Category Archives: pictures

Chickamauga Half Marathon ‘13

Me: 2 – Chickamauga: 1

Finally I’m in the lead! Chickamauga and I had a rough start. In 2011 I had my worst run to date in Ft Oglethorpe, Georgia at Chickamauga Battlefield. You know, the one where I got lost in the rain storm and ended up on the highway after getting chased by a pit bull, and then ran 12+ mile on a hotel treadmill. Yes, I’m still a little bit bitter.

Last year I ran a PR race at Chickamauga and got my revenge.

On Friday morning Tim, Lincoln and I headed up to Chattanooga/Ft Oglethorpe. The race itself is in Georgia, but its just over the border from Tennessee. On the way up, we stopped in Birmingham for lunch at Whole Foods. I love their hot bar, but it can become very expensive very quickly. This time we decided to try out the restaurant.

I ordered the Salmon with Warm Farro Salad.

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And Lincoln was happy because they had pizza.

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I didn’t realize it at the time, but Whole Foods discourages tipping in their restaurants since they already pay their employees fair wages. Nice to know!

We arrived in Georgia around 5pm Eastern and headed to the packet pick-up. Chickamauga doesn’t have much an an expo per se, so it was a quick in and out stop before we headed over to our hotel in Chattanooga.

After unpacking and settling in, we met up with Drew and headed out to dinner. We ended up at Big River Grille, the food was “meh” but a good time was had.

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On race morning I woke up exceptionally early. I remembered that last year the traffic going into the battlefield was backed up and I was nervous about getting to the start on time. This year I made sure that I could leisurely get ready and drive to the start to find parking with no extra anxiety. As a matter of fact we ended up arriving more than an hour and a half before the start of the race. Thankfully McQueens can sleep anywhere.

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The morning was cold and dark. The thermometer in the car read 32 degrees and there was ice in the grass as I trekked over to use the porto-potty with only the light of my cellphone as my guide.

During the quiet time in the car before the race started, I spent a few minutes pondering my “goal” for the day. I knew that a PR race wasn’t within my reach this year. The only training I’ve done in the last 9 months or so was for a marathon distance. Longer, slower running. Even the speedwork for a marathon is not the pace that is necessary to excel at a Half Marathon distance.

I decided that I would take this opportunity to concentrate on my pacing and to work on consistency, and finishing the last few miles strong. I aimed specifically to finish in 1:45 because when I looked at the 21 previous Half Marathons that I have run, my average pace is approximately that.

Eventually the sun came up and everyone started making their way to the starting line. I waited until the very last minute to hop out of my warm car, rushed over and picked my spot in the crowd just before the race got underway.

Chickamauga start

The first 2 miles or so I didn’t even bother looking at my Garmin to check my pace. My feet were numb from the cold and the crowd was pretty tight, so I knew I just needed to go with the flow for a little while before I locked in on my target of an 8 minute pace. I was surprised when I looked at my splits later and realized that even these first couple of miles were right on… 8:04 and 7:51.

I remembered from the previous year how incredibly beautiful this course was, the wildlife, the monuments, the gorgeous fall colors … what I didn’t remember and was quickly reminded of around the 4th mile were the very rolling hills and the camber of the road in places. Still I managed to stay pretty consistent through the next several miles … 7:55, 8:04, 7:45, 8:01, 8:01.

Miles 8-10 went by in a blur. I tried to make myself look around and enjoy the scenery, look for deer in the distance of the open fields, enjoy the cold air on my face but all I really wanted to do was focus on the music blaring in my ears and watch the ground 3 feet infront of my body. So I let myself do that. 7:54, 7:52, 8:03.

At mile 10 I was really ready to be done. My feet, legs and hands were freezing cold but my chest and my head were on fire. It was a weird sensation that I didn’t like. I wanted to take my outer long sleeve shirt off, but I had attached my bib to it, so I just rolled up my sleeves and tried to make-do. I lifted my cap off my head a little to let some cold air in and that helped some. I still just wanted to be done.

I tried to run faster, but was only able to pick it up slightly. I felt some satisfaction in catching up to and passing a couple of runners who had blown past me miles back. The last few miles felt like forever, but finally I hit the corner of Barnhardt circle, the very last stretch around the loop where the race first started. 7:48, 7:47, 7:45

And just like that it was over! My official time was 1:44:24. Overall it was a really solid run for me that I was proud of.

