Go! St. Louis Half Marathon Recap.

Hey kids! My sinuses must have agreed with me in the “not ready yet” mentality because my boss actually sent me home yesterday.

I believe his exact words were, “you look and sound awful”.

Thanks, sir. How was your weekend?

Actually, I was semi-relieved. My voice was gone. My eyes were a little puffy. I was hacking. And I was achy (although I couldn’t really distinguish if this was because of the half marathon or because of sickness).

A day on the couch was exactly what I needed.

That and a box of nighttime sinus medication.

Enough about grossness. I’m feeling better. And would rather talk about other things.

Like the race I just did- the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon!

Just like the Rock n’ Roll half, I had my crew of supporters. Last time, the awesome Annie and Mon were the ones who were gracious enough to travel around the course to see me. This time, I had my family (waving Mizzou flags so I could spot them!) and my girls Mary and Laura who even made a sweet sign!I don’t think you could get more fabulous if you tried. Each letter of my name represented a fast animal. (And yes- Mary checked to make sure that zebras were, in fact, faster than most animals of the wild.)

After walking up and down the Landing for decent pre-race eats and a birthday dinner for my mom, we finally settled on a Tuscan restaurant in the casino along the river. Who woulda thunk it?I like spinach just as much as Popeye. Holla’.

My wakeup call was at 4:50 on Sunday morning.Chewing a bagel AND sticking my tongue out for the camera all at the same time. I’m a talented individual.

I was assigned to corral B, but knew damn well I wouldn’t be running at the same pace as the rest of the group, so I started in the back of B. When running, I stumbled across the 2-hour pace group and decided to try and keep them in sight for as long as I could. Which worked well for a while.

But it was HOT. Even at the beginning of the race, they were stressing this and to make sure you got plenty of water while on the course. I almost got too much- another guy and I collided into each other in a water station around mile 11, causing me to almost take out an entire table of cups.

That would have been awkward.

And the hills… oh the hills! Running all my races in Chicago (a relatively flat course every single time) has left me spoiled. For this run through downtown St. Louis, it seemed every corner I turned would present another stretch of incline to run up.

Luckily, the isolated storms they originally called for never happened. And the severe wind? Maybe just a gust here or there- nothing to complain about. Unless you count the slight breeze being *just enough* to waft body odor efficiently, but that’s sort of expected…

My original plan was to stop every 3 miles to check out the leg. Of course I didn’t do that (it’s a stubbornness factor that won’t go away). Instead, I stopped at mile 6 to see what was going on. It was feeling ok. So I kept going! And was pretty satisfied until after mile 8. Half way up a hill and I was hurting. My stamina was fading. And my calves were tightening.

That’s when the walking started happening. I think it was 3 times where I slowed to a walk, stopped off, stretched, walked a little more and started running again.

At that point, the 2-hour clan had pulled too far ahead for me to catch up. Clearly I wasn’t in it to win it, but there’s always the desire to try and do decently well, ya know?

The last mile was rough, but I pushed. Up that hill. In the heat. And finished with everyone watching!My attempt to use excel paint is weak,  but if you look closely, my mom took this pic and didn’t even realize Mary and Laura were right across the course!Finished. Tired. And quite pasty.

Summer need to get here already… this non-tan thing is NOT working.

But whatever- not the point. My final stats? I finished the 13.1 miles in 2:05:41.

A 9:35 pace. 270/1470 in my division. Still not too shabby.  :)

I rewarded myself properly with this:And this:Topped it off with some swedish fish on the way home. Clearly it’s not always about “balance”.  :)

Not Ready Yet

Hey kids!

After I got home last night from my trip to St. Louis, there was a refusal to unpack and an early bed time.

I’m still struggling. Considering that I’ve been sounding like a man and hacking up awesomeness the last couple of days, I may have a sinus infection. Pair that with the stairs to my apartment being my greatest nemesis today?

I’m feeling rough.

