Another Race Weekend!


I will not have an opportunity to do a post on Friday, so I wanted to take a moment today to preview my 13th half marathon which will be happening on Saturday morning!

This one is called the Oak Barrel Half in Lynchburg, TN and race registration opened in October and sold out within a day.  The price was incredibly reasonable—around $55.  The swag is great, medal is made out of a jack daniels barrel and it looks like it has great small town charm.

Since I PRed big at Shamrock, ran 20 miles on Sunday, and have another 20 miler scheduled for next Sunday… I’m not planning on anything other than having fun!  There is a nasty hill called Whisky Hill on the course which has its own facebook page!

I’ll be flying to Nashville early Friday morning, I’ve got a car to get to Lynchburg.  The plan is to take a tour of the Jack Daniels factory (that’s what Lynchburg is known for), pick up my packet for the race, eat a good lunch/dinner, and then spend the rest of the afternoon at the hotel pool relaxing.

After the race on Saturday (it starts at 8am),  I’m planning on heading back to Nashville and hopefully taking a tour of the Grand Ole Opry.  I’d love to check out the Bluebird Café (a staple on the tv show Nashville that I love) but it’s not open for lunch.  My flight heads back to Chicago around 3:30 and then it’s back to my hometown for Easter with the family and finally getting my dog back!  It’s been far too long without her—almost a month!  I’ve been super busy at work and running, so I really didn’t have a whole lot of time to care for her.  I’ll still be busy but not as bad as March!

I’ll check back in next week with a full recap of the weekend!


Weekly Recap


Monday, March 23rd: 21 Day Fix Extreme

Tuesday, March 24th: 3 miles running, 21 Day Fix Extreme

Wednesday, March 25th: 5 miles running, 21 Day Fix Extreme

Thursday, March 26th: 3 miles running, 21 Day Fix Extreme

Friday, March 27th: Run the Bluegrass Expo

Saturday, March 28th: Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon

Sunday, March 29th: Rest Day

My calves are still burning from the hills at the Run the Bluegrass Half, but overall it was an AMAZING experience! I am so happy that I was able to run in it, and also happy to say that I got a PR! I will recap the race later this week.

My week leading up to the half was pretty calm. I got a few runs in, but nothing too hard because I wanted to make sure I was well rested for Kentucky. Now, I am back in full training because I have another half marathon in less than 2 weeks – the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon. Luckily I don’t have to stress out about traveling because this race is about 5 minutes away! I am really pumped up for the race and definitely looking for a BIG PR! Unlike Run the Bluegrass, this is a pretty flat course so I couldn’t be more happy about that :)



Monday, March 23rd: Rest Day

Tuesday, March 24th: 4.19 miles running on treadmill (10:44 pace)

Wednesday, March 25th: Rest Day

Thursday, March 26th: 4.24 miles running on treadmill (10:36 pace)

Friday, March 27th: Rest Day

Saturday, March 28th: 10 miles run/walk OUTSIDE (13:15 pace)

Sunday, March 29th: 20 miles running on treadmill (broken into 2 ten mile runs) (overall 10:37 pace)

This was the week I was dreading the most on my training schedule for the Flying Pig.  I knew it was going to be crazy/busy/horrible.  I had two special events at work—one on Thursday evening and an huge one on Saturday morning!  I knew that doing 30 miles this weekend with my large event on Saturday was going to be a bit of a struggle, but I finished and I got it all done!!

After my event on Saturday, I was able to get in my 10 miler outside.  It was decent weather and I felt pretty good—especially since it’s my “slower” day for training.

Sunday morning, I set my alarm for 5:30 am hoping to be outside to do my 20 miler before I had to be at work by 12 pm.  I looked at the weather forecast and determined that it was going to rain around 10 am (I wouldn’t be done with my miles at that point) and there was a big wind advisory (40 mph gusts).  So I made the decision to sleep a bit longer… do 10 miles on the treadmill, go to work for a few hours and then finish the day with the remaining 10 miles.  Not exactly how you should do a 20 miler, but I had to make it work!

Friday I will be heading to Lynchburg, TN to run in the Oak Barrel Half Marathon on Saturday!  I’m not expecting any sort of PR—in fact it might be one of my slowest races with the darn hills!

Have a great running week!


Shamrocking Weekend Recap!

In order to keep moving forward on the blog (remember, my next half is on April 4th)… I’m going to keep this recap just to one post!

Here is my top 10 memories/moments of the Shamrock Weekend!

1—Traveling to Virginia Beach

Kathryn picked me up from Reagan airport on Friday morning.  My flight was a little delayed (mechanical issues) but I still got in only 30 minutes behind schedule.  Before we headed back to her house to wait for her husband to come home, we made a quick stop to Subway to eat something before our trip to Virginia Beach.  I’m so glad we did because it took us almost 5 hours to get to Virginia Beach!


