Things I love about summertime running

1.) There is much Less clothing. Less clothing=No planning outfits and layers. That is a Win-Win in my eyes!

Does it get any easier than socks/kicks/sports bra/tank/shorts?? Nope!

2.) Its a really good sweat! I love being soaked from a sweaty run, and summer runs certainly soak me thoroughly! Wintertime just doesn’t give you the same feeling!

3.) It’s light out for the majority of the 24 hours in your day. You can run in the morning at 4:30 am or 8 pm and you will have light along your run!

4.) There are SO many races in the summertime! I have about 20 I want to do and they are all just in the month of June. It’s kind of hard to pick and choose!

5.) Water tastes sooooooo good after a hot run. Bonus if you stumble upon a water bubbler on a particularly hot and humid run. That’s like finding gold. Swallow-able liquid gold…

So. Many. Waters.

6.) The track is open, and most of the time, deserted. I love this because I’m not that good with sharing it when there are lots of people. #stayoutofmylane

7.) Visualizing normal treats like ice cold lemonade/coconut water/frozen banana smoothie’s while doing a long run makes me run faster because i *need* to have them ASAP.

Ok..So this wasn’t lemonade..but this was a picture of my glass of Sangria from my birthday run a couple weeks ago (it was about 80) and this tasted AMAZING. It was so cold and refreshing!!

8.) Sunrises and sunsets. Seeing these things on your run can take your breath away and make you feel so ALIVE.
9.) Early morning bird/frog/cricket noises. I love these noises! And when you hear the frogs at 5am, you can already tell the weather forecast for the day: above 70! (I learned this from my RP-she loves frogs!)

10.) It’s pretty much the best way to get a tan. Yes, I get really weird tan lines from running… But I can tan under a lightbulb so I even out some of those awkward lines real quick 😉

11.) It makes me stronger for fall running! Fall is typically a PR season for me and a whole summertime of being a sweaty mess = a PRable fall!

This was from my half marathon this past fall…a beautiful, perfect fall day!

I will be reminding myself of all of these reasons TONIGHT when I am running a 5k!!!!! Oh yeah! I haven’t told anyone this yet besides SIL….We are running another Good Times race tonight AND…It is SILs BIRTHDAY RACE!!! She is 40 going on 25. you can’t get any prettier than her!!  Cheers to summer running, longer days, and running races with people we love!!

IMG_4074
What are some reasons you love summer running?

Mileage Totals for 5/18-5/24 and things to remember about hot weather running!

Monday-Off

 Tuesday-7 hilly miles 54:25, 7:46 avg pace 

 Wednesday- Track: Mile repeats. 6:36, 6:44, 6:48. These are something I need to keep working on to get my times down!   

 Thursday-7 sunrise Miles- 54:55, 7:50 avg pace 

  

Friday- Off. 

 Saturday-16 miles 2:05:49, 7:52 avg pace 

 Sunday- 5 miles, 8:13 avg pace. Cut my run short because I was SO hot. I ran midday and I’m really not used to that yet! Lately I’ve only been running early in the morning before the sun comes out and my body is NOT ready for heat yet!!

42 miles, 7:53 avg pace

As my body adjusts to the heat, my paces tend to be a little slower than they normally are. I have to Remind myself that this happens and it isn’t a big deal. Once my body fully adjusts, I’ll be fine. This year feels harder to adjust than it has in past years because it was colder than ever this past winter!  These are some charts that have helped me rememebr what happens to my paces during the heat& humidity! I hope they help you too!   

Much like winter running, summer running has an adjustment period too. It’s helpful to know your body’s limits when you’re trying to push it in the heat. Remember to take it easy and slow down if you’re feeling out of it. There have been plenty of hot weather runs that have left me drained because I pushed it too hard. Remember to drink lots of water too!

Enjoy your Memorial Day!!!

Saturday ❤️

What’s weirder-the fact that I’m posting on Saturday, or the fact that I’ve only posted one other time this entire week??? I’m not sure either!! This week has been crazy for so many reasons-so please bear with me for a while!!! 

In the meantime, It’s silentish Saturday-one sentence per a picture style!

Race pics from last weekend…I am RIGHT up front for all the starting line pics!   

Had to buy the pics of me because they are kind of bad ass…

   

She was beyond impressed by those little bubble things on her ice cream and basically ate THOSE and not her ice cream…  

I have no self control when it comes to SOCKS.  

Need to make this!  

  I have had some of the most gorgeous sunrise runs this week! 

 

I am back to planking for at least 10 a day-I slacked for a little while!  

Are you kidding me? NEED.  

 Had the most amazing long run this morning!!  

 

Off to lunch with my little…happy Memorial Day everyone! I plan to take a some time and honor those who have served And have unfortunately lost their lives fighting for this wonderful country of ours. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, good weather, and great times with your family and friends! 

