02 December 2014

#GivingTuesday - why I support DONNA

As you know, I'm a 2015 ambassador for the 26.2 with Donna race in Jacksonville Beach, FL.  I was first introduced to this race by my #CorralG sister, Social Media Specialist for the race, Marcia Barton.  She is PASSIONATE about her hometown race, and a fabulous ambassador for the race.  But it was in reading Donna Deegan's book this weekend that I really came to know and love the namesake of the race and get fired up about fundraising again for DONNA.

Through Rose Colored Glasses: A Marathon from Fear to Love is Donna's second book about her third - yes, THIRD - bout with breast cancer.  Donna Deegan was a local news anchor in Jacksonville who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999.  Before being diagnosed a third time in 2007, Donna and her oncologist, Dr. Edith Perez, hatched a plan to create the nation's first marathon solely dedicated to breast cancer.  100% of proceeds go to the cause - 70% to research done at Mayo Clinic under Dr. Perez's brilliant direction, and 30% to supporting local women undergoing treatment.  Donna's second book chronicles her struggle with being diagnosed a third time while planning the inaugural event.  It also shows how she incorporated meditation and alternative medicine to help shift her perspective on cancer and life in general.

Since it's inception, 26.2 with Donna in partnership with the DONNA Foundation has raised over $3.5 million to help finish breast cancer.  I loved how Donna explained the shift in her mindset and in the focus of the race from fighting to finishing.  In her own experiences, she realized that living with the fight mentality made living with cancer grueling.  She also recalls losing a dear friend to cancer, and finally feeling fed up with the fighting mentality.  A few weeks later at a board meeting for the race, Donna proclaimed that it was time to start talking about "finishing breast cancer" - not fighting it.  The idea of being part of an organization that is honestly working to finish breast cancer - donating such a significant portion of proceeds to research with the nation's leading team in the field as well as helping patients live their lives while undergoing treatment - is an honor and a blessing.

As I mentioned in my first post about becoming an ambassador I, like Marcia, like Donna, wholeheartedly believe that Dr. Perez and her team, with the support of the DONNA Foundation and the 26.2 with Donna race, will find a cure and finish breast cancer IN OUR LIFETIME!  And the hopeful part of this for me is that this research will unlock our ability to finish all cancers.  This is a cause I am passionate about too.  And I ask you, on this #GivingTuesday, to consider making a donation and helping us, as a team, #BeTheFinish.

For more information on 26.2 with Donna, visit www.breastcancermarathon.com.  Interested in joining us?  Use my ambassador code, "AmbLove15" for $10 OFF - and don't forget to tell them Katie sent you.
For more information on Dr. Perez and her work at Mayo, check out this bio.

06 October 2014

DONNA Ambassador - finish Breast Cancer with me!

I am so honored to be one of the chosen ambassadors for the 26.2 with Donna the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer.  I'm still debating whether I'll run 13.1 or 26.2 - waiting to hear about a couple other possible marathons in that same time frame and don't want to over do it.  But I am also looking forward to riding 52.4 miles for the DONNA bike next month, hopefully with my dad and brother.

As it is October (where has this year gone!) already, it's time to pull out all the pink and start focusing on breast cancer.  At least that's what they tell us.  I read a great blog post this morning from my friend Megan at elbowglitter about where we should really be focusing our efforts.  Take a moment to go read it and let her know that you think she's AWESOME!

She's right though - October shouldn't just be about raising awareness or telling the positive stories.  Fighting cancer is TOUGH.  There's nothing pretty about mastectomies and full hysterectomies.  And the face of breast cancer isn't just women - this is a disease that effects men too, albeit in much smaller percentages.  But I know a man battling breast cancer for the second time - and it's spread beyond just the breast tissue.  My aunt is a survivor.  Cancer in general is so prevalent in our society and it's scary.  My own family history led me to take the BRCA-1 gene test to find out my genetic pre-disposition for the disease.  Luckily it came back negative.  But that doesn't mean I'm free and clear from ever developing cancer.

And that's why, for the second year in a row, I am supporting DONNA.  Last year I raised $500 for the cause, and my goal this year as an ambassador is to double that support.  Why did I choose DONNA?  Sure, my first reason was "I know people" but really - when you learn about DONNA, this is the only breast cancer race to fully donate it's proceeds to cancer research and support women receiving treatment.  The research being done at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville is leading the field to finish breast cancer.  Dr. Perez and her team are doing some amazing things, and being able to support their research is truly an important way to help lead to unlocking the key to finishing all kinds of cancer.

I hope that you will consider supporting my efforts this year - not for me, but for the people fighting cancer on all fronts.  Men and women of all ages, affected by this horrible disease that is eating at their lives.  I want to run and bike with DONNA this year to finish breast cancer and support the amazing work of this great cause.  Will you join me?

To donate, please visit my page.

18 August 2014

Checking in #Accountability

So, a couple weeks ago I set out some goals for August.  I intended to post weekly with check-ins on where I am, but last week was a Sunday full of work, from 9am to 7pm, at four different job locations, plus working at home in the evening as well.  Needless to say, I didn't get a post up.  But I did try to stick to my #accountability Instagram posts, and getting back to goal.  Here's a check up on the last couple of weeks:

Sunday, August 10
weight: 149.4 lbs
days run this week: 3 days
     2.5 miles on August 6 - done in the morning. tried to make it to speed work, but couldn't get there in time, so just did my own miles. Had to get it in early before I headed down to my parents' after work
     2.5 miles on August 8 - done at my parents, down near Hilton Head.  The weather was sticky and I should have gotten out earlier, but I got it done.
     6 miles on August 9 - done after work. would have liked to have tried to go a little farther, but a storm was rolling in and I made it back just in time.
days strength trained this week: 1 day
     Barre3 on Sunday night (technically last week, but since it was the beginning... I'm counting it)
     I took my stuff with me to my parents to get in a second Barre3 session, but wasn't able to fit it in.  And the weekend was too exhausting to get in another.
days food tracked: 5 days
    I did really good tracking while I was home, but gave up tracking while I was traveling.

