Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

I have been struggling since Hartford to find my running mojo.  I took two weeks off, walking with my family during the second week.  This week I am supposed to be running daily to stay/get ready for Philly.  I got up Monday, that was it.  This morning I hit snooze, even though I had laid out my clothes and set the alarm to be up at 4:15.

It's dark.  It's cold.  I'm tired.  Those are my excuses and they're all true.  I even reminded myself that I feel better when I get up and run even if it's hard to get up.  I always feel better afterward.  I am going to try and get today's run in after dinner tonight but the end of the day is always hard for different reasons.

I have a half marathon I want to run in May so I will be signing up for some more AMR training - whether or not it will be heart rate I haven't decided.  There are things I could have done more of, better, differently with the HRT so maybe I would see more improvements and success.  Or, I have also had success with more traditional AMR training programs and may opt for that.  Training through the winter is important to me because it keeps me active.  Last winter I ran outside the whole winter and it was great!  This summer I learned the value of my treadmill and don't despise it the way I once did.

I have plenty of cold weather running gear and am all set for that.  Now I just need to get my butt out of bed!!!

Tonight I will go to bed earlier and get up tomorrow and get this done.  I can't wait to meet all these wonderful ladies I've connected with via Facebook in Philly!

Monday, October 17, 2016


So here's my post-Hartford wrap up.  I FINISHED! I am a marathoner!

That said - it did not go the way I had hoped.

We arrived in Hartford Friday afternoon around 5:30.  Parked our car, checked into the hotel, dropped bags and boogied to the Expo.  Did a lap there, grabbed my bib and some dinner.  Tried to get to bed early, but my tiny human was not cooperating.  Bedtime was around 11PM. Not ideal.

I got up around 6 and got myself organized before heading to the meetup point to see some other BAMRs that were running.  Meet and greet and pictures! One last potty stop, we did some Silly Toes and we were off!

The weather was perfect; overcast, cooler and I had my gloves and ear warmers on.  We were all running roughly the same pace, so Melissa, Sandra and I stayed together.  We rapidly fell to the back of the pack - we were READY for that!  What we weren't ready for was the sweep and the police officer on his motorcycle to be circling us like vultures.  It was incredibly unnerving and my HR shot up from around 150 to 170 pretty quickly.  There were moments where I could bring it back down, but largely it was way, way off where it should have been.  So were the other ladies'.

Mile five or so, our escort confirmed that we were on pace to avoid being swept and that he was falling back to hang with those that were behind us.  We shuffled along and around mile 12 started to separate.  At mile 13 I texted my husband to say I couldn't do it.  He responded with encouragement and then unbeknownst to me put out a rally cry on Facebook.  All of a sudden texts started pouring in from my friends and family - now I'm crying.   By mile 14 I was alone and the wheels were falling off.  My vision started to get a bit wonky and I slowed way down to try and get it together.  I was also having a hard time taking a deep deep breath - I don't know if it was a panic attack or something physical.  I slowed to walk until I felt better - that was quite a while.

In the meantime, I met some new BAMRs - Kristy and Carol who recognized my watch and my pace as HR training.  We shuffled for a bit before I lost them.  Fortunately a bit later, I found them again.  We were shuffling along - the course was closing and it was really sad.  I was disappointed in how long I was taking, and how I was feeling.  We were mostly walking.  The company was great - I am so so grateful to these women because without them I would probably have quit.  The sweep came to give us a map and told us we were on our own.

At this point the signs were coming down, and my husband was texting to ask where I was.  I assured him I was coming.  I began to pick up the pace around mile 24.4 and shuffled until I met him and my little guy.  Who promptly asked me "Mommy did you win?"...I sure did buddy.  He ran me into the city, and then we separated so I could finish.  I was almost in tears, trying to figure out where to do.  I saw a race volunteer who directed me, and another one escorted me to the finish.  The announcer was gone, and signs were coming down but the woman with the medals was still there.

THIS WOMAN.  I wish I knew her name.  She grounded me with her energy and spoke to me slowly and calmly - congratulating me on my finish, and it was such a lovely moment.  I wish I had enough self awareness to thank her more than I did.  I hobbled off to find my hubby and kiddo.  We hung around until Kristy and Carol finished.  High fives were exchanged and they hobbled off to find their gear while we headed back to our car.

Finish time: 6 hours and 42 minutes by my watch.  I had hoped to come in around 5:30.  I know I burned up the Bonneville on the first half.  I don't know that I could have slowed down any? I should have, but...I didn't feel like I could.  Next time I am going to pay more attention to course time limits.  My husband wants to go back to Hartford next year so I can conquer it.  I'm open to the idea - it was a great course, though I wish there'd been a bit more support between miles 15-18. Though, I was so slow, maybe there was initially.

Anyway. I finished a marathon. I did it! The thing I said I would NEVER do.  I didn't feel so bad afterward.  Sore that day, sore the next day but I scored a massage on Monday so by Wednesday I was 100%.

I am ready to get moving again, and LET'S GO PHILLY! That half has my name written all over it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Whoops, here I am!

Okay folks, I fell off the grid. Way off. And I've been training this whole time, I promise!  And I am exhausted.  Twenty weeks is the longest I have ever trained for anything.  I am more than ready for it to be over.  I'm into my last two weeks and race day is looming before me on October 8.

This post may be somewhat of a ramble...hang in there.

I'm nervous.  Very nervous.  I don't feel like I have gotten a good deal faster than when I started with HRT.  I'm worried about how long it's going to take me to run this marathon.  I really want to finish under 6 hours, and I'd LOVE to finish in under 5:30.  I don't know if that will happen.  I don't know what I'm wearing (yet).  I didn't do enough SSSC, BOSU and bands.  I am nervous that I won't have any time at the expo - packet pickup will be fine, that's happening until 9pm the night of.  I'm worried that I am not mentally strong enough for this. I am worried I won't get enough/good sleep the night before because of my threenager.

That said, I've run 5 days a week pretty consistently - there have been weeks where it's only been 4 but even that is more than I usually run in a given week.  I have learned to use the treadmill to my advantage - and do not mind running on it most days. I've never stuck to a training plan like this before.  I've never done THIS before.  I know the race day energy is going to buoy me at times.  I know there will be runners from the AMR crowd that I am sooooo excited to see there.  My nutrition has been great for the last week and a half, and will only get better.  I have so much love and support from my family and friends.  I CAN DO THIS!

Rollercoaster, right?  Welcome to it.  I will likely have any and all of these thoughts running through my head for the next two weeks.  I cannot wait to "sleep in" after my race - a whopping 5:30 wakeup instead of the 4:15s I've been doing to get my runs in.  Though I have to say, I always feel better when I do manage to get my run done in the morning.

I've jumped on the Philly bandwagon with the AMR/HRT crew - I signed up for the half - it's 6 full weeks after my marathon, I'm hoping that's enough time to recover.  I'm not planning to do any crazy racing - just a fun run with any other BAMRs that are there for a good time!  I know for some ladies, it's their target race and I can't wait to cheer them on!

My family and friends have done an amazing job of supporting me and donating to my EMC fundraiser - I cannot thank them enough!

I'd also like to take a second and thank my dear husband for the time and sacrifice it has taken to support me through this journey.  Once upon a time I said I'd never want to run a marathon - open mouth, insert foot - but when I changed my mind, he was nothing but supportive.  It has not been easy.  It's meant many early weekend mornings on child wrangling duty, with the added plus of having no television because "it's broken" AKA our child turns into a cyclops when it comes on.  He has managed all of this and more.  He has supported me, hugged me, rubbed my tired legs more times than I can count.  There are times where he almost literally pushed me out the door.  I wouldn't be where I am without him and I know that having him and our boy at the finish line is going to be EVERYTHING to me at the end of this journey.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Running Into Fall

Whoops.  I fell off the blog for a bit.  Summer is busy.  BUSY y'all.  But I have been running!

I did take a week off for my LASIK procedure.  Here comes my public service announcement.  If you are considering this - do it.  I was bummed to be sidelined for a week but it is hands down, one of the best decisions I ever made.

The procedure is wacky, I won't lie.  And I was more nervous than I thought I would be; I gave myself permission to pull my parachute at any time until I was laying on the table.  They gave me a Xanax before hand and I sat for a few minutes waiting for it to kick in (wish they'd given me 2..).  It took less than 15 minutes for both eyes!  I sat in recovery for another 15 minutes and then I was headed home with my super sexy sunglasses.  I was pretty uncomfortable that afternoon and evening; watery eyes, tired and so I went to bed around 7.  I woke up the next morning and was seeing perfectly clearly.  My vision was 20/15 at the follow up that next day!  I had a regimen of eye drops I had to keep up, and no water in my eyes etc. for a week or so but that was it.  WOW! I haven't seen distance without glasses or contacts since I was 12.  It is amazing!! And totally worth the week off of training.  Because now when I run, I can see!

I was nervous about my first run back, how would it be?  I know I didn't lose fitness in just a week but I was still nervous.  Do other people find they get nervous after time off or is it just me?  My first run was an easy one, and it felt great!  It was on the treadmill because of the weather.  My long run a few days later was not as great but that was largely because of lack of sleep.  I got it done, and am proud of that.  And so amazed that I can see so clearly!  My runs over the summer had been largely blurry because I wasn't wearing my contacts at all so it is a huge difference.

This week coming up is the first week of school here which is notoriously nutty for me in my world.  I am determined to keep up my routine - even if it means some 4:30am wakeups.  I find that I am much more likely to get my runs in first thing in the morning, but it also means I need to be diligent about bedtime.  Now if only the toddler would cooperate!

Also - I am dedicating my miles for the fall to fundraising for Every Mother Counts.  It is an organization that is near and dear to my heart.  One of my other passions is maternal health and empowerment.  Childbirth is one of the leading causes of death of women world wide. Many women do not have easy access to pre and post natal care.  An investment in our mothers and babies is an investment in our own future.  

Here's a link to my fundraiser:  Every Mother Counts

Friday, August 12, 2016

In The News


Running is on my mind a lot.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.  Safety is also on my mind a lot.  I am a woman, I am not afforded any other way of living.  My husband does not have to double check his surroundings when he’s out somewhere at night.  He doesn’t have to think about what he’s wearing before he leaves the house, or even question whether or not to leave the house and head somewhere alone.  However, that is my world.  Our world, as women.

I often carry pepper spray on my runs though I recognize that I have never been trained on how to use it and it could very well be used against me, or blow back in my face if the wind is not in my favor.  I took a self defense class in college that was pretty intense, but that was over ten years ago now.

These women were all out in broad daylight.  Let me say that again.  Each of the 3 women who were murdered recently were out running in broad daylight.  They were not out in the dark, they were not in particularly remote areas.  And each of them was brutally murdered.  More than likely also sexually assaulted in some way.

What now, ladies?  I refuse to stop running but I would be lying if I said this wasn’t making me think twice.  I am aware of my own safety and I take precautions.  I tell my husband where I am going and how long I will be gone.  I wear a Road ID with my pertinent emergency contact information on it.  I generally run with only one earbud and it’s one that allows for ambient noise to be heard.  I was pleased to see Strava’s new feature with the Beacon feature so that someone can know where I am in real time.  But that’s only for premium subscribers – yet another reason to maintain my premium membership.  I try to look everyone I pass in the eye and acknowledge that I see them with a “hello” or “good morning”.  My neighborhood is safe.  It’s also boring to run in.  I am blessed to live right by a wonderful multi-use trail and it’s my favorite place to run.  I haven’t run on it in a week, and I am nervous a little bit about my long run tomorrow.  I don’t always see a lot of people on my runs.  I have never felt unsafe, and have never run in to anyone who made me feel threatened.  But maybe these three women never had either..

It’s scary. And sad.  How many of us are taking more of our runs to the treadmill to avoid “taking a risk”?  How many of us are ANGRY that we have to think that way?  I am furious.  And somewhat powerless.  It has got me thinking about taking another self defense class.  And more than likely I will not run with any headphones going forward.  A running buddy is not realistic for me.  Neither is a large dog.  I want to feel safe in my own skin.  I want to be safe in my surroundings.  In this world right now though, I know that as a woman, I am not.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


This week, we went on our big trip for the summer.  We left Monday for NC where my parents have retired.  It was the first time we’d been down there with the kiddo.  So, first airplane ride with him, first time at the ocean etc.  We had to leave here at about 7:00 Monday morning, which meant I was up at 5 to get my run in for the day.  I knew there was no way I would want to run after we’d traveled and settled ourselves at my parents.
I queued up some Madam Secretary and was off!  The plan called for 1 hour with my HR under 140 and a pickup at the end of each mile.  I am notorious for forgetting the pickups.  I think I did 2 instead of 3. 

An hour later I’d finished 3.87 miles and was drenched in sweat.  I took a quick shower and we hit the road.  The trip down went so smoothly, we could not have asked for better!
It was great to see my folks, and wonderful to put my toes in the sand and swim in the ocean.  The water was easily 70 degrees, if not warmer and the waves were just big enough to keep it interesting.  

