Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicago Marathon Recap!

Hi Friends!! So it has been a long, long while! I haven't even posted in the month of October...ek! I have been swamped with school, running, traveling and to be honest really haven't been in the mood to post.  I don't know why it is but sometimes I just get out of the blogging mood and would really rather not...anyone feel the same!? But anyways I'm back and super happy to report that I finished the Chicago Marathon with a HUGE smile on my face!

Chicago Marathon Expo!!
The Family that Runs Together--Stays Together!
Sisters Running Together!

I have been training for the Chicago marathon since June and as every marathon runner knows--its a huge commitment and ridiculously time consuming! I am so grateful to have such understanding friends and family that support me above and beyond the call of duty.  All the hard work and effort paid off 110% and I feel better and more proud of myself and my accomplishment than I can explain (sorry if this sounds like I'm bosting or being arrogant--I'm just really happy I did it!)!
Early Morning...nerves check!
On the train to the race

The entire marathon training experience--early morning runs, bringing clothes to run in between classes; planning dates around running; running after long weekends away; contemplating if I have it in me; encouraging talks from friends; running in the rain, wind, heat, and extreme, extreme sun heat; sacrificing going out on Friday nights; a ridiculously awful sports bra tan; running into trees, car mirrors and meters--was all worth it when I crossed that finish line at mile 26.2 (or as my garmin said 26.74)!

I can not say enough about how awesome the city of Chicago is or how amazing the specators and people of Chicago are.  There were specators and citizens of Chicago throughout the ENTIRE race...not even in one spot along the race was there not a person standing and cheering for the over 45,000 runners!  It was absolutely amazing and I was so grateful and surprised to see how many people actually showed up to watch.  There were high school bands, drumlines, dancers, cheerleaders, bongo players, MCs, tons of people with signs, people with treats--like jolly ranchers, donuts, beer, skittles, bottle waters, twizzlers, ice, gels, oranges, bananas, juice and Gatorade--all lining the streets of the beautiful downtown Chicago.

Me and Dad taking a water break with my Aunt and Uncle
Gel and Water refueling :)
Love the Skirts--about to take off!

The running conditions were perfect for me--started off in the low 60's and got to the mid 70's by the time I crossed the finishline.  Unfortunately, the heat put a toll on my sister and dad who were used to running in less hot temperatures :(.  I ended up splitting off from my family during the race and finishing by myself--but I am happy to report that Mimi, Dad and Lee all finished holding hands--they are troopers for sticking it out through the dehydration, I seriously think I would have thrown in the towel.  All and all the race was a wonderful experience for all four of us and I would be so happy if I got the chance to run it again!
That's How We Do ;)

As for what Paige and Drew were instructed to tell me--if I felt good after the Chicago Marathon, I will attempt to do the Savannah Marathon on November 5th--so looks like Savannah here I come :)
Savannah-Watch Out!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday and hope to post again soon!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Clemson-Auburn Recap with a 20 Mile Run

Good Morning!

This weekend was another amazing one in God's Country! I am so happy that I get to go back to Clemson as frequent as I do...and it is an amazing perk that my best friend, Laura, still lives there-so there is an open couch for me :)!  This weekend was not the typical tailgating experience (I think I have grown up a little bit--maybe?!), but regardless was an amazing time and one of the best Clemson games I have seen!
Me and Laura :)
Dinner at El Jim

Drew was in charge of putting on his company's tailgate this weekend, which is why I say it wasn't the typical tailgating experience (instead of running around and seeing people I was at the tailgate for the majority of the time which turned out to be a great time).  It was a blast and really cool to be able to see people that Drew works with kick back and enjoy some football and beer.  

Outside the stadium
View of field from our seats--in the Auburn Section 
(but sooo nice in the shade:))

We had gone shopping for food and drinks on Thursday night before heading off and were nervous that we got too much--but that was definitely not the case it turned out to be the perfect amount with very few leftovers!  I made a huge fruit salad, poppyseed muffins, oreo cookies and m&m cookies (didn't take pictures) which I was pleased to see people enjoy :)  The tailgate was a hit and so was the entire weekend--don't you just wish weekends lasted longer?!

