Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I run...


Happy National Running Day, friends!! It's a beautiful, hot and humid day in Houston today, so in order to really take advantage of this run happy holiday, I had to get up and at 'em before the sun came up. Thank goodness for wonderful friends who held me accountable for a 5:30 hill sprint workout :)



I'm linking up with Cori today (and a whole bunch of other happy runners!) to do a bit of reflecting in honor of today's holiday. Some of you guys may be thinking "That's stupid. National Running Day isn't a holiday." And that's ok. Everyone's entitled to have their own opinions and feelings about running. But for me, running has changed my life in so many ways. I'm grateful for the opportunity to run everyday (alright, almost everyday), but when everyone- runners, joggers, yoggers, walkers, crawlers- is making a chance to get out there on this one special day, well that just makes me feel amazing to be a part of something so big!


I run for these guys. Max was my very first running partner 5 years ago and he'll always be the best. He runs at just the right pace, stays right by my side, and is the epitome of loyalty. I'm so thankful for the times that I can take him out with me. Lady...well, she goes a little too fast for me, she darts all over the road, tries to chase every car, bus, and squirrel within a 50 yard radius... but she's a good girl, too.



I run for so many reasons. I can't get enough of that post-tough-run euphoria. There's something about that utterly-exhausted, got-nothing-left, can't-feel-my-legs, can't-take-another-step feeling that makes me feel absolutely rejuvenated! On the other hand, I love those times where running seems to come easily enough that I can enjoy the scenery around me. I've been lucky enough to run in some pretty fantastic places (some of those places I will return to in a couple of weeks- photos to follow). Once I started running, I found that I noticed and appreciated so much more along these familiar roads and paths than I ever had before. Who knew I loved wildflowers and ducks so much?!


Lots of times I'm not feeling the run. I'm. Just. Not. But afterwards?! It's almost as though someone had been spiking my gatorade along the way. I feel alive. I feel like my senses have been heightened. I feel like I can take on the day. I have more patience, more compassion, more tolerance, more energy! Always? No. But more often than not.

                                 


And of course, probably one of the main reasons...


Because, have you SEEN the calorie count on the back of Ben and Jerry's?! Me neither. But I'm sure it's not pretty...

So. Why do you run?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dropping the ball...

The past few months have been cray so that whole "return to blogging" thing really turned out to be a flash in the pan. Fail. In about a week, I'll head back up to New England to lifeguard on beautiful Cape Cod for my tenth (what?!) summer. It's the greatest job I could have ever fallen into, with some fantastic perks that go beyond getting paid something comparable to my teacher salary to work out and sit on a beautiful beach all.day.long. That said, now that I'm no longer 21, single, and a New Hampshire resident, it also gets a little bit harder every year to leave home. I've never been great at keeping up with the blog during the summer (or let's face it- in general) so this is going to be the year that I really try to make an effort to keep it going!

So before I leave and start filling this thing full of pictures of amazing scenery, friends, beers, and Bananagrams/Scrabble/Settlers of Catan game boards, here's a pictorial recap of some highlights from the last few months.

March..
Baby Jolie is born! Now Donnie and I can get our baby fix, and then send her home after a few hours. Perfect.

Lady discovers both her reflection and the fish in our pond. It was love at (delayed) first sight.

April..

Completion of my 3rd 70.3. Despite being sick as a dog, this one by far felt the best. And bonus- Jessica and I both PR'd! 

In addition to discovering her love for fish, Lady also discovered her love for jazz music. I put on a Miles Davis record, and she sat in front of the record player staring at it the whole time it was on. (Except of course to come get me when it was time to flip the album over.) Girlfriend's got mad taste.

May..

Donnie and I took a trip to Austin for my dirty 30. Here are some highlights from that.

I. Can't. Get. Enough. Vinyl.

We stayed at this cute hotel that was labeled retro-chic- it did not disappoint. Lonestar Court was cute cute cute!

True. Effing. Story. Billy Gibbons was at the hotel bar drinking wine when Donnie and I went in for a happy hour cocktail. Turns out, he's the nicest guy ever. (Fun fact- HE'S the one who wanted to take a selfie. Mr. Gibbons, you're a true gentleman.)

Donnie and I "hiked" up to the alleged tallest point in Austin. It was gorgeous, and overlooked Lake Travis and the fabulous mansions right on the water. Someday I'm going to get paid enough to buy one of those houses.


 There were some really awesome looking trees that I just couldn't get enough of..


My dirty 30- Donnie's sweet family came and planted these flowers in my yard the night before my birthday! They're so fun I may or may not have a few that I planted in my actual flower beds :)
I wanted to take the pups for a good walk before we went out to dinner. It was a beautiful day!

Yup. Here it is.

May 17 I was lucky enough to get to volunteer at Ironman Texas. I'll be damned if I'm not going to sign up for IMTX2016! (Especially since they're moving it to April, making the heat and humidity hopefully a little more bearable.) Congratulations to all you badass participants! 

