Sunday, December 18, 2016

2016 in Review ❤

This year was a big running year, full of challenges and rewards! 

I am linking up with my awesome running gal pals to share my yearly wrap this week! 

Share your adventures and join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin  

At some point this year, I think I experienced every emotion under the sun.
Powerful. Exhausted. Elated. Discouraged. Gratified. Apprehensive. Fulfilled. The list goes on and on...

January started off with my First Day 5K PR .

I had been struggling with my left foot for a few months, but I nailed a great 5K to start the New Year. 
A few days later my foot swelled up like a balloon and stayed that way for the next month, but at least I got my PR before things went south! 

I cycled a lot of miles and tried to test my foot the last week of March.

I probably could have used April off also, but I had some races I was already signed up for and I didn’t want to miss them! I wanted to get back to running so badly...
I actually did very little running in April other my races. 

I enjoyed my 10 mile trail race and a half marathon even though I had been off my feet through March; the cycling kept me in good enough shape to have fun with both events.

May rolled around and I was still only able to run a few miles here and there, but I did go run another half, a very hilly half in the Smoky Mountains, and I met Holly!
My hilliest half ever….at 864 feet of elevation. Whew, it wore me out!

June and July I started trying to increase my runs to see how my foot would react. I had a marathon mission and I worked up a base building plan and chipped away at the miles. Every moment wasn't smooth, but I never gave up! 
Thank you Wendy xo
Thank you Holly xo 

I was fortunate to have motivational reminders from blogger friends to get me through summer training, which almost had me near tears more than once. I am proud I hung in there and did it, but I doubt I will ever train through summer again

July I also met another famous blogger for a fun chat/hiking session – Megan

August, I turned 50! August was all about training and survival in the heat. Really June-October was all about surviving the heat and training! 

September I ran an extremely hot humid half marathon as part of marathon training. It was brutal. I didn’t die so I called it a win!

October I ran another half as part of marathon training and nailed it! My race plan went perfect and it really increased my confidence about having a great marathon. October was big - my first time running 18 and 20 mile long runs! I felt like a rock star.

It was my last speed work session of training that got me. My legs never felt quite the same after that workout. I spent two weeks tapering, but never really felt recovered by marathon day.

November I ran my first marathon and even though my legs felt very heavy the whole time, I pushed on and got it done. I felt very proud to finally accomplish my marathon mission.

I spent the rest of November trying to recover my legs and I wondered if I had tweaked my stress fracture spot more than once.

December started with an epic girls weekend and the PanamaBeach City half marathon which went really well considering how much running I lacked after November 12th.

I also did my Tacky Light fun run which turned out pretty speedy thanks to the motivation of being in a crowd with faster runners. I decided to take some time off and let my legs rest after that event. I've been feeling a bit achy and I really want fresh legs for 2017. December will be a very light mileage month for me. 

In case you didn't notice I got very attached to my blue Old Navy shorts, I wore them like a uniform all year :)

When I started putting this post together, I felt like 2016 had been a tough year because I had to take so much time off running, but I really got a lot done in spite of my months off.  I feel proud I ran my first marathon at the spry old age of 50 😉 and this year was such a blessing as far as meeting my blogger friends!

It also felt like every time I turned around I was running a race without much training, but really it was about half and half. Each race holds some really fond memories for different reasons.

My running mileage will be in the low 800's for the year, so I fell a bit short of my 1,000 mile goal, but honestly I am so happy with what I accomplished it doesn't bother me. In fact, I am not setting any mileage goals for 2017, my one desire for the new year is to just keep adding more running adventures. 

It really is good to take a moment to reflect on the past year and all your accomplishments. Reflection gives you perspective, helps you to grow and learn, and can give way to new ideas and bigger dreams. 

Although, my feet continue to be an issue, I refuse to let them steal my joy. I am happy using intervals so I can still do some longer runs and I am already signed up for a few races in 2017.  I don’t think I’ll be in PR shape again anytime soon, but I am perfectly content to show up, smile, run, and soak up the good vibes.

I can honestly say I appreciated every step. 

How do you feel about 2016 when you reflect on it? Any goals you checked off? 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tacky Light Run 2016

I admit I'm a bit of a Grinch about the holidays, but the Tacky Light Run is one of the rare things I have done several times. The atmosphere in the neighborhood is so festive, and I am dazzled by the elaborate light displays. I ran this on December 10th. The start time is 6 p.m.  It was nippy ;)

One year it poured rain, I mean like blinding rain, a few years ago it was nippy but nothing like this year! Last year when I ran this it was almost 70 degrees....we kind of had summer that just wouldn't go away last year.

It was about 28 degrees  for this one and the crazy thing is the humidity is so non-existent in VA right now it feels even colder.
I went with my old Navy leggings, and they kept me very toasty. I had a cuddle dud shirt under my Mickey T.

