Tag Archives: 5k

Grown-Up Weekend

Standard

You may or may not be able to relate to this, but do you ever feel like just because you’re in your 20s, in professional school, working, or living independently, that you’re not quite a grown-up?

I’ll be 25 in December, I will begin the third year of my M.Ed. program in 25 days, I have my own apartment where I attend school, and I am planning a wedding… but I still do not feel like a grown-up.

Maybe it’s because I still call my mom to ask, “What do I do?!” for the simplest of queries.

Maybe it’s because I will wait until I’m on my death bed to see a doctor. (Though the way I hear it, a lot of grown-ups do the same thing!)

Maybe it’s because I conveniently seem to forget about appointments I’d rather not go to (e.g. the OB-GYN).

Maybe it’s because I have chosen to live with my parents (from the time I graduate in May) until Ian and I are married in October.

Whatever the reason, I, A.K., do not self-identify as a grown-up. Nevertheless, Ian and I decided to engage in some “grown-up” activities this weekend. For example, we hosted our first cookout at his apartment. We invited several close friends, including two of my favorite heterosexual life partners whom I have known since freshman year at Longwood, Rachel and Charlotte.

IMG_0620[1]

IMG_0629[1]

We carefully prepared our menu: blue cheese-infused turkey burger sliders with all the accoutrements, baked beans, and curly fries. Our couple-friends, Mark and Heather, brought one of the most delicious and unique cheese balls I have ever tasted! Plus wine. It’s definitely not a grown-up cookout unless there’s wine involved 😉

IMG_0626[1]

We asked our guests to arrive around 7, so we began preparations at 5:30. Ian had done the grocery shopping earlier in the day. As nervous as I was about someone who doesn’t eat tomato or avocado choosing the perfect ones, he did splendidly with the insanely detailed thorough grocery list I gave him.

He caught me a bit off-guard while I was trying to slice and dice the perfect little onion and tomato wedges and figure out the sliders:

IMG_0618[1]

IMG_0619[1]

[Don’t worry; I usually cut vegetables with my eyes closed, so I’m a bit of a pro.]

Ian and Mark manned the grill while we ladies waited for the beans and the fries to be ready.

IMG_0621[1]

IMG_0624[1]

The men must comment on the status of cooking meat, in addition to the size and heat of a fire, the poor gas mileage on cars, what good time they’re making on a road trip, and the score or status of any sports event imaginable, amiright?

The sliders turned out much smaller than I had anticipated and the blue cheese flavor wasn’t as prominent as I hoped, but everyone proclaimed the meal a success. I considered it a success myself afterward when everyone sat around moaning about how full they were 😉 I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was glowing when Charlotte complimented my ability (read: luck) to have the sliders, the fries, the veggies, and the beans done simultaneously.

IMG_0625[1]

A wonderful evening was had by all! I was sad to see everyone go, but it was 11:30 before I knew it and Ian and I were fading fast. We finished cleaning up and hit the hay. Asleep by 12:30 on a Friday night? One of the most grown-up bedtimes we’ve had since I met this HSC gent.

Saturday morning, we slept in and did absolutely nothing. It was positively glorious knowing we had nowhere to be and nothing to do. Ian made me a breakfast of scrambled eggs, Chobani Flip, toast with apricot jelly, and apple cinnamon oatmeal. We did a little wedding-planning business, and then we settled in for the Harry Potter marathon. My lazy butt needed a nap toward the end of the first movie, and I awoke at the beginning of the fourth thinking, How long have I been asleep?! Turns out, the movies were being played out of order. Momentary panic.

Around 3:00, we packed up and headed to my house. We ate an early dinner and then Ian and I, my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend piled into the car for the 90-minute drive to Spotsylvania. My dad and I ran in the Spotsylvania FCHC Twilight 5k at 7:30. Ian served as my gracious photographer as I stretched, got prepped, and tried to get “into the zone.”

IMG_0634[1] IMG_0636[1] IMG_0641[1]

You probably know by now that my dad and I run races together, and we keep pace with one another. I am the watch-wearer in this relationship. Our goal for months now has been to finish together in ≤34 minutes.

