Big Announcement….

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Looking so serious but really just hanging out waiting for race time.

I would like to take this time to formally announce my intent to be an amateur athlete maybe I’ll even join the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union).  Oh wait, I don’t want to do that because then I can’t make money at my “free” sport of running.    Also the closest Union is in New York City.  That’s a little far away and some more money I would have to spend to get there.

Oh wait one more minute…. I guess you never have to actually announce your intent you just become an amateur by definition:  1 : devotee, admirer. 2 : one who engages in a pursuit, study, science, or sport as a pastime rather than as a profession. (Merriam-Webster)

Well I would say I am well on my way following that definition…

I guess there is no big announcement then.  Sorry guys, I hope you will stick with me then.

How about a race recap of this weekend’s Eastern State 20 miler instead and an update of how my training is going for Vermont City Marathon in May?!

I have to say the weather could not have been better.  It was in the low 40’s with a light breeze off the ocean, basically a tailwind for the whole race.  The sun was shining bright despite what all the weather men said it was going to be overcast all day (needless to say I have a sunburn that looks fabulous!).  The course started just over the bridge in Maine from New Hampshire.  We then ran the whole state of New Hampshire along the coast into the state of Massachusetts.  So crazy to think in one race you can run 3 states.   There was some great crowd support even if they had to be spread out over 20 miles.  Dave was able to get around pretty easy and see me at two locations during the race and at the end.  This race was great because if you wanted to see your runner more it would be pretty easy to do that as the roads were open and as long as you took your time you could just leap frog ahead.

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This was the start, as always very crowded and hard to get a great shot.

I started out faster than I wanted but really tried to just stick to what felt good.  I was very relaxed because I had no real goal other than finish and test out my plan.  My plan called for 20 miles this weekend with the speed to be close to marathon race pace which I’m hoping will be 9:30 per mile.  Also, I always think it’s fun to do a race with 600-800 of your close running friends instead of a 20 mile training run where you are the only one running.

It was nice to settle into the pace and just chat with some people along the course, listen to my music (sometimes dancing along), and just loving the experience which was never a huge challenge.  I have to say I love that last statement.  I expected to hit a wall and it just did not happen.  In fact after the half marathon point in the race, I got faster by 20 seconds per mile.  That’s crazy isn’t it!  I thought “Hey I only have 7 miles left, I can do this, I’ve done pace work longer than this”.  So I did.  I sped up and just keep speeding up until my last 4 miles were 8:07, 8:08, 8:09, and mile 20 was 7:53.  Holy Cow!  (I use that phrase a lot right now)  And to top it all off, I felt great.  I felt strong!  And I kept thinking, “this training plan is working, all my hard work is paying off”.

Isn’t it great to have things begin to come together?!  After 5 marathons, I changed to this new training plan with twice as many miles, running twice as much in a week and really focused on what I want my next marathon experience to be like.  And the answer is strong!  I want it to be strong!

How do you define strong?  I define it as giving it your all, leaving it all out there, making you a priority and doing with confidence more than you ever thought you could.  On Saturday, I felt strong!  Like a superhero!  I don’t know about you but I love that feeling.  Dave might be tired of me talking about it because I was so shocked at what I had just done, I couldn’t stop talking about it (really he is very proud but I am sure he will tell me to stop when it gets old).  I had conquered a huge thing in my life, I had gotten rid of the wall that usually comes halfway through a race where you are looking at your watch and thinking survival.  I wasn’t surviving, I was thriving. IMG_3918

I was able to finish the race strong enough to be in the top 20% of my age group (the overall winner was from my age group as well, which just goes to prove us women in our 40’s are unstoppable).  I actually came in 25 out of 125 women.  I like the top 25.  It has a nice ring to it.  I also have a first ever PR for a 20 miler or by garmin a 20.15er of 2:53:05 which turns out to be an 8:35 average pace.  Yeah!!!

So how is my training going?  Well if you have not already guessed it, awesome!  I’m feeling better after each long run, more confident about the marathon distance, and really working on staying healthy, getting massages often and balancing my work and training, which is hard at times but doable.  (If only I could declare my amateur status and get sponsor for at least the race fees or shoes)  😉

Tomorrow with my training run I will surpass last month’s miles of 239 and I still have 3 training run days left this month.  It’s crazy to think I could run so far in a month.

How is your training going?  Any recent races where things just began to click and you felt invincible?!

