Thursday, October 23, 2014

Race Recap: Buffalo Creek Half Marathon 2014

The Buffalo Creek Half Marathon is one of my favorite races.  Yes, I have only done it one other time but the scenery is beautiful, the course is easy and the race organizers are wonderful. 

The race was on Saturday, October 18th and started at 9am.  The temp was around 50 with dark, rain clouds looming above.  There was a cold breeze and everyone was just ready to get moving.  I met up with a few other ladies and we huddled together to stay warm until the start. 

I had to keep reminding myself that I could not start off too fast because that is what everyone does and it will only hurt me in the end if I start too quickly.  This is a long run and I needed to conserve energy. 

As I was running, I was keeping up with the girls I was huddled up with but I very quickly realized that they were running faster than what I had planned for so I slowed my pace.  I ended up right next to a friend and so I started to run with her pack.  They had the same exact pace plan as I did and so we ran. 

I was feeling good and keeping up.  I was listening to music in one ear and holding up conversation with them.  It's funny some of the things we talked about while running.  The same sorts of things you talk about while you are sitting around at a friend's house.......the best bras, boob sizes, clothing, drinking, etc.  It was like an active gathering to chat.

The course is on a trail through the woods.  The trail was previously a railway that was converted to a bike/walk/run trail.  There are trailheads that intersect with roads and at those points, spectators are welcome to park and watch the runners.  As we were coming up to a trailhead, I saw my parents.  My dad was there, ready with his camera and my mom (she's a high energy nut) was jumping up and down, waving her arms, yelling "I love you! Great job! My baby!" My dad captured this picture of us at that time......
That is me on the left with the pink socks, running to my mom!  A great moment captured that really expresses how happy I was to see my parents.  I was so thankful for that and for their support.  There is nothing like running a long distance race, wondering if you are going to make it, getting tired and then seeing your parents cheering you on. It gave me a boost in my run and I felt a lot better.

That was, I believe around mile 8-9.  We continued on and I was starting to get tired and my legs were feeling heavy.  My breathing wasn't where it needed to be.  My body was starting to hate me.  I trained for this but maybe, it just still wasn't enough.  I started to lag behind a bit from the girls.  As the mile went on, I fell farther behind.  I didn't expect them to wait for me or slow down for me, this was just as much their race as it was mine so they continued on as I slowed. 

I was feeling terrible about what was happening and I questioned myself a few times about whether I could catch up and push myself to stay with them. The distance was too far and I knew that even if I could catch up, I wouldn't be able to keep up. So, I began running alone.  It is so lonely to run alone when you are 10 miles into a half marathon.  Mile 10-11 was tough....the toughest.  I had the same experience last year at this point.  My legs were heavy and wanting to give up.  That was not an option. 

I pushed ahead and was even able to smile for a picture as I passed a photographer:

 This is a major improvement from last year's picture at this point, last year, I was looking like I may just die so I made sure to smile and give a thumb's up! When you get to this point, you start to do a countdown.  You know that you have less than 3 miles to go and you can do it. The end is closer than the beginning and you feel a bit better.

The last few miles were still tough but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I was nearing the end and as I came across the bridge to snake to the finish line, my dad caught this picture of me:
When you get to this point in the race, you can see the finish line and I have to say that I was so happy to see that.  It gave me just what I needed to keep going to finish the race. Here are the two finish line pics of me:

I finished with a time of 2:20:59!  My time from last year was 2:32:40 so I had a 12 minute decrease in time and a new PR!!  This year was definitely easier than last year because I trained more and better. All in all, I am so proud of this accomplishment and I can't wait to do it again next year. 

Next up on the running schedule:
Pittsburgh area MRTT Donut Run
EQT 10 Miler

Monday, October 20, 2014

Aviva Advanced Hair Nutrition Review

I was chosen through the lovely folks over at Bulu, to participate in a great review of a product that was made to help with hair nutrition.  It was exactly what I needed.  There I was sitting there with this dried out, boring hair that could really use some intervention. 

