Friday five: My 5 most anticipated Fall Races!!

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Happy first Friday in September!!! I’m so excited it’s almost Fall!! My favorite season for so many reasons! Today I’ll talk about one of those amazing reasons…. RACES!!! Fall running is my favorite kind of running!! The temperature is perfect, the bugs are leaving (of they aren’t already gone), and the scenery is more beautiful to run in.  I’m linking up with my girls from the DCTrifecta as per the usual – MarCynthia and Courtney to talk about the 5 races that stand out for me. for this season! (yes, I’m running A LOT more than 5 races this fall!!)

1. Ragnar DC – I’m so excited to be running this again!  Last year was amazing. The race, the experience, the friends made.  If you’ve never run a Ragnar, i DEFINITELY suggest it.  12 people, 2 vans, 200 miles, and an UNFORGETTABLE time! (sleep is overrated) 🙂

image1 (3)2. Baltimore Full – this is my second time running the full. For me, this is a come back race.  Last year (my first marathon ever)  I was dreadfully unprepared.  I had the wrong shoes, my hydration was sub par, and I was battling a knee injury.  This year I take back Baltimore.  Also – it’s the 15th anniversary, so the medal is AMAZING!  This will be part 3 or 3 for the King Crab Challenge, so I get two medals at the finish line. 😉 (i love bling!)

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3. Patapsco Valley 50k – my VERY first Ultra!! I’m scared out of my mind…. no joke.  However, a phrase I’ve been       swearing by lately says “on the other side of fear is freedom”, so I’m facing this fear head on.  Also, after conquering this 50k, I’ll qualify for Marathon Maniacs – another thing pushing me. 🙂 Check out this elevation chart… I’ll need all the push I can get!
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4. 10k Across the Bay – I’ve only heard amazing things about this race, so when my father mentioned wanting to run it I couldn’t have hit “register” fast enough!  This race will be the final race he and I run together this season.

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5. NCR Trail Marathon – this is my last race of the year, and my 3rd full marathon.  I was fortunate enough to be selected as an ambassador for this race (one of 5 total!!) so my entry was free!! Always nice right?? 🙂 The NCR is my stomping ground, where I run ALL of my long training runs.  So excited to “race” on the trail!!

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What are you running this season?  Will I see you at any of these events??

My Dad’s first 1/2 Marathon! {Frederick Half Recap 2015} #runbaltimore #runchat

This past Sunday, I had the honor and privilege to run my 4th Half Marathon with My Dad.  My Dad started running last year on Fathers Day when I asked him to run a 5K with me. We finished that 5k in a little under 40 minutes.  Now, my Dad is running sub 29 minute 5k’s like it’s his job.  🙂 You give this man a challenge, he stares it in the face and kicks it in the balls. He’s run countless 5ks, a 10 miler, but said he’d never run a half.  Until I mentioned the King Crab Challenge.  He seemed excited.  “I’m in”. Of course, I’m giddy like a freaking school girl!! My Dad’s going to run with me!!!! OMG!!!!  Training starts, he keeps me posted with texts and pictures, he ROCKS his 10 mile race, and send me a message about a 12 mile training run and he also BEASTS!!! Then, I get a message that breaks my heart.  My Dad hurt himself… “we’re going to have to run/walk the Frederick Half”.  Of course, I don’t care… all I want to do is be with my Dad, but I know he’s disappointed. I told him straight up. “This race isn’t about pace… it’s about you and me crossing the finish line, together.”  I drove up to Frederick from Baltimore and coincidently met my Dad at the Expo! He was coming in from another part of Maryland. (A good sign I think)  🙂 packetpick

We drove to his house in Hagerstown (40 minutes away – a lot cheaper than a hotel!) and settled in. Had some pre race grub at TGIFridays with my Mom, and went to bed pretty early.  I of course laid out Flat Stacey before bed… I knew we’d have an EARLY morning and I didn’t want to forget anything…

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We got up a little after 4am, left a bit before 5 and got to the Frederick Fair Grounds.  Because of out early departure, we got ROCK STAR parking!! (so glad we left early!!!) We were ON the grounds instead of last year when it felt like I had to walk half a mile just to find the car post race!! WINNING!!

