Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Recap

Total run mileage: 81.88 miles     highest monthly mileage ever!
Highest weekly run mileage: 24.91 miles
     highest weekly mileage ever! 
# Runs: 18
# Rest days: 12
# Cross-training workouts: 3
# Races: 3

Highest monthly mileage ever!
Favorite run: I can’t pick between the two halfs! PRs at both kind of boost that excitement about them… so I’m going with both half marathons! Sneaky, I know. :)

Most hardcore run: Going with the AllstateATL half – those hills were no joke when they came around, but man, I felt reallllly good for 98% of that race and was super proud on how I handled them. Athens was similar, but I felt more ready for it, where as I went into Allstate blind, and then still PRed and both. Happy racing month!
Allstate ATL 13.1 Marathon Series & a new half PR!
 Current reads: Guh, nothing this month. Failing at the book reading goal!

Current obsession: Trying to think and plan all the races I want to do in 2013. Too much that I’m drooling over, not enough cash to make it all happen.

Current drink: Water and Gatorade. More Gatorade this month than normal, but I’m really quite okay with it. Looking forward to cooler mornings so I can start my hot chocolate routine. :)

Current song: Truth be told, I’ve added Gangnam Style to my running playlist. Frankly, I think it’s one of the stupidest songs ever, but it’s got such a great beat it makes it easy to bounce along to. What’s a runner to do? (And here ,you get the UGA version!)

Current wish-list: A little extra cash for some running gear – my last pair of capris finally wore themselves down so much, I’m out of capris! It’s cold enough to start wearing full leggings soon, but I like capris for indoor stuff sometimes too! Womp. I’m headed to TJ Maxx later today, as I surprisingly found quite a few pairs that I loved last week, so I pray they’re still there!

Current need: Apparently, I need to finally suck it up and buy a second pair of shoes for a rotation. See ‘bane of my existence’ below. 

Current triumph: Two half marathon PRs this month – who does that?! Awesome races this month and I can’t wait to beast it again!

Also qualifying for Half Fanatics with a Neptune classification – woot!  Waiting on confirmation from them, but yes… I did it! I will technically qualify with both a and b – a is done (two halfs in 16 days) and b will be done after W&D (three halfs in 90 days). Excitement!
Athens Half - and the new half PR!
 Current bane of my existence: My Brooks have been giving me some nasty blisters the last two weeks – they started at the Athens Half and just keep getting irritated. Note to self, this is why folks have more than one pair of running shoes. If I could only afford another pair like right now. Womp.

Current goal: Keep up the base I’ve got as I head into Month 2 of marathon training. Yep, you read that right – October was technically Month 1, but I’ve masked it with Wine and Dine training – I think my brain works better in smaller increments. I’ve got a great base and feel more in shape than I have at any point in the last year +, so I’m just going to try and run with this (pun intended) as much as possible! More on that as soon as Wine and Dine is over – get excited!

Current indulgence: Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin donuts. Heaven. They’re my Wednesday morning reward after a good workout (for the next three months, that’s 6-7 miles on a week day. Challenging for me!), so… lots of Dunkin love in my future.

Current excitement: Austin this weekend! My cousin’s getting married on Saturday, so I fly out tomorrow! I’m spending Thursday down in San Marcos visiting some of my old students and colleagues, then heading up to Austin for dinner & drinks with some other folks. Friday, my uncle and I are heading out for some miles around Town Lake (!), then the wedding fun begins! And thennnn… the next weekend is Wine and Dine! Woot!  

October is over. Holy cow, where has 2012 gone? What are your biggest accomplishments from this month? Goals for November?

PS. Lovely recap format from Katy Beth ... because I like it. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wine & Dine: Week 10

Week 10 is done and we're just two weeks away from Wine and Dine! Holy cow! I registered for this race on March 30 - I think that's the second-furthest out I've registered for a race so far (second only to the Surf City full). This week was awesome overall. First, I was coming off that apparently earned PR at AthHalf on Sunday and really felt ready to jump back into things after struggling the last two weeks! Ready to see how it all went down?

