Thursday, September 16, 2010

My First Half Marathon!

Hey all!

Its Shelby. I am so sorry it has taken me so long to post about my first 1/2 marathon but here it is!

Alexis already described our many ups and downs trying to get to the race. but the morning of I was starting to get pretty nervous. I had not gotten as much sleep as I probably should of the Thursday and Friday before and then Saturday night I was so nervous about not being able to sleep that I ended up not really being able to sleep. Regardless, I knew this was the day and I just had to make the most of my energy. We woke up around 5 and I wanted to make sure that I stopped eating and drinking an hour before the race so I munched on a peanut butter and jelly Larabar and a banana while I was getting ready. By 5:30 we were out the door and driving to the race!

Despite our many parking mishaps we made it to the start of the race about ten minutes before it started. Seeing all the people there was both exhilarating and extremely intimidating. Having Mary there by my side (it was her third!) was definitely a huge relief. As the carrels moved up, my heart started to race faster and faster. Finally we were up and after a 1,2,3 countdown we were off. 

The first two miles I was just adjusting to all the things to see around me. Between the bands they had set up on almost every corner to the cheerleading squads, to thousands of volunteers and runners around me, it was a lot to take it. However for me, it is the beginning of the race which I dislike the most. I would much rather be in the 10th mile going through the pain then in the 3rd mile, awaiting the inevitable pain. I told myself that if I could just make it to mile 5, without any cramps or pains, then I could find my groove to finish the race. Soon enough Mary and I made it to the mile 5 marker and we were both feeling pretty good. It was in about the 7th or 8th mile however that I finally started to gain my confidence and strength. I was surprised by this because everyone was telling me that this was usually the hardest part of the race for them but between mile 7 and 11 was when I was enjoying myself the most.

By this time the people were more spread out and instead of everyone trying to pass and work around each other, it turned into more of this collective energy where all the runners were on the same team- I can't even count the number of encouraging and inspiring remarks I got. Let's just say I fell in love with running races in that time. 

Mile 12 and 13 were long and I was definitely starting to feel the pain, but knowing you only had such a short distance to go and all the people around you cheering, stopping is not one of things you are thinking about it. Plus the last mile was on the beach! It was absolutely beautiful. When I saw the finish line, I sprinted as fast as I could for the last 200 hundred feet and looked around and couldn't believe that I had just finished my first half marathon!

My goal was to finish before 2 hours and 10 minutes and I ended up with a time of 2 hours and 5 minutes so I was pretty psyched! After training all summer, I had finally done what I had been working so hard for and it felt great!

I realized though that it is important to focus on your own accomplishments when it comes to running. With thousands of people there running a half marathon, many of them a lot faster and stronger than you, sometimes you can downplay your accomplishment. But running, at least for me, has never been about beating out other people or trying to prove myself to anyone else- it is about facing myself and trying to push myself farther and faster than I did before. You have to celebrate your accomplishments, especially when you worked hard to achieve them. 

On that note, my eyes are now on the Richmond Half! As promised, I will be posting my training schedule for that soon! I think the VA Beach Half Marathon has crafted a race running addict ;)

Happy almost weekend!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday Recharge

Hello all!

After a crazy weekend of foam parties, philanthropies, and birthdays, Mary, Ana, and I decided that a relaxed night of cooking for ourselves was just what we needed!

I headed over to Mary and Ana's sorority house and since they had a ton of veggie burgers in their fridge, we decided to build our dinner around that. We took to the local Harris Teeter to pick up some spinach, sprouts, and beautiful red and yellow tomatoes. Once we got back, all it took was a little grilling of the veggie burgers, cutting up the tomatoes and finally, putting it all over the spinach. To add some more flavor we seasoned it with salt and pepper and added some olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 

Needless to say, we finished every bite...

This delicious meal plus a Sex and the City episode was all I needed to re-focus for the week! I took it pretty easy on the running last week but this week I plan to start training again, this time for the Richmond Half Marathon!! I am going to try to set out my training schedule tomorrow so stayed tuned for that! Also Mary and I are going to be making one of our favorite blogger's famous Green Monster smoothie this week and of course I will be posting all about my first half marathon!

Here's to Monday being over!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Lovely Saturday in Charlottesville

Hey all! Alexis here! Today Mary, Ana and I had a hankering for some frozen yogurt. So after a trip to the gym we headed downtown for some Sweet Frog. We spent the next couple of hours meandering down the mall and hitting up a nearby street fair. A trip to Cinema Taco may have occurred as well...

In classic Health Nut fashion, another photo montage:

Happy Saturday!


GF Dinner Party!


