Friday, December 30, 2011

Starting out the year right

Well I have been looking for a January race that fit into my schedule (or was cheap local and didn’t take place when Pete had to work). 
 And I think I just found it. 

Well I did't just find it I have seen a few people post that they were going to run this virtual race but have just now had the time to check it out.

Since I have some time this week I found myself pleasently sucked into blogglyland and at times so absorbed I was almost lost.  You know when you click on so many links and find youself saying things like, "How did I get to this page?  I have to add this to my blog list" and "Wow, how inspiring" and "Yes you can have another.... candy cane, cookie, bowl of cereal (just leave me alone)"!  Or realize blogs you thought you were following dissapear?  Maybe that's just me being confused. 

Then suddenly you realize what time it is and all that has to be done and you move on. 
ANYWAY!

Why not get January’s race out of the way on the first day?  I will thank you very much!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Three Things Thrursday

I am happy to report that the Rum cake that has been in my dining room since Christmas is finally gone!  Unfortunately it, along with a plethora of Pecan Butterballs and caramel corn has been my main source of carbs this week. 

I have already run 21 miles this week and its only Thursday.  This brings my total for my dailymile challenge- 100 run thru the holidays- to 96.  I am pretty sure I can manage 4 miles in the next two days!   (Not for nothing, my 5 mile Turkey trot wasn't counted since I joined the challenge on Thanksgiving night.   I have met he challenge already but I will run the four miles to be accuarate according to the technology). 

I did not hurt myself while roller skating this afternoon with my son!  It’s been over 20 years. I was afraid of a painful collision and a setback in the endurance I have been building back.  By the way I will need everyone to pray for my safety as I hit the slopes with the boys tomarrow.  We tend to go a bit fast and who knows what that man made terrain has in store for us!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Home for the Holidays Virtual 10k or In the Christmas rush, I did not realize I PR'd!!

On Christmas Eve I woke up fully aware I was totally unprepared for the two days ahead of me.  I decided to run the  Home for the Holidays Virtual 10k for my own sanity and the lives of the two boys, two dogs and one man in my house.  Besides I needed time to myself to figure out how to get all I needed done without being interrupted.  Sadly this would be my guarantee.   I mapped out a route, put on my dollar store socks, grabbed the girl dog and headed out the door. 
It was cold, really cold! It didn’t take me long to get right into the race just to warm up. I had started my watch but was looking forward to seeing my mile splits and pace on the cardiotrainer app on my phone.  Running with these statistics immediately is new to me.   
Mile one – I felt great, it was quiet in the neighborhood and out onto the main road.  Felt pretty warm with the exception of my exposed knees.  The sun was nice. 
Mile two – This part of this route is always a little nerve wracking (but fast),with the dog since its narrow and the sidewalks don’t begin until I hit the village about half way. Not many people seemed to be out this early so it was relatively uneventful.
Mile three - A glance at my watch told me I was doing pretty well, Legs felt great in the cold.  Any aches or little pains I usually get seemed to be nonexistent due to the cold.   The hill during this mile felt pretty good since I was more warmed up than when I usually hit it. The people who were out and about smiled and waved, seeming surprised about a woman in stripped socks I suppose. 
Mile four – I juggled the dog leash and my water bottle in an attempt to take my phone out of my pocket to check my pace.  Apparently I need to take a look at my settings because it seems to stop calculating distance the first time the dog stops to do her business and keeps the time running.  Clearly I had gone more than .4 miles in 38minuites.  Ooops! Oh well back to the trusty pink wristwatch. 

Mile five- Calculations done in my head tell me I am still doing ok.  I am really enjoying seeing everyone’s Christmas decorations out on the lawns but I must say those inflatables look really sad when they are slumped over in a heap.

Last mile and .2 – past the train station and along the creek lost the sun but still feel pretty good.  Last half mile I gave it everything I had.  I ended my race down on the creek road and was not going to have to race up my own monstrous hill.
iced knees!