We stuck around and ate some Chickamauga special Banana Pudding and Chicken Noodle Soup, let Lincoln play in the grass with the other kids, and then watched the reenactors fire the cannon as the first marathoner finished before heading out to Blue Plate for lunch.

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I would definitely recommend Chickamauga to anyone looking for great Fall Marathon or Half Marathon in the Southeast with lots of beautiful scenery and historical significance. Because of the small size of the race, it sells out quickly so jump on it in March when registration becomes available.

Next up: Louisiana Half Marathon on January 19th.

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Country Music Half Marathon & Hero for Heroes CrossFit Competition

I haven’t written anything in over 2 months because that time has just big one big cluster of suck. You know how your momma taught you “if you can’t say anything nice …”? Yeah.

On April 27th, I completed my 21st Half Marathon in Nashville at the Country Music Marathon and Half. You might remember that last year I did the full marathon and had an amazing experience. I felt great, I did great … I was looking forward to having a blast again this year minus the extra 13.1 miles.

In reality this happened:

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Cold, blindingly hard rain from the very beginning through the very end that never let up. I couldn’t even lift my face up without being absolutely pelted.

From the start of the race I could tell that due to my previous injury and recovery time, that I hadn’t quite built back up my cardiovascular and respiratory endurance. It was taking more effort than is typical for me to run a very modest race pace. At about mile 6.5 I started having similar pain that I experience in my calf at the Georgia Half, but it was in the opposite leg. THIS DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE!

At that point I was frustrated, but refused to be defeated. I walked and ran back and forth between the two and was able to ultimately cross the finish line, with a time of: 1:54:35! My worst half marathon time to date.

The good: I got to spend the weekend hanging out with one of my best friends, his girlfriend and my family. Lots of fun was had!

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I left Tennessee with a sense of not knowing where I stood with running though. And I didn’t like it.

Over the next several weeks, I cut way back on my running which was causing pain and stuck to only doing low impact cardio such as the elliptical and biking. I also continued to do CrossFit up to 3 times a week.

On May 18th, I took part in my very first CrossFit Competition called Hero 4 Heroes.  The first workout of the day was called “Danny”: As Many Rounds as Possible in 20 minutes of – 30 box jumps, 20 Push Press, 30 Pull-Ups (or Ring Rows).

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It was INTENSE!

The 2nd WOD (only a few minutes later) was out on the field. “Brenton” is 100ft bear crawl, 100ft broad jumps back – for every 5 broad jump do 3 burpees. All of this x 5 rounds.

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Even more intense. Maybe. I still can’t decide.

I had a great time at the competition even though it was very intense, I enjoyed pushing myself and being around super competitive but supportive people.

I tied for fourth place in my division.

The next morning after the competition, I woke up and could barely walk. Not only because I was so sore, but because my left calf was swollen to almost twice its original size. The muscle and even the skin on my leg hurt to touch. I spent most of last week resting, going back and forth to doctor’s appointments and popping Ibuprofen.

Things have settled down now, my leg pain is gone (hopefully for good, but we’ll see) and I’ve started working my running mileage back up. I started with only 1 mile at a time, did that twice … then went up to 2 miles, etc. Now I’m back up to 3 miles and hoping to increase a little faster from here. Chicago is still 5 months away, but its time to start getting serious about training!

I’m looking forward with positivity and excitement!

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Filed under Competitions, CrossFit, Half Marathon, pictures

Mercedes Half Marathon 2013

I was very hesitant to register for a half marathon the weekend immediately following my full marathon, but I’m so glad that I did. Mercedes has always been my favorite race and I really didn’t want to miss running it for the 4th year in a row.

I’ve been babying my right foot since Mississippi River Marathon. The top of my foot is what has been hurting oddly enough. I looked back through my DailyMile posts from my previous marathons though and realized that I complained of exactly the same thing before. Realizing that I have had this similar pain before that worked itself out over time actually made me feel better and gave me confidence going in to this race. Still I intentionally ran very few miles this past week leading up to the race to rest my body and my foot as much as possible.

