Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New Gear for 2013!

Anybody else get SO stinkin' excited about the New Year?!  I absolutely love the new year. Almost as much as I love Christmas. I like the fresh start. The sense of renewal and new chances for new adventures. A clean slate! Really each day could be seen as that. With each new sunrise it is a new day! But there's something fresh about a whole new year.
I'm not even sure where to start! I must have about one-hundred goals and resolutions for this upcoming new year. But in reflection, 2012 was amazing!  I remember thinking I wanted to run a marathon by 2013 or 2014...well I met that goal in 2012! So many awesome things like that and scoring PRs and age division awards. I met all of my goals and logged over 1200 miles this year. And on a personal note I became the most content I've ever been. Content as a single parent and woman.
My son has also had an incredible year! He ran his first Fun Run in February, swam like a champ over the summer, read chapter books like they were going out of style and has completely wowed me in so many ways.
Work life has been crazy but that's why maintaining a positive attitude while on the job is one of my 2013 resolutions!
My big focus as far as running goes is the OKC Marathon in April and the inaugural Asheville Citizen-Times marathon in September. Running OBX in November would be awesome again but like I've mentioned in the past, financially I can only, barely, swing one good trip.
I also must admit, I want to be faster. I daydream about running Boston more than any normal human being should. Even though given my past marathon speed I have my work cut out for me!  That may take another year or two or three...but that's why we keep on keeping on!

So since I like lists and I need to organize this a bit,

2013 Goals:

FAMILY/HOME
Have a DAILY devotional time with the kid (was way too off and on last year with this)
Run at least two fun runs with the kid
Organize our closets...yay fun.
Put our swim/run, all things active scrapbook together (I have all the pieces sitting in a pile needing to be put together!)
Limit tv/movie time and add extra board games or crafts
Food prep and cook more. <--this one scares me the most!

WORK
Maintain a positive attitude and breathe!
To not participate it any gossip whether it be true or false. Talking bad about people is just wrong. Period. We are to speak life and encouragement!
Be more grateful daily for a job.
Read more CEs. Like actually read them. To actually learn. Not skim them and answer questions as needed.

HEALTH
Count my fruits and veggies daily! There were many days this past year where I only ate like ZERO real whole foods.
Practice Yoga/Pilates at least two times each week (I was way too lazy on this last year...)
Drink drink drink my water! I cut our diet soda during the last phase of my marathon training, but snuck a few after. This year I want to cut it out totally! I feel so much better without it.
Read 10 books this year. 10 whole books. I don't read much and I feel this should change. Maybe I will pick some good running reads. I'd like to read The Long Run by Matt Long. I've read so many awesome things about this book. Reading inspires, enriches and grows the mind. My poor brain could use some of that. Ha!

RUNNING
To run OKC and see my family!
A sub-4:00 marathon!  I will have two chances!
Get a 5k under 24 minutes
Get as many fun runs in with the kid
Keep running happy and strong!

And I have so many more goals, I know I do but I will keep this list for your boring reading pleasure short and sweet!

So you see my pretty little picture? I scored a Fuel Belt for $15! Have you been to Marshalls?? I strongly suggest you check it out. There was only one Fuel Belt. Ladies size small. Perfect for me! I tried it on in the store and ran around with it on. (Because I'm cool like that) Stayed put and didn't bounce. And those bright colors should get me going!  There's something about bold colors that make me feel like a rock star. Note the bright colored socks as well!  I'm excited about having some new gear for this upcoming marathon training cycle!

**So what are your biggest 2013 goals??**

Happy (&Blessed) Running!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

#Elf4health Chocolate&Peanut Butter Microwave Cake

Hey there again! So I got this original recipe from Melanie at Happy Being Healthy. And it is so, so easy that I could do it!
But I had to tweak it a bit because I realized there was no cocoa powder sitting in my pantry.  I'm grossly understocked in the kitchen. So I substituted with one packet of 10 calorie instant hot cocoa mix and it worked like a charm.  I left out the sweetner and cocoa powder and in place did the mix.  In cooking it is allowed to experiment!  I also used almond milk since I don't use moo milk for anything anymore. So it mighty not look too pretty but it turned out quite tasty!  Great for a quick sweet tooth fix. The only thing I regret it not having any strawberries to top it with.  I did use some vanilla greek yogurt on top and it was scrumptious. All in all it really makes for a satisfying and filling treat!  Enjoy!

**Any quick recipes you enjoy via microwave?**

Out of Hibernation and #Elf4health

Yeah, Yeah I know.  I've been MIA again.  Well, REAL LIFE is busy ya know!  That and I finally had a day off when the library wasn't closed...that and I've had writers  block...I'm sure I could come up with some more excuses.  As a warning, this post may go a little something like this; blah blah blahdiddy blah.
SO...
Thank You Lord for having sent Your son to save us so we may celebrate Christmas ...but Thank YOU LORD I can now take my tree down!  That tree was down Christmas day after all was said and done.  A little rest was good. Even though I wasn't happy about it I'm glad I chose to put the treadmill away for the Christmas season. It forced me to slow down and take a breather. I went a little crazy I believe and discovered just how reliant I had become on needing to run. I need it like a crack baby needs crack.  But I'm well rested and ready to GO!
So anyway...
My game plan for the next two weeks is to build my mileage back up a little before the next round of marathon training begins, which will be January 7th. That's also when the kiddo goes back to school, so it works out perfectly. This time I'm going with a different game plan. I really liked RLRF (Run Less, Run Faster) plan because of the lower mileage and only three runs a week but, since I didn't cross train really much at all, I'm going with a higher mileage with a mix of yoga and pilates. OKC Memorial Marathon in April I'm coming for you! I can not wait to see family again...
 
So having said all that...I came across a fun #Elf4health challenge about a week ago and thought hey this would be a great way to stay healthy this season. Only I've failed terribly so far.
The challenge goes a little something like this,
Each day of the week you are challenged to do or try something you may or may have not tried before or may have just not "had time for".
 
Monday's challenge: call up an old friend. Well Monday I worked, went straight to get little man, got showered for our church's Christmas Eve service, straight to church, straight (as if I could've gone crooked...ha) to our family's gift exchange for the kiddos, then home and had to get Santa ready and by that time it was about 9:30 pm.  So no, I didn't call a friend. BUT I did text one...I don't think this counts.
 
Tuesday's challenge: take a walk with a friend or family member.
Well it rained. And rained some more.  So no, I didn't walk. Gah I'm a terrible elf!
The other part is your "Elf". You are matched up with another elf to help encourage you along the way.  There's also prizes and what nots for best elf etc etc.
 
