Make Track for the Zoo Race Recap

This weekend I ran the 31st Annual Make Tracks for the Zoo 5k. This is my recap.

This was my fifth year running this particular race and I love it. The course is usually the same, but I don’t mind that too much because Forest Park is SO pretty and getting a free little breakfast in the Zoo afterwards isn’t too shabby either.

For the past week, I’ve been battling a head cold complete with super fun sinus congestion. I had an appointment with my allergy doctor on Thursday, and she said that she didn’t think it was bad enough to warrant any kind of medicine and to basically just tough it out. So after my appointment, I stopped by the grocery store and proceeded to by a bunch of Naked Power-C juices and took a eucalyptus steam shower to try to get my congestion moving. Shockingly, I think both these things worked pretty well for me. By Sunday, I still had some nose snots and a nice drainage cough going on, but I felt decent enough to actually run the race.

Usually I have my packet mailed to me, but they raised the price to $14 and I figured I could just pick it up before hand since it’s never taken me very long to do so the few times I had done that. Um, wrong. The line was crazy long, because I guess everyone else felt the same way about the price increase for mailing the packet as I did. They actually had to delay the start of the race a few minutes to allow everyone time to get their stuff and get down there. As a result, I wound up being in the VERY back of the pack.

Once the race got started, I managed to get across the start line and fall into a pretty decent pace and I was feeling pretty good. However, I did have to bob and weave around a lot of people going slower, which is my own fault since I didn’t plan ahead a little better. I figured the congestion would ease up and I’d be able to cruise along pretty easily after the first mile.

I clocked a decent for me pace for the first mile, considering my snot-nose situation and hit a pace of 14:25/mile. But the crowds never really dissipated and some how no matter which part of the road I moved to, I was still having to bob and weave around A LOT of walkers. My second mile was a little slower than I would have liked, coming in at 15:14/mile, and I was starting to feel the effects of running with a head cold.

I walked a little bit in mile two and a lot more than I wanted to in mile three, simply because I was just not feeling it. I was coughing and constantly wiping my nose and just ready to be done with everything, in general. There was a lady running near me that had applied her perfume with a little too much gusto that morning. I get wanting to smell nice, but when I can literally taste your perfume and you’re 10 feet away from me, I think you went a little heavy on the fragrance. Mile three came in at 16:11/mile. So not the best performance.

I hadn’t run since my half marathon back in April, and I’ve only been hitting yoga sporadically since coming back from Italy. Clearly I need to get back with the program and stop being such a slacker!

I will say though, that this is my best performance at this race with my previous fastest time being 49:00 even back in 2013. I didn’t set a new overall PR, but I did complete this race in 48:50, so 10 whole seconds faster! Woot woot! I think if I would have been a) feeling better and b) a little more prepared, my race would have possibly been a new PR. But luck next time though!

Stitch Fix #1

*Note: This is not a sponsored post. Stitch Fix gave me no compensation or credit. Also, I know some of the photos are upside down. Sorry! I can’t figure out how to flip them. 

 

So after going to Italy with my sister, and borrowing a couple of tops from her, I decided to bite the bullet and give Stitch Fix a try. I would like to describe my style as a mix of rocker, hippie/boho, and country, but that wouldn’t be 100% accurate. Probably not even 40% accurate.

So in an attempt to expand my wardrobe and incorporate new things, I received my first Stitch Fix box. Now, I’m sure everyone under the sun knows what the hell Stitch Fix is, but quickly:

  1. You go on to stitchfix.com and fill out your style profile.
  2. A stylist picks out 5 pieces they think you would like and sends them to you for a $20 styling fee.
  3. You get your pieces in the mail and have 3 business days to decided what you’re keeping and what you’re planning on sending back.
  4. Your $20 styling fee gets credited towards anything you keep. There is also an additional discount if you keep all 5 pieces. If you chose to send everything back, you lose your $20 fee.
  5. Check out on stitchfix.com, leaving feedback about what you liked and didn’t like on each piece and how you felt overall about your shipment. Put anything you are sending back in the pre-paid envelope that comes with your fix and put it out for the mail person. The end!

So when I got my first fix I was pretty excited to see what they picked out for me. I posted them below, including a photo and what I kept and why and what I sent back and why.

