My second job…

 

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In the midst of my 18 miler a few weeks ago.

As I was leaving my work today and headed home to change for my workout/run the thought popped into my head that I was actually headed to my second job.  I don’t know about you but when you work hard all day the thought of going to your second job (that pays you but only with better performance and healthier life/not financially) I get a little overwhelmed because I’m tired.

I tried my best to change the thought, get excited about the 9 miles I had ahead of me but no matter how hard I tried it was just not happening.  I went to the gym and pounded out 3.5 miles on the treadmill and then the sun came out so I decided to jump off the mill and head home to complete the last 5.5 miles.  I even stopped 3 miles in and helped an elderly lady with her trash bins since tomorrow is trash day (she informed me).  Always glad to help and take a break.  She was very cute in asking me how far I was going and how wonderful that is for me.  If she only knew I was really just trying to avoid the run by helping her.  I probably would have cleaned her house if it would have qualified as my 9 mile run.

I know we all have bad runs and not every run is going to be a moment where I think, “woohoo, I can’t wait to work out this evening, let’s do this.”  Today was definitely not that moment!

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Recent recovery run through the woods

I remember when my friend Judy was doing this training plan for the first time and her and I were chatting.  She mentioned that she was feeling tired and ready for it to be over.

I don’t think I am there, yet.  I think I am ready for the race to be here, to put this training plan to the test.  After my 20 mile race I feel pretty good and last weekend’s 22 miler was strong.  I already feel ready for the marathon but know that these last 7 weeks are crucial to keep this all going and then of course the all-important taper.

Tomorrow I have a 14 miler on the plan and I really need to get out of the mode of thinking of this running as my 2nd job. I need to change the thoughts to a little more positive.  Like what a huge accomplishment I have already completed this month with 113 miles completed in only 12 days.  May not be an actual 2nd job but is sure does take up a lot of my evenings.

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This weekends 22 miler

So my thoughts now are how thankful I am that I get to do this.  That I do have the time in the evenings to put in the time, the mileage and the effort to all this training.  I can hardly wait to get to that moment in the marathon when I cross over that starting line and know I am prepared.  I have done everything I need to do to get there and it will be only 26.2 miles to complete this path (well until the training for the NYC marathon starts).  No longer my 2nd job but something I “get to do” because not everyone has these opportunities.

How is your training going?  Any struggles?  Feeling ready?

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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 Crap Training update…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

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:

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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…..

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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….

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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:

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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…..

Gratitude…

gratitude10Tomorrow is the biggest day of year that those of us in the United States hopefully spend some moments talking about what we are grateful for.  I say hopefully because sometimes I think we forget about what the holiday of thanksgiving is about.  Saying “thank you”, appreciating what you have been given and the little things in life.

This week I spent some time each day in my therapy groups, requiring each one of my group members to talk about what they are thankful for.  I challenged them to think deeper.  Look at the small things because sometimes it is the small things that are really the big things.

I love having this opportunity to challenge my clients and see how they respond, mainly because they inspire me.  I heard things from grateful for my sobriety, to having the trust back with family, to being happy about health and how well they feel today, as well as happy to be alive.

I also chatted with my clients to discuss how they felt after doing this activity.  My clients commented about how this made them feel and the general feeling was very good.  I asked them “why do you not do this more often, think about things that make your life great.”  That could not be answered but it became a challenge.  Why not do it every day?!  I talked to them about how I make a list every day of at least 3 things that I am grateful for and I don’t use the same things each week.  This is quite a challenge and really makes me think beyond the obvious.  gratitude11

This is my challenge for everyone.  Why wait for one day a year to be grateful?  Why not practice it each day?  I promise you, life will change for you, your outlook on things will change, and you will be more grateful for everyday life.

Motivational Monday 11/24/14

As we in the United States approach the biggest day of the year where we express our gratitude and thanks, I encourage you to not just live one day in gratitude but each day in gratitude.

Happy Monday!

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Hug a Runner Day

Today is Hug a Runner Day!  I don’t know about you but the first thing I want after I finish a race or run is a nice hug.  I have had quite a few over the years.  Here is an example:

Runfie side hug of my biggest supporter on a cold New Years Day.

Runfie side hug of my biggest supporter on a cold New Years Day.

Hyannis Half with Bill Rogers and Dick Beardsley - nice fun hug at the expo

Hyannis Half with Bill Rogers and Dick Beardsley – nice fun hug at the expo

Bill, me and Mark Bravo at the OKC marathon expo in April

Bill, me and Mark Bravo at the OKC marathon expo in April

Me and Dick at the OKC expo

Me and Dick at the OKC expo

Marathon Scott who helped me across the finish line of the OKC marathon in April

Marathon Scott who helped me across the finish line of the OKC marathon in April

Me and Peggy at the OKC marathon in 2013 when I was able to cross by myself.

Me and Peggy at the OKC marathon in 2013 when I was able to cross by myself.

Me and Judy in October at my 2nd marathon of the year and her very first!  Love new running friends.

Me and Judy in October at my 2nd marathon of the year and her very first! Love new running friends.

My sis and me at the Rock and Roll Vegas Half this past Sunday!

My sis and me at the Rock and Roll Vegas Half this past Sunday!

My beautiful little girl after my first ever marathon.

My beautiful little girl after my first ever marathon.

But must end with my biggest supporter and love of my life, Dave.  He gives the best hugs!!!

But must end with my biggest supporter and love of my life, Dave. He gives the best hugs!!!

Now it is your job to go HUG A RUNNER!  I don’t care if they are sweaty!  Share the warmth!  🙂