Wednesday, March 29, 2017

26-ish things I've learned about life

My birthday was Monday - 27 on the 27th. :) I skipped over this post, in favor of posting my race recap. Which, in the words of Rebecca Jo is how I know I'm a serious runner. Race recap > birthday? Yeah.

Last year for my birthday I wrote a list of 25 things I had learned by the end of my 25 years. And, true to my personality, I jumped right on in to this post, started writing the middle before the intro ever crossed my mind. I had totally forgotten about my post from last year, however, I didn't forget much of the advice. As I read through last year's post, and the meat of this post, I noticed, many are the same.

I apparently feel very strongly about folks finding a dish they're good at making & taking it to potlucks. I don't even go to that many potlucks! I am also a great cook - so I usually volunteer to make something to round out the selection.

So then I thought maybe I should change the title to 1"2 things, including 4 I've already posted about, that I learned this past year". But, that didn't have quite the same ring to it. So, I stuck with the title as is. Don't let the title fool you though. Considering I'm just starting my 27th year of life, it didn't feel right to claim I had learned 27 things, especially since I can only seem to come up with 12. And I'm not feeling especially loquacious (ha!) today.

Instead of more knowledge dropping - I present to you, mostly a post with pictures of "Baby Jessie". I was, and continue to be adorable and photogenic. Unless I've decided I'm not feeling it. In which case, see "the face". Side eye game strong.

1. Sometimes waving is more infuriating than flicking someone off. Someone honks at me in traffic? I like to give a sarcastic little wave to thank them for expressing themselves, but also let them know "I do what I damn well please".

2. Memories > Things - Always.

3. Sometimes you have to flex your grown-up muscles, because you can, by eating ice cream, FOR DINNER.

4. Having more friends isn't always a bad thing.

5. Friends come & go - sometimes it's just not the right season for them.

6. Just because you love something 85% of the time doesn't mean you'll always love it. Like running. Sometimes it makes me want to punch someone, sometimes it keeps me from punching someone.

7. Find a dish or two you're good at making, and could make with your eyes closed. Take that to every potluck you ever go to. Pick one that is simple.

8. Spend less money than you make.

9. Always look for a coupon code before buying online. At least get yourself some free shipping.

10. One day - you will wake up and feel old. It won't happen gradually. It will happen all at once. You'll find a grey hair, or your knees will crack, or whatever. It's a thing.

11. Figure out what colors flatter your skin tone - wear more of those colors.

12. Ask for what you want. The worst someone can say is "No".

I'm a year older, but it feels like more. All of a sudden I'm not in my mid-twenties anymore, cue my late twenties, and the desire to panic. The good news about that is there is no time to panic. I'm excited to see what 27 will bring - I already know I have some big things and big life headed my way. Bring it on 27 - bring. it. on.

Tell me something good.
What's something you would go back & tell your 21 year old self?
What about your 16 year old self?

Linking up with Amanda.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Just a Short Run 2017 8.1 Mile Race Recap

First things first, I feel like I have a million things to post this week. Today is my birthday (Whooo!) - and while I would normally have some sort of birthday post up, I'm saving that for Wednesday so I can squeeze in my race recap today. All before I post my April goals + a Q1 update on my year-long goals. Moving on...

I've got BIG goals for my April half marathon. I'm aiming for an 8:30 // mile goal pace and therefore a new PR. I'm using a totally new to me training plan and putting in some serious hard work to make this happen. I wanted to use Just A Short Run as a gauge, could I really do this? Or was I crazy?

You may remember that I used this exact same intro for my Spring Thaw Race Recap that while my overall pace for my last race was right on target for a new PR, and only 2 weeks deep into my training, I really fell off in the second half. And my final mile was by far my slowest of the race.

My goal was to make this race different. I wanted to run consistently. I knew there would be pacers, so I planned to become BFF with the 8:30 pacer and help myself get a better feel for an 8:30 pace after my last few attempts at pacing had gone wrong.

But let me back up.I laid out my Flat Jessie, scarfed some coffee, and toast with banana and peanut butter before heading to North Park.

