Country Music Marathon Goals

27 04 2012

I can’t believe its almost race day.Ā  EEEEPP!

For the past 16 weeks, my legs have been logging more miles than they ever have before, and now its time for the pay off. Bring it on Nashville!

Here’s my goals for tomorrow:

1) Finish!

I haven’t run a marathon since 2006. At the time, I was still lifeguarding at the beach. One of the guys I worked with told me that I wasn’t going to finish- sort of in jest, but sort of not. Believe me, those words stuck with me as I was running, and I refused to walk and I refused to quit. When negative thoughts came into my head, I pushed them aside and told myself I was going to finish. He was NOT going to be right.

This time around, I didn’t have anyone telling me I can’t do it. In fact, I’ve felt an incredible amount of support, and have been so thankful for it! My biggest challenge this time around (at least in my training) has been myself. I’ve let my negative thoughts get to me, and have stopped runs short because I was hurting or I just mentally wasn’t in it. I’m going to be my biggest challenge in getting to that finish line. I need to squash the negative thoughts and KNOW that I can do it. Sure, it will hurt, but the glory of the finish line (and the thought of an amazingly yummy brunch) will motivate me to get through!

2) Have fun!

If I don’t accomplish this, there is something seriously wrong with me. First, I’m going to be in Nashville, an incredibly fun city! I’ve been there a few times before and love the live music scene, and can’t wait to get my line-dance on! Second, I’m going to see LOTS of people I know there, from different walks of my life!

I’m staying with Michelle, my college roommate:

This picture is a few years old, and now she’s got a 2nd little boy too. I can’t wait to meet little Micah, and see how big Isaac has gotten! Michelle’s not running, but her hubby is!

A few of my friends from DC are racing too! Stacie, Caroline, and Anna are all running the half!

We’ll all look this good when we race. šŸ™‚

My new Tampa friend, Mary is also running the full. She’s hoping to BQ! She’s in phenomenal shape and I can’t wait to hear all about her race!

My other college roommate, Leah and her friend Kitty are running as well! Leah’s doing the half and Kitty is doing the full.

These would make great running outfits, eh? Haha! This picture is from Halloween; Kitty is Summer and Leah is Winter. (I cropped out Spring and Fall, sorry!) I’m wondering if they’ll dress up for the race?

And finally, I’m SUPER excited because BILL WILL BE THERE TOO!!

He happens to have a gig on Friday which is within driving distance to Nashville. What are the chances?! So, he’s going to be there to watch me race and I couldn’t be more excited about it! His smiling face and encouraging words are definitely going to help get me through this thing!

If you’re wondering about the time-goals I’ve set, here they are:

A Goal: Finish in 4:00 or faster

After I discovered the McMillan running calculator and it spit out that I should be able to complete a sub 4 hour marathon, I set my sights on that 4 hour milestone. It’s been my goal all along but I think I’m going to have to dig deep to achieve this. I have doubts that the amount of training I did fully prepared me for the marathon, but what’s done is done, and I can’t go back and add more miles in now. I need to push those doubts aside, and be confident in the level of fitness I have. I know that I did get in a hilly 17-miler and a pretty good 20 miler among some other 13-16 mile runs, and hopefully these will carry me across the 26.2 miles.

B Goal: Finish between 4:00 and 4:15

I’d be happy to finish in this range for sure. I believe my last marathon in 2006 was a 4:45 or something, so crossing the line at 4:15 would still be a good 30 minute PR. Nashville is also pretty hilly and I didn’t really take that into account when hoping to go sub-4. But, we’ll see!

My bags are packed, and I think I’ve got everything I need.

Good luck to everyone else who’s running this weekend too!!

Catch ya on the flip side!

Marathon Checklist

25 04 2012

It’s Marathon Week!!! EEEKKK! I can’t believe it is T minus 4 days til my marathon!

I figured I’d share with you a few of my marathon essentials (and sort of use this post as a way to double check that I’ve got everything packed!)

1) Running Shoes

I have been a Mizuno’s gal since I started running tris in 2008. I’ve got super narrow feet and these seem to work the best for me.

I bought this pair about a month ago so I’d have enough time to break them in before Nashville.

2) Running Clothes

The weather for this weekend is looking pretty stellar:

(I just hope it doesn’t hit 82 ’til later in the day!)

So I decided to go with my Nike Tempo Shorts that I wore at the Rock N Roll USA Half, and I’m my Lululemon tank. I’ll probably bring an old long sleeve tee to keep me warm at the start, and then dump it along the way. Look for me in something really similar to this:

(just pretend that tee is a tank!)

