Saturday, April 2, 2016

Youth vs Experience: Who will win the day?



This weekend I am running in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 miler held in Washington DC. Their motto, “The Runners Rite of Spring,” describes it perfectly; a beautiful time to be down in the Nation’s Capital with Cherry Blossom Trees blooming along the mall.

I am using this race as a tempo training run leading up to my second marathon this spring: The Blue Ridge Marathon. While this flat course may not help me conquer mountains, it is giving me a bit of nostalgia.

Ten years ago, my friend Susan convinced me to run my first race. It was this same race and the distance seemed ridiculous to me.  I had no training plan. I had no clue about running, let alone racing.  My incentive to run was to improve my cardio fitness for group fitness classes that I taught. My goal was to finish and not be picked up by the sweeper bus.  

I “trained” by running on occasion with my two children in jogging strollers and on treadmills.  There was no pre-race prep or a glimmer of running strategy.  I ran hard and fast and slowed down when I needed to.  I felt like it would never end.  I finished exhausted with a 1:27:29.

Ten years later, with 63 races under my belt and distances ranging from 5k to 50k, my perspective on this race is quite different.  I am older and wiser to running and races. Of course, I also have newly diagnosed asthma.

So as I prepare for this weekend, I ask myself: will youth and energy be able to hold off the seasoned runner?  Can I beat my younger self?  Feel free to place your bets.  We will soon find out! Stay tuned!

Love, Cindy

Friday, March 25, 2016

Little Rock Marathon Pt 2

We pick up where we left off, the Saturday before the Marathon and not long after the 5k. We needed lunch and when our first choice proved fruitless (we got tired of waiting), we continued up the street to a restaurant called The Root Cafe. It was a small, no frills, order your food and grab a seat kind of place. We loved it.

While standing in line we met Lucas, an incredibly nice guy that was in town to run the marathon and cross Arkansas off his list. Lucas, as far as we're concerned, is awesome.

Once lunch was done, we walked around town a bit more before heading to the hotel and later to dinner. You know that whole rule about taking it easy the day before the marathon? Well, we managed to walk something like 10 miles.  Oops.

The Marathon

Marathon morning we headed to bag drop in the VIP area. It is a perk that you are actually able to add to your registration and judging by the spread they put on, well worth it.

Some quick carbs and a bathroom stop behind us, we made our way to race start. Cindy gave me a quick hug before heading to her corral. I proceeded further along. Leave it to me to find the grumpy corral. Seriously, I have never been in such a disgruntled corral before.


Lucky for me, the race started shortly after and I could actually run away from all the bad mojo.

Now, I could give you a mile by mile play by play but there is only one problem, there isn't a lot to tell. The early part of the race was pretty relaxed and easy going. Somewhere between miles four and five I ran into "Manure Mile." No really. They labeled it and all.

A photo posted by Theresa C. (@gobelieveconquer) on

Appropriately, there were bathrooms. We also passed Little Rock Central High School (he first high school to become integrated,) the Governor's mansion (he stood outside and waved at the runners,) and the First United Methodist Church. The last one proved to be special for me.

A priest stood out side in full robes showering runners in holy water and offering blessings. The good Roman Catholic girl that resides within me made the sign of the cross upon approaching and, as if choreographed, the priest and those with him sang praises and amens as holy water rained over me. Just like that I burst into tears as if the hand of God actually reach down and smacked me.

I then proceeded to explain to other runners that I was fine and yes I realize that I'm not even half way and yes I know it is too soon to be losing it and that most runners don't have some kind of emotional breakdown until mile 16 or so.

and then this happened...

A photo posted by Theresa C. (@gobelieveconquer) on

For a split second I considered going right. A few miles later, I really wished I had. You see, there is this long section of out and back on the back half of the race. Those of us that were new to Little Rock, were hopeful that the "riverfront" would be scenic. I can assure you, it isn't!


My one saving grace on this journey, was meeting this incredible young woman named, Renea. She hit the wall and I saw it. So, I introduced her to Galloway. Funny, I don't even think she helped me as much as I helped her. My body was doing great, it was my mind that was struggling. I really don't do well with complete boredom. It was nice to have some good conversation for a few miles to help forget where we were and what we were doing.

I lost Renea for a bit when I made a pit stop and found the wall myself.

A photo posted by Theresa C. (@gobelieveconquer) on

I spent the subsequent miles complaining to myself about the fact that I was bored out of my mind and that my butt, was in fact, killing me. I had made a reference on Instagram about this race being a crossfit WOD that I was naming, "THE 26.2 CHIPPER." There was more truth to this that I realized as I chipped away at the miles.

Close to the end, I found Renea again. We ran the last stretch together and got to see each other finish and get our medals. She is someone I hope to stay in touch with so I can here how she's making out on her goal of 30 marathons before she turns 30.

Cindy and I caught back up with each other, hit the VIP Perk area - wow the food - grabbed our bags, and headed to the main area to catch Lucas. We chatted for a bit before he had to roll out after his family arrived and found that the bulk of the food was already gone. This was at like the six hour point of an eight our marathon.

