Two Weeks Later…

It has been approximately 14 days since I clocked out for the last time.

14 days since ringing telephones and cacophonous nonsense filled my eardrums as the soundtrack of my days.

14 days since I last had to fight the rolling dumpster fire that is the D.C. Metro to make it to the city.

14 days since this journey to self-discovery and happiness began.

 

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source: lessonsfromcountry.tumblr.com

 

Personally, I’m doing okay. Not completely depressed, not completely overjoyed, just okay. Neutral for the time being. Trust me, it’s hard as hell to be overly excited about self-discovery journeys when you have no income coming in, your money stash is slowly dwindling, you haven’t heard back from the places you’ve applied to; you’re sure your application got lost in resume purgatory, and you want to move so badly yet are paralyzed with fear that you won’t get a job in your field and will have to settle, yet again, for a “survival job” that pays pennies when you have $163,000 of student loan debt whose looming presence suffocates you during the day and keeps you up at night .

That’s my professional life in a nutshell at the moment. So much fun.

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However, I do have my birthday weekend coming up (which I have saved for and am getting many things comped for, thanks to Florida buddies!). The only thing I’ve had to pay for so far was my flight, which was incredibly reasonable (thanks, Jet Blue!). Now, I’ve only bought my flight down. Have yet to buy my flight back. Who knows…maybe the stars will align and something good will happen when I’m down there.


There are some happy things that are happening, such as…

I started Chicago/Marine Corps Marathon training yesterday. That’ll keep me occupied, and back into a fitness regime! Having a desk job caused me to gain between 10-13 lbs in the past year; when I was seating on the restaurant floor as a hostess, I clocked in around 10 miles per shift, and that went out the door two months later. I don’t fit into the cute summer clothes that I have, so all the more motivation to get back in the weight room!

 

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3 mile run to start!

 

I’ve also been asked what time I’m aiming for, and since Chicago is my focus race (as I am pacing three of my friends for their first full during MCM and just want to finish and gain redemption from 2015), I’m shooting for a sub 4:30. My previous three marathons (MCM 2014, WDW 2016, and WDW 2017) were all between 6:50-7:30. I was on track for a 5:24 during WDW this year, and I ended up wussing out after mile 6 when I hit cone alley. A 4:30 would be fabulous. Anything faster, well, even better!

I’ve also started a Disney Countdown on my social media accounts. I love doing this starting from ten days out, but I’m so excited that I started it from 15 days out! I pair one of my own pictures with a Disney quote and add the countdown to it. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram for the latest!

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14 days: “You’re never too old to be young.” -Snow White
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13 days: “To all who come to this happy place: welcome!” -Walt Disney

The sun and sand are still vivid in my mind, the echo of crashing waves and scent of salt air enticing me. I know it won’t happen tomorrow, but I know where I need to go…

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Hot Cider Hustle 10K Recap

Caramel apples. Hot apple cider. Who doesn’t like running for delicious treats?!

In my quest to get into faster-seeded corral for Glass Slipper Challenge weekend and to continue with my Goofy Challenge training, I signed up for this here Hot Cider Hustle 10K a few weeks ago in October. I mentally had a goal of going sub-1:00, or as close to it as possible without destroying my body, as the Everglades Half is my next big race in two weeks.

The night before the race I had a minor body-image freak out as I tried on several different versions of outfits. I felt like everything I was wearing was squishing me in places that weren’t supposed to be squished, and I felt disgusting. To top it off, I was starting my period. #FemaleRunnerproblems  -__________-

I finally settled on my donut Sparkle Skirt, running tights, lots of pink accessories!, Athleti-tec hoodie and VSX sports bra. The hoodie was thin enough so I could just wear that and the bra and be fine. I’m not an advocate of wearing the race clothing ON race day (especially finisher/”I did it!” shirts)…but at this point, I wanted to be comfortable and not die. (Spoiler alert: it was a perfect combination.)

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My stomach was a wreck, as was my mental state. I was frustrated and upset, and the slow Metro on Saturday morning didn’t help, either. I did arrive with plenty of time to spare, which was great since it was at least a half-mile trek to the starting area. The weather was all blue skies and sunshine with a slight chill in the air.

The pre-race area was out in the middle of a huge parking lot adjacent to RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. I could clearly see that this race course was not going to be the most exciting: a loop-to-loop course, all in the parking lot area. Woot.

At least there were puppies near the gear check area, and all over the place 🙂 :

Around 8:50, we started lining up. This race is similar to the Rock ‘n’ Roll series, where it’s an honor system: faster runners are in the front and slower runners/walkers are near the back. I lined up somewheres in the middle (always a safe bet).

