Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Richmond Half Marathon Recap

About 16 weeks ago my husband came up to me and said, "don't make a big deal about this, but how long would it take to train for a half marathon?"  My follow-up question was, "can I run a half with you?"  I honestly didn't know if he would prefer to be off on his own or if he would want my company.  He said I could run with him. That's love. 

For a self-identified "non-runner" who prefers running on the treadmill to running outside and doesn't really care for running more than 3 miles, this was kind of a big deal. We quickly settled on the Richmond Half Marathon for his first race. The timing was right on schedule to give him a month to start running and then 12 weeks to train. We loved the experience we had last year at the marathon and we hoped for a mid-November race we wouldn't have too major of weather issues. 

Off he went on his training program that incorporated lots of cross training days and increased his long runs from a base of 3 miles all the way up to 12 miles. Most training plans for a half marathon only have people run 10 miles as their longest run, but the hubs really wanted the peace of mind knowing on race day that the last mile of Richmond is pretty much all down hill and it was only one more mile than his longest run. 

And he logged a lot of 9:30 pace miles over the course of his training program. It actually became bit of an inside joke because it didn't matter if he was doing a 3 mile run or his 12 mile run - the man runs 9:30 miles like clockwork.  

Come race day morning the weather was a chilly 26 degrees at the start of the race. That drop in temperature was a bit of a concern for both of us. The hubs hadn't run in such cold yet and was a bit worried overall. He threw on an extra short-sleeve shirt under his long-sleeve shirt to keep his core warm. I was worried that my lungs would take forever to warm up and I wouldn't be as "chatty" as needed during the race. My goal was to talk to the hubs, especially during the last few miles, to try to keep his mind off the distance. I was also worried that some lingering soreness in my legs would stay frozen solid during the race and I wouldn't warm up. With those fears in mind I tossed on a thick hat, which is not something I normally wear when racing. Then again, I wasn't racing. I was pacing. 

The race was a lot more crowded than I remembered from last year and we actually missed the start of our wave because we were still lined up in a port-a-potty line. We hopped in with the tail end of wave HB, which was the 2:30 pace group. That actually worked out to be brilliant because we started out slow and steady, especially that first very crowded half mile. 

Mile 1:  10:05
Mile 2:   9:32
Mile 3:   9:33
Mile 4:   9:33
Mile 5:   9:28
Mile 6:   9:34
Mile 7:   9:19
Mile 8:   9:50 (we got separated at a water stop)
Mile 9:   9:33
Mile 10: 9:34
Mile 11: 9:36
Mile 12: 8:45
Mile 13: 7:57
Mile .2:  7:28 (probably the best race I've ever had running the tangents and finishing so close to the actual distance!). 

Total Time: 2:03:46 Garmin average: 9:23

Insert crazy high levels of pride here. The race was almost perfect. Seriously, starting a few waves late turned out to be the best thing because that kept both of us from starting out too fast. That's a major issue I have and since I was acting as the pacer for this race that was a really big concern of mine. The course itself was crowded. I kept trying to keep us on the sidelines so we could dart around people to pass as easily as possible. The night before the race the hubs saw on Facebook that one of his former co-workers was running the race and we actually ran into him around mile 7. He had started out too fast, but once we ran into him, we picked him up, and brought him into our little pack. He finished just behind us. The guys joked during the race that I was going to take off on them at some point, but I reminded them that I was there to get them across the finish line. I also knew that at some point the hubs was going to take off. 

Man I was right about that one! He took off at right at the start of mile 12. I actually told him to calm down at one point and to hold it steady on the flat stretches and then increase the pace on the downhills. He loves downhills, especially ones that are really close to the finish line. I told him to keep it together until we got  half a mile out because from there he could run as hard as he wanted to. I think that sub 8 mile summed it up perfectly. 

Post race we hung out with our friend, grabbed beer and hard cider at the Capitol Ale House, relaxed, showered, napped, and then had an amazing night of bourbon at McCormack's Whiskey Grill.  That game plan made sense because this is the same guy who drank a beer flight with lunch at Legend Brewery the day before his race and for his pre-race dinner ate fried chicken and mac n'cheese at the Bellytimber Tavern. The weekend was all about making sure the hubs had an amazing experience because I didn't want this to be his only half marathon.

