The weekend, long run recap& life celebrations!

What an awesome weekend!
A great long run of 18.33 miles. I haven’t run this course since I was in training for Boston. It’s chock full of tough hills throughout the entire course and it makes for a particularly challenging few hours. The last time I ran it, my times looked like this-

20140720-194518-71118959.jpg
Yesterday’s run was this:

20140720-194706-71226701.jpg
(my map my run & my garmin disagreed slightly)
My favorite part about this run was that I knew I was holding back with my paces because it’s been quite a while since I’ve run this far, and I didn’t want to burn out too quickly. I can’t wait to do it again and go full throttle into it. #ilovetorun

I love a long run. Especially after taking a day off (I took off Friday) to rest the old muscles. I wake up excited and my running feet are all peppy. I even lay out my outfit the night before.

Once you start logging lots of miles for marathon training, it can become a little monotonous. Long runs can get Especially repetitive. I’ve had more than my fair share of craprastic-I-can’t-freaking-wait-to-be-home long runs. Wrapping your mind around the distances can feel overwhelming. I try to take the run apart in my mind and break it into smaller, more manageable sections. And even though I looooove to see the splits that I hit, I don’t think about the total amount of miles I’m running-I think about getting to the top of Sherburne Road, and once I hit that mark, I move on to my next one. I try to live in the current mile: i can’t change or re-do the miles I’ve already done, only the one I am in now. This has always been the easiest way for me to handle the “bigger” distances.

After my long run, we had some friends over for an awesome get together!

20140720-201002-72602741.jpg
Strawberry Rhubarb Sangria....it was amazing!

20140720-201003-72603536.jpg
This little one is only 7 and is going to be taller than me within like a year!
20140720-201246-72766188.jpg

Sunday was off to celebrate my amazing Memere who turned 85 this week!! We had Lobsterfest 2014-

20140720-201355-72835198.jpg
Literally, biggest lobsters I have ever seen in my life!! They were delicious!
And the best cookies you have ever had in your LIFE-a blueberry oatmeal cookie with a lemon glaze. Amazing.

20140720-201520-72920619.jpg
And a very happy bday to this lady:) my Memere is the coolest sweetest grandma ever. And she is now 85!!!!!!

20140720-201631-72991919.jpg

I’ll be back this week with an update on my Baystate training!

How do you make it easy on yourself to handle long runs?

The week!

This week has been a week of determined runs. I have loved each and every one…
my Monday post half marathon easy run shakeout..

20140717-212218-76938769.jpg
…my mid week long run that got cut short due to ominous black clouds a-rolling in…

20140717-212350-77030044.jpg
And my track work out on Thursday morning..

20140717-212426-77066916.jpg
You might have seen some of the above pics if you follow me on Instagram.
Let’s talk Speed work for a sec. I used to do all of my speedwork on a treadmill because I like to always be in control of my paces. This summer/late spring, I have really been stepping up my game with outdoor speedwork, via tempos, intervals, and Thursdays
Workout: speedwork on a track. I don’t usually hit the track-but I am fortunate to live 1 1/2 miles from one..so why not warm up on my run to it, and cool Down on the way back?

We did a speed workout based on one recommended by my training plan: a 9.76 mile run with a warm up/cool down and 4×1 mile repeats (1600 meters/4 laps around the track) with 800 meter (2 laps round the track) recovery jogs between each mile repeat. It was a lot of fun, hard, I was ridic sore after…and I can’t wait to do it again…
Kristina took this pic of me as I was finishing my last mile repeat:

20140717-214117-78077088.jpg
That face actually says “WHY ARENT I DONT YET??

This type of workout is a HARD workout..and shouldn’t be repeated more than every 7-10 days. It was surprisingly a lot easier for me to run speed on a track vs a treadmill. I felt free, and I wasn’t staring at my treadmill willing the distance to be DONE already!! On a track, YOU control how fast you are going. I found myself having the urge to beat my previous lap. it was cool. the last time I was on this track was when I was still in high school. And lazy. I think my gym teachers would be proud of me!

And some random pictures..
My handsome gardener..

20140718-094841-35321371.jpg

The Strawberry Basil martini that I had at the Common Man and am going to try to recreate because I know my Dad will love it!. (New Englanders: go here, it is an incredibly warm and inviting atmosphere with home cooked food and drinks. They also have a cheese and cracker bar that you can hit up before your meals! Some Common Man’s are actually Inn’s as well! After you go, please feel free to send me a thank you card!)
20140718-095848-35928890.jpg

20140718-095943-35983878.jpg
A selfie because I haven’t done my hair/makeup/worn real clothes in like…a week. Hey, when I am off all summer, my clothes pattern varies between running clothes/bikinis/repeat.

