Swimmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmming and running! ;)


So far we have had four days of swim practice. We would have had more, but due to cold-ish weather, we missed two days. But so far I am loving it! I come home from every practice hungry and exhausted. I enjoy that: having a reason to eat so much food!! πŸ˜‰ But I really do love it. I can feel myself getting stronger. And sorer.

Last night, I was so tired. I went to bed at 10:30 which is early for me and then I woke up at 8:30. A good ten hours of sleep and the only thing I wanted to do all day was go back to sleep! I’m used to being tired cause of school but this is a different kind of tired! And when I do sleep it is so peaceful! πŸ™‚ I love it.

Another great thing about swimming is the sun! πŸ™‚ Right now our practice is from 4:45-6:00 so I am fully enjoying that late afternoon sun for a full hour!!! πŸ˜‰

Our coach is awesome. He really likes swimming. He’s strong. He’s funny. He’s friendly. I like him! πŸ™‚

So yeah. Swimming swimming swimming. I love to swim.

BUT THIS IS A RUNNING BLOG!!! πŸ˜‰

So I am going to tell you all something! I have a race on Saturday! I’m not the least bit nervous cause that’s really on the back burner right now but I do wish that I had more time to TRAIN FOR IT! I really wanted to make this my best race ever and blow last year’s race time out of the ring… but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I know I can run a 22:30 which is technically “blowing last year’s time out of the ring” but in my mind it’s not good enough. I ran a 20-minute 5k once. See, I know I can do that well. But I’m thinking that with my infrequent training and my recent slowing of pace (what is up with that?!) that a 20-minuteΒ 5k is NOT gonna happen. Sadly. But truthfully. Too bad. Cause if I ran 20 minutes I would totally place in my age group and that would be awesome.

Anyways, so that is my recap/heads up of my sports endeavors!!! πŸ˜‰

What are your recent sports endeavors?

Me and my exercising!!! ;)


So, today was a Wednesday.

Which is usually a running day.

BUT NOT TODAY!

“Why?”,Β do you ask?

Because today swimming started!

I am doing a summer swim team with my awesome friend Mary! Today was (as I already said…) our first practice and I was super excited all day. Okay, actually I have been excited about swim team starting since I signed up for it like three months ago! See, when I was younger I was on swim team with Abby and I was actually pretty good. Of course that was like three+ years ago but IΒ wasΒ good, so I was excited/nervous to see how my swimming skills are/will improve.

I am OUT of shape.

But that’s okay.

I’m super competitive so being on a team is good for me! I refused to let anyone pass me and I actually passed about half of the team so by the end of the 75-minute practice I had established myself as, at the least, a fighter. πŸ˜‰

We did a bunch of drills for freestyle and it was so hard. By the end of it, I was SO sore. But, it was the good kind of sore. Β The “I-just-kicked-butt” kind of sore. πŸ˜‰ (sorry Mom…) Running is a really good workout but swimming? Swimming is by far the best sport in the world. If you want to get in shape, swim. Okay?

I LOVEEE to swim. I do! And it’s only been the first practice. And I already remember why I loved it. Well, I never really forgot.

Don’t worry. I’m not ditching running!! I was itching to get out there all day, but Mary had warned me that the first day is always a big workout (mostly cause you are out of shape ;P) so I decided to conserve my energy and just chill out at home.

Chill out: to eat food and tan. And go on walks with your little brothers.

That’s what I did. All day. It was fun. I was feeling lazy. Obviously. πŸ˜‰ I was also coming down off of my high from last night’s party. No. Not a real high. Just an excitement, I-love-people high. πŸ™‚ Just clearing that up. MY POINT IS, I am very glad that I conserved my energy cause I definitely needed all of it!

Have I mentioned that I love to exercise? I feel like I have….

Person: You want to go on Β a 20-mile bike ride?

Me: YESSSSSS!!!!!

 

Person: You want to go on a 7-mile run?

Me: I’m game!!

 

Person: You want to go practice with Michael Phelps for five hours?

Me: Duh!!!

 

Person: You want to go work out at the gym?

Me: Can you get me in?

 

Person: You want to play a game of 1-on-1 street ball??

