2014: In the rearview-Accomplishments&Firsts

Only 13 days stand between us and 2015.

This has been a great year for me with my running. (This is going to be a long post because I’m SOOO thankful for all of my advancements) This year will be pretty hard to top-but That doesn’t mean I won’t try in 2015! This post is sort of a diary style-meets checklist for me… I wanted a post where I could look back and see all the fun things I did this year so that I don’t forget how cool (well, cool to ME, anyway!) it was ! It was the year of a lot of “firsts” for me, and a year of “running celebrations”!

In the year 2014, I …..

-Ran a real lot of races! 17! I can’t believe it was that many! To briefly sum it up…
-NINE(!!!) Half Marathons – Great Bay (Apr), Moose On The Loose (Apr), Big Lake(May), Funky Kingston(May), Naragannsett Summer Running Festival(July), Triple Threat(Aug), Manchester By The Sea(Oct), Wolf Hollow(Nov), Jingle Bell(Dec)
-THREE Marathons –Hyannis (Feb), Boston (April), Baystate (Oct)
-TWO 5k’s- 4th of July 5k, Good Times 5k (Aug)
-ONE Virtual Race-Skirts Sports Ten on Ten Miler (Sept)
-ONE 5 Miler -Marathon Sports 5 Miler (July)
-ONE 10k- Thanks4Giving (Nov)
(the picture collages throughout this post are pics from my 17 races!)
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-I placed high in 6 of those 17 races-ranging between coming in a top finisher (2), winning my age group (1) 2nd in age group (3), and was within a top 10 finish for 9 races :)

-PR’d twice in the half Marathon. August with a 1:41, and October with a 1:35. (And allllmost PR’d again in December but didn’t because my legs slowed down on the last two miles that were straight uphill!)
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-PR’d twice in the Marathon. Hyannis in February with a 3:45, Baystate in October with a 3:28.

- I learned just how fun it is to run with a friend. Before this year, I had NEVER run with other people before. I started running with my friend M as she trained to run her 2nd half marathon. It was so much fun and now running with other people is my favorite thing! Oh, and doing races with friends…that is also amazing and fun!

-So, YAY!!!! I ran lots of races with my friends!
*Ran 1 Race with my friend Bre!
(Good Times 5k)
*Ran 3 races with my SIL (4th of July 5k), Baystate Half/Full (her the Half, me the Full), & The Thanks4Giving 5k.
*Ran 3 races with my really good friend M (Great Bay Half, 4th of July 5k, Marathon Sports 5 miler)
*Ran 4 races with my running partner! (Baystate Half/Full, Triple Threat Half, Manchester by the Sea Half, 4th of July 5k)

-Speaking of running partners, In 2014 I met mine: This is quite an involved story that completely deserves it’s own post. But… I’ll give you the short and sweet version: I met my running partner completely by accident back in January on the running blog “The Hungry Runner Girl.” She replied to my comment on HRG’s blog, and long story short: it turned out that:
-We are both crazy marathon runners
-We are a perfect “running match” for one another and challenge each other where we need it!
-We were within 15 feet of one another when the 2013 Boston Marathon bombs went off (we were both running it, and within feet of finishing)
– WE ARE NEIGHBORS….How’s THAT for a small world? We live like 5 houses apart from one another. Talk about good luck and good fortune!
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-Did new race distances that I had never done before : This year, I did a 5k, 10k, Virtual race, and a 5 miler. I think my favorite distance that I tried out was the 5 miler. That was tough, but over pretty quickly! I also learned just how challenging a 5k can be, and I’m excited for next spring when I start to do a weekly 5k series on Tuesdays nights. A good 5k leaves you so sore it is ridiculous!!
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- I accomplished nearly all of 2014’s goals. I had wanted to run 14 races (I ran 17), and break my (2013) 3:47 PR! I did both those things AND BQ’d!!! I have to say that I loved my BQ moment so much, and I’m still over the moon about it and it happened nearly 2 months ago! I also hit a new half marathon PR – I had wanted to PR within the 1:3x range so badly, and I finally did that in October, too!
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It was a fantastic, amazing, incredible year!

I will be back tomorrow with the one goal that I didn’t meet, the reasons I’m okay with that, and my 2015 goals!

