Sunday, December 31, 2017

Week in Review - 12/31 + December Report Card

Who's ready for 2018?! 🙋I've got big plans for the year, and I can't wait to get started!

But first, let's wrap up 2017 with a quick review of this past week along with December's Report Card and a final check-in with my 2017 goals.

My week wasn't too crazy. Unlike many people, I worked Tue-Fri, so it was a pretty typical week. Except that we moved offices from the 1st to the 3rd floor of the same building. I got to work from home Tue-Wed while we waited for the WiFi to be set up. They'll be doing some remodeling in our new offices over the next few weeks, but the space is definitely bigger than where we were. It should be quite nice when it's all finished. I'm just excited about all the extra steps I'll get in taking the stairs at least twice a day. 🤣

Christmas morning 10k run along the Strip in a Santa hat. I've been doing this the past several years. It's my one Christmas 🎄 tradition. Also, I kept up with the #RWRunStreak with at least 1 mile a day.

Tone It Up
I did TIU workouts on Tue, Wed, & Fri. DOMS were definitely present most of the week.

And now for a look back the final month of 2017 and how I did on all my goals for the year.

December Report Card

General Running/Training (25%): A

I ran an amazing half marathon on the 2nd. I did a week of yoga. I did quite a few days of Tone It Up workouts (which left me SORE)! Throughout it all, I've even kept up with the Runner's World Run Streak.

Run at least 600 Miles (25%): A

I DID IT!! On Christmas Day I breached my 600-mile goal for the year. There were a few months when I kind of doubted myself, but the two RW Run Streaks and fall half marathon training really helped me to kick it out. I'm pretty psyched that I accomplished this goal. 🏃🎉

Be More Active in the Local Running Community (25%): B

December flew by! I really thought I'd have no problem making it out to one more group run, but it just never worked out. I was all set to meet up with the Tues night group the day after Christmas but they skipped that week. 😞 There was a group run yesterday morning, but my warm bed won out. Ugh. I'm still happy with my 7/8. It's way more than in past years, so though I didn't meet my goal, I still broke out of my comfort zone.
7 of 8 group runs completed
3 of 3 times volunteering at a local race 🎉
I'll be volunteering at my 3rd race of the year this afternoon. Woot woot!

12 Trails of 2017 (20%): B+

Jeff hurt his toe/foot early in the month, so we never ended up going for a hike together. I did do a new trail with Kristy after the half marathon, so I'm going to count it. My goal, my rules, right?!

There's a scenic drive just outside of Laughlin called Christmas Tree Pass. It's a 12-mile gravel road with some gorgeous views. About 2 miles in we pulled off to hike Grapevine Canyon. It's filled with cool petrogylphs. I was pretty tired after my race, so I didn't take too many pics of them, though.

Since I allowed this trail for December, I'm modifying my no-trail in February. The goal was supposed to be a new trail to both me and Jeff that we hiked together. Back in February, we didn't hike a trail together, but I did run some new trails on my own while training for an ultra (that never happened).


Twelve Trails of 2017

Current Events Night (5%): F

I don't know where the month went, but it sure wasn't spent discussing current events. lol

Final Grade for December: B+

December started out really great and then kind of fizzled by the end. Work was a bit crazy with lots of people on vacation (myself included) that it often wiped me out by the end of the days that I worked.

Final Grade for 2017: A

I had a couple rocky months at the beginning of the year, and if you averaged my final grades, it would have been a solid B for the year. I'm bumping it up to a solid A, though. I had a lot of great training throughout the year. I hit 600 miles. I discovered 12 new trails. I turned 40 and had a fabulous birthday - complete with a fitness challenge, a visit from family, and a few other surprises. There was a long road trip in October. Looking back I really had a great year!

Even though I didn't have any blogging goals in 2017, I still thought I'd share my Top 5 posts of the year.

How to: Sun & Moon Salutations → This post is actually from 2013. Wow!
The Why's & How's of Foam Rolling
Celebrate with Me! → An invitation to my 40th birthday fitness challege.
Staying Fit in Sin City
Running Mistakes: Proper Fueling → The importance of food, water, and sleep.

To see my grades from all year:

I'm linking up today with Tricia & Holly for the final Weekly Wrap of 2017. Have a fantastic New Year!! 🎉🎉

Thursday, December 28, 2017

I Runfess....

