Thursday, February 28, 2013

Track Tuesday 9

I'm pairing up with Denise at Run DMT to bring you a weekly thread where you can brag, show off, cry or celebrate your weekly  (or whenever it is) speed workout. Whether it's Monday, Tuesday, or never, you can link up (at the bottom) and tell us all about your session!

Official status!
My Track Tuesdays may become Speedwork Wednesdays (because Track Wednesdays just doesn't have a pretty ring to it).  You see, last weekend I become a member of the brand-new Athens Road Runners! In addition to group long runs on Saturdays and general camaraderie, we're also privileged to have speed workout sessions with a local running coach. Now, I know my speedwork is good - not great - but I also know that I'm capable of pushing a lot harder than I do, so you know I'm going to jump at the chance for a little free coaching time. Yes please! So, with that friends, you can now always expect Track Tuesdays to be on Wednesdays. :)

Early. So early.
This morning was our first opportunity to head out - Chandler was heading out with me (because nobody likes being the new kid by themselves). After an early, early wake up alarm, I was on campus and at Chandler's door by 5:15, and we were to the track with plenty of time - sessions are planned to start at 5:30 am (yowch!). After two warm up laps, we finally got brave enough to find out who Al was and hit the ground running - literally. He had us warm up for two more laps (full mile) and after the whole group was collected, it was go time.

Now mind you, some of these guys have been working with Al for three years, and there was another woman, Liz, who's been coming out for about a month. So I was thankful in that we were really all across the board in our history and abilities.

You know... it's dark at 5:30 am!
We set out for a series of 400s (he didn't tell us how many at first!) with 1-minute rests in-between. The first one I pushed... hard... and with 20+-mph winds, that wasn't easy. But check it out:

Splits: 1:39 / 1:37 / 1:43 / 1:52 / 1:52 / 1:54

I never.. ever... thought that was possible. But again, I said I knew I could push harder than I typically do when I do these on my own, so it was just a matter of being in the right setting. Having a rabbit helps, as I hate being the last one through - you might say I'm a little competitive. Okay, I'm a lot competitive. But after those splits, I know I can do this, and I've got room to grow too!

What do you do to get that extra push? Group runs, coaching clinics?

Make sure you link up! Happy Hump Day friends!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Getting Back in the Saddle & Pretty Muddy Registration

 Despite having a few races on the docket (with a few changes), last week I was super struggling with motivation and getting back in the saddle after a few weeks off. While I know I'm supposed to enjoy recovery, it really just makes me antsy and ready to get moving more.
Most excited for this one!

With three half marathons in the next nine weeks, I just want to get moving again - not that I'm going to go all hardcore or busting it out to get crazy fast in the next few weeks (in my dreams), I just want to keep up a super solid base (that I do know I have),  and keep up my fitness levels.

That being said, I also want to be sure I'm working towards my ultimate 2013 goal of a sub-2 half. The first half, Georgia Publix, is certainly not going to be that race, given Atlanta's hills and well... it's on St. Patrick's Day and I'm getting dressed up and it should be fun. The second race (is where the plans changed) is the Clemson Easter Bunny Half just two weeks later and, plans pending, I think that could be it. Seriously. The final race, of course, is NWM DC, where I intend on having fun and having a great race, but not sure I'd actually push it as we run through DC. But you know... plans change.

Part of that plan changing is going to be how I work my way out of recovery and into a training cycle. Again, I want to do this to ensure I've got a solid base, but especially these first two weeks, I'm not going to push it. I know my body needs a little more time, as much as it pains me. But that's okay, I have a plan.

And here lies the plan.Schedules are what keep me focused, and motivated, and energized. And while my motivation levels certainly aren't where they were at mid-marathon training, I know I'll get there (more to come on that on Friday). But for now, there's a plan:
Heeeere we go!
So as of this morning, I'm back on the saddle. Holding the reins lightly for now, but excited that I'm headed down the right path once again! Stay tuned!

AND as a friendly reminder, early registration for Pretty Muddy ends on Friday! It goes up $10 from there, so make sure you get in today! 

