Friday, October 18, 2013

Baltimore Running Festival

After lunch last Friday Sidney, Jack, and I headed to Baltimore for the running festival. It's only about an hour drive but I knew it would be easier if we stayed in the city and I thought we could turn it into a family adventure! It didn't go as planned but we still had fun!

We checked into our hotel and immediately headed to the expo. It was just like any other expo and we didn't linger too long. All 3 of us got really nice tech shirts. Even Jack which really impressed me and I can't wait for him to wear it!

At the Baltimore Convention Center

We left the expo and went straight to the inner harbor. I had hoped to take Jack to one of the museums but we got there a bit later than I had expected. We walked around the shops and then decided to go to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.  Did I mention it was pouring? Not ideal for walking around the harbor but we made the best of it!

Dinner was great although a little pricey. There was a Noodles n' Company and looking back we should have just gone there. I've made up my mind that if we ever travel for another race and go out to dinner, it will be someplace quick and relatively inexpensive! Good thing I really enjoyed what I got (Chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, cole slaw, beans, and corn bread):

Luckily it had stopped raining by the time we were done and we walked back to the hotel. We went to bed at a reasonable time and I set my alarm for 6am.

I wasn't nervous at all for this race despite not feeling adequately trained. I was more nervous for the timing of it all. The races were scheduled so that we were all able to run at different times. Sidney ran the 5K at 8:20 while I stayed with Jack, then Jack ran the kids run at 9:20, then we all walked to my half marathon start at 9:45. It was weird to start so late!

We enjoyed the hotel's breakfast then made our way to the start of the 5K. The marathon start was at 8 and at the same place as the 5K. When we got there and were waiting around with the crowd, I felt the energy and said to Sidney, "This is why I race. I love it!" The energy and anticipation is awesome. I wish I could bottle it up!

Sidney got in line and Jack and I walked a bit down so we could hopefully see Sidney as he got started. It was so different to be on that side of the start line. But I loved it and was so excited to be able to watch Sidney run for once! We're either running together or he's watching me. This was also the first race he's done where he wasn't pushing Jack. So it was extra special!

We made our way to the finish line and were able to see daddy as he finished! For some reason I can't find his results when I search. I need to contact them about that. But Sidney said he received an e-mail that he finished in 28:33. If that's right, then he finished 5 seconds faster than my fastest 5K! Unbelievable! He also got his first medal for all his hard work. He's been teasing me about this for a long time since Jack and I have both gotten medals and I'm glad he finally has one of his own!

We immediately got Jack to his starting line to wait for the kids run to begin. It actually seemed like a longer distance than most of the other kids runs we've done but Jack did great! He started out very fast and a little more than halfway into it, started to slow down. In order to keep him motivated I pointed to the clocks and told him that that was the finish line and he just had to make it a little more. He kept going and never stopped! He earned a well deserved medal as well but we weren't able to enjoy any of the other perks of the kids zone. They had an inflatable slide and basketball hoops and Jack really wanted to go over to them. Unfortunately we had to hurry to get to the start of my half and couldn't stay.

Every race had the same finish but the half marathon had a completely different start and we had to book it to get there in time. Once we got there I said my goodbyes and ended up starting around 10am. They went back to the hotel to hang out and then waited in the lobby for me. They latest we could check out was 1pm so they weren't able to see me at the finish. I ended up getting back to the hotel at 1:45.

This race was tough. I had no idea it was going to be as hilly as it was and it took a lot out of me. I sprained my ankle about a month ago and missed a bit of training because of it. The week before the race I set out to do a 10 mile run and stopped after 8 because my feet hurt so much.

We did have some great weather though! We were expecting rain but it stayed dry until after I finished. It was overcast and cool. I wore a pull-over and stopped at mile 4 to take it off. It was ideal conditions! It always takes me a couple miles to warm up and I was feeling stronger between miles 4-6. At mile 7 they were giving out UTZ potato chips and I grabbed a bag and walked while eating them. I never walk! I don't even stop to drink or have a GU. But I walked and I was okay with it. Once I finished with the chips I started running again. My legs were sore and my feet were killing me! When I got to mile 8, which is all I had been able to do the week before, I kept pushing even though the last thing I wanted to do was run another 5 miles and I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to. I did stop again to fill my water bottle at one of the water stops and then kept going.

Just when I thought we were done with hills we came upon a bridge. I actually started talking to myself. I got a little cuckoo! It was all mental at that point and if I had been relying on my physical abilities alone, I would have definitely stopped. Somehow I'm able to push through the pain, the mental blocks, and just keep going. I almost cried when I crossed the finish line! And I did what I always do, despite the fatigue, because I just don't know any other way- I sprinted the last 2/10 or so.

I did not go into this race hoping for a PR. I was just hoping to finish right around 2:45 and just finishing at all is a great accomplishment. I ended up with a time of 2:39:50. I can live with that! :)

This was by far the toughest race I've ever done. Not only was it a challenging course, but I was sore and fatigued and coming off of a recent injury. I'm so proud of myself for what I accomplished! The best part is I earned myself 2 medals. I ran the Frederick half back in May and that combined with the Baltimore half earned me the Maryland Double medal!

I sent the Maryland medal to my running buddy Mickey and I'm so glad I was able to earn it for her!

I have a mud run on November 2nd- my first obstacle race! After that I'll just be trying to survive the winter and looking forward to spring. I'm definitely doing the Frederick half again next May and I'm looking forward to planning out my 2014 race schedule, which will be a lot lighter than this year has been. My wallet just can't handle another packed racing year! I'll definitely be focusing more on the free races my running club offers throughout the year!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Memorial 4-Miler and Super Long Run!

I'm way behind...again! I'm going to make this super quick. May 25th I went out for a run and was feeling good so I decided to go longer than I ever had before. The longest distance I've done on my own is 12 miles and then of course I've run a few half marathons (13.1 miles for anyone who doesn't know!). I ended up doing 14!

I felt good for the first 10 miles and was really feeling some aches during the last 2. But I did it and it felt awesome!!

I ran my 8th race of the year on Memorial Day- a 4 miler. I've run this race before, back in 2006. My time back then was 40:04. This time around I just wanted to finish in under 42 minutes and ended up finishing in 39:43! I continue to surprise myself as I blast through my goals. I really think I need to start giving myself more credit and expecting more because I know I can do more.

Near the start:

Smiling despite the uphill finish!

This 4 miler was my 45th race overall and I'm so excited to hit 50 this year!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Frederick Running Festival

Once again I'm late with my race recap. I guess I should stop promising more regular updates. Oh well!

The Frederick Running Festival took place May 4-5. They have a kids run Saturday followed by a 5K, then a half marathon Sunday morning. Anyone doing both the 5K and half can sign up for the "Nut Job Challenge" and get a unique medal for being such a rockstar.

The challenge interested me but I didn't want to pay $100+ when I was already running a half the week before. I guess it was meant to be because I ended up winning a contest that gave me free entry into any race that weekend! Without hesitation I signed up for the Nut Job Challenge.

Everything took place at the Frederick Fairgrounds which is only about a half hour away. We went to the expo on Saturday (where I signed Jack up for his kids run) and then we just stayed for the races. It was very convenient!

Jack did great and got a very nice medal!

After Jack's run (which you can read about in more detail on my other blog) I had to line up for the 5K. Knowing I was coming back to run a half the very next morning, I didn't want to push myself too much. That's hard for me because I get into race mode and I really want to get a good time. I told myself I'd be happy if I finished under 32 minutes.

The course was an out and back with great scenery of some farms in Frederick. It was really nice to run in a new place, hills and all! I felt good but I didn't feel like I was pushing myself, which is how I wanted it. I finished strong and surprised myself with a time of 30:08! I couldn't believe I was that close to finishing in under 30 without even trying!

We went out to dinner and I tried to rest for the half marathon. We left early the next morning and it was great being able to drive straight to the race rather than taking the metro. When we got there I had time to use a port-a-potty and then it was already time to line up at the start. It was chilly so I had on a sweater which I practically threw at Sidney before getting lost in the crowd.

The start was brutal. I ended up staying with the 2:40 (or maybe it was 2:45?) pace group for almost 3 miles. My muscles felt heavy and I started out very conservatively. I didn't have any real time goals for this race except to come in around 2:45. I had just gotten a PR 1 week before and I just wanted to have fun and make it to the finish in one piece.

The sun came out but we were running in shady areas. Then when we were out in the open the clouds came in and it was overcast. I didn't really warm-up until I hit the last 2 miles. I was surprised how cold it was!

We ran through a lot of really nice neighborhoods and around mile 5 there was a house under construction with a port-a-potty in the lawn. I knew someone was in there but there wasn't a line. Just as I was making my way up to it the guy came out and I took advantage of this rare opportunity. No line or wait! I felt much better and as I got into the second half of the race my legs were feeling good. The 2:45 pacers were well behind me and I knew I'd finish with a decent time.

As the miles ticked off I felt better and better. I kicked it up a notch when I felt able to, making sure I was at a pace I could keep for the rest of the race. Somewhere in the last 2 or 3 miles I came upon the 2:30 pacers. And passed them. I was inspired but didn't want to be too hopeful. I had no idea how much time was between their start and mine, but I knew it couldn't have been too much.

I really kicked it up for the last mile and finished with a time of 2:25:48!! That's 5 minutes faster than Nike just 1 week before and I made my ultimate goal of finishing under 2:30!! Such an incredible feeling!!

Showing off my 2 medals:

I couldn't do any of this without the support of my family:

I had so much fun doing this challenge and I'm already looking forward to doing it next year! I proved I can successfully do back-to-back half marathons and do 2 races in 1 weekend. I'm definitely going to make this my main spring half marathon. It's local, family-friendly, has awesome race swag, and it's fun!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nike Women's Half Marathon

I've got some catching up to do and I need to start with Nike while it's still semi-fresh in my mind. The race was on Sunday April 28th with packet pick-up at their expo in DC on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I took Thursday off work so I could get it then.

The expo was at a beautiful place right on the water. I had never been there before and it was nice to see a new part of the city. It wasn't a typical expo like I'm used to with a bunch of different vendor booths, samples, and opportunities to purchase things. Luna bar, which was a huge sponsor, had an area set up with samples of their bars and Nuun was there offering samples of many of their flavors. For the record- I don't care for Nuun! The majority of the expo was all about shoes which, surprisingly, didn't interest me. They did have a bra fitting area which I did and I left with the name and size sports bra I liked the best. Paul Mitchell and Bare Minerals had set-ups and were giving hair and make-up tutorials. They really did a good job gearing it towards women and tried to make it a fun girls weekend!

I ended up making an unexpected trip up to NY for my uncle's memorial service which was held on Saturday morning. After getting home on Thursday I headed out for a 6 mile run then home to eat dinner, pack, and go to bed. We were on the road by 9am Friday morning. Saturday morning we went to the service and after enjoying some time with my extended family, we got back on the road. It was around 2:30 and we got home after 9. I wasn't nervous to run the race itself, but I was nervous about waking up early and getting there in time and then being too tired to run well. I'm really glad we were able to go and be with family though, even for such a short amount of time. And if I had had to, I would've missed the race. I'm grateful it worked out that I could attend both.

The race started at 7am and I was out the door super early. This was the first race I've run in DC where I didn't have anyone waiting for me afterwards. After spending 2 days in the car and because the race started so early, I left my family at home. I didn't want to check a bag so I could only bring what I was willing to carry. I didn't want to freeze while waiting for the race to start, so I went with a short sleeve Under Armour shirt with a fitted long sleeve on top and of course, my Nike capris. I also wore my water belt without the bottles. This was so I had some place to put my key, cash, cards, fuel (including post-race protein bar), etc. I still carried my hand-held bottle with Gatorade and my phone.

After getting there and using the port-a-potty, I entered my corral and was happy I didn't have to wait too long. It was chilly and I was glad I had worn the long sleeves. Despite starting in waves, it was very congested and we couldn't do much more than a walk-jog starting out. I was able to weave through some of the crowd to get into a comfortable jog. It stayed pretty congested throughout the entire race though.

Despite the crowds it was a very enjoyable race! It was pretty flat and there were a good amount of spectators cheering us on. They had Clif Shot Bloks and mini Luna bars at a couple of the water stops which I loved. It was absolutely beautiful and the only part I could've done without was when we went through a long, creepy, smelly tunnel. In the last 2 miles we came up on the Capitol Building and we ended up running right up to it. I hadn't expected to get that close. Despite being a local and having been to DC many times, I was amazed at the course. It seriously couldn't have been better. And for anyone traveling from out-of-town, they really got a good view of the city. If you want to come to DC for a race, this is the one to go for!

As I got into the home stretch, I did what I do best- sprinted! I heard my name and saw one of my running friends cheering me on. So nice to hear "Go Rene!" during those final steps. I crossed the finish line at 2:30:56, taking almost 7 minutes off of my Rock n' Roll time! I was surprised but very happy with the new PR!

Then it was time for the real fun to begin (aka the main reason to run Nike):
It was so cool to see all the men dressed in tuxedos holding trays of Tiffany boxes.

After receiving your goodies, there was a finish line boutique where you could purchase limited edition Nike items. There was a long line but I waited in it and ended up buying a cotton shirt and a very nice hooded sweatshirt. There were quite a few complaints on their Facebook page about various things, the wait for the boutique being one of them. I chose to wait and it didn't bother me. It helped that I was there by myself and didn't have anyone waiting for me. If Sidney and Jack had been there I wouldn't have waited for it.

Posing on the red carpet in my "Finisher" shirt (this was after waiting in line for the boutique so the runners were done and the crowds had cleared):

This was by far the best race I've run in DC. The course was beautiful, the spectators and on-course entertainment was great, and there was a nice variety of post-race goodies (bananas, Thomas bagels, Dole fruit cups, Luna Protein Bars, and even a Tiffany bag to put it all in). And then, of course, there's the Tiffany necklace and Nike finisher shirt. The only thing that would've made this race better is if I had had a girlfriend to share the experience with. Anyone want to sign up for the lottery next year? ;)

I'm not sure I will sign up again because the entry fee is a bit high. But if that weren't an issue I'd do it a dozen more times.

Wearing the shirt I bought along with my new necklace (and a "Mind over Muscle" tattoo on my arm courtesy of Luna Bar)

And before anyone asks, I am planning to take close-up pictures of the necklace. Just haven't gotten around to doing it yet!

Stay tuned for a recap of this past weekend's Nut Job Challenge (5K Saturday night and a half on Sunday). :-)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Clarksburg 5K Race Recap

Before I go into any details about my (what now seems inconsequential) 5K, I want to take a moment to recognize the city of Boston and everyone affected by the bombings that occurred at the marathon on Monday. It was a senseless act that left many people broken and grieving. Word quickly spread about a campaign to wear race shirts on Tuesday and to "Run for Boston". I did just that, sporting my shirt from the Zooma Half Marathon at the track that night. After we finished our workout I ran one final lap on my own for Boston. I am so proud to be a part of this awesome community of runners. It may be an individual sport, but we are all in it together supporting one another. #RunnersUnite

On a lighter note, I ran a 5K this past Saturday that my whole family participated in. I ran this last year and finished with a better than expected time of 31:41. At that time I was training for my first half marathon for that June and my training had just begun in March. This year, having already run a half marathon in March and being stronger, fitter, and 10 pounds lighter, I was going for a PR. I really wanted a sub-30 5K.

I didn't sleep well the night before and had some cramping in my right quad. Not good. But I kept positive, telling myself that I could do this.

First up was the kids run. It was a good distraction! All week Jack was really excited at the thought of "racing" and getting a medal. When the time came to line up and he was all of a sudden surrounded by people, he wasn't too sure anymore. I really wanted him to run without my help. In past kids runs I've held his hand and trotted along with him. He's actually a fast runner and I was hoping he would do this one on his own. He really wanted to hold my hand and I just kept reassuring him that I would be right next to him the entire time. Daddy was waiting at the finish and that helped.

Waiting to start:

Lined up:


All done and sporting his medal!

He ended up doing very well. He ran the 100 yards without any help and he even smiled while doing it! I think he was very proud of himself as was I!

Next came the 5K. Sidney actually ran pushing Jack in the Bob. Last summer he ran 2 5K's (also pushing the stroller) but he hasn't run any distance since. Rather than just standing around waiting for me, he decided to run it. And he got a t-shirt and water bottle out of it. :)

I knew I'd be starting out semi-fast and he needed to stay in the back with the stroller. So I kissed them goodbye and made my way closer to the starting line. When the race started it took some time to get through the crowd and the first mile was my slowest.

I kept a good pace, definitely faster than I would ever attempt on a longer run. It wasn't easy but I kept telling myself it's only 3 miles. I've done mile repeats at the track. I can do this. I thought those 3 miles were going to creep along very slowly but before I knew it I hit mile 2. And then there was mile 3 just ahead.

There were 2 big hills and I was worried because almost the last quarter mile is almost all up hill. I couldn't sprint like I normally would at a finish until the last 10 seconds when the road leveled out. Going up that last hill I though, "Did I push myself enough in the first 2 miles? Did I give it all I had?" Despite wanting to finish in under 30 minutes, I told myself I'd be happy if I finished in under 31 with a time of 30-something. Actually I'd be happy just beating last year's time. I didn't want to be disappointed if I ended up not achieving my ultimate goal. But I really wanted that sub-30 and I knew I could do it.

When I got close enough to see the finish and the clock, it read 28 something. I couldn't believe I was so close! I sprinted across the finish and it read 29-something. I stopped my phone, which I hadn't checked at all, and it read 29:11. I had started recording the run before I actually crossed the starting line because I didn't want to be fumbling with my phone on the course. And then of course it took me a few seconds to dig it out and stop it. All I knew was that I had done it! I was so overwhelmed that I almost started crying right there! I had pushed myself harder than I ever had before and it paid off!

And you know what my official race time is? 28:38!! Under 29!! Woohoo!

I hung around the finish area waiting for Sidney and Jack. I had no idea when to expect them. After a couple minutes I saw the yellow stroller and cheered them on.

 I love Jack's little face poking out!

Sidney finished in 35:18 which is so awesome! He ran the whole way and didn't stop once. He immediately sat down, looking worn out and in need of fluids, but he says he actually wants to run more!

I love the Clarksburg 5K. It's very family-friendly with a very reasonable entry fee, awesome swag, and a great post-race party complete with raffles, moon bounces, vendor booths, etc. Jack left with a free soccer shirt just for being so cute and kicking a soccer ball like a pro, and I ended up winning a huge beach bag filled with tons of awesome stuff for summer. Sunscreen, bug spray, towel, and toys galore. I'm already looking forward to running next year!

The next family friendly 5K that we'll be doing isn't until the end of August, but hopefully we'll be able to find one along the way. I love having the whole family involved!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Race Recap

This past Sunday I ran the 10-miler in what I expected to be ideal race conditions. The cherry blossoms were expected to peak sometime between Saturday and Monday with a predicted high of 70 on race day. I knew it was going to be a beautiful run!

Saturday night I checked the hour by hour weather forecast and it was only going to be in the 40's in the morning. No biggie; it would warm up. Saturday had turned out to be beautiful and I knew Sunday would as well. But I hadn't anticipated the wind.

I ended up wearing my running tights, a short sleeve shirt, and my yellow Brooks pullover. I didn't want to be too hot and figured I could tie my pullover around my waist if needed. It never became necessary. 

When I was getting ready I was feeling very good and realized I looked pretty good too. I knew I would soon have hat head so I snapped a picture for proof that my hair isn't always in a ponytail! ;)

We got a late start but still made it with time to spare. I was worried, but luckily it had been for nothing. I kissed my family goodbye and went straight to my corral. I didn't want to waste any time going to the bathroom one last time. I think there were 6 corrals and it moved a lot quicker than the Rock 'n' Roll had. I ended up starting about 20 minutes after the gun went off.

 The race started and finished at the Washington Monument

As expected, it took me a couple miles to warm up and get into it. I also started out faster than I should have but I did so because I really wanted a PR. I wanted to finish the race knowing I had given it all I had. I didn't look at my phone once and the mile marker clocks didn't mean a whole lot to me so I focused on how I was feeling. Did I have more in me? Could I push a little harder?

I had forgotten just how beautiful of a course this really is. The scenery is wonderful and there aren't many hills. There were very few cherry blossom trees in bloom which was a let down and the wind was ferocious. When I got to Hains Point along the Potomac River I was running into the wind and it would not let up. This was around mile 6 and it went on for about 2 1/2 miles. It was difficult. But then I turned a corner and the wind let up and all was well.

After you hit the mile 9 marker, there are signs saying "1200 left to go", "800 left to go", and "400 left to go". These helped so much! It took the guesswork out of it and I was able to gradually kick it up until I knew I only had a quarter mile left. I weaved in and out of runners as it was still pretty tight and just focused on my pace and my race. I gave it all I had for a great finish.

Despite the crazy wind and the lack of cherry blossoms, the sun was out and it was a beautiful race. And I got my PR. I finished in 1:53:32, taking 5 minutes off my previous time! I was overjoyed!

It didn't come without it's consequences though. I was super sore the rest of the day and the next. I was also ravenous for 2 days! When we got home I ate a well deserved burrito bowl and took Jack upstairs for a nap. Surprisingly, he hadn't fallen asleep either at the race or on the metro ride home. He ended up taking a 3 hour nap and I slept for 2. I never take naps but I needed it that day! After an equally necessary shower, I put my compression socks on to help my legs recover. My knees are still slightly sore, but I ran an easy 4 miles last night and all in all I feel pretty good. 

 I forgot to get a picture after the race but I got one on the metro! Better than nothing, right?

Sunday night, reading books with Jack and wearing my awesome compression socks!

I'm running a 5K this Saturday and I'm really hoping to PR again. Can I go 3 for 3? I'm not sure what my body will allow me to do, but I'm ready to find out. And I'm so glad I won't be running a long distance run this weekend! I need a little break before I get back to it next weekend and then I've got a half on the 28th. After that? I'll be taking a week off from speed and long runs to enjoy some easy runs. And then I'll figure out what races are in my future. :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Race Recap

This is long overdue!! As I always say better late than never, right? I keep telling myself that I'm going to be better at posting and I want to post on a weekly basis. I really want to develop this blog into something more than just a training log. Until I can figure out how to add hours into the day, you'll have to take what you can. :)

Now let's get on to the important stuff. In case some of you don't make it all the way to the end of this blog, I'm going to get it out now. I got a new PR!! I beat my previous half time by 5 minutes! I finished in 2:37:31 with an average pace of 12:01. That is so great!

Now for the nitty gritty. I was up about 10 minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off (before 5am!) and I tried to just relax a bit and not let the nerves take over.  I had to wake up my 3 year old, which was actually the worst part of it! He did really well though and we made it to the metro by 6, which was my goal.

On the metro. I think they'd both rather be in bed! Haha!

  We got to the start of the race with time to spare and I left Sidney and Jack to search for my corral. I was supposed to be in corral 31! I got down there and waited in line for the port-a-potty. The start of the race began but they were letting the corrals go every minute or two, so I knew I'd be fine. I actually thought they'd be more strict with the corrals but after going to the bathroom, I moved closer to the start line and I ended up going out with corral 20-something. There were huge masses of people and it was crazy!

Starting line- this is the only race picture I got! Sadly, no picture of me at the finish with my medal. Next time!

The first 3 miles were a bit slow and I figured it would take about that long for the crowd to thin out. Well it never really did. I was weaving around people even in mile 8! It was a bit annoying but I was focused on enjoying the race. I purposefully left my headphones at home because I wanted to hear the bands along the course. I wanted to have as much fun as possible!

I cheered, did some fist pumps, and hi-fived anyone with their hand out. I saw a group of people on the left all cheering and giving out hi-fives during the second half. I was on the right hand side of the road but I sped up and maneuvered my way over to them and gave them all hi-fives. I even hi-fived a DC cop! When you're running alone you've got to do whatever you can to keep your mind off the miles and the time, especially when you don't have headphones.

Some of the women I run with on Tuesdays ran the course 2 weeks prior to the race. I ran with 1 woman the week before the race and she told me to watch out for a steady incline between miles 5 and 7. Make it past that and the rest is good. For the first 5 miles I told myself to conserve energy and wait until I made it through the hills. My plan was to wait until I hit mile 8 before kicking it up a bit more. I'm so glad she made it seem like the hill would go on for 2 miles! There were 2 very big hills with long, steady inclines, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected and I got through them without too much of a problem. Must be all those squats I've been doing. ;)

The first 10 miles were actually a breeze. Did I really just say that? Between mile markers 10 and 11 I started to get a mental block and feel a bit sluggish. The hardest mile is the second to last as it seems to go on forever. That's how I felt in my other halfs and I was starting to feel the same way at this one. I knew once I hit mile 12 I would be fine, because I would just concentrate on finishing strong. But once I got to mile 11 it hit me. The feeling that this mile would never end. I dug deep and tried to push away the mental blocks. It worked and I felt such relief when I saw the number 12!

As always, I sprinted to the finish not having any clue about my time. I didn't look at my phone even once throughout the race because I didn't want to psych myself out. My goal was to just beat my previous time and I really really wanted to be in the 2:30's. I obviously did it and I couldn't be more proud of myself!

What really surprised me is that my 10-mile time was 2:02:17, which means I ran the last 5K in 35 minutes. Not bad when you've just ran 10 miles! My 10-mile PR is 1:58:30 and I was only 4 minutes off that. I'm running that same 10-mile course this Sunday and I'm ready to crush that PR!

I'm so amazed at what I can do and the changes I've made. Just from January until now I've lost 6 pounds and shaved 5 minutes off my half marathon time! I'm eating healthy, exercising regularly, and I feel incredible. I have 3 races in April and I can't wait to see what else I can do! You never know what you're capable of until you try.

I have to thank my family, especially Sidney for waking up super early and having to wait around for 3 hours with a restless 3 year old just to support me. It helps knowing my family is at the finish waiting for me. Thanks, I love you guys! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013


I had every intention of writing this post last week. Obviously that didn't happen! What can I say? I've been busy working out, preparing and eating clean meals, taking care of a 3 year old, and working a full time job. Oh and of course there's a lovely thing called sleep, which I get 8 hours of. :) If you say you don't have the time, then you need to adjust your priorities.

Okay, back to the topic at hand! I've always considered myself a slow runner. I don't think it makes me any less of a runner though. I can run for 3 hours straight without stopping once, just as long as I'm doing a 12-13 minute per mile pace. Slow and steady!

This year I started doing speed workouts again, something I hadn't done since 2009. I actually love doing sprints. I hate doing anything longer than a 400 (quarter mile or once around a track), but I still do it when it's on the schedule. Last Tuesdays workout called for 4x1600 which is 4 fast miles with a recovery lap in between each one. Holy moly!

I got to the track a little early and decided not to waste any time. It was still light out and I knew it wasn't going to last long. I ran 2 laps and still didn't see anyone so I kept going. I ended up running a full mile then going in to use the restroom. When I came back out still no one had showed! 2nd week in a row!

The weather wasn't bad but the sun had gone down by this point and the track was dark. I started sprinting 200's on the side closest to my car. Another runner showed up and he looked harmless (and I figured with him on the track it would be less likely someone would come after me), so I went back to doing full laps.

We caught up to each other and got to talking. Turns out he works nights and runs on his break. We ended up running together for a mile at a good pace and it went by really fast! He finished warming up and went on to do his thing.

I kept going for another 2 miles or so. I wasn't really following the schedule but I was running at a faster pace than normal. When I finished, I had gone 5 miles in under 49 minutes!! I was completely blown away! And I felt like I could've continued. It's one thing to run a fast mile but 5? And the first mile had been a warm-up!

I have 2 main goals- run a 5k in under 30 minutes and a 10k in under 60. For the first time I really feel like
it could happen. Eating clean, strength training, and speed work is making me a better runner!

Saturday I ran 10 miles in 2 hours and 2 minutes. My last long run before the Rock 'n' Roll Half this Saturday! I can't wait and I'm actually looking forward to it (except for the whole waking up before 5am part). I hope the weather is as nice as it was this weekend. It was gorgeous!

I'm also looking forward to begin running with this little guy again. If not this week then probably next!

Have a great week!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

February Recap

February was a fantastic month!! I wasn't even trying, but it turned out to be my second best month in terms of miles- I logged just over 62! Now I'm determined to hit 70 in either March or April. I also amped up my non-running workouts, waking up early to do a Jillian Michaels workout almost every weekday. I just bought a 4-pack DVD set of Bob Harper workouts and will focus on those this month. I love Jillian, but I need something fresh and different!

Last week I also started a Jamie Eason's 12 week Live Fit Trainer. If you're not familiar with her or the program, please go and watch the introduction video. The program is set up to be done in a gym and I'm modifying it so I can do it at home with just my dumbbells. Gotta work with what you have! I'm also somewhat following her meal plan. I say somewhat because it's difficult for me to eat as often (and as much) as she recommends.

I've really cleaned up my eating though and I feel great! For example for lunch today I'm eating lean ground turkey breast, brown rice, asparagus, and broccoli. It's not fancy but it's filling and delicious! I have a terrible sweet tooth but I've been doing surprisingly well. I've been chewing a ton of gum, drinking buckets of water, and I'm focused on my goals. The only problem is I may have developed a peanut butter addiction. I now crave it instead of chocolate! I usually have a rice cake with some pb as my morning snack. I didn't have that today and all I can think about is getting out the jar and a spoon and digging in! Haha! I'm going to post more about the foods I've been eating in a separate post so stay tuned for that!

Last week I finished week 1 of the trainer and today I'm starting week 2. In the first 4 weeks she doesn't have you doing any cardio whatsoever. Well I love me some cardio (hello, this is Adventures in Running!) and I'm not going to give it up. I like having a set plan already laid out for me though. It makes it so much easier and much more likely that I'll actually do it. And hopefully I'll build some lean muscle in the process!

Speaking of cardio, last Tuesday I was all set to meet my group for our weekly track workout but the weather was awful- rain combined with some serious wind. I sat in my car at the track and no one showed. I considered running a few laps on my own but it was dark, I didn't have any lights, and the wind was ridiculous! I was really bummed because I was physically and mentally prepared for this workout. So I drove across the street to the gym to inquire about a one-day guest pass. I figured it couldn't hurt to ask and you know what? They let me workout and I didn't even have to pay the normal $15 fee! I turned what could've been a crappy night into a great one. I spent 45 minutes on the treadmill doing intervals and I even got up to 8.0mph! After that I spent 20 minutes on an elliptical for something different. It was awesome!

This is my after sweaty gym session pic:

I got my new shoes last week and love them!!

Aren't they pretty?? They're the same model as my previous pair- Nike Vomero, but they're way prettier! I wore them to work on Friday just to break them in a little (and to show them off!) and then took them on an 8 mile run on Saturday.  After the run I wore my new marathon compression socks from Pro Compression for the rest of the day and I felt so good!

And now the countdown to this year's first big race begins- 12 days until the Rock 'n' Roll Half!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Quality not Quantity

I'm still running every Tuesday night, doing speed work with a great group of women. This past Tuesday we did 5 1/2 miles total and it felt great! It's crazy that at this time last year I wasn't running at all and when I started again in March, my long run was 3 miles. Now I'm running over 5 miles on a random week night!

When it warms up I plan to take Jack with me to run with them on Thursdays for an easy run. Back in October I was running no less than 3 times a week and most weeks got in 4, sometimes 5 runs. Now I'm only running twice a week but they're quality runs that I know are making me stronger. And I crave them. I can't wait for the next run. My legs are itching to get out there. In fact, it's not terribly cold today (in the high 40's) and I considered taking Jack tonight. But we have special dinner plans for Valentine's Day and I'm not going to disappoint him (or take him out in what is sure to be colder than anticipated weather!).

I seriously can't wait until I can add a Thursday night run and make it 3 runs a week, but I think running less often is making me a better runner. I look forward to it more. Before, my runs were about quantity not quality. I don't plan on taking Jack for little 1, 2, or 3 mile runs during the week just because "I have to get in a run". I'd rather take him to the park and chase him, push him on the swing, and go down the slides. All of which won't be tracked, logged, or trying to figure out how many calories were burned.

Don't get me wrong...I love burning calories. But getting in 3 good runs a week and doing a workout at home in the mornings, is plenty of calorie burning for this busy mama! On Tuesdays run alone I burned over 600 calories! And last Saturday I ran an extremely hard 10 miles for a burn of over 1100 calories!! Plus every morning this week I've gotten up to do a Jillian Michaels workout (mostly Ripped in 30), burning over 200 calories with each workout.

Now if all you have time for (or if you're just getting started) is a 1 mile run, then please do it! As long as your moving, you're doing great! When I first started running I always ran 1 mile and nothing more. Then I started running the 1.25 mile loop around the lake that I still run at today. I can remember the day I ran over 2 miles on a treadmill and I thought it was so cool. And it was. I'm just at a different level now. And you will be too.

Running still isn't easy for me. I always need to warm-up some before I find my stride. And at times I make noises that aren't pretty! On Saturdays run I was one of six female runners. For the majority of those 10 miles I was looking at their backs. It was hilly and hard. 3 of them looked like they were trotting along like it was no big deal. And they were doing 13 miles! But you know what? As hard as it was and as much as it sucked (and it did!), I enjoyed those 10 miles. I don't run because it's easy; I run because I can. And I love (almost) every minute of it.

You don't have to be fast and you don't have to go far. Just go out and run. You won't be sorry!

Friday, February 1, 2013


I've done it! I made the leap and created a Facebook page. Please check it out for up-to-the-minute information that you're life won't be the same without! :)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Foodie Pen Pals Reveal

This month I received a package from blog reader Gina. Everything she sent was new to me! About half of the items were local things from Ohio, which I love!

Low Fat Grand-ola Bar from the Schlabach Amish Bakery- notice how it's just an empty package? Yep, it didn't last long. A homemade soft granola bar is right up my alley!

Pr* Bar iced brownie- I love the name- Personal Record Nutrition Bar. I haven't tried this yet but with 15 grams of protein, I'll definitely enjoy it after an upcoming long run.

Moser Roth Orange & Almond Dark European Chocolate bar- This is definitely not something I would've bought for myself because I don't typically pair fruits and chocolate, but I love almonds. The best part is that what looks like a large chocolate bar actually contains several smaller, individually wrapped chocolate bars. The perfect size for a quick treat!

Manischewitz Vegetable w/ Mushrooms Soup Mix- I love soup and I'm looking forward to making this!

Made Flavored Soft Licorice, made in Australia- this is something I'd never heard of and again, not something I ever would've bought. But it's something I can share with the whole family and again, it's the right size for a quick treat!

Locust Lane Homestyle Elderberry Jelly & Sugar Chalet Maple Mustard (both locally made)- I haven't had the chance to try these yet, but I love getting local homemade goodies!

Thank you Gina, for a wonderful box filled with local goodies that are all new to me! I really need to get better about trying the items I get before I post about them. I usually put them aside and don't even put them away in my kitchen until after I've posted. But that's whack! I'll do better next time. :)

And as always, thanks to Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean for starting and running this great program. Anyone can join in on the fun! Just click the link and look for the tab about Foodie Pen Pals.

The Lean Green Bean

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Speedwork and January recap

I'm so happy with how this month has gone. I've been consistently running twice a week (missed 1 Tuesday because Jack was sick) and haven't missed a long run. Occasionally things come up on the weekends and before I know it, it's Sunday afternoon and I haven't done my long run. I'm trying to make it more of a priority and getting it done on Saturday.

This past Saturday we were pretty busy. Jack and I had an awesome 3 hour lunch with a friend and Sidney and I had our first night out together in over 3 years! Can you believe it? Jack spent the night with some friends who have a daughter the same age. I was worried because it would be my first night away from him, but I knew he'd be fine and we were really looking forward to (and needed) a night out! He did great, falling asleep in 10 minutes and sleeping until 8:15 the next morning. Woohoo!!

Sidney and I enjoyed dinner and a comedy show and a solo breakfast at IHOP the next morning. We ended up spending the morning with Jack at our friend's house and left around 12:30. Sidney put Jack down for a nap while I did my run. My goal was to run 6 for the second week in a row and move to 7 this week. I finished with 6.6! 

Slow and steady, right? I'm always so proud of myself for running the entire distance and not stopping to walk any. If I needed to walk I definitely would. There are times I WANT to walk but I switch to a song that pumps me up or I say motivational things to keep me going. It's not easy to keep going when you want to stop. But you might find you can do amazing things if you just break past those barriers!

Last night I met a group for a 5 mile speed workout. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. We ran at a park I had never been to before that has a 1/2 mile loop. I was thinking it might get boring running the same loop for 5 miles. We did a 1 mile warm-up, then the plan was to do 5 800's with a 400 recovery. So basically run a fast half mile, recover for a quarter mile, and repeat. The first one was definitely the hardest. By the third I was feeling really good. We stopped for a water break and everyone agreed we didn't need the quarter mile recovery. I had been in the back for the first 2 but now I was leading the group and feeling strong. I even finished doing an all out sprint. I did a solo cool-down lap and all in all had a really great run! I'm always amazed at what I can do and running with others definitely pushes me. I'm glad I have this group to run with on Tuesdays!

Last January I ran a total of 6.35 miles between 2 runs. Nothing to write home about. I'm going to finish this January with 40.25 miles!! A big difference! I'm only running twice a week right now and being that it's cold, dark, and I can't run with Jack...I'm super proud of those 40 miles!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Staying on Track

January has been going better than expected! I've been eating better, I feel better, and I'm running when I can. It's hard for me to run during the week but I've been running most Tuesdays and I always run a longer run on the weekend.

This past Saturday I ran 6.3 miles and I plan on running another 6 this weekend. Throughout February and March I'll increase my long run by 1 mile each week which should get me ready for the half on March 16th. I desperately need new shoes. Mine still have some life left but I need a new pair to get me through all these spring races. Hopefully that purchase will happen in February!

The group I've been running with on Tuesdays decided it was too cold last night and they cancelled the run. There's a coached group (part of my running club) that meets at a local high school track but the track is open to all club members, not just members of the training group. I don't have a treadmill or a gym membership so, despite the freezing temps, I headed to the track. It was 19 degrees and the coldest run I've done since 2009! It was definitely brutal and I wish I had layered even more than I did.

Before the run:

I wore a fleece headband under the balaclava (face mask) and 2 pairs of gloves! I need to wear a longer tank top or shirt under my regular shirt. Something I can tuck in to my pants. My stomach was so cold and by the end I was numb. I didn't realize just how cold and numb I was until I got in my car and started to regain feeling in multiple places. Not fun!

The training group was running intervals. Something like 6x400 with 400 recovery. I thought I would follow this plan since I can definitely stand to do some speed work (and I miss it). I started with a one mile warm up and thought I would do 3 miles total. I ended up not really following the plan. It was so cold and I just wanted it to be over so even on the recovery laps I was giving it a good effort. I ended up running 4 1/4 (with the 1/4 being the cool down) and I'm pretty sure it was the fastest I've ever run 4 miles. I use the MapMyRun app and I know it's not completely accurate. But I last ran 4 miles on Jan. 5th and my pace was 12:42. Last night my average pace was 9:56! I finished in under 44 minutes. Crazy!

I started Ripped in 30 again, with yesterday being day 1. I will eventually write a post about the various Jillian Michaels DVD's I've done. I completed the 30 day Shred in September and Ripped in 30 in October. I loved both and believe I got results from both. I just need to find something else I can do after I finish this round so that I don't spend another 2 months not doing any kind of strength training. Running is awesome and will always be my passion. But it alone will not give me the results I'm looking for. I know that now! And doing other exercises and activities will make me a better, stronger runner which is my ultimate goal!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year's Day 5K

I started the year off with a great 5K. It was at the same place as the 9K I did through the woods last month and I expected this would be a cross country run as well. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was a road race. I don't mind running on trails through the woods and in fact I'll be doing it again this Saturday, but I love road races.

Here's my lovely race photo:

And one of me and my cutie after the race!

I finished in 34:28, which I'm happy with! Definitely not my fastest, but finishing a 5K in under 35 minutes is awesome. I've decided not to worry too much about my time this year. I have so many races coming up and my only goal is to go out, have fun, and finish them in one piece. And maybe I'll PR. Maybe not. All that matters is that I'm out there doing it and having a good time.

Last night I ran 5 miles with a group of women who meets every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to run. Sidney wasn't working and I knew I needed a weekday run (both physically and mentally!). It was supposed to be an easy run and even though I stayed in the back with another runner, I was hurting. The most I'd run in over a month was 4 miles. 5 sounded great and definitely doable. It wasn't great while I was doing it. I ran faster than I would have if I had been by myself. And afterwards I felt amazing. I was so glad I had pushed and finished the entire 5 miles, even though there were times I wanted to quit. Hopefully I can run with them more often!

It always amazes me how quickly you can build up endurance and how quickly you can lose it. I ran 13.1 miles without stopping on November 19th and now I'm struggling to run 5. It just gives me more motivation to keep going out and getting in the miles.

So far I've run a little over 12 miles this month. Last January I only ran 6.3 miles total. And last February? I ran 0. My goal is to run more every month this year compared to the same month last year. I'm on my way to 500!