Monday - 
Like I say every week... so thankful I made Mondays rest days! Probably the best decision I could have ever made. Ever.

Tuesday - 45 min tempo
3.51 miles / 37:02 / 10:33 pace
Not quite tempo, but I cut myself a little slack with needing a recovery or shake-out run. I cut up through the neighborhood across the road from my complex - it's the road that we walk through to get to the dog park, and is a beautiful tree-lined neighborhood with some good rolling hills (enough for a good workout). It was weird running it the other direction by the time I decided which route I was taking (I usually cut west on it as I'm coming back from around the block, not east!), but turned out to be decent. Walked more than I intended, but again... recovery run was needed. Two weeks ago, my first real run wasn't until Thursday after the half, so I'm a lot happier with this turnaround overall!

Wednesday -
6.12 miles / 1:00:36 / 9:54 pace
On Tuesday night, I had the sudden realization (and I say 'sudden' because I was lying on the couch, shut off the TV and was about to go to bed) that my students had their event that night, so I couldn't run my scheduled 6 miles at 8 pm - no way. See how it turned out:
And though I didn't jump out of bed as soon as my alarm went off (5:45), I was out of bed at 5:53 and out the door at 6 am on the dot, just in time to call Amma to serve as her accountabili-buddy! My goal for the morning was to get in my scheduled 6 miles at a max time of 60 minutes. This would really be pushing it for me, but I knew I was totally capable. The track at the rec center is tiny - only 1/8 of a mile - so it makes it twice as unbearable as a track normally is. I knew this would be my biggest challenge, but brought the iPod along and tried to zone into the music, which helped. Check it out:
Those splits are awesome for me, especially at a distance like this. And, even better, each split (8 laps of the track) includes 1 lap walking. I'm super duper excited about this also because... it's my first negative-split run ever! I mean, it's by all of 24 seconds, but hey! You gotta start somewhere right? Happy that my Wednesday started this way - couldn't have been any better.

Thursday - 3 miles
1.79 miles / 19:48 / 11:03 pace
Ran out of time in the day, so I ran/walked Molly to the dog park - and then there were so many people there, we ended up staying later than planned so we got a ride home. I hate how early it gets dark, and am dreading the days where it's dark at 5 pm when I walk out of work. Boo and womp. Ah well, we got out there and got some good time in  with the pup. Always a win.

Friday - Rest
Rested super happily! Friday was Fall Break for UGA students (and students all over the county) so the campus was dead and town was dead and it was just... dead. I headed out a little bit early and spent way too much money time at Hobby Lobby gathering supplies for my cousin's wedding present (she gets married next weekend in Austin!) so I could get to work on it this weekend (and by 'get to work' I really mean 'start and finish').
Fall is finally in Athens!
Saturday - 11 miles
5.51 miles / 56:08 / 10:11 pace
Truth be told, it was a struggle getting out of bed this morning. I don't know what it was, but something was just not sitting right and I was dreading this run more than anything -- while the week was great, now I'm dreading long runs? This will be an interesting 13 weeks! Happy I got a good amount of miles in, but not super happy with the performance overall. There will be another long run -- or lots more long runs!

Saturday Molly and I also got to hang out with this cutie pie, Ryder. He's a foster dog through Athens Area Humane Society and is such a lover. Molly did surprisingly well with him (granted, he's incredibly passive), but she had a good time! Such a sweet pup.

Sunday - Cross-Train
10.01 miles / 39:58 / 15.0 mph
I haven't done a legit cross-train session in awhile, so I was super excited to get back and do this - ran a few errands and then popped into the gym like it was nothing (wish I could get on auto-pilot for long runs!) and busted out those 10 miles. It's really exciting to see how you've made progress, and how much stronger you are, not only with running and races, but seeing your cycling improve too. That made for a happy Sunday. Afterward, laid up on the couch (yup), worked on the wedding present (revealed next week), and took the pups out to the park again before Ryder got picked up.

