A Few Things And Travel Tips

Some things before I check out for Christmas:

All Christmas-themed food makes me happy. This made me especially happy. IMG_2090

Holiday popcorn tins are the way to my heart. However, I need those popcorn makers to wise-up and make the cheddar cheese popcorn the one with the biggest portion. #amiright

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I bought pumpkin pie spice to make a birthday cake for a friend and it literally called for 1 tbsp. So I was left with a lot of pumpkin pie spice and no idea what to do with it. Good news – I’ve found the perfect vehicle.

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Add it to your coffee. You will NOT be disappointed. Update: only 2 days until Christmas…my mug is a little out of date.

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Sleeping dogs are the cutest! Blondie’s dog Lacey is a sleeping machine!

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Since I’ll be out of the office the rest of the week (aka unplugging from all things online/computer related) I’ll go ahead and share my…

Week 16 Marathon Training Recap:

Monday – rest and LOTS OF FOAM ROLLING

Tuesday – 4 miles easy (10:00 pace)

Wednesday – 5 miles varying incline between 0.5 – 2.5 (9:40 pace)

Thursday – rest

Friday – rest…Merry Christmas!

Saturday – 8 (maybe 9 depending on how I feel) miles @ 9:40 pace

Sunday – rest (flying home)

Only three run days this week. I’m praising my coach for this. Running while traveling is hard. Running around the entire state of Michigan visiting family, eating out 90% of the time, sleeping in a different bed, it really does take a toll on our bodies. Here are some things that help me keep up with my training while traveling (which has been more than I expected over the past 4 months):

  • Stay hydrated. I can’t say this enough. Also, try to limit the alcohol. This is usually a struggle especially when you’re visiting family and most nights wrap up at a bar. But if you limit your alcohol and stay hydrated, your body will thank you.
  • Plan out the exact day and time you’re going to run as best as you can. For me this involves coordinating with the hubs and letting him know that having time to run is an important part of our schedule.
  • Check the weather before you leave so that you don’t have an excuse to back out of a run. It might be 75 degrees this weekend in Georgia, but in Michigan it’s probably in the 30’s. Plan accordingly.
  • Make a new playlist or have a new audiobook or podcast ready to go. If you have something to look forward to it won’t be as hard to sneak away for your run.
  • Invite someone to come along with you. On my trip up to Michigan earlier this year my mom actually came with me on one of my runs and it was great! Running with a friend is always more fun.
  • Sleep. This is hard, I know. And it kind of goes without saying. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • And, lastly, realize that you can’t do it all and be gracious with yourself. If you set out to do 8 miles and your body is just screaming no or falling apart and you’re mentally not there, don’t push it! Do the best you can and then call it a day. Give yourself credit for getting out there and trying and don’t beat yourself up – there’s always another day!

These last 2.5 weeks before my race are going to take some mental toughness and real self-encouragement for me. I’m pumping myself up to really go into race day feeling like a bad ass.

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I hope you have an extra special holiday and get to spend time with the ones who mean the most to you and that you all have bellies full of delicious holiday food!

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What are some ways you keep up with fitness when you travel?

Are you traveling for the holidays?

Favorite holiday food?

> desserts…give me all the desserts!

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The Most Fun Weekend – And The Most Exhausting…

Family Christmas traditions are my favorite. When I lived at home, my brothers and I always decorated the tree together with my parents. We picked out the biggest tree we could find and brought it home for dad to string the lights (always multi-colored) and put Snow White at the top. Then us kids would decorate it with a plethora of Disney/homemade/Baby’s First Christmas/missing limb/did I mention Disney ornaments we’ve collected over the years. Even though we’re all growing up and moving out, we still head over to mom and dad’s every year and decorate the tree together. I love this tradition.IMG_2095

Marathon Training Week 15 Recap:

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 4 miles easy (I stuck to a 10:00/mm pace)

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – 5 miles @ 1mi easy (10:00/mm) , 3 miles with 60 second pick-up / 60 seconds easy (Pick Up @ 9:13/mm, Easy @ 9:40/mm), 1 mi easy

Friday – supposed to be 3 miles easy but my ankle, yeah. That didn’t happen. Got in 1 mile before I had to call it quits because of ankle pain.

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – 21 miles! I did it!

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Some things from this weekend:

Friday we went out to celebrate the Roomie’s birthday! Good times were had by all.

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Saturday we hung out with some people the hubs works with and cooked out at their house. Then we all went to see the new Star Wars movie! Do not judge, I grew up with three little brothers. I am a closet Star Wars fan. The movie theater we went to had waiters who would bring popcorn and candy to your seat any time you pushed this little button! It was amazing!!

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Sunday was long run day. Then Blondie and I headed to the grocery store to get all the ingredients we needed for a day of baking while the boys watched football and were our official taste testers.

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We both needed to make little treats to give to people in our offices for the holidays so we decided to do it together! I made one of my great-grandmother’s recipes: party mix. I also made ginger snap cookies. Blondie made Christmas bark and homemade Snickers and Butterfingers!

Then Sunday night my parents came over and gave us our Christmas presents since we won’t be here with them on Christmas day. They gave us tickets to see The Book of Mormon at the Fox! I’m so excited! And my mom got me a hilarious kitchen towel that I will post a picture of later…she really gets me!

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Y’all, my weekend was exhausting. But, it was filled with so much celebrating and so many good times with friends. I hope you guys had a fun weekend too!

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How was your weekend?

Do you have any yummy family recipes you like to make around the holidays? 

26 Things About My Marathon Training

I’ve read so many amazing “26 Things…” posts from people about their marathon or their training. This is my pre-race edition. I’ll probably have a post-race edition although I expect it will probably be a bit shorter than this one.

  1. I’ve spent a majority of 2015 training for this race. My serious and scheduled training may not have begun until September, but ever since registering in April I’ve been working hard to build my base up so that I’d be able to safely and successfully complete this race.
  1. I think about running a lot. I read about it, I spend a lot of money on it. It has dictated my bed time more than anything.
  1. I have consumed a lot less alcohol these past 4 months.
  1. I have consumed a lot MORE carbs. Pasta is my friend.
  1. My feet have never been so sore in my life. I didn’t even really know feet could get sore.
  1. My body truly, honestly, is amazing. I had no idea I was capable of running this far for this long. This is one of the mantras I’ve repeated to myself throughout the course of my training-  “How amazing is your body that it allows you to do this?”
  1. I’ve grown mentally tougher. I’ll admit, I am a quitter. If I don’t feel like I’m going to do well or if things start to get hard, I quit. Training has taught me that if I put my mind to it and decide to just keep going, I really can finish.
  1. Books on tape are pretty much the best thing ever. I love to read but I never got into audiobooks until I started training. It makes me focus on something other than how far I’ve run, how far I still have to go, how sore my legs are, how windy it is, how early it is…you get it.
  1. Mindy Kaling is hilarious, and I want to be her best friend. I’ve read listened to both of her books during this training cycle. Highly recommended. You could often find me on the treadmill early in the morning laughing hysterically while listening to her talk about her struggles in Hollywood.mindy 2mindy
  1. Body glide. Need I say more?
  1. I’ve really enjoyed running around my little neighborhood area. I feel more attached to my town and connected to it. It’s my ‘hood. And I’ve become attached to the animals…like Duke the donkey. IMG_1772 (2)
  1. Do not run outside on Wednesdays. Trash days…disgusting.
  1. I wish the runner’s high could come around at some point during every run. Alas, it does not. It is an elusive little creature.
  1. Did I mention I have the most supportive friends and family ever? Everyone has been so encouraging, asking how training is going and how many days I have left until my race. The hubs has given me many a pep talk and is constantly pumping me up. I love you all.
  1. Fruity Gu flavors are NOT my friend. They haven’t upset my stomach or anything, I just really don’t like those flavors. Unfortunately, I had to learn this through trial and error. So when at mile 6 of my 14 mile long run I opened up a mixed berry flavored Gu and had to toss it after the first taste hit my tongue, my body was dying for fuel by the end of the run.
  1. Chocolate Outrage Gu IS my friend! This should really come as no surprise to anyone who knows me.
  1. I’d like to send a personal shout-out to the Honey Stinger waffle. I sincerely believe that this honeycombed piece of heaven is what started my Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon in the right direction and allowed me to PR like a BOSS.
  1. The preparation for a long run is real. Purchasing your fuel the day before, carb loading a few days leading up to the run, making sure you stay hydrated throughout the week, planning your route…it’s extensive. Also, on the actual day of my long run, I had to drive around and place water bottles and Gatorade along my route so I was never too far away from a hydration station.
  1. There is such a thing as too much Eminem on your playlist. Don’t tell the hubs.
  1. It’s important to make multiple playlists so you don’t get bored with the songs you listen to, to a point where they become un-motivating. Apple music, you are a godsend.
  1. Having a coach who makes my running schedule for me each month was the best decision I made during this whole process. Having that calendar with those distances and paces already set out for me was all I needed to keep me accountable and keep me on track.
  1. Shin splints are from the devil. KT Tape is from heaven.
  1. Signing up for a winter marathon was such a good choice. While yes I did run outside all year, even in the sweltering heat, I was able to enjoy most of my long runs during a fairly cool and mild-weathered time of the year. Put that little tidbit in the back of your brain for future race registration consideration.
  1. The amount of tired you feel after a long run is unreal. It basically is all I plan on doing that day because I know the rest of the day I will just want to sit, foam roll, and nap. And repeat. I’m pretty much worthless.
  1. No, Katherine. No matter how many times you tell yourself if you just get through this long run and finish strong then the Falcons will win their game today…it will not happen. Because the Falcons are not good. Not good at all.falcons
  1. All of the emotions I feel leading up to this race – oh the emotions. The self doubt, the victories, the sheer amazement at what I’ve accomplished. The physical pain, the hunger, all of the feels. This has been such an amazing journey (Bachelor drinking game – sorry, had to say it) and I’m so excited to wrap it up in these next three weeks and have all the hard work pay off!