Me: (How can you answer NO to that question!?!? πŸ˜‰ )

 

Okaaay. You get the picture? Yes? Good?

 

 

 

Memorial Day in Pictures!


It was decided that Abby and I would host the Memorial Day picnic this year. And I have to say, it was a success! πŸ™‚

This was the watermelon-lemonade that I made! πŸ™‚ It had watermelon chunks in it and everyone said it was delicious. πŸ™‚

This was our meal. Roast beef melts, cole-slaw, apple-walnut salad, watermelon, corn salad, and gazpacho!!! πŸ™‚

The roast beef melts were super amazing!!!

I didn’t take any pictures of our various desserts because two families came over and I stopped taking pictures of FOOD and started taking pictures of my friends! πŸ™‚

Abby and Ann were obviously SUPER interested!!! πŸ˜‰

I forgot to take picture before Lisa and Tess left so there are only pictures of Abby, Ann, Mary, and I! But there are lots of them!!! πŸ˜‰

Me getting my hair cut. It’s not really a noticeable difference.

My hair is so RED!!! O_o

Abby was not on board with the picture-taking.

Ann, Abby, Mary, and I!!!!

❀

And then, after the party was over… I went on a much-needed run. I was very sore from my sprints on Saturday so I needed to work out my sore muscles. I ran 3.1 miles. I wasn’t impressed with my time. I signed up for the 5k last night. It’s in two weeks and I want to place in it. But I looked at the results from last year and I have to be running an average sub-7 minute pace so I’m not sure if I will be able to do that. Today I ran 22:49. I wasn’t happy. That is an obvious change from last year’s time but I really want to get it to 21 minutes. I did run my last mile at a 7:07 pace though so that was awesome! πŸ™‚ Anyways, I am really going to try to get faster before the race but I don’t want to burn out. I guess we’ll see! πŸ™‚ Also, part of it depends on conditions. Today I was tired out from throwing a party, I was sore from Saturday’s training and it was REALLY hot out. I was sweating buckets. Hopefully on race day, I will be well-rested, have relaxed muscles, and it will be cooler since it’s in the morning! πŸ™‚

This is me after my run. Pardon the bathtub in the background!! Our bathroom has really good lighting! πŸ˜‰

So, yep! πŸ™‚ That was my day.

How was your Memorial Day?

Winning Spiel


I just wanted to show you all something that came in the mail for me yesterday! πŸ™‚

Yes! πŸ™‚ You see how it’s all crumpled? That’s because I read it and jumped up and started screaming and jumping around! πŸ™‚ And as if that’s not awesome ENOUGH:

It’s a medal! For fourth place! And it’s personalized! This is like my biggestΒ achievementΒ in my entire life! πŸ™‚ I feel like I have finally accomplished something that I can really be proud of! πŸ™‚ I am just so excited about this! πŸ™‚

And the other awesome thing is that this medal makes me look back and realize how much I have improved in my own PERSONAL running. Also, it gives me momentum to keep striving for better! I truly hope that at some point in each of your lives, you can win a medal for something that you truly care about, be it a race, or a speech tournament, or a basketball game! Winning is awesome. But it’s even better when it really means something to you and when it’s something you’ve worked for! πŸ™‚

Okay. I’m done with that little spiel! πŸ™‚

Today I did 10 100-meter sprints with my brother and a friend. It was awesome. When I do sprints by myself I don’t run as fast, but when I’m doing sprints with a 5′ 10″ guy as my competition? That’s when I actually SPRINT! So I definitely got my workout for the day! πŸ™‚ I love working out with guys cause they are super tough and fast and athletic and when I work out with them I get BETTER! πŸ™‚

 

So what’s the thing you are most proud of at this point in your life?

I’m a runner AND a coach!! :)


WARNING: I am in an insanely happy mood, so if you’re grumpy then you might not want to read this post! πŸ˜‰

Yesterday, I ran 6.2 miles. That is the farthest I have gone in a long long time! πŸ™‚ I think the best part of that is that I ran sub-8 minute miles the entire time! I came home, drenched in sweat and smiling! And limping. But I stretched so all is good! πŸ™‚ Anyways, it was a beautiful hot day and my iPod played awesome music! Have I ever told you how I sing along to the songs on my iPod as I’m running? I think I have. It’s quite a sight. I ran on the trail and it hurt my ankles a little but I’m hoping to strengthen my ankles and shins so that they are strong enough to run on trails.