Drew's Tailgate

The weekend was a great time--but I knew that I had a nice 20 mile run in my near future which I was admittedly dreading.  I decided to nix my plan to run before class and instead went directly after class.  I was not in a "running mood" and unfortunately allowed my head to get the best of me--leaving me with not the best run in the world.  By mile 17 I felt like I couldn't go any further, but thankfully Grant joined me and helped me finish the last 3 miles!  It really helps so much having people run short burst with you when doing a long run--it breaks it up and makes you finish what you started.  It was a tough one, but I am so happy that I completed my last lonnnng run before the Chicago Marathon woop woop :)

My sister and I are thinking of outfit ideas for the marathon--she likes glitter and pink and I would like to think I have less glam taste---but we will see what we come up with :)  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

24 Hour Bug :/

Yesterday, I was tied down to my bed with a 24 hour bug...ek! It was no fun at all, but thank goodness it was only 24 hours and now I feel almost fully recovered!  Don't germs know that a girl has a big weekend ahead of her and being sick would totally kill that :/

As for the beginning of this week it was a fun and eventful one.  Drew and I decided to go shopping downtown for dress shirts for him, only to realize that the store we wanted to go to was closed!  So we decided to take advantage of a coupon I received in the mail a few months ago (and expired that night).  I do love a good coupon and this one was awesome-- 10 dollars to Pearlz not including alcohol.  Since it was happy hour we contemplated a lot, because their happy hour menu has awesome prices and we needed to surpass the 10 dollar mark (crazy right?!).

Tuna Roll---soo good!
Homemade Chips--can never turn these babies down!
Awesome weather--gotta love the end of summer breeze!

As for my Tuesday, I decided to take some of my own advice and prep a running bag in order to go on a run directly after class.  I have an awkward 3 hour break in between classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  In order to take advantage of this break time I decided to go on a 5.5 mile run--it was the perfect break in the day and will definitely be a new running time for me!

Packed Running Bag!

Unfortunately, I don't think running will be in my future today :( I am still pretty weak from not having anything in my system from yesterday and it would probably be pretty silly to attempt to run--even if I really want to! But giving my body rest and listening to my body will probably be the smarter decision in the end...boo!  

Hope everyone had a wonderful start of their week...and only 2 more days until the weekend!! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Flashback to College :)


I loved college--like absolutely loved, loved college--and was so excited to go back to my alma mater for the weekend.  Grant, Ashton, Drew and I loaded up the car and headed for the beautiful foothills of South Carolina to my beloved Clemson University on Friday afternoon.  We got to my best friend, Laura's, who is in graduate school at Clemson (so lucky) around 8 on Friday night!  After eating, getting ready, hanging out, and playing a few card games we headed our way to downtown Clemson to meet up with everyone else.

Going downtown Clemson is a ton different from when I was in college.  I am so used to being the youngest or one of the youngest downtown in Charleston--and boy is that a flip when in Clemson.  I saw so many of the little Chi Os and other people that I knew--and was so confused why they were downtown!! Then after talking to them I realized that they were seniors and old enough to be downtown---crazy...when did I get this old!?!

Regardless of my senior age status- I had an awesome time hanging out with everyone and being back on my old stomping grounds.  I can't even describe how amazing it was to be back to Clemson :)

Me and Laura
Taylor, Tom and Laura
Megan and Brandon
Spotted Taylor!
Crazy Boys
We Love Each Other

After our crazy night out; the alarm clock went off a little too early, but we were ready to start tailgating!! Tailgating is one of my favorite things to do; everyone is so pumped and excited for the game which makes the atmosphere hard to beat :)

In order to prepare for the day ahead, we cooked up a huge breakfast complete with bloody marys!  In college, we used to make huge Saturday breakfasts with our neighbors and making such a large breakfast brought me back to the good ol' days.  After digesting our big meal, we headed off to the tailgating spot where the fun festivities began---and sadly ended too!

Walking to Tailgate!
Drew and Grant
Clemson Orange
Can't beat a pair of overalls :)
Drew and Me

The game was a blast.  It was super hot and I probably dropped 5 pounds based on the amount I was sweating, but it was totally worth it!  Plus, we squeezed out a win against Wofford!  Not going to sugar coat it--I'm a little nervous about how our season is going to turn out, but I will still root for my team and have fun watching and celebrating victories :)!! Can't wait for this Friday--back again to Clemson :) 

Hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed a little football!!  Happy Monday :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Thursday!

Fall is definitely in the air.  I woke up this morning to the temp being in the 60's...thats crazy talk for the past 4 or so months!! I love the scent of dew on the grass and the crispness that fall brings.  Like I said before I am a summer girl, but do appreciate the change in weather :)

Yesterday was another perfect day.  Charleston is supposed to have 4 gorgeous days in a row--talking mid 80's plenty of sunshine and light winds! I decided to take advantage of being able to run in the middle of the day and not die from overheating :) I ran 5 miles around the peninsula and took a moment to take pictures of the gorgeous battery.

