Sunday, December 30, 2012

Allison Fay Photography

So, it's been August since my last post. If you don't know me in real life, you may not know what I've been up to. Luckily, I'm about to tell you! 

I decided photography was something I honestly love, so I decided to pour my heart and soul into it. I started learning as much as I possibly could and practicing as much as I could, all while trying to train for the St. Jude half marathon and work 40 hours a week. Needless to say, I was busy.

I started taking pictures for friends and family in order to practice, then a few other people asked me to take their pictures as well, and it's just kind of grown from there. 

Several people were interested in photographs for their Christmas cards, and here are a few of them...

Lots of other great things have happened and are happening, and I can't wait to share it all with you! I decided to get started early on my resolutions for the new year, and blogging is one of them. I'm not doing so hot with trying to eliminate soda, so I figure it's a lot easier to blog. 

If you are interested in checking out my photography pages, my Facebook page is here and my website (which is a work in progress) can be found here. Give me some love if you have the time!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Boycotting Overtime

I've decided I'm boycotting overtime shifts. I picked up waaay too many (as in, one per week) for the past 3 months, and I'm over it. 

Sure, I get paid more money, and that is super fun. But in exchange for the money, I have to give up my time. And that means I have less time to spend doing the things that I love.

For example, spending time with this sweet girl.

I have spent time with her every day for the past 6 days and I still can't get enough. 

Spending time with her also means spending more time with my sister. We've been planning Anniston's birthday party and our complete Fall wardrobe. It's been great.

I also got to have a girl's night with my best friends in the whole wide world, who live far far away and I haven't seen in a few months. It was way way too long, I missed having friends. 

Also, I get to run. While enjoying it! 
I was still running while I was so busy, but running is so much more fun when I'm not super stressed. 

The only downside of less overtime is less shopping. Which I'm working on dealing with. I'm trying to develop a "Fall Shopping Plan" and attempting to "only purchase what I really need".  As my sister and fellow shopaholic stated, spending time together is not good for our wallets. 

But getting to see this sweet face more often is so, so worth it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm Ready!

My training schedule for the St. Jude Half-Marathon officially starts today!

You guys will be hearing about this for the next 17 weeks (and probably for a few weeks after that), so for now I'll just say that I'm more excited about this race than I have ever been about a race before.  

Everything is in place, and I'm SO READY to get started. 

1.) I'm in such a good place mentally- my confidence has been boosted after finishing the San Francisco half feeling strong and happy. I was really nervous about this race- I really doubted my abilities to do well. For the 2-3 weeks leading up to the race I was busy and stressed, working too much, feeling like I hadn't trained for long enough, and had a few (or several) bad runs.  

Now, that weight has been lifted, things have slowed down (a little bit), and I'm going to enjoy getting back at it!

2. I've got Adam on my team. I have really enjoyed having him coach me- it's great to have a schedule custom made for me according to my needs, paces and abilities. I love having the extra accountability and encouragement. 

It's also really nice not having to worry if I'm doing the right things to be prepared for a good race- he takes care of all of that for me, leaving me to focus solely on the actual running. 

3. I've got motivation. What is better to start a new training cycle than watching the Olympics. It's been said before, but I'll say it again: I cannot take my eyes off the TV! Galen Rupp! Lolo Jones! Allyson Felix! Beach Volleyball! So inspiring. 

In case you haven't seen this picture 10 times already today, here you go.

Literally makes me cry. I'm so proud of them for showing that you can be hard-core and competitive while still being encouraging and supportive of others. This reminds me of me and my sister- she would totally pick me up off the ground after a race if I needed her to. 


4. I've got the gear, including neon stuff.

 I decided not to splurge on the $150 neon green Nike running shoes many of the athletes seem to be wearing, but I did buy two pair of my faithful Nike Frees for $120 total. I'm so sensible when it comes to shopping. (Well, at least in this case I was.)

Running Shoes on Sale + Tax-free weekend + Free Shipping = Stockpiling!

And because I got my pretty neon pink ones dirty after the San Fran race because the finishing area was in grass (instead of the normal pavement) and was sort of muddy. Yeah, I'm still mad about that. 

Anyways... let's get to the neon stuff. 

 I have this cool jacket:

Which was also seen on some very cool and successful people:

This beauty was also pretty expensive (IMO) but I was able to find it at the Nike Outlet here in Memphis for about 60% off the regular price. 

See? Sensible shopper, right here. 

(We are just not going to mention my many recent Lululemon shopping sprees.)

St. Jude Half-Marathon training week 1 begins, 17 weeks until race day!

Friday, August 3, 2012

San Francisco in Pictures

We went to San Francisco. 

We ran across this bridge.

We visited Pier 39....

.... and Fisherman's Wharf... where there was sourdough bread. 