Last night we all headed over to our friend JC's apartment for a lil' dinner party! I was very excited about this dinner, because JC has recently began a gluten-free diet as well. She has been able to cook a lot in her apartment this year, and has made some pretty delicious gluten-free meals. Last night was chicken and shrimp stir fry with GF teriyaki sauce and soy sauce (called Tamarin).

I helped with the shrimp...

Hello gluten-free stir fry heaven!

JC decided to appeal to the masses and make what looked to be a delicious dessert for everyone. Mint brownies! Ana helped with the frosting:

JC and I munched on some GF cookies I made.. but forgot to snap a pic! I will definitely be making this mix again... once the cookies cooled down they tasted better than a lot of cookies I used to devour pre-GF living.

Earlier this week I went to a screening of the documentary "Fresh." Keep a look out for a post all about the film!

Until then,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Meet Mary!

Get ready for another GUEST POST! Have a great weekend everyone!

-Alexis and Shelby

Hello Health Nuts! I’m so excited to be a guest blogger and share with you all about my experience so far as a vegetarian. I'm an avid runner, much like Alexis and Shelby. As you can see being active is definitely a huge part of our friendship!

Although I’d like to say my choice to eat Vegetarian was something that I had given plenty of thought and pondered for weeks on end, the truth is that after watching just one video narrated by Paul McCartney about the horrors of animal slaughterhouses ( and doing a little of bit of online researching of the lifelong health benefits, I decided I wanted to simply give vegetarianism a “test run”. As days of this “test run” turned into weeks and weeks into month, I can now proudly say that I have been a faithful Vegetarian for six months and am still going strong! (If you had told me this a year ago I would not have believed you).

I currently live with Alexis in our sorority house—a very vegetarian-friendly place. Our sorority’s new chef, Brian, provides a vegetarian option for every brunch, lunch, and dinner he prepares making it easier than ever for me! In addition, our kitchen is stocked with veggie burgers and other high protein, meatless foods like oatmeal, soymilk, and peanut butter.

Of the past six months, I have found these first few weeks of the fall semester to be the easiest for me due to the large number of healthy vegetarian options at my fingertips. In comparison with this past summer, when I worked as a camp counselor in New Hampshire, it is quite a relief to now be living in a place with so many great alternatives to meat. At camp I would find myself having a soy peanut butter sandwich for lunch multiple days in a row, not fun!

However, Brian is not around all the time and our sorority house is obviously not the only vegetarian-friendly place in Charlottesville. My new favorite veggie option when dining out is Rise Pizza. This quick-serve, locally owned restaurant in the Barracks Road Shopping Center of Charlottesville has everything from gluten-free pizza crust to the most well priced gourmet veggie pizzas and spinach salads that I have found at UVA! I have been to Rise four times already this semester, including one trip for dinner after the Virginia Beach Half-Marathon. The simple thought of Rise Pizza waiting for us made the traffic-filled trip go much faster! Not only is the food fantastic but Rise employees are super nice as well: When we thought Alexis had lost her ring in the Rise trash, the manager delved his bare hands into the bag where she had thrown her food away on a determined search to find it. A very accommodating bunch I’d say! Check out the menu for yourself:

That's all for now. I hope to be doing lots more posts in the future here as I learn more about how my newfound vegetarianism has affected my health! Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sixth Half-Marathon, Check!

Hey everybody! I know I may have freaked some of my friends out with my Facebook status after the race, but I really felt it was a notch in my belt to finally run myself to the point where the medical tent was necessary!

My experience in my sixth half-marathon, and the second time doing the Virginia Beach Half-Marathon was far from ordinary. Upon waking up early last Saturday for our drive to Virginia Beach, I noticed the extreme cold that had come upon me. Despite a good 11 hours of sleep the night before I was feeling pretty awful. I did everything to shake it - cold medicine, Wellness Pills, Zicam, EmergenC, and at least 200 ounces of fluids throughout the day. I drank so much in an attempt to drink away the cold and hydrate for the next day. I had a steady mix of vitamin C drinks, different forms of electrolytes and lots of water. I try not to drink too much water the day before a race, as well as the morning of. After hydrating with so many electrolytes for race prep, you don't want to wash the electrolytes out of your system.

Shelby, Mary and I had an awesome drive out to Virginia Beach despite my sickness. We were on a mission to find a Qdoba for a pre-race lunch and eventually ended up at a real mall with an H+M, Forever 21 and California Pizza Kitchen. It was heavennn and much better than shopping in Charlottesville!

Upon arriving we headed to the convention center for the Health and Fitness Expo. This was Mary's first race outside of the Charlottesville Half Marathon and it was Shelby's first half-marathon, so it was pretty cool for them to see so many vendors and sponsors out there.

After picking up our packets we headed straight to the Larabar booth for free samples galore!