However, I have lots to say about the race I did. Yes, the half marathon was completed- no records were broken, but I was pretty proud of my time!And St. Louis was a great time. It’s a fun town. Mostly because of girls like this:Mary and Laura were awesome this weekend. They gave me a place to crash AND got up at the crack of dawn to watch me race.

I’m really blessed with all the good friends I have in my life. Either that, or I’m really good at bribery.

On that note (being blessed, not bribing people), I’m also very lucky to have family come up to celebrate my mom’s birthday and my race all in the same day!They didn’t get to see me run the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon last year, so I was really excited they’d get to see this one. Dad even broke out the video camera. So you know it’s a big deal.

This year’s Easter entertainment in a few weeks will be footage of the race. Also known as “Amy runs by the camera a few times”. I honestly haven’t seen myself run before, so this could be fun.In between all the shenanigans in Soulard with some of the besties, birthday celebrating with the fam, and a little 13.1-mile jog, I found time to chill in the ridiculously amazing temps (which may have been borderline HOT for this girl who did not pack well).

But hey- that means spring is HERE. 

And I’m ready for it. As soon as I can breathe properly once again and do a little more than slowly hobble from point A to B, I’ll be ready to celebrate it accordingly.

Woot!

We’ll catch up on the running stuff tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the day!

Phone Tag

I really dislike going to the mall.

I know. I’m a girl. This is blasphemy.

But you have to understand where I’m coming from. One of the closest malls in my area happens to be the 5th largest mall in the United States (or something ridiculous like that).

Which is awesome. They have EVERYTHING.

What is NOT awesome is everything that goes with that one benefit. Overcrowding. Long lines. Parking lot is a DISASTER. The list goes on.

So you can imagine how long it takes for me to work up the energy to go. Especially on a weekend. I need to. I need a new dress (that can be worn in Vegas both during the spring and summer- yes, I’m going twice). Running shoes are also becoming and immediate necessity.

So I went. Reluctantly. It took 15 minutes to park. Strike one.

One store. Tried on a few things, but didn’t find anything. I screwed myself on that one because as soon as I walked in and saw the lines at the cash register (strike 2), I said to myself, “omg, I REALLY hope I don’t find something here because of the lines alone.”

Got what I wanted.

At about that time, my friend Annie called and was ready to meet up for dinner.  Perfect timing.  I didn’t even need a strike 3, I was ready to leave.

And that was my 30 minutes at the mall. I’ll try again next week. Maybe.

Alongside the gigantic mall is a gigantic Whole Foods. My friend Annie had never been to this particular one, so I took the liberty of giving her the tour. Whole Foods isn’t frequented often because I’m much too poor to do so, but the food bar is worth the trip. And walking around the store to try all the samples sitting out is a good way to get in a free appetizer.  ;)She liked it. I hope I didn’t create a monster.

But either way, it was good to catch up. Do you ever have those friends you play long games of phone tag with until you actually get to chat?

She and I are AWESOME at that game.  I don’t think this is even considered a salad. It’s just a massive bowl of food. With some lettuce that happens to be at the bottom.

Although I have issues with the gigantic mall, none are with the Whole Foods.  It’s a good thing I don’t live closer because reasons would be created to stop by on a daily basis. There is a Whole Foods in close proximity to me, but every time I’ve given it a chance, it FAILS.

Annie’s traveling for work this week, so I made her promise to call me at some point when she was waiting for a plane or bored at the hotel.

Because I know when she’s calling, hopefully this means our phone tag game will be a little shorter?

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.  Since I had my 7-mile run yesterday, today is a planned day of strength training and just a little more relaxed.

Have a good one!

Do you like shopping or are you more of an online person?  I’m considering becoming an online convert…

A Rainbow in my Coffee!

I know what you guys are probably thinking.  “That Amy… she always hated Tuesdays.  Maybe this week it finally did her in.”