We started off fairly strong with a 10:37 first mile. We lost a good bit of speed as we rounded the halfway point on the out-and-back course at 17:14. We hit mile marker two at 22:25, and I was pretty certain we weren’t going to make our PTR. To say the course was “rolling” was a gross understatement. There were some hills, man. Plus the humidity was killer.

When we rounded the last turn leaving the neighborhood and I could see the finish line in the distance, I said, “Let’s go, Dad!” and he said, “Go!” I didn’t think I had much left in me, but somehow I took off. I sprinted toward that finish line, hearing our four supporters calling my name and cheering me on.

IMG_0644[1] IMG_0646[1] IMG_0648[1]

Dad finished strong just behind me:

IMG_0649[1] IMG_0651[1]

I clocked myself at 34:36. I couldn’t find the “stop button” immediately as I crossed. The chip I wore strapped to my right ankle clocked me at 34:38, finishing 118th out of about 200 runners. Dad was clocked at 34:53, finishing 119th. According to my official time, I averaged 11:09-minute miles, so we should have been right on pace to finish within our goal.

IMG_0657[1]

As soon as I caught my breath — which I never thought I would between the humidity and pushing so hard at the end — Ian and I headed toward the snack tent for a banana (and the requisite post-race pics).

IMG_0654[1] IMG_0656[1]

After the race, we celebrated with custard from Carl’s, a Frederickburg favorite, as evidenced by the crowd snaking around the building. For a shop with only five flavors, the place sure was hoppin’ at 9:00 on a Saturday night. I was too pooped to snap pictures, but Ian and I split a chocolate sundae with chopped nuts. The custard hit the spot with my sweet tooth and wet my whistle, but it can’t hold a candle to Sweet Frog or Coldstone.

Things got a bit silly on the drive home as Rob, Caroline, Mom and I cracked up at the Instagram account @youhadonejob. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out. These ridiculous mistakes will have your sides hurting!

It was to bed early for everyone as soon as we got home at 10:45. Yet again, I felt like such a grown-up: splitting a sundae, participating in an out-of-town race, and getting to bed at a decent hour in preparation for church today.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful, fun-filled, adult-like weekend. Talk to you again soon!

What were you up to this weekend? How did you get out and move?

Richmond Firefighters Beat the Heat 5k [Race Recap]

Standard

G’day, blends!

I fully realize that it’s been a week since we last “spoke,” but I have a good excuse! I was in an eating disorders education class Monday through Friday from 8:30 until 5 on the button. I came home, made a quick and easy dinner (let’s play ‘Can You Spot the Repetition?’),

IMG_0358[1]

IMG_0363[1]

and dove headfirst into my work until 10:00 or so. I was lucky if I remembered to condition after shampooing before I all but collapsed into bed. (I’ve been watching season three of PLL, so I’m channeling my inner Hanna with the drama factor.) After all, that’s the mark of a quality education, right, Dr. P? 😉

Yesterday, I left immediately from the ‘Burg and drove straight to P.F. Chang’s at Stony Point for dinner with Ian and one of his groomsmen, Mac. Dinner (ahem, and drinks) put me home after 10, which barely gave me five minutes to greet my family before pouring myself into my inviting bed.

This morning, I was awakened from some gnarly dream at seven… to run for the first time in more than a week!

[Timeout for a second.]

I don’t want to make excuses, because those women who get up at 4:30 to hit the gym before work, and those women who run up bleachers and staircases because they don’t have the extra bucks for a gym membership, put my grade-A whiny butt to shame. But–in my world–last week, there simply wasn’t time to get buff and lean, nor was there time to spare to blog.

[Okay, time in.]

Dad, Mom and I piled into the car still half-asleep at 7:30. We got down to Shockoe Bottom and somehow found a place to park in plenty of time. Within five minutes, here came Ian and Mac, the other two-thirds of our cheering section 😉

Dad and I stretched out and joined the crowd at the front of the race. We are by no means among the first to finish, but we like to get a good start rather than trip over people’s dogs and strollers.

We started well, and the first mile breezed by in 10:40. It’s between the first and the second when I’m like, where the hell is mile-marker 2?! Finally, we crested a small hill, and two came into sight. We passed it with about 12 minutes left to make our goal of 34 minutes. If you will recall, 34 minutes was our goal last month, and I missed it by 12 seconds.

