Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Adventure Island Water Park

While in Tampa, we took a day to go to the water park (because Melanie gets a little bored with sitting on the beach every. single. day.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Beach Vacation

In the middle of July, I went to the beach for a week with my family.  It was so great to get away.  We sat on the beach, ate donuts and ice cream, went out to eat, and I read a lot and watched cable tv.  SO relaxing!

Monday, August 29, 2011

We're going to party like it's 1999!

Back in July, I attended a birthday party that had a 90s theme.  We had a blast!

I dressed as Robin Sparkles from How I Met Your Mother.  I ran into Sporty Spice!

I found some sisters!

The cell phone really completed his ensemble!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lake Weekend

Back in July, my crew of friend's headed to our friend's parent's lakehouse.  We always go for one weekend each summer, and it's totally one of my favorite things about summer.

Here are some photos from our weekend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shortish Long Run Fail

The plan today was to run 12 miles.  We had all done about 16 last weekend, and we've got 20 coming up next weekend.  12 seemed like a good option for this in between week.

We celebrated a friend's birthday last night with a yummy meal at Burger Up followed by drinks at 12 South Taproom.  I was in bed promptly at 10:30.  (Yes. We are getting old and go to bed early on Friday night.)

I know I got plenty of sleep, but I still woke up at 5:30 feeling unwell.  It's not that I felt truly sick, but my tummy wasn't feeling normal.  I came really close to send the text message that I was going to bail, but I knew I haven't really been getting in enough miles considering I'm running a full soon.

So I went.  I felt like crap the entire time, but listening to my other friends talk pulled me through.

However, I called it at 8.5 miles.  My tummy was not behaving, and my lower back was hurting way more than it should.  I knew that I'd be better off calling it early and getting more rest so that I can have solid runs this next week than to power through a few more miles and feel like crap.

Sometimes you have to do what your body says.

I came home, showered, and got back in bed for about 4 hours.  Yeah.  Apparently I still needed more sleep.

I spent some time this afternoon out at the pool.  While reading Entertainment Weekly, I happened upon an article and photos of Lady Antebellum.  I thought the scenery looked familiar.  Then I read the caption.

"Photographed at Nashville's Patterson House on August 9."

Um yeah... that's totally the day I was at Patterson House and saw them.

It was kind of cool reading this article and knowing I had seen them there shortly after those photos were taken.

I'm enjoying a quiet day to myself.  I'm probably going to go out a little later and grab a drink at a nearby place where some friends are having a party.  I want to say hi and wish the guy a happy birthday.  But other than that? It's nice to just be relaxing.

Maybe I'll finally upload some photos of my summer adventures and schedule them to post throughout this week for you to enjoy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Have You Ever Bought a Swimsuit Online?

Ok bloggers... you've gotten quiet on me, but I don't blame you.  I haven't really been writing many posts for you to comment on.

But I need your help!

Have any of you ever bought a swimsuit online, particularly from Victoria's Secret? 

I'm considering buying one on there, but I have no idea if this is a good idea since you can't try it on before you buy it.

Thoughts? Tips? Success or failure stories?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Trend

There's a new trend in my life, and I'm not sure I like it.

For the second time in this training cycle, I have run in a thunderstorm.  I know two times might not seem like a lot, but considering the only other time before this that I've run in a storm was at a race (and I've been running for YEARS), it seems like a lot to me.

I woke up Sunday morning and realized it was lightning.  I texted my friends to make sure they were still planning to go to the group training run.  We had 18 on tap, and it seemed we were all on board.  Liz even told me the storm was supposed to pass before we even started.

I got dressed.  It started pouring.  I got in the car and started driving.  It poured harder.

I believe I sent a text to Liz that said "5:45 my @$$!" because it was almost 6 and the storm was not gone by 5:45 like she had said, haha.

I parked and managed to force myself out of the car to find the 5 others I was going to run with.  A few other people hopped out of cars and joined our little group.  We decided there was no sense standing around and took off.

In the thunder. And lightning.  And pouring rain.

It was actually a little fun at first splashing through puddles and such.

And really, I figured my odds of getting struck by lightning are smaller than those of heat exhaustion or dehydration if we waited out the storm, started later, and then finished later in the higher temps.