 How do you get yourself back in the saddle? Do you go all-out from the starting gate, or ease your way back in? Will I see you at Pretty Muddy?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Scrapbooking in a New Form

Happy Saturday! I spent this morning getting in a great few miles at the gym and then a good core and chest workout - those weights are going to hurt tomorrow. I haven't done that in way too long. Aside from that, I spent most of this afternoon (and by 'most', I mean 'all') on a project that I'm pretty excited about! 

Once upon a time, I was quite the scrapbooker. I say once upon a time because, well, I'm still scrapbooking college. Let's ignore the fact that I graduated almost seven years ago, okay? I'm stuck somewhere in the middle of sophomore year, and while all the photos, inserts and flyers are organized neatly in a box, they've been in that box for about four years.

As my race bib and bling collection has grown (quite quickly over the course of 2012), the bib mess has started to annoy me. This is partially due to the fact that when I made my race rack, I chose to use hooks instead of a clip - and really did not have the realization that not all bibs are the same size (the horror). And thus, you get the mess seen here:
I've been contemplating the idea of scrapbooking my races from 2012, the year that I'd say I took running into a whole new level for me. That yes, I'd actually sit down with my gallons of scrapbooking supplies and do it. Let's be honest. Not happening. So with a little inspiration from Meghann at Meals and Miles, I snagged the idea of ordering a race photo book - Shutterfly could do the scrapbooking work for me! Genius. Thanks  Meghann!

Shutterfly has a ton of custom designs, layouts, and themes you can use for your book. To keep things simple, I ordered a standard 'blank canvas' theme so I could let all my photos do the talking.
 There are hundreds of photo layouts per page, ranging from text-only to having upwards of 40 photos on a page! That's a little much for me, but some of my pages are a little crazy. I just have too many great memories that I want to ensure are captured forever in this book!
It took a lot of self control to not have three pages dedicated to just Ragnar, not going to lie. There were some tough photo decisions that had to be made!

Each page has the race, date, location and my final time, and if I placed in my age group, that's indicated also. I'm pretty excited to see it come to life, and should have it in my hands in about two weeks. Can't wait to share it! And then I can finally clean up that bib and bling mess I've got going on on my wall. 

If you're interested, Shutterfly photo books are on sale (to 50% off) through this Wednesday, February 27. The book I ordered (hard cover, 8.5x11) is regularly $54, but I got it for $27, plus a couple of bucks for the extra pages (book standard is 20 pages, 70 cents per extra page after that). You can also use code SHIP30 for free shipping on orders over $30 through March!

Do you scrapbook your race experiences? Do you do a photo book (whether running or otherwise)? 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Race Report: Taste of Athens 10K

 Taste of Athens 10K | Athens, GA | February 16, 2013

Sarah & I!
Last year, just a few weeks after my first half marathon, I ran the Taste 10K. And conveniently, just a few weeks (all of two) after my first full, Taste 10K was back. Last year, I ran the race with the tail-end of a cold. This year, I ran with the tail-end of my respiratory infection. Eerie enough, the weather was really similar to last year - albeit, we were forecasted to get snow flurries mid-morning, but both last year and this year were chilly, but broke out into a stunning morning.  Tradition in the making? I think so!

Trying to stay warm?
One of the graduate students who works in my office, Chandler, was running this as her first 10K ever. I picked her up Saturday morning bright 'n early just after 7 to get to downtown and the race start to pick up my packet since I never made it on Friday. One pleasant thing about running such great local races is easy parking, easy packet pick up - sure beats the hustle and bustle of big races sometimes! (I said ...sometimes!). We got settled, back to the car to drop off some stuff, and back to the start to get ready to roll. Once we were starting to gather around, I spotted a Facebook friend and blog reader (hiiiii Sarah!) - Sarah and I connected via her husband, who works in higher education as well. While we've been Facebook connected, she and I haven't gotten to meet in person - thanks for letting me creep up on you. ;) 

And soon enough, it was 8 am and start time. I promised HP and Cathryn that I wouldn't race - and I didn't, really. I was planning to run what I was capable of without making my lungs feel as though they were on fire, but that I would do what was manageable.
Look, there I am! [source]

Mind you, this was my first run, at all, since the full. Oops? Anyway, per usual, got caught up in the adrenaline and hustle of the race and ran the first mile in 9:09 - uh, yeah, oops. That was certainly not going to last me 5 more  miles. Just before the mile 3 marker and the series of rolling hills, I stopped to walk, take it easy, whatever. I really felt no pressure, just glad to be out enjoying my run and feeling like I could start getting back in the groove of things. 