I ended having the best time! Saturday night I went out to dinner at Surin West, per my pre-Mercedes protocol with my hubby, Drew and Kate, and our new friends Lauren and Tim. After dinner I had a drink with my high school friend Crystal, who I’ve reconnected with through running after over a decade!

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Race morning was coooooold! But still not as cold as the 17 degrees or so at last years race.

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I’m noticing that the more races I do, the less pictures I take. I really didn’t get any good pre-race group photos this year. The only thing I have for you is this gem of me and Duane. I don’t even quite remember what was going on here … it was early, and cold.

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My friend, Drew, and I ran this one together. We started off at an easy comfortable pace for the first couple of miles (8:44 and 8:03). I was feeling really great though and wanted to push the pace a little. By the third mile we had dropped well below an 8 min pace and managed to stay there for the rest of the race.

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The whole thing was kind of a blur, a really really fun blur. And then it was over.

My official time was 1:40:55. I kind of wish I had pushed those first two miles harder, because I feel certain I would have beat my PR if my first 2 miles had matched the rest of them. But truly .. who cares? I had a BLAST!

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After the race we headed into the Boutwell Auditorium and chowed down on some Jim n Nick’s sandwiches … and beer.

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As we were eating the Jim n Nick’s table directly behind where we were sitting caught on fire. Under the burners were burlap runners, which flamed up good. It looked like the whole auditorium was about to go up in smoke. I looked around and saw thousands of people and realized if there was a stampede I would be at the back of the pack. So, I stood up and started to lead that stampede when thankfully they got the fire out. Whew!

I headed back out to the finish line area to watch as several of my friends who were doing the full marathon finished their races and then 13 of us headed to Flip Burger Boutique for lunch.

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I got the Smaller, a sampler of 3 miniature burgers, sautéed brussel sprouts with ginger and bacon and fried B&B pickles. It was way too much food! I had to pass it to the hubby to finish off, but oh my god … I will forever cook my brussels with ginger and bacon now.

We stopped by The Cheesecake Factory after lunch and picked up this piece of diabeetus to go …

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Clearly I was on my best behavior eating-wise the whole weekend.

Besides the sugar coma that ensued on the way home, it was a ridiculously amazing weekend. We had tons of fun, there were several PRs set and goals achieved and it was magical to be a part of and watch as so many people accomplished their goals. (Hubby PR-ed by 7 minutes!)

The icing on the [cheese]cake was adding my 4th Mercedes Medal to my “Wall of Awesome”!

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I cannot wait until next year!

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Whole30 – Day 9

I feel like I have not sat down today at all.

This morning I rushed around to get the little man ready for school and then I headed off to the gym for an elliptical session. I did an hour on the machine while watching a documentary on Netflix called Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat. If there is one thing that will keep your ass on the elliptical for an entire hour its a documentary about being fat. Eye opening.

Lincoln begged to go to his grandma’s house after school, so I had the whole afternoon to play on the internet clean the house. Lately I’ve been turning cleaning into “WODs”, if you will. I call this one – AMRAIT. As many rounds as it takes. I set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes and I clean as hard as fast as I can for 30 minutes, when the alarm goes off I reset it for 5 minutes and take a break. It took me 6 rounds to get the house completely clean from top to bottom. … That’s right … 3 freakin’ hours.

I should log that shit in my WOD book.

Speaking of …

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That was my real WOD tonight.

The loop runs are basically running around the parking lot of the building. I estimate that its between a quarter mile and a half a mile. One day I’ll have to take my Garmin and find out for sure.

I finished in 13:41 (Rx).

Several people have asked me what “Rx” means. It just means that I used the prescribed weight for the exercises instead of scaling down to a lower weight.

I’m pretty sure that would have been a killer workout even if I hadn’t already done the elliptical and my AMRAIT …

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That’s what I think of that.

Eats today have included:

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Breakfast – 3 scrambled eggs topped with sautéed spinach and smoked salmon. I have to admit, this one was even a little too weird for me. I absolutely adore smoked salmon, you might even say I’m obsessed with it … but not on eggs. Oh well, you win some – you lose some.

