Thursday, April 17, 2014

Liebster Award!

I was so touched to find my name linked on Rachel's blog this morning, nominating me for a Liebster Award!  Well, actually, I didn't even recognize my name at first because I keep forgetting I changed the name of my blog, but once I figured it out I was super excited!!  Thank you, Rachel! =)

The Liebster Award is an online award by bloggers for bloggers. It helps to generate attention for new and upcoming bloggers, generally those with 200 followers or less.
1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you.
2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following).
4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees.
5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees.

Which, by the way, I did not get notified =P I'll assume Rachel was just busy with school work, and was going to get to it today.

Here are Rachel's questions for her nominees, and my answers.

1. What is the greatest food you have ever eaten?
This is a really really hard questions.  I'm picky about foods that I label absolutely outstanding.  

2. What is your favorite household appliance?
Out of the ones I have now - a toaster oven!  I hate warming things up in the microwave, so I use the toaster oven when I can.  It's so much easier than preheating the whole oven!

Out of the ones I have/will have - a good blender! That way I can make smoothies and apple sauce and all sorts of things.  I have one now but it doesn't work very well.

3. What is your spirit animal, and why?
I kind of feel like I identify with turtles.  They're associated with wisdom, and I feel like academically I am fairly smart.  Also, when it comes to running, I definitely identify with the tortoise from Tortoise and Hare - slow and steady wins the race.  But, in other elements (for them the water), they're fast and  glide right through things.  When I'm in the zone or in my element, I get to work and get things done.

4. If you could achieve one goal to make the world a better place, what would it be?
I think a big one would be eliminating childhood obesity.  There are so many things I would change about the world, but this one is just getting so much worse, and I feel it's fairly easily remedied.  It also affects so many aspects of the children's lives, from their physical health to their mental stability, so I feel like it would really help if that was gone.

5. What is the strangest thing you are afraid of?
Uhm, I don't know?  None of the fears I have are that strange, they're all fairly normal.  I guess the least normal one is masks.  I'm kind of scared of them when they're on their own, but people wearing masks absolutely terrifies me.  Morph suits too.

6. If you could be friends with a television cast, which cast would you choose?
Probably Supernatural.  They're not really my age, so it would be kind of weird to be friends with them, but they do awesome work on the show, and from all of the blooper reels and interviews it seems like they're genuinely sweet and fun people!

7. What is the most important attribute you look for in someone when forming a relationship (platonic or romantic)?
I think acceptance is one of my biggest things.  I haven't had the best past, and I've done a lot of things that I'm not proud of.  To be close to someone, they have to be able to accept me, including all of my past, and the emotional struggles I still have because of that.

8. If you had to come back and life your life all over again, what would you change?
So many things.  And I hate that, because I try to live without regrets, but there are some things I just can't.  I wouldn't have stayed in most of my high school relationships, if I started them at all, because really none ended well.  I would have appreciated what I still had after high school and when I first started college and not moved to Iowa - that's my biggest thing I would change.  I also wouldn't have drank and been as ... promiscuous as I was when I first went to college.

9. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
Guitar!  I play piano already, but I would love to be able to play guitar.  I love the sound of acoustic guitars, but I have tiny hands and it's hard for me to be able to play it.

10. What word would you eliminate from the English language if you had the chance?
Rachel, you're mean for making me pick just one!  I'm just going to go conceptual here and assume that when I eliminate the word, the feeling goes away too.  Envy.  I wish that people, including myself, would just stop being envious of how others look or what they have, and be able to be happy with what they have.

As I was writing this post, over the past few days, Lauren also nominated me!  Thank you so much name twin!  Here are her questions for me:

1. So far, what is your favorite race you have run and why?
I think probably the Enchanted 10k at Princess Half Marathon this year.  The atmosphere was just great, and it's the first time I've truly had fun racing, and it felt easy!  I loved the course too, and really the only negative thing I have to say about it was the humidity.

2. What is your favorite childhood memory?
I don't think I really have one in particular.  I have a few from second grade of me and my two best friends at the time at recess, walking around in the giant circle of trees, singing "Build Me Up Buttercup".  Things like that which remind me of how simple childhood was are some of the best to reminisce on.  

3. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
All of the people that I meet! There's just such a sense of community and instant friendship and it's lovely.

4. What are you most passionate about?
Probably learning.  I absolutely love to learn, about so many different subjects.  I also love to help others learn, and the "aha" moment.

5. What is your dream job?
Assuming I'd get paid enough to live in the house I want with the lifestyle I want, I'd love to own a bakery (cupcakes, and possibly macaroons) and run that as a full time job, while also getting paid to blog about races around the world on the weekends.

6. If a movie were to be made about your life, what celebrity would play you?
I would choose Anne Hathaway.  She's just such a down to earth person, and the celebrity people tend to say I look like.

