Steamboat Half Marathon (June 2, 2013) Review

My boy comes home tonight (yes he’s only been gone for 3 nights, but I am excited to touch his little face again ūüôā so I’m not sure how much time I’m going to be able to dedicate to an evening post tonight.

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Because of that, and because it’s slow at work, I thought I could write a random post now to give you all a little peek into my passion for running.

On June 2 of this year, I ran my second half, The Steamboat Half Marathon. ¬†For those of you who haven’t heard of this wonderful little town and/or race, please do me a favor and look into it.

I had a tough training session, 12 week which were preceded by 4+ weeks off running due to a bad case of runners knee. ¬†Literally up until the week before the race – I was unsure if I was going to run it. ¬†That is until the Saturday BEFORE the race…

We happened to be home in St Louis for my good friends wedding. ¬†I made a deal with myself that weekend: ¬†if you can run 10 miles, you can do the race (the race itself was paid for, but it is a 3.5 hour drive and we’d have to pay hotel). Well, because my lungs and legs are used to Denver and altitude, I was able to bust out 10 and decided I was going to do it, and do it I did.

Thank god I have an amazing fiance who was along for the ride, through the entire roller coaster of a training session down to the actual race finish line.

I’m SO thankful I did this. ¬†The race was honestly one of those moments I will never forget in my life. ¬†It rekindled my love for running, and reminded me that I am stronger than I give myself credit for.

After the race, I really wanted to hold onto those emotions and feelings I had crossing the finish line. ¬† I wrote it down in my journal (I carry a notebook around with me at all times to document my exercise/food, as well as any notes I may need to take through out the day. It’s helpful and I recommend it if you have space!)

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Anyways — as long as you can dismiss the poor grammar and emotional spewing of the entry, I’d love to share with you all my recap of Steamboat ¬†Like I said, it was an amazing moment and one that I hope may inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and push the boundaries of our own personal expectations!

I did it.  

I wish I could remember more . . . but¬†I’ll start from the very beginning: The wake up. ¬†One snooze and a tummy full of butterflies later, I was anxious but ready to DO THIS.¬†I got dressed (easy as I prepped it all the night before), prepared and drank a cup of coffee, quick bathroom break, and then we were off. ¬†

The bus to take us to start was waiting, warm and ready for the runners.   I ate my Larabar on the way up and watched the same course Zach and I had just driven 12 hours beforehand.   We got to the start with about 45 minutes to wait.   It was almost surreal, freezing cold, uncomfortable, but we were all in it together. All for 13.1.  

While I froze and searched for sun, I was motivated!  I put my bag in the van, and hoped to see it again at the finish.  With about 3 minutes left, we all lined up.  I put in my music, and with the countdown, we were off.

As to be expected, I was stoked at GO! ¬†The first few minutes were great . . .I was warming up and just being with all the runners was amazing. ¬†I do remember the early hills, but mile 1 came fast. ¬†930 pace…good but there are hills, save it!

By mile 2 I had some anxiety about how far I still had to go, but another 940ish mile. At least I knew at the 5k point I’d get water and start to fuel. ¬†Continuing the under 10 minute miles through out the first rolling 5k, I hit the downhills right before mile 4. ¬†I think this was the point I zoned out and just RAN. ¬†I used the runners around me to help with pace, but this really was my race. ¬†

There were still some rollers, especially by mile 6, but I was so in the zone. ¬†I knew this was going to be tough, but I also knew by this point I’d finish. ¬†After the 10k, I knew shi* was about to get real with the major hill. ¬†I had begun fueling at the 5k, slowly taking bites of gu when I needed it. ¬†

I hit mile 8, the 2 mile incline, and planned to start a walk/run method.  I saw the aid/water station, and began to walk through it.  I knew I had the uphill coming, but also knew following that was a major downhill at 10.   I began running 1 minute, walking 1 minute (I wanted to save my legs).   I surprised myself as this method had me passing consistent runners.  

I really think this method is what helped me PR, as it kept me at a higher overall general pace and allowed me to slam the downhill at mile 10, which was actually my fastest mile of the race at 9 minutes flat.   I knew I was getting close to the town, so I banked that downhill through mile 11.  

The aid station before the turn into town at just past 11 was great: music, water, energy. ¬†I knew I was closing in. ¬†The town run was kept to a shoulder of the road, so cars were VERY close. ¬†It was also around this point that I remember hearing “Come on Ashley! One mile left!” ¬†See, Steamboat is a very small half, and hardly any crowd support until you reach town. ¬†If’s really you and the mountains up until that point, which is surreal and a memory I will cherish forever.