The rain let up after a couple of miles.  The worst part was just being soaking wet.  I felt pretty good for the first 8 miles, but shortly before the turnaround I had a "need to use the potty now" moment.  I took care of business and we took back off, but my stomach never felt quite right for the rest of the run.

The last few miles on the path back to the car were tough.  My feet were still wet and heavy, and I just knew I wasn't having my best day.

I had hit 16 when we got back to the car, and it was already pretty hot... so I decided to call it.  I'd been running for almost 3 hours in wet shoes and clothing, and I was done.  The 16 I did 2 weeks ago was pretty easy on me, so I figure I'm still in good shape... I just had a tough day.  It wouldn't have been worth it to tack on 2 more miserable miles.

It turns out some of the others didn't start running until almost 6:45 when the storm was good and gone.  I suppose there's logic in not starting a run during a storm, but boy was I thankful I wasn't still out there running.  By the time I drove back to my place, it already felt even hotter than when I stopped running!

Here's to hoping for no more storms.  Running with wet feet really is tough, and I think it's why my back is still sore today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Altering My Expectations

It's occurred to me that my running mentality seems to have changed a bit this year.

At one time, I really wanted to break 4:00 in the marathon.  I'd of course still like to do this at some point, but it hasn't really been a big enough thing to me lately to really try to train the right way to do it.

It hit me recently... I think my expectations have altered.  It's not that I did so intentionally, but somewhere along the way my expectations for myself have gradually changed. 

I still want to improve and challenge myself, but I managed to achieve a lot of excellent PRs in 2010 and am satisfied with that.  I can always try to go back and break them whenever I'm ready.

I think that I've reached a point where I want to challenge myself, but I also think that having fun while accomplishing something like a distance training run or a distance race is what I need right now.  Like, I want to challenge myself in new ways.  I think this is why I've enjoyed doing things like relay races and running multiple distance races in a short period of time... it's a different kind of challenge, and it's also a bit more laid back since I'm not so focused on time goals.  It's also why I signed up for the Warrior Dash.  I think I want running to be something I'm doing to stay healthy and have fun.  I'm not really interested in setting specific time goals right now.

Does this mean I'll never go after the 4:00 marathon?  Nope.  Does it mean I'm not going to try to run the best I can in Chicago? Nope.  But it does mean that for now I'm not setting expectations for myself with regards to race times. 

I've been enjoying just getting the miles in and running with a couple of different groups.  Running has crossed over into being even more social for me than it usually has been.  I want to run this fall and just enjoy it for the sake of running and racing and the community that you encounter on the run.

I've also got a fun opportunity to get involved with some local races as race day staff, so it's kind of fun to shift my focus a bit on making sure I'm helping other runners have a positive race experience.

I'm still very excited about the races I have on the calendar.  I've just realized that my mentality about training for them and running them has changed a bit... and for now, I kinda like it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Marathons and 50Ks

I'm thinking about signing up for a 50K sometime in the reasonably near future if I can find one that's appealing.

A lot of the ones around here that people really brag on happen in October, and I'm not about to do that when I am already running Chicago as well as The Middle Half that month.

I'm considering the Swamp Stomper 50K in Memphis in January.  Is anyone else out there running it?  Anyone who has run it before?  I'd love to know a bit more about it before I think about taking the plunge.

On the other hand, I'm already doing a marathon in October and November.  I'm considering running Huntsville again in December because I love it so much, and a friend is running it as her first full.  If I do that, then I don't think I'd be game for a 50K the next month.  That's a lot of long races in 4 months.  They do have a 25K option, so it could be fun to do that instead... but do I really want to travel to Memphis for a 25K?  (Memphis is not exactly one of my favorite places.)

These are the debates I have with myself about races.  I also have an opportunity that could require some weekend commitments, so this may all be moot soon...

Nonetheless, I'm open to any thoughts and words of wisdom you may have to share.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nashville Moment

I've written before about seeing a few Nashville celebrities... I think my most recent one was actually Hillary of Lady Antebellum back in February when I was out to dinner with friends.