So how does this race rate for me? Well, lets start with...

The bad.

As aforementioned, they either ran out of or put away the food at around the six hour point of a race with an eight hour cut off. As far as I am concerned, your slower runners are just as important as your average and fast ones The same finishers items should be made to the ate comers as the early ones. In fact, they should be celebrated for possessing such tenacity.  

The good.

The medal is at the top of this list. Seriously, it is what brought me here and it makes up for the course, which was mind numbingly boring on the back half.

The next good, the finish area was in the convention center. It was nice to know that in the event of inclement weather, we could take cover inside rather stand outside as is typical for these events.

Another good, there are plenty of hotels close to the convention center and pretty much everything was a short walk away.

Lastly, the VIP Perks are worth the money. You get great post race food and beverages, a live band, and some pretty cool people to chat with.

...and did I mention the medal. It is bigger than the crossfit logo on my tshirt.

So I guess the big question is, would I do it again? Well today I am saying, "no," but that will probably change once I get my running legs back and regain the fitness I lost during my recent move. Naturally, it may also change after I see what the theme for 2017 is. Medals kill brain cells...especially big ones. Size does matter.

Ok Arkansas, I have crossed both you and "a medal as big as my butt" off my bucket list. Up next, Blue Ridge and to figure out what other states I am hitting next.

Until next time,

Love, Light, Kettle Bells, and Running Shoes,
Theresa

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. As a race ambassador, Little Rock Marathon provided me with a free entry into the Marathon, along with my packet goodies. Hotel accommodations, travel, and other expenses related to the race were paid by me and as always, the opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Little Rock Marathon Pt 1

A photo posted by Theresa C. (@gobelieveconquer) on

It was a few years in the making, but I finally made it to the Little Rock Marathon. Unlike last year, the race weekend welcomed absolutely beautiful weather with cool mornings and warm afternoons. It made walking downtown Little Rock, Arkansas an absolute joy.

When we arrived downtown, we checked into the Courtyard by Marriott, Downtown. (TripAdvisor review here.) The hotel was a perfect location, allowing for a short walk to the convention center and race starts. I could not have asked for a better place to stay.

The Expo:

Upon arrival, we made a direct route to packet pickup to get our 5k and marathon bibs, tshirts, and bags. The process was painless and the volunteers greeted us with a heaping helping of southern hospitality. After a long morning of travel, it was greatly appreciated.

Just beyond packet pickup, we found our friend, Sid:
A photo posted by Theresa C. (@gobelieveconquer) on

The expo was small but well attended with some incredible vendors on hand. I even got to see Sparkle Skirts up close and in person. Lucky for me they didn't have any of the items I was interested in or it could have turned into one expensive weekend. That isn't to say that my wallet was entirely safe. Hoka was there with their NEW shoe, the Clayton, and I broke down and got the glorious 6.5oz clouds of pure comfort. Damn you Hoka! I also found out that the Cifton 3 promises a return to a more open toe box and better cushioning. I need a second job.

5K

Saturday morning meant 5k race and the Inaugural Little Rock Challenge; run either 5k or 10k and the Marathon and you get an additional medal. What can I say, medals kill brain cells. Sign me up.
I have to say, the 5k was just what I needed with an easy run around Downtown Little Rock. It made me happy to see a small town race command such a huge presence for its 5k and 10k. If I come back, I'll definitely put either the 5k or 10k on the agenda again.


Ok, one race down. One to go. Next up - the reason I went to Little Rock in the first place; a big A$$ MEDAL!

Love, Light, Kettle Bells, and Running Shoes,
Theresa



Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. As a race ambassador, Little Rock Marathon provided me with a free entry into the Marathon, along with my packet goodies. Hotel accommodations, travel, and other expenses related to the race were paid by me and as always, the opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sox Boxican and Ambassador Announcement


Last March, I purchased my very first pair of The Sox Box socks as a part of a St Patty’s 5K run in Baltimore. Theresa, had directed me to the site which had a plethora of fun and sassy socks for all occasions. I got the “lucky ones”.

In the fall, my Cross Fit adventures lead me to investing in a few pairs, not only to protect my shins during box jumps and rope climbs. I also used them during a fall 50K.


Not long ago, I spotted my CrossFit Coach, Vanessa, wearing some and commented how much I loved them. She disclosed that she was the east coast Distributor for Sox Box and to let her know when I needed more. How AWESOME is that? Then, recently, she told me that The Sox Box was starting an Ambassador Program and I practically jumped up and down saying “Ohhh Pick me! Pick me!” I went home and applied that day.

I was very fortunate to be selected. EEEK!

The Sox Box is an amazing company. Not only does it make fun, cool, and functional socks and apparel in the USA, they also donate to worthy causes:

“The Sox Box has teamed up with a number of organizations who do wonderful work and need Sox to show it! We will always maintain our commitment of 20% of non-designated sock line proceeds to the Independence Fund along with designating 20% of designated lines donated for a cause. We are honored to have formed great alliances with organizations that help raise funds, awareness and spread the words (the Sox words) of their valuable contribution back to the world.”

