It’s All About the Benjamins; Running on A Budget

I bet you thought that this post was going to be about Farmer Ben, but it’s not. Sorry…I know he’s a pretty neat guy. Instead, I’m talking about cash. Dinero. Money. It can be a dirty word. Having money is really nice, and not having it…well, it stinks.

I hesitated whether to write this post or not… but in all honesty, I feel like there are plenty of people out there who deal with the same kind of thing… so here’s some real talk, straight from the Notebook.

The other day, the hubs and I were having a discussion about money. We have some silly debt (student loans, car payment, etc.) that we just want to get rid of. So, we are committing ourselves to paying them off–early!–one at a time. It’s kind of like when you’re running a race, you start from the back, pick off the slower runners first, and move up to take on the big guys last–after you build up your confidence.

So, we are getting back to our B-U-D-G-E-T.  Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with that word? I find it empowering and depressing at the same time.

This means that we had to take a good hard look at where our money is going. What are we buying? What are we spending money on that isn’t necessary?

As I’ve rekindled my relationship with running, I notice that I spend more of my hard earned cash on running-related things…whether it be a race entry fee, new sneakers, or some shiny new gadget, running on the regular can add up.

True, all you really need to run is a good sports bra (if you’re a female), and a good pair of sneakers… but even those can cost upwards of $100…and if you’re on a tight budget like myself, it can be tough to afford it.

Obviously, it’s easy to be envious of other runners (especially other bloggers) who are able to do all of the cool races, have all of the latest models of running shoes and other gadgets and always seem to be up to date on…everything…especially when we are constantly hit with images of their cool stuff on social media. Am I right? BUT….it’s also a perfect example of why we have to work hard, on our runs and in real life.

This year, one of my goals is to run 14 races (click the little icon on my sidebar for more info!) in 2014. Depending on when and where races are, that can add up.

Side Note: I decided on (committed to) this goal right before the previously mentioned “budget conversation” with Farmer Ben. Impeccable timing, am I right?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any free race entries, running shoes or other fun gadgets/apparel coming my way… I also don’t have a ton of extra income to spend on said items because right now, paying off the silly debt comes first…but that’s okay. It just means I have to get creative.

So, I decided to share my plan for saving money AND accomplishing my 14 in 2014 goal.

budget

1. Sign up early. Most races will have the cheapest entry fees the further out you sign up…. if you wait closer to race day, you’re likely to pay up to $60 more! Bonus: If you already spend the money, you’re more likely to stick to your training!

Real Life Example: Remember how I signed up for the Wineglass Marathon in December? Well, the registration fee has already gone up $10!

2. Scope out smaller races. My first marathon was an $80 entry fee (and that was after the price increase), why? Because it was small. Not only do you get to see more and feel less rushed, but you save! Bonus: A lot of times smaller races have some pretty unique swag (Wineglass has a blown glass medal!) that you won’t find in a bigger race.

Real life Examples: With more popular races, such as the Rock n Roll Series, you’re going to pay $130 (got that from their website), plus you’re going to have to shell out travel and lodging expenses in major cities–if you don’t live in said city. (Not that I wouldn’t love to run a Rock N Roll race…but this year will not be that year). I paid an $80 entry fee for Wine Glass. Next, I was perusing active.com the other day and found a half-marathon about 40 minutes from me for $20. Um, yes please!

3. Stay close to home or with friends! While it may be temping to turn a vacation into runcation, if you’re a penny-pincher, like myself, shelling out big bucks for a hotel room and air fare is not always an option. So, if possible, stay with friends/family,  race within driving distance, or car pool! (When I run Wineglass, I’ll be crashing at my sister’s house!) It’ll be more fun!

Real Life Example: When I ran the Army Ten Miler a couple of years ago, I drove down and stayed with my friend Liz-this saved me over $200 that I would have had to spend on a hotel room. AND while it took more time, I ended up saving quite a bit by driving instead of flying (This was due to the fact that I ended up getting into the race at the last minute, and the closest airport to me only flies direct to Boston, Florida and Vegas.).