I did have to travel this week, which threw some things off.  A very close friend of the family passed away after battling cancer, and my siblings and I drove down to our parents' on Wednesday, went to the service on Thursday, and headed back on Friday.  I tried to fly home for work on Friday, but got stuck at the airport and ended up eating crap (the Savannah airport is SOOO small), and then got picked up by my brother and sister and driving home anyway.  But I tried to get back on track when I got home.

With Sunday being as crazy as it was I didn't do a great job planning for this week...

Sunday, August 17
weight: 149.4 lbs
days run this week: 3 days
     2.5 miles on August 13 - another morning run, another attempt at speed work, but also realizing my hip is still feeling off, didn't want to push it
     4 miles on August 14 - got a chance to run with our Thursday night run group.  took it easy, again because of the hip.
     5.3 miles on August 17 - ran after our company picnic, and it was HOT out.  Thankful to coworkers for slowing down and keeping me safe in the dicey neighborhood of Brookhaven (that's a joke for those of you outside the ATL).  Hip still sore, but definitely getting better. Adjustment in the AM
days strength trained this week: 3 days
     Barre3 40 min workout on Monday at home
     Barre3 in-studio class on Friday (1 hr)
     Barre3 10 min restorative stretch session at home on Sunday
days food tracked: 4 days
     I started the week of well, but slacked in actually putting it into MyFitnessPal over the weekend.  I did post a lot of it on Instagram - does that count?  ;)

It's going to be another crazy week with work, but I'm hoping to stick with it, get better not only with tracking food, but actually eating a more balanced and healthy diet.

**Interesting to note that my weight was the same both weeks, but there was definitely some fluctuations throughout... some up and some down.  At least it looks like I maintained when taken at a week's glance...

03 August 2014

Time to Get Going

ok - for real.  I have fallen off my rocker.  I haven't been blogging.  I have hardly been running.  And I've been eating like CRAP lately.  And it shows - this morning when I got on the scale, I saw a number I was NOT happy with.  Now, I know that numbers don't mean everything, but I use the scale to help keep me in check.  (My numbers are mine - I'm not saying they are good or bad for anyone else.  You have to figure that out for yourself.  But I am going to post my numbers for accountability.)  And what I saw told me it's time to get serious.  So that's what I'm doing today.  And I'm writing it all out to keep me accountable - to myself and to you - for what my goals are for the rest of the year.  So here it is.

Sunday, August 3 
weight: 149.9lbs
days run this week: 1
      - Monday, July 28: 4.62mi run at 12:36mm pace.  
days strength trained this week: none
days food tracked: none

So, here's part of it.  I am working - A LOT!  I am getting better at prepping food so I am eating healthy at work, but yesterday, even though I brought my own lunch, I dove into the pizza when it arrived because I completely forgot I had my smoothie in the fridge.  And I had gorged on pizza the night before.  Not a good plan for staying healthy.  I'm traveling some this week, but when I finish up this post, I'm going to go plan out my food for the week.  And prep it.  And maybe post it later... but most importantly, no matter what I eat, I'm tracking this week.  I know tracking is important - it was the weeks I tracked on WW that I had the most success.  So I will be using My Fitness Pal to track my food this week, in conjunction with my Fitbit tracker.  

I FINALLY got my delivery with my new Barre3 6-month membership code, and got signed up on Friday.  And then unfortunately got called into work, and went straight from work to my sister's for game night and didn't get in a workout.  Then I worked yesterday, and was a lazy bum when I got home from work.  So I will be doing a Barre3 workout this afternoon as well.  And my goal is to do a workout 3x a week, mixing it up with length of workout and focus areas.

Two weeks ago, when I got back from two consecutive weekends of traveling, my hip was KILLING me.  It hurt to stand, it hurt to walk, and it DEFINITELY hurt to run.  So I took the week off.  I finally went to the chiropractor - and he defined it as "a flat tire" - my left side was soooo tight I was getting barely any range of motion.  The adjustment helped A LOT.  And he gave me exercises to be working on to help loosen it up and get me back together.  My run this week was tough, even though I am feeling a lot better.  Part of it was probably trying to keep up with my speedy co-workers.  But part of it was the lack of flexibility.  To that end, I also plan to do my yoga more, as well as the exercises, stretching, foam rolling, and icing recommended by my doctor.  As it, daily.  I'll do a brief yoga routine to help loosen up my hip flexors, and try to do at least one full yoga workout each week.

I also need to get back into running.  My big goal for the rest of the year is to run a sub-2:00 half marathon at Space Coast on November 30.  I signed up today for an Active Trainer plan that will start September 8.  Which gives me the next four weeks to build back my base.  I want to run three times a week this month - two easy runs and one longer run on the weekend.  And I need to remind myself with each run that I am getting stronger, that I am working on a goal, and that it doesn't need to be "perfect," it just needs to be done.  

What I'd like to see at the end of August is a report more like this:

Sunday, August 31
weight: 142
days run this week: 3 (at avg 10:30mm pace)
days strength trained this week: 3 (Barre3 workouts)
days food tracked: 5

Yes, I'm giving myself permission NOT to track food every single day of the week.  But habits start somewhere.  I will be at Disneyland on August 31, volunteering for the Half Marathon and cheering on my friend Courtney as she goes Coast-to-Coast.  But I'd still like to have a great four weeks between now and then so that the scale reflects hard work and I can enjoy myself at Flo's V8 Cafe after the race!

