Nifty November

I usually put up Christmas decorations November 1st, or the first weekend after Halloween.  Ben pretends he doesn't want them up yet, but deep down he secretly dreams of turning the corner each drearily dark work morning and seeing CHRISTMAS in the family room.  I know he now enters with a giant smile plastered on his face.

This time the decorations all waited until after the Cali trip/race, but it went up and I love it!  The tree is kind of redneck since I found out early on, after baby facial scratches, that the ornaments couldn't cover the bottom 1/3.  And we still don't have enough garland, but I don't really care.

Our stockings are hung by a Gino Savarino piece with care.

(Sorry Dallin BYOS)

The original pink shoe tree sits by my desk if you can even see it midst the child fun.

The mall has their decorations up (great minds think alike).  This past weekend we decided to check off another thing on my list (31 while 31) and get morning breakfast/bagels at a cafe.  (This whole 31 while 31 list thing is the bomb.  Ben is also going to do one next year.)

We chose a place called Elevate Coffee.  Eh, we probably won't be back, but the weather was beautiful if slightly chilly, and B3 was in heaven roaming the sidewalks as he pleased.  I wish posting a video was as simple as a picture because he just babbles in his high voice while he walks.  Adorable!

Our coach (Charlie) ran Ironman this past weekend and we decided to head down and cheer him on at the finish.  The weather was so cold and it was a downpour for most of the day.  We heard a lot of athletes were dropping out due to hypothermia which I'm sure was a huge disappointment after all that training, I can't even imagine!

It was awesome to watch them finish!  They start between 6:30-7am and have until midnight to cross the finish line!  Insanely amazing.

Over the weekend Ben also upgraded our medal rack since our last one was so full.  Look how humongous the Revel medals are in comparison.  Even the huge Disney medals are smaller.  Must run more Revel.

A couple more pics from California and I am done for now...

Poor B3 is miserably sick for the first time (probably a souvenir from Disneyland) so I'm hoping he starts to feel a little better this weekend.   The doctor thinks it could be croup, and it's breaking our hearts!!

Have a fabulous Thursday -- don't freeze!!
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The Land of Disney

Last week we took the little guy to Disneyland!  (✓31 while 31)  He's at the age where he's still not sure what the heck is going on at a theme park, but he's intrigued.

He wasn't afraid of the characters, but I think he thought they were totally weird...

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5 Years

Last week we celebrated five years of marriage!  In the last five years a lot has changed, but the biggest changes were our four moves, buying our first home, and having our first baby boy!

I love you Ben!   Thank you for choosing me and being the best husband and dad!!  Five years sure went fast.

In celebration we had dinner at The Compass Grill, the rotating restaurant at the top of the Hyatt!  (✓ 31 while 31)  It was fun to put on heels and pretend it was 2009 for a minute.

^^That giant blob on my plate is a huge piece of seared AHI.  Ahhhhh so good.  We are also facing the windows as we rotated.

Happy anniversary baby!!
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Revel Canyon City Marathon Recap

Spoiler alert:  It was awesome and I beat my goal!  I want to do it all over again and am so sad that it's over.

I have to get wordy because this was my big goal race for the fall + my first post partum marathon...

To get to this race we had a 5+ hour drive from Phoenix to Asuza, CA.  It's nice that we're so close to Cali now-a-days!  We rolled into town to my sister's house close to midnight on race morning, and after all was situated and electronics triple checked to be charging, we set our alarm for an hour and a half later.  HA 

2:15 felt like five minutes later and us runners got up, ready, and left the house at 2:45!!  Better to be early than stressed so we arrived around 3:30 or so.  The rest of the family (mom, B3, Spencer, Emily) were going to meet us at the finish line.

Even though the coat was only $3.99, I still had a hard time leaving it at the start line!  It was a nice coat!

We had all opted for bus stop bib/packet pick up so we could miss the expo the day before and avoid taking an extra day off work (and also to drive at night missing Cali traffic and allowing the B3 to sleep).  The pickup was next to the finish line which was also where parking was located.  It was freaking cold out and I had on a giant pea coat and was still shivering to death!!  The pickup was flawless, easy and definitely worth the extra $20 for us.

The marathon buses started at 4 and Jolie and I jumped on the third bus headed to the start.  They had a bunch of school buses, but we were lucky enough to get on a Greyhound type.  Driving through the canyon was nerve racking however, and took about an hour which felt like eternity on that bus.  It kept running over the big cones and edging the guard rails while I envisioned us all plummeting to our deaths and never actually getting to run the race I had been looking forward to for so long.  But alas we survived the bus ride, even flipping a U at one point, and we arrived at the dark campground ready to hurry up and wait (FREEZE)!