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Send good vibes for this weekend’s LAST long run!!

What are your plans this weekend?

Have any cool stories about races you’ve run this year? 

My Holiday Gift Guide

There are only 8 days until Christmas…don’t panic.  I’ve got some great gift ideas for you guys!

1.  Alex and Ani bracelets – these adorable bangles are one of my favorite new finds this year. They make a ton of different jewelry from rings to necklaces to bracelets. But these charm bangles are my favorite because you can build on them and stack them in a collection. It’s one of those gifts you can give someone for Christmas’ and birthdays every year and each time they get a new bangle with a new charm they will get to add on to their collection!

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2. MVMT Watches – I love this company’s watches for men. They’re sleek and classy – and, BONUS, they’re not outrageously priced. You really can’t go wrong with a solid watch collection.

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3. Copper Moscow Mule mugs – Keeping with the ‘classy’ theme, copper moscow mule mugs top the list. I’m not a huge fan of the actual moscow mule drink (vodka, ginger beer, lime..meh. I’ll stick with wine) but I think the copper mugs that they come in are adorable.  You can get ultra cute with them and get them personalized!

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4. Blanket scarf – Have a fashionista to shop for? Blanket scarfs are all the rage this winter. The moment a blanket became an acceptable accessory to wear 24/7, my life was complete. I’m a cold-natured person so I’m all about this. You can get them in literally any pattern.

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5. Audible Audiobooks gift card – I’m not usually a huge fan of giving gift cards as holiday gifts. I feel like sometimes they’re impersonal. UNLESS the person you’re buying for is a huge fan of listening to audiobooks while doing long runs during marathon training (hint hint, wink wink!). Or maybe they sit in the car for two hours a day in traffic driving to and from work and they’re TOTALLY over all of the current top-40 radio hits? Enter Audible. They’re run by Amazon and they have any book you could think of on tape. BIG fan of this gift.

