Day 77 (13.1 miles later!!!)

Happy Monday!

It was a pretty uneventful weekend…

OH WAIT THAT’S RIGHT–

I ran a half-marathon!!
After 77 days and 11 weeks of preparation, lots of running and tough motivation, some silly blogging, I’ve finally accomplished my goal.

I woke up yesterday morning with butterflies in my stomach. Saturday night found very little sleep, as I’d somewhat expected. My training plan explained that it’s more important that you get sleep *2* nights before the race because really, everyone’s nervous the night before the race and will inevitably be tossing and turning. I just couldn’t stop thinking: “I *know* I’ve prepared the best I could, but I just cannot fathom DOING this!”

But I woke up at 5:45 yesterday morning, turned on some JT to wake up my family and get myself pumped, made some coffee, drank my chia fresca that I’d made the night before, ate my bagel with almond butter and an apple, then headed off to the race.

Word for the wise: if you’re going to a race with 5,000 runners, there WILL be traffic, no matter how early you think you’ll be.

Fairfield had a sweet set up where you could park at the train station and shuttles would bring runners and spectators over to the beach. Oh yeah, the race started and ended on the beach. Thank God, too, because that 84 degree heat would have been unforgivable without the Long Island Sound breeze.

I made my way over on the shuttle, picked up my number (2453!!! my new lucky number), checked my bag, scrambled to find an open port-o-potty, and made it to the starting line with about 3 minutes to spare. But who’s counting?

starting line selfie made possible by my decision to bring crookshanks (my phone)

starting line selfie made possible by my decision to bring crookshanks (my phone)

It’s hard to describe how I was feeling when the announcer said “We are 30 seconds from starting, folks!” Somewhere between excitement, nerves, fear, and yet a sense of calm– I was ready to do this.

And off we went! I kept reminding myself during that first bit not to let my adrenaline get the best of me and to keep my pace– even if I felt unstoppable. That’s one thing that NMA always stresses to be aware of because you’ll be sorry for it 10 miles later. So I jaunted along that first mile, smiling at the spectators and their awesome signs (my favorite of which was a little girl holding a sign that said “Worst Parade EVER” lolz). I finished mile 1 in a little over 11 mintes: exactly on track. I wasn’t very thirsty but heard the voice in my head reminding me that the ideal is 1 cup of water every 15 minutes. In this heat, even with as much shade as there was, I knew it would be essential. You know what’s ridiculously hard? Drinking out of a paper cup while running. I’m putting it on my top 5 most challenging things list.

I had overheard someone saying at the starting line that there were 2 big hills at the beginning, so as I was running my second mile, I kept an eye out. Then there it was– a total monster. But whatever, I’ve climbed some huge hills in my town training, so I just went into it with a positive attitude. And then it was done!

I kept about the same pace and when I hit mile 7, I started to get excited. Over halfway there!!! AMAZING! Holy crap I’m half way to becoming a half-marathoner. But that means there’s still 6 to go… To keep my head in a positive place, I turned that around by saying yeah, then at the end of this mile it’ll only be 5, and then when I finish 9, just 4, then after that I’ll have done 10 which I’ve killed before, and it’ll be less than a 5k left!!

At mile 9, I remembered that I had gotten my period the day before. Oh yeah, I’d almost forgotten because in terms of my reproductive system, I felt physically awesome. Next port-o-potty I came upon, I stopped, took care of business (thank God for my waist pack and the room I had to bring stuff) and made my way. I hated to stop to waste probably 30 seconds of my time. But oh well!

The last 3 miles (or no man’s land, since never before had I run more than 10 miles), I started to feel like I really was about to finish a half-marathon. Except then every mile felt like they were taking forever. I kept thinking I’d be coming up on mile 11 when in reality it was probably only 10.3. But it really started to feel real when the spectators started saying things like, “this is the last corner!” “You have less than 2 miles!” “you’re about to do what you came here for!” And I was READY.

Suddenly I turn the corner and see the huge crowds. I can’t see the finish line though.

