19 Miles, Chick-Fil-A, Chocolate Rings, and Hair

Happy Sunday, my friends! Though it is a lovely day, nothing can top the day I had yesterday!!! This is going to be a long post, so bear with me if you can!

Let me begin by telling you about my 19 mile run.

Everything was going better than expected. I was able to maintain a pace that was perfect for me (10:30) and every few miles, I  would evaluate how my body felt, then how I felt mentally. At mile 5, just a quarter of the way through, I felt amazing. At mile 7, about a third of the way through, I continued to feel strong. I was honestly surprised how great I felt and the miles were flying by!

I took my first pitstop at about 8.5 miles, just long enough to take a snapshot of my sister's old house.

This was necessary since I spent several great nights there a couple of years back. It was funny seeing it from the other side of the river.

Anyway, I quickly started back up so I would not lose my momentum. However, just a mile later, I hit a bit of a road block.

That road block was tripping over an unseen tree root and I hit the ground pretty hard. Not only did I bust up my knee, but my hand got cut up as well when I tried to catch myself.  Luckily, Peter was able to meet up with me about 2 miles down the trail. I ran at about a 9 minute pace to get to him due to my adrenaline rush. He was able to patch me up, while I took the opportunity to I eat some of my Nature Valley bars and M&Ms.

With less than 8 miles to go, I decided to continue on, but found that I lost a great deal of energy from the event that just occurred. My knee did not really hurt, it was just uncomfortable. The bandages did not like to stick either. My pace went up to about 11-11:30 and by mile 18, I was looking forward to seeing the finish. It felt like it didn't come soon enough.

I finished in 3:18:17.

Immediately upon arriving home, I stretched with much difficulty. Everything was already sore just 10 minutes after I finished. Regardless, I was happy I finished the run I planned. Though, I think if I skipped the fall, it would have went a lot better.

After stretching, I went into the kitchen, where my lovely boyfriend had Chick-Fil-A for us. Nothing beats waffle fries after a long run. Or this...

Yes. When I opened my chicken sandwich box, there was an engagement ring.

It is from the Le Vian Chocolate collection. Who said you could not have your snack before eating your Chick-Fil-A?

I smiled, cried, and most importantly accepted his proposal, which makes me the happiest FIANCE in the world!!! We had a mini celebration that evening, eating at Cafe Rio and having friends over. That is where I had the chance to propose to my bridesmaids. I have actually had them chosen for months now. Nothing wrong with planning ahead! 

Oh and they all said yes :o)

We are planning for a wedding in October 2014 and believe me, everything is already in the works, so prepare yourself for talks of weddings intertwined with running.

 But that was my super obnoxiously long post! Thanks for sticking with me through the whole thing, even if you just skipped to the bottom to read this sentence.

Oh yeah...and I got 8 inches of my hair chopped.

Have a great Sunday!!

Have you ever hurt yourself on a run? Did you keep going?

How did your man "pop the question"?

I'm not a girlfriend...

...I am a fiance.

More to come on that, my hair, and a 19 mile run!!!

DIY Medal Hanger

I don't know about you, but I do not have the money to invest in a fancy medal hanger. Don't get me wrong, I totally love the ones I have seen and have definitely considered taking a hit to my wallet to own one, but I would much rather use that money for fancy compression socks...

So, to have my socks and a medal hanger too, I decided to make my own! So here is how I made my very own, personalized race medal hanger! Enjoy!!!

DIY Race Medal Hanger
Note: I have never done a DIY quite like this, so I am sorry if I have next to terrible instructions!

 What You Need
  • Wooden Plaque
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint brush
  • Race Bibs
  • Scanner/Printer (so you don't ruin your race bibs!)
  • Scissors
  • Exacto Knife or Box Cutter
  • Wall Hook Screws
  • Round Picture Hangers
  • Screw Driver

First, you will need to collect all the race bibs that you want to present on your medal hanger. If you don't think you have enough to fill the background of your selected plaque, that is okay! We are using a scanner/printer to make copies of your bibs so we can double them up. Also, we don't want to ruin your race memorabilia!

I copied and printed about six of my race bibs and doubled the copies, which gave me 12 bibs total. Cut the copies out and set them to the side.

Next, bring out your selected wooden plaque. I bought mine from Michael's and they had several sizes and shapes. I preferred this design because it could hold several medal hooks. But you can choose whatever size and shape that suites you and your medal collection.

