Thankful Thursday

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There’s oh so much to be thankful for this week (and every week really, even when hard times come around). Here are some of the things that I’m thankful for right now:

I’m thankful for a long weekend. I had last Friday and this Monday off for the Easter holiday, and it was pretty great! I got some great workouts in, cleaned a good amount, enjoyed a few hours of reading, spent lots of time with friends, and got some work and writing done. Relaxing, productive, fun, and healthy- that’s the best balance, isn’t it?

I’m thankful for the beautiful green grass! I forgot how green the grass actually gets, and every day lately I pause to enjoy it for a few moments. It’s beautiful and full of hope for the next few months ahead!

I’m thankful for Easter! What a great holiday, right? The greek meal that I had was pretty great as well.

I’m thankful for a great Boston Marathon! The elite runners ran a great race, an American won for the first time in over 30 years, and my friends who ran all did a great job! Juli, who I mentioned in this post along with a video of her story, made history by becoming the first female with dwarfism to finish the Boston Marathon! I saw her cross the finish line, and cheered really loudly in my living room. There was so much excitement on Monday, and I loved the strength and resiliency that was demonstrated.

I’m thankful for an unlimited supply of beverages. I try to remind myself from time to time as I’m getting a glass of water from the tap that this isn’t something I should be taking for granted. I can get water whenever I want, and I have the money to purchase whatever other beverages I might want in a given week. That is something HUGE to be thankful for in life!

I’m thankful for the warmth. The weather keeps bouncing between the 50′s and the low 70′s, and this is just absolutely beautiful weather! The feels like as I type this is a full 100 degrees warmer than some of the coldest days of the winter. Ahhhh… bliss.

Now it’s your turn to share! What are you feeling thankful for right now? Did you watch/cheer for anyone in the Boston Marathon?

Indy Women’s Half Marathon!

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In 2012 and 2013, I ran two half marathons each year. I ran a spring half marathon, took about a month to heal, trained for a summer sprint triathlon, and then jumped into fall half marathon training. This worked for me, as I usually felt injured for about a month post race. Well- this year I’m mixing it up a bit.

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That’s right- I registered for a summer half marathon! It was part post-race high, part not wanting to wait until the end of August to really train again, and a little persuasion by Melissa (who is also running!), and on Easter (with a price increase impending) I decided to take the leap!

We’ll see how it feels to jump back into training again so close to my last half marathon. Here’s my main concern- the heat. With having POTS, things can get kind of nasty in the heat. I can get dizzy quickly, and with POTS it’s not easy to cool myself well (that part of my system is a little bit malfunction-y). Maybe it’ll be a cooler than average day, and I’ll be fine. If it’s hotter than average, then it’ll be really slow going for me, and a PR will be absolutely out of the question. That’s not something I’m really worrying about right now, but it is on my mind as I go into training and prepping for race day again!

No matter what, I want this *bonus half marathon* to be a fun one, so we’ll see how it all goes! I’m ready for a new adventure :) And yes- I’ll be doing all of these things to try to avoid injury!

Now it’s your turn to share! Have you done a summer half marathon before? Any tips for training differently (besides slower pace and more hydration/salt)?

Comparing the Carmel Half Marathon, the Indianapolis Mini Marathon, and the Monumental Half Marathon

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Oy vey- long title, right? (as a side note- how many of you use the phrase “oy vey”?). My blog post comparing the Indianapolis Mini Marathon vs. the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon gets continuous hits throughout the year, so now that I’ve run the Carmel Half Marathon, I thought I’d throw that race into the mix!  If you have specific questions about any of the races, feel free to ask in the comments section!

Race Size: The Mini is by FAR the largest, followed by the Monumental, and Carmel bringing up the rear. Each race size comes with pros and cons, so it really depends on what you’re specific needs are. The monumental feels really personal, the mini is a huge party, and carmel was nice and small, which led to extra friendly runners! The mini has people cheering constantly, but the course can be really congested, which is frustrating the first few miles.

