about the cool things you did in 2012. Some might be over the nostalgic look-back-at-the-year stuff already, but I’m a sucker for it. Help a girl out. 

Reviewing Resolutions

Happy New Year’s Eve! I’m spending the pseudo-holiday down in Tennessee with my dad, step-mom, step-brothers (and their girlfriends) and Dustin. We’re having a few people over to ring in the New Year, but I don’t think anyone’s going to get too crazy, which is fine by me. I’ve spent the last few days of vacation relaxing and just going with the flow – a very nice change of pace for the crazy let’s-plan-everything-out-right-now person that I usually am.

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Anyway, it’s time for the traditional “look back at 2012’s goals and see how little you accomplished this year!” post. In case you’re curious, here’s what I originally boasted about gunning for in the last 12 months. Now let’s find out which I actually crossed off the list and what I totally ditched.

Fitness

1.) Finish a marathon: DELAYED.

It was the biggest thing on my goals list this year and I excitedly hired a running coach and trained my little heart out for the Country Music Marathon. Unfortunately, tendinitis in my left knee struck me down hard. After a lot of painful physical therapy and pushing my limits, Abby and I decided it was best for my body – and mind – if I dropped down to the half. Once I mentally gave myself permission to do so, I immediately knew it was the right thing. I’m not sure if a 2013 marathon is in the cards for me, but I definitely have it on a future goals list.

2.) Do yoga twice a week: PUH-LEASE.

I’m pretty sure I ditched this goal by mid-February. I suck at regularly rolling out the mat and need to get better at it in 2013. Move this one over to the new year.

3.) Be able to do 20 real push-ups in a row: FAIL.

OK, I’m starting to feel really bad about myself right now with these goals. Whose idea was it to set these ridiculous things? Anyway, I just tried to do the push-ups and managed to bust out 12 before collapsing. The highest I got throughout the year was 15 in a row, back when I was going through an arm makeover workout for FITNESS and regularly working with a trainer. I’m going to get back into that routine in 2013! I swear 😉

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4.) Run a sub-2 half-marathon: Almost there!

I’m at 2:06.41 and couldn’t be happier with that. This year of running gave me the confidence I desperately needed, and I learned to stop judging myself against other people’s accomplishments. Just because others were ready for the sub-2 doesn’t mean I was. I’m stoked to cross the finish line with a 1:59:XX attached to my name this spring!

5.) Run a race for charity: YES! CROSS IT OFF THE LIST!

I officially ran the Race for Recovery 5K for charity. I also donated to multiple people who raised money and raced for charitable causes, participated in fun fitness events for charity, and walked a marathon while raising money to fight cancer.

race bib

Life

1.) Grow at my job: CHECK!

At the beginning of the year, I said, “If I’m as happy with my career one year from now as I am right now, I will be one lucky girl.” It hasn’t been a full year quite yet, but it’s safe to say that I am one of the luckiest girls around. I have loved working with everyone at FITNESS for the last year and could not be more grateful for my job. I learned so much, improved my writing and editing skills and did a lot of great things. And just in time to ring in the new year, I wrote my first opener article! Check it out in the January 2013 issue and learn all about the tastiest (and healthiest!) yogurts in stores now.

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2.) Volunteer at Hope Lodge: DONE – X3!

I became a member of the committee that is bringing Relay for Life to Manhattan for the very first time in NYC. We meet once a month to go over details for the event, and then we try to get together at least once a month to host a dinner for those staying at the Hope Lodge. I’m so happy I accomplished this goal and can’t wait for the next host night!

3.) Go on a cruise – YEAH BUDDY!

After living together for one year, Dustin and I decided to celebrate and go on our first paid vacation together in the Bahamas! We had so much fun and couldn’t have asked for a better first cruise experience. We’re planning a huge cruise trip in 2014, but maybe a small one will be awaiting us in 2013, too!

cruise

4.) Pay off X amount of my student loans: HALF-CHECK

I didn’t fully reach the number I originally set for the end of the year, but I’m still really happy with my progress and the amount in my savings account. 2012 ended up being a busy year of travel, too, which depleted my funds more than I originally anticipated. But I’m completely OK with it and don’t regret anything that happened during this last year. I’m determined to take a huge chunk out of the remaining number in 2013, though!

