Monday, December 15, 2014


Who has a 4.0 in grad school??

This girl!

I threw myself into grad school determined to do the best I possibly could and I succeeded. I got straight As, kind of made some friends, joined a couple of student organizations, and joined a leadership program, for which I got a certificate and a medal. I'm supposed to wear the medal to graduation. I've also been assigned a mentor as part of that program, but so far I've only met with her once.

Being in grad school has actually improved my work at my job. I was worried my work would suffer, but the things I've learned in school have helped me become better at my job. I redesigned the website and we're launching in January. I'm so proud of it that I could explode.

I entered a Facebook contest on the Shamrock Marathon's Facebook page and I won! I was one of 5 people out of nearly 800 who received a free race entry for the half marathon. I definitely won't take it for granted and intend to train just as hard, if not harder, than I did for last year's race. I'm visualizing that PR already.

I think I'll start writing in here more, but I also have that Tumblr I started, so I'm not sure what I'll do yet. Also, I joined Weight Watchers. I lost 1.4 pounds then gained it back. I don't want to waste the money, so seeing that scale was a wake up call. I have to put forth the effort into weight loss that I put into grad school. I know if I want something bad enough, and work for it as hard as I want it, I get it. I'm stubborn like that.

Josh and I are going to take over the world together. That's how awesome we're doing. We had Thanksgiving at my parents, we just had our fourth annual holiday party this past weekend, we'll have Christmas here with his mom and sister, we'll spend New Year's Eve with friends, then head to West Virginia for a ski trip with his dad. I also just got us a couple of Groupons to get massages after the trip so we can start off next semester relaxed. Hopefully with no broken bones. I've never been skiing and I'm nervous.

Tonight we're going on a date to celebrate the end of a great semester. We're going to Color Me Mine to paint Christmas ornaments, then we're going to our favorite sushi place.

But first!.. An easy three miler to kick off training for the Shamrock.

Life is swell, friends.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Drumstick Dash 2014 Recap

Thanksgiving break was excellent. I didn't realize how much sleep I was lacking until I had time to sleep in. Other than Thanksgiving Day, I slept until after 8:00 everyday and it felt so luxurious. The reason I didn't get to sleep on Thanksgiving Day was because my brother and I were registered to run the Drumstick Dash.

I got up around 6:30, grabbed some free breakfast from the hotel lobby, and headed to my parents' house to pick up Jamie. I thought for sure we were going to be late or that I'd have to give up on him and leave without him, but he got up at the last possible second and we left. We struggled a bit to find parking, but managed to find a place about four blocks from the start and headed over there about 15 minutes before the start.

The one and only problem I had with this race: The lack of porta-potties. Even though I went right before we left, I guess I hydrated too much and already had to pee before we started. There weren't any that I could see right by the start line, I tried to put it out of my mind. The freezing cold helped me not think about it. We took some pre-race selfies and before we knew it, the first wave was off.

There were only two waves of runners and we were at the very front of the second wave. There were photographers everywhere, but we didn't think much of it. The first mile was basically a warm-up, literally. It was quite cold.

The second mile was mostly me complaining about my bladder and the lack of porta-poties. There was a water stop at 1.5, which I had to skip because I couldn't handle it. Then there was finally a porta-potta at around 1.7. I was so happy. I felt sorry for my brother though because he'd been doing so well and my stop slowed us down.

After that point, I felt great for at least another half mile, but after that, the fact that I had just done a half marathon only four days before caught up with me. My left calf muscle that had been giving me problems since a training run a few weeks back started hurting to the point where I couldn't help but limp. I was so mad and, again, felt bad about slowing Jamie down. I told him to run ahead, but he'd forgotten to bring his phone and didn't want to lose me in the finish line crowd. So he stuck with me until we could see the finish line, then he took off and finished almost a minute before me. I finished in 35:54, and was mad about the porta-potty stop that slowed us down.

We skipped the post-race party and award ceremony because the line for bananas and muffins was too long and it was too cold out. I dropped him off at the parents' house, then went back to the hotel to shower and change. Josh, Raven and I got ready and headed to my parents' to hang out and have Thanksgiving dinner, which was delicious. A little while after we ate, Jamie and Josh went Black Friday shopping and I stayed behind with Raven to watch movies with my parents. Josh picked me up when they were done shopping and we went back to the hotel.