This would be the victorious “I just finished 6.2 miles” look!

I’m planning on signing up for a 5K today or tomorrow and I am hoping to dominate!! πŸ™‚ If any of you have checked out my “Me, Running” page, the race I want to sign up for is the first one on that list! I ran it last year but I have gotten TONS faster since then! Anyways, that’s in two weeks. But the reason I’m bringing that up is because James, my younger brother, is already signed up for it! He’s going to run it too!! Remember when I took the ACT? Well, that same day there was a 5K across the street from my house that the elementary school was holding. James ran that race and that was when he got into running. So, he trained for awhile and he got money from all our relatives and some friends so that he could enter this race. I was insanely jealous of that because….races ARE expensive. πŸ™‚ Anyways, so for awhile, he’d run with my mom and they were all training and he got his money and signed up, etc. But then, he kind of lost interest. The race was still like a month away and he just found other things to do. Now, we have about two weeks before the race and Mom goes, “James!! Aren’t you signed up for the race?! You need to train!”

So, guess who got volunteered to help him train.

If you guessed me, you win!

Apparently, since I’m the runner of the family, I’m also the coach!

I really don’t mind. It’s insanely fun for me. For him? Not so much. But for me, it rocks! I ride on my bike behind him, listening to my iPod and singing the songs so James will be “entertained”. Today, I got a couple of weird looks from people which made me laugh.

Self-portraits ftw!!!

Please enjoy the picture because it’s really scary to take a picture of yourself, when you are riding a bike with NO functioning brakes with one hand, behind a little boy who keeps STOPPING.

Which brings me to the second reason it’s so fun! I get to scream, “RUN JAMES!!!! KEEP GOING! DON’T STOP!” And eventually, “JAMES I AM NOT KIDDING! KEEP RUNNING! GOOOOOO!” I think the next time, I’m going to need to roller-blade or something cause it’s really hard to get him to run when I’m on a bike. Like at one point I had to get off my bike and run with him (holding his shirt) so that he’d start running again. Then I ran back and got back on my bike.

Maybe I am taking this whole training thing a LITTLE too seriously, but I feel like if he’s going to run, then he should RUN!!!! He comes home and he goes, “She only let me take ONE break!” I was like, “James. If you want to run, then you RUN, you don’t take breaks!” Well actually, he didn’t want to run, but I made him. Whatever. He’s always happy with the results though. When we got home, I mapped it out and he’d run approximately 2.3 miles and he was so proud of himself! πŸ™‚ And I was proud of him. The little whiner. πŸ™‚

Here he is!

He’s a cutie. And at the race, he’ll run the whole thing without stopping, thanks to my hard-core training!! πŸ˜‰

 

Today’s Run


I am sorry to say to you all that I didn’t run four miles today as the majority polled.

But I have an explanation!!! I always do! πŸ˜‰

All day, the results for the poll were three miles at 50 percent and 5 miles at 50 percent. I was REALLY hoping that if anyone else voted it would NOT be for five miles!! πŸ™‚ Before I went on my run I couldn’t find my piano music for my recital tonight. And I freaked out. So, I was searching all over. Eventually I found it but by then I was so upset that I just left and went on my run. Without checking the poll one last time.

So I just ran three miles. When I set out on that run, I wasn’t planning on running five miles. Here’s why: my legs are really tight. Sometimes this happens. And I’m pretty sure this just means I need to stretch more…but right about now I am REALLY wishing I had a foam roller.

I ran three miles. In 22:28. Which means that I sped up yesterday’s pace by 10 seconds. Of course I also only ran three miles and I am pretty sure that there wasn’t a fourth one inside of me! πŸ™‚

Tonight is my piano recital! Please be praying that all will go well! I will post a picture later alright?