I brought all my running gear with me with the plan to get up early each morning and run before the NC heat and humidity destroyed my will.
Tuesday morning went as planned – an easy 30 minute BER run with my HR under 130.  I did loops around my parents’ development and while it was not the most exciting, I was not feeling super adventurous and did not want to tempt fate going somewhere I wasn’t familiar with.  I took a picture of that humongous pinecone with my foot for scale.  The picture on the right is from an undeveloped section of road in their neighborhood.

The next morning was 45 minutes at 140 with 4-6 accelerators at the end.  This time I ventured out and down the road to a nearby golf community.  It was 90% humidity and 80 degrees by 7am.  It was ridiculous how sweaty I was.  My shoulders were sweating!  I slogged through it knowing we were headed to the beach.  We hit the beach where I spent quite a bit of time in the water with my hubby while the kidlet played in the sand with Grammy and Grampy.  They were so happy to have him there, we all had a great time.

Thursday was a rest day, and I spent the afternoon in the hammock!  The kiddo joined me so it was not quite the relaxation time I had in mind but it was fun nonetheless.  The only run I missed was my Friday 1 hour run with my HR at 140.  We had to be up by 5:30 to get to the airport and return the rental car, and get through security and all for our flight.  By the time we finally got home I was so exhausted there was no way I was running.  So I didn’t and I just made peace with that.

Today’s run was 17 miles, or 240 minutes at 140.  It was a tough one, after a week of sleeping in a strange bed and going all day.  I managed 12 miles in 3 hours and called it a day.  I am proud of myself for getting 4 out of my 5 runs in while on vacation.  The Southern head and humidity is NO joke.  My LR this morning was hot and a bit humid but nowhere near as bad as it was down at my parents.  I don’t know how runners south of the Mason-Dixon line do it!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Questioning Myself


There is no denying that this week has been a challenging one for me.  Monday was the first day of my cycle, which generally throws off my mood, motivation and eating habits.  I postponed Monday’s run to Thursday and that would never happen anyway.

I managed to get Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday in with not too much trouble. But my LR was scheduled for Saturday and good gravy I did not want to do it.  I should note that I have not slept well this week, and I have also stayed up too late. I stayed up way too late Friday night watching Madam Secretary.  I love that show!

Saturday I got up with my kiddo and lounged around.  I was hungry and I ate and had my coffee which I generally do not do before a run.  That was the beginning of the end.  It was hot, I was tired and it just was not happening.  After many frustrating conversations with myself, Greg tried to pep talk me out the door.  No dice.  I settled on skipping it and promising I would do it Sunday.

Some of those conversations were focused on “Why am I doing any of this? It’s hard.  I’m tired.  It’s taking so much of my time. I could be sleeping. I could be putting less pressure on myself. What’s the point anyway?”  I reached out to our FB group for a pep talk and got what I needed.  What a fine bunch of ladies I have out there!  So, I would run Sunday…

That was a mistake. Isn’t it always?  I woke up Sunday after another terrible night’s sleep; I wound up in the kiddo’s room for most of it and his mattress is…firm.  And it was raining. Hard.  Which meant no outdoor run for me.  Usually the rain is not a deterrent, but for 2 hours and 24 minutes, this steady rain was enough to keep me on the treadmill.  My training plan has given us maximum and minimum run times for our long runs.  Today’s minimum was 75 minutes. 

That was all I did.  And you know what?  I am okay with it. I got what I needed, I got myself moving and I am committed to this plan.  I will get my runs in while I am on vacation, and I will be ready for this marathon in October.  Hartford, I’m coming for you!

Monday, July 25, 2016

It Isn’t Easy

Yesterday’s long run called for 3 hours, or 16 miles whatever came first.  Let me tell you, it was not 16 miles.  It was almost 12.

I woke up at 6 but did not manage to get myself out of the house until closer to 7.  I was having a hard time motivating myself.  I did not want to go, I don’t know why. I usually enjoy my runs but this one I was dreading.  I posted on my HRT FB Group and some of the other ladies rallied to help me get out the door.

It was nice and cool, still in the 60s.  I had prepped my hydration pack the night before, filled it most of the way and then threw some ice cubes in.  Out the door I went.

I tried to settle in to my miles and put the thoughts out of my head.  “Why am I doing this?  Maybe the marathon was a mistake. These runs are so long, I’m away from my husband and kiddo. It’s only going to get harder.  This is miserable. I am hot.  I am tired.  I want to quit.”

Eventually I was able to put that out of my head and move.  The first hour flew by pretty quickly.  I bargained with myself that instead of going out for an hour and a half, I’d go out for an hour and fifteen, and then run inIMG_4468 the opposite direction at the start of the trail to make up the difference.

When I struggle on a run, I make a point to look around and appreciate where I am and what I’m doing.

The trail I run on is nothing particularly remarkable, but being outside is a gift.  Having a place to run is a gift.  Being able to run is a gift. I don’t ever want to forget that.

I finished out my run and spent the rest of the day palling around with my hubby and kiddo.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Feelin’ Hot!


This weekend the North East is under a “heat dome”.  Which is as miserable as it sounds.  Greg installed the air conditioners last night, we have one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom and they cool our living space pretty well.  Generally neither of us likes AC,  but with just how hot it is, we needed some relief.

I had big plans of getting up early this morning (5:30) and heading out for my LR of 16 miles or 3 hours and 12 minutes by 6am.  The toddler wound up in our bed, and we all slept until 8am.  I guess this means my LR will be tomorrow.  It’s not ideal, but my body needed the extra sleep.

Monday starts my vacation time for the summer and I cannot wait! I am looking forward to being able to get my runs in when I want, and where I want.  I can take myself up into the mountains, or around a lake because I will have extra time to drive and get there.  The week after that we are headed to NC to see my folks.  If I’m complaining about the heat now…..

Overall, training is going well.  I have started to see my HR steady out over my runs, and have found on some runs that I am able to keep running and bring my HR back down.  There have been a couple of times where that has worked better than slowing to a walk!  I am fascinated by this process and cannot wait to see the end results.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Why are you running so slow?!

Alternately titled, what is HRT and why are you doing it?

The marathon distance intimidates me.  But that is all the more reason I signed up to do one.  Once upon a time the idea of lacing up my shoes and leaving the house at all intimidated me.  And here we are!

I have followed quite a few AMR training plans.  I enjoy the books, I enjoy the podcasts and I have been super happy with the intelligent, easy to understand plans they have put together.  So when I listened to the intro podcast with MK, it seemed only natural that I'd at least check it out.

Fun fact: I have a tattoo on my left wrist of a compass.  I got it last summer after a lot of thought about what and where I wanted it.  Ultimately I decided on a compass because it reminds me to keep exploring.  Exploring myself, exploring new things and new places.  One thing I am proud of myself for is that I am willing to try new things.  I enjoy learning something new.  If I hadn't been open to trying new things, I never would have started running.  This is in line with why I've decided to pursue a marathon distance and why I chose HRT to do it.  They are both total unknowns to me.  I trust AMR and was willing to try something brand new.

A brief overview - basically, my runs are primarily time based, not mile based.  I have to keep my heart rate under 140 beats per minute (I have a little cushion, up to 142) and that's that.  It is obviously way more complicated than that and I really recommend the HR 101 podcast that AMR put out if you're curious.  But those are my general focus on a run.  I have a warm up that I do, and some strength training moves afterward.  Some runs have accelerators and pick ups in them and I do those as instructed.  It's not perfect, I don't always do all of the things all of the time but more often than not I am doing what I should be.

I drank the kool-aid, I listened to the podcasts and I settled in.  If I am going to do this, I am going to do it all the way.  I dropped pace from the display on my watch, and now only run with my HR and time displayed.  That helps tremendously.

There are times where I hate the whole thing.  There are times when I want to quit and tell my HR to shove it.  And then I look at my week.  I've run 5 days consistently for the last 8 weeks, I am getting up early in the morning to run. I just keep getting up and doing it.  I am uninjured, I am not flat-out on my back exhausted all the time and more and more I am running instead of shuffling.  My long run yesterday was 2 hours and 48 minutes or 14 miles, whichever comes first (confession: it wasn't 14 miles).  I finished that, and was still able to be engaged and present with my family.  Which means chasing a toddler - in the past, a run that long would have put me down and out for the afternoon.

My wave of training isn't even halfway there yet and I am so curious as to what the next 11 weeks will bring.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Never Say Never

Once upon a time I distinctly remember saying "I have no desire to run a marathon".  And even "I will NEVER run a marathon. I just cannot imagine reaching the finish point of a half and only being halfway."

