Training for The Eastern States 20 Miler has begun!

Training has begun for my first attempt at a 20 mile distance (and race). I have mapped out my training until about mid December and then will re-evaluate how training is going and make any adjustments I deem fit.

I will not be posting weekly recaps of my training. It’s just too monotonous for me to blog about. I will pop in and update every now and again, share pics if I have any and keep myself somewhat accountable. I want to look at my training as fun, refreshing and insightful.

Training is definitely different and longer this time around. I’ve planned hill repeats early on. Not to prepare for the course (since it’s relatively flat), but to strengthen muscles I feel are too weak and causing issues that I’ve dealt with since my last half marathon several weeks ago. I’m also trying to work on being more conscious of my running form. My form has always been poor and I’m doing form focus intervals during my runs (Chi Running). The difficult thing for me is mastering the lean. I feel like my ankles are weak and I have a hard time supporting myself.

The past week of training has gone ok. Several runs between 3-5 miles and a long slow run (LSD) of 7 miles on Sunday. Did plenty of walking and cycling to cross train and burn some stress. I’ve been doing form focuses on my runs. My form stinks and I’m trying to evolve my form with Chi Running. Also been doing more stretching and foam rolling trying to get my left leg fully recovered. It’s been bothering me since my last half marathon.

The next couple of weeks are much the same as this past week. 3-5 mile runs except the LSD run will be 8-9 miles. Running days will be 4 times per week and one of those will be hill repeats (every other week).

Side note 1: I’m a Widow (not really)

The two-year relationship I’ve had with my Bluetooth earphones abruptly came to an end when they passed away. We’ve been through a lot together and they’ve always been there for me. Then one day… just like that, gone. It has caused me much distress as I have to suffer with cords and one earbud (why the same one over and over again?) constantly falling out of my ear (so aggravating). The bummer is I’ll probably have to wait until Christmas for new earphones bc hubby wants to get them for me as a gift. So, I have about 16 more aggravating runs ahead of me if I want to listen to music:/ I know, I sound spoiled, but it’s real hard to go back after Bluetooth. Boy, they’ll be a very appreciated gift and this will be one happy runner!

Side note 2: Low-light running

It gets dark dark dark around 4:30 PM now. So it looks like I have a lot of night running ahead of me. Which makes me want to just make a reminder for all you night runners to have your reflective gear on. Lights, vests, reflective coats, pants…anything to be seen. Wear bright! Make yourself as visible as possible. Be alert and watch for drivers. Run towards traffic vs. along traffic to avoid getting hit from behind. Beware of blind curves (switch which side of the road your on to be more visible if necessary until you are through the curve). If you can’t see the cars, they can’t see you either. Be aware of your surroundings. Beyond the threat of vehicles. I don’t doubt that you already know this, but my conscience feels better saying it. I’m a mom, it’s what mom’s do.

Keep running!

Exciting news (for me anyway)

Hello everyone!

As I sip on a Travelers Pumpkin Shandy (mixed with a shot of vanilla vodka) I celebrate some exciting news (for me) to share. Since you guys don’t know me on a super personal level–I’m not much of a drinker, which means this MUST be BIG news.

I have been on the race prowl waiting for 2015 races to post and open registration… and it’s definitely a waiting game. Since I have a plethora of races that I’d like to participate in, I’m trying to register for a few way in advance to alleviate some of the financial burden (when hotel & travel have to factor in).

1) I’m beginning a new journey, a life goal–and that’s to complete a half marathon in all 50 states. I already have NH and MA checked off, but there’s so much more of the USA to see and running is an awesome outlet for just that. Unfortunately, race registrations can be pricy and then if you’re traveling out of state there’s fuel and/or flight and accommodations to take into considerations and before you know it… cha-ching. For that reason, I’ve indulged in the selfish endeavor of creating a gofundme fundraising page for anyone to donate. Seriously, I feel guilty asking when there are far more needy and desperate causes in the world. If people choose to donate, it is appreciated. If they don’t, I understand. I do plan to account for my training and recap races as I’ve done in the past (especially those funds are contributed to).

