Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thankful for my Followers Blog-Hop {GIVEAWAY}

I'm trying something new...I'm joining up with Runaway Bridal Planner and MCM Mama Runs for their "Thankful for my Followers" blog hop and giveaway! 

 

What is a blog hop you ask?

A group of blogs that are all linked together. This allows blog readers who come to one person's blog to find links to other blogs they may enjoy. They click on these links and "hop" to the next blog and so on! 


What's even better than a blog hop?

A Giveaway Hop of course!! A giveaway hop is a lot like a blog hop, however all of the blogs that you will be "hopping" to will be hosting super awesome giveaways :) 
Why would I participate in this?

Well, when I first started this blog I think only 1 person read it...yep, Jess...I think you were the only one :) However, over the last year I have "met" so many incredible, motivational, and supportive people through this blog. I'm thankful for the advice and encouragement they have given me...and I am thankful that they actually care enough to read what I have to say :) 


I figured that this "Thankful for my Followers giveaway hop" would be the perfect opportunity for me to say thank you to all of my followers.

What am I giving away?

Well that is the most important part right? Well I have decided I want to give away two of my favorite products that got me through marathon training and my marathon. (you thought you were going to get through a whole post without me mentioning this didn't you?) 


 3 box variety pack of Cocogo and an adorable (in my opinion) water bottle ($38.49 value)

Cocogo is an all natural, gluten, and tummy ache free sports drink. Not only are the ingredients top of the line, but the taste is even better!! I started drinking Cocogo at the beginning of this year and I haven't looked back. I like other sports drinks...but nothing quenches my thirst and keeps me hydrated quite like Cocogo. I like all 3 flavors...but I would have to say lemon lime is the best! If you win this giveaway you will receive a sample pack (3 boxes with 12 servings in each) so you can try all 3 flavors (lemon lime, grape, and raspberry passion fruit)

*If you are anxious to try Cocogo and don't want to wait to see if you won the giveaway you can use promo code: HEATHER to receive 10% off your order. 


Sample size tin (about 3 servings) of ENERGYbits ($5 value)

If you read my review HERE, you know how much I love these little energy filled algae tabs! I experimented with several kinds of fuel during my marathon training (there I go again!) and nothing compares to these bite sized bits of energy!! I have used them on all of my long runs, for a half-marathon PR, and my first full marathon. I take about 30 before a tough/long run and then 4-5 every couple of miles to keep my energy levels up. I am not even kidding you when I say that I feel a little surge of energy within minutes of taking a few of these. ENERGYbits are my "runner's high" in a tin :)

*If you are an impatient person like me and you would like to purchase a sample of ENERGYbits NOW, feel free to email me and I can get some sent out to you right away. 
OR 
if you already know about the magical powers of ENERGYbits and want to order some you can use promo code: wthwhynot for 30% off your entire order!! 

Enter to win BOTH of these fabulous prizes by completing one or ALL of the options below! If you are a follower of any kind (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogger, etc) you get one FREE entry!! However, I encourage you to get as many entries as possible! The giveaway will be open until November 17th, and the winner will be announced November 18th :) Good luck, and thanks again for reading!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Have you ever participated in a giveaway hop?
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Major Award!

 
Alright...maybe it's not "major" exactly...but I will take any excuse to quote one of my favorite movies ;)


A few weeks ago I was nominated for the Liebster Award by one of my favorite bloggers, Leslie at Life Begins at 30. Leslie is a  fellow Kansas Citian and runner...so really, how could I not love her?


What is a Liebster Blog Award you ask? Well...it may not be a "major" award...but it's still really fun! It's a (made up) award given to bloggers by bloggers in an effort to help people discover new blogs to read...and who doesn't need more blogs to stalk follow?


There are a lot of different "rules" out there about this award...but one thing they all had in common was that you had to answer 10 questions (provided by the blogger who nominated you) and then nominate your favorite bloggers and give them 10 questions to answer....easy right? Not even I can screw this one up...I don't think  :)


As if I don't talk about myself enough on my blog...here are some more random tidbits about...you guessed it...ME :)

1.   What is your all time favorite race or sporting event in which you participated?

 This is a no brainer...my favorite race was the Kansas City Marathon. I think it will always be my favorite and most memorable. I have actually been struggling lately with "what's next?" and with how to get myself excited and motivated for another race. I mean seriously, I am not sure I can top it!
2.   What food reminds you of home?