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The gun fired at 9:00 and the race began. the weather was chilly but the sun began to peak and it warmed up a bit. I held a steady, even pace for the first little bit, relying on my Hamilton music to keep me in tempo. My first mile was 10:01 (which, I do believe, is the fastest mile I’ve ever had in a race. Woohoo!)

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Up ahead of this was the loop into mile two, and straight into a ton of sunshine with no shade relief. This was a pain as I didn’t have sunglasses and wasn’t expecting to be blinded by the light, literally.

Another huge pain of this race? Runners randomly stopping to walk in the middle of the course without signaling. That’s a surefire way to get hurt, or to hurt someone else. I spent a lot of time dodging people in the first couple of miles and knew I was wasting energy by doing so.

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Around mile 2-ish.
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Here we go loop-de-loop.

This loop course was a first for me. By the above pictures, you can see it’s not the most fun course in the world. BUT…it was flat, with little to no elevation change. There was one water stop (slightly out of view on the above picture to the right), with Gatorade on the first lap and water on the second lap. I had to pee desperately on my second loop around, and saw three portapotties off in the distance around this area. SO grateful!

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Speaking of second loops around, it got really quiet really fast. 1500 runners had signed up for the 5K, 700 for the 10K, and 300 for the 15K. My first 5K split hovered around 34:00 (which is a split PR for me!).  It was nice to take my time on the second loop, to slow down when needed, and to experiment with pacing. I had several Hamilton songs ready to go, such as “Washington on Your Side” and “The Election of 1800“…all Nightcore versions. (Nightcore music is sped up and sounds like chipmunks singing.) Running in tempo with these really set me up for an even pace. (For example, I found that in WOYS, which is 2:12, I could cover a quarter of a mile and not feel winded.)

Despite a boring course and fighting cramps and peeing, I still wound up with an official 1:16:58 PR,  which is a seven-minute improvement from February’s Enchanted 10K! Woohoo!

No medals for this race (boooo), but a brand new mug for my collection! (Yaaaay!)

I submitted the POT update for GSC weekend. Here’s to hoping for a higher-seeded corral!


This race was full of firsts for me, including this…

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This caused so many headaches…

Since this course operated on a loop, the finisher’s chute offered instructions on how to navigate. If one was running the 5K, great! Go straight. Those on longer distances, step on the first timing mat for your split, and follow the cones on the left to get back on the course. For some reason,  many runners didn’t adhere to these instructions and found themselves either shortening their distances or lengthening them, intentionally or unintentionally. This caused such a snafu at the end, that the awards ceremony didn’t happen for those in the 10K and 15K distances. The results had to be tabulated by hand (since some 10K/15Kers would have had blazing fast splits), and other than the overall and 5K winners, awards weren’t handed out right then. I also didn’t get my results until later on in the evening when they were posted online (hence the one-second change between -my Garmin and the official time.)

If you’re going to run a looped course, know what distance you’re going to run and stick with it. It’ll cause a lot less stress with the timing and scoring department later on, and be honest if you want to go up or down with distances! It’s almost like banditing a race if you’re intentionally racing a shorter or longer distance than what you’re registered for.


Next up: Everglades Half Marathon racecation!

GSC 2014 Recap: Part I

So, as promised, here we continue on with recapping my life. Last week was PHM 2013, and now this week we’ll hit on Glass Slipper 2014. This will be divided into two parts: the pre-pre-pre race (as I’m typing this, the backstory is incredibly elaborate and can be supplemented by stalking through my back posts), and the races themselves. Trust me, it will be beneficial to read Part I before Part II, as this may give anyone who is fighting for motivation a bit of a boost. Trust me, I’m there with you! ❤


I had debated about even signing up for GSC, as the Space Coast Marathon Series was rolling out their Big Bang Series challenge. I’m a science geek, but I’m also a Disney dork. Space and explosions vs. glittery girly stuff. Hmmmm…

I decided for GSC. Smarty pants me decided it would be great to schedule a spa appointment ON THE DAY REGISTRATION OPENED. I was just a wee bit tense about making the cut as I lay there getting pampered that afternoon. Once I got out though, I cranked 80 mph to get home. I settled at my computer and saw that the registration percentages were high…but not completely sold out. I eagerly punched my information in… and voila! I was in! *insert happy dance here*

Lesson 1: Don’t schedule anything on registration day. Nothing. Not even a potty break. Unless you’re registering while using the potty. Then props for multitasking.

Now, this was in June of 2013. This was also the start of my quarterlife crisis.

