50 Day Christmas Challenge

My WordPress buddy who I swear is my long lost sister since we are so much alike, has been posting some monthly challenges and experiments lately.  She’s a wine lover and decided to give up alcohol for 1 month to see if it would help in weight loss.  She also just did an intermittent fasting challenge.  Check out her blog.  It’s really inspiring!  So inspiring, she has motivated me to make a blog post and I haven’t touched this blog since December 26th of LAST year!  And I used to love blogging.  Hmmm, wonder what’s up with that?!

Anyway, I have this little countdown app on my phone and I used it to count down the days until my last marathon.  It was the Marine Corps Marathon and I ran it on October 28th.  It was a wonderful experience and my hubby and I had a nice vacation.  He hadn’t been to DC before and we did all the touristy things.  We had a ball!  I promise.  I’ll write up a race review ASAP!   But for starters, here’s our celebration photo.  Ron ran the 10k that day and had time to shower and nap while I finished up the marathon.  LOL

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Getting back to the app, when I went in to amend it, I found that I could pick any date on my calendar.  I randomly picked Christmas since I don’t have another race until next spring.  I watched the little app count down last week and I realized it would be getting close to 50 days out soon and an idea popped into my head.

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What if I did a 50 day challenge!!!  But what could it be?  I had already told my running coach and running friends I was taking a break from running.  My original plan was to take all of November off.  What would happen if I took December off to?  I remember last year I had a January marathon and I loved it so much because it kept me focused all through the holidays.  Maybe I could use the 50 day challenge to keep me focused this year?

I adore Lindsay at Happy Herbivore and she preaches that “abs are made in the kitchen.”  You know, the whole you can’t outrun a bad diet manta.

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So that was it.

I was getting burned out on running and I was ready to take a hiatus from it.  I have some IT band issues that need more time to heal too.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Beginning today and for the next 50 days, I’m going to follow Lindsay Nixon’s slimming options. I’m not going to cheat and eat candies, breads, chips, and vegan junk food.  I’m really going to eat clean!
  2. 64 ouces of H2O daily! It’s happening!
  3. I’m not going to run or do any of the boot camp exercise groups that I adore. No long and vigorous exercise sessions.  I’m going to focus on yoga, push-ups, and planks.  Probably 15 minutes a day or so.
  4. Along with these, I’m going to try and add some good habits. First up is flossing my teeth nightly.  I do it religiously for a while and then I don’t.   I really want to make it a habit that will stick.  After about 2 weeks, I’m going to add getting enough sleep to the agenda.  7+ hours minimum.  I’m so bad at staying up late and then getting up at the crack of dawn.  No more.  Sleep is so crucial to good health!  Then after another 2 weeks or so, I’m going to add on making sure my sink is clean every night.  My hubby and I are so bad about leaving dishes!  We rinse them out but we don’t take that extra step to unload the dish washer so we can put the dirty ones in.

So there you go.  My Christmas present to me.  In 50 days I hope to be a lean, strong, flexible, rested, push-up machine that just happens to have healthy gums and a clean kitchen!    Ha!

What gift would you like to give yourself this year?  Do you like countdown apps?  Are you a list maker?

Thanks so much for spending time out of your day with me.  I pray your holiday season is joyous!

Melissa

 

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KIAWAH!

Now for Kiawah!  I have wanted to run this race for about as long as I have been running.  It’s an old race on the resort island of Kiawah, South Carolina.  This year was the 40th anniversary of the race!

My run club picked it as a focus destination race and a lot of my friends were going.  This was the year!  I checked with Ron and he was free that weekend so I quickly signed us both up.  Since I knew we’d be with friends and no one would want to wait 5.5 hours on me to finish a full, I signed up for the half as well.

We had a blast!  Ron and I stayed with 3 other couples and 4 of the 8 of us were running!  Here’s a shot of Kim, Connie, me and Ron at the finish!

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The drive to Kiawah from our home was about 4.5 hours.  It wasn’t a bad drive but it was raining the entire way and the traffic got a little busy once you make the turn to Kiawah from Charleston.  For anyone thinking about doing this race, I’d recommend that you make it down to Kiawah early in the day or even 2 days before the race.  Kiawah is a private island resort and all the cars have to enter through the main gate.

Also, I’d highly recommend that you plan early and stay on the island.  Pick a place close to the start/ finish line and once you park at your rental home, you won’t have to drive again.

Connie had us covered and took care of all the arrangements.  Here’s a few shots of our room.  The home had 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms!  We loved it!