Official time- 52:04  Could it be a PR? Now that I look at it three days later, yes, yes it is !!!  Not bad for having a dog in tow and having to manage traffic and street crossings myself. 

Thank You! This was a great idea and great run!! I loved running in my candycane/santa socks.  Loved getting out in the cold.  Glad I started the metabolism early in the day. 
My race mentality and pace continued for the rest of the day as I baked, shopped, ate, socialized, wrapped, wrapped and wrapped some more. 

Santa really has to send me some elves for that.  What took me three hours to wrap took them under twenty minutes to undo Christmas morning

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Race Calendar for 2012

Technology and I have not been good friends this year.  A broken lap top and a new phone later and now I have battery issues.  Somehow I have applications running all over my phone eating away at the battery life, to the point where I needed a new one.  I actually went a whole week without texts, mobile e-mail and facebook and twitter in my hand!  It was kind of nice but also frustrating I could not login to my blogger dashboard because it kept telling me I needed to enter the code that was being sent to my phone!  Apparently I set up some security and I forgot about it. 
So I used my computer time to research races for next year.  So far my goal is to run at least twelve races in 2012.  I mapped out at least eight close races hosted by my local club and another club in Westchester.  I definitely want to run a few halves and do a Full ( or maybe 2).
I am not the best at pictures on the run
 I resisted the urge to put my name in the NYC half lottery this year.  The price tag seemed a bit steep since I just ran it in March.  Running through Times square was amazing and I would love to do it again but I think I will hold out for trying my luck in the NYC Full lottery instead.  If I am going to spend a lot of $$ I want to make sure it’s on something I have not done before.   
For now I have decided on a half in Danbury Connecticut in April and I am considering a Full in Rhode Island in early May.  I am thinking I can combine visiting colleges( ya now for work ) and  races if they require an overnight stay.  Since Rhode Island is full of schools that I have never seen (yet recommend all the time), it seems like a good choice.  My friend Beth also went to school in Providence so I am hoping I could talk her into the half that same day and she could be my guide ;)  I definitely want to run a fall marathon again this year.  The summer is the best time for me to train time wise.  I will give the NYC lottery a shot but I have found a few alternates that are perfect alternates = Drivable and relatively inexpensive (and possibly near college towns?).
What other races+colleges should I think about?
Glad I have next week off.  In addition to cleaning and re-doing the boys room I will be Reading and catching up on all the festive races everyone has run the past week or so. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Knights of Columbus Holiday Run

Last week I ran my last race in my 30’s.   A five mile holiday run right here in my neighborhood!  This meant two things, dressing up and seeing my boys during the race. 
I found some red Christmas ribbon in the bins I had dragged from the crawl space and tied them to my braids. 
The race had a great turn out and really got me into the holiday spirit. It ended up being a beautiful day crisp but sunny perfect for a race.  We started out speedy on my familiar route.


I once again enjoyed the stopped traffic and running in the middle of the street.  I felt fast and was having a great time.  Something about those ribbons that made me think people were underestimating me.  I still wondered if I could possibly run faster than I had the week before at the Turkey Trot. 
It was great to know the route the miles flew by.  Mile 4 was at the bottom of my street. 

Check out that hill on my street!
My five fans were there! 

Pete and my parents snapped some shots
 and the boys brought me something to drink.  I had a final kick in me but also knew the last half mile hill was crazy (and also where I threw up last year)
I finished strong…
with a new PR!
5 miles- 40:12

