Run Now, Wine Later (1)

Shamrock’n Half Marathon Round 2 – Race Recap

And just like that, I became a member of the (maybe imaginary) elite club (that I just made up) comprised of crazy people who have run 4 half marathons.

Weekend before last, I completed the Shamrock’n Half Marathon for the second time! And then we left for a vacation to Maui the next day. I typed up this recap on the plane ride over to Hawaii while everything was still fresh.

Each time I run a half marathon, I’m reminded how different every race is. I use the same training plan, the distance is still 13.1 miles, but each race really becomes its own unique experience, starting with the first 7+ mile training run all the way till the moment I cross the finish line.

This race was no exception, and in fact, was even more different than any half marathon I’ve ran…thanks to California’s best friend/worst enemy, El Niño. Continue reading

Run Now, Wine Later

Shamrock’n Half Marathon Round 2 Training Update

4 days until my 4th half marathon! …This is seriously the last thing I ever thought I’d be blogging about when I first started blogging and had to ask my readers whether they thought I could possibly train for a 3 mile run.

As of now, I’m feeling pretty prepared…and a little like I just want to get it over with, to be honest 😉 But that could be because on Monday morning after race day, we’re leaving for Maui! I can see it now…I finish the race, devour a delicious brunch, treat myself to a much needed pedicure, then wake up the next morning and slide my pedicured toesies into some flippy floppys, get on a plane, and head to the beach!

Anyway, when I last checked in, I had two general goals for my last month or so of training.

  1. Keep on track (obvi :) ) and
  2. Make a conscious effort to get to sleep earlier during the week so that I’m rested enough to wake up on time and get more than 3 miles in.

Let’s see how I did, shall we?

Continue reading

Run Now, Wine Later

Shamrock’n Half Marathon Recap

Well, my first half marathon has come and gone!

I have felt such a wide range of emotions throughout the past 3 months, in particular these last couple of weeks, and it’s kind of hard to put it all into words.

But here’s my attempt!

Pre-Race

As I said on Monday, I drank bottomless mimosas the day before my race………..don’t act surprised.

As much as I wish I could blame someone else for convincing me, or peer pressure, I just really love brunch and I really love mimosas. I definitely paced myself and alternated with water and food, but it was still probably not what all the fitness experts would recommend!

One piece of advice I read repeatedly was to not try anything new the day before/of your race. I’m pretty sure I had at least 1 drink the night before 80% of my Saturday morning training runs these past ~14 weeks. Sometimes you just need to unwind on Friday night! This may have been one fact I used to rationalize our brunch fun the day before. 😉

Another reason why I not only forgive myself for letting loose the day before, but also am kind of glad I am, is because I was seriously psyching myself out the week leading up to the race. Every night from Sunday til Friday, I had interrupted nights of sleep with crazy anxiety-induced dreams. Some were unrelated to the race (for example, about my personal life or work), some were race-related. I was getting serious pre-race jitters…I think the fact that I wanted to show Tyler a good time during his visit was a good thing, because it distracted me from the fact that all of my hard work and training for 3+ months was coming to a head on Sunday morning. If we hadn’t gone out with my friends, I would have been way too focused on the race and, knowing me, I would have been a mess the night before/morning of the race.

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We ended up going to sleep around 11 the night before with a 6:45 wake up call. I woke up at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I just laid in bed and thought about how excited I was haha. Once our alarms went off, I jumped out of bed, yelled at Tyler to wake up, and started getting ready. We had toast and peanut butter and a banana, I took some of my fitmixer Clean Energy, and around 7:15, Chris arrived and we were on our way!

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pre-race essentials

I forgot that a ton of streets would be blocked off for the race, but we luckily got on the road before the first wave shot off, and were able to get waved across 13th Street even though it was barricaded. We found parking close to Raley Field and as we walked out of the car and I sighed, “PHEW THAT WASN’T AS STRESSFUL AS I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE”, the boys looked at me like I was crazy for expecting parking at 7:30am on a Sunday morning to be stressful. Apparently I was a little on edge!