Before it was even time to head to the start line, Steff, Ciara & I hosted a We Run Social Meet-Up to meet some other Pittsburgh runners, folks we follow and interact with on social media, but hadn't necessarily met in real life. I loved getting to meet Instagram and blogger friends in real life! Obviously we had to snap a picture before we all headed to the start line.

And one more picture with the Pro Bike & Run group - who seriously keeps me sane each week where the 9:30 pace group keeps me company for more long run miles than I could ever count.

After plenty of pictures it was time to frantically rush my way through the port-o-pottie line before heading to the start line.

Mile 1 // 8:43, Mile 2 // 8:04, Mile 3 // 8:12

Just A Short Run offers 4 race distances, 5K, 8.1 mile, 1/2 marathon and 30K - all but the 30K have the same start line. The 30K starts a few minutes earlier, and merges .5 miles in with the rest of the distances. The 8:30 pacer started with the 30K runners. So I situated myself in between the 1:50 (8:22 pace) and 1:55 (8:44 pace) HM pacers.

When we merged in with the 30K runners I couldn't see the 8:30 pacer. I hoped that as we carried on I'd be able to see his sign and could keep my sights on him. The first mile includes a large uphill. I knew my pace was slow heading up the hill, but I was shocked to be getting passed left and right, until I saw the 7:30 pacer pass me. I was well ahead of the pacer I was looking for.

I knew I couldn't slow down in hopes of him catching me, so I soldiered on. I looked at my watch after the 1st mile marker, and when it beeped for mile 2. I kept psyching myself out, wondering if I was going too fast, or too slow. It always seemed to be one or the other. I made the decision after mile 2 to ignore my watch, to check it for distance if I so desired, but to ignore my pace, and just run my race.

Mile 4 // 8:22, Mile 5 // 8:14, Mile 6 // 8:13

At the end of mile 4 I chatted for a few minutes with a gentleman who was nearby. Shortly after that we rounded the corner for a slow and steady uphill. I was excited to be past the halfway point and headed for the home stretch. At mile 5.75 we rounded the corner to hit the backstretch of the Lake, and it hit me. It was hot. It was humid. And I was drained. I was thirsty, and starting to feel sick to my stomach.

I've purchased salt caps and plan to use them on my next long runs and speed workouts to test them out. I am a heavy sweater, and a salty sweater, which I believe leaves my electrolytes out of whack by the end of a hot race.

Mile 7 // 8:47, Mile 8 // 8:35, .2 // 8:39

Mile 7 was rough. I felt sick. I felt like I might puke, but I could see the finish line through the trees and I knew I was in a downhill stretch of the course. I had no idea what my average pace was, and I resisted looking at my watch.

Amanda from The Running Resident came up behind me, and introduced myself, told me I was rocking it, and gave me a much needed boost before speeding off.

I rounded the corner, the final stretch to the finish line and I was spent. I really wanted to look good for the cameras (you're so vain! Haha) to get a few good action shots. I did my best, but I felt like I was trudging through a swamp. 

When I finally stopped my watch and caught my breath, I was ecstatic! 8:28 average pace!?  I had done it! I had managed to hit my goal race pace all on my own, without the help of a pacer!?

Chip Time : 1:09.26 // 8:33 pace // 8.10 miles
Garmin Time : 1:09.20 // 8:28 pace // 8.18 miles

As I look at my Garmin data I am even more pleased with my performance. I expected my first mile to be slow given the uphill, but I was pleasantly surprised to see my overall consistency otherwise, and especially pleased that my final mile wasn't my slowest. 

My next challenge, for my final 4 weeks of training is my mental game. My race outfit worked well, but I need to work on my race day and racing nutrition. I cannot make it 13.1 miles without some sort of calories during the race. I'm not sure I could have done another 5 miles on Saturday, nor do I think I could have maintained that pace for another 5 miles - not because my legs were spent, but because I felt sick to my stomach, something I've often experienced in races past, and now attribute to electrolyte imbalances caused by lots of sweating without anything to replenish.

What is your best pre-race fuel?
How do you fuel during a race?
Any tips for using Salt Caps?

Linking up with Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights
Linking up with Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the run to share.