You’d be wrong.  Not this Tuesday. 

But there’s always next week, I guess.

Until then, I’ll just keep minding my own business with the norm.

You know, like working out.  Which I’ve done pretty well on considering all I want to do at 5:15 in the morning is stay put in my comfortable spot in bed.  It’s that time of the season where you jump into bed, freeze your butt off for 5-10 minutes under the covers, finally get warm, and DO NOT MOVE.  The thought of flinging the covers off to go do anything else is unheard of.  Stay put if you know what’s good for you.  Have a second thought about getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Because your warm spot isn’t going to be there when you get back.  Oh no it’s not.  You’ll be starting all over.

So wait… what?  Something shiny?

Oh yeah… the workouts.  They’ve been pretty routine.  I’ve been doing the shred in the mornings this week and then hitting up cardio after work.  Mostly because I don’t want to venture outside the apartment in the AM (see above explanation).  Also, it’s not as big of a deal to rush to the gym after work.  No one else wants to make the trip to the gym in cold weather, either.  So the machines have been pretty open.

I’m thinking it will stay that way until approximately January 2nd (I give people a day to sober up and then realize their drunken resolutions). 

Another norm I’ve been sticking to is attempting new dishes in the kitchen (is that a contradiction?).  Because I had such good luck on the stuffed acorn squash, I figured I’d try my hand at stuffed peppers.

Maybe I got a little overexcited.

Everything seemed like it would work.  I had an orange pepper and mixed up black beans and corn that had been seasoned with paprika and some red chili peppers.See?  Looks good so far, right?

Then I topped it with cornbread and cheese (seriously- still fantastic sounding, right?).It just isn’t my thing.  No idea why. I heart peppers.  Maybe just not that much.  I ended up actually saving half of one of the peppers to throw into a salad because I was that done with it.  Boo!

Oh well.

Another thing I’ve been up to the last couple of days is tracking down malted milk powder.  Yeah.  It’s a main ingredient used during my Thanksgiving baking extravaganza next week (get excited for that).  But it’s tough to find.  I’m not sure if I was just looking in the wrong place or the stores don’t carry it or what. Desperation started to set in.  I was one step away from calling Potbelly’s and begging them to let me buy some off of them.  They’re known for their malts- surely they have a little to spare?

But then my friend Mon said she’d “fire up the Google” and see what she could find.  Turns out I was completely missing they “hey duh” answer.  WalMart.  I grew up with the firm belief that they carry everything.  Why not malted milk?  So because Mon is a superstar and because there’s a store right next to her office, she swung by and picked some up for me. 

That’s not all she came back with.That’s weird Mon, I didn’t know there was an Anthropologie in WalMart.

Did I mention my friends are the coolest?

I love what’s in the bag.  And can’t wait to show you.  But I was a hot sweaty mess when I got home from the gym, so you’ll have to wait for me to break it out at a later time.  :)

Ahhh…. the suspense.

Let’s just say I owe her a few home cooked meals.  For reals.

Ok.  We’re on to hump day, ya’ll.  Grab your coffee.  Let’s do this thing.

Weeeee!

For the Love of Halloween

Thanks for all the suggestions guys.  I now have a good majority of the bread in the freezer.  I’m usually not a fan of freezing bread, but recently I’ve only been eating it toasted.  So I don’t think it’ll be too bad.  :)We had arts and crafts up in this club last night.

Thanks to some suggestions, we finally found not only a place with iron-ons, but a place with ENOUGH iron-ons for five shirts.  Let the fun begin…Clearly Bailey is excited.Mon not so much…  but she was one hell of an iron-on cutter-outer.  She didn’t even complain when I screwed up once and ironed on the letters on the inside of the shirt… oops…

At times like that, I remember why I had always bought my costumes in the past…  But for what we’re going to do- there is no pre-made costume (hint #1 for later).After about 3 hours of ironing, we were done.  Thank goodness…

Who knew our costumes would be so labor intensive???