Another easy one...mint chocolate chip ice cream. When we were little this was always our special little treat. I remember how excited we would get when our mom would pick up a pint of Edy's Mint Chocolate Chip and a package of ice cream cones!! I blame my mom for my unhealthy addiction to mint ice cream :) 

3.   Favorite childhood memory?

It is SO hard to pick just one. I know everyone says this...but I had an incredible childhood. However, if I have to choose one, I would say that reading the Highlights magazine with my dad was one of my favorite things about my childhood. My grandma bought me a subscription to that magazine every year and I remember that every time that it came in the mail I could NOT wait until my dad got home. We would read that thing cover to cover and he would even let me find all the pictures in the picture find first :)

4.   Favorite sport/sports team?

Chiefs, Royals, Sporting KC, Pitt State, K-State...pretty much anything KC related :)

Speaking of...who's out there rooting for the Royals tonight? I know I sure am...while I am definitely ready for baseball season to be over and to get back to my regularly scheduled programs in the evenings I sure wouldn't mind seeing the Royals win the World Series. The last time that happened, I was only 1 year old! 

5.   How did you become a blogger?

In 2010 I went through a pretty tough break-up. I had allowed myself to be in an unhealthy relationship for far too long and I was struggling to "find" myself. With the help of a good friend, I made  an unconventional New Year's Resolution for 2011 and I decided that I would blog about my adventures along the way.

My resolution was to start stepping out of my comfort zone and being more spontaneous...hence "What the heck...why not?" I decided that I was going to stop over-thinking things and saying yes to more often and getting out of my comfort zone. It was seriously the BEST thing I could have done. I made tons of new friends, experienced some amazing things, and yes...you guessed it found myself :) Totally cheesy, yes...but that New Year's resolution was so successful...and fun...I've continued the tradition for the last few years...and plan to continue...as long as I can keep coming up with ideas!

Now that I am thinking of it...anybody have any fun ideas for next year? I'm stuck...and time is a tickin'

6.   Favorite place to travel?

My favorite place so far (and somewhere I would LOVE to go back) is Big Sky, Montana. I went there a few years ago with a big group of friends and got to go dog-sledding, snow-shoeing, zip-lining and I even got to drive a snow-mobile through Yellowstone National Park. I want to go back and do all of those things again, and I would love to go back in the summer as well.


7.   What is your favorite food/dish/meal to cook?

Does ordering pizza count? I hate cooking...I don't have the patience or desire. Lucky for me, AJ LOVES to cook! One of the top 10 reasons I love him ;)

8.   Favorite song?

Another no brainer...Push It by Salt N' Pepa. This song is so fun and upbeat and always makes me smile! It's forever on my playlist and was even playing as I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon :)

9.   Do you have fur kids?  If so, how many and what kind?

 I have a dog, a 10 year old Yorkie named Gracie...but I have this weird thing about calling her my "kid" or anyone calling me her "mommy" I don't know why...I'm just weird like that I guess :)  
 
10. What is one item that you always have with you?

My water bottle. I never ever go anywhere without it...unless I lose it...Which has been known to happen a time or two...or tenBecauase of this I have a very impressive collection of Camelbak water bottles in my car :)

Alright...now that you know way more about me than you ever cared to know it's my turn to nominate some of my very favorite bloggers!! Make sure to check them out...I promise you won't be disappointed! :)

Teach Inspire Change

Running 'N' Reading

Not Your Mama's Marathon

Redhead on the Run

Alright ladies, it's your turn...here are your 10 questions :)

1. What is your proudest accomplishment?
2. If you were only allowed to eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
3.What was your most embarrassing moment?
4. What is your favorite thing about yourself? (Go ahead...brag about how awesome you are!)
5. What is something you are NOT good at?
6. What is your guilty pleasure?
7. What's your favorite thing to do in the fall?
8. What's your favorite item of clothing?
9. Do you have any strange/weird hidden talents?
10. What is your favorite book and/or movie?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Post-Marathon Recovery

It's been over a week since I crossed the finish line of my first marathon...and I have to say...I am still riding that high. I still can't believe I did it...

