Saturday, December 31, 2011

December in Review

This morning's 4 mile run on the treadmill while watching Miss Congeniality brought my December training, as well as my 2011 training, to a close! 

December 2011 Stats
57.69-- running miles
0-- elliptical miles
0-- bike miles
0-- spinning class miles
57.69-- total miles
0 minutes-- rope skipping
154.4-- weight as of December 31, 2011

Current 2011 Stats
1300-- running miles
17.8-- elliptical miles
15.86-- bike miles
55.8-- spinning class miles
1389.46-- total miles
1 hour and 55 minutes-- rope skipping

Overall, I am quite pleased with my December.  I am very happy with my 2011 and will be back tomorrow with a full review of 2011 and my goals for 2012.

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Reflections of 2011

With less than a week left in 2011, I figured it would make sense to look back on the past year and see where I stand with the goals I set on January 1, 2011.

2011 Goals

1. Cross the finish line of the 2011 Cleveland Marathon upright and smiling with a little help from my friends-CHECK!!

With A LOT of help from an amazing friend

2. Run a minimum of two half marathons- CHECK- to the tune of 5 half marathons!

1/2 marathon number 1 took us to Austin, Texas in February where I finally had the chance to meet Coach Joe. 
Austin Livestrong 1/2 Marathon
Austin, Texas
February 2011

Post Austin Livestrong 1/2 Marathon
February 2011
1/2 marathon number 2 took me to Dublin, Ohio where I paced Dave to his first sub-2 hour half.
Last Chance For Boston 1/2 Marathon
February 2011
1/2 marathon number 3 took us to Nashville, Tennessee where I ran 13.1 miles in honor of Uncle Joe who was in the fight of his life, taking on esphogeal cancer. 
RNR Nashville Country Music 1/2 Marathon
April 2011

13.1 for Uncle Joe at the RNR Country Music 1/2 Marathon
April 2011
 1/2 marathon number 4 took us to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where we had the pleasure of meeting Jackie and Dan from The Biggest Loser.  We also got a chance to run the "Rocky Steps" while there.
Meeting Jackie and Dan
RNR Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon
September 2011

Rocky steps post RNR Philadelphia 1/2 Marathon
September 2011
 1/2 marathon number 5 took us to Las Vegas, Nevada where we had the opportunity to run The Strip at Night.
RNR Vegas 1/2 Marathon Expo
December 2011

RNR Vegas 1/2 Marathon
December 2011

RNR Vegas 1/2 Marathon
December 2011

3. Cross train once a week-MISS, I did get some cross training done for 2011 but not on a weekly basis.
4. Do a jump rope work out once a week- MISS, I did do jump rope work outs for a month or so in 2011 but I backed off due to marathon training.

5. Run 1,500 miles-MISS.  As of this morning I am sitting at 1281.41.  With only 5 days left in 2011 I don't think I will be hitting this mileage goal.  I pretty certain I won't be running 43+ miles per day over the next five days.  There is a possibility that I can hit 1,300 miles by December 31st so I am going to try for that. 

All in all a good year for running.  One last goal that I had set late in the year was to run a sub-4:15 at The Columbus Marathon on October 16, 2011.  I am thrilled to report that I crushed that goal crossing the line in 4:10:11.

I will be back soon with a December in review as well as my goals for 2012.
Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vegas Rock 'N' Roll 1/2 Marathon Weekend

A trip to Vegas this past weekend helped us to continue on our quest to achieve our goal of running a 1/2 marathon in all 50 states.  The only thing missing was Nikki.*

The amazing weekend in Las Vegas started Friday evening as my best friend, Deb and I headed to the airport in the afternoon to catch our flight.  Even with a small delay on the way to the airport we managed to breeze through security and make it to our gate with a few minutes to spare.  During our flight we watched The Change Up.  I highly recommend it as it was hilarious and helped the time pass quickly.  Over the course of the flight we talked with another passenger from California and he mentioned to us that we certainly didn't look to be more than in our twenties.  The plane would not be the last time that we would be told we looked young over the course of the weekend!  Compliment graciously accepted, we landed in Vegas on time and headed to the Palazzo to check in.  We were in awe of our free upgraded suite.
Our bathroom

