It’s been a while…

I haven’t written a post in quite a while. There has been plenty going on worth writing about, but I have been happy to just embrace the experiences for myself instead of rehashing each and every one in its own blog post. Now that the year is (WAY too quickly) winding down, I felt like catching up the blog would be fun. So here’s what I’ve been up to during the summer and fall:

I tried some new things in the running/racing department through the summer. Coming out of training for the Wrightsville Beach Marathon, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t remotely sick of running. But I knew my mind and body needed a break from strenuous training. So I ran a few races for fun including my first trail race (a 7k in 37:35), a local half marathon (1:44:39) my first 8k (36:54), and a 5k (25:07). I learned that I am certainly not as strong at short distances as I am at half marathons and marathons. The 8k and 5k were both in some pretty ridiculously hot temperatures. But even if the temperatures had been ideal I doubt the results would have been impressive. The feeling of trying to sustain faster paces for a shorter race proved to be pretty foreign to my body and I could never maintain my pace in the later miles.

'Please just kill me now...'

‘Please just kill me now…’

I ran a new half marathon PR. Several of my Bull City Track Club teammates were traveling to race the Lehigh Valley Marathon in Pennsylvania in September. I jumped at the chance to make the trip with them and race the half marathon, knowing that an early fall race would be my best chance to train for a good performance since the later fall months were booked solid with wedding and honeymoon plans. I ended up running a really solid race. I perfectly executed negative splits, starting around a 7:37 average pace at mile 1 and ticking down to 7:25 average pace by the time I reached the finish line (my last mile was 6:51, which surprised the hell out of me). The end result was a shiny new half marathon PR of 1:37:11 and I couldn’t have been happier.

A new PR and third in my age group. And beer, of course.

A new PR and third in my age group. And beer, of course.

I was accepted into the Boston Marathon! No explanation is really necessary except to say that, after over two years of very hard work, it felt so incredible to get that acceptance email.

 

I helped pace somebody for the first time. Last week I ran the Richmond Half Marathon alongside my friend Amelia. It was her second half marathon and she was hoping to improve her time from last year of 1:46:30 to somewhere around 1:45. I had a great time running with her and even felt like I was a helpful motivator at a few points along the way. We crossed the finish line together in 1:43:12 – an incredible new PR for Amelia!

 

Most exciting and hands down most importantly… On October 24th, a perfectly beautiful day in Wilmington, NC, Jeremy and I got married! Part of me wants to go into great detail about each and every part of that weekend, but every single time I try to do that the words that come out don’t seem to adequately capture our happiness and gratitude. The best I can do is say that we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend celebrating with all of our friends and family. The ceremony and reception were fun, stress free, and fit us completely perfectly. At the end of it all, we both agreed that we felt at peace, like everything was exactly how it should be now that we were officially husband and wife.

Announcement

Reception

We topped off a great wedding weekend with 8 days of complete relaxation in Jamaica. We enjoyed plenty of quality time together unplugged from email and social media, ate all the food, drank all the adult beverages, and simply enjoyed the view.

Jamaica

The view from our room. I definitely still miss it.

It’s good to be back on the blog after an extended hiatus. Now that I’m somewhat caught up, maybe I can do a better job of making this into a regular thing again!

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How to make (real life) friends and alienate blog readers

In case you hadn’t realized it already – and I won’t be offended if you didn’t realize it at all – let me draw attention to the fact that my blog activity has been almost non-existent for the better part of the past 6 months or more. On the bright side, I did at least manage to write a post whenever I ran a race to keep with running blogger tradition and I didn’t let my domain name expire. I take my victories where I can get them.

The greatest reason for my absence merits its own post. Surprise! It’s not a post completely blowing how busy I’ve been out of proportion. Let’s be real, I haven’t been that busy.

Busy Meme

I’ll start from the beginning.

For a long time – round about 4 years – I ran a lot of miles mostly alone. And it was nice. I am a pretty introverted person so I don’t dread the notion of exercising for two hours alone with my own thoughts and some (subjectively) good music. I grew to love running on my own, did 20 mile training runs alone, and made some really obvious improvements in speed and ability by forging my own path and having only me to hold myself accountable for my training.

But when I came home from my solo runs, at some point I found I needed an outlet to spout off at the mouth about the highs and lows of running and training. And that is how this blog became a regular part of my life. I loved coming here and to my social media accounts to say what was on my mind (which, let’s be honest, more often than not has to do with running) and have people chime in with comments. I also loved reading and seeing other peoples’ experiences online and how much I could relate to them. All of that, without ever having to step out of my comfort zone and have awkward interactions with people face to face.

Sometime last summer, around when I was finding myself in a bit of a running rut, the online interactions weren’t feeling like the same outlet that they used to be. And on top of that, I was desperately needing some real live motivation to get myself back into a good place with running after returning from a minor injury and feeling like I had lost so much of my fitness.

So I ultimately stepped out of my asocial comfort zone and found that motivation. I started tagging along with the Bull City Track Club – a team of runners put together by my favorite local running store, Bull City Running Company.

BCRF 3

After the Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon.

As I met more new people during group runs and races, I found out that I was not nearly as shy and uncomfortable conversing with new people while running as I was standing still. Who knows why. But it helped me find a really amazing group of (real life) running friends.