Now tell me two things you are happy about with your 2014 running year!

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Marathon Grab Bags-a Christmas gift for YOU!

Pro Compression Marathon Socks Grab Bags are BACK, everybody!

I have bulked up on my collection mostly through sales like these. It’s a great way to add socks for dirt cheap! In addition to the marathon socks, they also have a calf sleeve grab bag!!

Here is the link… And you can enter “2014” in the coupon code box and get 42% off. Three pairs of socks that regular $50 each just cost me only $37 for three!!

Go treat Yo self, friends!!!

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Birthdays, Celebrations, and Mileage

This weekend was my husband’s birthday! We celebrated in style with lots of family parties and delicious desserts!

Birthday celebration #1:Maple Bacon Cupcakes! The birthday boys special request…

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They were insanely delicious!
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Happy Birthday Babe!
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Birthday Celebration #2:
Amazing Chocolate Cake!

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My mileage for the week was higher than it has been in a while: 52.2 miles. I had to look back at my notes to figure out the last time I had a 50+ mileage week, and its been a while: Sept 22-28 was my last 50 mile week! It felt good to have my mileage back up again. I’m not worried that I didn’t hit higher mileage for almost 3 months. Honestly, this whole entire year, I’ve run less mileage than I did last year, and I’ve improved significantly. But more on that soon!

Monday: Off
Tuesday: It was ridiculously cold, and dangerously icy outside. I had to treadmill it. A progression run on the mill!

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Wednesday: Raining again, and I had a limited time to run so I hopped on the tready…

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I also got an AMAZING deal on those beautiful yellow sneaks…Brooks Pure Connect 3s. I’ve been wanting to try them for a while now but I held out for a good sale. Dicks had 15% off all sneakers, and combined with some rewards I had-I ended up paying about $30! SCORE! I just want to say I love these sneakers! I plan to hit the track in them this upcoming Tuesday to really feel them fly!!

In both of those pics above, I’m wearing Skirt Sports bottoms…the purple skirt is my beloved cannot-live-without-it-please-dont-ever-make-me- Cougar Skirt, and the black shorts are the Reversible Booty Short. I love them both and cannot WAIT til it’s warmer out again so my life can go back to easy with shorts& skirts!! Plus…I don’t like racing in pants! I like my little cute skirt with the one million pockets that conveniently holds ALL of my stuff! Even though it’s freeeeezing outside, when I’m on the treadmill, I NEED to be in shorts. It’s not even an option. Even though my basement is ALSO freezing cold…but i digress….

Thursday: 8 miles at a 7:40 pace, and on the treadmill again. I actually needed to watch Nashville so it worked out… Anybody else watch that amazing show? I’m beyond obsessed… And Juliette & Avery? Be still, my heart!

Friday: Off (Day 1 of Birthday celebrations)

Saturday: I knew all week that i wanted to do a 20 miler. It’s a little bit of a stretch from my long run last week, considering that I only ran 13! I didn’t get a great night’s sleep, and i procrastinated until 11:45 (i HATE how i procrastinate in the winter months…it is actually terrible how long i wait sometimes to leave!) Procrastination really messes with my head & I wasn’t really excited for my long run like I normally am, and I felt a little sluggish the whole time.

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As far as first “20 milers” go, this was pretty good. My first 20 miler in my Baystate training (back in August) was 20.25 miles in 3:00:57. I’m pretty excited for my next 20 miler-I’m really looking forward to smashing this week’s time..I’m still trying to break a 2:40 long run time. Faster-finish long runs have truly made me a better runner!!

Sunday: I had a great, hilly recovery run. 8.20 miles at an 8:35 pace.

What was your favorite run of the week?
Anybody else have a December birthday?

