True Life: I’m training for a half marathon…again

Remember that time I told you about running my 4th half marathon? Yeah, I barely remember it either! I took some time off of training and didn’t participate in any races in the spring. I let my coach talk me into training for the Lexington Half Marathon again (I hit my PR there last year and had the luxury of passing what looked like a deer carcass at around the half way point so obviously I was all “definitely ready to tackle this one again!”).

sign up

Like last year, I’m way ahead on my mileage (#overachiever / I get really anxious that I’m not going to train and force myself to amp it up) so this week I got to take it down a notch to a relaxing 7 miler (ha!). In celebration of passing the mileage midpoint of training, I thought it’d be fun to share what it’s really like to train for a half marathon.

half way

Confession: I have been planning this post during my last 4-ish long runs and literally start laughing…out loud…while running. For someone with my lack of coordination, this is dangerous [and has led to near suffocation…okay not really, but it could’ve!]. I hope it means that you’ll enjoy reading this post as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Without further adieu, I introduce you to the thoughts of a runner {or maybe these are only applicable to me?} / conversations I have with myself while running long distances…

The run begins…< 1 mile

3 seconds in…THIS IS SO GREAT!

running elf

3 minutes in…Why am I doing this again?

dinosaur

Ok, let’s review your motivators (so you can be motivated):

  1. Pizza
  2. Ice Cream
  3. Your metabolism can no longer keep up with the amount of 1 & 2 that you consume.
  4. Because you’ll let down your coach if you give up. And you hate disappointing people.

4 minutes in…

4 mins

Gosh this hydration belt is so annoying. Why can’t there be water-delivery-fairies along my path so I can avoid carrying this bulky thing. I’m pretty sure it’s slowing me down. I’m going to blame my speed issues on the belt. It’s definitely the belt.

running belt

Oh girl. If you ever find a belt that makes anything look good, please tell me.

Mile 1

I think for my next race I should order a t-shirt that says “will run for pizza” on the back. Or cupcakes.

That should be entertaining for the hundreds of people passing me. It’ll be like my gift to them (my other gift: generously volunteering to be the last one to cross the finish line #SomebodysGottaDoIt).

pie

I’m pretty sure that’s what’s holding me back from “looking like a runner”…pizza. It’s pizza’s fault for being so damn delicious.

My life story.

My life story.

Maybe I should cut back on my pizza intake…

LOL – I think I just blacked out from talking crazy again.

tacos

Yes! TACOS! Add that to my list of motivators.

Mile 2

Ooh! I think I may know that person driving by. I hope they didn’t see me.

[while running through USC…]

Is that girl wearing a cotton t-shirt? Has she not realized it’s over 100 degrees…and sunny…and why am I sweating profusely while she is only showing a subtle glisten? Life is so unfair.

Maybe I should write a post called “Things you learn by running in the blistering heat.” Lesson 1: Dri-Fit only.

drifit

Is that girl wearing make-up while running? She must like early wrinkles.

attractive

Lesson 2: Your gym bag is incomplete without make-up removing wipes. #AintNobodyGotTimeForCloggedPores… speaking of, I need to pick up some face wash at the store. Note to self: Don’t forget that by the time we finish this run.

Am I too old to be running through a college campus?

too old

Am I though?!

Oh, who am I kidding…I look younger than half of these kids anyway! #BabyFace

UGH! When will I ever look my age?!

Calm down. Remember that gray hair you found sticking straight up above your forehead? What a gift!

Mile 3

Just hang in there. You’re almost to your sweet spot (you know…that spot where your legs forget they hate you and they convert to autopilot…so for a bit it’s like they’re not complaining…until you stop and your knee feels like it’s going to spontaneously combust. Ok, stop thinking about that!).

dory

Mile 4

Once I get up this hill, I’m totally taking a water break!

Surprised this is my first water break? Don’t be, Mom. I hydrated today until my pee turned clear. #CoachsTip

beyonce

Mile 5

I’m really craving a second walk break. Too soon? Yes, it’s too soon.

Ugh. I told you: once you open the flood gate with a walk break, you’ll want a billion. Should’ve kept on truckin’ a little longer. It’s way too early to be feeling like this:

never again

Except instead of AFTER I’m feeling this way DURING…

Maybe taking up yoga is a better idea.

