Making It Happen

ONE WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS (who what how??!?!?!?!)

Ok interwebs, my pity party is done and over.  I have snapped out of my shitastic mood, pulled myself together and gotten back on the ball.  For now anyway.  As always, you are all such amazing support.  Sometimes a girl just needs a kick in the ars to remember that no one is superwoman.  And since wallowing in my suckage wasn’t getting stuff done, I went out and just did it!  And I feel so much better 🙂

Thursday night we had a snow dusting- so of course everyone in NJ had to go ape-shit and drive zero miles per hour…it took me AN HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES to get home when normally it takes me less than 20 minutes.  However, I was not going to let the snow hold me back.  I pressed on and headed out Christmas shopping.  With the exception of a few small things, I got most of my shopping done.  And I bought myself a pair of UGGS.  Here’s the thing- for years and years and years, I made fun of people who wore UGGS.  I hated them and refused to give into them.  I was not going to wear something that ugly just because it was trendy.  But then, recently, I had tried them on.  Instant love.  While I still think they are quite ugly, I cannot lie…they are the best thing I ever put on my feet!

In addition to getting most of my shopping done, I also filled out all of my Christmas cards.  As of 9am this morning my cards have been mailed.  Oh, and my partner in the secret gift exchange should be getting their gift either Monday or Tuesday–I am very excited for you to open it- I looked for the most perfect gift and I think I found something great; I hope you love it as much as I do!

Speaking of the secret gift exchange…MINE CAME IN THE MAIL!!!!  Actually, it came on Wednesday, but I refused to open it until I had my own partner’s gift mailed out.  Since I mailed it this morning, it was finally time to open mine up.  Petra was the lucky girl to buy for me and she did GREAT!  Here are the goods-

 

UK’s #1 Triathlon Magazine, Lindor Chocolates (YUM!), shortbread cookies (my favorite!) and a shirt from a race she directed this year!

She also invited me to visit but did not include a plane ticket- HEY JILL….you have to up the value of next years exchange to that of t a flight ticket, okay???

I had so much fun with the exchange, both waiting for mine to arrive and buying/sending my own out.  Thanks for the badrillionth time Jill- I know it was a lot of work to put together and I appreciate it!

In other news…I am still eating too much candy and drinking too much wine, but I am going to just allow it.  Obviously, my body needs a break.  Why should I feel bad about having some fun over the holidays?  I am working hard (like 60-75 hours a week) and I deserve some fun.  I talked to my manager at work and we had a nice little chat about how come the first of the year I need for him to only schedule me three or four days a week.  Once I have my schedule under control, I will have a lot more time for working out.  And I know once I feel less stressed, I will be ready to get back in gear!

I am spending today with friends ♥  Today is the Kona party at my teammates house with all the TT kids!  Want to get inspired to do a triathlon?  Watch Kona World Championships today at 4pm on NBC.  It is the triathlon of all triathlons!!!  After the party, I am going to fill up on patience and head out to a few stores.  Yeah, it IS crazy to shop today but I just don’t think I will have much time this week.  Tomorrow I am working a double (glutton much??) because I really want some extra money to spend over winter break.  Then all I have to get through is Monday-Wednesday and then I have 10 days off from my day job- woooooooohhhhhhooooooooooo 🙂  Any and all spare time is going to be dedicated to the Griswold Family Christmas wrapping gifts.  I cannot wait to get them all under the tree.  And open them all.  I loooovvvvvvvvveeeee Christmas.  Seven more sleeps 🙂

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If you are interested in the Onelittletrigirl Holiday Card Swap I need your information by midnight tomorrow night.

To learn more about the swap, go back to this post.

 

I have decided to get caught up on my Reader rather than write just another post about how I did nothing by way of working out (don’t give up on me interwebs, I promise, I am back on the wagon tomorrow!) but I do want to share some photos from this weekend.

This weekend was FABULOUS 🙂  Saturday night I had my first get together at my house.  When I lived alone, in my past apartment, I would have people over all the time.  Now that I have a roommate, who isn’t as social as I am, I have to keep her feelings in mind and therefore I haven’t really had people over at all.  When I lived alone, I did this at least every other weekend; I would have people over for drinks, movie nights, game nights or themed type parties.  The fact that I have lived in this place for three months and this was my first party…I had to make it great!  And it was 🙂  So many of my favorite people came out and it really made the night special.  I was able to catch up with so many friends and make use of the amazing bar I have in my home.  Overall, great success!

