Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seize the Day!

Only 4 more days until the Town of Celebration Half Marathon!
I can hardly wait!

This morning, I spent a couple of hours viewing the course on Google maps.  Does anyone else do that before a race?  I just like to be completely prepared for a race.  On my first half-marathon, the course was so vaguely drawn that I couldn't get a view of the roads beforehand, and that was frustrating for a person who needed her husband to be accessible along the route.

Of course, this time he is running with me, and I don't have pins in my hand (lol!)

I keep thinking and rethinking my clothes.  The temps at race start look to be in the low 50's, so that is fantastic!  But... should I wear a hydration belt?  I always wear a belt if I am running more than 5 miles - but there is water, Gatorade and Clif Shot Bloks along the course.  Belts weigh you down - but I do know I am taking my phone no matter what.  So should I wear my full belt with water bottles?  Or my smaller belt with just the phone?  What time should we get there?  How much should I eat the might before?  Are two 5-mile runs enough to break in a new pair of shoes, or should I just wear my old pair?


Too many decisions!

However, I did finish making my skirt today, so this is the outfit I am kinda pretty sure I am wearing:

This is my one and only long-sleeved running shirt - Saucony Transition Hoody.  It is made of the same material as my Saucony jacket that I was raving about a couple of posts ago.  I love everything about it except the lack of thumbholes in the sleeves.  That would have made it perfect!  This shirt is fantastic in that it doesn't overheat me after a couple of miles like most other long-sleeved shirts I've tried.  I thought the hood part might bounce around while I ran, but I haven't even noticed that - and it certainly comes in handy when the wind pics up (keeping my ears warm.)

How many of you participated in the #megsmiles run on Saturday?

I know that I felt Meg Menzies death very strongly, even though I had never met her or even heard of her before a drunk driver swerved off the road and killed her as she was on her morning run with her husband.  I have been praying for her husband and children - mostly that they will forsake bitterness and embrace forgiveness.  Although, I would imagine that would be difficult for anyone.

It is slightly terrifying to think how quickly and easily our lives can be completely shattered.  This whole incident has renewed my resolve to thank God daily for the incredible family that I have, and to try and relish in the moments we have together.

On Saturday, my husband and I made a special trip out to Fernandina Beach, FL to run the Amelia Island Trail in honor of Meg.  All along the way, I praised God for His many Blessings!

I can run!  I can breathe in the fresh air and feel the sun upon my face.  I can come home and pick up my sweet babies and kiss them as I twirl around (ha!) and I can look into the face of my husband and share that joy!  I am alive today - and today I will rejoice in that!!

May the SWEET PEACE of the Lord rest upon the Menzies Family.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's Getting Exciting Around Here!

I'm starting to get excited, y'all!

Just two weeks until I run my 2nd ever half-marathon!***

Here is my brief half-marathon history:

During the fall of 2012 I started training for my first 1/2 marathon - The Zooma Florida Half.
I set a goal of running it in 2 hrs 11 minutes (10 minute miles) and trained HARD to work up to that pace.  

And I was sooo there! 

About 5 weeks before my race I even ran a 13.1 mile training run in 2:15:34!
Two weeks later I ran a 14 mile training run in 2:23:32 - That's a 10:10 pace on a long run! 
Yep!  I was gonna make my goal time!  No doubt about it.

BUT Then...

Just two days after that 14 mile run, I fell during my tempo run and broke my hand.
Which meant that not only did I miss out on the last 3 weeks of training - but I had to go under general anesthesia which I have subsequently learned completely drains you of strength.  I'm not kidding!  I am just now getting over the effects of the general anesthesia I was under at the beginning of December!

The Dr. didn't want me to run.  I was still at the point that I had to keep my hand elevated to relieve swelling, and any sweat could potentially travel down the pins that were in my hand and lead to a bone infection.

But I had paid $100 for this stinkin' race - and dedicated the last 4 months of my life to training for it, so race I did.

