Pro’s & Cons of racing a lot

Happy Monday my friends!

One thing that you might have noticed is that I really like to run races. During the fall, it feels like I’m running one every weekend. There are sooooo many good ones! I would race every Saturday and every Sunday if I could afford it, and, if I knew that it didn’t drive my family nuts!

Because I like to save the best for last, I”m going to give you my cons first. I like to give you the good stuff at the end…That’s just how I roll!

CONS:
1.) Racing a lot gets expensive. I sat down to do the math for 2015. I haven’t finished making the list yet but it is long so I’m a bit afraid… Between registration fees and potential traveling, you can spend a ton of dough!

2.) Racing “all out” on a consistent basis will indeed burn you out. I try to pick and choose when my racing efforts will be at my highest level of awesomeness. It doesn’t always go my way, but I do know there will always be a “next time.”

PROS:
1.) Races help you run your goal pace. Something about the race environment makes you ready to push yourself harder than you would on your normal Saturday/Sunday run. There is nowhere better than at a race for you to practice goal paces!

2.) Races are FUN. Whether it’s a themed race or a race in memory of someone: THEY ARE FUN!!! Last weekend was the “Stache Half” and it kicked off “Movember”. This silly theme cracked me up and the runners had fake stache’s in their goodie bags. Prizes were also awarded for Best Stache! Little touches like that go a long way!

3.) Racing is a great social activity! Most longer races that I run have shorter options, too. It’s very easy to get a friend to sign up for the shorter distance! And, a bonus to running the short races like 5k’s/10k’s-I can pretty much always convince someone to run it with me!

4.) You get to see new places and check out new areas that you normally wouldn’t go to if it weren’t for a race. I don’t do much traveling for races, BUT I think that is going to change for 2016. I have my eye on a few key races for next year and I’m really looking forward to it!

5.) Even a bad race teaches you something: No runner can have the perfect race every time. I feel like the stars need to align, my stomach has to be perfect, itunes playlist must be on point, and if I’m really lucky?? I ((ahem)) have used the bathroom before the race. I’ve had just as many bad races as I have good. From every race, I learn something new that I get to take with me and apply to my next race. From my last race, I learned that when there are hills at the end of the course and you aren’t a lover of hills: you may want to rethink registering for that particular race. Or just don’t set a time goal. Just saying, Nicole, just saying…

6.) Racing a lot teaches you where your strengths and your weaknesses lie. During every 5k, I’m challenging myself on so many levels. 5k’s are a weakness for me. The marathon distance shows me all kinds of crazy strengths: That I am highly motivated during distance runs, that I love the long course that is the marathon, that I’m really good at visualizing the finish line. It’s also taught me that I need to keep putting emphasis on fast finish long runs and pushing my speedwork. Do a few races and you will learn your own strengths and weaknesses, I will promise you that!

7.) I GET to race. I never, ever take that fact for granted. I get to run and that is a precious gift that I’ve been given. I’m fast, but not the fastest, but I am damn good at what I do. I GET to RACE. How lucky am I??

Do you like to race? Do you do it a lot?

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!
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(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?

Vacations, sniffles & celebrations

There really isn’t a heck of a lot to catch you up on with my week post-Boston. After the marathon, I was pretty much a lump on a log for the majority of every day….and it was my April vacation. Catching a mean head cold was NOT part of my spring break plans…but oh well. At least it didn’t come DURING training! Although having a major head cold arrive on the day of the marathon I had been training for isn’t exactly perfection, either. 

Anyway. My sweet husband took last week off with me too. I don’t think he was ready for spending most of his break doing things solo, poor guy. He did a lot of gardening while I managed to go through about 5 boxes of tissues. 

This past Saturday was the first day that I woke up and felt like the cold was FINALLY leaving my body. I could see straight and hear too!! It’s amazing what a little NyQuil and a good nights sleep will do for you… I finally got outside to help with some planting& went for a great run. 

   

 

   

Sunday was family Sunday fun day!!!!  I was beyond excited to have everyone at my house for a late lunch. I hadn’t had a chance to see SIL since MONDAY —-we had previously envisioned a glorious photo shoot with our matching medals, jackets, & finishers smilers. That vision was thwarted by the freezing rain& a few other random details. 

