Monday, January 27, 2014

Suncoast Half Marathon - Lakewood Ranch

Let me start out by saying that all your words of encouragement really helped to make this race amazing. Sometimes I just really love the blog community an almost unhealthy amount!

Okay, so this race was emotional for me from the get-go. I drove into town Saturday and started tearing up just thinking about how much was riding on it. I didn't feel nervous or upset (yet); I was choked up knowing my parents would be watching me and that this was finally the race I'd been working toward.
I packed for every condition I could imagine, which was good because the weather changed overnight!
I met Britt at the race expo to pick up our packets and we drove to the starting line to get a feel for where we wanted to park. Depending on how early she was ready, the plan was to have Britt pick me up in the morning, but in case that fell through, we wanted to park near each other.

The night before the race, I began to get nervous. Like, really nervous. Mom made spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner, served with fresh salad and an Udi's baguette, which was the perfect pre-race meal (second only to sushi). I stayed up to watch Captain Phillips with the family, and couldn't help noticing that the butterflies were beginning to emerge in my tummy.
Pre-race, carb-heavy dinner. Perfection!
I think I had so much riding on this race that fear was just unavoidable. I run most of my short races with confidence, but most long races I don't push myself too much. I had plans for the race today, and I think caring so much fed my anxiety.
Steph texted me "good luck" and when I answered immediately chastised me for being awake.
Still, I slept really well and woke up before dawn to have breakfast (which I barely touched) and get dressed. The day was supposed to start in the high 40s, but overnight the cold front let up a bit and I awoke to perfect race conditions: 62 and overcast with a 20% chance of rain.
We both look...awesome?
Somehow the app missed the incoming rain.
Britt picked me up and we got to the venue at 6:30. After getting prepped and taking a selfie while in line for the Port-o-Johns (where I was able to finally see one of my other running friends - Karen - after years of keeping in touch online), we stepped into the corral. There were just over 400 people running, and the corral wasn't too crowded. Without much ado, we began the race.
At the starting line!
Britt and I stuck together for the first quarter mile or so, but soon I had broken off on my own. I just kept thinking how good and confident I felt. Miles 1-4 flew by; I kept a slow-and-steady pace, pausing at mile 4 to eat two GU Chomps (one with caffeine). Around mile 5 I struck up a conversation with another young woman running just behind me, and we ran together until the water stop at 6.5, where I broke off ahead again.
 I tried to get photos of the route, but they all came out pretty shaky.
The first half of the race was a wonderful blur. I was amazed at how strong I felt. I wasn't clocking any miracle miles, but my pace was so consistent I thought my GPS had to be wrong.
The route boasted cloudy skies, lakes, pretty houses, palm trees. If this were a sunny race it'd be brutal - no shade!
At mile 7.5 I ate a non-caffeinated Chomp and spotted my parents and brother. Zach took photos as I waved and ran past. My dad caught sight of me pretty far back, so he was able to ask how I felt; my mom was pretty distracted and nearly missed me, so she barely had time to shout, "You look great! See you at the finish!"
Mom holding up her sign for me!
(FYI: We used the Find Friends app so my parents could track me and it worked like a charm.)

The emotional boost from having a cheering section helped me conquer the one big hill in the race. After that, I knew it was smooth-sailing. I had the advantage of being very familiar with this course because I run parts of it whenever I'm home, and by the time I got to mile 9, I knew exactly what to expect.

9 is usually my weak point, so I took my last caffeinated Chomp. This was when the rain started. Up to this point, there had been some tiny pin-pricks of rain here and there, but nothing steady. Now, the rain came down in a steady patter. I personally love running in the rain, so this was icing on the cake for me. I picked up my pace and broke the evil mile-9 curse!

In the second half, I passed tons of runners. Slow-and-steady pays off!

It wasn't really until mile 12 that I began to feel any kind of fatigue. I was able to push myself through the last mile and finish at a sprint, clocking in at 2:24:53 and beating my B-goal by 7 seconds. (I avoided walking at all the entire race - goal met!) In the finishing chute I heard my mom scream for me, and at the end when she found me and asked, "Are you happy with your race?" I could barely choke back tears enough to answer, "Yes."
Dad and mom met me at the end.
What she said next perfectly sums up why this was so important to me. She told me, "Before this, all your running has been theoretical to me. But now I see..." We runners talk non-runners' ears off sometimes, and they simply don't "get" it until they see it for themselves. Seeing both my parents so proud and beaming at the end was the cherry on top of this freakishly perfect race.

