Beach Marathon Recap

I just ran my first marathon and it was both exactly what I thought it would be like and not at all what I expected at the same time.

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Equal parts thrilling and exhausting, I’m finding the whole experience difficult to put into words. So, instead of writing a traditional race recap, I’m giving you a glimpse into the thoughts churning in my head during each mile. Sometimes you’ll see repeats of the same thought, because when you’re running for 3+ hours you get a little bored and come back to the same thoughts.

 Mile 1: Holy Crap! I’m running a marathon. I’m going to leave my music off for the first few miles to just enjoy the sights and sounds of the beginning.

This new Flipbelt is bothering me a little bit, it keeps riding up and I have to keep pushing it back down.

 Mile 2: I’m going to drink water at this next aid station. .

I suck at drinking water. Just splashed that all over my face and shirt Slow and steady, slow and steady. Only on mile two, you don’t want to die.

I’M ONLY ON MILE TWO.

Mile 3: Screw sights and sounds. All I can hear is hacking and heavy breathing.

Playlist on.

FlipBelt (new fuel belt) will NOT. STAY. DOWN.

 Mile 4: I think I’ve looked at my watch 80 times in the past 2 minutes…and I’m still on mile 4. I thought I was supposed to see Jordan at this mile. Where is he? I can’t wait to eat my first GU.

 Mile 5: YUM. Peanut Butter GU.

 Mile 6: Need water stat. GU is stuck in throat.

Why can’t I swallow?

Need water.

I’m still on mile 6?!

FlipBelt. I hate you.

 Mile 7: Quads are starting to tighten up already. That really hurts and I can’t believe I still have 19 miles left, how am I goi..STOP it! Think positive. Pretend like the pain in your quads is like lightning bolts of energy powering you through (I know this is so lame, but it actually helped)

 Mile 8: Am I going fast enough?

If I continue at this pace for 5 more miles, I will reach the halfway point at…(I did running math for about 10 minutes because I kept messing up).

 Mile 9: I can’t wait to eat my second GU.

Mile 10: YUM. Peanut Butter Chocolate GU.

Where is Jordan? I think I’m supposed to see him at Mile 11.

Almost halfway done!

 Mile 11: Hi Jordan!!! (Veer off the course and gave him a kiss that I’m sure was sloppy with Gatorade and salt)

Jordan: You’re on track to hit 3:33 !

Well, BQ qualifying time is 3:35 so I better keep this pace or better if I want to qualify.

 Mile 12: If I run at this pace for 14 more miles, what will I finish in? (more running math).

Shove flipbelt down again.

Mile 13: Halfway done! Now is the time to turn it on, Anna.

 Mile 14: Repeat: I can do hard things. Be an athlete. It’s a beautiful day and I’m doing what I love.

When can I eat my next GU?

 Mile 15: YUM. Caramel Macchiato GU. 40 mg of caffeine straight to the heart.

 Mile 16: I feel AMAZING. Jolts of energy running through me. Who said marathons were hard?

 Mile 17: Still on a runner’s high. Endorphins are through the roof. Look out Boston, I’m coming for you!

 Mile 18: Quads still hurt but I’m more than half way done. I can do hard things. I’m going to finish and I’m going to qualify for Boston. I can’t believe how good I feel. I just wish this FlipBelt would stay put on my hips.

 Mile 19: Finally caught up with a lady that I’ve had my eye on for the past few miles. I’m going to run with her for a little while. She’s got a great pace. I haven’t said anything to her yet. Is that weird? I hope she’s not trying to talk to me because Eminem is screaming and I can’t hear anything.

Mile 20: The quads…blazing now. It’s all I can think about. Eating the last of my honey stinger chews because I’m tired of the package sticking out of my flip belt. Still hanging with this lady and still haven’t spoken a word to eachother…Is that weird? Does she think it’s weird that I keep pulling this FlipBelt down over my hips?

Mile 21: I still have 5 more miles. Everything hurts and the breathing is starting to get a little heavier. I finally broke the silence with my new running buddy to gasp a good job. I know, really original. She said it back (I think). My playlist is at the pump up section now and Kanye is telling me that I’m Amazing.

I got this.

Mile 22: I don’t have this. I am falling apart. I don’t know how much longer I can go. My snacks are gone and I just have to rely on Gatorade now. Should I take one of those orange slices?

Too late. I’ll get the next one.

When is the next aid station?

I want to walk. Will I be able to start again if I stop?