All that after my workout… no wonder I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow last night.  ;)  After having a pretty light day Sunday of just walking, I was feeling the need for speed.  Ok, so maybe not speed, but as close as I can get to it.  Four miles at 8:27.  Just call me Maverick… 

Ok, so get excited because I’m baking tonight.  What does this mean for you?  Well I always have extra.  SO, I really want to send YOU some.

All you have to do is correctly guess what I’m going to be for Halloween.

If you’ve read my blog for the last couple of months, it won’t be too hard (hint #2- you’ve read about it).  :)

But I’m willing to give you more hints. 

We’re impersonating a group of guys.

We’re gonna look kind of silly.

And this is the one I’m gonna be:Get it yet?  If there are multiple people who figure it out (it’s really just a matter of browsing some of my posts in august and september), I’ll randomly pick a winner tomorrow morning and send some goods your way…. :) 

Hopefully it’ll make someone’s Tuesday more exciting, right???  :)

Supposedly today is supposed to be pretty nasty.  Like some of the worst winds/storms Chicago has seen in quite some time.  After almost getting swept away in a wind tunnel on my 100-foot walk from the parking garge to my office, I’d believe it.

Any guesses as to how long I’ll be sitting uncomfortably as my pants dry?

Mon’s Blogging Debut!

Hey everyone!  Since I’m currently traveling (I believe at this point I’m most likely driving from St. Louis to the ‘rents house), Mon has graciously said she’d do a guest post for me.  I figured since she’s on the blog often anyways, I might as well let her take it over for the day.  I’ll be back tomorrow with updates, but until then- enjoy!  :)

Life in the Middle Ages…

Good day to all you Randomness readers, Mon here!  Amy has entrusted me with one of her most intimate and dearest to her heart’s daily routines, which happens to be this blog.  I feel honored and privileged that she feels that I can contribute to her randomness while she is out performing bridesmaid duties. Although I am a writer by trade, I am a virgin blogger.  (Yes folks, this is my first time.)  However, Miss Bax and I share many of the same lifestyle choices and extracurricular activities, so I feel compelled to give this a whirl.

My given name is Monica Lynn Friday and I was born to a health-nut mother in July 1975.  I was raised on puffed wheat, granola bars, and carob, Jane Fonda and turquoise spandex leggings paired with white twisty headbands.  Picture Olivia Newton-John in the video Physical (one of 1981′s greatest pop genre accomplishments) and there you have a pretty accurate image of my mom. My mother not only aerobicized at the local grade school gymnasium with the other fitness minded mom’s, but she and I would follow the workouts as directed by ‘Lady Jane’ Fonda in the book ‘Jane Fonda’s Workout Book.’  Remember – this was during a time when music video’s were only shown on Friday nights and not every home had the luxury of a VCR. Yes, I’m THAT OLD. At some point in my grade school youth, mom and dad opened ‘Dreamshape’, a toning table and tanning bed salon. I would spend most of my afternoons after school spraying and wiping down those damned tables.  I didn’t understand why it was so stinking important to her to eat the way she did and exercise all of the time; I didn’t find it fun or interesting.  I couldn’t understand why my brother and I couldn’t eat McDonald’s, drink Orange Crush, wolf down a few Pixie Sticks and enjoy REAL CHOCOLATE for Christ’s sakes! Imagine the horror I encountered when I realized that in my following years in Junior High and High School gym classes that whilst the boys were doing their unit of football or wrestling, the girls were stuck doing Jane Fonda or Denise Austin aerobic tapes!  I couldn’t escape the phenomenon. I was doomed to do the ‘pee on the fire hydrant’ pose to chipper middle aged women in spandex.