4. Use discount codes. Many bloggers are also race ambassadors. That means, if they are running a big race, they’ll often have a discount code to share with their readers. This also applies to gear and running fuel (Shameless Plug; 25% off ENERGYbits with code, “NoellesNotebook.”).

Real Life Example: I’ve found some great discount codes for brands such as ProCompression, ENERGYbits (see above) and Reebok from some of the blogs I read and #RunChat is always offering discount codes to their twitter followers.

5. Bring something with you. A lot of races will allow for a discounted race entry if you do something for the organization.

Real Life Example: I’m looking at a “run for chocolate” in February–they will discount your race entry if you bring something chocolate! Other races will ask that you bring a canned good or similar with you.

6. Volunteer. I’ve seen a trend in the last few months that certain races (or a race series) will give you a credit for a future race if you volunteer. OR, if you bring a volunteer with you, you’ll get a free race entry. What a great way to give back and save some cash! Team up with some friends and make it a party!

Real Life Example: This organization out of Massachusetts.

7. Run as a team. Some races allow runners to form a team, especially corporate groups. This allows team members to get a discounted registration, while repping their organization….now if only I could get some of my co-workers to run!

8. Look for deals. I cannot stress this one enough. I very rarely pay full price for running apparel/sneakers. Not because I’m cheap (okay, maybe I am), but because I look for the deals… whether in the store or online–I hate getting weekly emails, but I keep myself subscribed because every once in a while, I find a GREAT deal. I also look in places out of the ordinary (Craig’s List, TJ Maxx, Woot, etc.) Lastly, I try not to worry about getting the newest model clothing/shoes because last year’s model is usually discounted.

Real Life Examples:  I always update my cold weather running gear in November. Why? Because Dick’s has all Reebok cold weather gear on sale for 50% off AND I use coupons (I saved $85 this year)! I also get apparel at Target–I found a pair of C9 compression capris that are the most comfortable I’ve owned and weren’t ridiculously priced. Next, I snagged Ben a pair of Vibram Five Fingers from Woot.com for $30…Lastly, I purchased my foam roller at TJ Maxx for $15 and frequently see high-end sneakers there for a very affordable price, just never in my size. Bonus: Now and then you can score an amazing deal on treadmills or other equipment on Craig’s List, it never hurts to check the “free” section!

9. Save your race goodie bag! I know it’s tempting to just toss it  without looking through it, but speaking from experience, people spend a lot of time putting those together…at least take a peak at what they’ve got for you!

Real Life Example: I’ve gotten $30 worth of gift certificates (to the same store!) from the last two races I’ve done…not to mention other coupons, all in my goodie bag. That’s $30 off the price of my next pair of running shoes.

10. Start Saving. This may seem a bit elementary, but it doesn’t hurt to set aside some money in your budget specifically for races (especially if there is a big race you REALLY want to do)…even if it’s just saving the random change you find while cleaning your car. It all adds up.

Real life Example: The other day, I was going through a pile of stuff I had been neglecting and found $23. It immediately went into savings. I also set aside some of my tip money whenever I randomly pick up a shift.

That’s it. Simple enough, right? We’ll see how I do as the year progresses!

What about you?! Any tips and tricks for saving on races or running must-haves?! Favorite major savings story on running related items/events? Best race swag you’ve gotten? What races are you running this year?!


Would you Rather Running Style Survey

Hi friends! Happy 2014!

How did you celebrate?

I spent New Year’s Eve working both jobs and spent yesterday (mostly) in bed, trying to kick this nasty head cold… today, I am back at work, drinking Kombucha and a fruit smoothie, in hopes that I’ll be back to normal in the next day or so…

Anyway, Cori over at Olive to Run posted another one of her awesome “Would you rather…” running surveys and I had to join in! Check out her post to see more responses or join the link-up party!

Let’s get started!

#1. Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm? I’d say thunderstorm…there’s something so freeing about running in the rain and I feel like a bad-ass… not that I mind snow… but rain is better.

#2. Would you rather breathe through your nose or breathe through your mouth? I do both, depending on the day…. today, I’m a mouth breather…. yuck.