IT WAS SO COLD.  OMG.  Like somewhere in the 30s and breezy.  We had space blankets, gloves, and we sat in front of the fire place nibbling on my bagel for an hour and a half before it was time to get ready to hit the bathrooms and do a couple of quick dynamic stretches.

The start line was great, there were enough bathrooms and with 1200 marathoners it didn't feel too crowded.  I believe there were 1200 half marathoners too, but they started half a marathon away.  :P

 The Race 
The gun fired and we were off!!  (Or something made a noise, I wasn't paying attention and it actually caught me by surprise while fiddling with my Garmin.  haha)

Everybody was passing me at the beginning, and I was still going faster than I was planning on.  I knew this was how it was going to be, but it was still really, really hard to keep my pace at 9:30.  REALLY HARD!!  But this was my plan for running smart and having a good experience and I knew I had to stick with it or I was at risk of paying dearly during the second half.

I decided to keep my eye on the 4:10 pacer and let him keep me at steadier paces.  His name was JC and he had run over 200 marathons/ultras and even held a running world record of sorts (he didn't tell me this last part, I found out after).  I spent a lot of time around him and a couple of others and it was the first time I utilized pacers in a race. 

I averaged a 9:13 for the first half (2:00:xx) but my efforts felt really easy for the downhill and with the adrenaline from racing.  I had so much confidence in hitting my goal and was having so much fun at this point.


Minus the short bump in mile 3, the first hill hit right after the half mark but it was short enough to almost have no impact.  I was surprised because I hate even the littlest of inclines and my pace usually reflects that immediately.

The next six miles were rolling hills, with one that was really long and I think 80% of the people were walking it.  My research on the race had prepared me to do some walking on this hill but I was surprised when I sailed right up it too.  Can this be happening?!?  I still felt so good although my pace did slow by the time I reached the top, but I never had to do any walking on the hills which had me happy.  

^^This must be mile 23+ since all my GU are gone.
^^These are kind of out of order.  Probably mile 6 or 8?

I thought this was interesting, but when I clocked the 1/2 mark, my stats showed that I had been passed by 124 people!!  Ouch.  But during the second half I passed 232 people!  

When I hit mile 21 I felt good, I was in awe that I had passed mile 20 and I was still averaging a sub 9:30 pace when my goal was a 10:11 pace.  I was still running all around the 4:10 pacer and my watch was saying I was on track for a 4:09 finish.  I couldn't believe it, but I also knew that a lot can happen in the final miles, so I didn't count my chickens yet.

^^GU #5...maybe mile 19ish?

I kept chuggin' along and feeling pretty good until about mile 24-1/2 when my legs started to turn over slower and I was feeling the weather since it was in the 70s at this point.  I have mentally overcome running in the heat somewhat, but it does take a toll when you're fatigued and that sun is just beating down on you.

There were two aid stations in the last couple of miles and I walked them both, the last one was a glorious and dragged out walk as I was starting to really feel the distance.  The final mile is an itsy bitsy tiny climb but man!! mentally it felt mountainous when I looked ahead and up at all the runners.  Come on legs!!!  Don't blow it now.

10:41 <-- longest hill
11:00  <--FML way to ruin my sub 4:10 lol (goodbye pacer)

Finish:  4:11:53 (9:36/mile) official
2:00 first 1/2, 2:11 second 1/2

Turning the corner for the final .2 was amazing.  The streets were lined with huge palms and a lot of people cheering us on.  One great thing (of a million) about this race was that our bibs had our names on them HUGE so as I ran through the shoot all these people were yelling COME ON CHRISTY!!  It was inspiring to say the least, and just what I needed to hear at that point.

Then I saw my husband.  And my baby boy sitting on the ground playing in the dirt.  My heart seriously melted as I was reminded of the best group of cheerleaders and supporters in the world (Ben had run the 1/2)!  Ben had been been getting tracking texts so he knew I was ahead of my goals and doing well, and I could see his huge smile which felt incredibly amazing knowing he was proud of me.  I am lucky to have him!

Down a little further I was met with the rest of my family cheering me on.  What a great way to finish a great race!!  My sister smashed it too!  I love my family!!!

 Final stats:   
4:11:53 (I tried to run better tangents this time and ended up with a 26.24!)
569 / 1199 overall
208 / 535 females
36 / 72 in my age group (30-34)

Sub 4:30 
Run smart (or is it smartLY :P )
Have a good experience this time around
Don't finish hating the marathon distance

 My Knee/IT Band: 
I didn't feel my knee until about mile 7-8, but even mildly so.  Once I hit the uphill the nuisance really faded away and I never thought of it again.  After the race it was inflamed, but even so, just for the day.  The thing that I felt the most during the race was my left calf.  So random.