Well I’d like to show you all something! πŸ™‚

There are the results from yesterday’s poll! πŸ™‚ I was really excited that people ACTUALLY voted!! Now I am pretty sure that the poll didn’t show up for everyone. I’m not really sure why…but if it doesn’t show up for you than you can refresh the page. πŸ™‚ Now, one of my readers suggested that I “run as long as you can, as fast as you can, that way you can’t let yourself down and it will give you a good work out each time” and I have to admit that this is a VERY good idea but…I need serious motivation some days and you guys are really good motivation! πŸ™‚

Here are my splits of the day! πŸ™‚ Four miles. Just like I promised!! I am so seriously glad that four won out over five by one vote because I was DYING by the end of today’s run!

I just went over to the track with a couple friends after my class! It was really fun. They did one of Abby’s many workouts and I ran. And ran. And ran.

I have to say I am not super pleased with my pace but like I said yesterday I’m just going to try to not complain because I can’t expect to be super fast after this past weekend…

But I really hope my pace starts increasing again…or decreasing….GETTING FASTER. πŸ™‚

Do you guys have favorite pump-up songs? I’d love to add some to my running playlist!! Make sure to leave a comment below with you personal favorite pump-up song! πŸ™‚

New Idea


After my visit to VA, I was inspired.

During our college visit, one of the speakers talked about how they wanted to be the best for God. I was like, “Lightbulb!” Of course! It’s notΒ meΒ running fast! It’s God giving me the capabilities to run fast. So, I was like:

Okay! When I get home, I am going to put my whole heart into every run I do. I am not going to hold anything back. And I’m going to give all my “running glory” to God!

Then I got home.

I lost a LOT of my training during those four days. I’m not really sure why. I think it might have to do with the amount of food I ate. I don’t know…maybe? πŸ˜‰

Anyways, on Monday, I was still kind of detoxing from my big weekend so I decided that even though I was SLOW and I had to keep stopping, it didn’t matter. Because I was still in detox mode. So of course I was going to feel sick. But today? Today would be different!

Before I set out on my run, I was nervous. I really wanted this run to be “redeeming”. To remind me that I am still a good runner. I seriously was nervous. I was like, “Am I going to be able to do this?” I wanted to run four miles and put my whole heart into each mile. My goal pace is obviously a seven-minute mile but… I didn’t think that was going to happen. I thought maybe like 7:20 or something.

So I went.

I had new songs on my iPod to run to with a really nice beat so I was glad for that! And today was a beautiful day, albeit a little humid. My first mile I ran in record time–7 minute pace: check! But it was really difficult. I was definitely running my heart out. And I kept slowing down. I couldn’t go faster. I was out of breath and couldn’t get my legs to go faster.

And I was slowing.

This was not my redeeming run.

And I hate to say it but it ruined my day.

I was grumpy for the rest of the day.

And then I realized something.

If I’m going to glorify God when I PR or have a really GOOD run. Then: I can’t have a bad day and be grumpy when I have a less-than-perfect run. Because my running is up to God. I will put all my effort into it and He will give me the results.

Does that sound holy? I’m not a holy person. I try to be a good christian and recently I am trying to put even more effort into it…but I have to admit that I am a looong way from fully fulfilling the above statement (s).

You guys could pray for me. I’d appreciate that.

Anyways, so my day was ruined by my run, until I realized that I was approaching things from the wrong perspective.

Okay. Moving on.

I have decided that to keep my mileage at what I want it to be I am going to let you all decide how many miles I run each day. Because I don’t want to let you all down!! So of course I will run the number of miles that the majority votes for!! πŸ™‚ Abby says that no one cares…but well if you don’t care then just don’t vote and I will pick up on that and give it up. But for now! Here’s my poll for how many miles I will run tomorrow!

How’d your day go? And thanks for voting!! πŸ™‚

Virginia!!!


Okay so before this past week, I NEVER understood why people liked to go to Virginia.

I seriously thought that it was all like old battlefields andΒ seriously: WHY would I want to go there??

I now understand.

It is beautiful there! There are mountains everywhere. And it smells so fresh and nature-ish. It is so different compared to the flatness of Illinois. I just loved it there!

I really wish I could have found my camera because everything there is picture-worthy.

This past weekend consisted of limited sleep, too much food, and running .49 of a mile. And lots of driving. As in, 30-plus hours of driving.