  

Gate City Striders Inaugural Marathon

 Just a little disclaimer: I feel the need to start this recap with the cold hard facts: I ran a marathon on Sunday…but…I did not finish.

Sunday was the Inaugural Gate City Striders Marathon in Nashua New Hampshire. I woke up so excited to run another race! I love new races, and I love races in my ares. A WIN WIN in my book!!! Nashua is only about 20 minutes from my house-Perfection.

Packet pickup was located at Fleet Feet Sports in Nashua, also nearby-only 15 minutes away. I was able to go on Saturday –I love picking up my packet early, but sometimes that isn’t possible due to the race being further away. The swag bag was great! Lots of fun goodies in it and I love that!( I wasn’t one of the earlier registrants, so I didn’t get the Beer Glass or the race T.)

I laid out all my clothes the night before (duh) and went to bed super early…I think 8?

flat Nicole!

I got to the starting area around 7:30am..
I was able to park RIGHT next to the start, and had enough time to use the porta potties beforehand and take a selfie and check out the cool tents lined up.
 So excited to run!

This race was both a full marathon and a relay race: The finish line was actually the central area of the race, and the course is designed as 5 loops that make up a four leaf clover (the first & fifth loop were the same). Runners passed the finish line area and were either swapping off the baton to their next runner, or continuing on (like me) for the full 26.2. (If you are really curious, you can read the great write up on cool runnings about the race). It seemed that every relay group had their own tent set up…pretty cool! This race was a terrific one to spectate at since you would see your runner several times as they went through the finish chute, instead of the usual drive and hope you actually find them deal that typically happens.

I took this before I started-this is the finish line that all runners pass through with every loop. It was lined with people one the race started!!


course design-four leaf clover!

The race started about 10ish minutes later than its 8am start due to a main intersection in the race not being blocked off yet. (It’s a super busy intersection, and I was more than happy to wait until it was completely closed off!) Runners were treated to church bells at 8am sharp-That was seriously beautiful.

As far as my own personal race goes: It’s not really that interesting. I had an off day, and that off day also coincided with a marathon. Go figure! If you would have told me that on Sunday I would wake up, start a marathon, but not finish I would have told you that you were crazy. The first loop (5.4 miles I think?), my splits were great. I should have known it was a bad sign though that when I would see someone with a baton, I would automatically think “oh wow they only have a little longer left.” And then I would wish I only had a little longer left. And then loop 2 my splits dropped from 7:19 to 8:30…and only got worse from there. It was hot by the start- I’m typically in a sweatshirt until I hit mile 2…but i was comfy in a tank and my skirt from the time i stepped out of my car. At race start, it was about 65 and 88% humidity. By the 2nd loop, it was easily above 70, and by the time I hit the 3rd – it was at least 75. I couldn’t stand it! I love running in the heat, but my body is not adjusted to it yet! After a loooong cooooold terrible winter, I’m still adjusting to the warm weather. I was dragging the entire 2nd loop. When my watch clicked 11, I had just passed through the finishers chute and I wanted to call it a day RIGHT then and there. However, the stubborn girl who loves her weekend long runs reared her ugly head, and I slogged through the 3rd. It was like I had sand bags on my legs. I could already feel how badly my sweat was making me chafe! I was REALLY glad that I had my camelbak with me because the water stops were spaced out at every 3 miles (i think) and it wouldn’t have been enough water for me! And, I only had one GU along the whole route- I wasn’t even hungry! So weird.

I really liked the concept of loops! Every time I passed through, I got the energy of the crowds, and the announcer called my name. Thank you Mr Announcer Man! The whole 3rd loop was torture. I was sore all over, hot, whiny, and just plain old miserable. I had no desire to run another 10 miles at the turtle like pace i was holding. No matter WHAT i did, I just could NOT speed up. So annoying!! So i passed the finish line for the 3rd time, got some water, and called it a day. My body just did not want to be running a hot and humid marathon!

Ironically, I truly believe that running Boston a month prior had zero to do with how I felt this past Sunday. I know my body, and my body felt ready all week for a big, really fast marathon. I had a 16 mile long run 2 weeks before this in 2:06, 7:54 pace. . . and that run was a dream and felt so super easy. Sunday was just not a good day. I’m really okay with it, so please don’t think I”m complaining here!

Some facts for you that didn’t fit in:

-The volunteers + police =amazing. I NEVER questioned, even ONCE, where I was supposed to be going. All the volunteers were in these BRIGHT orange shirts- you couldn’t miss them! And I really felt that the police officers were there protecting the runners. I never had to stop to wait as a car went by, and I felt safe the whole day. There were a million orange cones, too, so you clearly knew where you were going!