This is it -- second to last week before Wine and Dine, my cousin's wedding is this weekend in Austin (!), and November is upon us! Insanity! I'm super excited to go running at Town Lake in Austin on Friday with my uncle -- I didn't run their enough when I lived there, but so excited to get in a visit! Happy weeks ahead!

How was your weekend? Did you race?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Race Report: Athens Half Marathon

October 21, 2012
Athens, GA
I volunteered at this race last year, had barely started training for my first half, and knew that I wanted to run it come this year. What was better, after seeing the ridiculousness that the course was last year... was the new course for this year and it was awesome. But we'll start at the beginning... 

Last year the expo was at the New Balance store in town. Yep, one store, one sad little table to get your bag and t-shirt and that was it, so I was also super excited to see that it had moved to the Classic Center, so it had the chance for being an expo. Despite the Center being swarmed with high schoolers on the front lawn and around downtown, it was awesome -- lots of tables with vendors and temptations of things I didn't need to buy. Finally got my RunATL shirt, and half off, woo, at ten bucks. Lots of free stuff too! I really love that AthHalf does their own 13.1 stickers and everyone gets one if you grab one.I met up with four of the grad students, Paula, Michael, Tim and Chrissy (the first three of whom I work with, all running their first half!) and wandered around a bit, shared some advice and things to do on Saturday to prepare themselves. I actually felt like I knew what I was talking about, which gotta say... makes you feel legit! I was super excited for them and still felt the buzz myself. 

After the expo, I went and drove the course. While I knew the majority of the roads, there were pieces I didn't know and didn't want to go blind-sided into. I went blind-sided into ATL and that seemed to work out well, but I've never had the chance to drive the course so I figured I'd take advantage. I'm not sure it helped or not. We'll get to that. Saturday was a stunning day and all I could do was pray that Sunday turned out to be just as beautiful and we'd have a great morning! 
Scenes along the route - Memorial Park, UGA Golf Course, UGA Greek Park Circle and Sanford!
Prefacing this with the fact that I still couldn't decide if I want to go all out for this half or not. I had originally been saying that the ATL half was for fun, and this was for serious. But after how well I did at ATL, I couldn't decide if I wanted to attempt the same here. I figured I'd just run and see how it would go and based it off that... 
Trash bag crew!
My alarm was set for 5:45 am -- the other perk to having the race being in your town! I sprung up wide awake at 5 am. Fail. So I laid in bed, got myself mentally psyched to get up and do this just two weeks after the last one. Half peanut butter sandwich, banana and half a Gatorade later I was out the door at 6:30 and ready to meet the same four on-campus at 6:45. Last year, I had noted how many runners had on trash bags over their gear - that way they didn't have to toss out their sweatshirts or long-sleeve tees, and all you lost was a trash bag! So we did. And, kid you not, we were the only ones. Serious. 
We got to the corrals around 7:05, started stretching and getting the jitters calmed. Chrissy and Tim were hoping to run a 2:15, so we hung out for a little bit (and by a little bit, I mean til mile 1), and the rest hung back and did their thing. I think the best advice I've read, and therefore given, is to run your own race. I told Paula there would be 15-year-olds that would pass her and 45-year-olds, but she couldn't let that get into her head (easier said that done). But it's true! Your race is your race -- do what you gotta do. We took off right at 7:30, just as the sun was starting to hit downtown. Thankfully, the sun was to our backs as it came up and we headed into the first neighborhood. 

The first 5K of this was tough. I struggled with getting my head into it, although loved the energy of the families and folks out on the route, both at water stations and in front of homes cheering on runners. Much like ATL, volunteers really make the experience and this race doesn't disappoint with who comes out to cheer folks on either! 

