13.1 Recap

This past weekend was like any other weekend. Get off work Friday, hang out with the hubs, and wake up early Saturday to go to race expo to pick up my packet, go to lunch with friends for Lauren's birthday, and check out the new 4Runners at Toyota dealership. You know the usual.

Except it wasn't!!!!!

This weekend was one of the MOST memorable weekends. After 6 months of training I was finally going to complete my goal of running 13.1 miles! How insane is that?? It was last May/June when Lauren and I went to lunch and out of the blue she said "you should run a half marathon!" I said, "No, no, WE should run a half marathon!"  I had been running for exercise purposes only at that time. 3 miles here and there. No big deal. Well Lauren planted the seed in my little brain and from there the idea blossomed. She of course agreed to join me in this adventure - I think she was a little more pumped about this than me - as did two of our other friends Alison and Mark. This won't be that bad, right? I mean we're all in this together.

As the months passed by and the miles started increasing, I almost second guessed my decision. Maybe a couple of times actually. It was rough. 3 miles was now 7, 8, 9, etc. Those longer runs didn't seem to come as easy to me as I had hoped. There were days when I would come back in from a 9 or 11 mile run and feel so sick. I wouldn't get off the couch until 3! Part of my problem was not really knowing what to eat while I ran. I would try out new things and they would NOT work for me at all. But it was always very empowering to go over to my schedule and "X" off one of those bigger runs. What a feeling that was! I felt like I had really accomplished something!

As the training progressed, the 13 miler crept up on us. I decided to run that one with Lauren. We had been running all of our runs separate but we knew we were pretty much the same pace. That was probably one of my best runs I had had up to that point. It felt so good and I never felt like I was drained - physically or mentally. We finished 13 miles in 2:02.40. We both looked at each other after and said "you know what that means!" Knowing how competitive each of us is, we wanted to try to break 2 hours for the half. That was each of ours secret goal. :)

13 mile Before/After shot - stole this from Lauren :)

chocolate milk! best recovery drink ever!!

my poor feet and legs. they took a beating.

Fast forward to this weekend. What a blast!! Saturday we all met up and headed to the expo to pick up all of our goodies. I kept telling myself to take it all in. There was so much to see and it was really awesome to be there with all the runners - and to be one myself! We picked up our packets and shirt and walked around for a bit. After grabbing some cowbells and posters we headed out. It was Lauren's birthday on Friday so we went to lunch and then went home so we could all get some rest for the big day.

Running group! Me, Lauren, Ali and Mark

Me and my partner - Ski!

4:00 am came extremely fast the next morning. I had gone to bed at 9 and slept the entire night so I felt pretty good and rested. I had all my stuff laid out the night before so I wouldn't be rushed. The chip was on my shoes and I was ready to go! We made our way back to Lauren's where we all met up and then had the boys drop all 4 of us off! I really wasn't nervous. I was actually pretty pumped! We listened to a few jams on the ride over and I think it got me in the zone ;) We got inside the convention center and hung out for about 30 minutes; stretching and using the lovely port-a-cans! Then we made way to the start line!

Awesome signs Aaron made us all! The one he's holding reads: 
"You better pick up the pace if you want some C-Lubes"
I about died!!! C-Lubes?? Maybe, CLoubs. Oh and he so
funnily puts a 2 hour time frame in order to get my "C-Lubes"

This is when the adrenaline starts pumping! They have music playing and you're shoulder to shoulder with 20,000 of your closest friends. All these maniacs out here ready to sweat their brains out to run this thing! Oh, it was an awesome feeling my friends. I did several "woo-hoo's" and "holla's!" That's when the gun went off and we were on our way to dominating 13.1 miles!

The first couple of miles were slow. Weaving in and out of people to get to a less crowded area. I feel like we spent the first 3 miles doing this. But it went by so fast! The first 6 miles flew by. Before I knew it I was looking down at my watch and we had already been running for an hour. We were checking off miles right and left. We were able to see our wonderful support group at mile 4.5. That was so awesome! I am so happy that all of our families came out to cheer us on! I almost got a little teary eyed when I ran by and saw all the signs and heard all the encouraging words! Aaron had stayed up making us all signs the night before (see above). I wasn't allowed to see them until the next day and they were hilarious! I also loved the ones my mom and little sis made. So cute and sparkly!

momma, chels and gabby :)

Lauren's, Ali's and my mommas - aren't they adorable??

Little sis of mine, Gabby - love her!