-The 3rd loop, although slow (for me) was actually my favorite for its scenery. It was through my favorite parts of Mines Falls. I’ve run in that area a ton of times-It’s SO beautiful! The Gate City Striders did an incredible job of marking each individual tree root/uneven spot/rock etc so that the runners wouldn’t fall. (I took two falls the last time I ran the Mines Falls trails!)

-At the beginning of the race, some of the early start runners passed by. The announcer yelled out that there was a woman named Kerrie and she was running her ONE HUNDREDTH MARATHON that day!!! Can you believe it? She is AMAZING! I passed her around mile 14 (?) and had to stop and take a picture with her! You ROCK Kerrie!!!!!!

-I’m not only chafed, i’m covered in WELTS from my sweat. So painful. On my neck (sports bra) legs, back, underarms….. It’s seriously aggravating. I guess the “Summer of Chafe” is upon us again. Boooooo. And I had applied Body glide that morning too, but it didn’t do anything!

-I did a quick change post only-a-17-miler-and-not-a-full-marathon…and went to my favorite nephews 10th birthday!! These two..Be still my heart! They are the best little people I could ask for to be my niece and nephew!

-Above all? I am REALLY excited to race again. I have in mind SO many half marathons, am racing a bunch of 5k’s, and I’m just super excited to get back to higher mileage again. I have a pretty amazing running plan for the summer, and I’m really excited to hit it, and hit it hard!

I would highly recommend this marathon to anyone! I I will absolutely be back again, and next time-I will finish the full..or form a relay team and customize awesome race shirts for us!! Who wants to be on my team???? :)

Ever “DNF” a race? (for the record–> I dislike that term and it kills me to use it)

Guest Post: My Journey from Sedentary Car Guy to Marathon Runner

Happy Friday Everybody! Today I would like to share a guest post with you written by Dan Button. He is the author and owner of the blog “My Running Life At Speed” and he is QUITE an impressive runner. After meeting Dan on Marathon Monday and then conversing with him on his blog, I asked him to share a guest post with you all. Dan has come a long way in a short time: From his first marathon at 3:31 allll the way down to a 2:39..amazing! I love reading stories like his! Plus, he has big dreams and is heading towards them one run at a time! Dan has been kind enough to answer my barrage of running questions, and I think his story of success can help runners of all levels!

 

One of the first things that really drew me into the running scene was the sense of comradery among runners. I started small, like many of us did, with a local 5k that I wanted to run out of a desire to do something for others, something bigger than me. A teacher at a local elementary school had passed away suddenly and a 5k to raise money for a scholarship in her name was planned shortly afterwards. The race happened to start right at the school where my church was meeting at the time and the start time was right when church got out. I borrowed some basketball shoes from my dad and signed up to run 3.1 miles on a hot summer day. I finished in 23:30 and almost instantly realized that I wanted to do it again soon and run much faster. Having not run at all to train for the 5k I was pretty happy to just finish without having to walk at any point, though I did want to a couple miles in!

That first race was on 10-10-10 and over the next couple of months I ran many more 5ks, progressively working down to the 20 minute range. I was running 3-5 times a week by the end of the fall, up to 7 miles long. Over the winter of 2011 I read Born to Run and was certain that I wanted to move right up to ultra-marathons, wisely I chose to at least run a standard marathon first. I should mention that along with Born to Run, one of my best friends had just started running and my sister-in-law was also a great encouragement in convincing me to run and train every day. I ran my first 15k and first half marathon in the spring of 2011 as part of my long build up to running my first marathon that fall. My friend was also working towards his first marathon so we were training together occasionally and talking about it a lot. Like I said, running is all about community and making friends through running is only trumped by gaining normal life friends as running friends too! The 15k I ran was quite hilly and my projection of finishing in under an hour ended up way off as I finished in 1:06, I believe. That first half marathon went a bit better as I finished in 1:27:xx and had a smile on my face the whole way. My “A” goal for that first marathon was to BQ (3:05) as I knew by then what a BQ meant and how great it would be to get it, even though I had little intention of running Boston at the time.

I continued to train hard over the spring and summer with a target pace of 7:04ish/mile for the marathon. I ran following a training plan I’d found on Cool Running’s website, which had my peak mileage around 50 a week, if memory serves correct. My long runs were quite long though and I peaked with a full 26.2 run where I simply ran out and back on a stretch of road I assumed was mostly flat. Looking back I still draw strength from that run, I can’t remember how long it took, I think it was around 3:48 or so, which puts it still as one of my longest runs to date. I did it entirely solo with nothing but a fuel belt of water and some Gus, and on a road that I would never run on now (If you’re from central NH, you know Route 28 is a crap road to run on)

In October of 2011 I was set to go in my first marathon, training had gone relatively well with no major setbacks or injuries and I was off to Bristol NH to run the scenic NH Marathon. My dad gave me a ride to the start and I had friends showing up later to cheer me on and give me a ride home. I ran the first 7 miles right at 7 minute pace and then made myself slow down until after the hilly middle miles where I tried to speed back up, to no avail. I ended up hitting the wall, HARD, around 21 miles and jogged/walked/shuffled until 24 where my good friend who had been training with me gave me a Snickers bar that quite literally saved my run. I wobbled in to the finish in 3:31:xx and was 26 minutes over my goal and still thoroughly satisfied with the effort. I couldn’t walk right for a week, but still signed up for another marathon right away, certain that I now knew the way to run it in BQ fashion.