Who are you kidding?! You tried that. You eat way too much pizza for yoga to be your main workout. Nice try. Keep running.

Mile 6

Surely I’ve burned enough calories for cheesecake!

calories

Gosh I haven’t had cheesecake in forever…intentionally. Nothing is more sad than an aging metabolism. #Truth.

Mile 7

Running lesson #465689: Running makes me hate my body less. Isn’t it cool what the human body can be trained to withstand?

teach

Mile 8

I DID IT! And oh emm gee my knee is definitely locked. And WHERE IS THE PIZZA?!

gscout cookies

Yes, please. #BringOnTheThinMints

In all seriousness, I do enjoy running. There’s little in life (aside from pizza) that is more satisfying than a runner’s high. I truly enjoy the time with myself – it’s a time of reflection that is so valuable.

running quote

But to be honest – my desire to quit is a real challenge. That tiny voice in the back of mind that tries hard to creep in – telling me I can’t do it – can be hard to suppress. I’m sure every runner has experienced it and overcome it at one time or another. It’s always worth it, but it’s tough!

The moment you realize that your competition lies in beating your own personal time or your own goals (rather than being faster than the person next to you), a real revelation occurs. That happened for me before I even ran my first race. I have always been fascinated with what can do – with every mile I added, I felt such a huge sense of success. I’ve always been a slow runner (in my defense: I have very short legs 😉 ) so I never thought that I would win any of the trophies at the end of the race which also helped (perhaps if I thought I actually stood a chance, I’d be more disappointed when I didn’t take home the gold?).

Focusing on competing with myself and avoiding comparison with others has been the greatest lesson.

just run

One last thing: I hope this posts sheds light on what it’s really like to train for a half marathon. I hope I did this in a manner that doesn’t scare you off, but makes you feel like “If she can do it, I can too!” because I’m slow…I’m short…and my track coach in high school (I pole vaulted for a very brief time) gave me “permission” to quit (yes, it was a real conversation). If training for long distance running isn’t your thing, who cares! Whether you run 10 miles or just around the block, do what makes you feel good.

fake runner

Side note: All photos are linked to their original source. I am in no way endorsing the websites that are linked…in fact, I did not read most of them. But I believe in giving credit where it’s due, so sources are linked in case you are interested. 

My Year of Running

A little over a year ago, I sat across from my friend Randy at our favorite coffee shop one morning before work.

I had recently started taking the running classes offered with the CrossFit membership I had at the time and was discovering how much I actually enjoyed running. Randy is an avid runner – qualifying and finishing the Boston Marathon many times – so of course, I had begun to badger him with questions and requests for advice.

He looked across the table and said I needed to run a half marathon. I gave him a very serious side-eye which led him to say “don’t worry, I’ll train you.”

Well, friends – that was the best over-coffee-conversation I may have ever had (and with my addiction for coffee, there have been many!).

This weekend I finished my 4th half marathon of 2014!

lexhalf_12.6.14

Randy & I at the finish of the Lexington Run Hard Half Marathon – 12/6/14

Saturday was an inaugural race: the Run Hard Lexington Half Marathon. Race day was cloudy and cool (but not as cold as the Governor’s Cup had been). At mile 3 a drizzle began, but thankfully it subsided (because one thing I don’t do is run in cold rain).

I never really understood the phrase “mind over matter” until I started training. Most of my long runs involve me attempting to suppress the voice in my head that is trying hard to negotiating a shorter run…or converting to a long walk. Not only is training physically exhausting, but at times it can be emotionally draining.

Saturday was no exception. Those feelings of self-doubt were out in full force.

We hit a long uphill climb after mile 5. It wasn’t the kind of hill I was used to conquering downtown – steep, but short enough that I could see the top. It was so long I couldn’t see the top (literally miles ahead with a few curves woven in). My self-doubt was coming on strong when I heard an uneven step behind me followed by a “good morning.”

And along came my new friend, Jerry, who struck up a conversation that pulled me through.

Jerry is a 67-year-old race veteran (when asked how many races he’d run his reply was “hundreds…I’m old”) who was battling a heel injury (hence the uneven sound of his strides). He is also a Cross Country Coach for a local high school team. As we ended our first of several chats, Jerry said “you’ve got great running form. Keep it up and you’ll meet your goal today.” Hearing that from a running coach is probably the best compliment EVER (I know, I’m a nerd).

