GBN: That time I ran a marathon

Well, I did it.

It was one of the most difficult, amazing, ridiculous, painful and spiritual things I have ever done, but I did it. I finished a marathon.

On Saturday morning (after a quick stop for breakfast), my mom and I headed the hour south to go to the race expo. After picking up my packet and sweet (and by sweet, I mean BRIGHT orange) half-zip windbreaker, we meandered around the gym, visiting with volunteers and looking at what the vendors had to offer. Note: They had my mizunos for significantly less than I paid for them, but I restrained myself from buying a new pair–Farmer Ben was so proud.

This was probably the smallest race expo I’ve ever been to, but it was really nice because we weren’t fighting a crowd and didn’t feel rushed to get in and out.

After the expo, my mom and I decided to scope out the course. We took the leisurely 26.2 mile drive around Schroon Lake. My mom’s reaction? “This is beautiful,” followed by, “You’re going to run this?!”

I knew the hills were going to be tough, but now, at least, I had a point of reference and would have an idea of what was ahead. We started out on the main drag, turned onto a side road that just kept going up and then came out right next to the lake, then, we went back to Route 9….

Here are some pictures from the drive:

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

Saturday night, Farmer Ben and I stayed in and watched Ratatouille, complete with a big bowl of pasta and marinara sauce.  After laying out all of my clothes and fuel for the day, I showered and went to bed… but I’m sure you already know that I barely slept.

I woke up on Sunday morning, a big ball of nerves, complete with a nervous stomach. I toasted two English muffins and put a smear of peanut butter on each and grabbed a banana to eat on the drive down (it’s about an hour and a half from our house). Unfortunately, I was so nervous that I could barely swallow… I only managed to choke down the first English muffin and most of the banana.

After parking, I immediately found the bathroom. Then we had some time to kill, so we meandered around; Ben got a coffee, we went back to the car so I could drop off what I didn’t need and grabbed my fuel belt, put on my number and did a last check…then I found the bathroom again…

I don’t know if it was the realization that I was actually about to run a marathon, or if it was just nerves (or maybe a combination of both), but I was a complete basket case on Sunday morning…at one point, I was holding back tears and was starting to have some serious doubts about running…. luckily Farmer Ben was there to hold my hand and talk me down.

He told me that once I started running, I would get into the zone and be fine…and he was right…

I managed to get a pretty good spot on the starting line and started off at a relatively quick pace…when we passed the first time clock, I realized I was going way too fast (even though it felt comfortable) and slowed down.

I was still going a little faster than I should have, but I was feeling good.

At mile 4, the hills started. Now, the elevation chart shows a straight up-hill until mile 6, then a straight down-hill…and then some little hills in between miles 7 and 11 (the next giant hill). This was not the case.

Instead, you went up, then flat, then up, then flat, then up, then down, then flat, then up and up and so on and so forth… I looked at my splits on mapmyrun this morning and they are all over the place…. I managed to run all of the hills until mile 11…I decided to sacrifice running up this hill in order to save my strength for the rest of the run, looking back, I definitely made the right decision.

I was feeling really good for the first half, once you hit mile 12, you come out right next to the lake…it was a beautiful day and the sun shining, but after running so many hills and being super sweaty, the breeze from the lake was not pleasant… the last half of the race was very cold.

I got to the halfway (13.1miles)mark at 2 hours and 27 minutes… I kept a steady pace until about mile 16. I was getting tired. I slowed down a bit and took a few short walk breaks.

Throughout the entire race, I was repeating three things.

1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

2. Run your own race.

3. (Wo)man can plan their course, but the LORD directs their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

At mile 18, we turned onto the Word of Life Campus and were welcomed by a wall of cheering people on either side (Note: I could hear their cheers all the back at mile 16, I could NOT figure out where it was coming from).

This gave my spirits the boost I needed to keep going… people were yelling for me, cheering me on, playing music, calling my number and my name…

Not gonna lie, I almost cried because I was so happy…so grateful for these beautiful people who were helping me go on.

Actually, I almost cried a few times throughout the run because of the volunteers and the spectators… everyone who came out and watched the race, supported the runners… it was an emotional day. Hearing people call my name, who took the time to look up my bib number and find out my name, I was completely overwhelmed.

I made it to mile 20, still riding on the cheers of that amazing group… but then I started to hit the wall… I hurt. Everywhere. My feet were the worst, every time I took a step, I felt like a thousand knives were being pushed into my feet, my bones felt like they were shattering… but I kept going.

My hands swelled up to twice their normal size and I could barely bend them, my wedding ring was starting to dig. I was covered in salt from my sweat and my under-arms were raw…not to mention, the pain in my feet and legs was getting worse.

Luckily, there was a girl running near me and we ended up duking out the last 6.2 miles together…slowly but surely. We ended up doing a lot of power walking for that last 10k…at that point, running was so painful that power walking was a faster mode of transportation… we did the power-walk/run together and I told her I was glad we ended up together because we kept each other going.

There were two more hills (though, I must admit, they were not even close to the hills between miles 4 and 12) before we finally neared the finish… we came around a big corner and realized we were less than a mile away.

I looked at my new friend (Liz) and said, “come on, let’s go!” We started kicking it to the finish…I managed to look up just in time to see Farmer Ben standing there with a big smile on his face, iPhone ready to take pictures and yelling my name.

You can't tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

You can’t tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

I turned onto the side street and pushed it to the finish, my entire being hurting and fighting to make those last steps…. I made it!

My time was 5:24:37…not the best time, but it’s a PR for me (the perks of it being my first marathon)…and this was a crazy difficult course! I’m just happy I finished….and now I have a time to beat.