How to train for a marathon while using a treadmill

No matter where you are, if you have made the unfortunate decision to train for a spring marathon, then the jokes on you you are already aware that to actually GET to spring—you must survive the winter. YUP. I’ve written a LOT lately about running outside throughout the winter running because i’m trying to psych myself up… but really, i DO have to do a couple days of week on the dreadmill. Whether i like it or not, sometimes the weather is NOT my friend. Tuesday it was dangerously snowing/raining/sleeting and i decided i like my odds of survival much better on the ‘mill than on the roads…Wednesday, i had limited time AND it was pouring out…treadmill=2, Running Outside=0. BUT THURSDAY! This was going to be MY DAY to run outside! When i got out of work, it was lightly snowing. And by the time i got home, it was heavily snowing. So….Treadmill=3, Nicole/Running Outside=0. (((SIGH))) The life of the winter runner is a struggle. Three for Three…. UGH. Its going to be a long winter…

Now that my tale of woe is complete, I must tell you that the purpose of this post it to add my 2 cents in about how to train for a marathon while also running on a treadmill…

STEP 1:
Buy a treadmill.
Or, ….join a gym, use your complex’s treadmill, work out in your office gym that has a treadmill…or, worst case scenario? Break into your next door neighbor’s house that has a treadmill. Just kidding…

STEP 2:
Turn Treadmill on.
It’s pretty hard to run on a treadmill that’s off. #justsaying!

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STEP 3:
You have a phone, or some sort of electronic device, right?
Good. Because Kindle/Nook Books, Music, podcats, Netflix, XFinity Go, NETFLIX…They are your new friends and will help entertain you, like… A LOT. I love all of these things… figure out how to use them, and use them well. Now is the time to ask your friends which shows/books/movies you have been missing from your life. You + Treadmill+ Electronics? You might as well tattoo “NETFLIX” on your arm, my treadmill running friend because you just fell in loooove!

STEP 4:
Have a plan.
What type of run are you doing today? Sprints? Easy? Tempo? Yassos? Progression? Knowing ahead of time what you are going to be doing helps alleviate the helplessness! As much as i hate being forced inside on my treadmill, knowing what my planned outdoors run was going to be for that day helps me figure out my treadmill running plan.

STEP 5:
Set a goal finishing time.
This has helped me A LOT. If i don’t limit myself on the time i can spend on the treadmill, i am likely to take 84,000 breaks, check my cell phone, answer phone calls, respond to texts, comment on blogs… Are you getting the picture? Don’t let distractions get in the way, or before you know it, your spouse will be telling you its 2 hours from bedtime and you haven’t started dinner yet. (thats only partially a true story…ok, LIES, its 100%true)

Step 6:
Use your treadmill for harder workouts that are difficult for you to accomplish outdoors.
Use nature’s obstacles as your easy runs and if you have to, use your treadmill for your more difficult runs. I had wanted to hit the track this week, but that trick b*tch M Nature sure had other plans. I had to adjust…that’s life though! I have learned that Adjustment is just one part of being a runner. If the outside terrain is too unsafe to run on, I will use my treadmill all winter long for all of my tough workouts.

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Step 7:
I’m already sorry that i have to include this part because you all are my friends…
Set your treadmill to a 1% incline. (If you’re feeling frisky…put it higher.)
Are you training for Boston or another hilly marathon? Well then, you need to get a good hill workout on there too!!
Running outside presents you with uneven pavement, uphills, wind resistance, downhills, and other crazy situations. Setting your treadmill on an incline will help you prepare for these real life situations that you WILL encounter as soon as it is safe to do so without falling down stairs or under your car. (both of these unfortunate things happened to my poor friend the other day)

STEP 8:
Don’t be afraid to hop on the treadmill.
Sometimes, you’ve just GOT to do it. I’ve met VERY few runners who love the treadmill…most runners will openly tell you it just ain’t their bag. I am one of those runners. Give me rain, cold, and even my least favorite element-WIND, and i will STILL choose roads over mill every time. But, this week? That choice was out of my control so i sucked it up and just DID what i had to do, and i didn’t complain even once!! I know you don’t love it. But i promise you, you will survive. And if you want, you can email me after and tell me how much you hated it. With the advancement of today’s treadmills, they mimic the outdoors SO well, it’s crazy. You can simulate your exact courses, and even put lifts under your treadmill for simulation purposes! (I have never done this… I have lots of hills in my ‘hood that beg me to run up them!)
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STEP 9:
Remember that ALL of your runs shouldn’t be done on a treadmill.
We winter runners training for that beautiful, seemingly intangible, spring marathon know this:
At some point (or two) during the week-we absolutely MUST venture outside for some running. You still need to keep your body used to running outside. By running on pavement, you are naturally setting your paces and your body is instinctively learning what certain paces feel like. This is imperative to marathon training! I plan to do Saturday and Sunday’s runs outside because its going to be lovely out! And by lovely…I mean NO precipitation!

