Staying Motivated (with running)

IMG_0062This year I started a progress jar.  The goal was to add a quarter for every mile I ran and if I did some strength training as well as stretching and rolling I would add a quarter for that too.  The idea is to keep me motivated to keep going as well as save some money to do something special at the end of the 2017.

Well we are officially 3 months in and the pic shows the progress.  I do have to say that there are some flashy bills in there too buried at the bottom (okay the biggest one is a $20 but the quarters don’t tell the whole story).

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For a little perspective, here is a nice roll of quarters just waiting patiently to be added!

I have also committed to run with a running club that meets on Saturday mornings at 8:30am.  To me this is a very doable time.  I don’t mind getting up early during the week but really I want to sleep in a little on Saturday so this is a perfect time for me.  Plus the benefit of this club is that it is part of a running store which is good for several things:

  1. The quick bathroom break before you head out, which is always needed.
  2. Warm place to stretch when we finish and a place to change into warmer clothes instead of in my car.
  3. Oh and occasionally they bring in some guests on Saturdays like today where we got to do some strength training at the end of the run with two wonderful physical therapists.

I also joined the Run the year at the beginning of January.  So basically I have set myself up to run 2017 miles in 2017.  But really if you do the math it is about 39 miles a week, which when I put it that way seemed way more doable.  The progress on that is that I am close to staying on track.  Had a smaller than usual week when we went on vacation but know that when I am training for my next marathon (Marine Corps – Oct) I will be doing way more than 39 miles a week so I can make up for some smaller weeks.

Another motivation tool I use is telling others about this craziness and my running goals whether they want to hear them or not.  I talked about my next goal here so feel free to read it.  This is truly motivating because once you put it out there, unless something major happens, I have to get it done!

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Today’s freezing cold getting it done.  12 degrees with negative windchills btu 6.5 miles done!

Finally I have also been able to be a part of a women’s running group on facebook which is a great support system.  They are all local ladies who cheer each other on and hopefully this summer I will be able to do more with them.

So really it takes a lot to stay motivated. But it is worth it in the end to see those goals achieved.

Is there anything you do to stay motivated? 

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Trying something different….

Okay, let’s be honest, it is probably not something different because it involves running (surprise, surprise) but I guess you could say I’m changing things up a little to spice up my running. Let me explain…. This year one of … Continue reading

Half Marathon #11 – Wolf Hollow

IMG_2994I don’t usually do Half Marathon recaps in fact I’m not real good with many race recaps except those big crazy Marathons, which by the way I just signed up for Marathon #6 – Vermont City at the end of May, I am really starting to think I’m crazy but that is for another post.

Anyway, today was the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon.  What I thought was going to be a normal somewhat flat rail trail run (I run a paved rail trail all the time and it is mostly flat and paved) turned in to a jaunt through the woods where most of it was on soft surface/gravel/dirt/leaves/pine needles and it was mostly flat but had some killer hills at the times when we never really want them, which during a half marathon I believe is all the time.  This is not to say that it was not fun.  I really did enjoy it.  I went out with the intent to have fun.  In fact Dave asked me what I thought I would run and I said I wanted to keep it under 9 min miles and that is what I did.  Just 600 of my closest running friends doing a long run and getting a medal and t-shirt at the end.  My idea of how to spend a Sunday morning.  🙂

Near mile 9.5 I met Ian who told me that he had been following me for most of the race.  Usually we would call this person a STALKER but in the running world, somehow we are flattered that someone would pace off of us.  Made me feel good.  Since I was just having fun and quite frankly I needed someone to help me through the toughest part of the course which was two huge hills we began to chat.  Always fun is the conversation where we continue to tell each other that they can go ahead if they want to because I don’t want to slow you down and then we both realize that really we have been running the same race the whole time so why not finish together.

Ian and I finishing the Half together!

Ian and I finishing the Half together!

It was great to get through the tough hills pushing each other (sometimes physically because around mile 11 and 12 when you are going up hills running in a straight line is optional).  Also nice is to have someone pushing you when you think you are giving it your all and the other person says, “I think you can do more” and out of the blue you find that extra gear.  It was a great race.  As we crossed the finish line we exchanged hugs, told each other congrats, oh and I introduced him to Dave so there would be no crazy questions about why I am hugging this random stranger.

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Getting for the race. A little chilly and a little rain, perfect for running! 🙂 One happy girl!

