Saturday, December 20, 2014

Steph Says: My Second Half Marathon

Last weekend, I ran my second-ever half marathon- the Cajun Country- and it didn't suck! It was actually a pretty fun race...dare I say I enjoyed myself?!?

The night before, I dropped Rascal off at my mother-in-law's for a little sleepover since The Hubs was out of town. I made a quick stop at CVS for some more Advil because my knee/hamstring was still bugging me and I was fresh out of anti-inflammatories. When I got home, I laid out all of my gear as I always do before a race. And as usual, I tried to go to sleep early but I was too anxious/excited to sleep.
Aww yea.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling pretty good. My knee wasn't hurting at all and I felt really well-rested despite my lack of sleep. I had driven to Acadiana Park the day before because I had NO CLUE where I was going and you do NOT want to be lost on race day. I ran into Elle Noel and we headed to the park, but I ended up misjudging the starting line and we had to backtrack a quarter of a mile or so...let's call it a warmup, shall we?
 There were only about 150 people in this race, so I started out pretty strong since I didn't have to weave through the pack. We ran through a neighborhood and then around some main roads before turning onto this little scenic highway and ran under Interstate 10. From that point on, the scenery was just gorgeous. There were beautiful fall-colored trees and leaves all over the ground. Yea, it's mid-December and things are just starting to look fall-ish here in Louisiana. 

Running isn't so bad when there's pretty stuff to look at and fall leaves to crunch! 

I maintained a pretty strong pace (right around 11 min/mi) until mile 8 when I stopped for water and some Shot Bloks. Not long after that, we had to get across I-10 again... But this time, we went OVER instead of under. That overpass pretty much killed my pace vibe, but it was pretty cool to look down and see all of the cars zooming by underneath. I hovered around a 12 minute mile for the rest of the race and finished it in a total of 2 hours, 30 minutes, and 48 seconds, which was 30 minutes faster than the Zydeco Half back in March (3:00:39). THIRTY MINUTES FASTER, people. In eight and a half months. Needless to say, I finished on a pretty major runner's high because my goal was to finish in 2:30!

I'm too cheap to buy race photos, but this one might be worth it. 

These lovely ladies were waiting at the finish line to cheer me on. I have to say, being a part of a running group makes SUCH a difference in your training and in the race-day excitement! And the best part about being the slowest? Automatic cheerleaders, because they all finish before me!

I got this super cute medal to commemorate my efforts. I don't think I'll ever drink another beer without my little gator buddy!

All in all, the Cajun Country Half Marathon was a really fun experience and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Yea, I said fun. I actually enjoyed this race so much I'd go so far as to call it FUN! Part of the fun is in challenging myself, and I'm learning more and more about myself as a runner each race. Training for a marathon is time-consuming, and hella difficult, but I just keep thinking about how lucky I am to have this opportunity to train, learn, and grow as a runner, wife, and mom.

Until next time, get out there and enjoy the weather (wherever you may be)!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Steph Says: Body Pump Challenge Results

So it's been about three weeks since the 6-week Body Pump challenge ended. I was hoping to get my T-shirt so I could show it off in this post, but the gym hasn't gotten it tagetha and the shirts are MIA. I do know that I didn't win the grand prize... Boo. Not all that sad, considering I wasn't even sure what the grand prize was. Priorities.

Anyway, here are the photographic results. The "after" shot of my back is way darker, but please don't think I'm trying to fool you with edited lighting and a fancy filter. Ain't nobody (me) got time for that. I am not that tan, nor am I that talented. It's just not an easy picture to capture. 
(Side note: Have you ever tried to take a picture of your back, in a mirror, while flexing? It is NOT an easy feat. Go ahead, try it. I'll wait here.)

So- I definitely see a difference in my back picture, under my shoulders. What is that, my tricep muscle? It's higher and tighter than it was before. The flexing pic, well, y'all can judge that one for yourselves. I don't see a huge difference. 
And now for the numbers.

Bicep: WAS 12.5 inches, NOW 12.25 inches. -.25 inches
Bust: WAS 38 inches, NOW 37 inches. -1 inch 
Waist: WAS 34.5 inches, NOW 34 inches. -.5 inches
Hips: WAS 45.5 inches, NOW 45 inches. -.5 inches
Thigh: WAS 27 inches, NOW 24.75 inches. -2.25 inches (say whaaaaaa?)
Total inches lost: 4.5

And now the word "inches" looks so freakin WEIRD to me. Look at it. LOOK AT IT. 

What I learned during those six weeks:
1. Squats and lunges, although they SUCK, work wonders for my legs. I was pretty shocked by the 2.25 inch loss in my thighs, but I could tell on those rare occasions when I'd wear my jeans.
2. I need to BE CONSISTENT with lifting. I was so tired some days, and there were moments when I thought GOODBYE WORLD, I'm about to drop this bar on my neck. But it was a good, sore, happy tired because I felt so accomplished. 
3. I'm capable of lifting more than I thought.

Moving Forward:
1. KEEP LIFTING. When I'm training for a distance run, I tend to put all thoughts of the gym out of my mind other than my one cross-training day. And while running is an excellent exercise, it doesn't do for my body what weights can do.
2. Get yo' mind right, Stephanie. And by mind, I mean mouth. I feel like ohhhhh, I burned sooooo many calories, now I can eat ALL THE THINGS.... well, I can't. Today is Monday, the wonderful day to restart and recharge, the day that every diet begins on. 

Until next time, where I'll recap my second half marathon.... 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Steph Says: Forever A Panther

It's been a while since I've posted, but my life has been pretty consistent (aka BORING) these days: wake up, hang out with Rascal Mae, run a few miles, watch an unholy amount of television, rinse, repeat. Not the best blog fodder.
But today was different. Today was so special. I got to take a day trip to New Orleans with my girl Maria to support my Panther football team as they played in the Division III State Championship.

We got there super early and ended up snagging the Bunker Club seats at the 30 yard line. I'm talking cushy cushy chairs practically ON the field. A metal railing separated us from the Astroturf. I can't even imagine how much these seats would cost for an NFL game, but for $15 I'd say we got quite a deal.

This is what rich people's rumps are treated to.

I got to see so many of my former students, which made my heart so incredibly happy. Not a day goes by that I don't think about them, but to have them all in one place where I could see their smiles and give them hugs...awesome! 

My ladies!!!!
The excitement in the Dome was palpable. I couldn't believe how many people came out to celebrate and cheer on these amazing boys. One of my best girls got the chance of a lifetime to sing the National Anthem on the field, and she rocked it, of course!

The boys fought so hard, but in the end, victory just wasn't meant to be. But they played their hearts out. They had an amazing undefeated season, and they got to play football in the Superdome. They made history for their school. They are such outstanding young men, and I was so blessed to have them in my classes and in my life. I've always felt like they were my babies before I had my baby, and tonight, I am just overwhelmed with pride for my babies.

I love my Panthers.