So SIL & I got a great mini photo shoot in my backyard. We are silly!   

         

So ridiculously blessed to have this girl as my sister!!!

I think I might be the only person who saw pictures on IG from this past weekend and was super jealous that I wasn’t racing. Particularly that I wasn’t there at Big Sur.

It really made me want to enter the lottery for the Boston To Big Sur Challenge! The lottery doesn’t open until October, so…I’ve got some time to think about it!! Seeing the pictures of all the springtime races just makes me THAT much more excited that the nice weather is (basically) here!! Hooray, sunshine, summer runs, & swearing for no reason ( all things I have dearly missed)!


I hope you had a great weekend! Fill me in on some randomness! Or tell me about your favorite run so I can live vicariously through YOU!!!! 



Things I learned from the New Bedford Half Marathon: a race recap of sorts

Last weekend, after having three cancelled races (1 marathon, 1 twenty miler, 1 half marathon) I finally got to run a race! It was really fun-especially since I have been basically shunned by any and all races in my area. It was the New Bedford Half Marathon, and it was a really good time.
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The only picture I took of me at the race!

I held off on doing any kind of review for this race because I really didn’t want to be judged on my poor performance that day. Yup, you read that right. I don’t always love the negativity via social media that can sometimes come with being a running blogger. I make the fact that I want to get faster extremely clear. I know that I put myself out “there” into the world by having this little public space. And that’s ok. I love the encouragement that I receive from my fellow bloggers and friends that I’ve made by writing as “The Girl Who Ran Everywhere” (A little sidenote: In case you’ve ever wondered, I do know that I’m 32 years old and calling myself a “girl”-But, “The Woman Who Ran Everywhere” just wasn’t as catchy 😉…) I know that by opening myself up, I’m subjected to criticism just as much as I am praise. It is what it is, and I’m learning to shrug it off.

As some of you already know-My time for this race wasn’t great: 1:42:47. It was an “off” day for me, and I just want to go on the record here by saying that I am 100% okay with that. My coach had a goal for me, and I didn’t make it, or even come close to it. But, honestly-it’s not a big deal. There are plenty more races to run. In the past, I’ve gotten pretty down on myself for not hitting a “goal” time that I set for myself, but I know now that in the long run, it doesn’t do me any good. I decided that I wanted to do a non-traditional race recap for this one. Instead of telling you in detail about how this was the biggest half I have ever run (huge!), the porta potties at the start, or, the fact that it was windy and I had a terrible leg cramp for almost 3 miles of the race, I wanted to instead tell you some things I learned from my race. Maybe you can learn something that will help you.
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Biggest half I’ve ever been to!

1.) Its really important for all runners to remember that not every day is “Your day” for racing. Sometimes I feel like all the things in the universe need to align and Mother Nature has to cast great weather in order for me to have the “perfect” race day. Traffic, your period, a snowstorm, ice, wind, a late night, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, bad sleep, bad sneakers, wrong foods-any or ALL of these things (and I think I could list PLENTY more issues) can go wrong for anyone, on race morning. It is what it is and you shouldn’t sweat it if it doesn’t go your way: There WILL be more races in your future.

The feeling of “today is not your day” also carries over into your every day runs. There are some days where I will head out and I’m on FIRE, and others where I’m just “meh” and not that into it.

I didn’t really have a whole lot that went wrong for me race morning. It was more that I had a day that I wasn’t really in the mood for “pushing” it during the race. I can’t explain it any better than to say that I was tired, and that feeling translated down into my tired legs. Not a big deal, it happens. I’ve realized that I’m not always the best “racer.” I get really nervous and psych myself up WAY too much. I think we all have felt the overwhelming weight at one time or another to “run more/run faster/be better.” I put a lot of pressure on myself to do just that, end up overthinking things, and it messes with my mojo. Sometimes, my brain doesn’t feel like taking over and going into “race mode” I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t technically start “racing” until about 1-2 years ago? Who knows-I know its something I need to work on. But anyway, there are days that I am not feeling the amazing-ness of racing, and I had one of those days during the New Bedford half.
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2. Silence the noise. This is a big one for me. I’ve heard the words “Can’t” and “won’t” a little too often for my taste. Tuning the negatives out is something I’m working on. I believe in me, my husband believes in me, my friends believe in me…that’s enough. Sometimes we get in our own heads a little too much. Sometimes we let someone else in our heads who doesn’t think we can do any better. Don’t focus on the negativity and focus on your own strengths.