How often do you hit the treadmill?
How many days a week? Give me the ratio!

Runs that help improve your paces

When I first started running, I didn’t know about runs like the tempo run or importance of ANY speed workouts. I knew nothing about how pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can make you a speedier runner. All I knew that it was 1.25 miles to get through my neighborhood, and if I did that loop a couple times then I worked up a nice sweat. That’s all any new runner really wants from running: A good sweat, the feeling of accomplishment, and the reward of seeing healthy changes that in your own body.

Eventually I learned about all the “cool runs” there are out there, for “running” isn’t just “running”…is it? All runs are not created equal and it seems that there is/are as many types of runs as there are colors in my box of crayons. There is a LOT to learn if you are a new runner looking to increase your speed! I’ve been getting a ton of questions lately regarding different speed workouts that I do that have really been helping me to become a faster runner. Even when I don’t consider myself to be in “full training beast mode” I try to at least still put some speedier runs into my workouts. Forcing myself to do weekly workouts has improved my running sooo much its crazy.

1. Tempo Run
I can talking until I lose my voice about how much I love the tempo run. The trick is to get the paces you want to run correct-this means that you should have a target race goal. Once you have a goal in mind, you can figure out how fast you should go by using this calculator here. Tempo runs are effective because you’re setting the pace higher so it’s not quite “all out” but it’s “comfortably hard” on you. You can’t hold a conversation, but you’re able to say a couple quick words. My husband will often interrupt me during a treadmill tempo run to ask when dinner is and I will tell him “3 more miles” (which is my way of avoiding the question maybe?) I like that that the tempo run makes me work hard but not overdo it.

I know some of you like the “technical terms” for different types of runs, so I snagged this handy dandy “official explanation” off of Runner’s World:

Tempo Run

A tempo run is a faster-paced workout also known as a lactate-threshold, LT, or threshold run. Tempo pace is often described as “comfortably hard.” Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness.

Why tempo runs work: By increasing your LT, or the point at which the body fatigues at a certain pace. During tempo runs, lactate and hydrogen ions—by-products of metabolism—are released into the muscles. The ions make the muscles acidic, eventually leading to fatigue. The better trained you become, the higher you push your “threshold,” meaning your muscles become better at using these by-products. The result is less-acidic muscles (that is, muscles that haven’t reached their new “threshold”), so they keep on contracting, letting you run farther and faster

The tempo run is effective for me because it makes me push myself and get out of my comfort zone. Pushing myself farther makes me more comfortable when I’m hitting those fast paces in my races.

How do I do my tempo runs? 2 mile w/u, 5-6 miles @ tempo pace, 1.5-2 mile cool down. Sometimes I will increase the tempo mileage a little more if I’m turning it into a midweek long run.

2. Progression runs
Another favorite of mine is the progression run. This is a type of run that allows me to slowly build and ease into faster speeds throughout the course of the run. I typically will warm up at a really easy pace for 1-2 miles, then gradually increase my speed every 6-8 minutes until I am ending on my “threshold pace” (same thing as my tempo pace) , and follow that with a cool down. I like doing these runs best when I’m running outside because I don’t care about switching the pace when I’m mid-mile, but when I’m on the treadmill, I tend to raise the speed in nice, neat increments of exact miles.

How do I do my progression runs? Last night I had to hit my treadmill because it was monsooning outside. I did 8 miles altogether starting with a warmup of 7.4 and building all the way up to 8.8, then cooled down for 1 mile. This type of run always keeps me entertained which is something I desperately need during those cold cold winter months when I’m spending more time on the old ‘mill!

3. Race paced long runs/Fast Finish Long Runs –I credit my improvements in running to efficiently nailing these two runs.

A “race pace” run is a run that you will warm up for a few miles, but instead of running a slow, easy pace, you sub that out and with miles run at your goal “race pace”. So if I’m doing a 16 mile long run, I will warm up for about 3, and then try to hit the next 11 miles at my goal race pace, then cool down for the last 2.