Wednesday's challenge: find three things I like about myself in the mirror and show it off! Okay so I didn't take of picture of me.  You've seen my face before.
  • I like my eyes. God gave me deep blue ocean eyes.
  • I like my heart.  Because Jesus is in it, it loves deeply and beats strong for my runs!
  • I like my legs. Of course ;-) because well, I run. So they're just smokin' hott! Ha!

Thursday's Challenge: write a list of 20 things I am grateful for.  I did manage to get this one done!  I wrote it in the back of my 2012 runner's journal so I can remember it for years to come. 


Friday's challenge: Make a healthy mug cake.  Did not happen.  Worked over late because work was crazy!  Wow, I am full of excuses aren't I?? So I googled a recipe and I will try it this weekend!  Does thinking about making one count??  No. No it doesn't.  ha!  Cute mug!

#Elf4health

And for the weekend?  I am to take some time for myself.  Hmm... I did get a face mask for Christmas.  Maybe I will pamper myself tonight. Maybe even paint my nails!  What?! I never do that.  Never time!
Well happy weekend friends!  Make the best of it and keep on keeping on.  Take some time out this weekend for you! 

Happy (&Blessed) Running!

**So...anyone failed any challenges lately? Or proudly finished any?  Share please!**

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tell Me About Your 2012

So about this past year...how'd it go for you?
Thought this was a clever idea and a great way to connect with other runners/bloggers. I have had a blast getting to know so many runners and reading their blogs. I've learned so much and its also just so much of a comfort knowing we can have a huge support system. Even if its "virtual"!  Thanks to technology, and a wise use of it, we have the ability to connect with others and share our stories and help keep each other motivated and accountable!  These questions courtesy of Miss Zippy! Go check her blog out. Good stuff. She had this post idea and asked us to share. I like to share. :-) So does Christine at Dream Big Runner, another awesome blogger. She's the one I heard about this little questionnaire from originally.  So lets hear it from you!
  • Best race experience? Hands down the OBX marathon!
  • Best run? I'm going with the DuPont trail race.  I used it as a training run during my marathon training and had the time of my life!  You just can't beat trail running!
  • Best new piece of gear? At the beginning of the year I splurged on my Garmin 110!  It's simple, basic and cute! Works perfectly for me.  I feel lost without it on.
  • Best piece of running advice you received? Run from the heart and trust your training.
  • Most inspirational runner?  Every runner I've ever met has inspired me in some way.  I could go on and on about who and why they inspire me. 
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? A new beginning.  This year I felt like the real Jessica was unleashed!  NO more excuses or hiding in life.  I went out and ran and conquered my past fears. I became okay with me.  Well, not just okay, I became happy with the life God gave me. 
**So now it's your turn!  Answer these questions and link back to your blog or answers in the comments below!  I want to know how your year went as well!**

**Happy (&Blessed) Running!**



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Time in Technology

Last week I didn't post one blog post.  And for a day or two I got rid of Facebook.  *Gasp!* But it didn't last too long.  I missed all my friends.  However, I felt the need to step back and get some perspective. Life can get overwhelming real quick when you're trying to keep up with everyone else.
On average how much time a day do you spend in technology world? Cell phone, computer, internet, social media, tv, tablet...etc etc...

(Photo from Time management Ninja)
What if we tracked every hour we spend a day?  How many hours would that give us to run?  Exercise?  Play with our kids/dogs/cats/spouses(insert whatever you have here)?  Clean house?  Visit real face-time friends and/or family?  Volunteer?  The list is endless. I include myself here.  I realized I was spending way more time than I thought I was.  I'm not suggesting that social media is bad. In fact it is a very good and useful tool. I have learned many new things, been inspired by others, made new blogger friends and won some cool freebies! (Including Kara Goucher's book Running for Women from Fit For Moms!  Go check out her blog! She's always got useful tips and encouragement!)
But rather I'm suggesting that it can be a total time-sucker for other wonderful things in "real life".  It's about balance.  Ah, the great balancing act.  I am still a work in progress with this!
So I challenge you to pick just one day this week and track every minute you spend glued to some form of technology and write it down. Then make a list of what you could have accomplished within that time frame.  Writing things down has a way of making things more concrete. (Also works for running goals!  Write them down and you're more likely to succeed.)
Feel free to share what you've learned. Or if you have a great time-management skill, share what works for you to keep things balanced and in check.

So as far as 12/12/12 I got in my 12.12 miles today in honor of the last repetitive date. An amazing run!  A much needed amazing run.  I felt like I was on cloud nine the whole run and cloud 12 after.  Definitely a huge difference from yesterday.  I was reminded how blessed I truly am.  Sometimes all it takes is some time to reflect and regroup.  Time to vent.  Time to stew about things.  And when it's all said and done you come back refreshed and ready to take on the next thing in life.  Life's a road.  Run it.

  **So, how did you run the day?**

Happy (&Blessed) Running!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2013 Goals and Holiday Blues

Well, it appears I've disappeared from the social media scene for a while. Even been completely off Facebook. Gone.  I've fallen off the face of the planet.  Contemplated getting rid of every social media account I have. But, I reasoned with myself that would be silly.  Maybe it was the past 8 straight days I just worked...and now I'm so tired I can't even enjoy my day off... I feel like everyday I got home from work I was falling apart. I am falling apart.  Emotionally, physically and spiritually.