2) I registered for a Maine half marathon. The Maine Coast Half Marathon. One of the 50 states I haven’t run a HM in. I’ve also booked the hotel. Woohoo. It’s located in Biddeford, ME which I don’t know much about other than it’s close to Saco, which means there’s plenty of shopping outlets, outdoor activities and fun for kids.

And… drumroll please….

3) I’m going to Vegas baby! I took the plunge and since hubby was on board, I registered for the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. They are currently offering an early registration. The race itself is not until November 2015, which gives me ample time to work out logistics and save up some fun money, pay for travel and hotel. And if anyone donates to my gofundme page, well that’ll be helpful too;) Hell or high water, I’m going. Never been to Vegas. Never been farther west than Colorado. This is definitely a bucketlist item and I am “stoked” for lack of a better word. The only con is… waiting a year to run this race.

There are still a couple of the races I’d like register for. Their registration doesn’t open until December 1st. And due to the huge expense Las Vegas will be just for our flight and hotel, I have to try to keep a majority of my races local to avoid further hotel and travel costs unless donations start pouring in. I know, I keep plugging it–haha. Enough already!

Keep running!

 

 

 

NEDD Frank H Donovan 5K Recap

I know, I know. I didn’t originally have races on my schedule for the rest of 2014. I had a serious urge to sign up for another HM and having a hard time figuring out what to do with myself post-training. The past week has been going better as I had settled more and refocused on my diet, cross-training and running without a race to train for. And cut back on the cookies, dropping a few unwanted pounds.

Out of the blue, a buddy of my husband (T) and I texted me asking if I’d be interested in a 5K him and his wife (J) would be doing. A 5K will be a great distraction from pining for a HM.

Why not, right? They are short races and heck it’s for fun. As much as I’m capable of pulling off an exceptional PR, I decided I would run alongside them during the race and knew my pace would be slower. This race was to hang out and do something fun. It was also J’s first 5K race and it has been a while since she’s run the distance.

Frank H Donovan 5K (4)

Post race.

I met my race buddies at their house and carpooled with them to the race to chit-chat and I like how races bring people together. Pre-race we arrived at Delta Dental (Concord, NH) where the race start/finish was located. We parked and headed up to the second floor of the building where packet pickup and light refreshments would be located. Oh and the bathrooms. Bonus–real toilets, no port-a-potties! Getting our bibs was nearly waitress. Our swag bag was bagless. A pair of Delta Dental socks with a toothbrush and toothpaste tucked inside the tube of one of the socks. No frills. I didn’t really expect anything for this small race. It was a pleasant surprise to get something and tooth care supplies is a first for race swag. Makes sense being located at a dental insurance building. But hey, I’ll use it. There was also a nice spread of snacks for pre/post race. Bananas (which I indulged in post-race), apples, bagels and coffee. Having all this inside was terrific (especially after freezing my a** off at my last race. Score!

The race was well organized from my experience considering the low volume of volunteers and runners. With one exception. Information about the course wasn’t available online and I had no idea what to expect. I usually like to be inclined to what roads the course is on, potty stops, water stations… no info was available. For a race of this distance I wasn’t overly concerned feeling I could run without water or potties. For these reason I give the race gets a “D” rating for information and communication. I truly think this race could draw larger crowds by providing more information runners look for before registering and committing to a race. The course map was posted on the front door of Delta Dental the location of the start/finish. Better late than never, right? As we ran around the building to stretch out and warm up (did I mention it was COLD?) before lining up, “The Eye of the Tiger” blared from the speakers pumping up the crowd. Also the race announcer rambled thought the course roads before the start (I all but ignored what he was saying since I knew I wouldn’t remember it anyway). You know, like when you forget the name of someone who introduced themselves 30 seconds before and in a flash you’ve already forgotten their name. Yeah, like that.

The race start was a treat. No bottlenecks and plenty of opportunity to hit a good stride. The race was small, less than 200 people I would say. We started off at a 9:30 pace. Faster than J would normally run. The course ended up being a combination road/trail course which I was not anticipating the trails. The fields were relatively well maintained (part of the NHTI campus). I wasn’t overly concerned of rolling an ankle, but it did cross my mind in a couple of spots. The course is flat with the only hill being the incline of a bridge, which we went over twice, making it two hills. It’s an easy hill.