I have run, walked (maybe one day bike) the battery many times and it never seems to get old.  The houses are beautiful and the palmetto trees that line the road are awesome...and of course the view of the water is unbeatable! I had a wonderful run and think I will have to have a mulligan again today--repeat!!

Battery in Gorgeous Charleston
Water with the Connector in the distance
My Three Favorite Homes in a Row :)
Charming Charleston...love the porches!

After my wonderful run, I quickly got ready to meet the girls for happy hour at Pearlz in West Ashley aka Avondale! It was a perfect evening and for once we all weren't breaking into a sweat.  I love being able to catch up and chat in the middle of the week.  It is awesome getting to just relax and hear how everyones week is going and start getting excited for the weekend!

Pearlz with Christina, Mary Foster and Ali

As for this weekend, I can NOT wait!!! I'm headed back to my Alma Mater--Clemson for the Wofford-Clemson game!  I'm going down there for Auburn, but couldn't wait to get back for a game so we decided to go this weekend too.  I made a target run to buy necessities, supplies for cookies for this weekend, and browsed through the racks to see if I could find anything to wear for the next two weekends.  I found a cute orange blouse (sound so old--shirt) and a purple maxi dress!  I purchased them both after asking the lady if I could return the items--even if they were clearance--and she said of course and apparently target has an awesome return policy (fyi)!!

So I need some help...
Should I keep both, one, or none?!? What do you think?!

Option 1: Wofford Game
Option 2: Auburn game--have to wear purple :)

I would love to hear opinions, because I am a self proclaimed fashion challenged girl :) 

Off to enjoy my breakfast--Raisin bagel with egg and jelly (because sadly I missed my free Chick-Fil-A)!

Thursday Breakfast

Only two more days til the weekend....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crazy Girl

Happy Labor Day!

The weekend went by in a flash--and I couldn't be happier than to have an additional day off of school.  Plus no case of the Mondays- yes please! I decided to take it a little easier this weekend, because there was a lingering 20 mile run in my future.  But taking it easier doesn't mean having any less fun--at least I learned this lesson this weekend!

On Friday night some of my close girl friends and I had a wine night filled with yummy snacks and two-buck chuck (the best 2.99 wine on earth--thank you Trader Joe's).  We called it an early-ish night in order to rest up for our girls day at the beach.  I love that fall is in the air, but I am a total summer girl and am determined to soak up as much beach time as I can before the seasons change.

The beach was surprisingly not too packed for labor day weekend.  There were many more tourists and not so many of the "usual crowd."  I think that the start of college football had a thing or two to do with the decreased beach population.  Which thank goodness Clemson won--admittedly I was nervous for a moment, but thankfully we pulled out a W :)! After basking in the sun, we went to Rita's to enjoy some football and of course amazing food. The girls continued the evening at a new bar downtown...but sadly I stayed at home and prepared for my long run in the am (downloaded new music and ate many cheerios)!

Sunday morning, I strapped on my running shoes at 7:30 and hit the pavement (and grass and sand and gravel--what can I say I love a wide variety of terrain)! I did 18 miles by myself and felt awesome...well almost awesome: I ran out of water at mile 13 and all the gas stations I went to were closed so I was a little dehydrated but felt good other than that!! I ran by Drew's house and he was nice enough to run the last 2 miles with me.  It totally broke up the run, even at the end, giving me enough added momentum to push through to finish the big 2-0 :)!!

Why I titled this "Crazy Girl" is because of two separate events: first, when I was being lame and staying on a Saturday night downloading music I downloaded Crazy Girl...which is a great country song AND secondly, because my Sunday didn't have enough exercise in it--I decided to go sea kayaking after my 20 mile run (enter the craziness, or insanity part)!

We had planned to go camping on Sunday night, but the weather channel and the radar looked really bad--so we decided to go kayaking instead.  I don't remember the last time I went kayaking--probably a family vacation in Hawaii--so needless to say I was pretty nervous!  But it turned out to be a total blast- thanks to the boys who put up with my whining and slow pace :)!! It was a perfect alternative to camping.  We ended up kayaking out to Boone Hall Plantation (about an hour and half paddle) and listened to a free concert and saw a fantastic firework show afterwards.  All and all, I had a very eventful Sunday and am so excited to sit on my couch today and eat more cheerios!!

Cheerio! And hope you have a wonderful day off today!

**pictures will come...didn't have mine this weekend :(**

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Why Do I Run?!