Linking up with Steff.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Five #64

I almost didn't show up today. I wasn't feelin' it earlier this week. So instead of forcing myself to sit down and come up with a post - I just didn't. And I almost did the same thing today. In fact, I usually write these Friday Five posts throughout the week as things happen, but this week, I didn't.

I feel like this week dragged, and I am oh so glad it's finally Friday.

one // Tuesday's weather was fantastic. It was almost 60 degrees. Despite the fact that Mr. Sass was feeling under the weather I dragged him out of the house so we could eat ice cream for dinner. I ordered one scoop - and this is what it got me. It. Was. So. Good. The flavor is Graham Central Station - and it's my all time favorite. Then we took a walk around North Park while we finished our cones. This may be my favorite warm weather activity.

two // My run Wednesday night was a little on the chilly side, but the sunshine was much appreciated. I stopped to snap a pic just before my warm-up ended. My only regret is I was running too fast later to catch a few more pics.

three // When you come home from your speed workout & this is ready & waiting for you!? Living the dream over here. Venison filets, mushrooms, onions, garlic asparagus, and potatoes.

four // GUYS. Here's why I had to stop in today. I am giddy. Like, Mr. Sass had to watch me do a little jig around the kitchen giddy. I've been talking about how I want to explore somewhere new this year. Well, that's gonna be a thing. I'm no stranger to Groupon travel - and I've talked about 5 reasons to travel with Groupon, so when I saw this deal I called my Mom who said she was in, and then we called my brother who also said he was in. So, we're heading to China! We paid a little more to leave straight from Pittsburgh, but what. a. deal.

five // Funnies...

Who has been to China?
What's your next big trip?
What got you excited this week?

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Weekend Highlights : MASS CHAOS

LOTS to share today. So buckle up and hold on tight. HM training week 5 recap, bridal shower #1, a visit from my Momma, and a fantastic bakery we tried, plus, as always, a little bit of chaos.

I'm linking up with Steff to share my weekly training recap! Plus, as always I'm linking up with Holly & Tricia to share my weekend highlights!

Week #5 of half marathon training is complete. Which means I am halfway through - crazy! It was a tough week for sure. Especially because I crammed all of my workouts into the work week since I knew my Momma would be in town over the weekend. I'm taking a very different approach to HM training than I have in the past. If you want to check 'em out, I posted my training plan + goals earlier this year. Here's how it went down this week.

Monday // 3 treadmill miles
Slow & steady, 10:00 // mile average, give or take. I meant to get up a few minutes earlier so I could get 4 miles in, but it didn't happen, so I only had time for 3.

Tuesday // Nada
Tuesdays are arms & back. We were set to get snow overnight, spoiler we didn't. But I did forget to set my alarm, so I awoke with a fright when Mr. Sass made it home from work at 7AM.

Wednesday // 8 x 800 @ HM goal pace (8:30 // mile) with 1:00 rest in between
I died. 800's are my least favorite. I hate them. Truly, when I can run 10+ miles no problem, half a mile should feel like nothing, but it doesn't. It drags on forever. I've been making it a goal to do speed work outside & in the evenings. This was neither. Due to plans and the weather, it was an AM treadmill workout. I didn't eat anything before I started. The first 4 were alright. The last 4 were a struggle, and I couldn't hold the pace and was forced to slow down. I'm hoping next week will be a better confidence boost. I did get to try out my new compression socks & loved them!

Thursday // 8 mile long run
Mr. Sass joined me for the first 5 miles of my long run. We took it nice and slow, and I let him set the pace. After that I finished the last 3 on my own, including the big hill on the Just a Short Run course which I'll run next weekend. I gunned it a bit in the last 3 miles and managed a 9:28 (big hill), 8:35, 8:17 to finish strong! I have to take a second to pat myself on the back. I made it a goal to not skip a single running workout this training cycle and so far so good. I've made adjustments for sure. Long runs in the dark, speed workout in nasty weather, and more treadmill miles than I prefer, but I'm 100% so far, 5 weeks down, 5 to go!

