Category: Race Recap

My First Half Marathon!

My First Half Marathon!

I’M OFFICIALLY A HALF MARATHONER! I couldn’t be more happy or proud of this fact! After running 115 miles during 8 weeks of training, I ran my “victory lap” at the Urban Cow Half Marathon with 13.1 miles!

In last week’s post, I told you how I was having some serious hamstring problems in my right leg. My 8 mile long run was cut down to 3.5 and all my efforts to release the tightness were unsuccessful. Thankfully, a few days before the race, I tried a lying down hamstring stretch and felt it release! I was excited but still worried about it affecting my performance at the race. I continued doing this stretch a few times a day along with my usual rolling and stretching.

Because I was part of the Moms Run This Town HERD (team) I was invited to a special, early VIP packet pickup! On Thursday, I headed down to Fleet Feet Sacramento for this event and it was fun getting first access to all the special apparel and goodies created for this race! Plus, I got to bump into my friend Lisa who was there to pick up packets for almost our whole MRTT chapter!

Here we are with Howdy the cow!

After getting my bib packet and stocking up on gels and hydration powder, it was time to rest up for the race. On Saturday, I gathered everything together and laid out my Flat Christa.

Sunday morning finally came and although I was nervous, I was so ready and excited! My dad and I rode down to Sacramento together while my husband and son were going to meet us later.

Walking up to the event, the first thing we saw was the big She/Moms Run This Town tent! 12 Sacramento area chapters were represented at this race! We gathered for this awesome group photo.

I also found some ladies from my chapter and we all walked around sharing our excitement for the race.

Lisa, Kitty, Francine, and Gail – just a few members of my awesome running tribe!

We made our way to the start line but stayed aside while the first wave of the half marathon started. The first wave was for runners who could complete the race in less than 2 hours. While we waited for the second wave to line up, my friend Stephanie surprised me! She wasn’t intending on running this half but joined at the last minute. I was so happy to see her and feel her support!

Follow Stephanie on Instagram! @runstrongrun

Wave 1 finally cleared out and our wave lined up. My MRTT ladies all stood together and exchanged “you got this!” cheers and then they sounded the horn. It was go time!

Lisa and I ran together for the first 7 miles or so. We had so much fun chatting and checking out all there was to see! Costumes – like a man in a multi-color spiky wig and yellow legwarmers and the people running in full cow costumes! How did they not pass out from heat stroke in those things? Live bands jamming every few miles – we would dance, cheer and clap! Sights – like the famous yellow Tower Bridge and the Sacramento River!

My legs started to feel really tired around the 7 mile mark. I blame too much rest trying to avoid aggravating my hamstring before the race. I told Lisa to go on ahead because I was going to take an extra walking break. At that point, I honestly thought I’d rest a little and catch back up to her. Unfortunately, my legs never recovered and I started feeling a lot of pain in my feet, particularly on the soles. Lisa slowly crept further and further into the distance until I didn’t see her anymore.

But it was fun while it lasted!

I was kicking myself for sure but tried to remember everyone’s advice to me to just have fun at my first half. I did walk quite a bit more the last half of the race because my feet were in serious pain. Around mile 10, I had that thought that I think most runners get during a race like this, “Why did I do this to myself?” There were also some thoughts like “How do people do FULL marathons?!” haha! I just kept pushing on the best I could.

Howdy greeted me at mile 10!

During the final mile, “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga came on which ignited a small burst of energy that had me running more. I came around a corner and was met by this arch with a great cow pun and the excitement of knowing I only had a half mile to go.

That last half mile was quick, intermittent spurts of running – walking – running – walking. My feet were screaming stop but my will to reach the finish line kept me moving! I finally got to where the end was in sight and I pushed harder. Lisa had already finished and she came back to run me in. I sprinted as hard as I could and raised my arms in victory as I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:52!

Words can’t properly describe the feeling of accomplishment that washed over me. I was handed my awesome cowbell medal and then looked for my family. My dad found me first, gave me a big hug, and I started crying. While we were hugging, I saw my husband pushing my son up in the stroller with a big smile on his face. My son gave me a big kiss and my husband gave me a hug and said “You did it!” Seeing my family proud of me felt so good!

That’s Alex’s proud face

I went to the beer garden to enjoy my complimentary Lagunitas beer but, sadly, I had forgotten my I.D. My dad then told me he’d buy me a margarita at lunch. Thanks Dad!

I could barely walk so I sat down to change into my OOFOS recovery sandals. I took off my shoes and found one of my Pro Compression socks had a small spot of blood on it. I was cracking up and making jokes about being a “real” runner now. I took my socks off and found 9 blisters on my feet. This was weird because I didn’t get blisters on any of my training runs and I wasn’t wearing anything different. Also, my foot pain started at the 7 mile mark so it wasn’t because I was running further than I ever had. It’s a mystery.

We slowly shuffled back to the car and went to the Mexican restaurant El Papagayo. I wanted to give them a shout out because they have a whole page of vegan options on their menu AND their food is really good! Maybe it was because I had just run 13.1 miles, but I’m pretty sure I had the best margarita I’ve ever had there!

