Run The Bluegrass half marathon review   Recently updated !

Well, the moment you have all been waiting for…or not. Either way, your gonna hear a recap of my half marathon last weekend. I mean, if you keep reading this post… ;)

Let’s start at the beginning. I spent all last week at home, on the couch, sick with a nasty cold that knocked me out. I just prayed the 3 sick days I took (Tuesday through Thursday, I already had Friday off) would pay off and I would wake up Saturday morning feeling 100% myself again. I am happy to report that that is exactly what happened. Praises to the heavens.

We left Friday afternoon and headed straight to the expo at Keeneland racetrack. I’m ok talking about it now, but there were actually s!#$ flakes on our drive there! IN KENTUCKY!!! THREE HOURS SOUTH OF COLUMBUS!! The nerve of the weather. But I wasn’t gonna let it get me down. ;) Not with the scenery we had.

Got my race packet, talked with Kris from Finish Line Engravers, then we headed to our hotel. P.S. Last year, for the Cleveland half marathon, the hotel I picked was g-h-e-t-t-o. So everyone was a little bit worried about what I had up my sleeve for them this time. And I am happy to report, I did much better. :) It was in a decent part of town, and the room was really nice – we actually had hardwood floors instead of carpet and that made me happy. :) I hate carpet.

But enough about the hotel room.

Also, since whenever I try to plan things in advance and have things/addresses ready, ends up epically failing, I decided I wasn’t planning ANYTHING for this trip and we would just find restaurants once there. So we looked through Urbanspoon for some pizza joints that had good reviews, and lo and behold, we ended up at THE best pizza place in Lexington. I mean, I’m speculating that it was the best…

Smashing Tomato

We had to try everything – a calzone, artichoke dip, pepperoni pizza, and an American pizza.  Pretty sure we all gave it a pizza (1)pizza (1)pizza (1)pizza (1)pizza (1)pizza (1)pizza (1)pizza (1)pizza (1)pizza (1). :)

Before we had left the hotel for dinner, I was skimming through the race book, and realized that the race didn’t start until 9:00. 9:00!!!!!!!!!! Guys. You can’t even begin to know how excited I was about that. Since I’m not an early morning runner to begin with, I was ECSTATIC that we were gonna be able to sleep in on Saturday! Until 6:00!! No 3:00 am wake up calls for US! So we took our time going to dinner and getting back to the hotel. It was nice.

But as soon as all 6 alarms went off at 5:55, 5:57, 6:00, 6:03, 6:05, and 6:07 (I’m always afraid i’m going to sleep through the alarm…or that my phone will die in the middle of the night.), we noticed there was a Starbucks right smack dab in front of the hotel, so my mom and I made a coffee run. It’s like God was totally looking out for us all weekend with all the little details. :)

It felt good to sleep in until 6:00. We left the hotel about 7:30 because they said to get there by 8. But before we left, we spent the whole morning listening to the news guy talk about “how it’s record breaking cold this time of year” and “there is a race going on today and we are so sorry all you runners, but you better layer!” Blah blah blah. Thanks dude. Regardless, It. Was. Gorgeous! These pictures don’t even do it justice.

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I have to say, this race was very well organized. The traffic going IN and parking, was organized. The start was well organized and fun and upbeat. The finish line was smooth. Mile 9 was for Meg, and since her husband, Scott was at this race, and ran it, and lots of Megs supporters were there, they had her “tennis shoes statue” at mile 9. It was definitely a sight that left you with a lump in your throat. (If you don’t know about Meg, she was hit and killed last year by a drunk driver while she was running with her husband, and training for Boston. She was less than a mile from home. She left 3 kids and her husband behind, and people all over the world have rallied around her family to support them, dedicate miles to Meg, and give to them financially.) Always remember to appreciate the miles you are able to go! Not everyone CAN!

I started the run with no music. I wanted to enjoy the scenery and really listen to my body since I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy between my knee pain and all the hills. I didn’t even turn my music on until mile 11. I have to say, having the hills start at mile .04, it really makes ya pace yourself early on. ;) Around mile 2, I heard a guy behind me tell another guy to enjoy the flat road we were running on, because that was the ONLY flat part of the race. Pretty sure as soon as he finished that statement, we started heading up a hill. :)

Honestly though, I think that was my easiest half marathon. No clue why. Maybe because the hills FORCED me to slow down right out of the gate, and by doing so, I had a little somethin’-somethin’ for the end. Either way, I really felt great. And I rarely looked at my watch. I think between all the scenery, and focusing on my form and the hills, my mind wasn’t running free and I was just enjoying every single step. I still had the KT tape on and I could feel my knee the whole time, but it wasn’t unbearable. And I made sure to really focus on how I landed, and especially going downhills because that is when it usually hurts the most. It wasn’t really until mile 9, when the mega-hill-curve approached, that I had to walk up the hill, and THAT is when my knee starting hurting a little. But for the most part, I only needed a couple short walk breaks uphill after that.

