16 goals in 2016

The workout I have scheduled for today is a beast (2 by 4 miles, 12 miles total), so in an effort to allow my body to wake up a bit more and to let my warmest running jacket finish in the dryer, I’ll sit here and blog.

A friend of mine recently shared his 16 goals for 2016 on his blog. I thought it was a fantastic idea and a few of us are following suit. In an effort to hold myself accountable by the pressure of social media, here we go-

1.) PR the marathon.  This is a running blog and I try to stay on running related topics the majority of the time so I’ll start with the run theme. In no way does this mean this is my most important goal, its not, they are all jumbled randomly. After a string of 10 marathon PRs in a row, I’ve experienced 2 frustrating years of no progress in time. I believe I’m capable of sub 2:47 and would like this to be the year.

2.) More memories with the family. Our kids are at a great stage in life where they can now try new things safely. We’ve made plans to travel with them a bunch this year and try new activities (snorkeling, kayaking, etc.) that in years past was difficult to manage with 3 kids at the same age (twins + 1 a year younger). I am beyond excited about this one.

3.) Read two books a month.  With a kindle this is admittedly the easiest goal I have as I’ve already been doing this. Currently I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale. A bit depressing but eye-opening and hard to put down.

4.) Start a garden. 

5.) Sub 1:19 half.  This is a huge jump for me. I’ve yet to break 1:20 (current PR is 1:20:08) but I believe in scary goals.

6.) Learn how to cook tamales. What was I saying about scary goals?

7.)Stick with Strength Work. The twice weekly strength class I am currently attending is about to end and knowing my love of strength and core work I’ll have lost any progress I’ve made within a month. What a waste. I’m committing myself to 2-3 30 minute segments of strength work a week on my own or through my gyms class. No less!

8.) Camping.  We own a tent but have only camped in our backyard and at a wedding where camping was encouraged and we had indoor bathrooms, heat, etc. at our beckon. This year I want to try “real” camping somewhere amazing. Our kids love this so it’s more of a goal to support them. I’m more of a hotel girl myself😉

9.) Race a track 5K. I ran through high school and had a brief stint of running in college and in all that time never had the chance to run a 5000m on a track. There are no track 5ks that I know of around our area so suggestions are welcome.

10.) Continue with Church. I already attend weekly but this is important to me. I always leave feeling refreshed, peaceful, and ready to tackle another 7 days.

11.) Learn basic French. Our neighbors are French citizens working here temporarily for a few years. Our daughters have become best friends and long story short- We have promised our daughter that when she becomes fluent in French, she and I will go on a Mother-Daughter trip to Paris. I learned basic Spanish in high school but know only a few words of French so this #16in16 may be my most difficult…Oh Non!

12.) Blog twice a month. 

13.) Visit Friends & Family more often. As a military wife and mom of three, traveling solo hasn’t always been an option, usually requiring mass amounts of planning and occurring rarely. Now though, our situation has changed a little bit and I’d like to use that change to keep up with some amazing friendships and family love. I even have a weekend with close friends planned soon. This is huge for me! Nashville & Philly, I’m looking at you!

14.) Visit Top Golf.  At least 5 different people have raved about this place and guess what? I actually own pink golf clubs. Add those to the list of silly things I bought in my 20’s.

15.) Ocean Swim Race. We are beach lovers but I’ve never entered an official ocean swim race. I don’t plan on “racing” it. I’m actually a terrible swimmer but I’d love to try an official open water swim this Summer and not drown.

16.) Visit a new State. I’m pretty far along in my quest to visit all 50 states (I’m in the fourties), going to knock another one or few off this year.

There you have it. I’m sure I’ll think of a few more during my warm up today. Let me know if you have any great goals this year or what your planned run is for today. Have a wonderful day!

Surf-N-Santa Race Recap

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This past Saturday the Surf N Santa 5 miler was held here in Virginia Beach. This has always been one of my favorite races even when it was a lengthly ten miler, so  it was fitting to choose as my last 2016 race and, to be honest, that I ran it well. The race starts at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, heads to the oceanfront where you get to run on the gorgeous boardwalk decorated with Christmas lights along the beach….beautiful! The race starts at 4:30 pm making it a perfect time to view the holiday lights and setting sun. Hopefully my photos (some I asked to steal) will do it justice, I highly recommend this race.