Well, fast forward to February of 2012 and I was towing the line at the Hyannis Marathon with a doozy of a head-cold or possibly the flu and very real fears that I might not even finish. It was a brutal grind from start to finish but I stayed more consistent, albeit slower, than the first one and finished in 3:36:xx. After that race and the subsequent week off from work with a horrible, almost ER worthy flu, I decided to take a slower approach and train until the fall for a real attempt at that BQ. To speed up the story I will simply say that I followed nearly the same training approach as I had the first time, just with faster running the whole way through as my body was getting stronger and stronger. I again sought to run at about 7 minute pace, which was now realistic, given the pace I was running in training leading up to it. I ran the Hartford marathon in October 2012 and two years after I started running I had my BQ, finishing in 3:01:20! Soon after finishing I realized that I didn’t want to run ultras just yet, but genuinely wanted to run Boston and to keep running marathons to see how fast I could get.

I signed up for a spring marathon in 2013 and was seeking to jump right down to 2:40 as my goal, having successfully chopped a half hour off my personal best in my last race, it seemed reasonable. Looking back now, it was far too big a goal, but I upped my training anyway and followed the “competitive plan” on cool running’s website. I had recently read Brad Hudson’s book, Run Faster, and was also starting to mix in his training style. Rather than the same old half mile or mile repeats for speed work and excessively long, long runs found on Cool Running, I started mixing in longer workouts on my weekend long runs and short hill sprints at the end of runs on pre-workout days. My biggest mileage weeks were in the upper 60’s, but I was forced to start my taper early with a couple nagging pains. My longest run to date was ironically in that time though, as I did run a 50k at one point. I had only been doing the occasional track workout and getting most of my speed work in with longer efforts on the road, tempo runs, fartleks and mile repeats mostly. I still didn’t own a GPS watch so most of my training was done by measuring out distances on the road and then timing with a stop watch. For someone so interested in getting faster, I certainly took an interesting approach to get there, in retrospect. Though my training was up and down with not near enough consistency, I was still getting faster and it did pay off. I ended up running a 2:48:26 at Sugarloaf in May of 2013 and it still stands as my best paced marathon. I held back for the first 8 miles running under goal pace and then tried to push to goal pace or under (6:15ish) and though I couldn’t hit it, I did only slow down by 10 seconds in the 2nd half. Thinking I just needed to train harder and run more, I redoubled my efforts over that summer and had every intention of breaking 2:40 in the fall. I peaked at close to 70 miles again and for the first time I was following a solid training plan from a top marathon coach. It was still just a canned plan from the back of Hudson’s book, but it was really challenging my body to adapt in different ways. Cue first real struggle with injuries. I had been nursing hip flexor muscles of varying tightness and soreness for months over the summer before I finally gave in and went to the doctor in September, hoping he’d have some last minute magic cure, weeks before my fall race. I ended up missing two weeks completely, when I was ordered to rest, and then put in two 30 mile leading up to the race. I decided to drop my goal time and run with a friend until mile 24 where we’d race each other to the finish. He ran 2:53 and I came in behind in a hard 2:54, but happy to be feeling healthy again and not too sore after. I signed up for a second race that took place a month later, and used the 2:54 marathon as my peak training workout. I only had a slight recovery period and then went back up to another couple weeks around 60 miles before tapering for my second go at the big PR! I took a vacation out in Bend, Oregon and plotted my move to runner heaven during my taper. Taking it easy is a much better plan, I now know, but I’m still trying to find work out there and madly in love with central Oregon. Anyhow, in November of 2013 I ran the Manchester City Marathon in NH and though I went in feeling great, I was once again let down with my time. I ran a 2:50:28 on the tough, hilly and freezing cold course and was more than ready to erase the fall of 2013 from my memory. I am proud of what I ran then and what it taught me about what to do, and what not to do now, however.