The next morning, Jamie and I got several messages from people saying we were on the front page of the Virginia section of the local newspaper. I immediately went and bought two copies. Sure enough, there we are, front and center of the second wave of runners. You know how you always feel famous when you go to your hometown for a visit after being gone for a while? I was legit famous. We were pretty excited.

The rest of our trip was fun (movie with Liz, Chuck E. Cheese with James) and relaxing (hanging out with friends/folks, sleeping in). I've decided to give myself an entire week off from running to give my legs a chance to completely recover, then I'll think about training for the 2015 Shamrock Half Marathon...

Monday, November 24, 2014

2015 Shamrock Half Marathon Training Plan

Mondays: Rest day
Tuesdays: Easy morning run
Wednesdays: Yoga
Thursdays: Treadmill run at the gym after work
Fridays: Easy morning run or yoga
Saturdays: Yoga or other exercise/activity
Sundays: Long run
During lunch breaks at work at least 3 days a week: Weight lifting at the gym

Tue Dec 2 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @12:01
Thu Dec 4 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 9:47 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Dec 5 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @12:01
Sun Dec 7 Long Run Dist: 8 Mi @12:01

Tue Dec 9 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:58
Thu Dec 11 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 10:20; Cool
Fri Dec 12 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:58
Sun Dec 14 Long Run Dist: 9 Mi @11:58

Tue Dec 16 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:56
Thu Dec 18 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 10:17; Cool
Fri Dec 19 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:56
Sun Dec 21 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @11:56

Tue Dec 23 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:53
Thu Dec 25 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:53
Fri Dec 26 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:53
Sun Dec 28 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:53

Tue Dec 30 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:53
Thu Jan 1 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 9:40 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Jan 2 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:53
Sun Jan 4 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @11:53

Tue Jan 6 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:51
Thu Jan 8 Tempo Run Dist: 5 Mi, inc Warm; 3 Mi @ 10:13; Cool
Fri Jan 9 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:51
Sun Jan 11 Long Run Dist: 10 Mi @11:51

Tue Jan 13 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:49
Thu Jan 15 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:16; Cool
Fri Jan 16 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:49
Sun Jan 18 Long Run Dist: 11 Mi @11:49

Tue Jan 20 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @11:46
Thu Jan 22 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:46
Fri Jan 23 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:46
Sun Jan 25 Easy Run Dist: 5 Mi @11:46

Tue Jan 27 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:46
Thu Jan 29 Speedwork Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 3x1600 in 9:34 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Jan 30 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:46
Sun Feb 1 Long Run Dist: 11 Mi @11:46

Tue Feb 3 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:44
Thu Feb 5 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:11; Cool
Fri Feb 6 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:44
Sun Feb 8 Long Run Dist: 12 Mi @11:44

Tue Feb 10 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:42
Wed Feb 11 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:42
Thu Feb 12 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:09; Cool
Fri Feb 13 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:42
Sun Feb 15 Long Run Dist: 12 Mi @11:42

Tue Feb 17 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39
Wed Feb 18 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39
Thu Feb 19 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39
Fri Feb 20 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39
Sun Feb 22 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:39

Tue Feb 24 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:39
Wed Feb 25 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:39
Thu Feb 26 Speedwork Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 3x1600 in 9:27 w/800 jogs; Cool
Fri Feb 27 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:39
Sun Mar 1 Long Run Dist: 13 Mi @11:39

Tue Mar 3 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:37
Wed Mar 4 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:37
Thu Mar 5 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:04; Cool
Fri Mar 6 Easy Run Dist: 2 Mi @11:37
Sun Mar 8 Long Run Dist: 13 Mi @11:37

Tue Mar 10 Easy Run Dist: 4 Mi @11:35
Wed Mar 11 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:35
Thu Mar 12 Tempo Run Dist: 6 Mi, inc Warm; 4 Mi @ 10:02; Cool
Fri Mar 13 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:35
Sun Mar 15 Long Run Dist: 13 Mi @11:35

Tue Mar 17 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:32
Wed Mar 18 Easy Run Dist: 3 Mi @11:32
Thu Mar 19 Speedwork Dist: 4 Mi, inc Warm; 2x1600 in 9:21 w/800 jogs; Cool
Sun Mar 22 Race Day 13.1 Mi @10:07 Time: 2:12:39

Harbor Lights Half Marathon Race Recap

Even though I haven't felt like blogging anymore, I still feel the need to recap the half marathon I ran yesterday. I went to packet pick-up on Friday because I knew I'd have to work the football game on Saturday and wouldn't be able to go then. The expo wasn't nearly as big as Shamrock, but it is an inaugural race and the space was much smaller. So that was uneventful. I did snap a picture of the finish line.