5.) Get my personal training certification: FAIL

This is completely my fault. I bought all of the books but didn’t open them once. I let myself get wrapped up in running, working, traveling and well, living life. This quickly fell to the bottom of my priority list once my work schedule picked up. I realized that something would have to give in my schedule, and this was it. I’m not upset about it, but I would like to start studying and schedule the test before the end of this next year.

6.) Read at least one book a month: YES SIR!

I’m so happy I stuck with this goal. I read so many great books this year and keeping this goal in mind helped me stay on track. Whenever I realized it was nearing the end of the month, if I hadn’t read anything, I would immediately go to my to-read list and grab something I kept “meaning to open.” This goal really helped me relax and kept me mentally sane. I think I’ll be upping the ante to two books per month moving forward.

books

And there ya have it! Now tell me: how did you do on your 2012 goals? Clearly, my fitness ones didn’t fare so well, but I’d say I had a great year overall. I’ll be back soon with my goals for 2013! 

Disney Wine & Dine 2012 Half-Marathon Race Recap

At long last, my race cap for the 13.1 miles I ran through Disney World…at night!

Let’s rewind allllll the way back to November 9th. Dustin and I packed our bags and left freezing New York City (it was in the 40’s, so it wasn’t really freezing, but I had my winter coat on) and flew down to Orlando, getting in around noon so we had plenty of time to relax and hit up the expo. For a girl who isn’t a big fan of winter, the jump in temp was exactly what I needed!

We checked out the entire expo and while they had some great vendors there, there wasn’t much that sparked my personal interest. I was on the hunt for a pair of running sunglasses though, and managed to nab a pair for $30 – not bad! At least I’ll stop squinting when the sun decides to show itself for normal amounts of time again.

I also picked up an official race wine glass. I was a little disappointed that the glass wasn’t included in the goodie bag – I’ve done my research on wine-themed races and nearly every one gives you a glass and a bottle of wine, so I was let down. But it was only $10, so I happily handed over some cash to commemorate my fifth half-marathon.

We relaxed for the rest of the evening and eventually met up with my friend Lauren and her sister Kristen for dinner. Fun fact: Lauren and I met on my press trip for work (when I learned how to surf!) and became fast friends. After a lot of chatting, we found out we were both racing the Disney half (this was her first 13.1), so we knew we had to meet up! Since she’s from Tallahassee, FL and ventures around Orlando way more often than I do (read: I hadn’t been to Disney since I was 10), I let her take the reigns for dinner and dessert locales.

We ended up at Giordano’s, a great place known for its deep dish pizza. Um, holy yum. I had chicken parm and it was delicious. And just look at this pizza that Lauren and Kristen shared:

Yeah. That happened.

Oh, and we had frozen yogurt for dessert. Clearly. We popped by this place called Menchies – I must admit, its wide array of toppings and “swirl” option make it a serious contender against 16 Handles for top fro-yo spot in my heart. If only it were in NYC…

Dustin and I explored Downtown Disney on Saturday and hit up a movie in the afternoon so I could rest my legs. Since it was a night race, I didn’t want to do too much walking during the day. We decided not to spend the $90+ on theme park tickets because of this and just enjoyed the free marketplace. It was fun checking out all of the shops and I most definitely stopped by Ghirardelli for my free chocolate sample!

We said hi to Pooh, Tigger and Piglet, too. I mean, how could you not? Classics.

Then it was time to get ready! And by get ready, I mean have a pre-race dance party in my hotel room. By myself, since Dustin won’t dance. Lame.