Open mouth, insert foot.  Because guess what I'm doing?  Yup, marathon training.  Truly I blame the Mother Runners.  They keep putting out great training plans and challenges.  I got wind of this heart rate training "thing" they were doing.  I listened to them talk about it on a podcast and was intrigued.  This did not sound terrible, it sounded like if I followed the plan that I could survive a marathon.

So I lost my mind for a minute, or five and registered for the Hartford Marathon!  I debated between that and the Mohawk Hudson Marathon.  Hartford won out because it's on a Saturday and I would have Sunday to recover before having to work on Monday.  And Hartford was far enough away that it justified staying over the night before.  And maybe it's a little flatter than MHM?!

Training officially started the week of May 23 and the 20 week plan will take me right up to race day.  It has me running 5 days a week which I have never done before, and wearing a heart rate monitor.  I had been looking to upgrade from my Garmin 305 which is still great but quite large on my wrist and I wanted something with a little bit more technology.  After quite a lot of research, I bought a Polar M400 and haven't looked back!  I love it's ease of use, I love that it will send me smart notifications of texts etc. while I am running so I don't have to dig my phone out of my armband to see what's going on.

Heart rate training is a challenge like I have never experience before.  It requires lots of slow running.  At first I would not even call it running.  Shuffling perhaps.  It can be discouraging because it doesn't "feel" hard.  Mentally, it may be the hardest thing I have ever done.  I am 8 weeks in and I am seeing improvements.  More importantly, I am running five days a week and am not injured or exhausted to the point of not being able to function.  Long runs are long, but I don't feel like the rest of my day has to be laying on my bed.  With a toddler this is super important.

Marathon training has meant a lot of early morning runs which can be a little boring.  It's hard to get up, and the safest place for me to run at that time is around my neighborhood.  It's about a mile loop around.  I did my long run last weekend in the 'hood and ran for 2 hours and 24 minutes.  I did reverse the loop at the halfway point which helped.

Our AMAZING Coach is Mary Katherine Brooks Fleming and she is fabulous.  The HR Training podcasts she and Dimity have been turning out are just what I need to keep me moving.  The science makes sense and her personality is so energizing.

I am excited to document the rest of this journey and see where training takes me!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Where do we go from here?

After the Classic I didn't run for a week.  Not a mile.  And it felt good.  It was a busy time of year for me, socially and at work so it was nice to have some (well deserved) quiet time.  A toddler makes that time particularly sweet.

So what was the next logical step?  Another local half I'd never run two weeks later.  I figured I was still trained, I felt strong and was uninjured - it couldn't hurt!  Well, yes it could but I was likely to survive it.  My cheer squad couldn't be at this one, as we were scheduled to attend a party.  Greg graciously agreed to take the kidlet and I could meet them later.

I knew this half would have plenty of rolling hills, and it was likely to be much warmer.  I opted for an open back t-shirt, shorts and regular socks.  I carried my own water, and was ready to go!  The race started around 8:30 according to my Polar M400.  I started out slow, having learned not go out too fast like I did in Kingston.  It was warm.  As in, very warm.  I took some water from the aid stations because it was colder than my handheld which I had forgotten to freeze.  There was a decent amount of shade, but that almost made the sunny bits that much more painful.  Overall it was a beautiful course, great scenery and nice course support.  It was well marked, and there were no points where I wasn't sure of where I was going.

110:08 /mi10:01 /mi11 ft160 spm
210:07 /mi10:35 /mi-73 ft164 spm
310:55 /mi10:44 /mi17 ft162 spm
410:44 /mi10:43 /mi-13 ft164 spm
511:32 /mi10:43 /mi69 ft162 spm
610:20 /mi11:31 /mi-160 ft166 spm
711:54 /mi10:46 /mi110 ft160 spm
811:10 /mi11:04 /mi-1 ft162 spm
911:04 /mi10:46 /mi23 ft168 spm
1011:32 /mi11:29 /mi-20 ft166 spm
1111:23 /mi10:55 /mi39 ft162 spm
1211:13 /mi11:31 /mi-49 ft158 spm
1312:17 /mi11:41 /mi55 ft158 spm
0.211:01 /mi11:12 /mi-7 ft168 spm

Does anyone else see the trend here?  I'm solid until mile 7/8.  This is where the hills set in as well as you can see, or just after.  I found two women who appeared to be running my pace-ish and tucked in with them.  They welcomed me warmly and we chatted a bit between breaths.  None of us were much for talking which was fine with me.  The occasional comment or joke, but otherwise just the sound of feet falling.  A few times I fell behind and they'd look back for me.  I hung in there with them until about mile 12, and then I just couldn't.  I think my mistake was slowing down around mile 10, and I couldn't find the speed again.  Looking back, I wish I had pushed myself to hang with them. 