I thought, this is literally the best pace we have ever kept, and it didn’t feel like we were slowing down much. I was especially grateful for the extra time we had built up at the end, because the concluding segment had a slight incline, and I was really feelin’ eight days out of my workout regime.

When I saw that beautiful American flag come into sight, I gasped out, “Is that the finish line?” Dad said, “Yep!” and we both knew what we had to do. We picked up our pace even more, really kicking up our heels. At this point, we had two minutes left to meet our goal, and time was ticking.

IMG_0366[1]

IMG_0367[1]

IMG_0368[1] IMG_0369[1]

I slowed down a bit when I reached the American flag suspended from the fire truck because I thought that was the finish line, but we were corralled single-file into the narrow finish where the timer was. Dad and I crossed together in 34:11.30.

IMG_0370[1] IMG_0373[1]

I was immediately disappointed that we hadn’t met our goal, especially since we had kept a faster pace than ever, and we had had extra time at the end to allow for zapped energy, the heat, and the incline. Ian spun it like this: even though Dad and I didn’t precisely meet our goal of 34 minutes, we did beat our previous time record, and we did run the entire distance, and we did finish together. When it’s put like that, I guess we didn’t do so bad after all 😉 Not to mention that we earned these snazzy medals!

IMG_0371[1]

In the spirit of full disclosure, I L-O-V-E earning a medal at a race. Call it my need for extrinsic motivation, but wearing that sweet thang around my neck for the rest of the day makes me feel like the biggest rock star.

After the race, we celebrated with breakfast power sandwiches, fruit smoothies, and even a shared Cobblestone at Panera.

I want to add that even though this morning’s race kicked my ass a bit in the legs department, my clean eating all week certainly supported me nutritionally.

IMG_0355[1] IMG_0357[1]

I was thanking myself in leaps and bounds–literally–as I struggled through mile three.

Well, that’s pretty much it for today. Also, welcome to those of you who are new to SWASOV! For the next two weeks, I’m gonna do it all over again. Well, sort of…

#SorryNotSorry

Standard

Hellooooo, blends! Greetings from Duck, North Carolina! For the past week, Ian and his family and I have been basking in the glory of the Outer Banks.

I wish I had a series of really cool sunsets or a stingray catches or romantic-artsy pictures to show you, but really I’m just quickly checking in before dinner. I’m just not one of those people who remembers to carry a camera everywhere, or who is quick enough on the draw to capture every memory-worthy moment (#sorrynotsorry).

I apologize that I have been MIA from SWASOV for the past seven days (#sorrynotsorry), but OBX has been calling my name — and I have been answering big time!

I also wish that I had some behemoth healthy-living-while-on-vacation saga to share with you, but what I have really had are endless crab legs swimming in melted butter, maple Duck Donuts, steaks the size of Mini Coopers, local ciders, and a host of other foods that make my normal “diet” shudder with delight.

What I do have to share are a few self-surprises. For starters, Ian — who is beginning a 5k training program for a potential 5k in the fall — and I have run three mornings this week, and I have run four. Truly, before this vacation, I can honestly say I never would have pictured myself (1) setting an alarm to (2) get up early to (3) run (4) on purpose (5) during a beach vacation. Nevertheless, I could not be more proud of him for putting in 30-45 minutes each morning he ran… even if he was cussing and fussing, and I was yelling at him like a Nazi track coach.

Secondly, I have surprised myself by making instinctively healthy breakfast and lunch choices. I have chosen Chobani over a second doughnut, milk over coffee creamer, Quaker Oatmeal Squares over Apple Jacks, salad and hummus over leftover burgers, and (sometimes) baby carrots and celery sticks over endless chips and salsa. I can’t say the same about dinner, especially when fresh seafood was an option 😉

Next, I have surprised myself by reading on the beach for hours a day. Normally, I tend to let the sound of the waves and the warmth of the sun lull me to sleep. No problem there, except that I burn faster than a steak on the grill, and I drowsily sleep the whole beach day away. This week, though, I’ve been reading House Rules by Jodi Picoult, which thus far is absolutely phenomenal. I want to strike that perfect balance between reading as much as possible about a subject that interests me (autism) without growing tired of reading about it (I’m not sure that’s possible).