My hat was last year's swag :) 

This route goes through a neighborhood called Walton Park. Every year more and more houses decorate and it seems more and more families hang out and cheer. The streets are lined with kids wanting to high five everyone. ✋✋ Lots of houses pipe very loud Christmas music and there is always a DJ, I am not sure if it a neighborhood person or actually part of the run LOL but he is always there cheering runners along.

I always try to get to get close to the front because this is a fun run and there tons of kids that run it with their school classes, and families. The groups are big for this and there are a billion strollers.

This year everyone was packed tightly in the start shoot so I couldn't get up as far as I wanted. When Santa said go I had to just trot along and do some dodging until I got to a thinned out space.
The speaker was loud

I started back a bit farther than I hoped! 

I enjoyed the decorations and told myself to take it easy, there isn't even a clock!  LOL
About a half mile in, I got in my own space. I had some faster runners around me and I tried to keep up with one in particular...he had bells all over him. A running elf that sounded like a symbol 😄

Mile one went fast, and I decided to use the crowd momentum to push my pace. It has been so long since I have been able to run and sustain anything "fast" for me, it felt good to be at panting pace.
I was panting and high fiving as many kids as I could.💚

This neighborhood has a few big hills, two of them are about 45-50 feet up. It was strenuous for me to hold my pace going uphill, a lady asked me if I was okay during mile two going up a big one. I must have been breathing too heavy. I laughed, I knew I was huffing but I told her I was determined to hold my pace. I went from - I just want to have fun, to being competitive with myself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

At the mile 3 sign I felt soooooo tired but I was determined to make myself go. I kept running and high fiving! I was passing houses so fast, I couldn't take it all in.  I was planning to do a second loop like I did last year, so I could go easy around the course and look at all the displays...

A lot walkers just stroll the course, so the course was still packed when I finished.

I love the finish area, Santa waits to high five ya!

I receive my medal and drank the small bottle of powerade they gave everyone at the finish.

The medal is actually an ornament and I love the hat! 

It took about 7 seconds after I stopped running to feel how cold it was. I felt fine running, I even had to take off my gloves I got so warm, but I went from warm to icicle-like fast.

The course was a little long this year so I ran 3.9 miles :) I also ran a mile warm up before the event, so it was a pretty good workout night. It felt good to get some speedier miles in - it has been a really long time since I have seen anything close to this pace on my watch.

My legs were torn up the next day LOL 

I toyed with going back into the neighborhood for a second loop, but decided to call it a night. I had a fun run, and I didn't want to get sick, so I booked it back to my car with a mission of a hot shower :)

I did not know these girls, I just thought they looked adorable so I took their pic lol
A lot of people come decked out, it is fun to see all the outfits!

This event always gets my Christmas love flowing a bit every year! 

Did you do a fun holiday run this year? 
Become competitive with yourself even when it is supposed to be "fun"? 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Panama City Beach Half Marathon

Panama City Beach happened December 3rd, and was half marathon #12 👣 for me. It was part of an epic girls weekend! I have run some fun races, but this one will shine in my mind because it was such a unique experience. 

By now, I  bet a lot of you have seen the pics on Instagram and other posts but I wanted to add a few anyway. 

Tricia, Wendy, me, Marcia, Holly, Darlene, Judy behind the bench :)

and this pic has the beautiful Mary Beth on the end by Wendy :)

Typically at a race, I am fortunate if I know even one person who is running…
To meet up with 7 blogger friends was incredible.

I woke up and ate two bananas (thank you Holly) and got ready to roll with the rest of the ladies. We were five minutes from the start line so travel was easy, and I did my usual craziness and made about 10 trips to the restroom total before we started.

This was actually after the race...

It was so nice walking to the start to have friends to chat with; usually my nerves are making me melt down before a race. I did feel slightly nervous, but I had already resolved to roll with whatever happened, so I was in way better shape mentally than usual. I mean how I could not feel happy!? I was there courtesy of a very ❤ gracious host, meeting seven incredible beautiful women who love to run as much as I do, staring at beautiful blue water, white sand, and the weather was so crazy amazing! It was cloudy but not dreary, cool in the 50’s, very low humidity, it was breezy, and it is a flat course! Not that I run mountains at all, but it is certainly not super flat on a lot of my routes, so the flat is a novelty for me.

I was in heaven! Dream race conditions are hard to come by. I wish I could have been in shape to really capitalize on it, but I have been struggling to recover since I ran my marathon, Nov. 12th. I had one decent run on Thanksgiving that was 8 miles, and have not had a successful run since. I attempted to run a few times before the race and always ended walking because my legs hurt so much. Recovery has been a slow process for me, it just has.

By the time we lined up, I was hoping my legs wouldn’t hurt and I could at least run a little in the beginning with my buds. I planned to start intervals a few miles in, I knew that was my best plan for a fun race. Intervals help with my lack of training the past month and help the pain level in my feet…well, foot, it is really my right foot making most of the noise now. I had my watch set for 3 min run/40 sec walk.