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do i look nervous? BECAUSE I WAS.

The Race

About 7,000 people ran in the (10th annual!) Shamrock’n Half Marathon, and we were in Wave 2 of 4, scheduled for 8am. After the gun shot off, we didn’t actually cross the starting line for almost 10 minutes. Everyone was basically bottle necking into the starting line.

Chris and Tyler don’t like to know how far they’ve gone, whereas I am pretty anal about knowing exactly how far I’ve gone and how fast I’m going. So when MapMyRun told me how fast we were going, I kept the distance to myself but let the guys know occasionally what our pace was. I made sure that we stayed slow for the first 3-4 miles because I did not want to go out too fast.

The entire race was packed. I felt like we were passing people up the entire time. This ended up being a good thing, as passing people up requires you to speed up a bit. Also, Chris, Tyler & I totally worked as an awesome team. We didn’t even have to say anything- one of us would make a move to pass up whoever was in front of us, and the other 2 would just silently follow.

 

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picture from a training run- this is the narrow path all 7,000 of us had to fit through!

The first 5 miles were all flat through Downtown, we were running around 9:15 min/mile, and I felt comfortable the whole time. We hit the bike trail in the middle of mile 5 and I hit my stride- that’s where I trained every week! We picked up our pace, but I was still feeling good.

Around mile 8, Chris got in a zone and darted ahead. I knew that a big hill was coming up and that we wouldn’t be able to catch up with him on/after that hill, so Tyler and I took some of my PROBAR energy chews (AKA LIFESAVERS!) and sprinted to catch up. That mile was my second fastest mile. (My fastest mile was Mile 13…but we’ll get to that later 😉 ) We got over the hill and, according to MapMyRun, stayed around 9 minute miles or faster the rest of the race.

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JACKIE’S TRAIN usually greeted me around mile 7 or 8 of my training runs… i didn’t reach her until mile 11 on race day.

After that, mile 10 was rough. It was on a section of the course with the most hills. From 11 on, I didn’t know how I was going to finish. I knew I was going to…but I was pretty sure I would need a wheelchair for at least 2 weeks after. I was lucky to have no side cramps, no knee pain, no nothing. But starting around 10 or 11, my feet/toes were killing me and my legs felt like jelly.

There were 5 water/electrolyte stations, and I stopped at the last 3…One of the times I just took whatever liquid they gave me and dumped it over my head. Little did I know, it was electrolytes. Gatorade is so totally the new preferred hair gel of all the cool girls…

Our plan all along was to run together for the majority of the race, but it was every man for himself once we reached the last mile. Knowing that both of my partners were fit dudes upwards of 6 feet tall, I figured my chances of keeping up with them in a full on sprint was slim to none…which made me nervous for Mile 12 to arrive, because I knew we’d be splitting…

I started feeling terrible around mile 11. After having been the smiling face who sang out loud (and even did a little jumping leap to Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ at one point) through most of the race, I had become silent and started taking really deep breaths. I think it was apparent that I was feeling it. Mile 11.5 ish was the point where I felt like I could cry of exhaustion and pain.

Chris (who had already run two 13 milers on the dreadmill) turned to me and told me a few things that I won’t forget: “This is what you trained for!”; “That’s 12! You’ve already ran 12 before, what’s one more?”; and “Finish strong!”

About 30 seconds later, he darted ahead lol…however, his words definitely helped. Also, the fact that he was wearing a bright blue shirt in a sea of green made him easy to chase spot! 😉 About half a mile from the finish line on the Tower Bridge, I saw my dad with his camera and my mom cheering and I couldn’t help but smile and give my mom a huge high five. If Chris got me through 12-12.5, my mom’s super charged high five definitely got me through 12.5-13.1. According to MapMyRun, I ran mile 13 in 8:14. DAMN! No wonder I felt like crap!

