Sunday, November 25, 2012

An Instagram Thanksgiving

I'm thankful for the relaxing and fun holiday I celebrated with family. Thanksgiving break always comes at just the right time. Here are some snapshots from the weekend. 

Thanksgiving morning jog by the lake
Mass Pike Traffic
delicious desserts
afternoon in Simsbury
gingerbread latte
decorating for Christmas
special ornament
Looking forward to cool weather and warm homes in the Christmas season!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Like Riding a Bike

Okay. So, I was hoping to have last week be my back-to-running-post-marathon week. That didn't happen. Instead, it rained and I got sick. 

So, after 14 days of no running, I finally made it out the door today for a 2 mile run. It's funny because getting out the door for 2 miles should be easy. Instead, my mind was searching for any excuse possible to wait one more day... I got out and to my surprise, I felt good! Sunny, mid-60's with a breeze made for a good run. It all came back like riding a bike. 

But, the cool days are on their way and I'll have to fight the urge to stay inside where it's warm. Or, I can use that as an excuse to get some new running gear for the cool weather... hmm ... The leaves are off the trees in front of our house, so it's only a matter of time. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

So, what's next?

It's been a week since the marathon and I'm feeling good. I was very sore the day after, but gradually, each day got better and I'm in the clear. I'll give running a try again this week. Slow and steady, for sure. 

The big question this week was, "What's next? Will you do it again?" Yes, I will. Just not sure where and when. Still deciding. But, I know that a race keeps me on track and gets me out for a run. Stay tuned! 
I believe in using races as motivators. It's hard to keep an exercise program if you don't have a significant goal in sight. --Bob Greene, fitness instructor

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why Run #11

Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started. 
- Steve Prefontaine

Monday, October 29, 2012

Race Report - Cape Cod Marathon

Oh my goodness... I ran a marathon! I still can't quite believe it, but my sore legs are proof that it really did happen. 

As I approached week 18 of training, my two goals were 1) stay healthy and 2) don't trip. Too much time and effort had gone into this to be ruined by a runny nose or falling over a cherub during 2nd grade recess duty. At 3pm on Friday, I was pretty sure that I would be making it to the starting line. 

The reality of the race started to settle in Friday night. My parents, traveling over 600 miles (1200 round trip), had made it to the Cape for their first visit ever. They picked up my mother-in-law in NY so she could be with us for the big event. We also were meeting and spending most of the weekend with our aunt and uncle who live on the Cape. Having all of these people with me for this race reminded me how fortunate I am. No matter what, they would be there for me. 

On Saturday, I started getting messages from friends and family wishing me well. 
Run like the wind my friend!!! You’ll get this marathon in right before the big storm. Time means nothing, it’s crossing both the start and finish and enjoying the miles in between (at least the early ones) that really matters. 
I wish you well on Sunday. Bring home a personal best. Ok, that's guaranteed but may it be a great one.
We traveled around Cape Cod to show my parents some sights. Turns out you can get pretty close to the Kennedy compound when Uncle Don is driving. We also swung by the Marathon expo to pick up my race packet. 

Then, it was time to load up on carbs for the race. Yum-O! (Which reminds me... this was probably my most favorite week of training because I didn't have to run much and it was OK to eat a lot!)

Afterwards, I got everything ready for the race. I felt like I was getting ready for the first day of school. And who knew a person would need so much stuff to RUN?!? 

Sunday arrived and after a peanut butter bagel, coffee and OJ, we were out the door and headed to Falmouth. The race had about 1300 marathon runners plus a few hundred relay runners. There was plenty of parking and the porta-potty line moved quickly -- all good signs for a good race. Then, it was time to start! 

I felt good right from the first step. Thanks to a week of little running, I was well-rested. Now, I'm no expert, but I could tell that marathon runners were different from 5K, 10K or even half marathon runners. No one was sprinting out of the start or shoving elbows to get a good spot. Everyone was locking into their pace and taking it easy. I followed their lead and found my comfortable pace that I hoped to maintain from beginning to end. 