The course is identical to last year's, and apparently the only USTA-certified 10K route in Athens. Up some more gradual hills, back down, back through some neighborhoods. Still beautiful. A quiet morning through the residential areas, but all in all, still a great race. I love that this year, the race coordinators established the Golden Fork award - given to the best cheer sections (identified by organization/business) along the race. Runners are given a plastic golden fork at the end to go vote on their favorite cheer squad. So great! 

Just after the mile 5 marker, I hit an emergency. You know the kind. Lucky for me, I still didn't really care about this race (you know that's all a lie) and ran across the street (yup) from the course and into the gas station. Yeah, it was that serious! Ha. Anyway, managed to get out in a decent amount of time, ran back across the street to the course, and came chugging along to the final hill. I knew I wasn't far enough and was super happy to cross the line at a 1:03:50. Hey, that's almost a 30-second course PR, and considering I was at the gas station for just under three minutes .. I call that a victory!

Race #3 for #13in2013!
My lungs didn't hate me, I felt surprisingly great, and am definitely happy I stuck with this even though I wasn't all that certain about my first run post-marathon being a race. Maybe this week I'll finally get my groove back and feel a sense of motivation in getting back into some kind of gym pattern. I feel no sense of motivation right now, and I suppose that's okay, but man. Training certainly holds me a lot more accountable than running just for the sake of it. Runner probs, fo sho.

Anyways. Happy race, decent time, happy lungs. Oh, and Chandler rocked her first 10K - her goal was under an hour and she killed it in 56:33! What a rockstar! Looking forward to more running adventures with this girl for sure. Way to rock, Chandler. So proud!

Did you race this weekend? How'd it go? And any post-marathon motivation tips? I'm struggling...

Friday, February 15, 2013

What's Next?

Admittedly, the biggest question on my mind since completing that 26.2 doozy just under two weeks ago. 

While it feels like it was only two weeks ago, it also feels like a lifetime ago. I owe that, in part, to a full recovery zero week, followed thereafter with a complimentary upper respiratory infection (apparently that's common after running a marathon), that has still left me with 0 miles on Daily Mile since February 3. You can only imagine how antsy that's making me.

Despite that, I've got a few things coming up that I'm excited about and looking forward to - and, as always, a few I'd like to add, but we'll cross that bridge when I feel 100% again. I really want to run the Scenic City Half up in Chattanooga next weekend, but with this infection lingering and having not run at all in nearly 14 days, I'm not sure my legs are up for the challenge. And while the race is rather cheap ($50!), I'd still like to make the adventure worth it.

Tomorrow, I'm supposed to be running this:
Taste of Athens 10K | February 16

Admittedly, I ran this last year with a cold, but this year's sickness is a whole new level. I hate the idea of DNSing, but maybe I'll walk it. Maybe. ;)

[Edit] No longer running Swamp Rabbit, or the other South Carolina half I really wanted to do, as a means of being a little more financially savvy (I tell ya, that part is over-rated). However, I do have a fun 10K coming up, because who doesn't love dressing for St. Patty's day twice?

And then, of course, the last major Georgia race I want to do, the Publix Half, on St. Patrick's Day. The medals are super fabulously green, shamrocks, and glittery - all things we know I love. Pretty excited about it and planning some fabulous green glitteryness for myself for the day of. What better opportunity than a race on St. Patrick's Day, right?
Publix Georgia Half Marathon | March 17 | Atlanta, GA

 That's it for the next few weeks at least. There's a TON more on my radar, but with a number of things up in the air right now, I need to carefully play it by ear! Runner problems indeed. 