7. If you could have played a character from any movie, who would you pick?
Hermione Granger! Without question =)

8. What is your favorite Disney movie and why?
Alice in Wonderland.  I've had an obsession with it for years.  I love that it's a children's movie, yet there's so much controversy with it about drugs and sexualization.  Plus, just all of the colors!

9. What is the #1 race on your bucket list?
Marine Corps Marathon.  A. Because I want to be able to do a marathon and B. Because I have a few very important Marines in my life.

10. If you could choose one food to have zero calories, what would it be?
Easiest question ever - chocolate!!  If not all chocolate, at least dark chocolate.

Here are my nominees: 
1. Megan at #runmeganrun
2. Becka at 50 Half Marathons in 50 States
3. Samantha at Dancing to the Finish Line
4. Andrea at Once Upon a Run
5. Amy at Pumpkin to Princess
6. Heather at Run Heather, Run
7. April at Run the Great Wide Somewhere
8. Meg at Runway Royalty
9. Kels at Blonder Side of Life
10. Amy at Point One Will Getcha

And my questions:
1. If you could run for any charity, which would you choose and why? (Stolen from #runnerslove)
2. What's your biggest "one and done" activity that you would do?
3. If you could live in any city, which would it be and why?
4. What's the furthest you've traveled from home?
5. If money was no object, what is the one major purchase you would make?
6. What is the proudest you've ever felt?
7. What is your favorite movie of all time, and why?
8. If you could meet any musical artist, who would it be any why?
9. What's your favorite restaurant?
10. What's your biggest pet peeve?

I look forward to hearing all of your responses!! And I truly appreciate the two nominations =)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Red Shoes Run 5k Recap

A week ago, on April 5th, I ran the Red Shoes Run 5k with my uncle and my boyfriend.  It's to benefit our local Ronald McDonald House, which is a charity I've always felt really drawn to.  It was especially important for them this year because they were greatly impacted by mold last year, and were closed for about half the year.  They've recently reopened and are currently full, with about 20 families on the waiting list.  Afterward, the Children's Hospital at Memorial Hospital (where the Ronald McDonald House is located) held a Teddy Bear Hospital, where they had nurses and doctors diagnosing and fixing kids' teddy bears.  It was absolutely adorable!

My aunt and uncle were visiting from Connecticut for the weekend, and my uncle has been running for quite a while.  He usually runs about a mid-20's 5k, but both he and my boyfriend stayed back to run with me, even though they both probably could have placed had they not!  Well, I know my uncle would have, at the least.  We ended up finishing in 40:40.  We were on track for me to PR after the first mile, which came in at 12:06.  I tried to keep up the pace, but it just wasn't happening.  This was my first run after RunTheBluegrass, which was a mistake, so I was still tight.  Plus it was about 70 out, while Bluegrass was about 45 and felt like 32, so I think my body was very confused!  Mile 2 was 13:29, much closer to my usual pace, and the last mile was 13:54.  While I probably could have pushed harder and gotten a new PR, I didn't want to push too hard, and I'm mostly happy with this time.

This is known as the "mini bridge run" because we go up and over a bridge that goes over the highway.  Despite my hills at Bluegrass, it still kicked my butt, especially by being in the hot sun!  For about a mile or so after that, though, we were on a road that went through a wooded area, so it was shady and much cooler.

Overall it was a really great race, with a wonderful cause, and I look forward to running it again next year!

My uncle, me, my boyfriend, and his mom

Did you race last weekend?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Still Alive!

Hi! I am still alive, I promise. But since my half marathon I've done one weight training session and one 5k (which I'll recap later, maybe today). 

I wasn't ready to fess up to my inactivity until now but I'm trying to give myself a kick in the butt. My legs have been cramping from lack of use and I have Nike at the end of the month! 

I feel like this whole year I've been in more of a slump than I have motivated. Well, I've been motivated mentally but just doesn't happen. 

Here's to changing that in weeks to come! 


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

RunTheBluegrass Recap

So, this past weekend Ray and I took the ten-ish hour drive up to Lexington, Kentucky so I could RunTheBluegrass.  And we both checked off Kentucky from the list of states we've been to!  We drove from Georgia, through both Carolinas, Tennessee, and finally Kentucky.

We got in around 3:00 in the afternoon on Friday, after leaving at around 4:45 in the morning.  We stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and Arby's for lunch on the way which made it take a little longer than just driving.  Oh, and we stopped for gas twice.  