It wasn't until Mile 4 that I really felt like I was in it and felt decent -- hit the split just under 40 minutes and realized that maybe I wasn't doing as terribly as I thought. Most of miles 3-5 was a casual, rolling downhill through the only thing you can refer to as Greek Row on the west side of campus, where I actually half expected there to be a lot of chapters out cheering on runners - wrong. Ah well. Mile 6 is where I stopped and walked for the first time, only to get my Sport Bean bag out and chomp on a few beans. Despite that fact, had my best 10K split ever -- 1:00:54! Stand-alone 10K PR would have been super significant! Kept rolling until close to Mile 8 where I just needed it again. It was about Mile 9 that I realized that even if I walked the rest, I'd hit close to the ATL finishing time -- it was then I decided that if I could pull out a time that was similar to the ATL time, I'd then know ATL wasn't a fluke. And then I felt motivated (finally!). 

Coming into Tate, Sanford and the finish line.

Miles 10-12 were similar to the 5K I ran on campus last weekend - down on the south end of campus, rolling crested hills, up by the baseball stadium, and then up the main drag that goes up toward the stadium. There's an awesome quick hill that comes up that leads you down toward the stadium, and that's where the crowd started, as it literally sits over the finish line, so you could pick up on the crowd at the finish line and then above on the main road. So exhilarating and even more motivation coming from the buzz! I realized here that I had potential to actually make this count, as here I was about 12.5 miles and just past the 2-hour mark! Holy crap! I chugged along the last crests and thank God the last quarter mile is downhill. I hit the 12.8 or so mark, saw a group of grads I knew, and threw my Nathan at them, I just couldn't handle it anymore and prompted to take off as hard as I could.

Whether you're a UGA fan or not, or a college football fan or not (okay, maybe you need to be a fan to appreciate it kind of), finishing the last .10 of a mile running a loop around Sanford Stadium is probably the coolest thing ever -- especially when they put you up on the Jumbotron! I only wish they had found a way to let people inside to cheer you on. At any rate, I sprinted the whole loop through Sanford just to give it my all to the end.
Have you ever seen such a happy runner? :) [source]
 I didn't even see the clock at the end, just hit stop on my Garmin and worked my way through the nutso crowd at the end towards the med table -- holy cramp in my quad! It wasn't until I grabbed a muffin, got stretched out and headed back towards the corner where the cheering section was and then I saw it: 2:10:00! Holy smokes! I got even more antsy for that official time! I stopped, wolfed down that muffin, banana and stretched while waiting for Paula and Michael to finish -- Tim and Chrissy killed their race in 2:03, Chelsea at 2:05:xx and I had even PRed! Happy morning, everyone! Paula and Michael came in around 2:41, happy to just be done! I'm so excited for all of them!
Still not sure how I pulled that one off, but super excited to know that ATL wasn't a total fluke and that, in fact, I am in a lot better race shape than I even thought. Even with these rough two weeks behind me, I've made some amazing progress the last few months! And it makes me a lot more excited for what's to come with marathon training being officially underway!

Your final result? BAM!
I really am wondering how this happened these last two weeks, but for now... just going to roll with it! My splits weren't nearly as consistent as they were from ATL, but overall not too shabby given where I started 9 months ago.
As soon as I got home, I showered, threw on my compression socks and laid up on the couch. I'm now fully convinced that food-ordering/restaurant apps were made for post-race runners who can't get off the couch to make food for themselves but oh, it was the best decision ever. And I spent the entire day in those socks, even going to play kickball with my students, to the dog park and to bed -- figured it was worth trying! And today... I feel great. Worth it. Looking forward to getting out the door in the morning for a shake out run/jog/whatever it might be!

New PR. Four minutes (nearly) off my time from two weeks ago. And nearly ten minutes off my time from my first half just nine months ago. What a year, what an October... what more fun to come! And next up, it's Disney's Wine and Dine... all for fun!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wine & Dine: Week 9

Week 9 is done... and lord, October almost is too! Seriously cannot believe that my birthday was nearly a month ago, Halloween is next week (not that I'm doing anything), my cousin gets married in two weeks, and Wine and Dine is just three weeks away! Wherrreeee does time go? Sheesh.