After lunch, we headed home and I prepared my first ever ice bath. I was scared and for good reason. It was terrible haha! I dunked my lower half in the water, lasted one whole second, said NOPE and got out. It was wayyyyy too cold! So I swapped it out for an epsom salt bath instead. That was much more relaxing!

On race day, I thought “I’m not doing another half for a long time!” The next day, I was looking up half marathons in Germany haha! It’s seriously an addiction! I’m not sure when my next half will be since it will be cold and snowy over there but I’m looking forward to the next round of training and the fun journey that will come with it!

Race Recap – EMPOWER Race 5k

Race Recap – EMPOWER Race 5k

Since I am a Sweat Pink Ambassador for Fit Approach, I had registered for this race all the way back in April. Needless to say, I had been looking forward to this race for quite some time! It was held at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA across the bay from San Francisco. Right next door? The Rosie the Riveter Museum! She is the ultimate symbol of empowerment and was the mascot for the race!

This was my first time running since the Peach Festival 5k 3 weeks ago. I took a break due to shin splint issues in my right leg. I was nervous it might flare up again but overall, I was so ready to get back to running! On Friday, the night before the event, I put together my Flat Christa!

I slipped into bed at 9 P.M. with my alarm set for 4 A.M.. I had a long drive ahead of me to be there at 7 for bib packet pickup. On Saturday, I started my morning with coffee and getting dressed. I hit the road at 5 and it was an easy, traffic-free drive to the event!

As I was driving, I kept checking the dashboard to see the temperature slowly dropping as I got closer and closer. I went from 75 degrees at home to 60 degrees by the bay! It was foggy and windy too so I was definitely freezing in my pink tank top.

That view is worth freezing for!

I should’ve known better since I’ve been to the bay area countless times. It may have been fate though because I was standing looking out at the water and a woman asked “Aren’t you cold?” I told her that yes, in fact, I was freezing and we laughed. She said that she’d also shown up in a tank top but luckily for her, she’d brought long sleeves in her car. This woman was Tara (follow her on Instagram: @medicineandmarathons) who is in SF for a short while for med school! Yes, that’s right, she’s going to be a doctor soon. How impressive is that? I’m also blown away by the fact that she’s doing all of that and still running races and keeping a healthy lifestyle.

We bonded over being cold, took some photos, and got to know each other while we waited to run. She is a really sweet person! When it was time to line up, I followed her to the start and she planted herself right in the front. I had to tell her “Well…I’m going further back because I’m not this fast!” We laughed and I headed to the middle where I belonged. I always love the starting line because everyone has that nervous or excited energy buzzing through them. We’re all stretching, moving, shaking out, ready to go! We can’t be still. I love it.

We finally heard the countdown and we were off! I started very slowly just to feel out my shin and make sure I didn’t overdo it. The course was gorgeous. We ran all along the water and there were boatyards and beautiful parks. I wish I could run on that path every day!

My first mile was a little under 12 minutes so I was fairly pleased with that time.

I kicked it up a little bit with each mile after that for negative splits. I did have to take several walking breaks but I was fine with it. I was just so happy to be running again and I kept waiting for my shin to hurt but it didn’t.

I came around the final corner and crossed the finish line with a smile on my face!

I was handed this beautiful Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap as a finisher’s prize.

“Sweat. Run. Empower.” Could there be a more perfect quote for me? That could be the Sweating Awesome motto. Working hard, exercising, and motivating others to get healthy is why I started this blog! I think this wrap will hold a special place with me always. My second finisher’s prize came in the form of the cutest pancake ever.

It was tasty too.

I wandered around a while, took a lot of photos, watched people crossing the finish line, and then headed into the Pavilion to check my official results. It wasn’t my best race but considering I hadn’t run in 3 weeks, I was feeling really good about my time!

After seeing that, I headed upstairs to browse the vendor booths. As I walked about, I had a few different ladies ask me if I was going to yoga. I had totally forgotten that my race registration included access to a Flex and Flow yoga class! I changed my clothes, found Tara, and we grabbed some spots right in front.

The class was intense with some challenging moves but I felt so relaxed, stretched, and refreshed afterward! It was pretty amazing getting to do yoga with the women of Fit Approach! If you follow them, they do yoga all over the place and it was so cool to see that in person!

Photo credit: instagram.com/fitapproach

I don’t think my words can adequately express what a wonderful race this was. The feeling of empowerment seeing females supporting each other, the cool ocean air, the beautiful course, the feeling of doing something I love after taking a long break. These feelings are priceless and this event was simply amazing!

Race Recap – Marysville Peach Festival 5k

Race Recap – Marysville Peach Festival 5k

The Marysville Peach Festival 5k is a small event benefiting the Feather River YMCA. The race is put on by my former gym Training Zone and is attached to the popular local Peach Festival held every summer. The night before the race, I picked up my bib packet and sorted through all the goodies.