I love their products and their commitment to giving back. I am proud to be a Sox Boxican and Ambassador!

Use the code GBCONQUER to receive 10% off your order! Click HERE
Or $5 off your first order! Click Here for first time order!
To learn more about the Charities The Sox Box supports click here: The Sox Box Charity Overview

Follow them:

on Facebook: HERE
on Twitter: HERE
on Instagram: HERE

Love, Cindy.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Little Rock Marathon or the Race with the Big A** Medal

In the spring after I started running, I started following the blog, Run with Jess. She's an upbeat running mom with a huge following. The post that initially got my attention was her race recap of the Little Rock Marathon (check it out here); not because of the post (which was great) but because of this picture:

Credit: Run With Jess

Seriously!!! Look at the size of THAT MEDAL!!! If there was ever a reason to run for the bling, this was it. Unfortunately, I was only an aspiring 10k runner and had ZERO desire to run a marathon. 

Well, I thought I had zero desire to run a marathon...

Fast forward to the Marine Corps Marathon Expo this past October (what would be my third marathon at that point). Guess who was there!!!  

Little Rock Marathon was!!! and they brought THIS...

a medal the size of my head!!!  

So I tweeted them and said, "Hey! I want to write about you guys!" and they said, "OK!" 

and now I'm like 24 days away from having my very own Little Rock Marathon medal. What is even better, I get to ambassador for them and write ALL ABOUT IT!!!  ACK!!!!

Funny...something that I never thought I'd be doing but am less than a month away from. I can't wait.

Love, Light, Kettle Bells, and Running Shoes,
Theresa


Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  As a race ambassador, Little Rock Marathon provided me with a free entry into the Marathon, along with my packet goodies.  Hotel accommodations, travel, and other expenses related to the race were paid by me and as always, the opinions are 100% my own.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Returning to Blue Ridge


If you had asked me five years ago if I wanted to run the Blue Ridge Marathon, I would have laughed at you and questioned your sobriety. Five years ago, however, I was not a runner. Today is a much different story.

I have run, want to run, and love the Blue Ridge Marathon.

Whether it is full marathon, half marathon, or Star 10k (which I am planning to run one day just because I want the medal,) this challenging race is well worth the time and effort put into training for it. It is an event that, for me at least, I try to embrace fully - even going as far as volunteering the Friday before the race.

Last year, I had the privilege of  being one of the official bloggers for the event. It was an incredibly motivating and rewarding experience that gave me the opportunity, not only to run the race, but to meet some incredible people. You can catch more on that here.

Naturally, when the Blue Ridge Marathon race organizers announced their search for 2016 race ambassadors, I all but jumped up and down waiving a hand in the air and shouting "me, me - pick me!" Shortly before the holidays, the acceptance email landed in my inbox and I was ecstatic. Sure, had a lot of training ahead of me - even more considering I'd taken time off from training all together - but this was my favorite race.

I can and will make it happen.

This year, Blue Ridge Marathon is exploring what #ToughIs; a topic that holds as many varied responses as there are people that run the race. For me, it can change daily - if not hourly or by the mile.

Right now, my #ToughIs embracing my new normal and letting go of the what was as I work towards what could be.

Now, I want to know what your #ToughIs. Share it in the comments here or on the facebook page.

Love, Light, Kettle Bells, and Running Shoes,

Theresa


Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  As a race ambassador, Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon provided me with a free entry into the Marathon, along with my packet goodies.  Hotel accommodations, travel, and other expenses related to the race were paid by me and as always, the opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Back at Square One (or Damn My A** Hurts)

I've started running again and while it may not be far or fast, I AM running. Naturally, the muscles that I put on a six week vacation are disgruntled - in other words, my ass hurts.

I had forgotten about that feeling. It was one that I had grown accustomed to when I first started running and later forgot about because, as my body adapted, it went away. What is funny, I am glad my ass hurts. I know that I am getting back into a routine and that, thanks to the wonders of muscle memory, I will progress in mileage quickly.
Night view of Baker Park, Frederick, Maryland - right before our run.
Running again isn't my only news. I have also joined a new running club; the Frederick Steeplechasers. The verdict is still out on the club (last night was my first run with them) and I'm impatiently awaiting the announcement of the start of Winter Marathon Training.

Blue Ridge Marathon will be here before I know it.

I originally planned to train so I could run Blue Ridge better in 2016. Now I'm hoping I just finish it. Six weeks off is detrimental to you mindset that way. That mindset should turn itself around once I am more rooted into a routine that includes both running and cross training.

Speaking of "cross training," I still am trying to figure out a cross training option. I've reached out to a couple of Crossfit Boxes and am trying to be patient considering it is the holiday season. Isn't this the time of year to boost membership though? Oh well - maybe crossfit doesn't operate that way.

Until next time, run happy - Love, Theresa.