Short & Sweet

Usually I ramble on Fridays, but today I think I was a little more concise. 😉 You can be the judge.

Five things that are making me happy in this crazy busy season of life:

– ONE –

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Race expos are amazing for many reasons…you are surrounded by runners, there are lots of free things, and there are lots of shorts and shoes and fuel that runners love. The Cherry Blossom 10-Miler Expo was no exception. It was one of the expos I’ve been to with the most booths to check out! Anyways, my running shoe of choice is Brooks and Brooks’ slogan is “Run Happy” which I mentioned is my favorite phrase to describe my running life. So, when I found these shorts on ridiculous sale for $18, they had no choice but to become mine. Wore them Wednesday night to running group…#love ❤

– TWO –

I think I have explained my love for Florence + the Machine and other “weird” artists on more than one occasion…this video proves my point. It is very weird. Ha! But I love her and her music and THIS SONG which I have been listening to on repeat all week so I can deal with the weirdness. I was so excited to see this new single in iTunes!!!

– THREE –

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Eating and chatting with friends is always a good idea, but it’s an especially good idea when you’re at a pizza place rated #36 out of 100 in the US. 🙂 We went to Pupatella’s after we went running on Wednesday night and I got the Burrata pizza. It definitely wasn’t my first choice because there were SO many good choices on the menu, but we asked one of the waitresses what the best pizza was and this was one of her recommendations! When a worker tells you what the best is, you should probably listen. This was so delicious! It’s a white pizza with no sauce, burrata (which is extra creamy buffalo mozzarella), cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and basil. I posted this picture on Instagram because there was a time in life where I wouldn’t have been caught dead eating this and on this night, I didn’t even think about it. I just truly enjoyed it. A few years ago, I remember someone telling me they had never seen me eat a piece of pizza before…and they could never imagine me eating one, either! I was very obsessed with only eating “healthy” food and it bothered me that this friend noticed. I am so much healthier now than I was then but I still struggle with body image a lot…I just have to live and let live. I’m getting better at that. Am I going to eat this every day or every week? Unlikely. But pizza rocks. So. Progress.

– FOUR –

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This is a picture I took while I was running in the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler this weekend…it’s nothing special, but the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the trees are pretty, and it reminds me that I love where I live.

– FIVE –

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I am just so very happy this week. I was in reflection mode as I thought about everything that has happened in the last year and I am just very thankful that God has led me right to this very place. And I am so excited about what is to come even though I have no idea what that is! During my quiet time yesterday, I came across this verse…

“It’s what we trust in but don’t see yet that keeps up going.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

…and it is perfect. We don’t have to know everything, we can plan and plan and plan…but God is going to give us something more AND something better than we could have ever imagined. And that is so exciting to me. 🙂

Linking up with my favorites Andrea, Narci, and Erika for Friday Favorites!

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Andddd A. Liz Adventures, Carolina Charm, Hello! Happiness, and The Good Life Blog for 5 on Friday!

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Cherry Blossom 10-Miler Weekend Recap

This weekend, my favorite friends came to visit! They got into town on Saturday in the early afternoon so we headed straight to lunch at Busboys and Poets. We had many other exciting things on our agenda like checking into our hotel and going to the Race Expo to pick up our bibs;) I only live about 8 miles from the nearest monument but because it was the Cherry Blossom Festival Weekend, everybody and their uncle was in town and I didn’t want to risk rushing around on race morning! We shopped and ate and ate and shopped…then passed out by 10:30 PM to be ready for our wake up call Sunday morning. 🙂

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We woke up at 6 AM to get ready but I was pleasantly surprised to see the sun coming up while we were still at our hotel! Ate English muffins with peanut butter, pinned our bibs on, made sure our devices were charged…race morning rituals. The race started on 15th Street and Independence and the walk there wasn’t bad at all! But as soon as we walked up towards the Washington Monument, we saw all.the.people.

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We hung out and took some photos and then started to walk towards our corrals when the elite women started running. The race officially began at 7:30, but the elite men and women started a bit earlier. Trying to get into our corral was interesting…we squeezed through a fence. There didn’t seem to be any way to get up front besides starting at the back and pushing forward and I always feel bad doing that! While we waited in our corral for our wave to start, the race announcer told us they had to modify the course. Like while the race was happening/about to happen. Apparently, there was some kind of accident involving a pedestrian between miles 4-6, but once we were running, I couldn’t even tell where we made a detour! And there isn’t too much info about the person who got hurt but they are okay! Technically we ran 9.85 miles because of the course modification, but we’re all calling it 10. Go with it. 🙂

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Each corral started running about 3 minutes apart which, in theory, is nice, but there were SO many people in each corral that I really felt crowded the entire time! The first mile was super slow as everyone found their footing and by mile four, I felt like I had a little bit more room to move. Still, I felt like I was driving my car at some points! I had to look over my shoulder, check my blind spots, “merge” into the open space next to me…ha! There were many times where you could find me running in the grass next to the road;)

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Of course, I tried to play photographer WHILE I was running. I’m sure that didn’t look strange at all. 🙂

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It was probably even less strange to see me taking selfies. Honesty hour: I took about 15 selfies before I got an acceptable shot. I needed a normal face, some sun but not too much, and a pretty tree. The people around me definitely thought I was crazy. Yes.

