Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Training for Tuesday Link Up!

Today I'm linking up with Tracy and Alyssa for their newest series - Training for Tuesday! It's a monthly link up where you can talk about any fitness related goals - big or small. I always get inspired reading about what others are out there trying to accomplish so I can't wait to read the other posts!


Currently I'm on Week 3 of my half marathon training. While I haven't run a marathon yet, half marathons are my favorite distance so far. In December I will be running #5 but I see 50 more in my future - hopefully!

In the past when I've trained for my half marathons, I've always just run. I've switched between plans that want you to run a certain number of miles a day or a certain amount of time a day. I've never really cross-trained or did strength training. I haven't been able to get on the yoga train yet but I keep meaning too. 

For this training cycle I found a plan on Self.com. I liked how it mixed things up with cross training, strength training, yoga, speed workouts, hill workouts etc. I like to run 4-5 days a week and I can easily fit a 3-4 mile run in during my work week. 

Since I got my Garmin last year and finally knew what my pace was, I've been secretly wanting to get faster. I can't be the only one that enjoys hearing their watch go off after a run saying "New Record!" While I'm being realistic with my goal because I know I will never be one of those 7 minute milers, I am hoping I can make it down to 9 minutes and run a sub 2 hour half marathon. Even if it ends up being 1:59 - that's under 2 hours to me!

I keep telling myself that it's not a big deal if I don't get it, because really it's not, but I really want to. The good thing is that I have the next 9 weeks to work on my speed during my training runs and to start believing in myself that it may be possible. 

It also helps that I'm running the race for more than just myself. Fundraising for MDA reminds me to be thankful for each and every run, good or bad. I get to do something I enjoy immensely while bringing awareness and hopefully one day a cure to MDA. I don't know anyone affected by it but it's still a cause that means  a lot to me. 

Come December 7th, I'll have butterflies and nerves when I line up at the start line. I may reach my goal or fall a few minutes short. But the most important thing is that I got there and tried. One of my favorite quotes is: 

Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.
-Denis Waitley

Failure shouldn't be something we're afraid of. Learn the lesson from it and keep moving. I may not reach my goal on December 7th, but maybe on another day instead. I won't know unless I keep trying.

Monday, September 29, 2014

That Weekend I Got A Niece!

On Friday night around 8pm, my brother and sister-in-law welcomed their beautiful little daughter into the world!!!!
Sophia Penelope!
Last Tuesday she almost made her debut but then decided to cook for a few more days. I live about 4 hours away and unfortunately I wasn't able to make it down Friday. Sarah and Ryan went away for the weekend and I had already committed to watching Zoey. Peter's mom is a florist and had a wedding to do so she wasn't able to watch her either. But   luckily my mom and step-dad were able to make the trip down and see their first granddaughter! 
Dad and Daughter!
Mom, Brother and Sister!
Step-dad, Aidan and Sophia!
We're all going down this weekend though because it is Aidan's birthday party (nephew) so only 5 more days until baby snuggles!! I went to Target on Saturday to pick up Legos for Aidan and had to get a few cute clothes for Sophia. Target just became 100x more dangerous now that I have a nephew and niece to spoil. Oye bank account. 
Being an aunt is expensive awesome!
When I wasn't staring at my phone for baby pictures, Zoey and I had a pretty relaxing weekend. We took lots of walks, naps and watched all the HGTV. I hope my second career is a real estate agent on House Hunters International.  The weather was also great this weekend and I got in a good long run Saturday morning. 

I've got a busy week at work but that means it should go by quickly. I need all the baby snuggles!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

TGIF - Thank Goodness It's Fall!

It seems I'm not alone in this sentiment but I'm SO happy Fall is officially here today. Fall is my season. My happy place. 

I love the cooler temps so I don't go outside and sweat off my deodorant immediately. I can go running in the morning or when I get off work. I can wear jeans and boots and sweaters. I get to look forward to my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. I use football games as an excuse to eat queso and drink beer. Just a few of my favorite Fall things! 