I only have 4 miles left. I will turn it on when I have a 5k left and sprint to the finish.

I want to throw this FlipBelt away.

 Mile 23: Me: I have to stop at this station to get water.

Stranger Runner Girl: Ok. You are doing AWESOME.

I’m grabbing Gatorade and Water at this aid station. I am SO thirsty. WHY DON’T THEY FILL THESE CUPS MORE? We’re running a marathon for Pete’s Sake!

Slightly irritable at this point.

I just walked through that water station. I can’t believe I did that. It’s okay, I will turn it on at the 2 mile mark and go hard then.

 Mile 24: This thirst is insatiable. Think about something else besides your quads. There’s Jordan! He’s jumping on the course to run with me.

Jordan: You’re doing it, babe. You’re going to finish with a BQ

I don’t want to risk anymore breath so I give the thumbs up.

 Mile 25: I’ve never hated running more than I do right now. It feels like there is an elephant sitting on my lungs right now. Why did I sign up for this stupid thing? Jordan is still running with me and keeps trying to talk to me. I wonder if he knows I can’t hear him over my music? I am not even going to take the energy to reach into my belt and turn the volume down.

 Mile 26: Where is the finish line? Why can’t I see it? I’m trying to turn it on but I can’t. I can’t see the finish.

 Mile 26.2…I DID IT.

P.S. After I crossed the finish line, I learned that my FlipBelt was on backwards…Awesome.

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10 Ways to Survive a Solo Run

I’ve always considered myself a recreational runner. I enter the occasional 5k or 10k for “fun” and I’ve even subjected myself to a 13.1 mile race a couple of times. I have never followed a training plan and just bump up my usual mileage a bit right before the half marathons. Fortunately, (knock on wood 10,0000x) I have never been injured from poor training.

You see, I LOVE to run and have always loved it. I am one of those nerds who asks for a fresh pair of Mizuno running shoes for her birthday. From the age of 12 – 18 every Saturday morning in the Fall, I was racing in some backwoods Ohio town with my Cross Country teammates. Instead of getting my nails done the day before Prom, I was practicing hand-offs for the 4×8 relay team at the track. I’ve been running for a long time and I don’t regret a single moment of it.

Wait, wait! Don’t stop reading. I promise, this isn’t a love story about running. This all has a point…getting to it now. I am training for my first marathon and it’s putting a speed bump in my love affair with running. Marathon training has got to be one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.

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Everything in my body hurts right now. My hip flexors feel like they are going to snap and my calves – that are so big I now have to stuff them into my boots – ripple with each stair I climb. My marathon is on March 22 and with it only being a few weeks away, my weekly mileage has ticked up and I’m at the peak of my training. Because of my schedule, I have only been able to do one long run with friends. The rest have been solo.

On my last long run, I started thinking about ways to make the time go by quickly. Below is a list of ways to distract yourself on your solo run. This run doesn’t have to be 20 miles, it doesn’t even have to be 10 miles. I’ve found these tips helpful on any run that I am feeling some bored or a lack of motivation.

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  1. Listen to Music/Podcasts: Having a playlist for my run makes it go by so much faster for me. If I know I am going to have a long run, I will make a running playlist the day before and I won’t listen to it until the run. That way, I’m not tired of the music. Search me on Spotify (farmera29) to find some new music. I also love listening to podcasts while I’m running. Lately, The Jillian Michaels Show has made the time fly by. She is hilarious and I love her health and fitness segments.
  2. Play a Pump Up Song: I do this for races, workouts and long runs. Pick a song that gets you pumped up and makes you WANT to run. It should make you feel strong and inspire you to keep going. When this song comes on your playlist, you will automatically want to go faster. My pump up song right now is I’m So Sorry by Imagine Dragons. IMG_5740
  3. Chant a running mantra: When I’m struggling, I will start to repeat a phrase over and over in my head. Repeating a mantra to yourself can get your mind off the negative and focus on the positive. Some faves:

          Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.

It’s a beautiful day and I’m doing what I love.