What are you up to this spring? Any fun races coming up?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Race Report: Surf City Marathon [The Race]

 Read all about the expo & the best surprise ever here!

I've struggled all week with where to start this post. Every time someone asks, "How was the marathon?," I don't really have an answer; I usually shrug and say, "It went. I'm alive!" It's not that I feel terrible about my performance - heck, I met my first two marathon goals - but I think that it's still semi-surreal that I actually did it. I've looked through the Facebook photo albums friends have created a few times, cried over the surprise photos, looked at the official Brightroom photos, and I've looked at the Google map tracker saying I finished... I think I'm just in shock still. Or in denial, but whatever.

It's long. It's my first marathon. Get over it. Just look at the pretty pictures if you want the summation of the adventure!

As if I could forget?
Race Day
Thankfully, I slept better than I had all week on Saturday night. Our alarm was set for 3:50 am, and despite waking up about 2:15 (darn hydration plan!), I slept the whole way through. I was wide awake by 3:40, laid in bed, stared at the ceiling, wondering how it was race day already. Once everyone was up and moving, it was real - this is it! Race morning! Out the door by 4:35, stopped at the institution known as Manna Donuts for coffee, bagels, and yes, donuts. Since Tina was planning on seeing me and Kasey off, and her hotel was on the way to the start line, instead of making her figure out the shuttle nonsense, we picked her up on the way - at her hotel by 5:20, and to parking (we found a lot where they didn't make us pay!?) and on the bus and at the start line just about 6 am. Kasey and I were off at 6:34 after the porto stop and a few photos. In hindsight, I think I'm really glad we didn't give ourselves too much time once we were at the start - I think that would have freaked me out more.

Early morning - almost go time!
At the start, we met up with my friend Michael. I met Michael at SDSU in grad school;  he was in the program a year ahead of me. He did his few years in student affairs, but left a few years ago and became a personal trainer (talk about life change) - in fact, he coached two of the Biggest Loser at-home winners (Jennifer and Mike)! He was running the marathon today too - considering I haven't seen him since somewhere near 2007, it was great to catch up over the course of the next five hours (literally).I had told Michael my two goals: a) finish standing upright and, despite being told to not have a time goal for your first marathon, b) finish sub-5, which I felt was a respectable first marathon effort. He told me that if I stuck with him, I'd sub-4:30. I pretty much laughed in his face: Ha! You, sir, are funny.

And then it was go time! 6:34 came faster than I could have imagined - and we were off! Kasey told me she'd need to pace herself and she'd do her own thing. I didn't like leaving her, but I knew that she really needed to do her own thing to ensure she felt okay the whole way through and would finish. Michael and I trucked forward.

I had planned (and agonized) with my parents about where exactly I wanted them, needed them, throughout the course - for mental motivation and then for extra snackage. Both my dad and Doug knew to text me and tell me where exactly they were so I could look ahead - it's times like these I find it vital to run with my phone! The plan was Mile 4, and therefore Mile 9ish (there's a figure-8 through the parks where the course almost meets up with itself again) and Mile 16ish and the finish.

The scenery in and around Huntington Beach is gorgeous, to say the least. The course had one true hill, at Mile 8, so I was already prepping to enjoy the flatness, the scenery and the few parks we'd get to run through from Miles 4-7, essentially, which were also the only residential areas of the race. Superb. I quickly forgot about my intervals (still debating if that was a good idea or not), and just ran to how I felt. I can safely say that, for the better part, ran through Mile 11, and felt great. My half split was just about 2:19, a safe time, and on par-ish with half marathon times from the fall plus some minutes to conserve myself. Mile 4, my mom, dad, and Doug were, just as planned. I still felt great at this point, but it was so exciting seeing them along the way!

