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Three Things Thursday Marathon Edition

January 19, 2012

First thing here, I finally FINALLY got a good marathon finisher photo except what is that big glop- sweat? snot? smack in the middle of my forehead?! Brightroom you are no better than Raceshots.

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Second thing, Being the math nerd I am I love the marathon finish stats the Houston Marathon provides. Way. too. cool.

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I felt like I was moving like molasses the last few miles, but I guess I wasn’t doing so bad.

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and just for kicks….

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Lastly, I owe a big big big thank you to Rachael. Rachael I don’t think I would have even made it through marathon training without you. You always seemed to be there for me when I needed someone to run with or complain about training to. I’m so glad we got to experience most of the marathon together Smile YOU ARE THE BEST!!

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That’s all I got! Goodnight,

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Chevron Houston Marathon 2012 Recap

January 18, 2012

Marathon #2 in the books!

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I’d say that’s a success.

I woke up Saturday morning to no alarm clock. I really debated going downtown early to watch Meb and Shalane kill it in the time trials, but I decided it’d be in my best interest to not make an early 45-minute trek downtown, sleep in, and walk as little as possible the day before the marathon.

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Rachael and I headed to the expo around 10 am and picked up our packets and some goodies. By goodies I mean ridiculously expensive headbands. Oh and Rachael’s 26.2 sticker Smile

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We had lunch at Panera Bread and chatted about how nervous/excited we were about the marathon. I don’t really recall what I did for the rest of Saturday besides finalize my marathon playlist on my iPod and make homemade pizza (my go-to pre race dinner).

Surprisingly I slept really well Saturday night. I almost forgot I was running a marathon until all my alarms when off at 4:15. I was so paranoid about waking up on time I set 3 alarms, anyone else do that?

I had no problems waking up due to my excitement and race-day adrenaline. I had my usual coffee, PB toast, and put on my carefully picked out race outfit.

I arrived at the George R. Brown at about 5:45 and promptly found Rachael. We checked our bags, found the port-a-potties, and headed to our corral. We ended up being able to line up at the very front of corral 2 which worked out in our favor. The weather was perfect and I was able to ditch my throw away sweats and gloves before the race even started.

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Everything went by in a blur and before we knew it the National Anthem was sung, the gun went off, and it was our corrals turn to go.

Pre-race Rachael and I had a race plan to try to maintain an 8:30 pace for the first 6 miles and see if we could increase our pace from there. I was all smiles (except for a slight mishap with the race course being mismarked and runners being unsure where to go) for the first few miles as the realization that I was finally here running the marathon I trained for for the last several months.

With some weaving and a few elbows here and there we were able to maintain an 8:30 pace for the first 6 miles pretty painlessly. My garmin was being kind of weird placing my pace all over the place from 7:45-9:30/mile, but at each mile marker I could gauge we were on target with pace. At mile 4 I spotted my Hubby which was a nice surprise I wasn’t expecting until mile 6.

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Miles just ticked by so quickly and I, pretty rapidly, determined I was feeling awesome (must have been the iPod playlist). I kept feeling myself speed up from miles 10-on once the half marathons had split from the full and just went with it. Rachael and I trucked along listening to our iPods (I’m probably the worst running companion as I made no conversation and didn’t want waste my energy talking- Sorry Rachael!).

The half mark came up pretty quick in around 1:50:27. Close to my PR-Woo!.  I saw hubby again at mile 14 and the worst hill of the course came (not many hills in Houston)which was pretty challenging. Once I passed that point I was still feeling great. I kept trekking along. Around mile 15 Rachael and I started getting a little farther apart and eventually we split up.

I was still feeling awesome through miles 16, 17 and 18. I was taking fuel (clif shot gels) every 4 miles and a cup of water from every aid station. 402093_10100440706497737_29608258_49894532_1192627195_n[1]

Around mile 19 the distance started to hit me. There were all of these random signs (I think they were advertisements for some supplements?) along the course that said “Welcome to the Wall” and “Are you Tired” which psychologically made me realize, um yes I was tired. I started to struggle to keep my pace up and mile 19 I slowed down to an 8:40 pace. I realized I was hot and tired around mile 20 and started to bargain with myself that I could certainly finish a 10k in 55 minutes (that seemed like an eternity). My stomach starting rejecting the sports gels after mile 16’s gel, and I grabbed some frozen grapes from a spectator at mile 20. Best. Thing. Ever.