 

41Hawthorn Breyson Pleated Tab-Sleeve Blouse $58.00-sent back

This shirt just wasn’t my style. It would have been ok for work, but the upper sleeves were just a bit too tight, and I could see myself constantly reaching past it for something else in my closet.

Pixley Curran Split Neck Blouse $44-kept it

Actually, my mom kept this out of my fix. I did like it, but it was a bit short on me, and we both thought it would look better on my mom than myself. So she took this one home!

Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top $64-sent back

I wanted to like piece so much. But it wasn’t meant to be. I thought the price was a little steep on this, and the seams where the “button-down” material met the sweater material had zero give to it, which made it uncomfortable. 

Le Lis Grenaa Knit Blazer $58-kept it

I was unsure of this jacket until I put it on. And then I loved it!  It looked like it would hang weird based on the knit material but it actually fits really well. I like that you could dress it up with a really nice top and pants to look good for work or wear it with a casual shirt and jeans. It seems like a very versatile piece.

Liverpool Georgia 4-Way Stretch Bootcut Jeans $88-kept it

These jeans fit really nice. They are a bit long, but I do prefer my pants to be on the long side, since I’m a bit taller than average and my legs are fairly long. I also liked that I thought they made my butt look pretty good. Another plus is that they don’t have a ton of decorative stitching and zero “bling” to them, making them a good pair of jeans to wear to a casual dressy function with a pair of heels. 

All in all, I was pretty happy with my first Stitch Fix. It was fun to see what someone else would pick out for me based on a series of questions I answered. I’m looking forward to getting more Stitch Fixes in the future!

Crawfish/CrayFish/Crawdads

This weekend was ridiculously packed. I don’t know that I could have squeezed one more activity in there if I wanted to. And trust me, I didn’t!

Saturday started out with M having to work, and then I headed to Chesterfield to get manicures and pedicures with my mom and sister for Mother’s Day. Mom also wanted to get eyelash extensions, which took a while to put on, so we got to lunch fairly late. After lunch, my sister and I hit up Target to goof around and kill time before I met up with M and we headed to the French Quarter off Manchester for their annual crawfish boil. M’s cousin comes up from Louisiana every year and brings a ton of fresh crawfish and gulf shrimp to this bar for their boil. And then he cooks it ALL! And it is freaking delicious. So good! He makes all the usual fixins’ to go with is like mushrooms, potatoes, and corn. This year he also boiled hot dogs in the same seasoning blend as the rest, and those sold pretty well too! All in all it was a pretty good night.

Sunday I was up early to bake a blackberry cobbler and some brownies for Mother’s Day dinner/lunch at mom and dad’s and then I tried to make some pancakes with a recipe I found online but they did not turn out. I couldn’t stop burning them. No matter what heat setting I tried. So I eventually gave up on those and just fixed some eggs for each of us. Then I tackled the dishes until it was time to head over to my parents house. We had steaks, and an asparagus pasta dish that was pretty delicious, and then of course my desserts that I had made. Then we headed over to M’s cousin’s house for his new pool opening party which featured, wait for it, a crawfish boil! This round was much spicier than the night before and I couldn’t stop eating them. So I’m sure all that extra sodium is sitting around in my body, creating a tight pants effect today!

I remembered to grab my yoga gear so that I can head to class tonight, which is a super huge plus for me! Maybe I will sweat out the remains of the two boils in class tonight!

Catching Up

I know I haven’t blogged since my race recap back in April, but I’ve been pretty busy and I have been thinking of things to blog. I want to get a more scheduled type of posting up, sharing reviews and recipes, as well as just general life stuff. I guess this is really more of a lifestyle blog anyways. Not healthy living (lord no!) and not a running blog or fashion or any of those other things. I just want a place to share the things that I love and find interesting with the rest of the world. And I know my life isn’t all that interesting in general! But for now, just a general catch up post.

I’ve been trying, some times successfully, to get my life a little more organized for the past year or so. I generally get a decent pattern going, and then something comes along and totally derails me. Maybe I have ADD? And I find it hard to get back into the swing of things. Take for instance, doing the dishes. I know it is SO much easier just to do the damn dishes every evening, rather than letting them pile up in the sink for days on end and then I spend an hour or so trying to wash them all on the weekend (when I’d much rather be doing other stuff) or scrambling to make sure I have enough clean pots and pans and plates and silverware to eat dinner during the week. And yet, I find it boarder-line impossible to manage to keep my sinks clean for more than a week or two at a time. Same thing goes for menu planning and grocery shopping. I’ll get a month or so down and then poof, whatever it is that I require to continue to do these things just vanishes.