Around mile 12.5 I spotted a runner in a Oiselle singlet bra top and yelled "Yeah Oiselle!" to her, she smiled; she was deep into her marathon at that point and looking strong.  After some stalking later, I'd friend her on Instagram and discover it was Mollie Turner who took 1st for the women overall in the marathon.  I had recently gotten my Oiselle Volee acceptance and was super excited to spot another bird in the wild.  She's an amazing runner and I have great admiration for her.  I also love that she's local-ish to me!  We're friends in my head....and on Instagram and Strava.

Approaching the finish line, I was hurting.  I had taken many walk breaks at this point but I knew I wanted to be running when I hit the fairgrounds where the finish was.  I also knew that I'd be crossing it by myself and had a moment of "EVERYONE IS WATCHING ME!".  The crowd was super kind and cheered me in.  I immediately found the two women I'd run with to congratulate them.  I don't know that I would have been able to get through those middle miles without them.

My chip time was 2:27:10.  I was pretty pleased considering this wasn't my goal race, and I'd raced two weeks before.  I learned again, that I need to work on my second half of a race and find a way to finish strong.  When I looked up my race photos a few days later I was shocked - great pictures! I never take great race photos and I was really happy with most of these.  I ordered some, to stick in my scrapbook because good race shots are rare! I would definitely run this race again,  I am fortunate that there are a bunch of local races that really put on a great day.  Though I do lust after a flat race.  I wonder how my performance would be minus the hills.  Some day..... 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kingston Classic 2016

The race was April 24.  I appreciate Saturday races as it gives me an additional day to recover!  We started around 7:30.  It was about forty degrees and I had my long sleeved lulu tech shirt on, my shorts, gloves and compression socks.  In retrospect I could have done arm warmers and short sleeves because toward the end I wanted to ditch my sleeves.

My A goal was to come in under 2:20, my B goal was to come in under 2:25.  My secret impossible goal was to come in under 2:15.  If you're not familiar with the course it is very hilly at a particular point.  I've driven the route and I knew this.  I figured if I could manage the Minnewaska half, this would be okay too. Mile 8 is where I was undone.  175 feet of climbing with no reprieves.  It's a smaller race so by this point I was largely on my own.  I wanted to HUG the people halfway up that had some fun signs, and were cheering because I was dying.

My splits to that point had been in the 10s - miles 1 and 2 were in at 9s (I went out too fast...when will I learn?) and mile 8 is a 12:18mm.  It was downhill, both literally and figuratively from there.  There was a bit more climbing and a lot of self doubt.  I got into my own head and could not get out.  I was getting more and more discouraged the more I looked at my watch.


19:54 /mi9:55 /mi-5 ft 
210:22 /mi9:57 /mi50 ft 
311:12 /mi10:33 /mi47 ft 
410:37 /mi10:44 /mi-25 ft 
510:34 /mi10:47 /mi-44 ft 
610:55 /mi10:58 /mi-11 ft 
710:46 /mi10:44 /mi-2 ft 
812:18 /mi10:35 /mi175 ft 
910:57 /mi10:53 /mi-21 ft 
1011:18 /mi11:15 /mi-28 ft 
1110:56 /mi11:45 /mi-111 ft 
1211:29 /mi11:26 /mi-4 ft 
1311:35 /mi11:37 /mi-12 ft 
0.211:39 /mi11:40 /mi-2 ft 

As I hit mile 13, I heard the footfalls of someone behind me.  I hadn't seen anyone for quite some time and had no idea anyone was behind me.  It was a man, who I recognized from the start because he didn't "look" like a runner.  He looked like a weight lifter.  He said he'd been trying to catch me for two miles.  I was annoyed that he had.

He wanted to chat.  I was NOT in a chatting place.  I managed to squeak some words out but overall kept quiet.  Then we hit the track.  It was about a 50m stretch to the finish.  He picked up the pace and was going to leave me comfortably behind.  I decided that no, no he was not. And I gave it everything I had.  Some of it I did not even know I had.  The announcer noticed and started talking about my effort to close the distance - which alerted my target.  He saw me, and kicked a little harder.  He managed to cross the finish line just before me.  His time was 2:25:46 and mine was 2:25:47.  My Garmin had me in at 2:23:45, but my official time was the 2:25.