This is me this Christmas Season ha! okay not really me.  But it was funny.
There have been other personal things I've had to deal with this season that have had me absolutely tore up in a mix of emotion...like anger and serious frustration. I can't seem to get my act together.  I feel like such a butt! I'm generally working different shifts daily and dealing with human beings who aren't well and I have to solve all their problems.  I may be exaggerating ... but just a little.  I just got burned out. Trying so hard to live a full life and keep up with tweets, posts, blogs, workouts, pins....it can be mind draining. And I'm not even exactly good at any of it. You know the whole not having a computer thing and trying to do all things social from a stupid "smart phone".
Anyway.
So this gave me time to reflect. Time to think. To find out why I feel what I do is never enough. Never good enough.  Winter and the holiday season can be difficult for some.  And I'm no exception.  I won't bore you with my whole life story (but I will say I've never had a stable life growing up as a child going through 4 step dads, moving countless times and never getting to see my family in Oklahoma because we got moved out here to NC.  Then I got married, had a kid and divorced yada yada...see I told you it would be a long, boring story) but running has been my one vice. My one help during these times. Where I feel free and at peace. But at this moment I feel like it isn't helping.  The few runs I can get in feel hard.  I'm just sad. Really, really sad. I feel lazy and unmotivated. This blog is supposed to be Flying Feet in FAITH. Where has it gone?  Another reason I took time off of the social media world. To try and spend more time with the One source who can heal all broken, lonely and sad hearts. I still can't seem to shake this funk. Usually setting some sort of goal helps. I regret to say I couldn't stick with the #RWRunstreak due to the Christmas tree.  :-/  I really can't run on my lunch break because we have no showers or similar facilities to clean up and I'm sure my co-workers wouldn't appreciate that...
And so it brings me to think of my goals for next year. I can not function without a goal apparently. Since being an adult I have discovered that having, setting and achieving goals brings so much satisfaction in life. I have been reading about some pretty inspiring goals such as 13x13.1 races in 2013. My problem?  Even thinking about affording 13 races!  Races fees can range from $25-$100+ depending on race and distance. (Another blueish kinda thing creeping up this season..trying to afford daily living and Christmas for the kid, nephews, nieces etc etc) Fun runs are generally cheaper. Maybe I could do 13 Fun Runs with my kid! ....hey. now that's an idea. If I can sucker my little guy into that. Ha!
So now that I may have totally depressed you all with my blue Christmas spirit... I just had to get it out of my system. Lord help me get through this.
What are you goals for the new year? I have a crazy one or two. Break 22 minutes in the 5k. My fastest official time for 2012 was 24:02. I told you it was crazy.  But my main goal is to run a sub-4:00 marathon. I think I can do this. My training plan will take full swing in the first week of January after the kid goes back to school and I can revive my treadmill!

This is my Crazy reach goal for the end of 2013.  My first was to break 30, then 25, then maybe 20???

For anyone else who struggles here is a link I found:
I came across this article from Psychology Today and found it very helpful and full of practical tips- "Running Away from the Holiday Blues" from the article,  "It's the marathon that has taught me these techniques, and I have to believe they'll work for others. In a 26.2-mile race, the last few miles can feel grueling. Unlike the first miles, when a runner feels her strongest, the last miles break her down, just as the last months of the year tax the verve right out of many of us."
That hit home for me.



**Please someone, anyone, out there tell me I am not alone in these feelings during the holidays??  Does setting goals help you cope with life? Or am I just a weirdo?  Don't feel obligated to answer that last question.**

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Feet of a Deer or Elephant or Bull or ...

http://bible.us/Hab3.19.NIV 19 ~
"The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights."

Have you ever felt like you were just gliding effortlessly through a run?  When your feet were light and the steps went quickly and all was right with the world?

Maybe once. But I can't remember.

I feel more like a drunken bull in a china shop.  I can never manage to run in a straight line.  Have you ever seen a deer run?  They're swift and graceful. But my name isn't Grace for a reason. About two years ago I was told I was a goofy runner from a good friend (good used lightly here) but at work yesterday I had a compliment from a customer who sees me running through town often. She says that I look "beautiful and just so fast" when I run.  That absolutely made my day. Especially when I don't feel that way.  ESPECIALLY during the winter time when I feel extra "fluffy" and not as motivated. So there...so called friend of mine. I'm no longer a "goofy" runner. But I'm beautiful and fast. According to my new favorite customer. 
So this is my prayer today. That God would strengthen me and make my feet like a deer.

**So what about you?  How do you feel you look most of the time when running?**

Ps- how do you like my art skills with my little bull running? Ha!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Treadmill Hibernation In the Spirit of Christmas

Warning: this was all typed up from my phone so there may be misspelled words. *gasp*

So it looks as though I won't be running on the treadmill much for the next 23 days. Which means my runs will be few and far in between. But sacrifices must be made for the kid and the spirit of Christmas. Our home is so tiny we had no other space for the treadmill or tree. So there it is. In their seperate corners with their lights.  If I were to run on the treadmill I'm pretty sure that all the ornaments, including our angel (we can not have a fallen angel!) would come toppling down.  Siiigghhh....the treadmill has been such a lifesaver as a single momma...

Oh and the Reindeer Run went well. I was just excited to be there and running! A whole different experience. I beat my course time so that was cool. Previous was 27:07 and this run was 24:31.  (7th female/173 and 38th overall/278). But I must point out there were many youngsters there from Girls On the Run and some other kids. They started at the front and sprinted out then about a mile in I almost ran over a few. I felt awful!  I remember only dreaming about getting under 25 minutes last year so this was a pretty good feeling! I also remember last year struggling to finish up that hill but this year I was able to sprint up to the finish. That was awesome!  I like the challenge of the course. It's always such a great event.  But yet I find myself still not satisfied with my time...never good enough! Geez. And I'm guessing this break from the treadmill isn't going to help any. Oh well. Life needs balance. January though IT IS ON!!!! My training plan for the OKC Marathon starts as soon as the kid goes back to school after Christmas break!  And so does the desperate savings of monies...

**So how are you running this season?**

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tips & Tricks: Fueling the Marathon+GIVEAWAY!

Happy Monday everybody!  When I do get tips out it is usually on Tuesdays, but here again with my work schedule and library hours I find myself just fitting it in where I can. My options may be limited but that won't stop me from pressing on. :-)
So anyways about food and drink...(one of my most favorite topics ha!)
You've trained super hard for this event so why waste all your hard efforts only to bonk out due to poor nutrition or hydration?  Don't let that happen to you!  As the saying goes, you are what you eat.  Half the battle is a good diet and proper fueling at the right times. At first it can seem tricky but eventually you'll find what works for you and find yourself in your perfect routine. And every one's  body is different.  So my way or some other's way may or may not work for you.  It's about learning the basics of nutrition/hydration and learning how YOUR body responds and reacts to certain foods and drinks.  I'm happy to say I finished my race with no tummy issues!  And I credit this to the following tips that worked for me.

 

A few basics that I've learned

During training:
  • Eating 1.5-2 hours before a run is usually the best policy to make sure all things are good to go...well not "go" ideally during your run... ya know.
  • Practice taking in gels, sports drinks and food in practice runs.  If possible look to see what gels or sports drinks the race provides and practice with that particular brand.  Otherwise  be prepared to bring your own along with you in a fuel belt of some sort.
  • Hydrate so well your urine is pale yellow.  This really should be a lifetime habit.
  • Avoid fatty or greasy foods night before a long run. 

