Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Five: Five Things I Did This Summer

Hello. Once again, I'm teaming up with Cynthia, Mar, and Courtney for the Friday Five linkup. This week's theme is Five Things I Did This Summer

I revisited a FF post from the beginning of June (Favorite Summer Activities) to see how many things I checked off of my list. I did pretty well! It's almost as if I knew my summer plans when I wrote the post. ;) In the interest of variety, here are some other things I did this summer:

Race / Festival Volunteering
Alex and I set up our favorite local drinks festival (Digfest) in crazy heat, then returned later in the day to cash in our free drink and food tickets. We also received a t-shirt and cup. A month later we volunteered for gear check at the Mayor's Twilight Ride, a bike event through Columbus. For that we received a t-shirt, pizza, and a free entry to a future (running) race. It's a great time. You meet new people, get a behind the scenes view of events, and a free race.

Patio dining
We've done a pretty good job getting outside to eat. Tobias usually gets his leash tangled around the table as he tries to steal food, so it was a relief to find he'll sit calmly if I set up a throne of towels for him.

Trying new wine
A continuation of patio dining... we've been trying New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Alex started this experiment, but we're trying to find our favorite whites from the Marlborough region so we know which wineries to visit when we go there. I'm a big red wine drinker, so this has been a change for me, but I've adjusted. ;)

When we went to Canada we canoed and got to play on the SUPs. I love stand up paddle boarding. Maybe I'll try SUP yoga. (Probably ought to attempt land yoga first.)

Spending time with friends
One of my good friends got into a scooter accident (not her fault) and as a result we've had more friend get togethers to visit with her in the hospital and at home. The reason sucks, but it's been really nice to see everyone on a semi-regular basis. Last weekend we had an epic brunch at her place...

What have you been up to this summer? 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Race Recap: Emerald City Quarter Marathon

The lovely medal // Photo by Robb McCormick Photography 
The Emerald City Half and Quarter Marathon took place 7:00am on Sunday, August 23 in Dublin, Ohio. I ran the half last year and it was my worst race ever. Though I'm physically prepared for a half, I'm not ready mentally, and fearing hot weather I chose the quarter (6.55 miles).

I kept my goals realistic and considered three things: it could be humid, my trail 10K last week didn't go well, and I may have wasted my good run on Friday (when I did an "easy" 3 miles around my neighborhood at an 8:30 pace). I decided on three goals, directly in line with the available pace groups:

A 1:00 (9:10 min/mile)
B 1:05 (9:56 min/mile)
C 1:10 (10:41 min/mile) 

Right before takeoff
First off, the weather was amazing for a summer race. It was 61 and it felt glorious. Almost made me want to run the half.

I wish we'd left earlier because traffic was terrible. You can't blame the race directors: Dublin had overnight construction near the race start. Two directions were blocked off and race emails provided warning. Long story short, it took us a billion years to get to a parking spot. We finally parked with 20 minutes to spare.

Of course I had to go to the bathroom and the lines were insane. I met another Oiselle Volée member in line (looking back I was a little toooooo excited. Sorry.). My friend Angie met up with us, but 5 minutes from race start I was still waiting in line and she left to go line up. I finally got to a potty, said goodbye to Alex, and... basically stood about 5 feet from where we said goodbye because I couldn't get into the corral. It was jam packed.

I was far from the front. I wasn't in the starting chute or a corral. I was stuck with a bunch of people in a weird path perpendicular to the 1:20 pace group (about 12:13/mi). I couldn't see my goal pace group and immediately knew there would be some weaving during the first mile. Fleet Feet recorded the video below with a drone and I cross the line around 2:26. I'm all the way to the right wearing a light gray tank and a white hat. You can see me already starting to dodge people.

Mile 1–3
Starting in the back was kind of cool because I felt like I was flying. Yeah, there were times I got stuck behind some oblivious folks, but it's not their fault. After all, they were lined up in the correct corral. Normally I speed during the first mile because I'm trying to keep up with pacers or the flow of traffic. This time, I was the weirdo sprinting by and it was kind of neat... I felt faster than normal, that's for sure. Despite that feeling, my first mile was my slowest.

This photo doesn't belong here, but it's the only pro photo of me from the entire race! 
Around mile 1 I caught up with the 1:15 pace group. Sometime after that I passed 1:10. For some reason, I never noticed 1:05 or 1:00. Around mile 2.5 the quarters turned left while the halves continued straight. I remember wanting to turn left with the quarters so badly last year. I'm not sure if it was the knowledge that I only had four miles remaining or if I'm in better shape, but this year I felt good at the split. I saw my first two miles clock in near A goal pace and I felt like I could maintain my speed.

The course
I'm bad at water stops
I never know how my races will go until mile 2. Last week, I walked at 1.5. During this race, I only walked at a water stop. By the way, this was my first time not carrying a water bottle in a race longer than 4 miles. It was great not having anything in my hand, but I am NOT good at drinking water while running. I learned this the hard way when I drenched my face at the second stop. I then tried to toss my cup in a trashcan and missed by at least two feet. At the third stop I walked while I drank. Yes, it cost me 5 to 10 seconds, but at least I got some water. (I skipped stops 1 and 4.)

Miles 36
Anyway, we were in a park from 3 to 4.5, covering the same trail I ran in last year's half. I was miserable during those miles so it was kind of fun to not want to die in the park this year. Every time I felt myself get tired I tried to remember I was nearly finished.

The last few miles are a straight shot down two roads and full sun. Had I run the half, I would have been melting. I was hot and sweaty, but I wasn't completely uncomfortable. I began to speed up with a mile to go. I was getting pretty tired right before the final turn into the finish and few 30 year old ladies passed me (argh!), but I was holding my own. My last mile was solidly in the 8s.

Pretty pleased
Finish and After
I crossed the line and the official clock read an hour and change, so I knew I'd finished under an hour. I was pretty excited. I met up with Alex and grabbed a cold towel to cool off. Then I collected my water, banana, granola bar, Gatorade, bagel, and chocolate milk (insert angels singing). We hung around socializing and met up with Angie. The after race party was at Buffalo Wild Wings (do you guys still call it BW3s because I do). Finishers received a vodka beverage (basically an Arnold Palmer) and free wings and chips.  It was 8am so it felt a little weird eating and drinking these things, but I won't say no to free stuff.

Final Stats and Thoughts
Don't you just love when weather and physical fitness come together? Had I started in the correct place I may have finished faster, but I ran by feeling and I kept a good pace and had a good time. Plus, this was the first race where I actually had energy to high-five spectators!

Final Time: 58:11(8:53/mi)
Overall: 240/1563 (15%)
Gender: 119/1152 (10%)
Age Group: 55/438 (12.5%)

Distance: 6.55 miles. This is a great distance. I may focus on 10Ks after this season!
Mile Splits:  9:11, 9:03, 9:01, 9:05, 9:02, 8:45, and 8:24 for the last half mile.

Up Next: Run 4 the Health of It 4 Miler on Labor Day. It'll be Alex's first race since May!   

Travel Tuesday: The Big Island Part 1

Somewhere over the Rockies
I've started a new feature called Travel Tuesdays. Each week I'll post photos, recommendations, or itineraries from trips I've taken or am planning to take. You can see past posts here

Alex and I visited the Big Island of Hawaii in January/February 2014. We went for our delayed honeymoon (we were married in September and wanted to travel when Ohio weather is gross). We went to Molokai in November 2011 and fell in love, so it made sense to try out a new Hawaiian island.

The Big Island has Kona and Hilo, along with some of the most affordable Hawaiian real estate. We did an entire circuit of the island over ten days. Here's a small sample of photos from the first half of the trip where we started in Kona, took the main highway around South Point to Volcano, then over to Hilo.