Enjoy these pics from the rest of our weekend:

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The rocky coast of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean

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Hanging out with my love and the Nubble Lighthouse.

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A little ocean water is good for the sneakers.

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Dave helping me out covering my really bad runner’s sunburn!

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These tan lines are going to take forever to go away!  But way to happy to care.

Holy Cow!!

Last week I had one of those very surreal moments, one of those you pinch yourself and think is this really true?  It’s taken me a little while to digest it and to even fathom how I got here?  But this weekend when I was out enjoying an early spring moment running in New England, it hit me.

“I’m gonna have to do all this training over again in the fall.”

IMG_3875Sunday was my first 21 miler of this training plan completing my most miles ever in one week of 68 miles.  This plan goes up to 70 miles so not quite there yet but I am up to 68 with only 12 weeks left of this plan (I know only 12 weeks left but it goes so fast.).

IMG_3548Anyway, some of the good news is that I am feeling stronger each run and confident that I will see a big difference in my marathon performance with just the simple fact that after 21 miles I was able to complete the last mile very strong (wanting to die after but strong and even a sub 9 min mile).  So far I have been very impressed where this plan has taken me, so if you are interested in training for a marathon, you might try the plan in the book “Advanced Marathoning” by Pfitzinger and Douglas.

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So done!!!

Oh okay, back to the “Holy cow” news…. I made it!  I made it into the New York City Marathon on November 6, 2016.  I know that they accepted about 4500 extra people but really I was not expecting to make it because it is a very hard marathon to get in to.  I was part of the 23% of the people in the lottery who made it in.  The official total accepted was 19,083 with 82,172 applying for the lottery.  Those aren’t great odds and last year I did not beat them but this year is different.  This year I did it! IMG_3839

Thanks New York City Road Runners for drawing my name out of the hat (or that is how I pictured it happening, I am sure it was more computer generated.)  Now I’m celebrating.  My marathon #7 will be New York City in November!

Holy Cow… New York City!

I can hardly wait but first, I must regroup because before marathon #7 I have to complete marathon #6 in Burlington, VT in May, Vermont City Marathon.  I am very excited about this one too.  Excited because it is close to home, excited because Vermont is a gorgeous place to run and excited because we will get to spend the long weekend up in Burlington with our oldest child.  So exciting!

IMG_3878 I am also excited because on March 26th I will be running my first 20 mile race.  Okay for me it will be more of a training run but I thought it would be fun to run a race during training that was more than a half marathon (definitely not to disparage anyone from half marathons because I love that distance, but when your plan calls for 20 miles and you get tired of the same 20 mile path, you need to liven it up a little).

Now that my marathons are all set for 2016 I guess I need to plan out the rest of my races…..

How is your training going?   Any race you are looking forward to?

Always thankful….

Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the good ole’ US of A.  This just happens to be my favorite holiday.  I love the fact that we all take a moment to think about gratitude, things that we are thankful for.  In my life I tend to practice this on a daily basis.  I love to spend a few moments daily reflecting on at least 3 things that I am grateful for either from the day before or things that might happen in my life today.  For example: I am grateful for the long run that I had this weekend and I am also grateful for the strength that will be there when I need it today to conquer today’s challenges.  I really feel if we live in a gracious state of mind, we tend to see life in a different more present experience.

You may not be celebrating tomorrow this holiday of Thanksgiving but I challenge you to make thanksgiving part of your every day.  How will you do it?  I will continue to keep my daily journal of gratitude and be focused on the present because afterall it is a gift (present).  🙂 thanksgiving4

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!

 

It’s here….

fall4Can you feel it?

Can you smell it?

I don’t know whether it is has reached your part of the world but up here in New England fall is finally starting to arrive.  I say starting to arrive because I don’t want to get my hopes up to much.  It has happened in the past that we have had these awesome cool days and then “bam” it’s 80 degrees again (sorry folks I don’t know this in Celsius but believe me it is warm!)

Last year's pic on Cape Cod in October.

Last year’s pic on Cape Cod in October.

Today I was so happy to be outside running.  It was in the high 60’s and it was the best track workout eva’ (that’s Boston for Ever!).  Okay so it wasn’t really the best but it was the coolest and it is coming down to my last sprint track workout for this training plan.  I am pleased to say that my 800’s were fast at the beginning, slower in the middle, and then the back half faster than the first half so overall good way to near the end.