I could not get motivated to train for this race, or do much of anything. Every day seemed to be a struggle. I was hardcore depressed, and I knew it; all I did was lay in bed and cry about how much I hated being in my program (M.Ed-Middle/Secondary Instruction), how much I hated grad school, and hated life in general. I found myself up all night begrudingly doing summer school classwork and sleeping during the day. This lasted for about three months. When the fall semester started, I was still a wreck. Everything annoyed me, and I found everyone to be annoying. I had this consistent ringing in my ears (which I later found out to be a symptom of depression and out-of-whack things happening with your body), I was harboring a highly negative energy that garnered some questionable looks from those that knew me as this super-positive, happy ray of sunshine, and I was just pissed beyond belief at the most stupid things. I had to excuse myself during choral and symphonic winds rehearsals so I didn’t blow up at the ensemble (my tolerance for musical mediocrity is miniscule). To top it all off, our music department got wind of being potentially cut due to reasons unknown in the two weeks before school started. The energy in the department was at an all-time low, and we were trying to keep it all together. Also, I was chartering our chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi band fraternity, and was clashing with the then-president at the time (I was secretary). Everything was a disaster, and every day just seemed pointless. Even though it is said that exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant, GSC was the last thing on my mind.

Second week into school, I got sick. Full blown flu. That knocked me out for at least a week. I can hardly eat bananas to this day.

The real kicker…a breakup. Out of freakin’ nowhere. Fourth week of school or something. It was the absolute last thing I needed on my plate. Thanks a lot, universe; I love you, too.

But it was also the kick in the ass that I needed to start making changes. Big changes.

Slowly, I started refocusing my thoughts. Even if I didn’t feel like training, I went and pounded out a couple of miles. (Feel free to go back through the October 2013-February 2014 posts and you can find some examples of these workouts. For example…working out while watching the NYC Marathon.) I started eating better and began to invest in EnergyBits as a source of food (not having a fridge as an athlete isn’t ideal, but these little bits helped with that). I found social media to be a wonderful outlet for support, and I began to invest more time on Pinterest absorbing motivational pins (it would take me about ten minutes of looking at those before I grabbed my shoes and headed out the door).  Our fraternity colony started progressing rapidly, and that brought on a newfound sense of accomplishment as we ticked off each requirement to move from colony status to chapter status. I’ll even admit: I went to therapy for awhile. (Yep, chipper ol’ me went to therapy. I thought I was crazy for doing so, but having a neutral source to talk to was therapeutic.)

The biggest change came when I changed my program. After being so miserable in Education, switching to Communications was the best thing I could have done for myself. I felt like this huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t feel like I was obligated to be a teacher after that day. Everything started looking up. The days seemed brighter. Life was great.

Lesson 2: No matter how much people tell you that you’re good at something, or you’ll make a good *insert profession here*, do what your heart says. You don’t owe it to anyone but yourself to make the right career decisions.

Soon, I really began to throw myself into my training as a distraction after I learned my ex moved on faster than anticipated. I still had to see him in the music department, so it was all the more reason to keep on kicking ass.

Lesson 3: Breakups lead to fit girls. ‘nough said. Hell, even I’m using this mantra right now as I train for WDW Marathon weekend.

I ran my first 10K in November, keep on training through December, 2014 comes, and Happy New Year! I spent that New Year’s not out at a bar, but on the treadmill watching Rockin’ New Year’s Eve on the TV, and “running” into the new year. (I think I clocked in five or six miles that night.) As the weeks progressed, I logged 58 miles in January and 35.5 in February before I left for GSC weekend. I could feel myself getting stronger, faster, more muscular. Accomplishing workouts became an addiction, as did receiving compliments from my colleagues. Academics, KKPsi, music…they were all going so well for some odd reason. (I still believe that when I exercise, good vibes are produced.)

Mid-February, GSC weekend arrived. I knew that the months of training I put into this was going to pay off. I packed up my stuff, jumped on the plane, and headed to sunny Florida!

Up next: Part II: The Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge.


P.S. I do appreciate all of you who took the time to read all this gibbledy gook. It helps to put things in perspective when attempting to recant adventures from almost two years ago. Plus, you get to learn some more about me, and how I’m not-so-perfect as traditional social media outlets may depict people as. Filters and editing can only hide so much, but I prefer to be raw and real for all of you. So thank you!

Marine Corps Marathon…This Weekend!!

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It’s almose here! The 40th Marine Corps Marathon is almost upon us. I’ll be taking off for Washington D.C. in the morning, and hitting up the expo tomorrow afternoon and the Pep Rally in the evening. Saturday will be low-key (as I learned from last year that I walked around the city way too much looking at things and killed my legs for the race the next day), and Sunday is race day!

Every time I see my medal from last year, it serves as a reminder that anything is possible. People shy away from any type of distance, thinking that it’s too difficult or they they’re too lazy to even attempt it. Running is not supposed to be easy; it’s a way to test the limits of your heart, mind, and soul as you chase the chance to fulfill a goal and cross off one more item on your bucket list. I took a gamble last year by submitting my information for the lottery, and lo and behold, I was selected. The second that your name is in the spotlight, it’s on you to make it happen. I went kicking and screaming into the second half of the race, and I was angry at the world for weeks on end (I never get a runner’s high, only runner grumpies), but I’m glad I busted my ass, got over that last hill, and took the Iwo at the end.