Monday, December 12, 2011

Birthday Bla

Well here I sit only hours away from being forty.  I never asked to be the big “40” but here it is. It’s a weird feeling I can’t quite describe.  It’s sort of disappointing but I am not sure why.  It’s not old.   I know plenty of awesome, active and fun women in their 50’s and 60’s.   
Me and my friend Michele at 21. We both look much better now.
 It’s just not the excitement of turning 16 and being able to drive.  Better yet 21-drinking keg beer and eggnog at a house party during finals week and then entering (the bar I had already been frequenting) legally at midnight (accompanied by my friends with fake id’s of course). 
Grown up Birthdays are more of a ordinary day.  Birthdays in December are a total blur, buried in holiday fervor and as a parent, elf like duties.  This year has been no exception. 
What I can say about me right now is that I can only be proud of myself.  This last year in my thirties has been very tough professionally, but highly fulfilling and successful personally.  In addition to the full marathon in October I have and PR’d the 5mile and 5k in the last six weeks.  Come to think of it my 10k and half PR’s are both from this year.  That’s pretty cool, but I don’t have plans to slow down.  Am I assuming I will just because I am in the next age group?  
 Maybe it’s because no one looks forward to turning 40 or 50 or 60?  Maybe it’s because you realize you can‘t turn back the clock.  Gray hair and wrinkles are inevitable.  Damn I wish I started using that Oil of Olay earlier! 
You can only hope someone thinks you are younger than you are.  At least that does happen to me frequently.  Do you think it’s my hairdo?  I like racing with my hair like this, bows and all!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friendly runners and running with a friend

This morning I met Beth for a run on the rail trail.  Unlike yesterday when I sweated in a tank top, this morning I finally got to wear my long sleeve AC Marathon shirt and choose a fleece vest to go over it.  I can’t get over this NY weather this year.  I really think the seasons are shifting. 
ANYWAY I digress!
Runners are such a friendly bunch.  I say this because all it takes is a race T-shirt or a headband to start a conversation and find people you have things in common with.  Beth was wearing her turkey trot shirt.  Everyone we passed commented on what a fun race it was and really, it was.  We met a few women who ran the race and run the rail trail on a regular basis.  A few are even running next week’s holiday race. One of them noticed the active bands that Beth and I were wearing, that I won from Tricia at Endurance Isn’ t Only Physical.  Funny how me winning a blog giveaway in cyberspace, can create connections out on the real road.    

Friend reunion this weekend
Kelli,Moe, Me and Beth
It is nice to meet people who enjoy running as much as I do.  I know my husband and parents think I am crazy as I study the race schedules and web sites and try to plan out my year around a race.  There are times that I know people ask about my training or races and they are just making conversation or being polite by asking.  That is fine, it’s not for everyone.  It would be nice to have a few more friends that I could actually discuss running with. If someone had asked me about the socks I won from Molly I would have told them how cool they were cause I was wearing them too! I am glad we met some friendly faces out there.  I am looking forward to getting to know them better.   
It has been a great weekend and today’s eight miles were a great beginning to the end of it. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

MHRR 5 mile Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving morning was colder than I expected. When I got up to walk the dogs I started to rethink my choice of clothing.  I grabbed my gloves and a couple of color coordinated layers that I thought would be appropriate if it didn’t warm up as it was supposed to.  Quick oatmeal and a few chocolate chip cookies and I tended to the other matter of importance.  Since I was hosting the big meal later in the day I had to coordinate the timing of the bird and my departure for the race carefully.  That meant that I could get everything ready and Pete would have to get up, preheat and put it in right about the time I would start running.  Fingers crossed the turkey would be ready at 2 as planned. 

Nice long sleeve Tech T!

After my car defrosted enough for me to actually drive, I made my way over to Beth’s house and on to a local HS where the race was to take place.  It was a mob scene!  A 5mile, 25 k and 2 mile fun run were on tap in addition to a kids race.  We had 45 minutes until the first race began.   We waited on line to collect our bibs and tech T’s for most of that time even as preregistered runners. 
Somehow we managed to begin only 10 minutes later than expected.  675 runners ran the 5 mile race and it was a really positive atmosphere.   Two guys were in full turkey costume.   Going into the race I knew my best 5 mile time was under 42 minutes and of course I was hoping to beat that.  But this race was described as mostly hills and after I saw the first hill I knew why!  Having not run a whole lot of miles in the past few weeks my legs were fresh and I felt pretty good.  This was an out and back course and I enjoyed seeing the front of the pack on their way back and high fiving my friend after I made the turn around myself.  Every downhill I had just enjoyed was now a known entity.   I didn’t give up on a PR but I scaled down my expectations. I still felt pretty good and went as fast as I could without feeling sick.  Somehow the time on the clock at the finish read 40:40!  
A PR on a hilly course?   If I had run 41 I would have PR’d! 41 was the number I was looking for.  Hey I’m not complaining, I’ll take it but now what the heck should my goals be for next Saturday’s holiday run?  I guess I will start with not vomiting like last year. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

 
I PR'd on a hilly course this morning!  Who knew? 