And then we met up with Lauren and Kristen and meandered over to the race start. We had to get to the pre-race area three hours early if we wanted to catch the shuttle bus over, which was a little ridiculous if you ask me. But Disney did a great job of keeping everything organized and everyone entertained. Lots of music, dancing and people in costume. And tons of porta potties for people to use. The lines still ended up being really long, but that’s to be expected with such a huge race. At least the runners were courteous and moved in and out quickly!

Fortunately, we were in the first corral so we didn’t have to wait a long time once everyone was ready to begin. But about a half-hour before the race began, Dustin shot me a text message with seriously disappointing news:

Race directors won’t let me on the course. No spectators allowed, except for at start and finish. If I try to sneak on, I won’t be able to get back to the finish.

Um, what?!

In case you missed it, I didn’t really train all that well for this race. My longest run prior to race day was 7 miles and I was mentally relying on seeing Dustin at key points in the race to keep my head in the game. I didn’t remember this little tid bit of information being advertised anywhere, so when we got the news, I was a little more than upset. I mean, crowd support is a key component to a race!

After a few minutes of pouting, I sucked it up and decided I would just keep running as much as I could and be OK with whatever happened. If I had to walk then I would walk, but no bitching out. Run as much as you can.

Needless to say, I felt awesome throughout the race and my splits have never been so on point. After the first 5K, I made it a goal to stay around a 9:20-9:30 pace for the entire race, which is where I felt uncomfortably comfortable. If I felt really good, I would ramp up the speed at the end, but no pressure. I was not aiming for a PR.

The minimal crowd support was extremely discouraging, in my opinion, and I really had to rely on myself and focus to keep up my pace. My legs felt great, which helped a ton, but there was barely anyone on the course. A few spectators were out (I believe they were volunteers), but most were silently holding signs and not cheering (I must say though, that the Lululemon cheer squad was great and they got a huge smile out of me with their sign that read, “Is that a Gu in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” BEST SIGN EVER). There were Disney characters around every mile, but it just wasn’t enough to get me psyched about being in Disney. It was cool to run through portions of the park after hours, especially through the Festival of Lights, but most of the race was on back roads and highways, making it no different than a typical long run – except that I knew I would get a shiny medal at the end.

Around mile 8, my legs really started to feel it. But when I looked down at my watch and saw my splits were still consistent, my mind was blown. I realized if I kept pushing it, I could PR. I was starting to slow down, so I pulled out a shot blok and my phone – where I saw a bunch of encouraging text messages from my mom, aunt and Dustin. He was keeping tabs on me with runner tracking and calculating my finish time, so with  his encouragement, I decided then that I was going for the PR.

Nailed it! My legs were screaming by the end, and I had to convince myself not to slow down or walk when it wasn’t necessary, but I powered through and PR’d by about 30 seconds, finishing in 2:06.41. Success!

I’ve never been more proud of the consistency in my splits:

Mile 1 – 9:26

Mile 2 – 9:29

Mile 3 – 9:27

Mile 4 – 9:24

Mile 5 – 9:34

Mile 6 – 9:20

Mile 7 – 9:29

Mile 8 – 10:07 (Walked to take in Gu and fumbled with my phone. Eep)

Mile 9 – 10:02

Mile 10 – 9:36

Mile 11 – 10:11 (Now my legs can tell I didn’t run more than 7 miles before this)

Mile 12 – 10:06

Mile 13: 9:40

Mile 13 – 13.1 – 8:36

Lauren and Kristen both KILLED it and finished under two hours! I have some speedy friends and hope to join the sub-2 world soon.

We met up with Dustin, changed and headed over to the Food & Wine Festival over at Epcot. We grabbed some food at Greece, explored the whole festival and closed down the place at 4am. I continued to get 45 minutes of sleep (yes, you read that right) before Dustin and I checked out of our hotel and drove to the airport to catch our flight back home. It’s safe to say I passed out as soon as I was in my seat.

My final thoughts on the race? I wasn’t expecting to PR, but I grabbed one, so I really am impressed and content with my results. I went in with no expectations, which seems to be when I have my best races. I like night races. I walked a little, but I’m fine with it. If I actually trained for this, I think I could’ve gone sub-2. Oh well. Fingers crossed for the next one.