Once we got to Virginia Beach, we headed straight to the expo.  We needed to get our bibs for the 8k the next morning.  We also got our shirts and bags as well.  For the half, we got a short sleeve tech shirt and for the 8k we got a long sleeve cotton tee. They also gave us a great drawstring bag for both races as well.

The official merchandise was less to be desired.  There was one dolphin challenge shirt and the sizes were already very picked over.  I picked up a dolphin challenge magnet and a pint glass—which they gave me a reusable shopping bag!

After checking out the other vendors… it wasn’t too big but not too small (honestly, I’ve been to so many expos, it’s all kind of the same to me)… we made our way to the J&A booth to see Jenny.  She is so sweet!  I hope we both get into Chicago Marathon so I can see her again.

I also purchased a 26.2 magnet for my car (finally!  But I also need a 48.6 one J) and 2 state magnets (IL for me and MO for Lauren).


On Friday evening, we ate at one of Kathryn and Preston’s favorite places (well, they’ve only been there once beforehand but they knew the place) called Hot Tuna.

Here is what I ate!  It was good, but far too big… sadly I never ate the leftovers either.


Saturday after the 8k, we ate at a local place called Waterman’s where I had a burger with crab on it.  It was delicious!

On Saturday night, we discovered that our hotel was doing a pasta dinner for $13.95.  Rather than going back into town, we decided to take advantage of this.  I’d say it was well worth it!  They had pasta, breadsticks, desserts, meatballs, sausage and more!


After the half marathon on Sunday, we ate at Chilis where I had a great burger and before I left DC, I ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl at the airport.

All in all, I gained weight for the weekend… oh well, it was worth it!

4—Shamrock 8k!

The plan was to take the 8k on Saturday pretty slow.  Kathryn and I decided to do the race together and do a 1:1 interval.  The minute run went by so quick every time!  I really enjoyed the whole route as the first half was in the streets of Virginia Beach checking out all the hotels and shopping J.  And then the second half was along the boardwalk!  It was absolutely great!  I felt fine during the race and we completed it in about 58 minutes.  It’s crazy to think that 2 years ago, my first 8k was around the same time and I was really struggling.  What a difference a few years makes!!

The weather was a little chilly, but nothing too horrible!

5—Meeting up with Friends!

I was so excited about this race.  Usually I’m traveling to my half marathons alone and I don’t know anyone there.  This race was so different!  First off, Kathryn, my high school friend, and her husband were great travel companions!  They included me in on everything and we had such a great time!  I also was able to see my college friend Brandon and his wife Mitra.  Brandon came out to see me run the 8k (what a great friend) and then I checked in with him after the half marathon where he had a huge PR at 1:44!  I’m hoping that we can both run the Chicago Marathon in October where he is going to totally smash his sub four goal!  I also saw Jenny, Sarah and Mandy whom I all follow on Twitter/met Sarah and Mandy in Disney in January.  What a great world the running community is.

6–   Shamrock Half Marathon

This race was my big goal race of 2015.  I wasn’t shy about it when making my goals for 2015.  I wanted to go sub 2:15.  As I stated on Monday, I was nervous.  But I didn’t have anything to worry about!  I totally crushed my goal!  The course was beyond flat (elevation gain was 36 ft… barely anything at all!), not windy at all, and the weather was pretty perfect (mid forties).  It wasn’t too crowded at all so not too much weaving at all.  I stayed focused the entire race and when I realized I could go sub 2:10… I knew I had to get it!  My final time was 2:09:34!  It’s a 7 minute PR for me.  I’m not sure what the 2016 goal will be… if I will have a time goal even at all…  but I’m so happy to have this new PR.

7—Post Race Parties!

After the 8k and Half, there was a huge tent right on the beach with beer and music.  It was really fun!  I’m not a huge beer drinker at all (I tried it at least!) so I wish they would have had maybe green vodka… but I still had a good time!



Wow, this race gave out so much!!  For the 8k, I got a medal, a cozie, and a lot of snacks (4 beers if I wanted, banana, pretzels, granola bar and a shamrock cookie).  For the half marathon, I got a medal, a hat, a full sized beach towel, and the same snacks as the 8k.  It was awesome!  In addition, since I did the 8k and half, I also got a dolphin challenge medal as well!

9—The Bling!

Speaks for itself… BEAUTIFUL!


10—J&A Events

It’s no lie that I really wanted to run in the race that Lauren is doing on Saturday.  When I found out that I couldn’t… I needed to find something else to help heal the wound.  This race was that race!  I was so impressed by everything the whole weekend and I had a great time!

I now would like to run more races put on by J&A events like the Crawling Crab in October.  I definitely will not be doing that this October, but sometime in the future as well!

Thanks for reading this recap!  I’ll be back next week looking forward to my next race.


Goals for Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon


This Saturday, I will be in Lexington, Kentucky running in the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon. Justin and I will be driving down Friday to go to the Expo, so I figured I better post my goals now because I probably won’t have time on Friday.

Kathleen originally had signed up to run in this race. But, when she got her new job last year she found out she had a work conflict this weekend, so she was luckily able to transfer her registration to me, for just $10. Most races you would just end up losing your registration fee, so we were very fortunate to be able to switch the registration over to me.