We hung together until the end where he said “ok, Jordan, I’m going to finish just behind you” and let me take the finish line before him 🙂

At this point you’re probably laughing because I barely beat an injured 67-year-old across the finish line. Whatever, I’m a proud member of the #SlowRunnersClub 😉

I might be slow, but I’m getting ever-so-slightly faster: I set a new personal record (PR) – shaving 6 minutes off my Governor’s Cup (and 7 off my Palmetto Half) to finish at 2:06.

I can’t lie: having a coach who has believed in me every step (pun intended) of the way is the reason I’ve stuck with this torturous journey – and I’m so glad I have. I’ve learned so much from running – like mastering mind over matter (or at the very least how to suppress self-doubt long enough to reach the finish line of tough situations).

As this year comes to an end, I hope you’re thinking through your 2015 goals – and I encourage you to add running to the list. I promise to be your cheerleader!

What I’m Lovin’ in September

We’re on the verge of my favorite season: FALL!

While the list of things I love about fall is way too long for this post, here are a few of my top picks this month.

sept

1. Soup weather is almost here!

I recently discovered a super delicious Kale & Quinoa Minestrone recipe that I’m completely smitten with. I knew I could pick most of the veggies up at the market since they were mostly in season and I actually had a lot of the other ingredients on hand. So as soon as the weather had a hint of fall (meaning: upper 70s 😉 ), I dusted off my stock pot and gave it a shot!

soup

My version of the Kale & Quinoa Minestrone

There are a few tweaks I’d like to make to the recipe so keep an eye out for my version on the blog soon! 🙂

2. Half marathon training.

This summer I felt a little like this guy…

unicorn

But now that the weather is finally cutting me some slack, I’m starting to remember why I love running so much: all the time alone with my thoughts, soaking up the fresh air and wandering through my sweet city.

{Click image for source}

{Click image for source}

Last weekend I knocked out a 9-miler so it looks like I’m going to be able to run the Governor’s Cup half marathon (rather than the 8k – which by the way is a great course!). Fingers crossed that all goes well and I’ll be able to also run the newest half marathon in Columbia (well, Lexington) in December: Run Hard Lexington. That means – I will have run FOUR half marathons in 2014! 🙂

3. Quilting!

As if you didn’t know I was yet again going to bore you with my quilt progress! 😉

I’m happy to report that I’m almost done with my very first quilt – all that’s left are a few more rows of stitching and then on to binding. Stay tuned for the full recap when I’m done!

sewing

4. Adding personalized applique detail to all my sewn gifts.

You can bet that if I’m invited to celebrate anything, I’m bringing a handmade gift. My sewing addiction has led to my inability to buy gifts from big box stores (well, mostly. I’ll admit that on occasion I’ll throw the recipient a bone and buy off their registry).

In the bottom corner of my quilt, I added my favorite scrap applique:

a heart.

a heart.

In my heart of hearts, I imagine my quilt being passed down to my future grandkids who will of course love and treasure it and think I’m just THE coolest thing since sliced bread (obviously), so naturally a heart felt like the right addition.

While hearts are my favorite applique, I was recently invited to a baby shower for a childhood friend who married a Royals baseball player. I have heard that minky is all the rage with kiddos so I figured I’d give it a try.

baseball

I’m not gonna lie: working with minky is kind of like knit – it’s a love-hate material.

On the bright side, minky baby quilts are pretty easy to make. There are tons of tutorials out there, but basically you just lay a square/rectangle of cotton fabric on top of the same size minky with the right sides facing and stitch all the way around leaving a small opening on one edge so that you can flip the blanket. Then top stitch all around and – voila! – you’re all set for the baby shower.

I’d love to tell you there’s some great / highly sophisticated method that I use to make my applique shapes, but realistically this is what I do:

– cut the shape out from my fabric of choice

– iron light weight interfacing to the back (optional – it just makes it a bit sturdier / less likely to move around too much when you’re stitching)

– set my machine to the zig zag stitch, tighten up the width so there is little space between the stitches, test on a scrap until I reach the desired look then slowly stitch all the way around the shape.