Girlfriend killed it. I'd love to be able to finish an Ironman when it's still daylight!


Happy tears when this one crossed the finish line!

Misty and I doing Ironman Texas the RIGHT way. It is, of course, so important to stay hydrated.

Happy summer, friends! 













Saturday, January 25, 2014

Weekend at the races- Houston Marathon recap

Houston Marathon weekend is one of my favorite times of year! There are big flag like signs all over the city that look like mile markers, which makes me think of getting in miles, which makes me think of races, which makes me think of new race shirts, which makes me happy! One of my biggest dilemmas is that the HouMar (which is the adorable nickname I just gave this race) is usually on the same weekend as Disney's Marathon Weekend, which, of course, trumps everything in life. After doing the Goofy Challenge last year, my mom really helped put things in perspective for me by saying maybe I should run Disney every OTHER year. (Read: A guaranteed Disney Runcation with my sweet momma's blessing every other year!? Please! Yes, even though I'm pushing 30, I still get this whole "you're blowing your allowance on THAT?!" vibe when I tell my parents/Donnie/non-runner friends that I'm signing up for another race.) (But guyyyyys! There's a t-shirt and stale bagels/cold pizza/sad oranges/room temperature beer at the end!) This year the HouMar fell on the weekend after Disney. I thought I was going to be overwhelmed with jealousy when I saw my friend's pics from WDW the weekend before, but surprisingly I was so focused on Houston to get too upset for too long. Here's some pics to walk you guys through my weekend.

We kicked off the weekend with a pasta carb load party. What did we eat, you may be asking? Just the most clutch pre-race fuel you could get- pizza and cookies. But don't worry, we decided soda would be a bad idea. Don't want to get dehydrated.
Saturday morning was a little 5k shake out run. (You got another medal at the end of the marathon if you did the 5k the day before. Go big or go home, kids.) The timing of this race was perfect. The gun went off at 8….and the expo, located at the finish line, opened at 8:30. Fabulous!
Again with that crazy, ridiculously awesome (and good looking!) group! Have I mentioned lately how wonderful they all are? Side note- Timmy actually is more badass than all of us. He opted out of the full marathon because he ran the Dopey Challenge (ahem, 48.6 miles….) just last weekend. Yeah. He's cray. 
Got my Nuun hydration on…and snagged a free water bottle! That's what it's all about, folks.
I could probably be a spokesperson for Gu Roctane. Stuff keeps me going! And, all of the flavors look so cute and colorful on my fuel belt. Taste the rainbow.
Go time! I figured I should probably give myself a little reminder as to what day it was. Sometimes I'm pretty delirious when I wake up. It's hard to come to after a long night of sweet puppy snuggles.

A pre-race group shot as we wait for our corral to leave! Look how sporty everyone looks! (Spoiler alert- everrrryone killed it!)
We look good. I'd give us a shout.
It would have been a really wonderful picture of the boys. ….sorry guys…

So our corral leaves, and we're off! Despite my training going pretty well, it was a really tough race for me for some reason. The weather was perfect, the course was flat, and the spectators and volunteers were incredible! All things were a go for launch! But around 7 miles in, my quads were killing me, and my knee was making me wonder. And quite frankly- I was about 15 miles tired at mile 9. At mile 10 I knew my sub-4 wasn't in the cards for me today, so I switched my focus to finishing with a PR. By mile 13, I was wishing I had taken that turn at mile 8 that marked the split from the half and full courses. I (literally) ran into my old Team in Training coach Audree around mile 15. Girlfriend kept me going for about a mile or so, thank goodness! I knew Timmy had finished, and he had said he'd try and make it to mile 20. I had a few more sweet friends that told me they'd be at mile 24 (bless their hearts). So I started counting down. 5 miles to Timmy, 9 miles to the girls. 4 more miles to Timmy, 8 to the girls. 2 miles to Timmy, and no more than an hour til I see the girls! It was pretty pathetic. Until I got the most energetic pump up from Timmy just before mile 21. Even with 13.1 miles under his belt, he still leapt (yes, leapt) onto the course with me, hooting and hollering, and making sure I knew I had this. Thank God I saw him before I saw the beer tent, or else I probably would have called it quits and just drank myself into oblivion. 

About a half hour later, something wonderful happened….
I made it to the ladies!! Happy tears were shed by my part, which were luckily hidden by mirrored shades (SmithOptics for the win)! I stopped for hugs, a chit chat, a picture and then- it was on to the last two miles. I don't have any sweet finish line photos. The professional ones are merely ok, so I will spare you all a fuzzy screen shot. But I did finish the close to 27 miles, and I did PR by almost 40 minutes. So I guess it wasn't too bad :)

After the party it's the after party!  After everyone totally killing their race that morning, we had the gang over for a fiesta that night. Bags of ice, chips, champagne, good friends, and Cards Against Humanity. I couldn't think of a better way to end my favorite weekend!