A “fast-finish” long run is a run where you finish the 2nd half faster than the first. This helped me a TON during my last marathon. Compared to prior marathons when I would slow to a 9-10 minute mile, I only slowed to a low 8. YES, I wish I hadn’t slowed at all, but I know that practicing faster finishes made my legs keep chugging along even though they REALLY did not want to do so. My favorite long run route goes right past my sissy’s house. I use her house as my marker for when to kick up the pace and get faster. If your body is already exhausted, this can be hard to do, but I promise you that its actually worth it!

How often do I do each of these runs? I’m going to bullet my next part because bullet points are fun (or is it just me that thinks that??)
-I do a tempo run every week, whether I want to or not.
– I will do a progression run once a week. I don’t always do it for the entire run, sometimes it is just half of the run. Honestly, these happen most when I’m trying to keep myself entertained.. #winterissoveryverylong
-Once a month, I sub in a “race pace” long run. Every other long run that I do, I attempt to execute it with a “fast finish”.

I promise you that by including some/one of these runs on a weekly basis will help your running! At the very least, it gives you something to do than just plain-old easy runs!

What’s your favorite speed-increasing run?

Mileage, the weekend & a race recap: The Jingle Bell Half Marathon

I had a lot of pretty good runs this past week. Monday, it was really nice out so I ran the track. 1.50 miles w/u, 4 miles of 400s, 1.50 cool down home. 7 miles

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Wednesday- 10 mile progression run, 1:15:08, 7:31 avg

Thursday- 7.10 slow miles-9:08 avg pace

Saturday-Jingle Bell Half Marathon 13.10 miles, 1:37:49

Sunday- 6 miles @ 7:38, 45:50.

43.2 miles total, 7:48 average pace for the week

Saturday I ran the Jingle Bell Half Marathon. It was at the beautiful Atkinson Country Club in Atkinson Hew Hampshire. When I saw that this race was on a Saturday, it was a no brainer for me. I kind of have a thing for Saturday races and totally believe all races should be on Saturdays! I was pretty excited about this race because I was going to be running right by my girlfriend’s house! Our plan was for her to meet me at the finish line to do 4-5 more easy miles to wrap up my long run and then hit the country club for breakfast! Runs with a friend + post run Mimosas? Does it GET any better than that?!?

Overnight on Friday, it snowed a little (it is December so that’s not really a surprise) The race directors were debating all morning whether to move the start to 10am instead of 9 to let the roads clear a little , and, it was supposed to warm up throughout the morning to be a balmy 40 degrees (insert laughter here—but 40 degrees IS actually balmy in December, YUCK), but the race ended up starting only 2 minutes late. A win in my book because I HATE waiting around for the start as it is!!

I had known already that this was going to be a hilly course. I don’t really seek hills out, per say, but I do make sure I have at least one REALLY hilly run a week to keep my legs strong. I had a fantastic start to the race-6 minute miles, and I was in the lead for quite a bit of time. I passed my girlfriend’s house early on and she was out in her yard cheering for me and the other runners along with her two adorable girls who made signs for me! That made my heart swell and I kept that happy thought for a lot of tough miles!

The course varied between both main and back roads. The main roads were mostly clear, however I tried to run outside of all cones because the ground behind the cones was full of slush and snow. The back roads were tricky. I lost a lot of energy trying to keep myself on the best paved part of the road, and I was extremely careful with my footing to avoid going DOWN. This meant smaller, restrained, careful steps at a fast pace. Not the easiest of things to do!

I wore my Skirt Sports Go The Distance Tights, and my Brooks jacket over a long sleeve, lightly lined shirt. I also had on my gloves for half the race, a hat, and compression socks under my tights. I’ve never raced with this many clothes on and I felt a little bulky. I heat up REALLY fast when I’m running, but I’m a big fat baby when I’m standing at starting lines. I was hot by mile 2 and wished I was in shorts, but, halfway through the race, the weather turned from a light, cooling mist into bone chilling raindrops and I was soaked. Brrrr….Winter rain is COLD. Once it started to rain, I was extremely glad that they hadn’t delayed the start of the race until 10 am, AND that I was wearing more clothes than usual!