And my thoughts on this race in general: If you’re a big runner and a fan of Disney, I definitely think you should do one of their races. But I don’t understand all of the hype, nor do I get why people spend a ton of money to run in each one. I’m glad I experienced a Disney race, but I won’t be signing up for another one anytime soon.

Have you run a Disney race? Do you think it’s worth the price? Am I missing something? If you ran the Wine and Dine, tell me how you did! 

Workout Windup: Hittin’ the Weights

That’s right everyone, Workout Windup is back! For those of you who are new to this neck of the blog-o-sphere, workout windup is my way of keeping track and setting myself up for a great week of workouts. It gives that level of accountability, while hopefully encouraging you to set your own weekly goals for some seriously awesome sweat sessions.

Now that racing season is on hiatus for me right now and I don’t have a big race lined up until November (as of now), I really want to focus on strength training. I do it as much as I can when training for races, but admit that I’m not always the best at sticking to a solid schedule. Now that physical therapy is over, I’m on my own with scheduling. Lucky for me, I have some awesome blogger friends who have invited me to a bunch of workouts this week, with some other fun things sprinkled in. Here’s what I plan on tackling:

  • Figure 4 on Sunday at 3:30p.m. with blogger friends; upper body work at home
  • Upper body work on Monday at 12p.m.; CrossFit intro class at 7p.m. with Jocelyn
  • Easy 3-mile run on Tuesday at 6:30a.m. (if my quads don’t hate me); Yoga at 4:30p.m.
  • Rest on Wednesday
  • SoulCycle at 7a.m. or 7p.m. on Thursday (wait listed, so hopefully I get in!); lower body work at home
  • Upper body work on Friday at 12p.m.
  • Five or six-mile run on Saturday
  • Upper body work at home on Sunday

 (At FITNESS Magazine’s Meet & Tweet #fitblognyc)

Oh, and I’m thinking about joining a soccer league again, so I can regain my long-lost soccer skillz. I’d like to be less pathetic if I ever get to hang with Mia Hamm again. ‘Cause we’re best friends now. Totally.

What workouts are you rockin’ out this week? And what fun things did you do over the weekend? 

What Now?

Now that my main race has come and gone, I’ve taken some time to just breathe so that I don’t feel like I have to work out. I hate feeling that kind of pressure, especially when it’s related to something that I love doing so much. I don’t care what the haters say, to me, working out is fun and I thoroughly enjoy every time I make the conscious effort to break a sweat.

Well, unless I’m “forced” to do it because of a training plan and I’m feeling burnt out. But you catch my drift. Otherwise, I remember to look at the bigger picture. Because nine times out of ten, that truly makes every bit of pain and frustration worth it in the end.

But now that I don’t have a specific race to train for, what am I up to? I really like lists, so let me break it down for you.

Upper Body Work. It’s been severely neglected, but no more! I’m busting out some serious upper body moves now and I’m going to rock sundress season. Yes, when I’m not in workout clothes, I occasionally like to don dresses. They make me feel pretty. Or something.

#SmoothieADayinMay. Gina started this challenge and once I read up on it, I immediately hopped on board. I’m smoothie obsessed, the weather’s getting warm (so I actually crave the smoothie) and I need a quick breakfast that will give me a full serving of fruit with some veggies sneaked in. Seriously, if you haven’t put spinach in your smoothie yet, do it. You can’t taste it at all. Such an easy way to pack more nutrients into your meal.

#PlankADay. Let’s just keep the Twitter hashtags going, shall we? This trend is all over the healthy living Twitterverse, which only helps me stay motivated to stick to it. Because unless I’m already working out, I don’t remember to do a plank. But if I see that #plankaday bugger pop up in my news feed and I still haven’t done the sucker, I quickly drop to the ground and hold a plank for as long as I can (Confession: I may or may not have recently done this in my bra and undies because I forgot about it before I took a shower for the night…whatever works!). So far, I’ve timed myself at 1:30. I think I can do longer – that’s what the challenge is for! I’ll also incorporate side planks and other plank variations to keep things interesting.

