Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Holiday Miles

My miles have been few and far between since the half marathon in October. Don't feel bad for me. When I'm not on a training plan, excuses abound! Here's proof that I haven't been completely lazy, only slightly lazy. Thanks to family and friends for helping me get out the door! 

Thanksgiving Run 

 

Christmas Run 

 

Happy 2014! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Race Report - Ashland Half Marathon

Fall race --- check! 

On October 27, 2013, I ran the 2nd Annual Ashland Half MarathonI'll be honest... I didn't think I was going to have a good race. (Who does, really?)  My training was "eh" and I kept hearing about the hills, hills and more hills along the course. Nevertheless, as race day was approaching, I was nervous, but looking forward to the challenge. 

One of the cool parts of this race was getting to meet Bill Rodgers and Bobbi Gibb. How 'bout that! Very inspiring to have some of America's running legends cheering for everyone and being so supportive of the race. 


The starting line was at Marathon Park in Ashland which was the original starting line for the Boston Marathon way back in 1897. The course took us through quiet, scenic neighborhoods, behind Ashland State Park, on miles 2-4 of the Boston Marathon course, up the painful Green Street Monster and down the rolling, what-felt-like-never-ending Winter Street to the finish line. A tough course, for sure. The Green Street Monster, a killer hill perfectly located at mile 11 (not perfect), was probably the hardest of them all. Picture this: you're on a flat road, you turn left and a wall is placed in front of you. That is the Green Street Monster. 

Luckily, I chatted (read: mutual grunts of frustration and understanding while climbing the hills of Ashland) with some fellow runners around me and it really helped me stay focused so that I could finish with a PR. One guy, as we were on the descent towards the finish line, asked me what time I was shooting for and assured me that I could do it. That little bit of motivation helped me push to the end. Races are great like that. 

I'm happy to report that I finished with a time of 1:57:29, taking a 1:13 off of my previous PR at the Run to Remember. And MarathonMike, the speed demon that he is, finished 2nd overall. Overall, for crying out loud! 

Race Goodies 
The course was a challenge, but I think that makes it more rewarding. Loved the Long Trail Ale at the end and the encouraging signs up Green Street. Well done, Ashland Half! 
 P.S. Kara Goucher favorited my tweet! For real! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall of Running

The school year is in full swing and has been since Day One back in August. I do like having a routine after a routine-free summer. But, the transition can be a little tough. 

The real scoop is that in the midst of everything, I have still found time to run. A couple of years ago, that would not have been true. Plain and simple. 

Finally, I've got the relationship with running that I've been looking for. I still have room to improve, but I look forward to running to keep me healthy, to keep me happy, to set goals and to build friendships. 

Next weekend is the Ashland Half Marathon and after my 11-miler this weekend, I think I'm ready. If not, at least I've enjoyed beautiful scenery while training. 


Quiet roads in Sherborn, Ma

Monday, September 16, 2013

Race Report - Live for Evan 5K

A Saturday ago, I ran in the first Live for Evan 5K in downtown Hopkinton. It was the perfect day for a race. A little cool, a little warm, just right! I wanted to do this race to support the cause, to support a new race in our town and to see if I could maybe have a fast race. I'm happy to report that every reason for doing the race was satisfied! 

My plan, suggested by MarathonMike, was to go fast at the beginning, fast in the middle and fast at the end. I used my trusty Garmin and could see that I started a little faster than I wanted, so I pulled back and found a pace that was tough to maintain, but possible. The course took us in sight of the finish with one more loop left before crossing the finish line. That's when I knew that I was almost done and if I pushed hard, I would PR. Nothing like a little tease of the finish line to make you go for it. It worked and I took 1:04 off of my 5K PR! 

I swear... a 5K is harder than a marathon. Seriously. Running faster than you've ever gone, all out, straight to the finish is hard work. And I'm not even one of the fast ones. I don't know how they do it. 