I am also planning on blogging AT LEAST once a week, on Sundays, with my update on how the week went, and what my weekly goals will be.  

So there it is - my plan.  Help keep me accountable - check in with me via Facebook and Twitter, post comments and let me know your goals.  And hopefully together, we can be our best selves!

29 June 2014

I am the biggest slacker

Life gets in the way sometimes... I am a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad blogger.

I seriously have no time anymore for anything... been working multiple jobs.  Moved (I know I told you that last time).  Got thrown into chaos.  And have only run a total of less than 50 miles since Boston - including the Boston/BAA 10K that I ran last weekend.  And that has been the hardest thing.

I need to get back to running.  I need to get my life back in order.  I am running the Peachtree Road Race (between Ryan Hall and Meb) on Friday... and as I've said before "it's only 6 miles" so it's not like I feel unpreparred - plus I did the same thing last weekend.

But I have a goal - I want a sub-2 half at Space Coast on November 30.  Along with my other Corral G peeps that are running that race.  I am hoping to pace my original BRF in his first full marathon in October.  And I still want to put that Half Ironman on the calendar.

I need to sit down and do it.  I need to create training plans.  I need to commit to events - sign up for things.  I need to create a nutrition plan for regular health as well as to fuel my insane training.

Oh yeah - and I'm hiking Glacier National Park in August as part of the Climate Ride/Hike this year.  So if you want to help me reach that goal (I need $1000 by July 10), hit me up and know you're helping Interfaith Power & Light and the Climate Ride gang help create momentum in the climate change movement.

Ok - so that's that for now.  I'll get on it - and you're going to keep me accountable!

30 May 2014

Time to Get Serious

I really fell off the blogging bandwagon after Boston, didn't I? Life kind of got in the way... here's a quick update, and a promise of doing better!

I got back from Boston and realized that I had two weeks to find out where I was living.  You see, back at Christmas I had moved home with my parents because I had lost my job and wasn't really sure what my next step was.  I'd been looking for work and interviewing across the country for four months, but hadn't found anything.  When I moved home, I got a "for now" job, but continued looking.  I finally was able to start working again for my favorite hometown running store, and went full time in May, but that still won't really be enough to strike out on my own again - at least not right now.

So I found myself needing a roommate situation and fast!  Luckily, a friend and former co-worker had mentioned that I could move in with her if I needed to, so we talked about it, and I was able to move the week before my parents closed on their house.  Oh yeah, that's why I was having to move.  They, in their retirement, were finally downsizing, and moving to SOUTH CAROLINA!!  I'm very excited for them and their new adventure, but it was rough there for a minute dealing with all that chaos.

So I've been in my new place for almost a month, and it's a great location for getting to work.  I haven't had a chance to venture out in my neighborhood for a run, but we've got some great running options near work, and a coworker and I have been out on a couple short runs after work.  But I've lost my regular workout routine.  

And there's where the title of this post comes in - it's time to get serious about working out again.  Part of it is that I don't have anything major to train for.  I am running the BAA 10K in June and the Peachtree Road Race (10K) in July, but my big race (half-marathon) isn't until Space Coast, which is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I've talked about doing a Half Ironman this year, but haven't pulled the trigger on signing up, so I don't have the pressure to train for that just yet.  What I need to do is just get in a regular routine of running and doing some sort of strength training.  And finding a plan that fits with my not so regular work schedule.  I'd love to join the gym again, but it doesn't really fit into the budget at this time, so it's a matter of finding ways to workout that I can do at home.  I'm hoping to get back to it, and would love your help getting there!

How do you fit workouts into your schedule?  What sort of strength training routine do you do and is it something that can be done at home?

17 May 2014

Getting to know you

So, I've seen a few Liebster posts going around, and while no one has nominated me, I thought I might answer a few of the questions I've seen to help you learn a little more about me... and encourage you to share some about yourselves!

1. Why did you begin running?
I started running at the end of 2010, after I had knee surgery for a "torn meniscus" that wasn't actually torn (or had healed by the time they cut me open).  The first thing my PT said to me in that first appointment after surgery (yes, we didn't do PT before surgery... that's another story for another day) was "no running." And it was ON! I got the itch at that very moment and made her clear me for running before I was released from pt. Three months later I ran my first 5K, then on to a 10K that summer, and my first half in October, and the rest (as they say) is history!

2. What's your #1 bucket list race?
To earn a spot at Boston. Having run it through the magical experience of Twitter this year was amazing, but I want to earn that spot, and I'm still working on that goal of qualifying by my 40th birthday.

3. How many races are on your 2014 calendar - which is the one you are most looking forward to?
Current calendar (already registered) includes: BAA 10K in June, Peachtree Road Race (10K) in July, and Space Coast Half Marathon in November.
Considering adding the Anderson Half Ironman Tri in October, a full marathon with my BRF to help him train for Goofy, and a fun girls' weekend getaway.
I'm most looking forward to any chance I get to connect with all my fun running buds!

4. What are your fitness goals for the next 12 months and how will you achieve them?
At the Chicago Marathon expo, I did a body composition analysis.  According to that, I need to convert some serious fat to muscle, so that is my big plan. I've started doing Barre3 workouts (as you know), but need to get more dedicated to doing it. The biggest piece of the puzzle is really eating healthy on a more regular basis.

5. When is your favorite time to workout?
Whenever I can get it in, but I prefer not early morning.

6. What fitness gadget is on your wish list?

(as much as I hate the treadmill, I think I would make an exception in this case!)

7.  List your top 3 running songs
Are You Gonna Be My Girl   -Jet
Catch My Breath    -Kelly Clarkson
Take Back the Night     -JT

8. What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Definitely has to be running the Boston Marathon - which is my current marathon distance PR!

