Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - December edition! (On a Thursday.)

The month has arrived!  December is here!  Things are getting really real now that the wedding date is within the 10 day forecast - Kyle was amused at my excitement over this little fact.  I want to know if it's going to snow, dang it!

So the last month has been interesting to say the least.  I was insanely stressed coming into this week due to lack of communication from vendors, drama with the bachelorette party, my Dad's nursing home giving us a hard time about allowing us to use their transportation to get him to the ceremony, the hair lady not discussing pricing before we put in my hair extensions (yep, I got extensions.  I want a hair style, darn it!) and wanting an insane amount of money from me, our venue not being open to accept our final payment… the list goes on and on.  I'll save you from the crazy that was going through my head because I thought my skull was going to explode with everything that was happening, mostly for no real reason at all, and all things I had no control over.  I decided Tuesday once everything was good with the venue that I wasn't going to let anything upset me anymore. It's literally one day of our lives, one of the BEST days of our lives, and I just need to trust that all the people who say they're doing stuff for us will show up and that whatever will happen is going to happen.

So I had my final dress fitting and I was super worried about it.  I wasn't comfortable in the dress before and wasn't sure the alterations needed to make me feel better would be possible.  I was worried I was literally going to have to walk into a David's Bridal and buy something off the rack, but I didn't.  It fit perfectly and with a little smoothing it'll look perfect.

My bachelorette party was this last weekend and my girls threw me a great evening of pedicures, a fun decorated hotel room with snacks, beverages, and a poster of a man we named Mr. Grey, then dinner at a japanese steakhouse called Genji's, and then to my favorite place, the Big Bang piano bar.  We went there a lot in nursing school and always had so much fun, went there the night before I moved to Cincinnati, and went there the night I decided I was going to run a marathon.  Lots of good memories associated with that place and it's always a good time and I always lose my voice from singing so loud. I danced with a cowboy who looked so out of place there, but I'm glad I met him.  He asked when I was getting married and wished us luck and to love each other more every day as we never know when our last day will be.  He said he had lost his wife 6 years before to cancer, and he couldn't have been older than 40.  I was caught off guard and it was one of those moments I knew I was supposed to meet him for a certain reason.  He got the piano guys to play the song I'd been requesting and I was really touched by his gesture and words.

Tonight is my bridal shower with the ladies from work at Maggiano's, an italian restaurant that I've never been to before.  I'm excited for a giant piece of tiramisu and some guilt-free carbs!

Even more exciting is that I just found out today that the nursing home is now willing to bring my Dad for the ceremony when they weren't before.  I had talked myself into being okay with it, that we'd go out to see him when we got back from the honeymoon and I'd put on my dress and take a few pictures. But really, in my mind and when I look back at pictures and know he was still alive and wasn't in them was going to be really hard for me.  I know it will ultimately be a day-of decision, but I'm hoping he's in good spirits and he will be able to be there and we will have new family photos of the day with him there.  I broke down in tears when I found out, and I'm forever thankful for all those at Spring Meadows care facility that have been involved in this and especially the nurses who are willingly coming with him and take care of him on a daily basis.  I am so, so thankful.

All the details are finalized, everyone has been paid, the dress is in my closet, and we just have a final tiny few things to finish this weekend and next week will be a breeze!   I'm so excited to get my final few shifts of work over with and make my way up to Columbus on Thursday to pick up my good friend Karli from the airport and let the wedding weekend begin!

Now.. moments from the bachelorette party!
Mr. Grey!
The best bridesmaids!
The Bridal Bunch
One of my three times on stage. Like anyone is surprised!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - November!

My apologies for the week delay in this Wedding Wednesday, but I had the excitement of my bridal shower this weekend that I wanted to share!  It has been a busy, busy month on the wedding front.

At the very end of October we took a day to go to Columbus and meet with our venue and vendors to make all the final selections for everything from the colors of the linens, the menu, decor, and timeline.  I'm so glad I'm not a DIY bride and that the venue is providing 95% of the decor for the day!  I'm so looking forward to seeing it all together, it will be beautiful!  We spent about an hour and a half at the venue, had lunch, and then went to meet our other vendors at a Panera (which no longer existed and apparently none of them knew either!) so we found a coffee shop just down the street with the best Rice Crispy treats I've ever had.  We met our fab photographer, Erica, followed by the videographer and the DJ.  Everyone has the timeline and locations of everything and that's the biggest relief!  Kyle has been SUPER helpful in organizing everything because he's a big dork and loves lists and charts and using Excel whenever he can.

Our RSVP deadline has come and gone as well and the date they were due, November 1st, we started the day with only 85-90 confirmed guests.  We invited 275.  SO… needless to say I had some people to find!  I posted this lovely photo reminding people to get their acts together and we spent the evening contacting and reaching out to other family members of those who had not responded.  I also partially blame our not so fantastic postal worker who doesn't always get the right mail in the right boxes at our apartment, and I think we didn't get all that were sent.  By the end of the day we were up to 160ish confirmed guests - hooray! We anticipated around 200 guests to show up and we are looking to be right at that number.

I also had my first dress fitting! I waited to see what I was going to do weight wise and sort of put it off.  The bridal shop I bought my dress from does not do in-house alterations, but they do give you a booklet of seamstresses they recommend in various parts of the city.  I called the one closest to my house (who also has an extensive resume!  She seems very impressive) and she was able to get me in two days later.  I went for my fitting and needed a few areas taken in and am adding a single layer of tulle to help with the length. I'm also adding a special touch which I'm sure Erica will capture with the details of the day.  It should be ready in about two weeks!

Then, this weekend was my bridal shower at home with my family.  My fabulous bridesmaids and sister worked really hard to throw a very "Lindsay" event… from the Taylor Swift playlist in the background to the mini key lime pie desserts (which are my favorites!) and everything pink and sangria and punch… it was perfect.  My grandma was part of the game to dress each other in toilet paper as brides and it was literally one of the most precious things ever.

I was so thankful for all the hard work that was put into the day and I'm looking forward to my bachelorette party with these ladies at the end of the month!

With only 30 days to go (ahh!) we just have the final details to put together and all major decisions and plans have been made.  All the hard work has been done, now it's time for all the fun stuff!  I'm so thrilled and can't wait for the big day to arrive.  Enjoy some photos from the shower! Next update will be just about 10 days away from "I Do"!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

No Excuse November.

I'm on the quirky "lets name a challenge/goal/aspiration after the month" kick, so here we are.  I've been wishy-washy about my progress or lack there of.  About my eating habits, how busy I am and will continue to be, realistic expectations, and I could go on and on.  Up until today, I hadn't exercised in any form except for walking the dog around our apartment complex.  I hadn't ran, I hadn't been to Zumba or lifted a weight. I had been eating donut holes, candy, and pizza.  I had gone WAY off the deep end and for what?  I'd been killing myself these last 22 months to lose weight, maintain my losses, run all the races, and look damn good in a wedding dress.

I'm calling to schedule my dress fitting appointments and I'm more bloated than I've ever been due to my lack of water intake and my poor diet choices.  My dress will still fit but won't need to be taken in as much as planned. I have had the whole year to make progress and for every one stop forward I took, I took 2, 3 and right now I'd even say 12 steps back to account for the 12 pounds I've gained from my summer lowest of my adult life.

I have bridal showers and my bachelorette party coming up.  There will be treats and drinks to be had and I refuse to not let myself enjoy some of these most exciting times and memories of my life.  I refuse to starve and I refuse to eat chicken and protein shakes multiple times a day.  There's not a great quick fix, and lets be honest, quick fixes don't work anyway.  I want to and I will wear the bikini I bought for my honeymoon.  I will also wear the one piece.  I will feel confident and I will enjoy myself.  Life is short and I have a lot of time to hit a number goal. I have days I look in the mirror and cringe, but I also have days I look in the mirror and appreciate the hard work I've already done.  I did something for myself recently that I'm so thankful for, and while I can't elaborate on it right now, I will talk about it at a later date.  This thing I did will forever go down in history as something I never thought I would do, but did it anyway, and I was comfortable and confident and I walked out more comfortable in my own skin and confident in the body I carry than ever.  I am real, I have flaws, I am perfectly imperfect.  I am always a work in progress but I know I am mentally in a better place than I have been in a long time.

So, this November, I choose to do away with the excuses. I choose to be happy and feel good without killing myself.  I choose to make good decisions 95% of the time and enjoy the special moments and events this month with my family and friends before I am a married lady.  No excuses, only planned events and treats with moderate living in between.  With movement and activity and time for myself.  With excitement and new adventures ahead, I am no longer afraid or ashamed.  I ban negativity and negative self-talk.  I choose to love myself. I choose to give up all my excuses and move forward. Who's with me?

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Columbus Marathon race recap.

This seems so appropriate for my 100th blog post!  My favorite race in my favorite city deserves a special spotlight.

On our way!

I initially signed up for the half marathon and in June after going to the HDSA National Convention in Louisville in June.  I was pumped up, I was inspired, I wanted to run another 26.2 for my Dad and to celebrate my birthday by running the same marathon - twice - in the same year of my life.  My intentions were good, I had other races lined up to help with training runs and I was really excited about this year's race season.  Yep, I'm a *real* runner now, I have a race season!  It's crazy.

Flat Lindsay, ready to go.

Check out those Bride and Birthday girl buttons on my awesome sash!

Things were going well and when I ran the Emerald City in August I was on par with where I needed to be to run the full 26.2 again.  When I got a sinus infection following the race, was out from training for a whole three weeks, I was really skeptical about being ready.  I thought I would dredge on and finish somehow, but the more I thought about it I knew that was a bad idea.  Could I have finished?  Sure.  Would I have ended up in a walking boot with a stress fracture from being severely undertrained?  Probably.  No bride wants to wear a walking boot down the aisle so I decided to play it safe by sticking with the half marathon.  The race was sold out and I couldn't transfer my bib back to the half, so I made the turn with the half marathoners and called it a day.  Best decision ever.  The only thing is I feel weird about wearing a 26.2 shirt I didn't earn and hanging a 26.2 medal on my rack I didn't complete… so I'll hang it in the back.

