Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Recap

2010 was a pretty awesome year. Here is a picture recap:

Phil and I kicked off 2010 in the middle east. We went on a two week trip to Dubai and Egypt. It was our first international trip together and it was an amazing start to the year!

My 24th birthday celebration was also one to remember. My friend Binoy (who has a birthday a day before mine) and I celebrated together by inviting a few friends to the Harry S Truman bowling alley- aka the White House bowling alley. Binoy knows some government people so we were able to bowl for a few hours before hitting the bars.

We were snowed in for the rest of the winter. We did manage to make it out to a small Mexican restaurant for huge drinks on occasion though :) 

Tons happened in the spring of 2010! In April my best friends from college all came to DC for a little reunion. This was the first time we were all together in one place since college. It was amazing.

Also in April was the American Odyssey Relay race- a 200 mile, 36 hour running race from Gettysburg, PA to Washington, DC. I was on a team of all amazing ladies and it was the funnest race ever. We all won $50 gift cards to North Face because our team won the "most spirited award". Our team, America the Bootyful, ran the last quarter mile of the race together, dressed as iconic Americans.

At the start in Gettysburg.

Right after the announcement that we won the spirit award!
I also ran my first 10 mile race in April 2010!

In May of 2010 Phil took me back to his home town in Iowa. Phil and I had very, very different childhoods. I was raised in the inner city of Philadelphia in a row home with little grass. Growing up my chores included cleaning the bathroom and putting my clothes away. Phil was raised on a farm in Council Bluffs, Iowa where his closest neighbor is a mile away. He learned how to drive a tractor at the age of 10 and his weekend chores consisted of bailing hay and feeding the cows. I had a wonderful time visiting the Midwest and I look forward to another trip out there this spring.

feeding the cows

I am a pretty bad shot :)

getting corn for the cows

Summer 2010 was filled with running, friends and family (and moving in with Phil!!!). We took Brizzy swimming, we went on a Riley family vacation to Williamsburg, Va, and I visited college friends in NYC where we did the Spartan Race- a 5k race with added obstacles and lots of dirt.

Fall of 2010 consisted of my first triathlon and a tropical vacation to Jamaica with our friends Arron and Angie.

2010 finishes with a great Christmas with my amazing family, and a relaxing new year celebration with my wonderful boyfriend and our friends.

2010 was a fabulous year. 2011 is going to be even better!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just call me Speed Racer!

This morning, I got my butt out of bed at 6am and hit the pavement for a 6 mile tempo run just like my marathon training schedule called for. A tempo run means that you run at a relaxed pace for a mile or so as a warm up and then you pick up your pace for X miles (4 miles for me this morning) and then you take it down a few notches for your last mile to warm down.

Whitney and I have been doing all of our long runs together and we have been doing them at a faster pace then what my marathon plan has been calling for. We just jog at a comfortable pace we can maintain and it happens to be faster then a 10:25 minute mile. Anyway- back to this morning.

Knowing I have been running at a faster pace, I decided this morning I would just go off of feeling instead of following the pace times outlined in my training schedule- running the 1st mile as an easy jog, run the 2nd through 4th miles at a faster but steady pace pushing myself a little, and then easy jog the last mile.

I underestimate myself sometimes. Look at these split times!

holy cow! I ran an 8 minute mile! And all but 1 mile were under 9 minutes! That is not that fast for a lot of people- but for me- the girl who said she would never be able to run under a 10 minute mile- this is huge! Maybe Ill be able to run the marathon faster than I think ;)

I was so excited when I walked back into my apartment this morning. Phil and Brizzy were still too sleepy to handle my excitement.

(this was not taken this morning- just a funny picture to share)
BEST MORNING RUN EVER. And added bonus that Phil cooked me breakfast!
7:30 minute mile next time? We'll see :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

An Athlete's Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

For the past few days, I was in Philly enjoying some home cooking and quality time with the family. Unfortunately, I had to cut my vacation short by a day due to the crazy snowstorm that clobbered Philly.