I haven't talked much about it before, especially since it overlaps this training plan so much,  but I'm officially into my full marathon training plan. The calendar started on October 1st, actually (my birthday!), but I've been trying to break it up into  parts (maybe to not make it seem so daunting?), and of course, focused on training for Wine and Dine. I'm running W&D for fun (it's Disney after all) but want to know that I can still get to work when it counts. Given my performance these last two halfs (ATL 13.1 and Athens Half this morning), I know I'm making progress and it feels awesome. With that, I bring you Week 9.

Monday - 
I'm really happy I moved Mondays to be rest days these last few weeks. Mondays are rough anyway and it's a good feeling to start a rough day with a few extra minutes of sleep. Brilliant decision on my behalf, mmhmmm.

Tuesday - 
Didn't really want to rest but didn't really want to run either. Settled for a rest day, took it easy and geared up (mostly mentally) for getting back to work on Wednesday. After this mental flop of a day, I was really getting in my own head and wondering what I was doing with all these races lately. Struggled, to say the least! Took it easy, let it go and got ready to tackle the week ahead.

Wednesday -
3.05 miles /28:31 / 9:20 pace
Slowly pulled myself out of bed for this one -- my only thought was that winter training is going to be really tough if I can't pull it together. Realized, though, that I had to at least get out there that morning and see what I could make of it. Beautiful (chilly!) morning and really felt it - went running in a hoodie for the first time already. Whew! Happy I got out and made this one happen and obviously pretty happy with my pace overall. Tempo Wednesday (instead of Tuesday, per normal) success!

Also realizing the need to find some new routes around town -- I have my usual routes (especially for morning runs) but it's starting to wear on the desire to get out and get those few miles in. Uggggh.
Safety first -- early morning reflective vest!

Thursday - 
5.39 miles / 52:36 / 9:45 pace
Set out on this run after work - something normally I wouldn't do for a 5-miler, but I was bound and determined to get in a good run and a decently log one at that! Took me a little bit to settle in, but really found my stride about 2.5 miles in and ran with it (literally!) as long as I could. My only goal was to get to 5 miles and under 50 minutes, just to show I can do a decent long run at under a 10-minute pace (trying to break that barrier!). Hit 50 at 48:xx! Pretty stoked finishing this run up and feeling a little bit better about the half coming up on Sunday.
Happy runner! Finally!
Friday -
2.34 miles / 21:57 / 9:22 pace
Got up to do this before work again and put a last few miles on the clock before the half. Wanted to make it decently shortly, but enough to get some work done! Glad I started my Friday this way -- it's always a great start to the day when you can sweat it out! Love. Feeling a lot better about this race.

Saturday - Rest
Saturday was the much needed rest day. Well, maybe not super needed, as I really was on a high from the previous 3 days but I knew I didn't want to push it going into the race on Sunday. Ran a few errands, headed to packet pick up and geared myself up (again, mostly mentally) for the fact that I'd be running a half the next morning! Admittedly, a lot of the 'gearing up' was realizing that I wasn't getting up at 3-4 am to go drive into Atlanta for a race - exciting! My alarm didn't go off until 5:45. What a change! I'll take it. Spent the evening on the couch, watched the tail end of a few football games and was in bed before 9. Lovely, love evening!
Such a gorgeous morning -- lucky to have had this on Sunday too for the race!

Sunday - Athens Half Marathon
13.1 miles - Second half marathon in two weeks! 
I felt crazy for even thinking that I could do two in two weeks. Wasn't sure I wanted to push myself for a goal, considering the ATL 13.1 was just supposed to be easy and for fun and I went and PRed. I had originally planned to then run Athens for seriousness. What happened? (Well, if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Daily Mile, you know the answer...) ... but you can check out the race report to read  more about it!