Hellooooo from the starting line!

SO… to the actual race!  We headed to Columbus on Saturday late morning after dropping Penny off at her favorite doggie boarding spot.  (She subsequently broke out of her crate in the middle of the night and the staff found her in the small dog yard in the morning, but that's neither here nor there… she does what she wants.) We stopped for Raising Cane's for lunch and met up with our wedding florist and checked off our very last vendor after having all the others booked for at least the last 10 months!  We made it to the expo at around 3:30pm, right during the Ohio State game, and it was PACKED.  I was so surprised at how busy it was during the game, but not everyone who runs this race is from Columbus so I can understand.  The expo was big and awesome, as usual, and held at the Columbus Convention Center.  There was a Nike store, other race vendors, the few running stores in Columbus were represented, and many fun booths with swag and gear.  I picked up a few packages of sports beans and made my way upstairs to pick up my race pack.  They had the list of those celebrating their birthdays and gave out birthday buttons again, but I didn't get one because my birthday is today, Monday, instead of either Saturday or Sunday.  No worries, I had my own birthday button to wear!  I was pretty much in and out without any problems.  Kyle and I went to Olive Garden, our old stomping grounds, for dinner instead of my desired Spaghetti Warehouse just for logistical purposes and I was full and happy.  We went back to our hotel and set the alarms for 5:00AM - someone (not me) wasn't happy about it, but he's a good sport!

I woke up just a few minutes before the alarm went off and I was up and ready to go.  I fixed my hair a bit and of course put on some mascara (cameras are everywhere, hello!) and put on my very favorite race outfit to date.  I was celebrating my last race bling before the ring and I wanted to go in bridal style!  I had a shirt made with some pink fabric paint but my cat, Felix, jumped on the table just as I had finished it and walked right through the paint.  Fail.  I bought another shirt.

I was ready to go and we headed to Panera for my usual bagels for the drive.  Yes, I eat two plain bagels before a half!  My other races have been on Saturdays and I forgot until we pulled in that Panera doesn't open until 7 on Sundays instead of 6, so that didn't go so well.  There was luckily a Tim Horton's not too far away and I got my bagel fix there. The one perk of race season - bagels.  Mmmm.

The weather was perfect, about 45 degrees with an expected high of about 55 and sunny for the day.  Honestly, this was my ideal running weather and I was loving every second of the cool air.  In the corrals there were so many people that you couldn't feel the coolness and I was warm while waiting for the race to start.  The start and finish was combined this year, unlike previous years, and it was a bit confusing to get into the corrals when the whole block was fenced off.  I was in the very back in corral D and that was the only entrance I saw into the area and there were TONS of people.  The bathrooms there were way backed up and I had seen some further up and fought the crowd to get to them and back into my area.  I think that's definitely an improvement they will need to look into for future years if they choose to keep that same place for the combined start/finish, but they're aware.  I don't know how the A and B corrals ever got where they needed to be unless there was another gate to get in that I never saw.

Anyway, I arrived around 7:00 and before I knew it, it was 7:25 and the wheelchair athletes were off!  I ran into a few instagram followers/friends (Hey Katie! Lyndsey! Lisa! whoop whoop!) The big perk for our large field of athletes is they have a double start so everyone can enjoy it since we're wrapped around either a city block or in this case in a U shape this year.  The national anthem was sung, and the fireworks were set off.  Those of you who know me know I HATE fireworks, but it sure was a pretty way to start the day!  Then once the A and B corrals were off they did the whole thing over again for the C and D corral and that is truly one of my favorite parts of this race - it's all about the experience for everyone!  The new start was electric - the street was lined with speakers so the music was pumping and the fans at the start in the new bleachers and all along the roads were packed in.  There's always great crowd support but I think this years start was better than previous years!  The first two miles flew by with all the people and cheering.  I didn't feel as cramped nor did I experience the dodging that comes with bigger races and people all trying to get away from each other at the start, it was fabulous.

One of my favorite race signs! Others included "Run like Ebola is chasing you!l, "I don't know about you...but I'm feeling 26.2!", and "You've got me!"

Every mile of the Columbus Marathon has a patient champion represented and the mile is decorated with their chosen theme.  All of these kiddos have been patients at Nationwide Children's Hospital, home of my first nursing job out of school, and it holds a special place in my heart.  It was my mission to have a fun time, high five and greet each and every patient champion, and all the parents in mile 11, the Angel Mile, who were there to honor their angels who have already finished their race.  It is always a very emotional mile for me, but this year after some experiences I have encountered in my nursing career, it hit even closer to home.  I wanted to hug and thank each family for supporting US through their grief.  I'm tearing up just writing about it, and I can't explain what it's like to see these people smiling and cheering in honor of their children for US.  I have a special bond with some families and have shared in some part of their grief over the last year, and I can only imagine their faces as I ran through the mile.  Every sign of their babies, some smiling, some intubated but with pretty bows in their hair and their big eyes looking at the camera, reminds me of my job and my families.  Our families. I am so thankful for my job and these families who trust me with their babies day in and day out, and my heart is both full and aches in a constant feeling of wondering if I did enough, if we did enough, every day that I work.  These families are like my families and they are there for all of us running through their mile.  It's more than I can put into words.  More than I can properly convey.  I shook the hands of each parent holding a sign of their sweet loved children and wiped the tears with my sleeves as I carried on.

