Photo Share 12/9

Hi party people! Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I’m so excited to share that I finished my first half marathon this weekend! Derek and I ran in the OUC Orlando Half Marathon, and decided it definitely won’t be our last. I’ll go into a more detailed re-cap of the race in another post, but for now,as tradition calls for, I’ll share the last few days in photos with you all!

I spent Thursday evening with my parents and nephew Parker, drinking almond milk hot chocolate and watching Christmas specials on TV.  This is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season, and I’m loving the many SNL Christmas Special re-runs that have been airing!

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We started the carb-loading off early in the week ( Monday is appropriate for a Saturday race, right?), so my dad was sweet enough to prepare us some tasty pasta with homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil on Thursday night.

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After work on Friday, Derek and I drove out to Orlando to check into the hotel we stayed at the night before our half-marathon. We made reservations at 310 Lakeside after verifying that they had some serious opportunities for carb consumption! We shared a zucchini flatbread and both had the Chicken Piccata Pasta and it was all delicious!

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We had an early wake-up call Saturday morning, and made sure to snap a pic at the hotel before our race began!

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We ran the race in 1:59:22, and headed back home to Tampa to watch our two teams play in their championship games!

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I’m literally in shock  (but still proud) that Auburn ended up being the team who will face FSU in the National Championship game in January. I’ll be sad to cheer against Auburn, but am glad both of my teams are the top 2 in the country!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pics from my firm’s holiday party which took place Saturday evening, but it was held at the beautiful Tampa Bay History Center, and catered by one of my favorite Tampa restaurants, the Columbia.

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And we passed Sunday morning in typical Sunday fashion, with church, a trip to the gym for a CX Worx class, and some relaxation, before having dinner with my family to celebrate my Nano’s birthday!


I plan to get some easy runs in this week, and I’ve set a goal for myself to continue to drink as much water as I did last week as I was gearing up for my half-marathon.

Do you all have any health or fitness goals for this week or month?!

Happy Monday, keep smiling!


How to Fuel for a Half Marathon

As you guys may know from my recent posts, I’m completing my first half marathon this weekend. I tend to over-anticipate and work myself up over all races, even 5Ks, so you can imagine that I’m feeling anxious/excited for this big race. In addition to putting in the proper training, it’s just as crucial to fuel your body properly for longer races, and that’s what I’m focusing on doing this week. I found the following article really helpful, and thought you guys may too!

“How to Fuel for a Half-Marathon

Three great tips on carb-loading and fueling so you don’t hit the wall during your next 13.1.

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Dear Fuel School, I’m getting ready to run a half-marathon this weekend. If I need to carb-load, what should I consume before the start of the race, and how do I fuel to avoid hitting the wall mid-race?

Great questions! I too am gearing up for a half-marathon this weekend and the Runner’s World Half-Marathon Festival next month, so I’ve been busy planning my carb-load and pre-race breakfast. (When you’re a nutrition nerd, you tend to sleep, eat, and breathe race fueling.)
So first things first—the carb-load. You might be wondering if it’s as necessary for 13.1 as it is for 26.2. Honestly, I think it can’t hurt. A carb-load prior to a half-marathon needn’t last as long or be as intense, but it is still important and will have a positive impact on your race performance. Technically speaking, carb-loading really comes into play any time you are out on the road for more than 90 minutes. Carb-loading tends to lead to a bit of stiffness (because your muscles are fully stocked with glycogen) and weight gain (water retention), so for shorter events it’s really not recommended.
Since most of us take longer than 90 minutes to complete a half-marathon, my recommendation is that you carb-load in the days prior to the race. You can carb-load in as little as one day, but to prevent carb fatigue and the worry of “Am I taking in enough?” aim to start two to three days before the half-marathon. You don’t necessarily need to increase your calories—just make sure the majority of those calories come from carbs, especially at lunch and dinner the day before race day. Given time, your body can digest, absorb, and store the nutrients, and you’ll be able to rely on those fuel stores on the next day’s run. The day before race day, have your main meal at midday and a smaller meal for dinner so you have plenty of time to digest.
The pre-race meal is also very important, as you want to toe the starting line with a tank that’s primed but neither empty nor overflowing. For more ideas on what to consume pre-race, check out this past lesson on how to fuel for an early morning run (since most races are held in the early a.m. hours).
Now that we’ve covered carb-loading and what to eat before the race, it’s time to tackle your final question: “How do I avoid running on empty in those last few miles of the race?” As you may have noticed during your training, when you’re on the road for fewer than 75 minutes, you can usually rely on water, sports drinks, and your body’s own glycogen stores to carry you along. Any longer, and you begin to deplete those stores. Your muscles run out of fuel, and your body — not to mention your attitude — starts to drag. Consuming carbs mid-run can keep your blood sugar steady, so you don’t crash and burn.
Instead of recommending something new on race day, here are some common techniques for fueling which should help you blow by that late-race wall. Since every runner is different, you may want to try one or more of the following tips during training. Maybe all of them will work, and you’ll have plenty of options to thwart the feelings of weakness in those last few miles!
Tip #1: Make sure to take in adequate fuel the day before your long run. While you are at rest, your body will have adequate time and energy to absorb and store those nutrients you ate, and then you’ll be able to rely on this fuel for the following day. And don’t forget to eat a carb-rich, low-fiber, easy-to-digest, familiar breakfast the morning of the race!
Tip #2: Fuel at regular intervals and before you need to. Wait until you’re out of gas, and you won’t be able to recover from feeling hungry or weak. Your muscles will be forced to play catch-up, and you won’t be able to bounce back and finish the run feeling strong. If you’ve ever had a long run that started strong and then got slower and slower, it may be time to consider what you did during the first few miles of the long runs that you didn’t do during the last few miles. Many runners head out the door with a full tank but, feeling great, they neglect to re-fuel over the next few miles. If you don’t start fueling within that first hour, it’s likely that your empty-tank will catch up with you, and you’ll bonk. Not only will you hit the wall, but once your muscle glycogen stores are depleted, it can be very difficult to adequately recover during your run (and you may have to walk or crawl the last few miles). My advice to avoid this whole mess? Aim for 30-60 grams of carb per hour (and start using your chews, gels, or sports drinks early and often).
#3: Don’t be afraid of fuel. Maybe you’ve tried a product in the past and didn’t care for it or it didn’t sit well with you. If that’s the case, know that there are always new products coming out. Try a variety of products and brands. For ideas on the many different fuel options available, check out this post on energy gels and this post on alternatives to energy gels. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a few different products and see what works for you. Whatever concentrated form of fuel you are taking in, remember to dilute it with adequate water (or else it won’t be absorbed, and you will get nauseous). Lastly, find out what gel/product your race will be handing out. If you can tolerate or like the brand that the race is handing out, you’ll know that you won’t need to pack your own on race day. But if their chosen brand doesn’t work for you, you’ll need to plan ahead. In addition, you might try to find out at what miles the race will be handing out product and mimic that in your training to practice for race day.
Best of luck this weekend! I’ll be thinking of you and other readers as I tackle my own 13.1-mile challenge!”

Finishing Strong

If you enjoy running, either leisurely or competitively, you’ve probably participated in a 5K race at one point in time. The fall season is prime for running races, both long and short, and through the couple 5K races I’ve ran this past month, I’ve found that finishing strong can be difficult. Conveniently enough, I found this article as I was perusing on RunnersWorld this morning, and thought it might be of interest to you all! I hope you enjoy the read, and have a happy day!

Aim to Finish Strong

End workouts and races faster than you start them for a physical and mental boost.

Media: Aim to Finish Strong

It’s a common mistake with a heartbreaking result. The starting gun sounds and you take off–fast. Inevitably, the swift start takes its toll, and you slow down and miss your goal. Oops. A more effective way to nail a time is to run a negative split–that is, starting conservatively so that you run the second half of the race faster than the first. You’ll clock a better time and feel stronger, says Mike McKeeman, assistant coach for the Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth Lakes, California. “It’s the most efficient way to run,” he says. “Instead of burning all your fuel early, you save energy for the end and gain confidence as you stride past everyone in those last few miles.”
The rewards of a fast finish are not restricted to races. Learning how to pace yourself in workouts to finish strong reduces your risk of injury, boosts your fitness, and keeps your enthusiasm high, all of which supports a lifelong running routine, says coach Trent Sanderson, owner of Team Prep USA running program in Crested Butte, Colorado. Here’s how to practice reining it in–before letting it out.