This is why I love running.  I love going out for a race, enjoying the run, facing new challenges and meeting people along the way.  My new friend Ian and I talked about races, running, family, work, and why we run.  For him it’s a stress relief from being an Assistant principal at a local middle school.  Gotta keep up with those crazy middle schoolers under control.  For me we all know it is therapy.  I know when I don’t exercise I am a bear and really I am shocked about how much time I spend at the gym and out on my runs but I know if I don’t do it, everything else suffers.

Since today was a essentially a trail run and trail running is a lot different then road running, I know that there will be muscles that hurt tomorrow, probably because I can already feel them.  Here is hoping I can move.

If you are in New Hampshire in November, I would really encourage you to run this race.  It’s a double loop so you get to see the trail the first time and then the second time around you get to dread the hills but find a friend and you can make it through the second loop!  🙂

Ever find a friend during a race?  Dave says I always do!  What can I say, I’m very social.  🙂

Enjoy some more pics from today:

The beginning of the race.  So happy to be moving.

The beginning of the race. So happy to be moving.

Mile 8, this is the last big hill you do at mile 12 too.  Such a pretty area to run in.

Mile 8, this is the last big hill you run at mile 12 too. Such a pretty area to run in. (the pic is a little blurry because I’m so fast or Dave was cold and shaking.  I’m going with my speed.)

Happy to be done and starting to get really cold.  What you dont see is me shaking!

Happy to be done and starting to get really cold. What you don’t see is me shaking!

My new turkey running socks.  Seemed fitting for the race right before Thanksgiving.

My new turkey running socks. Seemed fitting for the race right before Thanksgiving.

The final results.  Not to bad.  I was 57th out of 316 women and 14th out of 92 in my age group.  I will take it!

The final results. Not to bad. I was 57th out of 316 women and 14th out of 92 in my age group. I will take it!

 

I should be fired…as a blogger

firedPlease don’t fire me from my daytime job, I really do like it.  But you can fire me as a blogger.  Recently I really, really suck.  Sorry!  If you follow me on instagram, you can tell I’m pretty good at that but really I am connected to the computer all day at work and really the last thing I have been wanting to do when I get home is type more.  Tonight however I felt like I should check in.

What have you been up to recently?

I have been training for my fifth marathon, Chicago 2015.  I’m pretty excited and scared but very excited that this weekend will be my last 20 miler and then the tapering will begin, well there won’t be anymore 20 milers!

This past weekend I ran a half marathon in Vermont and it was one of the best race experiences I have ever had.  I love how relaxed I have become before races.  I only had one moment where I got anxious and wasn’t very nice to my other half but I apologized immediately.  Hey that is progress.  Races are stressful.  I use to be so stressed out before a race I began to wonder if it was really worth it.  Now the races that stress me out are marathons and really it’s about whether I can hit my goals (which recently have not happened but that is a learning experience too, right).

Anyway, back to the half marathon race from this weekend.  I found this one by mistake or really I should say by procrastination.  I wanted to sign up for a half and it had to be on the weekend of 9/12 because it fit into my training plan.  However by the time I went to register for the race I had chosen, it was sold out!  I was devastated.  I had my mind set on this specific race, it was going to be my race.  The medal was cool and this was the right time and the right place but it didn’t happen.  So I went exploring… internet exploring and found the Charlotte Covered Bridge Half Marathon in Shelburn Vermont which happens to be really close to our oldest daughter.  So I signed up.  We could spend the morning at the race and then the weekend with our daughter.

The race was fabulous.  They limit the amount of people to 300 and I had not been in a half marathon this small ever so I was unsure what to expect.  But it was wonderful.  The views were incredible and the support from the race organizers was great.  The best moment came at the end of the race when there was one person left on the course and the race organizer gathered everyone who was there at the finish line and we cheered her on to the finish.  What a great moment!  I just kept thinking what a great way to finish a race and she is a half marathoner just like the rest of us who finished before her.  I have only watched the end of one other race and it was for a friend of mine.  There was no one around and the organizers had started taking down the finish line.  This did not happen here!  Here they cared about each person on the course.  Wonderful.  I would highly recommend this race company (RaceVermont) if you live in the New England area.

Here are some pics from this weekend, enjoy!  I will try not to be a stranger and hang out here a little more often.

A beautiful view along the course.

A beautiful view along the course.

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The shore of Lake Champlain

The shore of Lake Champlain

I always struggle with getting my bib on straight!

I always struggle with getting my bib on straight!

Going out from the beach and the gentleman next to me was the oldest runner on the course.  Still competing at 75.  Awesome.

Going out from the beach and the gentleman next to me was the oldest runner on the course. Still competing at 75. Awesome.

Medal time.

Medal time.

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Beautiful Lake Champlain in the background.

Met this wonderful runner.  It was her first half and she won her age group.  I came in 3rd which was a huge surprise too.

Met this wonderful runner named Michele. It was her first half and she won her age group (45-49). I came in 3rd (40-44) which was a huge surprise too.  Also think we make 40’s look good!!!

 

 

Running and Running, never actually getting anywhere but making progress!

DSC_0955I’m back.  I know, I feel like I say that a lot or at least once a month.  Over the past few months my running has taken over and when I get home the last thing I think you might want to hear about is my running.  I’m finishing up my marathon training which means I have one more 20 mile run and then the tapering begins.  Yippee!!!

This training has been very different from the other marathon training I have done in the past because of the treadmill running.   When I say treadmill running I mean, almost all the runs I have had since January have been on the treadmill.  I have completed even my 20 mile runs on the treadmill.  All I can say is they are as hard as they sound.  So that is the part where I am running and running and never actually getting anywhere!

Fortunately this past weekend I got to participate in a race the Savin Rock Half Marathon.  An actual race that was outside!  Running with people!  It seemed like it was so long since the last time I ran a race and it was because it was on January 1st.  My half marathon in February was canceled due to you guessed it, snow!

I was looking forward to this race because it was along the sea coast (I’m fairly certain that I am attracted to races that run along the sea).  I was watching the weather forecast (you know you do it too!) and was just hoping for the best.  Well I guess I should have known I was in for it when it started snowing on the way to race and just got worse as we drove the 2 hour drive (which actually took 3 hrs).  I, of course, had to spend a little time watching the forecast again because I was thinking surely this won’t last.  The weathermen were predicting snow to stop and it to clear up by race time.  This allowed me to at least get a little sleep (actually I slept like a rock until about 4 am which I think is pretty good when you have a race at 8am!).

And we are off!

And we are off!

After a shower and a little oatmeal, I took a glance outside the hotel room and noticed it looked a little slick but the snow had stopped.  I went downstairs for a little orange juice and met up with a fellow runner.  We chatted it up a bit he was running the marathon and it was going to be his 31st marathon.  Holy crap, I thought training for my 4th marathon was a big endeavor but I can’t even imagine running 31.  He is part of the marathon maniacs who run a race in all 50 states.  I think that sounds fun but I might have to do the half marathon part of the maniacs (haven’t signed up for any of that at this point though).

We got to the race with about an hour to spare before it started and grabbed the last parking spot!  Yeah us!  Spent some time warming up and hanging out inside the convention center waiting for the start.  It was just cold out with a little spitting of rain but nothing really unexpected.  I loved this race, they had plenty of space for all of us to keep warm and the start line was right outside the door so we didn’t have to stand outside and get to cold before it began.

Looking good the first 200 yards!

Looking good the first 200 yards!

Soon we were off, it was a little crowded at first because we started on a path but after the first mile it dumped us out on the road where it all opened up including the sky!  Yes, I said it! It started to snow!  Oops weathermen were off AGAIN!  Anyway on we ran up some hills that seemed to never quit (mental note: maybe arrive in time to drive the route you are going to run before you get out there!)  It was a gentle snow (if there is such a thing).  It got crazy snowy the farther we ran and the longer we were out there.  I mean the snowflakes were so big that when they hit you in the eye you had to wipe your eyes because it blocked your vision.  This became a little difficult on the hills because you would go up them and your feet would slide backwards and then going downhill you had to go slow because your feet would slide out from under you and you would end up ice skating.  It made it a little tricky but really I had a good time.  Then the last three miles it was snowing so hard you could almost hear the snow hitting the ground which made for very soggy feet because it was thick.  Honestly I think this was a fitting race to demonstrate how hard marathon training in New England has been this year.

As I neared the end of the race, I was having some doubts about whether I had even made progress during my marathon training especially since it had been almost DSC_0977exclusively on the treadmill.  Luckily the doubts mostly went away when I crossed the finish line in 1:54:17.  It was a really great time for this race course and the hills and it really did feel good.  When I found out that I got 4th in my division, I felt even more confident.  I am happy that I chose the training plan I did and I am hoping that it translates into a great marathon race.  I have some big goals but really the idea of the marathon in April is to make it to the finish with a smile on my face and confidence that I can do this.  The time I do it in will be secondary (don’t get me wrong I have a big goal’s for time).   1 month of training left!!!