Spinning. The PT said no running for two weeks (last week and this one), so I’ve been getting my heavy cardio from a lot of spin classes lately. My second love, I seriously missed sweating it out on the bike while training. It feels so good to do a hard workout and not finish in pain, and let’s face it: if you’re going to a good spin class, you’re going to leave drenched in sweat. I love that feeling. And in my opinion, you’re never going to get a mediocre workout when you go to SoulCycle or Flywheel. Y’all know my heart lies with SoulCycle, but I’m not afraid to jump to the other side every once in a while, especially if it’s for a good cause.

That’s coach Abby and I before her charity ride this past weekend. Her and the hubby raised over $2,000 for The Fisher House Foundation! Woohoo, rock stars!

Strength Training. I’m doing a lot of exercises that my PT has (or is in the process of) passed on to me, many involving strength and balance movements for my lower body. The Bosu ball has become my friend, as has the “box.” By that, I mean the thing you use to do box jumps on. That’s one of my favorite moves, despite how much it burns while I’m doing them.

Better Eating.  I’ve been really watching my portion sizes lately. When I eat with Dustin, who houses two to three times what I should be eating, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s normal and what’s not. So I’ve been making a conscious effort to cut down my portions and fill those portions up with a lot of natural, whole foods. Sure, I want to look great in a bikini this summer, but I’m mostly doing it so I’m not so darn moody. When I eat like junk, I feel like junk, and I treat people (mostly Dustin) like junk. That’s not very fun, so we should stop that.

What about you? What things are you planning out to keep you on the “healthy living” track? 

Country Music Half-Marathon Goals

It’s almost time to race! But before we get to goals, here’s how the rest of yesterday went down:

After two flights and a one-hour layover in Charlotte, I arrived in Nashville with Dustin. My dad and step-mom were waiting for us at security.

He’s so cute, isn’t he? Like father like daughter 😉

Oh, and that picture isn’t staged. Dustin whipped his phone out to take a picture because he knew I’d like it for the blog. Also, I’m as white as a ghost.

We immediately went over to the expo so I could pick up my bib and check out the other goodies floating around. I nabbed some nuun samples (hydrate!) and munched on the other goodies floating around.

I also became a sucker for marketing and signed up for the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon. I’ve been contemplating it for a few weeks, but once I saw that processing fees were eliminated, I hopped on board. Dustin nodded approval, the race is eight days before my birthday, the price goes up in a few weeks and today was payday, so there really was no chance in hell I was going to say no. I guess I’ll be experiencing my first night race (start time is 10p.m.) this fall!

And then the next most important thing happened: food. I’m taking my pre-race carb loading serious this time around. First, I wolfed down a monstrous Brooklyn bagel with triple berry cream cheese (hey, there’s fresh fruit in there!) at the airport. I wish I could say I only ate half, but then I’d be lying. In fact, I ate all of mine and a little bit of Dustin’s, too. I blame it on the fact that I usually eat breakfast once I wake up and today I had to wait a good hour and 45 minutes before inhaling any carbs. No bueno.

Dad took us to Applebee’s for lunch, which I have quite the soft spot for. I shared boneless buffalo wings with Dustin (my fave) and the fiesta lime chicken dish with a blue moon on the side. Luckily, I have a pretty strong stomach so I don’t have to be too careful about what I eat the day before the race.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel. I made sure not to walk around too much so that I have rested legs and my foot is ready to go. I iced my foot before bed and slipped on the oh-so-sexy hot pink compression socks so they could work their magic while I got my beauty sleep.

Dinner was originally scheduled to take place at Maggiano’s because I requested an Italian feast, but there was an hour and a half wait. It was getting close to my bed time, so we quickly left. All of the local spots we wanted to try had the same problem, so we ended up at the Olive Garden. I had one breadstick, a small portion of salad and three-quarters of my monstrous plate of ravioli with marinara sauce. ‘Twas delicious.

