Rock n Roll Raleigh (now with llamas!)

Hi friends!

We had a fantastic race yesterday where we both PR’d! Which is a slightly bigger deal for me than Steve since this was his first so any finishing time is going to be your best finishing time.

I have always enjoyed reading race recaps from other people so here is my shot at a race recap ūüėÄ

We woke up at 4:30am (OMG) because the streets started closing at 5:30am and we needed to get to the parking decks. Yes this early morning wake up is as awful as it sounds. No they don’t get easier with more races.

The race didn’t start until 7:00 am so we had an hour and a half to chill and freeze in the wind. We hopped into a nearby hotel lobby with a bunch of other runners. This was glorious because hotel lobby = toilets that flush! And we were able to wake up a bit before it was time to get corralled!



There were almost 6000 runners doing the Rock n Roll Raleigh Half Marathon this year so they did a wave start to help prevent congestion at the start (thank god!!). I was in corral 4, so I wished Steve good luck and left him to find corral 13.

And then we were off!

Crazy right?!?

I was shooting for 1:50 (8:20 min/mile) so I hung out with the pace group for a while. I also hung out with them because we had the same shoes on and therefore they were cool peeps ya know. The course was mostly downtown Raleigh which has some small rolling hills. Here’s an overview of the course with the elevation profile below it.



RocknRoll Raleigh


The first¬†downhill part was AWESOME. Was nice and relaxed and didn’t have my music on and had a great time! Then around mile 6 we started going uphill. FOR. 3. MILES. It wasn’t all steep. But it was all uphill. This was where I lost the pace group. Which¬†really only happened because I walked through the aid station at 7.2 miles and grabbed a GU (the only fuel I took for the entire race). It was also where I decided that a little extra motivation was needed and I started up the iPod which was a miracle-worker for my morale!

I got my legs back around mile 10 and then promptly lost them on that last steep hill you see at the end of the elevation profile. Ugh. I walked a bit. Not gonna lie.

The finish was right around the corner though! So I picked up the pace for the last 1.5 miles and had some sub-8 min miles there at the end and finished strong at my new PR of 1:50:12!!!

Steve was still on the course so I speed walked through the finisher’s area and grabbed everything that was handed towards me (water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, pretzels, a sandwich, a banana, and a protein bar) and made a beeline for the gear check so I could grab my phone and try to get pictures of Steve.

I think I was a¬†little out of it at this part because I saw a llama chillin on main street! I was like….OMG is that a white llama?!? Why would someone bring a llama to a race?!? Who has a llama in Raleigh?!?….wait…..that’s not a llama….that’s a dog. WTF Amanda…..

Anywho. I was able to catch Steve on his home stretch and ran with him for a bit before I realized that that was stupid cause I just finished a half-marathon and was tired and my feet hurt.


See him in the orange!! Note: we both wore orange for this race. It was embarrassing.

On my way to catch him at the finish line, I hobbled walked past a new patisserie and stopped in to grab some celebratory macarons! (They were incredible and dreamy) If you are ever in the Raleigh area, check out Lucettegrace for some seriously delicious treats.


I’ll let Steve tell you about the race, but we both had a blast!

Race pros:

  • Plenty of aid stations. I actually skipped 2 (which I rarely ever do).
  • Awesome spectators!
  • Great and challenging course
  • Very organized
  • Weather was perfect for running (slightly cool and breezy)

Race cons:

  • So many hills
  • The finisher area was pretty spread out (I had to walk a while to get to the med tent/gear bag area and to the beer garden)
  • Streets closed suuuuuper early

See ya later!

Keeping it Cool – Training Week 3

Hi friends! How was your weekend?

It’s a semi-slow start to my Monday, so I’ve taken advantage of it and tried to plan out my week in my bullet journal. But! Since it’s rest day, here’s my recap of all the training I did last week for Raleigh 70.3!

  • Miles run – a lot
  • Miles walked – some
  • Miles biked – like 50? 60?
  • Yards swum – too little
  • Goggles broken – F*$@ing pieces of $&^!
  • Times I have grossed myself out because I am covered in dried sweat, bug carcasses, and grime – Ewwwwwwww
  • Bugs eaten – none accidentally! or on purpose for that matter
  • Roadkill seen – squirrels, raccoons, ummmm some unidentifiable creature that could have possibly been an alien
  • Time spent training – 7:40 ish





Here’s the illegible training summary for my week. There are only 3 red blocks this time!! I didn’t post last weeks’ because yeah…..that was a lot of red. Now let’s break it down!