I arranged my bibs in the area I wanted to see them on the plaque off to the side. I did that so when I started applying Mod Podge, I did not have to try and peel the bibs off if I didn't like where they were.

Take your brush and apply a coat of Mod Podge directly to the plaque.

I applied it in sections, then began to add my race bibs.

Make sure that you stick them securely so no air bubbles are trapped underneath. Also, don't worry if your bibs hang over the edge of the plaque, you will cut the access off later. Just make sure you are covering the entire surface area.

Once the bibs are applied, you will add a coat of Mod Podge on top. Be careful on this step. If you are brushing towards the edge of a bib, the paper may come up and get bubbles underneath. Try to brush away from the edges.

The white coat will turn clear when dried. You will want to apply 1-2 more coats to ensure that the bibs will stay secure.

Once you have completed the drying process, take an exacto knife or box cutter around the outside of the plaque to remove the excess paper that hangs over. If you do not wait until it is completely dry, you will get a rough edge. It can also pull the bibs, leaving wrinkles. (sorry no picture!)

Apply one last coat of Mod Podge and let dry completely. I set mine in the sun to speed up the drying process.

Next, mark where you want your hooks to go before screwing them in. I was able to fit a total of 10 hooks on my plaque. I did a zig zag method so when medals were added, they would not cover another medal up.

Ta Da!

Now, when it comes to hanging it, you can follow what I do, or find an easier method. I bought these from Target...

I nailed two to the back of the plaque, then put two screws in the wall to catch the loop of the hanger. If you are off by a centimeter, it will not hang. So you have to be pretty precise. If you find better hangers, by all means, use them! However, my method still turned out good, but was a pain in the ass.

If you decide to use my method and make your own wall mounted medal hanger, send me the pics! I would love to see your creations!

Running a Marathon By Accident...and Winning!

Have you ever been so "in the zone" on a run that you missed a turn? It has happened to most of us at least once. I know there was a time when I was on the trail and a mile marker was missing at my turn-around spot. I ran to the next marker, only then realizing a number was skipped. As a result, I ran an extra 2 miles that day. No big deal.

However, I cannot say that I have ever accidentally run a full marathon when the plan was to do half of that.

Well, Meredith Fitzmaurice did it!

"Once I realized what I had done, I figured, well I'll just run 20 miles and use it as a long run and call it a day."
Meredith's longest run had only been 20 miles. She had never completed a full 26.2. She had the intention of completing the Detroit Marathon next month, but found herself on the Run for Heroes Marathon course that took place in Amherstburg, Ontario just this past Sunday.
"I thought I was only running a half-marathon so I really gave it out there. If I knew I was going to be running the full marathon I probably wouldn't have ran so fast. So maybe it was a good thing."
Meredith finished first for women and had a Boston qualifying time of 3:11:48! You can read the full article here!

I was truly inspired by this story and will keep Meredith in my thoughts when I try my marathon next month. I only hope that I can be as strong willed as she was to complete the full 26.2, even if that was not her original intention.

You go, Meredith!!!
I hope she goes to Boston. :o)

Have you ever missed a turn or went farther on a run without realizing?

Runner's Guilt

Is there truly such a thing as Runner's Guilt? The meaning appears to vary across the inter-webs, but my personal interpretation of runner's guilt is feeling as if my goals are compromised because I skipped a single workout.

Like today, for example. I decided to skip my run because I have been feeling off for the past two days. First, my 5 mile run last night did not go as well as I would have liked. I had a great attitude when I started and was feeling okay overall, but before I was even halfway through, I started getting slower and my stomach began to cramp. Rarely do I get cramping, especially on a 5 mile run, but it got pretty uncomfortable. I struggled to finish the last half. Surprisingly, I finished in under 43 minutes, which is actually a good time for me, but it was a mess of positive splits.

Today, I started feeling off around noon. I didn't feel horrible, but just weird enough to not want to run. Even though I knew it was the best decision for my body, I still feel guilty for skipping. I have improved over the last couple of months with guilt, but even still, I fear that skipping will result in lazy behavior, that I will gain weight, or miss out on important running goals. Especially since I am in marathon training mode.

I am not the only one who feels this way either. When I googled "runner's guilt when skipping workouts," there were several articles that appeared. I have listed a few of them below! I was able to relate to each and every one!

So what do you do about Runner's Guilt?

