Bless My Heart

the improvement of a southern girl

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Half Marathon Race Recap

It’s been a week since I ran my half, so I figure it’s about time to let you all know how it went :).

The Man and I put our little girls in the hands of his mother and headed out the door at 5:45am on Saturday morning and pointed the car to New Orleans. After a 5 hour drive and a few stops, we headed to the Expo at the Convention Center.


The center was packed with people buzzing around every which way. Along with the runners, there was some sort of cheerleader thing going on as well. I searched out and found a steady stream of abnormally fit people going in a certain direction and followed them into the correct hall. From the very first minute, I knew I was where I needed to be. This was where I should be. Not because I am abnormally fit, but because I want to be πŸ™‚

As a steady stream of people passed by, I couldn’t help but observe the many different genres of “runner” that I saw. There were the pros, sleek and trim and cool as a cucumber. Another day at the office for them. There were the groups and teams, giggling as they huddled together for another photo-op. Leaning on each other for support and inspiration. And there were the rookies, with eyes and clothing sizes a little wider than the rest, lingering in front of every station. These were my people, and there were plenty of them.

After getting my bib and info packet, we were off to explore the chaos. I had to stop for my own little photo-op…

I have to say that we didn’t stay too long at the expo. Too, too many people for this chick. I tried to soak it in as fast as possible. A few free samples here and there and I signed up for a new magazine subscription so I could get a “free” tshirt πŸ™‚

The rest of the day was spent grabbing some good food and visiting family and a Tulane baseball game. It was a beautiful day to spend in the city, but I have to say I was quite preoccupied through most of it. I suffered with an upset stomach through most of the day. Nothing dramatic, just enough to feel upset. Nerves, yuck!!

Around 9 o’clock I decided to call it a night and get myself ready for the morning. I laid out everything I needed for the next morning; this is the pic I took of it all before I packed for the trip:

The white fleece jacket is forever-old and needed to be retired. I chose to bring it to the starting line to ditch when we started. It was too cold to go without anything while waiting, but knew I would heat up pretty quickly. I give myself a +2 for that idea, as it worked perfectly. The waist belt was something I bought the day before we left town. Without my running jacket, I needed a pocket to carry my iphone in so I could contact The Man when/if I reached the finish line. Another +2. It was a great $10.00 purchase from Academy. I didn’t feel it the entire run, and it was nice to be able to text when I was reaching Canal St. to let the husband know I was reaching our checkpoint.

The bodyglide has been long-run staple ever since I had a sports bra incident that made me look like a had an underwire attack; and the shot bloks I would have really liked at about mile 6, but I forgot to pack them the morning of the run.

After getting all my gear ready, I read over my instructions a few dozen times and closed my eyes praying for sleep.

It worked. I slept like a baby.

Alarm was set on the iphone for 5am and it didn’t take me long after the first sounds for me to remember the monstrous task I had assigned for myself that day. I quickly went about getting dressed and ready and eating the peanut butter and banana sandwich I had made for myself the night before. I woke The Man up and we headed out the door by 6:00am. After a short drive in a sleepy town, we arrived at the shuttle set up for runners at the Superdome. After a sweet send-off from the husband, I closed the door and found myself alone on a tremendous journey. I loaded the shuttle bus and sat quietly, watching couples and friends walk by through the window.

A nice older gentleman sat down next to me and politely asked me about myself. He was from Atlanta and has done dozens of half marathons throughout the years. It was a nice ice breaker into another runner’s perspective. I felt better automatically.

After a short walk from the bus stop, I found myself at the starting area.

I had about 1/4 of a bagel and a bottle of water, and made my way to my corral.

I wisely went to the port-a-potty before the rest of the crowd filled in. There was quite a line at this point. You can see a line of blue potties in the background, right above the people. That was the main group of them, but luckily each corral had five or six in the start line as well. Everybody’s got to go before a race!

After about 20 minutes of waiting, we saw the front line take off but my corral took about 35 minutes to work up to the start line. I snuck out of the barriers to pee again πŸ™‚ and barely missed a beat. +2 decision again for me. I didn’t have to go at all while running and every potty in the race course had a line waiting.

Finally, the start!

Mile 1 – went by in a flash. Just excited about watching everything and every body go by.

Mile 2 – trying to settle into a pace. I notice on my Garmin I’m a little faster than normal. Try to bring it down a bit to I don’t burn out too fast but it’s too easy a pace right now. Still excited.

Mile 3 – HOLY CRAP MY STOMACH IS CRAMPING!!! Where did that come from? I try not to dwell on it and inhale long and slow, breathing down into my belly. It works.

Mile 4, 5, 6 – Just cruising. Slowed down and staring at various butts as we all go along. Also start having routine water stations about every mile or so and decide to walk 30 seconds through each one so I can actually drink it and not splash my face instead.

Mile 7 – Yeah, I’m tired. Yeah, I’m thinking to myself, “a couple of weeks ago I did a 7 miler and it was long and hard and I was ecstatically happy with it. and now I’m just a little over halfway done… boo…“.

Mile 8 – I got to see my smiling husband as I went through the Quarter. He snapped a pic and then I promptly stopped for a second to talk and stretch. My back/hamstrings were getting pretty stiff at this point.

If it looks like those two ladies were walking, it’s because they were. 8.4 miles in, people were dropping like flies.

Mile 9 – Along with the water, they had energy gel (Gu). I have never wanted anything more during a run. I was way past empty on the energy scale. I took mine down quickly, and I admit, a half mile later I picked up an unopened discarded packet and had it as well. I’m telling you.. EMPTY!

Mile 10, 11, 12 – THE HARDEST 3 MILES I HAVE EVER “RUN” IN MY LIFE! Mile 10 had a donut shop and the air was the best thing I have ever smelled. Thoughts of beignets faded into the background as I smelled those heavenly donuts. Two runners actually came out of the shop and joined back into the race with a bag of chocolate cake donuts. I hated them instantly for taunting me. Taunting me with donuts, and taunting me with the fact they could joke about eating donuts after running so long. They had no idea I hated them, either. I observed it all in silence as I suffered along the live oak covered cracked pavement of Esplanade Ave.

The 13th mile Β – We were teased a little by thinking we had to run down and cross a bridge and come back to the park. When we reached the bridge we realized the path went the opposite direction and then came back around, adding a 1/2 mile or so. That was depressing. My whole body hurt, but the last few miles I realized it hurt just as bad when I walked as it did while I ran, so I carried on. As we approached the finish line I was passing runners that were walking back from the finish line, already carrying their finisher’s medal. I was soo ready to be one of them.


There was no energy left to speed up for a strong finish, so I made sure just to finish in an upright position. It would be bad form to collapse at this point πŸ˜‰

I quickly realized there was no one to greet me. The Man hadn’t made it to the park by shuttle bus yet (there was no parking for spectators, boo!). That was a little disheartening, but I tried to enjoy it all as much as I could. I was given my medal and grabbed up some free grub before finding a nice tree to crash under until my cheering section arrived (sister-in-law and brother-in-law joined husband).

That’s a pic of a very tired, but very satisfied girl. I just finished a half marathon! I went from huffing through my first Couch to 5k 90 second run, to running 13.1 miles!!! Granted, I was slow (2:55), but I was never in this for speed. I wanted to go the distance – and the distance I conquered πŸ™‚

I really believe now that I can do anything I set my mind to. The body is an amazingly adaptive thing. If you sit on the couch all day, it will adapt to that. If you push it through exercise, it will adapt to that as well. It was my decision to get off the couch, and I’m so very glad that I did.

I don’t really know where I go from here. I am going to run a 5k in Portland, Oregon next weekend visiting family, and I have a few 5k’s scheduled for this spring/summer. The Man and I have got a plan to start lifting/running together to lose some poundage. Funny thing that I haven’t lost any weight during training. My appetite was as big as my training plan! I’m also pretty weak as well, so I’m looking forward to adding some weight lifting to tone up a bit for summer short season.

Sorry it took so long to recap! Work life is pretty busy right now and kids never let up (school kids or home kids!).

Night y’all – and I hope this inspires you to do something to improve your life. You don’t have to run 13.1 miles, but you should investigate that nagging thought in the back of your brain that pushes you out of your comfort zone.


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Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Sunday’s run rocked! I killed 9 miles for the first time!!!!! I FINALLY feel like I can do this. Anxiety that has been building in me for the last few weeks melted away as the miles rolled on a gorgeous, cold morning run.

I can do this.

I won’t win. I won’t place. I won’t be fast.

But I will do this.

I will run a half marathon. I will stand at the starting line with the knowledge of how hard I’ve worked to get there. I will cross the finish line with sweat and pride streaming out of every pore.

I will do this.

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Time keeps ticking

After the terrible week I had last week, I can’t say that I was all psyched up to do a long run on Sunday. I went to a new place that I thought might be good, but it turns out it was a little too hilly for a successful long run. I called it quits after 6.3 miles, but left feeling very unsatisfied. My Sunday runs have progressed in this order:

week 1 – 4 miles

week 2 – 5 miles

week 3 – 6 miles

week 4 – 7 miles

week 5 – 7 miles

week 6 – 3 miles (most terrible training week from hell)

week 7 – Divided Run 6.3/2 = 8.3 miles

Yeah, so I wasn’t happy with not going past 7 on my morning run, so I went home for a couple of hours to let my hip rest then set out again for 2 more miles. Not the best way to train, but it gave me my mileage for the day. Speaking of my hip, that was the main reason my runs haven’t been doing so hot lately. My hip flexor on my right side has been super tight and sore, making it to where every stride is painful. I’ve been taking extra care to do more stretching this week and it seems to help.

But to tell you the truth, if you really want to know, every run now brings out a different ache in this 31 year old body. I’m feeling every hit to the pavement. I’m recovering faster though, so that’s good πŸ™‚

This week has started off really strong for me. I just completed 4.5 on the dreadmill tonight with a faster pace than usual. I was at a different gym with different equipment and I think that helped a little. Looking forward to the rest of the week now.

Kinda sad I don’t have any food pics for you tonight 😦 Β My meals are consisting of leftovers and grazing, mostly. Maybe I’ll get creative soon.

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Stormy Wednesday Night

I am slowly bouncing back to where I should be. Had a decent 4.5 mile run on the treadmill yesterday, and looking forward to doing it again. Kinda.

I think part of my problem is that I’m having to run more and more on the treadmill with my weekday runs now that they are becoming longer distance/time wise. I really, really don’t like running on the treadmill for more than 2 miles at a time. It’s become a necessary evil and I’m starting to become bitter towards it. I will work on refocusing that energy elsewhere, though, as I’ve got 5 more weeks of it.

I really wish I would have taken a picture of the star of tonight’s supper while I was making it, but I missed it. Yesterday I roasted a bunch of sweet potatoes and a large butternut squash in the oven. The potatoes transfer quickly into easy meals with a few additions, but I really didn’t know what to do about the squash until I found this recipe today.

This picture is from the blog in the above link-

I made a few adjustments to the recipe. No butter, just olive oil, and only about 1/2 cup cheese instead of 2 (that’s all I had, reduced fat Cabot cheddar).


I’m excited about tomorrow’s lunch already…LEFTOVERS πŸ™‚

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Banging my head against a WALL.

There is a good reason I haven’t blogged much this week —– IT SUCKED.

Tuesday’s treadmill 4 was the only time this week I felt like I had it, everything else has been completely off. From schedule to just the way my body feels. Off. I’m having that week. The week where you feel like you hit a wall and can’t get anything done. That’s where I’m at. So far, all my workouts have been fairly smooth and my progress has been steady. Not this week….


Thursday’s 4 was rescheduled to Friday so The Man and I could go on a date. I don’t know if that was the reason, but after 10 minutes on the treadmill I was headed out the door back to the house. I wasn’t feeling it AT ALL. I figured it was just a bad day and looked forward to getting back into the rhythm on Sunday’s long run.

Well, today is Sunday, and my funk is still here. I went to Lincoln Parish Park to have new scenery to run to, but it didn’t help. I was aching all over and felt like I was carrying fifty more pounds on my body than usual. Every step was heavy and long. I took a little break after 2 miles to get some water and stretch, but I called it quits after 3. It just wasn’t working. I felt like I was going to injure myself if I pushed any further. I was defeated. Disappointed. Sad.

Resorting to my old ways, when I got home I drowned my sorrows in milk and chocolate no-bake cookies I had made for the girls yesterday. It was easy for me not to eat them yesterday, but today they were fair game. Now I feel terrible in more ways than one.

I really don’t know what is going on here. I don’t know if it is the weather front that has come through? The lack of sunshine and my self-diagnosed seasonal affective disorder? Boredom? Stress?

Or maybe just a funk?

I don’t really know what it is, but I am just going to declare this an off week ending on a bad day and start over again tomorrow. I’ve still got 6 weeks left till the race, and I know I will get out of whatever this is and bounce back stronger soon.

It’s 8pm, and I’m going to bed. The best way to end a bad day is to really just end it. Goodnight.

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Whirlwind weekend

I told The Man tonight that I felt pretty proud of myself. The best way for me to feel good about myself is to be very productive. If I get something done, something substantial, I can finally relax and not feel like a lazy slob.

Relax before work = Lazy Slob

Relax after work = Awesome Super Woman Who DESERVES Rest!!!

That being said, if you could take a picture of me right now this is what you’d see…

Or, rather, something like her…

With brown hair.

And pajamas pants, tshirt, and zippered hoodie.

And a little cellulite here and there.

Reclined on a red leather chair in a messy house somewhere in Louisiana.



Okay, nevermind, where was I?

Productive. Yes. This week and weekend I was a factory that produces production in a very productive way, if you get my drift. Busy busy with band related work stuff and such. Friday I was at the school from 7am till 1am the following day (except for a quick trip to drop the girls off at my mother’s house) and Saturday I was at a different school for another 10 hours or so. Sunday, which is today, well I didn’t feel like doing anything. Sleeping, really, is all that I wanted.

I did NOT want to run. Period.

My legs/knees/ankles have been tight and sore since last Sunday’s 7 miler and combined with the crazy schedule I had this week I was juuust about to talk myself into resting today.

But I didn’t rest.

Around 3:30 I saw that the sun was on it’s way down and it was now or never. I was scared that if I missed my long run today, it would just be an excuse for me to tumble down into laziness and start missing all kinds of workouts. I knew I had to get out there and just get something done.

I forced myself out of my comfy nobody-better-knock-on-the-door-and-see-me-like-this clothes and got into my running gear. After loading up my ipod with a Jillian Michael’s podcast, I was out the door and immediately feeling better. All fatigue and soreness was forgotten and it was just me and the road and freezing temperatures. I put myself on cruise control and knew that I could go for more than the minimum 3 miles I was planning to do, I could actually go ahead and do a long run.

And a long run I did…

That right there says 7 miles in 1:26 minutes. Whew, that’s a long time to run! And nevermind the pace it has on that picture. That’s my pace while standing in my kitchen taking a picture. My average pace for this run was 12:29 per mile. Yes, I’m still a turtle. At least for long runs, short runs average around 10:50 per mile. And no, it wasn’t the 8 miles that I had wished to do, but my training plan only has me scheduled to do 6, so I am still ahead as far as that goes. I’ll save the 8 for next Sunday when I shouldn’t be near worn out.

So that’s all I have for this week. Not much, but like I said, other things have filled my plate these last few days. I am proud of myself for once again making my run a priority in my day. 5 weeks down, 7 weeks to go!!!

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A Sunday for the Dogs

Today marks the completion of my first week of half-marathon training and the day of my long run. It was “only” a 4 miler today, and I say “only” because I was up to 6 miles a couple of weeks ago, not because it was easy. I went a different route today and found out that I chose a road with mega hills on it. My butt was aching the entire time. But that’s good I guess, as my butt needs some major work πŸ™‚

I was about .75 miles into the run when I turned a corner and found three dogs staring at me as I approached. Yes, three. A gang. All heads and ears perked up as I got closer and I began to have visions of me being chewed into ground beef on the side of the road. As I got closer, I could definitely see that they were interested in me. I was nervous.

I was almost scared.

And then….

And then….

They all wagged their tails, sniffed me politely as I went by, and proceeded to run the next 3 miles with me.

I couldn’t shake ’em. I thought I did when I turned back and headed the other way. But sure enough, they caught up with me. It was fun. They kept me entertained.

And I know you are wondering how/why I have a video of this??!! My Man bought me an updated ipod nano with the video player for my birthday in September. I was thinking that this was a pointless feature for me on my runs up until today, when I just slid it out and took a little video of my new friends. Thanks, babe. Came in handy after all πŸ™‚

And I’m not telling you what I’ve been eating because, well, goshdarnit, it’s the holidays and I’m eating whatever I want to. Just trying to not completely pig out every day. Running plan is the focus right now, diet will probably be postponed until Dec. 26th. πŸ˜‰