#FridayFive- Five Things I Love About Asheville

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Today I’m linking up with  EatPrayRunDC, YouSignedUpForWhat?  and MarOnTheRun   for the #FridayFive. The theme is “Five Things I Love About My Favorite City.” Well, it just so happens that my favorite city is my hometown!  Asheville is located in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  For being so small (pop. 75,000) it is packed with greatness!  Frommer’s just listed it as one of the number one cities in the world to visit in 2015! So here are five reasons why I love my hometown:

1. Location, location, location!  Asheville is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the country! Smack dab in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains it’s close proximity  to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Some of the best mountain biking, trail running, white water kayaking, hiking, and backpacking can be found here. World class athletes live here because of the close proximity to trails.

2. Food!  Asheville is definitely a foodie’s town! It is starting to make a name for itself on the national food scene. Whatever you are looking for it is here! The hottest restaurant in town right now is Curate’. Chef Katie Button trained at the world renown elBulli and shares her talent and passion with the Asheville food scene.

3. Beer!  Deemed “Beer City USA” there are now more breweries per capita than any city in the US!  Some big names in brewing including Sierra Nevada and New Belgium have discovered this sweet little city and are calling it home.

4. The Biltmore House!  This beautiful estate is the largest private home in the country. If you like Downton Abbey you will love the Biltmore House. I liken it to a museum. It has one of the most amazing art collections including Sargent, Boldini and Renoir.  My favorite part is the grounds. Comprising over 125,000 acres I liken it to Asheville’s own “Central Park” as the grounds were designed by the renowned landscape architect  Frederick Law Olmsted.

5. The arts! There are hundreds of artists studios downtown and in the River Arts districts. You will find every style, every medium.  Many are known nationally and internationally. One of my favorite artists is Spencer Herr.

There you have it!  What I love about my favorite city! Have you been to Asheville? What do you like about it? What is your favorite city?

*Thank you Courtney, Cynthia and Mar for the link up!

The Ultimate Playlist for the Ultimate Marathon-> Boston!

 

 

Boston Marathon

 

Well, the time is almost here!  Training for the Boston Marathon officially starts for me one week from tomorrow!  This weekend I’ve been working  on the ultimate playlist for the ultimate marathon!  It’s made up of songs that hopefully will motivate me and fuel my fire!  There are fast songs to get me going and slow songs to relax me. I won’t wear music while I run Boston as I want to take it all in but I will be wearing tunes during training. What tunes get you fired up? What song(s) would you add to the list? (Use the scroll bar in the list to see all 35 songs.)

2014 – A Look at My Year in Running

What a fantastic year 2014 has turned out to be!  12 races including my first marathon, over 1300 miles logged, a trail run with Bart Yasso and I became an ambassador for Oiselle and Nuun! Whew!  Thanks to a great coach (Ryan Warrenberg of Zap Fitness) I had a great year. We started with what seemed to me some lofty goals but I’ve learned though through working with Ryan that if he believes I can do it then I can.  It just takes me having faith and executing as the plan as directed.

Trail run with Bart Yasso!
Trail run with Bart Yasso! I had seen on Twitter that he was coming to my home town. I contacted him and he invited me on a trail run with him and a young woman who had won a Mizuno contest which included Bart as a trail running guide. Such a fun, spontaneous moment in life. Such a nice guy!

Spring training was mainly focused on the half marathon distance. At my first half marathon in Boston in October 2013 my goal was to run a sub-2 hour race. I came in at 1:56. My goal for 2014 was sub-1:55. Training went well and along the way I had some PRs at some 5k and 10k races. I ran my “A” race in March at the  Swamp Rabbit Half and came in with a new PR of 1:52.  A sweet surprise was my coach meeting me at the finish line!

Coach Ryan Warrenberg surprising me at the end of my half marathon.
Coach Ryan Warrenberg surprising me at the end of my half marathon.

With summer came training for my first marathon. I decided to run the Erie Marathon because of its size (2500 runners) and it’s historically high percentage of runners qualifying for Boston. The course is a  beautiful fast and flat 13 mile loop  through Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA. I found it by researching on the website www.marathon guide.com.

Overall training went really well despite the heat and humidity.

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In August I headed to Chicago to run the Zooma Half Marathon as a prep race for the marathon. It was my first race as a member of the Oiselle Flock! The race was a part of a 21 mile workout that day (thanks, Coach! Ugh!) Despite the heat and humidity the race went well. It wasn’t a PR but I did get first in age group!

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Chilling my legs after running the Zooma Half Marathon in Chicago. It was cold!