At that point, we wandered around until we found Brittany...who was in the medical tent. At mile 4 her foot, which she broke a couple years ago, popped; by mile 8 she couldn't go on. Obviously this truly sucked, but like most runners, she's only more determined to come back stronger as soon as she's able.
Such a trooper.
All in all, this was the race I was hoping for. I was healthy (I think my recent obsession with squats helped in that regard); the weather was perfect; it was my second fastest half; and I had my cheering section there to support me. What more could I ask for?
Half marathon #5...success!
I am incredibly stoked for my next adventure...Ragnar!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Redemption & Race Plan

Fall of 2013 was rough (running-wise) for me. My injured foot meant no attempt at my first full marathon. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because the route was mostly ugly urban road and the day was hot. I ran that half heavily medicated, dehydrated (from medication), and sleep-deprived after deciding the night before to run it afterall.
My last-minute decision to run that half was met with opposition.
Since then, I've been dedicated (my word of the year!) to running long on weekends, cross-training, and being honest with myself.

This weekend is my chance at redemption. The half I've been training for is Sunday. Despite heavy legs, work-induced stress, and loneliness (Matt is in Las Vegas at a double bachelor party...what a butthead), I'm excited and ready for this race. It may not be my fastest half, but it's going to bring me some redemption from the last one.
Bring it on.
I plan to walk only while fueling.

I plan to study the course map so I know when to expect water and when to eat.

I plan to see my parents at mile 8 and the finish line.
Aid station/water stop literally directly across the street from my parents' house!
(Mile 9 is usually my weak point, so I think this will be a great pick-me-up!)

I plan to finish under 2:30. (A goal - 2:15, B goal - 2:25, C goal - 2:35. There are pace teams at the race, so I plan to stick close to the 2:15 pacer.)

I plan to celebrate my first race with Brittany - her first race post-baby - and enjoy every moment of the event.

I plan to actually see what I'm made of when I train alone and don't have illness or injury to contend with.
Time to see if all this training has paid off!
I'm antsy, excited, and ready for this race! I haven't felt this confident for a long-distance race since November 2012...It's time to make this one count!

What are your weekend plans?


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My "3 R's" and a "W"

You know what always bugged me? Being the grammar nut I am, the "3 R's" drive me nuts. Two of the three words don't even start with R, and the one of them doesn't even really have the R have to butcher it into some weird slangy version of itself to make it work!

But of course, when something sticks, it sticks. Here are my "3 R's" lately.

I've gotten through quite a few books so far this school year...I'm well on my way to my 30-book goal. The next on my list is Hollow City, which is Ransom Riggs's followup to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which I adored.

I'm pretty annoyed with American Psycho. As much as I enjoyed it as social commentary, I'm baffled by its purposeful ambiguity. I get it, we don't really know if Bateman is a serial killer or not. But I just wish there were some more solid clues to go by!

After picking-up-and-putting-down The Book Thief a few times, I finally finished it over winter break and truly enjoyed it. Death's perspective and way with words was immensely distracting at first, which is why I abandoned the book a few times, but eventually the florid language settled down and I was able to get into the story.

Most bloggers are writers; that's why we're drawn to blogging. I'm sad to admit I haven't finished an actual manuscript in years (I've spent the last two editing the last one I finished), but I'm finally taking some steps to find an agent and maybe get published. Sometimes we need to face our fears and put our guts on display.
It's time to buckle down, put first things first, and get back into writing more consistently.
I hit a milestone this week! It's the first time I've ever had a bruised toenail! I'm so proud!
Can you tell?! (It's the little purple dot on my second toe!)
If I'm being honest, I must admit all my runs have been tough lately. My pace has slowed down significantly. When I was doing the summer run streak, I took 40-60 seconds off my pace; now I'm back up almost 90 seconds, despite doing speed-work and cross-training! I know adding distance and running on fatigued legs is probably the cause, but I'm pretty discouraged at how slow (for me) I feel lately.
MLK run...6.5 miles of lead-legs.
All I can do is keep chugging away. I know the tides will turn again.

We spent the long weekend enjoying the weather. Matt had a SUP race and three of our friends also paddled! Sean came to paddle straight from the half marathon some of my Ragnar teammates ran!
Super happy for them!
I was impressed. Everyone placed, which was awesome, and Matt came in first overall!

Tell me about your "3 R's"!
Did you have a long weekend in honor of MLK?


