IronGirl Clearwater Half Marathon Race Report

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This is the first race I’ve ever done where I slept like a baby the night before the event.

Granted, that’s probably because two nights before the event I went out with the hubs and got completely wine wasted, stayed up till 3 a.m., had to wake up for work at 6 that morning and didn’t let myself take a nap, but I digress.

All things considered, that was actually, apparently, a really smart idea.  I fell into bed the night before the race by 8:30, and when my alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

The drive from my home to Clearwater was uneventful, and by the time I arrived and found parking, the sun was starting to peek out over the horizon and the day was shaping up to be a beautiful one.

Oh, and I had drank so much water and coffee that I had to poo and pee like, immediately.  So I made good friends with a port-o-potty.  And YAY, that was the only time I had to get friendly with that stinky receptacle for the day.  10 points for me.

This is what I look like at 5 a.m.  I'm smiling, so this is totally after I pooped.

This is what I look like at 5 a.m. I’m smiling, so this is totally after I pooped.

I had done this half marathon before, back in 2011, which was the first year they had it.  The course had changed since then, and I was excited to learn we’d be running along the water, and over and back two of the most beautiful bridges along the way.

Going into the race I knew there would be steep bridge repeats, four total, but I hadn’t really planned for how that last one beginning at the 12 mile marker would feel.

And honestly, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t think too much about it on the front end.

Starting line... 321 GO!

Starting line… 321 GO!

The race was amazing.  We started right on time, and within less than a mile the herd had thinned out and there was room to find your groove.  I even hooked up with a friend of mine, Erin, and we took a running selfie!  She and I hung together for a mile or two before her speedy needs got the best of her and she took off. Go girl!

This is what a running selfie looks like!

This is what a running selfie looks like!

All in all, the race was perfect.  Miles 1-10 felt amazing.  My 5k time was right on target of my goal pace, and my 10k was trending just a bit ahead of where I expected it to be.  My legs and lungs felt great, and I stuck with a cup or two of water at every aid station.  The course was beautiful, and the volunteers were amazing.

Mile 10 marked the first of the two return trips across the bridges.  On the way over I had run up each, but for the first time in the race outside of taking in some water, I slowed and walked up the bridge.  My heart rate stayed under control, but my quads were starting to really not love life.

Check out that view!

Check out that view!

This bridge is the steeper of the two, and after only about a half mile I was on top.  I enjoyed the view for just a moment, looking across the water to the next bridge that awaited me, and started running my way down.

By mile 11 my legs were questioning my sanity, and I started with run/walk intervals.  After checking my pace on my trusty Garmin I realized that I was on target to PR by nearly 10 minutes, if I could just keep my last two miles under 14 minutes each.  Given that I had kept well under that pace up until that point, I knew I could do it.

I was actually moving slowly enough I took this pic and it's not even a bit blurry... what's that tell ya?

I was actually moving slowly enough I took this pic and it’s not even a bit blurry… what’s that tell ya?

Then we hit mile 12, and you know how people say the “wheels came off?”  Yeah, I totally understand that saying now.  It felt like one minute I was chugging along and the next I was lucky to be walking.  My quads were cramping so intensely every step was actually painful to the point that I’m certain I cried out a few times, and the last bridge was really an exercise in will power.

Never once did I think I would quit, but it was absolutely hard to convince myself to keep going.

In the end, that last mile took me 25 minutes.  I didn’t PR, in fact, I finished about 8 minutes slower than the last time I did the race.

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My husband had been tracking me on my Garmin, and when I called him after I finished the first words out of his mouth were, “I’m so sorry!”

He fully expected me to be devastated, as I had been so close to a huge PR.

Funny this was, and is, that I’m not.  Sure, it would have been awesome if my increased strength, fitness, and solid training had resulted in a mile 1 to mile 13.1 strong and amazing race.  But it didn’t.

That doesn’t mean I’m not super proud of my effort.

I haven’t raced in years due to a stressful work environment, and a ton of weight gain.  This is the first time since 2011 I’ve even been in good enough shape to consider doing a half marathon.