 

The Erie Marathon was in the middle of September. Fortunately the weather cooled off that weekend and the temperature at the starting time was a perfect 50°! I remember at about mile six thinking “What am I doing? This is going to reallly hurt!”  Quitting though at that point was not an option! Things got better and I hung in there. My coach warned me that the pain would start around mile 15 and sure enough it did. My right IT band and right knee kept me from accelerating. I was afraid of making things worse. I was able to hold my  pace and pass people through what I call “the zombie zone” (miles 24-26). My goal time was 3:55. I came pretty close with a 3:58 finish which still qualified me for Boston! image

 

635479653132746680One of the hardest things during marathon training was sharing with other runners my  goals. When I would tell them it was my first marathon and I was trying to qualify for Boston the eyes would roll. I knew it seemed crazy but I had put off running the marathon until I knew that I could run a qualifying time. My coach believed I could do it so why shouldn’t I believe it, too?  So many tried to dash my dreams. I kept the faith. I knew I could do it and I did! I’ll be running the Boston Marathon in 2015! Lesson learned: surround yourself with people who support you in your pursuit of your dreams.

So my goals for 2015:

1.  Run a sub 1:50 half marathon in New York in March! This is going to be a girls weekend getaway. I’m hoping to also meet up with some Oiselle team members as well.

2. Run a sub 3:55 marathon at Boston! My brother will also be running that day.

3. Run a 23:30 5k this summer.

4. Break the 50min wall on the 10k.

5. Work on increasing my overall strength.

6. Get to know more of my Oiselle flockmates!

7. Coach for Girls on the Run!
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What are some of your goals for 2015?

Holiday Running Playlist

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Holiday Running Playlist

I love the holidays, especially the music. Come Thanksgiving I’ve got my car radio tuned in for 24/7 Christmas music. And it doesn’t stop in the car or at home. I’ve got my  iPod loaded.  There’s something fun about rockin’ out to “Run, Run Rudolph” while out on a run! Now not all holiday music is run worthy, but there are a few good tunes out there. This season my list is a little heavy with Pentatonix. I love their fresh take on the classics and their beat is a little quicker; great for a running mix. Here are some of my picks for this year:

*Carol of the Bells– Pentatonix

* All I Want For Christmas is You– Mariah Carey

* Run, Run Rudolph– Jimmy Buffett

* Linus and Lucy– Vince Guaraldi Trio

* Sleigh Ride– Relient K

* Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree– Mary J. Blidge & Sheryl Crow

* Christmas Baby, Please Come Home– Bon Jovi

* Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town– Bruce Springsteen

Hark the Herald Angels Sing– Pentatonix

* Christmas Canon Rock– Trans-Siberian Orchestra

* Do You Hear What I Hear– Destiny’s Child

* Joy To the World– Train

* Carol of the Bells– Pentatonix

* What Christmas Means to Me– Cee Lo Green

 

So here’s the scoop on the giveaway:  One lucky winner will receive a $15 iTunes card to help them load up their favorite holiday tunes.  There are multiple ways to enter via Rafflecopter below:  follow this blog, follow me on Twitter, tweet about this giveaway daily; tell me your favorite holiday tune to take on your run! You must log in to Rafflecopter to enter to win. Good luck!

Contest runs 12/9-17.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where it all began…

Growing up I was not very athletically inclined.  In high school I was a marching band nerd.  Team sports were not my thing.  I was always the last one chosen  for volleyball.   In college I played golf but only because I had a crush on one of the guys on the golf team.  After grad school at Duke I moved to the mountains of North Carolina where I made friends with some people who were very “outdoorsy.”  (Every other person in Asheville is very “outdoorsy.”)  They introduced me to the woods and to hiking, backpacking and mountain biking.  I even spent a few years white water kayaking and actually was pretty good!  In my 30s I tried running but it just didn’t click with me. It wasn’t the right time in my life. I had too many distractions that kept me from committing to it fully.

In 2008, I suffered a crippling back injury. It’s a long story of a massage gone bad.  For 6 months I was out of work and facing the possibility of disability.  That word freaked. me. out.  I would not accept that sentencing.  With the help of an amazing physical therapist who believed in me and stuck with me, I was able to crawl out of a very deep, dark hole.  I remember feeling so proud of myself at being able to walk a 5k!

In the winter of 2011 I got the inspiration to start running.  My dad, 82 at the time, was racing 5ks and I wanted to be able to run one with him.  I started training but it was hard. Really hard. My body hurt. I was so short of breath.  I would stop and start several times before I truly committed to training in the spring of 2012.  My dad and I had set our goal of running together at the Biltmore Kiwanis 5k in May.

Race day came and it was a blast! We both did well with podium finishes! I loved the feeling of winning. I loved the feeling of accomplishment. I was hooked!

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Running still wasn’t easy but races were fun and that kept me coming back for more.  I learned a hard lesson though that year. I was very, very competitive.  I raced to crush the competition.  After a while it started not feeling so good.  I wasn’t making many friends!  It was after reading the book, “Running Within: A guide to Mastering the Body-Mind-Spirit” by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott, that I learned racing is not about crushing the person next to you. Racing is between you, the clock and the distance. Once I changed my perspective racing became fun again! And I started making friends!

So here I am starting into my third year of this love affair with running.  I have several 5ks and 10ks behind me, a couple of half marathons and my first full marathon this fall in Erie, PA (full report to come!)  Running has brought into my life so many wonderful experiences and people.  Most of all I enjoy the connection I feel with the world around me when I’m out running by myself.

What do you love most about running?  What lessons have you learned on your journey?

 

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