20140718-095322-35602831.jpg
All I can smell in my backyard is this. I love it..the husband says it smells like a funeral home. oh well, there COULD be worse smells, right?!

happy weekend!
Tell me what you are excited for this weekend?

-fun with friends on Saturday, and my Memeres bday party on Sunday!

-Track work:Love it or hate it?
Love, love, love. I wish I was a track star in high school.

Pro compression Grab Bag

Pro compression has a limited time offer for their amazing calf sleeves! You pay for 3 pairs, then they pick out 3 different colors and mail to you. I bought the grab bag on Monday and got them delivered to me on Wednesday morning! Sweeeeeet!!!!!

You can go here for the deal: It’s
Listed as a $55 deal for the three-but enter in coupon code “NEW” at checkout and save more-I spent only $33 on the 3 pairs!! That’s $11 pair of regularly $40-$50 sleeves! 😍😍😍

Grab them while you still can!

Happy calves and happy shopping to you all!

20140716-112640-41200221.jpg

Race recap: Naraganssett Half Marathon

20140714-171418-62058520.jpg
The morning of the race was gorgeous. As I left my house, I was actually wishing that I had a sweatshirt on. The sky was clear, and the sun was shining beautifully.

The Naragansett summer running festival was held at Stonehill College in Easton, MA. There was a 5k, 10k, and half marathon option. It took me about 70 minutes to get to the start. The race directors urged everyone to be there an hour before their respective gun times because the road restrictions would make racers unable to make it on time, so I was there, parked and ready for the day by 7 am. The race starts were located on the same road that you had to drive through to get to the parking lot. In the future, I would suggest moving the start to make the flow of traffic and people easier. There was a lot of commotion and confusion because of this.
20140716-065602-24962577.jpg

After arriving, I immediately hit the porta potties and was happy to see this:

20140715-084357-31437355.jpg
After last weeks race where there were way too few-this was a welcome sight.

The emails that runners had received over the weeks listed the starts as follows:
5k Race Start: 8:00 AM
Half Marathon Race Start: 8:15 AM
10k Race Start: 8:30 AM

So imagine my surprise when the announcer said the half marathon wouldn’t be starting until 8:25? All race starts were actually a 10 minute difference than what was listed on the email. I mean. I get it. People are late to races. But I listened to the directions, and got there an hour in advance…so did a lot of people. What didn’t happen is the roads weren’t closed off, at all, and people were still driving in right before the starts of the races. This annoyed me, a lot. Not specifically that people were late but, that there wasn’t any reason runners couldn’t have arrived slightly later. I would have much rather gotten there at 8 (or even 7:30) and hung out for 25 minutes vs 90 minutes. Not cool. I felt like I was duped.

The race itself did start on time (at least mine did…I didn’t pay any attention to the 5k start)There were no pace group signs, either: I don’t see these in every race, but this was a crowded half on a narrow road, so it would’ve been appreciated. It was insanely crowded for the first few miles. Midway through mile 1-a police officer stopped the runners into a dead stop because we had to let an ambulance go by. This happened once more -me having to come to a dead stop to allow a car to pass. I truly get stopping for the ambulance, but it was understandably frustrating. The first 2-3 miles were so ridiculously overcrowded that I couldn’t get by other runners to stretch my legs until about mile 4 when it finally started to thin out. Since the roads were open,I was constantly looking both ways before crossing the street…and there were a couple times that a car passed me and I did NOT appreciate it’s proximity..Move over, buddy!!

My first 7 miles I had all splits in the low 7 minute range. The heat started to hit me around then and I slowed down to miles in the 8′s for the rest of the course. Every time I stopped to take a drink, I slowed even more. I don’t like stopping during my long runs, even for my GU. I just drink/eat on the fly because otherwise, it slows me down considerably, and my legs just do not want to move. If I had taken my Camelbak, I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t have been as slow. I needed more water than what I was taking in, and the fact is-I haven’t run more than 10 miles all summer long without having it on my back. I shouldn’t have worried that I hadn’t run goal paces with it and I should have thought about how awesome I am with hydration during my runs because of it. And let’s be real: during a race, it is NOT easy to drink from a cup!
20140715-101232-36752108.jpg
The course itself was hilly. I was honestly fine with them, i was just hot. Like can-I-take-my-clothes-off-and-jump-in-your-pool-right-now-HOT. I checked the forecast from the day and the humidity ranged from 69%-87%. Just about every other mile had a cooling station set up by some really nice folks who were willing to rack up their water bills to cool us poor runners down….for once, all the sprinklers were pointed AT the runners! I think I ran through every single one to get a little relief.

One pretty big detail bothered me about the water stops-it was advertised in the emails that at miles 3.5 and 7.6 there would be GU offered… I never saw it and believe me I was looking because I LOVE GU and I love when a race has that and not Powerbar. Powerbar Gel is the worst invention, ever. So two different stops-no GU. I had even debated leaving my GU at home that morning because I figured I would get the two I needed along the course. So glad I took them with me because when I ate them, I really needed it. Also a bothersome detail: I saw only one mile marker- Mile 10. I had my Garmin so I knew where I was- but i didn’t notice a single other sign.. if you ran this: please let me know if you did.