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Lunch – Waldorf Chicken Salad with Homemade Olive Oil Mayo. I used 2 leftover Mustard Sage Chicken Thighs and added:

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 celery stalk – chopped
  • 1/4 red onion – chopped
  • 15-ish red grapes – halved (yes, the picture below says 35, I was overestimating)
  • 1 oz chopped walnuts
  • salt & pepper to taste

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Dinner was the spiciest thing I think I’ve ever put in my mouth.

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Beef and Butternut Squash Cocoa Chili – from you guessed it, Practical Paleo.

This is the first time I’ve ever made chili with cocoa powder and cinnamon in the ingredients list. It also featured a tablespoon of chipotle powder in addition to the chili powder and paprika.

I would have killed for some sour cream and a beer to go with it. Instead I settled for a dollop of guacamole to cool it off a bit.

Do you play any games or have any tricks when it comes to housework to make it more tolerable? What is the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten?

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Filed under CrossFit, Food, Movies, pictures, Recipes, Whole30, WOD

A Long Run & Whole30 Day 5

I haven’t written as much about running lately, but I swear I’m still out there. Most runs are fairly mundane and not blogworthy. Of course I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about my love affair with CrossFit and Paleo eating, but I’m still married to running. No worries!

Today’s run was a big question mark. The last run I did was on Wednesday and it was pretty disastrous with my hip pain and an Upper Respiratory Infection. Yuck! I rested my leg and my body for 2 full days, and then did a short CrossFit workout yesterday before trying to run again today.

My hip has continued to be mildly annoying the last few days, so I wasn’t feeling super confident about completing my 20-miler today. I went out there with the intention of running as far as I possibly could without causing any further damage, even if that meant I had to quit after 2 miles.

At about mile 6 I started being aware of my hip, although I wouldn’t say it hurt. I stopped at mile 7 and did some Downward Facing Dog and Pigeon Pose in the median of the road to loosen my hamstrings and hip. It helped a lot! So when someone in the group had to take a potty break at mile 9 I used that as another opportunity for some stretching.

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“Stacked Firewood” is another good hip stretcher.

The hilly terrain between miles 11 and 13.5 really got the hip angry. I decided at that point to cap the run at 16 miles. I stretched it out one more good time at 13.5 and finished up. I actually felt much better once I got off the hills, but decided to play it conservatively.

I thought about my New Year’s Resolution and focused on “accepting myself unconditionally right now”. Right then, that was the right choice. I didn’t take the “unfinished” last 4 miles home with me, so to speak. Something that would have driven me crazy and put me in a bad mood in the past. I felt accomplished and happy with my best today! 🙂

I finished 16.13 miles in 2 hours and 25 minutes.

I iced, foam rolled and stretched my hip like it was my J-O-B once I got home. And then I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon playing “Ninjas” with my son.

My food today was pretty special, especially lunch and dinner.

Pre-run: Cashew Cookie Larabar
Mid-run: A handful of dates
Post-run: 2 hardboiled eggs (brought these in a cooler bag in my car so I could have the protein immediately after my run).

Lunch:

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Sweet Potato Pancakes, Sausage and Grilled Brussel Sprouts.

I’m telling you, these pancakes are something special.

For my afternoon snack, I attempted to eat sardines:

Dinner was Lemony Lamb Dolmas and Cilantro Cauliflower “Rice” from Practical Paleo. This cauliflower is life changing, and the dolmas were EVEN better.

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This was one of those meals where I had to say “day-um” every couple of bites. It was that good.

It turned out to be a really great day!

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Filed under Food, Long Runs, Marathon Training, Paleo, pictures, Whole30

Old Year – New Year

2012 was a really great year! I’m so excited to see what 2013 will have in store!

I rang in the New Year in Nashville, Tennessee with some great friends. New Years Eve started off with 7 mile run down the Natchez Trace Parkway with Drew.

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                                (Image sources here and here).

Then last night we went out on the town in Downtown Nashville, ate some good food, had a few drinks and watched the ball drop.

In 2012 I completed 9 Half Marathons and 1 Full Marathon. I got new PRs in both distances and accomplished my goal of running a sub-4 hr marathon. I gave up my vegetarianism for a Paleo lifestyle and joined a CrossFit box. I celebrated a year of practicing yoga. I quit my job as a Labor and Delivery nurse to be able to spend more time at home with my family and pursue other interests. I began teaching nursing school clinicals at a local college on a part time basis. I made some great new friendships, did quite a bit of traveling including a family trip to Disney World and celebrated 11 years of marriage.