I had no intentions of PRing.  I had no intentions of being able to run the whole race considering how the last few weeks have gone.  But when I was finishing mile 11 and my RunKeeper app told me my time and I was figuring it out in my head - if I kept running, I would CRUSH my PR.  There was a PR gong waiting in the finishers area to be hit by all those who scored PR's that day and I wanted to HIT IT.  So off I went; through mile 11, the turn into 12, past the 13 mile sign and across that finish line in 2:40:58 according to my RunKeeper.  2:42 official time.  I had done it!  My PR of 2:46 was SMOKED, my last weeks time of 2:50 DEMOLISHED… I had finally freaking done it.  Minus greeting those parents and patients and the slow down through the water stops - I had run the whole half marathon.  I was elated and got through the finishers area with my marathon medal (whoops… but it's the bib I had!) and got my finisher goodie bag, water, chocolate milk and cookie.  I went out the athlete exit to look for my family and fiancĂ© and to FIND THAT GONG.  While it was a big cluster of people, I never found the gong.  I found my family and I got hugs and pictures and we called it a day.  I was on top of the world and I knew that if I wouldn't have felt guilty having them wait several more hours for me, I would have kept going and finished that marathon.  Just knowing that I could have done it had I really wanted to makes me feel like I can do anything.  On this day last year I completed a marathon, not knowing how I would make it through and with a lot of convincing from my sidekick, Carrie, I crossed the finish line.  This year - I could have done it.  I know I could.  I am confident that with the right mindset I can accomplish all of my dreams, both physical and beyond that.  I know I will one day get to my goal weight, I know one day I'll finish that triathlon and I will finish another marathon.  I have so much life ahead of me and I know I will accomplish everything I want to do in my life - and that is enough for me.  It may sound arrogant and it may seem cocky - but the confidence I have in myself and my abilities isn't something I had a year or 18 months ago.  The mental changes I have had over this two year journey is bigger than the pounds lost or the new clothes I can fit into.  The Lindsay who hid behind jokes and smiles is no longer hiding - they are genuine feelings that I have 99% of the time.  Not every day is good, but there is good in every day.  Yesterday was both a good day and there was so much good in the day that it was palpable.

My hubby-to-be met me at the finish! And my step mom's finger also made the shot! Haha!

I'll see you next year, Columbus.  My favorite city, my favorite place.  My home.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Inaugural Queen Bee Half Marathon!

You guys, I've got 10 medals for 10 half marathons.  I can't even believe it! I'm so glad I could celebrate my 10th with my good friend Leah during the Queen Bee half marathon here in Cincinnati.

I knew it would be a fabulous event - they've been advertising like crazy and the organizers also run the Flying Pig every spring so they knew what they were doing.  The field was small but didn't feel like it even when the half marathon separated from the 4 miler runners.  I never had a time where I didn't have people around me, not including Leah :)

They sent out the final race details last week and I found out that there would be some pretty sweet mile sponsors and treats out on the course - so much so that I didn't even pack fuel for this race so that meant no fanny pack!  I would be free of carrying anything because Leah and I were riding together which was a nice change.  In fact, I lost my armband for my phone so I didn't even have music which is strange for me.  Our goal was to get me to run the whole thing and for her not to die since it had been about 10 years since she's ran (did I mention it was a whole marathon that she ran?  She totally had this, I knew it before we started!) and she teaches Zumba more days a week than some people work so she's in great shape.

Packet pickup was Friday at the Horseshoe Casino which was also where the race started and finished the next day.  The casino is new and I hadn't been yet, so I drug Kyle along to check it out.  There were tons of vendors, packet pickup was smooth thanks to the volunteers, and the expo (yes, there was a real expo for this race and I was thoroughly impressed) was stocked full of goodies and girly products thanks to P&G.  I picked up my new favorite shirt that says "I ran this Beeatch!" which has been the best race slogan to date.  Love it!

I found myself!

Saturday morning I met Leah in the parking lot of our gym and we cruised downtown to the casino.  We didn't hit any traffic and got a decent parking spot in the garage, headed inside, and waited in the warm building with real bathrooms to be used, a major highlight of the race!  We headed outside around 7:45 to get to the start line.  

I'll take this...

There was music and everyone was dancing, including an older gentleman on the roof of the casino parking garage that was getting everyone's attention as he jammed out to Pharrel's "Happy".  He made my day!  We heard some announcements from a local weather lady and then comments from the race director, Iris Simpson-Bush.  She seems fabulous and I kind of want to be as awesome as her!  A female barbershop quartet sang the national anthem and we were off!  There were a few men running and they had to start 15 minutes later - loved it! (Although they still passed us, I didn't mind)

The rooftop dancer!