By mile 10- I started to feel queasy. You know the feeling, right? The one where you’re not sure if you will make it through to the end without hitting a bathroom? Yeah, that fun feeling…The finish line could not come soon enough. The last 2 or 3 ( I apologize…things are hazy from this point and I also have zero desire to research and let you know exactly how much distance was run on the trail) miles were done along a trail, which was a nice touch. We also ran around the Stonehill College track for a bit: it was gorgeous.

All three races were intertwined during the end and that annoyed me. I had to always pay attention to which direction to head in and I didn’t want to. I just wanted it to be done. In my opinion, having the three options starting so close to one another is a lot for both the directors, and the runners. Signs, course directions, confusion…it’s alot to process. Just my own opinion…one or two races: thats fine..but having the 3 is too much. (disclaimer: race directors DID make it crystal clear via email that the races intertwined..I just personally didn’t like it)

When I finally finished, I was annoyed, disappointed, and disgusted with myself. I plopped down and texted my husband that I didn’t hit my goal time or his goal time for me. (He randomly made a deal with me on Saturday that if I hit a 1:23 half-he would run a 5k, & then a half marathon with me. This is the man who never runs!) His reply was “that’s ok, at least I don’t have to run.” #Someday… After that, I had to immediately text Kristina to tell her how I did, and how mad/sad/feelin bad I was and she sent me this text. It was exactly what I needed to hear:
20140715-092930-34170681.jpg
And she is RIGHT. Obviously, in that moment after reading that text I did not think so, but, by the end of Sunday night I could conceivably wrap my head around moving on.

After finishing, I realized that if I had brought my Camelbak, it would have gone better for me. I made the decision to leave it at home because I had never run “goal pace” with it on. Had I brought it along, it probably would have saved me. It’s not that I was so overwhelmingly thirsty-it was more that I felt like I needed constant hydration to deal with the heat and the amount I was sweating because of it. I also figured out that I haven’t done a single run in direct sunlight for a while, and that’s something I guess I unfortunately need to practice for my next half marathon on August 3. Every tempo and speed workout this summer has been done nearer to the 6 am hour, or on my treadmill.

I knew I had way more I could have given to this race because even though I was sore-i woke up the next day feeling like I had just run a normal long run. I kind of like the feeling that comes the morning after a ridiculously hard run-like the ‘kick your ass types of run, and I didn’t have that so much from this race…it was heat exhaustion over muscle fatigue.

It’s hard to explain your own disappointment for not hitting your goal without a little self doubt and anger creeping in . I really really thought I was going to break 1:40, I truly did. I didn’t have even one doubt in my mind. No one can be more disappointed and angry than me. When it comes to bad races, unfortunately, I really am my own worst enemy and harshest critic. When you don’t perform as you think you should…it is devastating. So what do you do when this happens to you? You have to pick up the pieces and move on. Dwelling will only get you down, not make you faster. I know that every race still deserves to be celebrated, whether it’s good or bad, so I broke out a new pair of Pureflows☺️
20140715-193638-70598211.jpg
I know that one “bad” run does not a runner make, and in truth, I realized that if I had done that run out around my house on Sunday? I would have been PSYCHED to have had an average of 8:04 for my overall time. It was freaking HOT. The leading woman finished in 1:31…good for her for winning and all, but truly, I bet she would’ve done better on a 50 degree day. It is what it is and every run and race is a learning experience. I know what I need to do for my August half, and I know that race is STILL going to be deadly hot, so maybe I won’t hang my hopes so high on it! I have my eye on a lovely September half already and to be truthful, that’s where it’s usually at for PRs for runners anyway-a day that isn’t 900 degrees and 1,000,000,000.% humidity that makes you think you are actually running ON the freaking sun.#nobodylikesthat #nearlyimpossibletobefast
I also remind myself of this:

20140715-100958-36598128.jpg
If you average in the temperatures, I would’ve been 1:05-1:45 minutes quicker per a mile..so that does help me feel a little better…

The post race party looked great-beer, lobster rolls ( I’m assuming you had to buy them) free samples of frozen Greek yogurt pops, and other goodies. I didn’t stick around because I had a hot date with a 7 year old and I was NOT feeling too great. I grabbed a sea salt caramel Greek pop, waited to see my placement, then hit the road. Hot runs are just draining on my body, and when I finally got home, I was sick in the batroom for a couple hours due to the terrific side effects that often accompany running in the heat.. Booooo.