Friday // Strength Training
I did a dual purpose lift day & combined a little bit of everything. Legs, back, arms, the works. I usually don't go in with a plan, and pick and choose based on how crowded things are and what space // machines are open to use.

Saturday & Sunday // OFF
Usually I'd fit in my long run on Saturday + a hike on Sunday. Instead I just stuffed myself silly with delicious food. Back to a normal grind this week, and I am so grateful.

Not only did I squeeze in a full week of training, but lots of life also. Saturday morning started with a bang when my future FIL called to say that his wife, my future MIL was feeling under the weather (turned out to be pneumonia) and didn't think she could host shower#1 on Sunday. All the food was bought, and my MIL insisted the show go on. My SIL jumped into action, and offered to host. Mr. Sass got up & headed over to help his dad make all the food. Seriously cannot brag on that man & future family enough. Everything was amazing. Saturday morning before we figured out Plan B was total chaos. But it got done & turned out great. Now, it's hashtag time. ;)

#GreenMargaritaCauseImIrish #MyMomMadeMeShareWithHer #IDontShareWell #ButSheDidBirthMe #SoIShared

#Chimichanga #AteItAll #ThenINeededATums #WorthIt

#SuckySaturdayWeather #DontWorryIWasStopped

#FoodGloriousFood #LongDriveButSOWorthIt

#MeAndMyMomma #DoWeLookAlike

#CuteDoor #IgnoreMyReflection #MyMommaThinksImCrazy

#RoundOne #RoundsTwoAndThreeNotPictured #HamBiscuitOnTheRightWasBomb #WeWentBackAndGotThreeMore

#SlipperyRockPA #EnchantingLittleGarden

#BridalShowerNumeroUno #DespiteAllTheChaos

#ThePunchWasDelicious #EspeciallyWithSpumante #IHadFiveGlasses


#ClappingCauseImExcitedAboutTowels #YupImAGrownUp

#CasseroleCarryingCase #MyOfficialWelcomeIntoTheFamily #SomeoneInviteMeOverForAPotluck

#VannaWhiteDemoingNewCampingPillows #SoGladThisWasCaughtOnCamera #TheyreReallyNice

#ItsNoSoftPretzel #ButTheyreBeautiful #IThinkIllKeepHim #ManDidGood

What's your favorite bakery treat?
What's your favorite flower?
Mine is Baby's Breath - so he made sure to snatch up a bouquet that included some.
How do you ward off a cold // illness when you feel one coming on?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Five #63

Happy Friday! We made it. This week has been sort of soul sucking with the freezing temperatures, dark mornings (thanks Daylight Savings) + just general life craziness. I realized that in order to maximize my Momma time (she's in town this weekend!) AND not miss any half marathon workouts I would need to squeeze them all in during the week. So, I did. Well, I'm writing this & still have to do my long run in an hour or so, but, it's as good as done. ;) It has made for some busy days. But it'll be lovely to have a totally workout free weekend, I think. So, now on to some Friday Five. I hope you'll share a little bit about what you're up to in the comments section.

one // Tacos. Not even gonna lie, I love tacos. I love them so much that sometimes I take whatever I was planning to eat for dinner anyways, and put it in a tortilla. Mmm. Like Tuesday night. I really wasn't feeling leftover stir fry. So I fashioned some tacos. Scrambled eggs, cheese, corn, sliced cabbage, onion & sriracha.

two // Chipotle for lunch yesterday was magical. Somehow it was just more cilantro-y than usual, which in my book is a wonderful thing. I had to eat in my car because the restaurant was packed, but it turned out alright 'cause I snuck in a few pages of my current book, The Forgetting Time.

three // Saw my favorite "bully" Wednesday night & he didn't hesitate to snuggle me full force on the couch + make me trick him into looking anywhere near the camera. Bugger is too smart.

four // Convinced Mr. Sass to come along on part of my run with me last night. He stuck around for 5 or 8 miles, and they flew by because we had plenty to chat about! We go a little slower when he joins me, but I don't mind. We always find plenty to talk about, and in my opinion that's time well spent.

five // Funnies...

Do you and your significant other work out together?
What are you up to this weekend?
Flour or corn tortillas?

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie