30 March 2016

Running for a Reason

Cancer sucks.

For awhile, I got to live in this little bubble where cancer didn't exist in my life. I knew people who had had cancer at some point in their life & had overcome it, but I hadn't known them while they were going through it. I knew of people in school who had cancer, but since I wasn't particularly close with those people, it didn't affect me.

I still remember the day that Patrick called me to tell me that his mom had just been diagnosed with leukemia. No warning, no nothing. Just a phone call on a Thursday morning at work. But I guess that's how cancer comes into your life, right?

The good news is that she kicked cancer's butt & is doing super well 3.5 years after the fact.

But cancer came back into our lives again in the form of an inoperable brain tumor for one of our childhood friend's son. He's seven. Nobody should have to deal with cancer, but a seven year old certainly shouldn't have to.

You never know what to do when you hear that someone has been diagnosed with cancer. You want to do something but what? Send a text? Send food? Send a fun card to cheer the person up? Print out dozens of pictures to decorate a drab, cold hospital room? Buy a shirt? Wear a bracelet? Sign up for their 5K team?

5K? I can do a 5K!

This weekend, I'm running in the Brain Cancer Research Foundation's 5K in Charlotte with Parker & his family. Better still? My parent's are doing it with me! They're walking it instead of running it but y'all, they've been training hard. I can't tell you the number of times that my mom has gotten out and walked 5+ miles around the neighborhood or down at the beach since making the decision to sign up in January.

& I think that's really cool.

So yes, cancer sucks, but I love seeing all of our friends and family rallying around Parker and his family to cheer him on through this. I can't wait to get up to Charlotte this weekend and do a little racing in his honor!


{PS - if you're interested in donating to Parker's team, check out his team page here}

29 March 2016

The Unexpectedly Awesome Race

Confession: I really started to hate running at the end of last year.

After the Kiawah Half, I was done for quite a while. I didn't put on my running shoes for almost two whole months. I didn't want to run on the treadmill. I didn't want to wake up early on Saturday mornings to go run. I didn't want to run in the cold or the rain or at all really. Anyone remember this face post Kiawah Half?

But I also didn't want to give it up.

The last few weeks have reminded me of all of the reasons I like running. There have been good runs after work in the 75 degree sunshine. There were two 5K races. There was a 4.6 mile run. There was a shopping trip for new running tank tops, a sports bra, and another pair of running shorts. There was a track night at the local high school where we focused on speed and where I averaged a 8:25 pace for the repeats.

Then there was the 5K this past Saturday. The YMCA Bunny Hop 5K. The race that I ran last year and didn't love, even though I set a PR in it.

This year looked awfully familiar: humid and a threat of rain. But when the race started this time around, I did not take off at as fast of a pace as I did last year.

Mile 1
I kept repeating "run slow" in my head for almost the entire first mile. It wasn't that I wanted to run slow, it's just that I didn't want to burn out in the first mile like I did the year before. When I saw the mile marker and the water station for mile one, I was pumped. Not only did I not want to pass out or walk or grab water, but I was feeling pretty good at this point of the race.

Mile 2
Mile 2 was basically a repeat of the last part of mile 1. The course has a loop set up on it that you run twice in the middle miles of the race, which made mile 2 easier. I knew exactly what I was running because I had just run it. The difficult part? You catch up to the back end of the race with the walkers and the dogs and the baby strollers and the little kids who can't run in a straight line to save their lives. It also meant that the super fast people who finished the race in 17 minutes passed me at one point... including some runner dressed up in a full Easter bunny costume.

Mile 3
In mile 3, I saw every place that I wanted to stop last year. Didn't stop this year. I saw the exact spot I was when the sky fell out. I kept going which was all that mattered. At some point, I felt like I wasn't running as fast as I could be running. It was more like I was running to not burn out before the end of the race/be able to finish the race without needing to stop. It was like I was just hanging out in cruise control.

Mile 3.1
Confession #2: because I felt like I was running at cruise control, I didn't push myself at the end of the race. I was content that I would finish somewhere around the same time as the Get to the Green 5K and definitely under 30 min. When the race clock came into view, I was right on the money. It said 29:15. Good. I had 45 seconds to run the last tenth of a mile and call it a day.

But then I got closer.

It didn't say 29. It said 28!

Y'all, I kicked it into high gear when I realized that I could not only PR, but beat my old PR by a good 15-20 seconds.