I am thankful for so many things this year. 

Hoping the health and happiness continues for my friends and family! 

Off to baste the turkey and peel potatoes. Got a day full of family and food ahead of me that includes holding my two week old niece and watching my boys learn to play football!  This weekend is all about friends far and near. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I feel like such a slug. 

My daily mile widget is telling me I have logged zero miles and only 22 for the month!  How does this happen?  I am a mere 4 miles away from One Thousand miles run for the year and I can not find a single moment to get outside since Saturday.

Shorter days, parent teacher conferences and union meetings have not been helping me along.  I am feeling like the overworked, under appreciated mom this week.  I want to get out there but my "household" just won't let me. 

I am going to have to do something about that. 

 I should probably start with getting my treadmill welded.  (Its been three years since we have used it) because hitting the road seems to be less of an option on the weekdays. 


Racing myself to get home before dark


Saturday, November 5, 2011

NYC buzz

Is it wrong that I am annoyed with the TrackMy Runners system?   It will only let me follow three people in tomorrow’s New Your City Marathon!  I had a whole list of people that I am really excited to see how they do but now I will have to wait and see when they post on their blogs or twitter.   Granted I don’t actually know all of these people.  I have only followed them in blog land or watched them on the biggest loser.  
The buzz on the social media , Letterman and the local news has me totally into this marathon I am completely not running.  AND convinced I must do it one day.  I got a taste of the excitement at the NYC half last year and the full is now on the bucket list.  If I didn’t have a birthday party to bring the boys to tomorrow I would totally be hopping on a train into the city in the morning to cheer on the masses. 
But instead when I wake up I will run some miles in suburban NY and then get text updates on three of the four runners I do actually know, Molly, Tina, Diane and Lauren, who are running the streets of the Big Apple.  I hope it is a great day for all!

Friday, November 4, 2011

How do you run a race with high school students? or 5k for a cure

How do you run a race with high school students?

On my way to the AC Marathon I received a facebook invite for a 5k for a cure that would take place at the HS where I work.  My colleague had sent details about the High Schools Against Cancer club raising money for Breast Cancer research.  Having a direct connection to this disease, with my mother battling it multiple times and myself being a confirmed carrier of the breast cancer gene, I knew I had to run this race.  
Since it took place the week after the Marathon, it ended up being the first time I was to run since.  The track coach was doing the timing and asked me how I felt and did I have a goal for this race.  Honestly like any race I wanted to do the best I could but I did not want to embarrass myself in front of a bunch of teenagers!!  I felt good and ready to run fast.  
I was a little self-conscious about running with students and parents from the district to begin with.  I opted to wear a black skirt and a bright pink top with black white and pink socks and my pink Yankee hat to show my support for the cause (and provide me with no additional exposed skin if you know what I mean).  

It was a small group since this was the first year of the race, (And possibly because it took place the day after homecoming.  I don’t know… just saying).  It was a combination of runners and walkers, about 20 HS students so we all pretty much started out together.  Holy crap it was a fast start!  But what was I expecting; seventeen year old sectional champs are out in two seconds.  The boys took the lead quickly and I found myself in a pack of HS girls.   A little voice in my head was questioning if I belonged here.  A louder voice said “WHOOO I feel great”!  I heard one of my students call out to her friends “You guys suck!  You are going out way too fast”.  I later found out this was the soccer girls quickly falling behind the cross-country kids. 
The miles were not marked and I could only estimate how far I had gone.   