Monday –¬†As usual rest day! Aka Amanda drinks an extra beer day! Aka Amanda binge watches Game of Thrones or Dr. Who or Downton Abbey day! The best.

Tuesday – Aaaaaand here’s where we started to go downhill (mentally anyways). I got a good 12.7 miles in on the trainer in about 50 min which breaks down to around 15 mph. It’s always hard to wake my legs up and get them moving at a decent pace at the ungodly hour of 6am. I had my 2500 yd swim scheduled for that afternoon, but instead I found that my goggles refused to gogg and instead flooded any time I stuck my head under water. Sooooo the angry Amanda stopped by the store and got¬†2 pairs of goggles AND a cute running top just because.

Wednesday – Another shit day at work so I left early and went on my long run at home. Usually the hills I tackle on my long run by the NC Art Museum and Meredith College kick my ass. Luckily I was a little out of my head (reminder that running is 80% mental sport) so I did 10.0 miles in 1.5 hrs. A 9:11 min/mile pace. Btw these hills are what tore my IT band back in November so I have a bit of a vendetta against them. Curse you 15% grades!! This really wore my legs out, cause yeah, my head wasn’t actively managing my pace so I went a bit faster than I like to for 9+ mile runs. Oh well. At least it was a good challenge!

Thursday – The weekthatshallnotbenamed continues. I felt pretty good on the swim and even attempted a few flip turns. Although one time I totally missed the wall, I got water up my nose like 5 times, and I thoroughly embarrassed myself in front of the men’s swim team. Yes I know I looked like a fish out of water attempting those flip turns. No need to judge dudes-in-spandex. I did 1800 yds in 38 min (including all my rest breaks) so I’m pretty happy that I did the whole workout and finished 2 min early. It’s the little things ya’ll. The trainer ride ended up being kinda late at night and I watched Game of Thrones for my easy spin. Did 9.9 miles in 50 min. Nice and easy.

Friday – I woke up early to get a morning run in. I regret not taking my phone because those pink clouds/sunrise were¬†gorgeous. Seriously. Vibrant blue sky, pink clouds, and green grass. Love it! Did 4.5 miles in about 42 min and took it pretty easy. I walked a bit during this run since it was supposed to be an easy run. I also walked a bit cause I’m lazy. I also also walked a bit because it was pretty and I like looking at the pretty sky. The work day was pretty rough so I skipped my swim…..sad trombone.

Saturday РTotes did nothing. I drank green beer and grocery shopped like a champ!

Sunday – Brick day! Since it was a lovely day out, I went on my long bike ride outside! The second half of the bike course for Raleigh 70.3 is a LOT of short, steep, rolling hills. Which I knew about, but was completely unprepared for, last year. So, I’ve been riding the course backwards for all my training. I start close to the finish, bike out towards Jordan Lake, and that way, on my way back, I’m a little tired and it kinda simulates race conditions. Brilliant right?!? -looks proud of self- I was gonna take a picture of all my gear that I pack in my car for a brick, but the goldfish memory struck again and I forgot. Anywho, I biked out to a Sonic in Holly Springs where a bunch of teens were hanging out. And OMG I was so uncool. I overheard one girl asking her friends what was wrong with my shoes! ūüėÄ But I hung out for a bit while eating my granola bar and then hopped back on the bike to head home. I kinda regret not getting any fries or tater tots.



All in all, I did about 39 miles in 2.5 hrs. Which is roughly 16 mph. I felt really good the whole time and only started struggling on the last hill up to my car. I then hopped off my bike and put my running shoes on for an easy 20 min run after with some not so awesome jelly legs. It did feel great to finish though!



My main mistake on the whole day was not eating enough before working out for 3 hrs. Oops. I was a little hungry when I got home and may have tried to eat Steve -sorry Steve-.

This is my first ‘rest’ week of the training session so things will be a bit lower intensity this week. Luckily, the weather is supposed to be great so I should be able to get outside for most of it!

See ya tomorrow!


Training Week 2 – More Fizzles

Good morning and holy hiatus!

Last week ended up a bit cray so the blog got a little neglected. So did training. In fact, most everything got neglected except for grad school. Cause that’s how it goes sometimes. Some weeks, grad school is just like having a 9 to 5 job. You go, work, and come home. Other weeks, grad school is your worst nightmare. Nothing works, people panic, and you end up rediscovering just how brilliant of a multitasker you really are (Seriously, simultaneously fabricating a new material for project A, making a flexible circuit for project B, teleconferencing with a group mate about project C, ¬†and talking with a friend about issues with project D). #skillz

Here’s a pic of part of the circuit I made. Not very impressive and pretty simple, but it’s flexible! Those blank spaces are for the rigid components.


