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

Holy Crap Training update…

IMG_3712

12 miles in – so close to being done!

 

Well that got your attention.

Yeah.

Really for some marathoners this training update will be nothing but for me it’s all about the miles.  This week I ran 62.4 miles.  Yep you read that correctly.  62.4 miles and I am only in week 4 of my 18 week plan.  I knew that each week of this training plan would have me pushing farther than I ever have but I think the distance is really sinking in.  This plan is a 55 miles to 70 mile plan.  So I’m getting there.  But the huge shock is each week new PR mileage and how fast it adds up.

Also, it’s how my long runs at the end of the week feel.  Today for example was my first 18 miler of this plan.  Going in I had already run quite a bit and yesterday my 5 mile recovery run was very slow and my legs felt tired.  But today, today I felt stronger as the run went on.  Dave came out with me and rode the bike, gave me more water when needed, and we had some fun conversation and pics.  He even commented on how the last 18 miler he rode alongside I struggled from about 15 miles on and it was a flatter course.  That run was also farther into the training plan like week 8 or 10 but that was not the case today.  So maybe this is working.  I really think this is.  I already feel confident that my next marathon will be more successful.

IMG_3710

I was sticking my tongue out at Dave but that didn’t come out so we figured this could be captioned multiple ways, “why are you following me?!” or “just running, nothing to see here”

Now to define that success:

No walking

Keeping a constant pace

Fuel properly

No WALL

Feel good at the end

If I hit that new PR that would be good too!

It is wonderful to already feel your hard work coming together because really I didn’t just start running 4 weeks ago, I have now been running for almost 6 years now and it started with a 5K in 2010 and my first marathon was in 2013 (hard to believe I’m training for my 6th marathon).

Now time to relax and enjoy my rest day tomorrow because Tuesday will be here before you know it and I will be right back at it with another week of PR miles!

IMG_3704

All done!  It felt great!

How is your training going?  Any big races coming up?

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.

IMG_2963

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!

 

Aha Moment

This week I had one of those moments.  One of those moments when you feel like you might actually be understanding what the world/universe or in my case my higher power (I call mine God) is trying to teach you.  This is how it happened….

Daily I post a motivational type quote on my facebook page.  I have been doing this now for about 2 years or more and usually it is because the quotes are something I need to be reminded of or need to think about for the day.  On Wednesday I posted this quote:

go

This was to remind me as I embarked on my 12 hour + day of meetings to just take it slowly and you will make it through or at least I thought that was why I posted it.

Then while in my first of four long meetings a colleague gave a presentation and at the end of the presentation she had this same quote.  That was when I felt like it was much more than a perseverance quote I posted on facebook because what are the odds.  I had never even heard this quote before I posted it on Wednesday morning.

I really began to think how does this quote apply to more in my life?  Over the past couple of days I have been thinking about it and trying to figure that out.

In my job which can be very overwhelming right now because I am basically learning how to run a million dollar business while running a million dollar business, I need to learn to take things slowly.  Set up the right procedures and policies and not just try to put a temporary fix on the problems because that will not work.  Also I need to not be so hard on myself.  In reality, I have only been the Director for 2 months and the facility has only been open for a little over 3 months.

In my running, especially my marathon training, there is so much to learn.  Yes I have completed 5 marathons, 10 half marathons and numerous other races, but I am nowhere close to where I want to be as far as how fast I want to be.  I hope to get there but I know that it might happen in time or it might not.  I need to enjoy the pace.  It might be happening slowly but as long as I don’t stop at least I am making progress.

Ever have one of these (as Oprah calls it) Aha Moments?

Chicago Marathon Recap #1 of 2

chicago8Sorry for the delay in my Marathon Recap of the Chicago Marathon and let me apologize about the length but it is full of pics too so enjoy and I did divide it up into two different posts so you have to come back tomorrow to get the end.  🙂

Well…. I finished.  I also finished over 23 mins faster than my marathon in April.  Unfortunately it was still not to the goal I had set but more on that in a little bit.

The weather for the trip could not have been better (well, it could have been a little cooler on Marathon day but definitely a beautiful day).  We arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and made it to our Airbnb residence for the next 5 nights.  Here is the view:

chicago9

After taking Uber to the expo to pick up my bib it was time to relax and get ready for my first ever group shake out run with Another Mother Runner.  On Saturday morning, I woke up and ventured down to take my first adventure on the Chicago Transit system to make it to the meet up location.  I do have to say I was impressed.  It was easy to get around and pretty cheap too.  (Let’s just say that we did not use Uber after we figured out the subway)  Here are some pics of the run on Saturday morning…..

chicago

Sarah in the middle is one of the creators of Another Mother Runner. Go check out their website here and get some cool another mother runner bling.