5. My new mug

mug

You’re probably thinking: that mug doesn’t look very new and what’s the heck is so special about it?

Well, friends: I found it for a dollar at the Salvation Army and just had to have it.

Here’ why: as soon as I saw it, memories of my Gammy’s frail hands holding her cup of steaming hot black coffee sitting at her kitchen table watching the humming birds come and go from her feeder in the window in between smoke breaks on her patio. I miss her tea parties, I miss the nicotine kisses she smothered us with, I miss finding tiny tubes of lipsticks everywhere, I miss her telling stories about the hummingbirds she’d named after the Muppet Babies. I miss everything about her.

I’m kind of sucker for pretty coffee mugs and nostalgia so naturally I love this mug. The fancy shape of the mug + the vintage floral pattern make me feel all warm and fuzzy (the warm coffee helps with that too 😉 ).

6. My new car

car

This is me and my new set of wheels. I named her Betty White.

I know, I know. I’ve been very quiet on this one. 🙂

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Kia, but I’m happy to report that I understand why there are so many Souls on the road: they are very affordable and super fun to drive!

My Dad has a Kia Soul and he loves it. When I told him that the Hubs and I were considering trading in our 100k+-mileage money-pits (the Hubs got an Optima), he said “you know, they make the Soul in a manual transmission.”

I always told myself (and my Dad…) that when I was fortunate enough to actually pick out my car (rather than having to buy the one they hide around back), I was going back to a manual transmission. [My first – and second – car was a stick shift]

I was a little nervous during the test drive because it had been a few years, but I tell you: it really is like riding a bike.

And so – if you see me & Betty White tooling around town, be sure to give us a wave!

 

What are some of your favorite things about September? I’d love to hear what’s on your list! 🙂

 

{Catch up on all What I’m Lovin’ monthly posts here.}

What I’m Lovin’ in August

We’re enjoying a super hot August here in the South so I’ve gladly been spending my weekends in the comfort of the air conditioning (and working on becoming a little more pasty).

But on the bright side (pun intended): I’m actually posting this What I’m Lovin’ blog during August! So cheers to being on time this month!

resliced by Jordan

 

So here we go friends! The short list of what I’m lovin’ this month:

1. April Rhodes‘ Arizona Fabric Collection

From the moment I saw the collection, I’ve been dreaming up what I wanted to make with it. I’ve tossed around every idea I could muster up and finally decided I love the collection SO much I’m willing to give quilt-making a try! Yep, you read that right: I’m working on my very first quilt! And don’t worry – I’ll definitely be posting about this! Be sure to follow me on Instagram – I’m going to start posting progress pictures soon! 🙂

[insert heart-eyed Emojis!]

[insert heart-eyed Emojis!]

2. My [first] rotary cutter

I have read over and over how great rotary cutters are, but being the cheapskate that I am I couldn’t bring myself to splurge on one…until I decided I wanted to make a quilt.

The Hubs subscribed for a free trial of Amazon Prime (what are you thoughts on this? Should we keep it?) so I used that to my advantage and ordered a rotary cutter + self-healing mat + quilting ruler kit (all for under $30!) with free shipping and it arrived in 2 days – Win!

rotary

This kit is the bomb!

Ripped it open Saturday morning and realized investing in a rotary cutter was totally worth it!

3. Racing season is upon us!

In February I conquered my very first half marathon and went on to finish a second one in March. Since then I’ve been trying to convince myself to do it again, but the summer humidity has put a damper on my training so I’ve been doing short intervals indoors (which is beyond boring…I’m the kind of runner who likes to sight see while running – I run slow enough that this is an option).

But – cool weather is just around the corner!

My original plan was to run the Governor’s Cup half marathon in November, but if this weather doesn’t cool down just a smidge, I might be doing the 8k instead. The Governor’s Cup 8k last year was my first long race (ever)! My running coach and friend, Randy, convinced me I could do it. The race showed me that I really like running (who knew?!) – and I didn’t hate training! Randy knew the bug was planted and graciously offered to train me for the half marathons. Haven’t I told you – human kindness is the best thing ever?!

race

Me & Randy at the Palmetto Half Marathon finish line in March

Now that you see the picture above, you see exactly how generous it was for Randy to offer to run with me! I’m short and slow…he is neither!