Along the race, I tried to people-watch the other runners around me and here are some memorable ones:
  • Sandra Bullock - So, she wasn't the real Sandra Bullock, but she looked just like her! Sandra was running with 3 other women and clearly she was the coach. She kept running back and forth to support each of them and make sure they were feeling alright, keeping them on pace, helping them find a place to go to the bathroom on the side of the road. Sandra definitely ran more than 26.2 miles.
  • Rock Solid Red Man - I was near this guy at the beginning and he was one of the first people I noticed who was really holding it back so as to not start out too fast. Hence, rock solid for staying solid in his time and well, he was wearing a red shirt. I was near him several times throughout the race, so maybe I could call myself Rock Solid Blue Girl. 
  • Falmouth Fireman - This guy had a Falmouth Fire & Rescue t-shirt so I figured it was good that I was running by him for two reasons: 1) If I needed help, he probably knew CPR and 2) I was keeping up with a fireman! 
My support crew found me on the course at Mile 11 and 17. MarathonMike jumped in for a little bit and I gave him a sweaty kiss, like he's done to me in other races. Payback! 

At mile 20, there was a decent hill which started to take a toll on my legs. 20 miles was the longest I ever ran, so I was in uncharted territory. I had stopped at every water stop along the way and had been eating my ClifShot Bloks, so I never felt like I hit "the wall." If I did, it was the kind of wall in an inflatable bouncy house. 

I took every mile, one at a time. I found myself looking at my watch quite a bit at this point and it did seem like it was taking longer to get through the last few miles. I remembered something I heard Sandra Bullock tell one of her women earlier in the race, "Trust your training!" So, I did. I knew that as long as I was shuffling my feet along the finish line would arrive. 

Finally, I made the last turn into Falmouth. There were people cheering and that's when I heard people say, "Looking good, Marathoner!" Wait, you mean me? I could see Mike and my family ahead and I started to cry. Some tears were because I was hurting, yes, but it was mostly because I made it to the end and I didn't know that I could. 

My time -- 4:23:22! 

Huge thanks to everyone who helped me start and finish my first marathon. Couldn't have done it without you! Future plans... I dunno... Boston 2013? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Out of the Teens

Today was a breakthrough day in my marathon training. I ran 20 miles! Fortunately, it was Columbus Day weekend and I did my long run on my day off from school. 

The last mile and a half was tough and my legs were starting to feel tired all over. That makes sense since I had been running for over 3 hours. The scary thing is that I will still have another hour of running to go on race day. But, I can't think about that right now. 

I've been practicing my fueling for the marathon on all of my long training runs: ClifShot Bloks & water every 4 miles and Cytomax after the first hour. It seems to be working. But, it's a pain to carry all of this in my fuel belt. I didn't realize it until I was in the shower, but my belt left a little mark on my back... chafe much? 

20 days to go! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why Run #10

A lifestyle change begins with a vision and a single step. 
- Jeff Galloway 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Shoes

Last week, I purchased a new pair of running shoes. In fact, these are the shoes I will wear for my first marathon. If all goes well, these might be my lucky shoes. My color choices for the Asics Gel-1170's were purple or green. I chose green and according to Color Wheel Pro...
"Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility." 
Don't read into the fertility thing too much, but everything else matches well with my personal experience preparing for this race. And of course, Green means Go! 


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Almost a Rite of Passage

Every Sunday night, I take a moment to look at the calendar and see what's ahead in the coming week. I plan when I'm going to run and adjust days if necessary. However, this past week was not looking good. I had one too many things scheduled after school that would prevent me from running then or would force me to go running much later than I'd like. 

It was then that I realized I would have to do something I didn't think I could do: run before work. That's when MarathonMike runs... not me! Yes, I can run early on Saturdays but it's way too early on a weekday. But, I had no choice... I had to run before school. 

On Tuesday, my alarm went off at 5:15am and I was out the door by 5:45am. I had my reflective vest, a blinking light and my Road ID

As soon as I got back, I emptied the dishwasher, so I know that I had some kind of positive experience from my early run. I also had the satisfaction of being done with my run before I even started the day. This was one small step towards marathon-ing in just 5 weeks. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Destination Run - Bar Harbor, ME

School is going strong and yes, it's been good to be back. But, when I was studying the calendar this summer, I discovered a 3-day weekend in September that was just begging for a weekend get away. Bar Harbor, Maine was our destination of choice! 