Final Results
Watch Time - 28:36
Chip Time - 28:33 PR
Pace - 9:11/mile
Age Group - 4/25 {SO close to placing! Missed it by 15 seconds}
Gender - 43/207
Overall - 118/352

The biggest thing that I took away from this race was the reminder of why I run in the first place. I don't run to be faster than anyone else in the race. I run to be faster and better than I was yesterday. I run for the 2013 me who couldn't run a mile let alone run a 5K/8K/10K/half marathon. I run because I can. I run because I love the feeling of crossing the finish line knowing that I just set a new PR.

Here's how this race stacks up against some other recent ones:
Be a Fan 5K on 1/30/16 - 29:59
Get to the Green 5K on 3/19/16 - 29:25
Last year's Bunny Hop 5K - 29:09
ACC Championship 5K on 12/5/16 - 28:49 {previous PR}

Not only have I knocked a minute and a half off of my 2016 5K time, but I knocked off almost a minute off of the 5K from a week prior. Plus, I destroyed my course PR by almost 40 seconds and my old 5K PR by 16 seconds.

Win. Win. Win.

Bring on the next 5K on Saturday!


Linking up with Tracy & Alyssa for Training for Tuesday.


28 March 2016

An Easter Weekend

If I can't be in Kiawah or tailgating outside of Death Valley, this is exactly how I like to spend my Saturday mornings/afternoons:
Run a local 5K {& totally kick butt in it}
Walk a couple blocks over to Main Street to stroll through Soda City Market.
Make a pit stop by Blue Flour Bakery for some Easter themed sugar cookies {& get 2 of them because you deserve 2 after kicking butt in your 5K}
End up at the zoo for a couple of hours with some friends from Charlotte.
Don't get me wrong - I love the zoo. I can go to the zoo any day of the week with anyone or even by myself and have the best time walking around. But going with your friends + their two kids? Totally different experience. It's pretty fun to see the zoo through the eyes of a 5 and 3 year old.
Patrick & I made a quick trip up to eastern NC Saturday evening to see some of his family and woke up super early Sunday morning to get back to our church for Easter services.
Not going to lie - it was a little weird. For the first time in 9 years, I wasn't at my old church for Easter. There was no group Easter picture this year like in years past. But it's time for new traditions in our new church!
The weekend ended with a long 2 hour nap, a few House of Cards episodes, catching up on last week's episode of Scandal, and watching our favorite Sunday night show {Quantico!}
Plus, a lot of cookies from Blue Flour, courtesy of the Easter bunny ;)

24 March 2016

Let's Stock the Bar!

Stock the Bar Party: greatest idea ever.

{me you & chardonnay. What can I say? We thought it was really clever at the end of the night.}

Major props to whomever thought that one up. Who doesn't love having their bar stocked with delicious drinks and fun barware to go along with it?

Patrick and I headed down to Charleston Saturday afternoon to celebrate the engagement & upcoming wedding of our friends Laura & Stephen with a Stock the Bar Party. Y'all. We never need an excuse to go down to Charleston and to catch up with friends, but we always love when we have a good reason!
Flashback: remember this Oyster Roast from two and a half years ago? That's when we {Patrick & I} first met Laura's new guy, Stephen. They had just met and she brought him out to meet everyone for the first time that night. Stephen earned all sorts of brownie points for remembering my name at the tailgate the next day.

Sorry for the detour down memory lane, let's get back to the party.

The bride & groom + her family:

They received a lot of great presents and their bar will be well stocked with all sorts of drinks and barware. And some really cute coasters ;)

Meet Laura & her dad. He's the one marrying us in July {3 weeks after his own daughter!}

It's wild to think that Laura & I have known each other for nearly 24 years now and that we're both engaged and both getting married this July. Naturally, we had to snap a picture of us and our rings.

Have you seen the blue bracelet yet that many of us are sporting at this party? It's for Laura's older sister's son {aka Laura's nephew}, Parker.

& this wall? Y'all. I want one. I need one.

Something tells me that we're going to have a LOT of fun at their wedding in July.

& then we can do it all over again at our wedding!

Congratulations, Laura & Stephen! We can't wait to celebrate with y'all down in Savannah this summer!