As an adult, I can relate to why she made the choices she did. Did her lifestyle influence mine after I left home? Of course it didn’t. I did what any independent and bull-headed young woman would do and threw everything I had ever learned from her out the window because that was the mature thing to do. I ate everything I felt deprived of as a kid, and partied four nights a week instead of thinking about the possibility of entering a gym even once a week. Well, due to my mature adult decisions, my body decided to pack 35 pounds onto my 5’2″ frame. Let me tell you people – there are only so many places fat can go when you are 5’2″, and mine went straight to my middle area. Yes it went to my boobs (HOORAY!!) but unfortunately it also went to my stomach and butt (FAIL!!). I didn’t realize what had happened until seeing a picture of myself and consequently having a meltdown because I looked like an Oompa-Loompa (especially since I was sporting a sun-burn in the picture).  I was MORTIFIED. I hadn’t felt like I gained that much since high school, but the truth was staring at me in all its matte finished glory. Thank God those were the days before digital cameras and Facebook tags. I immediately changed my eating habits and began an exercise routine.

 Nowadays I make smart eating choices on a daily basis. I’m not much of a cook so when I do eat out there are many options out there for the health conscious individual. You just have to be aware of what is out there and choose appropriately. I’m a big fan of looking up nutritional information for restaurants online. And those random times when I do crave the taste of those awesome McDonald’s french fries, well, I eat them but I also remember that I can’t do that every week. In order to not bore myself with the same meal every day, I love to try healthy alternatives found popular in other cultures. I work with people from all over the world, and I find it interesting to see what the other half does to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In recent years I find that I mainly date men in the International category because I find them intriguing, so it only makes sense that I enjoy tasting food with an International flair! My liberal persona tells me that you can’t judge a brand of individual until you experience what they are like, so how can you make judgments about cultural cuisine until you’ve tasted a bit of it from everywhere, right?  And yes, I am talking about my diverse dating life and food choices at the same time.

To be frank – I’m still not excited about exercising, but I do it because it makes me feel better. Like most of you out there I’m sure, my job consists of me sitting on my butt all day and exercising is the only time I get to re-circulate the blood to other parts of my body. Not only does it keep me healthy physically, but I find that it helps me in the ‘I can now go another day without killing somebody’ department. My routine has switched up a bit throughout the years.  Now that I’m in my 30′s I have to work harder to maintain my ideal weight and I find that I need to switch up my routines a bit. Once my scale or my pants start to tell me “hey Mon, why so muffin top today?” I know that it’s time for a new challenge. I try to mix it up enough so that my body doesn’t get bored with the same motions workout after workout.  I’m fortunate enough to have a great circle of friends that work out as well, so we keep each other motivated to keep going.  If my friends that are juggling babies, careers and husbands can make time for their health, I have no excuse!

Before I end my virgin guest-blog, I want to take a minute to give a shout out to my fellow children of the 1980′s!  And any of you single 20 something’s out there that are dreading ‘the middle ages’, fearing your life will become that of celibacy, eating bon-bons and watching the Lifetime movie of the week with far too many cats, let me put your mind at rest. Your life is only just beginning. All of you out there like Amy who are already maintaining healthy lifestyles and challenging yourselves every day are going to find that you will be even sexier and self assured when you hit 30 or 40. Men will fear you and women will hate you, but in some sort of morbid way, I like being the hated woman : )   

Okay, time to run…I have to go put in my Jane Fonda VHS tape and do some Workout Inc.!

Chicago Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

I did it!!!  I finished the Rock n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon!  Oh happy day…

Thank you to all that wished me luck!  I really appreciate it!  And just so you know, I had such a GREAT time!I may be somewhat biased, but Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities!  Even when you’re sleep deprived and it’s not even 6:00 in the morning…

My wakeup call was at 4:15. I actually drove in from the ‘burbs that morning for it (Not highly recommended I’m sure, but it really wasn’t too bad).  Because I traveled with my own personal cheering section:I have such great friends.  These girls were ready and willing to go watch.  And were up and at it at 5:00 with a smile on their faces.  Thank you so much, Annie and Mon.  I love you guys!