Mike and I did a drive around the Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park. Here we are at Thunder Hole. Sadly, the thunder (water) wasn't really booming... 

We made our way over to Jordan Pond after a short hike to the top of the Bubbles (the two mountains on the right in the picture below). We happened to be seated at the table with an uninterrupted view of the pond and the Bubbles. 

MarathonMike's parents joined us for part of the weekend. The first thing we did together was catch the sunset on top of Cadillac Mountain. It was a bit cold and windy, but worth it to see this view.

Then, we all went for a lengthy and fun hike Sunday afternoon with some great views along the way. Here we are on our way down Champlain Mountain.

I really enjoyed hiking in Acadia. It was a great way to exercise my legs without having to do a long run. Fortunately, the timing worked out for our trip that I didn't have to go for a long run over the weekend. I did go for two short runs around Bar Harbor.  I saw 3 deer, a golf course and cruise ship. It was much cooler at 7am than I was ready for after a summer of warm running. But, it's time to switch to cooler runs and this weekend was the perfect way to start. 

37 days to go! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why Run #9

Like the marathon, life can sometimes be difficult, challenging and present obstacles, however if you believe in your dreams and never ever give up, things will turn out for the best.
- Meb Keflezighi

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School

I can't believe it's September already. That means that October is next. And that means my marathon is getting closer and closer. MarathonMike and I enjoyed a few more "summer" things before it was time to face reality and go back to school. 

We went to Tanglewood...

...and a Red Sox game. 

As much as I love summer (which I do!), I was looking forward to going back to school. I like having structure and a routine in my schedule. It's better for my running too. I know exactly when I can run -- after school, on days when I don't have meetings -- and that keeps me more accountable. 

I finished my first week of school feeling good about the year. I got all of my runs in including an 8-miler on the first day of school and 17 miles on Saturday. Making the transition from summer to school will probably be the hardest part of my training. My focus now is 1) getting plenty of sleep, 2) eating good food to fuel my loooong runs and 3) avoiding germs at school with handfuls of hand sanitizer. 

54 days to go! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wedding, Beach, Wedding

Our big vacation for Summer 2012 has come and gone. We laughed, we cried, we survived. No worries -- the tears were happy ones from the weddings! In short, this is where we went, who we saw and what we did...

We clean up well when we try! 
Gotta take a pic in front of a mirror to remember how good we look. 
Music friends from PSU with the bride!

 Mini Golf at Sea Isle 

Mike's sand sculpture... of me... he says 

The ones who made the trip possible--Thank You! 

Last night at the beach

How did my running go, you ask? Not bad, but it's good to get back to a regular routine and familiar territory. Here comes Week 9!  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Product Review: Cytomax

Last week, I finished reading Four Months to a Four Hour Marathon by David Kuehls. It was a quick read and it gave me a great piece of advice. The author says to find out what drinks will be offered on the course so that you can train with the same drink on your long runs. 

I went to the marathon website for Cape Cod and saw that Water and Cytomax would be on the course. What? No Gatorade? I had never heard of Cytomax. It sounded like something from an infomercial. 

I decided to give it a try. I'll need a more powerful beverage than water when I get into my longer runs. It just makes sense since I don't want any surprises on race day! 

So far, I've used it three times and I didn't mind drinking it. It didn't taste bad on my 12-miler last weekend. I figure that's a good sign. I'll bring it along with me for my upcoming long runs and hope for the best. For now, I  enjoy saying the name like I'm a radio announcer for a wrestling match... CYTOMAXXX! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Something New


I've tried it three times. It wasn't easy. But, I'll keep going.  

When I chose my marathon training plan, I wasn't sure what I would do for cross-training, or if I would even bother. But then, I discovered an incredible deal from Groupon for 10 classes at bCalm Power Yoga. I was interested in giving it a try and this seemed like a good excuse. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect. I brought a mat, a towel and a bottle of water. We started in downward-facing dog and went on to chair pose, warrior I, warrior II, eagle and so many more.

