#FridayFive Favorite fall activities! Linking up with @Marmaone1, @YouSignedUp, and @EatPrayRunDC

Good morning ladies and germs!!  We’ve made it!! It’s another friday! (PRAISE JESUS!!) I’m really starting to appreciate Fridays more and more as I’m starting to age.  (wait, age? I’m not even 30?!) Yes, age… my job, my life, my world is causing me to age prematurely! lol.  So, Fridays are my tiny little vacation… it also means… TIME FOR ALEX!!! (I get my bubs on weekends, so this is another reason Fridays mean so much to me!)  As far as the blogosphere goes, it’s time for the FRIDAY FIVE! (said in my best amphitheater voice).

FridayFive

This week’s theme, brought to you by the lovely ladies of the DC Trifecta; Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia is Favorite Fall Activities.  I love fall (as I’ve made it very apparent in my last few posts). Autumn is my favorite season out of the four. 🙂 But enough jabber jawing, lets get this show on the road!!

1. Picking out the perfect pumpkin!! This is such a fun task!!  And Alex LOVES it!! He runs around from pumpkin to pumpkin trying to find the BIGGEST one… jumping over the little ones, circling around the ridiculously huge ones, and sometimes, sitting on a few.  Until we find the one; the perfect pumpkin to make our own.  🙂

pumpkins1

2. Apple picking!! I’ve just recently (the past two years) fallen in love with apple picking.  There is a gorgeous farm near my house that will let you pick as many apples are you want, then ride in a hay filled truck back to the farm house, pay for your apples, and get some fresh cider and goodies (also fresh) from the farm.  Last year we got Caramel apples with almonds and dark chocolate… something I’d never seen before – DELICIOUS!!! Alex was amazed that he was able to pick the apple from the tree and get it in the basket all by himself (he was 2).  The joy on his face is enough of a reason for me to go back every year. 🙂

apples-3

3. Running!! You knew this was coming… running in the fall is so much BETTER then running in the summer!! The cooler temperatures make is much easier to manage pace and internal body temp.  Also, (personally) I feel like I can go for longer distances without getting as tired in the fall.  (again, helps that the humidity has decreased SUBSTANTIALLY and it’s not JOHNNY BLAZIN’ anymore!! Long live the long run!.

4. Bon fires!! Yes my inner redneck is showing a bit… and that’s ok.   At the beginning of my divorce, I lived with my Sister and her Husband.  During the early fall months, we had a fire in the back yard almost every night.  The smells and sounds were amazing!! You weren’t cold (even if it got below 50), the conversations around the fire are ones I’ll never forget.  I can’t wait to get the fire started again this year!! 🙂

bonfire

5. BOOTS!!! I can finally wear my boots again!!! (she types as she’s sporting some amazing black leather boots for the first time this season).  Boots are a staple in my fall wardrobe.  However, Boots in the summer… just look stupid. I may catch some flack for this, and I don’t really care… I’m not a fan, AT ALL for those little ankle bootie things. They look like the designer just… Stopped. Like they forgot where they were going so they gave up and said “Ok, just go with this.”  Not for this chick.  I’m a Tall boots type of girl, with of without a heel. (although, being a bit short, the heel gives me a bit of an advantage height wise).  😉

Hope you enjoyed reading my Friday Five!! Enjoy you’re weekend and this AMAZING weather!! Stay happy and healthy!! ❤

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@BioSkin Sale!! – #ambassador #runchat #compression #sweatpink

Ladies and gents!!! Remember those amazing compression sleeves I’m ALWAYS talking about?! BioSkin is having a Fall sale right now on them and EVERYTHING else!! Just use click the image below, use code FALL2 and you’ll get 15% off!!  This is huge!! If you don’t remember, the sleeves and the Ten-7 saved my legs during the Charles Street 12… read herefall-in-love4

However, you have to act quickly.  This sale is a short one!! It’s only good today (9/23) through Thursday (9/25)! So, if you’re interested, head over there!! 🙂  Have a great Tuesday! ❤

@RagnarRelay DC Recap 1 of 3!! #ragnarDC #peerpressured209 #trailrun #runchat

Well hello there!  As promised, here is the 1st of 3 Ragnar DC race recaps.  (Yea, I have THAT MUCH to write about.)   Let me start at the beginning of what was to become a very fun, very interesting, a bit painful, unforgettable experience.

12 friends, 200 miles, 33 hours 49 minutes (our actual completion time) and a LIFETIME of memories.  Trite, yea a little… but true.  It’s over a week after the race and I’m still flashing back to moments, waiting to have a bracelet slapped onto my wrist, waiting for someone to yell out “209!!!”, waiting to pass one of my teammates in the van so we can SCREAM encouragement out the drivers window for a brief second.

But wait… I’m ALREADY jumped ahead… This journey started at midnight (12:01am) on Friday September 12th, when my boyfriend and I sluggishly dragged out half asleep bodies and all of our gear to the car, to make the 90 minute drive to the rendezvous point to meet our team.  Our team captain made the decision to meet at a park and ride 15 minutes from the FINISH LINE, so we wouldn’t have to drive a long way after running for 33 hours. (Good call btw!)  So, we get to the park and ride, early… 🙂 We wait… and wait… and wait some more.  At about 10 of (1:50am) 2am was our meeting time… we texted the captain thinking Oh shit, is this the wrong place?! But all was well, people started showing up. 🙂 Some (most) of the runners we’re new faces to me. I’d only met person to person 4 people on my team (including the boyfriend), however though facebook and twitter, some of the faces looked familiar.  Everyone did brief introductions, and went to the vans.

our home for the next day and a half

Once we all packed into the vans, we headed to the START!! (another 2.5 hours away) The finish line was in DC, the start was in Cumberland, MD.  Luckily, I was able to get a bit of sleep during this trip… which was VERY beneficial, because I was RUNNER 1.  Without the sleep, I, well… yea, it wouldn’t have been good.  However, before I dozed off, I took a quick shot of my “vanmates”

Definitely not paying attention, lol

And we were off.  I slept until we pulled into the site… waving lights would probably wake anyone up.  The starting point was VERY organized.  (as a stickler for organization, I was impressed!! – I’ll post later about how I packed, lol)  We went to team sign in (both captain and co captain), got our shirts (AWESOME), and then proceeded to the safety briefing.  Having sat through my fair share of safety briefings in the military, and having read through the Ragnar Bible like it was my JOB, I figured I already know everything this woman in BRIGHT orange was going to tell me.  Nope.  What she said made me laugh and made me cringe at the same time… “We encourage tattle tailing At Ragnar” – oh lord… you’re kidding me… Now, don’t get me wrong… if someone is being unsafe, yea, let someone know… but making a blanket statement telling EVERYONE that tattle tailing is ENCOURAGED?!  Not smart.  And, it bit my team in the ass later on.  Another team didn’t appreciate that we were driving on the side of the road OPPOSITE the runners, and away from the dust in order to NOT spit dust and rocks in the runners faces… this apparently (to them) looked like we wanted to pass them.  No… we wanted to be safe.  However when they stopped the van and put their flashers on, we proceeded to cautiously drive around them. So what happens?? Within 20 minutes, we get a text from Ragnar stating we have a strike (3 strikes you’re out) because we’re driving recklessly.  /facepalm Ok!!  Sorry!!  I put no blame on Ragnar EXCEPT the blanket tattle tail statement.  The other team just wanted to whine.  *hops off soap box*  Austin (the BF) and I took our mandatory pre-race “runfie” and then parted ways.

before

As I walked to the start line (like I mentioned, I was the first runner) I get this overwhelming sense of fear, excitement, and ohmygod, its fucking dark!!! I had my head light, my ass light (yea, its funnier that way), and my reflective gear, however, it was VERY VERY dark.  So dark, I couldn’t see my shoes unless I pushed my lamp DOWN on them.  Yep, I’m gonna bust my ass on this trail… That’s a GREAT thought to have before I even start running right??  Well, I wasn’t wrong.

Start - Ragnar DC

There was a countdown, ya know building suspense (like I needed to hear my heartbeat any louder in my head!!!) and we were off!! I could hear my team cheering for me and i had a HUGE smile on my face.  (After reading a few other recaps, it looks like Van 2 from other teams just kind of left their first Van and went to exchange 6… My team watched me take off.  It was inspiring, and made me love them just a bit more. <3) I ran, and ran, BAM!!! Got my first kill. (In Ragnar, when you pass someone, it’s considered a kill – don’t ask me why because I can’t answer you.)  Felt pretty damn good about myself!!  And then I took my first turn… Oh shit… WHAT AM I RUNNING ON RIGHT NOW?!!!! NO SERIOUSLY WHERE DID THE GROUND GO!!!  All of my confidence went the way of the dodo, and I went right back to fear.  The terrain was treacherous.  I’ve run on trails before, and I’ve almost fallen, MANY times.  However, I’ve NEVER done a trail run, on a bitch of a trail, IN THE MOTHER F’IN BITCH DARK!!!  Oh my goodness…  I could hear footsteps behind me, but they weren’t getting closer, Ok, no worries, they’re going slower too… and then I hear a thud… Oh good lord, what the hell?! I turned around only to be face-to face with another head lamp.  Not afraid to admit, I almost crapped my pants.  Both of us screamed (which was hilarious, because HE was a large man), laughed, and kept moving… still don’t know what the thud was.  Kept running for (what my nike tracker said was a mile) and BAM, fall #1.  well shit… that hurt!   Checked for blood, nope, good… kept going.  Made it another .36 miles… BAM fall #2 Jesus mother of … ok, now I’m bleeding… OK, time to slow the pace a bit.  By this point, I’d lost sight of “screamer man” anyway, so it was me, the dark, and the trail… grrrrrrrreat.  Of course, my mind goes to THE WORST PLACE POSSIBLE I’m all alone out here, bleeding from both knees… I’m going to get eaten by a bear. I’m laughing at myself typing this… Really Stace?? A Bear?? But in retrospect, I was petrified.  I was indeed alone, and it was DARK!!! The adrenaline started to kick in and the pain started to ease up in the knees, so I picked up the pace a bit again… Ok, awesome!! Did Nike just say 3?? HELL YEA!!! BAM fall #3… FUCK!!!! This fall was hard… I fell and slid… hands got messed up, knees torn more… just… Ouch. I stood up slowly and started to cry… very softly, at the same time muttering ever terrible word I could think of.  I texted my boyfriend something about how awful the terrain was, so he wasn’t surprised when I came out of the shoot bleeding.  He texts me back “You’ve got this, keep going babe!”  But do I?? Do I have this?! The Leg map said 4.88 miles…  At this point I was at 4.2 and I didn’t see ANY sign of the finish.  I was starting think I’d gotten lost somewhere… and then I saw this beaut…

ragnarsign

THANK YOU LORD!!!  I’m not lost!! And then, wait… could it be?!!  It’s another runner!!  HA!!! Ok, I’m good, I can do this!! PIcked up the pace (you’re seeing a pattern here right?? Well you should be because…) BAM!! Fall #4 you have GOT to be kidding me. This is just ridiculous.  Fuck it, I’m walking the rest.  I walked for a good 10 minutes.  almost falling 6-7 more time over random vines and roots, a stump here and there.  They best part, however, I was maintaining the same speed as the runner ahead of me.  Apparently she was JUST as apprehensive about the terrain as I was!!  Maybe she’d gone ass over tea kettle a few times??? I dunno, but at least I wasn’t alone out there anymore.  Nike tracker said 5 miles.  Ummm… Ok? Since I Was walking I decided to take a picture of the lake that my “leg” was around.  Even in the darkness (the sun was just atarting to peak its little head up), the lake was beautiful.

Lake Habeeb - Leg 1, Ragnar DC

Kept on trucking it… I figured, I’ve gone 5 miles already, it can’t be much further, the map said 4.88! Yea well, I was trucking for a bit.  I came to a clearing and the sun had come up.  I was able to run again (b/c the terrain was better, not because my knees were better)

almostdone

I’M ALMOST DONE!!!

And then I heard it… the music… THE EXCHANGE IS COMING!!!! I was so excited I almost forgot to have the slap bracelet ready to give to runner two (Kristen) who was about to start her first leg.   I came running through the shoot, slapped Kristens wrist the bracelet and went (slowly) to my team.  I was immediately embrace with hugs and then “Oh my goodness!!!” (when they saw my knees) To which, I started to cry again.  They of course thought it was because I was in pain.  I quickly told them I was angry. I felt like I’d let everyone down.  The terrain was AWFUL and because of it my pace was abysmal.  Of course, because (I do’t know how I got this lucky) I was on a team with THE NICEST, more sincere people to have ever walked the planet.  They were rushing about trying to clean off my knees, getting me water (even after I told them I was fine), offering me food, telling me this was a relay, not a race, assuring me that all that mattered was that I was ok.

About half way through my leg I wanted to throw in the towel, just go home.  After the amazing camaraderie (which was epic considering some of us had JUST met that morning), and kindness shown by my teammates, I knew I was in this for the long haul… regardless of my silly knees.

Leg 1

That’s what I ran, however, the distance I covered, was 5.61 miles.  When they said “VERY RUGGED”… THEY AREN’T KIDDING!!! Here are my knees an hour after my leg was complete…

knee2 knee1

Over a week later, I’m still bruised, and the scabs from the scrapes are JUST falling off.  IMHO, leg one should be upgraded to HARD, not moderate… especially having run to other moderate legs.  That trail, no matter the time of day, is NOT moderate.  It’s quick difficult.  Having met up with another “Runner 1” in a medic tent latter on in the day, I found out that I was one of MANY that were injured on that first leg.  The girl I was speaking with was seated having her knees bandaged, looked right at me and says “Leg 1?!” I just nodded.  She informed me that another runner had injured themselves so badly, the required stitched on both hands, and both knees wrapped.  After my conversation with the other “Runner 1” I was thankful I came out with ONLY what I did!!

Hope you guys enjoyed part 1 of 3!!! MUCH MUCH MORE to come!!! 🙂

#FridayFive {Five of my favorite things!!} Linking up with @YouSignedUp @Marmaone1 and @EatPrayRunDC

It’s Friday!!! You know what that means… Another Friday Five!! Last week is the first week in a LONG time… actually the first one since I started “Friday Five” that I’ve missed a FF post.  However, I had a good reason.  I was on a 33+ hour relay race in DC called Ragnar.  (Recap coming, I promise!) This weeks theme for the Friday Five are “Favorites”.  It’s starting to get cooler and I’m starting to change things day by day, so I’m going to go with “5 of my recent favorite things” (and yes, the song from sound of music is playing in my head now…) At per the Usual, this Friday Five is brought to you by, Cynthia, Mar, and Courtney, lovingly known as the DC Trifecta!! OK!! Lets get this party started!!!

1. Changing leaves – Driving around Owings Mills (from my job to Alex’s Pre-K), watching the recent changing in the leaves, is absolutely beautiful.  Actually, beautiful is too pedestrian a term… pulchritudinous. (yea… I went there)  I am beside myself at the way they make feel, the way the leaves make me smile and make my heart warm… without trying.  Unbeknownst to these little leaves, they bring me immense joy… on a daily basis.  So, little foliage, thank you.

2. Warm Beverages – Green tea in the late evening, Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes in the early mornings (weekdays), hot chocolate with cayenne pepper on weekend mornings (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!).  Warms not only the body… it warms the soul.  Again, it’s the little things… The warms beverage that slowly wipes away the ailments from the long day at the office (followed by the horrendous traffic, followed by the rambunctious toddler who just wants to love you but screams in your ear for 3 hours, follow but the terrible run that makes you scream in agony…), that warm tea forces you to take a moment and sit, relax, bask in the (sometimes) silence, and just be.

3. Sweatpants – Ok ladies, don’t even pretend like you haven’t pulled out those sweatpants lately!! (lol) It’s chilly, especially at night, and these things are HEAVEN sent when you’re just DONE for the day and want to relax.  Also, WARM AND SNUGGLY?! HELL YEA!!  I’ve actually found myself falling asleep on the couch in my sweatpants the past few days. (not afraid to admit that!) It’s like a blanket, but you can’t accidentally throw it off of you!! (win-win).  Same things goes for the Hoodies (yea, I’m including this in my number 3).  I can’t take my hoodie off as of late!! My Ragnar hoodie is on my person ALL THE TIME!! My office is an icebox, my apartment is pretty chilly (don’t want to rack up an obscene BGE bill), and it’s not warm out anymore – NOT COMPLAINING.  Also, It’s a frickin Ragnar hoodie!! (AWESOME!)

4.  Fall smell – You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  Every day this week, I’ve left work around 2:30-3pm.  I walk outside of my building and my lungs are immediately greeted with the AMAZING scent of Autumn.  It’s cool, it’s crisp, it’s remarkable.  I smile, every time.  And every day I’m greeted with a little giggle from the security guard who sees me, like clock work, close my eyes – take a deep breath – smile.  I think he believes I’m just happy to get the hell out of work. (He’s not wrong) But it’s so much more.  It’s… Autumn.  🙂

5. Windows Down – Now that it’s not INSANELY warm, I can drive with my windows down!! Doesn’t seem like a huge deal right? No… it is.  My son LOVE to put his hand a little out of the window and make his hand a rocket. He flies in the wind while we’re driving.  He’s FINALLY able to do this again!! Everyday after I’ve picked him up from Pre-K, he’s been able to “fly the rocket to outer space” and I’ve been able to watch and smile as he gets really excited as he “counts down from 10…. BLASTOFF!!!” Also, smaller joy, but also awesome, it feels extraordinary!!

Hope you enjoyed my Friday five and that you have an amazing weekend!!! As always, stay healthy and happy!! ❤

The depressed runner…

Many people don’t understand why I run.  Especially people close to me.  Which is weird… because they’re supposed to be the people that know me the best, right?  Regardless, last night I ran… I ran hard.  It was my first “real” time hitting the pavement since Ragnar this past weekend (don’t worry, I’ll recap the shit out of that Relay when I have time to upload all of my pictures).

I spent most of my day at the office yesterday on the verge of tears, angry, bitter, in the office bathroom silently crying to myself.  Easy to say it wasn’t a good day.  So, I figured, as I usually do after TERRIBLE days, “I’ll run this out”.  (Let me preface this by saying… I took a NASTY fall on the first leg of Ragnar… NASTY!! Swollen, bloody knees, excessive shin pain, ankle pain… Just incredibly yucky, however I’d be able to walk with minimal limping, so I thought I could handle a small run… BOY was I mistaken…)  So I laced up my shoes, put on my SUPER cute “SweatPink” tank, and headed out the door.  I have a pretty mean hill right outside of my development so the thought popped into my head… “BRF is 5 weeks out, and it’s hilly as all get out, lets do hills!!”  (bad idea Stace)  I start running… HARD.  I’m not fast, at all, I never claim to be.  On hills, I’m slower then a turtle in molasses.  However, I ran my first mile of hill intervals in 9:26.  (not too bad!)  Especially when my most recent mile PR is 9:08.  Throwing hills in there??? NOT TO FUCKING SHABBY!! Anyway… around mile 1.75, I noticed a sharp pain I didn’t like… at all.  I thought I was going down… I looked at my phone and realized I was close to a mile marker and pushed even hard (thank God I was going down hill…)  I finished that mile at 9:20.  9:23 average on hills for 2 miles… I’ll take it.  What I WONT take is the EXCRUCIATING pain that followed… I barely made it back to my apartment.  I get to the door, hands shaking, get the key in, drop everything, get to the freezer and grab two large ice packs.  I make it to the front of the living room and my legs buckle… I’m on my knees.  (remember that fall I mentioned previously?? YEA THAT WAS FUCKING FUN!! *tears*)  I pulled myself back up and fell onto the couch.  Ice packs on both legs, tears streaming down my face, grabbing the couch for dear life (like its going to somehow help me), clenching my teeth so I don’t scream out in agony.

The first things running through my head:

  1. Stress fracture?
  2. What if I can’t run anymore?
  3. My marathon is 5 weeks away?
  4. Oh shit, I’m going to throw up
  5. I might pass out….
  6. FUCK THIS HURTS!!!!
  7. I need water… and no one is here to help me
  8. I can’t stop crying long enough to pick up the phone….
  9. WHY DID I RUN TODAY
  10. FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!!!

I’ve felt pain… I have a high pain tolerance.  This wasn’t pussy “oh, I have a boo-boo” pain.  I thought I broke something.  I was petrified.  Running is my therapy.  I was speaking to someone recently who asked me why I run so much… I responded as honestly as I could; “Running saved my life”.   When you suffer from depression, you need an out… a way to escape (even if briefly) from the hell that you experience everyday.  (If you don’t have depression, or don’t understand depression, don’t comment or judge… you.don’t.get.it.) Running is my out.  If I lose it, I don’t know where to go from there.

As I lay, helpless on the couch, with my fears flashing before my eyes… I cried harder.  Oh yea, the pain was cruel… almost punishing… but the fear that I wouldn’t be able to run again was worse.  “What do I do now?” “Where do I go from here?”  After an hour of ice and elevation, I was about to stand without my legs buckling under me.  I slowly walked to my room and CAREFULLY applied compression sleeves to both of my legs.  I prayed. (not something I do enough, I’ll admit)  This morning, I’m walking.  It hurts, but I’m walking.

I know this post is WAY less perky then most of my posts, but it’s honest.  And if you know anything about me, I’m honest… especially about myself and my running.  I wont say that I hope you enjoyed the post, but I hope you read it and understand a little more about me because of it.

#FridayFive! {Race Rituals} Linking up with @marmaone1, @Yousignedup and @EatPrayRunDC

Good morning lovely people of the internet!!! It’s finally Friday!!! (Yea, I know it was a short week, but this week was a rough one for me, so I’m thankful it’s Friday!)  You know what Friday’s bring right?! *drum roll please… (off in the distance a small snare drum rolls) THE FRIDAY FIVE!!!! w00t!!  As per the usual, I’m linking up with three of the coolest chicks I know (virtually) Mar from Mar on the Run! Cynthia from You Signed up for what?! and Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC!, lovingly known as the DC Trifecta.  This weeks theme for the Friday Five is Race Rituals.  Since I’m a novice runner… this is a bit of a thinker.  However, I’ve run almost 50 races, so I was able to look back and think… “well, what did I do that stuck!”  This is what I was able to come up with…

1. Flat Stacey –  Laying my outfit out the night before… Bib already safety pinned onto my shirt, skirt or shorts ready, (if its a longer race) BioSkin calf sleeves lined up, socks, shoes, headband ( I have a LOT of hair), bra (ladies, you KNOW how important the right sports bra is!!), underwear (again… very important), all laid out in front of me to make sure I’m race ready when my alarm goes off a zero dark thirty the next morning so I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off!! Sometimes I even lay out what supplements (Like energybits and Nuun – Both ABSOLUTE MUSTS FOR RACES!!!) I’ll need, so I can throw them in my bag… also to save time!

Example minus the bib (didn't want the number stolen!!)

Example minus the bib (didn’t want the number stolen!!) and yes, thats a small toddler hand, lower left. ❤

2. Carb Loading –  This is a relatively new thing for me, as the long distance running is relatively new… it’s also been REALLY hard!! I can’t eat a lot at one sitting, so shoving copious of pasta down my throat is actually nauseating.  However, I’ve devised a plan where I can eat enough to sustain the energy I need with out puking all over myself pre race. YAY!!!

3. Post Race Pee – Yea, it needs to be done.  Every race, every time.  I know they have port-a-potties on the courses, but I’m already not a fast runner.   I’m not wasting ANY more of my time standing in line at one of those things!!  NOPE!!! Sorry!!! Always running on an empty bladder, this one!! 🙂

4. Creating a playlist – I usually create a play list for specific distances… no necessarily specific runs, however… I have a Baltimore 10 Mile list, and a Charles Street 12 List, so they are both! (milage and race specific!)  I have to have special blood pumping tunes to get me through my runs otherwise, I’m sluggish, not motivated, and just… well, not having fun!!

5. Post race noms (and drinks) –  The AMAZINGNESS of food after you’ve best the crap out of your body.  The term “Rungry” never made sense until after my first half marathon… EAT ALL THE THINGS!!!! Holy crap, I’m starving after races!! Not a huge fan of alcohol after a race… point me to the nearest water station and hand me a banana!!!

What are your race rituals?!! Have they changed since you’ve first started running?? As always have a great weekend!! Stay healthy!! ❤