You Can Do Hard Things

  1. Think about your goals: Goals can range from losing weight to your next career move. As you are running, think about a goal that you have for 2015, or for the upcoming month. Do you want to lose 5 pounds? Think about those 5 pounds lost and how good you are going to feel when those are gone. Applying for a new job? Think about what you’re going to do to get that new position and how you’ll feel when you accomplish this goal. We have a lot more motivation and positivity when endorphins are rushing through us, so it’s a great time to think about goals.
  1. Running math: I suck at math, so this one is a time-filler and a brain booster. I count down my miles and try to figure out paces for a finishing time. For Example: I only have 40 minutes, so I’m going to try to run 6 miles in that time. At what pace will I have to run my miles in to make this goal?
  1. Solve a problem: I try to save my personal problems, conflicts and stressful thoughts for my long runs. It is the one time that I am alone with my thoughts and I have nothing else to do but to think through emotions and find solutions to problems or worries that I’m having. By the time the run is done, I feel better and I have a solution! I’ve definitely had a rage run before…It was one of my fastest 6 miles ever!
  1. Plan an upcoming reward or trip: Thinking about my Spring Break trip to Florida coming up helped me get through miles 10 – 15 on my 22 miler last weekend. I was trudging through the snow-slicked sidewalks, but my mind was filed with sun, sand and vacation time! It put me in a positive state of mind and made the miles fly by.

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  1. Focus on an object in the distance: Research shows that when runners focus on an object in the distance, that distance appears shorter, making exercise easier. Set your eyes on the Stop sign 200 yards away and tell yourself that you are going to pick up the pace until you reach it or take a break when you pass it, or not look at your watch until you pass it.
  2. Play speed games: If you are on a treadmill, try bumping up your speed by 0.1 every 1 -2 minutes. Have a goal to get to a certain pace by in a specific amount of time. If you’re running for 35 minutes, bump up your pace by 0.1 every 2 minutes until you are at 25 minutes, then bump it back down every 1.5 minutes for a cool down. Running outside: tell yourself you are going to run the next half mile at a faster pace, then slow down, then try it again. Keep track of your times for the half minute intervals and strive to beat them.
  3. When all else fails, phone a friend: I don’t recommend this for a speed workout because your friend definitely gets the bad end of the deal here. But, if you are running at a conversation pace, why not phone a friend? I have had long chats with my best friends while I’m doing a nice and easy solo run. I just use my iPhone headphones that have the microphone attached and I can talk and hear just fine. This makes the time go by pretty quickly.

Road Warriors: How to Diet and Drive

Road Warriors, Spring Breakers, Travel Addicts – this one is for you. We all enjoy a getaway every now and then. A chance to break free from our routine, kick back our heels and just forget about life for a while. One problem – in order to GET AWAY, you have to actually GO somewhere… Most of Jord and my trips involve a cramped car, several hours of endless highway and a burned out playlist. Pair that with stinky fast food and you’ve got cranky vacationers before vacation even starts. I may not be able to help you minimize the hours you’re on the road, but I can help you arrive to your vacation feeling better than when you left your house.

How to diet and drive

No one wants to roll into the beach house feeling bloated and swollen from salty snacks – – here are some top tips that I’ve developed for eating better and feeling better when you’re traveling.

  • Get up and get going! If I know I’m going to be sitting in the car all day, I like to get up early and go for a quick run or get a short cardio workout in before we leave. It gives me a chance to shake out my legs and I don’t feel so stiff in the car. Hitting the road in the early morning? Workout the night before, you’ll sleep like a rock and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

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We left for Tennessee around 4 a.m., so I did a 5 mile run outside the night before. It felt GREAT to be outside and my legs were nice and light the next day. 

  •  Snack Pack – Yea, I hear you –“Duh!” Everyone knows to pack snacks for the road, but do you know which ones to pick? Try to stay away from anything salty, bready or sodium filled. These foods will cause you to swell and make you thirsty. When you’re thirsty – you drink more and when you drink more – you have to stop more. Pack fruits and veggies that aren’t loaded with water. Bananas, clementines, apples and carrots all travel well.  While delicious, a container of watermelon probably isn’t the best idea to bring on the road…

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  • Limit coffee intake – Coffee is a diuretic and causes frequent urination – more stops! It can also cause dehydration – which long car rides already cause.
  • Make every stop worth it – Gotta pee? Get gas, stretch your legs, eat lunch and fill up your water bottle all at one stop. This doesn’t always work out, but you can really limit your stops if you make it all in one.

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With views like this, you actually WANT to stop and stretch your legs. . . These were some views we saw along the way on our Tennessee trip. 

  • Don’t go into the gas station unless you have to – Every time we go into the gas station, the bugles and cheese crackers call my name. (My husband is a Gardettos fan but I am not a fan of the dragon breath it gives him) Even if I’m not hungry, I just want a little something to munch on while driving. If I don’t have to see it, I won’t buy it. I try to chew gum to combat this.

 Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 10.07.41 AM Gardettos… garlicky deliciousness. 

  • Pack your lunch – How boring am I? I know, a soggy sandwich after 9 hours of driving doesn’t sound very appealing…but there is a right way to do it! Jordan and I ate tuna wraps for our recent trip to Tennessee and they held our growling stomachs at bay before we could find a decent place to eat. Tuna in the car – not again. Wraps were a good idea though!

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  • If you do need to stop, here are some of the places we try to find along the way:

o   Chipotle

o   Panera

o   Subway

o   Starbucks – they have awesome breakfast sandwiches

o   Grocery store – Any Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc. will have fresh wraps, sandwiches or salads to stock up on.

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We found a Whole Foods on our way to TN. I wasn’t driving, so I loaded up on their salad bar and Jordy got a deli sandwich.

We love to travel and have a lot of road trips coming up this year. These tips have helped us save money and arrive to our destination feeling energized and ready to start our vacation. I hope they help you just as much! Here are some pictures from our last trip to Tennessee. More can be found on my instagram account: @AnnaKate29

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Where is your next road trip?

What is your favorite snack to bring on road trips?

–       We bought a little tub of Blue Diamond Dark Chocolate Almonds once and I ate the whole package about an hour into our trip. NO self control!

 

 

 

Highs and Lows

Good morning! Mondays are always a little rough so let’s talk about the weekend shall we? I think Spring forgot about us over here in Indiana because it sure didn’t feel like the first weekend of the new season. One of my favorite blogger buddies, Tina, recaps her weekends in highs and lows, and my weekend was all over the place, so I thought it would make a perfect idea for today’s post.

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The weather on Friday! It got up to 54 degrees on Friday which felt positively balmy to us Midwesterners. Isn’t it amazing what sunshine can do for your mood? I had a spring I my step on Friday night when I got home from work. I opened up the windows to our apartment, made a hydrating pitcher of water and went on an evening bike ride with the hubs.

LowIt was in the mid-30’s all day Saturday and of course we were outside almost all day long.

 

HIGH

Although it was chilly, we trekked up to the lighthouse where Jord and I got engaged almost two years ago today! I experienced some major déjà vu as we were walking on the boardwalk along the beach. The last time I saw this view, I had no idea Jordan was hiding behind the lighthouse to meet me! I will have to give an engagement recap sometime soon, you will love the story. :)
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 LOW

On our way back from shopping we got in a little car accident. Jordan was driving and we are all okay, but it definitely put a damper on my Sunday. My car had to be towed because of damage to the wheel and we are a one car family right now until we can get a rental.

 HIGH

Because you always have to end on a high note! I spent Sunday night with one of my best girl friends, helping her with wedding planning. Wedding planning is so much less stressful when it’s not for your own!

What was your high and low for the weekend?

 What’s your favorite season?

Mine would have to be summer. It can never be too hot! Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m so tired of this cold winter we’ve been having? ;)

Get Green 5k Race Recap

This past weekend I ran in Fort Wayne’s Get Green 5k in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that seems to just sneak up on you when you’re not looking. To me, it symbolizes that winter will soon be over and a green spring is waiting for us at the end of the rainbow! This 5k was the first of many 2014 races for me and I’m so glad it’s not the last.

I woke up Saturday morning around 8 a.m. with a spring in my step, excited to get out the door and run. I had my normal pre-race breakfast of almond butter and banana on Ezekiel toast and a half a cup of coffee for a little kick start. We were almost to the packet pick up tent when I realized I forgot my Garmin watch (palm slap to forehead). I was really upset that I  wouldn’t be able to pace myself or see the mileage during the race, but just hoped that the course would be well marked.

I met up with some friends before the race and we had fun chatting and taking pictures with a Leprechaun that showed up for the event.

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Jord waited with me at the start line and took my jacket right before the start of the race. There were almost 1000 people registered for the race and temps were in the upper 20’s. I started a little too far back in the crowd and spent the first half mile maneuvering my way around pointy elbows and running legs to get to a clearing.

The course runs through downtown Fort Wayne and has minimal hills. It is a flat and fast race, perfect for going for a PR, which was my goal…until I slipped on my first ice patch. I skidded across some black ice on the side of the road and caught myself right before I fell. It turns out those yoga balance poses pay off after all!