Being on an out and back course with 7 friends to look for was a huge part of the fun for me!
I was excited about this before we started running. 

We took off and my legs felt great!! Cue, the choir....🎶Ahhhhhhhhh! I was so happy, I was soaking up the breeze, enjoying finally getting to run, and I was able to be near Holly and Darlene…maybe a mile or so. I loved the beginning miles of the course, I could see the ocean! 

I was moving a little faster than I should due to all the excitement, and I knew I needed to rein it in and do my own thing so I could get to the end. I started my intervals after mile two and enjoyed looking at the water.

Somewhere around mile 3ish I saw Tricia and Mary Beth running and chatting away, looking strong and steady.

I just kept plugging away at the miles. When the runners who had already turned on the course started to pass by me, I entertained myself waiting to see each person I knew so I could hoot and cheer! 

The great thing about the out and back – it doesn’t matter who is front or behind you, you know at some point you will see them on one side, or the other. The excitement started about  mile 7 (the turnaround) I hooted at each person loudly!!! 🙌🙌🙌 And was able to high five Holly as she flew by! I wish I was in shape to chase Holly, but I am just not there right now. Judy passed me when we had palm trees in between us, but we spotted each other and started fist pumping. I realized she was also on PR pace! I was so excited knowing it was going to be a good day for several of the ladies. 

I love the halfway point in a half marathon, unlike that darn marathon, you know you are really on your way to being done! I still felt really good, so I tried to pick it up for a bit.

About mile 9ish I heard my name…it was a gal I had met the night before at Starbucks from Instagram a few of the ladies knew. I was floored she recognized me with my hair up, in a visor, all sweaty…
         Tricia, Holly, and Jodi

We chatted for a bit, she is the sweetest…and she introduced me to a few more runners from Instagram who were nearby. I love the gals I met from Tennessee, I could tell they would be a bunch of fun.

Mile 11 was the first real stab of pain I felt in my foot. I tried to walk slowly and let it calm down. I really wanted to skip my intervals the last few miles, I could see Darlene ahead of me and really wanted to try to catch her, but my foot was not really cooperating, so I kept my interval rhythm up until the end. About a half mile out, I tried to pick up the pace and I was right near Mary Beth and Tricia, and I remember being so impressed with their strength… both ladies were working on a shiny new PR . 

I remember as we were approaching the finish line, I could hear the music and the cheers as folks were coming in, and saying, “Speed worktime!”  Tricia gunned it with me…and in we came very close together.

Overall, I was tickled my leg muscles held up so well while I ran, I felt content with my finish time and my effort. I really gave it all I had, and I felt so blessed to have the weather we did. The one and only thing that was a little tough for me was lack of Gatorade or Powerade (whatever they were supplying)  at the stops. I do notice drinking plain water makes me feel a little wonky. I do better with some electrolytes, but I didn't carry my own hydration, I decided to rely on course support so that's on me...

After the race we headed to get our free beer…I took a cup and asked how will they know we picked ours up, there were no tickets…and someone says it is unlimited…What??!!😛 SO I hung around chattering to the TN gals and Jodi for quite a while, then I found I found my girls and the fun just kept going and going and somehow we ended up in karaoke bar (yes, there was showering in between) LOL and what happens at the beach stays at the beach. 🙈🙉🙊

I also got an ab workout from laughing …just sayin’

There is so much more I could say, I could write a 10 page paper probably, but it was truly a very unique experience, that gave me some wonderful memories I will always treasure.💗

 ðŸ’š Thank you Holly! 

#NeverGiveUp - Thank you Wendy 💗

Thanks for reading my recap! I hope you have a fabulous week :) 

Can’t get enough of this weekend? Want to see more, check out the others recap’s right here!

I am linking up with my awesome running gal pals for the Weekly Wrap!

Join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Five!

1. The best donut ever!!!
I'm talking creamy light chocolate filling inside a delightfully moist donut with chocolate icing and a thick slab of peanut butter. I bit into this thing and started floating....hahahaha, I feel like I have eating issues just reading what I wrote. 
It was tasty ya'll

That is creamy peanut butter on top and it had a center...oh my...

2. Take a snarky comment and make it into a joke...
#middleagedprivilegedjoggers now that is a #holottafun
Laughter is the best medicine. 

3. I spoon with my cat, don't judge me.

4. My travel tip if you worry about sitting next to someone on plane that may be too chatty, too sick, or too annoying...chose the wing seat. I did it on two flights to and from for my girls weekend. If  I can't get a seat toward the front, I try to snag the wing seat. You have all kinds of foot room at an economy price.

nothing next to me - it is great! 

5. Remember to hydrate, it is important. 

Have a good weekend! 

I'll put my race recap up Sunday!

Linking up with the Friday Five ladies! Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness 
Don't forget to link back to your hostesses and visit other bloggers :)

Friday Five Linkup 2.0