If you are concerned about loosing fitness, listen to Hansons Marathon Method:
“Training can resume normally without scaling back mileage or intensity. You lose a couple days of running; no harm done.While a number of missed workouts can spell your doom for your marathon goals, a single lost workout will never be your demise.”
Are you more concerned about waning motivation if you skip? Think about why you are really avoiding that run. Are you exhausted? If you find yourself too tired to run and you force yourself to do so anyway, your immune system will not be able to fight off a sickness that may enter your body. You will also not see any PR time on your Garmin at the end, I'm sure!

Are you already sick? Running is not the cure. It may cause your symptoms to become more severe and last for days longer.

Who knows...maybe you don't want to run because you are already unmotivated. That is okay too!
"Working out shouldn’t be a chore; you should feel motivated and inspired by it!" says Healthy Chicks. "If you’re feeling miserable and dragging yourself to exercise, it’s NOT going to be a good workout. And let me tell you: 25 minutes on the elliptical at a slow “I-don’t-want-to-be-here” pace is going to do nothing for your body or overall weight management efforts...One little missed workout is not going to make the slightest difference on your overall healthy lifestyle."

So be kind to your body. If you throw yourself on a guilt trip and force yourself to run anyway, you may be out longer than you intended, whether it is due to sickness or injury. You'll be happier that you did! There is always tomorrow, which is what I keep reminding myself!

Do you experience Runner's Guilt?

What would be a good reason for you to skip your run?

How do you avoid guilt when you skip a day?

Recipe Time! Mexican Casserole

Mexican Casserole has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom has made it for our family for years and it was always a favorite among us. It is perfect for potlucks, birthdays, dinners, and much more!  The leftovers aren't too shabby either!

And did I mention it is SUPER easy to make?


In an lightly oiled skillet, cook meat completely, adding onion and pepper as it cooks.

 Unroll crescent roll dough and lay flat on the bottom of a casserole dish. This will serve as the crust.

Crush tortilla chips in bag and layer half of the bag directly on top of the crust.

 Add beef mixture on top and spread evenly.

 Spoon sour cream on top of the beef as your next layer.

 Sprinkle on the cheese (we only had sliced cheese that day)...

 ....and top off casserole with remaining crushed tortilla chips. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is brown.

Mexican Casserole

  • 1 lb lean beef, chicken, or ground turkey (they all taste delicious!)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 6oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning (or make your own!)
  • 1 can of Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 1 bag of Tostitos tortilla chips
  • 4oz sour cream (we go light)
  • 1 C shredded mozzarella cheese (any really works, sharp cheddar is a close second)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In an lightly oiled skillet, cook meat completely, adding onion and pepper as it cooks. Pour in tomato sauce and add package of taco seasoning, stir and let simmer.
  3. Unroll crescent roll dough and lay flat on the bottom of a casserole dish. This initial layer will serve as the crust of the casserole.
  4. Crush tortilla chips in bag and layer half of the bag directly on top of the crust. Add beef mixture on top and spread evenly. 
  5. Spoon sour cream on top of the beef as the next layer. Sprinkle on cheese and top off casserole with remaining crushed tortilla chips.
  6. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is brown.
Bon Appetite!

This meal is also very easy to tweak. Not only can you use various meat and cheeses, but you can also add additional ingredients. In the past, I have added corn and jalapenos and it is just as delicious!

Making Deals To Finish 17 Miles


It has been a while since I have done anything over the 15 mile mark. In fact, I do not recall the last time I did anything over 16 miles. Needless to say, I completed my 17 mile goal, but was it challenging!!! It makes me to wonder why my legs have not just disassembled themselves from the rest of my body and said "Deuces!"

I tried to keep my pace within reason so I could maintain as much energy as possible. I aimed to stay within 9:45 to 10:30 pace per mile. Though, some miles were more difficult than others and I think a lot of it had to do with my mentality. I started second guessing myself around mile 5, barely a 3rd of the way through. But for those of you that know me, no matter how negative I may get, a goal is a goal and I try to find the strength deep within myself to finish what I started.

I took a break at mile 10, where the trail turns to concrete for 2 miles, to get some food in my stomach and sip on chug down some Gatorade. I also took a few pictures...

Quite the cloudy day! But fortunately I did not see the rain they were calling for!

Not too terrible looking for 10 miles in the bag!

After my break, it took some energy to get started again. And those final miles were the worst!!! Each one seemed to take much longer to complete than the previous. My pace was actually increasing too. It wasn't until mile 13 where I had to begin making some deals with myself to finish.