Fortunately, it was an unusually cold day - so, no sweat!  And I was able to raise my hand above my head enough during the race to keep it from swelling.

However - I could not overcome the effects of the surgery and my lack of training.  I ended up running out of steam half-way through and my final time was 2:26:04.

Mind you, I was extremely proud of that time - heck, I was extremely proud that I finished at all!

Now, here it is - one year later - and I'm headed for my second half marathon.

For the past several days, I've been agonizing over what pace I should run.  Should I go for the 2hr 11 min. that I was training for my last half-marathon?  Even though I haven't been targeting that pace in the past 2 months?  Even though my weight is up?

Hmmmm... I finally decided - no.  Last year's goal was last year's goal.  This is a new year, and I have to work with what I've got.  

So, I revised my goal to 2:15

And guess what?  The Celebration Half Marathon has a pacer for just that time!  Her name is Nancy and she happens to be the same age as me.  I'm not sure what that means, but it's got to be good!

I ran with a pacer for the first half of the Zooma 1/2 Marathon and I loved not having to look at my watch or worry about my time.  Plus, her name was "Rain", and you have to be cool with a name like that!

Have you ever run with a pacer?
Any tips or advice?
Also, if the pacer was pacing Full Marathoners, did you feel awkward as a Half-er?  I don't want to feel like the red-headed stepchild of running!

***Have I mentioned that immediately after the Half-Marathon my husband and I are hopping on a ship for a Bahamas Cruise?!  Some of my excitement might be related to that (ha!)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Ran In Sub 50s Temps!

You will probably laugh when I tell you how victorious I felt running in 49 degrees today!

A very windy 49 degrees - so probably more like 39 with the wind chill.

You're still laughing, aren't you?

This is what I looked like:

Earmuffs, gloves and a jacket!

You people in Michigan would probably consider this shorts and a tank weather!!

Anyway, I wanted to quickly tell you about my favorite new winter running product:

The Saucony Transcendence Jacket that I am wearing above.

I love this thing!  It is the first jacket I have found that is perfect for running in 40-50 degree temps -  the lowest temps I run in.  Other jackets start off feeling great - but by mile 2 I'm usually tying them around my waist.
However - I ran 11.5 miles in this jacket Saturday and 5 miles today without ever overheating!  It's made with a stretchy mesh material which keeps you warm in mildly cold temps while allowing heat to escape and not build up.

It has 2 zippered pockets on the outside (perfect for storing gloves), and 2 interior pockets for ???  (MP3 players or GUs maybe)

One of my favorite features is the thumbholes.  These are great when the temps aren't low enough for gloves (or you - ahem - forget them.)

And the windblocker-material panel on the front of the jacket really does keep your core nice and cozy!

It looks like Saucony (and Amazon) have just about sold out of this year's model - but if they bring this back next year, you might want to pick one up.

I know I will!

What is your favorite newest piece of running gear?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

I Am A Running Wimp!

I must officially apologize to all my more northern friends who complained this summer about running in 75 degree heat.
I admit it.
I laughed at you!
But today,
when it was time to head out for my afternoon run - and the thermometer read 34 degrees -


Now, I know that for many of you, 34 degrees is a heat wave this time of year.  But for this born and raised Florida Girl, it feels like hell - if hell were a frozen tundra and not a fiery inferno!

So, I skipped my Tuesday run - but I did get in a 11.5 mile run this weekend in preparation for the Celebration Half Marathon in
(insert freak-out voice)
less than 3 weeks!
I feel so unprepared, because by this time prior to my last (and only) half marathon, I had already completed a 14 mile run.  Of course, I also spent the 3 weeks prior to that half marathon, loopy on drugs, lying on the sofa with my broken hand in a splint.  So.... maybe I'm not so unprepared after all!

Meanwhile, I had a birthday!   I turned 47 on the 2nd, and my daughter, Gracie, hit the big SEVEN on the 6th!  So, we had a shared birthday party on the 4th!