I got my medal and my thermal blanket (thank God!) and turned around, waiting for Liz. I hi-fived her and thanked her sticking with me… and then Ben and I took a couple more pictures….

I did it!

I did it!

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing husband.

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing husband.

After finishing, we went down to the finishers’ area and I managed to get a bagel, a bottle of water and some grapes…unfortunately, my body and brain were on power-save mode at that point…I tried to walk around for a few minutes, but ended up just sitting down in a chair, staring off into space. Ben had to hand me grapes and small bites of bagel in order to get me to eat anything.

Again, I had to hold back tears…the realization that I had just finished a marathon was heavy. My body and soul felt absolutely empty.

All finishers were entitled to a massage, but I worried if I got one, I wouldn’t be able to get up, so, when my lips starting turning blue from the wind, Ben made the decision and helped me hobble back to the car.

In the warmth of the Versa, my brain starting working again, slowly but surely.

In my post-race fog, I knew that I needed to change out of my sweaty, and consequently, soaking wet clothes. I told Ben “I need your help.”

I pushed my seat all the way back and Ben fumbled around in the back seat for my big comfy sweat pants and long-sleeved shirt… I painstakingly started pulling off clothes, not caring if someone happened to walk by.

I started with my sneakers, then my socks. I don’t think my feet have ever hurt so much in my entire life. Then I pulled off my leggings and my underwear. I slowly pulled on my sweat pants, with Ben’s help, really glad I had gone for the XL pair.

The next part was a lot more difficult. my shirt was soaking wet and my skin under my arms was raw (Note: I used Body Glide, but apparently I didn’t use enough under my arms). I managed to pull the sleeves from my tank top down and held my shirt over my chest (I am a lady, after all!) while Ben helped me pull my sports bra off, one side at a time. After I pulled on my long-sleeved shirt, I ditched the tank top.

We debated going to one of the restaurants in Schroon Lake, but everyone else had the same idea, so we headed home. I could not get comfortable and spent the entire trip putting my seat up and down, moving it back, propping my feet on the dash, and stretching them out on the floor… then I passed out for the last 30 minutes of the trip.

Upon reaching our apartment, I realized that I was going to have to climb the stairs in order to get inside. My heart sank. Luckily, Ben took everything in from the car so I could use both arms to pull myself up.

After sitting with my feet propped up for an hour or so, we got an invitation to go to a friend’s house and visit with them and their family. Ben whipped up a quick dish to bring with us and I took a hot shower. I cannot even begin to describe how good it felt.

I conquered going down stairs, slowly but surely. And we got to our friend’s house for a great night of relaxing, good food (a lot of it!) and good times. It was the perfect way to end a monumental day. I finally had the energy to snap a picture of my sweet medal….

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I’m so blessed I have the ability to run, that I was able to finish a marathon. I still get teary-eyed remembering different parts of the course, how I was feeling, the spectators and the volunteers… It was amazing and something I will cherish forever. It tested my faith, my mind and my body, but I survived…and came out stronger (and somewhat chafed).

Today, I’m sore…I hobbled around the office at work all day and am looking forward to a week of rest… but, I wouldn’t mind doing another marathon sometime in the (sort of near) future. I’ve already scoped out a few races… as a 14-time marathoner that I befriended yesterday told me, “you definitely picked a difficult course, your next race can only be easier.”

Before I end this post….

A major thank you to Farmer Ben. You are the world’s greatest husband. The end.

And to my friends, Jona and Kristy. You are both such strong, amazing women and hearing/reading your running journeys continues to inspire me and helps me to keep pushing in mine.

Also, thank you to my other friends and family who have had to deal with my ridiculous schedule, constantly listening to me talk about my training and just being supportive.

Did you race this weekend? What is your best race moment/memory? What’s the worst thing about post-race recovery?


Confessions: Life & GBN (Marathon Training Update)

Hi friends!

September is flying by!

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve done a “Confessions” post… so here we go.

You may have noticed some new widgets on my sidebar:

Sweat Pink

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Loved coming home to this package!

I am super excited to announce that I am a Sweat Pink Ambassador, pink shoelaces and all!

For more info, click the image on the sidebar or check out the Fit Approach website.

Here is the Sweat Pink Mission, from the Fit Approach website:

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick. We sweat pink.

Pretty awesome, right? I am pumped to be a part of this community!

ENERGYbits

I’ve mentioned ENERGYbits and how they have become part of my fuel for marathon training and life in general. They are an amazing company and doing great things….and I am so happy to be a part of it. The best part is  that I can share a sweet discount with all of you (Use the code “NoellesNotebook” at checkout for 25% off!)! Also, if you’re interested in trying a sample, contact me and I can hook you up!

Officially an ENERGYbits Ambassador!

Officially an ENERGYbits Ambassador!

In other news, marathon training is coming to a close…less than 2 weeks until race day. I have to admit, I am sort of enjoying the taper, but my body is a bit confused.

I bonked a bit on my 20 mile run and had a minor freak-out about being ready…

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After a soggy 20 mile run…probably the most difficult run I’ve done in a long time

After I calmed down from my freak-out, I analyzed what went wrong… I think a big part of my bonk was my food choices from the couple of days before my run, not drinking enough and the weather. It was hot. Really hot. And humid….and raining.

So what am I using for fuel?

I have decided on ENERGYbits (of course!), Island Boost–another great company–and various fruit. This will depend on what I can fit in my running belt…

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I was going back and forth as to whether or not I should wear my camelbak on race day, but I decided against it. There will be water stops on the course and honestly, the camelbak is a lot of extra weight and extra sweat. It’s great for training runs, but I don’t want to worry about it on race day.