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my dad snapped this pic right as i picked up the pace to give my mom a GIANT high five

The finish line was on the 3rd baseline of Raley Field, and I was so excited to finish that I was leaping over orange cones on the side of the dirt path so I could pass people up. I finished, found Chris, grabbed my medal, and turned around to hug Tyler as he finished. WE DID IT!

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Post-Race

Whoever planned this run had a seriously sick sense of humor. We knew we’d finish on the baseball field, but we didn’t realize this meant we were going to have to CLIMB UP THE STAIRS to get to the food/beer/results stations. It took us a while (maybe because I made the boys pose for the above selfie….) but we got there eventually.

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We saw my parents and took some pictures, then found Yvette and Lisa who had come to cheer me on. Then we hightailed it to the concession stands to get our free snack bags that consisted of KIND bars, bananas, goldfish crackers, and Oreos. Everything tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten.

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After checking out our official times and rejoicing in the fact that we all finished under 2 hours (!!!), we were going to check out the Massage Envy station, but realized we weren’t the only ones with that idea, and headed for beer instead.

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Everyone told me what a great sense of accomplishment I would feel after my first half marathon. I knew it was going to be awesome, but nothing could have prepared me for the wide range of emotions I felt all day  Sunday. I have a feeling it will rank up there as a day I will definitely never forget.

I felt pretty weak the hours after the race, probably because I was subsisting on bananas and KIND bars, but once I soaked my legs in Chris’s freezing cold pool and got some food in me at our barbecue, it was smooth sailing from there.

I have [not surprisingly] been super sore the past 2 days. Lower back, hips, quads, shins, calves…all of the muscles!!! I walked to and from work on Monday to loosen everything up, and I’ve been doin alright ever since. I’m going to go for a quick 3-4 mile run this morning and I am excited to pound the pavement again.

After a rough year or two that has been defined by injury, health problems, a bad break up, and losing my job…it feels incredible to know that I really can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

Thanks for sticking with me and supporting me through this journey, dear readers! With how well my first half marathon went, I don’t know how another one could go any better…but if there’s any chance that finishing another will lead to me feeling like I did after this one, then sign. me. UP.

<3

 

St Patrick’s Day Weekend in Photos

So when I typed in the title of this post I thought that it sounded a little familiar… Turns out I did this same post exactly one year ago with the same title.

One difference? In that post, in my description of my Saturday morning run, I boasted that “I was running at a really slow pace (9:57/mi), so I decided to go for extra distance and broke 3 miles! For the first time since before Thanksgiving! :-D”

I ran a FEWWWW more than 3 miles this weekend…

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13.1 to be exact…

And I averaged 8:59/mile!!

I am definitely planning on posting a complete recap of the race itself, but it wasn’t the only great thing that happened this weekend! I had a serious case of the Sunday blues last night, and if Mondays weren’t my busiest day of the workweek, I totally would have taken today off to ice my legs/cry myself back to sleep because the best weekend ever had to come to an end.

It all started on Friday evening – My brother spontaneously texted me and asked if I wanted to check out our family friend’s food truck with him. They were parking at Bike Dog, a local brewery I’ve been wanting to check out anyway!

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The food truck, Slightly Skewed, has some awesome skewers. I got bulgogi beef and brussels sprouts, and split an order of smashed fried potatoes with my brother (they’re smothered with sriracha and an tangy cilantro sauce). Our longtime neighbor Ben came too and got pork belly…omg.

I also tried a half pint each of their Pale Ale and IPA. I decided to buy a half growler of the IPA to share with Tyler once he arrived!

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Tyler arrived from SoCal around 9:30 and I took him out to meet up with my friends, enjoy some beers, and see a couple of my regular Sacramento spots. It was nice to catch up since I hadn’t seen him since 4th of July when we both visited our former housemate in San Francisco.