My race outfit is chosen (I brought three options) and was laid out last night as if already on my body. My Garmin and iPod are charged and my full-blown country playlist is ready to rock.

So how do I plan on tackling this race? Here are my goals:

A.) Run a sub-2. If that clock reads 1:59.59, I’ll be a happy girl.

B.) Run at least a 2:07. It’s my current PR and I’d like to not run slower than that, if at all possible.

C.) Finish. I’m not underestimating the heat and hills, and I know I’m not running this in my peak physical condition. A lot could go wrong, but good God I need to at least cross the finish line, regardless of time.

This is how I plan on accomplishing at least one of these (or all three!) goals:

  • Hydrating and taking in salt. Usually my salt levels aren’t a concern, but I’ve also never raced long distance in the heat. Dustin will have salt packets and a water bottle with him in case I need some in between water stations. I was going to carry a fuel belt with me, but mine has mysteriously disappeared. I tore apart my bedroom last night but still can’t find it. I’m comfortable going water station to water station because that’s what I’ve always done, but Dustin will have extra stuff on hand, just in case. Anyone running in the heat tomorrow, remember, if you’re running but not sweating, that means your body is overheating. Get some salt and water in you, stat.
  • Not psyching myself out on the hills.  Every single time I told someone which race I was trying to sub-2 on, their eyes opened wide and they said some variation of, “Oh, wow. Um, I’ve heard it has a lot of hills.” Yes, I’m aware of that. And it will probably suck. But when I brought it up to Abby, she said, “Screw the hills. You’ve been training in Central Park. And you know what? If it goes uphill, it has a downhill. Focus your energy on powering up the hill, then cruise the downhill.” I agree with all of those things. You so smart, coach!
  • Pacing myself. This means not going out too fast, which I am notorious for. I get so excited and caught up in the crowds. I see a great split for the first mile and I think, “Woohoo, I’m a rock star!” Yeah, OK, Sam. Things are fantastic and then….I poop out. Womp womp.  But not this time! My plan is to find the 2:10 pace group and stick with them for the first mile or so, then push ahead when I’m comfortable and not so high on life.
  • Running hard. I’m breaking the race into 5Ks: first 5K, stick to a comfortable pace around 9:05-9:10. Second 5K: Hover around 9:00-minute miles. Third 5K: Pick it up so I’m feeling uncomfortable the entire time, aiming for 8:45-8:50 paces. Fourth 5K: Maintain that uncomfortable pace, but push harder. I probably won’t see a time increase, but I need to push harder to stay at the same pace. Last mile: BALLS TO THE WALL. Sprint as hard as I can, leaving it all out on the pavement, feeling like I want to give up, vomit or die. Doesn’t that sound pleasant?
  • Remembering why I’m running. This race is going to be tough for me. I know it is. I’ve never pushed myself to truly race before and I need to mentally stay in the game and be OK with being uncomfortable. Too often I don’t give myself enough credit and think I can’t maintain a faster pace because it feels uncomfortable. Remember, Samantha, it’s not supposed to feel comfortable. Running is easier than racing. I can do this. And when I really think I can’t, I’m going to remember exactly why I’m running this. It’s personal and all sorts of secret for now, but I’m sure I’ll go over it in the recap.

And there ya have it, friends. Yes, I have an injury and am not in the best shape to tackle this race. But I’m ready to push harder than I ever have before. If I come out with a sub-2 PR attached to my name, I’ll be stoked. But honestly, the best part of this race is that my family is there. My dad has never seen me run and I know I’m going to tear up seeing him cheering for me on the sidelines. No matter what the outcome, I’m going to enjoy this weekend.

Who else is racing in Nashville? Rodney Atkins and Gloriana are rockin’ the stage post-race and you know I’ll be there. Good luck and get your country on!

Catching Up On Goals

One of these days, I’m going to get back to regularly scheduled blogging,  I swear. Between work, travel, physical therapy and training for a sub-2 half, my days have kept me busy and left me exhausted. But enough with the bellyaching, let’s get on with the show!

