Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A-Z Survey

A – Age: 30 (for a few more weeks!)
B – Biggest Fear: Spiders
C – Current Time: 7:50 AM
D – Drink You Had Last: Coffee
E – Easiest Person To Talk To: Kristy, my BFF, always
F – Favorite Song: Wagon Wheel by The Old Crow Medicine Show or Bodies by Soul Miner's Daughter
G – Grossest Memory: One time, I put my foot into my pair of faux-Uggs, and when I took a step I squished something and it felt cool. I was absolutely sure I'd just stepped on a roach IN MY SHOE. Turned out it was a packet of ketchup. Still gross.
H – Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
I – In Love With: Mr. John Frederick Agel III
J – Jealous Of: I wish I could say I was beyond jealousy at this point, but truth be told, I'm jealous of friends my age who comfortably own their own homes.
K – Kindest Person You Know: My next door neighbor. She has a huge heart and gets really upset when we talk about killing spiders and mice in our house.
L – Longest Relationship: Eric, 6 years TODAY!
M – Middle Name: Claire
N – Number of Siblings: Nada
O – One Wish: To find it within myself to stick to my goals (exercise, saving money, yada yada)
P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: Work colleagues (conference calls for life)
Q – Question You’re Always Asked: When are you guys getting engaged?
R – Reason To Smile: I feel like I'm finally living my life, not just waiting for it to start.
S – Song You Last Sang: Something from Fall Out Boy, most likely.
T – Time You Woke Up: 6:15 AM
U – Underwear Color: ...
V – Vacation Destination: Cashiers, NC, always. It's the only place we can afford to go because it's free for us!
W – Worst Habit: Biting my cuticles. Gross.
X – X-Rays You’ve Had: My right knee.
Y – Your Favorite Food: Anything of the Asian variety - Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, etc. etc. Or a good steak with Caesar salad.
Z – Zodiac Sign: Leo

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Peachtree Road Race 2015

Oh, hello. How are you? Haven't seen you in a while. Let's skip the rest of the formalities, the apologies, the excuses. Let's just jump right in to life right this very minute.

This weekend was AMAZING.


Thursday I worked from home while Eric took half a furlough day. Around 5:30, after an averted work catastrophe that could have derailed my entire weekend, I hopped offline and we walked down the road to one of Atlanta's newest breweries - Eventide.

Eventide is a half a mile from our house. This is going to be dangerous, and we are going to collect way too many pint glasses over the course of this next year.


We were joined by some great friends and enjoyed several 6 oz. pours of everyone's favorite summer beverage.

 Happy Super Fun Times.
 We wish there were more beer tickets.
 Eric does not like getting his picture taken, but what a fox.
Drew likes getting his picture taken. Also a fox.

We had an adventure trying to find dinner in town, but ended up back in Grant Park for some tacos and margaritas at my favorite place.

Overall, the evening was a really fabulous way to kick off the long holiday weekend!


So, Thursday involved beer and margaritas, right? So Friday morning involved coffee (& water), couch time, and The Fall

Since the Peachtree Road Race was only 24 hours away, I tried to start hydrating. My last 6 mile run ended with my feeling sick for the entire day and losing motivation to run for an entire month. I didn't want to end up dehydrated and defeated on the 4th, so I avoided alcohol (with a tiny exception) and drank #allthewater.

Around noon, Eric and I peeled ourselves off the couch and drove downtown to check out the race expo and get my number. I anticipated a long line, but our only issue during the whole expo was actually the traffic trying to get there, and the ridiculous parking fees.

Once inside the expo, I had my number within minutes. We walked around, purchased some reasonably priced Thorlo socks, did NOT purchase some unreasonably priced (but super adorable) tank tops, and just generally enjoyed the atmosphere. I think attending the expo helped get me more excited for the race the next day.

Once we got home, I made a stirfry for lunch with a (large) side of ramen noodles (#allthecarbs), and Eric and I spent the rest of the day hanging out, watching TV. For dinner a made a large bowl of spaghetti, and at some point I started laying out my race day outfit, along with all accessories. I made sure all batteries were charged, safety pins were in place, and the post-race bag was packed.


I called it an early night.

Eric started celebrating his Independence early.

I woke up around 6:45 with a plan to head out by 7:15. I drank a small cup of coffee and had a roast beef and cheese roll up for breakfast. Eric was an absolute sweetheart and drove me to the start of the race - or as close as we could safely get. I had about a mile walk from the drop off point to my wave.*

After nearly settling for the L wave, I decided to make a break for it and run up to K. I'm so glad I did, because I found Jenn and Jerod! We chatted for a minute before our wave could go, and I think that gave me a little motivational push to start strong. There was a huge bolt of lightning right before the clock ran down, and I was a little nervous they were going to delay the race. Later waves were actually diverted to the local malls, but we were able to start on time.

I had a perfect Spotify playlist ready to go, but I forgot to make it available offline. With 54K other runners, plus spectators, I couldn't stream so I had to adjust my plan. I ended up listening to an old workout mix, which was delightful because I hadn't heard most of those songs in a few years.

So our wave started, Jerod ran ahead of me, I ran ahead of Jenn, and we were off. Spectators were few and far between this year, due to the weather, which was a little sad. The Peachtree is such an Atlanta institution, and when the weather is good, the entire 6.2 mile stretch is lined with folks shouting encouragement, clapping, handing out popsicles, beers and hugs. As it was, there was a speckling of folks throughout the race, but not nearly as numerous as usual.