Now back to fall…. Love it!!!  So ready for it.  One of my favoritiest seasons on earth.  I know no word like favoritiest and believe me spell check does not like it either but that is the best way I can describe it.  This summer has been humid and hot and really not ideal for training for a marathon but neither was winter with the quadrillion feet of snow we got.  Now I can barely wait to get out of work to get outside and enjoy the cooler temps.

fall6I don’t really have a favorite fall activity (besides running because who doesn’t love to hear the sound of leaves crunching beneath their feet and feeling energized with the cooler temps).  Oddly enough living in New England, I have never been Apple picking and we are surrounded by Orchards (oops).  Maybe we will do that this year.  I do love to take a drive and see all the trees changing colors.  The first year I lived up here I use to drive the same path which was always out of the way because it took me up a hill and I could see the leaves at different stages of color change.

Can you believe trees turn this color?  Neither can I!

Can you believe trees turn this color? Neither can I!

Since tomorrow is the first official day of fall, I think it is time to get out and enjoy the falling temps.  Dig out those sweatshirts and sweaters and spend some quality family time doing things outside because soon (if you are in New England) it will turn cold and the  4 letter “s” word will be falling from the sky and we will be locked inside spending quality time with our family members or getting cabin fever because we are locked inside together but I will save that post for a much later date.

Happy Fall Y’all!

What’s your favorite fall activity?

Here are a few more pics to enjoy!

Love the lakes region of New Hampshire.

Love the lakes region of New Hampshire.

From my favorite place in the world especially during the fall.  The family lake house.

From my favorite place in the world especially during the fall. The family lake house.

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!!!

 

 

Slacking on Juneathon but still exercising! 17,18,&19/30

Sorry about forgetting to post. Ive just been a little off but today is Friday so here is my update for the past three days…I know I’m breaking the rules but don’t tell anyone and it will be our secret!

Yesterday I ran a little over 5 miles, Wednesday I worked late so it was my rest day. Today I ran and tap danced in my recital but I will let the pics show the fun. Enjoy!

The 4 mile turn around point

The 4 mile turn around point

Love the old railroad bridge on the rail trail

Love the old railroad bridge on the rail trail

There are two of these bridges that are nice and cool  to run through.

There are two of these bridges that are nice and cool to run through.

Love this view, wish I could stay for a while but need to keep moving.

Love this view, wish I could stay for a while but need to keep moving.

Pretty good for a hot midday run.

Pretty good for a hot midday run.

Getting ready to tap away!

Getting ready to tap away!

After the performance where we tapped away and brought down the house.  Okay maybe not, but we had fun!

After the performance where we tapped away and brought down the house. Okay maybe not, but we had fun!

Happy Juneathon but most of all Happy Friday!

Slowing down and being resistant

resistanceI don’t know about you but slowing down is a struggle for me.  In everyday life, with everyday situations I work my hardest to get the outcome I want and know if I slow down I may not get it.  I work hard and want to reap the rewards.  But sometimes it takes slowing down to reap the rewards.

I know, I know, that does not make sense.  Here is my take on it.  We need to slow down to enjoy the journey.  We need to slow down and look around and appreciate what is there.  Appreciate what we are doing, the process.  Life is more about the journey than the end product.  And best of all I think the end product will be better because we have taken the time to enjoy the ride (Oh and life is a ride!).

Right now at our house there is a LOT of things up in the air.  One example is my house itself.  We are in the middle or mid beginning of remodeling.  Not quite sure how to describe it other than we have our living room floor in but plywood in the kitchen and bathroom, a toilet on our back porch and half my kitchen in my living room (which does make it easy to get a drink since the fridge is only 10 feet away from the couch!).   I want to speed this process up because it sucks to come home to chaos at the end of the day.  Also we have some transitions in jobs that are happening and that is a stressor I would much rather skip thank you very much!

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My local rail trail. What a beautiful place to run.

So how do I handle these things and not be so resistant to change, enjoy the change and the adventure.  Well for me, I try something new with running.  Why not?  It’s my stress reliever!  Today I began working on slowing down my running.  I know it sounds weird that I would try to slow down when most of the time we are all trying to speed up but I’ve been trying to figure out how to go father and keep a stronger pace.  All the stuff I have been reading has been talking about slowing down to be able to run further and actually in the end go faster.  I don’t know about you but I struggle to slow down and then by the end of my runs I am pushing myself to the extreme and then I am faster but at the expense of the rest of my body.  I’m exhausted, my old, tired body becomes more sore and struggles in the repair stage/rest stage.