I was beyond excited to be running Boston for the first time in 2014 and tried to really start training smarter and more consistent than I ever had. At the end of 2013 I joined my first club and started doing track workouts with them, it was very intimidating running so fast with much faster runners at first. But, the guys totally changed my view of my own running and with the confidence inspired by them I ran a 5k in December of 2013 in 17:00, which was more than minute under my personal best at the time. Over the winter I followed another training plan from Hudson’s Run Faster book and with the encouragement of my club teammates, my mileage began increasing. I started out in January with my mileage right where the previous year had peaked, meaning 70 miles a week, in my big training weeks in March I was running over 90 miles and finishing every other long run with a fartlek or marathon pace progression. My midweek medium long runs were between 10-13 miles and my speed work went through stages of shorter repeats on the track under marathon pace to working up in length and slowing the pace right to marathon effort and doing what Hudson refers to as specific endurance efforts. I ran a half marathon in New Bedford and finished a minute under my goal time in 1:15:30. Finally my dream of sub 2:40 was a realistic goal! I went into Boston shooting for a 2:37, only slowing by 2 minutes in the second half, I finishing a little slower than I wanted in 2:30. Notice a theme? Always setting big, tough goals! Boston 2014 was an absolute dream and a party from start to finish and rather than re-tell the entire story; I’ll simply link to it here.

Much has changed in the year since then; last fall was my first season with no marathon, as I opted to train exclusively for shorter races and XC. I also had the privilege of getting my first coaching job as the assistant for a local DIII T&F program and was able to run the workouts with the team, while training for my own races.

In 2015 I shifted gears yet again, with running Boston as fast as I could, the major focus. I signed up to be part of the newly formed coaching program offered by my favorite coach, Brad Hudson, and started getting my training from someone besides myself for the first time. The goal for 2015 is to break 2:30, it didn’t happen in Boston this year where the winds and cold got the best of me and I slowed down 7 minutes in the second half, but I’ll take another shot in December at CIM in Sacramento. My training leading up to Boston this year was similar to last year since I was using a training plan from Hudson last year as well. The big difference was no more guess work when training had to be adapted or moved around, simply email my coach and ask what to do! Having someone else doing the planning made the task of training much easier for me, as I would do what I was told as best I could. I worked up to 20 mile runs on the weekends by the first month into marathon training this time around, having come into training with a base of 80-90 mile weeks from most of last fall. I think keeping a solid base year round is another key to my training too, as the up and down periods are when injury seems to strike. Without worrying about bringing mileage back up for each training cycle I can easily transfer from steady base miles back into workouts and long marathon efforts. Speaking of workouts, I should mention what the workout plan over the last year has looked like in a little more detail. I normally run a hard workout of intervals of some type on Tuesday, followed by a medium long run Wednesday and a supplemental workout on Thursday, with a long run on either Saturday or Sunday. The other days are reserved for easy mileage, which was 10-14 a day with a short lunch time run and longer evening run in peak training and is now comprised of a single 7-10 mile run. My highest mileage week this past cycle was close to 130 and my average up through that week from the beginning of the year was 94 a week. I did suffer from some plantar pain and started the taper a little early before Boston, but am now recovering alright after a 4 day break post-race and slowly brining mileage back up.

I realize now, that this is more a story of what I’ve done and less on my specific training during those times, but the training was never anything too special. In the words of John L Parker Jr. the trial of miles and miles of trials is what it’s all about. The more consistent my mileage was and the more I ran my workout days at specific marathon efforts in my peak training, the faster my marathons have been, among other factors of course. I think it’s super important to set short term, achievable goals and long term dreams that will be stepped towards until they become the next short term goal and a new dream needs to be dreamt up. I wanted to break 2:40 for a couple years and as soon as I did, I set my sights on 2:30. After running a 2:36 at Boston this year, my next goal is still to break 2:30. But my dream is to one day run a sub 2:18, the current Olympic Trials ‘B’ Standard in the US.

Thanks for reading my little running tale!

 

You can follow Dan’s journey here! Thanks Dan for sharing your amazing story! Any questions for Dan can be asked in the comments as he said he would do his best to answer!

#REALwomenmove & a Giveaway!

By now, you all now how much I love wearing my running skirts. I was, for many, many years NOT a lover of the running skirt. Although I am a girl who likes to wear cute sundresses and get dolled up, I never enjoyed the look of the running skirt.

20141010-135956-50396426.jpg
(setting my half PR here in my fave skirt!)

That all changed last summer: Enter Skirt sports, a trip to Portsmouth and a running store. My little eyes spied the Lioness skirt inside Runner’s Alley. Even though I LOVED how cute this skirt was-I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. “I’m not a girl who wears running skirts!” I told myself. So my husband and I moved on, ate lunch and I dwelled on it the WHOLE lunch. I found myself dragging my husband back to the running store to buy the skirt. I tried it on and immediately-I fell in LOVE with it. Two deep side pockets, one back pocket that zips shut, and it was short and sassy. (I’m more of a “Daisy Duke” girl when it comes to my shorts/skirts, and I don’t like long shorts either. Or long skirts!!.. I will admit it :)) That skirt quickly became my signature skirt: I PR’d in the half marathon, and two weeks later BQ’d for the first time in it. I don’t want to call it a “good luck charm” since I know that luck isn’t anything when it comes to racing and it is all about your training….but it kind of was a tailsman. I was AMAZED at HOW MUCH STUFF I could cram into those pockets (its alot) and had the BEST race day because of it.

