Sunday, December 31, 2017

So long '17!

2017 was not my best year in terms of consistency with this blog, or with my races but I learned some valuable lessons.  Biggest one is that strength training matters and I HAVE to do it.  I am happy to report I have been strength training 3x a week for the last two months and that is translating into faster running.  Greg wrote me a training plan that is super simple and doesn't require a ton of equipment.  Some kettlebells, dumbbells and our TRX straps.  I have two routines that I rotate weekly - ABA, and BAB days. They take me about a half hour each which is perfect. Not too much time and long enough that I feel productive.

I took myself to PT after the Mohawk Hudson half and have been strengthening my hamstring and working nerve glides into my post-run routine.  The tips he gave me have definitely helped and while I still have some work to do, I see improvement in how my left leg feels when I run so yay!

Now that the holidays are done, we will clean up our eating habits to pre-holiday habits.  More veggies, healthy carbs, healthy fats, lean proteins.  We both miss it so it won't be terribly hard to get back to. Neither one of us wants to lose the progress we've made in the last six months.

Santa was TOO GOOD to me and surprised me with the new watch I've been coveting for months. I cannot believe that Greg got it for me!  I LOVE it and haven't taken it off.  I love the depth of the metrics and I also love that it looks like a regular watch. I was very happy with my Polar M400 but it screamed "running watch" and I didn't like wearing it as my every day watch. This one, every day - and compatible with work attire.         

Goals for 2018...consistency. I really want to continue to build my strength and translate that into better running.  I am going to train for a spring 10K and plan to break the 60 minute mark.  I know I have that in me - I was ready for it a few years ago and the course was short!  I'd also like to check out the summer XC series that runs locally and do more fun racing.  And then I've got a fall half planned with the AMR crowd at the fall retreat!!  I am hoping it will be a bit of a redemption race for me as my last two halves have been underwhelming to say the least.  I've started to feel the pull for another marathon but I know myself and I know I need some solid (shorter) races under my belt before I feel completely ready for that. 

We won't stay up until midnight because - 4 year olds don't sleep past 7am - but we will celebrate with snacks and a friend.  So long 2017!                                           

Thursday, November 9, 2017


So much for the ride....summer has come and gone. Training started and finished. Blogging..didn't happen.

This was a very busy summer for me at work and personally. I kept meaning to get on here and get going and it just did not happen. I moved offices - twice. Our septic system went kaput and we needed to dig up the back yard and deal with that. And then it was September...

BUT! I am going to attempt to resurrect this thing as I feel like I need an outlet right now related to running and this is one way to "let out".

My summer training was, meh. I was super excited about my plan. I felt great going into summer but wow, training intensely in the heat and humidity is not for the faint of heart.  July was great, August was good, September I really fell off. By the time my last 3 weeks of training rolled around I. Was. Done.

I didn't want to be training anymore. I didn't want to be racing anymore. I didn't want any of it. What happened? I'd been so committed, so prepared. Largely I think it was just exhaustion. School started up again, life got even busier and I got frustrated with "having" to run.  Also I've been "on" a training plan of one sort or another for the last year.  And I slacked on the strength training and as a result my left leg/hip/hamstring were starting to bother me the last 2 weeks. I let my nutrition slide (big mistake) and sort of threw in the proverbial towel.

The weekend of my race I didn't even want to go. But we'd paid for a hotel and I'd put in (most) of the work so we were going.  Off we went. The forecast was for rain. Kiddo spiked a fever in the hotel that night so he and Dad stayed in bed that morning.  The rain wasn't supposed to start until about an hour after I started so I left my garbage bag at the hotel. Rookie mistake.

It was WARM for October...70s. The rain started literally as they were doing the national anthem. And poured. For five miles. I'd given up any goals I'd dreamt of for the race when I started training and just wanted to finish.  I got lightheaded at one point and slowed to walk - I think I need more electrolytes/salt when I run - this happened in Hartford too.  Then the last mile or two I started to get leg cramps. My feet were squishing with every step.  I managed to run across the finish line and I WAS DONE.

It was a beautiful course, and I'd absolutely run it again. Maybe next year. But for right now I need to figure out what's next.  I have a PT appointment scheduled for tomorrow as my leg still acts up with any runs longer than 30 minutes.  I've been strength training regularly for two whole weeks now.