Choose Your Workout Generally, you can use any easy run for a strong-finish session, especially if you’re a recreational runner, by starting slowly and concluding slightly faster. “It puts an exclamation point at the end of a run so you feel good about what you accomplished,” says Blake Boldon, director of coaching for RunnersConnect in Indianapolis. On longer runs, gradually increasing speed builds confidence in your ability to pick up the pace when you’re tired, he says. In interval sessions, starting conservatively is prudent: Go out too fast and you may not be able to complete the workout, says Boulder-based coach Brad Hudson, coauthor of Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon.

Set the Pace Fitness runners should start at an easy pace, no matter the workout. “You should be able to talk easily,” says Mc­Keeman. Experienced runners should base speed on a recent 5-K pace, says Boldon. As a rough guideline, for a 20-minute fast-finish run, start 30 to 40 seconds per mile slower than 5-K pace; for a 40-minute run, start one minute to 90 seconds per mile slower; and for hour-plus runs, start up to two minutes per mile slower. For intervals, begin 10 to 30 seconds per mile slower than goal race pace.

Turn It Up Running a negative split involves gradually gaining speed–not hitting the halfway point of a workout or race and then gunning it. Break the distance of your session into segments, and aim to run each one slightly faster. Divide a three-miler in half, a six- to nine-miler into three equal portions, and runs over 10 miles into roughly four parts. By the final segment, you should be running slightly faster than goal pace or at a pace where you can speak just a couple words at a time. If doing intervals, start picking up the pace after the first half of repeats until you’re running the final effort 10 to 15 seconds faster per mile than goal pace.

Turn It Up More If you’re targeting a race, practice making the first half of your negative-split runs faster. “Your goal is to decrease the difference between your first and second half by increasing your starting speed until you’re running close to an even pace throughout the race–this will maximize your performance,” says Boldon. “You need to conserve just enough energy up front–not too little, but not too much either–so that you can finish fast and still PR.” Indeed, most competitive runners hit fairly even splits and then kick it into high gear at the very end. Aim for starting five to 10 seconds slower than your goal pace, no matter what distance you’re racing, says McKeeman. “Sure, if you’re 25 seconds off on the first mile of a marathon, it’s not a huge deal,” he says. “You only need to make up one second every mile. However, it’s going to be a lot tougher to find that time in a 10-K.”

Run Better Pace yourself with the “talk test” on a fast-finish run with friends. You should be able to chat easily at the start and not much at all by the end.

Second-Half Speed
Add these workouts to your routine and finish races faster
Fast-finish workout: Out-and-back The details: Head out to a designated point, turn around, and run the return slightly faster. Start with about 20 minutes (10 minutes out, less than 10 minutes back), and gradually work up to 60 minutes, depending on your goal distance.
Fast-finish workout: 400s The details: Do 4 to 8 x 400 meters with a 100-meter recovery jog between each. Run the first 2 to 4 repeats at a comfortable pace (10 to 30 seconds per mile slower than goal pace). Speed up successive repeats so the final 1 to 2 laps are 10 to 15 seconds per mile faster than race pace.
Fast-finish workout: 2000s The details: Do 2 to 4 2000-meter intervals (5 times around a track) at race pace with a 400-meter recovery jog between each. End with 1000 meters (2.5 times around) at slightly faster than goal pace.
Fast-finish workout: Progressive long run The details: Run the first quarter of your total distance easy (goal pace plus 45 to 60 seconds). For each successive quarter, run your goal pace plus 30 seconds, plus 20 seconds, plus 10 seconds. If possible, run the last mile or so at goal pace.

87% of runners admit a too-fast start dashed their race goals at least once, reports a poll.


What are your favorite races to participate in?

Have you ever done a “color run” or “tough mudder”?

I love all kinds of races for different reasons. Small races are a great confidence booster, as it’s much easier to place with only 50 or so competitors in my age group. But large races are awesome for the “swag bags” and hype surrounding the big event. And it always feels good to participate in a race that supports a good cause.

I’ve never done a “color run” or “tough mudder”, but I’ll try anything once!

Happy National Running Day


Happy National Running Day, my friends! I run for happiness, to refresh my mind and soul, to stay healthy, and for the rush it gives me! I’m so happy that I learned to tolerate running. This toleration quickly turned to love and I don’t know what I’d do without it!

Why do you run?

What kind of run will you be doing today to celebrate?

If you’re interested in running a half or a full, the Rock n Roll Series is offering a discount on their races, as is the Women’s Half Marathon Series.. I like their way of celebrating the holiday 😉