#3. Would you rather do 100 squats or 100 crunches? [Now take a break and go do them. ;)] I’m going to go with 100 crunches.

#4. Would you rather have a baked good for dessert or an extra serving of your favorite entree? Extra serving of my favorite entrée…. unless it’s really good chocolate cake (and I am picky about my chocolate cake).

#5. Would you rather run on a treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour? I’d pick running around the same street block…I HATE the treadmill.

#6. Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch? Headache….I think.

#7. Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off? I’d say probably a day off…but I normally end up doing my rest days on a work day…. weird.

#8. Would you rather be a race director or a race volunteer? I’ve done both… I love being a race director and am currently in the process of planning Strides for James 2014. It’s so rewarding and I love getting to meet/keep in touch with so many people in the community–both runners and volunteers!

Last Year's Race Prep...

Last Year’s Race Prep…

#9. Would you rather spend your money on running gadgets [HRM, GPS watch, Headphones] or running shoes? Running shoes… I’m not a huge gadget person.

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#10. Would you rather run in a relay or do the run portion of a distance triathlon? Run a relay…Ragnar Relay, anyone?!

ADK Ragnar Relay 2012

ADK Ragnar Relay 2012

What about you?! How would you answer these questions? What’s your best “would you rather…”  question?


My Year of Running, 2013

Happy Holidays Friends! Hope you’re enjoying the last week of 2013!!!

I came across this running survey on Miss Zippy’s site and decided to play along…visit her original post to view the link-up party!

So, let’s get started!

What was your…

Best race experience? I didn’t do a lot of racing this year…but the races I did do were all pretty awesome.  Regardless, I’ll have to go with completing my first marathon.  It’s something that until this year, I never really had the urge to do and up until crossing the finish-line, I wasn’t sure I could do. This was the most difficult race I’ve ever done but it was so worth it.

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

The marathon tested my entire being but I’ve never felt more uplifted in the running community. I’ve never connected with other runners, volunteers and spectators  as much I did with this race and the memory of that day is something I will cherish forever.

I’m already looking forward to marathon number 2.

Best run? Again, I’ll have to go with the Adirondack Marathon. I’ve never felt so accomplished in my entire life and I don’t think I’ve raced a more beautiful course.

I did it!

I did it!

Outside of racing, I’d have to say my best runs were the last month of marathon training… I felt on top of the world.

Best new piece of gear?  

Hmm…I don’t feel like I really use a lot of “gear” and/or “gadgets.” I’m pretty low maintenance on my runs…  If I had to pick something, I’d go with my CamelBak or ENERGYbits…. both of these were instrumental in marathon training and really helped me stay on track nutrition/hydration-wise.

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I loved ENERGYbits so much that I became an ambassador so I could share them with everyone I know (*and a 25% off discount–use code “NoellesNotebook”).

Powered by bits

Powered by bits

Best piece of running advice you received?

Run your own race. It’s really easy to get caught up in the comparison trap…especially when you are a blog reader/writer. It’s tempting to compare yourself to other runners and wish you could be more like them… but at the end of the day, your biggest competition is yourself.

Trust your training. It takes hard work to improve. There’s no way around it…if you train well, you’re going to run well. I had a lot of mini-meltdowns over the summer as a result of a crazy schedule and marathon training…but I survived.

Most inspirational runner?

This is a tough one. In real life, I’d have to say my friend Kristy. She’s a mom, a student, a small business owner and still finds time to run. It puts me to shame! In real life/blogging life-my friend Jona. She’s so determined–when she establishes a goal, she doesn’t stop until she’s accomplished it–She’s a 46er and recently PR’d her 10k time by a lot. Pretty awesome!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

I’d say 2013 was a challenge, a year of learning, pushing through and a test of my abilities–both mental and physical.

Let’s chat: What was your running highlight? Biggest challenge? What inspires you?!

*Disclaimer: As an ENERGYbits ambassador, I do receive a little bit of money if you order using my discount code, however all opinions are my own.


Confessions: Words with a Kooky Doctor

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I finally gave in and went to the doctor to see about my weird leg pain…

I don’t have a primary care doctor, so I did a walk-in right after work because I couldn’t get an appointment and ended up getting a full physical because I hadn’t had one in… I don’t even know how long. Shame on me.