Days leading up to the race:
  • Drink, drink, drink!
  • Cut out soft drinks and alcohol or cut back.. I don't drink alcohol so that wasn't an issue but giving up my Coke Zero was difficult! But, you know now I don't even crave it...
  • Eat, eat, eat! With a focus on good carbs and protein.

Day of marathon: 

  • Nothing new!!!
  • Eat, here again, 2 hours pre-race. I prefer a bagel and coffee.
  • Drink about 16 oz of your favorite sports beverage. I go with Gatorade.
  • Keep sipping on water throughout your morning. But stop 30 minutes to 1 hour prior.
  • I take a gel or energy chew about 15 minutes pre-race with a quick sip of water.
  • Stay ahead of refueling! I took water or Gatorade at every aid station. But that's my body. It's a thirsty little bugger. Know YOUR body and what it needs.
  • I also took my water bottle with me and had it refilled with Gatorade at one station.  SO glad I did that!
  • I took 4 Clif Bar Energy Shot Chews throughout the race. I can't remember exactly which miles...but roughly at miles 7, 12, 18, 22...if I remember correctly...

I have a few extras...
These are the ClifBar Shot Bloks I carried with me.  They worked perfectly for my tummy and energy.  With only  half a shot (25 mg) of caffeine it was just enough extra boost to keep me going.  You want some?  I have a few extras I'm willing to share!
Just comment below on what fuels you use during races, LIKE me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to get extra entries!  Easy peasy!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here's a few good articles that may further help you...
Happy (&Blessed) Running!    
**Disclaimer:  These tips and tricks are what worked for me personally.   I am in no way certified as a nutritionist or coach.  Please speak with your family doc, coach or nutritionist to find what works for YOU!**

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Day #RWrunstreak Start! Let's Go Streaking!

Since after the marathon I have been so lost. I don't have a training plan to follow and I don't know what to do. Thankfully Runner's World came to the rescue. I've committed to their streaker challenge. I've never been a streaker really. Kind of body shy...haha okay, I know very dumb pun intented. Anyways....so the deal is we run at least one mile everyday from now (that would be Thanksgiving Day) till New Years. I've always adheared to a 3-4 runs a week training plan so this will be different. But heck, I can do one measly mile a day. Right?  I sure hope I can handle that. Anyways, head over HERE to commit to the challenge!  I figure it's a pretty good way to prevent holiday pounds as well.

**Do you feel lost without a training plan or a specific race or goal?**

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  Be grateful.  Enjoy family and food!
Happy (&Blessed) Running (&Streaking)!

P.S. ~ Next post I will be working on whipping up some tips for fueling on race days. Well, what's worked for me and other things I've read up on.  I think it's vital to review not only what went wrong but what went RIGHT. If YOU have any tips you'd like to contribute let me know and I would be happy to give YOU credit and a link up to your blog or website! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

So What's Next? OKC 26.2!

I have fallen crazy in love with the marathon distance race. In the beginning I told myself I just wanted to run one just to see if I could do it. Now? I want to run another...just to see if I can run it faster. I have become what some might call obsessed. And I am totally ok with that. It's much better than being obsessed with drugs, alcohol, boys (bad ones especially. So over that.), cigs or any other bad habits I could have. Running has been one of the best things to happen to me. Next to my son and the gift of Jesus Christ in my life.  It has kept me focused, goal-oriented and driven in more ways than just running.
I will start back at it slowly with a local race here in town, the 5k Reindeer Run that helps support our Brevard Center for Women. It marks one year of my racing!  I still remember being terrified at the start. Then need to figure out monies (or lack thereof) what I can and can not do next year.
But one thing I'm really excited about is the OKC Memorial Marathon. I just so happen to have family out in the good OK and am way overdue for a visit anyway. It will be a long drive but so worth it to get some much needed family time in.  I also really like the meaning behind this marathon. "It's not about running, it's about living." ~ their phrase on their website. And even deeper behind this meaning is the fact that I was living in Oklahoma at the time of the bombing of that building as a kid in school. We all felt the school shake. Turned on the tv and there was chaos. My mother was on her way to that building that day for business, but God intervened that day and she had to turn around for something she forgot I believe. The windows in her business's building were blown out. It was a terrible day and a gut wrenching feeling.  So this run will serve more than one purpose for me. In honor of all those lives lost, in honor of my mother who lived and in honor of my home state. Oklahoma. I have missed you. We will reunite soon.

**So...what's next for you?**

Happy (&Blessed) Running!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

OBX 2012 Marathon Recap





Playing in the sand the day we arrived!
First off let me apologize for this very belated recap!!  Since the death of my computer earlier this year I still have yet to replace it and have to organize my time between work and the local library's hours!
Please bear with me!  This is a little scatter brained but I had such an incredible experience I'm not sure how to put it all in words..so here goes!
Day one: 1:05 am~woke up at and got showered and dressed, hit the road at 2:15 am! Crazy I know. I drug my sister, niece and son along for the eightish hour drive. Why I drove that far for my first marathon?  I'm not sure. But I had my heart set on OBX and I tell ya, I do not regret it.
10:25amish~Arrived at the race expo; place was huge and full of people everywhere.  There were so many awesome vendors I wanted to check out but the place was so packed and the kiddos were getting antsy so I just got my bib, shirt and goodies and made my way through. This was a first big event for me.  I felt so small! Well I am only 5 foot... heehee

Then after that we let the kiddos play on the local playground to get some of that cooped up car energy out. Headed to the hotel a little early before check-in time so we decided to play on the beach and relax before we checked in.  
 Ate a good spaghetti dinner and drank and drank and drank.
Did some yoga. Yoga the night before has been a great pre-race ritual for  me. Got my race gear ready to go. Went to bed super early like 7:30 pm early.