I received this little baby just in time for the unseasonable cold weather.

*adorable grandson not included!
After all my raving about a Keurig during our stay at the Hotel Indigo, now I have one of my very own!

On her actual Birthday, I took my Gracie to Build-a-Bear.  We've been doing that since her first birthday.

Age 1 

Age 2

Age 3

Age 4

Age 5

Age 6

Age 7!

It is kind of sad to see my baby getting so big!

Oh, and we got to meet my son, Caleb's girlfriend:

This is his first serious gf - and we are pretty sure she's a keeper!  I really liked her... plus, she used to run in college, so WIN!

Question: Are you running in these freezing temps?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - It Came, I Fell, I Conquered!

To my 5 (previously) loyal followers I must express my deepest apologies for not keeping you up to date on all the exciting developments in my incredibly exciting life!  Let's just say that with all the tasks needing to be done between Thanksgiving and Christmas, blogging began to look more like a chore than a recreation, so I had to let it slide.  However, since I don't want any of you to miss one second of the drama and adventure that is my life, I have prepared this highly ego-centric and photo heavy recap of the last 6 weeks.  Enjoy!

1) I began December with another hand surgery.  This one was to free up more ligaments and clear scar tissue from the palm side of my hand.  Knowing that I would be unable to run (or use my right hand) for a week or so after surgery, I tried to do as much Holiday stuff as I could before.  And, oh yeah, I thought the time between Thanksgiving and surgery would be a great time to redo the floor in my den.  Using this technique
But the floor got done, and my surgery got done, and I managed to bank enough miles in the weeks beforehand to keep me on track for my 1,000 miles in 2013 goal.
Here's a picture of my hand post surgery.  It's gross!

2) Because of the hand surgery (which I only found out about mid Nov.), I had to miss my first planned half marathon - the Starlight Half Marathon in Palm Coast, Florida.  Instead, my husband and I turned that weekend into an early 27th Anniversary trip.  We stayed at the Hotel Indigo in Jacksonville.  What an amazing hotel!  I can honestly say that I have never stayed in a sub-$100 hotel room that was this unique and luxurious!  If you ever get a chance to stay in one, I can highly recommend!  Here are a few pics of the room:
Entrance - that's a Keurig coffee maker!

Hardwood floors and little touches of home.
Huge bathroom!
Huge shower!

 We ate out a Lebanese restaurant.  That was definitely a first for me!  We chose the appetizer sampler, and this is what we got:

I have NO IDEA what most of this stuff is, but it was good!

3) Then we traveled home (Pensacola, Florida) to celebrate my Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary.  Their anniversary is on the same day as my husband and mine - December 20th, which is why we celebrated ours the week before.
Mom, Dad, me and my two brothers.

 After their party, 8 adults and 7 children all traveled to see the lights at Bellingrath Gardens.  Impressive light display and also highly recommended!

Grandkids enjoying the lights.

4) Christmas happened!  Now that my children are all growing up and moving away I treasure any time we can all get together.  I was blessed to have all my children home for Christmas Eve dinner.  Here we are, ready to say Grace before the buffet style dinner:

My youngest daughter and grandson.  This is as close to snow as we get!

6) Are you ready for the most exciting thing that has happened in the last 6 weeks?
I finally finished my 1,000 mile goal!

Saturday night I ran 10.9 miles and this is the spot where I officially hit the 1,000 mile mark!  Even in the dark and the rain I stopped and did my Happy Dance!

When I got home, my children shocked me with an all out PARTY!

They put this all together during my 2 hour run!
Even though it's been a couple of days, I still grin when I think about this.  My big victory run could not have been any better!  I began and ended the run in the very spot where I fell and broke my hand on Jan. 1st.   I overcame... I persevered... and I am overjoyed!

So.... If you still read this blog (ha!) tell me about your Holidays!

And, I hope to be back to my regularly scheduled programming!