I runfess that... I've never runfessed before. I kept meaning to, but every month this year has come and gone without visiting the Runfessional. Nothing like jumping in at the last chance. 😜

I'm linking up with Marcia at Marcia's Healthy Slice for the Final Runfessions of 2017.

I runfess that... I'm a little nervous about my big 2018 running goal. I'm committing myself to transitioning to forefoot running, and it's SCARY!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Planning for 2018 + a Reader Survey

I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend. I started my Christmas morning with a 10k along the Las Vegas Strip with a stop at the Bellagio holiday display. It never disappoints.

Running the Strip in a Santa hat is my one holiday tradition. :)

Now that the holiday is behind, it's time to get real about 2018. I've been thinking a lot about my goals for the new year and how to accomplish them.

One of my goals for 2018 is to grow my blog. I've been around for quite awhile, but my 16-month hiatus from July 2015 to November 2016 really hurt. This past year I've focused on getting back into a blogging groove without having a great plan for growth.

To help me focus more on consistency and growth next year, I created a printable 2018 blog planner.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

What's been going on?

Not much, really.

I guess I kind of went radio silent after my amazing half marathon on Dec 2nd.

Here's what's been going on.


The #RWRunStreak is still going strong! I haven't missed a day since Thanksgiving. Most days have been the minimum 1 mile, but I've done a few longer runs as well.

Yesterday was the last day of the #CharityMilesCheer challenge as well. It was fun and extra motivation to get out the door!

I love the CharityMiles app! I tend to stick to a few favorite charities, but the badges from this 12-day challenge made me realize just how much good the app does and the variety of charities available.

After my race, I did a week of yoga! Below are a few of the videos I did on YouTube.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

My Year of Running 2017

It's that time of year! When we start looking back at all the things we accomplished and start making plans for the year to come. I love this time of year.

Let's reflect back on my running this past year. I'm linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC for this fun end-of-the-year link-up.

Best race experience

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Run Laughlin Half Marathon Race Recap

I'm finally starting to come back to normal after my very emotional finish! You may already know that I had the most amazing race on Saturday - pretty much start to finish - and the icing on it all was a shiny, new PR.

I was pretty nervous the day before and the couple hours leading up to the race. Despite having a great plan laid out, I was having some issues that I really thought would derail that plan and prevent me from having the race I so desired.

My recap has to start with the day before the race because it helps set the scene of why I was so nervous about the race, and why I was so emotional at the end.


Even as I wrote up my Race Day Goals & Strategy, I had a feeling that the worst was likely to happen. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about! I wrote my goals hoping and hoping that my period and corresponding cramps would hold off until Sunday.

They did not. Much to my dismay my period arrived on Friday, which meant the cramps would hit just in time for the race Saturday morning. I kept trying to will them to stay away. Hence, my nerves the night before. I still wanted to have a great race, but I really didn't think it was in the cards.

Kristy, from Runaway Bridal Planner, picked me up to make the drive to Laughlin, NV. We'd never met in person before, but I was excited for a tiny little runcation with my blogging friend. Jeff walked me to her car to say good-bye, and I fretted about not having packed enough ibuprofen. He said to not worry about it and to just buy some more if I needed some. D'uh.

We arrived in Laughlin, checked into our room, dropped off our stuff, and headed to packet pick-up. It's a pretty small race, so there was no expo. It was literally just pick up your bib, pick up your shirt, and grab a small bag with a couple goodies in it.

We were hungry, so we googled "where locals eat" and decided on a restaurant based {almost} solely on pictures of the views of the Colorado river. Nope, not location or pics of the food. LOL The restaurant was a bit out of town, but we got there just as the sun was setting.

The sunset was totally worth the drive!

We each ordered the burger our waitress recommended. It. Was. Greasy! Delicious, but we both kind of worried that it might not have been the wisest of decisions.

After dinner, it was still pretty early, so we walked along the river a bit and then sat and listened to a band before heading back up to the room. While listening to the band, it occurred to me that I forgot a toothbrush. We stopped at a hotel shop and I bought a toothbrush/toothpaste and grabbed some Midol as well. Just in case.

It was still early, but for some reason, I was already exhausted. I was in bed before 9PM. I think.

Here's the thing. Laughlin is right on the Arizona border. Arizona doesn't do Daylight Savings, so they are in a different time zone this time of year. Our phones and watches kept randomly changing times on us! It was both amusing and annoying.