Mile 20 is the part of the course where you start to see people fall apart. People begin to walk and cramp up and things can get scary. I told myself there was no way I was going to walk. My quads knees, ankles, toes, everything just didn’t want to move. I focused on just keeping a 9:00/mile pace and looked forward to seeing my Mother and Father in law waiting for me at mile 22. Let me tell you, seeing them was a boost I really really needed. Thank you guys for coming out to support me! Having family along the course is so encouraging and truly motivates you to keep going. 

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Someone handed me a bottle of water around mile 23 which was such a blessing (bless you whoever you are). I kept my 9 minute pace and at this point was just ready to be done.

I started thinking about all the people from home, friends, and family that had been cheering for me through Facebook, text messages, phones calls, and twitter and I used them as encouragement to not budge from my pace. I never walked once.

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Once I hit mile 25 and started to see the buildings of downtown approaching I started to get excited. Marathon #2- you are mine! I tried to pick up the pace but my legs felt like molasses from holding such a quick pace (for me) for the first 20 miles (8:25). I sure felt like I was sprinting.

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Making that left turn to face the finish line was just as exciting as the first time. In the final stretch I couldn’t see him, but I could hear my hubby yelling my name. I felt so accomplished and so relieved approaching that finish line. All that hard work: tempo runs, stress,  long runs, blood, sweat, tears, races that had disappointed me in the past, were behind me. No matter how hard it got approaching that finish line I never ever gave up.

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My final finishing time was 3:45:56! I beat my first marathon time by nearly 9 minutes. I left feeling like I couldn’t wait to run another marathon and motivated to improve my time even more!

Thanks for listening to my lengthy recap and thank you all of you who read my blog who always provide me with encouraging words of support and advice. You are all greatly appreciated and I don’t think I’d be as motivated without your support.

brittsig

Healthy-ish Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

January 8, 2012

Hey Friends!! I hope you have been enjoying the last month and the holiday season that comes with it! I had a wonderful Christmas spending time with family and friends. Between hubby and I we have a lot of family. We made the rounds Christmas Eve and Christmas day and by the third Christmas meal I was ready to put my stretchy pants footie pajamas on.

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Yes…. I got fiesta ware AND footie pajamas for Christmas…. Smile

Another wonderful thing I enjoy about the holiday season is that several of my friends whom live out of state are in town. We did our annual Christmas cookie exchange party, painted cute Christmas pictures at Painting With a Twist, and had fun salsa dancing while ringing in the new year.

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While I love the holidays, this weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year. It’s the first weekend in a long time where there are no plans and no places to be. We get to relax and wind down and get everything back in order. Lord knows my house is screaming for some attention and I slept a near 10 hours last night! It was glorious.

I have a great recipe for you this morning! Healthy banana muffins that contain no oil and no  butter. And you know what that means?

There’s room for chocolate Smile

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and of course black bananas are the best for healthy baking. My in-laws think I’m crazy for always wanting to take home their old bananas.

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Here what you’ll need:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda

 

pink_cartoon_bird_or_chick_0515-1003-1906-0318_SMUFitChickBritt Eat Well Tip: For an even healthier muffin simply omit the chocolate chips or substitute with orange zest or walnuts for extra flavor.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or line 12 muffin cups. In a medium bowl, mash bananas well. Combine eggs and bananas. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups. Fill about 3/4’s of the muffin cup with mixture. Bake in oven for 11 to 13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

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Enjoy!

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend like me. Tell me one thing you did this holiday season!

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I met Neil Patrick Harris

December 7, 2011

Oh hi there! Hope you didn’t think I fell off the face of the earth Winking smile I took a little unplanned time off from blogging and it was wonderful. Just what I needed for Namaste November. I spent some quality time with my family for the Thanksgiving Holiday and enjoyed my birthday at the end of the month.

Dinner and drinks with family and friends and Neil Patrick Harris is always fun.

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Ok. Not really, but I swear that it was Barney Stinson.

So what’s going on in my world?