The bar in my house- LOVE it!

Work besties 🙂

Teammate love

Today was my families Annual Christmas Reunion.  My Mom’s side all gets together each year- we rent a hall and have it catered; Santa comes for the little kids and we do door prizes and 50/50- and it is always a great time.  I couldn’t make it for the whole time because I had to work tonight but I was able to get there for enough time to catch up and get some great photos.

My cousins- more like, sisters

My “little” cousin Dan

Creepin in on the Santa photo!

 

Lots of racers out there this past weekend- looking forward to all of your reports!

Sweetest Place On Earth

Yesterday, my mom and I spent the day in Hershey Park.  You know what is fun…not going to work and instead spending the day at Chocolate World. 🙂

Every year my mom and I take a hooky day from work and spend the day shopping. Some years we just do the malls, some years we went to Atlantic City; this year we had planned to go up to the Hershey Outlets.  I say had, because it wasn’t long before we decided to ditch the shopping idea and spend the day at Chocolate World instead!

We headed down as soon as I got home from work on Monday night.  The drive was harrowing to say the least!!!  Look, I am from South Jersey…hills don’t exactly exist here and winding roads aren’t all that popular either.  Oh, and here, we light our roads.  So yeah, I was more than happy when we finally made it to the hotel!

So we get to the hotel and as we walk in, I see this display and notice it has my mom’s name on it!  Turns out, my mom was Guest Of The Day 🙂  We got our room upgraded to a suite!  And because my mom and I are total dorks, we totally took pictures!

Once we were settled in, we headed out to get some dinner; we were both totally starving and on a recommendation we went to the Chocolate Pantry.  This place was super cute and the food was delicious!!!  Our eyes were WAY bigger than our stomachs and we ended up with an appetizer of crab fries, side salads and our meals.  Our amazing meals- italian chicken and pasta for me and crab cakes for my mom.  (We later left these meals in the fridge at the hotel 😦 )  We really enjoyed our dinner and the place; I would highly recommend it!

From dinner it was back to the hotel and bed in preparation for a fun day at Chocolate World.  Let me just say, that from the time we stepped foot in that place on Tuesday morning we were like two little kids.  We were so excited we didn’t even know where to begin!  The last time we were in Hershey, I was about 12 and things have changed quite a lot!  Thankfully, the world’s nicest people work at their front desks and were happy t0 give us some direction.

We decided to first make our own candy bars.  This was a blast- it was only my Mom and I, so our tour guide Kim was our personal guide 🙂  Kim was awesome- so sweet and friendly (and origonally from south jersey!!) and you could tell she really likes her job.  Making your own candy bar is some serious business;  you are in the real factory so you have to wear hairnets and aprons and take off all jewlery.  You start with a plain chocolate bar (I chose dark) and then you get to choose three inclusions and a topping.  My inclusions were white chocolate chips, pretzels and toffee with Christmas sprinkles as my topping.  After you program your bar, you get to watch it be made.  And from there you get to design your wrapper.  The whole process takes about 30 minutes and is so much fun.  I highly recommend this for all ages 🙂

From there we headed through the free ride through how chocolate is made- its totally cute and you get free chocolate at the end 🙂  After that we headed to the trolley to take a ride through Hershey.  This was by far my favorite part of the trip; it was informative and fun.  We had a very charismatic trolley guide and again, like Kim, you could tell how much he liked his job.  While talking, you could see that he took pride in working for Hershey.  And even though I know quite a bit about Hershey, having done a paper my senior year on him, I really learned a lot.  Even with the rain, it was a great ride.  I especially loved being able to go through the Hersey School grounds and into the Rotunda building where we saw the gorgeous dome with all the flags.  Plus, the Christmas tree was up and it was beautiful.

After the trolley, we decided to round out our trip by seeing the 3D movie.  It was about 20 minutes long and obviously geared towards kids, but we still both really liked it a lot.  3D is fun!

The last thing on our list was to make the candy bar wrappers.  I made one for a friend and my mom made one for co-worker.  Then we made a Hershey Syrup bottle for my dad.  It was fun but it was also the one thing that could have been better; they really need a better system.  For one, they should take more than one photo and let you pick…we lucked out and got good photos but it still would have been nice to have a choice.  Additionally, the wrappers were not put on very well.  It’s a small complaint and it wouldn’t keep me from doing it again or recommending the activity.

When we were all finished with the days activities we went into the shops and spent way too much money on chocolate 🙂  Then we headed home, stopping on the way at Bertucci’s for dinner.  It was a super, much-needed, awesome overnight trip.

Oh…and if you are curious…in the world of working out…well, I have been absent big time.  I hope you will all stick with me through my off-time whilst I get my ish together!

Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Report

Other title options:

-Redemption!

-Dear Philly, I kicked your ass!

-How the hell did that happen?

-Will I ever PR again?

Notes:

  • I had worked Saturday at the expo for 3 hours and then again at my night job until closing!  Not kidding…no one would cover my shift, or switch with me, so I worked from 5pm-12am the night before. 
  • I resigned myself to the idea that this race would be just for fun and that I should have low expectations.  In fact, I never even thought about a time goal…I basically just wanted to finish happy and not injured.  I told my mom to expect me around 2:30-2:35, although I did say I was going to try to stick with a pace group and there was a chance I could come in before 2:30.

Pre-Race:

I was so wired when I got in from work that I could not sleep.  I ended up dozing off for about two hours but it was 4am before I knew it!  My mom met up with me at my house and we were off.  We met up with my friend Brian and followed him to a garage and then headed over to the Art Museum. 

About 30 minutes before the race my stomach started hating me and I needed a bathroom STAT.  The line was 2390823908 people long and I seriously thought I might die.  The pain was unreal and I could not even imagine how I would run in it were to continue through the race.  I made it through the line and to my corral but within minutes, I needed the bathroom again.  Ugh, this was not good!  Luckily after stop number #2, I felt a little better and even luckier, I was done just in time to start with my corral, although I was at the very back.

Race:

Miles 1-3; I did not start off well.  Between my stomach bothering me and having to move through the crowd of slower-than-me runners and walkers, I was having a hard time.  I got to the 5k at just under 36:00…I was not happy!  Then it occurred to me that I had two options.  1- allow this to ruin my race and just give in or 2- get through the rough patch and press on.  I did not want to get down on myself early; I pretty much said to myself “get it together” and then that is exactly what I did!

Miles 4-6.2; At about the mile 4 mark, I realized I was making up some time and when I looked up, I saw the 5:00 pace group not far ahead of me.  This was the pace group I had hoped to spend some time running with but because I got into my corral too late and got behind because of my disastrous first three miles, I had lost sight of them.  But here they were just a little bit ahead.  I knew if I pushed a little harder I could catch up to them.  I stopped at the water stop to take a GU and then pressed on with the 5:00 pace balloons in sight.  I saw my TT friends cheering and it was exactly the boost I needed to pick up my pace!  And then I was there- running with the pace group 🙂  The thing is, once I got there, I felt like I could go faster; I went with my gut and kept on moving.  I was feeling so good- everything was going right…this was the best I ever felt and i decided at that moment, unless anything insane happened, I was going to PR this race.  I was going to make it happen.  I reached the 10K mark at 1:07:30…I was under an 11:00/minute pace.  I had made up SO MUCH time!

Miles 6.2-10; This was the hilliest part of the course (you know, as hilly as it gets for the area) but also the best miles for me mentally.  I kept reminding myself that this was a fun race and that I was having fun.  I thought about how Kate told me that she felt like her Ironman went as well as it did because she stayed postive, so I just tried to channel all my positive energy.  I made myself run up each hill no matter what…just kept telling myself one foot in front of the other.  And every time the thought of walking crossed my mind, I just reminded myself that I was on my way to a PR!  I took a GU at mile 8 and Mile 10 was reached at 1:48.  Still under an 11:00/pace and very much on target for a PR.

Miles 11-12; In every half-marathon in the past, I have fallen apart at mile 11.  So as I approached mile 11, I had a little chat with the asphalt.  My legs were hurting…my shins were on fire and my left calf was angry.  But I was not stopping.  No way.  I directed my mind to think positive and get the frick to the finish line.  I had come this far…made up time…and was well on my way to a PR…I was.not.stopping!  I thought pushing through mile 11 was the toughest part of the race until I reached mile 12.  Now I had to pee.  I tried to run through it…just get to the finish and then pee.  But my bladder was having nothing of it- and the porta-potty lines were FAR too long.  I was NOT going to ruin my PR by waiting in a damn porta-potty line.  No friggen way.  So I did what any classy Jersey girl would do in this situation…I pee’d in the bushes.  Free of my need to pee and back on my feet running, I blasted into mile 13 ready to get to the finish.

Mile 13-13.1; The crowd support through the finish was amazing.  And not even kidding, I texted my mom to let her know I was on my way in- I didn’t want her to miss me.  I could not believe I was at the finish- I was elated.  The crowd was cheering and I saw my mom and Brian and I was running as fast as I could- and then…I crossed the line at 2:23:08!!!!!

Post-race: GLOW GLOW GLOW GLOW 🙂  Followed by some pictures, gatorade, a banana and the very slow walk back to the car.  Then it was home to sleep for a few hours because I am crazy and went into work that night!

Prior to this race, my PR was 2:27:44…so I improved by over 4 full minutes!  I have been chasing that damn PR since May 2009 and it felt so good to finally reach my goal.  In addition to a 4 minute overall PR, this was a 10 minute course PR!!!

More Notes:

  • I walked the water stops and I stopped once to stretch my calf and once to pee.  Other than that I ran the ENTIRE race.  I never stopped moving (except to pee) no matter what, I just kept going!!!
  • Mike- I looked for you at medals!  I asked all the way through the line if anyone knew where Mike was- but to no avail 😦  One guy thought I was looking for my dad and tried to direct me to the meet-up area and a few others looked at me as though I had a personality disorder.  Awesome.
  • The crowd support for this race was really good- especially in the cheer sections.  Music going, people dressed up…Philly does spectating well 🙂
  • This race would not be possible without the help of volunteers and the Philadelphia Police Department.  The officers throughout the race are wonderful.  I appreciate them being out there more than I can say.  Philadelphia cops have a tough job every day and it was a joy to see them on the course. 
  • I am quite sore.  I chaperoned an ice skating trip yesterday and that has only added to the soreness.  I plan to spin out my legs this afternoon but I am taking a week off from running.  It is officially the off season!!!

Thank you for all your support- all the well wishes and happy vibes.  My excitement over my PR has not ended yet.  I smiled through writing this whole report.  This is the report I thought I would have to wait until 2011 to write.  2010 has been a rollercoaster year- being injured and told I might not be able to run until summer…proving THAT wrong and running as early as April.  Racing back to back weekends over summer and PR’ing through them was amazing…but nothing tops this race.  This was the highlight of my year.  I had to bag so many races…and I fought with myself over each one.  I was hard on myself for not running Philly Rock and Roll…I did not feel ready and I did not feel I should race.  I know more than every that I made the right decision.  This was to be my comeback race…and my only plan was to get to the start and finish lines.  The PR is the AMAZINGLY SWEET icing on top 🙂

Photos:

Delanco 5K Race Report!

This was my third year in a row doing this race…it is held in my hometown, is very no frills and the route is pretty much what I run when I run at home.  I also like that I have been able to see my steady improvement over time…

-The first year I ran it, I was in the back of the pack…still a new runner.

-The second year, it poured rain and only about 30 runners showed up.  I won second AG, but only by default because there were only two of us in my age group.  So even though it counts of course, it doesn’t feel like a legit win.

-This year, I wasn’t sure how I would do but I ran great AND…

…I won THIRD PLACE AG.  Legit win too. Like I really actually beat people- haha 🙂

Pre-Race:

Woke up and ate a PB bar and got dressed.  Grabbed a cup of coffee and was at my parents house by 815am.  Headed over to the race start, hung around with some friends who were also racing and got ready for the 9am start.

Race:

First mile- cold while running against the river but I was feeling fast.  Kept pushing myself and got to mile marker 1 at 9:12-wooohoo!  That was a huge confidence boost as I knew if I kept it up, I would have a PR.  The second mile was my best mile and I was passing some people too!  I was pretty sure I passed some people in my age group and was feeling really great! My dad was volunteering at a stop that I passed twice in the second mile and it was super fun seeing him on the course.  I hit the second mile marker at 18:21 (negative split!!) and was pushing pretty hard.  The wind was insane at this point and even though I knew I was slowing down I was just trying to keep my pace as fast as possible.  I knew a PR was still possible and I wanted to stay ahead of all the people I had passed.  When the wind was blowing in my face and I wanted to slow down, I thought of all the people running a lot further than me that morning and I just kept repeating positive affirmations to myself.  As I rounded into the last tenth of a mile, I knew a PR would be a stretch…and by the time I was in the final stretch, I knew I wasn’t going to PR…but I also knew I was still ahead of the people I passed AND I had a sub-30 time.  I sprinted with everything I had into the finish.

Official time- 29:16; course PR and good enough for an AG win 🙂

Post Race:

My friend Mark’s dad was helping with the race and he told me that he thought I placed.  Normally a 29 minute 5k would never place but that is the nice thing about small races 🙂  My friend Ryan placed 2nd overall and my friend Mark placed in his AG.  Then they got to females 19-29…and third place went to me!!!!!  I got a bronze medal to commemorate my win 🙂

Still waking up!

Ready to Run!!!

Post Race- Ryan (2nd overall), Me and Mark (2nd place AG)

Third Place AG 🙂

This Week Was A Good Week!

Seriously, first good week in about a months time.  Solid good week. Woo-hoo!

I think this calls for a review 🙂

Monday: headed to the gym for a 30 minute morning swim.  Freestyle…good overall swim.

Tuesday: Back to spin class.  Woo-Hooo!!!!!!  Followed that up with a little HCC session.

Wednesday: Needed to run…wanted to run…and it was storming.  Go figure.  Before I lost my desire I jumped in the car and relegated myself to the gym treadmill.  It sucked like the treadmill tends to suck but at least I got in a run.

Thursday: Another 30 minute morning swim.  This swim sucked…like couldn’t get into a rhythm, my goggles were bothering me and I kept forgetting what lap I was on.  I just couldn’t groove.  I was actually happy when time was up.

Sunday: Did a HCC session before hitting the asphalt.  Had a great run…outside!!!  This was the perfect run’ it is how I wish every run could be.  The weather was perfect, the new route I took was great and I felt awesome the whole time.

Weekly High: Today’s morning run.  This was a good week in general and I am feeling great!

Weekly Low: Thursday’s swim.  Something was just off.

Three things I am grateful for this week:

  1. Fall weather- it is lovely!  I miss summer, but I love fall too!
  2. Bloggies- You are all awesome- thanks for always making me feel so special, especially when I am down 🙂
  3. Friends with benefits- no, no…not like THAT…get your head outta the gutta!  My friend Greg is a podiatrist and has been helping me with some issues I have been having with plantar fasciitis.  He is also going to get me a brace to help with my shin splints- I will wear it during the day to help stabilize my legs.

Quote of the week: “Never give up what you want most, for what you want right now.”

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Woooo-hoooo; I have been a winning machine lately!

First, I won this awesome Chocolate prize pack from Paige:

The very next day I found out I was the winner of Suzy’s give-a-way and won me some of this:

And then I won Jill’s give-a-way and scored these:

Additionally, I recieved the following tags whilst on vacation 🙂

Indi and Kim both tagged me for the Happy 101 award:

The rules are to name 10 things that I like, and then pass along to 10 bloggers.

  • Wildwood Crest, NJ- my home away from home
  • Flipping my pillow over to the “cold” side- anyone else do this?
  • Vanilla flavored milk- makes my coffee perfect!
  • The Phillies- ♥ them!
  • Homecooked Meals- really, there is nothing like it!
  • Scrapbooking- I am working on a running/tri one right now.
  • Getting a magazine in the mail- always nice to get something other than a bill!
  • Wine- ’nuff said!
  • When my clothes are still warm from the dryer- best feeling, especially in winter
  • Unexpected blessings- they happen all the time, you just have to look!

And Jamoosh tagged me in the Cherry On Top Award:

Answer this question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?

Is it cheating if I say nothing?  Cause honestly, I have always felt like if I changed one thing, no matter how big or how small the experience, it would change everything.  And I don’t think it would be worth it.  However, if I could change things out of my control…if I could change that Jimmy died, I would- I still have yet to find a reason why that had to happen.

Thanks for the tags everyone!  I hope September is being good to you- I have moved in, school has started and after this weekend down the shore things will be getting back to normal!  I hate when summer ends, but I do like being on a routine.  I am slowly catching up on my reader too!

PS: If you haven’t yet checked out my BOMF donation page, please do.  The link is in my sidebar.  This is a charity near and dear to me.  Any amount helps!