So, what do you think?  Answer your favorite questions in the comments - and feel free to ask me something else!

28 April 2014

I Ran the Boston Marathon - #WeRunTogether

I know you're on the edge of your seat waiting to hear about the weekend, so let's just dive on in!

Here's a quick recap video of the weekend, mostly in selfies :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014:

Linzie and I were set to arrive at Boston Logan within hours of each other, so after I arrived, I hung out in the SkyClub awaiting his momentary arrival. Luckily Linzie never flies without in-flight WiFi, so we were in constant contact as he made his final approach.  

I made my way to baggage claim to meet up with him, keeping an eye out for the closest Dunkin to satisfy his East Coast Coffee craving.  
After a little mix-up with the carousels to pick up his bag (apparently, 3=5=6), we were out the door with a little piece of Coffee Heaven to meet Adam!  It was a great little reunion out on the curb, and the weekend was only kicking off.  

Adam and Rachel (and of course Princess Caitlyn) were our gracious hosts for the weekend.  But before heading out to Attleboro to settle in for the night, we three had a little business in Boston.  

Newton Fire Station
Namely, getting familiar with the Newton hills.  Now, Adam was lucky enough to live and train in Boston, so he was quite familiar with the hills.  

And having him drive us through and talk through them made hitting them Monday afternoon a little bit easier (more on that later).  While we were in Newton, we made our first 26.2 Brew stop of the trip - Union Street Grill.  In case you don't know, 26.2 Brew is a special beer made by Sam Adams just for marathon weekend.  And it is only available at certain bars along the marathon route.  We were also able to meet Dani and Julie of the internet!  Seriously - I have so many awesome online friends and it's always so fun meeting them "IRL."
Adam's house was the
#CorralG Mission Control Center

It was time to head home and get some sleep - just as with every day in Boston, we had a packed schedule on the agenda tomorrow!

Friday, April 18, 2014:
We were up early to head back into Boston for another day of fun festivities.  Luckily, with Boston being significantly more eastern than Atlanta, the sun was coming up around 6am and it was super easy to get up early!  Our first stop of the morning was back at Logan to pick up Jen!  
Being familiar with the baggage claim area after yesterday's events, I agreed to run in and meet her.  It was so great catching up while we waited for her bag and then back out to meet up with the rest of the gang.  

Adam insisted that our next stop was Mike's Pastries for canollis!  I loved that Jen went straight into a Boston accent when ordering our "peanut buttah" canolis!  Breakfast was served and there was so much more on our agenda for the day.  We headed to Boston Common where we parked the car and strolled through the park, past the ducks in the garden, and up Boylston to the Hynes Convention Center for the Expo.  We made a brief stop at Starbucks where Linzie was immediately recognized for his internet fame! But then it was time to #buyallthethings.

Offical Team Jackets!
Our first stop HAD to be Ink n Burn where they were releasing a Boston Marathon surprise - the windbreaker!  Seriously - if you can get your hands on one of these, I highly recommend it.  Linzie and I immediately purchased ours, but it took a little convincing to get Adam to realize he needed one as well.  His concerns were quickly allayed when EVERYONE asked "is that your team jacket... or can we get one too?"  Seriously, the InB jacket was more popular than the OFFICIAL jacket!  (If you haven't ever ordered anything from InB, might I suggest adding this to your cart and using the code 'INBKP14' for 15% off your order)  

We then attempted to see as much of the expo as we could.  Seriously, of all the events I've been to, this was by far the LARGEST expo.  Honestly, we went all three days and I still don't think I saw everything there.  Not to mention the volumes of people there - I had a few minor anxiety attacks!  I was able to get my Feetures Red Sox, some fun freebies, and of course, a few more InB items (Patriot Tank anyone?).

Our plan for Friday evening was dinner in the 'burbs at Wahlburgers!  I was so excited to try out the famous place, but the highlight of the evening was the woman coming over to tell us her story of the 117th Boston Marathon, and thank us for being part of this year's event, and helping everyone in Boston take back that finish line.  Her story brought tears to our eyes, and I hope that her friend had as wonderful a marathon on Monday as we did!  I was also pumped to reconnect with Lizzie and get a sweet note before we even made it home that she wanted me to move to Boston!

Saturday, April 19, 2014:
Blury selfie on treamill
Saturday morning the gang was headed out for the BAA 5K.  Sadly, I was unable to participate because the event filled up before I had a chance to register.  I will not let the same thing happen for the 10K coming up!  Our friends Matthew and Angela had booked a great hotel near the Common and were so sweet to let us use it as a quick homebase during the weekend for showers after both the 5K and the marathon.  That morning I had a revelation that I could actually hit the treadmill in their hotel and get showered before the race even started and be able to catch my friends finish the race.
 Unfortunately it didn't end up quite that way, but I knocked off my last 3mi shake out and was ready for another epic day.  After the race I got a chance to catch up with Marcia and Lizzie as we grabbed coffee from the Starbucks right across from the Common.  Then Marcia was off again for her Butterfly duties at the expo, and Lizzie and I wandered to the expo while the morning runners were off to freshen up.  
Lauren, Kara, and me

Lizzie and I had a chance to meet Lauren Fleischman and Kara Goucher, and Marcia even made it over too!  That was about all we had time for before it was time to head off to the game.  See, Adam and Linzie had coordinated a great event on Saturday with proceeds going to their fundraisers.  A lunch buffet at the Baseball Tavern, followed by a game at Fenway!! I had my first taste of chowdah for the weekend, and lots of fun chatting with Angela, Matthew, Lizzie, Nick, Linzie, Jason, Adam, Kira, Rachel, Jen and the gang. 