Lastly, I have surprised myself by being excited about setting an alarm each morning to maximize my day and my time on the beach. Dad, as someone who believes “daylight’s burnin’,” I know you’ll appreciate this one! I literally never would have pegged myself for being someone who would enjoy setting an alarm on vacation…

Anyway, I just wanted to stop by briefly to thank you for stickin’ around while I’ve been gettin’ my tan on, drinking homemade pina coladas on the beach, and (for once) reading for pleasure! After this week, my summer gets crazily busy, but regular posting should resume. Ta ta!

Just Because I Can

Standard

Guys… I have Internet. For the first time in 12 days. Twelve.

Somehow, our home computer contracted a Trojan which affected the entire shebang, modem and Wifi included. The computer was repaired almost a week ago, but we weren’t able to get someone out here to fix the wireless Internet until today. The poor guy was here for almost three hours, but he fixed everything!

I can blog, I can check my email (for real), I can at long last conduct wedding business, I can obsessively check my grades… Life is good 😉

So I’m blogging at 8:30 on a Wednesday night, just because I can.

Rather than try to tell you everything that’s been going on — because honestly, it hasn’t been much — I figured I’d show you.

Monday night, Mom and I made my version of “spaghetti” with meat sauce, consisting simply of minced fresh garlic, EVOO, sautéed onion, browned lean beef, diced tomatoes, and spaghetti squash.

IMG_0164[1]

On Tuesday, I won’t say whom, but Dad someone was walking around the kitchen not-so-quietly, so I was hopelessly awake at 6:15 a.m. Since I hadn’t been feeling my best on Monday, I decided to be productive Tuesday morning. I snuck out of the house, trying not to wake anyone, but stopped short when I saw that it was sub-40 degrees outside. I actually had to use my ice scraper to clear my windshields and windows before I could drive!

I kicked my own ass at the gym by accomplishing a mind-boggling PDR: seven miles!

IMG_0165[1]

IMG_0166[1]

I planned to break my run down like so: run 1 mile, walk 30 seconds, run 2 miles, walk 30 seconds, REPEAT until I reached 7 miles… completely forgetting that the treadmills at this Y automatically throw the user into cool-down mode at 45 minutes. I had to alter my run a bit, including completely stopping and restarting the machine. All in all, I ran 7.34 miles (warm-up, running portions, walking portions, a 3-minute stop, and cool-down) in ~91 minutes.

My legs felt like jelly when I finally stepped off the treadmill, but I felt incredible. Those 13.1 miles are looking less and less daunting with each new PDR! 😉

This morning, I awoke to a (literally) answered prayer:

IMG_0170[1]

Y’all… THE BACKSTREET BOYS ARE DOING A REUNION TOUR!!!

Finally. Nick, A.J., Brian, Howie, and Kevin [#notweirdatallthatistillknowtheirnames] have heard my prayers, and they’re even cruising with fans. AND, it’s the Millennium album. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Except that the cruise is in October. And I’m not 11 anymore. And probably everyone who is 11 and would actually be interested and available to go on this cruise is like, The Whatstreet Boys? Who?!

*Sigh.*

I guess Nick Carter really isn’t ever going to serenade me… even though now, he could serenade me while I sip a marg!

In other more realistic news, Dad and I signed up for our second 5k-a-month-all-summer 5k: the Richmond Firefighters Beat the Heat 5k in Shockoe Bottom.

IMG_0172[1]

In glancing over last year’s results, it looks as though only about 350 people participate in this event annually. I’m completely fine with that, because we are looking to improve our time and just get out there and move. I ain’t lookin’ to make friends, ya dig? 

I kid.

Lastly, I finally satisfied my week-long craving for my favorite Tropical Smoothie smoothie, Mango Magic. I’ve been running errands with Mom all week, and we haven’t been anywhere near a Trop-Smooth. Today, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, so I indulged. Mmm, mmm, mmmm!

IMG_0174[1]

In all honesty, I thought I deserved a little treat for having eaten so cleanly this week, kicking ass on my run yesterday, and cross-training today by swimming 40 laps in 30 minutes. That half-marathon is not gonna know what hit it!