Monday, January 20, 2014

Change Your Life

Today, I've got something a little different. This past week, I've been doing an in-class retreat with my students using Sean Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Our school is actually implementing The Leader in Me and using the 7 Habits to teach students about personal responsibility, planning their future, working with others, leadership, and healthy habits.

The retreat has been eye-opening...for the students and myself. (And yes, I've read the adult version of this book and find the teen version much more engaging and relevant to my life, which is kind of sad, isn't it?)

Here's a short breakdown of the habits and videos I've been sharing with my students over the last week. If you want to learn more, I highly recommend picking up the book!

1. Be proactive. Being proactive boils down to taking control of your life; don't let others dictate how you see yourself. When I showed this to my students, they were enthralled and moved. Lizzie is a great example of how we can take control of our lives no matter our obstacles and naysayers.

2. Begin with the end in mind. Make decisions and choices that are true to the path and goal you have set for yourself. Lakeisha set her mind on her goal and worked tirelessly every day to get there. There are no excuses.

3. Put first things first. Organize your schedule so that things that are important to you - and your future - come first. This means learning to plan ahead, making time for friends, and being brave enough to say no to things that are time-wasters or of importance to others, but not to you. This is also where students write a mission statement to keep them on track, which for me is the same thing as a running mantra.

4. Think win-win. Find solutions to problems that allow everyone to benefit; consider the bigger picture when working with others, not whether you "win". I'm sure some of you have seen this, but it gets me every time.

5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Actually listen to others; don't offer unwanted advice or steamroll over their opinions and thoughts. Yes, I teach 8th grade. Yes, they get a kick out of ridiculous videos.

6. Synergize. Work together. United we stand, divided we fall.

7. Sharpen the saw. Take time to relax, re-energize, and keep yourself mentally and physically fit. Obviously, I choose running as my main way to sharpen the saw.

Since teaching this to the students, I've been trying to utilize it myself. The first three habits are "private victories", meaning you're learning to control yourself and really follow a plan you've set. The second set of three habits are "public victories"; you are learning to use your new self to work with and benefit others.

I'd be surprised if my students weren't a little tired of me linking these habits to running. It's the easiest way for me to explain how they work in my life; but I've seen them improve my personal and professional life as well.

I'll never be a Type A, organized person naturally, but at least now I have the tools and knowledge I need to improve myself and how I work with others.

Are you familiar with the 7 Habits?
What are you strong areas? I think I'm usually pretty good at "seeking to understand..."
What do you need to work on? I definitely could work on "putting first things first"! I'm super unorganized and give in too easily to what I want to do versus what I should be doing.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ragnar's Looming

My first run in the new shoes was awesome and precisely what I needed. It was a brisk 3-miler, just enough to shake out the long-run cramps and just fast enough to feel like a real run.
My new shoes feel like clouds...stable, firm clouds!
Yesterday I did a circuit Cori (at Olive to Run) posted on her Instagram. The moment I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for an at-home workout. I finished up with one of the yoga workouts from the Nike Training Club app.
I forgot how much jumping jacks and wall sits can burn!
The reason for the at-home workout was that I had a Ragnar meeting to get to in the evening. We met for drinks, dinner, and logistics. So much planning goes into a race like this! I'd be getting anxious except that I'm focusing on my upcoming half right now, so I don't have time to be anxious!
Most of our team!
Our team warmup shirts and jackets look spectacular, and I got my headlamp so I can start practicing running in it. Suddenly I have a million accessories with the Ragnar mask, but I refuse to wear them until the race weekend.
Sure to attract bugs of all kinds, but hopefully it'll ward off gators!
We've gotten some nice weather again, which means running before sunset, which means speed-work! I know I should do a tempo run, but I'm probably going to do some intervals instead...They're more fun, and these days I'm gravitating toward workouts that make my heart happy.

Do you have a home gym? I have an "all-purpose" room with just enough space for a workout.
Any tips for running in a headlamp?
When's the last time you did jumping jacks?


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Last LSD Before Race Day!

My long run this weekend was brutal...but that's exactly the reason I did it. After running 9 miles Monday and cross-training mid-week (I was so exhausted from being back at work that I didn't do any other runs), I knew getting in 13 miles would remind me that training is a priority. Especially because this is my last long, slow run before tapering begins.