Back in the fall, I became an ambassador for the company that makes that skirt and I couldn’t be HAPPIER with my relationship with Skirt Sports! I Loooooove them!!!!! Everyone is SO wonderful, and all the skirt sports sisters really care about one another..It’s really cool to be a part of this amazing little team!

Skirt Sports has now started a movement called “Real Women Move.” You can join the movement by hashtagging (#) your pictures, posts & tweets with #REALwomenmove. I am in love with this movement. In the words of Skirt Sports founder, Nicole DeBoom:

“ We are surrounded by messages of intimidation and exclusiveness in the world of fitness . My REALwomenmove goal is to stop the madness and show women that being fit is something we can all do, regardless of our size, shape or activity level.”

I don’t know if you have noticed this- but I am kind of into empowering runners. I like meeting runners, running with runners, encouraging runners, helping runners… its pretty much my favorite thing. So I am ALL OVER this movement!!! Running is RUNNING. Moving is MOVING. You don’t need to be a certain shape/size/height/weight/bra size to be a runner or to work out. If you are doing the left right shuffle and huffin and puffin–GUESS WHAT?? YOU ARE A RUNNER!! and you know what else??? YOU ARE A REAL WOMAN WHO IS MOVING!!!! If you are big, small, short, or tall, skinny, curvy, or sort of burly…whoooooo cares?? We are all REAL WOMEN, right???

Setting goals, trying your best, doing a new type of run, challenging yourself, working out…these are all examples of empowering yourself to be a better runner or to get into shape. Running and exercising are all a part of being fit! You are a REAL WOMAN because you are doing your best to stay in shape! Every body is different and that means all of us are setting different fitness goals. Maybe your goal is to break 30 minutes in the 5k by September. Maybe it is to break 20 minutes by July. Maybe its to lose 20 pounds, maybe you like to work out because its your only quiet time after a long damn day. Perhaps you work out because you are hanging our with your girlfriends whilst working out. Maybe you want to gain muscles that you lost from not lifting weights for a while. If this sounds like you than guess what? You are a real woman..moving, and setting goals for yourself that will make you ecstatic to accomplish.

Let me give you an example of two real women who move. This is a convo between me & SIL: 

That is a conversation between two real women who have two different goals. Neither one is better than the other. We are simply going to each be trying our damnest to make them happen! Because one woman is a faster runner than the other is irrelevant. Each woman has goals and has eyes on her own prize. BOOM. To show your own #REALwomenmove side…just add that hashtag to your IG/Tweets/Facebook

Now..if you read the title of this post: you know that there is a GIVEAWAY happening, too!!! Yes, yes. This is correct, my friends!

I’m giving away a basic entry ($85 value) to Skirt Sports Virtual 13ER race on June 14th!!!!! Its a 13.1 mile race that you can choose from two options:

1.) Run in Colorado for the actual race and join my Skirt Sports sisters!!!

2.) OR, you can do it in your own neighborhood (like me) from June 13-16. (Saturday-Tuesday!)

Now. I understand how a virtual race can seem not as cool as running a race where you are competing with others. HOWEVER. I disagree. These are my top reasons to run a virtual race!

-You get to wake up whenever you want. No getting up at the crack of dawn. This means waiting til your breakfast settles in your belly, and no porta potty lines because it isn’t settling in. MMM HMMM.

-You get to pick the day. Busy Saturday and Sunday because you are like me and try to cram All The Fun Things into one weekend??/ That’s A-Okay. Run Monday. Run Tuesday. Choice is YOURS.

-You get AMAZING SWAG AND YOU DONT EVEN HAVE TO WIN THE RACE TO GET IT!!!!!!!!! Check it out!!!!
13erFinisherskirtnote_dsa

YUP!! An amazing skirt!!! PLUSSS…Your $85 entry will get a $50 Skirts Sports gift certificate to use on whatever you want!!!

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!

The giveaway will start today and end at 11:59PM on Monday, May 18th. If you register BEFORE May 24th, your skirt is printed with the sweet finisher artwork! **Can’t wait?? You can register today, here, and Enter Coupon Code SSGWR20 to save 20%!

To enter: Leave a comment below saying how YOU display your own #REALwomenmove side. I will announce the winner of the giveaway on Tuesday May 19th on this website! Please check back to see if YOU are the lucky winner!

It’s ON.: The May Marathon 

Welllllll ….I did it! I pulled the trigger& made the decision on my spring marathon! 