Confession: Between work and our road-trip, I still haven’t gone to get the blood work he ordered… hopefully tomorrow? Double shame.

Anyway, while I was there, I quickly realized he had no idea what was wrong with my leg and that he wasn’t going to be much help in that department… he even told me so… but I figured I’d get the most bang for my buck and went on with the rest of the physical.

I mentioned that I had run a marathon and we talked about some health concerns (mostly that I am prone to some wicked headaches/dizziness).

His response? “Well, you’re obviously very healthy. You’ve run a marathon, the proof is in the pudding!” He continued with, “I don’t know what to tell you about the headaches other than they probably aren’t anything to be concerned with, it’s just an annoyance.”

He then asked me about medical history and asked me if I had any symptoms of depression…three times.

First, who says “the proof is in the pudding?”

Apparently, there is proof here.

Apparently, there is proof here (Source: finecooking.com).

Second, Yes– while running a marathon is a good sign of one being healthy, I don’t feel that it is an end-all, absolute indication of one’s physical health being perfect. Not that I have any major health concerns, but I was irked by his assumption and brushing off the one concern I did have…and repeatedly asking if I was depressed… it just didn’t sit well.

Anyway, the rest of the visit was equally enlightening. I discussed BMI with him next…

Side note: When I last saw my gynecologist, she was impressed that I had lost the weight that I have and that I did so slowly… but said it would be beneficial to lose about 15-25 more pounds. I feel like that’s kind of standard coming from a doctor and for all I know, she could be right. Honestly, I would be okay with 10 more pounds.

My current BMI is 28, so I am technically classified as overweight. Now, I realize that this is merely a guideline and even when I was in the best shape of my life, my BMI was close to what it is now.

I also realize that I AM healthy, but, I figured since I was there, I would ask his professional opinion… he is a doctor, after all.

I felt a bit silly asking, but I got it out, “you know, I’m just wondering because my BMI is a bit high… if it’s something I should worry about… I’ve lost about 30 lbs but it’s taken me a really LONG time to do so… and I know that’s a good thing, but at the same time, I don’t know if it’s normal for it to take as long as it did… I’m just wondering–“

He interrupted me (!) and even raised his voice for a moment.

“–You DO NOT need to lose ANY weight. You are perfectly healthy, you ran a marathon, so you’re obviously healthy. But, if you want to lose weight for physical attractiveness, or competitiveness, or whatever reason, the only way to do that is to eat way less and make yourself completely miserable. So if that’s what you want, then by all means, make yourself miserable.”

Cue my jaw hitting the floor.

That was not what I was expecting to hear and I was, for one of the few times in my life, completely speechless. Not gonna lie, it was nice to hear this, but I think he completely misunderstood my reason for asking the question.

I mentioned that my main concern with my current weight is the impact it has on my joints when running and that I know losing said 10+ pounds will be easier on my body, which he quickly dismissed by saying, “Not true.”

He went on to say how the only way to eat less is to know exactly how much you’re taking in and the only way to do that was to count calories (obviously) and then proceeded to tell me it didn’t matter what I ate or where my food was coming from, it only mattered the amount I was eating.

You can imagine my indignation at the last statement. This was a doctor telling me that nutrition value and where food comes from didn’t matter. I almost hit the roof.

Apparently eating things like this doesn't matter... Grrrr

Apparently eating things like this doesn’t matter… Grrrr

In short, the proof is apparently in the pudding; I am perfectly healthy.

Some Updates:

  • My leg seems to have healed itself and I went on my first run post-race last night. It was only 2.5 miles, but I had no pain. Let’s hope it stays that way.
  • I’m currently experimenting with my diet to see if something I’m eating/drinking is causing the headaches.
  • First experiment: cutting down my coffee intake.
  • Next step: getting the blood work done so I can get an official letter saying that I am “perfectly healthy,” and I can move on to finding a primary care doctor who I don’t find kooky.
  • I’m also going to get my eyes checked to see if the headaches are vision related. I am getting older, after all.