I am so lucky to have a group of women to reach out to for runs like this. I was surprised so many said yes! Kristin, Tracey, and Sarah met me at 7am to begin our muggy, winding 13-miler. It was already in the 70s when we began, and by 4 miles it was nearing 80.

We stopped at mile 6 - McDonald's - to stuff ice down our bras. We paused at mile 9 - the park - to run cold water over our arms. I was so glad to have company and to be wearing my water belt! I don't think I fueled well enough and I started out too quickly; the run took us longer than we wanted, but there's no such thing as a bad run.
I already miss our cold snap. Here's hoping it returns for race day!
A tough run, yes, but not bad. This run conditioned us, reminded us that we're capable, and helped make us mentally stronger.

Matt and I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that evening, and I highly recommend it. It was insightful and poignant and funny! It struck a personal chord with me that I'll need to keep tuned, because it would be a shame to forget the messages the movie instilled in me.
As you can see, people fell off their boards a lot today. It was super choppy!
Today, Matt had a SUP sprint race. He placed second, despite the choppy conditions. We finally fulfilled my cravings for Chipotle, and we stopped for cupcakes on the way home.
When discovering gluten free options, get both! (Butterfinger cupcake and mint chocolate cupcake, both GF.)
OMG it was filled with peanut butter!!! HEAVEN.
How much pressure do you put on yourself to keep a certain pace on a long run?
How do you make adjustments to your plan based on fatigue, weather, or other conditions?
Thoughts on wearing a water-belt on race day? If it's hot out, I want to wear it to avoid a repeat of the FMB half.
How was your weekend?


PS: I got new shoes this week! Amazon had a code to save $15, plus a sale on my favorite shoe, plus I had a $25 gift card. I can't wait to take these babies for a spin!
Asics sole-mates.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gear Report: FitBit Flex

Winter break is you can probably tell by the lack of posts this week. I ended the break with a leisurely 9 mile run on Monday night. During, I listened to NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and laughed the entire run. I'm sure I convinced some drivers that running can be fun!
My new not-so-secret weapon against boredom on a long run. I didn't even notice I was running half the time!
Since getting the FitBit Flex, I've been wearing it diligently so that I could write a full review. The review itself will be short, because once you get into using the FitBit, you figure out pretty quickly if it's right for you.
FitBit sends out a weekly report that's easy to read and very motivational.
Comfortable to wear
 Fairly accurate for a wrist-worn pedometer
Easy data input
Simple to use
Effective silent alarm

Diet plan can't be deleted, only edited - no fail-safe
A little bulky for everyday wear
Can't replace a watch (although the upgraded version can)
Finding friends is tricky - no basic search
Doesn't track calories burned in stationary exercise

Recommendation: If you're someone who needs to hold yourself accountable and are trying to lose weight, I definitely recommend the FitBit. Inputting daily meals and water consumption is easy. Setting up a meal-plan is easy, but there's no fail-safe...If you want to cut your caloric intake to 500 calories a day, the app will let you do so and gently chastise you when you go over.
I'm not a big fan of the red X
I loved tracking my water intake, but when I created a meal-plan to experiment with it, I quickly realized I'd be too likely to become obsessed. (I circumvented this issue by changing my desired weight to match my current weight, which allows me to just ignore the recommended calorie count for the day.)

Bottom-line: I'll continue to use the FitBit Flex to track water, use the alarm, and track my runs, but I don't intend to use it for monitoring my meals.

In other news, I'm staying accountable and on top of my resolutions! Last week was NTC; this week I got back into the gym. I spent some time on the stair-stepper while Matt rowed beside me (and took this awesome pic), then lifted heavy (for me!).
Runner no-no...I wore my running shoes to the gym & didn't run!
I'm looking forward to seeing my runs improve as I work on my body as a whole.

Thoughts or questions on the FitBit?
How was your first week of the new year?
Do you ever listen to podcasts on the run? What's your favorite?


Sunday, January 5, 2014

First Workout of the Year

Running twice on NYE (and staying up until 2am because I apparently forgot that I'm too old for that) meant that I took quite a few "rest" days this week.