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

At the "Bean" in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

At the “Bean” in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

I was so happy to have spent some time getting the nerves out of my system and thankful to meet so many other mother runners.  But we all know that the day before the marathon you should not walk around too much so we opted for a River Boat Architecture Tour on the Chicago River.  It was a great idea and there are some fabulous buildings along the river.  Take a look….

chicago5

Sunday morning arrived and believe it or not, I was not really nervous.  After all, as my other half says, “You’re a pro.  You have done 4 other marathons.”  Well I am not really a pro but I am beginning to really learn what works and does not work before races and have developed a sort of routine like visiting the bathrooms early because they fill up as the race gets closer and then sitting in the corral because we didn’t even get started until 8:20 which was almost an hour after the race started (that’s what happens when you are in the slow group but I did not mind.)  I look pretty ready for the race here:

DSC_0114

Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

 

Once we got going I was very excited.  I also tried to not let the excitement get me to go out fast and I would like to say I did a great job of that but really I have no idea.  Why you ask?  Well, let’s just say that my wonderful Garmin watch does not like the very tall buildings of downtown Chicago and since that is where we are running I was at a loss for pace from almost the very beginning.  My first mile went pretty well but when my 2nd mile chimed on my watch and I was nowhere near the 2 mile mark according to the course and the clocks where off because they started with the elite runners I knew I could not trust the watch so it was time to just run based on feel.  Now I am not sure you have ever tried running by feel in a huge race (45,000) runners but if you haven’t and I really didn’t train that way, trying to do it for 26.2 miles is a little bit of a challenge.  Really I did not let this factor into my mind though and focused on enjoying the race.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? Im having fun.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? I’m having fun.

Even though the weather got up to 75 by the end of the race, it was a beautiful day to run.  The first 13.1 miles where pretty much in the shade of the huge buildings of downtown Chicago and through the parts of Chicago that had lots of trees and were very beautiful.

In fact, a little side note… I did something I never thought I would do.  At one point in Lincoln Park, I did jump off the course and find coverage in some of their draping trees and gave back to nature.  Hey, when you have to go and you are only at mile 5 and the bathrooms are all 10 deep at each water stop you do things you would never do before and really I had no desire to pee down my leg which I have heard some people do.  Yuck!

Anyway, back to mile 13.1… I felt great.  It was the best I have felt at the halfway point in a marathon EVER!  (big accomplishment #1)  Here is photo proof:

A big thumbs up for just over halfway!

Little did I know that after mile 13 was the heat wall.  Apparently when you leave the downtown area there are no more tall trees and the buildings are shorter too so it’s just you and the sky (oh and those 44,999 other runners)!  So it got warm and it got warm fast but more on this tomorrow…..

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.

DSC_0014

DSC_0016

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.

DSC_0059

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!!!

 

 

Last Very Long Run Day

How was your Easter Sunday?  We had a great day.  Started the day off with church and came home for a late breakfast and hopes that the sun would finally break through and let us go on our adventure outside.    The plan was for my favorite pit crew to bike alongside me and provide me extra water if needed and encouragement when the miles got tough.

We loaded up the bike and headed to a place where the snow had melted and we could safely ride and run for 20 miles which is my last very long run before the marathon at the end of the month.  It was wonderful to be outside even if the wind was blowing us all around, I’ll take it!  So much better than the treadmill any day!!!

I was also excited that I was having calf pain and yesterday I went and picked up some calf sleeves to try out.  The good news is that I only had calf pain at the end when my legs were so tired they were just pushing me to finish.  I also figured out that the treadmill has ruined my gait and that is what brought on the leg pain to begin with.  After mile 2 on my run I noticed that my heals where already killing me and I pushed myself forward on my foot to a mid-strike (which I thought I was doing because that is how I usually run) only to discover that the heal pain went away and that my calves immediately found relief.  Yeah!!!  Now don’t get me wrong I am thankful that I have been able to train through this crazy snowy winter but I think over the next 3 weeks I’m gonna try to do most of my running outside to work on getting that gait back before the marathon.

So the countdown is on!  I am so glad that this training plan is coming to an end.  I have enjoyed it and I think it has really helped me but the true test will be at the marathon.

Here are some pics from the run:

And we are off!

And we are off!

Figuring out my gait and making some corrections.

Figuring out my gait and making some corrections.  Lots of concentration!

I figured it out!! Happy Girl!

I figured it out!! Happy Girl!

Did I mention it was windy?!

Did I mention it was windy?!

Getting towards the end.  I think I was saying only 3 more miles and a few more hills!

Getting towards the end. I think I was saying only 3 more miles and a few more hills!

So I might be stuck!

So I might be stuck!

Very surprised how little hip pain I had but it never hurts to stretch them out.

Very surprised how little hip pain I had but it never hurts to stretch them out.  Oh and that is a smile not a grimace.  🙂

Dave my pit crew.  Best pit crew ever!

Dave my pit crew. Best pit crew ever!

The final results

The final results

 

How was your Easter?  Do anything fun?

Happy Easter!

Janathon 10/31 – Cold walk in the woods

Yep, you guessed it, today’s janathon work out is brought to you by a cold walk in the Vermont woods.  It was beautiful and we were able to take our time because it was kinda icy on those trails.  Not sure how long the walk took because we obviously took time to stop and look at the view but it was about three miles.  I’m totally counting that as my work out for the day.  I am sure I burned extra calories with all the layers and my body working a little harder to stay warm.

Here are some great pics of the walk.

IMG_0636

The walk is around a reservoir which was frozen over.

The walk is around a reservoir which was frozen over.

IMG_0644

 

Water that was flowing into the lake that is now frozen over and very slick to walk across.

Water that was flowing into the lake that is now frozen over and very slick to walk across.

Looking out on the water.  So pretty and peaceful here.

Looking out on the water. So pretty and peaceful here. 

Hope you had a wonderful day on this 10th day of Janathon.  Do anything fun to log that exercise?