Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Series of Fortunate Events

There is nothing I love more than when friends come to visit and I get to show off where I live. I take them to coffee shops other than Starbucks, watch them take pictures of mountains instead of plains, and listen to them rave over sights downtown and the neighborhood bar that was the setting for a night of karaoke and belly laughs.

Pat and I have known each other since Elementary School and when he asked if he could come visit for a weekend, I immediately started scoping out things for us to do. Looking back at the last few days, I think I did an ok job of hosting! 

Friday Night

We went to the corner bar for dinner, drinks, and karaoke. After 18 weeks of marathon training, it felt SO GOOD to let loose and act like I was in college again. Although unlike college, we didn't even make it until bar close and were home by 12:30. #old 


Leave it to a guy from MN and a girl from TN to kill it singing "Gangsta's Paradise" - crowd pleasers for sure. 


The weather couldn't have been more perfect all weekend. Pat and I went for a run in the morning and stopped to walk through the Farmer's Market on the way back home. The perks of living in the city just keep adding up! 

Next was a little road trip to Mount Evans in Idaho Springs, CO. Lately, my Facebook has been flooded with pictures of beautiful mountains covered in trees whose leaves are sprinkled with oranges and yellows, so I couldn't wait to see all the beauty for myself.

Oh Colorado, you never disappoint me! 

 My two worlds coming together - a lake and mountains. #bliss


We had planned to go to the Avalanche hockey game only to get downtown and find out the tickets that we thought were $20…were $50. We both decided that it wasn't worth it (being pre-season and all), so we walked around Union Station and ended the night at a Sports Bar to watch…wait for it…sports! Our friend Nick, from home, joined us and it was a fun night with "the boys"!

Had to have some proof that we attempted to go to the game!

P.S. Who are my next visitors? 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Omaha Marathon Summary

Monday - lift (legs)

Tuesday - 3 mile run, lift (back & biceps)

Wednesday - 4 mile run, lift (chest & triceps)

Thursday - rest

Friday - lift (shoulder & abs)

Saturday - walking at the zoo


HOORAY! My marathon is over! I feel like I have so much to write about other than my race like, oh I don't know, my mom and sister-in-law surprising me, our family outing to the zoo, or the night I fell even more in love with Eric Church - but I will keep this post all things race related and post later this week about all those other details.

I woke up two hours before the race started to allow enough time to let my nerves settle as well as my breakfast.  I fueled with a banana, english muffin, and peanut butter. Heck of a trio in my book!

By the time I was done with breakfast it was 5:15am so I crawled under the sheets for a little while longer. The race started within a block of the hotel my family was staying at which helped my stress level tremendously! If you have ever ran a race, you know that getting to the START line can be a little hectic (what time should I leave? If I get there too early I'm going to be standing in the cold! What if I get stuck in traffic and get there late? Etc.). Look who I ran into on my way down to the race...

…miss Kendall Rae! She told me to "win the race Auntie Carrie!"

I was more than ok arriving with 2 minutes to spare as it left me no time to get nervous and quite honestly, I couldn't wait to start! The gun went off, signalizing to the runners that it was go-time! I was told by many to start off slow so I began the race with a pacer that was set to finish at 4 hours 15 minutes. I never put much thought into what time I wanted to get (I really just wanted to cross the finish line) but knew that I wanted to finish under 4 hours 30 minutes so felt that staying with Greg (the pacer) would help me do just that.

The first 10 miles went so great! We passed spectators, bands playing every couple miles, and the kids at the water stations were totally making my day with their spunky attitudes. My legs were feeling good so I broke off from the pacer group as I knew I could go a little faster than what they were doing. With that said, starting with them was probably the smartest thing I did all day. The rest of the race was spent running alongside Michelle, a random stranger who quickly turned into my motivator, encourager, listener, and friend. 

We talked the entire way and I really don't think I would have done as well as I did without having her beside me. When one of us noticed the other pulling back and struggling, the other one spoke words of encouragement and started a new topic of conversation. I had heard that after mile 20 was when the majority of people "hit a wall" so we knew that we just had to get over that hump and push through. 

My family cheer team helped, too! They showed their faces every couple miles which gave both Michelle and I something to look forward to. At mile 21, we had hit the wall. I kept looking down at my legs and feet to see if they were on fire because that's what it felt like. Michelle was feeling the burn, too. The rest of the race we took it mile by mile. "Ok, let's get to mile 22", "I see the sign for mile 24!", "One more mile and we are done!". 