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Miles 1-6 did a nice loop around the National Mall, over the Memorial Bridge towards Arlington and back, down towards the Kennedy Center and back, and then we set off on the path down past the Potomac River. Which is very pretty. And very cherry blossom-y. And very flat. And very boring. Granted, there were water stops…and bands playing…and a bride and groom getting photos taken…and a golf course to look at…but I really felt like I was running on the road to nowhere. The monuments were behind me at this point and I knew that’s where the finish line was so I just tried to figure out when we were going to turn around and it felt like it was never going to happen. Ha! Luckily, I got pretty pictures like the one above. 🙂

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Then at mile 9, I saw a bunch of girls on the side cheering and making a scene and really entertaining all of us tired runners…and then I realized these nice spectators had little Dixie cups of beer and jello shots. Did I take a jello shot while racing ten miles? You may decide the answer to that one. 😉 The last 800 meters of the race was uphill so that was great after 9.5 miles of FLAT! I put on a really loud mean song and legit ran to the finish line. Usually I have nothing left until I can actually see the finish line…yesterday, I was out there to eat that hill for breakfast. And I’m pretty sure there was a photographer on that part of the course so THAT is going to be a pretty picture. Ha!

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This is the race I have been talking about and training for and working towards. I get so nervous about running and racing now that I’ve been hurt and I think I get stuck in my own head. I CAN do hard things and I WILL recover and do it again! Even though the course was cut a tiny bit short, all three of us PR’ed in this race! I think that is amazing. And maybe also due to the fact that it was mostly flat and we are used to Pittsburgh hills but either way, we earned our medals!

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And celebrated with Baked and Wired cupcakes. Because we earned those too. 🙂

I’m still on a runner’s high and a “I love my friends” high so this Monday is going to rock. Do something today to make your Monday rock. You can do hard things! Like make it through the first day of the work week;)

Running: It’s All In Your Head

I love to run. I have been running ever since my favorite aunt took me to the park with her and let me “jog”. So what happens when you start to work out and you just feel kind of ehhh? If you are hurt, you should definitely stop whatever you are doing. If you just feel kind of uninspired, then you need to push past that mental block. That’s usually the name of the game in running. Even on the very best running days, you may find yourself wishing for a park bench or a water fountain. 😉 And even though I go through seasons of life where I am more dedicated to a different kind of workout than running, running is still my soul mate workout.

I explore.

I listen to music.

I get to wear fun shoes and clothes.

I clear my head.

It’s completely exhausting and some days much harder than others, but I love it.

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One of the best things about running (for me) is that it’s always there for me. I know that sounds cheesy, but when you look at the fitness world and see how much there is to offer (Zumba, BodyPump, Spinning, yoga, PiYo, Pilates, lifting, swimming, boot camp, etc etc etc), it can be hard to decide what you are going to commit yourself to. For two years in college, I did very little besides run and I completely wrecked my hip. I now have a small tear that will always be there. We need to be dedicated, but we also need to rest. Now when I race, I actually strength train during training and I actually take time off from running after the race. I didn’t do this before. And because I worry that I may get injured again, I take extra time off. That’s just my thing. I am still working out, but I choose other things to do besides running. So it is hard for me to admit that every time I start to train for a race, it feels like I am starting over. I feel slow and everything feels much harder than it should. Slowly but surely, I find my groove again, but it’s hard NOT to be envious of my previously speedy times or feel like I am completely out of shape. I am in shape, I’m just not quite in running shape…yet. 😉

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Right now, I am training for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in April in Washington, D.C. I used to think I was such a good runner that I could run without training…and then I got hurt. HA! Now I use a training plan for every race (like a normal person). On Saturday, I was supposed to run 4 miles and it was 45 degrees and sunny. Running > studying for stats;) I thought I was in for four easy-breezy miles!

Not so much. I was just feeling blah. I also kept getting a cramp in the same place on my side and those are never fun. Must practice breathing like a runner.

Here’s a little preview of my crazy:

Mile 1: Outside. I like being outside. These sidewalks are half slushy, half dry. Who is in charge of cleaning these?

Mile 1.5: Oh look, a hill. I’m going to be a badass and run up that.

Mile 2: WHY?!

Mile 2.5: Photo op.

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For some reason, there have been a ton of geese all over campus lately. And seagulls. All birds seem very confused with this weather!

Mile 3: If I just do one more loop around this side of campus, I can go hoooooooome!

Mile 4: Lots of fast music and darting around like a weirdo looking for every downhill possible. 🙂

There is a reason people say “you only regret the workouts you don’t do”. I felt so much better when I got back to my apartment even though it was a mental challenge to get through four measly miles. And yes, I sat down at one point and texted my friend to complain. Some days are like that! We just have to remember that the slow, hard days are paving the way for happier, faster days. Any run feels great after a particularly hard one!

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Today, I was excited for my Monday miles. You have to get excited because whatever workout you are choosing to do should be fun for you! I could have totally ditched them because I remembered the struggle from this past weekend. I also could have used the excuse that I didn’t have the right shoes…I usually wear my running shoes to the gym where I teach PiYo and run right after class, but I must have been half asleep when I got dressed because I wore the wrong shoes. I walked home after class and practiced saying, “Your legs are not tired, they are warmed up.” Walked in the door, changed my shoes, and walked right back out. Who am I?! It feels good to prove yourself right and start your day off on the right foot.

Happy running and happy Monday, friends! 🙂