There was a downhill right before the final up hill to the finish line, and I was STRUGGLING at this point. ¬†I knew I was in for a PR, and just wanted to walk it in. ¬†Until I saw my boys. ¬†Zach and Gus were waiting for me, right before mile 13. ¬† Zach and Gus were that emotional push that kept me on my feet and pushed me to end this amazing race as strong as I had begun it, 2:10 hours before. No I didn’t come close to winning, and no I’m not crazy fast. ¬†But that didn’t matter. ¬†This was my race, and I DID IT.

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The beauty of the course, the amazing runners, everything about that race was an amazing experience I will never forget.   To this day I feel the effects of this race, and am motivated to keep pushing.  I hope you all enjoy this recap and if nothing else get the message that

It really is amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it.  

QUESTION OF THE DAY:  Share with me a life changing experience?

 

I have a Confession

The highlight of the rest of my evening was absolutely my Whole Foods dinner.DSC_0616

Perfect — and you know a ton of siracha and dressing were added post picture (seen in the background). ¬†Yum. ¬†I’d say my taragon chicken salad sandwhich on a pretzel bun with a side salad with candied pecans, blueberries, blue cheese, and house cherry tomatoes hit the spot.

No meal in this household is finished without dessert

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Cheesecake from last night with some yummy chocolate from the Whole Foods bulk bins + a mini chocolate cookie from the previously mentioned work “break room.”

My First Confession

I have an obsession with the 8 minute abs routines from the 90’s.

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oh yeah

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Screen shots from my computer.

Go to youtube and search for 8 minute abs, buns, arms, legs, or stretch. ¬†You won’t regret it.

There is a joke between Zach and I about these videos. ¬†I literally do them at some point most everyday. ¬†Lately it’s been primarily the abs video, but I’ve been known to do all but the legs in any given day. ¬†It has been common that he comes home from errands, walking Gus, or just taking a meeting, to me doing one of these videos. ¬† Between the amazing outfits the instructors wear, the AWSOME music (which haunts Zach’s dreams I think), and the completely corny commentary, it’s pure entertainment with a quick work out involved.

Seriously, try one of these videos. ¬†I promise you’ll be hooked.

Anyway —¬†I bring up this confession of mine because I did the abs version while I was waiting for my pretzel bun to toast up in the oven. ¬†It makes me smile every time, and to be honest I’m not even embarrassed.

I ate my dinner while flipping back and forth between bad¬†BAD¬†TV. ¬†As I mentioned, I take advantage of Zach being gone by watching bad TV. ¬†Well tonight, I could NOT keep on a show. ¬†I tried quite a few (think Bridezillas, Pregnant and Dating, HG TV, tons!) but could not sit through an entire episode. ¬†I guess I just wasn’t feeling the trashy TV last night.

This morning

Zach is flying home early this morning, and I had asked him to keep me up to date with his travel schedule.  I knew that it would be ridiculously early MST, but I figured I sleep through texts all the time and it would be nice to wake up knowing he is on time.

Welp…I did sleep through my text, but August did not. ¬†From about 445 until I got out of bed at 725, I had a big puffy furball MEOWING LOUDLY¬†in my face to wake up and pay attention to her. ¬†Awesome. ¬†I did bring her to bed with me last night, and feel asleep with her spooning me, but she’s much cuter around 11 PM than 5 AM on your late start day.

Needless to say I was out of bed in time for my work out.  Today is a cross training day, so 60 minutes on the stationary bike it was,

Workout: 60 minutes stationary bike

40 minutes steady

10 minute intervals (30 seconds hill, 30 second cool down)

10 minute steady ride / cool down.

Odd thing that happened while I was in the gym:

My building gym is tiny — 3 treadmills, a bike, an elliptical, a total body machine and some free weights.

This morning it was just one other girl and I (said girl on the treadmill, me on the bike).

About 30 minutes into my work out, a women and her young, petite daughter (maybe 7 or 8 years old? I’m awful with age) came in. ¬†The mom in a dress, the little girl in sweats.

All of a sudden, the mom puts the girl on the treadmill and starts her running. ¬†Within a minute, the girl (they were speaking Eastern European of some sort, so I couldn’t understand what was being said) started crying. ¬†Within a couple minutes, the mom was barking at her and she was damn near sobbing. ¬†I sat there in awe…no idea what to do.