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6. Garden Jar 3-Pack – Okay maybe this is just me? I love mason jars and I love cooking with fresh herbs. My yard gets zero sun so I can’t have a garden. But these Garden Jars are made to grow inside – perfect for me! It comes with parsley, basil, and mint!garden jar

7. Cold weather running gear – In the south, it doesn’t really start getting cold until, eh, mid-January, and it stays cold through the end of March. So Christmas is prime time to get that special runner in your life all kinds of cold weather gear to prepare. Some must haves for me are:

  • Ear warmer – I CANNOT run in the cold without something covering my ears. It’s so painful. I had a sweet friend give me a super cute monogrammed ear warmer this Christmas! Here’s a link to a cute one on Amazon.                           ear warmer
  • Gloves – I don’t like big puffy gloves because I hate when my hands get too hot. But gloves are a definite must when you’re starting those long runs at 6am and it’s 30 degrees out!gloves
  • Long sleeve tops – I’d much rather have cold legs than cold arms.  I’m partial to Nike’s long sleeve  tops like this one. I also have this half-zip top that is my go-to when I need an extra layer.                  nike-womens-printed-miler-long-sleeve-running-t-shirt_750339

 

Christmas shopping can be stressful, but luckily I got a majority of mine done early and have everything wrapped under the tree ready to go! The hubs and I have to do our Christmas a few days early this year since we can’t travel up to Michigan with all of our gifts in our suitcases. This is the first year we’ll be traveling for the holidays, but we are excited to spend the Christmas with his family!merry

Tomorrow I’m sharing some of my reflections from the past 15 weeks of marathon training. Some deep reflective thoughts, other comical thoughts – it’ll be a good time!

 

Tell me –

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?

Do you start shopping early or save it all until the very end?

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Given?

What I’ve Been Up To – MIA Status

Hey there, remember me? It’s been a minute.

I’m going to try to sum up the past 4 months that I’ve been MIA as quickly as possible.

  1. Yes, I have been training for my marathon that is exactly 3 weeks and 5 days away. I’ve been working with my coach, Coach Carl, throughout the entire process and it’s been wonderful. I’ve had some beautiful runs throughout the fall, especially up in Michigan. IMG_2080IMG_1754IMG_1746
  1. I ran a 5K in under 28 minutes and had a major PR at the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon with a finish time of 2:06:59 (it’s true, that’s the time it said on the internet).IMG_2084
  1. My last long training run is this Sunday and it’ll be my one and only run over 20 miles. I’ve been battling some shin splints/weak ankles/hip pains these last few weeks so currently, I’m feeling a little discouraged. Then I’ve got a three-week taper to build back my confidence before heading to my race on January 10th in Disney!IMG_1773

  1. I also made a big decision – I broke up with my Nike’s and made the switch to Asics. The jury is still out, they’re VERY different. And yes, yes it’s true. I’ve been running in shorts outside for the past week. It’s been a dream. #thesouthrulesIMG_2083
  1. Personally, it’s been an, interesting four months. The hubs has been traveling a bit more (his company got bought out, again, so that’s been an adjustment). Wilson and Mila are adorable and still make for delightful company while he is gone. We’ve done a few home improvement projects. And by that I mean I painted our master bedroom and put up Christmas decorations. We had an unexpected trip up to Michigan for a family funeral that was not fun but it definitely reminded us how important family is and how lucky we are to have such loving and supportive friends and family. We’ve had a busy few months with traveling and holiday celebrations and we’re getting ready to trek back up to Michigan again to spend Christmas up there.            IMG_2081IMG_2082

PHEW!!! Sorry, that last one was a doozie but I felt like it all related and it was acceptable to keep it all together.

I’ve missed my writing outlet and I’ve also missed the support the running blog community has. I’m relying on you guys to get me through these last few weeks of training without quitting because right now the struggle is real.

Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say I’M BACK! More to come, I promise!

 

Did you get burned out at the end of your marathon training? How do I pick up my motivation?

 

What have you been up to?!