The first two and a half miles were all uphill.  Seriously.  I was thinking this was a good idea to get them out of the way, and it probably was, but the extra effort came back to bite me in the butt at the end of the race and I didn't get the quicker start like I'm used to.  We averaged about 12:40 minutes/mile those first few miles and then when we hit the glorious downhills that followed we shaved a minute off the pace.  Starting at mile 4 they had all kinds of goodies - Twizzlers, Starburst jelly beans, Honey Stinger gel AND jell-o shots, the Queen's Royal Tea (iced tea in a race!), a Chippendale's mile (men in t-shirts that looked like Chippendale bodies, it was a trick!), and lots of great themed water stops.  I was very impressed by the creativity and also in the city of Cincinnati for coming out for a smaller race that is new - there was a decent amount of crowd support that I wasn't expecting and needed.. so thank you, all of you, for coming out Saturday morning!

It was our original goal, like I mentioned, to run the entire thing.  It's been my goal for this year to be able to run the whole race and PR, but it hasn't happened yet, and it didn't happen Saturday either.  I was giving it my all and after the opening hilly miles and another big hill in mile 6 I was totally exhausted.  I was ready to slow down by mile 8 truthfully, but knowing Leah had the car keys and we both had stuff to do later in the day I knew I had to keep going.  I thought at mile 10 I was going to have to start run/walking but Leah was so supportive and was the one cheering me on - yes, in my 10th half marathon and in her 1st official half (she has run a full marathon but never a half!) without any training, she was the one who was encouraging me.  She was literally running circles around me, and never stopped.  It was amazing!  She kept telling me it's all about the Zumba and it works!  So keep that in mind, all you non-runners, that you can do it too if you wanted!  We saw her kids right before the dreaded hill at mile 6 and they were so cute, as usual.

I made it until mile 11 before I had to slow down, and I finished the last two miles in a walk/run.  Leah kept saying "just think about how you can write in your blog about the race how you didn't walk! Just keep going!" but my shuffle was so slow I was better off walking really and as right as she was, my legs just didn't have it in me to pick them up and go any faster.

We finished the course in 2:53 for 13.55 miles, and I stopped my Garmin at 13.1 in 2:50, pretty much my average for the last few races.  We headed through the finish line running like Phoebe does on the show Friends and I loved every minute of it.  We got our medals from some handsome Army dudes, picked up water, chocolate milk, a banana, got a race picture taken together, and headed to the after party to collect our flip flops, free Skyline coney dog, and mimosa!  The mimosa line was really long and I wasn't feeling great so we skipped it and headed to the car.  The medals are awesome and they open up and have a mirror inside - a perfect addition to this fabulous ladies race.

Mmm Skyline!

Fabulous bling! 
(photo credit to the Queen Bee facebook page)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - October Edition!

Happy October! Also, my apologies for not posting this last week, I didn't realize that Wednesday brought us a new month  and a date for this post!

We are officially 66 days away! Only 9 more Saturday's before our dream day comes to life.

We've spent the last month getting lists of things left to do made, payments arranged, wedding bands chosen, celebrating our 1 year engagement date, and choosing my veil! Lots of little details have been brought to my attention and we're in the process of sorting out what is important, what can wait, what we have left to pay on and when those are due. We chose a venue for our rehersal dinner space that will double as a birthday party for our ring bearer and nephew, Levi. We also chose tuxedos for the guys and made some decisions on the florist.

Invitations went out this week as well! I'm excited to get RSVP's back and see the fun things our guests filled in. We used some mad libs, a "fun-o-meter" that's to be filled in, a place for advice and a song request. I have gotten so much positive feedback about how amazing these invitations are and I couldn't be more pleased with them. I also chose Kyle's wedding gift and got to work on it.

Next up? Getting together with all our vendors for final meetings, starting the dress fittings, and waiting for RSVP's to fill our mailbox!

Run Like a Girl! Half marathon edition.

This morning I completed my 9th half marathon! 

I was very much looking forward to the Run Like a Girl half marathon for a few reasons - 1. I LOVE running in Columbus!  It's a nice and flat area compared to much of Cincinnati. I feel home and happy in Columbus. 2. I haven't done a women's only race! No dudes running around shirtless and being all crazy fast and intimidating.

I didn't check the course map until last night. I knew it started in the downtown area so I assumed it would be similar to the Columbus Marathon course. I was surprised to find out I was wrong! We started at the Columbus Commons, a new park area I hadn't been to yet that was built a few years ago. We started and finished here, going out and back along the Scioto Trail, down and around, then out and back a portion of the Olentangy Trail. When I trained for my first half marathon, we used the Olentangy trail, but it is so long I don't think we ever made it far enough along it to where we ran today. 

I also want to clear up a misconception I had about Columbus being flat - not all of it is! There were some rolling hills on the trails and even though I felt good, they were surprising. 

Another small surprise was the extreme shift in the weather we had over the last 24 hours! When I left Cincinnati yesterday, it was 75 degrees with some rain. This morning I woke up to intermittent showers and a starting temperature of 39 degrees. THIRTY. NINE. I knew we were supposed to cool down with yesterday's rain but it was frigid. I hid out in the exit of the underground garage to stay warm while waiting on the start and then all of us that were hiding out in there got asked to move out. 8:10 rolled around and we were off!