Instead of medals, finishers got wristbands and a pair of sunglasses with the Live for Evan logo. It was in these little details and the large number of young volunteers that I could learn a little bit about the young man we were honoring. It was a privilege to run in this inaugural race and I'm looking forward to the 2nd Annual! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Why Run #19

You don't have to be elite to be a runner. It's all about setting a target, giving your best effort to achieve it, and being proud of whatever that effort results in
- Daniel Pickle 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Good Intentions

Remember way back in June when summer was just starting and you decided that this summer would be the summer of running and you promised to go to every 6am track workout/run because it's summer and you have more flexibility, but then you're like, wait, it's summer and this is my chance to sleep in and I'll go next week, but then next week you don't go because you realize summer is almost over and it's really your only opportunity to sleep in until June 2014? 

You don't remember that? Just me? 

Just me. 

Sigh. 

Summer's not over yet, so I've got a few more chances to make it out to the crack o' dawn runs. And the best way to actually make that happen is to sign up for a race. So, I'm signed up for the Ashland Half Marathon later this fall. In fact, it's about 12 weeks away which matches perfectly with Hal Higdon's Intermediate Training Plan. It was meant to be. 


As you can see, I've already done a superb job following the plan for Week 1... There's always Week 2!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Destination Hikes - CO


Last week, MarathonMike and I went on an adventure to Colorado! It was my first visit and I'm sure it won't be my last. Just breathtakingly beautiful! The mountains are certainly the main attraction, so here we are on top of a few! 

Pike's Peak - Elevation 14,114 ft.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Alpine Visitor Center - Elevation 11,796 ft.

On top of Twin Sisters Peaks - Elevation 11,428 ft. 

So, I skipped a week of running... BUT, I replaced it with 3 hikes for a total of 23.73 miles. I think that's ok. Did I mention there were mountains? That should count for bonus... 

Great views, great hiking, great vacation. Be back soon, CO! 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Why Run #18

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. 
- Wilma Rudolph 

Happy 4th of July, America!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Destination Run - Latrobe, PA


Summer vacation is here -- Yay! I headed to my hometown for the weekend and got to enjoy a little bit of everything: family, friends, food and a five-miler! 

Latrobe has a huge Fourth of July celebration every year. It's not just a one-day thing, but a whole week of events starting with the 5-miler Friday night. We arrived early, only a little concerned with the dark clouds coming towards the stadium...


Sure enough, it poured! Luckily, we made it to the car before it got too bad. A little while later, it cleared and a rainbow appeared. 


The storm was timed perfectly, clearing up just in time for the race to start. It was muggy, warm and very sweaty. My goal was to finish between 43 and 45 minutes. I had a good race and kept up an 8:30 min/mile pace for a time of 42:32. I was pleased! My Mom walked away with some hardware with a 3rd place age group finish in the 2-mile walk! Way to go! 

Mom and I before the race! 

Now that the running was over, it was time to enjoy the rest of the weekend at home! The main event was a bridal shower for Amber, one of my best friends since 1st grade. It was a country themed shower for a cowgirl bride! Which reminds me... I need to get me some boots for all the line dancing we're gonna do at the weddin'! Yeehaw! 

We're growing up! Carla had her baby the very next day! 

Halupki, Haluski, Pierogies, Shredded Beef... Heaven on a paper plate. 

View from where I grew up


A concert in the park with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra             
It was a great weekend and the perfect way to start summer vacation. Feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy the coming months. :-) 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Post-Race Blues

I must confess... After the "acceptable" amount of rest and recovery after a marathon, I might have taken a few more weeks days off. It was raining, I was tired, blah blah blah... I even missed National Running Dayfor cryin' out loud! 

But... 

It's time to get back in the saddle. 

Time to jump in the driver's seat. 

Get back on track. 

Back on my FEET! 

GO! 




Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why Run #17

Play not only keeps us young but also maintains our perspective about the relative seriousness of things. Running is play, for even if we try hard to do well at it, it is a relief from everyday cares.
- Jim Fixx

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Destination Run - Rochester, NY

(Hi there! I'm still here, even though I haven't been here lately. And, umm, let's pretend this was written a few weeks ago! K? K!)

Aww, Memorial Day weekend! MarathonMike and I got to visit our friends BFFLauren and Graham in Rochester, NY for the long weekend. It just so happens that Rochester is halfway between Boston and Detroit. So, we decided to meet up and find things to do like... 

visit the National Museum of Play


walk to the end of the pier at Ontario Beach Park,


eat ribs at the Roc City Rib Fest


and of course, go for a run to see the best view of the city!  


BFFLauren and I both had our big races in May, so we enjoyed a nice run with no "have to" miles. Just for fun! We discovered the Genesee River Trail and it was the perfect place to run. Nice foot bridges that crossed the river and little parks and places to stop along the way. 


It was a relaxing and fun weekend in Rochester. Wish we could do it again soon! :-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Race Report - Providence Marathon

Marathon #2 is in the books! 

On May 12th, MarathonMike and I took on the Providence Marathon. My biggest fear was that race day would be hot and humid, making all of my training pointless. Instead, it was a rainy, cloudy, cool morning - perfect for running! 


Hanging out before the race! 

My goal for this race was to get as close to 4 hours as possible. I positioned myself near the 4-hour pace runner. But, I made a rookie mistake. I started out a little too fast because I was feeling good and well-rested after two weeks of tapering. I should have held back a bit more, but being just ahead of the 4-hour pacer felt great! I knew that wasn't a good decision and later on I got my payback. 

Let's pretend my red hat matches my magenta top... 

After the half-way mark, I started to feel the weight of the marathon. The "this race is how long!?!" feeling started to set in around mile 17. I kept walking through every water stop to drink and eat my Clif Shot Bloks. It was at this point that starting to run again was really hard. Oh man, my legs were hurtin'. 

The course was mostly flat and followed the East Bay Bike Path to bring us back into the city. The good thing was that the path was peaceful and quiet. The bad thing was that the path was peaceful and quiet. I really needed a kick in the pants to get through miles 17-20. I watched my pace slow down second by second, hoping that my legs would slowly bring me to the finish. 

Finally, I got back to the city streets and a large crowd was there to cheer for everyone. I started to choke up as I approached the finish line, reflecting on the months of training and all that had happened during that time. I was thankful just to finish, stunned at my time (4:05:12 - 18:11 faster than Cape Cod Marathon!), relieved to stop, grateful for security keeping me safe, and proud to be a runner. I can't really capture the whole experience in words. But, trust me, it's the kind of feeling you don't forget. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why Run #16

Winning is not about headlines and hardware. It's only about attitude. A winner is a person who goes out today and every day and attempts to be the best runner and best person he can be. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up. 
- Amby Burfoot 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

On The Go Map!

So, you have an iPhone or iPad or iSomething. And let's say you're on vacation, somewhere warm and delightful. Maybe you're not familiar with the area, but you need to get out for a run and you don't want to go in circles or do another out 'n back. 

Wouldn't it be nice if you could map the perfect run with your desired mileage and/or interesting scenery without annoying ads filling up the screen? Folks, the solution is here. 

On The Go Map lets you map a run, ride, drive, walk, skip or trot around town on your mobile device or computer.  

Here's how it came to life... MarathonMike and I bought iPads about a year ago. I could do most of my computer stuff on the iPad, except for one thing. This one thing was super annoying and frustrating. It was something I needed to be able to do. And I didn't want to fire up my laptop for just one thing

So, you know what? MarathonMike saved the day! 

He put his smarts, his running and biking expertise and his good looks into the creation of On The Go Map. Now, I use On The Go Map to help me plan all of my runs on my iPad or iPhone with no frustration! 
You simply touch the map with your finger and away you go!

Add OTGM to your Home Screen on your iPhone or iPad and it functions just like an app in full screen!
(The little white dots on the map are places where I touched the screen to drop a point on the route.)
Here are some reasons to use On The Go Map
  • Easy to use on any mobile device or on your computer
  • Perfect for planning a route for your desired distance - "Where can I go for a 5 mile run? On The Go Map will help me plan a route!"  
  • Find current location or type in an address, city or place 
  • Switch between miles or kilometers by tapping on the distance
  • Share maps with friends via a shortened URL or embed maps into your blog or website like the one below. Name that course! :-)




To map your next adventure, go to onthegomap.com on your mobile device or computer. Add it to your home screen on your iPhone/iPad and map it up! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On the Boston Marathon

Like many, I am sad, angry and confused about what happened at the Boston Marathon. I am also grateful and blessed that my husband and I were safe, along with our many running club friends.

