Friday, December 28, 2012

In a Slump

We've all been there- eager to get out and hit the pavement; excited to sweat and push your body. But then the excitement wears off and the motivation fades. Staying in bed sounds much sweater than getting out in the cold; and cuddling up by the fire with your honey is much more tempting than heading to the gym after work.

This time of year I always find myself full of excuses not to exercise. It's cold. It's dark. My belly aches from eating mounds of banana pudding.

But I know the one thing that gets my booty off the couch and my feet in some Asics. Two magic words that gets my blood pumpin' and the music on my iPod blarin': Race Registration.

I've been stalking like it's my job, searching for the perfect 2013 races. I have many races that are maybes and a few that are definite! Maybe some PRs. Maybe some PDRs. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's not time for New Year resolutions yet.

I am mentally allowing myself to stay in this slump until the new year. I'm letting my body and my mind take a break from the year-of-constant-training (aka: 2012). But come January 1st, I'm lacing up my Asics and strapping on the Garmin. And boy, am I excited!

Happy slumping,

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


The stockings were hung. The tree was lit. The presents were opened. Lots of hugs and laughter was shared. And barely one picture was taken. I was too busy loving on my family and stuffing my face with amazing food.

Oh wait, I did take one picture.

That's my adorably cute brother gushing while he talks to me. Okay, so maybe he's just really excited about his new iPad, but whatever. Half of that smile is because of me...maybe.

I came into this week completely stressed out between traveling, work, and getting the house ready for family. But yet again, I was reminded how none of things I was freaking out about mattered. No one cares about perfectly wrapped gifts or that I didn't have time to take a shower (uh, right?). My family and friends just wanted to see me, hug me, and love on me. I am truly blessed.

My hope is that you also realize how loved and cherished you are.

Happy holiday-ing,

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Clarks Go To Europe!


That's right! Next Spring Josh and I will leave for a 17-day adventure around Europe to England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. This is a life long dream of ours and I can't believe it will come true in just a few short months (137 days to be exact)! We are so thankful for the opportunity for this trip, as this is a once in a life time opportunity.

Stay tuned, because I plan to share all the details in planning, coordinating, and scheduling this 2+ week European vacation.

Get excited! Because we sure are! It is going to be a-maz-ing.

Happy Planning,

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fayetteville Half Marathon Recap

Last weekend I ran the Fayetteville Half Marathon with a goal to set a massive personal record. Seeing how I was the poster child for this race, I knew I wanted to do well.
Why yes, I love this very flattering picture of me, so of course you can plaster it all around Fayetteville.  You're welcome. 

Let's back track a little here. The first months of my training were awesome. I was consistent with my tempo, speed, hill and long runs and was hitting ideal paces for my 2:00.00 goal. Then November came around, as did some IT band issues, parties, holiday gatherings, and other lame excuses that affected my training. By the time December was here, it had been weeks since I had a quality run, much less the amount of weekly mileage I needed.

Story of my life: Dish out some awesome training, then screw it up a month before the race. Why even do the work if I'm going to throw it all out the window. I suck.
Flash back to March 2012, when I spent months training for 26.2 miles only to back out weeks prior to the race and only run the half. Again, story of my life.

As race day crawled closer, I altered my plans. I decided 2:10 was a more realistic time goal, but still seemed like a dream. Worst case scenario, I was hoping for anything under 2:17 (which would give me a PR).

SPOILER ALERT: I wanted to drop out by mile 8. Worst. Case. Scenario.

You would thinking, living in Fayetteville, I wouldn't be surprised by the hills. And you would think, looking at the elevation chart, that the hills wouldn't be too unbearable. But my friends, for this flat-road loving girl, you would be wrong. The hills kicked by sweet booty, and I cursed each one.

Half mile hill at 1.5-I got this.
1.5mile climb at miles 6 and 10- I hate you.

Looking at my splits, you can see the exact correlation between a hill and my dropping pace (i.e.: miles 2, 7, 8, and 12). 

Mile 1- 10:07
Mile 2- 10:51
Mile 3- 9:25
Mile 4- 10:04
Mile 5- 9:33
Mile 6- 9:47
Mile 7-11:04
Mile 8- 11:26 *Seriously wanted to quit.
Mile 9- 10:19
Mile 10- 10:10
Mile 11- 10:29
Mile 12- 11:37
Mile 13- 9:31
.13- 10:00

I really think I should win the award for most consistent splits ever. NOT!

I was never able to get in a rhythm during this race (obviously). Each hill totally screwed up my breathing and left me mentally defeated; by the time I got settled into a good stride, the next hill came and did the exact same thing. I knew Josh was waiting for me at mile 8, so I put every effort into just making it to him. If I wanted to quit at that point, then I would.

When I finally saw him, he could tell I was struggling. I told him I wanted to quit; I was miserable, I hated my training and my goals were out the window. He let me vent a little, then kindly encouraged me to keep going for "only five more miles."

That's when I remember that my husband basically walked this course last year because of an injury, and that didn't cause him to quit. If he could finish, I could too. I was going to cross that dadgum finish line, even if I had to crawl!
Fayetteville Half 2011
aka: Clark Walk-a-thon

While I went slower the second half, I hunkered down and finished. After seeing Josh, at every mile marker, I tried to do the math to find out what pace I needed to maintain to get me there under 2:17.

..."If I'm at mile 9.25 with x total time of running, how fast do I need to run to get there under 2:17." Yea, impossible for me, even with a calculator.

But I must have done some kind of calculations right, because as I rounded onto the John McDonnell Track I knew I'd be crossing the finish line with 2:15:xx on the board.

Alex Clark
10:21 pace
F25-29: 15/40
Overall: 343/520

Look, a blurry picture of my medal.
Please ignore the unwrapped presents under our tree. 
A new shiny PR, and hopefully, a lesson learned: If you don't give 100% in training, then you can't give 100% on race day.

Happy Racing,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Letter to You

Dear long lost reader,

Wow. Has it really been since early September that I last wrote a post? My, how the time has flown. I could lie and say that I have missed it, but I've actually enjoyed the break.

I mainly use this blog as a way to keep in touch with family and friends (ask anyone, I am a horrible long-distance friend) and to help journal my life (I have a terrible memory and I am constantly searching my blog's database to recall past sad. Sorry honey, but I will definitely have dementia when I get older). Taking a three month break has left me refreshed and eager to write.

So I promise to be back. Sooner, rather than later. With lots of fun updates.

Happy Reading,