The last half mile was downhill (hallelujah!) and the last .2 miles was inside the T.D. Ameritrade Stadium. I was a flood of emotions while running the outfield and tried my hardest not to be a sobbing mess while crossing the finish line. 

The lady herself, Michelle. Again, such a lifesaver! 

I can't thank my family enough for making the trip to Omaha!

 Never say never because I just did something I said I would never do. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Omaha Marathon : Refocusing

I didn’t sleep a wink last night. Then again, I haven’t used my alarm all week as I’ve been getting up an hour+ before it is set to go off. I don’t mind it though. I love living in the city and hearing it come alive. Just outside my bedroom window I hear cars driving by and people in conversation as they stroll the neighborhood during their morning walk. The outline of downtown is seen more clearly as the minutes pass and the sun rises, shining it’s light on buildings and the mountains in the distance.

I arrived at the airport at 6am and had a tall Caribou coffee in my hand by 6:30am. Only after my fancy Target sandals decided I didn’t need a fully functioning strap around my foot, of course.

The airport is quiet as the sun is slowly starting to make it’s daily appearance through the large windows looking out at the runway. I take a seat at my gate and begin to write this post, only to be invited in conversation with a fellow a few chairs down from me. He asks the typical airport questions – where are you from? Where are you going? What do you do for work? I noticed his accent right away so I didn’t bother asking if he was from Denver because, well, clearly he wasn’t. He was from England and is en route to San Francisco where “the city is compact but the people are marvelous”.

When I told him I was traveling to Omaha, his eyebrows rose and I could tell he had no clue where that was. “The land of corn fields”, I thought. He followed up with what my reason for the trip was and I answered with me running a marathon on Sunday. Like most people after I tell them I’m voluntarily running for over three hours, he asked why on earth I would sign up to do such a thing?

There are multiple reasons, Anthony from England, but before I could start with number one, an announcement came through the speakers that his plane was being boarded. He asked for my number, I declined (he had a receding hairline, folks), and he wished me well on Sunday.

“You’ve trained many, many weeks for this. Enjoy it and good luck!”

He’s right. I have put in hours of runs and thoughts circulating and leading up to Sunday. I am anxious and scared but I am prepared and ready. My body has been tested and pushed to limits that I didn’t even know existed and my mental game has been given much attention and practice.

I will remember this group of days forever and I want to soak it all up and enjoy every moment. I am taking a break from focusing on my race to focusing on the other exciting things that are taking place these next couple days like…

Staying with one of my best friends who makes all things better

4 words: E r i c  C h u r c h  c o n c e r t  t o n i g h t

Spending time with two of my brothers, sister-in-law, and niece

Remembering that I’m off work for the next 5 days. HELLO, VACATION!  

P.S. What are the happenings in your life that you need to refocus on?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In One Week - 17/18

Monday - Lift (legs)

Tuesday - Lift (back & biceps), 4 mile run 

Wednesday - Lift (chest & triceps), 5 mile run 

Thursday - 4 mile run 

Friday - Lift (shoulders & abs)

Saturday - 3 mile run 

Sunday - 8 mile run 

One week from today, I will be telling yelling from the rooftops of Omaha that my marathon is over! The anticipation, along with nerves and a stomach knot that twists when a single thought of race day pops in my head, is building and I am trying to change my attitude from "dreading this run" to "I'm going to have the best race of my life" next Sunday. 

This week was one of those from H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS. I felt defeated, tested, and longed for a lone second to myself to just sit and be still. However, the leader of my pack upstairs answered a few of my prayers. 

1. On Wednesday, K's schedule changed which gave me an hour to run outside while she was at tutoring. It was a picture-perfect Fall afternoon and I finished my run feeling refreshed and fortunate to have had 5 miles to myself to think and take in the mountain views (they will never get old). 

2. After meeting for coffee yesterday morning with some friends, I did my 3 mile run and forced myself to lay on the couch and do nothing. This isn't easy for me. I feel guilty if I'm not moving or outside or doing something that will benefit society, but I knew that it was OK to take time for myself and hit my "reset" button after the week I had. I flipped through magazines, sipped on tea, watched a movie and fell asleep for a little nap. It was soothing, reviving, and much needed for my mind and body. 