The last time I ran this race I did it “just to finish.”  This time, I actually trained and pushed myself to finish faster than before.

finisher medal

Clearly, there were some gaps in my training, and knowing that is going to make me even more prepared for the rest of my races this season.  But I’ve gotta tell ya, even with that last excruciating mile, I am damn proud of my effort.

So MEOW kittens!

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Did anyone else have races this weekend?  How did they go?  What did YOU learn for next time?

My all-time favorite breakfast

Fun fact I haven’t yet shared with ya’ll, I’ve been doing some writing for a few different websites lately, including www.shakeforshape.com.  You should check it out, it’s totally me only more professional and with less sex comments and poop jokes.

Anyhow, this past week or so the admin hasn’t posted any of my stuff because apparently there’s issues, but usually there’s 2-3 articles a week that go up over there with health, fitness, beauty and nutrition content.  Good stuff.

A few weeks back I wrote out a recipe for my 4 ingredient protein pancakes that I eat pretty much every single day for breakfast, and I wanted to share it with ya’ll here because they are just too darn good to keep a secret.

Now I know what you might think when you first read this- ew eggs and bananas, right?  Please, try them.  If you like bananas, this is seriously the tastiest thing ever.  They’re sweet and fluffy and filling and oh-so-tasty.

Give ’em a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

Banana Protein Pancake

Ingredients per serving:
1 banana
2 egg whites
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 oz crushed walnuts (or pecans)
Cooking spray (or coconut oil)

Directions:

  1. Spray small frying pan with cooking spray
  2. In mixing bowl, whisk two egg whites together with 1 tsp of cinnamon.
  3. Add banana and smash with a fork.  The banana should still be somewhat chunky, but broken into very small pieces.
  4. Whisk mixture again ensuring banana is covered with egg whites.
  5. Pour mixture into pan.  Set to medium heat and cook 2-3 minutes each side or until golden brown and egg is cooked through.
  6. Once plated, top pancake with crushed nuts and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts:
Calories 324.4
Total Fat 19.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 13.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 112.2 mg
Potassium 655.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.3 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 15.6 g
Protein 12.8 g
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Fat Isn’t a Feeling

buddah

Yesterday in a moment of needing a personal pep talk I wrote this post about body confidence.  I’ve got to tell you guys, some of the comments, emails and feedback I received have darn near moved me to tears.  But it’s reassuring as hell to know that I’m not alone.

One of my most brilliant and beautiful friends from all the way back in high school left this comment on Facebook:

I’ve spent years in and thousands of dollars on therapy to try to understand that fat is not actually a feeling.

How true that is.  And wow did that resonate with me.

We all have those days when we wake up feeling like we’re stuffed into a sausage casing that is too darn tight.  And I know that we’ve all looked into the mirror and been far too critical of lines, lumps, bumps and “fat” that we see.

I know we can’t just turn off the negative voices in our heads, but recognizing what we’re doing to ourselves is a step in the right direction.

confidence

My wish for all of you is to look in the mirror today and see what the person who loves you most sees when they look at you.  I would give anything to be able to see myself through hubs eyes… though it would probably lead to my walking around naked permanently.  But today I’m going to appreciate the things I know that he does, and ignore all the flaws that I’m so critical of that he doesn’t even see.

Let’s do this together ya’ll.  Let’s change the way we see ourselves because really, we’re all pretty damn beautiful.

 

Surprising myself

Every week I take progress pictures and send my coach and update on my workouts and nutrition.  This involves wearing my teeniest tiniest bikini and standing in blaring fluorescent lighting.  So basically, it’s like my own personal house of horrors.  And I get to do it once a week.  Joy.

It’s gotten slightly less horrifying over time, as I’ve seen some nice gradual changes week to week, and comparing my week 1 photos to the most recent ones is pretty darn jaw dropping.  I’ve made progress, and progress feels good.

But I’ve gotta tell ya, this week I did NOT want to take those pictures.  I didn’t have a perfect week last week with eating and workouts, and while it was only a small slip up, after 7 weeks of being absolutely saintly I was sure I was going to balloon up and would know EXACTLY where that pizza went.