Anyways since Mondays are rest days and I choose to update y’all with my training on Mondays…here’s my slightly embarrassing training summary for week 2 of Raleigh 70.3 training.

  • Workouts completed – maybe half
  • Workouts skipped – most….oops
  • Miles run – 16ish
  • Miles biked – 11?
  • Yards swum – 1300 (sad trombone)
  • Bike maintenance performed – Allen wrenches were thrown
  • Workouts skipped so I could drink beer instead – 4
  • Priorities y’all –^

AAAAAAAND here’s the daily breakdown

Monday – Nada. Nothing. Rest day. Sighs of contentment.

Tuesday – Biked 11.2 miles on the trainer in 45 min. This was pretty good. I felt like I was able to push my speed a bit more even though at 6am my legs refuse to function. Did my one swim for the week in the afternoon and did about 1300 yds. Probably could have done more, but I wasn’t feeling it. My personal rule for workouts is, when you’re not feeling it (and I mean¬†really not feeling it) do part of the workout. If you’re still not feeling it after you’ve started, then stop. Usually, once you get started, that solves the whole motivation thing and you can finish the workout. When you’re really not feeling it though. Don’t stress it. It’s a sign you need either a mental or physical break; which is¬†just as important to fitness as exercising is.

Wednesday¬† – Long run of 8.2 miles in 1:17 so about a 9:23 min/mile pace. Which is pretty solid for a long run. Especially since it was CRAZY windy. I’m talking like 30 mph headwind on the uphills. Ugh. But it was a seriously gorgeous day out. AND I ran on my favorite bridge, but didn’t take a picture since I didn’t have my phone. Here a nicer pic of what the view looks like…

Awesome right?!? Love this view. The run is a little hilly, but this view is totally worth it.

Thursday¬†– Had a bike and swim planned. Didn’t do either. Had a really long day at work and was really wiped out. Decided that sleep would be the best idea.

Friday – Had a run and swim planned. Again was too tired so I skipped both. It was my third day in a row of non-stop work action. And to be honest, I also had a pretty rough mental day. My med dosage was a little weird and my mood got funky towards the end of the week. On days where my mood goes weird, (read: depressed and I’ll do a post on grad school and depression later, but let’s keep this post a little less sad today, okay? okay.) it can be hard to function, much less find the motivation to cook, workout, make decisions, etc. Luckily I was able to get back to my normal dose of antidepressants the next day and life was good again ūüôā

Saturday – Was supposed to be brick day, but Sunday was supposed to be really pretty so I swapped Saturday’s and Sunday’s workouts. I had a short, easy run planned so I decided to join Steve on his long run and turn back halfway. Well it felt so nice outside that I stuck with him for the whole thing! We did about 8.2 easy miles and I gotta say it felt great to move again!

Sunday¬†– Brick day! I decided to adjust my bike position to be a little more aero (read took out some spacers on my handlebars to lower them slightly) and add in a new water bottle holder (a behind the seat holder). Thanks to my non-circular stem, the holder didn’t fit. Tried a zip-tied configuration and it still didn’t work. Threw a wrench at it and that definitely didn’t help. So I gave up and had a beer. On the porch. With Steve and Indy. For the rest of the afternoon. AAAAAAAND the brick was skipped. (hangs head in shame)




Because the day was OMG AMAZING LIKE 70 DEGREES AND SUNNY!! We hung outside and gave Indy some much needed attention


She really enjoyed her spa day with the rejuvenating creek waters


She was happy. We were happy. It was a good day.

Gotta pick up the training this week though. Luckily it’s spring break for the university so it’ll be more of a chill week and I can focus on training.

And just for shits and giggles, here’s some¬†slightly fuzzy pics of Indy when she decided her foot was delicious


wpid-20150305_215213.jpgHave a great Monday!

My training brain

Yesterday I ran 8.2 miles, my longest run yet. I never thought I’d run that far before deciding to train for a half marathon. To be honest I used to think I couldn’t do it. I thought that my old ankle injury would handicap me too much and to be honest, it’s really stiff today. I can barely bend it.

I think about it differently now though. I think about a lot of things differently. Training for this race and steadily increasing my longest run distance has changed me. I feel more capable in general. I feel more confident. Barriers seem less insurmountable. I see challenges in a different light which helps me see ways to tackle them.