Yesterday Sarah, Ryan, Peter's mom and little sister and I went apple picking at 9AM. Unfortunately it didn't feel like Fall outside with the temperatures getting into the 80s but it was still fun as the first Fall activity of the season. We got plenty of apples to make applesauce and an apple pie. We got 3 pumpkins to decorate the front porch with (I've already named them George, Wade and Lavon). Then Ryan and I watched the Redskins v. Eagles game while eating queso and drinking beer. 
Virginia being pretty
pumpkin George 
big fan of these people :)
The only bummer is that Peter isn't here to enjoy the season with me. We've always had a lot of fun during these months, making pies, going on walks, decorating Halloween cookies and celebrating my birthday. I can't wait for him to be home during Thanksgiving though so we can do a few of these things.

Welcome Fall, please stay awhile!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Runner's Tell All: Race Bucket List

The last few Runner's Tell All topics, I've forgotten to write something for but I've read most of the blog posts because they're all so interesting! The remaining topics for the year I want to write about because they're easy to talk about and hello, free blog post idea!

This month's topic is about your race bucket list. When I was on the cross country and track teams in high school, I did those races and a few random 5k and 10k races with my mom. Since I ran my first half marathon in 2011, I think I've done 10 races between then and now. I love doing races because it's nice to see hundreds of other crazy people that are awake way too early on a weekend going out to x number of miles. I like running around a new place and helping to support the cause of the race. I especially love running a race with friends! But I think the biggest reason I don't run more races is because it can really add up.  A cheap 5k race these days is $25. I only paid $42 for the half marathon I'm doing in December because it's a small race and  I got $5 off because I didn't need the t-shirt. Right now my pesky student loans are keeping me from doing too many races so for now I'll continue to do the more budget friendly ones. 
My mom forcing me to take a picture at 7AM
About to cross the finish line on my first half marathon
Post 5k kisses from puppy Hunter!
So this race bucket list consists of races that I would love to do if I had plenty of disposable income!

1. Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon
I may have mentioned it once or twice on here how much I enjoy wine… :). Julie and Debbie did this race last year and said it was such a pretty course and well-organized. The only thing is it held in the summer so it can get hot on race day. And the registration fee is $115...

2. Big Sur
I visited California in 2009 and drove on the Pacific Coast Highway. I'd love to run next to the ocean for miles - though I could do without the giant hills. The marathon is $150 + my travel costs because it's kind of the other side of the US.

3. Boston
I mean it's Boston. There's a reason why BQ is a common terminology among runners. I've watched this on TV for the past couple years and it just seems like a great race. My uncle lives in Boston so luckily I could stay with him if I went. There's no way I could qualify for it though so my only option would be trying to do it as a charity runner. Though BAA sets the fundraising minimum at $7,000 so if I figure out how to become a fundraising queen, it may take a while for this to happen.

4. Berlin Marathon
This could really be any European race but since Peter speaks German, I feel like we could find ourselves in Berlin at some point. I'd probably make him run it with me so that way he can read any course signs that are in German to me so I don't get lost. 

5. Great Wall of China Half Marathon
I saw the ad for this race while I was waiting to watch a Youtube video. And it happened a few more times. Just being curious I actually went to their website to check it out. There's a marathon and half marathon but the half only goes up and down the Great Wall once so that sounds better to me. I just think it would be so cool to say you did a race on the Great Wall! I'm sure the views are amazing. It's not impossibly expensive but it would definitely take months of planning and saving to make it happen. 

These are definitely my top 5 races at the moment but there are other ones on my, let's say race bucket list B, that I want to do. A half marathon in Minnesota with Erin, duh. A half marathon with Kayla and Erin in Cincinnati, of course. And a million more half marathons/marathons/any distance race with my boomies, Julie and Kelly!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Running For A Cause

Last year Julie, Kelly and I raised money for the charity Alex's Lemonade Stand while training for our half marathon. They sent us T-shirts and we got to set up our own fundraising website with our catchy name Hokie Runner Girls. Thanks to our friends and family, we raised over $600! You can even see our picture on their website under Options For Participating page right now!

As I was planning for my next half marathon, I wanted to do something like this again. It seems like charities sponsoring runners at races is pretty popular these days so it was actually a tough decision to choose which one to do. Did I want to do a big name charity or find a small one? Did I want to try and get a race slot they've reserved or choose my own race? I even looked up what it takes to be a charity runner for Boston and yeah, I don't think I could raise $7,000 unfortunately. 