Our suite

View from our hotel room

After we snapped a few pictures of the room we got ready to go and see PeepShow with Holly Madison.  The show was absolutely amazing.  The muscle definition in the dancers was just insane.  I can't even begin to imagine how many hours a day they work out.  It was a very tasteful show and Deb and I really enjoyed it and we were recommending it to others that we met over the weekend.
Deb and I before PeepShow

After the show we were starving due to the time change and the fact that we hadn't eaten too much during the day.  We headed to PF Changs and grabbed a very late dinner.  After dinner we decided we wanted to check out the Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Saloon so we started walking through the casino looking for the entrance and one of the guards picked us out and asked us if we were interested in going into the club.  Of course we accepted and the guard said to the other guy checking ID's, "you better check those because they might be fakes."  We decided that our trendy outfits got us in free.  This was the second time Friday evening that we were told we looked young!  There was a lot of people watching to be had in the Saloon.  I really think some people forget to look in the mirror (read:  white undergarments under a short black dress and nightclub lights don't really go together if you know what I mean).  The dancers did a few shows in the club and we decided to call it a night after their last show.  As we were going down the escalator our server from dinner and his friend were going towards the club.  Our server shouted down to us, "where are you going, aren't you going to come have a drink with us." We laughed and said "we're old, we're going to bed" to which our server's friend said "I'm old too, I'm almost 30."  Deb and I about died laughing.  If they only knew how old we actually were.  Three times in one evening to be told we look very young seems like a fantastic average to me!!  It was a great note to end the evening on so we headed back to our room to get some much needed rest.

We managed to sleep in a bit Saturday morning which was quite nice.  Our plan for the day involved food, the race expo, shopping, and Garth Brooks!  After we were ready for the day we decided to go to Sugar Factory for Breakfast.  I can't even begin to tell you how amazing the food was.  Deb and I decided to share eggs benedict and a seasonal crepe with fresh berries.  I am pretty sure it was the best eggs benedict I have ever eaten in my life which could be because instead of it being on an english muffin it was on a bed of scalloped potatoes!  The crepe was just as delicious!  Deb said it best when she said "OMG I might have to move here.  The decor is like an adult version of an Americal Girl Store."
One of the many great signs at the Sugar Factory

One of the many sweet treats at Sugar Factory
We finished up our breakfast and did a bit of shopping on the store side of the Sugar Factory and then headed to the Expo to pick up our race packets.  When we got to the expo it was insanely crowded so we didn't do a ton of shopping but we did stop at a few booths where Deb bought some really awesome shoes and some water bottles for her I-Fitness belt.  I can tell you one thing, I am pretty sure a Las Vegas Expo is the only place you will encounter the following.
Deb and I with one of the Showgirls

We left the expo and headed back to our hotel and did some window shopping.  I think we were experiencing sticker shock when we went into one of the shoe stores and saw a pair of shoes for a mere $6,500.  Seriously?!?!  I can't make this stuff up!!  The most amazing thing to me was the number of people that were in there seriously shopping for shoes...crazy, I tell you!!  We made a quick trip to will call to pick up our Garth Brooks tickets and eventually made it back to our room to get ready for dinner at Emeril LaGassi's restuarant Delmonico's.  In the meantime I talked to my friend Darlene as she had arrived in Vegas Saturday afternoon and she would be running the full marathon.  She and her husband met us in front of Delmonico's so we could say hello and wish each other luck on Sunday.  It was nice to talk with them for a few minutes and Darlene was gracious enough to take our picture.
Deb and I before dinner
The food at Delmonico's was absolutely amazing and the staff was great about making sure there was no olive oil in my food.  As we were enjoying dinner there were two tables next to us with large groups of people.  It appeared that they were all together.  Eventually I realized a member of their party was on the ground in obvious need of medical assistance.  It was the strangest thing as all of the people in his party just sat there and continued to drink there wine and seemed completely unphased by it.  I mentioned this to Deb and after security showed up she went over to check it out since she does have a medical background and it didn't appear that anyone was really helping him.  When she got over there she was able to see that he was conscious.  After what seemed like forever the paramedics arrived and wheeled him out on a gurney.  A few of the people in his party followed the gurney out of the restaurant so we were under the impression that they were going to accompany him to the hospital.  Imagine our surprise when a mere 5 minutes later all of the guys came back into the restaurant, sat back down at their table, and proceeded to eat dinner.  All I can say is only in Vegas people!!  Deb and I had a good laugh after she told me that she would have made sure I was okay and then joined me at the hospital after the Garth concert!  After all of this we finished up our dinners and shared two delicious desserts and then headed out for the concert.
Deb and I excited for the concert