Mile 13 was super fun too. It was completely uphill. Gradually uphill. Good times. :) I followed a runner with her dog for the last couple of miles and kept thinking, “if this dog can run 13 miles, by golly, I can too!” There were actually quite a few dogs that ran it! AND kids! Most kids did the 7 miler, but I did see 1 or 2 kids who did the half.

Overall, I was super happy with this race. And happy with my time considering the hilly course and my knee pain. I will definitely do this race again! This was the 5th year they had it, and they had 4,000 runners. Register by this Friday for $60 and you can run it with me next year! ;) It seriously IS “America’s prettiest half marathon”!

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me and Kris, from Finish Line Engravers

 

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At the finish line, I got to hear all about how my mom and Hus got to take a tour of the racetrack and grandstands. I thought that was really cool that they had tours for people waiting for their runners and they really enjoyed it too.

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We all had a really good weekend, and after the race, we found a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that was voted best burgers in town – Meadowthorpe Cafe. I was bummed they weren’t serving breakfast anymore, but after those burgers and endless fries, I’m GLAD I didn’t get to have pancakes!

Although we never DID get more fries…haha

Oh! A couple more things!

1. They didn’t have Gatorade at the water stops! I was so happy about that. Not that I stop and get a drink at the water stops, but even if I wanted to, I would never drink Gatorade. They had a drink called ‘Sword‘, and I DID get some at the end and it was really good! And didn’t upset my stomach!

2. I saw a shirt that said: “if you see me pass out, pause my Garmin”. Love.

3. The race actually provided a “wintertime treadmill incline training plan” specifically for this hilly race. Wish I paid attention to these kinds of things and used it over the winter! haha

Ok. I think that’s it! I just can’t say enough great things about this race and I already can’t wait for next year! Again, if you wanna do it too, you can register here. :)

And here is a little video that a runner put together that REALLY gives a great view of the race!


I’m still tasting the hills I had for breakfast on SATURDAY! 2

I promise I will give you a recap of the Run The Bluegrass half marathon I did on Saturday, but tonight is not going to be that night. I have a lot to say about it, but tonight, I’m 1oo% exhasted! Not even from the race on Saturday, but from not getting much sleep last night (what is UP with insomnia lately?!), an hour of strength class tonight at Lifetime, then 15 minutes on the elliptical at the community center (I went to the community center with the Hus tonight so he could do his workout and have some support…), and then 30 minutes/half a mile of swimming. <taking a breath> Swimming just wears me OUT! But I love it. :)

Anyhow, I’m just sitting here icing my knee, waiting for the shower, then I’m gonna crash in bed and watch TV until I fall asleep. Which will probably be 5 minutes after I get in bed…

 

will say THIS: the race was amazing. The views were gorgeous. Yes, even the hills. (P.S. I don’t think there is a flat spot in Lexington, KY.) I wanted to stop and take pictures WAAAAAAY more than I actually did. And lots of people kept stopping to take pictures too. My knee held up. With the KT tape. But I DO have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor this Friday because it is a hurtin’ pretty bad. :(

So here are a few pics to hold you over until I can sit down and give you a proper play-by-play. Because you really DO need a play-by-play of this race. Once you have the details, you will be meeting me there next year to run it with me. ;)

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Hope you had a great weekend! What did YOU do??


Facts on Friday #8. 4

Well, it’s race weekend! My first half of the year! And I spent the whole week sick at home on the couch. Except Monday. I made it to work on Monday, but that is when I noticed “it” hitting me, and when I woke up Tuesday morning, it was like having a houseguest that you never invited, stay longer than you want them to stay. (In all honesty though, I don’t think I’ve ever had that kind of a houseguest…but it DOES sound awful doesn’t it?!)