I feel like the look on my face here says it all...All I was thinking when I crossed that finish line was "hell yes, I did it" 
I mean, don't get me wrong...I was pretty sure I could run 26.2 miles going into it, but I definitely still surprised myself a little at how good I felt while doing it. 

Running a marathon was something I never EVER thought I would do. Last year at this time the longest distance I had ever run at once was 7.5 miles and when thinking about my New Year's Resolution I thought I MIGHT run at least 1 half-marathon during my "Twelve in Twelve". It's amazing how my resolution evolved over the year...so far I have run 5 half marathons and 1 full. Seriously, if you had told last year that this is where my New Year's Resolution would take me...I would have laughed in your face.

I seriously never stopped smiling during the race. Well except for the giant hill at mile 22 and 23 :)
I would say I am usually a pretty modest person...compliments and praise tend to make me uncomfortable...but for some reason when people tell me "great job" or "that's quite an accomplishment" I can hardly stop myself from saying "I know, I'm pretty awesome aren't I?" I mean...I don't actually say it...but in all honesty...I have to admit I'm thinking it :) 

Not a sub 4, but pretty darn close! Official time 4:04:24
It's just that I am so proud of myself...I'm proud of how hard I worked...I'm proud of myself for setting a goal and achieving it, but mostly I am proud of myself for enjoying the race. I had such a great time ...I have no regrets. I missed my goal (4 hours) by a couple of minutes and instead of being upset...I celebrated. I celebrated the fact that even though I didn't reach my goal...I still finished and I finished strong. No one had to push, pull, or drag me across that finish line...and as a person who is competitive and who can tend to be a little hard on myself...this is definitely something to be proud of. I haven't spent the last week dwelling on those 4 minutes. I haven't thought about what I could have done differently...because honestly, there isn't anything I could or would change about the race.


Alright, now onto my recovery. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel post-race and I was actually really surprised as to how sore my thighs were. I say surprised because after all of my longer runs 15+ I always had minimal soreness (especially after I started using my EnergyBits)

Just looking at this makes my legs ache a little :)
However, none of my training runs were quite as hilly as the marathon course...and of course the longest I had ever run was 20. The only place I was really sore was the outside of my thighs. Standing up from a sitting position, sitting down, and walking down hill or stairs was pretty rough for a few days.

I want to assure you that I do look just as good in these pants as this mannequin ;)
Luckily, I had my Bio Skin Compression Shorts to help ease the pain and speed up the recovery process. I always wear compression socks after my long runs and I always thought having a full lower body garment would be great...and guess what? It is!! I can't even begin to tell you how much better I felt when I put these shorts on. I wore them under my jeans and dress pants for 3 days and by Tuesday I had very little, if any, soreness and I was walking much better :) 

I am also following a plan suggested by my chiropractor Dr. Sindorf. I want to allow my body to recover quickly and efficiently and I know that going back out and putting in a ton of miles is not the way to do it. So this week I only ran twice. I ran 2 miles on Thursday and then 4 miles on Saturday, and I have to tell you, it is really nice to just run for fun. No goal pace, no set distance and no more of the "I have to go for a run" 

Here is the plan he suggests
I'm going to continue to take it pretty easy for the next few weeks. I am running the Longview Half Marathon on November 15th which gives me plenty of time for recovery. Now if only pizza and beer were a part of the recovery process...and if it were...I would be nailing this whole recovery thing :)



Are you tired of me talking about my marathon yet?
Will my over-inflated ego ever subside?




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guess What? I Ran A Freaking Marathon...and LOVED it!

I honestly don't even know where to begin with this post...I am not sure I can adequately put into words how amazing Saturday was. 