Then it was time for my favorite part – Flat Christa 🙂

I must say it was nice to be running in an event only 10 minutes away from my house for a change. I was able to “sleep in” until 5:30 A.M. when I usually have to be up at 4 for races. I got myself and everything ready to go and grabbed a few of these healthy oatmeal cupcakes I had made.

I was going to be racing with Alex in the stroller for the first time ever and I needed some breakfast to go. Best of all, Alex really liked them! He’s a somewhat picky eater so I call that a win. Here is a link to the recipe (side note: I skipped the chocolate chips and added cinnamon and chia seeds instead.)

We made the short drive over to Marysville, parked, and made our way to the Bok Kai Temple where everyone was meeting outside for the race. I found a couple of my Moms Run This Town friends there!

We caught up, talked about our goals for the race, and discussed how awesome Pro Compression socks are in both cuteness (that’s important, right?) and running benefits.

We headed up to the starting line and found another MRTT friend of ours!

We started chatting with her but we soon heard the announcer say that all walkers and runners with strollers had to head to the back of the pack. Off Alex and I went. I kept looking around through the crowd trying to find my friend Kelsey who was supposed to be at the race but I couldn’t find her. Before I knew it, the race was starting.

Alex wasn’t feeling the sun

I wish I would have ignored the instruction to stand in the back and stood in the middle like normal. When the race started, it was a slow shuffle like every race to get going. The problem was that the road was very narrow, only about 3 runners wide. I was unable to pass people in the grass like I normally would since I had the stroller. It took over half a mile to finally get my own space where I could run freely.

I had gone into this race knowing I was going to take it slowly. First of all, I was pushing the stroller. My 26 lb son + stroller + a bag full of toys and snacks = probably 40+ pounds. Second, it was hot! We didn’t start until 8 and the temperature was already pushing 90*F with little to no shade on the course. Third, hills. Eww hills. I’ve run this course once before so I knew there were a few steep ones. Fourth, I have a minor case of shin splints in my right leg that needs to heal before I start Half Marathon training. For all these reasons, I was in no way expecting to set a personal record.

Crossing the bridge

The course is slightly longer than a true 5k at 3.4 miles in length. We started on a levee, ran downhill past a park, uphill and across a bridge, down another levee, turned around and went back. Taking it slow was nice! I just enjoyed the views of the river, ran when I could, and walked when I couldn’t. The heat definitely got to me and I walked more than I thought I would. The hills were rough and I blame that mostly on the weight of the stroller. The final hill going back up to the first levee was the worst! I even took a picture to commemorate the horribleness haha. This photo does it zero justice…it looks so flat but I promise it was a big one!

Once I made it to the top, everything was great! Having zero pressure to achieve any sort of time was nice. I was pressing on and along came Kelsey running the other way! I had assumed she didn’t make it so I was happy to see that she had. I kept creeping along, crossed the finish line, and felt completely satisfied with my effort. There was no chip timer and I forgot to stop my Garmin when I finished so I have no idea what my time was and I’m totally fine with that. I was expecting a fun run and that’s exactly what I got!

I found my MRTT friends at the end and a couple of them had set some new PRs! I congratulated them and we got to talk for a bit while I waited for Kelsey to finish. I knew I wanted to say hello to her before I left. I don’t know what her time was, but it must have been fast because I feel like I wasn’t done long before she came speeding through the finish line!

After she got some water and caught her breath, she explained that her bib had been given to someone else so she had to go through a whole ordeal to get a new one and started the race 10 minutes late. In an unexpected twist, we got to spend the rest of the morning together enjoying the Peach Festival! She even treated me to a Sonoran Hot Dog which was SO GOOD.

SO. GOOD.

We meandered around for a couple of hours browsing the booths and sampling all the tasty treats. Alex enjoyed all the people, looking at toys, and playing with a balloon Kelsey got for him!

All in all, it was just a great day with a fun race and I loved having Alex with me. It was especially nice getting to see a lot of friendly faces! Plus you can’t beat devouring ALL the food after a hard run, right?

Race Recap – Women’s Fitness Festival 5k

Race Recap – Women’s Fitness Festival 5k

I had been patiently waiting for this race to come around. I was excited because I had heard it was a pretty huge event and it was called Women’s Fitness Festival. I love female empowerment and women supporting each other so I was ready to be surrounded by that kind of energy! Added bonus: my good running friend Stephanie from runstrongrun.com was running the 10k! I always love getting the chance to meet up with her, especially at races.

This event was created by Fleet Feet Sac and supports a very important cause. The proceeds benefit a local program called WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment) that helps women suffering from domestic abuse and sexual assault. You can read more about this program here. The Women’s Fitness Festival also has free health screenings for all participants and provides awareness and education on women’s health!

The night before the event, I made my shirt and laid out my #FlatMe per my usual pre-race tradition!

I got up at 4 A.M. to get ready. First things first? Coffee. I sipped it while I got dressed. This was my first time trying out Pro Compression socks. I looked in the mirror and felt a little silly wearing such tall socks but I think they are so cute so I was just gonna roll with it. I asked my husband Chris “How do I look?” and he let out a chuckle. He said I looked like a caricature of myself and that I looked cute haha!