My parents and Brizzy on Christmas morning.

Me and big sister, Nikki

I must have been good this year. New shoes, sport bras, socks, and lots of winter running gear! :)

Briz got a new mat for the botom of her crate- and somehow she blocked herself in. Silly pooch!

Goals for 2011 post coming soon. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It’s the question I have been asked several times. It is also the question that I have avoided answering. So here it is- why I am training for an Ironman.

The short version:

I don’t enjoy waking up before the sun rises to get a run in. I also don’t enjoy muscles so sore that it hurts to walk. What I do enjoy is setting goals for myself and achieving them. Crossing a finish line for an event that you train so hard for is the most indescribable and amazing feeling in the world. I enjoy how being so active and pushing my limits has made me feel – both physically and emotionally. I think training for the next year for an event that right now seems impossible will teach me more about myself than I ever thought I could know.

The extended version:

I have always enjoyed being on a team and playing sports. I was involved in gymnastics and dance classes growing up as well as a smattering of other sports and activities. In college I was a diver on the swim team.

Now let’s fast forward to January 2009.

Phil and I took our first vacation as a couple to a ski resort in West Virginia. On the second run of the first day (of a four day trip!) I took a weird fall. I slipped on ice and my right leg flew out from underneath me. As I was falling I heard my knee make a loud “pop”. When I tried to stand up, I had no stabilization and fell again. Phil flagged down the ski patrol, and they strapped me to the sled and took me to first aid. Side note: Phil wanted to take a picture of me strapped to the ski patrol sled and I would not let him. He said I would regret it later. Now that I am all healed, I wish I had a picture!

After spending the next 3 days on the couch of the ski lodge with my knee as swollen as a grapefruit, we headed home. After an MRI and a few orthopedic visits, I had the verdict: completely torn ACL, MCL and meniscus. Surgery needed.

When I was talking to my orthopedic doctor about being active after my knee surgery, he said something that hit me deep…except I didn’t think anything of it until months later.

“I am glad you were not a runner! Runner’s usually have the hardest time with knee traumas such as this because of the impact of the sport.”

I laughed and replied that thankfully I was not a runner. At that point in my life the most I had ever ran was a 5k because our diving coach made us….and I hated every second of it.

I had knee surgery in March 2009. My ACL was replaced with a cadaver’s (yes, I have a dead guys ACL in my knee), my MCL was stapled together, and my meniscus was completely removed. The Dr. was hoping to not have to remove all of my meniscus (which is the padding in your knee which keeps bones from rubbing together) but it was so badly damaged that he had no choice.

I was a couch potato for a several weeks after the surgery. Being so inactive (along with eating tons) caused me to noticeably gain weight. I felt awful- I was always tired, my pants no longer fit and I was really cranky. I’m surprised how well Phil put up with me :)

Brizzy and I taking a nap the day of my knee surgery

I began physical therapy right away. I still had a ton of swelling in my knee, but I needed to get my range of motion back and build strength in my knee and surrounding muscles.

I saw my PT 4 times a week for several weeks and we always had wonderful conversations. During one of those conversations I told her what my doctor said to me about running. Her response was “You should sign up for a 10k just to prove him wrong!” I laughed and disregarded her comment.

She finally convinced me that training for and running a 10k would be very satisfying and build my confidence in myself and my new knee. She also promised that she would evaluate my knee every 2 weeks just to make sure everything was staying put.

I trained all fall for this race. I had no time goal- just to finish. My first run, I was able to run almost a block before becoming winded and exhausted. It was frustrating. But with Phil and my friends and family (especially my parents) supporting me, I was able to jog longer and longer. And I lost the weight that I had put on.

In December 2009, I ran my first 10k.

Running with friends makes it way more fun! :)

Approaching the finish line of my first race!

The feeling of crossing that finish line was unbelievable. I was so proud of myself. So I did it again.