Let’s discuss, what’s the strangest/most outrageous thing a medical professional has said to you? BMI-do you pay attention to it? Any weird ailments? When’s the last time you went for a physical?


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?


GBN: Pre-Marathon Jitters

You guys…I’m running a marathon this weekend!!! (Did anyone else just picture that scene in Mama Mia? Anyone?)

Yesterday, I found myself telling Ben that I was going back and forth between “feeling ridiculously excited and absolutely terrified.” No matter what happens this weekend, I am going to give it my all….and I am going to enjoy the ride.

I’m taking a lot of comfort in the fact that my last couple of weeks of training have been really enjoyable. I’m feeling strong on my runs (even if they are shorter) and I am have a great time in the process!

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Night Runs are exhilarating!

Anyway, it’s been a busy week in our house. Luckily, Farmer Ben is the best hubs ever.

So, here is my week in training…and then some life:

Monday: I ended up having to work at job 2 on Friday and Saturday night…between that, church, group meetings and having a minor car issue (my muffler decided it was going to break) which entailed a lot of running around, I ended up doing my final long run on Monday night.

Not having my car that day turned out to be a blessing…I finished much earlier than normal because I had to run from my job to meet Ben when he got out of work. My stomach was finicky the entire time, but I found my zone and ended up going a lot faster than I thought I was going. I don’t know if that is good or bad…..regardless, it was a beautiful day and I felt great! I ended up doing 9 miles instead of the prescribed 8.

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This is the face of confusion…sweaty confusion.

Tuesday: I got stuck at work until late and ended up taking a rest day… I took a deep breath and told myself this was not a big deal.

Wednesday: It was a much better day.

Not only did Farmer Ben get my muffler fixed (Yay!) but, he also got my oil changed, took me to lunch, went for a run with me and made a banging dinner.

Oh…you want to hear about my run?

We ended up doing one of our regular loops featuring a big hill backwards… there is still a hill going the other way, but not nearly as steep.

Ben ended up taking off and getting pretty far ahead of me as I was trying to stay closer to my goal pace for the marathon…but then my competitive side kicked in…. and I ended up booking it up the hill in order to catch up with him… when I finally caught him, he had a look of confusion on his face…

And then he asked the question: “Do you have a funny taste in your mouth?”

Me, completely confused and unaware: “…No…what sort of taste?”

Ben: “You don’t taste something? Like Dust? (insert pause for effect) because I certainly DON’T!”

It took me a moment to get the joke, then I burst out laughing and slapped his arm.

And then I left him in MY dust…for a couple of minutes.

I ended up slowing down a little bit for the last mile, but overall I ended up running faster than planned. In the end, I still felt good!

Practicing for race day with my fuel belt...

Practicing for race day with my fuel belt…

I had to take a picture of Farmer Ben after his zing… notice his smirk:

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Anyway, after our run, Ben whipped a Swiss Chard risotto (complete with garden veggies, homemade chicken stock and almond milk) and some (local) chicken sausage meatballs.  I had two helpings, it was soooo good! I have to say, I am pretty darn blessed to have such a good husband, even if he does tease me during our runs.

 

A bowl of yum.

A bowl of yum.

So what’s going on the rest of the week?

  • Tonight: I’m going out for an easy three miles to make up for Tuesday.
  • Friday:  Rest day.
  • Saturday: I’m heading down to the race expo and going to scope out parking, bathrooms, clothing check and the like… I’m also going to squeeze in an easy 2 miles to keep loose.
  • Sunday: Race day!!!

As for food, I’m focusing on quality… I’m trying to load up on my veggies and avoid too much dairy, sugar and heavy foods in general, as my stomach has been a bit off the last few days (nerves). I’m also taking my ENERGYbits, focusing on drinking a lot of water  and logging my food on myfitnesspal to make sure I’m getting enough of everything… Saturday night, I’m planning on a simple pasta meal and then Sunday morning, I’m going with a bagel with peanut butter, honey and a banana for breakfast.

Tell me, any advice for race day? What do you eat before a big race? Have any good running burns? 

Happy Running!


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?!