4. The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell by Loraine Despres

I’m still on my summer reading kick and I recently saw this book while plundering the shelves of my local library.

belle

I usually avoid books that involve historical references because there seems to be no way to do that without becoming incredibly boring (call me shallow), but this book sure proved me wrong!

While it’s chock full of historical references to the women’s movement, Loraine has a way of keeping the storyline light, romantic and suspenseful. The story completely engulfed me and I couldn’t put it down. My favorite part about the book were the one-liners that Belle (the main character) comes up with throughout the book as rules to live by – she calls her collection The Southern Girls’ Guide to Men and Other Perils of Modern Life.

ch16

Chapter 16 contained my favorite 🙂

I can’t recommend this book enough! I’m planning to read all of Loraine Despres’ collection now. Have you read any of those? What are your favorite summer reading books?

5. Watching the Hubs play lacrosse

It’s summer – which means one thing: the Hubs is looking for every men’s league lacrosse tournament within driving distance to play in. I can’t lie: I don’t make all of them (nor do I really try that hard…there are just so many!), but the annual Blue Ridge Classic held in Asheville is one I haven’t missed in years. I love Asheville – it’s a vegetarian’s food heaven so it’s worth the hours spent sweating on the sidelines for an evening of amazing food and chocolate in a thriving downtown with a serious appreciation of locally sourced food and handmade goods. I promise to blog soon about all my favorites!

This year, the Hubs played in 9 games with 2 different team that weekend. After all these years, I still don’t have a great understanding (ok…any understanding) of the game, but the most amazing thing happened – and I saw it!! The Hubs scored the game winning goal in overtime during the game he played with his old teammates from Presbyterian College (where he played for 2 years before we transferred to USC). It was amazing!!

lax

That’s the Hubs hidden behind #4, throwing a shot – not the game-winning-in-overtime-shot, but still a nice picture! [photo not taken by me btw]

I can’t lie, I love to shamelessly brag on the Hubs’ athletic ability mainly because I am so uncoordinated it’s a miracle I can run without injuring others (yes, others).

#ProudWifeMoment

6. My best friend is getting married! 

I’ve been friends with Caroline since what feels like the dawn of time. We’ve gone from awkward middle school girls who hung out at the school over summer break (true story…we volunteered. Total nerds) to college suite-mates and now adults with “real jobs.”

I remember when I met her fiance for the first time and I just knew. The way he looked at her and the way she talked about him, I just knew my bestie had met her soul mate. It was only a matter of time until I got that special call. Well – I got that call a few weeks ago!

Icing on the top of this whole scenario is that she adorably sent me my “invitation” to be her MOH in the cutest way. She knows my snail mail snobbery and the fact that any card not made my friend MaryAnn of MASW Designs just isn’t good enough.

So, she had MaryAnn custom make the invitations and promise not to post about it until I’d received mine. (Seriously, my friends are the cutest).

card1

Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but fingers crossed for coral dresses! {But seriously it doesn’t matter because Caroline has timeless style!}

How precious is the inside?!

How precious is the inside?!

Seriously I’m over the moon about being asked to be Caroline’s MOH. It’s such an honor and I’m SO excited for all that’s to come! I teared up thinking about my MOH speech while vacuuming the other day…I’m such a nerd!

I hope you enjoyed my list of what I’m lovin’ in August! What did you love (or are lovin’) about August?

{Catch up on all What I’m Lovin’ monthly posts here.}

What I’m Lovin’ in July

Guess what happened again?!

Yep, I’m late on July’s What I’m Lovin’ post, but I figured it’d be a good way to kick off August 😉

resliced by Jordan

Here’s my list of what I was lovin’ in July (and maybe still lovin’ in August! 😉 )

1. Inspiration from the ReFashionista! Did you see that awesome post from BuzzFeed about her?!

I had already heard about the ReFashionista from my dear friend Shanika and have been hoping to run into her around town (she’s from Columbia too!). We haven’t met in person yet, but I’m following her blog like we’re besties.