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There was no plan going into this race other than to “Run Strong and Have Fun!” After being sick in bed all day Thursday, I had no clue what to expect but with the let down of Philly still hanging over me, I knew I wanted to execute this one well. It was the perfect amount of no pressure, run well attitude. Arriving at the race, I quickly found my friends but our warm up communication was mixed up and I ended up running  a .7 mile warm up solo along with some strides and stretching. The warm up was COLD! I had on my tiny singlet and several people told me I was crazy but I knew once the race started I’d feel perfect and I did. Lining up in the starting area, I couldn’t get close to the front line but found friends to laugh and chat with.  We all did a bit of weaving that first mile but with the wind pushing at our back that was probably a great thing to keep us under control. Around .75 miles in I found myself as second female. I wasn’t looking to run a first mile in 5:42 but I didn’t want to let first female out of my sight either!

Mile 2 was my favorite because I knew there would be a Gingerbread man stop. So fun! You may be the coolest race director ever if you dress as a Christmas tree and hand out cookies during the race you are directing. I didn’t take a cookie but I laughed at how cute everyone looked passing out treats. Mile 2 was 5:49.  There was wind this year but honestly it was not bad at all! Last year I remember hitting the boardwalk to a wall of heavy wind. This year it was a million times better. Weather was great!

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Gingerbreak cookie stop!

At the Gingerbread stop I believe I was still in second place with 3rd and 4th not far behind.  Normally I might be a little worried but I felt fantastic! Let me say that I LOVE reading running blogs. I love reading everyones journey and ups & downs in our sport. One thing that has always eluded me though is when people mention a big PR or breakthrough and say it felt effortless.  I swear I’ve read this a dozen times from the casual runner to many elites and I’m always like, wtf…that doesn’t happen to me. I’ve never had a PR that didn’t hurt like heck. Today was different though. I was working hard but I felt strong and smooth, just perfect blissful running.  Also, while I loved SurfNSanta when it was a 10 miler, it did feel pretty good to hit Mile 2 and think “Only 3 miles left, enjoy them!”  My splits don’t show it but I felt stronger as I went along. Miles 3, 4, and 5 were 5:59, 5:57, 5:56.  Here is my STRAVA DATA. That last mile was into the wind so I am proud of that one At mile 4.8 I saw my coach with a huge smile on his face and I know I was smiling huge too.  I crossed the finish line and didn’t know what my time was because it took me a good 10 or so seconds to cross the start line and I was so happy that I never stopped my watch! I knew I just had the perfect race for me though and thats all that mattered, a race I could personally feel proud about.

All J&A Racing events this year have had the PR board and PR Bell.  I’ve watched friends sign them and ring the bell but had never done so myself.  This felt great guys! I didn’t know my time so I wrote 29:50 on the board.  Later I was told my chip time was actually 29:35. My last 5 miler was in the middle of heavy training and was a 29:55, so 20 seconds faster after marathon recovery and with zero recent speed work shocked me. I finished as first female and 12th overall. On of my favorites, Teresa, finished just behind me and also killed her previous time. She’s been an awesome friend to train and chat with so we were both elated.

First time ringing the bell!

First time ringing the bell!

Wrong time, Right Friends! Finally got to sign the PR board!!

Wrong time, Right Friends! Finally got to sign the PR board!!

After the hard work comes the fun and the post race party was amazing. There is always beer and a catered soup for race participants plus a live band and costume contest. It’s also inside so you are nice and warm post race.  Here are some photos. So much fun.

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I have no immediate race plans but with 13 weeks until the Shamrock Marathon, this race was a fantastic start to a new training cycle. Thank you all for reading and wishing you all a wonderful holiday season!!

Meals on the Run & Life Lately

Hello all! Almost time for Christmas break and it can’t come soon enough in this house. The end of last week started out wonderfully. I was able to celebrate my 36th (I mean 26th?!?) birthday with some great friends. Mr. Law was out of town working so no men were invited. Sorry guys but some of the best conversations happen when you are not present😉  My training week started off strong and I thought I would have a nice solid week of workouts capped off with a race tomorrow to log in my new workout planner.  Then my poor kiddos started dropping sick like flies. It was one by one and then after joking I wouldn’t get it, I got it. I must have slept 18 hours yesterday! I woke up feeling much better though, have been sipping Nuun all morning and will still be racing Surf N Santa.  It’s my favorite race in our area so I don’t want to miss it. One of these years I’ll run it in a Mrs. Claus outfit.