We headed over to Fenway and all I have to say is - I love this iconic, historic ballpark!  It's nestled right in the middle of the city, and still has the great, classic, architecture of ballparks of the past. We don't have that in Atlanta any more, and for some crazy reason the Braves seem to think a new stadium is in order again (Turner Field is only 15 years old).  Wrigley Field just celebrated their 100th Anniversary... but I digress.  

The game was great - we had awesome seats in right field.  Justin and Devin finally made it and it was fun to catch up with them too.  And the Red Sox WON!!!  What a great day.  

"That's ME!" -Kira

We headed back to the expo because Linzie and Adam hadn't seen their photos on the Saucony "Find Your Strong" wall - and we managed to find 6 more photos of Linzie, plus pictures of Kira, Marcia, and Krissy!  

We decided to call it a day in Boston a little early and headed back to Attleboro, where Adam took us to his favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.  

Sunday, April 20, 2014:
The Easter Bunny - AKA Princess Caitlyn
Easter Sunday!  Well, that's what the calendar said anyway.  I had high hopes of going to Old South Church (where Linzie and I picked up our marathon scarves on Thursday) for Easter Mass and the Blessing of the Athletes.  Little did I realize how popular this event would be... even though they had two services, when I got there at about 10:50 for the 11:00 service, there was a line around the block and I sadly did not make it into the church for worship.  I was seriously bummed.  I had missed Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, and was really hoping to make it to an Easter service.  It put me in a funk for awhile, but I had some great distractions.

Met up with the gang at the expo, and then we decided to head to lunch together.  Sadly the restaurant didn't have a table for all of us, but we were able to catch up and enjoy some awesome pizza (Adam, I hope you and Rachel polished off the rest of that pizza...).  We tried to make another stop at Marathon Sports, but the line was a little ridiculous, so we headed over to City Sports instead.  Marathon Sports is much more like Big Peach, as the local, hometown running store.  City Sports was HUGE!! Like, Dick's Sporting Goods HUGE (ok, maybe not quite that big, but I'm pretty sure at least 3 BPRC's would have fit in that store!).  I had decided I was set on #allthethings, so I didn't make any purchases, but the line moved quickly and we were off to the pasta party.

Ah, the Pasta Party.  So back in the fall when Adam got in to the race, Jen and I had signed up to volunteer.  We'd picked the pasta party as our first choice because it seemed like it would be super fun.  We were both chosen, and I was planning on volunteering... until I was picked for the marathon.  I debated about trying to do it, but I realized it might not be the smartest idea to be on my feet for 6hrs the day before the marathon (um, hello, working the booth before Donna...).  Jen was sad that I passed on my shift, but she understood, and I think she had a good time.  We each had different seating times in our race passports, but as we approached, it looked like no one was paying any attention to those times.  The line was AROUND THE BLOCK (this seemed to be the theme of the day).  We discussed going to dinner somewhere else - even walked to a restaurant in the financial district (on a Sunday night) only to realize it was closed - so in the end we were back in the monstrous line waiting for the white sauce pasta Jen had raved about. It took about an hour to make it through the line... and it was CHILLY in that line.  Good thing I had my sweet InB windbreaker ;)

Once we were inside, we forgot all about our griping in line. We had hot food and BEER!!  Angela and I went on an epic journey to find a bathroom that DIDN'T have a line (thank you 8th floor of City Hall).  We hung out, got awesome virtual support from Lizzie and Bella, filled our tummies with yummy food, and then it was time again to head home.  Tomorrow was THE BIG DAY!

Monday, April 21, 2014:

Y'all - OMG?!!?! We're running the Boston Marathon today!  Alarms went off early this morning.  Jason and Jen were driving us over to Hopkinton to ride the shuttle to the Athlete's Village.  I had a momentary panic attack when I realized (since I'd be rocking my SWEET InB denim capris) that I didn't have enough pockets for all my race fuel.  Adam saved the day (again - seriously, this guy... there are no words) with an Amphipod container I could put on my iFitness belt.  I also gave Jen a stash of fuel I would pick up when we saw her and Jason around mile 17.  

In order to get on the bus to the start, we had to get wanded.  Yes, security was TIGHT!  But it was something I was willing to endure (really, it was nothing) in order to make sure we all - spectators and runners alike - had a safe race.  Adam was pretty chill on the ride over, but Linzie and I were freaking out!  Adam said, at this point, it was just time to sit back and enjoy the ride.  

We got off the bus, but started heading the opposite way because Adam's mom had hooked us up with a fantastic pre-race location. One Ash Way - you know, where the BAA Hopkinon office is!!  Yes, we got to hang at the start with the Mass PD, security, and even the media - complete with DONUTS for breakfast - before the race.  Not to mention seeing Shalane and Meb rock the first 200m of the race!

Soon enough it was time for us to head to our corral to get started.  On the way, Adam lost a contact while we were putting on our sunblock.  I was so nervous when he picked it up off the street and put it back in. (ok, he "washed" it off, but I was still so nervous there was residual concrete flecks on it... not to mention I HATE the idea of sticking anything in your eyeballs)  Luckily all was well and we were on our way again.  A quick potty stop where we ran into Dani again, and then it was time to line up.  We even ran into Jeff and Barbara Galloway in our corral!

As we neared the start line, I was getting frustrated that my TomTom wasn't picking up satellites (it would take the first 1.5mi for it to sync, and then it would die before we even made it to Boston), but I had to soak it all in.  We were crossing the start of the BOSTON MARATHON!!!

I was so grateful to have Adam keeping the pace for us - nice and easy on the ~17mi downhill to start the race.  I had to make a pit stop around mile 3, but since I was in my InB, it was a quick stop.  Shortly after that, we got a text notification that Meb had WON!! Yes folks - we were around mile 3 or 4, and Meb had FINISHED the race!  Granted, he started before us, and finished in 2:08 and change.  But I was ECSTATIC!!  I started screaming, "MEB WON!!! MEB WON!!"  At first, people were a little confused.  But once they realized what I was saying, cheers rang out and we started a little "USA" chant.  It was fun to be part of that finish, even if we were 22 miles behind!