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I am very much looking forward to crossing that finish line–hopefully with a PR! (I’m pretty sure I can beat 6:51:51) Of course, Beating the Bridge is far more important that beating the PR (1:15 PM is that time, or your running shoes turn to pumpkins!). Seeing the monuments and the autumnal scenery will make that time go faster. Most importantly, meeting new people (hopefully some of you that are running!) and building the esprit de corps associated with this race will be the best part of all.

See you in Washington, D.C.! OORAH!

#poweredbybits: Why I love EnergyBits

  
I’ve been a consumer of EnergyBits for about two years now. It’s a great addition to my diet, especially if I cannot have produce readily available. (When you’re living in the woods with no market nearby, this is a very real thing!) The nutritional qualities of algae are numerous, and EnergyBits spells all these out on their website. 

Some of my favorite qualities?

Dense nutrition….all natural/vegan/Non GMO… One calorie per tab!… Thrice the protein of steak (64% per serving)… Antioxidants out the wazoo… Enhances longevity… Boosts mental and physical performance… Restores electrolytes without added sugar…

I could go on and on. But these little tabs are the perfect to-go snack, or mid-run boost! I discovered them while I was training for Glass Slipper 2014, and they’ve been an integral part of my training and lifestyle since. They’ve powered me through my races, my homework, and music performances!

This is just a quick, personal overview as to why I love my bits! Be sure to stick around for a more in-depth post!

GSC/PHM 2015: One Month!!

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2014 GSC!


Now is that time of year when all the princesses are gearing up for their weekend in WDW! That’s right…the Princess Half Marathon weekend is almost upon us! Major congrats to everyone who ran during WDW Marathon and Star Wars weekend recently. It’s been fun watching you all blow up my social media with updates and pictures. It’s definitely the motivation I need to get going again.

Since the MCM, I’ve fallen off the wagon with my running hardcore. I am nowhere near the mileage or motivation level that I was at this time last year. I think I’m tricking myself into thinking, “I can do 26.2, so 19.3 is cheese!” I am going to regret thinking that unless I start NOW. And “now” meaning right when I finish typing this post.

I still need to get my plane tickets and find a place to stay. Everything is SO expensive… (if any runner needs a roomie, let me know and I’ll be happy to pay my share!). Yay for planning!

I cannot believe this has become a tradition for me. This is my third PHM and second GSC. Although…with the way the prices keep rising, I’m not sure how much longer I can continue to run Disney. That, and I’m going to be moving and (hopefully) starting a new job in May after I graduate. I haven’t scheduled any additional races so far this year because of this. I know wherever I end up will have races of sorts.

One month to go. Let’s get it done, princesses (and princes)!

 

Two Years, Six Races, a Few PRs…

I’ve only been running for almost two years. First race was the 2013 Princess Half (which will always be “my” race, as it started this entire journey). I only did two races that year, the second being a Turkey Trot 10K. 2014 rolls around, and here I go, running #alltheraces with Glass Slipper Challenge, Marine Corps Historic Half, and my first full, the Marine Corps Marathon. Even though I’m a self-proclaimed turtle and prefer to stay in the back of the pack during a race, I’m surprised that my PRs are not that terrible. I whipped up a spreadsheet and listed my split times to get a visual feel for where I stand currently. In the overarching picture, it’s not atrocious. It could be a lot worse (i.e. I could have NO times because I never picked up running!).

As of now, I will probably not race again until Glass Slipper 2015. Current PRs are as follows (splits and races):

5K split: 38:36 (2014 MCHH)

10K split: 1:20:15 (2014 MCHH)

15K split: 2:05:59 (2014 MCM)

Half split: 3:01:41 (2014 MCM)


5K race: TBR (to be run…I have not raced in a 5K yet!)

10K race: 1:25:33 (2013 ERC Turkey Trot 10K)

Half Marathon: 3:06:48 (2014 PHM)

Marathon: 6:51:51 (2014 MCM)

(Amazing that all those PR splits resulted from Marine Corps races! Must be something about the atmosphere that makes me not want to disappoint.)

Currently, I have no clue what my pace per mile is. By simple division, I’m landing between 12.5 and 14.5 mpm, but that fluctuates with every race. Aside from the MCM (which I’m swearing right now I won’t do another full), I have a feeling that I can easily beat all of my race and split PRs next year with a little extra training.


How have your races been this year? Any fantastic PRs? Is your racing schedule not quite done yet and you have some fun winter races scheduled?