With rain hijacking the last few weekends we finally had the type of weekend that epitomizes the gorgeous Spring weather in Florida. I was able to spend some time hanging out with a friend on his front porch and this photo just about sums up how perfect it has been outside. He has an incredible garden and I actually pulled those carrots myself to dip in some homemade humus! Mint in the water was also taken straight from the plant. I wish I had the patience for gardening.

2014-04-10 15.33.25-1Friday afternoon I walked around downtown for a while waiting to meet a friend at Seville to pick up our packets for the Navy Federal 5k. I had a lady bug land on my hand and hang out with me for a while. They are a sign of good luck so I’m expecting something magical to happen soon. 2014-04-11 16.23.16

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I signed up for the race a few weeks ago on a whim with the fantastical notion that I may actually be able to place top 3 in my age group. My goal pace was 8:30, which is nowhere near fast enough to place in most races, but the last 2 years the top 3 in my group had paces hovering around 9 minutes! So, I went to be crossing my fingers that no one fast in my age group felt like running. Either way it was going to be Christina’s first race so I was looking forward to seeing her cross the finish line and hopefully love it enough to want to do it again.

Race morning came and I was FULL of nerves. My heart-felt like it was in my throat. I met Christina and we formulated our game plan. I was hoping to finish with enough time before she crossed the finish line to run back to her car and grab my cell phone to snap some photos of her. The race was extremely well-organized and family friendly. We started on time and before I had a chance to have a total nervous breakdown I was on my way. I had a group of marines running in formation behind me and that helped to keep me going. I felt pretty comfortable running between 8:15 and 8:30 and I just kept telling myself “It’s only 25 minutes!” I ran strong to the finish and ended with a brand new PR of 25:28 (8:12 pace.) My very first 5k in October of 2012 was just over 31 minutes. It’s amazing what 18 months and hundreds of miles can do!

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I kept running so I could make it to the car and back in time to catch Christina. She was aiming for a 12 minute pace so I was shocked when I saw her crossing at 33 minutes! She crushed her goal time and as we were sitting in the lawn scarfing down bananas and oranges she looked at me and said, “Yeah, I’m addicted.” #Success

I ended up coming in 8th in my division out of 44 so I’m trying to focus on how awesome that is instead of sulking that I didn’t place. The girl who came in 3rd finished 45 seconds ahead of me, so there were a lot of speedy 30-34 year olds out there this year! The first place female in the age group behind me finished 15 seconds after me. Damn if I wasn’t just a bit older! I’m already looking forward to running a few more 5k’s with Christina this summer and really focusing on speed work after my marathon this month.

2014-04-12 08.49.50-2That afternoon I met up with my parents at Roly Poly for lunch. They were in town to go to a quilt show and we all love eating at Roly Poly. I didn’t realize it until I read the recap for my first 5k today that we had Roly Poly the day of that race as well! I’m thinking this should become tradition. 2014-04-12 12.13.22I met up with Christina and her friend for dinner to celebrate her first 5k. We went to Jaco’s downtown which has the best views of the sunset in town. I had a delicious Portobello dish with pesto risotto and creamy tomato sauce. I had to muster up the little bit of class I have to not lick the plate clean. 2014-04-12 19.13.36-2

Sunday I woke up early to do my long run before heading to my parents house in Fort Walton for an early Easter BBQ. My legs were pretty sore from the 5k Saturday so about 2 miles into it I decided not to do the 16 I had planned on. At this point (two weeks out from the marathon) ‘training’ is essentially done, so I had zero heartburn aiming to do 13.1 miles instead. I still did a hilly course and managed to keep a 10:36 pace. Not bad for tired legs!

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This week is my last week teaching classes in person at UWF for the term. This class gets out early as my students will be turning their final papers into me a week from today. I’m hoping to have them all graded before Dad and I hit the road to Nashville on Thursday. It’s nice having so many things to look forward to. Life. Enjoying the anticipation.

How was your weekend? 
When/Where is your next trip?

Big News & Bigger News

December 5th, 2012 | Posted by Erica House in Fitness | Life - (30 Comments)

Yesterday was truly epic! I woke up and had that “I’m going to kill it” feeling about my workout. The last 2 weeks I haven’t had as much energy for exercise as I normally do. It’s strange since I love it so much but I can only assume the stress from end of term is making it difficult for me to muster up the energy for doing anything, even things I really enjoy!

It was my 5k day and I started with 20 minutes of ab work first (Jillian Michael’s 6 week 6 pack – gotta love it!) then went straight out for a run. I finished my first mile in 8:24 which is way better than my normal 9:45-10 min pace. I’ve been doing sprints once a week and that’s helped me significantly with my speed. I’ve also been doing the long runs on the weekend (up to 8 miles) which make doing 3 seem like a piece of cake. So, I had the mentality today of “I’m going to go until my legs give out because it’s only 3.1 miles!”

My previous 5k PR that I ran shortly after my break-up in October (such good motivation!) was 28:41. Today I came in at exactly 28 minutes. It felt incredible.

I topped it off with heading straight back inside for my plank-a-day (which for me is about every 2-3 days) and added 20 seconds onto my prior PR.

Unstoppable!

 Now, for my Bigger News:

Am I a Runner Yet?

November 28th, 2012 | Posted by Erica House in Fitness - (51 Comments)

If someone were to ask me point-blank if I was a runner I’d probably hesitate, then respond with “Kind of.”

I started running in March of this year. No RunKeeper, no handheld water bottle. Just going at it for 30 seconds at a time for as long as I could stand it. By May 26th I was getting a bit more serious about running regularly and my pace was just shy of 15 minutes per mile.

Fast forward to November and I’m disappointed with any 5k time over 30 minutes:

I’ve completed my first official race:

I started off my Thanksgiving Day with Sprints:

and set a Distance PR this week of 7 miles (with a 10 min mile pace!):

Yet, I still don’t feel like I’m in the club.

It’s ironic since all of the runners I have me thus far have been so supportive, encouraging and non-judgmental. So, what defines a runner anyways?

I don’t have a Heart Rate monitor, but I use RunKeeper!

I don’t wear fancy running shoes, but I’ve got snazzy padded socks!

I’ve never worn compression clothing, but I sometimes soak in bath salts after a long run!

I’ve had a similar thought to this as I was weaving in and out of 5 year old’s at my first 5k:

And I’ve seen the look on friends faces who I’m sure thought this after I spent more than 2 minutes discussing sprint times and training plans:

So, am I a runner?

Do I get a membership card somewhere?

Am I the only one with a runners inferiority complex? How do you define being a runner?