Overall, it was a great experience on a very chilly Saturday morning. I wish this race had cured my race fever. Now I want to do another. I suppose that urge won’t go away. I simply love racing whether for fun or to try for a PR. The pre-race energy, the people chit-chatting making running small talk. At a race you know you have one thing in common with EVERYONE else and that is running. Starting a conversation is always easy. If you’re not uncontrollably shivering…

Did I mention it was cold this morning?!

Anyway, J killed it today. She ran her fastest time ever. EVER! Her first race was also a personal best. How about that! Granted, I ran slower than usual (lately) I finished with a 30:19 and T & J finished with 32:19. The last mile I ran ahead (and hauled) when the trail narrowed and we honestly couldn’t run 3 wide comfortably or safely. I can test my PR ability on a run any ol’ day. I’m just glad that I had an opportunity to run with others. It’s really nice to share in a race with friends.

Keep running!

 

 

Reviving the mind / body connection

sports-massage-banner[Prepare for a brain dump]

Yesterday I came to a realization of how truly connected the mind and body are. Other than the obvious. Being a runner, maybe you can relate, how interconnected our mind and body are. Really our bodies do what our mind tells it to. Often on a run, our mind is willing to quit far sooner than our bodies.

Where was I when I came to this realization? No, surprisingly not on a run. I was a the sports massage therapist, face down under warm blankets getting the knots kicked out of my muscles. Dear Lord, there were moments when I thought a tear would appear and soak into the soft blanketed donut my face was coddled in. I have knots. Lots of them.

I haven’t been to a massage therapist in several years and I surely have never felt the energy release and flow in my body as I did yesterday during that session. I don’t generally care for being touched by strangers, so relaxing during a massage is much harder for me than you’d think. Especially for deep tissue massage. I literally had to focus on what the touch was doing to my body and be vulnerable. Instead of working against it and tightening up. Amazingly enough, tuned in, I felt numbness and tingling kneading through my muscles and releasing. True energy flow. What a relief to feel this after the past two weeks of post race depression which was expelled in a one hour pamper session. You may think I’m joking about this post race depression talk, but oh no, it was real. Once my body started to recharge, I my mind began to focus on redirecting my downward spiral…

{The downward spiral} Post race I suffered with left (piriformis) butt, hamstring and knee discomfort. Which could really be an IT band issue. Enough so, that running was a no go. It was time to stop beating the snot out of my body and rest. Real rest! No running. No training. I thought this would be good for me. First, I thought it would only be a few days off. Then it ended up being a few more (still had pain), and on and on. My life suffered. I ate poorly. I drank more alcoholic beverages than I normally do. I didn’t do my other non-running workouts. I watched a shit ton of TV (which I did enjoy). I packed on a few pounds. Err… more like 5. Which just made me feel worse. It was a vicious cycle. Body feels bad, mind feels bad, mind feels bad, body feels bad. The wheels on the wagon go round and round. Ultimately, I had fallen off the wagon. Hard. Worse, my butt and leg discomfort was still there! All I had gained from the rest was un-needed weight! Not like 5 pounds is a big deal, but to me it is a reflection of how easily the poor habits affected me negatively and 5 pounds does not come off as easy as it goes on. Although, I did find I have a fondness for pumpkin shandy with a shot of vanilla vodka. Part of that whole part above about me drinking more alcoholic beverages. Oops.

Back to lying on the masseuse table my mind wandered. So, why did I fall off the fitness wagon? I still haven’t figured that out. Really, not running should have just been that. Not all this other junk. My best bet right now is that without having a race to train for, I had lost my routine of HAVING to run (especially with resting), EATING a clean diet and DIRECTION. With that being said, I don’t have a race to train for, but I can buckle down and slip back into a routine of running, eating and my direction can be the races I hope to run in 2015. And whoala…mind and body reconnected!

 

 

Marathoning Grandma!

knockinheels:

Such inspiration!

Originally posted on On the Freeze Front:

IMG_6800_2See the story with video CLICK here   While most people her age are playing bridge, an octogenarian is training for this year’s TCS NYC Marathon. I joined a marathoning Grandmother from New Paltz for a training run in Central Park. We started by her stretching ME out.  “Work work it girl one more stretch.” At 80 years old Geri Owens can show you a thing or two.  Make no mistake about it.  This marathoning grandmother has taught fitness in New Paltz for a couple decades – she says runners are the best kind of people.