3. Lastly, I needed a weekend with this girl. She has been with me throughout my training and beyond. We kept a good pace and flowing conversation this morning while knocking out my last long run!

I leave for Omaha on Thursday morning and have yet to figure out what I'm wearing for the race. Like I said, I feel nauseous at the thought of what my body is going to attempt next weekend so anything relating to it just keeps getting pushed to the back burner. Some of my family will be traveling from Minnesota to come cheer me on (which means the world to me) so I really need to flip the switch and start getting EXCITED for all the things I have to look forward to! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Realities of Living Away From Home

1. You will be struck with being homesick roughly once a week. 

2. The meals that you absolutely hated as a kid suddenly sound like a 5-star meal. 

3. You wish you would have paid more attention when your dad was showing you how to change a tire.

4. What's insurance? 

5. When you're sick, you're the one making chicken noodle soup for yourself.

6. Your family will think they are making you feel included by texting/calling you while they are together, but news flash: it doesn't. Get use to it. 

7. FaceTime will become your life-line. 

8. Your bank account actually means something to you. 

9. The level of excitement you reach when you are heading home to visit is incomparable to anything you have ever felt. 

10. You think you have seen and done it all until you move away and realize your hometown is just a small dot on a map full of other small dots. 

11. You are forced to grow up, mature, figure things out on your own - both good and bad - and at the end of the day, you've added some pretty great traits to your personal character resume. 

12. It's true. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and you will begin to start thanking your mom for showing you how to sew loose buttons, your dad for teaching you about finances, and your brothers for shaping you into a woman that exudes confidence, strength, and a bank of good comeback lines. 

13. Friendships take on a whole new meaning. They are more than your shopping partners and the faces in your Instagram pictures; they are your second family. You would do anything for one another no matter what time of day, no matter what circumstances, no matter if it means putting yourself second. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I Am 16 Going On 17 :: 16/18

I feel like I'm a mix of being a broken record paired with a nagging 5 year old saying "are we there yet?" in regards to this marathon. Alas, another week of training is behind me and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that in two weeks I will be crossing the finish line at my first (and potentially) last marathon! 

With Monday being Labor Day, Mel and I sat poolside until one of us…ahem…me..decided we needed to have a little fun on our day off. So we did what any mature and responsible young women would do and bought baby size cans of Coors Light because again, mature and responsible. 

I need to have some random and spontaneous fun to stay sane because it seems as all I do is work, train, sleep, r e p e a t. 

Monday - lift (chest & triceps), 30 min. bike

Tuesday - lift (back & biceps), 5 mile run 

Wednesday - lift (legs), 6 mile run  

Thursday - lift (shoulders & abs), 5 mile run

Friday - 4.5 mile walk

Saturday - 4 mile run 

Sunday - 12 mile run

I'm off to church with the lady friends! Enjoy your Sunday! Xo

Friday, September 5, 2014

Running With Wolves

I’m not one to make excuses and generally roll my eyes when others do, but this week I found myself pulling every excuse in the book. I’m tired. My body needs rest. My legs feel tight. It’s raining. It’s below 70 degrees. My ponytail doesn’t feel right. Ok, that last one didn’t happen but I was searching for any reason to not crawl in bed at 7pm.

I picked up K from school and she asked if I was going to run, as she wanted to ride her bike next to me. I told her no as my legs were sore from lifting/running and I thought it was best to give them a rest. “Carrie! You just gotta push through!” she said. I smiled, laughed, and turned up Radio Disney even louder because T Swift was telling me to Shake It Off. Side Note: I despise T Swift but can tolerate that song 100%. Another Side Note: my world is going to come to a pause when my free XM Radio goes bye-bye.

Thanks to a cup of coffee at 5pm, I was feeling awake and antsy and decided I wanted to run when I got home. I asked K for motivation as I was well aware my caffeine fix could walk out the door at any given second, making the list of excuses grow exponentially.

You can take a warm shower after.
Just think of all the geese poop you could step in!*The park by my house is infamous for a freakishly high number of geese and with that comes their “baggage” if you will.
You could call me after and I will congratulate you.
Just think of the beautiful views you will see!
Run for those who can’t.
The sooner you run, the faster you’re done.

S O L D. I had one of the BEST runs I've had in weeks. If you want to run at a faster pace than normal and feel like you're being chased by a pack of wolves, I suggest running against the clock as the night sky is only getting darker and the rain is only hitting you harder. 

H A P P Y  F R I D A Y!