The night before race! Bib all fixed up!
Day 2: Marathon day!
4:45 am wake up, coffee, bagel and sipping Gatorade. Eating about 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours before running seems to work best with my tummy.  And it went well!  NO GI issues!  Yay!
Showered and got ready to go! Couldn't find the car keys so didn't get there early enough to utilize the pottys there before the race. The lines were ridiculous! Oh well. I went about five thousand times that morning anyway so I figured I would be alright and got in my corral B.  They prayed before the start which I thought was awesome!!!  They organizers of this event were just so grateful for everyone there racing and I found this to be refreshing.  Then three minutes after corral A went we were off!
I don't even know how to put this experience into the right words. This race was amazing! The locals were all super supportive and grateful we were running to help support their DARE foundation and families in need.  This is what racing is about.  Giving back to the community.  Such a positive race! Little kids were cheering and high-fiving. There were entertainment and cheer crowds at all mile markers. The first three miles were flat and felt awesome. Had a small hill at mile three but it wasn't anything compared to future hills I'd have to hit in the trail portion. Anyway, met a few runners along the way. All so friendly!  You know I've never met a rude runner... Also was able to chat a bit.  I didn't get out of breath for most of the run with the exception of the trail portion because I pushed too hard...Think that's where I may have lost some steam.  I will know better for next year! (YES I loved OBX so much I'm seriously thinking of round two for next year!  Register HERE!) I decided to go without music because I wanted to take it all in and I'm SO glad I did. There wasn't a dull moment!  Aside from the incredible scenery (the beach, woods, Wright's memorial to name a few), there were a few groups of people that followed along and this one guy in particular was in a belly shirt with an afro wig knocking on a cow bell with music jamming in his car trunk.  Best fan ever. To Afro man wherever you may be, thank you!  He was hilarious and kept everyone pumped up! There was also a guy on a bike who kept hollering "running strong pink!" "There you are again pinky! Still looking strong!" along with cheers for others along the way. And my friend Cynthia was at mile 6 with a big, bright poster! Made me feel amazing! It's magic what some cheering will do for you. I would not have made it through to the end without them all.  Hearing little kids who didn't even know me holler "Go Jessica!" made it all worth it. Next few miles were a breeze. But then came mile nine. The trail. Wowza! It was four miles of a challenge. It was at that point I decided to toss any time expectations and just finish! Made it through the ups and downs with walking a hill. Hit the road again at mile thirteen and felt a little wore out from the trail. I decided I'd take it slow until mile twenty at that point because I knew the bridge would be coming up at mile twenty-three...  Met some more cool runners.  Ran side by side with some guy for a few miles and he really helped push me through miles 18 but I could tell he was on target for a faster time so I held back and told  him to run on (he waited to high five me at the end!  So thanks runner guy wherever you are!).   Then met another woman in pink and black and we ran and walked some together and swapped a few stories.  I had to slow down and let her run on ahead.  She was incredible and had it going on!  Come mile 18-20 I could tell I should have taken more Gatorade at the water stations. Never hit the "wall" but definitely could tell I was needing more fluids at that point (me and my pathetic body that requires way too much fluid). I had a muscle in my inner thigh trying to cramp up.  Like an idiot I ran through the first few water stations and tried to run and drink. That was stupid. I learned so much this marathon! Ha! After I wised up and walked through the water stops I felt stronger.  The last few miles I gave it all I could. During the last home stretch my inner thigh muscles and right calve wanted to tighten up and I thought to myself not now you don't!  I sprinted as hard as I could to the finish. And it hurt. But I did it.

I crossed the finish line and became a marathoner.   




First official marathon bling!


Our victory pose!


A bling and a banana...best banana ever. ha!
.
 I wanted to cry but couldn't tell if it was because I was in pain, or tears of joy or if it was disappointment from not finishing closer to a 4:00. My goal was 4:30 so I beat that but was kinda secretly hoping I could go faster. But when all is said and done, the goal was to finish with a smile and finish strong. And I did. Well some of the race pictures might tell a different story. I have some good happy pictures but there were a few that said "ouch!"  Ha! 
I truly enjoyed this race from beginning to end. All the sights and sounds. All the volunteers were tremendous.  Their gratitude made this whole event meaningful. 

So I learned:
Start out even slower. Save the gas for the second half.
Stay ahead of hydration!!! Do not rush through water stations!
Get there much earlier to have time to pee. (Yes, I tinkled a little during the race...haha but I saw men hoping behind bushes and everything so thank you Lord I didn't have any GI issues!)

What I DID get right:
Ate the right foods at the right times=zero tummy troubles!
Relaxed and enjoyed the ride.
Brought my own gels that worked for my body. (I still stand by Clif Bar!)
Ran without music and truly soaked it all in.

As for the statistics:
I wasn't super fast at all! But overall I'm pleased with the results. I'm just your average middle of the road runner. The beauty of it all is that I finished!
Official chip time: 4:24:47
Overall: 525/1190
Age Div (25-29F): 42nd


"Mommy, you did the impossible!"
And the greatest part of this entire trip?  My son.  After we met up after the race he says to me, "Mommy!!! You did the impossible and ran 26.2 miles!!! But you're really sweaty..."  Love that boy.  I think he has learned as much as I have from this.  Knowing that my son is proud of me means the world to me.  Every run, every walk, every struggle, every tear, laugh, cry, every emotion that led up to this event has been more than worth it.  God has blessed me with a body that can carry me farther than I ever would have thought possible.  I hope to continue running strong and that somehow, somewhere I can be a blessing to someone through it all. 
I feel like this blog post isn't doing this whole event justice.  I wish I could better recap this event into the perfect words!  I strongly suggest running this event!
But next year... I'm not satisfied with just finishing!  I hope to beat this time and bring it closer to a 4:00!

**Happy (&Blessed) Running!**











Thursday, November 8, 2012

What To Pack For a Marathon Trip?!

Here we are just 3 days away from 26.2!  The Outer Banks is about eight and a half hours away from my little town here on the western side of NC. So we have booked a hotel for three nights, four days. My question to you is what is your must haves in you bags??

So far I've got the standards such as toothbrush, razor, deodorant etc etc. But for runner specific I want to make sure I'm totally prepared.
I've got:
Blister band-aids
Headbands
More deodorant
Running outfit
Energy gels
Water bottle
Arm band
Sunscreen
Garmin+charger
Socks
Chapstick

Anything I am missing??

**Happy (&Blessed) Running**

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Marathon Training and The Emotional State of The Single Mother

I've hit the wall. The emotional wall so to speak. And I'm not even quite sure how to describe it except this, I feel as though I've lost my mind and that I have failed. Miserably. At everything.  For the past 4 months I have had no life. My world has been consumed with running, eating, sleeping, working, running some more. My house is a wreck. I feel as though I've let down my son. Although, he cheers for me and is proud of my running and I have always tried my best to get my runs in before he wakes or while he is in school so I'm not missing any additional time with him. That being said, I've had too many days where I've been totally wiped out and felt I had zero energy left for him. What if the roles were reversed and I put more energy into parenting? I can't help but compare this. As goes for time with family and friends. Hardly at all. I feel as though I've failed everyone around me and drove them all mad. "No I'm sorry I can't attend this or that function because 1.) I have to run or 2.) Because I'm tired because I've trained so hard."  lousy lousy me.  And my poor co-workers... all they probably think of me is, "OMG! If she says marathon or run once more she is getting smacked!"
I realize all this. Let this be my sincere public apology. I'm sorry I've been a total nut job. This all got me to thinking, is this worth it? Have I been completely selfish? Have I neglected so much in my life that I've seriously messed up things in my little real world? When my first goal was to be an encourager in my little corner of my world I feel as though I've missed the mark. I know that I can do nothing apart from HIM who works in and through me. Somehow I've forgotten this in the process. Just days before the marathon and I come crashing down...