Added on top of that lovely fact that my body was in the middle of my once-monthly reminder that I’m NOT pregnant (thank god), I was bloated and cramping and crying at dog food commercials, so I was pretty certain that my body would reflect that as well.

But taking weekly photos is part of the gig, and so I did.

I was very VERY pleasantly surprised.  As with every week before this, I can see a noticeable difference in various parts of my body.  And while outwardly I feel like a beached whale over here, my stomach is actually flatter than it was even a week ago.

When I stepped on the scale I was even more impressed to see myself down a bit more weight, bringing my total loss so far to just over 18 lbs.  I can’t wait to hit the 20 lbs mark.  I’m so close I can taste it.

Moral of the story, trust the plan.  Every day I do my absolute best to work hard, to fuel my body well, and to make good choices that will lead me to success.  Even if it doesn’t *feel* like a great day, that doesn’t mean it’s not a day with a chance to build on yesterday.

What about you readers?  What victories are you celebrating this week?

Breaking the Thursday Cycle

Is anyone with me on this?

Monday I start out super motivated for the week.  I’m usually coming off a nice long ride on Sunday and a great relaxing day with the hubs, so I’m ready to eat healthy, train hard, be as active as possible and reach my goals baby!

I hit it hard and my nutrition is perfect.  No booze, great job at Paleo.  Monday is a great day.

Tuesday rolls around and I’m a bit sore.  But Tuesday is the day I weigh myself (spare me the lecture) and the number goes down.  Now I’m even MORE motivated.  YES!  I’m awesome!  I can do this.

So I have another strong day of training and nutrition.  I even avoid a glass of wine with dinner, even though I wannnntttt one.

Then we get to hump day, and I’m SORE.  I make sweet love to the foam roller, and embarrass myself with sex faces and grunts while I do it.  I still drag myself to the box, but I complain.  A lot.  The coaches threaten to flog me if I don’t show up, and because they’re all insanely attractive, I consider letting them.

My nutrition is pretty good, but I succumb to my wine craving with dinner.  What?  It makes the muscles not hurt so bad.

And then it’s Thursday.

I wake up and want a doughnut.  If I eat one, I spend the rest of the day in my sweatpants reading trashy vampire books and eating the rest of the dozen.  If I manage not to eat one, I still spend the rest of the day in my pajamas fantasizing about eating them.

I don’t make it to the gym.  I have grand plans for a nice easy recovery bike ride in the afternoon, and then hope and pray it rains.  And if it doesn’t, I hope it’s windy.  Or that something comes up.  Or give myself a million other reasons not to ride.

Then we go on date night.  Which usually involves sushi.  Or something fried.  And lots of wine.  Because my muscles still hurt of course.

By the time Friday rolls around, I feel like I’ve killed any chance at being healthy with thursday so I carry my sloth-ness through the weekend to finally snap out of it on Sunday.

Well today is Thursday and I had eggs for breakfast.  I cleaned my house and went to the gym with Blondie, who helped me kick my butt at some running intervals.  I ate a healthy lunch, worked a few hours for the hubs, and have a hot date planned with some burpees later.

Today I’m breaking the cycle.

Tell me I’m not the only one.  What have you overcome this week?

Directory of lady bits doctors: Who to choose who to choose?

Finding the right woman to dive between your legs and tell you that you’re good to go in the nether bit region for another year is really quite the process.

See, since I’ve retired we changed our insurance from my employer provided to a new one.  While the insurance is great, it doesn’t have any of my usual doctors in the plan.  So the lovely woman who has been checking under my hood for the past few years will now cost me four times as much, and really, I would rather spend that money on shoes.

So I’m shopping around.

When I first started researching other providers in my area, I thought it would be really easy.  I figured I would just pick another lady and we would be good to go.  Unfortunately, I’m apparently way more neurotic than I realized.

Turns out, the doctor HAS to be a woman.  Every time I was doing research on a website on a male doctor I either decided he was too attractive or too unattractive and either way it would skeeve me out.  No offense to any dude OBGYN’s out there, but I apparently just can’t handle that.