I wanted this to be his first half marathon. Mission Accomplished. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Made in USA Scarves

I might be in the minority of people, but I do not like blanket scarves. There I said it. Whew. I feel better getting that off my chest. I just can't wear them because they look like they're eating my head.

I also can't stand the blanket scarves paired with a silk shirt (and no jacket). This is the winter equivalent my mind of Uggs and a mini skirt. Are you cold? Are you warm? I don't understand what is going on.

But scarf season is definitely here. The high temperatures next week will be in the upper 30s.  Time to break out the good ol' wool scarves and prepare for winter. I am so excited.

Thankfully, there are plenty of made in USA scarves available to keep you functional and fashionable this year. Have you heard yet about the Faribault + Target collaboration? It's a great partnership between two of Minnesota's most favorite brands. The quality and craftsmanship of Faribault's time honored, American made products, but at a Target friendly price point. I'm picking up at least one scar and maybe a second. Or a scarf and throw. Still haven't decided.

Scarves - blanket: yay or nay?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Rugby Stripes

Made in USA: Striped Shirt: Bailey 44 // Jeans: James Jeans // Purse: vintage Coach 
Imported: Boots: super old! Bandolino

My love of stripes knows no bounds. There isn't a need to own as many striped shirts as I do, especially the classic black and white combination. Is it a black shirt with white stripes or is it a white shirt with black stripes? I have shirts that clearly swing both ways on the subject. 

You know what separates a great striped shirt from a bad striped shirt - whether or not the stripes line up at the seams. Seriously, there is nothing more annoying, to me, than when a striped shirt doesn't match at the seams. You know what I'm talking about. You turn to the side and your profile just looks like a brick pattern of stripes. 

That's why I'm in love with this Bailey 44 striped shirt. Not only do the stripes match up at the seams, but the quality goes a step further, and the stripes line up on the arms. That almost never happens! The pocket is clearly designed to mismatch :) 

I'm slowly getting rid of all the striped shirts I own that don't match up at the seams. And also the large stockpile of random color combination striped shirts I used to wear to my brother's college rugby games and upgrading them with better shirts. 

I definitely would have loved having this shirt back when he played rugby, but for now it's perfect from emerging from the house after a Walking Dead marathon (holy hell the living people are scarier than the walkers!). 

So stripes - do you care if the stripes match up at the seams? Or am I just that crazy?

More perfectly lined up stripe seams below from Bailey 44 (striped shirts made in the USA, yes please!)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fall Essentials: Gingham and Leather

Made in USA: Gingham top: Tradlands // Skirt: vintage, thrifted // Necklace: Loren Hope // Suede Pumps: Julie Bee's // Nails: Essie 'Twin Sweater Set' 

Finally! The temperatures have dipped low enough that I can wear my beloved leather pencil skirt. Because nothing is worse than summer leather and the uncomfortable swamp ass situation that accompanies it. I wore faux leather shorts once this summer and immediately regretted my decision and have vowed to never wear leather again when it is above 60 degrees.

Some fashion rules are much more practical than "you can't wear white after Labor Day." There's nothing attractive about sweating to death while wearing leather in the wrong season. Yes, I said "sweat" and not "glow." I am not that type of girl who can pull off leather while warm.

But in my excitement for cooler temperatures and I forgot the only two things I absolutely dread about fall: the earlier sunsets (hello walking to the train station in the dark!) and the fallen leaves. My backyard is blanketed in leaves and it's my turn to bag them. So much for an equal distribution of household chores.

I'm going to go distract myself from the shortened days and the leaf piles by pulling out all of my favorite sweaters and blouses to pair with my second favorite consignment store find of all time (first favorite here). I was a bit clueless how to wear this gingham shirt when I first purchased it, but I'm glad to see that when in doubt pair it with black!

More of my favorite leather and gingham pieces that are made in the USA are below: