Running

Run for Recovery 5K

In the midst of marathon training, I got to finally do something a short and sweet! I signed up a while ago to volunteer for Kennesaw State University’s Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery’s (CYAAR) Run for Recovery, so on my one day to sleep in, I was up at six to go help man the race-day registration table before running the race itself.

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The CYAAR is a group that is near and dear to my heart. Their mission is to enable, support and encourage young adult recovery and wellness by providing programs and engaging in collaborative research and education. They work with students with substance abuse histories, eating disorders, and mental health issues to provide a safe and supportive environment for students in the community to experience success in school.

The turnout was great, with over 200 people preregistering, and a good number of people signing up at our table. I was thrilled to see people coming out to support such a great group. I also got to run the race with friends, which was a different experience for me. Usually, I’m a lone wolf at races, so having people cheering for me along the way was really motivating.

The course was three times around a one-mile loop that ran along a trail in the Kennesaw State sports complex with some rolling hills. I really enjoyed running on a paved trail instead of a typical road race. The scenery was really pretty, which helped distract me from the fact that it was a loop course. It was a little demoralizing to get passed by the winners on the second loop, but then I passed some stragglers on my third loop, so that kind of made up for it.

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Passing the finish line twice before actually finishing sucked, though.

Since I’ve been so focused on running long and slow in preparation for the marathon, I was worried that my legs wouldn’t have any speed for this race. My official PR was a 33:30 from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this spring, but my unofficial PR was a 32:35 from the halfway point of my Run the River 10k race in 2013. I figured I would shoot for another official PR and try to get close to my unofficial PR.

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I blazed through my first mile in 9:26. Oops. I could definitely feel that through the rest of the race. My next two miles were a steady pace in the low 11-minute range. Maybe I could stand to work on my pacing a little bit? Even with the fly-and-die approach I took today, I crushed my goal of getting a new official PR by running a 31:51. I’ve been playing with the idea of shifting my focus back to shorter races after the marathon and really working on speed, so it’s cool to have a new benchmark to work from.

The volunteer support was great, even though I might be biased because I know most of them. The fact that it was a loop meant I got to see the same water stand volunteers over and over, and they were doing a killer job motivating people on the course. We had a little snafu with t-shirts at the end, but everyone pitched in and worked together to make sure that every runner left happy and satisfied.

I also ran this race in random extra running shoes, because in the early morning confusion that is my house, I couldn’t find my regular (mile-heavy) shoes. I learned an important lesson. I. Need. New. Shoes. Shocker—when I wear shoes that aren’t beat to hell and back, my knees and back don’t hurt. I know, I know, I’ve just unlocked a magic running secret.

To sum it up: speed, new shoes, friends, volunteering and a PR. Sweet day.

If you are a student at Kennesaw State University who is struggling with addiction or an eating disorder, please look at the CYAAR website for resources and information. If you are in active recovery, you can look into how the CYAAR can help you achieve success at KSU.

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Running

Gummy bear nightmare

My long run this morning started off so, so promising. It really did.

RunningBFF and I went out to the Silver Comet trail to log 17 miles this morning. We were foam rolled, stretched, Advil-ed, and ready to go. The only hitch was that I was out of GU, so we decided to swing by a gas station on our way to the trail and see what they had available. They had a pretty solid candy selection, so I scooped a few ounces of gummy bears into a baggy to use as a substitute fuel.

A little foreshadowing: changing up you nutrition in the final weeks of marathon prep is a bad idea.

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I would come to regret this picture.

A few miles into our run, BFF and I were both feeling fantastic. We were clicking off the miles, holding an easy, solid pace, and we were consistent with our splits. The trail is beautiful, and there were a ton of people out running and cycling while we were there.

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We hit the turn around at mile eight and a half, and I figured it was gummy bear time. I chomped down about half my baggy, and chased it all down with some blue Gatorade. Everything felt great, my legs still felt light, and our pace was still fast and felt easy.

