Weight Watchers – Week 21 of Meetings

I am making this post short and sweet.  I am feeling nauseous and hoping I am not catching something from all my students so it is off the computer and early to bed over here. 
However, I did want to check in to say that after last week, when I was up almost 5 pounds because of my week long binge, I got myself back on track this week. 10805836_816140405091210_801064506496426035_n

3 pounds down. 
Not where I was before my crazy binge week, and not where I want to be; however, I am so happy to be headed in the right direction. 
I also earned this cute little snowflake charm tonight for attended at least 6 out of 8 meetings in Nov./Dec. as part of the holiday challenge.  I am really proud of little things like this because they show that good or bad I am sticking it out and going to the meetings regularly.  10647180_816151955090055_6208876605127529254_n

PS – Tomorrow is my last day of work before we get a two week Christmas break.  I am in countdown mode!  What’s one thing you are looking forward to?

Kiawah Island Half Marathon 2014 – Recap

After I felt like I had a pretty strong race at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon a month ago, finishing in 2:12:54, I talked to my coach about two goals:
– working on finishing speed since I struggled a bit the last 2 or 3 miles
– aiming for a 2:10 at The Charleston Half on January 17th

Going into Kiawah I didn’t set any A, B, or C goals like I usually do because wasn’t going into this as a goal race.  For me it was a check-up, practice half way between Savannah and The Charleston Half.  I wanted to focus on my finishing kick and practice my pacing a bit.  My plan was to try to run a race in the 2:15 time range to prove that my performance in Savannah the month before was accurate, and not just a one time good run, and to make sure I had enough gas at the finish so I could pick it up a bit instead of crashing. 

Last year I left my house for Kiawah at 6:00 and had driven to the island, parked, been shuttled there, used the port-a-potty, and was sitting around waiting in the dark at the race start by 7:00 when the race didn’t start until 8:00.  The weather this year was supposed to be a bit colder, 30s at the start 50s by the time I finished, so I didn’t want to be sitting around freezing in the dark for a hour.  (I am a cold weather wuss.)  I decided to leave my house just 15 minutes later, but wow was that the wrong decision!  With just the 15 minute difference in leave time, I did not make it off the shuttle until 7:55 and the race started at 8:00!  (Insert me freaking out and checking my watch every 10 seconds here.)  I quickly ran to the port-a-potty and as I emerged heard the announcer calling, “3 minutes until race time.”  I stripped off my throw away clothes, dropped them to the side, and slid my way through the crowed until I made my way up to the 2:15 pacer. 

I will know for next year that this is a BAD place to start.  The first mile of the race was so crowed I felt like I had either lined up to far back, or lots of these people had lined up way too far forward.  I was trying to make my way around people, but there was no room to pass anywhere.  At some points I began jumping up on the grass, next to the road, to run around people.  I was frustrated that I couldn’t get moving and my first mile came in at 10:27, much slower than the ten minute miles I was aiming for.  The second and third mile were a bit better, but still involved some weaving in and out of people so my times came in at 10:06 and then finally by mile 3 I had that 10:00. 

Things started to open up a lot at that point and after mile 3 I had plenty of room to run at the pace I wanted.  I began to remember all the reasons I LOVE the Kiawah course.  It is flat as can be, has beautiful scenery, and is a really fast course.  Tons of people come down just to BQ (Boston Marathon qualify) here.  When you see huge 3:15 and 3:30 pace groups at a race with less than 3,000 people you know the course is FAST!  I decided to push it a bit, and instead of aiming for even tens I decided to try to get all my miles in sub 10.  I was feeling good and strong, it was tough, but felt great. 
Mile 4 = 9:52
Mile 5 = 9:45
Mile 6 = 9:50
Mile 7 = 9:46
Mile 8 = 9:45
Kiawah
The next three miles started to get tough and I wondered if maybe I had pushed it a bit too much in the middle of the race.  I focused on enjoying the run, the beautiful scenery around me, and celebrating how far I have come in the last year.  I forced myself to hold on and it was tricky, but maybe that is what it feels like when you run a half marathon hard.  I guess it can’t all be sunshine and roses.  If I want to get faster I can’t always run at my slow and steady happy pace. 
Mile 9 = 9:57
Mile 10 = 9:56
Mile 11 = 9:56

At mile 11.5 the full marathoners split off and I realized how close I was to being done.  My goal had been to have a bit of a kick left at the end so I worked on picking it up little by little and focused on passing one person at a time to keep myself on track and moving forward.  Then when I saw that mile 12 sign I went for it and gave it everything I had left.  I didn’t have any special finishing kick left when I hit the final straightaway, and I was okay with that because I had kicked it in that whole last mile.  It was my fastest of the entire race. 
Mile 12 = 9:51
Mile 13 = 9:22Kiawah 3
Since my focus for this race was on practicing pacing and a finishing kick before Charleston I really didn’t think about what my final time was going to be.  I felt like I ran stronger than in Savannah towards the finish, but I also knew the crowds at the beginning had slowed me down.  As I was grabbing water and a banana and checking my phone to text my buddies that I had survived this beeped through.  Kiawah 2

WOOHOO!  A 2:10 had been my goal for The Charleston Half next month and here it was, 2:10:40.  My fastest marathon was almost exactly 4 years ago, 1:58:something; however, since then I have been plagued with injuries and really struggling.  I am so very happy to say that this is the fastest half I have run post injury and the closest I have ever come to that PR.  Plus, I was thrilled to see that I ran an entire half at below a ten minute pace (even if it was only by a second). 

I had an amazing race:
– My speed is starting to improve
– I am learning how to pace myself better
– I got to practice my finishing kick
– I am realizing that I must push myself, these runs will be tough

Two wonderful half marathons to end the year.
Next year I am continuing to focus on half marathon training and rebuilding my speed with Coach Laura.  I want to see how close I can get to a sub 2 half, and maybe see if I can one day get close to that 1:58 PR. 

Okay – Bling talk –
I ran what I consider to be an awesome race and then I get the CAT medal shown above… seriously, cat medal… What do you think of it?

I Mustache You Some Questions

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I am sure many of you have seen this floating around the blog world over the past month.  Well, I was tagged by Pam at WeRunDisney and I am finally getting around to doing it.  Hope you enjoy it, I always like reading other people’s. Four Names That People Call Me: 1. Abby 2. Abigail […]

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Holiday Entertaining: Kick it up with cranberry!

Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Foodie.com, but all opinions are completely my own.  Check out Holiday Entertaining: Kick it up with cranberry! by BackatSquare0 at Foodie.com Cranberry sauce has long been one of my holiday favorites, so when the person who usually makes it was not attending our Thanksgiving this year I knew […]

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Reindeer Run 2014 – Recap

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I went into this race, like I do with all races, with three separate goals.  However, my biggest (A) goal for the Reindeer Run was to run a sub 28 5K and set a new PR in the process.   My previous PR was a 28:10 during the summer 5K series and I was hoping that […]

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Reindeer Run 2014 – Goals

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Charleston’s Reindeer Run 5K is coming up this Saturday in beautiful downtown.  I haven’t raced a 5K since the Race the Landing Series this summer.  Instead, I have been focused on half marathon training and not thinking much about racing shorter distances, but I do still have some big goals.  I am hoping the fact […]

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