Say something? ¬†Call CPS? Do nothing? ¬†The thing is, I saw the same daughter and mom coming out of the gym the previous day…so I have no idea what is going on.

Within 10 minutes the mom slammed the red auto stop button and just like that they were off.  The girl on the treadmill and I just looked at each other, expressed how awkward it was, and went on with our workout.

YIKES ūüė¶

Anyway: I love my Thursday morning work outs because they’re something different, and to be honest, because on the stationary bike I get to read my book and drink coffee. Not. Too. Shabby.

I’m a good chunk of the way into¬†The Art of Racing in the Rain, so expect another review when I finish!

I did the normal morning duties: fed the pets, walked Gusman, cleaned the litter so everything is pretty when Zach gets home, then got myself ready for work.

I promise photos of my hair styled, and here they are:

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And one because I got bored taking awkward bathroom pics

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Zach must be so excited to come home to me…

Now — I’m at work waiting for my 10 AM meeting to start. ¬†I love sleeping in on late days, but not so much the late evenings. ¬†Obvious much?

QUESTION FOR THE DAY: What would you have done with the weird situation in the gym?

The Longest Trim of My Life

Phew….another day done!

My morning/afternoon looked a lot like yesterday as far as snacks go

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Nothing too exciting, but I do rely on them to get me through the work day.

Speaking of work snacks…

I work at an office that gets a lot of food donations from places like Whole Foods, Archer Farms, Safeway, etc. ¬†This results in a lot of food in our “break room” (the end of a hallway that includes the one staff bathroom and a sink). ¬†This little break area is loaded with stuff, primarily baked goods, just tempting me day in and day out. ¬†Most days it is not that difficult for me to say no , since I bring my own snacks and these are often highly processed and kind of gross. ¬†But you will notice I do sometimes ¬†bring home little snacks for later in the day as a part of my nightly dessert (or snacks for Zach so that he doesn’t eat my¬†dessert). This is today’s break area:

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That’s mini chocolate cookies, cupcakes (the icing I had yesterday), large oatmeal cookies, mini oatmeal cookies, and those soft iced cookies, and 2 clementines and a squash. ¬†Odd, right?

I thought it might be a fun thing to take a picture of this area and post it, as it is literally the most random/sometimes gross collection of food you may ever see.  Thoughts?

Moving on: I mentioned I had a hair cut on tap for tonight. ¬†While I didn’t take a before picture, know that it was bad and I looked something like this.

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Not pretty.  Well, I showed up at Salon Denver (salondenver.com) putting myself completely in their hands. My stylist was GREAT and we chatted through the 45 minutes I was there.   I told her I was getting married in a little over a month, so I wanted to keep as much length as possible, but also recognized that I let my ends FRY and I was willing to cut off as much as was needed for my hair to be healthy again.

Crappy Bathroom After Pictures:

Front

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The Back

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It’s hard to see from my crappy picture taking skillz (hello, Zach isn’t here to help!) ¬†but it looks SO MUCH BETTER. ¬†Literally, before the cut, my hair came to a triangle in the back (the stylist mentioned it, and laughed about it). ¬†Props to her, and note that this isn’t even straightened, just blow dried. ¬†Impressive. I’ll take a picture tomorrow to show how it looks styled.

Due to my hair being SO fried, I dropped a pretty penny on some supplies:

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Hopefully this will keep my ends from falling off again.  I have another appointment for a trim a few weeks after the wedding.  I need to keep up with these ends!

After the fun at the salon,  it was time to head home for cinderella duties.  Watering the plants, walking the pup in the crazy heat, feeding the furlady, and making some grub for Gus.

I’ve mentioned he eats pork and rice. ¬†Well, the process is pretty gross. ¬†A couple times a week, we have this:

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Gus loves it, we are grossed out, ha.  Oh well, whatever keeps out boy healthy.

Back to the the fun things: While I was watering the plants, I grabbed some fresh goodies from our garden to add to dinner tonight

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Basil and cherry tomatoes to add to my Whole Foods Grub:

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blueberry and pecan salad, teragon chicken salad, and a pretzel roll.

That food will hopefully turn into a delih spread for dinner tonight. ¬†I’ll update you with a plated picture later :). ¬†My plan for the evening is to relax and enjoy some bad TV and good dinner+dessert. ¬†Zach comes home tomorrow, so we’ll be back to our normal routine! ¬†I can’t wait!

QUESTION FOR THE NIGHT:  Do you have a lot of snacks/temptations at your work?