Tag Archives: running

Today, Records Fell!! [Half Marathon Recap – Part 2]

To read about my experience leading up to the start of the race, check out part 1 of my recap HERE

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 3.55.27 PMI was in the 5th group to start the race so the race officially started for me at 7:10am. Your chip time started as soon as you crossed the starting line. They did not separate the half marathon runners from the marathon runners. I crossed the start line and it began! It seemed so surreal. 

here I was rounding the first corner after the start line. Just leaving the downtown area of Portland

This was the biggest race I had ever participated in – both in mileage and the number of people. There were so many people everywhere! I couldn’t even run my regular pace the first couple miles because there were just TONS of people. That had never happened to me. Sometimes the first mile can be slow, but after that people tend to kinda spread out… not this race. 

can you find me in this sea of people? CROWDED! haha

When I registered, I don’t even remember what estimated time I put down. But because I was totally new and had NO idea how my training would go, the time I put down ended up being slower than my average pace. Being a novice I really didn’t think it would make a huge difference, but it did because there were so many people. I was itching to turn the speed on for the first 3-4 miles. After mile 4 it started to spread out a little bit more. My 5K time was slower than normal, but that wasn’t because I was running slow on purpose. Looking back on it now, it was probably better to start the race slow, but I felt good and I felt strong so I could have potentially run faster! There were moments I wanted to pass someone, but there was just no room to do it. I have no regrets about this, it is something that I learned for the next race 🙂 Thankfully this was really my only challenge the whole race! 

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The whole family was in Portland for the weekend. My sister ran the race with me; my parents and my husband came to watch. We didn’t plan out where to see each other along the course, I just knew they would be there watching. I saw my parents at about mile 4, they were so excited to see me and cheered so loud. I could just see from their excitement how proud they were. I almost started tearing up….let me just say tearing up and running does NOT go well together. VERY hard to breathe haha 😐

goin strong!


I saw my husband the  most along the course. He just kept poopin’ up. I half jokingly told him before the race that he was my personal photographer & he took this job very seriously – I loved it! haha. (He took all the action pics that are shown here that aren’t watermarked) My husband was a sprinter in high school and college, so he is not a stranger to running, he just prefers shorter distances haha. It was SO cute because I would see him, and then all of a sudden I would see him again & I thought “woah that was fast” but I didn’t think much of it and just kept running.
Right before the pics that are above, I saw him SPRINTING along the marathon course. hahahahaha. I was literally laughing as I was running. Then once he got far enough ahead of me, he would stop and take another pic. Cutest thing ever! Thanks for the awesome pics babe!

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this pic was in the 7 to 11 mile stretch

So after mile 6, I knew I wouldn’t have any cheerleaders till the end of the course because of the way it was set up.  It was a down and back for miles 7 thru 11 and there was not much room for spectators. They were not the most scenic miles, but it was nice because you could really focus on running. I did see my sister on the other side of the course during this time, that made me so happy – she looked like she was having the time of her life!  

Photo Oct 05-12
the split in the course for half-marathon runners & marathon runners

At mile 11, the half marathon runners split from the marathon runners. Once we split off from the marathoners, I pretty much had the road to myself! When I passed the 10 mile mark, I was running longer than I had ever run in my life. Talk about a feeling of STRENGTH! I almost cried again….not good for breathing haha. I felt like the end of the race was so so close, I could barely believe it! 

Photo Oct 05-11
OMG MILE 12!!!!!!
Photo Oct 05-10
selfie @ mile 12 while still running! haha

When I reached mile 12, in my head I was like “OMG OMG OMG ONE MORE MILE!” I could NOT believe it. I actually had to take a running selfie! I was just so excited! I knew that I was running a pace that would allow me to finish in under 2 hours… I was in disbelief. There was no giving up now – and the crazy part was I didn’t FEEL like giving up – I felt like I had so much energy and was ready to bring this race HOME!

nearing the finish line! So close yet so far!