Anyhow, normally, I would just barrel through life until “it” goes away, but since I had this little half marathon thing going on this weekend, and I remember ALLLLLL too well what it was like to run sick last year at the Cleveland Marathon, I decided that since I have the sick days, I’m using them to hopefully kill “it” BEFORE Saturday. I think I slept about 16 hours on Tuesday, 20 hours on Wednesday, and 14 hours on Thursday. And today, waking up, I feel like “it” is leaving my house life. I have high hopes that tomorrow when I wake up to run, I will be 100% better!

K. Enough about my “sick week”. Let’s get to some of my weekly facts shall we?

~ I have this new car, and my initial thought/reaction/hesitation to buying this car, was this…

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WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO CARRY THIS THING WHEN I RUN?!?!?!? It’s HUGE! It’s heavy! I can’t just “lace it through my shoe laces like I always do”! I mean, besides the ONE time I put my key in my water bottle pocket and then I lost it during a 14 mile run…and The Hus was out of town that DAY, so I had to call a tow truck…Ok, I’m getting sidetracked and obviously have some unresolved issued in my life. Anyway, not all running pants/shorts/capris come with the little key pocket! And key word there (no pun intended) “LITTLE POCKETS”. Guys. WTH?! What IS the point of these chunky KEYS?!

~ I’m goin’ waaaaay back here…last Saturday, I was supposed to run 8 miles. I ran 4. Ok i’m lying. I ran/walked-most-of-it – the 4 miles I finished. The knee was a-hurtin’.

 

I had bought some KT tape to try too, but it seemed really, uh, not-very-durable-and-strong, so I ended up going back and getting the PRO KT tape. I put that tape on later that day and left it on all week. At that point, I was willing to try ANYTHING that would help.

This was the regular KT, not the Pro.

(P.S. Fit Blonde Yogi had JUST posted about dealing with Runner’s Knee too, and she was the one that got me to try the KT tape. She had also linked a video of how to put it on, so this is why I put in on like this. And p.p.s. You should go to her IG page and follow her. Her yoga poses are out of this world. AND within the last year she has had ACL surgery!)

 

Monday night, I did 30 minutes of spinning, Tuesday (yes, sick and all because  A. I’m stubborn and defiant; and B. I was starting to feel better in the afternoon, but SIKE! not really; and C. I had read an article about how moderate exercise can help your immune system when your sick), so, TUESDAY, I went to the gym with The Hus and figured I would “try” running on the track to see how things felt, and lo and behold! I was able to run 3 “easy” miles. PAIN FREE! So maybe the tape IS helping?! But I know that the cross-training, strengthening exercising, and tapering-more-than-I-should helped too. So here’s to a pain-free half marathon tomorrow?! AND sick-free!?

OH! And Sunday, The Hus and I went on a little 2 mile walk. I hate to walk, but this was kinda enjoyable and I think it was good for me.

~ When I workout, and even when I’m just sitting still doing nothing, i’m sweating. Ok, maybe I exaggerate. But I am a sweater! I think I sweat during workouts, enough for about 5 people. And you would think that with all that sweating, I would lose at LEAST 10 pounds an hour. In my defense though, it runs in my family. My mom’s side. Pretty sure that my Papa (my mom’s dad) gifted all of his offspring with sweating. But hey, that means we’re “getting all the toxins out” right?! He always used to try to make us all feel better by telling us that “it was good to sweat”.

~ I’ve been using this as perfume lately. It smells so good. And hey! It helps me deal with life outside my door! ;)

~ I tried a few new products this week, and I’m loving them so far, so I have to share. :) Your welcome.

Nature’s Gate toothpaste – flouride free! You DON’T need flouride in your toothpaste!

Jason shampoo and conditioner. Now typically, I use the Nature’s Gate shampoo and conditioner, but Jason’s was B1G1F, so hey! Tryin’ something new. :)

Pacifica water-proof mascara. 

Three Twins ice cream. Ummmm, YUUMMM! I did not share. This brand is new at our Kroger, so it was a must try. :)

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Zand lozenges. Many flavors. Good tasting. WITHOUT sugar and corn syrup and crap. :)

And they are all vegan, organic, etc… :) Just savin’ the planet! And my life! :)

~ We have been addicted to House of Cards. Francis Underwood is THE reason we started rowing at the gym.

~ And as always, since I love me some good humor, here are some of my latest Pinterest things that make me LOL.

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OoooK! Time to finish packing things up, drop off my recycling, and go for a swim before we leave! :) I will be back to recap next week! :)

Have a great weekend!!


Should you exercise when you are sick??? 4   Recently updated !