Friday, I did my first workout of the year. I wanted to make it something I could be excited about, so I opted for speed-work and testing out the Nike Training Club app.
So excited to wear my new shorts from Matt's mom for speed-work!
I was really excited because I knew the weather would be perfect for a run even if I overslept...which I did. After lunch, I went to the park, which is my go-to route for outdoor intervals. (I wish this loop was lit, because I can only run it when the sun is up.)
I love the "track" around this lake. It's perfect for speed-work.
Apparently it was a little chilly for everyone else; I was the only one out today. (The cold air didn't do any favors for my asthma, that's for sure; I had to pause once in the middle of the run to catch my breath and have some water. I also like that this route keeps me close to my car.)
I set my Nike+ app to give me updates every quarter mile, did half a mile warmup at an easy pace, then alternated sprinting and an easy recovery pace every 400m. I've obviously been skimping on speed-work, because my first few sets were ridiculously fast, but by the end I was really hurting (in a good way).
All smiles at the end! (FYI - FitBit review is coming soon!)
I finished with a 4-minute cool-down, drove home, and immediately opened up the NTC app.
I've decided to work on the "get strong" setting (you can also choose "get lean", "get toned", or "get focused") because I think strength will help my running the most.
The "beginner" level will fit in well with my running schedule.
At first I was going to do the entire 30 minute workout, but decided that I wanted to mix it up and just see what the app has to offer, so I skipped around and chose exercises that focused mostly on core work and squats.

Things I love about this app: There are a ton of workouts to choose from, the app provides photos and explanations for each exercise, and if you choose to do the entire workout, a coach talks you through it the whole time.

Drawbacks: You do need some equipment at home (mostly dumbbells and medicine balls) and a place to spread out.
Some of the exercises I did today.
I feel excellent, as I usually do after pushing it and stepping outside my comfort zone. I think I'll definitely be using NTC to help me stick to my resolutions. It's such an easy and convenient way to cross-train, and I know the different exercises will keep me from getting bored.

Plus, now I can familiarize myself with these moves so I can start doing HIIT without looking like a moron!

Have you used the Nike Training Club app?
What speed-work do you prefer: fartleks, intervals, or tempo runs?
What was your first workout of the year?


Friday, January 3, 2014

Myths About Gluten

I've been hemming and hawing over writing a "how to be gluten free" post for months now, but every time I started to write it, I realized I had too much to say and not enough focus.

Some history: I've been gluten free since I was 11. I was diagnosed with Celiac just before Thanksgiving that year, and spent Thanksgiving crying in a bathroom because I couldn't have gravy, cornbread, stuffing, pie...or a variety of other scrumptious fare. So when I say I'm "gluten free", I don't mean "when I feel like it/because it's a fad/just recently." I mean: I do not eat anything with gluten in it, ever, and haven't in well over a decade.
Before the diagnosis, I was extremely underweight and always sick. Check out those knobby knees!
(I'm going to try my best not to be preachy, but damn, this is such a soap-box issue for me.)

Let's start with a definition. Most Celiac research groups (and the FDA) agree that anything with less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten is considered gluten free. (If you're eating something with 5 ppm and you eat a lot of it, and then the total is more than 20 ppm, then can it still be considered GF?) Also, the "20 ppm" rule isn't an actual federal regulation. So more specifically, I consider "gluten free" to mean that it's made with non-gluten-having ingredients.

There are two kinds of people who may find relief in going gluten free. The first are those with a diagnosed sensitivity or intolerance, such as a gluten allergy or Celiac. The second are those with other autoimmune disorders or intestinal disorders, such as Crohn's Disease. Either way, your doctor should be the one telling you to go gluten free, not some trendy fitness magazine.

Especially during New Years, when people set out to try new diets and lose weight, I see too many articles on the "value" of going gluten free. Here are a few myths debunked:

Myth 1. Cutting out gluten is good for everyone and anyone! FALSE. Unless a doctor has told you that you would benefit from cutting out gluten (or ANY food), it's probably not going to benefit you. Studies have shown that those without a medical cause who cut gluten from their diet showed no actual improvements in their health.

Myth 2. Going gluten free is a great way to lose weight! FALSE. There are just as many high-sugar, high-calorie, high-saturated-fats foods that are gluten free. These days it's so easy to find GF food, and so much of it is unhealthy. The only way going gluten free will help you lose weight is if you don't replace your usual foods with gluten free options, which really just amounts to following a low-carb diet anyway, and avoid snacks like candy, ice cream, French fries, etc.
(Fun fact, I gained a ton of weight quickly when I was diagnosed because I was so malnourished before. So if you really have Celiac, you may even gain weight, not lose it.)