That’s about all that’s been happening around these parts. Thanks for hangin’ around Sarcasm while my little old blog was out of commission, and welcome to those of you who are new!

Question: What have you been up to this week?!

Susan G. Komen 5k ‘13 Race Recap + Weekend

Standard

Well, blends, nothing too exciting has been going on over here with the Lew Crew. We still do not have Internet; I am penning this post on Saturday afternoon, which marks our eighth day sans Web. I apologize for my prolonged blogging absence – because I’m just sure you’ve missed me terribly – but there hasn’t been much I could do. It’s been weird being able to access social media via my iPhone but not being able to blog. I’m sure some of my more tech-savvy counterparts would find a way, but I’m just not that hardcore 😉 I’m not sure when this will be published, but I wanted to write about a few subjects today.

No. 1: The First Week Home

Whenever I come home (Richmond, VA) for an extended stay, the first week home is always the most difficult “adjusting” week. By this I mean, there are many, many opportunities for me to make healthy choices… and I almost never do. Sweet Frog? Sure! Chick-Fil-A salad? Haven’t had one in awhile. Late-night Taco Bell on a whim? It is hard to resist those DLTs…

Truly needless to say, I haven’t made choices I’m proud of this week. My sister Caroline and I went to the gym both Monday and Tuesday and I ran about 6 miles total, but Wednesday and Thursday were flops. Caroline’s boyfriend Rob is visiting, and we’ve more than taken advantage of his presence as an excuse not to get out and move. I can’t and won’t deny that I am soaking up every minute of lazy relaxation before my summer gets can’t-stop-for-one-minute hectic, but I don’t feel good about myself when I look back on this week. (Two cups of coffee a morning, real Coke, French fries, Woodchuck, and cupcakes don’t exactly make an aspiring half-marathoner feel like a rock star.)

Of course, Friday I had planned to rest, so rest I did. I got up early, did some stuff around the house, sipped coffee and discussed wedding biz with Mama Lew, and caught up on a few episodes of The Office and Parks & Rec. Friday night was my dad’s final team party with the high school golf team he coaches, so we all went to support him. This party was at least the fourth one I’ve attended, and I love to hear the stories Coach tells about his golfers and the awards he presents. The food ain’t half bad, either 😉 Of course, there was the obligatory froyo trip afterward – contributing nothing but guilt to my week-long binge of crap.

Allow me to insert here that I made some healthy choices this week. I did run two days in preparation for the 5k and in the spirit of training for the half. I also ate breakfasts consisting of whole-grain cereal, Chobani, and fresh fruit. The dinners we ate at home consisted mostly of vegetables and lean meats, including a variation on quinoa bowls one night!

IMG_0087[1]

[Shredded lettuce bed, parmesan couscous, black beans, steamed corn cut off the cob, sauteed green pepper and yellow onion, Jack’s Special Salsa, and fat-free sour cream]

In general, though, next week needs to look (and feel) a helluva lot better. Which brings me to…

No. 2: Race Recap

Saturday morning was in the low 70s and partly cloudy here in RVA. Perfect running weather, if you ask me. I was up and at ‘em at the ungodly hour of 7:00, but eight solid hours of shut-eye didn’t hurt. I was too excited to hydrate much, but I downed a Chobani, a bowl of Banana Nut Cheerios, and a few sips of coffee before our half-asleep troupe spilled out the door.

We got downtown and found parking a bit later than we would have liked, but there was still plenty of time to use those oh-so-fresh-and-clean “restrooms,” stretch, and find a place toward the front of the pack.

My dad’s and my goal was to complete the race in 34 minutes or under. Our goals have almost always been 35 minutes for 5ks, so I decided we needed to challenge ourselves a bit more.

We started off strong, barreling downhill, weaving around women with strollers and walkers who had decided to start in the first few waves. The first mile passed before I even knew what was happening in just 10:15 – our fastest mile time to date!