And yet, there are many, many people who can't say the same today. 

As I left for a run yesterday, I couldn't help but think about the runners, the spectators, the volunteers, everyone. I thought about the people who lost a leg or an arm. The people who will struggle from hearing loss and emotional trauma. The people who lost their lives. 

My running can't save them. But, showing up to the starting line and running my best might help to honor them. I look forward to that opportunity in just a few weeks. 

Despite the awful ending, the Boston Marathon still wins. Millions of dollars were raised for charities that will prevent cancer, support schools and provide resources to families in need. Thousands of runners were empowered through their training and found a strength and purpose they didn't know they had.

I like what Jim Walsh says in his article
"Boston is not the biggest city in America; it is not the most politically powerful. But it has an inner determination and power that only the foolish ignore. Next year, at the 118th running of the Boston Marathon, I confidently predict there will be more runners and more supporters than ever before.
The attackers, whoever they are must be incompetent.
They picked on the wrong city."
_________________________________________________________________________________

Before the tragedy, I witnessed the excitement of the Starting Line in Hopkinton. Here are a few pictures of the HOPE and JOY that started the day. 


 :: I n s p i r a t i o n ::
Dick and Rick Hoyt 

:: D e t e r m i n a t i o n :: 
Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher

:: R e s p e c t :: 

:: J o y :: 


Sunday, April 14, 2013

4 Weeks to Providence

Providence Marathon is just a few weeks away! Honestly, I love checking the weeks off knowing that the race is getting closer and closer. The finish line, both literally and figuratively, is just ahead! 


I don't want to speak too soon, but my training has been feeling good. Long runs have been slow and easy and my mid-week runs have been a little faster than they were just a few months ago. I'm hoping for a good time and good weather. 

And here's proof that I ran 20 miles last weekend... 


... an empty plate of Fettuccine Alfredo from Olive Garden! One more 20-miler and then it's time to taper! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Why Run #15

Running gives freedom. When you run, you can determine your own tempo. You can choose your own course and think whatever you want. 
- Nina Kuscik

Friday, March 29, 2013

Homemade Energy Bars

This week, MarathonMike and I have been eating homemade energy bars! Nothing against ClifBars, but lately I haven't been interested in them before or after a run. I've been craving peanut butter like crazy and ClifBars just weren't doing it for me. And let's face it, part of the reward for running is a tasty healthy treat for a job well done, no matter the distance or the time! 

I didn't come up with the idea on my own. Instead, I happened to see the recipe in a Runner's World email and I knew it was a sign. Very easy to make and quite yummy! I had a bar this morning before a short run and I felt good - no stomach issues! During the week, I crumbled the bars into my yogurt for lunch and enjoyed them after my afternoon runs. They tasted fresh and had plenty of peanut butter to satisfy my craving. 

Ingredients! 
Peanut Butter & Honey (after a minute in the microwave)
Oats, Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, Coconut and Dried Fruit    
In the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees
YUM! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Running with Marjorie

On March 12, my family and I lost a loved one. Marjorie was a sweet, gentle, kind and compassionate woman. She's a special part of my running story and I'm grateful to have had this connection with Marjorie. 

My first Thanksgiving with Mike's family was in 2008. Mike, his Uncle Tom and Aunt Marjorie had developed a tradition of running the Manchester Road Race every Thanksgiving morning. Mike ran his first marathon in Philadelphia a few days before and decided to bow out of the Thanksgiving run. Somehow, and I have no idea how, I was signed up for the race. I was not running much at all and the thought of running 4.7 miles seemed impossible. 

That didn't matter. Marjorie was running with me. 

I know she could have gone faster, but she never left my side. She knew the course so well and talked me up the hill and reassured me that the finish line was just around the corner. We finished together and it was a huge victory! 