Then I found myself looking at credentials.  My crazy parts informed me am only interested in someone who graduated from college between the years of 1970 and 1990.  Any younger and I felt like they wouldn’t know what the heck they were doing.  Um, really Nicole?  1990 was almost 25 years ago.  I would think someone who graduated in 2000 with 15 years of experience would be just fine.  But no.  Not in my brain.

Once I had it narrowed down (mind you, there were only 20 female providers in a 20 mile radius to choose from to begin with) I started looking at photos.  I then learned that anyone with a unibrow, facial piercings, or too much make up in their photos went in the “no” pile as well.

What the hell?  I guess I’m more judgmental than even I realized.

Then again, this is the person who is going to be examining my most prized possession and telling me that I’m perfect for another 12 months.

Oh, and filling my birth control.  Because really, we can’t have any more totally nutso judgmental people like me in the world.

An award? ME? Well schucks

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Obviously, I’m awesome.  But as it turns out Crazy. Sweaty. Mommy. thinks so too!  She nominated me for the WordPress Family award  just last night, and I am so honored that I’m kind of speechless.

And for those of you who read my blog you realize, speechless isn’t really a word to describe me.  So thanks Lady!  For anyone looking for a great read of a mom, Crossfit newbie, and seriously inspiring lady, check her out.  She’s a new blogger who has already got some great content, pictures, and stories about her journey.

There are so many really great, talented, and fun bloggers out there that I’m finding it really challenging to choose just 10 to nominate in turn for this award.  But without further ado, here are some of my favorites in no particular order…

Girl on the Contrary – Want 200 words or less of the funniest shit you’ll read all day?  Check her out.  She’s southern and hilarious.

Idrankthecfkoolaid – Have you ever read a blog and thought, oh my gosh did I write this?  When did I do that?  Maybe I have multiple personality disorder.  Oh man, I better get to a doctor fast and get that shit diagnosed before I end up with TWO husbands because one is really more than I can handle…  No?  Just me?  Well ok.  This chick is awesome, does Crossfit, and gives the best pep talks you’ll ever read.  Check her out.

TooTallFritz – I love new Crossfitters.  I think because I’m so new in the journey myself I enjoy hearing about their experiences and comparing them to my own.  This girl is a super awesome runner/triathlete who is using Crossfit as cross training.  Check out her race reports and adventures.  They’re pretty sweet.

The girl that (actually) likes to lift weights – More bad ass Crossfit.  This girl is strong. I read her workout weights and hope that she wears a “Beast Mode” shirt every day, because she deserves it!

Delightful Oak – Since Crossfit isn’t all I ever think about, I also really enjoy reading blogs about marriage, relationships and other schmoopy stuff.  This blogger does a great job of giving advice and does it with flair.

(Not As) Big Bob – I already gave a shout out to Bob and Meg the dynamic blogging duo last week, but will repeat it here because they’re awesome.  Bob and his weightloss journey coupled with Meg’s meal plans and Crossfit talk make for some great reading.

Pete’s Journey Back to Fitness – Pete is actually a friend of mine, and a super cool dude.  Former triathlete, now new Crossfitter who is working to get into shape for his wedding.  Insightful stuff here, and if you follow him on facebook as well you can get in on his periodic group challenges which give an extra kick of motivation!

.erin gets gone. – Hilarious and insightful antidotes into life, fitness, and healthy living.

The Mind of a Maverick – Some great triathlon training stories, race reports, and general thoughts about life and accomplishment here.  She is always good for a dose of inspiration.

Warriorgirllifting – Have you ever overcome some huge mental barriers with yourself?  Have you ever come back stronger than you believed possible?  Have you ever changed your dreams and goals and found yourself successful?  Do you want to know how?  Then read this girls blog.  She’s awesome.

So there you have it, my shortlist of the 10 most super awesome bloggers I’m enjoy at the moment.  To the nominees, should you choose to accept this award go here http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/word-press-family-award/   for the rules on what to do next.

Not to worry, this message won’t self destruct.  I will just stop typing.  It will be tragic, but not so much as potentially getting your face blown off.  Or another movie with Tom Cruise.  Now that’s tragic.