I stuck to my interval running throughout the race - 3:1 - and I kept my pace reasonable. The entire first half of the race felt like a slight downhill, which was very surprising. I ran the race back in 2009, and walked it in 2013, and I thought I remembered it being more hilly. There's a slight incline around mile 2.5, and then "Cardiac Hill", which is a more intense uphill in front of Piedmont Hospital, around mile 3.  Even so, "Cardiac Hill" was not nearly as hard as I remembered either, and I ended up running most of it.

Once we got to the lower numbered streets (17th St, etc), I realized I was feeling really strong and still had a lot of reserved energy. I hadn't even had a lot of water. The constant downpours and lower temperatures helped a lot too. I decided that when my phone said I'd reached mile 5, I was going to try to run the entire way to the finish. Any you know what? I did.

Eric and our neighbor, Aram, had gotten a table at TAP on Peachtree and 14th St. so as I ran up, I looked to my right to see if I could spot them. Like smart people in a thunderstorm, they were inside staying dry. That just gave me more motivation to push myself, go a little faster, and finish the race so I could join them for brunch!

I took the turn onto 10th St. and felt that familiar drop in my throat. I always get a little teary toward the finish of a race. I was never an athlete growing up, so every time I accomplish some athletic feat I just get really surprised and happy for myself. Whatever. I'm a weeper.

10th St. is always longer than I think it is. Right around the 6 mile mark, photographers are set up to take your finishing photos, and you can see them as soon as you turn the corner. But you still have .2 miles after that. I always forget that. So I sprinted to get my photo, and then honestly felt a little drained. I moved over to the right and walked for about 5-10 seconds, but then picked it back up and sprinted to the finish.

A quick note here - if you're ever walking in a race and you know there are runners behind you - MOVE TO THE RIGHT. ESPECIALLY in the last stretch. My finishing time was 1:20:09, and I honestly think I could have shaved 15 seconds if I wasn't trying to dodge walkers the last half a mile.

Regardless, I wanted to finish with an average of 12:59/mile or better. I just desperately wanted to get under 13, and I did. I'm so proud of myself. I was smiling all day long.

After the race I grabbed my t-shirt, wandered into someone's proposal (seriously - ooops), and then walked about a mile in the pouring rain back to TAP. Brunch was fantastic, and I was so happy to see Eric and tell him how I did. Jerod had finished about 15 minutes before I did, and was already seated (in dry clothes!). Jenn followed about 30 minutes after me. The five of us (don't forget Aram!) had great food, good drinks, and then headed home.

Cold and wet, but finished!

I spent the afternoon trying to take a nap, and then fell asleep about 10 minutes before I was supposed to get up - doh.

Saturday night was spent with Chris and Lisa, watching newly legalized fireworks from their front yard, eating absolutely delicious food, and hanging out with a warm and lovely crowd of people. This year was probably one of the best Independence Days I've ever had.

No comment necessary.


Sunday. Sunday. Sunday. There was more coffee. More couch, snuggles and The Fall. Around 1:00, we decided to talk to a local restaurant, Dakota Blue, for brunch. We split a really filling burrito, homemade hashbrowns, and Dos Equis. I took a trip to a local running store in an effort to buy a new pair of shoes, but they are closed on Sundays "for long runs". Bummer. So we spent the rest of the night in, watching the USA DOMINATE IN THE WORLD CUP FINALS!



I took my furlough day on Monday, and lucked out when my friend Mark said he had the day off too! And so did his fiancee! We all met for lunch at a Thai place near his house. I've seen Mark a few times this year, but hadn't seen Gabriel since last spring, so it was wonderful catching up. And again, the food was so good! Very flavorful. Highly recommend it.

So Gabriel, who is awesome anyway, happens to work at the local running store (Big Peach Running Company), and offered to take me and fit me for new shoes! Back Story: I bought my running shoes in 2011, and have trained for 2 Peachtree Road Races and countless 5Ks since then. Eric's sisters were appalled (in the most supportive way) when I told them that earlier this year. I promised myself if I finished my training and stayed active for this race, I would reward myself with new shoes.

Old and busted (but also, work horses!).
So we walked over to the store, and I told Gabriel about my running habits, my knee issues, what I was looking for, etc. I ran in a neutral pair of Nikes while he did a gait analysis, and then he brought out four pairs for me to try on. The first two were awesome - a pair of Mizuno...I want to say Inspire(?) and a pair of ADIDAS Adizeros, both trainers. I loved how lightweight they were, and while my feet are incredibly wide, they both felt just roomy enough, while staying snug in motion. He also brought out a pair of Mizuno Hitogamis and Nike Zooms. The Nikes ended up being far more bulky than I was looking for. The Mizuno Hitogami I remember feeling alright in, but I was already sold on one of the first two pairs I tried on.

I tried both the Inspires and Adizeros again, and the Adizeros just felt like slipping on a glove. Gabriel also told me that they were likely to last 600-700 miles, as opposed to the Mizunos' 400. That was the deciding factor. I really thought I'd go with the Mizunos since they're such a big and trendy name right now, but apparently old school ADIDAS is where I'm at.

New hotness.

Big Peach had a $10 off coupon at the Peachtree Expo AND they give 5% off if you give them your old pair of shoes, so I received a pretty decent discount.


So that was pretty much my weekend. It was really, really awesome. And I took my new shoes for a test drive last night, and while it was too hot for a serious run, my feet felt great!

*There was a mix up when my number was sold last year, and so the system put me in a SUPERFASTELITE wave, when I probably should have started closer to K. So as not to slow down the SUPERFASTELITE runners, I decided to put myself further back.