We traveled down to the start area, and passed by the stage and press tent and got a good look at these kids:Guiliana Rancic and Maria Menounos chatting it up.Jake the Bachelor getting ready to run…  And just so you know, he’s just as, if not shorter, than he appears on tv.  Which is nuts. Even a certain Real Housewife from New York came out for a stroll in the park…

Excuse me while I openly admit that I get starstruck easily.

Back to the race…  so I was a little late getting into my corral, but I made it in time for the start.  No worries!

The start reminded me a lot of the Shamrock Shuffle- crowded and bit hectic.  But unlike the Shuffle, it thinned out much quicker.  And by mile 2 or 3, I was in my “happy pace”- somewhere around 8:40 and 8:45.  I am yet to buy the thing to put my Nike+ chip in since I bought my Sauconys, so I relied completely on the clock at every mile marker.  I got through the Start Line around 9:00, so it wasn’t hard to estimate how I was doing the entire time.

I honestly can’t tell you too much specifically about what was going through my head during the race.  I got to a certain point where I completely zoned out.  I didn’t even see my friends at Mile 6 until they were practically right in front of my face.  But I looked up and there they were- so I shouted a happy shout of some decibel and it made me smile for a bit. :)

Here are a few things I do remember:

- People start to smell bad at around four or five miles.  This really bugged me.  Then I realized I probably smell just as bad.  So I was ok with it.  Because I’m no hypocrite.

- Watch where you run while going past water stops.  Most people were really considerate about throwing cups to the side.  But when you’re on the side, those cups are coming straight at you.

- I wonder where Guiliana Rancic is right now?  What if she passes me?  Would it be weird to try and strike up a conversation?  Maybe they’re taping it and I could be on E!.

- I studied quite a few tattoos on the backs/arms of people I was behind.  And wondered the story behind them.

- Ahhhh… once we were on the lakefront, the breeze was seriously CLUTCH.

- Ahhhh Gu.  I hope they have Vanilla.  I can’t do the fruity stuff… I can see myself hurling right then and there.  Oh good- they have vanilla. 

- Annie and Mon…  Annie and Mon… I know they’re gonna be here around Mile 12… oh!  There they are!  (Seriously, at Mile 12 I was starting to drag, so seeing them jumping up and down and screaming got me to pick it up a lot for the last mile.  For this I thank them!)

- My favorite sign along the race sidelines ended with “that’s what she said”.  Yessssss.

- I have never been so excited to see a finish line in all my life (or the year and a half I’ve been doing official races- same thing).

My final stats? I couldn’t be happier.  It was a great first time at this distance.  And I beat my goal of finishing under 2 hours.

I think before I was done running, I had already started thinking about ways I could improve for next time.

Yes, I already knew there should be a next time.  As excited as I was going into the race, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the distance.  I’m very happy with my 5 and 10k’s.  But this was fun and I think the training was an overall helpful thing for me.  And as long as I’m comfortable with a distance, I’ll keep doing it. 

It’s safe to say, I liked this one.  Granted, I will most likely wait until next year sometime for my next half marathon, but I can’t wait to start searching for whatever race that’ll end up being!

After the race, we traveled to The Bongo Room for proper post-race eats.  Granted, I may have enjoyed it a wee bit more had my stomach not been completely revolting against me because of the run.  I still ate, but didn’t finish my plate like I had anticpated…Oh bacon, feta, and mushroom omelette… I’ll beat you next time!

And when I say stomach issues… I wasn’t kidding.  Holy cow… it had me down and out for a bit once I got home.  But no worries, I’m good now!

Happy Monday everyone!  I’m a bit sore today (to be expected), but I’m looking forward to this week.  It’s a short week of work because I’m flying out to DC on Wednesday to have some hang time and a little vacay with the fam- which I’m looking forward to!  Can you believe I’ve never been to Washington DC?!?!  I guess there’s a first time for everything…

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