Happy last full week of October! Did you race this weekend? How'd it go? 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wine & Dine: Week 8

Week 8 is over -- I'm more and more stuck on how does time keep going by this quickly? We're officially at the 4-week mark to Wine and Dine! I don't think I've talked about it here much, but although my training plan is set up for Wine and Dine, I'm actually focusing on making the Athens Half my super-serious race this fall. After my showing at the ATL 13.1 last weekend, I know that I can do super work at AthHalf. Check out the elevation charts from the two:

See that? I think there's totally an opportunity to do even better here at Athens. Guess we'll find out next weekend!

My hope for Wine and Dine, really, is that I can just be a support source for Heather as she runs her first half marathon. She started running about 11 months ago, and is already gearing up for her first (and second, at Surf City!) half. I'm super proud of her and hope that I can be a great source of support for her! And really, RunDisney is about fun. I want to stop and take photos with characters, run casually, and just have a god time overall. Totally do-able, yes? Yes.

With that, I bring you this week. It was mostly recovery with a few attempts at runs inbetween.

Monday: Rest
I rested super happily! My legs weren't sore, just tight, but overall not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. I slept a glorious 10 hours on Sunday night (even after two naps on Sunday!) with my knees and quads doused in IcyHot (aaaaaah) and felt pretty good on Monday. It was only the times inbetween sitting and walking at work that I really felt the hurt. Overall, not terrible but a very happy rest day indeed.
Molly's ready for Halloween though!

Tuesday: 40 minute tempo
1.04 mi / 10:49 / 10:24 pace
I thought I felt good enough to at least attempt a jog. I got through about a half mile and thought "Oh, I feel alright! I can do a couple of miles at least!" and then hit one mile and wanted to die. So I headed back home. Yeah... kinda hurt.

Wednesday: 5 miles
Deemed that one more rest day would do me some good. Wednesdays are my longer days at work (my students have their general body meetings at 5:30-7), so I figured it was in my best interest for both sleep and my legs. I think it worked because...

Thursday: 3 miles
2.37 mi / 22:25 / 9:27 pace
...this morning I felt awesome! It was like my legs never hurt earlier this week, so needless to say, kind of a relief! It was a balmy 48 degrees when I walked out the door, so the new challenge is going to be getting my lungs to adapting back into winter running. I trained for my first half all last winter, and now that we've got marathon training in the works, it's going to be some major work this season too. All in all, an awesome run -- pace could have been even lower, but my lungs took a moment to freak out. Happy day!
Taking the #sweatpink to heart lately. Lots of pink!

Friday: Rest
And then I did. Again, happily! L0ng day at work followed by our office's largest event so far this semester, BasketBASH, an awesome premier night for the men's and women's basketball teams, filled with foods, events, crazy students (always!), and loads of fun. I was there until 10, so decided I deserved the day off from running around and totally exhausting myself.

Saturday: 9 miles
6.37 mi / 1:01:36 / 9:40 pace
I wasn't sure how I was going to do this run -- I found out about a 5K on Thursday afternoon that was being held on campus. It was the Do It for Broph 5K, an annual race that is dedicated to the Brophy Memorial Scholarship Fund (read more at the link). Anywho, it was only $10, and haven't done a race on campus yet, so I was excited about it. So Friday was dedicated to figuring out how I wanted to run my 9 miles (race at the beginning, then finish 6 more? Race at the end?). I finally decided to race at the end and see how strong I could finish.

I woke up about 7 on Saturday morning, and was out the door by 7:30 to get in my 3 warmup miles -- my new plan had become to run 3, race 5K, then run 3 more. 3.07 warm up miles at 29:15 (9:31 pace), then hopped in the car and headed to campus. This race was itty bitty, maybe 50 people? We also got diverted from the actual course route, so I ran a total of 3.3 (32:21 at 9:49 pace).
#sweatpink... some more!

I called it a day from there - I felt great after the 6+ and didn't want to push myself too much, especially given the half last weekend, but also with the half next weekend. Happy with my totals for the day, and had this been a legit 10K race or so, I would have had a great PR! Good day. Ran a few errands, then back and volunteered for a work dinner too!