The second mile felt as if it dragged on for centuries. As my sister put it, I “wear the watch in this relationship” (i.e. I keep the time, and Dad is happy with knowing or not knowing). This was where I began to feel the full brunt of those French fries, the lack of water, and the heaviness of the food I had been consuming. I had a small stitch in one side as we crossed some uphill sections, but nothing that required stopping (read: I absolutely wanted to stop, but I refused to let myself). Just past the 2-mile marker, I finally conceded to taking a drink, but I didn’t stop running.

The third mile breezed by even more quickly than the first. I knew we needed to haul ass on an uphill stretch, then book it down a steep section, round the final corner, and sprint to the finish. When I saw that we had just 4 minutes left to complete our goal but I could not see the steep downhill segment, I wasn’t sure we would make it. Then, we began descending, and I felt almost as if my body and my rubber-legs were propelling themselves.

As we rounded the final corner, I said to Dad, “We have 30 seconds. We can do this. We can DO this!”

And do it, we did. We kicked it into high gear, full-tilt sprinting past my mom, who was snapping pictures on my iPhone as fast as she could.

IMG_0128[1]

IMG_0129[1]

IMG_0130[1]

The finish line was in sight and no one was blocking my way as I pulled away from Dad. I crossed in 34:12 and he in 34:15, just shy of our goal. The victory was sweet finishing that closely to our goal, but not as sweet as if we had crossed the finish line together. He did not care that I pulled away and finished ahead of him, but there is something so much more rewarding to me about finishing with my running buddy.

We collected our pink medals and bottles of water and sat down in some shaded grass to stretch out and to rest. After a few minutes, we joined mom about 50 yards from the finish line to watch Caroline and Rob finish. She, too, pulled away, and they ran across the finish line one-and-two. Great sisters run alike, I suppose 😉

Rob and Caroline 5k

After we hydrated thoroughly and took too many smiley pictures displaying our medals,

IMG_0140[1]

IMG_0146[1]

we walked to a local favorite, Third Street Diner, for brunch.

 It’s always strange to me to have accomplished so much and be ready for another meal by 10 a.m. on race days. I was too hungry to snap pictures, but I chowed down on a tri-veggie omelette, an English muffin, fried apples, and OJ.

Well, I guess it’s about time I wrapped this up and ran a few errands. Hopefully we’ll talk soon, blends! Thanks for stickin’ around Sarcasm while I’ve been away!

I Just Feel GOOD

Standard

It probably seems like I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to. Well, that’s because I haven’t. If I thought my weekends out-of-town were busy before, I had another think coming. Most of the time, though, I just don’t have anything blog-worthy going on.

But, I’m feelin’ great today, and I want to shout it from the mountaintops!

I feel great. Like, really great. It has nothing to do with finally being able to breathe again, or my allergies having left as quickly as they came. I feel so great because of my lifestyle.

Two of my proudest accomplishments are my refrigerator and my ability to run more than a mile. (I’m still no marathoner — 5 miles is my max thus far.)

When I look in my fridge (and my pantry) and I see Greek yogurt, an abundance of fresh vegetables, seasonal fruit, whole-grain bread, water, salmon, quinoa, chia seeds… it makes my heart smile.

DSCN0250

DSCN0251

DSCN0253

It wasn’t all that long ago (well, I guess it was about 2.5 years) that I could easily fill a grocery cart by myself with frozen entrees, Toaster Strudels, Pop-Tarts, Doritos, Cherry Coke, Easy Mac, breakfast biscuits, TGI Friday’s appetizers, pints of Ben & Jerry’s… you get the idea. I’ve detailed my experience with unhealthy living before, so I won’t get into it. The point is, my changes feel great!

It also wasn’t too long ago that I couldn’t “run” more than about 10 minutes without getting winded and crampy. I’m not saying I was morbidly obese or anything, but I was desperately in need of a lifestyle overhaul. Boy, oh, boy, how things have changed! Three 5ks down, and a 10k and a 5k coming up? Who woulda thunk it? 😉

[I know this post has become a bit of a brag-fest, but I just want to share my happiness with y’all!]

I’m also not saying that my body looks exactly the way I want it to or that I’m satisfied with having lost 35 pounds and I’m done. What I am saying is that completely altering my diet and developing an exercise regimen has allowed me to live the life I want to be living, with the energy and the mental well-being to keep up!

Well, that being said, I’m off to class in the middle of a freak April… snow?