Thoughts on Marathon training:

Next time around (yes, I’m already thinking about next time! Let’s just get through the first one, shall we?!), I am only going to be working one job…and won’t be involved in as many real life commitments. Life happens. I got way too stressed out with training this time around because honestly, I skipped a lot of runs. Between trying to prevent/having an injury and just being over-extended, some days it felt impossible to fit in a run. I realize that there are people out there who do way more than I do (and I give them MAJOR props), but this time around, I had to make some sacrifices, and some weeks, it was my training runs.

I have a good friend (Hi Kristy!) who gave me some peace of mind a while back. She said that as long as you get your long runs in, it’s okay to skip some of your runs during the week.

Now, I am NOT in any way saying that you shouldn’t train for a marathon, because that would be moronic. But, sometimes life happens and things come up. And that’s okay, as long as you get back on track.

She also reminded me that as this will be my first marathon, I am going to PR. No matter my time, it’s going to be a personal record. Doesn’t that take a lot of the pressure off?

Again, I’m not saying that I won’t go out there and try and run my hardest, but…if I have to walk for a bit, I am still doing 26.2 miles in one shot. That’s still pretty hard-core.

With that being said, I’ve been having some really great runs lately. During and after each run, I have felt unstoppable…isn’t that the best feeling?!

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After totally rocking an 8 mile run.

Also, I purchased a foam roller ($15 at TJ Maxx for the win!) about a month ago… such a good investment! Luckily, Farmer Ben loves to torture… I mean take care of me and has been super helpful with working out the kinks in my legs. My recovery time has decreased significantly as a result…so thanks Farmer Ben!

On a totally unrelated topic, marathon training does a number on my digestive system. I’ll leave it at that.

Oh! I almost forgot, I need your help! I am deciding on whether to run with or without some tunage.

If I do run with music, I need to create a killin’ it playlist. What would be on your kicking butt soundtrack?!

In remembrance:

Today, 12 years have passed from that fateful day. I still remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the news. I think about how much our nation–and our world–has grown and changed, and I pay a moment of silence and remembrance to the past and those who were lost.

Anyway, those are my musings for today.

What about you?! What do you use for fuel during your long runs/race day? Any advice for a first time marathoner? What is on your killin’ it playlist?!


Confessions: Running out of a Rut

I have a confession….I’ve been in a major rut the last couple of weeks. Blame it on my insane schedule and my inability to ignore desperate pleas from Job 2 begging me to come in, but I have had a really hard time getting my runs in lately…or anything else.

I know this sounds an awful lot like an excuse, but up to late last week, I was working 13-16 hours days, 5 days a week… this is not conducive to a.) getting up early to run, b.) running after work, or c.) having energy to do anything.

Now that wedding weekend is over, I’m hoping that my schedule will open up. Marathon weekend is quickly approaching–less than a month away!–and I need to get those miles in. I’ve already warned Job 2 that I will not be available that much in September.

Anyway, I failed at getting in my long run this weekend, causing me to admit, that, yes, I am in a rut.

But I’m not looking back…because, well…it won’t change anything. Instead, I am looking forward and I’ve got a plan.

Get out there and run!

Get out there and run!

Noelle’s Plan for Running Out of a Rut:

1. Do something different.

Last night, instead of a run, the hubby and I opted for the 30 Day Shred. It felt great to get my sweat on after taking care of other details for the last week and it was a nice change of pace.

2. Pick a new route.

Not gonna lie, doing the same few routes can be boring. I’ve been looking for something different… so, I decided to sleep in this morning and brought my running gear to work…I’ll be hitting the pavement in a different area this evening!

3. Unplug.

I’ve noticed that paying attention to times, pace and mileage can get stressful. Sometimes, I just want to run! Today, I’m ditching my tunes, my watch, and mapmyrun and just heading out.

4.  Change your tunes. I have a routine of turning on a girl power/girly pop station on Pandora. Every once in a while, I’ll haul out my mp3 player from college (completely different!), or turn on some country music, just to try something new….or, as I mentioned above, I’ll just run without and get lost in my thoughts.

5. Appreciate Your Abilities.

Again, paying attention to time, pace, calories burned and mileage can be stressful! Do you ever stop to think about how amazing it is that we are able to run? That we can get out and just move?  I’ve been taking this for granted… so today, I’m taking a deep breath, and relishing the fact that I CAN run.

6. Remember Why You Run

What are your goals? Are you having fun? For me, running is a major release…there is nothing better than pounding out your frustrations and worries, while taking on a serious hill or a crazy trail. I run because it makes me feel good.

After some reflection, I realize that I  have been ignoring this…and, instead, I’ve been focusing on how little time I’ve had and how tired I am…that’s not helping anyone, is it?

7. Just Run.

The best way to get out of a rut, is to just get your butt out the door. Those first steps are the hardest…but the most rewarding.

Are you in a rut? What is your best advice for getting out of it? What do you do to change your routine?

Happy running!


Confessions: Life, Lately

This weekend went by entirely too fast… that seems to be the story of my life for the month of August… So, here’s a random update, Noelle’s Notebook style….

We found this little guy in the pumpkins on Sunday. He even held a pose for me!

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Speaking of the garden, you’ll be happy to know that I’m still on my giant salad kick.

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Lettuce, radishes, cukes, tomatoes (!), adzuki beans, carrots, avocado, scallions, rice, cheddar and a chipotle yogurt dressing

I bought a bathing suit this weekend for the first time in about 2 years…it was on super sale. I also bought a cute summery dress. Yay for end of season savings!

Like a BOSS

Like a BOSS

I got a grand total of 12 hours of sleep between Saturday and Monday morning (between a bachelorette party, long run, church, work and watching old movies). This makes for a very grumpy Noelle…my apologies.