I need to give Donnie a big ol' shout for being so amazing and supportive, and putting up with all of my ridiculous hours of training for the last few months. Poor guy wound up waking up with me at 4 am every morning, too, because I'm about as graceful as an elephant when I'm trying to get ready for a run/gym trip/bike ride in a half asleep stupor. He's the greatest, and SUCH a champ!

I'd say "until next year, HouMar," but next year happens to be a Disney year. I don't hate it!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Guess who's back…back again...

Guess who FINALLY got her domain up and running?! It's been a wild rest of the year! I won't bore you with the chit chat. Instead, I'll take you on a photographic journey through the months that I missed blogging with you all! (And boyyyy, did I sure miss blogging with you!)

June…

We bought a house! Ain't no thang. Just a couple kids being grown ups and stuff.

And then Julianne got married!…..
…in Saint Thomas. It totally didn't suck.
We LOVE Polaroids. (This was also when I embraced the fact that I need to do a whole lot more arm work. Tricep dips, I'm comin' for ya!)

July…
I went back to Cape Cod for another round of life guarding at the BEAUTIFUL Herring Cove Beach (if you haven't been to Provincetown before, turn off your computer and go now, please)! And I couldn't have asked for a better summer family. They make being away from home much easier to bear!

We worked SUPER hard….
…and this guy and I came out of our swimming retirement (I don't even want to tell you how many years after the fact) and wound up not embarrassing ourselves too bad! (Yeah….those medals mean we're awesome. NBD.)

The arrival of the newest main man of my life happened. Believe it or not, HE GETS CUTER! You'll see.. (Clarification- baby Flynn belongs to my best friend, Katy. My babies have 4 legs and fur.)

August…
August brought my return to Houston…and rekindled my love affair for sky porn.

September was relatively uneventful- let's move on to October…

First run of the Houston Marathon Warm-Up Series. Rainy, rainy day. So many wardrobe malfunctions  and an irritated IT band meant no PR for me. But the beer at the end helped ease my sorrows. Bonus- the medal was pretty sweet!

We saw Alkaline Trio. Remember how much I love them?! You can probably see in Matt Skiba's face how much he loves me back.

November…

I participated in my second 70.3. This was taken before the start with my sweet friend Jessica. It was a brutally tough race for me which taught me that I need a WHOLE lot more work on the bike. Lesson learned. Jessica, however, KILLED it!! So proud of her!

I was blessed to have some sweet friends out there along the run course cheering me on. Thank God, because I definitely don't think I would have made it. Thanks, Jimmy and Diane (not shown)!

A couple weeks later brought the second race in the Warm-Up Series- 25k, baby! This time I had some beautiful friends to run it with! (AND more free beer at the end! Yes!) (Note- Jimmy and Diane got engaged the VERY NEXT DAY! That's why you can really feel the smitteness in this picture. They're so great!)

After 25 kilometers of fun, we met the rest of the Team for brunch. This is the greatest group of people to come into my life. You'll see.

This smile happened.

And then Donnie and I celebrated our second anniversary and Thanksgiving in Disney World.
Bubbles, pizza (not shown), and a/my cute boy in a hoodie. These are a few of my favorite things!

(To all who come to this happy place- Welcome.)

December…

Officer Bradford picked me (and Martha) up! He does this all the time, but I'm pretty sure Martha and I are his favo pick up. (Disclaimer- that statement is my own opinion and is not based on fact or anything mentioned by Officer Bradford himself. But I mean, seriously- check out those smiles.) So much happiness!

Third and final race of the Warm-Up Series- Sugarland 30k with some of the Team! It was a beautiful, but COLD, day for the run, and everyone did great! 

My last race of 2013- the 12k of Christmas. (Note- Timmy requires jumping pictures after every race. I can't blame him- check out that air and form!) Christmas Carolers at every stop, Santa at the finish line, good friends along the way...

…and free beer at the end with my sweet friend, Misty! Not a bad way to race out the year!

This was at the conclusion of our final long training run for the Houston. Never in my life have I had SUCH a blast running 20+ miles! There were adventures, hills, and just so much laughter! 

Donnie and I flew up to New Hampshire to ring out 2013 with my parents and friends. We visited my daddy at his work, and I got to touch a lot of buttons and knobs on a fire truck. (Side note- this is going to be my dad's 30th year on the line!! This man just loves a good fire fight!)

Donnie also got to meet my summer family. Boy it felt so good to see them! Look how well everyone cleans up! Love them so much!

Remember when I said he gets cuter?! Told ya. I absolutely cannot go to New Hampshire without seeing my bestie. And that importance is now magnified ten-fold now that Flynn is in the picture! I can't believe how fast these things grow!!


Next up, a Houston Marathon re-cap… Stay tuned!