Flat Lindsay ready to run!

I warmed up in the first mile and was feeling great. I was averaging 11:48 for my pace the first 3.5ish miles and was feeling so strong. That quickly changed as I realized I should have stopped at the bathroom I passed. I have never had to stop during a race but today was the exception. I asked the next water stop volunteers if there was a bathroom at the 4.5 mile turnaround and they said no. Shoot. I had to start walking before mile 4 just to make sure I could finish the race with clean pants. No joke. And you're welcome for this story.

When I made it to mile 5.5 I got back to aforementioned bathroom and life got a whole lot better and I was on my way. 

I caught up to a girl who I decided was running a nice, steady pace and I was going to use her to my advantage. We started chatting and I learned it was her first half (and she was doing awesome! And I thanked her for pacing me) and we stayed together from about mile 6 until 10 when I needed to slow down and eat some sport beans. I told her to go ahead and finish strong (side note: I saw her at the finish and told her she was awesome and needed to pick her next one). It was also at about mile 6 that we got out of intermittent sprinkles and hit a steady rain and sleet combo that was truly miserable. It was frigid, windy, and wet. A certain recipie for sickness.

Miles 10-13 I walk/ran due to my hamstrings tightening up in the cold. My Achilles tends to start cramping up when I slow down later in races and I ran until it started tightening up on me and then shook it out Taylor Swift style and repeated. 

I knew a PR was potentially doable, even with the bathroom stop, but the walk/run slowed me enough that I'd be just making it. My RunKeeper had me at 2:48:02 with my PR being 2:46. SO CLOSE. Stupid stomach.

The finish was fairly uneventful, there was a photo backdrop and men in tuxedos awarding bottles, yes...BOTTLES of wine for finishers. Way to go, race organizers! The medal and shirt are cute and I'm a happy runner.

So much pink!

Next weekend is the inaugural Cincinnati Queen Bee half marathon and 4 miler. I'm pretty excited for another women's race and running with my speedy and fabulous friend Leah! Here's to weekend number 2 of 3 halfs for my favorite month!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Air Force Half Marathon - Race Recap!

Another 13.1 under my belt and another medal to hang on my wall.

I wasn't sure what to expect of the Air Force half marathon, I had heard there were a few gnarly hills and there wasn't a ton of crowd support due to it mostly being on the Wright Patterson Air Force Base, but I hadn't ran it before and it was only about an hour from home so I added it to my race calendar for the year.

I went to the expo Friday at the Wright State University Nutter Center.  I love going to them and seeing cool new race gear, trying to win things (I was crossing my fingers that I would win the free Lasik eye surgery but I didn't hear from them), and getting a feel of the crowd.  The vendors were lined along the outside of the arena and we had to go down onto the floor to pick up our race packs.  They had a runner's yoga session going on and more vendors down there.  I was eyeballing a race jacket but didn't want to drop that kind of cash on a first time event.  I was in and out in about 20 minutes.

I had my new favorite pre-race steak dinner (thanks to Kelsey and Brittney!) and called it a night.  I've heard horror stories of the traffic nightmare to get in and I didn't want any part of that!  They also split up the start of the race with the full marathon and 10K runners starting at 7:30 and the half at 8:30.  I decided to leave at 5:30AM to make sure I got on the road, could pick up a bagel at Panera on the way, and hopefully get in easily.  I sat in a bit of traffic but was in and parked by 7:07 and was happy. 

Flat Lindsay ready to go!

The start/finish area was literally a mile away from where we parked.  The finish line was set up with all these cool old planes that you were going to be running under the wings as you finished the race.  Getting onto the base there wasn't any real security measures but getting into the race area we had to go through metal detectors.  Usually the runner corrals are roped off and there aren't spectators and family allowed in with them but this had a much more casual feel, families were with their runners until the gun went off, and there was no corral system.  It was hairy at the beginning with lots of walkers - the race had a 6 hour half marathon time limit so I think that drew extra walkers to the crowd, and no corral system had them everywhere.  As a former walker, I appreciate the extra time they offered but it was a little crazy for the half set up.  I wasn't sure about splitting up the groups but it actually worked out really well.  

The start of the race people were jam packed as expected.  We were given a single lane of a road and then onto a path that was about 3 people wide and there were about 10,000 runners between civilians and active duty members running the half.  In the first mile was the first big hill that had people slowing to walk already, and I put my head down and told myself the more I walked, the longer this would take, so I kept on.  Immediately after there was a nice downhill to follow.  There were duty men and women who were running the water stations and directing people.  They were cheering US on, in their uniforms, telling us how awesome we were doing, how great we were, and that we were looking good.  It was truly humbling to have people who are active duty in our military, in the current state of the world, cheering us on.  It gave me chills, I smiled and thanked each one and high fived as many as possible.  

