PR’s in Nashville to Cannolis in Boston

Spring is in the air! And I can feel summer creeping around the corner! The weather is gorgeous, and I couldn’t be happier. It is nearly impossible to be feeling down when the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the weather is warm, and its the perfect time for RUNNING. Lets talk running.

Last weekend I finally visited Becca in Nashville, TN! She is my friend from home, and she goes to Vanderbilt University (well, went, she just graduated, the lucky duck). Unfortunately for me I left the nice weather home in CT and brought the rain and clouds, but it was still a good weekend non the less. What made it even better though, was that we were running the Rock n’ Roll Country Music Half Marathon together!! I love love love the Rock n’ Roll race series races. So many people, so well organized, good music, pumped up atmosphere, its a PR breeding ground.

When I got off the plane, Becca picked me up and we went for a 3 mile shake out run and headed into downtown Nashville to the race expo to pick up our gear. And get the obligatory expo picture —->

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2:03 was not our finishing time 🙂 Race morning, we woke up bright and early, ate our respective breakfasts (pb, banana, and toast for me). Of course, it was pouring rain, so donning trash bags was completely necessary. 20130430-094315.jpg

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It was a good look. So. THE RACE! I was not too sure of how it was going to go for me. I had not been training too hard, just doing normal runs, one speedwork session a week, and getting in a long run on the weekends. I have been focusing on biking and swimming also since my triathlon is fast approaching (GAH). Becca warned me that the course is super hilly, and given the fact that it was pouring, I was just looking to go in and run a good, pain free race and enjoy running through the city of Nashville with Becca. Well. You know how that goes. Your in the race, heat of the moment, adrenaline pumping, crazy runners sweating and spitting all around you, all plans for the race fly out the window. Oh, it was on.

Becca took off speedy at the start, and I was worried I wasnt going to be able to keep up with her for long. Our second mile was 7:37!! She glanced at her watch and goes “oh wow, that was really fast” and me huffing and puffing “Yeah… we really should slow down”. Mile 3 comes along, and I spot the 1:45 pacer! We had plans to find him at the beginning and run with him, but those plans kind of died and washed away in the downpour. By now the rain had lightened up, and I honestly dont even remember realizing it was still raining. My eyes were glued to that pacer sign and I was off. I lost Becca somewhere between miles 3 and 4, and stuck with the pacer group for a good distance. Around mile 6 or 7, I started fading, and thought I would have to drop back from the pacer group. But I did not let myself. And thank god I didnt. Racing really is a true test of what your body is capable of. Mind over matter. The Gu that I took at mile 6 finally kicked in, and at mile 9 it was like someone lit a fire under my butt. I was off! Seeee ya pacer group!

I flew through the last 3 miles, and when I glanced at my watch and noticed that I might actually have a chance of coming in under 1:40, that spark was struck even more. I channeled my inner voice and my idol bloggers and their speedy times, and basically sprinted the last mile, in order to come in under 1:40. My final finishing time: 1:39:00. ON THE DOT.

I am still in shock. 7:34 min pace!! Who am I?? Where did this come from? 19th in my division and 95th female finisher. Wooooo. I attribute this speedster in me to once a week speedwork, more cross training (swimming and biking), and more frequent leg weight lifting. I try to do legs about once or twice a week, and I really felt a difference skiing this winter and I think it is making my legs a lot stronger, so I was able to fly over those hills. And hopefully all of this strength training is preventing injury! 20130430-094339.jpg

Becca did great and finished around 1:46. It was pouring at the end of the race and we were freezing, but so happy for our PR’s. This view is supposed to be the best view of the city of Nashville, when it is sunny I suppose. Oh well. Next time Nashville! 20130430-094346.jpg

Country bumpkin curls and boots, along with our race medals. It was a great night out at the country bars to celebrate. 20130430-094357.jpg

And the adventures did not stop with my flight home! Cleo was awaiting for me and we had a fun date night in Boston 🙂 Walked around the seaport and enjoyed the beautiful evening, and strolled on down to the North End to pick which restaurant would supply our hearty Italian feast. It was a difficult choice. So many options! If I lived in the North End, I would make it my life goal to eat at each and every one of those cute little Italian restaurants. I would be a big girl. 20130430-094409.jpg

We finally settled on one called Florentine Cafe. I highly recommend it! The gorgeous flower boxes and the windows open like doors to the streets caught our attention, with cute little tables all mushed together all European like. We ordered martinis, and were served with delicious warm bread and oil for dipping. Oh how I love Italian dinners. My gorgeous date and her meal:

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Cleo ordered some amazing, creamy tortellini dish and I had some spicy noodle dish with shrimps, mussels, and lobster tail. Yummm. And of course, no trip to the North End is complete without the purchase of a mouth watering cannoli from Mike’s Patries. I was too full to eat this baby, but have been nibbling on it for dessert over the course of the week. 20130430-094442.jpg

In other news, I have had some great runs this week! I took Monday off to rest the legs after the half marathon, but Tuesday I did 2 miles after swimming (Triathlon training!) and then 5 with Sarah, and Wednesday Jen and I had a great and steamy (it was almost 80 degrees!) 8 mile run, complete with many hills including Horsebarn. My legs are sore and exhausted, but I managed to get in 4 miles this morning, since its my last run before my wisdom teeth surgery tomorrow 😦 I am kind of looking forward to a weekend of relaxation and being a bum. And attempting to study… since… oh, ya, next week is finals week and all.