May 17th-the Inaugual Gate City Striders Marathon in Nashua New Hampshire. It’s close to me, I can sleep in my own bed the night before and I’ll be home by lunchtime! I even get to pick up my packet the day before at a store I frequent quite often. Win-Win. 

I’m so excited to run another full marathon! Obviously I want a good time, but a big part of me is pretty excited for those three hours and (hopefully not more than) 12-17 minutes that I will be  pounding that pavement. This is my bday present to me, from me! Last year, I ran two half marathons during my birthday month…this year it’s a full! I hope to do well…but in the end-I just want to run my heart out!

  

And the amenities look pretty great…

Weekend happenings….Saturday I had a terrific long run, and then I sat and admired our garden.   (Although the pollen is draining my energy like crazy..I’ve never had allergies in my life!)    

Man I just love flowers and the springtime!!!       

And a little Saturday night treat: grapefruit mojito’s with mint from our garden!   

I’m cutting this post short & sweet because my allergies are driving me crazy and I want to scratch my eyeballs out of my head! Time to hit the hay with a Benadryl!! 

I hope all you momma’s had a fantastic Mother’s Day!!! 

The 5k: The Scariest distance there is!

I get so nervous about 5k’s!! Isn’t that weird? I don’t get very nervous for a full marathon and I look forward to the challenge! But 5k’s cause me to lose sleep, give myself a stomach ache, and basically freak myself the heck out all over 3.19 miles. I think I would feel differently about the 5k if I had grown up a speedy runner who worked her way up from the 5k to the marathon. Instead—> I am the weirdo who’s first race was a marathon…and then worked BACKWARDS. (who does that???)

Anyways. I ran a 5k Tuesday night. I’ve been itching to get back into a solid routine of weekly speedwork. I did the Good Times race series that is in downtown Lowell. This is a great race series for runners of all levels. You can choose to register for the entire series (they have a spring series and a summer series), or you can pay for one race at a time. And the cost is pretty cheap- $15!!! The races are run out of a bar…I think all runners like this! It’s really a great time and it’s packed with people! They typically give awards to the top in each AG as well as the overall male/female. And if you hit a new PR, you get a “miley” award. They have some really fun incentives for runners!

For me, I like the series because it’s really close to my house. I like the idea of getting some speedwork in on a course I can run weekly and see improvements. The 5k is NOT a distance I excel at. I would like to go back in time and smack the old Nicole who scoffed at 5k’s because the distance was “too short for her daily runs.” Stupid, uninformed runner! If you are racing a 5k-than you are pushing your body to its limits. I don’t care if your race pace is a 4 minute mile, or a 15 minute mile-the effort on your part is the same. AND IT HURTS. Speedwork in the form of those 5 kilometers is a b****. I’ve only ever raced 2 (now 3) 5ks. And man they are tough!!

I’ve been making myself a mental checklist for the things I need to do next week:
-Line up more in the front, if not the very front. I was a lot further back than I thought I was and it was hard to bob and weave. I’m not the biggest fan of that!
IMG_6296
(I have on a blue headband, sunglasses, and blue tank-All you can see is my little head and a bit of my top….I’m about 7ish people-rows back from the front)

-I need to learn to dominate the second mile and not “just get through it”. I do not like mile 2!!!! It’s the toughest one!!! I really get in my own head, the waaahbulance gets fired up and I think to myself “I can’t do it! I’ll never get faster!” and of course, my fave–“When will this freaking be over??” The second mile on this course feels long- you are going from bridge to bridge and there aren’t any turns or twists-its a straight shot and it feels like it never ends!!! I think I swore off 5ks at least 10 different times during Mile 2.

-Don’t forget to take your GU Nicole! I meant to take it 10-15 minutes before. Whoops.

Things that worked:

-I warmed up and cooled down beforehand. Patting myself on the back now for that! I think the warm up helped loosen me up a LOT since I was still sore from my 16 mile run on Sunday. By the time I was through with the warmup, I felt a lot better. The cool down was great too. My muscles thanked me for letting them run a wee bit longer.

-I picked off people one by one. I would hold their pace, and when I knew I could take them-I would pass them by.
My goal is to get down to a 19:xx 5k soon, and then see how I feel after that. I know that I need to get even more “comfortable” being “uncomfortable” because 5ks are anything but “comfy”. They are hard work. This was my first solid effort at a 5k since August of 2014, so I’m pretty happy with my result of 21:03. 13 seconds off of my PR. I was 3rd woman overall and 22 finisher out of 378 runners.     (Splits: I started my watch exactly when the race started, not when I crossed the start line)

Some fun & random facts for you:

-My playlist. I made it 38 minutes long to include any little hiccups and also my cooldown miles.(and I made it longer because I like variety and i like to be surprised at what song is coming on next!) thanks to everyone on my FB & my IG who gave me some awesome song choices! “Guts over Fear” came on at EXACTLY the right time. Some dude was trying to pass me–All i needed was Sia’s gorgeous voice singing to me telling I had Guts and NOT Fear…And before i knew it, that dude was in the rearview ;)

-I have learned that (most) men do not like when a girl beats them. And, They like it even LESS when the girl is in a skirt. Just a little fun fact! I am going to keep wearing my skirts while racing! Not only are they adorable, they are sassy, I feel cute, and I like beating boys whilst wearing a skirt! Sidenote...I don’t mean to sound sexist!