We went to see the redwoods in Muir Woods. They were beautiful.

and very tall.

We went to Alcatraz

and a Giants game

saw a few other things

We ate lots and lots of really good vegetarian food. 

But it's kind of ok, because did I mention we ran a half marathon? Oh yeah, and we walked everywhere. Up humongous hills like this.

San Francisco is probably our favorite city we've visited. It's a beautiful city with gorgeous weather, active people and fabulous food!

San Francisco Half Marathon 2012

*The one that felt really, really good. 

Brandon and I woke up at 4:15am to prepare for an early 5:30am start. We knew our corral wouldn't cross the start line until later, but we wanted to at least be in the vicinity just in case. 

I was a complete wreck inside my head. "OMG My last long run was a DNF. These hills are going to be brutal. I should have started training at least a month or two earlier than I did. We shouldn't have walked so much yesterday. I doubt I can even run a few miles OMG!!!". But on the exterior, I was calm and collected, determined to have a good time and see the beautiful city. 

Despite all of the negative thoughts going on in my head, I felt pretty good at the start. The weather was a crisp 55 degrees with a light drizzle, and I quickly pushed all the negativity out and started to have fun. That was the purpose of this race, after all. 

Miles 1-3 were easy and uneventful, with the exception of one short but steep hill that I ran halfway up and then walked the remainder. Mile 4 and 5 I was desperately trying to find a porta-pottie with a short line, but I finally settled for one that was 1/10th of a mile away from the road. This was incredibly frustrating, but emptying my bladder made me feel so much better that I quickly forgot about it. 

Around mile 5, we started our first climb up the hill to the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. 

This is the reason we flew across the entire country to run this race. Well, that and to escape the heat and humidity for a few days. 

It was a foggy day, so we couldn't even see the top of the bridge. Or anything on either side of the bridge, really. But that didn't phase me one bit. Running across the bridge was so amazing that I completely lost myself in it. Before I knew it, I was halfway across on the way back! 

I looked at my watch and realized I was almost at 8 miles and I still felt amazing. This is the point in the race where I expected to start struggling- but instead I took off and ran faster.

Around mile 10, I had ran out of water, and the brutal hills began. I walked up most of this one- it was pretty long and steep. The next water stop (which were few and far between IMO) was out of cups- I literally thought about just grabbing and entire jug and taking off with it. But I politely cupped my hands and tried to get as much into my mouth as I could. 

At this point, I REALLY expected to feel terrible. But I didn't. So, at the top of the hill, I took off again, and was rewarded with this beautiful view. 

The hills continued, and I surprised myself by running up the ones that seemed easy or mediocre. On the ones that were incredibly steep, I slowed to a walk to make sure I had enough in me to get to the finish. Again, I kept expecting to feel terrible, but I actually felt pretty great. (Despite the fact that I REALLY needed more water and there were not more water stops to be found.)

I crossed the finish line in 2:52:00, which is a tiny PR for me. Most importantly, I crossed the finish feeling strong and happy. And also thirsty. 

I am so happy with how I did during this race- especially taking into account the short training schedule that Adam threw together for me. If I can improve this much after following his plan for just a few weeks, I can't wait to see what I can do after 4 full months of following his training plan for the St. Jude half. 

I really am proud of myself- but for the first time after a race, I have the feeling that I could have done more- should have gone out faster at the beginning, walked less, pushed myself more at the end. I definitely could have- but I was so terrified of bonking before the finish line. I guess that's always a thin line that runners are constantly trying to walk. Or run, in this scenario. :) 

In short- confidence boosted, lessons learned, motivation skyrocketed, medal earned. 

P.S. Brandon started in the back, but ran separate from me. He hoped to run quite a bit faster, but starting at the back forced him to weave, then got stuck on the bridge and wasn't able to pass people. He ran a 2:26:xx, had a blast and enjoyed the weather and the sights!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Grandmother

For the past few weeks, I've been using my free time to make sure that every single detail was perfect for my Grandmother's 85th surprise birthday party. 

Unfortunately, there are some things I cannot control- one of them being traffic. The poor woman was an hour late to her own birthday party. 

Everything was set- ready for the birthday girl to arrive. 

When she finally did arrive- she was the life of the party. As always. 

Well, except for when Anniston was trying to steal her thunder by being so stinkin cute and showing everyone how she waves. 

She had so many presents it was like Christmas in July! She seemed to really enjoy her photo book, and I think she loved the memory box we put together for her. It included lots of family photos, and letters from each one of us. 

We love her so much, and for so many reasons- we had to make sure she knew it. She's the kind of woman who is always doing things for us- this night we made everything all about her. 

I hope we made her as happy as she makes us.

Happy Birthday, Grandmother!

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