3. You can cross the finish line of a race but you are most certainly not “finished.” You may “finish” a race, but you (most likely) are not “finished” with running. It’s important to remember that in the back of your mind. Crossing a finish line is just one more step on your own personal running journey, whatever yours may be! I might hit a new PR, or bomb a race, but I know that I’ll be right back to running my next possible chance. Running is a lifetime sport for me, full of ups and downs and I don’t intend to ever “finish.”

4. This last one is the MOST important thing: You are not the measure of just “one” race. You’re much more than that. A good race will help you put a new notch on your personal tallying stick of racing, but it does not define you. A bad race may make you upset for a little while, but it gives you something to learn from. You are so much more than your numbers, please don’t ever forget that. When I think back to why I started running, it had nothing to do with “the numbers game.” I knew that I loved to run, I was pretty ok at it, and it gave me a lot of joy. Don’t let a bad race rob you of the joy. I always tell fellow runners to remember WHY you are running in the first place. Take that reason and hold it tight. You should never forget your “WHY.” The numbers that you want will eventually come, because your “WHY” will drive you.

So, to any of you who wonder post-race if you’ll ever meet those goals you have set: remember these things! Never give up on your dreams or what you want just because of an off day. Even if some weirdo tells you that you are delusional for the goals you’ve set…ignore it, and move along. Believe in yourself and trust that you can. And as my best friend tells me “Even if you don’t PR and you do your best that’s all that matters.” —> truth.

Happy Tuesday!

Some lessons you’ve learned from racing or running?

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Things I did right during my last race

I wanted to give you guys my tips for the things I did right during my last race. If anything, this is a little “notepad” section for me to reflect back on for my next one!! At any rate-they are a refresher for you!

-I hung on to someone in front of me for every hill. I run hills all the time, and I’m very efficient at them. I wouldn’t call myself a “speed demon” on hills by any means. So, since this course was full of killer hills, I kept telling myself to hang on to the person in front of me’s pace. This worked really well because once I got to the top of a hill..I took off again! Getting to the top of a hill makes one feel quite badass, don’t you think?!
pretty sure I was going UP the hill in this picture because I look very unhappy!
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Water stops…I have finally mastered them by not stopping: Bam!! a runner walked up to me after the race and said how she saw me ahead of her and she was jealous of my camelbak because she felt the water stops really slowed her down…I can’t stop and get my legs moving as quickly again, or if they do get moving that fast, it’s a lot of extra work which ends up sapping my energy in the end.

A lot of you ask what kind of camelbak I have-I don’t remember, I’m so sorry, but I do know it’s one of the women’s versions, and it holds 1.5 liters of water. For a race, I think I would prefer a smaller one..unless it blazingly hot out!

-I didn’t go out too fast. As soon as I realized how fast I was going, I pulled it back. You don’t want to over exert yourself right at the start!

-I didn’t obsess over my Garmin and ran by my own perceived effort. This is easier said than done but it seems to have worked for me. And plus, if you are staring at your watch all the time, that’s a whole lot of extra moving around!

-I ran even paced nearly the whole time, and my second half was a little faster than my first. This is important when you’re training, especially if you have a goal pace in mind that you want to hit! When you’re near finishing all of your runs, your legs are naturally tired. Try upping your end speed on your daily runs and it will begin to feel more natural to you to “finish faster.” I try to finish the second half of all of my long runs faster than I started them at. This gets your legs used to speeding up when all they really want to is sit down and take a nap!