I don’t know if I would do this race again. There aren’t really many races in July, so that was one of the reasons I picked it. I found myself more annoyed than happy with it, and I read somewhere on one of their emails that they were planning on increasing the field next year. It was already TOO big at the start, so unless they actually have the roads completely closed off, I don’t think I would do it.

They DID give free race pics to the runners. And even though I’m not crazy about them(please note my finish line face-this chic is clearly SPENT, & why do my legs always look terrible in race pics??)..at least they were free!!

20140715-102556-37556849.jpg

20140715-102555-37555762.jpg

20140715-102556-37556513.jpg

Again, thank you all for your kind words and well wishes! You guys ROCK and really made my day!

Ever run a hot race?

It was Hot.

Thank you so much to everyone for your good luck wishes yesterday!! You all rock!!

I am so tired right now. And still a bit sick/weak from earlier. Woof. I don’t have the energy for anything more than some pictures at this point.

I am literally off to bed at 8pm and I promise a real recap later-maybe not until Tuesday because it has been the most insane few days in my little world!

So I will leave you with a few weekend pictures…
A PERFECT and GORGEOUS baby shower for a childhood bestie…it was on the water at Seaglass in Salisbury, MA. This was the view:

20140713-201405-72845121.jpg
Race day outfit prep..

20140713-201437-72877290.jpg
And smiling before the storm. I mean the Half. The fun half. The super awesome half.

20140713-201524-72924506.jpg
Fun World afterwards (and trust me, I was pretty loopy while there..note to self-don’t do things after races. Except for sleep.

20140713-201656-73016816.jpg

Kid has legs for days…❤️
20140713-201658-73018880.jpg

20140713-201657-73017864.jpg
And finally…I am so overwhelmingly disappointed in my time, (obviously). In a nutshell:It was 80 by finish, there were stops by policemen due to letting traffic pass, and major dehydration.
And it was hot. Did I mention that?

20140713-202158-73318342.jpg

20140713-203803-74283370.jpg
5th in my age group, finished in the top 10%, and I promise I will explain my anger/sadness/upset tomorrow!

Big hugs for all your kindness❤️

Running recap & where my confidence is coming from, & Randomness

To say I’m excited for Sunday might be the biggest understatement to ever come out of my mouth. I have worked sooooooooooooo hard these past two months. I made a very conscious effort to take time OFF from racing because I knew I was only slowing myself down. I needed to work on speed, tempos, and even my form. Since May—> it has been eat sleep breathe GET FASTER. I am pretty confident on myself as a racer right now, and its a pretty great feeling!!

I’m not really nervous either, which is weird for me. I was terrified to do the 5k simply because I hadn’t done one before. I made myself do it as a test of my speed and if my work has been paying off. Yes, and yes. I mean, all this could change come race day. I am infamous, literally, for having faaaaantastic training and a bad race. It is what it is–not every day is YOUR race day:the sooner you accept that the happier and moe content you will be, I assure you.

However, I am pretty confident in my running right now, and I haven’t had THIS good of training in a while. It’s partly due to the fact that I have the summer off and have been fine tuning my skillsets. When you don’t have work, and your spouse is at work all day…it comes in handy to have an obsession. I mean hobby. Alright, who am I kidding? This blog is called “The Girl Who Ran Everywhere.”
20140711-204840-74920082.jpg
The confidence is also largely due to my amazing running partner who is constantly giving me pluck. She is pretty dang amazing, I tell you! I’m pretty freaking lucky to have found her!! My running has definitely improved because we are constant Pushing one another, and it’s a blast!! When you have someone telling you, over and over, that you’re getting better…it is pretty great! She even asks about the runs that we don’t do together. Is that love? I think so! 😉

Anyway, morale of this long winded tale is that whenever I feel pretty confident before a race–I do well. I’m hoping this will still be the case come Sunday!
I do not care if I place.
I don’t care if I’m a top finisher…
I just want to run a sub 1:40 (preferably 1:35-36!) and PR. This is all I care about!!!!!

I’m not trying to come off as cocky here, so please excuse me if I am coming off that way because it sure as heck isn’t my intention. There are two old adages that one should keep in mind:

Trust your training.

-knowing that your hardwork is all done and behind you helps keep you motivated and PUMPED. Remember…race day is not only about enjoying it, it is literally the celebration of your training: it’s your party and you’ll rock it if you want to

Believe in yourself.

-I am sooo lucky to be surrounded by a large support system who asks about my running, or listens and asks questions while I’m boring them so much that their eyes glaze over… Lucky, lucky girl.
But all of THAT is irrelevant if you do not believe in yourself. it’s easy to “lose faith” and not have the confidence to really “bring it” on race day. Well. I am here to tell you…Believing In Yourself empowers you to BE your BEST self. here I go sounding like a weirdo, but it is what it is, and that’s #thetruth.

Weekly workouts:
Monday
-a tempo run..it was trash day, and very, very humid. It was soo difficult to breathe almost-wet-garbage air in through my lungs. Oof.

