yep – i’m exhausted… and i have the fever

Well… I did it… I ran the Ragnar Chicago this past weekend.  As much as I would love to say this is going to be a recap, it won’t be.  I’m simply not there yet!  Not to be completely dramatic but WOW.  I have a lot to process and need to figure out how I am going to write about all of it.  Yes, it was only a couple of days total but so much has happened!  I will show you my nifty medal/bottle opener/potential weapon though

this sucker is substantial!

I am definitely, completely exhausted.  Thankfully, my body isn’t terribly sore – I mean, I can tell I ran almost 17 miles but I’m not in agonizing pain.  This is reassuring!  You know what else?  I gained some pounds this weekend!  WTF?  I’m guessing it’s some bloat from lack of sleep, dehydration, eating at odd hours and snacking rather than actually eating meals.  Still, it’s one of those things where it just seems unfair considering all the running!  Ah well…  I can sport this bitchin’ badge so what’s a few pounds?!

Okay… I have a disease… it’s called RACE FEVER!  I’m serious!  All I want to do is sign up for races, left and right!  It has been building recently but it is reaching epic proportions at this point.  Here are the list of races I am looking at signing up for:

Kalamazoo Klassic – this race is on Saturday morning.  I have done it multiple times and there is a 5k and 10k option.  The 10k includes a mountain a.k.a. Maple Hill.  This hill is T.O.U.G.H.  The last time I did the 10k I was determined to run the entire hill and I was going so slowly ppl were walking next to me.  Did it break my spirit a bit?  Maybe, but I knew deep down I wasn’t going to stop running!

The Cheetah Chase – 5k on June 23rd at the Binder Park Zoo (local zoo).  I did it last year and it was my first race back from a 7 month racing hiatus (kind of a running hiatus too).  Umm…it kicked my trash!  Seriously, it is a hard course.  I would love to go back and redeem myself a bit!

source

Seaway Run – this is also on the 23rd of June so I will need to pick.  This race has a 5k option as well as a 15k option which I have never done.  It’s not too far away and it is along the lakeshore, which is sure to be beautiful.

Color Run Grand Rapids – Wahooo!  I am really excited for this 5k!  I am doing it with a team of besties and I know it will be a fun time.  I’ll be showered in color on Aug. 5th.

See Jane Run Half Marathon – this one is set in stone.  It’s July 15th and is my goal race for the Running and Reading Long program.

Tyranena Beer Run 1/2 – my Ragnar teammates are talking about getting together for a reunion and doing this half.  I am really considering it since it would be awesome to see them again and my van talked about this town a lot.  I feel like I have to get there!

Hot Chocolate Run, Chicago – I know this run got some bad press in D.C. but it sounds fun. Again, it’s a cool distance – 15k and it’s just something different.  I have friends in Chicago who I could crash with so while it would be a destination race, it wouldn’t break my bank.  Oh yeah, there is rockin’ technical sweatshirt in the goody bag!  This race on a Sunday and the Tyranena race is the day before – back to back racing?!

I love a good swag bag :)

Disney World Marathon – Yes, it’s a long way away – Jan. 13th but I have been wavering back and forth on this one for months.  The price increases in a few days and it’s already half full.  It’s the 20th anniversary of the marathon and I am a sucker for that kind of thing!  In true Disney fashion, it will be done up big.  I also have always loved Disney.  I’m pretty sure I have made up my mind but need to figure out a few logistics.

See what I mean?!  The two automatic races I will do in the fall include The Peacock Strut 10k and the Campus Classic 5k.  These are staples in my racing diet and unless something drastic happens, they will continue to hold a place in my heart.  Not to mention, if people ask me, “hey Amy, wanna do a race with me?” it’s tough for me to turn them down!

The cool thing about all of this?  When my mom died, I swore I was going to stop buying stuff and wanted to spend my money on experiences instead.  I’ve been working hard on this and I’ve been moderately successful!  Racing definitely falls under the “experience” category.  I’m proud of myself for putting my money where I want it to go, doing something I love and being healthy – all things my mom would want too!

chicago ragnar week = panic, happiness, crazy eyes!

aarrrrgggg matey’s!

IT’S RAGNAR WEEK!!!!

Oh my gosh!  I am so freakishly excited!  Yesterday, I was working hard not to vomit all over the place because I was nervous but then I started talking to my teammates and I felt so much better.  They are all really excited as well!  They have the best attitudes and are giving women.  I still can’t believe how lucky I am to be part of this team.

isn’t our logo so cute?! I’ll post the name of the woman who designed it in the next few days

So, here is the deal…

PREP!