By Mile 7, the hills started to get tougher and I actually lost my 1st/2nd place lead to the girl who I’m pretty sure ended up winning. Shortly after, I got passed a few more times but managed to hold 5th place all the way until mile 12…then my legs decided they were cold/tired/wet/ and wanted to just be DONE already. I ended up finishing in 9th place, which I guess isn’t that bad out of about 900 runners. I wasn’t sad about my time :1:37… my second fastest half marathon, done on a hard, hilly course on a wintery, frozen-mix kind of day. I hadn’t started off with a single time goal since it was clearly not a PR day- so I had nothing to be disappointed about!

Saturday’s half marathon was my 17th (!!!) race of the year. If I’ve learned one thing from this year of racing, it’s that you glean a lesson from every race you run. From Saturday’s race, I learned I need to work on my “race brain” a little bit more. When I was in the lead, I kept telling myself “it’s cool, you’ve got this, keep it steady!” but really, since it took so long for me to get passed, I think I relaxed a little and let down my guard. I have to keep my brain at constant attention and my adrenaline UP if I want to win races. I am going to focus on doing more “race pace” long run workouts because those help a ton. I also know that I lost speed due to the crappy road conditions…it was CRAZY how snowy/icy/slushy they were and there were times I felt like I was skating a little. It forced me to completely focus 100% of the time on the road so as not to lose my footing!

I was sooo excited to finally be done… I was completely frozen and wet!

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The medal is a cute Christmas tree ornament!

Post-race, the thought of spending one more second outside in the freezing cold sounded like pure torture, so Erin & I skipped the miles and went straight to the mimosas.

After breakfast, I wanted to check my official results, so we went down to the ballroom where they were posted. There was still a pretty lively celebration going on with beer, hot chocolate, and some other good treats. I was pretty excited to see that even though I had slipped considerably -I was still second in my AG!:) (lead formal won with a 1:33)

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i got to pick out an ornament as my prize, too..they had a cute little collection to pick from and I wanted them all!!
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how cute are these ornaments??

I picked this adorable snowman…

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And he looks great on my tree next to my new medal!

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Erin and I at the celebration afterwards!

The last thing that I cannot forget to mention was my favorite part of the race: when I was in the lead— it was really fun/cool/inspiring. I know I just said that I didn’t really CARE about losing the lead, and I really didn’t…but the cool/great/awesome part about being lead girl was passing the spectators: every time I saw a woman, they would SHOUT to me that I was the first woman—that WILL NEVER GET OLD. Every time I heard “first woman!” I LOUDLY&PROUDLY THANKED whomever said it! And, I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED passing little girls who were cheering runners on from their front lawns, or the track team handing out water- these girls cheered their hearts out! It made me hope that one day they will grow up to be runners who aspire to be great runners, and in turn, inspire all the young girls around them to kick some butt! Hearing their cheers was my favorite part of the day!

Have a great day, everybody!

An annoyance, a workout, and a bunch of randomness.

So, first of all-I just have to tell you that WordPress and I are in a silentfight. YUP, you read that right: I’m fighting with my website provider/host (or whatever you would like to call it) You may have noticed lately that I will have a post go out, only to disappear immediately. Or maybe it appears in your reader and then you can’t comment on it. Posts that have been scheduled are not going out when they are scheduled and it is making me crazy. And the thing is, I KNOW I’m doing it right and not hitting the “Publish Immediately” button unless I want to “publish immediately” . SO ANNOYING.

I know a lot of you out there are self-hosted, and I’ve been thinking about going this route, but I’m not quite there yet. I once told myself that once I got a certain number of followers-then I would do it, and I’m at that level but still don’t know if I’m ready to take the plunge. So to all of you self-hosters out there:

- What made you take the leap from using a host like WordPress or Blogspot?
-Did you have crazy hiccups when you switched (I have read others’ horror stories)
-What’s the monthly average I should expect to spend on costs for my site?

I thank you in advance for your help/advice!!!

And now for some random questions& randomness….

