Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Quiet Birthday and an Upcoming Race

Friday was my 24th birthday.  I had the day off work, which was nice and decided to have a quiet day doing whatever I wanted.  
I guess you could say the celebration started early because I had cake on Wednesday night after work, since I had the next two days off.  Sprinkles, the amazing cupcake shop, is just a block from work so I picked up two cupcakes to enjoy for my birthday.  My mom surprised me with a $15 gift card there so I used part of it to grab a raspberry chocolate chip cupcake and a chocolate coconut.  The raspberry one was a new seasonal flavor and was good.  I love the combination of chocolate and coconut and that one was delicious as always.
Earlier in the week I finally made a decision on what half marathon I am going to run.  I have been researching since the new year trying to figure out which one to do and have decided to run the Publix Georgia Half Marathon which takes place March 18th.  I have family that lives in Atlanta so I'll have a place to stay and be able to visit with them.  The race is less than five weeks away so I have created a mini training plan.  I have maintained my running over the past months, but haven't run any longer than six miles in awhile so have I some longer runs planned for the next few weeks.  I am going to go with one day a week for speed work, two days of cross training, an easy run, and long runs of 8.5, 10-11, 8, and 6 miles.  It is just a basic outline, so it is flexible.  Atlanta is pretty hilly and the race elevation profile shows that there will definitely will be hills.  
I was a nanny in Atlanta for a summer during college and remember walking and trying to run up the hills in the neighborhood to be a challenge.  Chicago is pretty flat so any incline or bridge I see on my runs I am going to make sure to run up.  I am also going to work on strengthen my leg muscles.  I would really like to get under three hours, because I was so close last time.  My last half, the IronGirl, had some major overpasses throughout and I made it through that OK, so I am confident I will make it through this one.  

On Friday, my actual birthday, I woke up to an early 5am phone call from my dad.  I went back to sleep until about 8:45am when my mom called to wish me happy birthday too.  I decided to start off my day with a long run.  It was chilly morning, but I got my favorite running tights on and gathered my gear to head out to the lakefront trail.  I wanted to get in between seven and eight miles.  It actually started snowing around mile two and continued the rest of the day.  They were big, fluffy snowflakes and it was fun to run through.  It wasn't sticking to the ground yet, so I didn't have to worry much about slipping.  I took about two 30 second walk breaks to have some fuel, which were dried plums, but ran the rest of the way.  I made sure to keep an easy pace.  My legs felt pretty good the whole time although during the last mile I could feel the distance with a twinge of soreness in my legs.  By the time I finished about 7.4 miles the snow was really coming down.  I walked and stretched to cool down.  
As I was walking I discovered a new Pinkberry location in Old Town.  I have only tried their frozen yogurt once, but I decided to walk in a get a small birthday treat for myself.  I decided on a mini cup of the coconut froyo with dark chocolate crisps and fresh raspberries.  It sure was tasty!  I was still hungry so I headed over to Chipotle to get one of my favorite meals, a carnitas salad bowl.  After lunch I finally made my way to the El and back home.  I made sure to foam roll my sore legs and did some more stretching.  After a nice warm shower I looked outside to see the snow was actually sticking to the ground.  What a lovely gift from Mother Nature on my birthday!  

I considered going to a movie, but decided I was happy just staying home.  I got some more birthday calls from my family, browsed the internet, and watched some TV on Hulu.  I snacked on some hummus, pita chips, and carrots and later had a few dark chocolate peanut butter cups before calling it a night.  It was a quiet birthday, but a good one none the less.  

What are some of your favorite foods to have on your birthday?  Any advice on training for hills?