Last night, I was walking into The Patterson House when a guy walked past me... and I thought to myself that he looked really familiar and that maybe I had met him at a party or something.

Then I realized it was Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum.

And then I looked up, and there was Hillary coming out.

And then I got inside, and there was Charles Kelley.

It was really cool to discover that the three of them hang out together. And that they dress and look exactly like they do when you see them on tv or in magazines.

I'm not really all that star struck when I see famous people around Nashville, but it IS still kind of cool and something fun to share with others.

*Image found through a Google search on Google Images

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On Body Image

A few weeks ago, I was at the beach with my family.  My sister snapped a picture of me ready to head out for our first full day, and I uploaded it on Facebook.  It's probably the picture that has received the most comments, likes and private messages of all the thousands I've ever posted.

When I went back inside later that day, my iPhone was lit up with all sorts of notifications.  At first, I realized that maybe it was a bit narcissistic of me to post a photo of myself in a bikini.  However, I read comment after comment, and then message after message, and then saw who all and how many people selected to like it... I knew that I had not posted it looking for the least bit of affirmation.  I was excited to be on the beach and ready for a fun vacation!

Nonetheless, that doesn't mean I didn't like the affirmation.

I'm not posting it here looking for that either.  The whole situation just got me to thinking.  I know that I have nothing to complain about when it comes to my body... I'm fit. I run marathons. I generally eat pretty healthy (mostly so I can indulge in things like donuts and cookies and ice cream).  I know there are plenty of people who would scoff at me if I said one negative thing about my own body... people who would be quick to remind me that a marathon runner shouldn't complain.  Or that I'm not allowed to make a big deal over how hard it is to find pants small enough for my waist.

But here's what I think... we all know our own body intimately.  We're always going to look in the mirror and find something we don't like.  Do I like being as small-chested as I am? Most days.  It certainly makes running easier... but there are times I wish I had a bit more because then certain shirts might look cuter on me.  And I'm constantly aware of my tummy... people started commenting on this photo about wishing they have abs like mine, and my tummy is probably the part of my body I'm the most insecure about.  Even though a guy I care much for and that cares much for me told me with sheer honestly that he thinks my stomach is great and is probably a 9 out of 10 (adding, "who really can be a perfect 10 anyways?") and it was probably the best affirmation I had ever received... I still sometimes don't understand why I'm not more toned through there.

My point is this.  We all have things we don't like, but at the end of the day I think we have to have some confidence and focus on what we do like.  I work hard to have nice legs and a nice butt, so I like finding cute dresses that may be a bit on the short side or great jeans that really accentuate things... When you like how you look, I don't think it's conceited... I think it's confidence.

We beat ourselves up over our bodies too much I think.  I don't run to be skinny or whatnot.  I run because it's fun, I meet new people, I make close friends, I challenge myself. And to eat donuts.

Having nice legs?  It's kind of just a bonus.

I think if I ran because I wanted to change my body, I wouldn't enjoy it.  I almost think I might not ever be satisfied.

So I say: be confident.  Work what you've got.  Don't be afraid to hide, even if you don't think everything is perfect.  No one is perfect anyways.  Be strong.  Be proud of your fitness.  And if someone complements you, accept it.  We're not doing anyone any good by telling someone they're wrong and that we wish we had a better looking this or that.

Do I still feel a little narcissistic for posting a photo in a bikini? Sure.  But you know what? I run hard.  I play hard.  I try to enjoy life with a smile.  And sometimes that means I go to the beach in a bikini. No sense hiding that from anyone.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

16 Sweaty Miles

The alarm started going off at 5am.  I really do not like mornings, so it's always kind of blown my own mind that I've gotten into running since it does require some early mornings for long runs and races. (My other mid-week runs? Always in the evenings. I cannot run before work in the morning. It does not give me that amazing feeling of energy like it's going to be an amazing day kind of feeling that all you other morning runners claim...)

I met up with Liz, Andrea, Amy and Caroline at the greenway and we set out on our 16-mile run.  I had a nice past dinner last night after some tax-free shopping with my mom and had slept pretty well for 6 hours, so I felt decent as we started.  I do NOT like wearing a fuel belt, but what else are you going to do? TN summer.

