Greensboro Gobbler – Greensboro, NC

On Thanksgiving Day I ran the Greensboro Gobbler with my dad and brother. This was my second time running the race. It has become a family tradition that I am really excited about.

2012 Greensboro Gobbler picture of Chandler, her dad, and her brother.

2012 Greensboro Gobbler

Last year, the Greensboro Gobbler was part of the start of my interest in running and races. I did a Color Run and the Greensboro Gobbler all in one week and was hooked.

I thought that the course would be 2 loops around Country Park like last year, but it was a new course. Temperatures were freezing and we jogged from the car to the race start, arriving 1 minute before time to go. It was probably good that we got there right on time, because we did not stand around in the freezing temperatures for very long at all.

There were so many people in the race this year! The course was very crowded. We spent the whole first mile weaving around walkers and runners. Next year the organizers should consider corrals or at least encouraging walkers to start at the back. With the new course they were able to accept more registrants. At least 2732 people signed up (the most ever), and 1886 finished the race. The cold temperatures might have kept some of the registrants away.

Chandler, her dad, and her brother at the 2013 race finish.

2013 Greensboro Gobbler

I ran most of the race with my dad and brother. This is the one 5K my brother does every year, and he still beat me! The last mile was very hard, and I’m proud of my finishing time and the chance to run with my family.

My offical time was 26:23, not a PR but over 3 minutes faster than my 2012 time, 29:49. It was cold outside but I warmed up quick, learning in the future not to wear cold-gear Under Armor even for races on very cold days.

Did you participate in a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day this year? How was it?

AthHalf – Athens, GA

Chandler with medal and signOn October 20, 2013, I finished the Athens Half Marathon (AthHalf) with a time of 1:58:57. I am still searching for the right words and emotions to describe the experience. Running a half marathon was on my “some day I will bucket list” until earlier this year when I made it a reality and signed up in April.

Running the half marathon distance was a mental and physical challenge for me. I posted last week about having three goals and ultimately decided to give it my all and try for sub-2. I felt confident on race weekend after encouragement from running friends that I could do it. Committing to a Hal Higdon plan and training for about a year with Athens Road Runners also prepared me to work hard in this race!

Thoughts about the course: Athens is hilly! Usually when people ask me about Athens my response includes something about the hills. The hills are especially salient because I am a runner. I know I can run on Milledge and Prince and it will be flat, but anywhere else and I encounter the infamous Athens hills.

AthHalf courseAthens Road Runners group runs trained on most of the course so I knew what to expect. The course starts out mostly flat for the first five miles, but once you get to Gran Ellen and “Zoo Rd” you encounter the first tough hill. The hardest part of the race for me was on River Rd at the 10th mile. The race organizers set up “bands for every mile” but there was no band and no spectators along River Rd. It was a really long stretch (about a mile) without any excitement. It is a steep incline to get up to E. Campus Rd behind Sanford and I walked through the water stop to give myself a break.

I did not expect the last mile to be so tough. The route crossed the bridge by Sanford Stadium, turned right at Memorial Hall – and there were more hills! Then we turned left and went up a very painful hill at Baldwin. The course was pretty manageable for the hilly town of Athens (but the last mile was not nice!) The race ends running through Sanford Stadium and around the hedges which was an awesome experience!

Chandler and Evan Running.

The best part about this half marathon experience was my training partner, Evan. It is much easier to stick to a plan when you have someone to go on all of the training runs with you. I do not think I could have found a more perfect running partner. Evan is just as competitive as I am and not only committed to every day on the training plan but patient enough to wait on mornings when I woke up late or overslept. Plus, I do not want to run alone and in the dark at 6 am so I really appreciate Evan’s company! He basically dragged me along during the race and is the reason I was able to run a sub 2-hour half! I am impressed by his improvement and commitment and appreciate everything he has done to help my running. Thanks Evan!

 

So what is next? I want to run more! Running is still my activity of choice for reflection, personal health, wellness, and taking a break from work and school. I already signed up to run the 2014 Cooper River Bridge Run. I am also looking into running more half marathons. And maybe a marathon one day? What races do you recommend?

Three Goals for Runners

My first half marathon (the Athens Half) is one week away! For the past 11 weeks I have followed a training plan adapted from Hal Higdon. I recommend his training plans if you are looking to get into running or step your training up a notch. Those plans are great, plus I also just love following plans in general. (It’s the J in my Myers-Briggs…)

Athens Road Runners at Sanford Stadium

12 m group run with ARR!

As the half is coming up I have been thinking about my goals. It really helps me to set goals for projects, running, and life. To work on setting goals for my first half-marathon I talked to my dad and learned “DT’s three goals for beginner/new runners”:

1) Finish – The first goal is to finish the race. The philosophy is that as a beginner running a race distance for the first time, the goal of finishing is an amazing accomplish in itself.

2) Realistic goal – The second goal is a goal that you are pretty confident you can meet. It is a goal that feels comfortable given how your training is going. This is good for those (AKA: me) who like to feel confident about their ability to meet a goal.

3) Stretch goal – The stretch goal is one that would be a challenge to meet. It is a goal that can be met if you run your best, but does require a lot of factors coming together.

Using DT’s guidelines for goal-planning, here are my goals for the 2013 Athens Half:

1) Finish the race
2) Sub 2:10 half-marathon
3) Sub-2 hour half-marathon

What is your running goal philosophy? Do you have any current running or fitness goals? I am excited to run my first half marathon in one week!

No excuses. #safit in August

It used to be really easy to prioritize anything and everything BUT exercise. In the past, when life got busy, exercise was the first thing to go. Since starting graduate school running has provided “me-time” and proved something I wanted to keep on my calendar.

RunningUGA1

Running early in the morning is the best! Sweaty & hot in the Georgia humidity

August is a crazy month for many professions, including student affairs. August means students returning to college campuses and includes activities such as RA training, move-in, welcome week programs, organization retreats, the beginning of class, and much more. I am training for a half marathon and did not want to let August get in the way of my training plan, so here’s what I did:

I prepared for my training presentations in advance and went to bed early every night.

I woke up early (5 am early) to run every morning. My speed workouts are at 5:30 am on Wednesdays so it was not a major adjustment.

Lastly, I did not let anything (including a 4 hour duty call) stop me from my scheduled run!

Now, some of my dedication was a little crazy – I probably should have slept in after the all-night duty call…. But running and this training plan have provided me an outlet for relaxation and de-stressing.

Thanks Evan!

Thanks Evan!

My commitment to running the past three weeks is proof that I can find time to run during the busiest times. It was also helpful to have an accountability buddy. I owe a lot of this to my friend Evan for making sure I was downstairs to meet him at 5:15 am every morning. My August philosophy was a little different than my experience this summer. Read my post about adjusting to a hectic June schedule when I was working Orientation at UNCG.

What works best for you to stay healthy during busy times? Do you prefer to exercise in the morning or at night? No matter how busy you are, try to do “just enough to stay sane.” And even if it’s training week or move-in, put your health first when you can!