I ran over 1800 miles in 2012. That’s more than 500 miles more than I ran in 2011!

It really was a great year!

Now its time to set my intentions for 2013 to make sure that it is even better. I’m honestly not a big fan of really specific resolutions such as, “I will run 2000 miles” or “I will run a 1:39 half marathon”. While those types of goals serve a certain purpose and are definitely measurable, I feel that there is only so much that is within human control. What if I break my leg this year and am unable to meet those goals? I prefer more generalized resolutions that give me something to strive towards daily and in the end make me a better, happier person.

My 2013 resolutions are:

To let go of the things in the past that have hurt me and to not carry that pain into the new year.

To accept myself unconditionally right now.  Every. single. day.

And to live with as much passion, dedication, commitment and peace as I possibly can.

I’m starting off the year with another Whole30 program. Day 1 will be tomorrow!

Other exciting things that I already have on the calendar for 2013 include:

  • The Louisiana Half Marathon on January 20th
  • Wetumpka Indians Half Marathon on January 26th
  • Mississippi River Marathon on February 9th
  • Mercedes Half Marathon on February 17th
  • Centerpoint Half Marathon on March 16th
  • Publix Georgia Half Marathon on March 17th
    (Doing back to backs to get a new Half Fanatic level)

aaaand one that I’m really excited about …

  • Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington, DC on April 7th.

My friend Hilary and I both registered for the lottery for the Cherry Blossom race and we were both chosen! I’ve actually never been to D.C. so I’m really excited to experience it. We will be turning it in to a mini family vacation!

The new year is already looking promising with lots of new challenges and adventures on the horizon.

The hubby and I are also joining CrossFit Intrigue’s Health and Performance Challenge beginning on January 5th.

Happy New Year! Make it great!

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Filed under Challenges, Goals, New Years Plans, pictures, travel, Whole30

Paleo Tuna Cakes with Wasabi Tartar Sauce

I have to admit, I missed a few days tracking my food. My goal was to log all my food for 30 days straight to keep myself accountable and hopefully eliminate binge eating. This past weekend was just insanely hectic!

I’m back on it with a vengeance though.

Today was nearly perfect.

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I made a new recipe for lunch today that I’m really excited about! But first … breakfast.

I’ve discovered that the secret to a delicious Paleo breakfast is: meat + a vegetable + an egg. I’ve made several yummy breakfasts with this equation.

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So far it has worked out well every time. Today was no exception …

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Pork sausage + bok choy + scrambled egg.

The peppery, slightly bitter bok choy was really good with the sausage.

For lunch I made Paleo Tuna Cakes with a Wasabi Tartar Sauce and grilled brussel sprouts.

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This was my version of the Quick and Easy Salmon Cakes in Practical Paleo. My version included:

2 – 5oz cans wild caught tuna
2 eggs
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp fresh sage (ground in a spice grinder, or you could use dried)
2 Tbsp Coconut flour
1 Tbsp Zoe’s Kitchen Spice of Life (optional)

Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined and divide into 4 cakes.

Melt coconut oil in large skillet, about 1/4 inch deep. Fry tuna cakes until browned on each side (approximately 2-3 minutes per side) then let rest on paper towel while you make the tartar sauce.

For Tartar Sauce:

2 Tbsp Olive Oil Mayo
1 Tbsp Capers
1-2 tsp Wasabi paste
1 tsp spicy mustard

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Mix and serve alongside the tuna cakes.

I’m really excited about how easy and delicious this recipe was. I have a feeling I’ll be making it often.

Dinner was quick and easy after CrossFit tonight. I had pre-roasted some carrots with just the tiniest drizzle of agave nectar, made an old vegetarian stand-by … my okra and tomatoes and quickly baked some tilapia fillets with Old Bay seasoning and a sprinkle of Zoe’s Kitchen Spice of Life.

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I even had the ingredients in the pantry to whip up some quick Chocolate Coconut Cookies from Practical Paleo.

Must go nom on them now!

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Filed under Paleo, pictures, Recipes