Then we went searching for running accessories!

Later on that night we checked into our hotel room in hopes of getting to sleep by about 8:30. It was only a dream though, as I somehow managed to lock the keys in the car. The AAA man came eventually but my stretching routine and pre-race shower were postponed until he arrived. I didn't get a very good night of sleep, mainly due to all the sniffling and coughing. This was probably the first sign that I should not have done the race the next day, but I was not going to let a stupid cold get in a way of the race.

The next morning we made our way from Norfolk to Virginia Beach, getting pumped as ever for 13.1.

When we got near the start, we encountered some more car drama - in the form of parking this time. Long story short, I founded myself sprinting about 8 blocks to a 7-11 for some cash and on the way back I started to feel very feverish and tired. This was sign number 2 that I should not have done the race.

Yes, I know I'm stubborn.

The race started off well. I started off in Coral 7 with an anticipated finish time of 1:55. My PR (personal record) is 1:57 at the Charlottesville Half. That race is incredibly hilly, so compared to the flatness of Virginia Beach I figured such a PR would be pretty easy to accomplish.

I was well on my way in the first couple of miles, hitting 9 minute splits with very little effort. And then once the first incline came about my cold really started to hit me. My sinuses were hating me, and it became a lot harder to breathe. Every time I tried to speed up, I began to feel very nauseated. The first 6 miles went pretty well, and if I could have kept up that pace I would have a good chance of finishing sub-2 hours. But my body was not ready for that, as I eventually need to take a couple of breaks. I'm estimating I stopped for at least 10 minutes. Mile 8 and 9 were by far the worst, and it was around then that I noticed a pain in my left ankle. This has happened a lot to me in the past with long distances so I didn't worry too much about it. The last three miles are usually the easiest for me - when my adrenaline kicks in and all I care about is crossing that finish line. Not this race. My body was completely exhausted and it really started to affect me. I remember feeling pretty delirious. At this point, adrenaline was not enough to get me sprinting across the finish. I kept at about a 10 minute mile pace for the last 2 miles.

I reached the finish at 2:19, a time I am not proud of. Accounting for the 10 minutes of rest, I was able to run the 13.1 in 2:09 technically. Even so, I'm proud of myself for finishing. It feels like a very different type of accomplishment, and made me feel really confident about my fitness being able to go to that distance while feeling that sick.

After the race, I meandered around for about 20 minutes looking for Mary and Shelby. I eventually decided to sit down for a second and give my legs a rest, hoping they would find me. And then I collapsed. About 25 minutes later I woke up, with a person sitting next to me telling me I should head over to the medical tent. I disagreed and found myself myself attempting to walk over to look for Mary and Shelby at the car. 30 seconds I was back down on the ground. I got the strength to get back and went over to the medical tent.

I recall slurring my words and not making much sense of the situation, so excuse me if this sounds a bit hazy. I told a volunteer there that I was not feeling well and felt very faint.

His response: "We can't help you."

"Are you serious? I don't know what to do."

"There is no doctor here that can help you."

"Is this not the freaking medical tent? Isn't this your job?"

Eventually a woman came to "help" me. Without really listening to my symptoms or even asking about a medical history, she just gave me a salt packet and told me to leave.

I'm extremely disappointed and this experience really makes me question whether or not I should continue doing races on a bigger scale with soooo many participants. Running such long distances puts a lot of stress on your body that can cause just about anything to happen. The volunteers at the medical tent at this Rock n' Roll race were so unhelpful, and quite rude. I totally understand how stressful caring for tons of runners with various injuries and ice requests. But this was different. I'm quite apprehensive about running in Rock n' Roll races in the future because of this, so hopefully I'll eventually be convinced otherwise!

Soon after, Mary and Shelby found me crying to my momma by the car... and were quick to cheer me up. We headed back to the hotel for showers and made our way back to Charlottesville in time to get some time in at the library. Post race meals were Mo's and Rise Pizza (gluten-free for me!).

I've been still fighting this cold the past few days.. my body was totally out of whack on Monday. Luckily I haven't been too sore since the race, so I think that shows that my body is in good fitness and ready for that distance. I did a nice long strength workout tonight, and was able to increase my weight on the squats- good sign my legs are recovering well!

I'm going to be taking a vitamin C drink supplement several times a day in order to ramp up my immune system so I'll be able to tackle school and upcoming races with ease. We're two weeks away from the Pepsi 10K here in Charlottesville and then it's time to PR at RICHMOND!!!

Sorry for the long time in between posts everyone. I'm really trying to make blogging a part of my routine so please keep following and giving us feedback. We love it!

And one last thing: CONGRATULATIONS SHELBY! One half-marathon down, lots more to go!