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 Geri explains marathoners just watch out for each other, “if ‘ faster than me you slow down and I speed up and if I speed up and you slow down.”  She began running in the early 80s when her kids were all finally in school, explaining “the fourth  of my four children went to kindergarten……

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CHaD HERO Half Marathon Recap

I registered for the CHaD HERO HM back in September. Persuaded by the cooler fall like temps, I got sucked in and signed up for another race. Thankfully, I had already built up my mileage for the Zooma Cape Cod HM on September 27th, so it was a matter of maintaining fitness more than anything for the CHaD race. Or so I thought.

The great thing about the CHaD HERO is it’s a fundraising event to benefit the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD). The only children’s hospital in NH. It’s always fun to run a race. It’s even better when you’re raising money for a worthy cause.

I’m not much for caping up for a race. I like to be the hero (before they put on the superhero suit). Like Clark Kent. I also don’t have a costume and can’t persuade my cheap skate self to spend money on a costume to wear only to end up chafing in places I don’t want to feel while running. If it was a shorter race, say a 5K, I would consider it.

After several days of ongoing rain in our area, the let down added to the glum of the weather and I slid into a “meh” kind of mood. Paired with a taper, it felt like a ridiculous depression. Carbo-loading, hydrating, and no running made me feel like a fatty boombaladi couch potato. (Mind you it had only been a few days!). I needed this race and felt like Sunday (race day) was going to take an eternity.

Race morning, I ate oatmeal and half a bagel. Dressed and grabbed the items I had packed the night before. I drove over an hour to an acquaintances house and carpooled with a lady I met a week earlier.

The race start/finish is located at the Dartmouth College greens. A beautiful park. The weather forecast for race day was spastic. One minute it would be a sunny 51 degree forecast, the next in the high 40’s with rain. And wind. That’s pretty much how the weather ended up being. Started overcast and rainy. Cleared for the actual race start and the wind picked up. Looked good most of the race. Then a shower hit a ton of runners ahead (around mile 11-12). I could tell because the ground was SOAKED. ^evil laugh. I guess it does pay to be slow…

Miles 1-4 were pretty downhill/flat. I planned on a 10:00 pace. Oops, looked down at my Garmin and I was hauling at a 9:34. No way in hell would I be able to maintain this throught the entire race. But knowing the course had hills I decided to go with it and plan on losing time on the hills. The hills of the course definitely made you work. Mile 4 was a steady incline, but long. Mile 9 was insane simply because it was at MILE 9! Wanted. To. Die. Toughest hill of the course. This is where my pace tanked. The hills just ate my time. Also where my body started to feel the faster pace I’d been putting out. My knees and hips were screaming. SCREAMING.

Course Elevation Map

Course Elevation Map

At mile 10 the course loops runners back near the start/finish. Literally you run through the college greens (through the start corral) and the road where the finish line is runs parallel (with the crowds cheering). It’s a real tortorous tease. It’s so close to the end, but not quite. The crowds cheering was really great and I think I did well hiding my pain and disdain that it wasn’t the real finish. Mind games.

Music

Music

By mile 11-12 I stopped listening to the pain. Let’s face it, it was going away. I focused on how close to the finish I was and how freaking great the END would be. I wanted to finish strong and even though in my head I felt strong I doubt I looked that great going over the finish. I did still have enough energy in the tank (or adrenaline) to pick up the pace that last mile and shoot through the finish.

The volunteers at this race are so gracious. Whether they were on the course or at the start/finish, they were always thanking runners for raising money and running. Calling us heros. I kept thanking them back, after all, without the volunteers a race would be a whole different beast! The crowds were just as awesome. Cheering, clapping, cow-belling, shouting encouragement. Loved it.

Sitting, wrapped and showcasing my medal

Finish time: 2:17:51

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Love the kids peeking to see the finishers! Someone get them a step-stool!

Post race I indulged in food (vegetable soup, mac ‘n cheese, bread, cookies). And HEAT. One of the buildings of the college was open to runners and had couches and housed multiple theatres for the students and public to go to. Comfy, free wi-fi and warm. Heaven.IMG_0536-0