I thought we would just do a pose and stand there. I was wrong. Instead, you move into the pose and then carefully examine the shape of your body and make adjustments to challenge your strength and flexibility. Then, you link different poses together and gracefully move from one to the other in conjunction with your inhale and exhale. It was intense and so much harder than I thought it would be. 

Did I mention that the room is heated? Oh, yes. I never knew I could sweat so much. Beads of sweat everywhere. Luckily, everyone else was just as sweaty so I didn't feel too embarrassed. 

After three classes, yeah, I think I like it. Excuse me while I go work on this pose... 

(Credit: )

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Run #8

It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is best from the top.
- Arnold Bennett

Friday, July 13, 2012

Destination Run - Cape Cod

One thing I love about living in New England is that there are so many destinations to visit and none are too far away. Cape Cod is one of those places. We've visited every summer since we've been in Massachusetts, usually for a weekend camping trip. This year, we went for a few days with family and had another great, relaxing, beach-y trip to the Cape.

Like my new sweatshirt? or the sunset? both? 

Beautiful sunset in North Eastham 
Marathon Training Week #3 - Short, easy 3-miler on the Cape Cod Rail Trail

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Destination Week of Runs: Carlsbad, CA

Ahh, summer!

First week of vacation was spent in Carlsbad, CA. Why Carlsbad? It's where MarathonMike's company is based and unfortunately for him, he had to work all week. Fortunately for me, I got to tag along and explore, relax, and relax some more! 

Last week was also the kickoff to marathon training! The race is in less than 18 weeks (114 days to be exact...). I thought it was a neat coincidence that my training began on the west coast for my race on the east coast. The beach was a fun place to run because of the view and a constant breeze. We couldn't have asked for a better week in California. Here are some pics from our trip!

One of the reasons the week was awesome... perfect weather! 

One of my first marathon training runs on the beach! 
The beach in Carlsbad--watch your step! 

One place I discovered in Carlsbad was the Museum of Making Music. It has several instruments on display to show the evolution of music making as well as a place for visitors to jam on the guitar, drums, or keyboard. Definitely a neat place for a music teacher to visit! This drum set was used to record several #1 hits like "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher, "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra, and even "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel.
What IS a town without a good band??

Beach in La Jolla 

In Balboa Park, we stopped and listened to the outdoor organ! How 'bout that?
An organ in the outdoors!

At the Rose Garden in Balboa Park
Then, we headed over to Coronado to spend some time on the beach. I hope my sandcastles can someday look this good. 
The end of our vacation was spent in the "Heart of San Diego" - the Gaslamp Quarter!  Fun place to explore and so many restaurants to choose from. We'll definitely have to go back! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Begins

The school year finished this week at the same time that a heatwave decided to cover Massachusetts. I went for a short run on Monday and planned to go Wednesday and Friday... key word is "planned." It was SO hot and this was my last week to skip a run without feeling guilty. So, I did. I don't regret it because it was SO hot. Not hot, but SO hot. 
MarathonMike and I joined the running club this morning for a run and coffee. My legs felt good and rested after several days off from running. I really enjoyed this month of running when I wanted. But, I know that I'm ready to go back to a schedule and a plan. Here's the one I've chosen... and it all kicks off in 2 days! 
Happy Summer O' Running! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Destination Run - State College, PA

Another weekend in June was spent on the road!  This time I traveled to my alma mater--Penn State! MarathonMike and I were meeting up with our dear friends to celebrate their upcoming wedding. We got to see old friends from college and we reminisced about our college days. It was a fantastic weekend in a place that means so much to me. 

I took advantage of our early arrival to do a 5-miler around campus. I didn't start running until after college, so I set out to make my run a mix of new places and favorite places on and around campus. 

New Place - Part of the Bike Path around the Golf Course

New Place - The road along the bike path was full of beautiful houses that I liked... :-) 

Favorite Place - Where I spent lots of time learning how to be a music teacher. Still have a lot to learn! 
Favorite Place - Old Main

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