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!

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Courthouse O’Putnam 5k Race Recap

Hi! I know that you are dying to know how my 5k race went today, but before I tell you, you must sit through the recap of my weekend! Another night, another bar, I know, I know. But Cleo came up to visit so it was special. I love her so much. Working at the liquor store and all, she has quite the taste in drinks. Friday night, she brought us strawberry liquor, creme de coco, and strawberry ice cream, which we combined in a blender and made the creamiest strawberry daiquiris that I have ever laid lips upon. Holy creamy berry goodness. I also had my obligatory kissed caramel apple martini, Sauvignon Blanc, a rum and coke since we had fajitas for dinner, beer at the bar (which never normally happens, true sign I was wasted) a tequila shot, and a random shot that that bartender named the “Britt-Burster” because I told him to make us something girly, fruity, and strong. Tasted like an amazing star-bust explosion in your mouth. It was a good night, but drinking that much always leads me to weird random binge eating disorders, and that night was no exception. I came home and housed about 11.3 tablespoons of almond butter and 2.8 tablespoons of maple peanut butter. No idea why. I just felt like it. Stomach was twisting and churning ALL DAY yesterday. woof. Almond butter hiatus for me this week please. Why oh why do I make those drunk decisions… im over it now. Needless to say, I did NOT go out last night. Stephy and I enjoyed a Target shopping trip, Subway, and the movies. We saw Silver Linings Playbook and it was the perfect chill night.

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I love these ladies so much. In the morning we went to the amazing Wooden Spoon. I so badly wanted to crave pancakes, and was planning on housing them all week, but with a tummy full of said nut butters, it just was not happening. I ordered the omelette special because it sounded good and I knew I needed something in my stomach. It had tomatoes, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta. Deeeelish. Of course upon seeing food my appetite came back full force, so I also stole bites of Cleo and Steph’s blueberry pancakes and DELICIOUS banana, pineapple, pecan-coconut pancakes —–>MUST RECREATE (note to self.)20130310-163311.jpg

Another pic from the night that I found that I have to post, because it has two of my favorite things in it: Canada and Cleo. Perfect flag positioning. 20130310-163335.jpg

So the race! Courthouse O’Putnam 5k: 24:08 with an average pace of 7:46. Not too shabby for taking it easy and testing out my hip. If I had not been injured, oh man there would have been fire in my pants and I would have blown my age division out of the water for sure. I ended up getting 4th in the division, and Becca got 3rd, which is AWESOME cause it was her first 5k and she got a really cool beer mug, the same one that I got last year that has been sitting on my shelf collecting dust ever since. But that is besides the point. I am beyond thrilled that my hip felt okay!!! (as i knock on wood). It felt tight, and I ran sans music and garmin so that I could closely monitor it the whole time, but it never turned into a raging ache and pulling sensation, even when I ran up the hills.

I think this means that I can run the RnR D.C Half Marathon this weekend at least!!  I think this running hiatus has probably given my body some well deserved rest also. I have been thinking it over, and I am not sure if a marathon is in the cards for me in my future. I kind of like focusing on lifting and strength training, while still being able to do runs of 4-7 miles during the week for cardio and relaxation and mental purposes. I still want to do a long run on the weekends, but probably only from 8-12 miles, nothing too serious. I think that may become my new tactic. And I am going to ease into it slowwwwllyyy. I am not running again until Wednesday. Tomorrow I have another PT session, so I will see what David recommends. I like this new plan. I am beginning to realize that I would rather have small, short and sweet amounts of running in my life rather than no amounts at all. And if giving up the risk of hurting my body through marathon training to have that, it is what I am willing to sacrifice. And that is a great and fulfilling feeling. Thanks for listening to my sappy serenade.

We celebrated the race with bananas and green mint soy iced lattes, in celebration of St. Pattys. 20130310-163348.jpg

Steph was the adorable race volunteer directing traffic and waving everyone on by the 3rd mile marker. She rocked it. Check out that flashy traffic guard vest. 20130310-193532.jpg

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This post is already seriously way too lengthy, but since its Sunday, you know what that means….

Whats For Dinner? Week of 3/10: (holy cow how is it march 10th already…)

Sunday: Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Cinnamon Apples (–>just housed that holy yum)

Monday: Pulled Salsa Chicken Quesadillas

Tuesday: Steph’s Garlic Pasta on Spaghetti Squash

Wednesday: Pesto Spaghetti Squash w/ Chicken Sausage

Thursday: HOME

Friday: WASHINGTON, D.C

Saturday: WASHINGTON, D.C

Easy week of meal planning once again! My grocery bill was under 30 bucks… that never happens.

One last note: Cleo and I are ALL BOOKED for our trip to EUROPE!!! Officially purchased one-way flights to London, leaving on October 1st. Our plan is to travel the world and somehow make it home around November 5th. It is going to be an epic 22nd birthday. I cannot wait for what the rest of this year has in store for me. 2013 is shaping into being one of the best and most exciting years of my little 22 year old life.