Doug was just before the downhill leading into the latter half of Mile 8, who turned and signaled to my parents at the bottom of the hill! My mom had made posters for me and had a gigantic electronic bell! Just before Mile 9 or so, the half marathoners started showing up - I knew any minute I'd see Katy Beth flying down the road. The marathoners turn north just before Mile 10, and I must've missed the KB overlap by seconds. I was bummed I didn't see her, as that was about the point that I needed a little more camaraderie and motivation. Michael and I ... still trucked on. The marathon course double-backed twice basically up towards Bolsa Chica State Park - the first 'arm' going up PCH and the second going up the pedestrian walkway on the beach. Up until Mile 13 or so, we were decently ahead of the 4:40 pacers (unbelievable, in hindsight).

Doug and my parents had fought their way back towards the start (I'm told this was beyond chaotic), and Doug had jumped out of the car to get to me at Mile 16 in time for a half-peanut butter sandwich. I took half of that, held on to it for a few seconds, and handed it back. I couldn't even fathom eating anything, though in theory it had sounded like a great idea. I was just grateful he was there - I was starting to hurt for sure. He walked with us for a few minutes, met Michael and then it was tummy time - yeah... I got moving again! Miles 17 on were a mix of walking, jogging, and running short sprints to specific markers. I was hurting - my knee was holding up great, it was the ball of my foot that hurt most and my hips. (I run with poor form. I know this. So when I do pay attention and correct, my hips hate me!).

Mile 23 and smiling - not dead!
My major wall began at Mile was in the last stretch, that blasted 21-26 stretch, that I was fighting the mental fatigue, the thing that says "WTF am I doing?" and fighting to make sure I stayed ahead of the 4:55 and 5-hour pacers. They kept me moving, only because I didn't want them to finish first. Competitiveness, at its best. Jon (Tina's husband) was somewhere around the Mile 23 marker or so, snapped a few photos and biked on to the finish to meet up with everyone else! I knew at this point that Katy Beth was done, and Tina would be close. She called me a few times, and it was after the second call I realized she must be done! My turn - let's do this.

The half and full courses meeting up again for the last two, maybe two and a half miles. About Mile 25 1/2, Heather was running alongside me! She told me that Michael had texted her that we were both on par to finish at 11:45 am, and to keep an eye out for me - and she managed to find us! (The courses were still separated by a series of cones). She told me I was so close, I was almost there and I would make it. I had nothing left... I was gassed. (HP later said that when she saw me, she was not the Runner Megan she knew)... my races usually end with a great sprint to the finish, and here I was, only wanting to walk at Mile 26.1 Seriously. I had nothing left.

I jogged. I jogged into the finish, gave it all I got and still finished with a jog. There were my parents and Katy Beth and Doug and Jon. Further down the fence was Tina! And finally, that mat, that clock, the balloons... I did it! I gasped, grabbed Michael for a hug, and limped to my medal. To that surfboard, to the heat blankets, to the FOOD. And straight into the medic tent - my hips were on fire and I needed help as soon as I could, please and thank you. Michael found Doug for me, told him where I was so they all knew I was fine, just in the tent. Many thanks to my friend Lance in medic-land for helping me out! Oi!

I didn't get to say bye to Michael - he took off not long after. Michael, I know I said it before, but I owe you the biggest thank you for pushing me, encouraging me, distracting me, and getting me to my finish! It was fun catching up, but I'm so grateful I had somebody all along the way. And thanks for taking your worst marathon time ever for me.

Parents and me. :)
My dad came and found me in the tent, made sure I was okay, and let me know that everyone was behind the tent on the grass waiting for me. I started tingling - my face, my hands, and was told by a different medic that I needed calcium in me probably stat, and to take some Tums as soon as I got home (little did she know, HP and I don't travel without Tums). And then the photo flurry began! I did it! My mom was bawling for a hot second, so proud, so happy... I still had no tears. Mom and Dad soon headed off, and after some stretching (perks to dating a football coach), I was feeling a little more alive.

At this point, I hadn't even looked at my watch, but I knew the clock had read just about 5:03-something when I crossed. I knew, that if I in fact made it sub-5, it would be the squeak of all squeaking by. Heather, Katy Beth and Tina went towards the tents to see if they could figure out where Kasey was, and would at the same time check all their times. I was still laying on the grass when they broke the news...