Sunday: Cross Train
It would have been my first cross-training day in a few weeks, but I took it easy again, especially with how busy Friday and Saturday were! However, I spent the entire afternoon building a math garden with my students as their service project for the day! A few elementary school teachers wanted to build a garden with different-shaped beds, and then stepping stones with math problems all over the place. Super fun! It turned out great, and we put in nearly 3 hours worth of work -- so I'm going to count this as my cross-training for the day! Win.

Total miles: 9.78 
Glad I gave myself a few days to let my legs re-coup. It was needed, especially as I head into this next week and the half on Sunday!

7 days until AthHalf and I'm ready to do work! Do you have any races coming up?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Everything You Wanted to Know About Me & Running

... or maybe you didn't want to know, but you get to anyway. Noshing on Asphalt posted 10 questions about running and while I wasn't tagged, I thought this was super fun so I did it for myself anyway. 

1. Best Run Ever. I'm still coming down riding on my high from Sunday, so I will legitimately say the Allstate ATL 13.1 run last Sunday -- yes, it was a 6-minute PR (who doesn't love that?), but I have never felt that strong in that long of a run. Of the 13.1, I walked maybe a quarter mile of the entire thing, up and down some pretty gruesome hills. I'm so proud of what I accomplished, and I really feel like these next few races will be nothing

2. Three words to describe my running. Focused, challenging, and solo. Focused because running has forced me to look at the little things, one mile at a time, and focus is what gets you through a rough run. Challenging because I feel like it should never come easy - you should always feel like you're working for it, and I do! Every run counts! And solo because with few exceptions, I run by myself. It's a nice chance to get away, let go, and focus (see what I did there?) on me for a little while. Looking forward to some upcoming races with friends, but I like my solo time too. 

3. My go to run outfit. Usually, shorts and a tee -- I don't care about tech tees or cotton tees, but I definitely have my favorite go-to shirts (I play favorites). Summer in Georgia also calls for a few good tanks. Winter here is tights, shorts, tee, jacket/hoodie, gloves and beanie. Brrr. Oh, and a Sparkly Soul band. Always. I'm obsessed.

4. Quirky habit while running. Picking a song (usually one not on my playlist)

5. Morning, midday or evening runner?  Morning. Evenings are so inconsistent with work and other random life stuff, but mornings are rarely interrupted. While mornings aren't always easiest, it's nice to start the day by breaking a sweat -- long-run Saturdays are always in the mornings.

6. I won’t run outside when it's... snowing? I've never run in snow. But maybe I'd try it. I like warmth, I've learned to tolerate humidity, and I like the rain. It's refreshing. Snow is a concept I'm not sure I could handle, given how clumsy I am.
Hooray rain!
7. Worst injury & how I got over it.  I haven't really gotten injured while running, aside from that slide into gravel at Zooma. My worst injury(ies) overall, and one that always surprises people when I tell them that I run the way I do, are my two previous ACL surgeries, both from soccer. The first one was an injury from July 2007 (surgery in November), and the second from April 2009 (surgery July). Not easy, challenging both physically, mentally and emotionally, but they've taught me to listen to my body too. When I feel a pinch or a soreness that I can't identify, I've learned to back off or take a day off. Makes me not take advantage of the strength I have currently.

8. I felt most like a bad-ass runner when… I finished my first half. I looked back at my training, realized I had done nearly every day in the plan, and I did it. I made my goal time by 8 seconds (can you talk about timing?), and half burst into tears at the finish line I was so excited, proud, exhausted, overwhelmed. I don't want to lose that feeling and if I do, running is no longer fun!

9. My next race is?  Next Sunday, Athens Half Marathon!

10. Potential running goals for 2013. First full marathon is February 3, 2013 -- on my home turf in LA (Surf City). I am so excited (and terrified and nervous and eeeek!), but am looking forward to the biggest challenge yet. I also hope to go to the Budapest International Marathon in October. Otherwise, I'd like to work on speed (I'm actually semi-loving speedwork!) and working on breaking a 2-hour half!