Another honorary mention… today marks my LAST DAY EVER OF COLLEGE CLASSES. EVER. Wow. 4 years gone by just like that! I will probably do a long post after graduation with a ton of reminiscing. But it has been some of the best, most rewarding, life enhancing, empowering, and inspiring four years of my life. I have done so many amazing things and met so many people who I love and treasure so much today. I am so thankful for everything that has happened to me! Off to give one final presentation…. LAST CLASS EVER. WOOHOOO. I am a tad excited. See ya when I have no wisdom teeth!

Summer Hair Style and Real Estate Awards Banquet

Hi Everyone! Its been a nice, low key weekend for me, besides that craziness on the TV yesterday with the Boston Marathon Bomber manhunt. Steph and I were glued to the news all day. Thank god they found the bombers, and now future marathoners can rest assured that their race is safe and the guys are not still running around out there. I cried on Monday when I found out what happened. It just hits so close to home. Who would bomb marathoners? Who are showing such pride, determination, dedication, spirit, everything that the human race needs to strive for? I have been reading a great quote around the blog world this past week:

“If you want to hurt the human spirit, the wrong group to target is Marathoners”. 

It is so, so true.

I have had some great workouts this week! I started my triathlon training, and biked/ ran Monday, swam Tuesday, ran Wednesday and Thursday, and biked Friday! I need to work on the amount of times I get in the pool. It needs to be at least twice a week but its difficult to get there, when I could just go for a run instead. I have also been successfully lifting as well, 4 times this week! I had a moment of vainness and self-appreciation when I took this picture… I do not normally do the “selfies” or ab/muscle pictures, but I am pretty proud of how my abs are looking recently. They have really developed, which I think I dedicate to a mixture of running and eating better so I am losing more body fat overall. 20130420-100020.jpg20130420-100032.jpg

Wednesday was finally a gorgeous, sunny spring day! I celebrated by skipping class, going to the Dairy Bar (finally), and going for a long drive in Ellie to get my hair done! Finally a day to open the sun roof (which I accidentally left open all night.. whoops). This is the before picture, when my hair is still dead-of-winter brown. 
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And I got highlights! I was going for the Jennifer Aniston look… What do you think?

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It was nice to feel pampered and have my hair done, I think it has been 4 years since I last changed up my hair style/color. And I am more than ready for long summer beach days that naturally turn my hair a lighter color. I just need to get than tan! It was definitely time for a fresh new summer cut.

On Thursday night I attended the UConn Center for Real Estate Annual Awards Banquet where I had to present that dreaded speech that I had been procrastinating… the verdict…. I blew everyone away. It was amazing! I am so glad that I found the confidence, I knew I had it in me. (The 2 and a half glasses of wine I consumed with dinner probably helped a bit…). My voice was shaky when I first started off, and I stumbled over one line when my mind strayed a bit, but as soon as I cracked my first joke and got a laugh out of the audience, I found my groove and was able to deliver it with a strong voice and confidence. It was easy to express my gratitude to Debbie and my parents, and what I said was so heartfelt and true, that the words just flowed at that point. I almost teared up when I started speaking about my parents.

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Aren’t they just so adorable? I love them, and am so so thankful to have such awesome parents. They really are my best friends, and I feel very lucky to be able to say that. Its not often that 21 year olds love hanging out with their parents so much. These two should be grateful haha. 20130420-100112.jpg

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Mum bought me roses, and I received a plaque for the Student of the Year Award. Such a great and rewarding night, I truly feel so blessed for my family, my school, my hard work and dedication, and my future that lays ahead of me. 20130420-100139.jpg

And thank god for Mum who kept purchasing me glasses of wine LOL. Definitely gave me the confidence boost that I needed to walk up to that stage and stand in front of all of those important people.
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In running news…… I signed up for the Rock n’ Roll Montreal MARATHON!! I know, I know, another marathon attempt? What is this, my third try? I desperately do not want to get injured, and this is a sure fire way to do just that, but I am going to go into this one with an open mind and just see how the training goes. I do not have to start training until the beginning of June, and I will work my way up the miles each week, and see what I have time for come this summer when my co-op position starts in Toronto. I also have the triathlon training to think about as well. So if all else fails, I will drop down to the half. Easy peasy. And pray that I do not get injured along the way.

I just cant seem to give up the dream! Running a marathon will always be on my bucket list, and I plan to cross it off one of these days. And this race is a perfect Boston Qualifier, which would also knock that off of my bucket list…. So we will see what happens. I found a plan in Women’s Running Magazine to help me reach the Boston Marathon qualifying time of 3:35 for my age group, which is an 8:14 average pace, so that is what I am training for.

Steph and I are off to the Wooden Spoon… pancake fuel yum. I am going out in Hartford tonight and doing a long run and shopping day tomorrow! Talk to ya later 🙂