Then I was reading one of my favorite running blogs, rUnladylike and she had mentioned she's a part of Team Momentum as she trains for the Chicago Marathon. Team Momentum raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. When I researched more about muscle disease on their website, the first thing I noticed was how many different types there are. Then reading all the inspirational stories really did me in. 

When I'm trying to fight through a bad mental state at the beginning of a run or getting up and over a hill, it's really nothing compared to what these people are going through and I need that reminder. Running is a gift - I'm lucky to be able to do something I'm passionate about. A lot can happen during a 12 week training session, good and bad runs, weather and injuries. Giving this training cycle more purpose than just crossing the finish line is what I was looking for and I've found it with Team Momentum. 

I registered with them on Tuesday and set up my own fundraising site. If you'd like to check it out, you can find it here. I'll be doing a race of my choosing. The lady I've been in contact with has already been so supportive. Since this will be my 5th half marathon, my goal is to raise $500!

Here's to making progress on the cure for muscle disease one mile at a time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tracy Asked Me For It

Last week one of my favorite people/fellow Hokie, runner, smooth peanut butter enthusiast, Tracy,  nominated me for the Liebster Award! I did it once last year when I was still a nebbie blogger. I really enjoyed the questions she asked so here's 11 more random facts about me and my answers to her questions!

1. One of my pet peeves is when the microwave hasn't been cleared and isn't showing the time again. I clear it at work all the time.

2. Next May I'll have worked at my company for 5 years. Pretty cool to say for someone who graduated college last year. 

3. I've donated my hair to Locks of Love 3 times so far.

4. I absolutely will not watch scary/horror/thriller movies. No nightmares for me.

5. The only jewelry I keep on when I go running is my earrings.

6. For my 17th birthday, my then-boyfriend and Peter got me the same present. I returned my then-boyfriend's instead of Peter's hehe.

7. I wish I was brave enough to shave my head one day for St. Baldrick's.

8. When I was 10, a dog came up and bit me on the stomach. I still have a scar from it but I'm still obsessed with dogs. 

9. I hate pumpkin pie but I love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

10. I can't sleep with socks on.

11. Apparently I did not like Stuart Little the first time I read it at age 10.

Tracy's Questions:
1. What's it like having a twin? Pros/cons?
Having a twin that isn't the same gender is probably pretty different than two girls or two boys. It usually just feels like I have another brother and luckily we aren't too competitive. 
Cons: Spend a lot of time together. Always have to share your birthday. People may confuse you for your boyfriend/girlfriend... True story: Peter used to see us walking home together from school and assumed that…so so awkward and weird!
Pros: Always have someone to play with. People's reactions when you tell them you're twin. Pretty great bond and cool to say you've known them literally your entire life. He's fiercely protective of me and would do anything to make sure I was okay. 
If you want to know more of my thoughts, I wrote about it here too!

2. What did you major in in college? If you could have gotten a degree in something else, would you and what would it be?

Business Management. I would have liked to get an interior design degree because I really enjoy it but it was under the Architecture program and seemed really hard. Maybe in my next life!

3. Would you rather have a relaxing vacation with no plans, or have lots to see and do?

You can probably tell by my weekend recaps that I like my down time. On vacation all I want to do it relax with a few activities to do here and there.

4.  If you could move anywhere would you? Where?

As I've started traveling more, I've come to appreciate where I currently live/have grown up even more. But if Peter got a job offer in Germany or Austria, I would definitely move! I could finally put what I've learned on House Hunters International to good use. 

5. What's your favorite song to run to?

Hmm I tend to listen an artist's entire CD when I run so a few favorites are:
Gavin DeGraw's Make a Move album - especially Heartbreak / Soldier off Sweeter
One Republic's Native album
Mat Kearney's Young Love album
Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory

6. What's your earliest memory? 

I think Kiefer and I were maybe 2 or 3 but I remember us playing ring around the rosie in our kitchen. My dad has it on video somewhere.