And that’s how I wind up spending $200 at the freaking grocery store.

And then I wind up throwing out a ton of stuff because we have leftovers or I can’t motivate myself to prep a veggie for dinner or I don’t have something to cook it on. Or have any clue how to cook it. The only thing I’ve managed to successfully do for the last several months is make M lunch, and that doesn’t really benefit me in any fashion! All I’m doing is saving him money!

I did manage to bring my own lunch last week, for the majority of the week. I also just brought in the majority of my salad stuff and prepped it here and just brought in a little protein to throw on it from home each day. So that didn’t go to badly. This week I am going to work on leftovers from last week for lunches since I have a couple of days worth in the fridge and I’m so tired of throwing money out each week in leftovers. Throwing away a little bit of food here and there isn’t the end of the world for me, but when I’m pitching a mostly full carton of eggs, or two or three meals worth of leftovers, I get a little pissed. Mostly because it’s wasting money. And because some of that food I’m throwing away was pretty freaking delicious!

So I’m trying to be a little more conscious of that kind of stuff, and maybe I need to look into couponing. My only gripe with couponing is that it seems like a waste of time, considering the stuff that I like typically doesn’t have a coupon for it. Grr! Any tips would be appreciated!

Go! St. Louis Race Recap

As you know, Sunday I ran the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon with Team in Training. This is my recap of how the race went for me. Since I haven’t run the Go! in forever, and they’ve changed the course, I will probably do a review as well.

I spent a good portion of the weekend watching the weather, because it constantly bounced back and forth between “Hey, it’s going to pour buckets on you while running!” and “Nah, just playin’!”. I did know that it was going to be fairly cool so I opted to wear my CW-X full length tights and a lululemon Run Swiftly long-sleeve shirt under my TNT jersey. I asked for the tights for Christmas, because after doing a few halfs with compression sleeves/socks, I could tell a major difference in my soreness levels between my calves and the rest of my legs. I’m completely sold on compression wear after this half!

I got to the race with about an hour to spare, but sat in my car for 15-ish minutes before heading to the TNT tent to check in and hit up the rest rooms. I missed the group photo, but I’m not overly upset with that fact.

I’d been feeling pretty good with how things were going with my training and the paces I was managing for my long runs. I had 4 different goal levels (A, B, C, & D), which I did manage to get at least my D goal, which was to finish this race faster than my last half marathon. My A goal was to finish at 3 hours or under, my B goal was to hit 3:15 (which would have been a new PR), my C goal was to just hit a new PR (faster than 3:18), and then my D goal was to just improve my time.

I’d been working really hard during my runs to try to maintain a nice even pace, instead of starting out WAY too fast and then crashing, or constantly ping ponging back and forth with paces. I’m pretty happy to report that my strategy of taking 2 minute walk breaks at each mile worked well for me (until the end) and I did manage to hold a pretty decent pace.

So-back to the actual running part.

I was in the very last corral, which wasn’t a huge deal to me, and it took me about 10 minutes to cross the start line. I struggled a little bit with maintaining pace, because we were in the city and I think the tall buildings played with my Garmin a bit. I just kept telling myself to slow it down and take it easy, which worked, although I went a bit slow for my first mile (15:31), but picked it up on the second mile (13:55). We crossed the bridge to go into Illinois during the first 3.5 miles of the race, and the bridge coming out of Missouri wasn’t awful. But the incline for the bridge coming out of Illinois felt like it was never going to end. I chose to walk most of that, and I feel like that was a pretty smart move, and it didn’t affect my over-all time goal negatively, as I managed to maintain my pace and brought the third mile in at 14:13. So I was pretty close to my 5k PR for this race. I slowed down a bit for mile 4 (15:20), as it had a few steep uphills weaving through the landing and such to get back into the city part, but I was still feeling really good and had eaten my first gel. I hadn’t seen any of the TNT coaches, but I was trying to pull away from this girl who had her watch set for 30 second run/walk intervals. So not only was her watch chiming constantly, but she’d run as fast as she could, cut over directly in front of people, and then slow WAY down and walk. Which is really annoying. So I was pretty focused on getting the heck away from her, and didn’t encounter her again after mile 5 (14:25). I was on pace to hit my B goal (and technically C goal), but not going fast enough to hit my A, so at this time I decided to scrap it and focus on goal B. I kept pace for miles 6, 7, & 8 and saw the first TNT coach at mile 6.5 and she helped me pick it up a bit. (14:53, 14:36, & 14:37 respectively). I also saw the head coach around mile 7.5? I think. It was such a boost to see them out on the course!