The next morning, Chris picked us up to head to Old Sacramento for a surprise birthday brunch! My friend Danny surprised his girlfriend (our friend) Courtney. She had no idea that 20 of her friends were waiting for her at Rio City Cafe in matching TEAM COURTNEY shirts!

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I got the brisket hash and it seriously hit the spot. I was on the fence about whether I’d indulge in bottomless mimosas the day before our race, but my love of the orange juice & champagne drink got the best of me and I caved. Slow and steady was the name of the game 😉

It was an absolutely gorgeous 75 degree day. We were seated outside with a view of the river, the Old Sacramento St Patty’s Day  Courtney’s Birthday Parade came through, and we all just laughed and enjoyed ourselves all afternoon!

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Tyler and I walked the mile and a half back to my apartment (umm, maybe an even worse choice than bottomless mimosas the day before our race) to hydrate and take it easy before meeting up with more friends who were on a St Patty’s day pub crawl.

We didn’t partake in many more drinks, and split off from the group to get burritos (last minute carb loading!) and rest up. We had an opportunity for a quick reunion with our college friend Lindsey who was stopping through town, so I took them to LowBrau and we all drank ice water and caught up 😛

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We were home by 10pm with a 6:45 wake up call, so after pinning our bibs, it was off to bed!

I woke up at 6am and was too excited to go back to sleep, so as soon as I heard Tyler’s alarm go off in the other room I sprang out of bed and yelled “IT’S RACE DAY!”…I’m sure he was pleased.

After some toast, peanut butter, and bananas, Chris picked us up and we headed to Raley Field. I don’t know how the guys were feeling, but if they were nervous they weren’t showing it! I was bouncing off the walls with excitement and nerves…and also because I was freezing.

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13.1 miles later…we made it!

I’ll save the nitty gritty details for another post, but suffice it to say the race went extremely well. We stayed together most of the race, then broke off at mile 13, but we all finished within 1 minute of each other. Chris led the pack at around 1:57:08 and I followed at 1:57:37, with Tyler at 1:58:10 (major props toooo ChronoTrack).

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That being said, miles 11-13 were hard. Like, insanely hard. I knew I would finish, but I was so exhausted (probably because we were averaging <9 min/mile!) and I was convinced I would never regain feeling in my legs. Two things got me through that last mile: 1) motivating words of encouragement from Chris, and 2) a high five from my mom with about a half mile left. Even though 95% of my training runs were solo, I seriously don’t know how I would have done this without the boys. We were in it together!

After our finish line beers, KIND bars, and bananas, we went home to shower and recover. Luckily, Chris’s apartment complex has an [unheated] pool, which we lounged by while sticking our feet in. It was like an ice bath, and it was probably the best recovery tool I used all day!!

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The next best recovery tool: an end of season dodgeball/St Patty’s day barbecue! A few guys on my team asked me (the team captain) to organize it, and it was the perfect way to cap off my half marathon day. We drank straw-ber-itas, ate lots of meat (PROTEIN!) and veggie kabobs, played ladder golf & cornhole, and Yvette even brought a pinata!

I seriously couldn’t have imagined a more perfect day, and more perfect weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Congrats to everyone else who completed the Shamrock’n!

For half marathoners- what was the highlight of your first half marathon?

What is your favorite drinking holiday? St Patty’s actually ranks pretty high on my list!

Fitness Friday — FINAL Half Marathon Training Update!

It’s here you guys…my race is THIS WEEKEND.

holy shit

CUE MAJOR FREAK OUT

After 14+ weeks of training, buckets of energy supplements and protein powder, hours of knee brace wearing, and many many early mornings…my half marathon is here!

To see why I chose to sign up for a half marathon, click here… and also be sure to check out training updates #1 and #2 and #3!