I found these shorts at Ross and I thought they would be perfect for a race on St. Patty’s day. I actually really love ’em, and they make me stand out in the crowd.

As for the tank, I couldn’t find a picture of it on the Lululemon site, so I’m not sure if they make it anymore šŸ˜¦ It’s really comfortable, has elastic on the bottom so it doesn’t ride up, and it has a pocket with a zipper on the back!

3) Nathan’s Quick Draw Hand Held Water Bottle

Mine’s hot pink, and I’ve been using it for pretty much my entire training. I really love this thing. Yeah, it a little heavy when it’s full, but it didn’t take long for me to get used to it.

4) My Garmin 405 CXĀ 

I got this as a Christmas present and now I never go for a run without it!

5) SpiBelt

I bought a SpiBelt at the Gasparilla race expo. I had been running with my iPhone in my hand since the day I got my phone. Yes, I know, weird/stupid. I know I could have bought an arm band, but I just thought it would be too bulky. I decided that holding it in my hand wasn’t too bad.Ā  At the time, I was also using my phone to track my pace and distance, so I could deal. However, when you’ve got one hand holding a water bottle and one hand holding an iPhone, it gets really awkward. Since I didn’t want to give in and buy an armband, I figured a SpiBelt would be a great solution. And, I love it! The phone fits perfectly and I can still run the earphones through the small opening at the end of the zipper. It stays put and doesn’t rub. WIN!

6) Nutrition

I certainly want to make sure that I have enough energy to get me through the race, and I want to try to prevent headaches so I’m bringing some peanut butter Gu, some vanilla AcellGel (which I just got in the mail!), some Acellerade Powder (which I also just got!) and some salt tabs. Anyone know if I need to pack my gels in with my liquids? šŸ˜‰

(Yes, I was so excited that I opened the package in the car.)

And, because I’m really picky about my peanut butter, I’m bringing a few packets of Justin’s to spread on toast on race morning.

8) Aquaphor

Instead of Body Glide, I’ve started using Aquaphor. I think it works just as well, and I can put it on my lips if they are chapped.

9) Hat and Sunglasses

IĀ  just got this new hat at the IronGril Expo. I have a TINY head (I can wear kid’s hats), so finding a hat that fits me is always a challenge. I bought the hot pink one that you’ve seen on me in pictures:

But I hate the way it fits my head. I bought it back when I did my first tri so that my parents could pick me out on the run. Not sure it it helped, but it helps block the sun and soaks up a little bit of the sweat.

It’s probably not smart to use a new piece of gear for the marathon, but I don’t think it will be a problem.

I’ve had those sunglasses for a VERY long time. They’re polarized sunglasses I got at a surf shop in New Jersey when I was still guarding. A small head makes it hard for me to find sunglasses too, but this pair of Bolle glasses gets the job done!

10) Sunscreen

I use the Sport line of Neutrogena. I actually just grabbed a new bottle this week, since it was on sale at CVS!

I think that’s it! Now time to pack! Anything else I’m missing?

Question of the day: What are your running essentials?

Mazzaro’s Italian Market and Iron Girl

23 04 2012

Happy Monday! Is there really such a thing as “happy” Monday? Meh!

Saturday marked only one week til my marathon! EEP! I’m fully in taper mode, so my plan called for “only” 8 miles. I originally had plans to run my 8 over in St. Pete or Clearwater and then hang at the beach the rest of the day, but when I saw that it was likely going to rain, I decided to stick close to home.

Now I just need to do that 2 more times + 2.2 miles. No big deal. (YIPES!!)

I still had to head over to Clearwater though, because I signed up to volunteer at IronGirl and I needed to check in on Saturday. While over on that side of the state, I figured I’d head down to St. Pete. A few friends had told me about this magical Italian market called Mazzaro’s. They insisted I check it out, and since I didn’t have anything else to do, I figured I would!

Friends, I was NOT disappointed. I was a little overwhelmed, but OMG this place was incredible!

From the moment I arrived, I knew this was going to be an experience. I pulled in to the parking lot, and a man directed me to where I could find a spot. Their 1st lot was full, so I had to go into their second lot.Ā  When you need someone directing traffic into the 2nd parking lot, I think you’ve got something good going on…

As I walked towards the entrance, I passed these cool cars. Definitely some fun photo ops at this place!