I ran most of the race with a sophomore, Amy whom I did not know.  We ran for at least a mile and a half, side by side, talking, even as fast as we were going.  I could only think, Damn!  I am keeping up!!  As we turned into the last stretch I found it was more of a hill than I had anticipated.   Amy pulled away as I reminded myself that I did NOT want to throw up in front of my kids, my mother, students and parents (that happened to include a school board member)!  I found my pace and gave it my all just below the vomiting threshold that has plagued me in the past.  

 I crossed the finish line in 23:35!  A PR for me!.   A boost I really needed.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Motivation Lacking

This is pretty much how cold I felt the past few mornings. Waking up with no heat or lights in the house. 

This afternoon the power is back on.  I was so happy I baked cookies as I filled and ran the dishwasher two times. (in my oven that was fixed the day before the storm).  Now the hot water heater is not working!  When it rains it pours. 
I am rationalizing that this is justification to skip my runs in the afternoon. That coupled with the MANY mini butterfingers I have consumed in the past few days just doesn't feel right! 

I must get back in the swing of things.  With no plan to follow, I feel so lazy.  So unaccountable.  I don't get daily reminder on how far to run.  No urgency to record that run.  Must find my motivation.  So far this is it. 

These dogs need to put some miles in.   

I am registered for a 5 mile race the first weekend in December but it seems so far away.  Thinking of a Turkey trot too (if I can convince my husband to get up and baste the bird while I am gone) Thanksgiving morning.  I have a choice 5 mile or 25k.  Hmmmm...

Might be time to commit to the next race.  I am sure after the buzz of the NYCM this weekend I will really feel the need to plan for something. 

I guess it is time to research. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snowtober I dislike you!

This pumpkin throws off a lot of light and came in handy this weekend. 
BECAUSE... we have not had power since saturday evening.  That meant carving this pumpkin by candellight, lots of blankets and boys and dogs in our bed and  no showers after a nice couple of runs. 

I payed my cousin Kim a visit on Halloween/snowday number one to take a nice warm shower and my boys did this in her yard...
Had to pry them away from the hill to go trick or treat.  So weird! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Atlantic City Marathon!

The morning of October 16th arrived after an OK night of sleep.  I was up an out on the boardwalk by 7:15 .  It was a short ¾ mile walk to Bally’s to the start/finish area and it was clear that everyone who was up at this hour was running a race.  The air was cool, perfect running weather. 

I went into Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino to use the bathroom and stretch.  It was kind a funny to see people sprawled out in front of the slot machines that were still actively being used by some inebriated guests.  Seeing that I was not going to need to stay in my sweatshirt to stay warm I wandered over to bag check and then spent the rest of my time back in the casino so that I could use the bathroom right before the start and hopefully not worry about any problems later. 

There were no corrals or start waves so at about five minutes to eight the boardwalk just got filled up with Half and Full Marathoners.  I made my way to the middle of the pack and saw that I was near the 3:55 and 4:00 pacers.  I did not plan to run in a pace group but I had hoped to be near the four hour mark so I stayed where I was.  With no previous marathon under my belt I realized anything could happen so I was not going to over think where I start.  


The Gun went off at about five after eight and straight off the boardwalk we went in the first quarter mile.  We started up a highway ramp early.  These would be the only inclines in the entire race so I felt great getting them out of the way.  I always think it is cool to be running in the middle of the street that is closed off to traffic so it was even better to be running up and down highway ramps and thru a tunnel.  The first part of the course brought us on to the mainland and around a few casinos.  I really was feeling great and may pace felt natural thou I wondered if it would be too fast in the end.  I only run with a stop watch so I don’t know what my splits were.  I knew I was running sub nine minute miles each time I passed a mile marker.   It felt good so I kept it up.  I kept telling myself I’d slow down if I needed to.   I also had to keep reminding myself that the people in the yellow bibs were not going the full distance with me.