I ran my first marathon...and it was seriously everything I could have hoped for and more. I had the perfect experience. I couldn't have asked for a better day....and yes, when I crossed that finish line I experienced the highest of highs. I was on cloud 9...hell, I still am :)

In the weeks leading up to the race, I was a  little worried that I wouldn't have a great experience. I kept thinking back to my first half-marathon...and how it just didn't live up to my expectations I was nervous that I would walk limp away from this feeling the same way....and after working as hard as I had for the last 18 weeks I wasn't sure I could handle that.

Luckily, that was not the case. It was the exact opposite.


Friday, AJ's sister, Jenni got into town and we went to the expo to pick up our packets. There were tons of vendors and lots of fun running gear and free samples. We spent more time than we planned looking at everysinglething and it wasn't until we were hit with a case of the hangries that we decided to head out and grab lunch. We decided to do our 15 minute shake out run in downtown KC. We ran and met Brian for lunch and then had him drive us back to our car....I mean, we didn't want to do any extra running ;)


At the expo, Runner's Edge, a local running club was handing out pace bands. I have never used one before but after talking with one of the members I decided it might be useful. The pace bands were created especially for the KC Marathon course and took into account the hills. I couldn't decide if I wanted to go with the 4 hour pace band or 4:10 so I grabbed both figuring I could tear off whichever one I wanted after getting a feel for how the race was going to go. (Spoiler alert...I tore off the 4:10 bracelet at mile 7!)


Saturday morning the alarm went off around 4AM...this is when the early morning training runs  paid off. My body was used to being up this early and was ready to run :)


4AM breakfast of champions :)


Jenni was running her first half-marathon EVER so it was definitely nice to have someone to share pre-race nerves with! Brian had run the Prairie Fire marathon the weekend before and decided to run the KC half so he could run with Jenni. I don't know what possessed him to run 13.1 miles less than a week after a marathon...but, it's definitely impressive :)

You know how I said that my marathon experience couldn't have been any better...well a huge part of that was due to my friends and family. Apparently, without my knowing, they all planned on coming to my race and standing at different parts of the course to cheer me on. As if I hadn't been emotional enough...every time I saw them and heard them yelling for me...I started to tear up.


This lady endured strange looks all for my benefit! We have a long running joke about my "Schweaty Betty" status :)


Every time I saw these ladies I couldn't help but smile! Between the hilarious signs, mid-race selfies, and driving by with Kristin hanging halfway out the car window I couldn't help but be entertained. 



Seriously...I had so much fun running this race. I am smiling in every picture...I just couldn't help it! 


This is one of my favorite pictures. This guy has seriously been one of my biggest supporters. He has put up with a lot over the last 18 weeks...I'm definitely lucky to have him :)


Here I am at the finish...and this group of girls jumped out onto the course to run in across the finish line with their friend. I would usually think this was sweet, but... I like to sprint across the finish line (even after 26.2 miles apparently) and they were not moving very quickly....so I had to whip out around them so I could finish fast and get my finish line photo without them blocking me ;)


Even though the last 3 miles were tough...my finish felt strong. It probably had something to do with my giant cheering section yelling my name.


Seriously, what better way to be greeted as you cross the finish line of your very first marathon?? I mean the second best thing was being met with food...I have never been so hungry in my life than after I crossed that finish line. Luckily my friends came through for me with a granola bar and a sandwich :)


Not only did my friends and family show their support on the day of the race...but they also came through for me in the BioSkin sponsorship contest! I had applied to be BioSkin's sponsored athlete and when I was chosen as one of 4 finalists, my friends and family really came through for me. Even though I posted an annoying reminder and link every day they still kept voting! 

I ended up winning and BioSkin will be reimbursing my race entry fees for the KC Marathon AND they sent me a free product! Let me tell you...this free product (compression shorts) has made recovering from 26.2 miles a much more pleasant experience. My poor legs were tired and sore after the race...and after putting these things on I was a whole new woman! I have worn them off and on for the last few days and it has noticeably sped up my recovery time!

So...in closing, I guess what I I really need to say is thanks! Thank you to everyone who has shown me so much love and support over the last 18 weeks. I definitely couldn't have done it without you. Knowing that I had so many people pulling for me on Saturday made this experience one that I still can't stop smiling about :)


What is the funniest race sign you have ever seen? 
Will I ever stop wanting to shout "I ran a marathon" from the rooftops?
Friday, October 17, 2014

I'm Running a Marathon Tomorrow!