Training for a marathon is very taxing.  I have been struggling for a couple weeks staying on top of my training. School starting and getting back to a normal schedule has distracted me and I have been having a hard time trying to get back into a routine.

After talking to my sister and dad; I realize that it is alright to get distracted from training and a little detour in training is alright--as long as it isn't for too long and I get back on track--that is.  My sister has been feeling similar with the stresses of life detouring her from running during the week---but we both have faith and comfort that we are in it together so we can do it!

A Family Affair :)

A Few Motivational Quotes to help me get through it:

"Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character."
-- T. Alan Armstrong

"Running is a mental sport...and we're all insane!"

"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that." 
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it." 
-Oprah Winfrey

"I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." 
-Jesse Owens

And just for fun-sies (joking)...

If you run 100 miles a week, you can eat anything you want -- Why? Because
(a) you'll burn all the calories you consume,
(b) you deserve it, and
(c) you'll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway.
--Don Kardong

Don't get me wrong--I absolutely love running.  It is my number one passion and keeps me sane (literally).  I am so blessed and thankful that I have the ability to run and happy that I have found an activity that I love so much.  Running is my time to be by myself and clear my head.  Running is sort of like a religion and a lifestyle.  My love of running may sound sort of crazy--but I'm sure if you are a lover of running you understand too :)

As for today, I was attempting to get my 20 miler out of the way before this long weekend :).  I packed up all my stuff for school, for running and for after running--including post run fuel and face wash (gotta clean my face before class).  BUT my body was telling me it needed some more sleep, so I stayed in bed and decided to just run 8 miles after class and go for the long one on Sunday morning!!  Win-Win situation---plus I think my classmates will be happy I'm not smelly ;)  

Little Motivations to Keep Training:

Bags Packed Before School 
(didn't work this Friday, but does work--promise)
My Running Chart--simple chart that keeps me on track 
plus fun to mark and see how much I've done :)
Post-Run Fuel: Homemade Peanut Butter Granola (sooo good)!

Hope everyone has a happy start of this long Labor Day Weekend :)!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Found: Lost Camera!

I'm back! After a "minor" freak out and rummaging through my apartment, car, room, closest and even bathroom--I found my camera!! I didn't realize how much I love my little black thing---but I feel so much better now that I have it in my possession. If you were wondering--it was in a small pocket of a random beach bag (don't know why I decided it put it in there...but I found it so no worries)!

A lot has gone on while my camera has been MIA...there was Ali's birthday, beach days, boat days, hurricane Irene days, school days (womp womp), trivia nights, date nights, girl's night out, Drew's fraternity weekend, running (unfortunately only a little), chopping off all my hair ek! and last but certainly not least lots and lots of baking :)! I am so happy that I have found my long lost camera and can now get back to "documenting" life :)

Julia, Mary Foster and the Birthday Girl
Day at Morris Island
Drew and Me :)
Girls Night Out
Chai's amazing Chocolate Martini (tastes like chocolate milk shake)
Sushi from Wasabi Date Night...ate it all :)
New Hair Cut (sorry so close up!)

As I said I did lots of baking...but since I didn't have my camera I couldn't take pictures of all I concocted  :(!! I did bake blueberry and raspberry muffins (first time making muffins from scratch and certainly not the last time), but I did get pictures of the most amazing bars I have ever eaten!! Ali and I love howsweeteats.com and have stalked pictures of these brownie bars that she made a while ago...so for Ali's birthday I decided to finally make my own version of "better than crack brownie bars"!!

My 'Better than Crack Birthday Brownie, Coconut Cookie, Chocolate Chip, Triple Layer Bars'
adapted from www.howsweeteats.com

First Layer: Coconut Cookie

3 1/2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2. c butter
1 T baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. (or more) sweetened coconut

Combine all the ingredient together EXCEPT the coconut on low speed
Stir in the Coconut and spread on the bottom of a greased 13x9 pan (preheat the oven to 350 at this time)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer:
your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe...I know everyone has their own favorite! I used my pudding pack chocolate chip cookie recipe (obviously become obsessed with pudding)!

Brownie Layer (any recipe that you like)....
I did cheat on this one and used a box...thanks Betty!! I've attempted brownies from scratch and failed one too many times to attempt again :(

Let the layering begin...
First up, the Coconut Layer
Next the Brownie Layer...

Top it off with the Chocolate Chip Cookie layer
Put in the Oven at 350 for about 35 minutes....

 Let it Cool Baby Cool...


Enjoy :)