Aviva Advanced Hair Nutrition is said to help with the following:
            * Boosts Length
            * Builds Strength
            * Improves Texture
            * Increases Shine
            * Balances Hair Health
            * Reduces Shedding

Now, of all of those benefits, the ones that I really was interested in or needed the most help with were: strength, shine and reduced shedding.  I always had a lot of breakage, dull hair and major shedding.  I was like a German Shepherd during the spring when they shed all their undercoat! 
Take one capsule, twice a day with food.
 After taking two capsules a day for 30 days, I have noticed a major difference!!  First, the reduced shedding is amazing.  My family is no longer finding my hair all over the house and the shower drain is thanking me and Aviva for the clear flow it can now experience! 

My hair is definitely stronger and shinier as well.  I am so happy with how my hair is breaking less and I feel like if I continue with this regimen, it will continue to gain strength.  I do see more of a shine to my hair as well, however, I feel like I need to allow more time for that. 

Another thing that I really appreciate about Aviva is the science and explanation behind it.  I am the type of person that wants as much information as possible.  They include an informational packet in the box that explains their products and how they work.  It also lays out the timeline/phases of hair growth and strengthening.  

Aviva has been seen in many media outlets, such as: Elle Magazine, Lucky Magazine, Essence, Bazaar, Self, The Huffington Post, Fox News, and has had special features in Brides Magazine and NBC. 

There are many success stories online about Aviva and what it has done for others.  You can check them out here.

Overall, I am happy with my results so far with Aviva Advanced Hair Nutrition.  I would recommend it to anyone looking for stronger, healthier hair.  I may even try out some of their other products to further help my hair. 

Disclaimer: I was not paid monetarily for this review.  I was provided a supply of Aviva Advanced Hair Nutrition in exchange for my honest opinion and review of the product.  All opinions are mine and I was not scripted for this review. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yikes! Where Was I?!

I took a short break from the blog over the last few weeks as I was super busy and life just has a way of getting in the way, you know?!

I've been continuing with my running and working out to prepare for my upcoming half marathon which is now only 3 days away!! I am starting to get anxious and nervous about it.  I mean, I know I can do it but I am afraid of being a wimp about it.  I don't want to get out there and struggle.  I feel like I am training well and getting in my long runs that I didn't do properly last year so I should do better this year. I just don't want to disappoint myself, I guess.

Here are a few things I have been doing:

Chuck and I ran the Pittsburgh Great Race 10k. The weather was great, although it started to get warm by the time we were finishing.  The course is beautiful and I've never run a race with that many people before.  I mean I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay but people were more spread out at that point.  This race, we found it hard to navigate around people that were slower that we needed to pass up.  All in all, it was great and we both said we would do it again next year.  I love having my husband by my side as I run.  He is such a great supporter and partner. 
The view as we were coming out of Oakland to see the view of the city! An awesome sight!

Me after the race.

I was trying to capture a picture of the mass of people running. Didn't work so well ha!

We've also been trying to spend more time with the kids. It's not that we've been doing a ton of fun stuff but we are spending time together which is very important when your kids are any age, let alone teenagers.  A few pictures when we were spending some time in the city.

Pittsburgh has a really cool water feature and walkway beside the convention center. I love it!
We've also been busy with Chuckie's football season.  He's doing really well this year but plays mostly defense.  He is good at it but we have been so used to years of him running the ball that it has been an adjustment for all of us.  He is having fun and the season will come to an end next week which is always a sad time for me. I love watching him and his team play.

Jada went to Homecoming which was great for her. Seeing our daughter looking so grown up was hard for us ha! She looked great and had a ton of fun with her friends. No boys, yet!

Lincoln is sailing through school this year, so far.  It is so great to see him enjoying school and not struggling like last year.  The decision we made to have him repeat first grade is quite possibly the best decision we've ever made in our lives.  No more tears and fighting.  We are seeing excitement about all subjects and more smiles along the way.