DSCN0246

Have a good one, blends!

Toys 4 Tots Race Recap

Standard

This afternoon, my dad and I ran in the Toys 4 Tots 5k at Innsbrook in Richmond. I’ll be brutally honest from the get-go: I barely prepped for this race. Of course, we weren’t participating competitively. We ran in it to improve our time (he set a 34-minute goal for us) and to help out some kids who aren’t as fortunate come Christmas time. When I say I barely prepped, I mean that I had good intentions last week, but I experienced a few hiccups. Then, I came home on Thursday and I didn’t fit a single workout into my weekend.

I know every runner is different, but my pre-race breakfast is usually pretty big. This morning I had a Greek yogurt topped with pomegranate arils and granola, a hearty bowl of Cheerios topped with fresh sliced banana, a cup of coffee, and a bottle of water. That was about 10:00; like clockwork, I was hungry again at 11:30, so I whipped up some sliced Asian pear with crunchy PB. [Side note — you’d think that among all these meals I’d be as big as a house, but I’ve actually lost 3 more pounds!] Then, because my blood sugar is about as predictable as an active meth lab, I packed one of my favorite KIND bars in case I needed it before the race.

Rather than focusing on completing 3.1 miles in 34 minutes, we decided to set a pace that was comfortable for us, and then pick it up toward the end. At our last 5k, we accomplished our goal of 35 minutes by the skin of our teeth. I had yet to be able to shave off a whole minute from my time in the gym, where the treadmill provides me consistency, level ground, and a constant pace. As I also mentioned, I hadn’t done a great deal of prep work or training… or any at all. I wasn’t confident going into it, but I was certainly willing to try.

We stretched at home, we stretched at the race, and then we stretched some more. I knew for a fact I was hydrated; I woke up twice in the middle of the night to pee, I had to go three times before we left the house, and I (reluctantly) used the Port-o-Potties twice before the race started. I wasn’t taking any chances today. I knew I was well-fueled and mentally prepared.

I felt GREAT for the first mile or so. After we passed the water station, I started cramping a bit. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle, so I put it out of my mind and on we ran. As we rounded the halfway markers, I told myself what I always do at that point: Less than halfway to go now. I asked Dad, “What’s our time?” and he said we were at 19 minutes. I didn’t know how that could be, since I knew we were keeping a pace faster than we ever had, and I knew how good I felt mentally and physically. He said, “It’s all downhill from here!” meaning that figuratively, he was encouraging me as I had pep-talked myself.

It was an out-and-back course, so as we passed the water station again, I asked for a time-check. He said we were at 34 minutes. My heart sank. How could we be at 34 minutes with more than half a mile to go and at the pace we had kept? I even felt as though we had picked it up on the second half, even though the course was slightly uphill on the second leg. As we rounded one of the last corners he said, “About a quarter-mile to go. You’re doing great.” At that point, I was ready to be finished running, my lungs were burning, and my calves were starting to feel the brunt of pounding pavement.

Then, we crested the last hill into the finish line… and I saw the clock — 33:25. He lied! We had 35 seconds to cross the finish line, and about 50 yards to go. I said, “RUN!” and we high-tailed it across that line. As it turns out, we were at just over 16 minutes at the halfway point, and when I asked for the second time-check, we were at about 28 minutes. He told me later that he didn’t know whether his strategy would serve as a motivator or a disheartener, but I think it worked quite well for me!

Our “official” time was 33:57, but Dad had clocked us on his watch from start to finish because we weren’t at the front of the pack when the race started — 33:46 — our best time yet! I tried to let the glory of our accomplishment sink in as we walked around and stretched out. We found a water station and grabbed half a banana and a Fig Newton bar each. I think I was still in awe as we made our way to the car and watched fellow racers rounding the last turn.

As always, my only real goal was to run the entire race without stopping. We accomplished that and then some! God will probably smite me for skipping church, but I think He’s proud of us for kicking ass today 😉 Nobody was able to come to the race with us, so I asked my mom to take a picture of us in our race regalia when we got home:

100_2160

Happy Sunday, blends! I’m off to Brio Tuscan Grille for dinner and drinks with my parents and some friends from church before a concert at the University of Richmond!