20140711-201522-72922660.jpg
Tuesday- hill repeats. 1.25 warm up, 4x90sec repeats up the hill with slow recovery jogs in between. No rest breaks. Easy jog after for a total of 8.
Wednesday-7 miles on my treadmill-1 mile warm up at 7.2, 5 miles at 8.0, cool down at 7.5. Avg pace 7:39. My goal overall pace for my half is a bit lower than this, and this pace felt easy peasy to hold.
Thursday-7 miles-easy and hilly.
Friday-6 easy miles.

Saturday, I won’t run and it actually feels like a sin not to be running on a Saturday! Yes, I’m racing Sunday, but I’m so used to waking up early and heading out the door on a Saturday morning that it will feel very weird not to do so!! Yet, another reason that I like Saturday races-then I can still run on Sundays!! This is me being a waaaaambulance, I know, I am being irrational and a baby!! haha!

Also-(if you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen this already)this is so random and it literally fits into NOWHERE on any post that I have coming up, but I had to share it because I’m kind of in love with it…my husband bought me a Nutri Ninja..I have wanted one forever and I use to about 5 times a day (I’m not kidding)
20140711-204052-74452009.jpg
I’ve made about 50 different smoothies, and fun juices for cocktails, too..
20140711-204054-74454082.jpg
..and when I freeze fruit and grind it up it makes a cool sherbet-y consistency and it’s like dessert. yum…
20140711-204052-74452995.jpg
I can’t stop talking about it so I had to share!

Today I’m living vicariously through you!!! Tell me about your long runs, struggles, triumps, and all! Spare nothing!!! And if you ARENT running, tell me why too:) And maybe tell us all where YOUR confidence comes from!

Anybody have a Nutri Ninja? How many times a day do you use it?

Are you on Instagram? feel free to leave your name if I don’t already follow you! (Or follow me and I will follow back!)

Be Girly

20140708-153409-56049116.jpg
I started to write this post last week. I wanted to tell you how “ungirly” I am for a girl. How I despise things like manicures, and that you couldn’t pay me to get a pedicure, I hate them THAT much. I wanted to tell you how UN-girly it is that I LOVE Whiskey, and hate light beer.

But I scratched that post when I saw this video:

I admit it, being “girly” has always been coupled with negativity. Girls have been seen as weaker, slower, second best. To be “girly” is a stereotype.
It made me want to show all the little girls out there how girly I actually am.

One little girl in the video hit the nail on the head when asked if “like a girl” is a good thing or a bad thing. She said “It sounds like you’re trying to humiliate someone.” When did this start??
20140708-154122-56482275.jpg
Why am I girly?
-I am girly because I work out and have strong muscles.

-I am girly because I am only just tapping into my full potential as a runner. I am finding out that there is a fierce competitor inside me who bears her fangs makes an appearance during a race.

-I am girly because I run…and I am proud to run like a girl because i am a girl. A tough as nails kick your ass I’ll beat you in a race GIRL.

I’ll leave you with this: A couple of the strong females interviewed were asked their advice to little girls when they are told that they do something “like a girl”. They had some pretty powerful messages:

Keep doing it…because it’s working. If someone else says that running like a girl, kicking like a girl, or shooting like a girl is something you shouldn’t be doing-then that’s THEIR problem because if you’re still scoring, and you’re still getting to the ball on time, and you’re still first- you’re doing it right. It doesn’t matter what they say. I mean..Yes, i swim like a girl, I walk like a girl, and I kick like a girl, and I wake up in the morning like a girl because I AM a girl. And it’s not something That I should be ashamed of. Thats what they should do.

Why can’t “run like a girl also mean win the race??

How are you “girly”?

20140708-153613-56173402.jpg

Getting Faster

Recently one of my friends asked if I could do a post on how I got faster. It’s really kind of fuzzy for me to think back to the days when I was a newbie. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about running besides that I liked it, it made me look better, and I thought it was fun. I have really been wracking my brain to think about how I’ve gotten faster over time. Some of this stuff that I’ve been doing is recent, some is a bit older. I hope it helps you!

1. Eating right&taking vitamins I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater, but I went through a period where I wasn’t eating enough of the right stuff, like lean meats and fish. I didn’t eat any meat for about five years and I found myself always being tired. I also used to get sick a lot. One year, I had pneumonia, the flu, and several colds. I was always sick. Once I incorporated lean proteins back into my diet, my energy levels went way up, mad my sickness levels WAY down. Now, I know there are plenty of Vegetarian runners out there, and I think that is fantastic. I toy with the idea every once in a while to go back to it, but ultimately I know it just isn’t for me. I think some bodies need the protein that comes from meats and fish and I am one of those people.

Also, about 5 years ago, I went to my doctors office because my rotator cuff was hurting and Mr. Doc did some blood work. It wasn’t that long before Boston, so of course I was freaking out that anything would possibly deter me from running the race. It ended up being nothing-my rotator cuff just needed some stretching, but I am EXTREMELY glad I went to the Doctors that day: I learned that I am SUPER anemic. I always had a minor case of it when I was a kid, but never as severely anemic as I was at that time. The Dr took one look at my bloodwork and said “Frankly I cannot even believe you’re a runner because your iron levels are so low it’s crazy.” He put me on a high dosage of Ferrous Gluconate (iron) and I have taken it ever since.

High amounts of endurance training wear on a runners/athletes body, and taking vitamins are essential to good health. When I don’t take the iron for a few days, I feel my muscles fatiguing more quickly. I also began taking a multi vitamin, Coq10, and fish oil. Once I began taking vitamins, I felt my body getting stronger, and I was able to move at faster paces, and hold them for longer periods of time. And my hair got really thick and long–#bonus

2. Run with someone who is faster than you It’s a proven fact that running with someone else will challenge you, motivate you, inspire you….really I could keep going for a long time on this one. If you run with someone who is a little bit faster than you are, by default you’ll get faster, if for no other reason than you are trying to keep up. My running partner and I are fairly equally matched, yet we each have different strengths. We know what each of us rocks at, and it makes it easy to motivate one another and get better with and in our training.

3. More Long Runs & the incorporation of “Workouts”. I’m pretty positive that when I ran my first marathon—I did not train well for it. I don’t think I googled training plans, or knew that you should be doing different types of runs x amounts of times throughout the course of a training cycle. I think I was just running and thinking “this is so cool that I’m running a marathon!” That’s great and all, but not really what you want when you are spanning 26.2 miles and hoping for more than “just to finish”.

At some point I realized that I HAD to start doing longer runs to build up my endurance, and different types of runs to make my body faster. I notice a huge difference in my quality of runs when I do not do workouts like yassos, speed work, intervals, tempos….you might not like doing them but take it from me-> they work. And you will be faster once you incorporate them regularly. Plus you feel bad ass afterwards. If your goal is to break a certain time, than you’ve got to spend some time running at that goal time. Tempo runs that have few miles thrown in the middle at your goal paces can help get you the times you want. See this post for more on my tempos, and I have defined some different types of runs here and here. It’s important to remember: they are called workouts for a reason. : they are not easy and they are work.

Since my last marathon, I’ve been incorporating speedwork very regularly into my training. One of the reasons I did that 5k last week was to see where I am at for a half marathon that I’m running this weekend. I inputted my time into a calculator, and it has my predictions as follows:
20140708-140654-50814171.jpg
My last half’s were May-a 1:46, and a 1:52. I was doing nowhere near what I am now in terms of speedwork. I’m pretty excited to see where I’m at this coming weekend! You absolutely can get faster if you are willing to put in the hard work and effort.
20140708-154600-56760968.jpg
4. More Hills, please.Hills are solely responsible for my butt muscles and for my calf muscles that make it tough to put on skinny jeans.(any fashion designers out there reading this, take note: think of the runner when you are pants-designing, won’t you?)Even if you are training for a race that does not have hills in it, you should still be doing hill runs and hill work(like hill repeats). They strengthens your leg muscles, are tough to do, and make you an all around better runner. Plus, once you get to the top of a hill, you can turn around and flip it off because you took it DOWN! I can’t seem to find a nice flat route where I live..I encounter a hill or seven in my everyday runs. I don’t mind because I like to challenge kill myself with them.

Tuesday morning, I did hill repeats. Not the easiest thing, for sure. I was happy when they were all done but man they are TOUGH. During our midweek runs-I pretty much let Kristina bosshog me around for training, and today was hill repeat day. We did four in our neighborhood. Basically we ran up the hill for 90 seconds, ran back down as a recovery, and repeated. You are supposed to run at 5k effort to make it more torturous challenging. By the time we were done-my legs were a bit wobbly. Next week, we will be doing 6 and building up to 10. I’m told that they will make me faster. I’ll keep ya posted 😉

5. Cross Training. As an athlete who’s main focus is to be a better faster running, it’s sometimes hard to find time to cross train. I try to do strength two times a week, sometimes it ends up being just one. But it really helps a lot. Running works out your whole body, yes, but you also need things like weights to make your muscles stronger, or ab routines to tighten your core. There are so many different types of cross training that you can do: swimming, biking, yoga, Pilates, cross fit… Seriously,pick your fave and commit to it for 30-60 minutes a week. Or don’t pick one favorite…do a different one each week!

6. Drive and determination I have a lot of this. I think for me, it has always been a focus to improve my running, and set new goals. This is why I keep getting better..I want it. badly. I don’t know how to describe it any better than that!

There are so many different ways to get faster and improve your performance. Theres no one magic formula. My final advice: Don’t give up, and keep trying, you will get faster, I promise!

Tips on getting faster?

2014 Hinkley Allen Manchester 5k Recap

No time like the Fourth of July to run your first 5k!! It was my first, but the rest of my group were old pros! My two running partners, M and Kristina, have run a ton of 5ks before, and so has my SIL. Maybe it’s a little bit Ironic that the marathoner had never done one before??

The race was held in Manchester NH on Bridge St. It’s not a far ride from my house so it was a perfect choice. There was both a 5k and a 1mile option. The craziest part is that there was $4100 in prizes awarded for the 1 mile. And not the 5k… Apparently, the course is really well known and one of the fastest “1 mile” courses in the country (that blows my mind since it’s ONE MILE) Runners could chose to do 1 or the other, or both if they preferred.

20140704-230709-83229075.jpg
Thursday was hot, hot, hot. Weather forecast for 3rd & 4th of July in MA were predicting thunderstorms and a possible hurricane moving in for Friday. Sweet. Race directors were keeping one eye on the weather as we cautiously waited it out. No one was sure if it would be completely rained out, or if we would actually get to race. The air was so thick, you could drink it. It was one of those hot AND humid days where you don’t even have to move before you are sweating right through your clothes. I believe the word “oppressive” would be appropriate to use as an adjective here. I don’t necessarily mind the humidity, but it’s slightly problematic when you want to run through it.

Around 5, it finally started to storm. Race time for the 5k was 7pm and 8pm for the 1miler. The heat broke from 87 down to 77… It was a freaking miracle because I did not know how people would have survived running through it!!

Some housekeeping notes that need mentioning before I go any further
-The race is run by Millennium Running. They have organized a bunch of different races in the New Hampshire area. This was my first event with them.

-there were 652 5k runners, and 655 1 mile runners who finished the races on Thursday.

-only the first 1000 entrants get the “free” hat. I guess that since I come from the Land of Marathoners where every entrant gets a t shirt and every finisher gets a medal..I think this is grossly unfair. It’s not that the hat is soooo great or anything-but all runners are created equal and maybe they didn’t decide to do the race until the first 1000 entrants had already registered. (Dislike #1)

-please note the above number of people who entered the races. There were ten porta potties at the start. Ten. (Dislike #2)

We arrived by 6:15 and had an easy peasy time parking my truck. The plan was to pick up our numbers, hit the porta potty, do a quick warm up, RACE, and then head back to my house for an awesome after party! (it being 4th of July, and all!!)
20140704-163635-59795864.jpg

Bib Pickup: piece of cake. M and I got hats, but not SIL or Kristina (later registration), and we dropped them back at my truck real quick so we could stand in the porta pottie line before warming up and the actual start. (Also: M and I did not intentionally plan these super cute shirts from Dicks. We two cool chicas took separate shopping trips to the most expensive awesome store near our house. We got tons of compliments on them and they were the most patriotic and awesome shirts! Thank you Adidas!!)

I could not believe the lines. it was like waiting for Boston but instead of there being a seemingly infinite number of porta potties—> there were ten. And it was 6:36. And their lines weren’t moving fast. And they were really long. ..did I tell you that? Because it was hot, and since we runners like to hydrate all day long before a race, we all really had to pee. We stood in the long line, along with all other 650 peeps running the race. By 6:55, we were still a good way back in line and I had to make the call to hold it until after the race. I didn’t want to be at the back of the pack or have to start late. I booked it to the start three minutes before the gun went off: This meant no warm up for Nicole. Booooo.

I had a really good feeling about yesterday. Whenever I wake up on race day with my sunshine and lollipops thoughts of “Hey YOU-YOU’RE GONNA KICK ASS TODAY” attitude–I do well. I told my Memere that I wanted to win and I can’t let her down so I knew I wanted to my absolute best to bring it! The only things I knew about running a 5k were that they hurt if they are done to the best of your ability, and they are short (20 minutes of your life,that’s it). My speedwork has been pretty great, and I knew I wanted to break 21 minutes.

The race started pretty much on time. A minute late, if that. I actually am not 100% sure of the actual time because the thoughts going through my crazy head were: ohmygodimrunningaraceimsonervousicantbelieveimrunningaracethatiamgoingtotrytorunreallyfastandiveneverdonethisbeforeOMG!–> that run on sentence was playing in my head like crazy for the few minutes before the start! The National Anthem was sung (beautiful!), the gun shot, and we were OFF!!

Before the race, I gave myself a little talking to regarding looking at my Garmin. I made myself promise NOT to look-this is something I never do. I loooove looking down at my watch when it beeps, but it gets distracting. I wanted 110% focus. Hey, if you are planning on hauling some ass to that finish line–> there can be NO distractions, amiright?!

First mile(no peeking at the watch!) nearly all downhill. Second mile was when the shit hit the fan. I thought every negative thought in the book:
“I hate running..I NEVER WANT TO RUN AGAIN
this really hurts!!
I am so MAD that I’m doing this!
I’m so mad at Kristina for telling me I should do one!
WHY isn’t this going by faster??
Don’t you dare look at that watch!
Why hasn’t my Garmin beeped yet?
I’m never doing this again!

By the time mile 2 (mostly uphill) was finally through, it was a smooth sail to the downhill finish. I was still pretty Negative Nancy, but I knew it was almost over and then it wouldn’t hurt so bad!

I think I realized that I was making good time when I looked around and saw that the only people I was passing were men. To me this is always a good sign! I heard the announcer say “and we have another female finishing” when he announced the girl right before me.

I saw the finish line clock when I crossed and it said “20:55″ I couldn’t believe I made my goal! I nearly puked when I was done and was SUPER glad I hadn’t had dinner yet. I was soaked at the finish-more than I had ever sweat during a race before..you could have wrung me out to dry and I would’ve dripped for a while. Gross, yes, I know.

Kristina came in right on my heels, followed 2 minutes later by her husband Mike, M and my SIL a little bit after that. One really cool feature was that they had a bib scanner thing that immediately told you your place and times. I was so excited to have placed 2nd in my division. I was the 8th woman, and the 42nd finisher out of 652 peeps. Kristina also placed too, third in her division !!:) she has had a bum hip for a while so this was so great for her!

The course itself was really nice. You looped the downhill start to take you to the finish line which was lovely since it was a decline to the finish. There were lots of spectators with hoses (thank you!) and you could run through their streams for a bit of a quick relief for a minute. (So thoughtful!) The finish line was equipped with tons of water, powerade, frozen stony field yogurt, and pizza.

The one finish line downfall (Dislike #3),was that the award ceremony didn’t commence until after 8:30 when every single 1 mile winner had crossed. We waited around for my award and ended up leaving since we were getting eaten alive by Mosquitos. We assumed that Kristina was also getting an award since she was in the Top Three of her age, but it was actually only the Top Two who were awarded anything(Dislike #4). She is so lovely for waiting around for it for me though so I could take my lovely SIL and M home to the kids, puppies, husbands, BEER and FOOD!!!!

We did stay long enough to see the 1 mile road race. It started at 8pm, and the male winner crossed the line at a shockingly fast time of 3:46. That is STUPID fast!!!! Insane! It was really something to see and ALL OF THE PEOPLE who were still gathered at the finish line flocked to watch. At :39 seconds into the race, the announcer was saying how the lead had hit the quarter mile or something equally ridiculous. It was a straight out one mile flyingggg sprint.. Pretty cool to see!!

I think I would do this race again, nit I’m not 100%. I wouldn’t wait around so long (if I placed, that is) afterwards. they weren’t mailing prizes so that’s the only reason I tried to wait it out. THAT part was SUPER annoying…they are two separate races and the awards ceremony should NOT be held up like that. I have heard many negative things about the Millennium racing company, so I’m not overly thrilled about the thought of doing one of their other races. I did like this course, and I do really like repeating races to beat my own times at them…there is something really nice in repeating a course that you’re familiar with.

5k’s are no joke. it is not “only 3.1 miles” like I had previously thought. Those 3.1 miles are HARD, they are FASTER than what I was expecting, and, also a lot of fun! (once I was done) The next day everything hurt. I’m realllllly grateful to Kristina for convincing me I should do one! Who knows where we can go from here! I couldn’t have done it without you, my friend!!
I think I will try another to see of I can break the 20 minute mark!! At the very least it’s a terrific speed workout!!

I hope you all are having a fantastic weekend! Stay safe!

20140704-181036-65436344.jpg

Happy 4th of July Friday!!

Today is “mostly silent Friday and it’s the Fourth of JUUUUULLLYYYYY!!!”

Let’s start with the most important things: Tomorrow is my BEST FRIEND/BIGGEST FANS BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!
Let’s pause real quick and celebrate her AWESOMENESS!!!!!!

20140704-011156-4316727.jpg

20140704-011154-4314724.jpg

20140704-011154-4314971.jpg
Isn’t she the cutest?!

Anyway…today was a BIG DAY…Crazy amounts of Strawberry picking with BFF/BIGGEST Fan/Birthday Girl

20140704-011300-4380521.jpg

20140704-011301-4381430.jpgat

20140704-011259-4379351.jpg

And my first 5k! (recap to follow soon)

20140704-011843-4723664.jpg

20140704-011842-4722529.jpg

20140704-011841-4721570.jpg

20140704-011840-4720691.jpg

20140704-011843-4723515.jpg
And……

20140704-012232-4952151.jpg

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!
Everybody stay SAFE!!!!!