The Steel Pier in front of the Taj Mahal
At about eight miles we returned to the Boardwalk.  As soon as I stepped on the boardwalk the wind picked up and started to blow sand all over the place.  Immediately I thought what if it is like this the entire time!  WTF!  Luckily it only lasted until we hit the first tall building and I was able to enjoy the sights and the gentle give of the boardwalk planks.  
I saw my parents at mile ten.  At nine thirty, just when I thought I’d get to mile ten…Still feeling good!   I knew the turn for the half was coming up and soon the field of runners would really be spread out.  Once I passed that turn cone I felt that the race had now really begun.  We stayed on the boardwalk until about mile 12 where it ended.  The next part of the race was run on the road to the end of the island and then some looping in nearby neighborhoods.   

At the half marathon timing mat I started to notice the 3:55 pacer and her group approaching.  By now I had held this pace so well that I was convinced I could break the four hour mark and was determined to do so.  Suddenly I was running with this group and really I didn’t like it too much.  I am used to my space.  I alternated being in front and behind this group for the next few miles with each water stop.  As I trailed behind it was interesting to see the group get smaller and the pace of that group seem to get faster.  

By mile 18, I realized I was speeding up to keep up. I finally had to tell myself to slow down or I would never make it.  We were then in what seemed like in the never-ending loop in the neighborhood of nearby Margate.  Every time I thought we would turn around there was another loop to run.   Honestly I thought we might never return to the boardwalk.  A spectator somewhere in this neighborhood yelled out “you are still in at four hours.  Keep it up”!  While this was encouraging it was also hard to think about the last part.  I was losing steam!  How could I keep up the pace?  Maybe I should have researched better fuel?  Is this the “Wall” I had read so much about? What were my goals?  How hard did this feel?  Was I really in that much pain?  Was this harder than when I was in labor or giving birth to the boys?  Wait an epidural was involved part of the time there, maybe I should not think about that!  

I felt so slow.  I considered walking a bit.  I did for about five seconds and then realized that was a bad idea.  Walking was painful.  Running somehow felt much better.  The four hour pacer came running merrily along.  She had two people with her.  I kept up with her for about a mile and an half.  The two people with her had fallen off.  Soon it was just the pacer and her sign on a stick in the distance in front of me.  (How annoying would it be to carry one of those things 26.2 miles?  How many times did she accidentally almost hit someone with it)?  Anyway… slow as I was the end was near.  Every water stop I gulped down a Gatorade and dumped water on my head.  It was mid-day and the sun had been in full force the whole way.   

Back to the Boardwalk and there was 5k left! 
At this point regular runners, bikers and Sunday strollers were enjoying the warm October sun.  I was still looking at my watch but also just wanted to be done. This part of the Boardwalk was narrow and there were not very many spectators other than at water stops.  I saw very few runners.  I just kept moving forward.   

Mile 25 there were my parents, Dad out in front of me taking my picture.  Holy crap a mile more to go! Do I have anything left to sprint in the end?   A couple people pass me, the crowd start to get thicker as we approach the finish.   I dug in, found some speed, pushed all the way through.  4:05 and change.  I’ll take it.! Accepted a medal and water from a volunteer and then tried to figure out how to relearn to walk without falling over!  “Keep moving”! I said to myself.  I kept walking and breathing until I stopped for some Rita’s Italian Ice which hit the spot.  I found a place to sit and stretch and then send a text out to my husband and a few friends.  --OMG I did it.  I am alive after 26.2!  
So now I have plenty to think about. I won't take too much time second guessing anything.  I did this all on my own.  And yes, I will do it again!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homeownership

Things have been crazy here in the real world.  Being a homeowner is not fun especially when stuff you really need starts to not work.  We have lived in this house for ten years now and slowly we seem to be replacing everything.  Here is the list of the current household issues I have my husband working on getting fixed. 
Oven
Hot water heater
Basement mold popping up everywhere due to the moisture!

Laptop – Brendan dropped it-Craked the entire screen!  Thus the reason I can’t find time to lounge and race recap!  I have insurance but of course had to transfer a year’s worth of pictures onto an external hard drive before I could drop it off!
I hope to put my thought on the AC Marathon in writing soon!