Embarrassing Caitlin moment: I saw the huge banner that was the starting line and in my moment of adrenaline thought that was the finish line. So I get that “sprint this last bit and give it all you got because it’s all you need!!!” run going and people are cheering, and then I pass through it, and everyone around me is still shuffling along. That’s when I see the huge firetruck ahead with the American flag and hear the announcer up *there*. Oh. Guess I need to find another energy store!

I did when at that moment I saw my mom and my sister cheering me on. I booked it until I crossed the line and then that was it. I DID IT!

Holy crap. I just ran a half-marathon. I actually started crying a little. Then I started to feel the muscles in my legs in a way that I never knew was possible. But then I realized that my mouth was crazy dry and my shorts were a mess, so I limped to the water station and the bathroom then reunited with my family. They were so proud of me and frankly, I was crazy proud of myself. I still am. I ran a half-marathon. WHOA!!!!

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The saint that she is, my sister had my Vega bar waiting for me and I demolished it, as well as a banana and some “orange drink” that they had. I wish I had seen the baguettes they were giving out.

On our way back home, we grabbed smoothies at a cafe I had wanted to try called “Catch a Healthy Habit.” RIf you’re ever in Fairfield, GO THERE. I had a minty-chip smoothie with added avocado and protein. Deeeelish.

The rest of my day entailed a 3 hour car trip, bringing my sister to the doctor, and overall eating everything in sight. I literally could not be satiated. I can’t even begin to explain how much I ate. It got to the point where I was distressed at 10 last night because I just wanted to stop eating.I guess that’s what happens when you run for 2:27:58

After I watched Nik Wallenda cross the Grand Canyon (arguably the most stressful event of my short life) I slept like I’d had anesthesia.

 

Things I’m really happy about re: the race:

1. I don’t think I could have been better nutritionally prepared. I didn’t feel any hunger or energy fatigue once throughout the race. Afterward, my stomach wasn’t the slightest bit upset (other than being completely ravenous all day) and there was no indigestion.

2. I never stopped jogging except for my 1 bathroom break and to actually get a sip of water without spilling it all over myself. Throughout the race, most people I saw stopped to walk parts of it. I’m sure their times weren’t any better or worse because of it since they were probably able to run faster when they were running, but my goal was endurance. I kept telling myself “I didn’t come to walk a half-marathon, I came to run it.”

3. I kept a positive attitude the whole time. At mile 2, I overheard a spectator saying “They look a lot different when they come around the second time,” meaning that when runners passed by his house again around mile 11, there was a lot less cheer. I told myself that I would look just as happy as I did the next time around, and that’s the attitude that fueled me throughout the race. I started with a smile and I finished with one too! And frankly I think it’s the only thing that pushed me to the end. I know that as soon as I would have told myself it was too hard or that I can stop if I want to, my body would have physically tired. Telling myself I could do it was what made it true.

4. My muscle soreness is almost entirely gone. My glutes and my quads are a little spicy, and my left knee is feeling slightly weak. But other than that, I’m sure I could do a full workout today (even though I’m not because hey my body deserves a break… it earned it!!) And I owe my body’s recovery 100% to my veganism and my training.

5. 3 months ago, I set a goal that seemed so far off and impossible. Running 4 miles was a stretch. But I did it! It’s proven to me that anyone can become a runner, or accomplish any goal they set– truly. I can remember 8th grade gym class, when we had to do “The Mile.” It was a treacherous day that I struggled to overcome and felt terrible after. But here I am, a half-marathoner!

Now I have to figure out what to accomplish next!

My half-marathon blogging is over, but I may just continue sharing my health and fitness stories on here. But we’ll see.

Because now, I’m taking a movie day. Brave? Good Will Hunting? This is the End? All of the above?

thanks for reading and letting me be weird and sweaty,

xoxo caitlin

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Days 75 + 76 (the end is nigh!!!)

Hello from Connecticut!!!!!

Photo on 6-22-13 at 5.22 PM

My mom, sister, and I just arrived at our hotel after our road trip from the cape and are lounging in our obscenely comfortable beds. (Can I take it home with me or is that frowned upon?)