Lauren and I kept trucking along. Each mile felt faster. I think it was mile 9 or 10 that I started getting weak. My arch of my right foot had been hurting since Saturday and was acting up again. My legs weren't too tired, but I just felt drained. We started making our way back downtown and it felt like the longest stretch. The course was relatively flat, but we had a lot more inclines than I was anticipating. I was used to running on the sidewalks of my neighborhood so the hills were getting to me. I started losing my pace and I would speed way up then slow down. At mile 12 I had a "vurp" - you know a vomit burp. Egh, not a nice feeling. Totally burned!! I have never thrown up after a run, but after the vurp, I felt like I might. We were so close and I knew there was no giving up. We pushed through and sped up a little through the last mile. We had several turns in the last stretch so I couldn't get a feel for where the finish line was. That annoyed me! I wanted to see it so I could know I was getting close. After the last turn I finally caught a glimpse of the big blue arch! Ahhh!! Almost home :)

We had one more family sighting and that really helped kick me into gear! We made it this far and I wanted to go out with a bang! The announcer was there at the end along with all the cameras and I did a fist pump and a woohoo and I heard "Alright Nicole!" The announcer called my name! Holla!! Then I raced on in to the finish line. This is when I ran smack dab into some old man that had come to a complete stop! I totally jacked the dude! Whoops. Yeah so my finish line video is kind of funny!

obviously I was a little excited here :)

so close you can almost taste it!

Final time: 2:02.40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was more than happy with our time! Lauren and I finished the exact same time so that was pretty sweet too! We started this thing together and we were going to finish it together. How close were we to breaking 2 hours though?!? Now I know what my goal will be if I decide to challenge myself to another 13.1!  ;)

after the race pics!

me and my boy :)

the 13.1 group! So proud of all of us!

After the race, we met up with all of our families and then went to have mimosas and brunch! It was such an incredible day! All the training, sweat and tears that led up to race day were totally worth it! I'm still a little on the sore side today but nothing too bad.

mi familia at Cyclones for bottomless mimosas!
PS I have the best family ever :) I just love them. They were
amazing and I couldn't ask for a better support group!

Next up is a 10K race in February that the fam and I are running in together! Should be fun and hopefully a breeze from the half. I'm going to try to continue short runs here and there. I probably won't be waking up extra early on Saturdays to get in 11 miles though. I'm ready for a break and to reconnect my relationship with the elliptical! Poor thing has been sitting dormant for the last 6 months!


I love the shark

This last Sunday, the hubs and I went on a little shopping extravaganza. I know, I know, saving money is our new mantra for 2010. But I had several gift cards burning wholes all in my wallet so it was like shopping without spending, right? Right. Except for the $75 I went over on at Target, but we won't go there.  I keep hearing all sorts of good reviews about the Shark steamer. Whether it be the mop or the portable steamer, it's been all good! I needed a little kick in the tail to get me motivated to clean and I figured this just might be the answer. Oh boy! It was the answer all right. 

We got home and I wanted to take it out of the box immediately but I forgot that I had to do one little thing first. Take down ALL my Christmas decor. You heard that right. We were 10 days into January and it was all still up. Pathetic! So I conquered that task and then had to vacuum which took about an hour. Since we got that stinking cute little sausage Chester (our Golden) I have noticed a TON of hair everywhere. We literally vacuum every other day. It's sick. And have I mentioned that our vacuum sucks??? And not in the good way that it should. The sucker clogs every 2 minutes. Meaning I have to clean out the vacuum nozzle thing where a small clump of hair lies and then start again. So that took half my afternoon. Then I remembered that I had to get in a 5 miler. Seeing as my race - my first half marathon - is NEXT SUNDAY!! The whole time running, I'm dreaming up all of the places I can clean in our house with my fancy schmancy steamer :)

I get back and finally am able to dig into my goodies. Just as I thought, this thing is like magic. I cleaned my stove, microwave, trash can and fridge (all stainless) and my granite! Wow. I love this thing. I kept asking Aaron "what should I clean next??" It was too fun to put down. So I went on into the living room. The thing dusts/steams too!!! I cleaned our leather chair and couch and then dusted all of our wood with it! OH MY WORD. I think I'm in love! And there's a shower attachment that will clean your grout too!! Do you know that I spend an hour + every 2 weeks cleaning our disgusting shower grout and tile??? You probably didn't, but you do now. Aaron thinks it's ridiculous, but this is the place you are supposed to go to get clean! I don't want to see mildew and mold! So I thought I was done, but I ventured into our bathroom and cleaned off our marble and sink area! Ahhhh! So fresh and so clean, clean! And no harsh chemicals - HA I sound like an infomercial. I do have to admit that when I was cleaning Aaron's sink I picked up his soap dispenser and the boy hadn't screwed the top back on after he refilled with soap so the jar drops out of my hand and took a huge chunk out of the marble around his sink!!!!!!!!! That sucked. But he didn't yell and I didn't yell so I think we're still good?