A week ago I did a 7 mile run. Mile number 7 was really difficult and I had to really concentrate to keep running. This week the first 7 miles were pretty easy and it was mile 8 that was really difficult. I did have Amanda with me on this run which was a huge help as far as making the run go quickly and distracting me from having to think “Ok, still running, keep going, only x more miles to go.” but still, the progress is there. I’m stronger than I was. I have more endurance than I’ve had in… decades I guess.

In the past if I tried to do something and woke up with an ankle this stiff that made me hobble around I would have said well… I guess I can’t do that. My new training brain is thinking about how we can best recover so I can make my 3 mile run on Monday. I look forward to pushing myself. I relish testing my limits. I take pride in my achievements.

This training brain thought process isn’t limited to running and exercise. It bleeds out into the rest of my life¬†and¬†is positively impacting my attitude toward challenges in my studies as well. In all aspects of my life I’m shedding apathy. I see footholds in barriers that seemed smooth and shear before. It’s refreshing and encouraging. Sure I still have days when things seem extra hard but I’m constantly proving to myself that I can do things I didn’t think I could and that makes a huge difference.

So, no jokes this post and I haven’t been taking many pictures lately, but here is an inspirational picture of Indy for you. She is becoming more confident all the time too (maybe a little too confident and a little too comfortable with being off her leash, but that’s a story for another time)


Ice Hurdling

Hi everyone!

As of today, I have completed 1 week of training for Raleigh 70.3 (cheers). Here’s a summary of what I did and how it felt.

  • Time Training- 7:08
  • Miles Run – 14.1 mi
  • Miles Biked – 47.8 mi
  • Yards Swam(Swum?) – 3312 yds
  • Trees Hurdled – 3 (6 if you count out and back)
  • Curse Words Invented – approx. 2
  • Netflix watched while on the trainer – ummmm like 9 episodes or something idk
  • Bugs accidentally swallowed – 0!
  • Times I have had to stop in the middle of swimming a lap because my contacts decided that the back¬†of my eyeball was an ideal location – 10

Now let’s break it down by day! This go around, I’m tracking everything using Training Peaks This training plan is based on workout time rather than workout distance. So rather than saying to bike 10 miles, I need to bike for 40 min. Green blocks are planned workouts I’ve completed. The red blocks are mad at me.

week 1

Can you read that?? Neither can I

Lemme break it down for you

Monday – ¬†Rest Day!! WooHoo!! Unfortunately this was like the only decent day to actually work out this entire week….boo.

Tuesday – I did 40 min on the trainer and ended up finishing 9 miles. This was a Z2 workout (Zone 2 of heart rate) so it’s not supposed to be fast. Gotta build endurance and stamina first! I was supposed to swim as well, but this was the first day of snow and the pool was closed.

Wednesday – Long run day. I ran on the snow dammit. Not gonna let a little snow stop me after my run in with the Jesus Geese! Was scheduled for 1:10 of running and got 7.5 miles in during that time. For a long run in the snow, it wasn’t a bad pace ūüôā

Thursday – snOMG. Power out. Stuck at home. Decided this would be a good test of my mental fortitude on the bike trainer since Netflix was not available. Was slated for a 1:00 recovery ride. Did about 13.4 miles and read a book in the dark for entertainment. Swimming was obviously out. Stupid roads.

Friday – Run and Swim! Although in hindsight, maybe it’s best to do the swim first. Not that I’d know from personal experience or anything ūüėČ For my 40 min run, I was able to squeeze in 4.5 miles and then I made a mad dash to the pool and did 2000 yds in 1 hr. Most exciting part of this was NEW RUNNING SHOES!


Here’s a super blurry pic. Yes they are pink/yellow tie-die. Total love. ‚̧

Saturday – Brick day. Basically long bike immediately followed by a run. I did 25.3 mi on the trainer in 1:40 and then walked out to the melty ice/snow to go for a run in the balmy 25 degree (Farenheit) weather. ¬†Considering the terrifying conditions (i.e. icy greenway and 3 trees that had fallen in my way) I managed to hurdle all the trees without falling on either the tree or the ice¬†and did 2.1 miles in 19 min. It’s the little successes.

Sunday – ‘k well I was supposed to run, but I also had a swim lesson so I decided to skip the run and just swim. Same thing right? I did 1200 meters in about 40 min with a lot of coaching breaks.

Well that’s about it for training this week! I’ll be sure to update the Gear page with my swimming and biking things.