Since her passing, Marjorie has been on my mind a lot, especially when I'm out on a run. I've been thinking of her when I start up a hill, of which there are many around here. The hill is a challenge, an obstacle. They show up when you're sore, tired, or thirsty. 

Marjorie was someone who took on challenges and didn't back away. I bet she looked forward to hills on her runs, whereas I try to avoid them! But, when she was diagnosed with depression, I imagine it was like a hill with no end in sight. Overwhelming, scary, and looming. 

...

Every uphill has a downhill. I know that Marjorie now has peace and happiness. She doesn't have to climb anymore and for that, I am thankful. Sad, but grateful. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why Run #14

Everyone has stress. A good run may not erase it, but it can reduce the effect and allow runners to gain control. 
- Jeff Galloway 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Halfway to Providence!

9 weeks until Providence


This weekend, MarathonMike and I were supposed to run the Half of Quincy. But, due to Winter Storm Saturn, it was canceled. Bit of a bummer, but it was nice to sleep in this morning, especially with the time change. Plus, it was a little warmer later on in the day when I did go for my run. 

Not so bad after all! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March On

Hello, March! Glad you're here.

Marathon training makes time keep moving. I'm just about half way through and that means the race and spring and sun and warmth and grilling and flowers and sunglasses and sandals and shorts and open windows and bugs are just weeks away. Can't wait! 

To celebrate change, I got a major haircut over vacation. All week I've heard, "Mrs. Barry, did you get a haircut?!?" Yes, Yes I did. How could you tell?


Most importantly, it will work for running as long as I have a beanie or a headband nearby.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

One Year


Well, will you look at that! It's been one year of blogging about running, traveling, family and friends. Can't believe it! It all started with a simple post proclaiming...

"I will run my first marathon in 2012."

The crazy part is that I actually did run a marathon and I'm working on #2. Who am I? HA!

I don't have any wisdom to impart on you, but I do know that running has made a difference in my life. 

I love...
quiet time
bagel & coffee post-run 
misty rain
feeling good 
winter running clothes
snow-covered streets
setting a goal 
Clif Shot Bloks
a training plan 
social time
Hopkinton
carb-loading
seeing results 
feeling healthy. 

That's enough for now. 

I think, on my 1st Blogiversary, this quote expresses my feelings today and my hope for the future: 

"It's not so much that I began to run, but that I continued."
-- My main training plan man, Hal Higdon

How will you celebrate? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Destination Run - New York, NY

This past weekend, I traveled to New York City! MarathonMike and I met our parents for a fun-filled weekend in the city. Definitely a great change of pace from the daily grind. It was cold and a little cloudy, but we kept warm with a cup or two of Starbucks and a good amount of walking to see the sights. We even went to see Chicago at the Ambassador Theater and it was so good. Here are some pics! 

Warning: I played with Snapseed to edit these photos. Might have made one too many changes in a few... :-) 

Rockefeller Center
View from Top of the Rock - Gotham City? 
View of Empire State Building from Top of the Rock
On the Radio City Stage Door Tour
Grand Central Station 
This was week 6 of training for Providence which meant I was up for a 9 mile run on the weekend. It just so happens that a loop from our hotel alllll the way to the end of Central Park and back was exactly 9 miles. It was meant to be! I missed two runs, yes two... this past week, so I was nervous that I would a) chicken out and not go or b) go and feel awful the rest of the day. I asked MarathonMike to make me go the next day if I put up a fight. I could not pass up the opportunity to run in NYC! 

Alarm went off at 6:30 am and we were out the door by 7. No traffic, quiet, and peaceful. I felt a little tired starting out but after a few minutes, I was moving right along and felt good. My watch took forever to find the satellites so I wasn't really sure of my pace or where I was on the route. It forced me to take in the city, the people and the park around me and just enjoy the run.
Leaving Central Park and headed to 5th Ave. 

The last time I ran in Central Park was just before Thanksgiving in 2007. Mike and I had been dating for a short while and I was pretending to be a runner. I think we only did a short run, maybe 20-30 minutes, that day. Little did I know, I would be back again and training for Marathon #2! 





Happy Vacation Week, Massachusetts! 
  
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