I also passed a few groups of people sitting at the picnic tables or benches eating some delicious looking gelato. Oooh baby, I was excited! I walked through the door and immediately started beaming. This is my kind of place! The entry way was bustling with people – to my right were people who were checking out, to my left was the meat counter, and people were in line waiting to get their steaks.Ā  I pushed through, and made it to the hallway of beer and some other refrigerated food, including these sausage:

Then to my right I saw a man and a woman with a glass of wine. Just walking around the grocery store with a glass of white wine! I was a little confused, but then I saw it; right behind them was the wine and cheese room! I walked in and was amazed by the number of wines they had. There was a wine bar set up where they were doing tastings, and I’m also assuming that is where the couple got their glass of wine, but there were too many people crowded around so I just perused the aisles. I really liked the rustic/wine cellar feel of this room. I just wish it hadn’t been so crowded! I hung around the cheeses for awhile, sampling a few and debating whether or not I wanted to buy. I figured I’d stop by this room on my way out, but I needed to explore the rest of the market!

As I made it towards the back of the store, I really didn’t know how this whole thing worked. I saw the prepared foods counter (pictured above) but there were too many people in front that I couldn’t really make my way in to see what was actually in the case! I scanned the aisles in the center of the store with the canned goods (imported tomatoes, olive oils, etc.etc. YUMM), but I kept bumping in to people and was afraid I’d knock something over and break it! So, I went further back to where it seemed a little less crowded. I went around and off to my left, and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw the freshly made pasta. There was a row of freshly made LOBSTER MANICOTTI. OMG. Unfortunately, it was like $12/lb and I didn’t bring a cooler with me in my car. (excuses, excuses). I’ll be prepared next time!

I cut to the opposite side of the building and caught sight of what I was looking for: the bakery, the gelato bar, and the coffee bar!

So many yummy things on this side of the market!! I thought about getting a gelato, but I wasn’t really in an ice creamy kinda mood. What I WAS in the mood for was a cannoli!! You can’t go wrong with a cannoli at an Italian market, right?

I grabbed a number, and a few minutes later, I had a cannoli on a small tray, ready to be eaten! I had to ask the lady where to pay, because I wasn’t sure what to do next! She said, “You pay where you eat.” Um, Ok. So, I figured I’d grab a seat at the coffee bar and enjoy an expresso with my dessert. WRONG. There were zero seats at the coffee bar. Plan B: there’s a semi-outdoor patio; I’ll just sit out there. I grabbed a fun chocolate soda from the cooler by the door leading to the patio, but then I saw the sign that said you can’t pay out there, and you need to check out else where. DOH! So, I trekked to the front of the store with my cannoli and soda in hand, and stood in the check out line. As I was in line, I finally had a chance to stop and take it all in. This place actually had some really cool decorations. There were Vespas on display up high, and black and white photos all over the walls behind the cashiers. Pretty neat stuff.

After I had finally checked out, I went outside to sit at a picnic table and enjoy my cannoli.

It was DELECTABLE!!!!!! Unfortunately, I had to scarf it down because it was starting to rain. I ran to my car, and then the skies opened up. Though it was incredibly crowded, I certainly enjoyed the experience. Believe me, I WILL be back. And now that I at least sort of know what to expect, I can go in a be a bit more bold. Maybe I’ll even take home some of that manicotti!

I had a not so fun drive home in the rain and enjoyed a relaxing evening at home because I had an early wake up call on Sunday for Iron Girl!

I got up at 5:45am so I could be at the course by 6:45. I was signed up to be a “course marshall” which basically meant that I stood at a corner and told the girls to turn so they stayed on course. I personally know how much it sucks to go off course, so I gladly took my place at the corner of Chesnut and Palm, rattled my cowbell, and made sure everyone turned where they should.

It was so inspiring watching women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors running together. Everyone had trained hard and was here to see their hard work pay off. I didn’t know the reasons why people were running; I didn’t know if it was their first 5K or their 15th half marathon. But everyone was there, smiling (maybe becuase I was at mile 1? šŸ˜‰ ) and making it happen.

I always get excited when I watch people race, and today I left with that “warm and fuzzy” feeling. I’m going to take that feeling with me to Nashville, and get excited on that starting line. I can do anything I put my mind to, just like all of those ladies today. Bring it on Nashville!!

On a somewhat unrelated note, if you’re in the DC/VA area on April 28th and you’re looking for a race, check out the Run for Shelter 10K – The race to end homelessness. It’s for a great cause and right now, there’s a Schwaggle deal for 40% off registration!