I am determined to run a better race the next time I gear up for it. I know I have a 2:10 half in me...I know I do.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Holding Pattern

Summer has arrived. Today's high is a balmy 93 and we were already nice and toasty at 5am when I got up to run.  I've got two weeks until my race plan starts so this morning was part of the holding pattern in my plan.  I have been inconsistent for the last month since my race, but I needed the break.

Despite having gone to bed later than I would have liked, I felt relatively awake when my alarm went off at 4:45. I was out the door by 5am for an easy two miles.  I wore my Oiselle Roga skirt for extra motivation - I love it so much!
Roga skirt, Oiselle Hoka's, and flyout tank.
 With some art work a'la the toddler!

I did a couple of loops around the neighborhood and headed inside for the shower.  The hubby and I are also starting 30 days of the Wild Diet (Abel James) today.  Breakfast was coffee with some MCT oil and heavy cream.  Lunch will be around noon - some egg muffins and dinner will be macadamia encrusted cod with veggies. I can't wait for the cheese and fruit for dessert!

We've gone Wild before - and both felt great. My hope is that this is going to be something we just transition into full time - way of life and all.  We have access to good farms with pastured meats and tons of vegetables there really is no excuse not to do it all the time!

Short post today - but stay tuned! For sure I will be checking in here more often. In two weeks I start my Train Like A Mother Club RACE plan for my fall 13.1! I have my eyes on a big PR and I'm taking y'all along for the ride!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Half Marathon Number Six!

My race is done! It's so incredibly satisfying to say that.  Was it the race I had hoped for? Not entirely. However, given the conditions of the day I am absolutely satisfied with my performance.

The forecast for the last week has been rain. Not showers, not intermittent rain, but rain...steady, growing stronger as the day progressed.  I checked the weather like a maniac.  Weather obsession was further fueled by my coworker who was also checking because her kids' birthday party was scheduled for the same day - outside.

You know how sometimes the weather folks predict something and then it doesn't happen and we're all over them about it?  Not this time. They had this 100% correct; much to my dismay.  So when I got home Friday from work I set about preparing myself for the race. Which included hacking a black garbage back up to serve as a pseudo poncho.  Note: this was harder than it looked and it took me 3 tries to get the holes in the right places.

 Here I am in all my garbage bag glory!! My plan was to wear it for as long as necessary.  I've never run with a garbage bag before so I wasn't sure whether or not I could stand it.  Planning my outfit was a bit of an ordeal as well.  Shorts? Capris? Tank with arm warmers? Long sleeves? I did not want to be cold, but I also did not want to be too warm!! I wound up going with my new Roga Skirt - I broke the "no new gear on race day" rule but having run in my Roga shorts plenty, I wasn't disappointed.  I wore a tank on top, but wound up throwing my Bad Ass Mother Runner long sleeved shirt over it which was a really good idea.  Gloves. Hat. Ear warmers.

I got to the fairgrounds with about an hour to spare - checked in, sat in the car for a bit and then watched the marathoners head out.  Back to the car to get my gloves - SUCH a good call - and the rest of my stuff. And discovered that I left the adapter for my headphones AT HOME. See, husband and I just got new phones - yay Iphone 7! - and my Yurbuds fit my old phone.  Apple included an adapter which I had pulled out of the box and set on the table near my spike bag. And that's where I left it. NO MUSIC!!! I had carefully curated a speedy playlist just for this race.  I was super bummed.  Hubby offered to bring it to me, but that's bananas.  I am a big girl, I can run without tunes.  I ranted to my BAMR pals and the well wishes rolled in and quickly changed my mood.  I was mildly concerned about whether or not my new hair would drip on my clothes as the color is a glaze and still washing out of my hair, but it didn't!

My secret goal was a 2:15.  I printed a pace band for myself and hoped to run 10:30 splits the first half, and then 10:05ish the second half.  I wasn't super ambitious about this because I know this course is super duper hilly and then with the rain on top of it, I was going to be happy with whatever happened.

After singing happy birthday to the race director's nephew (SO CUTE!) we were off! It was a steady, steady rain from the beginning.  My four splits were pretty good, not exact but close enough to keep me happy.  Mile 5 was slower - thanks hill number one - and mile 6 fell back into place.  But then the hills really start.  I knew 7-9 was climbing. And oh baby, was it ever. I actually felt really strong until about mile 9.  I had tucked in with a group of women, and just listened to their feet. I did a lot of counting steps.  Anything to keep my mind busy and my legs moving.