We rolled through the towns, and the crowd support was AMAZING!!  People had signs saying "You're Our Hero" and "It's Wicked Hard".  Jen had made us these great bibs with our names on them, so people would say our names and cheer for us.  It took me awhile to realize that when people would shout "GO BOSTON" they were talking about me - because I was wearing the Boston InB top.  Linzie would get shouts of "Bruins" or "Bs" because he was wearing his team shirt - and that's how I realized it.  I felt so honored to be at this race, part of this epic moment in history, and have people supporting me, "Boston."

Kira and Scott were the first that we saw along course, around mile 5.  It was the perfect time to pass off gloves and arm sleeves, as it was seriously warming up!  We saw them three more times along course - not to mention seeing Jen and Jason; Rachel, Melanie, and Chris; my parents; and Matthew and Angela (oh yeah, we also got to see Matthew at the start!).  Having crowd support that included our loved ones was SOOO awesome!

As we rolled into Newton, things were about to get real.  I had done my hill training and was ready to CRUSH some hills.  But this race was also about #WeRunTogether - especially #CorralGRunsBoston.  We abandoned our interval plan and just took it as we could.  I wanted to bust it out, but I also wanted to be there for my friends.  Linzie was having a horrible cramp, so just like Donna, I stayed with him, encouraging him to stretch it out, and even stopping to help him get a deeper stretch.  We let Adam go to conquer Heartbreak on his own (he OWNED that hill), but he was there waiting for us at the top.  Once Linzie was able to get past his cramp, it was all downhill cruising into Boston.  

We made our way past Fenway and the Citgo sign - 1mi to go!  Then under the 1km sign. The crowds were getting so thick at this point. I kept shouting at the spectators, encouraging them and thanking them.  Telling them "YOU'RE THE HERO."  Blowing kisses.  The moment was SO EPIC!  I had a fire burning inside of me to cross that finish line.  What I learned later was that Linzie and Adam were both having trouble breathing which is why they were a little behind me.  But there was no way we weren't crossing this finish together.  

I came up the street and realized it was time - I saw the Hereford sign and knew - Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston.  The finish was in sight.  I turned that first corner and the tears just started coming. I was SOBBING.  I was ready to run, but Linzie and Adam needed one last walk break before we ran it in on Boylston.  We hugged as we walked down that street, each of us feeling all the emotions.  We turned on Boylston - I knew my parents were just past the Convention Center on the right, so I made my way to that side of the street, scanning the crowd.  I was so elated to see my dad along the fence, and ran over and gave him a kiss.  My mom was standing on the wall behind, shouting "KATIE! KATIE!"  She had even recruited some strangers to cheer for me as well!  

Then we had to cut to the left to catch Matthew and Angela on the other side of the street, just past mile 26.  I think I scared the beejeezus out of a police office standing right in front of them as I SPRINTED over to give them huge hugs.  Then, it was time.  The three of us held hands and made our way the final 385m.  Boston was OURS.  That finish line was in sight.  I was still sobbing.  In fact, just like I said I would be, I was a sobbing, sweaty, snotty mess coming across that finish line.  But when the announced said EACH OF OUR NAMES, and we crossed the line, we had become Boston Marathoners! (seriously, I'm getting choked up writing this)!!  I loved the photos that started coming in of our friends taking pictures of us crossing the finish line - on TV!  They were watching the stream and were able to see us cross.  My favorite was from Courtney who not only caught us crossing, but this one of me breaking down as soon as we crossed.

We made our way to medals (I was nervous that since we finished at 4:55pm that we might not be getting them - I had read in the FAQs that you had to finish by 4:45, but I guess that changed), and a sweet heat shield - seriously, as hot as it was on course, as soon as we stopped running and got in the shade of the downtown buildings, I was glad we had it.  We grabbed food and then wandered over to meet up with our family.  My mom and dad had flowers for me - I felt like a real champion!  Kira, the official #CorralG photographer, was there snapping amazing photos.  

The day was AMAZING!!!  We headed off to get cleaned up - thanks again to Matthew and Angela for their generosity.  Mom and Dad offered to take me to dinner, so I said goodbye to my friends as they headed off to the House of Blues after party (we were too late to make it to the Fenway Open House, unfortunately).  Mom and Dad and I hit up a great restaurant right next to Matthew and Angela's hotel that wasn't busy, where I enjoyed Shrimp and Grits and a Koko Brown beer from Kona Brewing (they didn't have 26.2 Brew on tap).  I was lucky enough to catch a bus from the hotel over to the after party after dinner, but by that time there was, yet another LONG line to get in, and we were all getting pretty tired.  We headed back to Attleboro... I was told my choice to go to dinner was the better choice, since the after party had slim pickins.  In fact they even had to make a drive-thru stop on the way home to get dinner! (I won't divulge where they went...)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014:
Our amazing weekend was coming to an end.  We said our goodbyes to Rachel and Princess Caitlyn, thanking them both for letting us invade their home.  We packed up the van and were off into the city.  Before going to the airport, though, we had an important stop.  Sam Adams Brewing!! The brewery was offering FREE tours for marathoners and their friends/family, so we of course had to get that in!  Adam had left his ID in his running belt, but luckily was able to produce a valid copy so he could get his beer tasting on!  We toured the brewery, then had samples of Boston Lager, Summer Ale, and my personal favorite, Black and Gold.  Sadly, Black and Gold is only available at the brewery at the TD Garden where the Bruins play, as it is their special beer.  I decided at that moment I was moving to Boston and living in the Garden!  We also got a taste of 26.2 Brew out in the Beer Garden before hopping on the Party Trolley over to Doyle's for lunch.  Seriously - do this tour and ride the party trolley.  Not to mention - the chowdah at Doyle's was AMAZING!!! I also had a French Dip and onion rings - two thumbs up!  Sadly they had run out of 26.2 Brew, but they have more Sam Adams on tap than the brewery, so I had a Grumpy Monk.  Not my favorite, but Kira sure enjoyed it!