I'd like to say I slept well, but that would just be lying. I tossed. I turned. I got up to go to the bathroom. I fretted about the inevitable cramps. I had this terrible, pain isn't quite the right word, in my diaphragm. It was uncomfortable, but I kept falling back asleep. So, I was getting at least some rest.

Race Morning

Kristy's alarm went off at what her phone thought was 4:15. In reality, it was only 3:15, as confirmed by the clock in the hotel room, which wasn't randomly changing like our phones. We were both glad for the additional hour of sleep. 😌

When I was getting ready to catch the shuttle, I sent Jeff this message:

I was so uncomfortable! I took two Midol, hoping that it would make me feel better so to not completely derail the race.

I wasn't very optimistic on the shuttle to the start.
Nor for the hour+ waiting in the high school gym.

Kristy and Jeff were both very encouraging, though, so I tried to keep an open-mind.

By the time, we were lining up at the start, the Midol had definitely kicked in. The cramps had subsided and the excitement of the race had set in.

The Race

As I crossed the start line, I pushed the RACE screen on my Garmin. I kept glancing down at my watch to check my pace. Around 0.35 miles, I finally noticed that all the other fields were still showing zeros. Yep. I hadn't actually pressed the START button.

I had all kinds of alerts programmed into my Garmin, so I'd know when to change my pace. I decided to still go with those alerts - even though they were a bit off of the official distance.

Mile 1
In the first mile of the race, we ran from one parking lot at the high school to the track and did one lap around the track.

This was probably one of the most complicated parts of the race! Racers were entering and exiting at the same point, so it was a little tricky making sure you didn't bump into anyone.

Miles 1 - 3.5
This was the first uphill climb of the race. It was tough but I was pretty good at sticking to a sub-10'30" pace. There were definitely a few spots that my Garmin was beeping a bit crazily for me to speed up.

The first two aid stations were in these early miles. I skipped them both. I didn't start the race with a full water bottle, but I figured I'd easily be able to make it to the next stop. I was wrong.

Miles 3.5 - 7
This was supposed to be my speediest section. It was a solid, steady downhill. I set my slow alert for a 9'30" pace. I shouldn't have had a problem maintaining that pace, but obviously I kept slowing down because my Garmin kept telling me to go faster. While the views were incredible (when I remembered to look around)...

I think I got a little bored on the downhill. I was also concentrating on not tripping and falling.

I had a gel at 45min. My plan was to take a salt tablet at the same time; however, I was running low on water and wanted to conserve what little I had left. I decided to take the salt at the next aid station, which had to be coming up soon.

Turns out that next aid station wasn't for another mile and a half.

Miles 7-8.5
This was the 2nd uphill climb, but first, the aid station. Yes!

I unscrewed the lid of my handheld as I approached the water stop. I grabbed a cup from a volunteer and dumped it into my handheld. I handed him the empty cup and grabbed the 2nd cup in his hands. He looked at me so confused as to why I was handing him my empty cup! My bottle still wasn't full, so I handed him the 2nd empty cup while grabbing a 3rd cup from the guy next to him. By the time I handed my 3rd empty to the volunteer, he seemed less confused. LOL I still didn't take a salt tablet because I didn't want to waste any more time at the water stop.

Free photo courtesy of Run Laughlin

Since I started my Garmin late, it still thought I had 0.35 miles before hitting the hill. I tried to still speed my way up the hill, but quickly decided it wasn't worth it. I slowed down a bit but still tried to stay close to a 10'15" pace.

Turns out my goal for this section was a 10'25" pace. I was pleased to see that alert pop-up, because this uphill seemed a little relentless.

We crossed over the Davis Dam and into Arizona! And continued the uphill.

Free photo courtesy of Run Laughlin

Finally the turnaround was in sight!

Miles 8.5-10
The uphill was over! It was the final pace reset. 9'45" slow pace. This was when the real fun began. I didn't need to worry about conserving energy. I had run a great race so far and now I could really focus on getting to the finish.

Since this was an out-and-back portion, I wanted to look for Kristy on my way back down the hill. But, I got lost in my music and footsteps until I heard her call out Good Luck to me. I waved and continued on my way. I also waved to a couple Vegas runners I knew as I saw them making their way up the hill.