I can't even begin to tell you how awesome Garth's show was.  I had no idea one guy with one acoustic guitar could fill an entire theater will such amazing sound.  I can't even put into words how great of a show he put on.  There was also the added bonus of Trisha Yearwood coming out on stage to join Garth for part of the show.  Towards the end of the show Garth sang Piano Man and the girl next to me asked her boyfriend what it was.  I looked at her and said "really?  It's Piano Man".  Her boyfriend got a good laugh and I still can't believe she didn't know the song.  The ending of the concert was just awesome as the entire theater stood up and sang along with Garth to "Friends in Low Places".  I could have sat there for hours on end just listening to him sing.  I am so glad that Deb suggested we get tickets to his show!!  Since we had complimentary entry to Tao nightclub in our swag bags from the Expo we decided to give it a try.  It was a short-lived trip as we weren't very impressed with it at all.  We decided pretty quickly to go ahead and head to a Piano Bar.  We were under the impression that it would be very similar to the dueling pianos we had seen other places but these guys were just different and there sound was a bit odd.   That being said we had one heck of a time watching a guy attempt to dance to the songs.  We were laughing so hard we had tears running down our cheeks.  I can't even do the description of what we saw justice in words.  All I can say is "jump, jump".  After the last song was played we headed back to our room to get some sleep.  Deb and I were both thankful that the race wasn't taking place until 5:30 PM because we were able to sleep in on Sunday morning!
I woke up Sunday morning, got ready and printed our boarding passes for our flight home on Monday morning.  Once Deb and I were both ready we decided to go to Serendipity for brunch.  Once there we would wait over an hour for a table but it was definitely worth it.  While we were waiting we decided to throw caution to the wind when ordering and not worry about how what we ate would affect our race later in the evening.  We figured worst case scenario one of us would get sick on the course (which neither of us did by the way).  As we were eating our brunch Deb and I agreed that this had been one of the best food vacations ever!
Frozen Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate, Hot Chocolate French Toast, Chorizo Quiche, and Sweet Potato Fries

After we finished brunch we decided to do a little more shopping and then we headed back to our room to get ready for the race.  While getting ready for the race we also started packing for our inevitable return to Ohio.  As we walked through the hotel to catch the shuttle to the start line we stopped for a picture.
Deb and I ready to Rock the Strip at Night

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the shuttle and saw a neverending line of people.  It was 3:45 and we were pretty certain we wouldn't be making it to the starting line in time.  We just went with it because we were in Vegas afterall!!
Not too many people right??

We embraced the shuttle line for what it was and made some great new friends including:

Some superheros

And sisters running for an amazing cause

We eventually made it onto the shuttle and arrived to the starting line 30 minutes after the gun had gone off.  As we were walking towards the starting line the volunteers were telling us to run because they needed to breakdown the starting line and set up the finish line as the lead marathon runners would be arriving soon as the marathon started at 4:00 PM.  It was a mass sea of people everywhere.  I knew after the first mile that it was just going to be a fun run as I was at least 2 plus minutes behind my usual pace but I went into the race knowing this could happen and I was perfectly okay with it.  I decided to keep my eye out for Darlene since she had been running since 4:00 PM and there was a slim possibility that she would catch up to us.  Imagine my surprise when just before mile 5 for me and mile 18 for her I look to my right and Darlene is next to me.  We started running together and I asked her how she was feeling and she said she was feeling good but was frustrated with the traffic she encountered when she had to merge with the 1/2 marathon runners.  At one point Darlene told me not to let her hold me back and I told her that I was in it for fun and certainly not for any time goals.  Approximately 20 miles in Darlene "lost" me for a minute and when she found me again she said "oh, there you are".  I told her not to worry about me and run her race to which she replied "I don't wnat to lose you".  It turns out she could really use the company.  We had a good time running the final 8 miles together.  I shared some of my water with her and did my best to keep her going.  As we approached the finish line we had to part ways as the marathon went to the left and the 1/2 went to the right but I made a point to run next to the barrier and run with Darlene and we crossed the finish together separated by a barrier.  It was so great to be able to hug her the minute she crossed the finish line of her first marathon!  I was so very proud of her.  I still say everything happens for a reason and that justifies to me why the shuttle ran so late and why I was able to spot Darlene in a sea of 45,000 people!  My time on Sunday may just be my slowest 1/2 marathon ever but I wouldn't change it for the world as I got to help a friend see it through to the finish line.  Once we received our medals we were sent into Mandalay Bay to wait for our friends and family. 

Darlene and I after the race

Awesome Medal
Darlene and I had a quick picture taken and then I reunited with Deb in the very lengthy cab line.  Deb ran a great race and got to meet some really interesting people including Elvis SpongeBob and his entourage and a guy that was running his 60 marathon on Sunday!!

Elvis Spongebob
Spongebob's Entourage

60th Marathon for the guy on the right.  The guy on the left is running a 55 mile ultra next week

 While waiting in line for a cab we met a couple from Columbus, Ohio which was kind of cool.  We ended up sharing a cab with them since you pay to sit in park when in a cab so it was more cost effective that way.  I believe that we got in the cab line around 9:30 and we didn't get back to our hotel until around 11:40.  Deb and I quickly took showers and finally had dinner around 12:30AM.  The alarm went off all too soon on Monday morning and we were saying goodbye to Vegas and headed to the airport.  In the end Deb took a bump with a deal she couldn't refuse and we flew home separately.  In hindsight we should have signed me up for the bump as well.  Live and learn, live and learn. 

It was truly a wonderful weekend filled with lots of great food, continuous laughs, amazing shows, and unconditional friendship.  Thank you Deb for a trip to remember and thank you for being my best friend!  

Marathon in all 50 states status- #7 completed*
Bring on #8!!  

*Nikki couldn't join us for state #7 so Deb and I will have to head back to Vegas with her when she runs it, oh darn!!

Post Photos:  All provided compliments of Deb!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thumbs Up Thursday....Kelly

This week's spotlight is on Kelly of Running (Kell)ometers (here).  Kelly just recently started blogging so after you read her interview head on over to her blog and introduce yourself!!

Jodi:  How long have you been running?
Kelly:  Since I joined the high school track team when I was 14 years old.

Jodi:  Why did you start running?
Kelly:  I had family members that were into running and thought I would give it a try. This was high school, the big leagues! I wanted to give it a try. When I made the team and figured out I could go fast, I was hooked.

Jodi:  How many years have you been racing?
Kelly:  I ran the 400m race in high school but didn’t do any distances much farther than that. I ran my first 5k in 2006 and have been doing them ever since.

Jodi:  What is your favorite distance to race and why?
Kelly:  If you would have asked me this a year ago, I would have said the 5K, hands down. I love to run fast so a quick 3.1 mile run was perfect. However, since completing my first marathon in 2011, I’m much happier with a 5 mile, or 8-10k distance. But with how many half marathons I’m considering in 2012, that distance may change yet again!