In spite of a serious lack of sleep, I managed to come into work very early yesterday … I broke my streak of not buying coffee and treated myself to Starbucks during lunch. Unfortunately they messed up my order. S-Bux FAIL.

I tried to get up early and run THIS morning…but I failed miserably and hit the snooze button a few more times than necessary. This means that I will have to go for a run tonight when I get out of work…oops.

Also, PSA Time: PLEASE Pay attention to the road when you are driving. I was almost in a major accident yesterday because of someone not paying attention.

Allow me to explain;

My company is located on a pretty busy road, the highway entrances/exits, 3 gas stations, the state police station and an airport are less than a mile down the road in either direction, along with several businesses.

I was coming back from lunch and put my signal on to turn left into the parking lot. There was on-coming traffic. As I am waiting to turn, I see a car speeding up behind me…my car is obviously not moving and the other car was NOT slowing down. Unfortunately, there were still cars coming and I was starting to get very nervous because I had nowhere to go.

Long story short, the other car got very close (to the point that I could see the driver’s face in my rearview mirror!) before the driver slammed on the brakes. To–BARELY–avoid hitting me, she had to veer to the right (cars were still coming the other direction). She hit the brakes so hard that she not only went completely off the road into the grass, but she also spun completely around. I was able to turn at the last  possible second and pulled into the parking lot (I HAD to get off the road).

I stopped to make sure the other driver was okay and what did I see? She pulled back onto the road and sped away–without even looking to see if there were any cars coming…SERIOUSLY?!

Anyway, I don’t know what she was doing, but again, PLEASE pay attention to the road. IF not for your own safety, then for others on the road.

End Rant.

On a brighter note, some really great things are happening lately!

1. I signed up for August’s Foodie Penpals after taking a long hiatus and I am pretty pumped. I got two awesome match-ups.

2. I had a really honest and encouraging email discussion with a company that makes a running fuel. I learned a lot of interesting information about the manufacturing process and was able to give them some feedback.

2a. I ordered a sample pack of this product to try…it should be here soon…can’t wait to try it on this weekend’s long run! I’ll be sure to let you know how I like it.

3. I won a giveaway! I NEVER win anything so you can imagine that I was not only shocked, but pretty darn excited! Brittany was hosting a Simone France giveaway and I entered on a whim…so glad I did!

4.  The hubs and I went on a late night Price Chopper run… we picked up the essentials: Annie’s Mac & Cheese (there was a 10 for $10 sale!), Chipotle Tabasco sauce and cottage cheese (Tabasco, cottage cheese and black pepper is one of my favorite snacks in the world).

I don't know how to feel about this.

I don’t know how to feel about this.

5. This weekend is my 20-miler! Yes, I’m a little nervous…but I feel ready.

6. Speaking of running, my foot and tendon pain have almost disappeared. I still notice it if I have a super busy night at the restaurant, but otherwise, my feet are feeling pretty good.

7. Next week the hubs and I celebrate 2 years of marriage. Time flies!

8. Our dear friends are tying the knot on the 24th. I am so excited to share in their special day…AND to show you what they chose for a wedding dessert.

9. One of my sisters will be in town next week. HOLLA!

10. We have tomatoes… Another week and they will be coming out of our eyeballs. I CANNOT WAIT! This is not one of our tomatoes, but ours are/will be similar

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

11. Fun fact: I am currently the same weight that I was my junior year of high school…weird.

 
What are you up to this week? Ever won a giveaway? Favorite wedding dessert? Worst driving pet peeve?  How about your favorite snack?

Happy Tuesday!


Real Talk: Food for Thought

As you know, I recently hit the 17 mile mark (ahem, 18 mile mark!) in my training program. That means I’m officially past the half-way mark. Holy moly! It’s going to be marathon weekend before I know it!

I’m finding that I need to be more careful about what I eat. Not only the day of my long runs, but the few days before and after.

I’ve also found that I’ve hit a point where I need to have something extra during the run. 17 miles (or for me, over 3 hours) is a long way to go with just water. This really hit me during my last two long runs.

I asked some of my friends (on twitter, myfitnesspal and in real life) what they use for long runs.  Thanks to all who responded!

From my running guru friend, Kristy:

Water. I never brought anything with me…When I ran the marathon I had orange slices, part of a banana and a gu. They all agreed with me.

From some MFP running friends:

I’ve used GU gels in the past. They work well for me if I’m going for more than an hour.

I usually take sport beans on long runs.  Anything over 10 miles gets a clif bar halfway.

I have not really used anything. I did try some energy gummy things but they left my throat phlegmy which was pretty gross. The thought of eating actual food during a run isn’t very appealing to me.

Energy Bits every 5 miles and after 10 dates or a slice or two of fresh mango!

I’ve used GU gels in the past. They work well for me if I’m going for more than an hour.

Gu gels or powerbar energy blast chews.

I use Gu gels also. It’s worked the best for me the last couple of years. I’ve tried clif blocks and they work ok (for me).

And from Twitter:

 Jess @Mywalkonmoon:  @IslandBoost is nice b/c I don’t have to take it w/ h2o & not heavy on the belly @HoneyStinger chews for caffeine

Skora Running @skoraRunning: Drink to thirst. Cals from @honeymaxx and regular MCT oil mixed in, couple hundred cals per bottle.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Clif Shots and Bloks I had leftover from a race have worked… but my finicky stomach isn’t happy after the runs, especially immediately after. They work well in a pinch, and heck, they were free! So I can’t complain…but I don’t want to use them all the time. I don’t think my digestive system could take it.