Once everything was together, I hopped in the car at 5:30 for the trek to Sacramento. I feel like I beat the crowd heading down that early because I was able to park right across the street from the capitol building. Speaking of which, what a great backdrop to a race!

I slowly made my way over toward the event while enjoying the scenery and cool morning air. Then I met up with Stephanie!

She was hanging out with her awesome #runsquad of 6 other women! I introduced myself and we chatted while waiting for start time. Everyone was sharing their goals for the race and Stephanie asked what mine was. I told her that I just wanted to have fun and enjoy my run with no expectations. She responded “You’re going to set a PR. It’s just what you do!”

Eventually we realized we were all wearing Pro Compression socks and needed an obligatory sock circle photo!

We honestly did not plan this haha

After that we headed for the Start line!

This photo captures the spirit of this event. Over 4,000 amazing, strong women came together to celebrate each other and our love of running!

This was my first race where they had different pace times divided up. A few of us stood together near the 10:00 min/mile sign.

I knew I couldn’t run a 10:00 mile for 3 miles but I decided I wasn’t going to let the pacer out of my sight. This race was women only but the pacers were mostly men. They dressed the part and paced in drag! 😀

I figured if I could still see him, maybe I would get that PR Stephanie was predicting.

The cute girl in the pink glasses to the right of me is Alandrea AKA Mrs.motherrunner on Instagram! Go follow her!

The race announcer did our countdown and we all slowly shuffled through the Start line. It was very crowded so it took a while for everyone to get a little breathing room. Once we did, Stephanie and the other ladies took off like the speedy runners they are and I just kept my eyes on that 10:00 pace sign.

Like every race, I wanted to go fast but told myself go slow. It’s kind of funny how hard it is to do that! The course took us in a loop through the city streets. On almost every corner, there would be a big group of people, most of which were in costumes or had big signs cheering us on! At one point, I heard a girl on the phone telling her mom “I’m behind the girl with the black and white tube socks.” haha!

While I really enjoyed myself during this race, I ran harder than I had ever run. I only took a few very short (we’re talking less than 15 seconds) walking breaks. That last mile was tough but I could see us getting closer and closer to the capitol and that helped me push myself. I sprinted through the finish line and then I was so relieved when it was over! I have proof…look at this picture!

There were firemen waiting with our completion medals which I thought was really cool! After being handed my medal, someone handed me a water bottle and I found a grassy spot to sit and rest for a minute. After I hydrated and caught my breath, I headed for the Results laptops to check my time. Stephanie had called it. She had gotten in my head and manifested a new personal record for me! At 32:35, I had run this race a whole minute and a half faster than my previous PR set a only month before.

After reading my results, I decided to hit some booths before the crowd got too big. I loved being able to shop for running apparel and accessories after my race! I went straight to the giant Fleet Feet Sports Asics tent and got myself a running tank. Then I saw the Whole Foods tent across the street and walked that way. That’s when I bumped into a few of Stephanie’s friends and we decided to eat all together. We were served the tastiest granola I’ve ever had on top of some greek yogurt with fresh fruit on the side. For the next half hour, I got to know these ladies a little bit and they were so wonderful! I was just a mutual friend of Stephanie’s but they were taking the time to ask about me and share about themselves. They were incredibly nice and interesting women and it was so refreshing getting to know them!

After devouring that seriously delicious granola and seeing a few more booths, we were finally ready for our ultimate race reward: The Mimosa Garden.

Just imagine the sound of angels singing here

We went through the line, got our drinks, and found a table where we continued to enjoy each other’s company.

The mimosa was pretty small but it was SO YUMMY. I was bummed I couldn’t have another!

Stephanie had been enjoying the booths but caught up to us when we finished our drinks. We had to get a picture together with our beautiful medals.

Alas, it was time to part ways. Chris and Alex were waiting for me at home. I told everyone how nice it was to meet them all, said goodbye, and headed home. Also, my socks? They were great! My legs didn’t burn and my toes didn’t go numb. These were issues I’d been having when running 3 or more miles. They’re really comfortable too, not constricting! I always wear them on longer runs now!

I recommend this race to all women! If you can’t attend this race, I encourage you to find an all-women race near you! I absolutely loved participating in an event that celebrates females. I’ll be moving to Germany at the end of this year so unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this race again. It’s a huge bummer! So I need you all to go for me so I can live vicariously 😀

Race Recap – Run Around the Rice 5k

Race Recap – Run Around the Rice 5k

I had debated for a few weeks whether I should participate in this race or not. I knew my dad would be in town, it was almost an hour drive away, and I had a 19 month old to plan around. My running friend Kelsey started telling me I needed to do it because she and her friend Katja were going. Then a few days later, I got a text from Stephanie (RunStrongRun) saying I should go because she was doing the 10k. I finally caved under the peer pressure 😀 I asked my dad if he’d like to attend and he said yes so I registered for the race. I did think it would be pretty cool for him to see me doing my thing 🙂

As usual, I had to do my ritual flat Christa photo the night before.

Setting these up is almost as fun as the race.

I went to bed early to get plenty of rest. I woke up and had my coffee and got ready. I had an English muffin, banana, and cherries for breakfast.

My dad and I made the drive out to Richvale, CA. It was just fields and fields of rice paddies which I find pretty and peaceful. We parked and started walking down the gravel road toward the event. We walked up right as the 10k runners were taking off! I saw Stephanie and Kelsey running away among the group.

It was a small event so there weren’t many booths so my dad and I just chatted, took photos, and waited for the 5k to start.

 About 10 minutes before run time, the 5k runners started getting in place at the starting line.

I shook out my legs, started my running playlist, and got my Nike+ running app ready to go.

8:30 A.M. came and it was 3…2…1… START!

Something I noticed almost immediately was how hot it was. I assumed a morning race would be nice and cool but that wasn’t the case.

The first half mile or so was on gravel road. I was concentrating on pacing myself and not taking off too fast at the beginning. This was especially important since we were obviously going to be running on unpaved terrain and it was going to be harder than a normal run. After a while, we turned right and started on a grass and dirt trail that lasted most of the race. The paddies around us were serene and I was enjoying the nature. It was a really pretty run!

Nike+ chimed in at mile 1 with my time of 10:39. I was surprised that I had gone that fast since I was trying to go slower but I guess the race adrenaline was making me speedy anyway. I was feeling good and this time had me excited that I might get another new PR.

But then came mile 2.

I had made a huge mistake. I had eaten that big breakfast instead of my usual Clif Bar. Stomach cramps hit me hard. I tried to power through them at first but it made them worse. I had to walk almost the whole second mile. I kept trying to run when it would subside but they would come right back. I was upset. I didn’t know if the cramps were going to stop, I hate walking during a race, and my chance at a PR was crushed. My morale went out the window.

Around the mile 3 starting point, there was a station of people cheering and one of them was holding a sign that said “Just keep running!” It gave me motivation to try to run again. The stomach cramps stayed at a minimum the rest of the race but now I was dealing with other issues. I was hot, worn out and my calves were burning from running on the trail. I was able to run a lot more of the third mile but I still had to take some walking breaks. My dad saw me struggling and texted me the sweetest thing!

I was mentally defeated, burning up, dehydrated, and my left foot was getting sharp pains if I landed on the rocks a certain way. Despite all this, once I saw the finish line, I wouldn’t let myself stop running.

Notice the heat blurs behind me

A big part of what kept me going was knowing my dad was watching. I found the strength to push through, keep running, and I even sprinted at the very end.

This was the hardest race I’ve run so I was just relieved that it was over! I paced around catching my breath and my dad led me to a literal trough filled with water bottles haha. I told him about all the trouble I was having and he told me he was proud of me 🙂 When I felt less like I was dying, I made it to the Results laptop to check my time. As expected, I hadn’t set a new PR but I was shocked to see that I had placed 2nd in the Female 30-39 group! I had never placed in a race before so I was really excited!

After that, we found Stephanie and said hello! She also placed 2nd in her age group for the 10k! We posed together with our finisher medals.

Then I heard “Christa Christa!” and Kelsey and her friend Katja had found us. This was Kelsey’s first 10k! Katja actually finished as the #1 female overall for the 5k. Great accomplishments all around!

Me, Kelsey, and Katja!

Instead of medals, they handed out goodie bags for all of the finishers. What was inside? Rice of course!

I mean…why WOULDN’T you win rice at the Run Around the Rice 5k/10k?

The day came to a close with a crop duster flying right over us!

In spite of how bad I felt during the race, overall it was a great time! I got some experience with challenges I hadn’t faced before so I can be more prepared in future events. I’m glad my friends talked me into it and that my dad got to be there! Every race just makes me want to participate in more. I love the challenge, the satisfaction of accomplishment, and most of all, the community and camaraderie! The people make it a hundred times more fun.

Be sure to take a look at my races page and furthermore, sign up for some and join me!

I’m Just 1 Pound Away…

I’m Just 1 Pound Away…

Happy Monday!

This was the 2nd and final week of the Sweating Awesome Facebook Accountability Group. I loved this group because we lifted each other up and they helped me A LOT. I stuck to my goals, got back on track with eating, and I lost 2 more pounds this week for a total of 4 pounds lost during the group. I hadn’t lost weight for 2 weeks before we formed up so they really turned me around!

I weigh 200 lbs for a total weight loss of 105 lbs! I wanted to hit 199 and enter “onederland” but that’s okay. I’ll get it next week for sure! I may have gotten there if I’d exercised more but I was dealing with foot pain waiting for my new shoes to arrive and resting up for a 5k. Here’s a rundown of my workouts this week:

I had a special challenge during this second week in the form of my dad being in town for a visit. I don’t know about you, but anytime we have a visitor or we go on vacation, I eat pretty horribly. We always go out to eat a lot and it’s not always easy to find a healthy dish to order. Or, if you’re like me, it’s not always easy to pick the healthy dish 🙂 Thanks to the Accountability Group, I made the extra effort to make sure we always ate somewhere with healthy options and I ordered them! There were a few times that I felt bad that we couldn’t eat at some of the less nutritious places my dad and I like to go to (Hello, In N Out!) The group helped me get more comfortable with the idea of making sure I’m taking care of my health no matter what. I know 100% my dad didn’t mind where we ate, but I feel bad or less fun in situations like that. But guess what…we all ate and had a lot of fun and it didn’t matter! I need to take this lesson forward with me when I don’t have a group to fall back on.

My dad rode his motorcycle from Colorado here to California for this visit. Then, something happened that hadn’t happened in 10 years: I got to ride on the bike with him! This is significant to me because I used to be too big to ride with him. He never said it and I never asked but I knew. He rides to military memorials and monuments for the Tour of Honor which benefits veterans. So we set out to visit 2 sites in my local area.

These memorials were beautiful and well-kept. I appreciate the fact that my dad honors fallen heroes like this.

We also kept seeing rooster/chicken art everywhere we went!

We found a great restaurant in Woodland, CA called Chick Peas for lunch.

I had a chicken hummus plate with yummy veggie toppings and pita! I was happy to find this gem among the more convenient unhealthy food joints around.

It felt great to go out on the bike again. I feel more connected to nature and my surroundings than I do in a car. I feel the same way when I run outside. The reminder of how far I’ve come with my weight loss was a nice cherry on the sundae.

On Tuesday, my shiny new shoes arrived on my front door step! On Wednesday, I took them out for a 2 mile run and they felt amazing. It was like running on clouds!

I was running a little slower and pacing myself for an easy run. With my old shoes, that would’ve had me at about 11:30 pace per mile. These shoes made a huge difference with an average pace of 10:54. That pace would have been me pushing myself in my old shoes. Crazy! My knee problem also seemed to disappear once I made the switch. My foot is still healing from feeling like it has no padding. I have to wear sandals around the house because I stand on the hard floor in the kitchen a lot. Anyway, these shoes are fantastic! I will definitely be more mindful about when to upgrade from now on.

I also got my first Momentum wrap bracelet that you can see in the photo above. It says “She believed she could so she did” which I felt was the most perfect quote to sum up my weight loss and running journey. These bracelets are cute and when I struggle with a run, now I know I can look down and there will be a reminder of my hard work to push me!

On Saturday, May 20th, I participated in the Run Around the Rice 5k in Richvale, CA! I will be posting a race recap soon but let me just say, it was a hard run. Overall, it was a fun event and great learning experience and I’m glad I ran it!

Remember last week when I said I was thinking about running the Golden Gate Half Marathon? I’m probably going to do it. I was offered free entry into another half marathon which was tempting but I kept thinking about how we’re a military family and this could be my only chance to run the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s funny how life works because that’s been on my mind all week and then we actually got orders this weekend. We’ll be moving to Germany soon! It’s going to be an exciting new adventure. Being a runner, of course, one of my first thoughts was about finding beautiful places to run haha 😀 BUT…back to my main topic here, this is just one more thing pushing me toward this half marathon!

Do you have any advice for training for a big race? Comment below! Also take a look at my Races page and join me 🙂

Race Recap -Sutter Buttes Spirit Mountain Run 5k

Race Recap -Sutter Buttes Spirit Mountain Run 5k

All week I had been preparing to run in the world’s smallest mountain range, the Sutter Buttes! I knew this was a bigger race so I wanted to have realistic expectations. Instead of setting my sights on a medal, I set my goal to be a new personal record time for 3.1 miles. My husband told me that his best run times come after resting for 3 or 4 days. I wanted to test his theory but I’m trying to lose weight here so I couldn’t convince myself to put my feet up for more than 1 day! So Friday I took a time out. Honestly, I felt restless all morning. I usually only take a rest day after an intense workout the day before. I had been taking it pretty easy most of the week to preserve my legs and knee that has still been bothering me so this wasn’t the case. I had some errands to run in the afternoon so I was able to at least get rid of some energy.

I went to New Earth Market (AKA my favorite health food store) that evening to pick up my bib packet. It was exciting! The pickup table was full of people rushing back and forth grabbing t-shirts and bags. Everyone was cheery and having fun with it. A woman behind the table asked for my name and found me on the list. She asked another lady to grab a shirt for me and while we waited, she was asking me if I was excited and what distance I was running. She was just so friendly and all that excitement around the table just made me feel even more enthusiastic about the race!

The bib packet was this great reusable bag filled with tons of swag!

I had never received such a nice bag of goodies for a race before. It’s usually just a ziploc with your shirt and bib so this was a special surprise!

That night, I got all my things together, ready to go. I took my #flatme picture which, I have to say, is a really fun little pre-race tradition!

I tried to get to bed at 9 P.M. to get plenty of sleep but I didn’t make it until close to 10. At 3 A.M. my son woke up crying because he’s currently teething. I waited about 5 minutes to see if he would fall back asleep but he didn’t so I got up. I had to use the bathroom before I went to check on him but while I was doing that, he did end up falling asleep again. Good for him but bad for me haha! I laid back in bed and tried to sleep but my mind started shuffling through everything I was going to be doing that day. I gave up on sleep by 3:30 and decided to make the most of my time.

I double-checked that everything was ready to go. I got dressed and put on some makeup which might be silly but I knew I’d be taking a lot of pictures for Instagram. Then I had some coffee and breakfast.

Fried egg, canteloupe, and strawberries

After breakfast, I did some really relaxing stretching and used the foam roller on my legs. I wasn’t doing yoga but I felt like it! I was just so zen and I felt really ready to take on the day.

My good friend Katharine (who you may remember from my last 5k recap) came over to babysit and she was kind enough to snap a photo of me in the back yard.

After that, I was off! I drove about a half hour up to Sutter, CA. I went ahead and ate my Clif Bar on the drive so that I wouldn’t be hungry during my run. They are seriously the perfect race fuel.

I got to the venue pretty early so there was no crowd. I was able to go around and take some photos without feeling too dorky.

I couldn’t believe how much colder it was than it had been outside my house. It’s only 9 feet higher in elevation but I was freezing without a jacket. I tried to keep moving and survive until the race.

Shortly before the half marathon was going to start, I bumped into my new runner friend Stephanie of RunStrongRun!

I complimented her cute neon outfit (seriously, she is always perfectly runmatchy!) we had a quick catch up, wished each other luck, and she got in line to do the half. That’s when the start line collapsed under the pressure of the impending 13.1 miles.

Race organizers quickly re-inflated the poor thing, the half marathon runners took off and those of us doing the 5k and 10k started to gather next. I got my running playlist on Spotify started and shook out my nerves while we waited. I looked up and saw somebody waving at me. It was my former running instructor, Crystal! This is the trainer who patiently walked with me on my first run ever and told me not to stop trying (mentioned in this post!) I told her that I started this blog and wrote about her but before we could finish our conversation, we got the signal to start our race!

I learned my lesson from my last 5k and controlled my momentum. The excitement of the race definitely made me want to take off full speed at the start. This time, I took deep breaths, slowed down a bit, and reminded myself of the debacle of my poor pacing last race. Once I did that, everything clicked and I felt great.

This is definitely the prettiest place I’ve run so far. We passed a farm during the first half mile and I saw…and smelled…some sheep. Not the best when you’re trying to breathe in your nose and out your mouth to keep your heart rate down haha! Seriously though, I was just really enjoying myself looking at the hills and breathing the mostly fresh air!

I reached the 1.5 mile mark where there was a water station so I grabbed a cup. I took a couple of the fastest swigs ever, threw the cup in the trash, and turned around to head back in a hurry. Water sloshed on my cheek and chin and when I turned around, there was a photographer there taking my picture! I tried to quickly wipe my face while running but I think she got quite the gem of a photo.

I was pretty pleased at this point with the fact that my run back was going just as well as my first half. Again, my nike+ running app had failed me so I didn’t know my pace but at least this time I knew how far I had gone thanks to the turnaround.

At what I assume was about the 2.5 mile mark, I was starting to lose a little steam. I was focusing on my breathing, putting one foot in front of the other, and envisioning the finish line. I passed a few people walking and then HUMBLE by Kendrick Lamar came on my playlist. It was exactly the song I needed to get my steam back. It’s my current favorite running song so I got really excited! Too excited. I took a screenshot to remember the song that was firing me up for the final stretch of my race, fumbled my phone, and dropped it. Oops. It probably only cost me 4 or 5 seconds but I was trying for a PR so I was worried this would keep that from happening. Note to self: leave your phone in your SPIbelt. Or keep calm when hearing Kendrick Lamar. Yeah I probably won’t do either.

I kicked my pace up a notch after the phone fiasco and made it to the finish line! After catching my breath, I found Crystal again and finished telling her how thankful I am that she encouraged me to keep running last year. She had a hand in changing my life!

After we talked, I found the results laptops to check my time. I was thrilled to find I had indeed achieved my goal of a new PR. I beat my old record of 34:31 and ran it in 33:55! Not a huge difference but hey, I met my goal and improved!

It was such a great race experience from picking up my bib until the end. I’ve even decided that as long as I’m able, I’m going to try for the half marathon next year! It would be an excellent challenge and I’d get to see more of the Sutter Buttes mountains in all their glory.

Are you training for a race right now? I’d love to hear about what race you’re doing and what your goals are. Comment below! Also take a gander at my Races page and sign up to run with me!

Race Recap: Harmony Health Earth Day 5k – Part 2!

Race Recap: Harmony Health Earth Day 5k – Part 2!

Welcome back! At the end of Part 1 of my recap, we were heading to the starting line ready to run our 5k!

All of the runners got to the starting line and we began patiently waiting.

The organizer was waiting for one of the color stations to radio her and tell her they were ready. So we kept waiting.

Katharine and Alex had found a place to sit nearby and they were watching. I kept waving at them and I could see Alex saying “Mama Mama Mama.” We had to wait about 15 minutes before we were finally ready to go. The organizer yelled “READY. SET. GO!” and we were off!

Big lesson learned from this race? Pace yourself. I ignored negative splitting and just went for it. I was running a pace that wasn’t quite as fast as I could go but it was definitely above what I normally do. This caused me to keep speeding up and slowing down and I even had to stop for a couple short walk breaks within the first 2 miles. Not good!

One of my favorite things about races is that you kind of get these stranger running buddies! You’ll have people going about the same pace as you and for me, they help me push myself to keep up with them or even go faster than them. There was a man in his 50s or 60s with a bright green shirt doing the right thing and running nice and steady. I kept passing him and falling behind him because of my very unsteady pacing. I hope I’m still running at his age. He was inspirational and motivated me to keep going!

We started out running on sidewalk and asphalt but then we headed out on a trail. It was unexpected for me and I had never run on a trail before!

It was kind of hard just because I was being careful with every step. The trail had a lot of holes and dips and I didn’t want an injury. We did a couple of laps like that and then ventured back to the familiar concrete where I felt much more comfortable.

I was running faster than I ever had. My Nike+ Running app lost signal for a while so I had no idea how far I had gone. We came to a part of the race where we were close to the starting point and it seemed like the finish line was close.

Alex clapping for all the runners going by.

I could tell the woman just ahead of me was in my same age group so I sped up to pass her and started running as fast as I could. I really wanted a medal haha! The joke was on me because we still had 3/4 of a mile to go and I had just burned myself out.

Once I realized there was no finish line in sight, I had to take a walk break. The woman I passed rightly ran past me and I didn’t see her again. She was awesome! I kept trying to get into the music playing in my earbuds to keep running. This definitely helped me to push myself but my body was just not up to it. I had to take several short walk breaks for that last 0.75 mile stretch. Running too hard in the beginning like that was a rookie mistake but I’m still happy with my overall time.


I crossed the finish line in less than 35 minutes!

Katharine and Alex were waiting for me at the finish line and I felt so good even though I was totally worn out. They were ready with bottles of water for me and we found a nice spot to sit for a while and talk about my run. After I caught my breath and rested a bit, we went back over to Olive Hill to wait for the medals to be handed out.

When we got there, we saw a wonderful sight!

SNO-CONES!

These sno-cones were exactly what we needed. It was sunny and warm out so they were the perfect post-race treat!

Alex liked it too!

I came in 3rd place in my division only to find they were only giving medals to 1st and 2nd place. Major bummer! I had to remind myself that it’s not just about medals even though it would’ve been really nice. I ran harder and faster than ever, and while I made the mistake of wearing myself out early, I have improved immeasurably since I started my running journey last September! I like to remember back to May of last year when I first started working out. Katharine and I were walking on treadmills together and she was doing some jogging intermittently. I told her how awesome I thought it was that she could run. I also remember telling her “I’ll never run!” with a scoff. Ha! I wouldn’t have believed then that I would be a full-time runner less than a year later. Never say never!

My next race will be the Sutter Buttes Spirit Mountain Run 5k on May 6th! You can check out my Race Page here! I hope to see some friendly faces there!

Race Recap: Harmony Health Earth Day 5k – Part 1!

Race Recap: Harmony Health Earth Day 5k – Part 1!

This week was all about this 5k! I took a rest day and I did very simple run/walk sessions for 5 days. I stuck to my usual calorie count around 1200 per day and I hit my goal losing 2 lbs bringing my total to 97 lbs lost!

The night before the race (talk about procrastination) I made my race t-shirt. I had ordered iron-on letters from Amazon and got the tee at Walmart for only $3.88. Talk about a steal!

Less than a minute of ironing later, I had this cute ensemble!

Introducing Flat Me.

After a good night’s sleep, I started my day with some tasty race fuel in the form of a whole grain bagel with butter and some fresh pineapple. And of course, my daily cup of coffee. Mmm!

Alex asked for toast and honey! He’s getting so good at talking!

Two hours before the race, I ate my favorite flavor of Clif Bar. I didn’t want to feel too full but I didn’t want to be hungry while I ran. It was perfect!

I packed up my new handy SPIbelt and we were on our way to the race!

This belt is seriously amazing for running! It stays right where I put it and doesn’t ride or roll up. It held 2 cards, my keys, my hair tie, and my phone during the race and it didn’t move or bounce at all. Plus, they have a ton of different colors and patterns that are so cute! They’re nice and inexpensive too…I highly recommend them!

We arrived at Yuba College where the race was being held at 11 A.M. to sign in. As you can see, Alex was excited by all the commotion of people building booths, setting up sound equipment, and kids running around and playing. He was ready for a day of fun!

I signed in and got my bib and race t-shirt.

We roamed around a bit because Olive Hill at the college is a pretty little park.

My dear friend Katharine met us there so she could hang out with Alex while I ran.

She showed up with these incredibly sweet and adorable signs to cheer me on!!

After taking some pictures and catching up, we headed over to the starting line and I was ready to run!

Click here for Part 2!

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