-Taper/reduced mileage the week before. I hate taper. Hate, hate, hate it. But….If you want to hit a pr, taper is a must. I do a large three week taper prior to a full marathon, but for a half, I just reduce my miles for a week to ten days before. So my last 3 weeks looked like this: a 60 mile week, 53 mile week, and the week of the half (including it) I only ran 44. Since I typically hit about 60 miles a week, my legs felt more rested.
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Tapering worked for this chick, she looks so happy because she got a PR!

Rule of thumb is not to do too many “workouts” or, NO workouts at all the week of a race. I did one on Monday, took the next day off, and then any other run I ran that week was easy. Give your body adequate time to rest before a race!
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so happy!

If anyone is racing this weekend, GOOD LUCK! I am doing a 21 miler tomorrow..yikes! I’m actually pretty excited to run the route I designed though! Happy weekend!!

Question of the day:How did you hit a PR? anybody have a crazy story like you ran your pr and did back to back races two days in a row? (I read about a guy who did that last year, and I’m pretty sure he won the first race!)

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!!!!!!

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Isn’t she the cutest?!

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

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

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And……

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

Big Lake Half Marathon Recap/Need for Speed

I knew going into this race that it was more of a test of my speed vs an actual “race” that I would be aiming to place high in. I haven’t done much speedwork in the last month or two-and I am nowhere near to being as fast as I can be.
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The Big Lake Half Marathon takes place in Alton Bay, NH (the Bay is off of Lake Winnepausaukee). It’s about an hour and a half ride from where I live. I have had eye on this race for the past couple years. My wifey’s family owns a home right on the lake and we have SO many amazing and hilarious summer memories from our time spent up there. Whenever I visit, I get up early and go for runs along the bay. I knew the course would feel familiar and I was pretty psyched about that.

Weather for the day called for rain in the morning, but just a cloudy sky for the 8am starting time. I was pretty late-I think I got to the parking lot at 7:30. Normally I like to arrive an hour or morebeforehand, buuuttttt I was super lazy getting out of bed…. it’s extremely difficult to leave your sleeping mate, isn’t it??

Getting there later than planned meant that I didn’t have time to be all negative, make an outfit change(this happens ALL the time) and doubt my running, so maybe it worked in my favor? Negative Nancy usually pays me a visit before the start of every race, no matter what I seem to do. I had about five minutes to hit the porta potty, grab my number and check my bag.

With Five minutes to go, i heard the national anthem being sung, and I found myself booking it to get to the start. Bagcheck was at the actual starting line instead of inside the school where you pick up your number-kind of a cool concept to load your bags right when you start, but about 100 other peeps were as late as me to check their stuff. Bag check was organized by bins ranging from your numbers, so at least it was very quick and easy.

There were A LOT of people who ran this little race and the roads were VERY CROWDED at the start. Honestly, I was late to get there, but I didn’t see any signs organizing the runners by projected finishing times (1:20, 1:25, 1:30…) This would have helped.. I’m not a fan of nearly elbowing people to get by, nor do I like zigzagging back and forth until I am at my own comfortable pace–> but this is what happened. I was like a little bumble bee buzzing around. A quick look at cool runnings told me there were about 800+ finishers. And believe me it felt like way more. It took about three solid miles for the runners to thin out.

The scenery was lovely, and the course is actually the same exact roads that I normally run on when I’m in Alton. BONUS!! Now to force one of my girlfriends to do it again with me next year?! The sky was actually NOT overcast for the run-it poured.. to the point where I literally had my eyes closed because I could not see. With all the dam extra clothes I brought, you would naturally think I brought along a hat, but nope! The race actually had a GU stop during it and I grabbed two-bonus points for that-normally it’s Powerbar and I’m just NOT a fan of their consistency. GU is where it’s at! I actually didn’t stop even once which is very unlike me. The one cup of water I grabbed at mile 9, I managed to drink it-up my nose. I decided it was in my best interest to power through… And I have never not taken a drink at a race. Very weird and UN-Nicole.

My cousin Zachary actually ran his first half Saturday too-I didn’t have time to find him at the start, but his beautiful wife and adorable boys were along the course. Sandie snapped a few pictures of us running by!