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Also an early riser, Marsden (@RunningLonely on Twitter) was also there!! Finally got to meet him in person (and the infamous pig!) w00t!! My Dad was more than willing to take the “pictures or it never happened” shot for us. 🙂 He ended up kicking some serious tail on the course, setting a PR! WTG 🙂

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It was a bit chilly, to be expected at 6 (something) in the morning, so my Dad and I jumped into the bag check area, where we could hide from the wind.  We stretched a bit, and chatted.  I think I was more nervous than he was at this point… I was nervous pacing, tried to play it off as being cold, not sure if that worked, but he’s my Dad, he didn’t prod. 😉  We took our obligatory pre race selfie and headed to the start line before the National Anthem.

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They chose a recording this year for the Anthem… maybe because of the mishap with the words last year?? Maybe not. Either way, it was beautiful.  Also, during the National Anthem, a BEAUTIFUL hot air balloon flew over us.  I definitely didn’t expect that! Everyone start looking up, so I (obviously) did also, and I’m glad I did! Check this beauty out…

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We noticed that we were next to two Army guys, full battle gear from head to toe.  Cover to boots… I was really impressed. More impressive, throughout the race, they were keeping a 12:30-13:00 pace.   My Dad and I passed them at one point, to which I yelled out “thank you for what you do, you guys are AWESOME!” and they waved at me. Pretty sure words weren’t happening for them.  So.Much.Sweat.  Seriously though, utmost respect.  To run a 1/2 marathon in little clothing is difficult… to do it in what THEY had on??  That’s BAD ASS!!

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Annnnnd off we went!! Slow and steady, as planned.  I looked at my Garmin and we were keeping a 12:30 pace, which was actually A LOT faster then I thought we would be able to do considering my Fathers injury.  We kept chugging. Talking to each other, making comments about how beautiful Frederick is.  We passed the School Board office. (My father is an administrator for the Washington County School district – so stuff like that is important, lol).  We passed landmarks I remembered from the race last year and I told my Dad how great he was doing.  We hit the 5K mark at under 36 minutes! (Injury or not, thats not too shabby!)  We passed the elementary school, and the beautiful dog park.  What stuck out for me this year that didn’t happen last year, we passed a church on our left, and the two Ministers were outside blessing the runners!!! It was so amazing! They were making the sign of the cross and telling us we were doing great!  Perfect for a Sunday morning!! I smiled at my Dad and told him to “Make sure Mom knows we were blessed today”, he chuckled. 🙂 Around mile 7, my Dad told me he felt a weird pain in his knee.  Not a new pain, but a pain that was new for today.  I immediately slowed down and ran in place as we tried to figure out what was going on.  His ITBS was acting out something fierce.  We thought we’d solved the first injury problem, only for another one to be thrown at us half way through a race!! OK… no problem, we’ve got this.  I talked to him, we made a plan.  “We’re going to finish.”  Speed didn’t matter, time, didn’t matter, we were going to finish, and we were going to cross the line together.  Around this point, I say this sign…

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…coincidence? I think not.  My dad? He is the definition of “Awesome sauce”.  🙂 We kept going, run/walk. (however, I was amped up and couldn’t walk, so I ran in place, or ran backwards constantly talking to my Dad keeping his spirits high), there was NO way I was going to let his first BIG race experience be a crappy one. NO WAY!  He told me to go on ahead of him, I looked him square in the eyes and said “nope. not the point today.  today is about us.” I saw a HUGE flag coming up. I remembered from last year that if was an older firetruck parked in someone’s driveway! I told my Dad and I don’t think he believed me… 😉

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I was right… 🙂  Nothing inspires you more than Old Glory (apparently!) So my Dad picked up the pace a little!! He got a good quarter of a mile in before the pain was just too much and we had to slow down again.  However, he was happy with the pace he kept for the 1/4 of a mile. Seeing him happy made me happy. 🙂  We kept running, talking, people watching, spending time together.  we paced a BUNCH of hilarious Runtelligence race signs, some of which were so funny I had to stop I was laughing so hard.  I snapped a picture of this one because my Father and I are both oenophiles. 🙂  He told me to go on ahead of him, I looked him square in the eyes and said “nope. not the point today.  today is about us.”

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I could tell the pain was getting close to unbearable for my Dad so, I started to tell him how much we had LEFT to go instead of how far we’d gone.  We were really close actually, and I think it helped. He told me I could leave him again, yea… no. Not happening.  I made a comment; “the end is near!” which afterwards made the people around me laugh. He says “That could be taken the wrong way…” 😉 “THE FINISH LINE!!! Geeze, the finish line is near!!” Eh, comedy is always good right?? 🙂  Then I saw it… The hill at mile 12.5 that kicked my ass in 2014. I also saw a sign (like an ACTUAL paper sign) that said “Eat this hill for breakfast”  I told my Dad, “Dad, I’m taking this hill, I’ll wait for you at the top ok?”  He nodded and I took off.  I think I would have made my friends at NP Baltimore pretty proud… I ATE that hill for breakfast.  I turned around and my Dad was right there… I was trucking up that hill!!  Apparently, he also wanted hills for breakfast, 😉

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We saw the race track… I told him, “Dad, this is it.  You get on this track and you’re done ok?? The finish line is ON THIS TRACK!!” He started to run again. I got pumped so I ran too.  We saw the finish line, I pointed… “Look Dad!! The finish line!! Look!!”  We heard the announcer say our names “Anastasia Miles, Stephen Miles… thats a whole lot of Miles!!”  Yea, I laughed.  And Bam!! Just like that, my Dad is a half marathoner!!  At that moment my heart swelled with pride!!  His smile when he got his medal was like a kid getting a toy on christmas morning!  He earned that thing!!!

   dadfinisher     mefinisher

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While looking through the race pictures, I cried… hard.  I had no idea ho much physical pain my Dad was in until I saw those picture.  For him to push through that, to finish and to be smiling as much as he was through the entire ordeal makes him that much more of a hero to me.  He inspires me to do great things.  I can’t wait for him to get well so we can run together again!! 🙂

Thank you Frederick RUnning Festival for putting on an AMAZING event, and for helping make my Dsd’s first half an unforgettable experience. 🙂

My 4th 1/2 this weekend…. #runbaltimore #oiselleteam

So, this weekend is my 4th half marathon, the Frederick Running Festival.  If you’ve been following my blog for a bit, you know this is my second time running this race. The first time was my first half – ever, last year. You can read my recap here if you’re interested. 🙂  Am I prepared?  No.  Will I finish? Of course.  Will this race be as special as last year? Yes.  Why? This year, instead of running my FIRST half marathon, I’m pacing my father for HIS first half!!  Also, this year, instead of staying at a hotel, I’ll  be staying with my Dad the night before.  He lives closer to Frederick then I do.  (I live in Baltimore.)

Why am I not prepared… hmm… I could make excuses all day and they’d be pretty good ones… but it all comes down to me not getting my ass out and running.  My longest training run for this 1/2 was a 10k… a race.  Also (ha, check this list out…)

  • I’m in the process of buying a home
  • I’m having a small procedure two days prior to the race
  • I’ve been battling an ongoing sinus infection for 3 weeks
  • I recently moved EVERYTHING of mine out of my ex husbands place
  • My son is testing for early admission to Kindergarten (he’s 4)

So, yes, all excuses that shouldn’t have anything to do with me slacking off on training… but they did.  *smack on the wrist*. My Dad is a beast.  Again, for people that frequent this blog… he kicks my tail OFTEN at races.  I usually can’t keep up.  But!!! The beast pushed a bit too far and pulled his groin… so this turtle (me) is going to help pace him to a SAFE finish for his first half.   Both my father and I are competitive.  (I blame him for my constant need to compete… its a good thing, don’t worry!)  But we also both understand the need for safety and are smart enough to know when to stop pushing.

I’m beyond excited to run/walk this race with my father by my side.  He’s only started running in June of last year (a 5k), and for him to be completing a half with me this weekend fills my heart with joy.   Will we see you there?  What are YOU running this weekend?  🙂

#FridayFive!! About me!!! #Linking up with @yousignedup @eatprayrunDC & @marmaone1

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This Friday five should be super easy because the theme is ALL ABOUT ME!!!

1. I have a LOT of nicknames – yea… I do.  When you’re name is Anastasia, you tend to get called a lot of different things.  My favorite and the one most people know me by is “Stacey”.  Where my parents got Stacey from Anastasia… well… it’s easier to “get” when you say “Anastasia” with the greek pronunciation “ah-nah-stah-cee-ah”.  Lol.  Did you sound it out?? Almost hear Stacey in there?? Anywho, I’ve been called, Stacey, Stashia, Anna, Anne, A, Mooshy, Bae, Koukla (greek word for sweetheart), Mommy (my other favorite <3), Probie, Sheldon (like Jim Parsons character from Big Bang Theory… lol. I have an AMAZING memory and people at work are constantly amazed by what I can remember… “Ok Sheldon, whats this?” etc), frog face twinkie toes (but only by my sister), and lastly (that I can remember) Smiles.  This one stuck hard when I was in high school because my maiden name is Miles.  S. Miles… Smiles. 🙂  Which leads me to my second about me…

2.  I am almost ALWAYS smiling – even if I’m in a terrible mood, you will see a smile on my face. I believe a smile is contagious.  I also believe sometimes, all someone needs is to see another person smiling, to lighten their mood.  It might not make them smile immediately, but you have to admit… if a random stranger (Assuming they aren’t creepy) smiles at you, you feel good.  If only for a moment.  I ALSO believe that the reason my son is ALWAYS smiling, is because he sees me smile all the time.  Now… please don’t misunderstand… my life isn’t all rainbows and unicorn poop.  But I can always muster enough energy to smile.  Remember… it takes WAY more muscles to frown then it does to smile. 😉

3.  I’m extremely protective – my family, my friends, my stuff… Don’t mess with it.  It’s almost to the point of being ridiculous.  I don’t like when people touch things on my desk when I’m off work, because it’s my stuff… I don’t like when people touch my food… because it’s my stuff… Now, as far as my friends and family go… I will, without question put my life down for each member of my family and close friends without thought.  Like I mentioned before, I’m small.  That doesn’t mean I wont fight for the people I love.  I wont let people bully, belittle, or lie about MY people.  Why?? “because its my stuff…” lol.  Seriously though, don’t mess with my family, friends, or stuff and I’ll be your best friend in the world… cross them… I’m your worst nightmare.  

4.  My son almost killed me –  no, I’m not being dramatic… I almost died during the birth of my son.  He was born in Germany and there were MAJOR complications.  I wanted to hang him naturally, but I’m very small.  His head was… well… not.  He torn me apart inside. I have (almost 4 years late) a 6 in tear in side my uterus that still has not healed.  The doctors in Germany decided I couldn’t go naturally and prepped me for a c/s.  I flat lined during the procedure… But… I’m typing this now, so obviously I’m ok.  My son is healthy, I’m healthy-ish.  So all is well!!! However, I get to hold that over his head every time he’s rude to me, lol. (even though, at three that doesn’t really work…) 

5. I have an addictive personality – which is why I never started smoking…. which is why I’ve never tried ANY type of drugs… up to and including Marijuana.  I got my first tattoo on 3/2/13. Within 6 wks, I had two more.  I only stopped because financially I had to.  I still want more… Running is another example… Financial hardship is the only reason I don’t have a race EVERY weekend day.  My mother just texted me (surprisingly enough) and said “You DON’T have a race this weekend?! When was the last time that happened?!!!”  When I find something I like… I can’t get enough of it.  Luckily, Tattoos and running wont hurt me. (YAY!!!)  

On that note, I hope you enjoyed my friday five!!! have a GREAT friday and an even GREATER weekend!!! 

Friday Five! #sweatpink #iamfitpossible

Taking my cue from my girl Megan, I’m going to make my five things I’m excited about this friday!!

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1. Race tomorrow!! I have my second race (first in over a month) of 2014 tomorrow!! It’s a little one, a 5.7K, but it’s a race nonetheless and I’m stoked about it.  It’s also my last chance to run before my surgery on monday, which makes it even more exciting! This race is in my favorite little part of Baltimore (Canton), so when it’s over, I’m hoping to snag some super awesome breakfast from the THB down there. 🙂

2. Surgery!! Yea, I’m very excited that my surgery is just DAYS away.  I’m sick and tired of being in pain everyday. It’s getting to be ridiculous.  You wake up every morning and pray for hours of relief… not a whole day (because that wont happen) just hours… Today, I had 4.  That’s actually wonderful. 🙂

3. Lunch with my parents!! Yep, I’m one of those twenty somethings that still like to hang out with her parents.  They’re recently moved away from me (2 hours) and I don’t see them but once a week (if that)… so our weekly lunch dates are the only time they get to see me, my sister and my son. So, YAY LUNCH!!! I think we’re hitting up TGIFridays which is always a good time. 😉

4. PTO!! Because of the previously mentioned surgery, I will be off work for (almost) the entire week next week.  Monday through thursday.  I’m only excited about this because my job stresses me out.  Like EVERYONE else on the planet, I know… but with the surgery, I’m welcoming the break with open arms!! Bring on the Hulu and couch time!!! 🙂

5. Tattoo!! I’ve finally nailed down my next tattoo! To some this may not mean anything, to those of you who have tattoos, you know what this means. This is HUGE! I’m one of those people that over think and analyze for months before getting a tattoo… which is why I was 28 before I got my first one. (last year) This tattoo will be symbolic of me, my love for running, and how hard I’ve worked this past year. It will also be a present to myself as my one year anniversary of running is coming up in a little over a week!!! I’ll of course share the design AFTER I get it. 😉 

Ok!! That was actually a lot of fun. 🙂 As always, have a happy and healthy day and a FREAKING FANTASTIC FRIDAY!!!! ❤

Why do Monday’s feel so terrible?

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/justice-story/justice-story-don-mondays-article-1.1504277

Well, I don’t hate Mondays quite that much.  But I don’t enjoy them… especially after spending the last 6 days on the couch (or darn near close to the couch).  Being sick has it’s perks.  Forced resting, no working, no early mornings (except for the obligatory text into the office letting them know that you are in fact still violently throwing up and insanely weak from previously mentioned vomiting.), no screaming toddler in your face (for a few hours), really… nothing… except the dull, persistent, ache of what is ailing you.  Yea… well… I’m not better.  BUT I’m able to keep my “projectiling” under control.  so I figured 32 hours of sick time used last week was a little excessive, I’d better come in today.

Happily, upon entry to my small, but homey, cubicle, I WASN’T greeted with MOUNDS of paperwork… Only one mound… a very small mound.  This means one of two things… someone helped me out while I was out (not very likely) or the “mounds of work” are actually hidden in my work email, which has yet to be opened… (on purpose… I’m scared).  I have a stash of cracker and 6 ginger ales… I think I can make it until 1530 today… and if not, I’m fast enough (even in my warm Ugg boots) that I can haul ass to the bathroom to puke, so as to not infect anyone else around me.

I am extremely thankful.  I was ridiculously well taken care of this past week.  Food brought to me, even thought I couldn’t eat it.  Drinks (with sugar) to keep my energy up… which I could keep down! (Yippeee!) and tons of kisses from the cutest little three year old on the planet.  I even got snuggles from a 60lb husky, who usually keeps his distance. I’m not saying Radar isn’t friendly, he just knows that he isn’t a lap dog.  This past week however, he would follow me EVERYWHERE, lay at my feet… or on them, right next to me, sometimes even spooning with me… even curled up at the end of the couch (I’m short… it worked).  I felt very loved, which when you’re sick… is quite nice. 🙂

Regardless… it’s a Monday, so I don’t have very high hopes, unfortunately… but we’ll see what happens.  To all of you lovely people, I hope you have a wonderfully happy and healthy day!! 

Oh!!! PRAY FOR NO SNOW TOMORROW!!!!!!!!! My son has a very important specialist appointment tomorrow that I refuse to miss because of white devil powder… THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! (THINK SPRING!)