Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February Happenings

February may be the shortest month of the year, but we have managed to pack it jam full of exciting things!  We kicked off February by celebrating my 30th birthday with family and friends!  I haven't had a birthday "party" since my 21st birthday so it was long overdue.  Huge thank you to my sister and amazing husband for coordinating such a fun night!

The week following the shindig was the Hot Chocolate 15K that I over zealously signed up to run a few weeks prior.  After we got back from our Bahamas Half Marathon trip I knew I needed to give my knees a rest from the beating they had taken of race-after-race for months straight.  Little did I know that during this rest time I would slack on my form during strength training and end up straining my sartorius muscle, which also leads to knee pain.  I ended up backing out on the Hot Chocolate race and got serious about my recovery.  Lots of people have asked "So what did you do, why are you not running?" and my answer is simply "2013 was the year of the run" and it was.  I don't regret a single second of it but my body finally said enough.  I took a solid two weeks off of running, none, zilch, zero.  That's enough to make me a bit edgy but I knew it was necessary.  During this time off I spent a lot of quality time with the foam roller and the stick, iced, stretched, and made several trips to the chiropractor.  Just last week I was able to start running again!  While there is still some work to do, things are definitely on the mend.

While I was not able to focus on running, I focused my attention on the nutrition side of things.  We've always been healthy eaters but I made a few changes/enhancements to our regular eating routine and have been loving it so far.  As a birthday gift to myself, I took the plunge and invested in a Vitamix!  Holy mother of blenders, this thing is amazing!  I can finally say that I have mastered the Vitamix and the green smoothie, and would challenge Smoothie King to a battle any day!  My husband who is incredibly picky with food (especially veggies) has now been converted to a green smoothie fan...he even requests certain recipes.  For two people who are on the go, all the time, it's nice to get in a huge serving (or two) of fruits and veggies in such an easy way. (I'll also throw in Muscle Gain protein powder and Rehydrate packets for an optimal recovery smoothie)

We had a blast of much warmer temps last weekend and I got throw on a pair of shorts (hallelujah!)  Last year in Spring this pair of shorts barely zipped and were quite uncomfortable.  I decided to give them a whirl and low and behold they not only fit, but were a little loose!  Sometimes it's just that little bit of motivation that keeps you on track with your health and fitness goals.

Exhibit A
*In non-running news: I took a step way outside of my comfort zone and attended the required course to get my CHL!  I grew up in a gun loving family so I guess you could say it's in my blood.  My Dad is over-the-moon excited with my decision so I see future trips to the gun range together.  Between blenders and pistols, 30 has been riveting so far!*

Back to the running news, I am very proud to announce that my husband is officially a marathoner!  When Brandon decided a few months ago that he wanted to tackle the 26.2, he asked me to coach him and lay out his training plan.  Pretty sure coaching your spouse is somewhere on a list of "Things You Should Not Do" in your marriage.  While we had our share of ups, downs, disputes, and him not listening to me >cough cough< I will have to say that overall we did pretty well with each other!  On Sunday, February 23rd we headed out the door at 4:30am (yawn) to head to the Cowtown Marathon.  It was fun to just be a spectator this time around and see all of the nervous yet very excited runners wandering around.  The temperatures on race day were not ideal for a full.  Temps started out in the 60's and made their way up into the 70's with a lot of humidity!  I felt awful for Brandon but kept my worries to myself; he had enough to worry about.   

Once Brandon rolled through the start line, I set out on foot to head down to the Mile 16 mark of the course.  I made it there in good time and got to see all of the leaders of the full, half, and ultra marathon come through!  As someone who isn't the fastest of runners, I am always in complete awe of the leaders.  How they hold that pace and make it look so effortless is just incredible.  Brandon came through the Mile 16 mark looking strong, and while the heat was starting to get to him, he was still smiling.

Mile 16
After he kept cruising, I packed up my things and made my way over to the Mile 23 mark where I met up with the rest of the cheering crew: Greg, Brian, and Fonzie.  Mile 23 was an interesting spot to watch the runners come through because this is where your body wants to quit.  We saw one runner completely collapse with muscle spasms and several others who were showing signs of dehydration.  Mile 23 is also where you can finally start to see the end in sight and have to mentally overcome those pains.  Brandon was still truckin' along when he ran past us.

Mile 23
It was a mad dash back to the finish line to make it there before Brandon did.  I booked it about 3 miles in a dead sprint to make it there....I was NOT about to miss him cross the finish line after all of the running around I had done that day.  I made it just in time to see him cross that finish line at proud!   

His exact words when I met up with him were "That was the dumbest thing I've ever done" :)  Two days later he's already planning his next one.  I know him well enough to know that it won't be his last.

We're going to cap off an already amazing month with a concert from one of our favorites, Lucero!
Taken in 2011 - Ben Nichols (Lucero front man) and myself.
Thanks February for being pretty awesome.  I appreciate you.

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