Yesterday was my final day of training before the race; my training plan indicated “1-2 miles”, so I set out around 10 am towards the park by my street and just enjoyed the run, not paying attention to my pacing or my distance. It ended up being around a mile and a quarter at about about 9min/mile pace and just incredibly pleasant. The sun was shining, so when I got back to my house I just collapsed on my lawn and “stretched” (lay there like a dead person and take selfies).

gangsta

gangsta

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happy/sweaty/smelly

happy/sweaty/smelly

Because I didn’t have to work until 3:30 yesterday, I took some time to experiment in the kitchen and finally got around to trying out Chocolate Covered Katie’s agar pudding. I went with chocolate orange, and blueberry. They were so good that I forgot to take a picture until I was 3/4 of the way done eating them. Whoops!

... + half-finished orange chocolate

half-finished orange chocolate

half -finished blueberry

and half -finished blueberry

And to continue with the pictures of half-eaten food, here’s the scone my beautiful princess of a friend Aleksa brought to me at work:

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half-finished cranberry orange scone from the Underground Bakery

Today, I’ve been paying close attention to No Meat Athlete’s advice on day before and day of eating. Today is high carbo-loading (which I’m *hating*… oh wait no it’s the best thing in the universe) at lunch time, so I had a bagel with peanut butter and some extra pretzels, as well as some toast after my oatmeal at breakfast. And maybe a vegan peanut butter cookie from the Underground Bakery. Ok maybe I overdid it a little. You can’t just say *carbo load* and then expect me to do it moderately. I’m over it though because 1) yolo and 2) I’m worth it.

NMA advises against the typical pasta dinner carbo load, though, instead opting for a lighter nighttime fare. The ladies and I are going to take a trip down the street to the Whole Foods to a) grab supper from the salad/hot bars (again, YES PLEASE, considering i haven’t been to Whole Foods since school ended and the nearest one to my house is an hour away), b) grab something for me to have for breakfast early tomorrow morning (probably a bagel, some peanut butter, and some fruit), and c) check out the race route which is conveniently close to the Whole Foods. Meant to be.

So now, I’m drinking lots of water, trying to relax, and getting very very anxious for tomorrow. I still can’t fathom how it’s possible that my body is ready to run 13.1 miles.

Some concerns:

  • My legs are still a little spicy from the Nike event. Mostly my calves. I brought my rolling pin to try to roll them out tonight so we can only hope that will help.
  • The forecast is calling for sunshine and 84 degrees. Holy hot tamales.
  • I’ve never done a big road race before, so frankly I have no idea what the set up is like or where to have my mom and sister go to wait for me.
  • Mother nature decided today would be a good time to give me that oh so female gift. Seriously, so unnecessary mama nature!!!

But there are so many silver linings:

  • There’s a big beach party at the end of the race with snacks, smoothies, and discounted athletic apparel!
  • The race is huge! 5,000 runners and spectators and music along the way.
  • In addition to peeps and music, the race has aid stations every mile with water, gatorade, and even some snacks. And toilets, hallelujah! I’ve never run with any of these amenities so close– I feel like I’m being spoiled.
  • Tomorrow by noon, I will be a half-marathoner!!!!

I have no idea how I’ll feel tomorrow morning, or at the starting line, and definitely not at the starting line. All there’s left to do is make it to the starting line by 8:30 am and just RUN!

Dancing_Cat

AHHHHHHHHHHH

Currently watching: Cake Boss marathon

Currently reading: GULP by Mary Roach, THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE MICROWAVED by someone whose name i’ll figure out when i decide to get out of bed and get the book then edit this post, and ELLE with Shakira on the cover.

Currently in love with: my life

blood sweat and CHEERS,

cmoney

Days 72 + 73 + 74 (#trainfree)

The past 2 days have been insane amazing unreal absurd EPIC.

I mentioned on Tuesday that I was ok my way back to NYC for an awesome ever with Nike. And holy cow, it was awesome!!

Day 72: The event was for women to put their new Free Bionic shoe to the test, doing high intensity training (HIT) workouts in super public places around Brooklyn. Boy did Nike hook us up. On Tuesday night, my friends Ilse, Christina, Kelly, and I arrived at the Nike Flatiron running store to pick up our gear. It included: a sweet bag, some sports bras (one is orange polka dot. They get me.), 2 awesome tops, a great pair of shorts, the Nike Free Bionic shoe.

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Thanks for the free juice!

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The mannequins were modeled after us.

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How could we not smile with all that awesome Nike gear??

But the cherry on top: a fuel band!!!

I’m obsessed with this thing. It’s an amazing tool that syncs up with your Nike+ account and tracks your steps taken, calories burnt, and the fuel points you gain throughout your day. Plus it’s a sweet watch. There’s so many amazing things you can do with this thing too like setting daily goals, killer Nike+ missions, or if you’re like my friends and me, get way too competitive about who gets the most fuel points each day.

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Day 73: The event started at 7 pm, so my day was spent being a tourist, finally checking out the skyline (not before getting a peanut butter donut from Dunwell Donuts, of course)(hey, I’m carbo loading for the race! It’s all a sacrifice, I swear.), doing lots of reading in the sun, suffering from a sunburn because of it, and just touring the city I call home.

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My donut that kicked off my pre-race carbo load, but meant oh so much more.

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We were told to meet at the East River, rocking our new Nike swag and ready for the night of our lives. Upon arriving with my friend Kelly, hoping we would know where everyone was meeting, we were greeted by this:

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WE WERE LITERALLY *ON A BOAT* At that moment, all I could think was:

what is my life.

We boarded the boat and were immediately out on the deck doing a dynamic warm up to awesome pump up music (Iconopop? I’ll do some butt kicks to that!) and were on our way over to the BK. After multiple dance parties and checking our bags, we were back on the boat, headed to our HIT workout with our respective teams. My team ended up right by the Brooklyn Bridge, on a boardwalk swimming with people. We were essentially a fitness flashmob. And let me tell you, those were 30 minutes of some serious HIGH intensity.

It was amazing!! Not only was it a great workout, but I have to say, working out with so many strong and motivating women while people witnessed the fitness was incredibly empowering. Yeah, we’re women– now watch us kick ass!!

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One of the most BA people I know– my friend Christina.

Once we had seriously HIT it a bus took us to our after party, where hair and makeup was done for whomever wanted it, hors d’oeuvres were served to famished ladies, and most importantly: we celebrated our awesomeness! The winners were announced (alas, not my team but we still kicked butt!), trainer to the celebs as well as David Wilson from the Giants made appearances, and with that, our Nike fun came to a close.

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Celebrating our HIT success with some strong and incredible women!– Me, Ilse, Kelly, and Christina.

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A snapchat I sent to the majority of the people I know. I have no regrets.

According to my running plan, Day 73 was meant to be a 3 mile run. I’m okay with my substitution.

Day 74: Today was a rest day! Thankfully, too, because I had a nice 6 hour bus ride back home. En route, though, I got to stop in Cambridge to see my beautiful and perfect friend Allie and FINALLY go to Veggie Galaxy. We’ve been talking about it for months now, and now that I’ve been, I never want to go anywhere else. I got this awesome vegan eggs benedict, and Allie got a vegan omelette. Heaven.

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2 of my favorites: Allie and Breakfast food.

And now I close out Day 74, looking forward to my 2 mile run tomorrow and to 3 days from now when I run a freaking half-marathon.

I’m seriously in need of a good night sleep.

xoxo cat cat kitty cat caitlin

Days 67-72 (the bus blogger)

In an effort to redeem myself for my 3 week absence, here’s a 1 week post!

It’s only FIVE DAYS now until my race, so the past week of runs has been part of the taper– my long run was only 5 miles! All the runs went smoothly and I can hardly remember anything special. The one highlight was on my long run. I decided to just do the .6 mile loop that goes around the park near my house at 9 am. It turns out, that is the designated time for 60+s to walk their adorable puppies; I saw about 50 of them.

Cross training was not so happy this week, simply for the fact that I am an awkward human. I go to Planet Fitness when I’m at home because it’s the cheapest, case closed. However, the majority of people under 25 that I know or have ever known also go to this gym. So, being the awkward human that I am, as soon as I see more than 2 people I know at the gym, I’m suddenly incurably tired. And I leave.

But I did make sure to get in at least 30 minutes each time! Plus, I’ve been forcing myself to do arms at home at least 4 times a week.

My best arm workout this week was on Saturday, at my cousin’s high school graduation party. Not only do I love every opportunity I get to spend time with that part of the family, but I was in love with the volleyball net they set up. I know I’ve mentioned volleyball a handful of times. But the real story is in my blood. Essentially everyone on my dad’s side of the family plays, and we’re all equally competitive. It gets ugly, but it’s always fun… Even when I’m wearing a dress.

So as my post title hints… I’m on a bus! Currently making my way back to NYC for a couple of nights for a very exciting event with Nike. Ill write all about it on Friday so be on your toes.

Then on Saturday, it’s off the Connecticut! My mom and I are staying over night so I can be bright, cheery, and energized for my race!

Holy cannoli, 5 freaking days.

Xoxo Caitlin

Weeks 7 + 8 + 9 (the prodigal blogger/ excuse city… population: me)

Hi friends!

Yeah it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve posted. Fail.

My excuse? I’ll take you on a week-by-week excuse journey.

Week 7: My last week in NYC. Between packing to move out and doing all of my runs in the pouring rain, blogging wasn’t my priority. This week was also the first week I ran into the issue of not being able to do my long run on Saturday. My father picked me up to move me back home– 4 hours of sleep + 7 hours driving did NOT equal a run, even if that was just 4 miles. So I pushed it off until Sunday.

Week 8 excuses: Honestly there aren’t any good ones. I just didn’t blog. But my 10 mile run was TOTALLY AWESOME! I did it in just under 2 hours (about 1:50), averaging a little more than 11 minutes per mile. I finished the whole thing by 8 am! So killer. I also got a new waist pack to carry around my phone and credit card if needed.

Week 9: I was in Disney World. Pretty legit excuse! It was an amazingly fun time (I’ll post some pics below) however.. my running fell off the rails a little bit. I completed all my weekly runs and cross training (thankfully there was a fitness center right in our resort!) but when it came to Friday and my 11 miles, I just couldn’t get out of bed on the lack of sleep and Florida heat. So this week, I just skipped my long run. Could it hurt me in the long run? I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out in 2 weeks.

Now, I’m home, it’s summer, and I just put a loaf of pumpkin seed teff bread in the oven. I ran 4.5 miles this morning and it was quite magical.

Only 11 days until my half marathon!! EeeeeeK!!!

 

Home away from home!

Home away from home!

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My favorite souvenir. Pictured with coffee + Silk french vanilla creamer. Pure magic.

After I rode the tallest water slide in America!

After I rode the tallest water slide in America!

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It’s official… I’m transferring here.

day 8 and exhaustion levels were at an all time high.

day 8 and exhaustion levels were at an all time high.

We couldn't believe this guy *wasn't* Johnny Depp!

We couldn’t believe this guy *wasn’t* Johnny Depp!

At the Hoopdeedoo Revue my mostly veg family opted out of the typical BBQ ribs and fried chicken... so they made us this spread instead!

At the Hoopdeedoo Revue my mostly veg family opted out of the typical BBQ ribs and fried chicken… so they made us this spread instead!

Most of these pictures are stolen from my sister (Thanks Kel LOVE YOU) because I took pictures with a disposable Kodak camera.

But honestly… I want to work at Disney World. It’s *actually* the most magical place on earth! All the staff is literally required to be kind and open and welcoming… are you kidding me? It would be the best job ever. Much of the week, Kelly and I just contemplated the job satisfaction of the staff around the parks–from the popcorn dude to the waitress at the Revolutionary America themed restaurant to the boat driver from our resort to the dude who runs the Hollywood Tower of Terror. Who knows, this could be my new career path.

Well, that’s it for me! See you (I promise!!) in much less time than the last.

hugs and fairy kisses,

caitlin 🙂