My two best guys were at the finish waiting for me.  That instantly made me happy.  I was happy that I had pushed hard at the end.  I was disappointed I hadn't pushed harder miles 8-13.  I had done some negative splitting on my training runs, but these hills just did me in.  Overall, I am very proud of myself.  I ran all winter, I followed a training plan, and I did improve my half time by quite a bit from Providence.  Overall, a win I say!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cold Weather Runner!

Since I enjoyed my training plan from AMR, I signed up for a spring half challenge through them with my sights set on the Kingston Classic.  I started my training on January 25, which for those of you who may not be aware is winter here in the Hudson Valley.

Looking back, sometimes I don't even know how I did it.  We were blessed with a relatively mild winter and I invested in some good cold weather gear.  There is only one run where I had to bundle up with multiple layers, hat, neck gaiter and balaclava.  And it was one of my favorite runs of the winter.  Once upon a time I thought I was a warm weather runner, but the more I do it, the more I realize I prefer cooler temps for my running.  Also, winter running allowed me to justify purchasing a Yeti from Oiselle which is perfect for warming up after long, cold runs!

I followed my training plan, I used the treadmill when I had to and Greg was super supportive doing child wrangling while I went out for my runs.  I did get up a few mornings super early to get a run in, with all my gear.  Our neighborhood is great for running in the sense that there is not any through traffic, it's one road in and the same road out.  I light myself up like a Christmas tree with a headlamp, knuckle lights and off I go.  Some runs were later at night, after bedtime.  Same technique - ALL THE LIGHTS.

I discovered I love running in the snow, provided I am prepared for it.  It took me a while to figure out how to dress appropriately and not get overheated.  I am so grateful that we had a mild winter and that I was able to do most of my training outside.

I was really hoping the weather would hold going into April.  You never know with that crazy month.  Freak snow storms when it should be spring, torrential rains, anything goes!  My goal race was set for April 24 and it was fast approaching...was I ready?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Quick Recap of the Year

Last summer is when I really decided to get back into training.  I joined a challenge group hosted by the AMR crew to train for a 10k.  My goal was sub 60.  I was consistent with my training and found my groove being a full time working mom, and also making time to take care of my marriage and spending time with hubby.  It is not an easy feat balancing all of those responsibilities and fitting in running!  Summer is generally easier for me because my work schedule slows down and I have more flexibility in my days.

Race day came and I was super excited.  It was a 10K a little far from me, I had to drive an hour to get there.  It was on the chillier side of things, so we decided that I'd fly solo and the guys would hang at home and wait for me to return.  The race was not meant to be.  I reached the town where the race was, and there was a bit of traffic.  I stopped for some cars in front of me and got rear-ended quite hard.  Fortunately there was no damage to either car and the woman who hit me was also racing - dressed as a bride!  Got myself parked and headed to the bus that would take us to the start.  Who wound up sitting next to me, but the bride!  We chatted a bit and passed the time to the start.  I tried to keep warm while waiting by walking around and making one last minute potty stop.

And then we were off! I knew the course would be a bit hilly, and it was two loops of a cemetery.  Have I mentioned it was a Halloween 10k?  At the halfway mark, my splits were looking great - I was probably not going to come in under an hour, but I would be close. Next thing I knew, I was across the finish! And my Garmin showed me finishing in 50:21...WHOA!

Ten minutes under my goal time? 4.9 miles.  The course was short. Significantly short.  I heard other people complaining about it on the walk back to our cars.  I was so disappointed. It took a few weeks, but I did get an email explaining the course had been marked incorrectly. Boo. On the left you see what it should have been - on the right is what it was.

A few weeks later I decided to sign up for a last minute 1/2 at Lake Minnewaska.  I figured my 10K training would carry me. And it did - I ran this SUPER hilly (think mountains) course in 2:29 with 1,000 feet of elevation climb.  I ran the middle part of the race with a few other women and we chatted a bit.  It was a beautiful course, on a beautiful day.  I was happy with my time and overall performance.  It was a super challenging run and I hung in there.  That shot is from close to the finish line where a spectator yelled "only one more lap!" at me as I went by and made me laugh.

I decided to train through the winter for a spring half, hoping to improve my time some more.  How did that go? Stay tuned!