The funny thing though was as nice as our home was, when we actually got out the next day on the run and saw all the mansions on the island, we realized as my friend Kim put it, that we were staying in a shanty!  LOL

Connie, Kim, Ron, and I all ran together for the first 6 or 7 miles.  We were doing 2 and 1s I think.  That’s when you run 2 minutes and then walk 1 minute.  We are all former or current Galloway runners and this method is very good to keep you injury free.  Ron stayed with us but he decided to slow down at bit and then we split up.

It was a great run.  The crowd support was awesome and even though the previous day was all rain, the day of the run it cleared up.  It was cold but no rain!  We were all thrilled.  When you’re a runner you know you have to deal with the cold and you have to deal with rain but when mother nature attempts to throw both of them at you at the same time, it can be a little much for you to wrap your brain around.  We were so happy we only had the cold to deal with.

I highly recommend Kiawah!  Go run it next year and plan to have a blast!

Here’s a shot of the race shirt and the medal!  Best race shirt ever!  Check out the  hood and the thumb holes!

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Happy Running Friends!

 

 

 

RDC Inaugural Marathon

November 12th was the day!  RDC was going to be my comeback marathon.  Charleston was such a disaster and Oak Island wasn’t too much better.  I was determined to fuel well and really give it my all.  I had certainly trained well all year so there was no reason RDC shouldn’t go very smoothly.

Ron and I were ready to run!  Ron the half and me the full.

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Let me step back a minute and let you know about RDC, Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill.  This was the first year for this marathon.  The route was almost exclusively on the American Tobacco Trail.     We practice all the time on this trail with my run club.  It is almost completely flat!  Here are a few of my favorite training run shots.  The first and last one are on the ATT but I think that middle one was on a greenway maybe around the lake at Koka Booth Amphitheater.  That’s me and Connie in the first picture and I’m with Deanna in the middle.  Me and Connie again and more friends from our run club in the last one.

 

RDC was a great race!  I liked that it was local and that they were raising money to help find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The race expo was held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  It was a very cold day and the expo was very small but it was well run.  I liked the shirt okay and they gave out a nice sweatshirt.   Here I am a few hours after the race all showered up and sporting the swag.  The medal was great!

 

 

The night before the race we were at home so I was able to easily eat my normal night before a long run meal.  I had a Quorn chicken cutlet and baked Japanese purple potato.  My good friend Claudia swears by a small meal similar to this and she runs a race just about every weekend.   I tested this before my 23 miler and my 18 miler and those runs went very well.

I really wanted to do well in this marathon but I knew I had to be realistic.  All the numbers from my training runs pointed to me doing between a 5:15 and a 5:30 full.  So, I decided to hook up with the 5:25 pacer as early as possible.  I knew I had to keep it slow in the beginning if I had any hopes of finishing strong.

Here I am with Charlotte.  She was the 5:25 pacer and I hung with her from around mile 1 until mile 23.

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Charlotte wears a costume in all of her marathons and I remembered her from Charleston.  She wore a Southern Bell costume in that race that was so awesome.  Complete with a parasol and everything.   This costume was the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and she wasn’t gonna let us be late!

Around mile 23 I slowed down a bit to put my earbuds back in my fuel belt and she got a little away from me.  I caught back up with her but something happened and my legs just wouldn’t move any more.  I was still running but I kept slowing down more and more.

I smiled and told her to go on and she did and she finished the race right on her 5:25 pace.  She was so sweet to stick around and cheer me in when I came in 11 minutes later.  That’s right.  I finished in 5:36 and lost a full 11 minutes in the last 3 miles!  So bummed!

I’m really thankful to Charlotte though because up until mile 23 I had a great race!  I felt wonderful!  Not a smidgen of pain anywhere and I was all smiles the entire course.  Even after I slowed down, I still had a good run.  So many of my friends were on the course racing and it was a beautiful day.  It was a little cold but not too bad and the day was sunny with no wind.

I’m excited for Charlotte because she has been  trying to run a marathon in all 50 states and will be able to achieve this goal in April of 2018.  She’s running the Garmin Marathon Land of Oz in Olathe, Kansas.  They have the Wizard of Oz theme and Charlotte has a lot of costumes planned.  She told me about this article that was in the news about her and I found it.  Click here and learn more about my awesome pacer!

Here I am at the finish with my good friends Connie (on the right) and Deanna (on the left.)

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Connie has been trying to run a sub 5:00 full for some time and she knocked it out of the park!  Deanna was in beast mode too and finished this marathon only 3 weeks after running the Marine Corps Marathon.