So running and running, never actually getting anywhere but making progress.

Progress has been made.  Feeling stronger, a little faster and more confident that OKC Memorial Marathon will be another one of those Runs to Remember.

Enjoy the rest of the pics:

Here I come but it's a little snowy!

Here I come but it’s a little snowy!

Huge flakes at mile 9 and one last hill til I'm close to done!

Huge flakes at mile 9 and one last hill til I’m close to done!

Done!!

Done!!

Not the most flattering but look at that snow!

Not the most flattering but look at that snow on my hair and eyebrows!

Rock and Roll Vegas Recap

IMG_0219Last Sunday was the Rock and Roll Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon.  I was excited to fly across the country to Vegas, see my sister (who I haven’t seen in 2 years) and of course run a race especially looking forward to running the Vegas Strip at night.

The first stop like always was the expo.  It was nice to walk around on Friday and take our time looking at things, believe me there were lots of things to look at!!!  Then I went back on Saturday with my sis to pick up her bib and it was overwhelmingly packed!!!  But I guess that is what happens when you have a huge race like this.

Expo fun with my sister.

Expo fun with my sister.

On Sunday we had all day to lay around and relax because the race didn’t start until 4:30 which would allow us to “run the strip at night”.  Or as RNR calls it “We run the night”.

The bad part of running at night is that it is cold in the dessert at night and oh yeah, I forgot to mention, it didn’t get out of the 40’s during the day.  Amazingly the only cold day they had in Vegas so far in November was on race day, Sunday and the winds were about 15-20 mph.

We waited until the latest possible to go down to the start but I was in Wave 4 so I wanted to get there at least 30 mins early.  My sis was in wave 36 so I didn’t get to see her until after she finished but that was fun cheering her on to the end!

More expo fun.  The agony and the ecstasy.

More expo fun. The agony and the ecstasy.

The race started on time and was fun.  We got a pep talk from Meb (Boston Marathon winner and 4th place in New York City) and then we started.  Each wave got a start of their own.  There were about 2 or 3 minutes between each wave and they made it special for each wave.

It was fun to run the strip and high five the thousands and thousands of people watching in front of the hotels but after you left the strip it got pretty quiet and dark.  I’m not really experienced running in the dark and found myself running very cautiously so I didn’t land in a pothole or turn my ankle (if it was gonna happen it was probably gonna happen to me!).    We made it down to Old Vegas and then the marathoners broke from us half marathoners and headed down Tremont Street.  I am sure it was cool to run through Tremont Street but I’m not sure the rest of it would have been that much fun.  I imagined the full marathon would have been out into very desolate areas of Vegas and I am pretty sure there were not many people cheering you on (mainly due to how cold it was). IMG_0231

As I headed back towards the strip for the finish I just tried to relax, have fun and keep focused on the Mirage in the distance which was near the finish line.  I was amazed to see how many runners where on the other side of the strip running towards me that were in the later waves.  I was glad to be done and very interested in warming up.

In the end, I would say it was a fun race, good for first timers which I feel that is what they appeal too but not really my favorite.  I wanted more bands along the routes and maybe a little more light in the sketchy areas so I wouldn’t have to run so tentatively.  I have stated that I have no interest in doing it again but it was definitely something I feel good about doing.  If you are interested in hanging out with about 30,000 runners and are okay with running in the dark at some points, give it a try!

And here are all the pics of event you have been waiting for: Enjoy!

My sis and I on the first night at dinner.  It was great to see her.

My sis and I on the first night at dinner. It was great to see her.

Dave and I in Venice, okay at the Venetian!

Dave and I in Venice, okay at the Venetian!

Family selfie!

Family selfie!

Nice view for Breakfast at the Hard Rock

Nice view for Breakfast at the Hard Rock

Pretty cool rubber ducky at the SLS hotel

Pretty cool rubber ducky at the SLS hotel

Race day!  Had shorts to wear but in the 40's went with the tights.

Race day! Had shorts to wear but in the 40’s went with the tights.

All done!

All done!

Our Cheering Squad

Our Cheering Squad

Final results.

Final results.

Headed home!

Headed home!