Needless to say, I’ve been searching for something easier on my stomach and a bit cleaner. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I shy away from long/weird ingredient lists and I am not big on artificial/man-made colors, dyes, and ingredients.

Enter ENERGYbits.

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I had heard about this product before from two of my favorite blogs and was actually thinking of trying them. (Shout out to Zee Lemons and Healthy in Detroit!)

Not gonna lie, the only thing that stopped me was the price-tag. $115 for a bag of 1,000…. which, broken down by serving (20-30 bits), isn’t really that much…but to buy a product without trying it…and then getting stuck with something I didn’t like…well, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Then, I recently participated in my first #runchat on Twitter and was tweeted by ENERGYbits when I posted something about long runs.

Long story short, I was sent a sample and was able to try them on my 17 mile run.

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Before I give you the dirty details, I have to say, I love that this a US company. I also loved that it was founded and is owned by a woman. Not only that, but the staff is so passionate about what they are doing. They truly love and believe in the product they are promoting. To me, that’s a very good sign. Further, ENERGYbits are 100% organic, non-gmo and have 1 ingredient. O-N-E. That’s it!

Here are the nutrition facts (check out all of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids!) taken directly from their website:

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And here is a comparison chart to other popular products:
Nutritional Comparison Chart

Anyway, I received my sample about four days after my twitter connection. The packet I received was full of information… I was still a bit skeptical because, well…it all sounded too good to be true. I’d read about the benefits of spirulina but… I still wasn’t convinced.

You’re probably wondering, how does algae taste?

Well, as Farmer Ben put it, “it kind of tastes like fish food.” The nice thing about the bits is that, because they come in pill form, you can swallow them as such, with a big glass of water. You can also chew them, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  I swallowed about 10-15 at a time with a few good gulps of water.

In all honesty, taking these during my run was a bit hard. The initial smell was hard to get past…but they didn’t upset my stomach, which is a major plus. Taking these on long runs is going to take some getting used to, but the effects on my digestion are non-existent compared to what other products do.

So, here is what happened:

  • I took 30 bits about 40 minutes before my 17 mile run.
  • I took more about 9 miles into the run (I also had some Clif Shots on this run).

I feel the need to mention that I had worked both jobs the day before. This means that I worked from 8 am until after 11:30 pm. It also means that I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, which I mentioned in my 17 mile post.

I also feel the need to mention that after my post-run shower, I received a phone call from my boss begging me to go in to job number 2. And it wasn’t an easy night. I, once again, didn’t get home until late. You can imagine how thrilled I was to be called into work after running 17 miles.

  • I took the last of my bits about 30 minutes after arriving at work and didn’t stop moving all night.

I won’t tell you that I felt an immediate surge in energy, because I didn’t. BUT, I made it through a 17 mile run on very little sleep. I also made it through a (super insane) Saturday night dinner shift after running the furthest distance of my life. I did both of these things without crashing.  Yes, I was tired…but I made it through an extremely long and strenuous day better than I should have.  I still had pep in my step–after 17 miles and a night spent entirely on my feet.

I will also tell you that, although I was sore, I wasn’t as sore as I expected. I’ve felt worse after shorter runs.

I recovered faster from that 17 mile run than I have from some 6-8 mile runs.

All of these things speak to me.

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Love this!

I recently ordered a full bag of ENERGYbits with my own money and am applying to be an ambassador for the company, because, well… I’m finally convinced.

Side Note: I ordered these on Friday afternoon, standard shipping. They arrived today (Monday). LOVE THIS!

Will this be my only pre and during workout fuel? For short runs, yes. For long runs, not yet…but maybe someday. BUT you can bet that I will be incorporating this into my regular regimen. I am not big on powders, vitamins and supplements…I’d rather get my nutrients directly from the source.

This is a food, and your body digests it as such.

If you have any questions about ENERGYbits, feel free to comment or shoot me an email and I will answer as best I can…If I can’t answer it, I will find out for you.

If you’d like more information about ENERGYbits, visit their website: http://www.energybits.com/

UPDATE: If you’d like to order ENERGYbits, you can use discount code “NoellesNotebook” for 25% off your total order.

Have you ever tried algae? What did you think?! What is your favorite way to fuel?

*DISCLAIMER:  ENERGYbits provided me with a sample of their product for review purposes only. All opinions are my own.*

UPDATE: If you order ENERGYbits using my discount code, I do receive a little bit of money, however all opinions are still my own.

I am not a doctor, I am simply writing about my personal experience, as with any food or supplement, don’t forget to consult with a medical professional.


“A List for the New Year,” an Update.

Oh hey! It’s March 4, 2013. Where has the time gone?! I figured I owe you all an update on how my 2013 To-Do list is going.

So, here you are! Enjoy!

Noelle’s (Updated) List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

I haven’t given this much thought….I can’t even pretend.  Shame.

2. Excel in my new position.

I’m still learning a lot of new information. Every day.

Just when I finally think I have something down, something happens and I realize I am just scratching the surface…. Whether I am excelling or not, I don’t feel that I am, yet…. but I am definitely enjoying the learning process.

I’ll check back in another month or so.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year/7. Be more present.

I think I’m doing pretty well with this one.

  • The hubby and I did a Valentine’s Day Wine Tour. Wine and Chocolate. Perfection.
  • I attended a farm and food event and got to chat with some local farmers and producers.
  • I signed up for some fitness challenges
  • I volunteered to make favors for a bridal shower (super excited about this…even though I’m not very crafty)
  • Expanded my cooking/recipe arsenal.
  • I am working on the perfect dessert for the wedding of two friends. It’s not cake!
  • I’m also signed up to take two online nutrition courses. I cannot wait!