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So while I don’t have much running news to share, I do have some food and brain training to write about.  About a month ago Runners World gave me two books to read. One named The Runners Brain and the other Meals on the Run.  I’ll admit I did not read The Runners Brain until after the Philadelphia Marathon. It would have been the perfect book to read while in taper mode and instead I probably watched too much Bravo television. The book has an entire section about toughing out a race when things do not go as planned. That felt like a smack in the face because honestly when things didn’t go immediately as planned in Philly, the mile my stomach started turning, a manic panic set in and I could never calm myself enough to let things settle and get back into a good groove. My stomach caught me off guard and I have no doubt my mental side exasperated my physical troubles so thats something I need to work on. I will be reading and rereading this book before my next marathon! How can I have run 10 marathons already and still be learning things? I thought I would know it all by now.

Out of the two books, I’ve been pouring over Meals on the Run the most. When it comes to this blog I would say that 90% of the questions I receive privately are 1.) Do you coach? (Sorry, no but I always try to help with any specific questions) and 2.) What do you eat?  I am VERY lax with my eating habits. I love vegetables and eat healthy 90% of the time but I also LOVE my junk food and will never give it up. Life is too short. One of the best decisions I made was working with a nutritionist, not to tell me what to eat or how much, but to remind me of when to eat what. I mentioned before that I was shocked to discover that I was having almost no carbohydrates before 2 in the afternoon. Then I would have coffee to perk me up because I had no energy! Here is a quick summary of what a typical day of eating looks like for me.  Also, back when I ran doubles, the timing was different, so keep that in mind for my friends who workout twice a day. Make sure you are fueling after you work out!

Wake up- 6 am. A large glass of water and coffee with milk.

7 am- Light breakfast- Usually two eggs and a slice of bread or toast with avocado & salt spread on it.

8:30 am- I start my run. If its a hard day then I would have drank Enduropacks electrolyte drink with water or a little Gatorade beforehand. If its a run longer than 12 miles then I probably would have snacked on a small granola bar or 2-3 homemade trail mix balls (honey, oatmeal, peanut butter, ground seeds like pumpkin, mini chocolate chips, and wheat germ mixed in the food processor and rolled into smaller than golf ball size) The trail mix balls recipe are also in the new RW book but I’ve been making them for years after my sister in law introduced them to me. The book does have several variations that I have and will continue to make, like one with dates and macadamia nuts.

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10:00- 2nd breakfast-  Small bowl of oatmeal or cream of wheat with fruit and a protein like nuts or a side of bacon or a heavy recovery drink like the Meals on the Run Mocha Madness Shake made up of coffee, greek yogurt, ground chocolate, and a banana.

12:30- Lunch- The biggest meal of my day. Everyday is different but I usually have a huge serving bowl sized salad with tons of veggies (bell peppers, carrots, beets, avocado, etc.) and a protein like shrimp or tuna in. This is where the nutritionist pointed out that I wasn’t getting enough carbs so now I always eat some French bread or rolls and butter with it or other days I finish it all off with a bunch of Doritos. Seriously, they are my weakness.

3:30- Snack time with the kids.  I make chocolate chip cookies way too often and have Almond Milk with them. I will also always have a huge plate of raw veggies with ranch for them to snack on while doing homework. One of my kids will eat a ton of vegetables but only if they are raw. It baffles me but whatever works!

6:00- Dinner.  Also big portions here. People say dinner should be the smallest meal of the day but I don’t agree. I need those calories to make it through my run the following morning because I can’t eat a huge meal right before running. Dinner is always a huge variety and well balanced. I also have wine and something sweet (more cookies or pie!) about 5 out of 7 nights of the week and that will never change. One of the dinners I made from the Meals on The Run book this past week was their  Coconut Shrimp with Rice Noodles.  The best part of this book is that everything is easy and fast!! This seriously took less that 30 minutes. The longest part was soaking the rice noodles. The recipe said it would take five minutes but mine were closer to fifteen until they were al dente. Soak a package of rice noodles in very hot water until they hit al dente, saute all the veggies in a very hot pan for 5 minutes then set them aside. In that same hot pan mix 1 can of light coconut milk, 2 tb yellow curry sauce, and the juice of one lime (or two, go crazy!) and let it simmer until well blended. Put it all together and top with cilantro and you’re done. So good! I never would have made that without the help of the cookbook. I promise all the recipes are that easy.

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Also, I take Enduropacks vitamins and an Iron tablet supplement 4 times a week. I used to take the expensive iron but after reading that Nike athletes take the Natures Made brand, I now use those and they work just as well as the expensive liquid versions.

I didn’t want to forget to let you all know that I have joined the Strava world. I’m not exactly sure how to navigate everything yet and I don’t wear my watch daily but I figure when the cold winter months hit, I will need all the motivation I can get. So far I only have one entry because of this rough past week but I hope to be active. Here is how to find my profile for any interested…click HERE.  Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season!! Hope you get all the running gear as gifts😉