I started kicking, mostly in joy, but it probably looked like a temper tantrum. I'm not sure if it was tears or laughing or more of that surrealness, but I covered my face and started a mix of the two. I did it! I made my goal! I made both goals! Un-freaking-believable. After a quick breakdown, Doug and I made our way to the finish line and fence, as Kasey was going to be finishing any minute. Not a few minutes longer and she was there - with her sister at her side, Kase was about to finish! We did it! We did it! Katy Beth had another great sub-2, Tina PRd the half by almost 15 minutes, and HP too! Kasey and I finished standing upright! Incredible morning.

I can look at these photos over and over and still not believe that was me - after my longest run at 17 miles, after 9 days out with a chest cold, after the nerves and the antsy and the disbelief that I was doing this for the better part of 26 miles, 385 yards... I guess that is me. I'm a marathoner. I have a medal hanging from my bathroom mirror to prove it, I have a DailyMile record that says I ran 26.22 miles on Sunday, and a finishing time that proves that I did, in fact, cross that line.

We all did it! Katy Beth, Tina, and HP in their halfs and me and Kase in our full!
After Kasey was done, and after our personal photo shoot with Jon, we headed up and out of Huntington Beach for a little BJ's Brewery action (mmmm berry burst cider!) before making our way home for a flurry of showers, packing, and heading up to a friend's for the Super Bowl (we showed up after halftime, but thankfully during that power outage!). Doug and I dropped Heather off at the airport at 7, and my turn not even 12 hours later. Just like that, the weekend was over. After nine of months of anticipation, training, planning... marathon weekend was over.

I'm a marathoner!

And all I can think is... "What's next!?"

Have you ever ran a race that just felt unbelievably surreal? What made it feel 'real' to you in the end? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Race Report: Surf City Marathon [The Expo]

On Thursday night, inbetween the constant paranoia of missing my 4:50 alarm, I had a dream. And yes, this is vital to you being able to enjoy this post. Read on. My dream goes as such: It is race morning. I am in my corral, ready to go, though somehow, not in the last corral. When, suddenly, a series of half a dozen tornadoes come ripping through Southern California (Megan note: this was obviously in the wake of the giant tornado that ripped through north Georgia earlier in the week), and so last minute (literally, last minute), they decided to move the race. Where to? Flagstaff, Arizona. Naturally. So we all take off - yes, as in start running to Flagstaff, a mere 500 miles away. Unbeknownst to me, my dearest friend Tina has been conspiring with my boyfriend for some time to surprise me at the finish line of my first full marathon. So here I am, running to Flagstaff, when I get a call from Tina who asks "Where are you? I'm in Chino (my hometown) and I heard the race got cancelled!" and I reply and say "I'm in Flagstaff, in the race!" Not much longer, (at some point), I'm sitting on a bench in Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, and eventually find my way to downtown Flag, where the finish line is... not moments after my parents, boyfriend, Tina and her husband apparently drove from Southern California. We all made it at the same time. Obviously.

Ah, dreams. If only I had known... but that's for later down the road. I'll hold you in anticipation. Katy Beth, Heather, Kasey and I have been planning this for months, to all come together and run Surf City - Kasey and I for the full, KB and HP for the half.  I got in early Friday morning to Ontario, Heather was flying in that afternoon, Kasey arrived Thursday night, and Katy Beth would be driving in from Vegas that evening. Such a great collection of places, love it! Friday night we took my parents out for a thanks-for-letting-us-crash-the-house and happy-birthday-mom dinner to PF Changs. Delicious! Sadly... I forgot the photos.

Views from the top!
Saturday morning my mom convinced us to all go for a walk with my aunt near our home on a beautiful rolling course with some pretty extraordinary views. Since I was prepping for a two-mile shake out run anyway, I figured a few miles' walk would be alright, just to take it easy.
Birthday lady and me.
Me, HP and Kasey on a gorgeous morning walk!