Since I started running with friends multiple times a week and have generally spent more time around people who share my running obsession, I have more than enough in-person outlets to spout off to about the highs and lows of running and training. So I think, as a result, my motivation to write blog posts has taken a real hit.

I’m glad that the blog has taken the backseat. Because the new real life friends that I have found in the meantime are pretty fantastic. They’ve renewed my love of running and pushed me to run better than I thought I could.

BCRC

Having all the fun at the Greater Triangle Beer Mile.

While I am not sure if/when I will ever get back to the habit of writing posts multiple times a week, I am going to try to save a little more of my thoughts and time to put toward keeping the blog more active in the coming months.

Thanks to all who are still reading for sticking around!

Do you prefer to run with friends or run solo? 

California favorites

Last week Jeremy and I traveled out to California with two of our good friends, Jolly and Vaughan. Our main excuse for flying across the country was for our college friend Jess’s wedding. But, in my opinion, you don’t spend hundreds of dollars and two full days of your life traveling to just stay in California for a few days and then come home. So the four of us made a full on vacation out of it and were there for a week. I’m back, readjusted to East Coast time, and have returned to work. **Sigh** In hopes of keeping my vacation mindset lingering on for as long as possible, I’ll rehash some highlights here on the blog to anyone (or no one) who will listen.

The wedding

Although we flew into San Francisco and spent the better part of our time there, Jess and Patrick’s wedding was North in Mendocino. The area was beautiful, the wedding was perfect (and made me cry for the first time at any wedding ever), and the reception was a blast.

People cheering and napkin spinning for the introduction of the newlyweds.

People cheering and napkin spinning for the introduction of the newlyweds.

The beer

Somehow it became our unofficial vacation mission to visit as many of the local area breweries/taprooms as possible. We ended up going to five in total: Lagunitas, Thirsty Bear, Rogue (based in Oregon but has its only public house outside of Oregon in San Francisco), 21st Amendment, and Speakeasy. I couldn’t tell you which one was my favorite because I loved all of them. But the IPAs at Rogue and 21st Amendment may have been the top contenders.

Brewery 2

Brewery

The wine

Jeez, Anna. Drink much? But I’m not ashamed that two of the items on this list are drinking related because there were just too many good local beers and wines to try. We had thought about stopping in the typical Sonoma/Napa wine country hot spots on the way from Mendocino to San Francisco. But, as it turned out, we didn’t even have to get off our route. The road from Mendocino passed right through Anderson Valley, which is teaming with wineries. We stopped at two for tastings and the second stop, Brutocao Cellars, was my favorite.

Vineyard

The running

I didn’t get tons of miles in during the trip, but the ones that I did were beautiful and memorable. Our first full day in San Francisco, Jeremy and I found our way to Bernal Heights Park, where we got a taste of some seriously rough hills and 360 degree views of the city. And later in the trip I got to check off my one and only must-do activity for the trip and ran across the Golden Gate Bridge. Something about doing that just felt epic. I’m not sure how else to describe it.

Run

Run 2

The company

Traveling can be stressful and exhausting. If you are traveling with the wrong people you can spend more time wanting to kill each other than actually enjoying the trip. I am fortunate to have a wonderful fiance and friends who I can share rooms, bathrooms, cars, and 18 hour travel days with and still be friends with after it all when we get back home.

Our vacation family portrait among the redwoods.

Our vacation family portrait among the redwoods.

Where did you travel for your most recent vacation? What was the highlight of the trip?

#Winning Wednesday 12

Hope you’re all having a good week so far. Mine has been crazy, but mostly in a good way. The only kind of post that makes sense to do when things are crazy is a list so it’s an opportune time for a #Winning Wednesday if you ask me…

1. It’s official!

Jeremy and I took a trip to Wilmington last weekend where we met up with my parents and took several venue tours. We fell in love with a place that is perfect, fits us well, and is so unique. So as of this week we officially have a venue and a date. October 24, 2015 is the best day ever… and it hasn’t even happened yet!

2. Talenti Salted Caramel Gelato

Have you tried this stuff yet? If you haven’t, I am pretty sure you need to stop whatever you are doing and go buy some right now. If you’re feeling ambitious you can do what I did and polish off the whole container by yourself in under 48 hours. Challenge accepted?

Gelato

3. Orange is the New Black

I finished the second season last night. I’m obsessed. Please tell me that we don’t have to wait as long for season 3 as we did for season 2!

4. My new desk buddy

You can laugh at me all you want to. I don’t care. Jeremy got me this awesome figure of Daenarys from Game of Thrones and she chills on my desk all day and makes me happy.

GOT

5. It’s almost July!?

July has crept up on me and I am completely okay with it – it is going to be a fun month. Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate and we are going to three weddings in July, one of which we are taking a week-long vacation out to California for. Good times ahead for sure.

What is making you happy this week? What are you looking forward to next month?

 

Hello from California!

Just wanted to stop in and say hello from beautiful Coronado Island, California!

I have been here since Sunday but haven’t had a chance to post and doubt I will have time to again during my time here.

I am visiting for work and am spending the better part of my days in a series of very long and mentally draining seminars. Whenever I am not in a conference room, I am doing whatever I can to maximize my free time by exploring the area and getting in some runs to soak up the gorgeous weather and scenery.

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I hope everyone is having a great week!

Where was the last place you traveled? How do you like to explore new places? — I am all about going for a run to check out new surroundings.