Phil and I after the Marine Corps 10k

My confidence skyrocketed and I wanted to see just what else I could do.

So I signed up and ran my first 10 mile race.

Mom and Dad always come to cheer me on :)

After the 10 mile race, I ran a 36 hour, 200 mile relay race from Gettysburg to DC with 11 other girls. Don't worry, we each only ran between 15-20 mile total in three different sections.

Team America the Bootyful!
Then I ran a half marathon.

And now, I am training for my first full marathon in March.

The challenge of taking on a full Ironman is daunting. It is going to be a ton of work. I am going to get frustrated. I will cry at points. I am going to be tired. My whole body is going to hurt. I am going to wake up at ungodly hours to get in a work out and I am not going to like it.

But I will push my limits. I will make wonderful friends during 7 hour bike rides. I will raise as much money for the Susan G Koman foundation as I can. I will learn more about myself than I ever thought possible. I will enjoy the journey.

I am training for an Ironman to celebrate life. To celebrate how blessed I am that I can even consider training for an event like this. There is going to come a day where I will not be able to do this. Today is not that day.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday's Ten

1. Phil and I are watching Elf and it makes me happy :) I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

2. I need to get back in the pool. If I am supposed to survive a 2.4 mile swim next year, I need to get my swimming game in check.

3. I am 2 weeks into marathon training and have had no knee issues so far. However, it is sooo cold.

4. Today at the gym I was supposed to do an easy 4 mile run. I wasn't feeling it, so I ran for 20 minutes, did an ab workout and then did push ups when I got to every landing walking downstairs.

5. To the man that stopped and laughed as I was singing Lady Gaga while doing push ups on the landing- you are welcome for the show. Glad I made you laugh.

6. Brizzy sits in front of the cabinet where her treats are and barks...its really annoying. What a fatty.

7. I made my own pho (rice noodles in beef broth) tonight for was amazing.

8. I am super excited for my tri bike- it should be coming in the next few weeks!

9. I made cinnamon and sugar soft pretzels tonight. mmmm

10. My next post is going to be about why I'm doing this. When registering for IM Cozumel one of the questions was "Why do you seek entry to Ironman Cozumel?"...and it really got me thinking. So maybe if I share my reasoning, you won't think I am crazy. I know, I know, anyone that wants to swim 2.4 miles, then bike 112 and then a marathon all within 17 hours has to be at least a little crazy. But I have my reasons, I swear :)

Magic Song

I think everyone has that one song that when they hear it their blood starts flowing and everything just seems right.

Normally at any given time I have a few songs like this on my Ipod shuffle. But there has been one song that has not been deleted off my Ipod since I downloaded it over a year ago. It is a song that I never ever skip over. I hear it come on and I automatically run faster. My 9 minute mile pace becomes a 7 minute mile pace during the amazing 3 minutes of the song. It is the song that I will have to sing to myself during the Ironman next November. I have no idea why it pumps me up, but it does.

It is the song that Helen and I drunkenly rapped at the bar Saturday night and blew everyone away that we knew every single word.

I'm on a boat!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Phil's Marine Corps Marathon Race Report

Marine Corps Marathon

October 31st 2010


4:00 - Have to achieve this regardless of loss of life and/or any limbs

3:30 - My actual goal. Based on training, this is achievable

At 8:00am the gun goes off and 26.2 miles to go. There is really not

much to say as far as my race report. The first 24 miles felt great.

The last two miles really sucked. I ran\walked the last two miles

with around 30 seconds of walking each mile. My legs were heavy and

screaming in pain. I sprinted in the last 200 yards after seeing my

girlfriend dressed as wonder woman and to meet my requirement to pass

the 3:30 pace guy. Check mark for a life goal.

Time 3:29:01

Conclusion: The marathon was fun, but I am not in any real hurry to

sign up for my next one.
Note from Lauren:
Phil really listened when we told him his last report was a novel :) He may not be in a hurry to sign up for another marathon...but he did sign up for Ironman Cozumel with me!