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Then…disaster struck, in the form of major stomach cramps that kept me at a walk for most of the second half of the run. Like, every jostle is pain and I almost yakked through my nose just plain awful cramps and nausea. All within ten minutes of the gummy bears. Can I still call it a run when I had to walk five of the seventeen miles? I’m lucky that RunningBFF is a good person and doesn’t ditch me every time (read: every long run) I have issues of some kind. I pushed on with running as long as I could, but eventually my (newly picky and very demanding) stomach won the battle.

Poor planning. I can’t pretend that this run was affected by anything other than my failure to get proper nutrition that I know works for me.

Positives: Holding a steady, even pace, the pace feeling easy, no serious hip pain.

Negatives: Poor nutrition planning, stomach cramps from hell.

Probably the biggest positive out of everything today is my recovery speed. After one episode of NCIS and a meal of shoveling as much to-go brunch into my face as possible, I actually feel pretty good. This is a new development—I’m usually out for the rest of the day after a huge effort.

If I can manage to link everything together (pain level, nutrition, pace) in one of my next three long runs, it will definitely boost my confidence. Knowing that all the pieces are there, but not being able to put them together in one run? A little demoralizing.

At least I’ve got three more shots to try?

Uncategorized

The easiest party dish ever

One big advantage of my new job is having weekends off. After two plus years of having to work at least one weekend day, I have been learning to embrace Saturdays and Sundays.

I woke up this morning feeling less than stellar. I’ve been battling allergies and a scratchy throat all week, so I took some medicine, drank some tea with honey, and went right back to bed. I woke up feeling loads better, and just in time to watch a little football! I’m just hanging out at home snacking, stretching, and rolling out my legs in preparation for tomorrow’s long run. What are your weekend plans?

When I’m not feeling under the weather, I prefer to watch football in the company of friends, and if I go to someone’s house to watch the game, I hate showing up empty-handed. My go-to dish is sausage and Rotel dip.

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This is the simplest dip in the world. Take one pound of hot sausage crumbles, sixteen ounces of softened cream cheese, and two cans of Rotel, drained. Mix everything together in a bowl, then spread the mixture evenly into a 9×13 glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and eat hot!

Since I quit eating meat, I have been making my dip with Boca crumbles. To add the heat from the sausage back in, I switched one can of Rotel for the spicy mixture with habaneros. The veggie version is still just as popular, even among my most carnivorous friends!

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What’s your favorite party dish?

Healthy living

Missing it

Oh, uh, hey there, Internet! Haven’t talked to you in almost a year….

Around this time last year, I found myself really not wanting to blog anymore. And since this whole blogging thing is supposed to be fun, I quit. I put all kinds of completely unrealistic pressure on myself to produce awesome content on an almost daily basis. I also learned that isn’t possible for me.

I’ve been doing a lot of work in the past year on finding balance in my life. I’ve changed jobs, I’ve gone back to school, and I’m still running. Plus, I still try to fit a social life in there somewhere. It’s a lot to juggle.

Recently, however, I’ve gotten the urge to write again. Not all the time. Not about everything. But I do finally miss blogging.

So, I’m back. With lots of new stuff to talk about. So here’s a quick update on what’s new in my life.

School:

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After two and half years away from the classroom, I have finally decided to return to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Human Services. I’m starting slowly—I took one easy class over the summer, and I’m just taking two classes this fall. But it’s going really well so far, and I have a new desire to learn and gratitude for my education that wasn’t there before.

Work:

I did it. I left the animal shelter and all of the adorable, sweet, cats and dogs there. Sort of. I still volunteer at both shelter locations for a total of 8-10 hours a week. I have moved on to another nonprofit, this time in cancer research and patient advocacy. In the shelter, I worked on the operations side, so to work on the fundraising side of a nonprofit is definitely a new and exciting experience.

Running:

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I ran my second half marathon last November, and my third one in March. I also ran my second Peachtree Road Race and the Race for the Cure this summer. Oh, and I’m training for my first marathon on November 8th in Columbus, GA! Training has had a lot of setbacks, so I’m a little nervous, but I have no doubt that my awesome running partner and I will get through it!

I’ve been on a huge learning curve, trying to adjust to a million changes at one time. But things seem to finally be settling into a rhythm, and I’m inspired to write again.

I don’t know how often I’ll post on here; I just know that I want to blog again. But it’s good to be back.