 My thoughts: 
There are a lot of things that contributed to having a good race and I think they mostly fall within taking the first half slowly, carrying my own and taking a GU every 4 miles, not overheating until the end, and having built a little bit of mental strength up.  My awesome friend Sandy the BostonBoundBrunette had run the course and answered all of my questions about it, plus sent me her data which had me ready for the course because the overall elevation map is a little misleading.  I also cut fiber out of my diet the days leading up to the race, on top of the carb loading, and I'm not sure if that helped, but perhaps it did.

^^Sandy had a rough race but she still killed it (and me)!

The mistakes I made at SLC I worked on and I know it made a difference this day.  Looking back I know I could have probably taken the first half 7-8 minutes quicker without it affecting me in the second half, or I could have taken the chance and hammered down, but I finished without any regrets and I am just grateful that I had such a great experience that left me wanting to run another marathon as soon as I can instead of never wanting to do that again.

Maybe on a suuuuper fast course I could have a shot at a BQ before I turn 35?  That is a 3:35.  Right now times go up to 3:40 at 35 years, and 3:45 at 40.  Either way, it'd be loads of work, but I like work, and Revel happens to have some REALLY fast courses (uhum DENVER!!).

As always, thank you to Ben, my family and my coach for helping me get to the starting line of this race that I was terribly excited for.  Couldn't have done it without you all.

Time to do it all over again!  The vicious cycle of a runner.
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Marathon Race Plan + Goals

Right now my mind is 3 parts marathon, 1 part the-rest-of-life.  Or maybe more like 9:1.

The thing to do is lay it all out there with A, B, C goals, so even though that terrifies me, I've already told you what my goal was in the last post, so...

Based off of 26.5 miles, although I hope to run the tangents a little better than that, my goals and the gist of my plan:

A-  Sub 4:30 (10:11 pace)

B-  4:30-4:45 (10:45 pace)

C-  Finish

1-13:  9:30 pace (bank some time on the downhill but still really hold the brakes)
14-21:  use perceived effort on the uphills, do not panic for I have banked some time for this part
21-FINISH:  Keep the 10:11 pace.  Shutup legs.  I.  GOT.  THIS.

Fuel right before aid stations 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, 22.5.

Can't believe it's almost time to do this.  Come on lil knee, it's time for marathon #2!

"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."  -Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist

"If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal."  -Rob de Castella, winner 1983 World Marathon Championships

"The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever." -Unknown

Run the first ten miles with your head, the second ten miles with your legs, and the last 6+ with your heart!
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A to Zs of Marathon Training [Week 17]

The A to Zs of marathon training, what has lately become a huge part of our lives.  I did a similar post for SLC.  The experiences have both been full of ups and downs, but I'd have to say they've been so different from each other.

On top of learning a lot about running, in the process I've also learned a lot about myself.  To some, running is just a form of exercise.  To me, it is also a form of meditation and reflection, a time out and an outdoors fix.  And a million other things!

Average Temperature of Training

A high of 118 degrees in August (!!) (@#$!), 100+ until October because Arizona sure was on one this year.  For most of my long runs I'd say I averaged 80s since I did them in the early AM.


This one is kind of weird but I've been working on breathing with my diaphragm.  I've read somewhere that you should breathe in for three steps, breathe out for two.  I've tried it and maybe it's helped on faster runs but it takes major concentration because you have to alternate your breathing pattern with either right/left foot.  I usually settle into breathing in two steps, out two steps.


My mom bought me RUN GUM for my birthday and I have loved it and pop one before a long run.  I also take GU with 20mg of caffeine about every 45:00.  I could have really used RUN GUM when B3 was a newborn...

Duration of Training

18 weeks:  8 weeks of heart rate training + 10 weeks of Charlie's coaching (2 of which were my taper)


The marathon course is downhill for the first half, then some rolling hills (until mile 21ish) and a flat finish.


GU every 45:00 starting at like 30:00.  The course has aid stations every two miles so I may fuel every 4 miles right before the water stop.


Newtons Distance U + Asics Gel 3030s + Asics Noosa Tri 9s + my new Saucony Triumph ISOs which I'll be racing in!

Hitting the wall

At SLC it was unexpectedly warm and I hit the wall half way in (major ouch).  My goal is to fuel like mad and set myself up for the best situation, then the rest is out of my hands.


Earlier this summer my tight hips gave me some left knee niggles, but it's gotten looser/better.  The last 5-6 weeks I've had a tight IT band with some major right knee pain, but it is getting less each week and I'm hoping it holds up on the downhill portion of the course (unfortunately that is right off the start) or that I can find some flatter areas to warm up in.


is running the marathon with me (my sis).  We aren't literally running together since she's considerably more trained and I think just going to go for it on the downhill.  The rest of the fam damily are running the 1/2 marathon.  Ben's legs aren't quite ready for the stresses of "racing," so he'll be going sub 1:50 -- his slowest 1/2 to date.  Wish that was my slowest 1/2...