Saturday I had to work the football game. Afterwards, I went home to just rest up. Josh and I grabbed dinner at YNot that evening and didn't do much else.

I didn't sleep very well Saturday night/Sunday morning. I don't really know why. The alarm was signaling 5:30 a.m. before I knew it. I got up and had an English muffin, some water/Gatorade, and some coffee. I got dressed, walked Raven, then Josh and I headed out. He dropped me off as close to the start as he could get me.

I dropped my bag off at gear check, then hung out around the porta potties for a while. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't have to stop on the course, so I went through the line twice before heading to the start line. I got in the middle of my corral and hung out until the start. I spotted the 2:30 Pacer as our corral got closer to the start line. I decided I'd stick with the 2:30 people for as long as I could, but I knew I hadn't trained nearly well enough to easily pull off 2:30.

The announcer counted down and we were off. We wove through downtown Norfolk for a bit before hitting Colley Ave and following it to ODU where we took Monarch Way to the end, headed north on Hampton Blvd, then entered Larchmont. The scenery and spectators were a little better though this section and into Colonial Place. I also wasn't as familiar was this area, so it was more entertaining. I should also mention I lost the 2:30 pacer somewhere after the second or third water stop. The water wanted to slosh around in my belly, which upset my stomach so I had to walk after water stops long enough for the sloshing to stop.

We ended up on Granby, which was absolutely my least favorite part of the course. The road was only partially closed and there were some really cranky drivers wondering why the hell the streets were closed for crazy people who were running really early in the morning in the cold. That's my main complaint about this race - the lack of communication to the Norfolk residents. Traffic was frustrating for them and uncomfortable for us (I was next to a stinky truck for a while), and there weren't a lot of spectators. It's the inaugural race though, and I imagine it took Virginia Beach residents several years to get used to the Shamrock. It will take Norfolk a while to get used to Harbor Lights too.

After the uncomfortableness of Granby, we were back into a less busy area. Somewhere in Mile 9 there was a pie stop! I took a little bit sized chocolate pie. It was great and totally perked me up after Granby freaked me out.

As I usually do when I'm out on my training runs, I love running through Ghent and Freemason to the Pagoda and the USS Wisconsin. That was a great part of the course. My only other complaint about the course is that you see the Mile 12 mile marker right before you see the finish line party. You have 1.1 miles to go, but you feel like you're so much closer to finishing because you can see all the people who've already finished hanging out at the finish line party. It was a little disheartening to see all of them and to be cheered on by the people who were faster than me.

The course continued passed the party and Waterside, around the parking garage by Dominion Tower, and picked up the Elizabeth River Trail by the Sheraton and marina where I always run. I imagined what that part must have felt like for people who didn't run it every weekend like I do. It really is pretty and is absolutely my favorite part about running in Norfolk. The course finally finished along the water by Town Point Park.

I crossed in 2:45:26, which was way slower than I would have liked, but that's what I get for slacking off in training. I got my medal, food stuffs, and a nice finisher's pint glass. I think it's a pint. It might be slightly smaller. But I like it a lot. I also got wrapped in one of those space blanket things, which I've never gotten at a race before. It actually did keep me from freezing to death.

I wanted to wait around for some other people I knew who were running, but I was hurting and really cold so Josh picked me up. We went to Yorgo's for the perfect post-race brunch. I took a shower and a nap when we got home, but my stomach woke me up from the nap demanding to be fed. I foraged for food and hung out on the couch for most of the rest of the day.

I'm quite sore today, but not as bad as I was for Shamrock. I'm registered for a Thanksgiving Day 5k, which is three days away. I actually LOL every time I think about it because right now, I can't imagine running 3 yards, much less 3 miles. But I'm sure I'll feel better by then. I'll write a little recap after that.

A few non-running things I've been up to lately since I haven't been blogging...

...I'm almost done with my first semester of grad school, which wasn't nearly as scary or difficult as I thought it would be. I have actually loved it and can't wait to learn even more next semester. I'm kind of a nerd and want to stay in school forever and learn all of the things because knowledge is power and whatnot.