RDC is a great marathon and I might consider it again next year.  I love that it is so flat and even though you are on the American Tobacco Trail for practically all 26 miles, you will have a little crowd support.

RDC finishing times

Ron gives RDC 2 big thumbs up.  He had a great half marathon and loved waiting around for me due to the fact that they had an awesome craft beer on tap!

Happy Running friends!

 

 

Hurricane Holden and Ocean Isle Half

September 9th was the day that we were supposed to run the Holden Beach half.  However,  NC was under a state of emergency due to Hurricane Irma and Holden Beach had to cancel the race.

The race directors are so awesome and they gave many options to the runners so we could still get our shirts and medals.  Ron and I chose to run at home and we had a great run on the greenway.  It actually was a gorgeous day in our neck of the  woods and I heard it was gorgeous as well at the beach.  I understand the decision to cancel the race though because you can never be too careful when it comes to the weather.

Here Ron and I are after our half that day.

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Here I am weeks later after we got our medal and shirts when we ran the last race in the series, Ocean Isle.

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The last race in the series was Ocean Isle on October 7th.  We had a blast.  This time we rented an airB&B and although it was very close to the start and finish and very nice, if I run again, I’d try to get a room right down on the beach.

Here’s a couple of shots of our air B&B:

 

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I ran the race in my very first and only Sparkle Skirt!  I chose the Hiker Chic length and I love it so much.  I have even worn it hiking!  This length is awesome for wearing to the grocery store or to Wally World.  So very comfortable!

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It rained a little the day of the race and that is my only complaint of the skirt.  Since it was longer, it absorbed a good bit of rain and I found myself wringing it out a couple of times.

The series is so fun and in 2018 the medals are even better.  Be sure to go click this link to see them!  I don’t think Ron and I are doing the entire series next year but we may just have to go back to at least one of them.

Here Ron and I are at the beginning of Ocean Isle half.

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We both had great runs.  My official time was 2:32:10.

Here’s the last shirt and the medal:

 

 

And here are all the medals in a row!  So very cool.  I have donated mine already but Ron has all of his!

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Happy Running Friends!

Sunset Beach Half

Sunset Beach was the 2nd race in the BAM series.  Ron and I ran it on May 20th of this year.

I made a huge mistake and didn’t book our rooms early and I couldn’t find anything decent close to the start/finish.  We ended up staying about 20 minutes away back in Oak Island.

It actually was a great place.  A super cute old school motel.  Come to find out, the owner had been coming to Oak Island his whole life.  He lived in West Virginia but his family vacationed in Oak Island.  When this little motel went up for sale, he jumped at the chance and bought it.  He and his sweet wife have been remodeling it and loving life ever since.

Our room was one that was recently remodeled and was so sweet.

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We loved it.

On the way down on Friday night, Ron and I go hungry before we made it to the beach and ended up stopping at the Mad Boar.  I was nervous at first because it was so busy and fancy and I wondered if we were dressed okay.  We were dressed very casually and that ended up being perfectly acceptable but we didn’t have reservations.  And they were needed!  I have no idea where all these patrons were coming from.  Mad Boar is really in the middle of nowhere.

We lucked out and there was a spot in the bar and we scored a perfect table.  There was even live entertainment.  Double score!

I was determined to fuel correctly and decided to order harvest veggie pasta.  Ron spied the fried pickles and we had to get them.  They were the best fried pickles I’ve ever had.  I only ate a few though.  I swear.  I’d say, no more than 3 bites!

Fast forward to race morning and I had one small banana.  I met my good friends Lisa and Claudia at the start.

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Even with conscious fuel choices, my stomach messed up again near the end of the race.

Thinking back on this, we had just had a Popsicle they were giving out due to the high heat and humidity.  It may have come from so much sugar.  No clue.  Just really, really, frustrated.

My time was 2:40:18.  Not too shabby for such a hot and humid day and having to stop yet again.

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It actually was a great race.  You had to ride a shuttle due to no parking at the start/finish. We got to the shuttle stop super early and the bus was late.  No worries though.  We still got on the 1st shuttle and snapped this photo.  My sis said we looked like the Hulk.  No clue where the green tint came from.

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I absolutely loved the start/finish area.  It was in a park near the Inter-Coastal Waterway and there were gorgeous old shade trees.  Plenty of pizza and beer afterwards.  Ron even drank a few even though there were American lagers.  Normally he won’t touch anything but an IPA.

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Here I am days later with the shirt.  I love it!  The medal is awesome too!

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My medal hanger is full and just like I have been doing lately, I chose to donate this medal to Medals4Mettle

Side note, I’ve been thinking about how my life is changing.  Never say never!

Last year my run club was collecting old medals to give to a Medals 4 Mettle.  They give them to people that are in the hospital or are fighting hard medical battles to help cheer them up. My good friend Connie was giving hers away.  In fact she once commented to me that she ran a race and was excited that you could check a box to not get a medal.  I was floored.  I couldn’t believe that someone wouldn’t want a medal to begin with and then would be willing to give them away to charity.

This year, I totally get it.  I have so many medals and although I enjoy the thrill of getting them, I really am loving donating them.

I’m also giving away some more of my race shirts.  I purged a lot last year when Ron an I first began tidying the Japanese way.  My new rule is it they don’t fit in one drawer, some have to go and go they do.  Straight to Goodwill!

I’m really looking forward to the other 2 beach races in the BAM series.

Happy Running Friends!

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

This post is dedicated to mojitos.   I really am so sorry this race recap is so late.  This half was way back in March of this year.  I’m only posting for posterity’s sake.  Facebook friends, please ignore this post.  This is all old news.  Just trying to get caught up on my blog.  However, you may want to keep reading just a little to hear the best mojito recipe ever!

My sis and her husband went to Cuba recently and they came back bearing gifts of aged Cuban Rum and Cuban cigars.  Rum for me and cigars for Ron.  They had a really great time in Cuba.  Be sure to check out her travel blog.

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The recipe for mojitos that Rosa shared with me was shared with her from the bartenders at Dos Hombre’s Restaurante  – Two Brother’s Bar.

I’ve had a few mojitos at restaurants since having Rosa’s mojitos and they do not compare at all.

What you do is put your sugar in your glass first (about a tablespoon) and then add your mint leaves.  Take a spoon and crush the mint a little.  Rosa used coconut sugar when she first made one for me because that was all she had on hand.  Now I can’t make a true mojito with any other kind of sugar.

Next add a little lemon (or lime) and then a shot of rum.  Top it off with some Sprite or 7-Up and ice.

They are to die for!

We made them again when we had our sister weekend at the yurts.

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So much fun!

Tammy has since sent me some organic mint seeds so we can grow our own mint and never be out of mojito ingredients.  🙂

Anyway, getting back to the race recap for Tobacco Road.

The thing I like most about Tobacco Road is that they give so much back to the community.  The cumulative total since 2010 is up to over three-quarter of a million dollars at $761,000 in charitable giving.

The expo is on the small side but is very well run.  Shirt was great!  I love the v neck but I wasn’t thrilled about the color.  (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the shirt.  I donated it already.  It was gray and a nice shirt but the minimalist in me makes me give away things that don’t bring me joy.)  The medal was super pretty.  I loved the medal but I don’t have it anymore either.  I’ve already donated it to Medals for Mettle.

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The parking at the race is very limited and you have to purchase a parking pass really early in order to be able to park at the start/finish.  I had to ride the shuttle this year but it was no problem at all.  It was a breeze to park at the satellite facility and the shuttle was warm and cozy.

I made it to the race with plenty of time to spare.

I never know what to wear when the weather is in between.  I knew I’d be on the cold side to start but I also knew I’d warm up pretty fast.

I chose to wear short sleeves and a skirt but I wore my toboggan.  It was perfect at first but then I got warm.  My hair was sweaty and awful at that point so I had to keep it on. Crazy I know but I didn’t want to scare everyone.  LOL

My race went really well for the first few miles.  I was feeling great and keeping a pretty good pace.

Around mile 6 my stomach started feeling funny so I had to stop at a port-a-john. After that I felt great again and really didn’t lose much time at all.

However, around mile 12, my stomach was all messed up again and I had to find another stop.  I had to walk a little.  I lucked out and found a port-a-john at the last water stop.

Lesson learned!  No mojitos before races.  You know, come to think of it now.  I had gotten some Irish soda bread from Great Harvest the Friday before the race.  Oh my goodness.  That bread is so wonderful.  I tried to limit myself but I probably consumed a little too much of this bread leading up to the race.  After 6 years of running you’d think I would have figured out my fueling strategy.

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Even with the 2 stops my time wasn’t so bad.  2:32:51

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I’ll take it.

It was a good race and I had a lot of friends running.  My very good friend Connie, PR’d by 6 minutes!

She was all smiles.

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Right after the race, I got a massage.  It felt good but I was starting to get chilly again.  It was a super windy day.  After that, I got some pizza and one beer and headed back to the shuttle.

I’ll try you again next year Tobacco Road.  Your course is too flat and fast for me to mess up fueling.

Happy Running Friends!