-Lately, I’ve been doing hair research and listening to other women around me. There is a lot of debate about how often hair is washed. Um yeah..once again, I’m asking you another weird question... It’s actually talked about all the time and it’s only once in a while that,I’m the one bringing it up,but whatev. I work with some ladies who have the most amazing thick/glossy hair and they only wash it once a week, and there are a few others who only wash it once a month. When I first heard that I told them they were gross-I wash my hair everyday!. They were all talking about natural oils and how it made their hair thicker/stronger/longer and blablabla….. So, last week, I decided to do a little test… I washed my hair on a sunday (post run) and then not again until late Tuesday night (I took Monday off from running& ran Tuesday night). I have to tell you..my hair felt extremely healthy. And the not washing it everyday not only was easier, I felt my hair getting stronger. Since then, I’ve been keeping up this regiment of not washing my hair on days that I don’t run.

If you follow HRG at all–you know that she is a runner and doesn’t wash her hair everyday. ( again, it’s weird, I know) So my question for all this hair talk is this: to my female (or long haired males!)runner friends:
-do you wash your hair every day?
-Do you ever skip a day of washing it when you’ve also gone for a run?
-if you don’t wash it every single day, do you use dry shampoo?

These are a lot of questions I’m throwing at ya’ll today..HAPPY FRIDAY!!!

-Monday was 50 in my neck of the woods, so after checking to make sure it was cleared, I hit the track immediately after getting home. It was partially dark when I got there, and fully dark by the time I left. I’m hoping that it continues to be plowed out all winter long!!! I was a little dissappointed in my repeat times, but after an exhausting weekend of running, and also two races last week…I reevaluated and realized they weren’t that bad.

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-I saw this on my friend Sandy’s Facebook…and YES SANDY… These ARE actually the most amazing Christmas lights!!

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HAPPY FRIDAY!! thank you for indulging me with my 84,000 questions today. ☺️

Tips&Tricks Of Surviving Winter Runs

This is sort of a follow up to my “things to love about winter running” post on Tuesday.
I still run outside in the wintertime because if I didn’t—I would be a stir-crazy mad woman!! For any runner training for the Boston Marathon, or any other spring marathon, you know that you will have to do at least a little running outside. I feel like people are always asking me if I still run through the winter so I thought I would give you a little info about how I survive it!

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1) Right when I come in from my run, I change out of my clothes. I get SUPER hot right when I come inside the house and feel like I can’t breathe..but within ten minutes, I’m already freezing cold. I change quickly out of my running clothes, or hop right in the shower! I have always felt like this helps to keep me from getting sick—cold/damp clothes keep the runner cold and damp.

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2.)Watch out for those unstable surfaces. I wear Yaktrax when necessary. And I’m super careful on an unknown surface. When in doubt, walk through the icy/snowy patches.

3.)Layer it up! I’m THE QUEEN of layers. On any given cold weather day you can find me in a long sleeve shirt (or two) , my jacket, tights, running pants, and compression socks! Oh, and a hat and gloves and a scarf. All that effort just to enjoy the outdoors….

4.)I’m really careful in the dark. Since it gets dark at 4 and I get home at 3:45, I have to make sure I use headlamps and lots of bright, reflective clothing. The worst idea ever is for you to go running, outside, in dark/unreflective clothing. You might as well lay down in traffic if you are going to do that because you are asking for an unfortunate incident!

5.) I shorten my stride considerably in the winter time. This helps me minimize my potential for falling! (because I tend to be VERY clumsy!)

6.) Sometimes I give up and just run on the old mill. I admit it, I get lazy. And if I’m starting a run in “full dark” than I tend to stick to the treadmill to keep my husband happy(he gets nervous for some reason;)). There are a ton of local gyms in my area too, and I’m also considering getting a membership for only $9.99 a month. . .On the days where my own treadmill makes me sad, I can meet SIL at the gym and we can run side by side!!! #bonus

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1.) you have to be extra super super careful in the dark. Headlamps, reflective gear, blinking lights, knuckle lights….all of these are your friend. USE THEM. During the winter months, I tend to stick to more main roads vs. back roads because I feel they are well taken care of, maintained nicely, and have better lighting. There is nothing worse than being on a dark road when suddenly a car drives by you and suddenly you are blinded. #annoying.
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(super cool here in my headlamp!)

2.) Snow and ice will slow you down, considerably. But think about how fast you will be in the spring!

3.) Sometimes winter running makes me CRAZY sore. The muscles I use to control my movements are exaggerated in the winter months as I play my favorite game of “lets try not to fall today.” (best game ever? NOT)

4.) Whether you are doing a cold weather race, or just a regular run, try to remember that you will need to do a longer warmup because your muscles will take longer to reach their full warmed-up potential.

And most importantly….

5. Try to remember that winter running, just like summer running, takes an adjustment period. Your bodies will adjust to the colder temps and it won’t be as hard to push yourself out the door. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect!!

How do you survive winter running? Tips?

Things to love about Winter Running

HA!!!!!!! I am chuckling at the above title as I write this.. Seriously, I abhor winter running. I will take a hot and humid day over a snowy/windy/cold one any day of the week. But, winter is long. It has already snowed here, and today is December 1st. I can only imagine how long and cold this winter is going to be.

So, since winter feels never-ending, I decided a long time ago that I really need to try to stay positive about running through the wintertime instead of getting mad and cursing it’s existence. I always end up doing a spring marathon (Boston) so that means there are endless miles of winter running in my life. So I’m kinda-sorta used to it. Even though I complain a lot a little.

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1. Winter running coats have lots of pockets!! Pockets..I love them. My new running jacket (it’s from last years Brooks collection) has sooo many pockets. Each time I’ve worn it, I find a new pocket…it’s heaven.

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2. Less chafing. Sports bras, shorts, underwear, running skirts, socks, camel baks….these are the items that have chafed me oh so many times this past summer. Thank goodness for a little break from the dreaded chafe!!!!!

3. Wearing your compression Christmas socks out running is (somewhat) cool. Well, at least it’s cooler to do it in December than it is in June, am I right???

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4. In the months of November-February, when the runner encounters an extremely rare 40+ degree day, it makes the runner very very excited. You get to run outside and not feel like your toes are going to fall off!!! You can wear one layer!!! I will never, ever forget the Valentines Day when it was actually 65 degrees outside! Funnily enough, when you face a day that’s less than 60 in the months of June-Sept…you are not very excited. Not one bit. (“Why is it so cold” is what I usually think!!)

5. You’re not as thirsty during winter months. well, at least I’m not. I have to remind myself to sip my camelbak every other mile because otherwise, I might forget. I just don’t seem to take in as much water as when it’s hot and humid!

And last, but not least…

6. Eventually, I know I’ll be back to runs when I get to be comfy like this..

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How do you stay positive about running in the winter?

What a weekend&Mileage recap

I kind of disappeared at the end of thanksgiving week. And it was lovely. I truly relaxed, spent time with my family and ate a whole lot of food:) It was perfection.

My life in pictures :)
Flat Nicole!
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SIL and I ran a 10k turkey day morning. It was cold, icy, and snowy, and we literally waited until the very last second to get there because we thought the race was going to be called off. It was great to get out and get my run done really in the day. I ran extremely cautiously &conservatively because I did not want to trip and fall on the ice! I was the 6th woman, and 2nd in my AG. ☺️

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Shoe selfies and pies…all finishers got a complimentary apple pie… if that isn’t a great incentive to run a race, I don’t know what is… in fact that was one of the reasons we went through with the race–we had promised the fam dessert!!

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After the race, we stopped by and visited my Memere. She is the cutest!!

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Some pics from Thanksgiving!!

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Mileage recap for the week:
Tuesday: 8 mile tempo run..2 mile w/u @ 7.4, 4 miles @8.8, 1 mile 9.0, 1mile c/d. 7:17 avg pace.

Thursday- 6.37 miles -46:44 7:20 avg pace 1:43 miles with SIL as she finished up the 10k

Friday-7 easy miles, 56:52, 8:07 avg pace

Saturday-16 mile long run..I am pretty proud of this run because I had set out back in June to accomplish this route in 2:10, and finally, on Saturday, I did it! Next goal: 2:00!
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Sunday-6.2 recovery run

Total: 45 miles for the week

I hope you all had an amazing weekend!

What was your favorite run of the week?