With everything else,  planning Strides for James (a charity run) has gotten me out to meet a ton of new people as a direct result. Getting sponsors and taking the lead on this has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.

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Terrible picture, but here is an initial race flyer design. I love it!

Yes!

As far as spending less time on my phone, it depends on the day. Race planning has taken up a lot of my time the last couple of months and because I get emails, texts and check our Facebook page on my phone, some days I spend a lot more time doing these things than I should… it’s a work in progress.

Any suggestions to continue my “Yes” Year?!

5. Take more time to read.

I’m killing this one! So far I’ve read a lot of books and have expanded my blog reading (some blogs have been added to the current web obsessions page)…

Books include my Bible,  all three Hunger Games Books, A book of stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (which, surprisingly, I hadn’t read before), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Garlic and Sapphires and I just started The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest… that’s been in the last month.

I’ll be re-reading the Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice… just because, I need to.

Any other reading suggestions?

4. Run a half marathon/6. Run 26.2 miles.

As you know, I started marathon training. However, winter running is not going as well as I had hoped….between being sick, silly injuries (falling down a flight of stairs and shin splints) and my body not wanting to cooperate, I’ve had a tough time.

Initially, I planned on doing a May race but given some setbacks, I am starting to have second thoughts. I realize that a few bumps in the road are part of the training process, but I worry that I won’t be ready.

So, I am tossing around the idea of doing a fall marathon and checking off the half marathon in the spring. I haven’t made any decisions yet. And I won’t for another couple of weeks.

I’ll keep you posted. And don’t worry, the GBN posts will be starting up again soon!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

Not gonna lie, I’ve had some setbacks with this one, some out of my control… but it appears that I am back on track.

I’m working on practicing an incredible amount of self-restraint to get me even closer…. we’ll see how I do.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

Not gonna lie, I haven’t been working on my burpees. Fail.

10. Do more food-ing.

As I mentioned above, I’ve expanded my food-blog reading in the last few months, I also signed up to take some nutrition classes online…done some wine-tasting and gone to a farm/food expo.

I’m working on expanding my cooking knowledge… I feel like I do pretty well, but being married to a chef, a lot of times I just let him take care of our meals. Not anymore. I’ve tried a few new recipes, nothing crazy difficult, but still tasty and have been dabbling with vegan and gluten-free cooking/baking.

I also have been doing some food research. With friends, for other people and through other people. Food research is a great conversation starter!

Farmer Ben has been diligently planning his garden and I am pretty pumped. I hope to improve my growing skills and help him out a lot more than I have in previous years.

Oh! And we are looking into a CSA. Meat, Dairy and Eggs. So excited about this!

So, there you have it. I’d say for the most part, I’m doing pretty well…

Don’t forget to sign up for Strides for James!!!! (Sorry…shameless plug… I know!)

Now it’s your turn! How are you doing with your goals? Anything you’re struggling with? OR, do you have any advice to help me out?! Let me know! 


Oh Hey, It’s 2013-Or “A List for the New Year”

A new year… A clean slate, if you will.

In the spirit of starting anew, I figured it was time to come up with a few things to do for 2013.

I don’t necessarily like the term “New Year’s Resolutions,” so I’m calling it “Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013.”  That has a much better ring to it… yeah.

Anyway, this is the first moment I’ve really had to sit and think, as my NYE was spent working 18 hours and helping others have a good time.

I could have done it yesterday, but let’s be real. After getting home just before 3 am and being busy all day, I wanted to do nothing more than hang out in my giant sweats and be a bum….and I did just that.

Some of the things on this list are not very impressive…but others are kind of a big deal…at least for me. They are in no particular order…some are meant to be repeated and others are one-time items.

So, it’s the second of January. Better late than never!

Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

As I’ve gotten more passionate about blogging, I’ve decided that I want this to go somewhere. Maybe not as a full-time thing, but as a creative outlet and something more.  

It’s so touching to hear/see people tell me that this blog is helping them and inspiring them to do more and it just makes me want to make it better. Period.

That means it’s time to get serious. I’ll probably be asking some of you wonderful people for feedback and maybe even some design ideas! I’ve got a lot to learn!

2. Excel in my new position.

I’ve been holding out on you, mostly because I wanted to wait until it was official… but I’m getting a promotion. I officially start next week and I know it sounds corny, but I want to do the best job possible. I’m super excited and a little nervous to start a new chapter and to learn a ton of new information and skills. But I’m all over it.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year.

I always lament that I don’t make enough time to do more fun things. Not this year. I’m going to say “yes” and make time for new adventures. Whether it be taking a vacation, doing something silly or learning a new skill/hobby, count me in.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

4. Run a half marathon.

No big deal. If I can do 10 miles, I can do 13.1 miles.

5. Take more time to read.

I haven’t been reading as much as I used to and I miss it.

6. Run 26.2 miles.

Maybe a big deal… but I’m turning 26 this year, and what better way to celebrate than running a marathon before it happens?!

I figure that if I put all of these fitness goals into writing, I’ll be more likely to succeed.  This means that the GBN posts will be making a comeback. I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

Also, the half marathon fits into the marathon training schedule… coincidence? I think not.

7. Be more present.

This kind of goes along with the third item on the list. I want to be around and available to my loved ones. I want to share in the joy, love and wonder of every day. I don’t want to work my life away. I want to live it!

I’ve realized in the last 24 hours while my phone has been completely dead–and I still totally enjoyed myself… I spend far too much time online or messing with my phone,  instead of in the real world. I’m going to work on that.

Love spending time with FB!