We ran and chatted and got to catch up and the time seemed to be passing pretty quickly.  Amy and Caroline had started before us, so they had a few more miles already in.  We all tend to run about the same pace so it's so nice to have each other for these long, humid run.

It was overcast the entire time with a threat of rain I wasn't sure I wanted.  I know it would cool us off, but it was pretty miserable running in a storm last weekend.  The cloud coverage helped, and it wasn't too hot... but oh the humidity!!!!

The last mile or so started to feel tough, and I totally walked this one crazy steep hill.  But we finished all 16 miles in about 2:50.  I felt better than I did after the 11.2 last weekend.  It's kind of nuts, because honestly? I hadn't run more than 10 since late June before that 11 last weekend.  Jumping up to 16 made me nervous, but I guess I've retained more fitness than I thought.

I'm sure I'll be a little sore, but I felt great for the most part.  I promptly went to Donut Den and got two donuts for a snack.  I mean, why do this if I can't do that?

When I got back home, I looked up to see Tucker snoozing in the window.

I had just enough time to take off my soaking wet clothes and then the storm hit.  I'm letting it pass before I hop in the shower, and Tucker is enjoying watching the rain come down.

It's tax-free weekend here in TN.  I don't really like to shop, but I have several gift cards I've been needing to use so it makes sense to do so when I don't have to use any of it for taxes.  I found some new running shorts and two running tops yesterday.  Today my mom and I are off to hit up a few other places.  I'm hoping all this rain will keep it from being too crowded!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Triple Digit Run

No, I did not run 100+ miles.  (I haven't even been running 100+ miles in a month. Sad, I know.)

I did run in triple digit heat last night.  When I got out of my car, the iPhone said it was 101.  I'm sure the head index was higher.  I know the humidity was nuts.

Somehow I allowed a running buddy talk me into going to the East Nasty run even though we knew it'd be miserable.  I was surprised that quite a few others still showed up despite the heat.  I guess we're all crazy.

We set out on the 4-miler and quickly discovered it was pretty tough to breathe.  We chit chatted and took it easy, running with the 9:30 pace group.  Lucky for us, lululemon had a crew at the halfway point with ice, water and a hose to run through.  I don't think we would have made it without that moment of refreshment.  I had a water bottle, but I think the water was about 100 degrees, too. My refill of cold water didn't stay cold long.  I don't know about you, but it's hard to drink hot water.

The last mile felt like the last mile of a 20-miler.  I ended up walking the last few blocks because I was starting to feel dizzy, and I just don't think it's worth it to push yourself to pass out or throw up when you're just doing a 4 mile training run.

I enjoyed some free Gatorade and then headed home to wash off all of the sweat.  I was hungry, but my tummy was also a little unsettled so I opted for going to Whole Foods and grabbing a sandwich.  I got to catch up on the phone for a while with a dear friend in Canada, but then I realized I had a terrible headache and went to bed.

Was it worth it?  Well, I felt tough and hard core for doing it.  And I'm guilty of using the heat as an excuse to not run, so now I've proved to myself I can't really do that.

Nonetheless, I'm not going to say it was a great idea.  I guess this is just one of those weeks... running in crazy storms and crazy heat.  It'll be interesting to see how this weekend's 16-miler goes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

101 in 1001 Update

Hmm... I feel like I've been incredibly busy lately (thus the lack of blogging), but it apparently was not that I was busy marking off items on my list.  Or maybe the list is starting to not matter as much as it did when I made it over 2 years ago?

However, there are still quite a few on the list that are a work in progress, so that's good.

80. Go water skiing/wakeboarding again - Friends and I went to the lake for the weekend this month.  It was a blast as always, and it's been the best weekend of my summer so far.  Maybe one day I'll post some of the pictures.

95. Watch one new movie per month, minimum - I definitely did this again.  This one is always easy. Knockaround Guys, Let Me In, Adjustment Bureau, Hall Pass, The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (find it on Netflix. Trust me.), Sanctum, Never Say Never (yes, the Justin Bieber movie.  Don't judge.  It was pretty interesting.), The Roommate, Blue Crush 2 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

96. Read one book per month, minimum - I reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while at the beach, just in time to go see the movie.