7. What age has been your favorite so far? 

I really enjoyed being 22. I was a senior in college. I was living with my two best friends, going on adventures, being silly and going to Kroger daily. Peter was right around the corner and we always had a lot of fun things planned. I had been at my job at school for 4 years and they felt like family. Graduating college was such a big milestone and I was glad to have such great people to celebrate with. 

At my age now, sometimes I feel like I'm just waiting for the next chapter. Now that school and those milestones are over, I keep feeling like I need something else to happen. I'm working on just enjoying the moments these days.

8. What's something you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I hope in 5 years I've run a marathon. I keep going back and forth on when I should do it but I think when the right time comes I'll know. I'm sure this running goal was a shocker :P

9. If you had $100 and had to spend it today, what would you buy?

Fall clothes! I have a shopping cart on JCrew Factory that is begging to be bought - if only my bank account agreed.

10. What was your favorite class in high school?

My first thought that came to mind for this question was "which classes did I have with Julie?". No class really stands out to me for it's interesting curriculum but more of who was in my class. Julie and I took AP History together. I hated the content but oh boy did we make that class fun for ourselves. We may have dressed up our textbook in a tuxedo and took pictures with it on Homecoming. And made sock puppets rap for our final project :)

11. What are you looking forward to?

Thanksgiving! Peter will be home for the week and I'm taking the whole week off to spend as much time with him as I can. I sure do miss that guy!

Now I would like to nominate Laura! Her stories in her posts really make me laugh out loud, especially with lines like this about her finally discovering the greatness of Pinterest: I sat on the couch and scrolled through page after page after page after page…after page… of ways to style chambray shirts.  I couldn't stop.  Matt was sitting next to me and after about fifteen minutes he said, “What are you looking at? The denim channel?”

Here are my questions for Laura:
1. If you were the lead singer of a band, which band would it be for?
2. What is your favorite candle smell?
3. When you have the night to yourself, what's your favorite thing to do?
4. What is your go to outfit for a night out?
5. What is your favorite Midnight Snack?
6. If you could change your first name, would you? If so, what would it be?
7. If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be?
8.  If you could get paid for doing anything, what would it be?
9. What is your favorite part about Thanksgiving?
10. What is your must have make up product?
11. Do you have a favorite charity?

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Five Favorites from My Weekend

1. Friday night Sarah, Ryan, Zoey and I hung out in the backyard playing Washers. I won both rounds and made the toss the automatically wins the game.

2. Saturday morning I ended up 5 miles instead 4 because of the cool weather and listening to my Parachute playlist.

3. Saturday night my friend and I met Parachute for the THIRD time and fell more in love them with them. They're so nice, talented, funny and put on one hell of a show!

4. She was the one that introduced me to them so we definitely sang our hearts out that night. It was the best! We were sorely missing our other Parachute-lover Kelly though!

5. Sunday afternoon Julie and I enjoyed a glass of wine and mountain views at a local winery. It was such a pretty day out and a great way to get in some girl time.

Today is Day 1 of half marathon training! I'm hoping to have a great training cycle and looking forward to getting half #5 in the books!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Not Being Judy Attitudy

Yesterday I got off work late which I can't really complain about because it doesn't happen often. The only thing that stinks is sitting in more traffic. I only work 11 miles away and yet on a bad day it'll take me an hour to get home. Like yesterday.

But when I pulled up to the traffic and thought "ughhhhh" I quickly realized that being mad about it isn't going to make anything better. Judy Attitudy is my phrase for those stuck in a bad attitude (mainly because it rhymes). 
So instead I focused my attention on thinking about all the things that are currently making me happy. And thus a blog post is born!

+ My Mom. She makes me laugh and is my absolute #1 supporter. I could tell her I'm going to run the entire Great Wall of China and would say "Of course you can!!!"

+ "I miss you" texts. It's nice to hear when you're feeling it too :)

+ Snapchats from Kayla. Pretty much my only snapchat friend and I love our little picture conversations!

+ After taking the summer to run whenever I felt like it, I'm excited to have a training plan again! Half marathon #5 here I come. Fall training, prepare to be enjoyed!

+ Pretty flowers on the side of the road.

+ That my niece could be here in 2 short weeks!