Kinds of music

I still haven't tried a book on tape for my long run which both Ben and my sister like, I love upbeat music and am still hooked on KNIFE PARTY.  They are the best to run to.  Also Kelly Clarkson (always), and my favorite song of all time in the history of life, CATCH MY BREATH.

Long Runs

Up to 20 miles but I did two split long runs, a 14 miler and a 20 miler.  I could have used more long runs, but hey, there's no more time for that!


At the end of this upcoming week I'll be over 400 miles in this training cycle and just miles from 700 for the year.  I finished October with 133 miles!  Not a record high month overall, but a record high month in a couple of years so I'm very happy!!!  It feels so good to be finally getting my fitness levels back.

Negative Splits

The first half is significantly faster so I do plan on taking some advantage, but at this point I don't have my race plan in hand so we'll see what Charlie says.  Since I'm not trained for a terribly quick race, I don't think I'll take as much advantage of the downhill, so hopefully my splits aren't a million hours different.


This is something I struggle with when I have a bad run (read:  my 1/2 marathon race in September) or nagging pain and I let it ruin my mood in a dramatically major way.  Ben is the #1 optimist in the world and always butters me up and rejuvenates me (in all things life, really).  Also, having a coach is another form of motivation and a reminder that not every run is going to be good, but the next one just might!


This summer, testing put my zone 2 at a 9:47-11:05 pace which is where most of my runs were, typically about 10-10:15.  I'm sure my threshold pace is quicker now with my increased fitness and the muuuuch cooler temperatures, but we'll wait until after the race to find out new zones.

Qualify for Boston (BQ)

My sister and I would have to run a 3:35 (8:12/mile) to qualify at our age.  Definitely NOT happening for me.  It may not happen for me until I'm in my 40s and no longer taking pregnancy/newborn breaks, but I do have my eyes on it.  Right now my goal is to average a 10:15 pace = sub 4:30.  Maybe next year I'll come back and give it a faster try??  I hope I love the course, but everything I've read says it's beautiful.


During training I ran one 1/2 marathon and it didn't end well due to my IT band giving me trouble for the first time.  Boo

Speed Work

Charlie (coach/PT) coaches a track club every Tuesday, so I was doing some track for awhile.  They recently changed the time for the fall/winter/spring so I haven't been able to make it due to work/rush hour, so I just do the track workout around my block.  Not near as fun, but the commute is nice.  :)


It's going much better than my 3-week taper for SLC.  Maybe because I'm much busier these days so I am just a little bit less busy without as many miles.  I do miss the long runs though.  One great thing about marathon training is it morphs your view of a half marathon into being short.  Aka "My long run is only 13 miles this weekend."

Up and coming plans

So.. the alphabet is hard.  :P  After the marathon I plan to focus on the half marathon for the next year and depending on how I'm feeling, maybe give the full another shot.


I know this is going to HURT, but I envision it being a much stronger and smarter race than SL.  I'm aware how the marathon feels and that anything can go wrong, but even so I am confident that if I really stick to my race plan, I will reach my goal (or at least be close if things go awry).  I have built up some mental strength which I have found is one of the most valuable things when it comes to racing.  Buuut you can never be too sure about race day.


I obsess over this.  :P  At this moment race day is a high of 79, low of 48, but since it's in the canyon I anticipate cooler temperatures at the start.  Last year I think I read it was 38 at the start.  Brrrrrrrrr.  Yesterday Ben and I went to Goodwill and I bought myself a giant pea coat for $4 that I can discard.  It's awesome.  lol

X training

I did one full strength/weight session each week + two core trainings.  During taper I don't x-train, I just do my core work and foam roll/work on my IT bands.


Totally grasping at straws with the alphabet...
BUT the marathon isn't really just 26.2 miles.  It's actually 26 miles, 385 yards.  Or 26.21875 miles.  haha

Zac Efron

Is hot, but I don't know if he's ever run a marathon cuz I can't find his time anywhere.

This past week was another good one and I can feel my knee loosening up a little bit.  It didn't require much recovery as opposed to previous weekends where I was left limping for a day or so after the inflammation set in.  It was a fairly low mileage week and I'm feeling good and ready.

The only pictures from this week's training are from after my long run on Halloween with my cute baby boy!

This upcoming week I have three workouts planned and then it's go time!!  Pretty crazy!!  I can't believe it.  I also can't believe I thought up words for each letter of the alphabet.

Have a nice Monday!
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The Ultimate October

Last week Ben and I took a couple of days off work for no reason other than to party.  We should do that more often, it was a freaking fun family time.  Plus the weather rocked!  It's about time we get some lovely weathers.

It's kind of an off feeling when you go about Saturday festivities on a regular weekday.  I could definitely get used to it if we could just win the lottery one of these days.
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