Since staying home yesterday and taking a sick day, because I had the beginning stages of a cold and can’t afford to be sick right now with all my races coming up!, I pulled out an article that I had read recently about working out when you are sick. And since sickness is something we ALL have to deal with at one time or another, I figured I would share. :)

So. When you’re sick, the intensity of a workout is going to affect your immune system. Doing a short vigorous workout isn’t going to cause your immune system to suppress, but a long, vigorous workout session – over an hour – will cause your immune system to depress. And a moderate intensity session – about an hour – can definitely improve the immune system and help you.

Some exercises that you can do when you’re sick:

~ walking or jogging

~ swimming

~ biking

~ yoga

Exercises you might want to avoid:

~ heavy strength training

~ endurance training

~ HIIT workouts

~ speed/power workouts

~ anything in extreme temperatures

You don’t want to do nothing, but you don’t want to do too much. Either of those extremes will lower your immune system, so you want to find a happy medium and just do some moderate exercising. I think I nailed this tip at the community center Monday night, because I did 30 minutes on the spinning bike – vigorously – and then went to the rowing machine. I was going to do 30 minutes on the rowing machine, but after 5 minutes, I was beat. My body felt run down. I called it, and I was A-OK with that decision. I was tired at the end, but felt like it was the right amount of exercise for me and not too much.

Know your body and listen to it.

Also, make sure you are getting extra sleep. Sleep is one of THE most important tools for a healthy life. And stress. Which I think is a given. But don’t put too much on your plate. I took yesterday off of work because I woke up with that achy feeling, stuffed up, running nose, ear pressure, etc…and I typically never slow down when I get a cold, so then it lasts fooooooorrrrrever! So THIS time (and the last time I started getting a cold, which was about 6 months ago), I’m slowing down right away so that I can hopefully kick it to the curb QUICKLY! I don’t have time for this cold crap with race season starting! ;)

So manage your stresses when you feel you are getting sick, and if you are feeling anxiety and run down, it is OK to say no. Ask for help and take care of yourself. You will be NO help to anyone else if you get worse.

Here is a little guide on what to do when you are sick.

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What it comes down to, is listening to your body and not stretching yourself thin. As with the entire game of living a healthy lifestyle, manage your stress, eat healthy, take care of yourself, and don’t put too much on your plate. Exercise and do what you can do while you are sick, and take an extra rest day if your body is telling you to.

Have a healthy day! :)

Link to the article where this information came from – precision nutrition

 


How to try your feet at running.   Recently updated !

It’s not just the, “I hate running” phrase I hear, but the, “I could never be a runner” phrase. Why? Why can’t you be a runner? Go watch a race – even just a 5k. Volunteer at a race. You will see VERY quickly, that ANYONE can be a runner. I, for one, am NOT a “natural born runner”! Running is hard! But SO rewarding, and, not to sound completely ridiculous, but life-changing. It really is! You really don’t realize what your body can do! And not even in just running, but workouts in general! We just have a tendency to not push ourselves enough. Yes, injuries are real, but pain doesn’t mean you are injuring yourself, or doing “too much” every.single.time. I LOVE a SUPER hard workout. Like, so hard, that I have to modify down. Why? Because it motivates me to push myself to do the hardest modification, at least to try it and see if I can do it, and how long I can do it for. Still to this day, I can’t do probably more than 10 or 15 push ups on my toes. I always have to drop to my knees. But the fact remains: I tried. It hurt. It was hard. It made my arms shake, and the sweat drip off my brow, but even when I had to modify and drop to my knees, I keep going. And then the next time, maybe I can do ONE more push up on my toes before dropping to my knees. Which means: I got stronger. I didn’t die. I’m not injured.

Same with running. Maybe the first time you go out, it is SUPER hard and you last half a mile. The next time, you feel like you missed your calling for the Olympic running team, and you wonder if you can still make it there some day. The third run, you question what the HECK you were thinking! Running in the Olympics?! You barely make in further than your first run. But then your 4th run, you DO make it further. It’s not easy, it’s not pain-free, but you are determined. You are in a challenge with yourself. And you run further. And you see what you are made of. Your stronger than you thought you were. You LOVE the “after glow”. You feel happy, accomplished, strong, motivated.

Everyone has good runs and bad runs. Even Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan. It’s just like life – good days and bad days. And the bad days/runs, always make the good days/runs that much sweeter.

So. How do you take the first step out the door, so that you end up taking a second step out the door?

