Wednesday, February 27, 2013

if you're looking for rainbows and sunshine, just skip this post!

today is not my day. 

i mean, seriously. tell me i'm not the only one who has days like this. 

i haven't had a day like this in a long time, but when i have them i should probably consider locking myself in the spare bedroom until i snap out of it. because it is not good for my reputation or relationships for me to interact with the general public. 

i've pretty much been mean to everyone that has spoken to me today. 


bless brad's heart, he's trying to help. he's made me 2 margaritas so far tonight [and i'm head margarita maker in this household] and letting me watch new girl and duck dynasty. 

some of this has got to be anxiety about the marathon. i 'kind of' get the point of a taper, but it's 'kind of' killing me. i have all this free time and i'm even having trouble sleeping because i'm not worn out! and while i know i made it through my long runs just fine, that seems like ages ago!!! doubt of course creeps in and i begin my ability to run 26.2 in 4 days. i need a good solid long run to boost my confidence but i only have one measly 2 miler left! what a conundrum. need the long run to boost my confidence, but have to save my legs. 

i'm going to drink these margaritas and try to laugh and relax. hopefully tomorrow i'll be a little less bitchy! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

my favorite things:::: giveaway #2

first of all, the winner of the Gu giveaway is::::

missy, email me your address and i'll get your fuel out to you!

and on to another favorite thing of mine, a true marathon must have!!!

when i started running i had no idea how much junk i would need to carry with me. fuel, hydration, music, phone... where are we supposed to put it all?

i purchased an iFitness belt at the expo for my first half marathon and wore it the next day... and for every half marathon since! i feel like i broke the golden rule for racing [nothing new on race day!] but luckily it worked out perfectly for me.

i chose a double pouch belt and it provides enough room for me to pack my phone and fuel. it is not bulky, even when packed to the gills. and i cannot stress this point enough, it seriously does not move, bounce or slip. it has an adjustable strap and i love that it's thick and lies perfectly flat.
showing off my double pouch belt after Run The Bluegrass

iFitness also sponsored 12 in 2012 last year and generously provided us all with single pouch belts. i use this belt for shorter distances, when i don't need both my phone and fuel. 

my single pouch belt

why i love these belts:::
  • they don't bounce, slip, or ride up
  • they don't chafe
  • they're water resistant
  • adjustable strap
  • they don't smell [even after repeated use and sweat drenches]
  • they are made well and they don't show wear
iFitness has generously offered up a belt to one of my readers [the winner can choose a single or double pouch belt]! 

to be entered in the giveaway, head over to iFitness' website and tell me which belt you'd choose if you win. 

for extra entries you can:
Tweet about the giveaway (include @iFitnessInc and @courtneymelson)

this giveaway will end at midnight [EST] on thursday february 28th. iFitness is providing the prize to  one winner. all opinions provided above are my own. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

my favorite things::: giveaway #1

as much as i'd love to give everyone of y'all ALL of my favorite things... i'm not oprah so i had to settle for this. i've picked a few of my marathon must haves that i'd like to share with you all over the course of the week leading up to the big race.

when i started running i was totally clueless about fuel. i couldn't for the life of me understand how people ran so much and kept their energy up. as luck would have it, i stumbled upon the running blog community and found a wealth of information about race fuel.

i've experimented with a lot of different fuels and I've finally seemed to find what works best for me. for half marathons i prefer to use one pack of Clif Shot Bloks. They're delicious and give me just enough energy. I tear into them at mile 7, and consume one every mile until the end.

for marathon training, however, i began searching for a different plan. i'd tried Gu before and hated it, but apparently I just hadn't find the right flavor for me.

through trial and error [aka, gagging on several flavors] i found three flavors that i actually look forward to consuming:  peanut butter, chocolate outrage, and vanilla bean. i've used them for all my long runs and they sit well and also give me a good burst of energy.

in my experience, the only bad thing about gels and chews can be that sometimes i just feel empty. you know that hungry deep down in the pit of your stomach feeling? i had that during my 30K. i just wanted some solid food!

you all know that for racing reasons i split up my two twenty milers. in hindsight that may have not been the best idea for multiple reasons, one of which, i fueled during those breaks with natural peanut butter on ezekiel toast. so now, i have no idea how to fuel for on race day. GREAT.

so i'm trying to decide on race day fuel. should i take 4 Gu's with me [i used 2.5 during my 30K], should i take 3 Gu's and a pack of Shot Bloks, should i pack a five guys burger?