Sadly, after Doyle's, our time had come to an end.  We said goodbye to Matthew and Angela as they hopped on the T to go back to their hotel.  At the car, we said goodbye to Scott, Chris, and Melaine, our Chamberlain cheer squad, and thanked them for their support.  At the airport, I was the first to get dropped off, and said goodbye with in-van hugs to Kira, Jen, and Jason for being our ROCKSTAR support squad. And of course then it was time for one last team hug with Linzie and Adam, thanking them so much for sharing another 26.2 miles with me.  

I got to see Matthew and Angela again in the Sky Club before our flights left, but all too soon it was time to say goodbye again - to my friends and to this amazing city.  Boston, we love you.  I may have just written a TON of words about this experience, but honestly, there are no words for what it meant to be part of the 118th running of the Boston marathon, of helping this wonderful city and our amazing running community reclaim our finish line, and to show the world that we are #BostonStrong.

Special thanks to: Angela Amick, Jen Pelham, Linzie Starr, Jason Mendez, Adam Chamberlain, Scott Chamberlain, Kira Chamberlain, and Courtney Stevens for the photos!!

26 April 2014

I Ran the Boston Marathon - Initial Thoughts and Thanks

Holy $!@% I ran the Boston Marathon!  Y'all I cannot believe that this all really happened.  I am still digesting this all, so this will more than likely be one of multiple posts about the Boston Marathon.  But I want to share my thoughts with you all, and thank you so much for joining me on this journey.

First and foremost, I have to again thank iFit for giving me this amazing opportunity! I admit - there are times leading up to the race that I felt like an imposter.  I mean, I'm FAR OFF from qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  And I wasn't raising money for a charity, like my friends Adam and Linzie. No, I had been given the amazing opportunity to run this race simply by clicking "Retweet" on a tweet from iFit - and being selected as the random winner! 

But I wasn't going in to this willy nilly.  No, I trained my a$$ off for this race - more than any other race I've gone into.  You read my training each week on #TrainingTuesday - I increased my weekly days running and my overall weekly mileage.  I added speed workouts and hill workouts to make sure I was ready.  Not to mention this would be my FIFTH marathon.  I was no Barney Stinson.  But still, even arriving in Boston, I felt like a fake.

It was the most amazing thing to be able to share this race with two of my BRFs - Adam and Linzie. I loved reading Linzie's post this morning with his marathon recap.  And as Linzie reflected, the desire to be at the start line of the 118th Boston Marathon started on April 15, 2013, when terror struck our finish line.  Yes, the finish line of the Boston Marathon belongs to runners the world over.  We work hard to get to Boylston - no matter how we get there - and to have that accomplishment shattered by two bombs was unthinkable.  Sure, a few years ago when I saw my co-worked Meghan rock her Boston Marathon shirt I got the itch to do it one day.  But I never dreamed this year would be the year.  Even last year when I made my plan after Chicago to run every World Marathon Major - Boston was at the end of the line, after qualifying.  

In the fall when Adam was selected to run for TeamBIDMC (raising money for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) we were all SOOO excited for him.  His story was so moving, it was no wonder they chose him for one of their coveted charity spots.  Linzie had the desire to be at the start line too, and applied for many charity options, trying to find a spot with a team he could get behind.  Sadly he wasn't chosen - although multiple times he was the told if they had just one more bib, he would have gotten it.  As a running family, we kept an eye out for how to get a bib for Linzie.  Even the day that I won my entry, I had a brief thought of "how do I give this bib to Linzie?"  Luckily that same week he was chosen by the Boston Bruin's Foundation for their final bib.  And the journey to Boylston for the three of us was on.

I am so proud of the work Adam and Linzie did raising a combined total of almost $20,000 for their charities!! And thank you to those of you who helped get them to that number.  We had an epic weekend and now it's time to turn our attention to the details of the weekend.

15 April 2014

Training Tuesday - Final Week

This week's workouts:

Tuesday, April 8:
Speed work - last speed work session of the training period.  Seriously, y'all - this is happening.  I'm running the BOSTON MARATHON!!!  AHHHHH!!!!
1mi repeats x3 with 400m recovery between sets
10:13, 10:27, 10:12 - pretty on-target for a 4:30 marathon finish time!!

Wednesday, April 9:
No official workout, but did take the munch on a walk
2.48mi in 51:32, pushing a stroller with a super cute kid in it.
(this was also the day there was an older man on the trail that needed assistance, so we stopped and helped, as well as helped the EMTs find where we were)

Thursday, April 10:
Took another walk with the munch AND did my easy run with Jason after work.
Walking: 3.19mi in 1:04:35, pushing a stroller again.
Easy 5: 5mi in 57:32.  Avg pace: 11:28mm.  Intervals of 3:00/0:45.  Explored part of the Beltline Trail.

Friday, April 11:
Last hill workout before Boston!! Seriously - is this for real?!  Conquered the mamajama hill this week, with one final hill sprint to finish it off.
Total: 6.0mi in 1:04:34.  Avg pace: 10:45.  No set intervals, just pushing up the hills and taking a few walk breaks.