**Tell me, have you felt like a running failure before?**

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall: Season of the Taper! Marathon Tips & Tricks

Fall in Western NC
Well I've survived 17 weeks of training thus far and with only one week left to go, I have a bazillion questions circling my brain... 
Did I train hard enough? Long enough?  Smart enough? Did I manage my diet okay? Will all my clothes work day of the race? Could I have given more or pushed harder? Should I have tried harder with the XT?  Will my one or two bad long runs predict how I will run the marathon? Will I even finish the marathon alive?  Have I thought of every single thing I will need for this trip? 
And so forth and so forth ... I might just be freaking out a little now...

ONLY 7 days 14 hours 9 minutes 40 seconds...39..38..37...

One thing I've learned from this whole experience is that I wasn't very good listening to my body at times
when it would say slow down! A few tips and tricks I've gathered from this first season of training I will apply for next season's training:

1.) Rest is vital. Too many days and nights I would stay up beyond what my body could handle because I thought coffee would just cure me.
•hot tea and rest each night possible
•stretches to calm my mind before bed
•all gadgets/tv/cell phone off 30 minutes prior to bed (this, I still do not have under control)

2.) Hydrate. And when you think you've done enough, drink up some more. 
•keep at least 2 bottles of water full and on-hand at all times so I'm never without
•drink glass of water before coffee and after
•eat hydrating foods (I.e. celery, many fruits)
•hydrate and replenish electrolytes before you become depleted!

3.) Nutrition plays a HUGE role.  Abs are indeed made in the kitchen. Just like a car, bad fuel in the vehicle could equal serious engine damage.
•choose veggies and fruits for snacks
•lean proteins/brown rice at dinners
•food/meal prep <--- this is my biggest goal for next year in the nutrition department.  Get the food organized and you will be better able to conquer last minute snack attacks and dinners. HERE are some great tips from Fit For Moms blog!!  (love her blog!!)

4.) Motivation. •read books running related
•keep up with social media runner friends
•run with friends more often

5.) Training •implement more yoga/pilates (I started out decent but wavered throughout training...)
•organize time better to better accommodate workouts.  Get a big calendar and place in very visible area where I will not miss seeing it daily!
•choose training plans that suit my lifestyle. Although I really think RLRF has worked very well for me I miss running just for the sake of running.

6.) Gear•investing in a good pair of shoes is probably the single most important thing you can do!
•do NOT wear 100% cotton under any circumstance. (I.e. - July 4th mishap...)
•compression pants are my best friend on long runs...

This is only a small list of the basics I've learned. Of course I've learned so much more in terms of myself, strength both mental and physical, courage, determination...oh the list really is endless.  I'd have to take a whole day to write up a blog post on that.  I'm sure you other marathoners (or soon to be marathoners) would agree!

Here's a few sites I've compiled that I found useful.

Best marathon advice as per NY Times

Runner's World article here on running a smart marathon

Last minute tips from a Boston marathon Veteran

Just a new great blogger I discovered HERE! Mile-Posts

**What are some things you've learned from training?**

Happy (&Blessed) Running!



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Flight of the Vampire 10k PR! Recap

Little dude and I post race victory pose!

 Strong. Happy. Elated.

Stats:49:511st female in age division 8/33 female19/56 overall


My Garmin read different time but we go with the officials.

This is how this race went: 100000x better than July's.  A whole different racing experience than the last 10k. Fall may be the perfect racing season for me.  It was a small local race. There were 200+ participants in the 5k race and only 56 in the 10k. So nabbing 1st in my age division was kinda on my side with the smallness of the race. Plus there were other big races that weekend going on elsewhere.

1st in age division

 
Anyway...
Turns out this route was the same as the Firecracker 10k race so I felt this was an advantage. I knew where to conserve energy on hills and where I could push it faster. I knew where the turns were at and this was a big advantage at one point because I was able to pass a girl through a turn. 
I decided to pace myself and not focus on anyone faster than me.  As I passed the EMS crew I yelled, "I'm not going to die today! And I won't need you!" Ha! Oh it was fun. Started out the first mile a bit faster than conserved through the middle and banged out the last 2 miles fast. What helped was just remembering to run happy.  I passed a few kids on the sidelines with pom poms and signs for their moms or friends. So cute! I focused on staying strong and positive and really paying attention to everything around me. I thanked every volunteer as I passed by. Which makes everything more meaningful.  All the volunteers were super friendly and helpful. During mile two I passed a girl and another during mile three and they never caught back up. That was a good feeling since last 10k I was passed ... by several. Only one older man passed me this time. Man he was cooking for an old guy. Those old folks will totally rock out at these races. And then had a man trying to catch me. It was hilarious. He hollered (in good spirit) to the water station aid volunteers, "Slow that girl down!"  He caught up with me mile 5 and we pushed each other. As I crossed the finish line I saw my son, which was a surprise because originally he wasn't going to be there so I sprinted and jumped in the air and screamed like a maniac.  People probably thought I was nuts.  I am okay with this.  This was a huge comeback for me personally from the awful July race.  It meant the world to me to have my son, my sister, my niece and aunt there all cheering. And I didn't even realize one older gentleman was behind me close to the end and he thanked me after crossing the finish line for helping him push harder.  I didn't even realize it. That was kind of cool. Ambition is contagious. He told me he was thinking that girl wants this bad. And he ran fast after me. That in itself is rewarding!


OMGoodness! I did it! My freakout face. Pretty isn't it?
There were tons of people dressed up for this race in the Vampire and Halloween spirit.  I was dressed up as the serious runner. Ha! 
Now the klutz that I am I just couldn't leave this race uninjured. I guess I had my watch strapped on too tight...oops. at least no iv's were needed.
Battle wound
Overall this race was well executed. From the volunteers to the post race snacks. They even had bigger water cups this time. Thank the Lord. The only bummer....the goodie bags weren't so good. Just had pencils, emery boards and papers...nah. I didn't even bother grabbing one up. I got my t-shirt and medal. It was all good.
Yup. It was all good!
For more info on this race and what the Brevard Rotary supports check them out HERE.