I’m still Marathon training. I had a confidence boosting 18 miler a few weeks ago. So confidence boosting that I went out and ran 20 miles at an 8:50 pace in 20mph winds the next week. It was a little ambitious to say the least and I was feeling it after! This weekend I did an easy 14 miler with Rachael as my company. It felt like the quickest 14 miler I’ve ever ran. I swear we could probably chit chat all day about nothing and everything at the same time.

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I’m running a 30k race this weekend. That’s 18.6 mile my friends. IPods are not allowed. I have no idea what I was thinking signing up for this.

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I got a Kindle Fire for my birthday and I love it! You can watch Netflix, download all kinds of apps, play music, browse the web, read books…. it’s awesome! Definitely comparable to an Ipad and way less in price. If you’re wondering what to get a special someone for Christmas it’s a great deal!

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With my free time I’ve been cooking a lot more lately. Thanks to Pinterest it’s been pretty easy to keep tabs on recipes I want to try and it’s been an easy place to come back to when I’m trying to meal plan for the week.

I’ve made this.

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and some of this.

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and one of these.

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Oh yes and this. Yum.

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But I especially can’t forget these. These are flourless and they are the bomb.

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I <3 cooking. and I <3 pinterest.

So tell me, what have you been up to?

brittsig

RNR San Antonio 1/2 Marathon Recap

November 16, 2011

What do you want first? The good? or the bad? Let’s start with the bad so we can end on a positive note.

The Bad

  • The trek to San Antonio started with sitting in an hour of traffic before we even made it out of Houston. Fun.
  • I’d been stalking the weather all week and I was not happy about it. 100% humidity and70-degrees at the start of the race with the temperatures rising in the 80’s. It was as  bad as I pictured it being. Maybe worse. Have I told y’all how much I HATE running the humidity? I’d pick the dreadmill over humidity no contest.
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  • Hills- oh the hills. Houston is FLAT. San Antonio- not so much. I have done zero hill training and I was expecting this “flat and fast” course the race site had bragged about. There were steady climbs throughout and a killer overpass at mile 13. That was just mean.
  • I hated every single step of this race except for the one to get back in the car to go home. I went into the race with a less than thrilled attitude. The corrals were crowded and people were very pushy. I felt the way the start and finish were set up was sort of chaotic and kind of not worth all the hassle of “just running the half.”
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  • The course was kind of boring. We went through a bunch of neighborhoods and downtown buildings and in and around some overpasses. However, apparently, according to the race video I was sent, we ran past the Alamo. How did I miss that?

 

The Good

  • I carb loaded the night before with Rachael and our Hubby’s. We went to a place that Hubby had seen on man vs. food that had crazy-huge 42’ pizzas. We all split a 20” and couldn’t finish it.

  • Despite the fact that my mind wasn’t in the right place I was actually able to convince myself to push it. It is strange how I view a half marathon as more of a “go all out” race and feel like I can try to push my pace pretty hard. Thanks to marathon training 13 miles doesn’t seem all that far anymore Smile 
  • I originally signed up to run the full marathon but a month or two ago I decided I would just run the half because I didn’t want to run two marathons that close together and I want to do really well at Houston. I spent the entire race congratulating myself for making the best decision by not running the full marathon in those weather conditions. (Sorry Tara)
  • The crowd support was great. The people of San Antonio really came out to support the runners. The funniest spectator sign of the day I saw said, “Try not to suck.”

  • The finish line was very organized. Plenty of volunteers, getting in an out of the food lines was quick and easy, and we were given glorious cold towels.
  • I left the race with a shiny new PR by 5-minutes. PR’s are always good Smile I beat my primary goal of finishing in under 1:50. My official time was 1:49:32.

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Banana Orange Bread

November 7, 2011

Happy Monday my friends. I know those two words don’t really go together, but we are focusing on the positive this month.

3 good things this week has to offer:

1. Monday is already over

2. It’s a short week (I’ve got Friday off- woohoo!)

3. I’m running the San Antonio half marathon at the end of the week

Here’s a great quote I heard at yoga yesterday to start your week off with:

I hope you had a nice weekend. I had a great 16 mile long run with Rachael. It’s so nice to have someone to do a long run with; the time just flies by and before you know it the long run is over. Hopefully we can do one of those brutal 20 mile runs together Smile.