So glad I did that - Katy Beth stayed behind in bed, but oh man, girl. You missed out! Happy birthday to my mom and a great way to kick off the weekend. After Starbucks, showers, and discussion of the day's plans, we were off! ... to breakfast. Many thanks to the powers of Yelp (and not knowing all the places that have popped up in my own city), we found the most adorable breakfast place, The Avocado House, and happily gorged on last carbo-loading efforts of pancakes, omelettes, fruit and country potatoes. Fantastic.
Can you say delicious?

After a stop at Dick's for some last minute race gear, we were finally off to the expo - Katy Beth was particularly antsy. She had ordered a Team Sparkle skirt that hadn't arrived to Vegas by the time she left - lucky for us (her, that is), they are based locally in California and were literally on our way to the expo. Such luck - they left her skirt on the porch! Now that's customer service.

Finally, it was expo time. This is where my nerves really started kicking in - it was real. It's here. I'm picking up my packet to run a marathon. Holy ----. Eeep! Thankfully, I'm easily distracted by photos and all the fun and buzz around an expo that it's easy to forget the nerves for a little while. So we stopped as soon as we hit the entrance for a few photos:
Last attempt at calming my nerves.
Do you see that girl waving in the window of that last picture? Do you remember my dream? That my friends, in the black shirt, is my dearest, bestest Tina. Is your jaw on the floor yet? Mine was. And then the tears just started to pour. Ugly crying. In the middle of the expo entryway. Flattering, surely.

Unbelievable surprise. THEY ALL KNEW. Except me. Tina had been working with Heather for months, who in turn told Kasey, and they eventually filled in Katy Beth and my parents on Friday night. Tina and her husband, Jon, drove in from Phoenix on Saturday morning and had beenwaiting at the expo for nearly an hour for us to get there! Un-freaking-believable. As she says, "I was only 5 hours away! Did you not think I wouldn't be here for your first marathon?!" Well, no. Apparently I just have really scary creepy intuition (which explains why, when I told the other girls my dream, they weren't all that phased by it... and that confused me). .

After lots more tears, it was time for pick up. This ish got real. And we got nervous.
And that was that - bib in hand, lucky number 3609, shirt in hand... it's expo and shopping time! I got a little carried away, admittedly. I got myself two more race things, on top of the race shirt: another race shirt and the finisher's jacket. Hey! You only get one first marathon, right? Make it count. Love my new swag! The expo itself was really well organized, though busy, but not surprising since were there at 3 in the afternoon the day before the race. Tons of vendors, free samples, and all kinds of good stuff. And the best part were the photo opportunities! They know just how to cater to me!
ALL of us!

And then it was beach time... I said all day I wanted a jumping beach photo, since we wouldn't have legs after the race on Sunday to do it, and that I'd have to find a poor schmuck to take the four of us' photo 19 times over until it worked. Well, lucky for us, Jon became our schmuck (thank you Jon!) and got a great shot not long into our photo shoot. Such a fantastic afternoon! 

We headed home, invited Jon and Tina up for dinner (they were staying near the race), and had our pre-race carb runner's fest. Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread, and an intended movie night with Spirit of the Marathon, that we all kind of forgot about and then ran out of time for. Great friends, boyfriend, laughs, drinks, and food... aaaaah the food.

And just like that... Saturday night. Early alarm clocks (3:50 am). Dear God, just let me sleep...

Race day is coming! Stay tuned!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Surf City | IT'S HERE!

Y'all... it's HERE. The weekend I signed up for nearly 9 months ago, the weekend I've been training for since 18 weeks ago, and the weekend I have been nearly terrified of for just about a month. IT'S HERE. 

Surf City Marathon | Huntington Beach, California

I really can't believe it. How is it here already? Eeeep! I'm flying out here in a little bit from Atlanta to Ontario, where my lovely parents are hosting myself, Heather, Kasey and Katy Beth for the weekend (thanks mom and dad!). Tonight, the girls and I are taking my mom out for her birthday (Saturday) so we can carb-load and celebrate. Saturday is, of course, expo day, and Sunday is the big day. Unbelievable.

Post coming tomorrow about the expo and final pre-race thoughts (terrors... nightmares.. or you know, whatever you want to call them).

Last words of wisdom for me? How do you settle pre-race jitters?