Promptly after reading the BuzzFeed post, I skipped on over to Facebook and signed up to receive notifications from the ReFashionista’s page.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Now every time she posts, I see the link and become immediately infatuated with the magic she performs on sad, deserted thrift wear. The other day she posted about a seersucker house dress refashion which has since sent me into a tizzy looking for an abandoned house dress.

refashionista

Mind blown. She’s a genius.

And this one! It’s a no sew refashion that involves her tying the sleeves around her waist — I mean, who thinks of this brilliance?! Oh yeah, the ReFashionista.

I think my favorite part about the ReFashionista’s blog is that she includes step-by-step instructions (usually with pictures) of how she performed the refashion. A girl who shares her tricks – now that’s what I love! 🙂

2. Supporting my local thrift store! This is a double whammy.

First, I love a good purge (remember that time I told you about my mission to live small?). I’ve been on a kick this summer of simplifying which apparently means reorganizing my fabric collection a billion times and going through my closet filling donation bags…over and over.

Second, I love dropping donations off at Revente’s Second Chances because the staff is always friendly and they always have the best stock! (AND their sales benefit the local Women’s Shelter! Win. Win. Win.)

Example: I have been riding around with 3 bags in my car that I’d been meaning to donate (aren’t we all guilty of this?!). On my lunch break this week I decided to swing by while I was out and alleviate my back seat. Well – some purple polka dots caught my eye and next thing I know I had found this Boden dress in perfect condition for only $15!

boden

Seriously. How precious is the collar?!

Keep an eye on my Instagram because you know I’ll post a picture when I wear it! 😉

{Confession: I didn’t even try it on because…$15 for a Boden, y’all! I figured I could pull some of my ReFashionista inspiration on it if I have to!}

3. The fact that running for even 5 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart attack. 

You’re doubting me aren’t you? Check out the very-dreamy Brian William’s clip from NBC Nightly News.

As a Public Health grad, I know that any physical exercise is healthy. BUT our standard was always 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Alas – we can all feel fine with the sub-half-hour gym visit after a long day at work (or is that just me?).

Looking for a quick run? Try this one from my friend Alex at Work Hard Eat Harder:

run

[Click the photo for more details on Work Hard Eat Harder]

 4. Matching handmade bags!

Keep an eye out for a post about my version of Melly Sews’ Favorite Purse (which may also be my favorite purse now!) that I sewed up just in time for Baltimore (also – more to come on that trip!). The cherry on top of this bag: it matches my Noodle Head Super Tote!

favpurse

Doesn’t every gal need a full set of matching bags? Up next: a wallet! 🙂

5. Rediscovering how much I love to read!

The Hubs started a new job a few weeks ago and has to be to work at 6:00am. In addition, I’m working our “summer schedule” at the school district meaning: a 10 hour days that start at 7:00 with Fridays off. I don’t have quite enough time to get by the gym before work like usual so that’s been rescheduled to after work (which makes for a very long day, but I’m not complaining because I rest up on Fridays and sew!). All that said, I’ve been trading morning news for some quiet reading time which has been so delightful.

Even the time the cat came and sat directly on top of the dog's head peace remained.

Even the time the cat came and sat directly on top of the dog’s head peace remained.

I’ve got a few summer books to recommend so keep an eye out for those posts soon!

6. Supporting my favorite non-profit with photos!

My very favorite local non-profit who tirelessly fights for women’s reproductive rights in South Carolina (oh heyyy TellThem!) invited me to participate in their photo-a-day challenge for August via Twitter. I’m always looking for an excuse to post more photos (I’m obsessed with Instagram) so obviously I’m in!

tellthem

I’d love it if you participated with me! You can read more about the challenge on TellThem’s blog, but here are the basics: post a photo that relates to the corresponding day’s theme (ie: August 1st we’ll all post something related to “celebration”), include the hashtag #SCrahrah and tag @TellThemSC in your post (find TellThem on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest).

*AND*

for the grand finale..

7. It’s my sister’s birthday month!!

kt

Words can’t describe my infatuation with my sister. She is EVERYTHING to me and I love love love her so much!

She’s not one for big birthday celebrations, but I’ve got some great crafting planned to make up for the fact that I was out of town for her birthday…again. Keep an eye out for that too – you bet I’ll share some pictures with you!

{Catch up on all What I’m Lovin’ monthly posts here}