We were out in open stretches of the base, and eventually at about the half way point were in the small, residential portion of the base with some beautiful homes and families clapping and cheering. We were lead through the golf course on base and out into a small part of the town, Fairborn, where we ascended a highway ramp (BIG HILL. Yikes) and made our way the last few miles back onto base and to the homestretch.  The half and full marathon courses merged when we came off the ramp at around half mile 8 and full mile 22.  I felt like they should have kept the lanes separate because those of us that were meeting marathoners at that point were in the back portion of the half, and in the middle front portion of the full with pacers at 8:30-9:30 minute/miles for the marathoners.  They were getting tangled up with the half run/walkers at this point and having to dodge and weave through them and I'm sure at 22+ miles that's the last thing they needed.  Hense why the half marathon course could be open for 6 hours.

The feeling coming back on to the base was electric.  There were flag signs lining the fence to mark the course boundaries, you could hear the announcer and music, and most of all the cheering crowds waiting for their loved ones to finish.  There was a long stretch of pavement, a 90 degree turn with increasingly more people for about a tenth of a mile, and then the final home stretch.  We ran under the wings of the planes full of history.  The crowds were loud, the many veterans spectating and running were inspiring.  I got goosebumps crossing the finish just like I did walking in just a few hours before.  There was a large number of hand-bike riding disabled veterans participating and seeing the determination as they worked to get themselves up the hills was amazing.

Then came the part that really brought me to tears - and I'm usually always pretty emotional at the finish anyway - but I finished and got into a line marked for the half and was greeted by an Air Force Officer who congratulated me, put the medal on me, and shook my hand and told me "well done".  I was humbled and this just capped the whole experience for me.  I headed to the refreshment area and was given water, G2, a banana, and best of all some HOT LaRosa's pizza which I quickly inhaled.  I am not usually hungry after long runs til I've settled for a little while but I could feel my blood sugar was low and it was a welcomed treat.  I hiked the mile back to my car, plugged in my dead iPhone that had left me without music since mile 11.68 right in the middle of a Beyonce song.  I had gotten everything in me but the G2 and I was glad I had it because I was starting to cramp up.  I didn't do a great job of hydrating this week and I was paying for it, but it helped within a few minutes and the cramping subsided and I was on my way home.

Overall, it was a great race and a great experience.  The weather got a bit warm having started an hour later than usual but it ended up being tolerable.  I didn't really have any major issues with the traffic and parking, however I didn't love that to make it work I had to be there so much earlier than needed and I was awake for 3.5 hours before I started running.  I'm a get up and go kind of girl.  The medals were cool, the crowds we did encounter were great, and the military personnel assisting with the event was a neat touch.  It's probably not an every year race for me, but definitely one to experience if you haven't before.  Thanks to the soldiers and volunteers of the United States Air Force for making it a great race!

Garmin time - 3:01:47
Official chip time (13.2 miles) - 3:03:34

Saturday, September 6, 2014

No news isn't necessarily good news.

I thought this week I'd be back up and running, literally. I started Monday with some PiYo (one of the newest Beachbody programs combining yoga and pilates) and went to a 90 minute Zumba class put on by 3 super awesome instructors and had so much fun.  I planned on running in the evening but I was totally wiped out.  Despite all the sleep during my week of sickness I wasn't fully 100% like I thought I was.  I worked extra on Tuesday, then was scheduled to work day shift Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  It was a particularly difficult week on the work front and I'm privileged to do what I do and be with my patients and their families during some of the happiest and saddest moments in life.  I'm so glad I still had some waterproof mascara in my arsenal because I would have looked a hot mess without it.

I have really been debating whether or not I'm going to be ready for this marathon. You know, the one I'm running in like 40-something days.  Many of my high mileage training weeks are falling on half marathon weekends and I honestly can't see myself coming home and running the extra 3-8 miles that are scheduled after running a half.  BUT, I've said I was going to do this and unless illness or injury prevents it otherwise, I'm still going to finish what I started.  It may be an even less fun recovery than last time, but I know I can do it because I've done it before.

With that begin said - I'm imagining how bad my legs are going to hurt this coming week.  No pain, no gain.

I wish I had some fun pictures or something to share with you, but I'll just leave you with my rest-of-marathon-training-mantra -

(Photo cred - Alex and Ani)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - September Edition.

Fall is coming, fall is coming!  Which means winter will be here and this fabulous December wedding we've been planning will be coming to life before our eyes.

In the last month we've received our HUGE 19 pound box of invitations and adored them from afar while I planned an "invitation party" with my bridesmaids to number the backs of RSVP cards for all those who don't put their names on them and get them in envelopes with postage. They are gorgeous and I love them and the fact that I had so much input in the designing process.  A huge thanks again to Jenn at All That Glitters for the smooth process and beautiful custom invitations!

We sat down and made a nice, long "to do" list for EVERYTHING that still needs done.  It's mostly just little things like programs and things to do with the rehearsal dinner and fittings, but it all needs done.  I'm so glad I wasn't a big DIY bride because I'd be big time stressing over all the execution details of the day that I don't think I would have enjoyed any of this, let alone had any time to make and craft centerpieces or anything like that.

All the bridesmaids have their dresses, dates are being set for my bridal shower and bachelorette party, final payments are being made, and we have an appointment to choose our wedding bands!  I think that's the last time Kyle is going to let me in the jewelry store for awhile…good thing I have my own jewelry business :)

What am I forgetting?!  Tell me…what did you forget to do/plan for your wedding?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A restful week.

I've been down this whole week.  I had a sore throat the evening before last week's Emerald City half marathon and woke up with one but thought it was from the cold air in the room. I ran the race and figured it was just the humidity dragging me down, but it was probably (most certainly) the plague that was brewing inside my sinuses.

I haven't taken a full week off from working out since the Columbus Marathon almost a year ago.  Like, completely completely off.  I came home from the race, we had a cookout with Kyle's family, and then I went to take a nap.  That lasted 12 hours when I had to get up for work at 4:30AM. I nearly fell asleep on the couch when I got home from work at 8PM and worked Tuesday as well.  I slept 10 hours that night and the next, worked Friday in the OR and was home at 4.. took a "nap" at 5pm that turned into another 12 hour nap.  I think my crazy life finally caught up with me and it hit me hard.  I haven't slept as much in a whole month as I have in the last week. My nose felt like a faucet, my taste was gone (probably a good thing), and I was coughing up my left lung.

It also gave me time to make a plan.  I'm on the upward swing and I'm ready to crush some goals in September.  I've gained back about 8-10 pounds from my lowest weight. I've been lazy and not sticking to a diet plan since I had to break up with my trainer, Darin. I'm doing a September challenge to keep myself accountable and working towards a short term goal.  I find I am more successful than looking at the larger picture ahead.  I've written in my planner workouts for every week from now through the wedding so I can take things truly one week at a time.  I made a meal plan for myself for the first week and we'll go from there.  I know most of the 8-10 pounds isn't true weight gain but from my lack of water intake when my body is used to the gallon+ a day I've been drinking for a long time, so those pounds should come back off easily (especially since my clothes really don't fit any differently). I'm hoping to be 5-8 pounds lower than my original lowest weight and be 180-183 by October 1st.  It's not all about the number, but seeing that number in comparison to the 245 that it used to read is a big win for me.

So that's the game plan for the next month, and it's all about consistency.  Consistent in my eating, running, and keeping active in general without sneaking to the cafeteria for cookies or pizza.  I know the progress I made last year in a months time and I know I can do it again.  Seriously - if you know me in real life and you see me trying to deviate from my plan - SAY SOMETHING. Seriously.  I do better when I know I have eyes on me and eat what's in my lunch box.

Tomorrow I have some miles to run and I'm going to a 90 minute Zumba class while I have the day off.  Starting September off the right way.

What are your September goals?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Emerald City Half Marathon Recap

Another race, another recap! I was pretty excited for this race with the unseasonably cool temperatures we had been having...notice I say HAD. The week of the Emerald City race was the hottest and most humid of the whole summer.

I spent Saurday evening in the suburb of Columbus near the race start. It is about 25 minutes from where I grew up and it's always good to be "home". I had my new favorite pre-race steak dinner (thanks to Kelsey and Brittney!) at Outback with my bridesmaid and beautiful friend Karley. Afterward we went to play with some puppies.

I wanted this little girl in a bad way, but our apartment can't handle two huskies.

I headed to bed around 9:00 and my alarm was set for 5:30. My throat felt a little sore after dinner but I thought it was just due to my love of the air conditioner keeping everything at below-arctic temperatures. I laid out my "flat Lindsat" and was ready to run with 3500 new friends in the morning.

5:30 came and I still had my sore throat but otherwise felt okay. I chugged water the day before trying to ensure I'd be hydrated and woke up to chug another liter. It was 70 degrees and 90% humidity at the starting line at 6:45AM. Yikes. It wasn't too long before I spotted Julie who I had met on Instagram and we had planned to see each other at the race. She was so so sweet and I immediately felt like we'd known each other for years. 

The race started at 7:00 after the national anthem was played. It was advertised as a flat course, a welcome change from hilly Cincinnati. The Columbus Marathon only has 100 feet of elevation change throughout the whole course and I was expecting something similar for this race. I was a little bit wrong but I made it through. 

My goal as I had been talking about was to run this entire race. I felt super good the whole time and was pacing myself appropriately, averaging a pace around 11:50 minute/mile. At the water stop around mile 10 I sort of lost my mojo. I had been keeping up with a gentleman and chatting with him off and on as we went. I run through water stops but I made the mistake of slowing down and just couldn't get myself consistently running again. It was so, so humid, I was DRENCHED in sweat, and the race was pretty small so the crowd support was limited out on the course. (I do have to give a big shout out to Corinne, Mrs. Loose, and Julie for being awesome cheerleaders! Corinne even made me a sign and waited the whole race for me to finish!)

I saw the firefighter relay running in FULL GEAR and using oxygen tanks out on the course, ahead of me, and that was pretty inspiring to say the least, especially considering the heat of the day. They also finished before me. Holy smokes.

(Photo credit to Corinne)

I found myself rounding the last corner and seeing civilization again and ran to the finish - 2:50:41 - and 10 minutes better than the Flying Pig and only 4 minutes from a PR. As the temps start to fall I fully expect to beat my PR at least once this race season.

I enjoyed the race and would definitely do it again! On to the Air Force half in Dayton in September!