1.On Sunday I ran a 5 miler then walked a mile home on very fatigued legs.  In fact, at one point they just plain ol’ hurt.  I stopped for about a minute and then rallied.  I did have to walk a couple of times but the last mile I told myself to go for it.  Then I kept repeating, “you ARE mentally strong”.  I wanted to prepare myself for the running 3 times business that is coming up this weekend but even more I wanted to prove to myself I am capable.

2.  Some shopping – yes, I do need some supplies before hitting the road on Thursday morning.  We need to pack lightly since we are taking two mini-vans.  Packing lightly isn’t one of my strengths but I am determined to make it happen.  Sunday I bought some baby-wipe things for a “shower”, some Neutrogena face wipes (I really don’t want to massively break out this weekend!) some feminine wipes (let’s face it ladies – there is some delicate pH balance going on with us!) and some snacks.

sorry it’s so dark! yes, this is the start of my packing!

3.  I bought my train/bus ticket.  Good thing I plan ahead!

4.  Hooked myself and my teammates up with some pirate-y gear!

5.  Ordered my ruffle-bum undies last week and they arrived today.  They are pretty cute – one pair of pink ones with a bow and then some hot red ones.  ALL ruffles, all the time!

oh my! yes, these are not super flattering BUT pretty stinkin’ cute! 

6.  Bought some Nike capri tights.  I tried these on last week when I bought my run skirt.  Then the next day I got a coupon for $10 off and took it as a sign it was meant to be.  Plus they have a yellow stripe down the side that I am hoping will help with a bit of reflection at night.  Do I need new capris?  Well, the last time I wore one of my favorite pairs there was some unfortunate chaffing.  Not having to experience that on a 200-mile relay = PRICELESS!

7.  Found a white pullover long sleeve on sale at Target.  More of that reflection business – here’s hoping I won’t get hit by a car!

8.  Made meatloaf.  Not really sure how this helps me to prepare but I watched an old episode of “Dinners, Drive-In’s and Dive’s” last week and someone had a meatloaf sandwich.  I don’t eat meatloaf sandwiches but I do LOVE this super tasty Weight Watchers recipe!  YUM!

9.  Figured out my caffeine issue… okay, I do have an addiction to coffee!  I LOVE IT!  I also really do “need” it to get my arse up and running.  Considering we won’t be sleeping much this weekend, I don’t want to be a total failure all because I’m caffeine-dependent/deprived.  SO, I have planned to scope out some chocolate milk and then add some instant coffee to it.  I already have the instant and I’m dang proud of my ingenuity!

10.  Freaked out, wanted to vomit and took a rest day.  Don’t worry – I won’t include any pictures of wanting to vomit!  I did however, decide to take a full and complete rest day yesterday.  While this means I ruined my RW Run Streak, I have been waiting for the Chicago Ragnar since November.  I am going to restart my own streak simply because I really wanted to do it.  However, my legs were incredibly tired and sore.  I do feel better and feel confident I made the right decision.  Tonight I ROCKED 4 miles speedy-style!

crazy eyes of excitement!

I’m sure there is more – we are putting the finishing touches on plans as a team and I think the biggest way I am prepping is just getting completely PUMPED.  Earlier I was nervous because my pace isn’t as fast as I would like, blah, blah.  Truthfully though, I want to ENJOY this experience!  It’s such a fantastic and fun opportunity!  Not to mention part of my FUN-FILLED SUMMER!

will bake for a massage

Can we all talk about how much Mondays suck?!  During the academic year, they are always filled with anxiety for me.  Luckily, the school year is over so I don’t hate them as much as I used to.  But still, I dread them a wee bit.

Today, I woke up not feeling so hot.  I am fairly certain it’s all related to my long run last night.  12.5 miles.  In the interest of full disclosure, I walked the last mile.  I was beat.  I was starving.  I was ready to come home.  Oh yeah, not to mention the lightning that started and it was 9:15 pm.  This is just a bit too dark out for my comfort level.

The 25k is THIS Saturday!  I can’t believe it!  I’m sooo going to need to trade some baked goods for a massage when it’s done!

ummm… 15 miles is a long way!

But yesterday’s run went fairly well and was 12.5 miles of sheer confidence for Saturday.  Here is what I was happy with:

1.  I kept my pace fairly steady – 10:45-11:20… at least until the end ;)  I also totally accepted if I wanted to run 12 miles (15 soon enough) I needed to embrace the time/pace and enjoy the run

2.  I wore my Aspaeris pivot shorts – this was an AWESOME choice!  I have only ever worn them for recovery but these really helped and I will be wearing them on Saturday.

2.5 – I also iced my knees and sported my compression socks when I got home – how did I never realize how much this combo helped before?!

3.  I added a GIANT hill at mile 3 – lately I have been trying to avoid hills around this mile because I felt I couldn’t tackle them or I would be too tired to keep running.  But I ate this hill for breakfast!  Or at least as a snack!  For those of you local folks, I did Howard hill up to Oakland Drive!