The last little bit of the race felt like an eternity. I knew I was almost done, but the meters seemed to be passing slowly haha. I saw my parents again right before we entered the last stretch of the race. We were running on Naito Pkwy in downtown Portland, it goes right along the river. Then there is one final turn into the last .25 before the finish line.

Photo Oct 05-19
almost to the final turn!

The final stretch on Naito Pkwy, I saw my husband and then there was my dad.  He ran that last part before the turn with me… I FULL ON CRIED people. There was no stopping the tears, I was finishing, my dad was RUNNING….it was amazing. I will have to save it for another post, but my dad’s body has been thru hell the last few years. He has recovered from things that would have been huge setbacks for most people. Right now he actually has a fractured disk in his back… and here he was running a few yards with me as encouragement. Unfortunately no one got a pic, but that memory will be in my heart and my mind forever. It was beautiful. 

about the enter the finishing area

As I was crying, I kept telling myself, “THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING, you are finishing a half marathon!” & then “run faster!” haha (cue the climatic music) 

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It was a little hard to tell exactly where the finish line was, so I just kept running until I saw medals because I wanted to make sure my time was accurate. haha. They said my name as I finished the race and I felt SO BAD A**! I crossed the finish line!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so stoked I turned to the girl next to me and was like – WE DID IT! Congrats! She didn’t seem that excited. I asked her if it was her first one, she said no. She asked if it was mine, I said yes. But here is the thing, I don’t care how many half marathons you run, crossing the finish line after 13.1 miles is ALWAYS a reason to celebrate, whether you PR’d or not.

There were photographers everywhere! Felt like the paparazzi ….

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literally right after crossing the finish line and getting my medal. Crazy runner hair!

I was so happy and overwhelmed. I was pleasantly surprised because the finish area really wasn’t that crowded. They keep everyone out except for runners and volunteers, so that helped. I realized later on that since I finished before any of the marathon runners, the number of people in the finishing area was a lot fewer. That was nice because you could take your time and pull yourself together. I have in finish areas before where you get pummeled and you just want to get out fast. This was not that way – you could relish in the accomplishment that just happened. 

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my official finishers photo!!

I made my way thru and got water, some fruit, a finishers rose, 

Photo Oct 05-16
my finisher’s rose! matched all my pink for the day 🙂

 my finishers jacket, 

Photo Oct 05-9

a finishers coin, a tree seedling, my finishers shirt, 

and of course my medal. 😀  There was too much stuff to hold! haha. 



I was literally still in shock at what had happened. I think I looked like a deer in headlights. I reunited with my parents and my husband and my mom was like “YOU FINISHED!!! Aren’t you excited?!” I was so excited I was just trying to process what happened. Then the next thing I said was, I want a coffee hahaha. I waited a while a rehydrated with other liquids first. LOL. 

And my time -I could barely believe it! I was SUPER pumped about finishing under 2 hours. The day before the race, that was my “that would be so cool if I finished under 2 hours”, but I wanted to go into the race with no expectations as I was a total newbie.  I was elated that I finished sub 2 hours! 

Here is what my unofficial time is, it will be a few weeks till they are official. 

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So COOL that I was 26th in my age group!!!! I’ll take it! I also TOTALLY PR’d on my 10K time – WOOHOO! And I just BARELY made it under 2 hours. But again, I’ll take it. The strange thing is, my running app says differently by a whole minute…

Photo Oct 10-2
silly Nike, of course it was my fastest ever, I hadn’t run one before!

So it will be interesting to see what the official times are. Irregardless, I went into the race with no expectations because I know over the course of 13 miles, anything can happen. This being my very first race I am so happy with the results. I never thought I would say this, but I cannot WAIT to run other one! haha

We waited for my sis to finish & cheered her on. She finished like a CHAMP and I was so happy for her. We took it all in together. 

Photo Oct 05-17
this pic made me laugh… 

as you can see I got my coffee…

Photo Oct 05-18
serious pic 🙂

 We are half marathon finishers!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It’s still sinking in….