23 March 2016

Holy City Brewing

If you've been reading here for awhile, you know that there's one thing that Patrick and I really love to do on the weekend {or in a new city or after work or on a road trip or basically whenever}:
Explore a new brewery.
We were headed down to Charleston this weekend for our friends' Stock the Bar wedding shower and ended up getting on the road a little earlier than we expected to. Our arrival time was nearly 45 minutes earlier than the party was due to start. So what did we do?
Immediately tried to determine if we had enough time to get to our favorite downtown Charleston bar, The Vendue, for a drink before the party. We didn't really have enough time for that so we opted for option two.
We made a quick detour over to Holy City Brewing.
This brewery produces some of our very favorite Charleston beers and we have had it on our list of places to visit for awhile. It's located off of a super sketch road and behind an auto repair shop... but don't let that fool you. The beer is delicious and it's totally worth stopping by to visit.
My favorite Holy City Brewing beer is the Washout Wheat. It's named after a location on Folly Beach and it's such a good, light, summery beer. Patrick stuck with his favorite, the Overly Friendly IPA.
Our only complaint of the day had nothing to do with the brewery. We went to go sit outside and we had half a sip of beer before deciding to go right back inside. The bugs were out of control! Luckily, they had a lot of fans going inside to help keep the bugs at bay.
It was when we went inside though that we saw the food. Y'all. For a brewery, their food looked and smelled SO GOOD. I knew there was no way we were getting out of there without sampling something. Patrick checked the time and we decided that we still had enough time before the party to grab another beer and a basket of French fries.

Best French Fries EVER. And if their French Fries tasted that good, I can only imagine what the rest of the things on their menu tasted like. We'll be back to this brewery for sure and potentially just for the food! But the beers are worth going back for, too.
Although, next time, we'll probably go with a flight of beer so that we can break out and try something different. We both stuck with a beer choice that we already knew we liked.
Overall, we loved this brewery. It's got great beer, excellent food, and there were two Adirondack chairs under a big fan calling our names. Next time y'all, next time.

Plus... I need a shirt. Because I always need another t-shirt in my life.


22 March 2016

Post Get to the Green 5K

This was a race that I'd had circled on my calendar for months but didn't actually sign up for until two days before the race. Oops. The worst part of it all is that by then, I had a pretty good idea of what the forecast was going to be for Saturday...
Rain. And a lot of it. It was supposed to be nothing but rain.

Actual weather?

I was more than happy about that! Zero rain and right around 60 degrees at race time. It was perfect running weather!
This ended up being my first "solo" race in years. I didn't know anybody else signed up to run the race nor did I have any spectators of my own to watch me run it. But I did wake up to some super cute motivation in the form of sweet notes on the bathroom mirror from my fiancé. He had to work Saturday so he gave me some good luck before I headed out the door.
I'm so glad that I ran this race! Besides the weather being perfect, it was a pretty great race to run. It was well organized, there was a lot of participation in both the 5K and the 10K, and they had this cool set up at the end of the race where you could check your finish line stats and print them out.
 **Note: while accurate on time/pace, unless you print your results out after everyone has completed the race, you will only have the info for the people have completed. To see what I mean, check out the final results below**
My only complaint was that it was a point-to-point race. It started at Maxcy Gregg Park on Blossom Street and ended on Devine Street, on the other side of Five Points. Typically, not an issue. But this week? You couldn't cut through Five Points to get back to your car because it was barricaded off for the St. Pat's in Five Points celebration. And I might have had to use the map feature on my phone to figure out how the heck to get back to my car.
Final Results
Watch Time - 29:25
Official Time - 29:36
Pace - 9:27/mile
Age Group - 24/55
Gender - 143/831
Overall - 465/1502
Next up: Columbia YMCA Bunny Hop 5K on Saturday.

21 March 2016

Snapshots from the Weekend

This weekend I...

Enjoyed the warm weather & longer daylight hours by grilling out burgers with friends on Friday night for dinner.

Woke up insanely early to go run the St. Patty's Day Get to the Green 5K race in downtown Columbia.

Explored a brewery in North Charleston with my fiancé.

Made plans to go back to said brewery just for the food because these french fries were amazing.

Celebrated this girl & her fiancé at a Stock the Bar Party in preparation for their July 9th wedding.

Saw a reminder of our own wedding on the fridge {!}

Ate chicken & waffles at the Southern Kitchen on Kaiwah. Because they have the best chicken and waffles.

... and watched Quantico rather than write a full blog post ;) Come back later this week to read more about everything from above {the race, the brewery, the Stock the Bar Party}. Hope everyone had a great weekend!
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