I have no idea what my splits were because I didn’t even know when I hit mile markers 1 and 2. There was one water station about half way through the race, but my hands were so cold that I didn’t trust them to hold onto a cup. My legs and core were warm but my fingers were bone frozen. Yes, I know there are gloves for that, but I have ADD when it comes to my music and like to change songs every 45 seconds during a race. The race felt like it flew by and before I knew it I was 200 meters from the finish line.

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I recognized the turn right before the shoot and put it into a higher gear. I felt like I had a lot of juice left in me, so I looked around for renegade ice patches and sprinted to the finish. As I crossed the finish line, I did a double take at the running clock. “What?” I thought, “It can’t say that…”

I found Jord close to the finish and his time for me matched what the race results said. I had just run my second fastest time ever! The only time to beat this one was when I ran in the State Cross Country race when I was 17 years old. I can only attribute my faster time to the strength training I’ve been doing and the whole foods I’ve been eating.

I guess there is a lot to say about healthy living! This race recap was kind of all over the place, but to sum it up: Fort Wayne’s Get Green 5k will be an annual event for me. It was run right on time, has a fun, St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere and your registration comes with 5 tickets towards beer and food in the party tent after the race. We headed over to the party tent to watch a strong man competition and get some green beer and corned beef with sauerkraut. We also got to see the annual greening of the downtown river. Our Fort Wayne Fire Department sprays green water out of their hoses and it almost looks neon across the gray March skies.

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Pros:

  • Fun St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere
  • Flat, fast course, great for PRing!
  • Lots to do after the race in downtown Fort Wayne

Cons:

  • Cold weather, random ice patches on roads and sidewalks
  • Disorganized website, race results are still not posted
  • Not a lot of volunteers or crowd support along the course

I will definitely do this race again next year. It’s a great course to start your spring races/training and the spirit of the holiday makes it a fun event to participate in. Next time, I’ll wear gloves and pay closer attention to random ice patches.

Have you run in any races yet this year?

What did you do for St. Patrick’s day?  

What I love about Sundays

Good morning and happy Monday friends! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mine was filled with food, friends and lots of fun activities. I decided last minute to run in a St. Patrick’s day 5k in downtown Fort Wayne and I’m so glad I did. I’ll have a recap of the race up for you tomorrow.

So, Sundays. You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em. When I was in college, I despised the last day of the weekend with a passion. Sundays usually meant studying and completing any neglected homework from the past week. Now that I’ve graduated and I’m married, Sundays are slowly becoming one of my favorite days of the week.

What??! Did I just say that? Now, they will never beat out a Friday, but can be pretty wonderful when you incorporate the right things.

Like cat naps, an early church service, a sweaty Zumba class, a slow evening walk or a Sunday cook up. I have been trying to incorporate an hour long “cook up” on Sunday afternoons and they really help Jord and I to stay on track with healthy eating throughout the week.

A cook up involves prepping any meats, veggies and snacks for the week so they are easily on hand for mealtimes and packing lunches. It makes me not dread Mondays so much.

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Here are some of the things involved in yesterday’s Sunday cook up:

  • Washed and chopped veggies
  • Cooked a batch quinoa
  • Made Protein Bites
  • Washed and put away fruit
  • Cooked 4 – 5 chicken breasts in crockpot
  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Boiled eggs

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This may sound like a lot, but it only took about an hour and a half of my precious Sunday afternoon and when you think about how much time I saved my chopping all my vegetables in one day, it is worth it! I don’t have to get my cutting board out again all week. Yay!! I definitely notice a difference in how I eat and snack throughout the week when I do Sunday cook ups. It is so much easier to grab some carrots when they are already cut and Jord enjoys munching on protein bites in between meals.IMG_2738

We both workout after work and by the time we get home from the gym at night, shower, deal with any mail we may have gotten, etc. the last thing we feel like doing is cooking a nutritious meal. Sunday cook ups make things so much easier because half of the meal is already prepared! We will mix quinoa with sauteed veggies and chicken for  a stir fry, throw some fresh veggies in eggs for omelettes, or make a monster salad with chicken and boiled eggs. We are both lunch packers for work, so we bring leftovers from dinner or salads and chicken breasts for our lunches.

Plus, it leaves me more time to hang out with this cutie.

IMG_2701I don’t always get around to doing a Sunday cook up because it does take time and there are some dirty dishes to be done when you’re through, but I feel so great when I get one done.

Do you love Sundays or are you not a fan?

Any tips for making Mondays easier?