First of all, can you believe it’s already April 6?! Time is flying by and I can’t seem to make it slow down. But at the same time, I don’t want it to because that means we’re that much closer to summer! I’m so excited for the warm weather, happy people, bright colors and amazing plans that are coming to fruition. But when summer does actually appear, the clock needs to slow down. You hear me?

Regardless of how much I want to slow down, April is here and it’ll be gone before we know it. And it means that we’re already a third of the way through 2012! Phew! So I figured now was just as good a time as any to take a peek back at my 2012 goals and see how I’m faring. Join me, won’t you?

Source

Fitness

1.) Finish a marathon.

Obviously, this has not happened yet. Still up for debate on whether a fall 26.2 is in my future. I had to drop down to 13.1 for my original race in Nashville and am currently in PT rehabbing the snot out of my knee. I’m eyeing a few races in the fall, but still need to consult with my coach to see if this is something feasible to go after.

2.) Do yoga twice a week.

Ummm….yeah. About that. Yoga has gone missing from my life, again to my busy schedule. And because of physical therapy. I haven’t gotten the go ahead for it yet, but hopefully it’ll reappear soon. Then I’m going to aim for once a week and go from there.

3.) Be able to do 20 push-ups in a row.

I’m working on it! I can do them on my knees, heh. TWSS. Next step: move on up to my toes. I will get there!

4.) Run a sub-2:00 half-marathon

That’s the plan for Nashville! Coach Abby and my PT guys have been really pushing my body to get me into top shape to pull this one off. Fingers crossed I can check this off my list in three weeks!

5.) Run a race for charity

I have my eye on a certain race to do this for, it just depends on where I’m at with physical therapy. But it’s in the works! I’m determined to cross this puppy off before the end of the year.

So clearly I don’t have many things crossed off my list so far. Let’s hope it gets better with the second half…

Life

1.) Grow at my job

Check! I’m loving my job every single day and taking on more responsibility as I progress. I’m learning so much and I believe I’m doing well. The plan is to continue busting my booty so everyone falls more in love with me. And if they haven’t yet, make them. 🙂

With Mr. and Ms. Jay from America’s Next Top Model. I was ecstatic, not gonna lie.

2.) Volunteer at the Hope Lodge

I have it planned for this summer! It’s in my calendar and I plan to spend at least one weekend dedicating to helping out over there. Keep your eyes peeled for that experience. I know it’s going to be amazing. I’m also signed up for Relay for Life in my hometown on my mom’s team. I start fundraising soon and I’m so excited!

3.) Go on a cruise

It’s booked!! Bahamas, Dustin and I will see you in September for four nights. I’m stoked!

4.) Pay off X amount of student loans.

I’m working on it. In fact, I made another payment today. I’ve done some calculations and my mini-goal toward achieving this one is to pay off another one of my loans in full by the end of August. So far, I’m right on track. Boom!

5.) Get my personal trainer certification.

Must. Open. Books. Just do it!

6.) Read at least one book a month

Check! I read:

  • Violets of March by Sarah Jio in January
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern in February
  • Healthy Tipping Point by Caitlin Boyle in March
  • And I’m working on another book now, but it’s a secret.

Not to mention all of the magazines I read on a weekly basis 🙂

If you’re looking for my book recommendations, you can check out my list on Pinterest. But I think I’m going to start posting monthly book reviews as well, so we can dig a little deeper! After reading The Night Circus, I wanted to discuss it so bad with my college friends who took creative writing classes with me. Hopefully these posts will push them to talk to me more. (Hint hint, guys!)

All in all, I don’t think I’m doing too bad. I’ve been traveling a lot the past month or so and it’s been difficult to fit everything in, but I’m having the time of my life. I’ll be back Monday with my mini-goals for April. For now, I’m headed upstate for the weekend to celebrate Easter and this guy’s birthday:

Catch ya on the flip side!

Your turn: How are your goals for 2012 coming? Have you had to re-evaluate and set new goals?