Love spending time with FB!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

I have student loans, a car payment, a credit card payment and the regular monthly bills… I’m not terrible with money but I never seem to be able to save it–at least not for very long. While I have enough to cover my expenses (most of the time), I don’t usually have (much) extra. I want to change that this year.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

I think that would be bad-ass. Right now I can do about 20-25 on a good day.

10. Do more food-ing.

Whether it be researching, growing, baking, cooking or enjoying. I want to know more about my food.

 Let’s do this.

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Here’s to a new start!

I’m sure this list will grow and change as the year grows on so I’ll be creating a separate tab to keep track. And so you can hold me accountable!

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any goals or items to check off your list this year? Tell me about them! Any advice for me? I want to hear from you!


GBN: Week 15

Have I really been doing this for 15 weeks? How crazy is that? Crazy, but so good.

I know I ran before, but now I have that extra push to be committed… I’m held more accountable… it’s slightly embarrassing, but I look forward to doing this post every week, even though it means showing off some really bad photos.

I like being able to say, “yeah, I run. I sweat. And I am a whole heck of a lot stronger because of it.”

So, I keep going. And having people tell me that this, in turn, keeps them going…well, that’s just an amazing feeling!

Anyway, here we go:

Thursday-3 miles (+/-) on an indoor track. I say plus or minus because I lost track on the last few laps, so I am estimating based on my time.

We went to the city rec center to check out their track, it’s kind of cool because it’s above the basketball court, so you can watch people shooting hoops while you run. It was nice to not have to bundle/layer up but I forgot how much I don’t like running inside…first, 11 laps is equal to a mile. Can you see why I lost count doing 3 miles?

Anyway, overall it wasn’t a bad run…I forgot a hair tie and it was hot… but I can’t complain…at least I got a run in!

33 laps later…I think…

Friday, Saturday and Sunday consisted of a double shift, helping out a friend, running errands and more work…I didn’t manage my time very well, so no run. I did do a little bit of walking with the hubby, so not a total fail.

Monday Afternoon-2 mile walk. Holy beautiful day! It was 60 degrees and the sun was shining. I had to take advantage of soaking up some November sunshine, so I scarfed my lunch at my desk and then drove into town for a quick walk. Two miles in thirty minutes, I went back to work feeling like a million bucks.

Perfect Timing, Wind.

Monday Night-3 mile night run. The hubby and I headed to one of our usual spots to run after work because it’s pretty well lit. Overall it was a pretty good run, we averaged 9:40 pace.

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Such a gorgeous night!

I especially loved this run because we saw a big group of people running around the oval, working together and cheering each other on. You know that I love seeing stuff like this!  I was waving and smiling like a crazy person as we passed them.

Wednesday Morning-misadventure. I woke up late and then wound up running around trying to get a horse back to its house…long story, you can read about it here.

Well… at least I tried.

Wednesday Evening-Treadmill Workout. I headed to the gym to try a spin class, only to find that it had been moved to Thursdays. Because I was already there, I decided to jump on the treadmill for a bit.

My workout was 4.1 miles, 39 minutes total. I did half mile at 9:30 pace, half mile at 8:35 pace; half mile at 9:30, half mile at 8:25; half mile at 9:35, half mile at 8:13; half mile at 9:50 pace, half mile at 7:50 pace. (These are averages, based on playing with the speed/incline).

Sweaty Betty!

This was really hard. It was one of those workouts where you end up completely soaked, gasping for air and feeling every muscle burn. I had to take a moment between the third and fourth mile and even then, I talked myself through it. When I got off the treadmill, I was beat. This morning, I am pretty sore…but it felt good.

Total Mileage: 12 miles.

Overall: This week wasn’t bad. I didn’t get in as much mileage as I would have liked but I did get in some quality workouts. I’m hoping I can get in that spin class tonight, but if I don’t, I’m thinking an easy run to work out some lactic acid.

Goals for next week: I’d like to get in some distance and maybe some cross-training.


A Horse of Course!

Sometimes, weird things happen to me. I can’t explain it, but they just…happen.

If you remember a few posts back, I had a little run-in with some flying food while on a run.

This morning’s attempt proved to be just as interesting.

I woke up at 4:45 am and immediately groaned, realizing that my alarm was set to go off in fifty-five minutes. I managed to go back to sleep until the familiar ringing began. Then, I thought I hit the snooze, but I didn’t. So I woke up with a start at 6:07 am.

“Oh NO!!! Why did I over-sleep?!” I thought.

I had missed my chance to get in the four and a half mile run I had planned on… but there was still time to run to the end of my road and back (a little over three miles).

I had this nagging feeling that I should go…

I then proceeded to get up, start to get dressed and then get back in bed…three times. Each time, that nagging feeling got worse and worse until I couldn’t take it any longer. It was as if someone was shouting at me, “GET UP!!!”

So I did. I layered up, grabbed my hat and found some good tunes.

I begrudgingly started down the driveway and turned onto the road.

Just as I was finding my stride, not even three minutes into my run, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

Standing in a field in front of me, was a horse.

Now, I realize that this doesn’t seem that strange due to the fact that I live a bit off the beaten path, however, there was no fence around this field, nor are there any barns on this particular patch of road.

“Well, this is interesting,” I thought.

Having grown up on a horse farm, I know the panic that strikes when you realize that your horse has gotten out.

As I stood there deciding what to do next, the horse ran across the road.

I quickly went over, grabbed his halter and led him back across the road to the big field he came from. He then trotted over to the house at the edge of the field, proceeded to scare their little dog and starting poking around their porch windows.

“Oh crap.”

I knocked on the door….nothing. I knocked again… still nothing.

“Well NOW WHAT?!”

So I shooed the horse away from the house and tried to think.