Jodi:  What is your favorite race memory?
Kelly:  There are so many to choose from, it is hard to think of just one. Aside from finishing my first marathon (which is also my proudest moment), I’d have to pick the 2010 Shamrock Shuffle 8K. I always run this race with 2 of my friends. We drive there together, but most times we don’t run the race together. Based on the different paces and feelings that day, we’ve never finished the race together. That year, we had a lot of weddings and weren’t in the mode to go out fast and PR, so we decided to run the race together. For the entire 8K, we were 3 across (and probably annoyed others behind us trying to pass us). Two of us weren’t racing for time, just encouraging each other along the way. Our friend that was racing for time, PRed, and felt great afterwards. We crossed the finish line with our hands in the air, showing the sign language letter K (because all 3 of our names start with K… Kelly, Kate, Kate). It was a great memory that we all share, together.

Jodi:  What is your least favorite race memory?
Kelly:  Sitting in the medical tent at mile 15 of the Chicago Marathon. I threw up at mile 13 and knew I had to stop based on the heat, etc. I walked into the medical tent with no sweat (despite temperatures in the high 70’s) and immediately needed an IV. I know I made the right decision, but that didn’t make me feel like less of a failure at that time. However, I didn’t give up. I had to complete my marathon and Chicago just wasn’t my race. With the support of my husband, family, and running buddies, I signed up for Grand Rapids the very next weekend. I was determined to finish.

Jodi:  What is your proudest running moment to date?
Kelly:  This one is easy. Crossing the finish line of the Grand Rapids Marathon in 2011, completing my first marathon. I couldn't have done it without my outstanding support group. The race was 3 hours away, and despite the distance I had quite a crowd there to cheer me on. My husband was there along with his mom and 3 cousins. They made signs and t-shirts too! My friend Amanda, who I started with at the Chicago Marathon, also drove up and surprised me! (She completed the Chicago Marathon the week before!) She met up with me at a spot where I was really struggling and she helped me through to the end. I was disappointed with my time, but Amanda helped me to stay positive. I still completed a marathon, no matter what the clock said!

Jodi:  What one item do you absolutely have to have with you on a training run?
Kelly:  My Garmin (Forerunner 405). If I don’t keep track of the time, I feel lost. There is a sense of accountability and accomplishment when you have a diary or journal of the training runs and races you’ve completed.

Jodi:  What is your favorite fuel during a race?
Kelly:  For the longer runs, I couldn’t live without my Gu Roctane Pineapple. But during shorter runs, I really love the taste of plain lemon-lime Gatorade. Even after all the training and all the years, it is still my favorite flavor.

Jodi:  What is your favorite post race snack?
Kelly:  Banana, hands down! When a race doesn’t have them, it is like there is something missing.

Jodi:  Do you have a favorite quote?
Kelly:  “There will be a day when I can no longer do this. Today is not that day.”
Running an unexpected PR at the Hot Chocolate 5K

Kelly's running buddy

Jodi:  Finish this statement: When I run a feel ____________.
Kelly:  refreshed and inspired.

Jodi:  Who do you admire most and why?
Kelly:  The running community overall is very inspiring. I’ve met lots of folks through my Chicago Marathon training group, my friend’s Team in Training marathon training group, my local running group, and now the blogging community. There are so many folks out there rooting for you to do a good job and meet your goals. Runners, we are our own kind of animal and we understand each other. There is always support when you need it, whether you need to ask or not. It really is quite amazing.

Jodi:  What is your current goal?
Kelly:  I have two current goals. 1) to finish the Shamrock Shuffle 8K on March 25 in 40:00 or less (previous PR is 40:49 in 2009), 2) to complete the Southwest Bank Half Marathon on May 6 with a time around 1:45 (I completed a 10 mile race at 1:28 also in 2009)

Jodi:  Please feel free to add anything that will motivate others to lace up their shoes and get out there and run!
Kelly:  I feel like there is no “can’t” in running. If you want to, anything is possible. I took a year off from running in 2010 while I was planning my wedding. I could barely run 1 mile in January 2011 and completed a marathon in October 2011. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it! Getting out there and running 0.6 miles is still getting out there and running!!

Thanks again for the opportunity to give you a Thumbs Up Kelly!  Bewst of luck achieving your current goals!

Keep running, you're simply the best, and Kelly YOU inspire ME!!