give me your opinion on how i should fuel for race day and i'll enter you for a chance to win an assortment of Gu energy gels. i'll include my favorite flavors plus some others in case your taste is different than mine. 

this giveaway will end at midnight on Tuesday February 26th (eastern standard time).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

three things thursday...

my first marathon is in 10 days... 10 days!!!!!!! i'm nervous, excited, scared, and counting down the minutes all at the same time. starting tomorrow i'll be able to start stalking the weather conditions so i can start deciding on what to wear hopefully. i don't know why but that detail is stressing me out! i can't even decide which socks to wear [i have never raced in compression socks, and my longest run in them has been 12 miles so i'm thinking i shouldn't actually wear them for the race... but a part of me thinks they'd make my legs feel so much better!].

do you all ever get the racing bug? i've been so consumed with the upcoming marathon that i haven't signed up for many races at all. at strawberry plains when dawn was showing me her race calendar, it started to creep back up on me! i'm hoping to be a little more selective this year [last year my decision making process was, 'do i work on the day of the race? no? okay i'm doing it']. this year i'm going to mostly try to stick near home and maybe pick one or two races that require a little travel [ps the flying pig doesn't count as one of these races because brad's family is in cincinnati and we'd be going there anyways ;) ].

heads up to you all... as a thank you for putting up with my rants and tangents i'll be hosting several giveaways next week. i honestly can't thank you all enough for your support and encouragement during this training cycle [and always!]. i'll be sharing some of 'my favorite things' with you all, so be sure to check back next week. and check back often... i'm hoping to do 4 or 5 giveaways and most of them won't last much longer than 24 hours!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

free glasses from

about a month ago antonio with got in contact with me about reviewing some eye glasses and sharing a little about their program with you all. i've been wearing glasses/contact since i was in middle school and let me tell you one thing about prescription glasses... they're EXPENSIVE!

from what i read on their website, their main goal is to provide quality glasses at an affordable price. they also have a great 'try-on' app that allows you to upload a picture of yourself to see how different styles will fit your face.

i was looking for a larger frame because my other pair of glasses have a smaller frame and while they're cute, it drives me crazy to have to move my head around all the time to see. here's the pair i chose:
i liked the classic wayfarer frame and blue is my favorite color, so i thought they'd be perfect. i did have to get my eyeglasses prescription from my doctor and luckily it wasn't a hassle. i swear some places act like you HAVE to buy glasses from them and only them. my prescription didn't include a PD (pupil distance) though, so I just got out a measuring tape and did it myself.

my new glasses showed up in about a week and they came with two really nice cases and a cleaning cloth.

i was really pleased with the frames, they're a little nerdy/hipster-ish but i like them. and they fit my face perfectly!

and lucky for me they came just in time to give me a second pair of glasses to wear during the shingles [couldn't wear my contacts since it was in my eye].

love the frames
they fit great
quick shipping
great quality
easy to clean lenses
great cases

i'd say my only dislike was some of the language/grammar on the website. some of the sentences don't make a lot of sense. basically, they could use some help to make their programs [which from what i can tell are great] a little easier to understand.

if you wear glasses i'd recommend you check out, i was really pleased with the product i received. they even have a first pair free program, where you only pay shipping!

do you have to wear glasses or contacts?
when did you have to start wearing them?

disclaimer:::: i was contacted by and was given a free pair of glasses in exchange for my honest review. all opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

check out this great virtual race!

just a quick post that i've been meaning to do...

you all should head over to rachelle's blog and sign up for her grandma lill's 96th birthday virtual race! she has some great prizes up for grabs and i think it's wonderful that she does this for her grandma!

i ran the 5k on saturday as a part of my 12 mile training run. you have until february 21st to get your run in!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

shingles rears its ugly head again

after my last 20 miler it took me the whole week to get back to normal. my legs felt really dead and i muddled through my runs for that week. so i wasn't surprised on tuesday when my five miler felt like a fifteen miler.

wednesday i woke up and noticed a little scratch near my right eye. this wouldn't normally cause me any alarm, but last year i had shingles in the exact same place.... and it sidelined me for almost a month. so what did i do? i ignored it. went to work. came home to run my 8 miler. 

it was doomed from the start. i was dizzy. disorientated. had no energy at all. i walked a lot and finished stopped after five. you've gotta be kidding me. yeah, my day of denial was over. i have shingles. 