Today I worked on trying to stay in a low intensity state of mind and time by running at what I thought was a low intensity.  You are supposed to do this with a heart rate monitor but I forgot mine so I went by feel.  I figured that if I went at least a minute slower than what I thought, I would be about 80% of my effort and hopefully in the low intensity area.  Not sure where I got a minute from but when I read about elite athletes they mentioned running some runs 2 mins slower than their actual race pace.  Since I am a weekend warrior, I figured one minute would be good.  The whole philosophy is to run most of your training runs at low intensity effort and the other 20% at high or moderate intensity.  Here is a link for a better description from Running Times.

I’m hoping it works.  Today it felt pretty good.

That brings me back to slowing down…

IMG_1475At first it was hard.  It was hard to wrap my head around being outside doing the 10 mile distance and it taking longer than usual.  It was hard to keep a slower pace.  It was hard to hold back.  But I started to get out of my head, look around a little more, just enjoy the fact I was doing something I really enjoy and feel each step.  It began to get easier, I started saying “Hi” to everyone on the trail, smiled a little more, and enjoyed the breeze at my back (then hitting me in the face on the return).  The benefit was that I enjoyed the journey.  When I got done, I was ready to be done, but I wasn’t hurting from pushing too hard, I wasn’t upset that it was in the 80’s and I should have gone out earlier, I was relaxed.  I felt like I listened to my body and my head was in a better place.  Overall I would say it was a success and I am looking forward to training for my next marathon this way and hoping that it will work.  And as far as slowing down and enjoying my everyday life journey, that still needs work but I think I learned some things to help:

1) Quit being resistant!

2) Change is okay and necessary.

3) I need to smile more and enjoy the journey.

4) Stay in the present moment embrace what is going on maybe even finding solace in the chaos.

5) The change will make you better and stronger!

It’s amazing what a good long run will do for your brain!  🙂  Happy Running!

 Anyone ever tried this plan?  Did it work for you?  How about slowing down in general, do you struggle with this as much as I do?

Quick snack after the run.  Cold pizza and a protein drink.  Probably should work on my diet next!  :-)

Quick snack after the run. Cold pizza and a protein drink. Probably should work on my diet next! 🙂

 

Training, Training, Training….

Over the past 17 weeks I feel like my life has been consumed with training for the OKC Memorial marathon.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about it, it has just made it a little harder to have the energy to blog, blog, blog.  Sorry.

Well the 17 weeks has come to an end, okay almost that will happen on Sunday.  But the good news is that I’m tapering and now I have all this time because I can’t exercise as much.  So I thought I would tell you about something fun I did with my marathon friend, Judy.  You remember her, she was the one that we cheered and carried each over my last marathon and her first marathon.  Nothing like finding new friends during a race.

Anyway we both live outside of Boston so she texted me to say that Meb was going to be giving a talk about his book and the admission price included the talk plus a signed copy of his book, Meb for Mortals.  (I haven’t started reading it yet but I am looking forward to it.)  So that was the plan on Friday to go in, have a little dinner and hang out with Meb.

Friday morning she texted me and said that she might be able to get out early and wondered if I wanted to go to the Marathon Expo.  “Yes” was my immediate answer and I could hardly wait!   So off I went.

As I stood in front of the expo center I was overwhelmed by all the runners and did find myself saying, “One of these days I will be picking up my number here” (or least that is what I really want!).

We had a great time exploring the Expo and didn’t stop talking about running the whole time.  She had just finished the Rotterdam marathon the week before and it was fun to hear about her experience as I prepare for mine.  After a quick bite to eat it was on to see Meb.  All I can say is “he is awesome”.  He was so humble and so inspiring.  He answered some questions that were contributed from the audience but for the most part he told us stories about his life and his running.  If you ever get a chance to see him or hear him talk, please do.

Now off to clean the house a little because I have all this pent up energy with no place for it to go.  I love to taper, I love to taper, I love to taper……

Here are a few pics from the day:

The sign I thought was so funny on the subway because I can so relate!

The Subway gets into routing too.

The finish line

The finish line

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The memorial for the 4 who died in 2013

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Waiting for the Meb talk with Judy

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High fiving the crowd

High fiving the crowd

Amby Burfoot  on the left and Mebs cowriter Scott

Amby Burfoot on the left and Mebs cowriter Scott

Love the stories he told.  Go Meb.

Love the stories he told. Go Meb.

 

 

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!