Saturday, May 30, 2015

First Trip to Yankee Stadium!

Confession: I love sports. Shocker, I know. ;-) If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram I make this kind of obvious, especially with the Rangers so far into the playoffs. 

So when my dad told me he won tickets to see the Yankees, you know I was excited! I haven't been a fan all that long (going on six years), so getting to go to my first game was exciting!

The game was on Tuesday night, and the Yanks were playing the Kansas City Royals, to whom they gave a home run clinic to the day before.

Since my dad won the tickets just the week before, they would be held for us at the stadium. My only hope was that they weren't bleacher seats. I know, I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but a girl can hope, right?

Well, we didn't get bleacher seats. We were actually one level up from the field, in section 210!

After we picked up the tickets, it was a wait in line to get through security and get into the stadium. That took a few minutes, and went through no problems (well, minus my collection of Alex and Ani bangles...haha). Once that was done, we were FINALLY in the stadium!

Hello, House That George Built!

Of course, anyone who goes to Yankee Stadium MUST make Monument Park part of the trip! They open it with the gates and keep it open up to 45 minutes before the first pitch.

Yankees who played before I knew what baseball was.

Well, it was a very short walk through, and sadly, the Bernie Williams monument wasn't up yet. I wasn't surprised, since his ceremony was on Sunday night, but it would have been cool to see it up close!

I did get a picture next to Mariano Rivera's monument though, since he was one of my favs and only the all-time greatest closer ever. Of course, I was directly in the sun, and my eyes were pretty much squinted shut here. Sunglasses next time! 

Gotta go to Mo! ;-)

Once my dad and I were done in Monument Park, we made our way to our seats. The view was awesome! Not too bad for giveaway seats, huh? ;-)

Gorgeous view! 

First pitch was a little after 7, but before the game, there was a ceremony for a member of the Wounded Warrior Project who walked from George Steinbrener Field (Yankees Spring Training base) in Tampa to the Stadium in the Bronx to raise money for the cause. So awesome to be there for that moment. Kind of wish I had pictures, but I just wanted to soak it in, so the phone and iPod stayed put.

After that ceremony, the National Anthem was sung by a local choir, the first pitch was thrown, and then it was game time!

In between innings, I splurged and got some cookies and cream Dippin' Dots. I try not to eat sweets during the week, but my first trip to the Stadium is a special occasion, right? ;-)

Dippin' Dots are AWESOME!

The game itself went very fast, and the Yankees won 5-1. Not the home run derby from the previous day, but still a good game. My phone and my iPod both died (Lesson-Invest in a portable charger!), so I just soaked in the experience and enjoyed it all. 

You know nothing is complete without a selfie, so I got the perfect one before the game ended.

Now my first trip to the Stadium is official. ;-)

Oh, and of course I had to add a Yankee Stadium bracelet to my Alex and Ani collection! 
#CharmedArm at the Stadium with my newest bangle!

After the game, my dad and I made it back to Manhattan and waited outside Penn Station and watched the Rangers on the Jumbotron outside Madison Square Garden with at least three dozen other people. (They won on Tuesday, but sadly lost last night.)

Eventually, we got on the train to come home, and my awesome night was over. Hope to get to more games in the future! Yankee Stadium is totally awesome!

Have you been to any sporting venues? Which is your favorite or "Must Go To?" Besides the Stadium, I love Madison Square Garden, and have several "bucket list" baseball stadiums and college arenas!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

2015 Spring Into Summer 5K (Middletown, NJ)

This post should really be titled "That Time I Came Within 5 Seconds of a PR in the Pouring Rain."

All week long, I was stressing about this race. Not just the race itself (the usual nerves), but the weather as well. I was incredibly lucky and had sunshine for all of my previous races. Granted, some had another less than ideal element thrown in (either heat or wind), but at least the sun was out. There was rain in the forecast on Saturday morning, but I kept hoping it would hold out until after I crossed the finish line.

As you can see from my outfit, I was NOT planning for rain at all. I mean, how was I supposed to sparkle in the rain? Priorities, people! ;-)

I woke up to sun on Saturday morning. Some clouds, but there was sun! My hopes were high for a clear race!

I got to the race site a little later than last year, but nerves were still high. Again, partially due to the weather, partially the usual race stuff.

This year seemed to go a little faster than last before the 5K start. The one mile race was first, and that's always one of the awesome parts of this event. Lots of kids running and they are always so cute to watch! 

In between the mile and 5K, I had to get a picture of how my outfit came together! I LOVE how it came out, even more than last year's!

It was a big hit with so many of the other runners! The skirt and the wings got the most compliments (Thank you, Team Sparkle!), although the tape and sleeves were close. Hey, I figured "Go big or go home," right? ;-)

Anyway, after pictures, it was time to line up at the start. This race is awesome in that there's a mat at the start, which means that your "official" 5K time doesn't start until you cross that mat. This is meant to avoid the chaos of scrambling for spots in the front, and for a mid-pack runner like me, this is HUGE! This is one of the main reasons I love this race and keep coming back!


The rainbow flag on the right is where the start mat is. I was quite a ways back, but again, I was fine with that due to the mat in the first place.

Moments later, the whistle was blown, and we were off! #10 was underway!

I felt like it took me less time to cross the start mat than in the past, and I later found out that it did. It only took me about 25 seconds, and I was walking up to it. Uh, okay? 

One I crossed the mat, I started running, and actually ran for about three minutes! Not at a crazy pace, but enough to build my confidence. Maybe this would be my day after all. There was the usual weaving due to crowds, but I kept my rhythm going, and knew that as the faster runners broke away, the crowds would thin.

After the first few minutes, I realized my app and my watch were not in sync, and at that point, decided to shut off my phone's picture but kept my music going. I had my Polar going, so that would give me a general idea of my time as I crossed the mile markers.

About 10 minutes into the race, when I was around 0.9 of a mile in, the rain came. It came fast and hard. It felt good, but at the same time, it was so annoying! I decided that I would keep my 1:1 running/walking ratio going as long as I could, and still hope that I could PR.

I hit the first mile just short of 11:00, which was PERFECT! I have a tendency to go out WAY too fast and hit my first mile closer to 10:20-10:30, so those extra few seconds made a huge difference! I was feeling good and kept my pace going despite the rain.

Every year, the second mile is always the most mentally challenging, and this year was no exception. In fact, it might have been WORSE because of Mother Nature.

Despite the rain, the crowds were as great as they were in previous years! In fact, there was one guy crazy enough to stand in the rain wearing a Rangers jersey and cap (they won, and I was crazy enough to yell "Go Rangers!" as I ran past him. Did I look like an idiot? Probably. Then again, what are the chances of me seeing him again anyway?

After that point, I had found a strong groove, and finally hit the second mile at about 22:00. I was at 11:00 miles and was feeling awesome! I was still believing that I could PR, but this third mile would make or break it.

I was doing awesome throughout the third mile, and was strong heading into the final half mile on the high school track, despite being soaked from head to toe.

Then I hit the track and started to feel slipping, so this was where I decided that the PR was not worth it at this point. I walked a little bit, then had a full out sprint and jump across the finish line! #10 was done!

I didn't pay much attention to my EXACT clock time, but I knew it was around 35:00. At this point, I thought I had a PR, but couldn't tell since I had no exact idea of my pace at all.

After crossing the finish, stopping my app and music, and walking a bit to recover, I grabbed a water and a half banana while I waited for the official results. At that point, that was about all I could stomach. This race has a BBQ after, and to this day, the thought of hamburgers and hot dogs at 9:00 in the morning after running a 5K still makes me queasy. 

I walked around some more, both to loosen up and dry out. I was soaked, and forgot to bring a spare set of clothes. Live and learn, I guess?

After a few minutes, the official results were in. My clock time was 35:05.9, with a chip time of 34:40.8, five seconds off of a PR. So close, yet so far. At first, I had the "Really?!" reaction, but then realized that conditions played a big part into it, especially with having to slow down at the end. Still, I was super happy with that time! I felt super consistent with my pace, which has NEVER happened before! Also, I proved to myself that I had it in me to do it again! 

I told myself that if I was this strong in the rain, imagine what I could do if it was clear out! I let myself have that moment, then moved on. There is no way of knowing, and I just had to live with the race that happened.

There is a reason runners train in just about anything, and yesterday was proof that it is a must. You never know what race day will bring, and need to be prepared. For me, this includes bringing spare clothes and a towel for after the race.

Overall, this is one of my favorite races, and you can bet I WILL be back in 2016!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April Recap and May Goals

Happy Saturday, everyone! I'm currently watching the Rangers and they came to play today! Let's just say I'm glad I got my workout in early!

While I'm watching the game, I decided to post this little recap of last month and what I'm working on for this one!

Here's a refresher on my April goals:

Here's how I did:

1) Write and post three daily positives about myself. NAILED IT! I seriously can't thank Dani enough for starting the #30daysofpositivity! (Seriously, I don't know where I would be without her!) Some days were tougher than others, but I managed to end each day with my three. I think that this will stick, even if I end up knocking it down to one or two.

2) Complete a 30 Day Ab Challenge. NAILED THIS TOO! It was tough toward the end (200 crunches and 125 sit-ups on day 30), but I did it! I feel stronger, and this led to one of my May goals!

3) Limit my coffee out to three days a week. Yes and no on this one. There was one week where I had coffee out four days, but two of them were freebies. I feel like I did pretty good with this!

4) Back to Treat-End ONLY. I did really good with this too. I did cheat twice (once with a bite of brownie and on Thursday with free Carvel), but I feel like I can maintain this. Will I beat myself up over one slip-up? No, but I won't use that as an excuse to go hog-wild either.

5) Try one new recipe. I made the Hungry Girl Cobb Burger, but put my own twist on it. It came out so good! Plus, it shows I don't need bread with my burgers all the time!

I feel like I had a really good April! I made huge strides in my mental confidence, and proved that I am stronger than I think! I'll be buying myself some music pretty soon!

As for what I'm working on in May, here you go:

1) Plank-A-Day. I REALLY need to get back into this. I did a plank every day in April as part of my ab challenge, so it's just about keeping it up and changing the planks themselves!

2) Put $1 for every workout into a savings jar. I've seen this on Pinterest, and decided to give it a shot. It's a different approach to savings, and I work out enough, so why not? I'm up to $3 in two days!

3) Hit 11,000+ steps twice a week. Okay, we all know I can hit 10,000 with the best of them! I just want to up the game and move a little more!

4) Try one meatless recipe. I don't eat meatless often enough. Plus, I would love to make something different!

5) Write two "non-fluff" blog posts. I've been in and out with my blogging lately, and most of it is "fluff" (Friend Makin' Mondays, Currently, etc.). Two posts that actually have thought should be easy enough.

My reward for this month will be some sort of sports T-shirt. I still haven't decided which one. All I know is it won't be a Rangers related shirt since they're still playing at this point.

Here's to an awesome May!

What are you working on this month? What would you like to see on this blog?