Happy (&Blessed) Running!










Wisdom Wednesday: Perseverance

http://bible.us/Rom5.3.NIV

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;"

Dictionary dot com defines it well here. "Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties..."

Perseverance in part comes through suffering. Suffering in the hard run, the total garbage run, the incredibly long run.
Keep with it. Keep on.  Because through these trials and weak spots, your strength and endurance grow and you will begin to see the fruit of perseverance carry you on in other aspects of life. 

"If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem. It's raining? That doesn't matter. I am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to." -Emil Zatopek

Everything you do should have purpose. Even through the difficult training sessions, the hard mind games, the doubts and frustrations. Learn to take lessons out of those moments and use them to your advantage. Let each obstacle be a learning and driving force that propels you forward. Part of perseverance is not stopping. Rather, keep on through the trials and let them shape you and mold you into a stronger character.
”If you're going through hell, keep going.”
“Never, never, never give in!” ―Winston Churchill

Happy (&Blessed) Running!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Don't Stop Running the Good Race!

http://bible.us/Gal5.7.NIV 7

"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?"

I came across this verse today and thought, a.) I haven't posted on wisdom in a very long time b.) What a cool verse that is relateable in more than one aspect of life.

When you're training and running races it can be all too easy to become distracted. Like being distracted from TRUTH.

TRUTH.

*That you are awesome and God created you for awesome things.

*That YES you are more than able to accomplish the tasks set before you.

*That NO, others are not better or more "real" runners because they're faster or can run longer.

There are so many distracting thoughts that can kill your "race" if you allow it. Take a step back for a moment and think on this.

What keeps you from "obeying" truth?

Like those everyday distractions: TV. Social media. Relationships. Family.  Jobs. Housework. Not all distractions are a bad thing. Some good in fact!  It's only when one area of your life becomes unbalanced that things start to go haywire.  Set limits and boundaries for all areas of life. You'll be glad you did. And each one of us has unique life situations. So no one's way is more better for another.

And then sometimes its the destructive things like: the naysayers, a negative friendship. Job stress. Comparing yourself. Being too involved with activities that could harm your health. (This is personal. I'm not asking for anyone to list out loud what they struggle with but rather just think on it)
Find what has been keeping you from keeping with truth and running the good race and vow to never let it set you back again.

I hope someone finds this as useful as I did this morning.  This hit home for me. Especially since I struggled so much last week with that nasty cold and terrible long run (that really wasn't a long run). I almost let that set me back and forget everything I had worked hard for. I began to doubt myself and if in fact I truly was a runner. A distance runner at that. But sometimes you just have to stop. And think. And then move forward. Cross that bridge in your life and keep on going.

Just keep running. Just keep running.

**Happy (&Blessed) Running!**


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Crap Runs Are Good For You

So I've heard anyway. You need to have crappy runs to truly appreciate the good runs. But not when I am this close to the marathon!  First of all, it has been such a challenge to find the time for the long runs.
{I came across a pretty awesome runner/blogger. She's ran 20 marathons!  Here's her take on a bad long run HERE!}
Anyway, I think this run in part was so awful because I was starting out a little emotional. Had some things on my mind and my heart was hurting a little. It is so hard to leave emotions at bay. Usually a good run will help clear the matter and I guess other times it completely breaks you down. I've got to learn how to get my emotions in check.  I really think this was the biggest culprit.  Also had a terrible head cold this past week that I couldn't shake. Couldn't breathe. Cold air didn't help matters. Felt like my lungs were on fire.  And somehow I believe I was a touch dehydrated. Probably from the cold fighting my body....
So the first 6 miles I was okay to go.  Kept my pace steady.  Hit an easy trail along the way.  There will be 3 miles of trail on the OBX marathon.  Which I'm pretty certain I will be able to manage well given the DuPont Trail race experience.  Anyway, my snotty nose and congested head got the better of me and suddenly found myself ill like I was going to toss all my cookies.  Blame it on the drainage..  I know, ew, gross.  Sorry, but that's just how it was yesterday folks.  So there I was 6 miles away from my car...away from my warm, warm car... I had to walk...slow jog...crawl back to it.  BUT!  There was a happy ending as I was crawling my sorry booty back home.  I came across a running buddy of mine who I met through our local running club and she was on her FIRST run back from recovery.  And she looked like she was so happy.  This  made me stop and think.  I'm not injured.  Haven't been. (knock on wood) And here is this amazing woman just enjoying her run.  While I pouted and fumed all the way home. I came across these wise words on a running board and found them to be comforting:

"Someone once told me that it was the continuity of the shorter and mid distance training runs that really prepared you physically for the marathon and that the long runs only prepared you mentally. So don't worry about that "bad" long run.
I have only trained and run in one full marathon but based on that experience I can tell you that all of my training runs became nothing more than a barometer on race day. My longest run prior to race day was 20 miles. I ran it but really struggled to finish it. On race day it was a different ballgame. When I reached 20 miles I picked up my pace and never looked back!! It is amazing how much the "race" and the experience will help you finish the marathon. Good Luck."


So I finally made it to my vehicle and drove home and found this sitting at my doorstep:


Check em out HERE
Yay!  I was recently a winner from Premier Protein on Twitter.  Follow them HERE and 'LIKE' them on Facebook.  You won't be disappointed.  I can tell you I drank the chocolate milk right away and it was so good.  Definitely will be a recovery protein drink/food for me in the future. 


**Have you ever let your emotions get the better of you on a run?  And felt like total garbage?**

Monday, October 15, 2012

4 Weeks Till OBX 26.2!


Only FOUR weeks left!!!
Here I am on the last intense training week of the marathon training then I'm on to the home stretch of the taper (yay after this week will be done with 20 mile long runs!)...I'm getting so excited, nervous, excited, terrified, thrilled, antsy, excited .... have I mentioned excited?? Ha! This has been my "baby" so to speak. I've given almost all of my life over to this training process.  And I'm sure driven every one else around me completely mad.  I signed up for this race 8 months ago and Nov 11th will be the ninth month and birth!  See my little fortune I opened months ago...hopefull it bears truth!