One of our first stops. 
The Sheraton in Kona was lovely. We used AirBnB for the rest of the trip.
Milolii Beach
Alex's favorite beach burned my feet.
Volcano National Park
Lava covering an old highway.
Hilo Bay

On the scenic road to Akaka Falls
Rainbow Falls
Saddle Road (connects Hilo to Waimea on the North side of the island)
Part 2 to come... 

Where was your last trip?
What is your next vacation? 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Five: In Five Years...

Glacier Bay, photo from Travel Alaska

Hola and TGIF. This week went quickly and I'm in a great mood. The sun is shining, the humidity is low, and I think it will be relatively cool (for August) at my race on Sunday! I'm once again teaming up with CourtneyMar, and Cynthia for Friday Five. This week's theme? 5 Things I’ll be Doing in 5 Years

Finish my 50 states
I have one more to go (Alaska) and hope to visit sooner than later. I'd also like to go back to a few states I didn't spend enough time in. My rule: a drive-thru counts as long as I was awake, we saw something cool, and we stopped somewhere. States with low participation include: Mississippi, Delaware, and Washington.

Finish my (current) to-read book shelf
I have a lot of books. I also have about 100 books on a physical to-read shelf. I'd like to get through these books in the next few years. Also, I'm just talking about the shelf I have right now and not including books on my Goodreads virtual to-read shelf or any books that are released in the next five years by my favorite authors...

Remain active
I want to run, bike, hike, walk, and canoe until I can't. Even if I have kids or get busy with something else, physical activity will be a priority. Luckily, Alex feels the same way.

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand
Visit New Zealand
Alex and I are actively planning a trip to New Zealand and would, ideally, take off a few weeks. The only bad part? We have about 3 billion other trips we want to take first (or need to take because we're visiting someone). What a problem to have!

Move somewhere with more nature
I really like Columbus (probably why I stick around), but the surrounding nature isn't cutting it. Yes, we have rivers, lakes, nature trails, and camping, but we don't have real mountains or beaches. Alex and I are trying to figure out where we'd go next. Shortlist includes Pacific Northwest, Colorado, and Hawaii.

Thanks for reading. Whats one item on your five year list? 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August: Life Currently...

Photos from my Instagram
Reading Hard Times by Charles Dickens.

Listening to The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (read by Juliet Stevenson). 

Watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (ok, I've watched one full episode). Also catching up on Switched at Birth (guilty pleasure) and Scandal.

Wearing mainly black and white to work, but I got my first pair of Oiselle Toolbelt Rogas last week and loved them so much I immediately ordered another pair. Hey, I haven't announced officially on the blog that I joined Oiselle Volée, have I? (A post to come, perhaps!)

Eating + Drinking Drinking lots of coffee and Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.  Eating a ton of homemade Chipotle bowls. 

Exploring A neighborhood of fancy houses nearby. Found myself lost on the winding streets and next to a golf course I didn't expect to cross.  

Making a new website for the company I work for. It's always our last priority, but I have some time. (Honestly, it's just a quick face-life.)

Feeling very middle of the road. Looking for the next big aha moment... 

Planning a trip with my parents and Alex to Florida in February. Running a half in Naples and then my mom wants to go to Harry Potter world with me (!). 

Working on freelance for the first few weeks of the month. It has since slowed down a bit so I'm getting pumped to start the KonMari method

Wishing for two things: 1. some new "purpose" or goal in my life and 2. time off to get my house in order (this seems to be a recurring theme. Time to do something about it!).

Remembering all of the adult responsibilities I've been putting off! Ack. Stress. 

Loving the sunshine and clouds lately. Beautiful white puffy clouds on blue skies. Perfection! 

Looking forward to running Emerald City (hoping to redeem myself from last year's suckfest) and seeing good friends this weekend. I'm also looking forward to September plans. Should be a nice month. (Gosh, this summer went fast...)

You can view past months here

How is your month?
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