In 14 hours 45 minutes and 27 seconds I will be at the starting line of my very first marathon...but who's counting? I may or may not be panicking a little. I'm scared...I'm scared of feeling like I cannot go on. I'm scared of feeling like I want to quit. I know it's going to be hard...probably one of the most physically demanding things I have ever done...but what I also know is....I CAN do it. I trained for 18 weeks for this. Minus the week that I was dealing with my hip/glute I didn't miss a training run. I was 100% committed and I gave it my all. So, yes...I can do this. 

 
When I first tossed around the idea of running a marathon my goal was just to finish, but as I got further into my training I started throwing around the idea of finishing with a sub 4 time. Call it "marathon ignorance" but I didn't see the big deal of making such a HUGE goal. I didn't realize how truly difficult a sub 4 hour marathon could be...especially for a first timer like myself.

Throughout my training I have regretted making that statement...because if you know me, I like to achieve my goals and the competitive side of myself will be VERY disappointed if I don't meet my goal.


Here's the deal...it's very likely that I won't run a sub 4 marathon...and I have come to grips with that. I am actually okay with it in fact. Last weekend I was obsessively following a few different people via trackers and social media to see how they did on their marathons. All 3 of these people set pretty amazing goals for themselves...and guess what? They all fell just a little bit short. Was I disappointed in them? Did I discount the fact that they just ran a freaking marathon? Did I think they had failed? Hell no...all I felt was admiration and respect for them. They just ran a marathon...and just then it hit me...it doesn't matter how fast or slow someone completes a marathon...just the whole idea of finishing a marathon is an accomplishment in itself. 


So...whether or not I reach my goal tomorrow I am still going to be proud of myself. I am still going to be a marathoner...and become one of those people that tells anyone who will listen, that I ran a marathon ;-)

With that being said...I am not completely throwing out the idea of setting a goal for myself...but I am going to be a little more realistic. I am about 90% sure that I could on a given day run a sub 4 marathon. For this to happen though, my body will have to cooperate and as runners all know...the body doesn't always do what you want it to do. I have had training runs that were amazing...and I have had training runs that were not so amazing...and they have happened within weeks of each other. There was nothing specific that caused a bad run...it just wasn't my day. 

So, what I am going to do is make a few goals. So, if in the case of a "bad" day I don't feel completely defeated and like I failed mid-race. 

Goal #1- Sub 4 hours

In the case of a perfect "run" day, this is my goal. I would love to run a sub 4 hour marathon. To do this I will need to keep an average pace of 9:07. Doable? Yes...scary to think about? YES!! I have run 5 half-marathons this year and was able to keep this pace (and below) for all of them. However, the thought of doing it again for 13.1 more miles is what scares me. If I had been running a marathon on the day of the Go  Girl Half (3 weeks ago) I could have definitely achieved this goal. That day was PERFECT...keeping an 8:55 pace for the whole race was not only doable, but it felt effortless. I have no doubt in my mind that I could have crossed that finish line and made another loop and finished under 4 hours. So fingers crossed that I have a day like that tomorrow :)

Goal #2- 4 hours 10 mins (or less)

This gives me a little wiggle room with my time. If I cross the finish line with a time under 4 hours and 10 minutes, I will be ecstatic. It is so close to my original goal, how could I be upset? 

Goal #3- Negative Splits

One of the things I am going to focus on during the race is running negative splits. I want to run the second half of my race faster than the first. This will require me to take it slow for the first half. It will be difficult for me to hold myself back...especially with all of the excitement going on and I HATE letting runners pass me :) However, my plan is to  run the first 9 miles easy...then pick up the pace for the next 9....and hopefully finish strong for the final 8.2 miles. 

Goal #4- Finish with a PR

This goal is inevitable (obviously, assuming I don't DNF-but lets's not even go there)  I WILL get a PR tomorrow. This is my first marathon and whatever time I end with is a PR for me. A time I should be proud of. An accomplishment I should be proud of.