First, I was going to have the leftover pizza for lunch if I made it to 17 miles. Usually Peter always gets our leftovers from the Friday night pizza. This time, I was claiming it as mine! Second, I promised myself a nap. I have yet to complete this task, but as soon as I am done writing this, to dreamland I go! I am already in my jammies and snuggled in a blanket on the couch. Third, I want sushi tonight. Maybe ice cream...probably ice cream.

With all these deals I made, I HAD to finish. It was a struggle, but when I saw my car, I was so proud of myself! Though, next week I am planning on an 18-19 mile run. So the deals I am going to make myself are going to get a bit more serious. If that run is anything like today's, shew, it is going to be a doozy!

Anyway, I am ready for some shut eye! I hope you all are having a fab Saturday!

What distance was your long run this week?

What are some deals you have made with yourself just to finish a grueling run?

Happy Birthday Steve!

Just a warning, this post is going to be a personal story I wanted to share with you, far from the subject of running. Today is a very important day to me and I thought I would explain the reason why.

Today is Stephen Manley's 26th birthday.

Stephen's 21st birthday, September 20th 2008

Who is this Steve, you may ask? I have never mentioned him before, I know, so most of you have no idea what makes his birthday so special. Well, Steve was a dear friend and former boyfriend of mine, who was taken from this world way too early.

But let me start from the beginning...

In December of 2003 (nearly 10 years ago...wow!), I was first introduced to Steve in the high school library during a "Get To Know Your Classmates" activity.  He was the "new kid" in school, so naturally, I was drawn to this individual. It felt that any time there was a new student in Williamsport, every one was fascinated. Small town, BIG news.

However, this instance was quite different for me. I was typically shy. I rarely left my group of friends and stayed in my bubble. So if someone new was introduced, I never made the effort to know them, unless they initiated it. This time, I found myself drawn to him physically & emotionally. I had to talk to him. Something about him just made me tick. I was told it was just a typical teenage crush, but I never found myself so devoted to one person in my entire existence.

Steve and I after his Christmas Show-Choir Performance, December 2005.

Unfortunately, Steve did not return the same feelings...at first. We stayed friends for a few years; however my feelings for him never really changed.  I just hoped that one day, he would realize I was the girl for him.

To make a truly long story short, my wish came true at the beginning of 2007 and I was the happiest girl in the world.

We barely spent a moment apart. Steve and I worked at the same company, we devoted our evenings and weekends to each other, we even started to consider renting a place together. Nothing seemed as if it could come between us...

Then came the worst day of my life.

On October 29th 2008, I received news that Steve was in a car accident and killed on impact. I felt my world fall apart. For 5 years, I knew exactly what I had wanted in life and it was him. When he was abruptly taken from me, my life felt as if it no longer had purpose.

It took a couple of years for me to recover from the grief his death had caused. It was in that time frame I actually began to pick up on running before my back said "no more" for quite some time. I just wanted to devote my time and energy to something that would show results. I did not want to waste it crying anymore.

Although his death is still considered a tragedy, I have become a stronger person from it and have learned so much about my own life in his death. I took the lemons I was given and made some Lynchburg Lemonade. :o)

Nearly five years has passed since he left us and I feel that I am more accepting of it with every passing day. I will always consider Steve a great influence on the person I am today and will always have a special place in my heart for him.

Tattoo I got of Steve's guitar on my back

Have you ever lost a significant other? 

When you have lost someone close, did you find "good" in the situation to help get you through the grieving process? 

I Spent $15 on a Picture & Marathon Training

I am still coming down from the high that was the "Mad Anthony Half Marathon".

I have never bought a race photo before, but I could not pass this one up...

Anyway, today, I spoke with two of the runners who had also participated in Saturday's race: Chris and Ken. We all just so happen to work in the same building, which is awesome! I love meeting new runners! Especially when they are within walking distance of my desk. They, too, seemed to be just as high off the race as myself. However, they completed the half about 10 minutes faster than me. Chris mentioned it was only his first half and he placed 3rd in his age group. Great first half, I would say!

Ken, who has been running for quite sometime, has already participated in a couple of marathons. I mentioned my one failed attempt back in March and he said if I could make it to 23 on my own before hitting a wall, I should have no problem sailing through those last 3 since I will be surrounded by other runners and those cheering for us. It definitely brings hope that I will be successful for the Rock n Roll USA Marathon in March. Though, I still hope that I can make it to 26.2 at the end of October.