thank God my only symptoms [other than the awesome blisters on my face] have been flu-like symptoms but they've seemed to pass pretty quickly. last time i didn't feel bad, but my rash was bigger and i had HORRIBLE neck pain. i'm so thankful that this seems to be a lighter case. the scariest part though is that this time it's actually in my eye too. my eye doctor checked everything out on friday and  said that it isn't in my cornea [which can apparently cause vision loss], i just have to use some drops and leave my contacts out for a while. 
see, not so bad! [ps i'll have a review on my glasses later this week, i got them free from firmoo!]

saturday i was able to get through my last long run before the marathon [12 miles], which i was so  thankful for. i took thursday and friday off after my horrible wednesday run [so i ended up being 7 miles short this week] so it was really important for me to finish this run. i am a big fan of the saying 'trust your training.' i can't trust my training if i don't follow the training plan. this close to the marathon, it was a big deal for my mental game to finish this run. 

now it's taper time. my longest run next week is 8 miles. and two weeks from today, i'll be running my first full marathon. i cannot believe it's almost here. it seems like a long time coming. 

and some fun news for you all, expect some fun giveaways the week leading up to my race! i'll be sharing some of my favorites with you all!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

i love a good mail day!

doesn't everyone love getting mail? i always looked forward to holidays when i was away at school because my mom sent the BEST care packages. i even dreaded finals a little less because our church sent us boxes full of candy and treats! 

anyways, i've had a couple of good mail days and i wanted to share and say thanks! 

i joined lisa's healthy valentine's exchange and received a bunch of goodies from larry. 
lock laces, nathan reflective bracelets, body glide and chocolate! larry i hope you see this thank you and let me know if you have a blog, i'd love to check it out!

this showed up a week or so ago and i was so excited!  i shared it on instagram [courtlauren05] but i forgot to share it with you all. rnr gives you heavy medals if you complete more than one race in a year. i did two so i earned this one.

i won a giveaway on neon blonde runner's website a few weeks ago so i was thrilled when these showed up:

i love them, thanks katherine [and sunglasses shop]!

last but not least, today i received some more lock laces!

how did i get them? you AUTOMATICALLY get a pair when you sign up for amanda's spring bootie buster challenge! how great is that? i'm so excited to put these in my wave riders! thanks amanda! the challenge starts march 4th [i'm using it to make sure i stay active post marathon!]. i've done two of amanda's challenges previously and i HIGHLY recommend them!
sign up here!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 Strawberry Plains Half Marathon:::: Recap & Review

.:race details:.  

date: saturday february 9th
race day pick up? yes. you could pick up your packet the morning of the race or the night before at Academy Sports + Outdoors in Knoxville.
start time:  9 am [the 10k also started at 9am]
did race start on time? yes
adequate restrooms?  i didn't need the restrooms so i don't really know. there were bathrooms inside the school and also portopotties outside
aid stations:  i think there were about 6. the race is a T shaped course and the second and third time we passed the intersection they had Gu gels. The rest had water and gatorade [except one time when we went through they were out of gatorade].
course spectator support: there weren't many spectators along the race but the volunteers and  even the police officers were all very friendly and encouraging. 
course terrain:  all paved, a couple of large hills. all out in the country though, it was beautiful. 
shirts:  long technical shirts. i was honestly a little disappointed in the shirts. last year they were so pretty, i loved the design and color. I'm not sure what was up with the donkey being the theme of the race. There were some donkeys on the course but a lot of other animals too. Maybe next year it'll be chickens instead. Even with the donkey though, I think a colored shirt would have looked better. 

medals:  the donkey rears its ugly head again. it's not my favorite medal, but it is quite unique. 

would i race again?  yes 
any complaints? other than the shirts, not really. 
what you need to know:  parking is a little tricky, so get there early. i had to park on the side of the road, which was fine because it's not a high traffic area, but make sure you're not going to get blocked in. also, this course does not allow headphones [they will not give you your medal if you're caught wearing them!]