I was really starting to groove to my music and was having a great time! My head was bopping along and I kind of felt like I was dancing. I may or may not have accidentally sung out loud a few times, but I tried to control myself.

Miles 10-13.1
I was cruising along and fighting back tears. It was really starting to become real. I WAS GOING TO PR! There wasn't really anymore doubt. I felt so STRONG and I was having such a great time!

Free photo courtesy of Run Laughlin
I do not know this jumper, but she was having a great time, too.

I sucked down another gel and actually took a salt tablet this time.

And then Starships by Nicki Minaj came on.

MY FEET WERE FLYING! I couldn't slow down. At the end of the song, I restarted it. Yeah, it was moving me that much.

It was good song after good song right until the finish, though I don't remember what they were.

I do remember thinking, This is the strongest I've ever felt during the last few miles of a half marathon. I kept pushing and trying to build on that momentum.

The course met up with the 10k and 5k racers. Lots of runners commented, You're doing great! All I could do was say Thank you! I probably should have said You, too, but honestly, I was too focused on my own race to comment on anyone else's. Does that make me a bad racer?! 😬

Every time someone said something, it put just a little more pep in my step. It's hard to describe how I was feeling. I was just gliding along, but still pushing it. I was so incredibly happy and proud that I was fighting back tears of joy.

Around mile 12.5, I did start to feel a bit tired, but I was SO close. I kept pushing myself. I saw the 6 mile marker for the 10k and thought only 0.2 miles to go. Then I saw the 3 mile and 13 mile signs for the 5k and Half. I forced myself to lengthen my stride and finish STRONG!

I crossed that finish line with pure determination on my face!! {and a LOT of salt}

Free photo courtesy of Run Laughlin


After getting my medal, I stopped and asked a guy where to get the official results. He pointed me to the tent, and I made a beeline to it - bypassing the tables of water and food. When a laptop freed up, I typed in my bib number and snapped a photo of my results.

I sent a message to Jeff on the way to the restroom.

I had been hoping to squeak out a PR with a 2:10:14 (previous was a 2:10:26), so I was blown away and so, so excited to see my official time!

I washed my face and went back to get some nourishment and free beer. I'm not a beer drinker, so I didn't even drink half of my small cup. It was a bit too bubbly. 😄

Still so emotional, I paced around the finish area trying to control myself. Waffling between smiling and crying. I was a mess inside!

I was hanging around the finish chute to see if I could see Kristy approaching when I overheard a trio of people talking about medals. It took me a minute to realize they were talking TO me! Apparently, they had run out of half marathon medals, and one girl was asking if she could borrow mine to take a picture. Of course, I said yes!

And then, I walked around some more. Trying to decide if I should head back up to the room to shower. I just wasn't ready yet. I couldn't bring myself to leave the finish area. I probably looked like a crazy person - pacing around the finish area, fighting back tears.

Finally, I saw Kristy approaching the finish line. I was doing something on my phone, so I couldn't snap a picture. I met her at the finish and then someone else asked if they could borrow my medal for a picture. I said sure and followed her to where she wanted to take the picture. Then she handed me her phone, Oh you want me to take the picture? LOL I snapped a few and then Kristy and I went to snap a few of our own.

Photo courtesy of Kristy

And that's the story of how I got my PR. A solid plan and a couple of Midol, without either of those, Run Laughlin definitely wouldn't have turned out so well.

After showering and relaxing a bit, Kristy and I did grab some lunch and do a little exploring before heading back to Vegas, but I'll leave that for another post.

I'm linking up today with Erika, Marcia and Patty for Tuesday's on the Run. This week's topic is Favorite Race in 2017, so I guess this post is pretty much perfect. :)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Run Laughlin Half Marathon Training Week 10

If you follow me on IG, then you already know how this ends. :-)

I had the best half marathon yesterday - and not just because I got that PR was I hoping for. It was a gorgeous course, and I was just having a great time for all of the miles. I'll have a full recap on Tuesday, but first, here's how the final week of training went down.

Run Laughlin Half Marathon Training Recap

Training Recap Week 10: 11/27 - 12/03

Friday, December 1, 2017

November Report Card

Wow! November was such a great month!! I'm totally on track for my 2017 goals. I had some great running with half marathon training. I started the RW Run Streak. One more month of 2017, which seems kind of crazy.

November Report Card