Saturday, April 12:
Cross training on the bike
10.73mi in 49:30.  Avg speed: 13.00mph.  Cadence: 57rpm

Sunday April 13:
Last long run of training.  Seriously people - I'm running the BOSTON MARATHON next week!!! AHHH!!!
8.01mi in 1:31:35.  Avg pace: 11:24.  Intervals of 3:00/0:45.
Took 30bits before run.  Had Cherry Limeade Nuun on run.  It was HOT and I did not have enough water.  Probably could have used a little more fuel too...

Monday, April 14:
rest day

Winner of three GNC Lean Shake Protein Powder tubs: Lauren H.  Congrats!!

Y'all - I am FREAKING out over here.  This time next week, I will be a Boston Marathon FINISHER! Seriously, I cannot believe it's really here.  I am so super excited and so thankful for you for following along on this journey.  If you want to follow me during the race, my bib is 34886.

I am super excited to reconnect with some of my #CorralG buddies this weekend and spend time together, but beyond thrilled that I will get to conquer the miles with Linzie and Adam by my side.

I'll start packing tomorrow and I'm taking a few of my favorite "friends" with me:
-Ink n Burn apparel for the run and for hanging out at the Red Sox game
-Mizuno Wave Riders and Feetures socks to run in
-Yurbuds to keep in touch with my RunKeeper and any incoming support via Facebook and Twitter
-energyBITS to fuel me through the whole weekend
-Nuun to keep me hydrated
-Handana to swipe away the tears at the finish
-110% Compression gear (juggler knickers and calf sleeves) for recovery
-AND SUNBLOCK!! I will NEVER forget sunblock AGAIN!
WDW Marathon Sunburn!

At this point, that's about all I have... I may have another post before the race, but if not, check back for my recap of the Boston Marathon coming next week!!

08 April 2014

Training Tuesday - GNC Lean Shake

This week's workouts:

Tuesday, April 1:
Speed work.  2mi repeats with half mile recovery in between.  1mi warm-up and cool down.
6.58mi in 1:17:27.  Avg pace: 11:46.  No intervals.  10:07 for first 2mi; 11:23 for second 2mi.  It was WAY hotter outside than I thought it was going to be, and even though I dressed properly, I wasn't hydrated well enough, which shows in the drastic slow down of the second set.  This is what I get for not getting up early enough to run before work!

Wednesday, April 2:
I've turned into a slacker... no "official" workout today, but the munch and I did go on a walk to the park, and I pushed him in the stroller.  Total was 2.5miles.

Thursday, April 3:
Hill workout.  Switched it up a bit this week.
3.26mi in 36:36.  Avg pace: 11:14.  I swear these hills felt more intense than they look on this elevation chart!

Friday, April 4:
5mi easy in DC and 45min yoga class.  So excited to get into town for the race on Sunday.  Had a little trouble getting my GPS to sync, so I don't have the official stats on my run, but it was something like this:
5mi in roughly 55min.  No intervals, just cruising through my favorite place!

Saturday, April 5:
didn't manage to get in a bike ride or spin class, but did walk on the mall for a bit.

Sunday, April 6:
Cherry Blossom 10miler race.  I absolutely love this race because I love running in DC.  This year, I remembered the importance of gloves and pants because MAN it's cold in DC in early April.  I ditched my pants right after my walk from the car to the start (and got going pretty quickly - the benefits of having magical parking luck in DC) but don't worry, I had on a skirt.  I kept the gloves for about the first two miles and then ditched those as well.  The great thing about most races is that they pick up discarded clothing and donate it to a local charity.  By the end of the race I was down to my skirt, tank, and arm sleeves.  It did get a little chilly, but I ran 10 miles, so I managed.
10mi in 1:39:05 (official time).  Avg pace: 9:54mm.  Did not do intervals, only walked through water stops.
Training plan called for 12 miles, but I figured I was ok with my warm up/cool down walk from the car.

Monday, April 7:
moving.  My parents are moving next month, so today my siblings and I did a lot of traipsing around the house making sure our important knicknacks weren't going to be sold at the upcoming estate sale. It was a lot of walking up and down the stairs and carrying stuff.  Also, today is technically supposed to be my rest day, so there's that.

This week, I want to talk about my post-run recovery process.  As long as I have the five minutes to do it, I am pit-stopping in the kitchen when I get back from a run to make a smoothie.  I have my post-run smoothie down- 1C of Almond-Coconut milk, 2T natural peanut butter, 1 frozen banana, and 2 scoops of chocolate peanut butter Lean Shake.  It is my go to after activity workout.  It's got a great balance of protein and carbs, and it helps me feel focused and replenished after a run.

I was introduced to Lean Shake from GNC when I won a year's supply of protein powder and now I want to share my bounty with you.  Here's some information about Lean Shake straight from the GNC website:

GNC Total Lean™ Lean Shake™ 25 Powder
GNC Total Lean™ Lean Shake™ 25 offers a well-balanced blend of high quality protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and fat. This great tasting combination makes a healthy addition to your dietary regimen. With 25 grams of high quality protein per serving, Lean Shake™ 25 can be an effective way to increase your feeling of fullness and satiety. Dietary protein can also help support lean body mass.
    25 grams of high quality protein
    8 grams of fiber to help you feel fuller and satisfied

    24 vitamins and minerals

This week I am giving away three flavors - Banana, Mixed Berry, and Cookies & Cream - so you can try it for yourself.  I've tried each of the 9 flavors that came in my supply and each has a great flavor.  While the Chocolate Peanut Butter is my favorite (read: I'm not sharing those), I also really love the flavor of the ones I'm sharing with you all.  The Mixed Berry tastes just like a blueberry muffin!  The Cookies and Cream (made with milk) tastes like a milkshake.  The banana is a very subtle flavor and I usually mix it with some of the other flavors, like Rich Chocolate or Mixed Berry.

I've played with recipes and found the ones that work for me, but I'd love to hear what your favorite smoothie recipe is.

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