On Saturday I was in the mood to bake and considering we were pretty low on groceries it took some thought. I had some left over orange juice from my homemade sports drink and some pretty sad looking black bananas.

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pink_cartoon_bird_or_chick_0515-1003-1906-0318_SMUFit Chick Britt Eat Well Tip: Near-black bananas are one of the best baking mediums. Ripe bananas become sweeter over time and can be used as a sweetener in recipes. I even find I can reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe when I’m using ripe bananas.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 very ripe mashed bananas
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • orange zest from 1/2 orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients starting with the wet. Top mixture with orange zest. Bake in greased loaf pan (mine is 8 1/2 in. x 4 in. X 2 in.) for 50 minutes. Enjoy!

As an afterthought, I thought the glaze from this bread would make a perfect topping for the banana orange bread.

Yesterday I got my haircut and so I don’t get reprimanded here is a picture of the new do.

I went from this…

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to this…

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I love it! Not a huge change, but I needed some shape and color. It had been over a year since I last colored my hair. I had myself convinced I was going to grow my natural color out, but I couldn’t stand it anymore. I mean who wants “dirty dishwater blonde” hair?

I actually haaaate getting my hair done because it takes too long. I was there for 5 hours! I’m never putting off doing my hair that long again.

Hope you’re having a wonderful Monday.

Anyone else running any races this weekend?

brittsig

Monster Mash 15K Recap

November 6, 2011

I’ve been waiting a whole week for photos to post an epic race recap, but it looks like those photos are never going to get posted. #wherearethey?!

I figured I better share some type of recap before I forget all the details.

The day  before the race was a gorgeous day and typical Saturday. I went for a short run, went to yoga, and was played golf with Hubby…. errr played caddy.

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Kombucha tastes even better from the green.

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While we were golfing I got an email about a local Halloween themed race “The Monster Mash” that desperately needed volunteers the next day. I had actually been eyeing this race; I liked that they had a 5k, 10k, and 15k, but I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t sign up for anymore races between t he 10 for TX and my November half marathon.

I half-jokingly replied back to the email asking if we could volunteer for a free spot in the race and to my surprise I got a “Yes” response. After much debating, I showed up at 11 am to help volunteer and to run the 15k at 3:45.

Volunteering was fun. I spent most of the morning hanging Halloween decorations and the rest of the afternoon pointing participants in the direction of packet pickup and showing them how to use their D-tags.

As for the race part, I’ve decided I don’t like writing race recaps. It’s boring to me to run through mile by mile and try to recap the race that way and after re writing my recap 90 times here’s the basic run down:

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I wasn’t sure what my race strategy was. I was kind of tired from running around all day already and I’d hardly eaten, and I just wasn’t in the mood to “race”.

I texted Rachael and told her I was gonna just take an easy pace for the race and she said “NO. and that’d I’d be really disappointed if I didn’t actually race. She basically told me I train really hard and I deserved a good race.”

When the gun went off I still wasn’t convinced I wanted to “race” and I spent the first half mile trying to at least weave past the walkers and the people dressed in costume. Why do I always get stuck in the back?!

I quickly realized I did feel like running fast and somewhere in the first mile I took off.

My garmin is broken so I had no idea how fast or slow I was running throughout the whole race.

I finally came up to the first loop (it was 3 loops of 5k) and I saw the clock said 25 minutes. I thought, “Dang, if I can keep this up I can run a 1:15 15k” and I knew that was an 8:00 pace.

I started thinking about this post and how I admitted I’d been having a bad race season and I’d been having trouble finishing a race strong and giving into the mental games.

I kept my pace going and I passed the 2nd loop at the 10k mark at 48 minutes. “Who am I?!” I thought. That was 3 minutes faster than my current 10k PR!

At this point I was super pumped and I just went for it. My legs were flying. I was tired and I could have easily slowed the pace but my mind was so in this race that I just kept running- and fast!

I came up to the end of the last loop, I dug deep and sprinted to the finish line. I’m pretty sure I had the  biggest smile on my face when I saw he clock read 1:13. 1:13 something?!? That’s a sub 8:00 minute pace for 9.3 miles. I have never ever ran that far that fast. EVER.

Official time was 1:13:32. Pace: 7:47/mile

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I took 2nd place overall female in the 15k and I left feeling like I’d raced the best race I’d ever run.

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