The expo was bigger than I expected, and had lots of great vendors.  Of course, most of the races that were there were local, and I don't plan on running Kentucky again, so that was kind of unfortunate, but fun to see what they offered!  As for official race merchandise, we got two leather coasters (Jim Beam and Blanton's), our special bottle of Blanton's bourbon, bourbon fudge, and two coffee mugs.  They're super cute and I can't wait to use them!  I also got a couple cute tanks from Gypsy Runner.  There was so much more I wanted, but I was trying to be good!  We also talked to a guy who was from a local running store about Newtons, and I'm definitely thinking about getting some as my next pair.  We have a local store here that specializes in natural running, and Newtons are one of their main products.  After that we headed over to Wild Thyme for the runners' dinner, made some friends, and had some absolutely delicious food.  It was all buffet style, and you can see most of what was offered on the pictures of the plates.  The alfredo was home made, and I think even the pasta was!  Vegetarian lasagna and meat, delicious garlic bread, veggies, pork, and a few more things I can't remember.  Then, for dessert was bourbon bread pudding!  It was so good.  All of it was accompanied by beer from a local brewery, and they're also one of the main sponsors of the race.  If I'm ever back in Lexington, I'll for sure eat at Wild Thyme.  It's a farm to table restaurant, the whole kitchen is open so you can see, and it's so yummy!

Saturday morning we woke up early, and I got ready for the race.  Silly me managed to pull up Savannah's forecast instead of Lexington's, so I thought it was about 20-30 degrees warmer than it was, and therefore didn't wear tights.  Whoops!  The race was around 45 degrees, rained literally the entire time, and according to the weather channel felt like 32.  It was misty at the start but not raining yet, but basically as soon as we actually started it rained.  Oh, by the way, if you do this race, get there early!  It said get there between 7-8, we planned on getting there about 8, and it took us probably 30 minutes to go half a mile as we were filing into Keeneland.  Ray was getting quite angry at the line jumpers, and I was just trying not to freak out about the cold and it being my first half marathon.

I have a blurry picture of the start and a couple from along the course in the post, but my iPod was in a plastic Ziploc so it wouldn't die in the rain (my phone, on the other hand, was left out of a plastic bag and suffered no water damage despite being in a pocket that was literally dripping water).  It truly was absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous and serene.  Unfortunately, that was all marred by the weather on Saturday.  Even so, pictures really don't do any of this area justice; it's something you truly have to experience.  I want to give a more detailed recap, but I honestly just don't remember a lot of the race.  I was cold.  I was wet.  There were hills.  I felt like I was almost never on flat land, it was always uphill or downhill.  My legs probably would have been screaming were they not numb.  I counted three hills in the first mile, and stopped counting after that!  There were times were all I could do was focus on putting one foot in front of the other, because I couldn't feel myself running.  I was a few SparkleSisters who gave me thumbs ups, so that was nice, but otherwise I stayed in my own world with my music.  My only goal going in was to finish, but about halfway through I decided I would finish under 3:15.  I did!  My official time was 3:10:55, with a 14:34 pace.  I don't know how I managed to pull that out of my ass since most of my long runs average a 15-16 minute pace on completely flat land!  I also was feeling some of the effects of running at around 1000 ft under sea level when I live literally at it.  It was overall quite an experience, and I'm still processing it all.  There were a lot of positives and negatives, but I'm pretty sure most of the negatives just came from the weather.

I literally went straight from the finish line to the car.  I knew if I stopped moving I wouldn't start again, and all I wanted was to be warm again.  I think I had the beginning stages of frost bite, because my thighs were completely red, as was my stomach, and it only just barely started to go away after around 30 minutes in a warm shower, and I've never stayed red from cold for more than 5 minutes or so.  Once I was warmed up from the shower, and had dealt with my foot (I ended up getting two major blisters on my feet and killer bruising from where I got it taped for my planter fasciitis because the tape was too tight and it got wet), I decided I didn't want to move for a while and got snuggled up in bed with Ray.  Around 3:00 we finally decided to go to "lunch" and ended up going to Big Boy.  I'd never heard of it, but Ray had from movies and tv and was dying to go.  I will admit that I've never ate a bowl of mac n cheese that fast before in my life!  I also felt kind of "off" the rest of the day.  I wasn't nauseous, but unexplainably weird feeling.  I think my body was just in shock.  We went over to the mall so I could go to LUSH Cosmetics, since we don't have one in Savannah, played in the Apple Store, and then went back to the hotel and crashed, then ordered pizza around 8:30.  I felt a lot better than I thought I would, and a heck of a lot better than after my Tower of Terror 10 Miler, considering I could actually walk and all!  Today, I'm hardly sore at all.

Sunday we woke up around 8:00, ate breakfast at the hotel, and then ended up getting on the road around 9:30.  Around 11:00, we decided to fulfill every stoner's dream and go to White Castle!  It was exciting, and much better than Krystal (which I still don't see the appeal of at all).  Around 2:00 we got in to Asheville, drove along a little bit of the course I'll be running in June, and got lunch.  It was this place called Farm Burger, who has all grassfed beef, local and fresh ingredients, etc. and you can basically build your burger however you choose.  We also got parmesan garlic fries which were amazing!  I don't have a picture of my burger, because it wouldn't have been pretty at all, and I devoured it as soon as I got it.  We'll definitely be coming back here in June!  We finally ended up getting home around 7:30 Sunday night, absolutely exhausted.

With getting the time that I did in this hilly and rainy of a race, I'm definitely aiming for under 3 hours at Nike at the end of this month!

Did you have any firsts this weekend?