Okay...I think I have a goal for every single possible scenario tomorrow. I WILL feel accomplished when I cross that finish line no matter how the race goes. I will be proud of myself when I finish...

I WILL be a marathoner :)


Any last minute advice before my run tomorrow?

Also...if you are interested in tracking me tomorrow, you can sign up for updates here
Monday, October 13, 2014

Marathon Monday- My race is THIS week!


In 5 days I will be running my marathon...I will be running the race that I have spent the last 18 weeks preparing for. I should probably be panicking right? Wrong...I feel surprisingly calm and excited right now. I can't wait for Saturday...I am so ready for this race. I am ready to accomplish a goal that I NEVER thought was possible.
 
While I have been running for many years, I often looked at the marathon distance as something impossible, something I personally could never and would never do...and here I am about to do it :)


Don't get me wrong...I'm nervous...very nervous! I've done the training...I've given it my all...but there are so many factors that play into how a run/race goes. I have had days where I could run forever and it was easy...and I have had days where I laid on the park bench and cried. I've done the training...I'm capable of running 26.2 miles...now I just have to hope that my body is ready and willing to do it on Saturday. I have been taking my taper seriously (all the way down to the crazy, irrational mood swings) and I have been running less (which I haven't hated) and it's all out of my hands now. I am choosing to think positively and visualize the perfect race conditions...and I sure hope that it works :)

This past week was great training wise...I have to say I haven't hated the shorter mileage runs and carb-loading :)

Chocolate chip cookies and ice cream counts for carb-loading right?
 
Tuesday- 6 miles

 


I may or may not have grown accustomed to my early morning runs...and I may actually like them now. However, with winter fast approaching I am sure my opinion on them will change :)
 
Thursday- 5.31 miles
 
 
5.31 miles? Really RunKeeper? I love RunKeeper's interval options and used the workout that it suggested for this day...unfortunately the "end" of my workout didn't end on a nice round number and it is driving me crazy...still. I most likely have a problem :) 
 

Saturday- 5 miles


  Saturday was a GLORIOUS day! I didn't have to set an alarm...I only had to run 5 miles, and AJ was gone all day and night for a bachelor party. I had the house to myself for a full 24 hours!! While I love AJ and I love when we have time to spend together...I also love spending time with another one of my favorite people....ME :) It has been such a crazy hectic couple of months since school started a lazy day like that  was definitely overdue!
 
Sunday- 6miles


I didn't set an alarm for Sunday's run either....again, GLORIOUS! I am loving the cooler weather because I don't have to get up and out before 6AM to beat the heat. It felt weird...but a good weird to only run 6 miles. I know most people panic about not having a "long" run during the taper...but I am kind of loving it :)
 
 
I am absolutely LOVING fall...It's by far my favorite season. The weather is perfect and the leaves changing color makes for beautiful runs :)
 
Speaking of things I LOVE...This weekend we got to babysit my niece Finley. Friday night "EG" (AJ) and I babysat while my brother and sister-in-law went out to dinner for my brother's birthday. We took her to dinner (total amateur move on our part...we clearly have no clue what we are doing with an almost 2 year old at a restaurant lol!) and then went back to their house to watch the Royals game. Sadly, my sweet girl only wanted "EG" to play with her and when it came time for nighttime snuggles she insisted that EG give her, her bedtime bottle instead of me. I mean...I don't blame her...he is pretty great...but I was sure jealous of the Finley snuggles he got instead of me!
 
Food was everywhere...she was yelling "HI" to everyone that walked by...she was grabbing my plate, "EG's" drink, and the chairs all around us. It was definitely an experience :)
 
I mean, how can I even be mad when they are both so stinking cute?
 


This is basically my life right now...so I will probably eat and sleep my way through the next 5 days anxiously awaiting my marathon!

 
 

 What's your favorite "carb-loading" snack?
 
What is your favorite part of fall?
 
P.S. I am also linking up for the first time with one of my personal favorite bloggers, Tara for her weekend update...She loves running and reading...basically we are soul-mates :) Check out her blog and link up if you have a post about your weekend!
  
Running 'N' Reading