+ A co-worker/friend just came back from vacation this week and brought ME back something! She said "I thought it would be good to run in!". So stinking sweet and it is so stinking comfy! 

I finally got home and was feeling totally fine. I actually went on a walk with Zoey and Sarah as soon as I did and it was nice to enjoy the weather. I had dinner, watched Ellen videos and crawled into bed at 9pm. It's funny how the right attitude makes anything better. 

Especially on the anniversary of today - cherish the blessings in your life!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Weekend Highlights

I wrote about 5 sentences of this post on Sunday and then decided to take a nap so it never got finished. Naps > blogging on Sunday - it's the truth.

Since it's Tuesday and the weekend was days ago now, I'll give you a quick highlight of mine because it did include some fun!

Friday after work I drove out to my mom's house to hang with her, my step-dad and dogs/cats for the night. They are getting their basement finished and my mom has been wanting me to come by to see it in progress. We ran to Home Depot so she could pick out tile for their mini wine cellar and then she bought my subway for dinner. Thanks mom! I also downloaded emojis on her new iPhone and it's been hilarious.

Saturday morning I slept in so I got a late start to my run. It was 10am and for some reason I didn't think 80 degrees and sunny would be that bad. Yeah…I wanted to faint at the end of it. I struggled the whole time and felt like I was running in a heat blanket. I am not a summer runner. But it was a good reminder that running is something you can always work harder at and it motivated me to have a better run next time.
Hang out at my car for 30 minutes trying to recover..
Saturday night we went to a Gatsby-themed Twilight Polo match. We bought VIP tickets months ago and had a group of 15 people meeting us. All signs for a great night…except it decided to start storming the moment we got there. It couldn't have rained at 3pm or anything. Also not as many people as we thought were dressed up. So instead we packed up and headed back to our house to watch the Tech game. We were recording it and going to watch it afterwards but we caught up after 20 minutes. Holy nail biter. But hello #17 ranking :)
Wrapped my hair in a headband - so comfy and cute!
some of the ladies! Peter's sisters are the one next to me and the one in the middle!
dressed up men - these two have been since they were 3! almost 30 years of friendship!
Sunday I made the most delicious chicken salad in all the land. When I was visiting Peter he made it and I insisted he send me the recipe. He sent me an email with it in a Word document and added his own chef's notes hehe. After slicing one finger while chopping the onion in half…it ended up being SO good. Yesterday at work I was dying for it to be 12pm so I could eat it. I love having a good lunch!

The rest of the day was spent with football and reading outside. I'm about 30 pages into this book but haven't decided how I feel about it yet. I think I need to keep reading. 

One last mention because I know my fellow Fall runners (Tracy, Meagan) are agreeing with me. I went running yesterday at 5pm in capris and T-shirt and I did not die of humidity or drown in sweat. It was glorious!!! I'm so glad Fall running is here. Thank you Mother Nature!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September Goals

First a recap on how my August Goals went!

1. Blog 3x a week…. I only went one week with just two posts so 2/3 completed.
2. Run 5 times before work….I ran 3 times before work so 3/5 completed.
3. Read a book from the library….Unfortunately this didn't happen but hopefully this month.
4. Go on a hiking adventure….This didn't happen either but I went on adventure around Chicago which I'm half counting because I was still outside being active.
5. Send two pieces of snail mail….Fully completed! I sent a thank you card to my grandma and a birthday package to my favorite optometry student Kelly!

And now on to this month's goals.
This picture made me giddy for running on leaf covered paths!
1. Wake up an hour before work on non-running days. You'd think after 15 months in the real world I'd get used to waking up early. Instead I've perfected getting ready in 15 minutes. Time to get my lazy butt up and get the day going!

2. Start training for half marathon #5. I'm getting serious this training cycle and hoping to break two hours (eek). Speedwork, hill workouts and yoga - I'm coming for ya!

3. Read a book from the library. Hello free books - what more do you need Becky?!

4. Love on my new niece. The family is pretty much on call the next few weeks waiting for her arrival. I've never actually held a new born baby before - I can't wait!

5. Update my About Me, Running and Contact tabs. Erin redid my blog design months ago and I still haven't added anything to those sections whoops.

Bring it on September!