...I joined Weight Watchers and today was my third meeting. I lost 2 pounds the first week, but gained 1.6 pounds this last week. I probably didn't really gain that much and have a lot of water weight from eating and drinking more than usual yesterday. Normally I think it would even out before next week's meeting, but Thanksgiving is this week. I do really like the program though and think I can lose weight as long as I stick with it. Since I'm paying for it, I am more likely to stick with it because I don't have money to waste. Oh I should add I'm doing it through work, so it's discounted and the meetings are on campus, which is super convenient.

...We're going to Roanoke for Thanksgiving and I'm really, really excited to see my family. My brother is registered to do the 5k with me. We'll be here Norfolk/Virginia Beach with Josh's family for Christmas and we're going to his sister's on Christmas Eve, which should be fun. Then the weekend after the New Year, we're going on a ski trip with his dad. I'm not sure how I feel about that because I've never been skiing and I hate the cold and snow, but I like doing fun things so I'm hoping this is fun.

...I'm tentatively planning to do the Shamrock Half Marathon, but have to get the money to register for it first. It has the potential to sell out before that happens. I need new running shoes too, but I think I can probably manage that after Christmas sometime. 

That's pretty much it. I may or may not keep writing here. I might at least check in and do a recap of Thursday's 5k. I like that I can review my training so well on here for last year's Shamrock and I'd like to be able to do that again. It sort of just depends on how much time I have. Plus I keep thinking I'll switch to Tumblr and haven't really done that yet. So we'll see. I'm on Twitter and Instagram if you're interested in keep up with me: @EricasLens.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One Year Later: Wedding Reflections

As you know, weddings aren't really my thing. I'm happily married now and happy to have a bunch of great photos from a couple of really fun days. Here are some notes that might be helpful to other people who are trying to put together a wedding on a super tight budget, or other notes in general about how to not be a bridezilla and have fun on your wedding day.

Tip #1: Elope

Seriously, just do it. I know, I know. I still had a wedding after I eloped. But that wasn't entirely my decision. I would have been perfectly happy with just our elopement. I loved our elopement. It was just about us and our love, not about the caving to the standards of the big wedding industry.

Marriage license - $30
Court cost - $50
Photography - $500 (gift from my mom)
Dress & shoes - $60
Shirt & tie - $40
Lunch with the photographer - $45
Dinner with my husband - $80
Total cost - $775 (but only $275 for us)

But if you don't decide to elope (or if you elope and have another thing later), here are more tips:

Tip #2: Accept all the help you can get

My father-in-law paid for a tent, outside heaters, and a few other miscellaneous things. My mother-in-law LOVES weddings, so she did a lot of the decorations, made my earrings, and chipped in on the cake. One of the groomsman's moms did our flowers as her gift to us. My aunt did the catering. My parents paid for the rest of the cake, my dress, helped my aunt with food costs, and the photographer. We pretty much only paid for the drinks, the venue, the table/chair/linen rentals, his attire, and our hotel room.

Dress - $1000 (purchased by my mom)
Invitations & postage - $50
Bride accessories - $100
Groom's attire - $100
Venue - $350
Cake - $500 (purchased by my mom)
Food & serving things - $1200 (purchased by my mom and aunt)
Beverages & cigars - $450
Table & chair rental - $200
Linen rental - $100
Tent & heater rental - $500 (Josh's dad)
Decorations - $80 (Josh's mom)
Flowers - $300 (gifted by a friend)
Limo - $250 (Josh's mom & friend)
Photographer - $500 (my mom)
Hotel - $120
Total costs - $5800 (total cost to us - $1370)

Tip #3: Don't do what you don't want to do

If you hate the garter toss tradition, toss it. If you don't want the bridesmaids in matchy matchy dresses, let them wear what they want or help them pick out what you would like them to wear. Do what you want. It's your wedding. Pinterest can make you feel completely inadequate, so steer clear if you're sensitive or use it to help plan a wedding on a budget.

Tip #4: Let your groom have/do something he wants even if you think it's stupid

Josh really wanted to get horse head masks for all the groomsmen and take pictures before the wedding. They didn't disrupt the wedding with them, so I didn't care. And the pictures are pretty funny, although creepy. He loves them and that's all that matters.