But it was so worth it. And what with our multiple movies, multiple snacks, packs of gum, stacks of cds, and breathtaking views…it wasn’t really all that bad! πŸ™‚ And there was the anticipation. After all, Β we were going to visit the awesomest college in the world. Of course, I didn’t really realize that until we pulled into town and saw the snowboarding slope up on the mountain. And then, Friday when we toured the place, I had no doubt left inside of me.

And then after the tour, I planned out my school for the rest of my high school years and then plotted how to get on to the college’s NCAA women’s XC team! πŸ™‚ I’ve got to get my time down to at least 21 minutes for a 5k and then 24 minutes for a 6k. Faster would always be better of course! πŸ™‚

Anyways, Saturday, I got to hang out with my aunt, uncle and cousin who are all really awesome. I also got to meet, for the first time, my cousin’s fiance who is really nice and funny. I’m glad they are getting married! πŸ™‚ My aunt and uncle took us to Washington DC which was so awesome! I couldn’t believe that I was there! It was so cool.

And then that night, Abby and I went to a dance at my cousin’s college. Everyone there was really nice and we got to get all dressed up. We danced most of the dances which was fun and there was a CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN!!!!!! And then afterwards, we went to TGI Fridays and got food. We were up until 1 and then crashed at my cousin’s dorm and slept until 11.

And then we drove and drove and drove home.

We got home this morning at one. I had fallen asleep in the car so when we got home I just grabbed my pillows and blanket and went upstairs and fell back asleep.

Today, I did school and ran 3.1 miles in 23:15. Not exactly my best time ever and I felt horrible through the whole thing…but…I guess I can’t really complain because I did over-indulge quite a bit this past weekend. I will get back to normal soon enough. And school is almost over!

I can’t believe that I made it through freshman year! Although everyone says that sophomore year is the worst…

πŸ™‚

I’m still happy.

What did you do this weekend?


I ran today.

But it wasn’t my usual afternoon run.

It was an evening, after-dinner run.

It was amazing.

Just what I needed.

I told myself that because of my sickness I would just take it slow and run three miles, four if I felt up to it.

I know: I am such a tough trainer.

Anyways, it was slightly humid but over all beautiful. I could feel the rain coming on as the air got wetter and wetter but I didn’t care. The sun was setting. The clouds were all different colors. It smelled amazing. People were coming home from work. It was such a different atmosphere from what I’m used to at 2:00.

As soon as I set out, I knew that I was going to run four miles. I had already mapped out the whole run in my head before even changing into my running clothes. Go down our street, turn onto the next street, then onto the trail. Down and then back.

I passed other runners on the trail, but I was mostly by myself. Just me and my iPod.

It was darker than usual due to the time and the clouds, but I didn’t mind. It wasn’t reallyΒ that dark so I wasn’t scared or anything.

I got tired pretty quickly and my throat got all dry because I am kinda sick. But I kept going. I just kept thinking, “If you stop now, you will be mad at yourself!” and “Come on, Claire! You’ve already made it this far! Why not just finish the stretch?!”

So I did.

I ran my four miles.

And I ran it in 31:37 which is a 7:42 minute mile. I was pretty surprised actually. It felt like I was going a lot slower. Especially around the middle, when I was the most tired. Usually when I run, I start out strong, then in the middle I burn out a bit, and then somewhere inside of me, I find a little bit of energy left and I can pick up my pace by the end of the run. But today, I just felt like I was going slow.

In fact, when the run was over, I didn’t even think to check my average mile so when I saw it just now, I was like, “WOW!”

I am pretty excited about our road trip tomorrow! I will hopefully get to run while I am on the trip so I should be able to AT least fit in the last mile to meet my weekly quota, if not more!! (*fingers crossed*) And at the hotel I will get to swim too I am hoping.

Anyways, I will not be posting until at least Monday which is when I am getting back. So everyone, enjoy the rest of your week! Feel free to leave comments below telling me about your running pursuits, or the weather where you live, or what fun things you are doing this weekend (“nothing” is actually included in “fun” because “doing nothing” doesn’t really happen that much this time of year!)!

And I will be back on Monday to tell you about my magnificent weekend (sans photos because I STILL can’t find my camera. Grr)!