Sunday, April 28, 2013

The difference a year makes

The new class of DPTs graduated from my alma mater this weekend.  That means it has now been a full year since my own graduation and a year of having a real life!

Looking back at the 3 long years of grad school leading up to that day, it was an incredible journey with a lot of amazing people.
But let's be honest... life post-grad school is so much better!  

Congratulations class of 2014... and thanks for reminding me how far I've come!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Warm weather shenanigans

Does anyone else find their social calendar kind of dull in the first cold, dreary months of the year?

Then you find yourself up to your ears in fun once the sunshine shows its face again?
Then you realize that fun didn't include much of the running that your marathon training plan called for?  Oops.

Spring has finally arrived in Western PA, and we've been enjoying it every last bit.  Ok, so the truth is that it was actually freezing for the Pirates game we had to tickets to Wednesday night.  After layering myself up in my most fashionable spandex and wool, we ended up watching the Pirates and Penguins games side-by-side from the warm comfort of the casino restaurant.  It did get warm after that though!
You can never wear too many socks when its cold outside!
Friday we grabbed dinner and drinks with friends before heading to an off-Broadway show at the Benedum.  Chocolate Covered Pretzel Martinis were involved, what?!
I would love this even without alcohol... because then I could drink 10 of them!
At the Benedum, photo stolen from the man in the tophat
Sunday we trekked up to the area where the hubs grew up for all-you-can-eat pancakes at a maple syrup festival.  We did this every year while dating, but hadn't been back since we got married.  Excuse me for scarfing them down without a picture, we may have lucked our way into the vendor tent instead of standing in the hour-plus line... and we were just trying to lay low.

After a quick stop for some pink protective gear, I also had my first shooting experience.  I've said that shooting a gun was something I could have easily gone my whole life without ever trying, but I gave it a shot (shot... get it).  I'm always up for trying new things though, and surprisingly enjoyed myself!
I could actually hit something... purposefully!
See my hands?  That is not what your hands should be doing, not at all.
Ok, back to reality.  I don't work tomorrow, so 12 mile long run it is.  Less than a month until the Pittsburgh Marathon!

What warm weather fun have you been up to now that Spring is officially here?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Going barefoot

I've been a regular at the YMCA near work since last summer.  As soon as I started there, I saw there was a Tuesday evening yoga class.  I swore to myself then that I would try it out asap.  I've been wanting to try yoga forever, and the classes at the Y are free.  It's a win-win, and I had nothing to lose.  Plus, my lack of flexibility is pretty horrendous.  My hamstrings could use some downward dog time!
Yeah, that's really the best I've got!
So of course it took me 9 months of regularly being at the gym on Tuesday afternoons to finally set foot inside the yoga class this afternoon.  I was legitimately anxious about this new endeavor all day long, and I was really nervous while sitting outside the aerobics room before class.  I admit, I even googled "what to expect at first yoga class" before going to the gym today.  Isn't that the opposite of what yoga is supposed to do for you?  Relax.

The good news is that once I got over the "Ah, what do I do?  Where do I  put my shoes?  I'm supposed to be barefoot, right?", it was actually fun!  It was a tiny class, just 4 of us and the teacher.  And it was really laid back, much more than I thought it would be, which really helped me feel comfortable.  The instructor was a little chatty, was totally making a plan on the fly, and even asked the class a few times what they wanted to do.

Also, the other women in the tiny class were totally average people.  No one was twisting their body into a pretzel while standing on their head, and it helped me not feel totally out of place.  I didn't feel like a fool, but it was also challenging.  Apparently my balance is about as awful as my flexibility, yikes!  I have a lot learn and room to improve, which is kind of exciting.

I know where I'll be next Tuesday afternoon.

What was the last new endeavor you took on?  What took you out of your comfort zone?  
Will you do it again or was it a "at least I tried" attempt?

Monday, April 1, 2013

JASR 1/2 Marathon Recap

Saturday was the annual Just a Short Run at North Park, and I opted for 1/2 marathon in preparation for my full in 5 weeks.  Packet pick-up was a cinch at Elite Runners and Walkers on Thursday.  The goodies included shorts and socks, with shirts for an extra fee.  I thought it was a nice alternative.  I didn't buy the shirt, but I ended up receiving one free for volunteering at packet pick-up.  It's the best fitting dri-fit tee I own now.

On Saturday morning, the hubs drove and we opted to park <1 mile from the start/finish and just walk.  It was literally freezing on arrival, and we thought a little walk may warm us up!  We also figured it would be a nice cool down walk without having to wait on a shuttle after the race.

There were plenty of flushing (yay!) port-a-potties at the start, and a small indoor restroom as well.  There was a bag drop too, but the hubs was there for me.  He parked himself near the start/finish so I could drop my warm clothes with him at the last second, and I looped past again 3 more times, convenient to toss my gloves later.  It was a nice setup for spectators to hang near the finish but still see their runners a few times.  Did I mention my hubs is incredibly supportive of everything I do?  While I warmed up running, he is adamant that he froze the entire time!

The course was well supported with water, gatorade, and E-gel every ~1.25 miles.  This was fantastic!  I'd much rather take a few sips on a frequent basis than have to plan for miles between stations.  I also learned to stay away from E-gel in the future, lesson learned.

Thanks to the freezing temps early on, my lungs paid a price.  I slowed to a walk 3x briefly during the race because I couldn't settle my breathing.  All was good aside from that though, and I was able to maintain a steady pace on my own for the first 10.  It was then that the 2:10 pacer re-emerged, and I followed and chatted with them for a bit.  After a mile or so though, he told me I looked strong but that he was losing time, and urged me to run ahead.  I did.

I went in skeptical if I was even going to finish the race considering the hip pain I'd been having the previous week and, therefore, didn't have any goals at all.  It literally was not even a goal to finish; I was 100% okay with stopping if something started hurting.  With the full marathon 5 weeks away, I had nothing to prove.

My final chip time was 2:08:35, a 9:49 average pace!  That is a 7:56 minute PR from my first 1/2 marathon in October, and I couldn't have been more thrilled.  When I started behind the 2:10 pacer I only planned to hold on as long as I reasonably could; I really couldn't have imagined I'd end up finishing ahead.  I kept waiting to hit a wall that never came.  I kept double checking the Motoactv and asking "Am I really still running under a 10:00 pace?!"
Half-marathon #1 in October... not under a 10:00 pace despite it being downhill
I've tossed around some marathon goals in my head for May, but with this half behind me I think I'm ready for some serious goals to get down on paper!  I'm really excited about what Marathon #2 has in store for me now!
And the hip did cooperate the whole time... with a little help.  I will try to pull together an informative ITBS/bursitis post soon!
Anyone else surprise themselves this weekend?  For good or bad, what did you find yourself doing this weekend that you didn't think you would?