Tip #5 Remember it's mostly about you, but it's not really all about you

Sure, "the wedding is all about the bride." Except it's not really. It's about your love for your groom and his love for you. It's about uniting two families. It's about making sure everyone is fed. It's about making sure your mother-in-law doesn't get too drunk. It's about your groom getting to hang out with your brother and your dad. It's about dancing with your friends and your new family. But it's mostly about you. And your groom. Remember to eat. Remember it's your wedding. Remember to smile for pictures and to be silly and happy.

Tip #6 Remember that at the end of the night, you're married. And that's really what it's all about.

The wedding is only one day, one event. It's the end of your single life and the beginning of your new life with your groom, your new family. Everything could go wrong. Everything could be perfect. It will probably somewhere in between. But regardless, at the end of the night, you are married now.

I was browsing Pinterest for things about date nights and marriage advice. It's ridiculous how many pins there are for weddings and how few there are about the marriage that comes after the wedding. And of the few that are out there, most are kind of stupid. (Sorry, not sorry.)

One year later

I've technically been married for one year and three months even though the wedding was a year ago. I've learned a lot in the past year - about myself, about Josh, about married life, about life in general. And still feel like I've barely scratched the surface about all the things I have to learn.

It's been an adventure. Not a fairytale, romance novel, or a romantic comedy (well, sometimes a comedy), but definitely an adventure. The wedding was fun. It was fine. It was a party. But it's been over for a year now and every day since then has been just as important. A wedding isn't about tradition or flowers or tulle - it's about starting a marriage.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oh hi there

  • I haven't really written since I was half marathon training in July.
  • I didn't do the High Bridge Half Marathon because, quite honestly, I couldn't afford the trip. I suppose I could have left Norfolk at 3 a.m. to get there in time for packet pick-up, but I'm not sure if I would have been capable of driving back after running for nearly 3 hours in 90+ degree weather for 100% humidity and only 4-5 hours of sleep. So I bailed.
  • I'd still like to do that race eventually, but it's at a difficult time of year. It's usually still hot and humid out. Plus school has started back up already, so it's hard to get away for a weekend. I'll reassess for next year and I just won't register so far in advance. 
  • I started grad school! It's very challenging, but I love it so far. I genuinely care about everything I'm learning and I want to do really well so I can apply everything I learn to my current job, as well as to potential future jobs. I'm excited about all of the classes, projects, and everything I will learn between now and graduation day. 
  • The weather is getting cooler, which I kind of hate in general, but love for my running. I'm already getting better than I was over the summer. I'm training for the inaugural Harbor Lights Half Marathon, which is happening on November 22. Probably my favorite thing about this race is that the start line is so close to my apartment that I can bike to it. 
  • So I've basically given up this blog. I didn't really mean to. The longer I went without writing, the harder it was to come back to it. I sort of started a tumblr where I posted my half marathon training plan, but the only updates I've posted since then have been instagram photos. I should really get on that.
  • I like journaling/blogging/writing because it's a good place to vent and it's also nice to go back later and read certain things (like race recaps), but I just haven't been feeling it lately. We'll see what happens from here.
  • I've gained 10 pounds since the wedding last year, so I definitely need to lose weight. But I sound like a broken record because I keep saying that, then I lose a couple pounds, gain it back, maintain, gain some more, repeat. 
  • I must count calories. My current TDEE is 2060. Minus 20% to lose weight is 1648. Since I know myself well enough to know I ruin everything on the weekends, I'm going to aim for 1500 Monday-Thursday and 1840 Friday-Sunday.
  • I'm also going to do my absolute best to stick with my training plan, plus yoga on days when I'm not running. I've thought about going to the gym during lunch on the days when I don't have class, but I have yet to make that happen.
  • I should probably also note that last weekend I went to Roanoke to see my Memaw. She had to go to the hospital again. Her hospital visits have been getting more frequent lately and I'm worried about her. But she was doing better when I saw her and seemed to be in good spirits, so that was nice.
  • Last weekend was also my dad's birthday. I surprised him by inviting a small group of family and friends to meet us for dinner. It turned out to be pretty fun. 
  • This weekend was work and homework, though we did go out on a date last night, which was much needed. We got to sit down and plan out our trip to the Renn Fest that's coming up in a few weeks during our Fall Break. That will be a much needed get away.
  • That's pretty much it. I can't believe it's already almost October. We've been so busy with school and work that the time has just flown by. But life is good. Back to the books!