Starting Line: With the Mini you’re assigned corrals and you must stay in that corral. In 2012 it took me about 20ish minutes to cross the starting line after race start, and in 2013 it took me maybe 12ish minutes. With the Monumental, there aren’t corral assignments (at least through the 2013 race this was true), and you line yourself up with pace signs depending on what you feel is appropriate for you. With Carmel there were corral assignments, but I switched corrals to fit with the pace that I thought I could run that day. With both the Monumental and Carmel I crossed the starting line in less than 5 minutes.

Spectator Numbers: If you want people lining the course screaming and cheering the whole time, then the Mini is your race! Obviously the Mini, because it’s the biggest, has lots of family members out cheering and holding great race signs! The Monumental is smaller, so there are less spectators, but still have quite a few people cheering along the course. With Carmel, there weren’t too many spectators out, which was a little sad, but with running with a pace group, I didn’t feel like I needed that many spectators either. Carmel winds through lots of neighborhoods, and there were people out in their driveways or at their front doors cheering. With all 3 courses, the spectators were great though!

Entertainment: Again, if this is of key importance to you, then the Mini is your race! There were lots of bands, singers, cheerleaders, friends, and family members lining the course (even in the speedway!). The Monumental has some bands along the way, but not as many as the Mini. I think I only remember 1 or 2 bands out playing on the Carmel course. This isn’t of high importance to me, so it didn’t matter much…

The Course: The Mini and Monumental are both located in downtown Indianapolis while Carmel is located in Carmel, Indiana. The 3 courses don’t overlap at all, which is nice for people who run all of them each year. The Mini takes you on a loop around the Speedway, which is sort of fun and sort of painful all at the same time. To me the speedway is the most difficult part of the course. The Monumental doesn’t have anything as big as the speedway, but it runs through a number of other “monuments” in Indy like Lucas Oil Stadium (where the Colts play) and Monument Circle. Both of these courses are really flat and speedy. Carmel winds mostly through neighborhoods except the last few miles. The course has some hills (don’t believe when people say that it’s a flat course unless you’re used to running big hills regularly!), but they’re very doable even if you don’t train on hills.

Hydration: All 3 races are absolutely fantastic with providing water and powerade/gatorade throughout the course! I have absolutely no complaints in this area for any of the races. Most of these races have stations about every mile and a half or so on the course.

Race Volunteers: All wonderful! All 3 courses have fantastic and helpful volunteers. They have all been friendly, encouraging, and supportive.

Price: I think the Mini is slightly more expensive than the Monumental, and I know that my entry to Carmel was about 10-15 dollars cheaper than the Mini.  I know that I didn’t pay more than 65ish for any of the races though. Something else to consider: you have to pay for parking both for the expo and on race day for both the Mini  and the Monumental. With Carmel the expo and race day parking are free, and that saves you around 25-30 dollars!

Expo: For both the Mini  and the Monumental the expos were held at the convention center downtown. Both had lots of vendors (merchandise, businesses, and running gear), but the Mini expo is larger than the Monumental. For Carmel, the expo was much smaller, and had far fewer vendors. It was easy to run in and run out.

Race Swag: All of the races provided tech shirts (Mini was long sleeved and Monumental and Carmel were short sleeved). 2 of the races provided hats (Mini was a regular hat that didn’t fit me well and Monumental was a nice winter hat), and all 3 included finisher medals. The Mini and Carmel had a few small samples in the race bag (like vegetable oil, lotion) and some coupons while the Monumental had a race poster. The Monumental has kind of a cool virtual swag bag, and that came with an option to get a year free magazine subscription (I got Women’s Health Magazine). Carmel came with a few coupons for local things to do and some health/fitness services. 

Communication Pre-Race: All the races were fantastic about this! I got emails regularly for each of these races, and I felt well prepared before the race. Each race had course maps with water, gatorade, and medical tents marked, along with starting line information, gear check, etc… All were really great about this! All 3 races are also very active on twitter, so that provides easy access to someone to ask simple questions. 

Time of the Year: Carmel takes place in the middle of April, the Mini takes place the first weekend of May, and the Monumental takes place the first weekend of November, so all can provide some extreme temperatures. I’ve been really lucky and had pretty ideal conditions for all 5 of my half marathons so far. 

Overall Race Quality & Enjoyment: I really truly loved all of these races. I think they were all worth the time, energy, and injury that went into training and running each of these races. I plan on running all of them again, and of course having fun while running them. It was really nice to not have to run that Speedway during the Monumental though, and I’m not the biggest fan of the hills with Carmel. I’ve run the Monumental twice (and have already signed up for the 2014 race), the Mini twice, and Carmel once. I’ve really loved them all. 

If you’re interested in specifics of these races, check out my race recaps or leave a question in the comments section. If you’ve run any of these races before, feel free to share any thoughts that you have about the courses!

Now it’s your turn to share! What do you look for most in a race? What’s the best or weirdest race swag that you’ve ever received?

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On The Boston Marathon

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HAPPY MARATHON MONDAY! Today I’m waking up early and enjoying all of the footage on the marathon. I actually have the day off work, so I can watch the marathon instead of just catching little tiny clips in between my clients. I’ll be wearing my “Boston Strong” shirt and drinking from my Boston mug. One day I’d love to be in Boston on Marathon Monday, but for today, I’ll have to celebrate from afar.

Boston Marathon Finish Line IMG_5402

It’s weird to be watching this year, knowing that I’ve had my feet on that finish line, but also knowing that there’s likely no way that I’ll ever actually run this race. When I walked the last feet of the boston marathon race last September, I closed my eyes to take in the place, and to imagine the cheering, smiles, and tears that would fill that day in April of 2014.

Today, I also want to celebrate resiliency. Whether it’s the resiliency of each of the runner’s on the course, the resiliency of Boston, the resiliency of those wounded… the resiliency is important to acknowledge. Today is a day to remember and pray for those hurt and wounded (whether physically or emotionally) last year, and to cheer for and celebrate with those who have overcome.

And so today, I celebrate! Happy Marathon Monday!

Now it’s your turn to share! How are you celebrating Marathon Monday?

 

Happy Easter!

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Growing up Easter was always a holiday that I looked forward to. Not only were there songs played at church that we only got to sing once a year, but there were also easter egg hunts, new dresses and bonnets, candy, and delicious food to eat as well!

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Every year I got to arrange some of my little Easter figurines on the table. When I was at my parent’s house for Easter in 2011 I took a picture of all of them, and looking at them now I sure wish I had brought them back to my place! We also got delicious bunny bread (but I felt a little sad eating him!). When we were little my parents would track these bunny paw prints around the house so we could see that the Easter bunny had been there (was I really so dumb at one point that I didn’t put together the fact that they were paper prints and clearly a bunny wouldn’t leave paper prints??). And of course there were jello eggs. Lots and lots of eggs.

Today I’m celebrating by heading to church, and then hosting a big Greek meal for some friends (the leftovers will turn into this delicious mediterranean quinoa salad). And hopefully, as long as it stays nice, I’ll get in a nice long walk in the sunshine!

The reality is that all of that isn’t really important in light of what the holiday is about. The good news is that this is all about HOPE and GRACE.

Marco Island, Easter Sunrise Service, Easter Sunday, He has RisenEaster Sunrise Service on the beach in Marco Island (March 2013)

HE HAS RISEN and because of this we can have life. What’s more amazing than that? Happy Easter.

Now it’s your turn to share! Are you doing anything for Easter today? Any fun Easter traditions you had growing up?

Friday Facts

This morning feels a bit random, so I decided to sit down and make a post out of it! Here’s what’s going on in my head right now:

1. I have today off because it’s Good Friday! I love days I get paid to get other things done (it’s 8:30 and I’ve already gotten my oil changed!)