~ Get. Good. Shoes. You can go to a running store and get a foot evaluation done for FREE. This will allow them to see how you run, how your feet land – do you overpronate? underpronate? high arches? flat feet? A HUGE factor in whether or not you end up injured, will be determined by your shoes. I wish this was something I knew when I first started running in high school. Granted, I didn’t get injured back then, but my running back then wasn’t what it is today either. And after a few injuries over the last couple of years as I’ve increased mileage and started doing races, I notice the impact that shoes have. And I am proud to say, that my running shoes are my newest, most expensive shoes I own. :) I will drive my dress shoes into the GROUND wearing them for 10 years, but my running shoes? New every year. And I have multiple pairs that I rotate and wear for different types of runs – short runs, long runs, speed, etc…Makes a world of difference.

~ Start out slow, using the run/walk method. There are apps for that. ;) Couch25k is a great one. It will tell you when to run and when to walk and how far to go. You don’t wanna go all out on your first run. It might make you wanna never run again. So start out slow! Run AND walk! Increase time/mileage slowly so that you don’t over-do it and end up…injured. And just LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! 

Here is a link that tells you how to do the run/walk method – if you don’t wanna use an app. 

Which brings me to my next point.

~ No music. Ok, maybe you won’t listen to this one and you NEED music to run, or just workout in general because otherwise, you have 0 motivation. BUT! If you can hack NOT wearing music at first, I feel like it would be a good thing. Why? Because you will focus on your running. You will focus on your form. How you land on your feet – heel striker? lean forward too much? swing your arms too high? You will notice and think about these things. Music allows you to get lost, and sometimes staying focused on your running is what you need. PLUS! Depending on where you are running, no music will allow you to be aware of your surroundings. Not to scare you, but you SHOULD be aware of what’s going on around you, and WHO is around you. Are you running in a new area? You need to be observant. Even at a park. And especially if you are running around town and having to stop at lights and wait for cars! And for the love of running, RUN AGAINST THE TRAFFIC!!!!!!! Cyclists ride WITH the traffic, runners do NOT.  :)

~ Find a running buddy or a running group to run with. I can vouch for these methods and say that it really does make running just a little bit funner. :) And if you don’t have a running group in your area, start one! 

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~ Cross-train. This. Is. Huge. Think about it. You think you are mostly just using your legs when you run, but you are not. Your whole body is involved. Your arms are moving, your core is working, your glutes are working. EVERYTHING is working together to help you run. SO! You NEED strong muscles. Don’t wanna get injured? CROSS-TRAIN! Strength train. You want the muscles on your right side to be equally as strong as your left side. Otherwise, HELLOOOOOO! I-N-J-U-R-Y!!!! I’m dealing with this NOW! I stopped doing my 2-a-week strength classes, and BAM! runner’s knee. My hips and glutes got weak. Which reminds me, if you are running on a path that is uneven, attempt to run on the even part. I know that the paths at the park that I run at, go down on the sides, so I try to run as much to the middle yellow/white line as I can. Unless someone is coming up from behind me, or coming towards me and there is a “traffic jam”. If you can’t keep to the middle, then make sure to change up where you are running on that path. For instance, the paths I run on, I can go one direction one run, and the opposite direction the next run. Then I am switching my body position on the path and working the muscles evenly. :) Also, cross-training will help you to not get bored with just running.

Yoga

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Strength classes

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TRX

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Rowing

~ Hydrate and fuel. This is SO important. Eat like crap. Feel and run like crap. Bottom line. You need proper fuel and water. I mean, not JUST for running and working out, you need these things for a healthy life, but you will notice it even MORE when you are running. You will feel the donut from yesterday making you slow and lethargic while you run the next day. Trust me. ;) Just make sure you are eating a balanced, SUSTAINABLE-for-life diet full of veggies, fruits, HEALTHY proteins, HEALTHY fats, and carbs, and you will be fine. You will learn what works for YOU for before and after a run. Really quick actually. ;) And just drink lots-o-water. Period. I drink at least 8 ounces before any run and then another 10 – 8oz. glasses of water the rest of the day. And no, I don’t count tea, or sparkling water, or water with stuff in it other than fruit – I’m talkin’ STRAIGHT WATER! ;) But honestly, your body will start craving straight water once you start hydrating yourself anyway.

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And those are my “start running” tips. :) If you think of any more, let me know! Happy running! :)

Oh, p.s. here are a couple of links that might be helpful for you as far as running form and breathing. :)

Running form

Breathing while running

Getting rid of side stitches when running