SO long story short, well kinda, go out and buy the Shark Portable Steamer!!

I also picked up another item that I plan on reviewing for you this week: Target brand whitening trays. I am on day 2 and so far so good. I have been taking pics of my teeth, but I'm not sure you will be able to tell a difference. I definitely have but it's hard to see on camera! I'm hoping for shiny white teeth on race day! Gotta smile pretty for the cameras :)


Christmas Fun

Can you believe how fast Christmas came and left us?? I have to admit I'm a little sad that it is all over. It was such a whirlwind leading up to it with shopping, decorating, cleaning, shopping, and more shopping! I have so many pictures so I hope I don't bore you all. If I even have any readers left...I was informed by Lauren last week that I only posted twice in the month of December!! I used to post twice in one week if not more. What is wrong with me??? I need to regain my zest. I will try harder now that we are in a new year :)

We had an awesome Christmas this year, once again. I feel like as I get older every Christmas has a little more meaning to it. It's not about what I'm getting or how much, it's about who I'm spending time with. It's about realizing more and more the true meaning of Christmas. The gifts that come along are just an added bonus. :)

Aaron and I went to one of the 13+ Christmas eve services our church was having. They started on Tuesday afternoon and continued on until Thursday night. I'm not sure how my pastor and his wife did it but it was amazing nonetheless. I don't think I say this enough, but I love our church! We both feel like we have found our perfect church home and I thought it would take many months, if not years of looking. Aaron told me the other night that he feels like our church is one of the main reasons God put us out in the "burbs". I completely agree and never really thought of it that way! I snapped some pics of our service to let you all have a little peak into our church. It was such an amazing production I had to get some shots! These first shots are our from our first attempt to go to Wednesday night church. We got all dressed, headed out the door and ran into some major traffic. So instead of being 30 minutes late we turned around and decided to go on Thursday. I also changed up my outfit the next night and it was really cute so I'm bummed I didn't get any shots of the two of us! Oh well..

One of the huge Christmas trees along with some snow they had brought in. There was also a life nativity but I didn't get any pics of that.

Snow falling inside and an amazing drum show! And these were kids on the drums too. They did awesome!

We were lucky enough to have Avalon (Christian singing group) join our church so our music is pretty amazing! I love our singing group.

Our pastor was doing a hand painting of Jesus while his son came up and talked to us. It was such a great finished product!  

We went ahead and opened presents Christmas eve morning since we had decided to spend the night at my parents house. We thought it would be fun to have our own little celebration together.  I have to say, Chester was pretty excited about his present! I've never seen a dog unwrap a gift so fast! He got a rubber tire from Old Navy and Daisy got a pink rubber bone. She was not nearly as amused with the "unwrapping the present" part.


We then made our way to my parents house where my mom had a feast going! She made chili relleno enchilladas - oh my goodness they were good. And as our appetizer, she made a delicious thick queso (I know it's called something fancier than that but I can't think of it right now!) that you put in warm flour tortillas. Talk about mouth watering! YUM!

My dad received one of his gifts that night. My mom got him the Nikon D3000 with both lens'! He was super excited. We are both photography nerds so we took a pic of each other taking a pic. Looking good pops! :)

Christmas morning! I think I was up before my little sis! I was pretty pumped to get the presents going. It's getting more fun to watch other people open their gifts! I love the reactions.

Momma had more delicous food for us Christmas morning. A breakfast casserole and coffee cake. Now you can see why I might have put on a few lbs over the last few days!

I had to show one of my favorite gifts my mom received from my dad! Is that not beautiful? I am in love! My dad always gives the sweetest gifts. He called me a few weeks ago and left me a message about wanting to get my mom some David Yurman. I swear I was just as excited for her as I would have been if it were for me!! I love helping him pick out gifts and I think he did a great job on this one!

Aaron and I before heading to celebrate with his family. I love Christmas and feel very fortunate that both families live within 10 minutes of each other, but it also makes for a VERY hectic day of going back and forth. We had breakfast and presents with my family Christmas morning, then went to A's family around noon, had lunch at 3, opened presents with them and then headed back to my parents to have Christmas dinner at 6. It was a long day filled with a lot of food! It is nice being able to see each family on Christmas though!

And last but not least, here is our Christmas card! It's not my favorite but I wanted to find some way to incorporate the pups in our card and they were not very cooperative when we went to have Lauren take our pictures - That is another post I missed getting out!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and had a good time welcoming in the new year! 2009 was great and I can only imagine what 2010 has in store for us!


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