I called Farmer Ben, who was very confused about the current predicament I was in, but nevertheless, he told me he was getting dressed and would be along shortly.

At that moment, standing in the middle of the field with my new friend, I finally saw where the horse had come from. There was a fence and a barn at the opposite end of the field.

I started to lead the horse in that direction. He got bored and trotted the other way, having only a halter to hold onto, I let him.

Upon reaching the fence, I looked around to see where he had gotten out but didn’t see any breaks.

My friend ran into another person’s backyard and started sniffing around the clothesline.

“Why?!”

So I jogged up to the front door and knocked. Twice.

Nothing. Except their dog barking.

At that point, Ben pulled up in the Versa and the horse had trotted over to his fence.

Hopping in the car, I glanced back to see if he had gotten back in. He hadn’t.

I called a neighbor to see if he had the owner’s phone number. Fortunately he answered, unfortunately he didn’t have the number.

So we drove around the corner til we found what we thought was the right driveway. We walked up a small hill to discover that the driveway was in fact, on the other side of the house… oops.

I found the main door to the house and knocked. Nothing. I tried a few more times to no avail.

There was another fence connected to this one so I walked to the next driveway and happened to meet a woman coming out of her house.

When I asked if she had a horse, she looked at me like I had ten heads… after explaining the situation and pointing toward the fence/house, she informed me that it was her mother-in-law’s horse and would call her husband to go get him.

“Phew!”

As Ben and I walked back to the car, we saw a garage door open and the horse’s owner stepped out.

“Can I help you?” she asked. Looking back, we probably looked pretty strange, walking around her yard before 7 am.

I then explained the whole thing.

“Oh…. how did he get out? ” she asked… then, after a few more questions, “Thank you for letting me know. Thank you.”

I then realized that it was late and I was going to have to rush to get to work on time so we said goodbye and good luck and headed home.

I made it work in the nick of time.

So, in short, I didn’t get my run in…but I did my good deed for the day. I’d like to think I was supposed to wake up late and miss my window for the slightly longer run…just so I’d be in the right place at the right time…

Regardless, I know that I won’t be questioning those weird feelings telling me to get out the door and run…I’m gonna go!

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To think, I also would have missed this gorgeous sunrise if I hadn’t gotten up!


GBN: Week 13 & The Army Ten-Miler!

I’m late. Please accept my apologies. Contrary to my initial thoughts, instead of slowing down a bit, my schedule is actually crazier than it was before! What’s the deal with that?

Anyway, I’m still battling with my body and trying to be healthy. Some days it works more than others. Last night, I was out cold by 9 pm, highly unusual.

The Army Ten Miler was this weekend. It was a crazy, ridiculous, truly amazing time! Although I ended up driving down alone and not having a race buddy, I still had a great time and am so glad that I did. Happy birthday to me. I ran 10 miles! 

Now onto your regularly scheduled blog post.

Week 13:

Monday Night-1.6 mile walk: Instead of a run, Ben and I opted to walk to a friend’s house. After a few fun-filled hours of making egg noodles (super easy to make, btw!), we headed home, again via foot. I really wanted to run, but I was feeling pretty weak. A night off was necessary.

Tuesday-8 miles: I already told you a little bit about my Tuesday run. Although I had a run-in with a Michigan, it was better than expected. I’d like to think that the run helped me get rid of some sickness, but who really knows? I finished the run at 1 hr and 23 minutes… not bad, considering I had to stop and assess the situation, then clean myself up.  I also have a giant bruise on my leg. No big deal.

So dorky…but safety first!

Wednesday-4.5 miles: This was supposed to be an easy run. I wanted to get out and enjoy the weather without pushing too hard. I ended up running a bit faster than I expected (it must have been that darn music!) but was glad I got out. My legs were feeling a bit tight, so it was nice to stretch them out a bit.

Perfect Evening Running Weather.

Saturday-3.2 miles: I spent Thursday running around like a mad woman and Friday was spent driving to DC in the rain. The pouring rain. But Saturday, I went out for a leisurely jog with my friend Liz in my old stomping grounds. Although it was odd to be running those paths again, it was a nice little jog down memory lane… and in real life.

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I’m really bad at taking pictures like this.

Sunday-THE ARMY TEN MILER: Talk about a rush. Not only was there thousands of runners, but there were also thousands of spectactors. So many people, costumes, cow bells! I mentioned that I did this race in 2009… and I loved it just as much this time around. My stomach was doing flip flops all morning and I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest! But once I started running, I knew that it was going to be a great race.

Between mile 1 and 2, I tripped and almost fell on my face, but managed to catch myself. Thank God!

I had so much fun running this race, I talked to everyone around me, splashed more gatorade/water all over my face and shirt than in my mouth, was inspired by how many people came together for one race and just enjoyed the comraderie that goes with such a huge event.

I finished in 1:39:15. About what I expected. The first 7.5 miles flew by but the last 2.5 were a little rough. Slow inclines at the end of a race are no fun, but I finished. And I was feeling great!

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Evidence of missing my mouth when trying to sip water? Or sweat? The world may never know?

Huge thanks to Liz for not only getting up at the crack of dawn, but coming with me to the start line, cheering me on and braving the giant mass of sweaty, smelly people to find me after the race! You rock!

Not gonna lie, my drive home on Sunday afternoon was a bit rough and I am still feeling pretty stiff…but it was well worth it.

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Cheesing with all my free stuff!

I think it’s been a pretty good week as far as running goes. I got in a few quality runs without tiring my legs out and I had an amazing time at the ATM. Winning!

This weekend I am doing a 10k with Farmer Ben and then looking for a few more races before the season ends.

What are some of your favorite races? What keeps you motivated at the end?

Happy Running!