4.  I brought water with me – I typically think I don’t need fluids but I am so happy I’m getting smarter!

5.  I didn’t have any expectations for this run.  Instead, I went out there ready to enjoy it and if I fell short of my goal than this was okay.  But I did well!  I also exceeded my expectations.  I didn’t really start getting uncomfortable until mile 9, a major improvement.

6.  I kept running!

7.  I wore my sparkle skirt!  I think I got a marriage proposal from a passing motorist as I was running :)

this is one powerful skirt!

Things I still need to improve upon:

1.  I only took one shot blok while I was out there.  I didn’t notice my waning energy until much later but at this point it was too late.  I was EXHAUSTED.

2.  I didn’t eat enough before I started running.  Again, I didn’t notice this until much later but when I got home I was feeling a bit light-headed.  I ate something immediately but then I started to feel nauseated.  I ate more after a shower (lots of protein) but still felt pretty sick.  Then today I still felt kind of crappy.  Lesson learned!

3.   I didn’t bring ENOUGH water – I was out by the time I made it to the track for the last couple of miles and really thirsty.  So, apparently, I am not smart enough.

The good thing is the positives outweighed the negatives!  I know I will finish on Saturday.  I also readjusted my goal – before I thought maybe I would finish around two and half hours.  Buuut… I am now a bit more realistic and am hoping for three hours or less.  I also decided to dedicate this race to my mom.  I decided this last night as I was running and knew it was the right thing to do.  It will be more constructive than wallowing on Mother’s Day and I know it will give me some great motivation to dig even deeper to keep going.

me and mom…

Okay… sad stuff aside, I do have a great announcement!  Duck on the Run put a call out on her blog for some runners to join her on this

I might just be addicted!

as an ULTRA!

Haha, crazy girl!  But in the excitement of this past race weekend (more on this tomorrow) I decided to jump in with both feet and told her I was IN!  I am super excited!  We are still looking for a few more runners so let us know if you are interested!  It’s going to be a BLAST!

Running and Reading Long starts today!  Yay!!  I will be posting on Thursdays about my reading so I for the next several weeks I will be doing my Thankful Things Thursdays on Tuesdays.  Or maybe on Fridays – I haven’t quite decided yet.  I am thrilled to share the insights from the program though and have a feeling it’s just what this introspective gal needs right now as I’m reconnecting with my love of running!

thursday happiness

Happy 100th post to me!!  Wahoo!  It’s so fitting it’s on Thankful Things Thursday!  Yes, I am beyond thankful I started this blog back in November.  When I first wanted to start a blog is took me FOR-E-VER to get the courage to start it.  It changed too – at first I was going to do a food blog.  But see, the thing is, I really don’t come up with recipes.  I am a great baker and a decent cook but I follow recipes.  Like it’s my job :)

I took tons of pics of food during this time.  Then it dawned on me (as in a major DUH moment) I should be writing about food, running/weight loss and my crazy life.  I needed to stick with who I was/am rather than trying to be like anyone else.  But mostly, I am so grateful I started my blog because my mom got to see it, read it and even comment on it before she suddenly passed away in December.  I can’t even begin to express how much this means to me.  So, yeah, I’m grateful for this blog.

2.  The Tiger Tail – yay!  Thank goodness I went downtown yesterday and purchased this bad boy.  I worked out my muscles yesterday as soon as I got home and the knot in my thigh is feeling better.  Plus, it matches my car.

I love the slogan, “I love happy muscles” – me too!

3.  Also when I was downtown yesterday there was a used store selling lots of fun goodies, including this gem

isn’t this GIANT A the coolest?!

Oh my gosh – I came SOOO close to buying it.  But at $65 it was a bit out of my price range and I am trying to downsize my belongings not add more.  It did call to me though… I guess a picture will just have to do!

4.  I made a HUGE purchase for my Chicago Ragnar Relay team

all self-respecting pirates have eye-patches and we will too!

They had just enough for all 12 of us and I can’t wait to get some pics taken in these suckers.  If they would have had “peg legs” I would have purchased those too.  Too fun for words!

5.  This Sunday is the Kalamazoo Marathon/Borgess 1/2 Marathon!  Yeehawwww!!  I can’t wait to go down and watch what was my inaugural 1/2 and cheer on all the runners!  I have friends who are running their hearts out (Go Em!) and I’m thrilled to help them cross the finish line.  Selfishly, I’m going to syphon some of the race excitement for myself too!

I know there is so much more – I bought my ticket back to PA as I mentioned, am getting some race stuff completed and lots of other goodies.  I’ll share about one of the other goodies tomorrow!