2. Doesn’t “the cloud” seem a little confusing? When I got my last iPhone, I decided to be a little funny and ask the guy what would happen if the cloud evaporated. Would all my music and pictures evaporate or get sprinkled around the country? He laughed uncomfortably trying to figure out if I was serious or not. I enjoyed it.

3. I’ve been so thirsty since my half marathon this past Saturday. I drink more than normal every day, and still wake up feeling parched a bit.

4. I’m so excited for Marathon Monday, and REALLY wish I could be out in Boston. Last year on the morning of marathon monday, I posted a status on facebook saying the following: “This morning there’s no where else I’d rather be than in Boston”. I echo the sentiment again this year.

5. You NEED to watch this video clip :“I was there”- about Juli Windsor, who was stopped at mile 25.7 at the Boston Marathon last year, and was the first woman with dwarfism to run the Boston Marathon. She’s running again this year, and I’ll be cheering her on that day. I had the pleasure of knowing Juli and taking classes with her at one point, and I’m so impressed with her strength and courage!

Now it’s your turn to share! Tell me a random thought you’re having today?

Thankful Thursday: Half Marathon Edition

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So often I forgot to stop and really think about what I’m thankful for beyond just “running”. So, as with the weeks surround my last few half marathons (edition 1 and edition 2), I’m here with my 3rd installment of the half marathon edition of Thankful Thursday!

I’m thankful that I had a great fifth half marathon! You can read all about the challenges and joys it it here. I had a really great training cycle, so I felt a little more confidence going into this race than in my last races (although I was a bit nervous about the hills!).

I’m thankful that I ended up with someone to run with! I went to the race by myself, but once the race started, I ended up running the whole thing with someone else in my pace group (Melissa!). I know that I wouldn’t have had nearly as fun of a race if I hadn’t had her running by my side. We both participate in #runchat and read some of the same blogs, so we instantly had some things to talk about.

I’m thankful for nearly perfect weather on race morning. The race started in the upper 40s with the sun rising, and ended in the low 60s and sunshine. There was a slight breeze, and it was pretty fantastic. The only thing I would’ve liked is a little less humidity (it was in the 60′s%), but overall it was really an absolutely beautiful day!

I’m thankful that, even with POTS, I can still run. I really never thought that exercising would be much of a possibility for me once I was diagnosed with POTS. Even though my first run was really difficult, I’m glad that I pushed through so I can run today. It’s hard to imagine my life without running right now…

I’m thankful for race fuel/drink. My salt packet/water/powerade/margarita shot blok combo didn’t fail me this past weekend, and fueled me well through 13.1 miles. I’m thankful that I’ve found a combination that works well for my stomach and is able to give my body what it needs.

I’m thankful that I wasn’t really sore afterwards. Of course I had some tightness and soreness, and that’s to be expected. Last May I had pain for a few weeks (that turned out to be tendinitis), and my half in november of 2012 left my walking down the stairs backwards for a few hours the next morning because I couldn’t bend my knees appropriately. I’m thankful that I was able to move normally without much pain after this race!

I’m thankful for running. Pure and simple. I love it.

Now it’s your turn to share! What are you feeling thankful for today? What is one thing that running has given you? 

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Half Marathon Warm Weather Packing List

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Back in 2012 I did a packing list for cold weather races and triathlons, but I realized as I was packing for my half marathon this past weekend that I had never done one for warm weather! My first half marathon was pretty hot (start temp was mid 60′s with humidity in the 90′s%), and they kept yelling across the course for people to slow down and walk. While I’ve done two other half marathons in warmer weather (and a handful of other races and triathlons), I’ve learned what works best for me in packing for a warmer weather race.