Then came the slog into the brewery. Long, slow inclines are 10 times worse than any shorter, steeper hill. Because you don’t feel them at first. But then they bite you right in the ass! I was still feeling pretty good during mile 9 (15:56), but the climb into the brewery was taking it out of me pretty quickly, and I wasn’t feeling my second gel, although I tried to choke it down. It was still pretty overcast and cloudy, but not raining at this point, so I wasn’t feeling overly hot or anything like that. I was just starting to feel tired and really full feeling. I walked a little over half of mile 9, and probably a third of mile 10 (16:48), but managed to pick it back up a little bit a mile 11 (16:01). If I could have recovered, I probably could have made a new PR and would have been just over my B goal time. But miles 12 & 13 were just brutal for me. I walked a lot and was just feeling really tired and my left hip was starting to get quite cranky. And then the finish just felt like a total slog. I felt like had almost nothing left in the tank to give a good final push and there was a pretty stiff breeze blowing my face at this point. So I was just ready to be done.

I crossed this finish in 3:25:18, which wasn’t a new PR (about 7 minutes to slow), but I did shave 25 minutes off my previous half marathon time, so I am happy with that!

Overall I’m happy with how the race went. I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t rally and get back on pace for the end, but I did a much better job of pacing myself and pushing myself for the majority of the race. I do wish my training could have gone a little bit better, but that’s really my fault and no one can be blamed (except maybe working on group training days).

I’m more excited to do the Cowbell half in October and hopefully continue this trend in shaving time off my races! Perhaps my new PR will come in October:)

Almost Go! Time

When I thought of this title yesterday, it didn’t dawn on me at first that the half-marathon I’m doing on Sunday is the Go! St. Louis half. I was just thinking, “Oh, it’s almost time to do the damn thing.” Then driving home from work yesterday it hit me. What a coinky-dink.

Training went pretty good. I’m feeling pretty confident about it, and I had my last group training “long” run on Saturday in Forest Park. I’m pretty pleased with my paces, and I’m sure the energy of the race will help keep me moving. I met and exceeded my fundraising goal, so that’s exciting, too.

I’ve never ran around Forest Park, only going there for the Zoo 5k each year and that is on roads through the park. So I was a little nervous at first about possibly getting lost, but it’s pretty simple and I managed to make it around without much incident. Although some ass-hat decided to steal the Team in Training cooler with water and Gatorade in it. Lame as f*ck. Honestly, it wasn’t even a fancy cooler. But we lived.

I’m so glad that tax season is almost over. Basically two weeks left and then it’s back to to normal routine. I had to back off yoga since coming back from Italy because I was so busy trying to get caught up on things around the house and get my runs in and not feel like a terrible dog mom by never being home. So I am greatly looking forward to getting back on my mat and in the studio. I have kept up with a few poses and stretches here and there, especially yogi headstand now that I finally got that pose! Only four years in the making. So I’m hoping I haven’t lost too much in the way of yoga by missing a month or so of classes.

I like doing taxes, but there is just a certain point I hit during tax season where it’s just like, “No, I’m done with this and I’m over it.” I think it usually comes right as the weather is starting to get nice again. I need to get my bikes to the bike shop for their yearly maintenance. I’m looking forward to getting out there on my bike.

We’ve spent the past couple of weekends looking at, picking out, and talking to people about stuff for the new house. Hopefully here in the next week or so we will starting digging out the foundation and pouring concrete. Which seems crazy, but I can’t wait to be in the new house and have my own closet and room space just for my stuff. You never really appreciate those things until you have to live without them. So after 10+ years, I’m finally getting all those things! SO excited! All the exclamation points!!

My next post probably won’t be until after my half on Sunday, when I will give you a race update. Wish me luck!