-The run the day AFTER a 5k is just not fun. Not fun at ALL. I could barely hold an 8:30 pace….my “fastest” mile was an 8:09 mile! Its crazy what a good race effort can do to your legs/body!

And that is where I leave you today! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I’m really sorry at my extremely sporadic posting patterns of late–> My seniors have their LAST WEEK of school next week and i’ve been pretty busy with school/life lately and haven’t had much time to post! I promise to be a much better running blogger come the end of May!

What is the scariest distance to you?

Monday recap: birthday runs& birthday fun

Thank you everyone for all of the amazing birthday love!!! I had a great weekend celebrating! I seriously have always loved my birthday. There were a few years in my late 20s when I would get depressed about the fact that I was GETTING OLDER. But now, I just don’t even sweat it. It is what it is! 33 + Fabulous = One happy girl! :) Age is really all relative and I truly believe you are as old as you feel!

Thursday night I went to see Eric Church. I just heart him for forever and ever. And I like to say that I have loved him since before it was “cool” to love country’s bad boy. I would go to the really small venue’s to see him. Now that he is superstar famous, I love that he still has the same connection to his audience that he used to: His stage presence is unbelievable and the energy of the crowds is insane. However…It was like this when he was playing at the small places too. The man is incredible. He sounds even BETTER live that on his cd’s (where he still sounds incredible, in case you are wondering). There is nobody like him. He is a country music badass who is true to his craft, and he doesn’t sell out for anything like a lot of artists end up doing.

—> That was a LOT of eric church info…aren’t you so glad you read this blog about running??? Anyway…Obviously, it was a birthday dream come true to be able to see him the night before my birthday!!! We had AMAZING seats, were chauffered in by my fabulous father in law, & got picked up at the door right after it was finished!! During the show, EC said he wanted to break his record for the longest show ever played–> and he did! HE played 31 songs and it lasted almost 2 1/2 hours!! AMAZING.

Ok i’m done. Just a few pics for you though from my date with my BFF and EC:

   

                 

So the running.This is a running blog, right??
Monday-7 miles easy, 8:08 avg pace

Wednesday– 8 miles at the track! I did an 800s workout that both surprised and delighted me. I didn’t expect to do so well with my first speed workout post Boston. I LOVE the track, big time. I got up super early and watched the sun come up as I was hitting it hard. I was really delighted that I was able to progress with my 800s : splits were 3:19, 3:20, 3:21, 3:19, 3:13, 3:08, 3:07. ( i wanted to do 8 but I ran out of time!) 5 miles in 34:52, 6:58 avg pace. Halfway through the workout, my body kind of woke up and i thought to myself “I GET to do this. I am so freaking lucky.”

Friday– 7 hilly miles: 54:57, 7:51 avg pace. I have been talking training lately with a fellow runner who took himself from a 3:30 marathon down to a 2:39 marathon. Dude rocks. Anyway, he was telling me some changes he made to his running that helped improve his speeds. One of those things was hill sprints on the day before a big workout. I wanted to see how I felt on Saturday’s tempo run after hitting the hills! The hills I run are BEASTLY and since I was running a route that had continuous rolling hills-I didn’t do repeats, I just kept powering up and over the hills.

Saturday-8 mile tempo run, 1:00, 7:29 avg pace. Super happy with this run. It was comfortably fast with my middle miles being at a 7:00 minute pace.

Sunday-BIRTHDAY LONG RUN. it’s my tradition to do a bday long run. 15-17 miles is my favorite distance to do, but I debated on a 22 miler too. I guess I think that running is crazy fun??? Typically, I do the bday run thing on my actual bday, however I had a lot of things going on this weekend and chose to wait until Sunday. I’m SO happy with how this run went. And because I like to reflect, I took a look back at last years bday run:   

Yesterday’s bday run: 16 miles, 2:06:23, 7:54 avg pace 
Man i love progress. I was pretty hot and sweaty, too. When I started, it was only 48 degrees, but by the time i had finished the temps climbed up to 72! Time to get used to warmer weather running again!!

46 miles for the week: 7:46 avg pace

 

I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend! Tell me all about it!