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Race Outfit

  • Shorts or running skirt- depending on your preference
  • sports bra
  • Short sleeve or tank top that is moisture wicking (no cotton t-shirts!!)
  • 1 hat, headband, or visor to keep sweat and/or sun out of your face
  • Socks (moisture wicking)
  • Shoes (because I like to be over-prepared, I tend to bring more than one pair of shoes and leave them in the car. You know… just in case something crazy happens like a shoelace breaks )
  • depending on the race start temp, you may want a throwaway shirt
  • spi belt or arm band for phone and fuel
  • compression sleeves (arm or leg if you use them)

Other Items

  • Orange Juice for the morning of the race
  • Pre race breakfast (I eat one Luna Bar and one banana)
  • Bag to turn in at gear check to hold post-race items
  • head phones & ipod
  • Garmin or other pacing tool (like Runkeeper on iphone)
  • Plastic bag to throw race clothes in after the race (if you have to travel a long distance home)
  • flip flops for after the race (I often put these in with gear check so I can walk back to my car or hotel in flip flops- it feels so good!)
  • Gatorade or Coconut Water for post-race hydration
  • Banana or other foods to snack on post-race
  • 2 paper towels- can use if the port-a-potties are out of toilet paper or if you trip and skin your knee and want to wipe the blood off.
  • Race fuel (I use sports beans and shot blocks)
  • Salt packets- when it’s hot and I’m sweating a lot, sometimes a packet or two of salt on the course is helpful
  • towel to sit on after race or to dry off with it if rains
  • vasoline or body glide
  • bandaids (for blisters)
  • If it’s really sunny you may want sunglasses
  • Foam roller or “the stick”- I pack this for the night before if I’m staying somewhere else before the race. The stick is also nice if you have a bit of a drive home.
  • Phone Charger- whether you have a short drive to the race or a longer drive, it’s nice to be able to charge your phone on the way home- especially if it’s been run down by listening to music or running something like RunKeeper.

Now it’s your turn to share! What are some of your “must haves” when packing for a warmer weather race?

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How To Make Jello Eggs!

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When I was in mid-elementary school, my mom got these jello molds and started to make jello eggs for us at Easter time! Not only are they fun, but a great snack to take to all sorts of spring get togethers (I even made them for the fourth of July last year!). They’re relatively easy, but you need to plan ahead a bit to let them solidify in the refrigerator.

I have the recipe that my mom sent me, and I’ve spent about 10 minutes looking online to see if I could find it somewhere to link to. I couldn’t find it, so sorry if there’s one exactly the same that’s already out there!

Ingredients

  • 4 packages of unflavored gelatin
  • 3 boxes of flavored jello mix (your choice in flavors!)
  • 3.5 cups of boiling water
  • 0.5 cup of ice water
  • oil spray (could use olive oil and a piece of paper towel I suppose)

Spray jello molds with oil spray so that the jello eggs will come out easily! Once you’ve done this, close the molds tightly together.

Bring about 4 cups of water to a hard boil. While you’re doing this, mix the gelatin packages with the jello packages in a bowl. Make sure to stir thoroughly together. Once the water is up to a boil, pour water from pan into a measuring cup and dump into the jello mix. Mix water and jello mix together thoroughly before putting in the half a cup of ice water. Quickly dump the mix into the measuring cup again (you want a good pouring spout) and pour slowly into the jello mold. When I made these on Saturday after my half marathon I made a mess (I blame it on all the energy I used earlier in the day), so you want to try to avoid that (but it’s not a big deal if you spill on the outside of the molds).

Jello Eggs

You want to fill right up the top of the egg part. Once you’re done filling them, put the tray that the molds are on into the refrigerator for 3 hours. Once they are set, use a knife to pop the molds open and shake the egg molds upside down into a bowl. You can also slide a knife between the egg and the mold to loosen it.

Jello Eggs

Store in a container in the refrigerator and enjoy! Kids LOVE these as they’re really a grab and go snack, but adults love them as well! If you’re looking for other recipes, check out my recipe page.

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s something you grew up eating on Easter? 

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