Myth 3. I have Celiac, but it's okay to eat some gluten once in awhile! FALSE. I really hate this mentality. If you've cut out gluten and your body has started to heal itself, it becomes more susceptible to the dangers of gluten if you ingest it. Go 100% GF if your doctor has told you to.
Unfortunately, with Celiac, you can't pick-and-choose; all gluten needs to be avoided. (From
 (I get how hard the transition can be. I was lucky; I was diagnosed late but my sister had been GF since she was 18 months old, so GF food was already a staple in my house and my transition was easier. But sometimes you just need to suck it up and do what's right for your body, especially when the long-term effects could include osteoporosis and cancer.)

Myth 4. No one "needs" to be gluten free; it's just a fad! FALSE. Yes, it's become a fad thanks to Hollywood/celebrities and diet trends, but 1 in 133 people have Celiac, and gluten allergies really exist. There is no pill or cure other than to completely cut gluten from your diet. (I think the abundance of people going gluten free without a diagnosis has helped to create this fourth myth.)

Believe me, the side-effects of gluten for those of us who really need to be gluten free are proof enough. (But in case you're still doubtful, I have the blood tests and the endoscopy images to prove it!) If gluten intolerance were a made-up affliction, my mom wouldn't have spent my childhood cooking two meals (one regular, one GF), baking GF bread, or spending tons of money ordering specialty foods from Canada.
Delicious, easy to find in stores, and you have to love the whole grain option...but not cheap.
Being gluten free is expensive. Special options at restaurants often cost an extra $3-5. A loaf of gluten free bread usually runs about $4, compared to just over a buck for regular bread. Who would choose to spend that extra cash if it weren't medically necessary? (In fact, if you have proof of diagnosis, you can sometimes get a tax deduction because of the cost of GF food.)

My point here is that if I had a choice, I wouldn't be GF. I would eat the cheaper options; I would partake in the potlucks at work; I would enjoy the snacks my students bake for me during the holidays.

All this is to say that when you're looking into a way to make your daily meals healthier, cutting out gluten (or any single food group) isn't the way to do it. Add more vegetables to your diet. Eat more lean protein. Learn what a serving size really is and abide by it. Avoid overdosing on saturated fats and high-sodium foods.

And if you've noticed a correlation between your mood, bodily functions, and energy levels and gluten-rich meals, see a GI. An actual diagnosis is the right place to start.

Visit for lots of excellent information on Celiac, GF recipes, foods that contain gluten, recent research, and more.

What myths or misconceptions have heard about gluten free diets?
Do you have Celiac or another diagnosed reason to avoid gluten? Share your story!
Do you have any questions?


A Sunshiney Start

I'm supposed to be running right now, but for some reason it decided to pour. Instead, I'm going to start the year with a Sunshine post!

Meg over at Meg Go Run nominated me at the end of 2013, and her questions were just too fun not to answer!

1. How did you come up with the name for your blog? I wanted something that had running in the title and had to do with perseverance...Hit the Ground Running just kind of popped into my head!

2. What would your memoir be called? Awkward Moments: Living with Bitchy Resting Face.

3. What is your "day job"? I teach language arts and reading to 8th graders. It's pretty awesome.
That time I discovered my students read my blog.
4. What are 3 of your proudest fitness accomplishments? 1) the first time I successfully ran a mile without taking a walk break. 2) Going to the gym alone, despite my anxiety disorder. 3) My last half marathon, which I ran while sick. It was horrendous, but I really proved something to myself that day.

5. You HAVE to change your first name. What do you change it to? Penelope.

6. What is the best concert you've ever been to? Okay this is embarrassing, but I rarely go to concerts. The best would have to be my first, which was *NSync with Britney Spears opening. I didn't even know I knew the band until they took the stage, and then I was like "Oh my gosh, I know all these songs! WOOOO!! I LOVE YOU JC OMG!!!"
Can we just bask in the beauty of the 90s for a moment?
7. Tell me some things on your bucket list. Run a race in another country; sky dive; run in snow.

8. Describe your dream house. My dream house would overlook the ocean but have forest/mountains behind it. It would have lots of windows and balconies perfectly set up for eating breakfast while watching the water.

9. Name a celebrity you find oddly attractive, one that wouldn't usually occupy one's 'hottest celeb list'. Jeff Goldblum.
I don't know, I just love him!
10. Tell me 5 of your favorite blogs. I went with running blogs but there are plenty I follow that aren't. Check out my "What I'm Reading" tab to see more...although it needs to be updated!
Answer any of the questions above!
What are you doing this week to make sure your new year starts out as sunny as possible?
What's something I might not know about you?