Afterwords, we ate at Porque No. It was some of the best Mexican food I have had in my life! (and I’ve eaten a LOT of Mexican food)

Photo Oct 05-15
cucumbers and guacamole! YUM

This food was amazing. I was famished so anything would have been good, but this was exceptional. It was the perfect time to be so hungry because there was so much good food! MMMM! 

Photo Oct 05-14
the best tacos EVERRRRR

If you are ever in Portland & you like Mexican food, you must try Porque No! Seriously, so so good. (added bonus star: my Mexican husband even approved!) 😛

After this my phone died (I guess all the excitement wore it out haha). The rest of the afternoon we walked around downtown Portland, did a little shopping and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. The weather all weekend was just stellar. Prefect running weather (as long as you are out early), perfect exploring weather, perfect everything weather! 

After running and then being out all afternoon, I was pooped! Everyone was pretty exhausted from being on their feet most of the day.  We parted ways, and while I really just wanted to collapse on the hotel bed & play with the new stuff I bought, I knew I needed to eat dinner. 

Photo Oct 05-7So my feet and legs were sore, what do I do…. wear heels to dinner haha. They were some of my most comfortable pumps, but after we left the hotel to head out for dinner, I was like “sarah, you are crazy why did you wear these??”  We didn’t even go to a fancy place, they just matched my outfit perfectly, so I wore them.  Oh well – I survived and I felt pretty, so it was a win-win in my book.

Photo Oct 05-2
one of my friends sent me this shirt saying if she ever ran a half marathon, she would get this shirt. I just loved it! Isn’t it hilarious??  FREAKING 1. thats how the end feels too!

Thank you does not even begin to express my gratitude to all of my supporters that I had this last weekend. I am so so appreciative of everyone who took the time to send me a text message, comment on my Instagram or here on my blog. To those who sent good thoughts – they were felt. Thank you so so much. Even though you were not physically present, you were there with me and I so so appreciate all the encouragement and support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

 I did not set out to run this for any reason other than to prove to myself that I could do it. I didn’t want attention or special recognition. I just wanted to show my old self that she wasn’t boss anymore – that I am stronger than yesterday and I can do whatever I put my mind to.

RECORDS fell — not only did I CRUSH those 13.1 miles and give myself a good PR to beat in the next race, I also ran my fastest 10K, and I showed myself that I am strong and I can do hard things. I faced fear and came out on top. I challenged myself and became a better person because of it. I saw that can conquer whatever I put my mind to. That was only possible by putting in the time during training and having discipline even when the results didn’t come right away. 

I never used to understand, but I now realize why people like running. Everyone has their own unique motive or reason for doing it, but in the end, it’s a you against you sport. When you stick with it, there is a freeing and empowering effect. It is unpleasant at times, but it teaches you so much in the process & you get to watch yourself get faster and stronger. So so cool. As an added bonus, you also get to hang with this cool community of people (aka fellow runners) I have met so many awesome people thru running. So grateful for that. 

Congrats to my sister for finishing her first race this weekend too! I’m so very thankful that we were able to do it together and have that memory!

Photo Oct 05-13Next week  I’ll tell you all what I ended up picking for my non-food reward for finishing the half marathon and how recovery is going! Be sure to check back for that!

Stay Sweet!

Success is in the preparation [Half Marathon Recap – Part 1]

Success is in the preparation. Preparation requires dedication. Dedication requires discipline.  

Those 3 things I learned on my journey to running the half marathon. It was quite the learning experience, not only in never giving up, but also in perseverance and looking at the big picture. I trained for 3 months to get ready for this race. I had to put in the work early on and then got to watch it all unfold during the race. It was pretty cool.

I have told some of this story here before, but I have not always been a runner. I actually just started running in May 2014, that was 5 months ago! (watch the end of this video below where I talk about how I got into running & my anticipation of the half marathon – its like 10 minutes long FYI)





I ran the Portland half marathon. I chose this race because it gave me enough time to train, they had some sweet finisher swag and it has been voted the best race to run in Fall. 🙂  We drove down on Saturday morning and went straight to the Expo so I could pick up my race bib and packet.

Photo Oct 04-5
says “entering Portland” – it was SO sunny the WHOLE weekend
Photo Oct 04-2
officially in Oregon!

The city was READY for the marathon, see the below pic, they had all these posters on the light poles…. it made it that much more real!

Photo Oct 05-3
heading into the packet pick-up – I was ready to explore Portland for the day with my beach babe cooler haha 🙂

When we got to the packet pick up I was so intimated because there was barely any half marathon bibs, there were WAY more people running the full marathon! I was like “I’m over here trying to run 13.1 miles and these peeps can run 26.2!??” – woah just woah. Very inspiring to be around so many dedicated athletes and runners considering I have only been at this for 5 months. 

I realized quickly that I had never been part of such a big race. Not only mileage but also number of people. There were like 12,000 people who ran on Sunday!! Once I picked up my bib, I was like “OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!” 

Photo Oct 05-2

The expo itself was not huge, there were several running companies there and some other random stuff. I was worried that my finishers shirt was gonna be too big (my shirt size has changed since I registered for the half way back when) so I bought a cute pink Portland Marathon shirt as a memory of the weekend. I was so overwhelmed by everything I didn’t take as many pics as I wanted 🙁

 We looked around the expo briefly and then headed over to the Portland Saturday Market. I was really excited for this as I had heard so much about it. 

Photo Oct 04
ended up in front of Voodoo Donuts and didn’t even realize it until we saw the line haha

We got to the area where the market was and ended up in front of Voodoo donuts. The line was insane. We didn’t have any donuts. We did stop at Stumptown Coffee though…. OMG YUM. You have not had good cold brew until you try the Stumptown Cold Brew 😀

Photo Oct 04-4
they had these Mexican coffee beans, I wish I would have bought some as you don’t see coffee beans from Mexico very often… oh well next time.

Photo Oct 04-3

I wore my “I Hate Running” shirt around Portland all day on Saturday. Most people got the joke, but others were like “really you hate running?” or “you are brave for wearing that on marathon weekend” –  I was like come on people! 😛 The funny thing as you guys know, I haven’t always liked running, but now I do like it – so this shirt just seemed appropriate for the day. As my sister pointed out, many people were looking at it or laughing about it thru out the day. 

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this is what the tank looks like. Unfortunately it isn’t available from VS Pink anymore 🙁

 I was filled with nerves… as the day passed I started getting more and more nervous. I thought to myself “why are you so nervous, you know how hard you worked to prepare for this”…. I think the nerves came from having no idea what to expect. This was something I had NEVER done before, that is intimidating! 

After exploring the Saturday Market, we went to get something for dinner.  My sister and her BF went to his BBQ place, I didn’t see anything on the menu that seemed like something that would sit well with my stomach. So we headed over to whole foods to get some grub from their salad bar and hot food section. YUM! 

Photo Oct 05-6
my outfit, ready to go! complete with skittles for #beastmode (seahawks fans will understand)

I set like 10 alarms because I didn’t want to feel like I was rushing in the morning. Well I kept waking up all night haha. So I got up at 445am and ate GF pumpkin protein pancakes, some almond butter and an oatmeal for breakfast (carbs anyone? haha). I downed a black coffee (my favorite pre-workout) and met up with my sister at 6am. 

Photo Oct 05-5
part of my breakfast

It was HILARIOUS because we did not talk about what we were going to wear or anything and we ended up basically matching! Obviously we are sisters!  We did our shopping separately and ended up with the exact same running shoes – model AND color! HAHA. We also both ended up wearing a Nike burn out tank in pink and black bottoms. It was so ironic and funny. I loved it! 

Photo Oct 09
matching and not even on purpose! Obviously sisters!

I started this tradition back in May that when I run a race I like to wear a BOLD lipstick – like HOT pink or red. At first she made fun of me but now my sister shares this tradition with me. It adds a little boost of confidence, try it out! For the half marathon we wore “Girl About Town” by MAC. So not only did we have matching outfits on accident, we also had matching lipstick! haha.

our matching shoes! haha

  We walked over to the starting area…. it was still dark outside!  We were in separate starting corrals (due to different mile times) so we took one last pic together and parted ways… 


 I was in corral E, the 5th group to start the race. There were a total of 8 corrals. You put in your estimated time when you registered. Since I was still new to running, I was pretty generous with the time. I could have been a faster group, but you were not allowed to move up. I wasn’t too worried about it, but later on in the race I was wishing I had been with faster runners. I will explain why later. 

Photo Oct 05
waiting to start!

As we approached the starting line, I was like OMG THIS IS HAPPENING! I was so excited I could barely stand it!

Photo Oct 05
my Nike app ready to go! waiting for the start

Our group started the race and crossed the starting line at 7:10am… 

Photo Oct 05-4
about to cross the starting line!

Tomorrow I will finish my recap of the race & tell you how the race went and what my finishing time was! Stay tuned! 


In it for the Long Run….

Yesterday marked the final day of my peak week for half marathon training. I ran the longest I have ever run in my life: 10 miles. At the beginning of training when I looked over the plan I thought “OMG 10 miles?!” I dreaded the thought. I worked my way thru the training plan and made to 10 miles yesterday…


I survived the run(thank God). Some things happened on the run that made it interesting, but I made it and I feel ready for 13.1 miles this coming Sunday. 

  1. my phone died at the end of my run…I was at 8.5 miles and then BAM my phone just turned off 😐 it was a solitary final 1.5 miles with no music. Thankful I know roughly where the mileage marks are so I was able to finish and know I ran the full 10 miles – this happening made me feel like I needed a running watch, that may be my next purchase. 
  2. I finally reached over 200 miles on my running app (woohoo!!) I only use this when I run, not when I walk or do any other exercise so these are all running miles. I never thought I’d reach 200 and here I am 😀
  3. It was a beautiful fall afternoon. I loved it – perfect running weather. I need to check the forecast for next weekend, but I hope it is similar because it was awesome.  The shoes passed the test, I think. They were really comfy. I’m still slower bc of my hip but it’s getting improved thankfully.
  4. I did something everyone says not to do – I tried new things the week before the race. I experimented with GU Gel and took my new running shoes out for a spin. I had to get new shoes, the Nike’s I was wearing are awesome for shorter runs, but as I was getting into the longer distances, I needed something for the “long run”. I got a pair of Brooks Ghost 7s. They seemed okay yesterday, I am going to try them tomorrow too and see if they can really win me over. 
  5. I took the GU gel with me on the run intending to use it only if I felt I needed it. Well, I ended up eating the gel – the taste was interesting, not horrible, just interesting. I was worried it was gonna make my mouth all slimy and it didn’t thankfully. It did help me power thru the end of my run but I’m gonna have to find something that isn’t gel. My peeps on Instagram suggested blocks and some other products. I am going to look into that because I want to have something for the race just in case I need it. I am not a huge fan of the ingredients in some of the products, so once I make up my mind I’ll be sure to let you know what I decide. 
Photo Sep 28
overview of my run

SO – my “peak week” of half marathon training is over, and this week I get to taper off to the actual race. Tomorrow is 4 miles, then 3 miles, 2 miles, 2 rest days and then the race on Sunday! Right now I am feeling confident, I’m sure the nerves will build as the week goes on. 


Have you ever run a race (any length)? What were your feelings before it? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay Sweet!

Next Week – Sugar Series & Running

I am super excited to announce that next week on my blog I am going to be featuring a “sugar series” here on my blog. We will talk about sugar, its effects, why you should consume it wisely, nutritional tips and some of my reflections on my history with sugar. I will be featuring content from my fellow #fitfriend and blogger, Kylie (LittleMsFitness) – get excited!

My (first) half marathon is coming up NEXT weekend, so I will be reflecting on that as well and talking about running.  You can expect a few recipes to be sprinkled in too (pumpkin related possibly?) 😀

I hope that you will join me for this feature week! You will not want to miss a post!
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Happy Weekend! 

sugar series week-2