On Wednesday during my lunch break, I went to pick up my race packet (I knew they’d be slammed later in the week so I went as early as possible), as well as Tyler’s and Chris’s…

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forgot to customize my bib…. #fail

As I picked up our shirts, bibs, shamrock tattoos, and all.the.safety.pins, it really started to hit me. I’m running a HALF MARATHON this weekend.

I’m not going to lie to you guys- I’m really really nervous. I have had crazy dreams every night this week, which I’m convinced are anxiety-fueled.

But as I’ve talked to more friends who have run half marathons, my nerves have been calmed little by little. I know that I’m ready for this. I’ve been training diligently since December, and I’m on track to hit my pace goal. Here’s where I was last time I checked in:

Half marathon progress 2014-02-11

And here is my completed training plan!

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It was so weird only running 2 miles yesterday, you guys. I really wanted to go 3, but I convinced myself to stop at 2 because I knew I would be walking to work and that I had dodgeball later in the evening. Tapering is important!

Thoughts on my Last Weeks:

aches & pains

I’m happy to report that my knee pain has been minimal these last couple of weeks. It gives me a bit of grief from time to time on my shorter runs — probably because I’m running faster and on pavement — but otherwise it’s all good in the hooood. There were a couple of times where I was a little sore on Friday/Saturday or Mon/Tues from dodgeball on Sunday or Thursday evenings, but that’s nothing a little stretching can’t help!

This week, I ran a super speedy 5K (26:57, a new PR!) on Tuesday, skipped my Wednesday weight work out in favor of 45 more minutes of sleep and 8 Minute Abs, and a quick 2 miles yesterday. I’m hoping the extra rest will be a good thing come Sunday morning!

I’m thinking about taking Tyler on a bike ride tomorrow so he can see the course (it’s on a bike trail), but I’ve been reading that vigorous activity is to be avoided the day before the race. Any insight??

lifestyle changes

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I have been consciously trying to put only good things into my body for the past 2 weeks, and I think I’ve done a good job. I ate lunch out again (see bottom left) at a new vegetarian restaurant in town, but chose a grilled cheese with garlic & swiss chard and a side of beans. Protein! Fiber! It could have been worse 😉

There may have been a couple of orders of fries in there (and more than a couple of spoonfuls of Nutella…), but hey, I’m not super woman! Nor do I claim to be. I feel much stronger and healthier knowing that I’m not restricting myself. Plus, lately I’ve been rationalizing any extra food I consume during the day as HALF MARATHON FUEL.

As much as it pains me to not celebrate St Patrick’s day this weekend (my Irish grandma would be ashamed), especially with Tyler coming to town to visit and run the race…Abstention (or at least moderation) is the name of the game today and tomorrow.

I did indulge in some drinks last night after dodgeball because it was the last night of the season and I’m taking next season off- but I am so glad I did, because I had a great time with my friends as always! And I was home in bed before midnight :)

Plus, how could you say no to hanging out at the bar with that adorable minion face?!

race day

We are in Wave #2 starting at 8am on Sunday. Not too early, which is nice! The high temp for the day is going to be 80 degrees (yippee!) but I’m anticipating it will be high 40’s-low 50’s when we run. Regardless, I’m probably going to run in shorts and a tank top because sista gets sweaty!

I think the race is going to be extremely fun, with 13 live bands playing all over the course. So much for that running playlist I made, right? The reason I signed up for a half was in large part due to how much fun I had doing the Run to Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving- it was an extremely popular race with tons of onlookers, participants, people cheering, live music, mimosa stations… I’m expecting this race to be a lot like that 10K. There are 4 waves worth of runners, so it’s going to be a packed course!

Here are some things I’m going to try and remember for race day:

  • Don’t start too fast– this was a problem for me in my 1st 10K because I wanted to pass everyone up
  • Use the aid stations– I’ll also have some PROBAR energy chews, but dehydration is no joke
  • Focus on finishing, not the time– Though my goal is 2:00:00, I know that the real accomplishment is just finishing. I’m also going to have to try not to push myself too hard to race the boys I’m running with, haha.

Since I didn’t customize my bib, I’m also planning on writing things on my body…Possibly some kind of mantra on my hand, maybe my name on my arm/shoulder. We’ll see how I feel on race morning :)

Wish me luck!!!

For those in Sacramento wanting to watch the race, there’s a great page on the Shamrock’n website listing all the best places to spectate. Hope to see you there!

Any last minute advice?

Do you have any good (succinct) workout/running mantras that inspire you?

Friday Favorites + A Call for Running Songs!

Happy Friday everyone!

I really can’t believe how fast the weeks go by when my workdays are busy. When getting through each day feels like a huge accomplishment, it kinda sneaks up on you when 5 are already under your belt!

I’m linking up with Katie this week to share my Friday Favorites! Enjoy!

Favorite Pup:

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My love for pugs is well-documented on this blog. I died when I saw this. Died.

Favorite Splurge (but not really): Fabletics

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So I’ve mentioned a few times on here that I am obsessed with workout clothes.

Somehow I came across Fabletics on Facebook last week and I realized they were having a special – all new VIP members could get any outfit for $25.99! After taking a quick lifestyle quiz, I got my suggested outfits — every single outfit was super cute, and some included up to 3 pieces! (top, bottoms, and a headband or sports bra!) I got the one above (except I chose a top that was white & green, grey/teal shorts, and yellow headband).

Unlike most subscription services, you aren’t automatically charged every month for signing up to be a VIP member- at the beginning of each month, they send you an e-mail with outfits that fit your needs/taste, and if you don’t see any you like, you can opt out. The normal price for VIP members is $49.99 per outfit, which is still a steal!

Click here to check it out and sign up – did I mention it’s free to join? #free.99 #myfavoriteprice

Favorite Text:

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You know you have a problem when you text your friend that you’re going to Grocery Outlet and she already knows what you’re going to get 😉 I’m so predictable.

Favorite Half Marathon Apparel:

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I found these two shirts on Etsy and have been surveying Facebook and my friends all week about which I should wear to the Shamrock’n Half Marathon next weekend… Which one do you think I should pick?

Favorite Visit:

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My uncle Bobby was in town from Florida for a quick work trip earlier this week and my dad and I got the opportunity to meet up with him! We were going to meet him at his hotel, but in Bobby’s words, “I see pictures on your blog every week of you drinking beers all around town…I want to get a beer with my niece!!!” Jeez, twist my arm would ya?!

We went to Tank House, a new-ish BBQ joint in Midtown. Sacramento Beer Week is still going strong and they were featuring beers from Anchor Brewing, a somewhat local San Francisco brewery. Thanks for treating us to a fun evening, Uncle Bobby!

Favorite Song to Run to:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM&w=560&h=315]

Pharrell – Happy

Who doesn’t love this song right now? If you just raised your hand, you officially have no soul. This song never fails to put a smile on my face and a little pep in my step!

Speaking of music that puts pep in your step… I need your suggestions!

I used to have a running playlist, but it was only about 30 minutes long. This was it:

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You’ll notice it is EXTREMELY outdated, haha.

When I started running longer distances this summer, I gave up the running playlist in favor of just playing my iPhone’s library on shuffle, since that would never run out of music!

However, I have noticed that upbeat music seriously makes a difference in my pace and motivation when I run, so I am putting together a playlist for next weekend’s half marathon! (OMG- NEXT WEEKEND….)

Last night I asked my BFF for some of her favorite songs, and added a few that I’ve enjoyed running to during my long runs these past few weeks:

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Basically I will run to anything that is

  • A) motivational (Stronger, Born This Way, Survivor, anyone?),
  • B) Fast-paced (Mean and Toxic both fit into this category), OR
  • C) Happy go lucky enough to make me wanna sing or dance while I run (Happy, Marry You, and I Love It for sure!)

So, now I ask you:

What are your favorite songs to run to?