I have been SO impressed with everything leading up to the race. The race director is amazing. He is constantly giving us updates on Facebook and Twitter and he is very helpful with any questions you might have about the race. For instance, we were supposed to be getting Nike shirts for the race, but the shipping got all messed up, so instead of just getting some cheap race shirt, we will now be getting race hoodies! We have gotten so many emails leading up to the race, and the race even has an app! Another amazing feature of this race is the pictures. We get free pictures instantly posted to our Facebook wall, but after the race we will be able to purchase all our photos for only $10!! You can’t beat that! There are so many fun events available to do race weekend and it is really a total experience, not just a half marathon. I can’t wait to get to Lexington!

It is about a 5 hour drive to Lexington, so Justin and I will be leaving early Friday and should get there around one or so. First we will hit up the Expo, and then after we are going to be going to a bourbon distillery tour, which was a package available through the race. I am really excited for this because of course you have to try out the bourbon while in Kentucky! Then after the tour, we will be going to dinner at a local favorite restaurant and then heading to the hotel and getting ready for race morning. (FYI: Justin will not be running, but will be cheering me on :))

This race is supposed to be the prettiest half marathon in the US, and just by looking at the pictures of the course- I believe it! But while it might be beautiful, it is also going to be quite challenging. Apparently there are endless rolling hills, so it should be a “fun” test…

My main goal for this race is to PR. I try to PR for every race, but for this race in particular I really want to because of the Director’s Challenge. I submitted my current PR to the race director a couple months ago, and if I beat that time then I get a special barrel stave from a local distillery. I want that stave!! My current half marathon PR is 1:53:52, and while it will be a challenge with all the hills, I am feeling confident that I will be able to do at least a little better than that. Ideally I would like to be around 1:50, but…we shall see!


Weekly Recap


Monday, March 16th: 4.21 miles running OUTSIDE (10:41 pace)

Tuesday, March 17th: Rest day

Wednesday, March 18th: 4.36 miles running OUTSIDE (10:19 pace)

Thursday, March 19th: Rest day

Friday, March 20th: Rest day (Travel to VA Beach/Expo Day)

Saturday, March 21st: Shamrock 8k (58:02 at 11:40 pace)

Sunday, March 22nd: Shamrock Half Marathon (2:09:34 at 9:53 pace)

And just like that, the Shamrock Weekend is over.  I waited so long for it… I had been signed up since October and I made this my big goal race of 2015.

I was very nervous going into this race that I set myself up for failure.  The truth is… I haven’t been running well lately.  It’s been difficult and my paces are just nowhere where I’d like them to be.  I knew that in order to break 2:15 for the half race, I’d need to be at under 10:15 per mile pace.  I haven’t ran that fast in a long while… especially long distances.

Well folks, I DID IT!!  I was coming out fast and I kept up with it the whole way!!  When I realized I was going to “easily” break 2:15 (I was at 11 miles at 1:50 and I knew I’d just need to run 2 miles in 25 minutes—piece of cake :) )… I was so excited.  I knew I’d get to ring the PR bell and I would have my BIG goal for 2015 done.  Now I’m not sure what my goal for 2016 will be…..


I’ll be back on Wednesday with a full recap of the expo/race/weekend/etc!  I’m probably going to make it like my Dopey recap, so I don’t stretch it on forever.  Especially since I have my next half in 10 days :)


Weekly Recap


Monday, March 16th: 21 Day Fix Extreme DVD

Tuesday, March 17th: 6 miles running, 21 Day Fix Extreme DVD

Wednesday, March 18th: 21 Day Fix Extreme DVD

Thursday, March 19th: 2 miles running with Lilli, 21 Day Fix Extreme DVD

Friday, March 20th: 6 miles running

Saturday, March 21st: 5 miles running, 21 Day Fix Extreme DVD

Sunday, March 22nd: 8 miles running, 21 Day Fix Extreme DVD

The week is finally here…this Saturday I will be running in my 6th half marathon! I am so excited to Run the Bluegrass and can’t wait for Friday when Justin and I depart for Kentucky. But more on that later this week.

This past week was slower for me since the half marathon is approaching. I was supposed to do one more run, but it was a really busy week with other things so that was not possible. That’s ok though! My runs on the weekend were really strong and they are giving me lots of confidence going into the race.

I am also really enjoying my 21 Day Fix Extreme DVDs! Probably next week I will have a review of the Insanity Max program that I did for 60 days, and while I liked that, I definitely like 21 Day Fix Extreme more! Insanity Max made me absolutely exhausted and since it is a TON of cardio, it was difficult for me to do along with my half marathon training. And 21 Day Fix Extreme does incorporate cardio, but it’s more about building strength and flexibility, so I think it is the perfect cross training activity.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week! Kathleen will be here tomorrow and I’m sure she will at least touch upon her awesome race weekend in Virginia Beach!