If I have not already mentioned it, I am attempting an unofficial marathon in just over a month. I am going to try the same route I had before, just in the other direction. I was running upstream in March, which meant I was running at a steady incline. It will make it easier if I run downstream in this next attempt.

 My friend, Ashley, has agreed to join me for the last leg, which I hope will help push me through to the end. It will be nice to have someone distract me from the pain I will most likely be feeling.

This Saturday (or Sunday depending on weather), I am attempting a 17 miler to build myself up for that attempt. I have been comfy at 15, so extending out an extra 2 miles...a slow 2 miles...should be nothing! If I manage to do well, I will do 18 the following Saturday, then 20 the next. I will taper off after up until my attempt.

We will see how it plays out, I assume.

Have you ever purchased a running photo as opposed to saving your "proofs"?

Are you training for anything?

Mad Anthony Half Marathon Race Recap

Greetings, runners!

I have been looking forward to this time of year for quite sometime! I can open the windows, air out the house and not have to worry about the house heating up to 90+ degrees. The smell of our beloved Alpha does not have to linger any further. :o)

Anyway, yesterday, I participated in Waynesboro's Mad Anthony Half Marathon. The race was sponsored by Robinwood Orthopedic Specialty Center, which offers care to those who have injuries or diseases pertaining to bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Sounds like the perfect place for running injuries!

In the packet they issued to the runners, they included things that actually help with or help to prevent pain/injury. Like a sample of BioFreeze, an ointment that you apply directly to the area in which your muscles are sore and achy. They also included a trial of KT Tape. Apply the tape to practically any area of the body and magical things happen. I, myself, have used tape in the past and have found it quite useful in injury prevention and pain relief.

But enough about the goodies!

The race itself started at 8am, on the main street of Waynesboro, PA. Me and over 300 registered runners huddled at the starting line, feeling the 50 degree chill. We just suffered a few 90 degree days in the past week, so this was a bit out of the ordinary.

Me, freezing...

It took me about 10 minutes to actually warm up after the race's start. There was a time where I could not even feel some of my toes. However, that was barely a worry. I was feeling great and I knew that I had a great race ahead of me.

The course was relatively flat to start, with just a few measly hills.

I was thrilled when Peter spotted me near the second mile!
Once we started leaving town, the terrain did not stay as friendly. We approached a nearby farm, where asphalt turned to gravel and then what appeared to be a mix of the 2. There were potholes every where, which led me to fear that my ankles would twist. Luckily, they survived!

We stayed on this "road" for about a mile or two, then approached a main road again. My feet were so happy! But, my legs were the next to complain. I took advantage of a water stop right at mile 6 because there was a MASSIVE hill right ahead. Some runners had stopped and walked it. I chose to keep at it, but at a very lazy trot. It took my pace to 10:30/mile. Though, once I hit the crest of the hill, there was a major slope, which did nothing but force you to speed down. It definitely made up for the speed decrease going up the hill.

From that point going forward, my pace steadily increased. I went from remaining comfortable in the 9 minute range, to pushing into the mid to low 8s. I felt fine doing so, but I was afraid it was going to catch me at the end. I was passing people left and right.

I did get a bit tired once hitting mile 11. We approached a developing neighborhood that had a slope like San Fransisco. Maybe I am exaggerating just a little...or maybe a lot (I have never been to San Fransisco), but it was grueling. I was trailing behind two women for quite some time, trying to match their pace, but that hill really put some distance between us. It was then that, I was looking forward to the finish line.

Thankfully, the last stretch of the race was on a downhill slope. I love any run that ends on a downhill.

I was happy to pose for Peter as I approached the finish

And like most races, I love to sprint to the finish!

My official finish time was 1:54:18, a PR! In fact, the PR was so incredible, it beat my last by about 4 and a half minutes (The Frederick Half Marathon in May).

Me and my finisher's medal!

Overall, I finished 79th out of over 300 registered runners. I was also 3rd in my division (females between 25-29). I would have received an award for that, but because I never think I win awards, I left prior to the ceremony.

Anyway, I would recommend the Mad Anthony race to just about anyone. It is fun & challenging. There are great volunteers and giveaways. The scenery was nice and it takes place during a great time of the year, when the weather is not so brutal! I definitely give this race a 10 since I plan on returning next year!

Did you have any races this weekend?

Did you ever miss out on an award because you did not attend the ceremony?

Which race have you given a 10 rating?

Mad Anthony Half in Pictures

Recap tomorrow! Have a great Saturday!

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