I just couldn't keep it up though.  Miles 10-13.1 were my slowest.  I took more walk breaks than I wanted and started fantasizing about quitting.  I finally let that go and managed to to get into a better head space but I knew my goal wasn't happening.  I just wanted to finish as strong as possible and smiling.  Also, the rain - at this point I was cold, my legs felt mildly crampy and my clothes weighed five bazillion pounds.  I was actually trying to wring myself out as I ran - but there wasn't much happening.  My toes were squishing in my shoes and I was soooooooo ready to be done!  As I approached the last half mile or so, the police officer was holding up huge lines of traffic. I picked it up the best I could and managed not to walk any of that stretch. No pressure!!

I crossed the finish line with a smile, grabbed some oranges, thanked one of the ladies I ran with - she ran in sandals! - and headed to the car.  Changed in the backseat because I was headed to the aforementioned birthday party.  Hung out there for a bit, came home and took the hottest shower I could stand and dropped onto the couch.

Was it my best race? No. I ran the same course last year a few minutes faster. I did not train for hills this time, and I let the head games get to me. That said...I ran 13.1 miles in the pouring rain, without music and I FINISHED. I could've decided to skip it entirely, but I didn't. So I am going to relax and enjoy my post-race glow in my really comfy race t-shirt!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rain, rain go away!

Forecast for Saturday's goal race is 100% rain and a high of about 53.  Race time predictions are 75% chance of rain and about 48 degrees.  OOF.  I've never run a race in the rain before.  I've done some runs in the rain, but not a steady rain and typically not a cold rain.

WAAAAAAAAAAAH! That's me whining.  Maybe I'll be motivated to finish it faster and keep my pace on point because it'll be so effing cold and wet?

Not running this race is not an option for me. I've paid for it. I've trained for it. It's just a little rain. That said, I am working on wrapping my head around how unpleasant it will be if it's a steady rain for 13.1 miles.

I'm making my list of must haves for Saturday. Going to Scotch Guard my shoes tonight so they'll dry in time. Garbage bag/poncho. Gloves. Hat. Sunglasses? Ziplock bag for my phone. BODY GLIDE. And dry clothes - because after I finish I'm off to a birthday party!

Right now I'm thinking about how I'll warm up - it's going to be in the rain. But I'll do it. I WILL DO IT!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Taper Begins!

Two weeks to my race! Taper has officially begun. This week's workouts aren't drastically different from the others, though slightly lower mileage. Monday was a circuit run - I've been doing those on the treadmill lest my neighbors things I'm a total nutter for doing pushups in the street. I did that workout in my new Oiselle Mac Roga's and Pleat tank. LOVE their stuff. So super comfy, flattering and I'll wear anything in the Snap color!  I had to resist buying some more stuff when they extended the Nee day sale!
Fly Style head to toe!

The sky at the end of my run.

Last night was an easy 3 miles around the neighborhood. It was beautiful out - windy but also warm enough for shorts and a light top.  I went for as many DayGlo colors as possible.  My Pro Compression socks that I love and a bright pink top from Athleta I've had for a while.  I also clipped one of my blinking lights to my back.  It was light when I left the house but as you can see, it was getting dark once I was finishing up.  I ran most of the 3 with no music because the wind kept blowing my cord around and it was annoying.  I got home to discover the toddler had escaped his bed and was camped on the couch.  We've been having bedtime struggles for months now. He gets scared and leaves his bed to come into ours.  We haven't put our foot down about it because he's so genuinely upset but it is beginning to get old....this too shall pass right?

ALL the bright colors please!
I am mildly worried that all of the treadmill running I've done this training cycle are going to be problematic during my race.  More of my runs have been outside lately but my strength and confidence during those runs have been hit or miss.  Sunday's long run was shorter than planned but I pushed really hard and felt great.  I found myself frequently looking down at my watch and seeing 9:46.  My average pace was 10:26 which is outstanding.  If I can do that next weekend I'll be super pleased.  I pushed the 8th mile to a 9:54 which tells me I still had gas in the tank. If I can get my head in the game and race well my plan is to leave it all on the road. EMPTY THE TANK.

 Last night's run felt a bit more sluggish and didn't leave me feeling super confident.  I also wore new shoes last night - my new Saucony Ride 9's and I like them! Though I have to put my own insoles in - my toes started to tingle about 1.5 miles in. I may also have tied them too tight. We'll see.  I am undecided about what shoes I'll race in - these, my HOKA's or my Saucony Triumphs.  I really need to make that decision....

For me the race is so much of the mental game.  That is my weakness and I give myself permission to quit physically because my brain gets in the way.  I have been listening to the wonderful Kelly Roberts which helps tremendously.  Her chats with Dr. Bob are super insightful and so much of what she says really resonates with me.  That is going to be my test.  Can I execute my race plan the way I want?  I printed out my paces and I'll have them on my arm.  I know the course, I know that miles 7-9 are uphill but if I can get through that then the payoff is down hills! My goal is not to let myself give up. To push myself all the way through to the finish line. I KNOW I can do this!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Boston Marathon Documentary

The last two evenings I have been on the couch watching Marathon, the documentary about the Boston Marathon Bombing and some of it's victims. So, the last two evenings I've also been in tears.  It is a powerful, well done documentary.  I hesitate to say "good" because while it is well done and worth watching, it is so very heartbreaking.

As a runner and a woman, safety is often on my mind when I run - I've addressed that in the past on this blog.  However, I have to admit that safety at a race absolutely never enters my mind.  I assume that I have nothing to worry about during a race, that the race directors and support staff are there to ensure everything goes smoothly.  It doesn't occur to me that other people would want to cause harm - or it didn't prior to the bombing.

When I ran Hartford last October I was surprised and unsettled by the heavy police and military presence.  I didn't mind that they were there, and was pleased that security was a priority. But it is startling to see guys in body armor, with their dogs - one of whom came dangerously close to my butt while I was sitting in the grass! - and various equipment.  It's a sad reminder of Boston and the tragedy that was the bombing.  It's changed how big races are run, orchestrated and executed.

I really cannot wrap my mind around what that day must have been.  It was difficult to watch the documentary with the scenes from the aftermath of the bombs.  So many people with such grave injuries.  Lives changed forever in a split second.  My heart breaks for those families that have struggled to regain a sense of normalcy since.  Because while it is out of the headlines, they are still to this day dealing with the aftermath.  They will always be dealing with the fallout and the changes to their lives.

Boston was always a bucket list item for me, and now even more so. I feel like I want to run it to pay homage to those who've suffered, to run when they can't, to show the world that they can't take away our will to run; we will not be silenced by fear.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to qualify, but it's definitely a long term goal of mine. And certainly to go and spectate, at the very least.  I am inspired by those who were affected by the bombing, and I know I will carry them in my thoughts during my runs.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Marathon Monday

Watching the Boston Marathon always get me so emotional.  I cannot imagine what running that course must feel like.  Well, maybe a little bit I can. I certainly fantasize about it.  The crowd support looks AMAZING.  I tend to run smaller, less populated races and I think I miss out on the boost from the crowds.  My half in May is largely a quiet race, small field and limited cheering.  Sometimes, you  need that cheering..lemme tell ya.

Anyway. Boston. Yes, it is a wild fantasy of mine. Is it a possibility? Who knows. First I need to get a marathon under my belt where I run it, and finish it in the course time allotted.  It still stings that I can't search my results for Hartford because I finished after the cut off and it's not recorded. So - that first.

I firmed up my plans - race in May. Maybe run a few smaller races over the summer - XC series etc. and strength train all summer. Half training starts again in June/July and a hard push to October when I'll run the Mohawk Hudson Hannaford Half marathon.  I haven't settled on a training plan yet, but I am leaning toward AMR Half Marathon Race plan.  I want a plan that's going to push me a little bit outside my comfort zone - I am learning I need to do that more often so that I get comfortable being uncomfortable.

I know that I am capable of more, and I want to see that. So that's my plan. And then after the half in the fall, maybe I'll train for a spring marathon. That will depend on how my half goes - and whether I want to push for a PR with another half, or change course and pursue the marathon distance again.  Living in the Northeast I have access to so many great races, I'm excited for the opportunity to choose what comes next.

A little aside - yesterday's run was brutal.  I feel like my legs haven't recovered  from this weekend's long run which was a hard one.  I met the local volee' ladies again and we ran up a mountain.  It was hard, and I walked a lot. I could've used more sleep and probably more fuel. We climbed 1400 feet, and the group split up on the way down the mountain; I felt like I was holding them back and was fine to go it alone for a bit. It took me much longer than I would have liked but I finished it.

Mentally it was a tough one for me - I wanted to quit, I considered asking Greg to pick me up at the Gatehouse. I wanted to quit running forever; forget about the half in May, forget all of it! I had a real emotional temper tantrum.  I didn't quit though, I kept going even if I had to walk and I finished that darn run. Isn't it funny the headspace we can get in to? I want to learn how to get myself out of it more quickly, or better. One step at a time, right?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

And for my next trick

So Philly was over...what now?  I still felt strongly about "never again" on the marathon. But I also have dreams of a sub 2 hour half.  Perhaps I'd work on that.

I registered for a local half in May that I ran last year and enjoyed despite it's (not so) rolling hills.  One hill was NOT rolling. It was steep. This year, I'll be ready.

I don't expect that I'll sub 2 this one - I'm not trained to, but I am training to come in under my current PR of 2:25.  A 2:15 is a realistic possibility.

One thing that I am often lacking is strength training.  So I signed up for the AMR traditional half plan and have been incorporating their strength as much as possible and also some kettlebell work.  Mostly swings and dead lifts.  My plan right now is to race in the spring.  Take a little time off of training and put some serious time into building my strength: May-July and then pick up training for the fall.

I've not decided on what to do for the fall race-wise.  I'm looking for something fast and flat-ish.  To keep working toward that sub 2 goal.  I have some options in my immediate area but am also open to travelling.  I don't know that I'll make it back to Philly in 2017, it may be a last minute decision.

I ran this weekend with some local Oiselle volee' and it was great! I am not at all accustomed to running with others, or talking while I run.  They were speedy and I had to PUSH, but I appreciated their chatting at me while I ran.  The wind was NO JOKE. We ran over the Walkway and back - coming back was brutal.  But we ran 10 miles in 1:46 - my fastest 10 ever.

Lesson?  I need to work on pushing myself when I am solo.  I ran that ten, didn't feel totally trashed but had to work at it.  I have to get out of my comfort zone if I'm going to meet my goals.  I really appreciate the lesson that long run taught me!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Still here!

I'd almost forgotten about this little blog o'mine!  It's hard to find the time to get all of the things done, and this fell by the wayside.  That said, it was nice to re-read some of my older entries and I am going to make more of a concerted effort to post on a more regular basis.

When I wrote last, I was struggling post-marathon.  I continued to struggle.  I managed to get enough runs in where I felt like I could handle Philly without totally killing myself.  Philly was so much fun!! I was a little nervous travelling by myself to meet women I'd never met in real life, but off I went!  Everyone was so wonderful.  We had a great time.  My roommates were wonderful.  Beth, Carla and Ava were funny, kind and easy to talk to.  We chatted a bit, grabbed some dinner and then made posters with Dimity and MK - I felt a little star struck I think! And headed back to the hotel for an early bedtime.  The next morning was a quick shakeout run before we all went to the start.  Dimity led us through our Silly Toes and we jogged to the start.

Look at all these smiling mother runners!

 I hoped I'd be able to run well.  I planned to stick with some ladies as long as possible and see what happened.  I tried not to put much pressure on myself (easier said than done!).  I ran with the pack for quite a while - Dimity and I had a nice chat for a bit and she encouraged me at the point I started to flag.  She even took my arm warmers for me and was super encouraging. I wanted to quit.  I didn't feel great (looking back I was under fueled) and she kept me going.  Eventually I pulled away, and felt great for a bit only to hit the wall again.

At this point I knew my hopeful goal of 2:15 wasn't happening.  It was also a bit warmer than I expected which likely didn't help.  Anyway - it wound up being my slowest half time, I cramped up at the end and hobbled through the finish line. Oh well. I still had a GREAT time!

That night one of the BAMR's Kelly hosted us in her beautiful home.  We all had a chance to relax, eat and chat with our coaches. It was a lovely lovely evening - one I will hold as a special place in my heart for a long time! I got to spend time with Sandra and Melissa from Hartford, and meet lots of new ladies!  Sunday was the marathon - I did not stay to spectate because duty calls, but those ladies CRUSHED it in really awful race conditions. Drastically different from our race- it was cold, and SUPER windy.  Kudos to all those finishers!

I am so grateful to have found this BAMR crowd - the support and knowledge is tremendous.  I am so grateful to Dimity and Sarah for what they've built and continue to build for the mother runner crowd.