.: my race :.
chip time:::: 2:33:41

i drove to knoxville on friday to pick up my packet and do some shopping. i got a hotel room on the strawberry plains exit and it worked perfectly. i had a 20 miler on the schedule so i got up and ran 7 miles on the treadmill at the hotel. then i changed and packed up my stuff to head to the race. 

dawn and i were hoping to run into each other and we did right before the race. [ps-- she's running 30 half marathons before she turns 30, how awesome is that?!] this race does not allow headphones, so we started out together, chatting as we went. isn't it crazy how you can meet someone for the first time but have so much to talk about? i've never talked that much while running, but it did keep me aware of my breathing and made the time fly by. it was also great to get to know her better. 

we saw a lot of animals during the race:  dogs, horses, goats, chicken, donkeys, cows, and a little dog even ran with us for a little while. dawn got this pic of me with our little friend!

we walked some of the big hills and tried to make up the time lost by running a little quicker on the downhills. she wanted to break 230 and i'm sad that i didn't get her there, but i have a feeling she'll get it at her next one! 
dawn's husband took this one after the race, isn't that sweat stripe so flattering?

all in all, a successful saturday/long run. thanks to dawn for being a great running buddy!

i also ran this race last year, if you'd like to check out that recap you can find it here

Friday, February 8, 2013

hello marathon hunger... aka holy crap i'm hungry

up until about a month ago i was really pleased with how my eating/fueling was going even as my mileage started creeping up. i did my clean eating routine through the week and had a cheat meal on the day of my long run. if i needed a boost before a run, i'd eat some JIF on toast.

i even lost some weight, but i think it's because i'm losing muscle [not cool].

well that's all changed now. i'm a bottomless pit! i usually eat every 3 hours or so, but i'm even getting hungry in between that!

do you all have any insight? i have worked my butt off to lose this weight [and still have some more to lose] so i do not want to screw this up!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

working for the weekend... and the spring bootie buster challenge

friday i'm going to knoxville so that i can run the strawberry plains half marathon on saturday morning. i ran this race last year and it was a pretty good time. it's a small race that's mostly out in the country, but i liked it. i'm excited to get my first medal of 2013!

saturday is also my second and last 20 miler before the biltmore marathon. i need your all's advice... do i run some before and some after the race, all before, or all after? i'm not sure which would serve me best, but i'm really looking forward to it!

today i ran 5 miles for mommy run fast's 5 by the 5th. i took it really slow since this is a high mileage week for me. 40 miles, eeeeek!

have you all seen that amanda [run to the finish] is hosting a spring challenge? i've participated in her holiday bootie buster challenge for the past two years and i am so happy that she's added a spring challenge! you get points for working out and eating your fruits and veggies, plus amanda has great forums and q and a's with various fitness experts. you should definitely check it out [ps - if you sign up you get a free pair of lock laces!].

Sunday, February 3, 2013

rearview mirror:::: january 2013

i finished january with 137 miles. that's the most i've ever ran in a month! i ran my first 30k, my first 20 miler, and ran a new PR for the 10k

i've been very happy with my marathon training so far. i can't believe i only have a month left. i've missed a run here and there, but i've hit all my long runs, and even hit a little higher mileage earlier than what was on the plan [which allowed me to put in a second 20 miler, which i'm happy about]. 

weight training::::
i miss this... a lot. i made the decision to run this marathon back in the summer, before i started training with fitness poynters. it's really important to me and i want to see it through, but i do miss feeling strong  and toned. i know running burns calories, but for me and my body, i think lifting makes me feel better and gives me better results for my time. unfortunately i haven't figured out to manage my time enough that i can do both.

i finished the matched series by ally condie. it was okay, passed the time and attaches you to the characters like most series do, but it wasn't a must read.
i started reading ulysses by james joyce, to get a start on one of my 2013 goals, and it might not have been the best choice, but i'm trying to get into it.

as far as Bible reading goes, i'm in isaiah now and i'm doing pretty well at studying beth moore's 'john.' the only problem is that i'm working in it when i'd normally been just reading the Bible, so my Bible progress has slowed.

2013 goals::::
i crossed off one thing here this month when i completed my 30k for my 30th birthday. i came thisclose to getting my sub hour 10k, but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, right?

i'm doing terribly with the computer time goal, which may have been a 'bit' unrealistic. i did deactivate my FB profile halfway through the month to see if that helped, and while it did, it hasn't made as much of a difference as i'd hoped.

brad and i went to a new connect group at church last sunday and again today. we really like it so far and i hope we can continue to attend and make new friends!

january was a difficult month, for all the usual reasons plus some. i always fight the urge to get depressed in january, i think it's a combination of the holidays being over and the weather. the holidays are so busy, we're usually surrounded by family, have all the happy decorations up, then you have to take it all down and everyone goes back home... it can get depressing!