Coincidence this race is next to the ocean?? I think not.
A few things I will be striving for during the next 27 days will be good diet.  No more garbage in.  This will be the hardest part of all my training I believe.  No more diet soda.  No more cookies or cakes or refined sugars... Someone help me.  But I want to be in the best shape inside and out for this baby.  Rest will be a priority.  Bed before 11:00 pm.  Before 10:00 pm would be even better.  I need to get in one more 20 miler this week and truly hoping maybe a 22 miler.  My plan only calls for 20 max but how in the world will I be prepped for 26.2?  Anyone have thoughts on this?? 
Last week I did a 5k speed test and found myself to be much faster than a few months ago.  This made me very happy.  I recognized that my speed sessions were starting to become a little too manageable.  Don't mistake me for easy, but rather that I just kept feeling like I could push myself a little harder.  So by testing my 5k time I had a new set of times to go by for my speed, tempo and long runs.  This is going to sound nuts but since I've made progress, it gets me excited about thinking about my next marathon already...and that maybe,  just maybe, I could qualify for Boston...I know, I know let's see if I can just cross the first marathon finish line with a smile and not be dead!  ha.  I dream big.  And sometimes get carried away before I'm capable.  But dreams and goals are what keep us motivated I believe.
I just want to have a moment of silence in honor of all those poor soles in my life who have had to deal with me the past 3 months...I will be even crazier this last month! God bless of all your sweet soles...


Is it too early to pack??

**Any tips on the last few weeks during marathon training??**

Happy (& Blessed) Running!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dupont State Forest 50k Relay Done!!


WARNING: THIS MAY BE A BIT SCATTERED AS I HAVEN'T BLOGGED IN LIKE...TOO LONG AND I HAVE TOO  MUCH TO SAY AND NOT SURE WHERE TO START...Okay.. Now if you'd like to continue reading and try to follow my scatter brain thoughts read on.
WOWZA!  I don't even know where to begin...
First of all I've been MIA due to a few little factors of life...like not owning a computer, having limited time to get anything done (like getting to the library on a computer), living life with my son, running and training for this OBX Marathon coming up and finding the man of my dreams...okay let's be honest...that last bit may be the biggest culprit of it all ;-) but guess what? He RUNS!  And I guess he technically found me. Anyways....that's another little story for another day. :-)

This is me pre-race=TERRIFIED.
I woke up around 5 am to lightening and thunder and serious rain.  Crap. But about an hour before race start all subsided. Thank You Lord!  But in the back of my mind I'm thinking...creeks will be full and trail will be mud. Nice. But let me say...
This trail race was a BLAST!!!  I had so much fun and can't thank my friend Rebecca enough for asking *me* to run with her. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. Especially given that I wasn't able to afford the Asheville Half. I was just so grateful that God provided this opportunity. Even though I was terrified.  I rarely get to run trails, if ever, so this was new. My partner, she's pretty awesome have I mentioned that yet, and I each ran a 25k, 15.5 mile leg, for a total of a 50k, 31 miles.  We ran it together in just under 6 hours!   I seriously hope she will keep me as a future trail running partner. She opened my eyes to a new running love.  You can never have too many running friends.  I don't think.
For never running trails...let me tell you, that was the hardest 15.5 miles I've ran. I tried to take it easy as like a 15 mile training run. So I focused on staying well fueled, happy and strong. Made a few new friends who were also running this as a training run, including one woman who's ran a full trail marathon (um wow!), and chatted a good bit of the way through (okay, so obviously if I was talking I wasn't working hard enough...but I didn't want to risk twisting an ankle or something right before my marathon!  Plus it helped time go by.) Tried something new too called HEED.  Worked wonders. YES, I broke a rule and tried something new on race day. I was desperate. And thank God it worked!  If you've tried HEED or have any thoughts let me know!  I will need to research this product more.  I did bring my own water bottle but was needing a little more fluid.   And I can not brag on the aid stations and volunteers enough.  Everyone was so nice and helpful. I prayed a lot that day...and God answered. No tummy issues, I am proud to announce I DID NOT pee myself!!!
And muddy... I swear I am a hazard on the trails!  How did I get mud there?

Okay let me back up... I took a CLIF Shot Energy Gel (Cherry Chocolate with 2 shots of caffeine...mmm) about five minutes to start, got the Garmin up only to realize it didn't charge properly and only had one bar ... barely one bar.  Then the bell thingy went off and we went. I started out slow and easy. First mile and a half were pretty flat and easy.  Decided to speed walk some of the first grueling hills because the terrain was rocky and rough and I listened to the advice of an ultra runner on the way up.  She was pretty smart.  I attribute that to my being able to finish strong.  The miles in the middle were more rolling and manageable with some nice downhills where I was able to bank some good time. If memory serves me correctly there was about four creek crossings two of which I was able to walk across rocks and well...the other two I had to wade through which left me with nice wet shoes...which in turn left a nice big fat blister on my big toe. Yeeouch!
One tiny battle wound...maybe I should invest in proper trail runner socks and shoes...
We had to sidestep several piles of horse manure. Yeehaw.  Took another Gel around mile 8 and so glad I had it!  I highly recommend CLIFBar Energy Shots!  Taste good, no tummy issues and gets in the system quickly.  I about twisted my ankle going downhill on some seriously rocky terrain. But managed well. Then they throw in this nice like a mile long (okay, my Garmin died around mile 11 so I really have no idea how long it truly was) hill about mile 13 (or 14?) that was straight up and very rough terrain. Yes I walked that. Straight up. I was thinking really? Really? I didn't think I was going to make it. Just kept praying and praying. Then the last bit was downhill once I reached the crest of that "mountain" and there was a photographer and that smile let me tell ya was all genuine!  I was SO happy that I was almost done and that I did it!  I didn't die! 
Check out my happy photo! --> this photographer did a great job...now if only I could afford to purchase:
I just love how the photographer captured just how thrilled I truly was!  I got past the finish line and teared up a little...one woman said, "Aw, you're emotional!"  And I was like, "Uh, I think I'm in pain." haha!  But I really was elated.  I have to say that trail running is much more rewarding than road racing.  Even though my overall pace was around 11:39 which I'm totally okay with given the tough trail!  But trails offer so much more than just PRs...it was beautiful, adventurous and met so many cool people.
And I truly look forward to running this again next year!  I feel like I'm leaving out so much information and details on this awesome run... but just know if you are looking for a good challenge, be here next year!
For more info on the race and what it supports check out the website HERE!

Now...31 days till OBX marathon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy (& Blessed) Running!