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(please ignore the fact that I look exhausted and haven’t slept in five days and that my legs look twice their normal size…why I always look terrible in race pictures, I do not know..I’m going to maintain that in these pictures I am already soaking wet and unable to see…)
I was up and down with my pace-I had five 7 minute miles, and majority of the rest of the miles were in the low 8 minute range, with my slowest mile being 8:34. I really didn’t try to sprint at all. Like I mentioned before, this was a race for me to see where my “racing fitness” is at and now I know!

Finish time was 1:46:42. (Garmin said 1:46:44 for 13.2, avg pace 8:05) Ironically, I felt faster than my Moose on the Loose half about a month ago, but I actually was not. Funny how that happens! Because I am crazy obsessed with stats, I always hang around for the times to be posted so I know my “official” ranking. I finished 8th out of 84 in my age.

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(Zachary and I at the finish: a 1:45 finish for this guy on his first try! Amazing!!
The finish line area had tons of goodies: coconut waters, protein shakes, pizza, yogurt smoothies, beer…chips, there was LOTS of stuff. I only had a small piece of pizza which I normally wouldn’t do-but it was not and I was freezing from the rain so I had to do it. I didn’t stick around for the beer because I was frozen, and because I wanted to make it home by 12 (I did).
I would do this race again… Probably not solo though, unless I stay in Alton. It was a tiring drive to be there so early in the morning, and on the way home if you had passed me…you just may have seen a girl driving who appeared to be singing at the top of her lungs so she would NOT fall asleep. Yup.
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(Free t shirt is so cute, and I love the medal!)

I have another race next weekend-Funky Kingston Half. I truly believe that every day you have the chance to improve yourself. We all know that a PR isn’t magic, and that you have to work for what you want. You have to spend some time running at your goal pace if you want to hit those magic numbers on race day!! My focus for the week will be on some shorter, faster distances.

Even if I improve just a tad next week, I will be psyched. Then I will set my sights on reducing my times for my half marathons that I have lined up over the rest of the summer. Training for Baystate “officially” kicks off mid June-I will be faster by then.

Of course, when I got home-I had to immediately research “how to get faster in your half marathon”. I spent a few hours an hour with the World Wide Web and found a few great articles, like this one and this one that had some great workouts in it. And I bought a book online that my friend/running partner Kristina suggested: Pfitzers Road Racing. (I will be sure to recap!)

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The workouts above are what a guy did while training to run a one hour half Marathon. An hour. Wowza.

So.
Why all the focus on speed? Well I have a plan. I am training for Baystate with my running partner, Kristina, and we are designing our training plan soon..we have goal times, tempo runs, and sprint days all in the works to get us ready. But I just feel like this is my year. My year of PRing and training and truly giving it my 100% honest to god effort. To quote my running partner: “I want to run a race this summerthat leaves me destroyed afterwards.” –> THAT. That is what I will have this summer:an honest to god sprinted race that leaves me unable to properly walk afterwards, yup. I’m chasing it, my friends!
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Who out there has noticeably improved their times?
How’d ya do it? Share your tips so we can be speedy bff’s 🙂

RUN FREE, RUN STRONG!!

Weekends Here-Finally! Racing, random, and running!

Happy weekend everyone!! My goodness it was quite a long week, huh?

Running for the week (so far)
Tuesday
-12 easy miles.
Wednesday-7 miles-1 hour-lots of hills!
Friday-10 miles tempo-1:25 minutes

Sunday I have a half with my girlfriend. My one goal is to help her break 2 hours:) she has worked SO hard, I know she can do it!! It’s a very hilly and challenging course-of course, neither of us knew that until AFTER we booked it… We have been training on some of the toughest hills around…so she is READY!!:)

My plan is to turn my Sunday run into my long run by getting up and running 2-3 miles before we leave for the race. I really wanted to do an awesome 15 miler around my house on Friday but let’s be real-it’s not smart to do too many longish runs only 2 1/2 weeks before Boston.

I seem to have ADD to be in a random mood..these are my random confessions and obsessions for the week 🙂

1.) I felt reallllly cool yesterday…for about one minute. I actually taught one of my students (note:I teach mostly seniors) something about the IPhone. I can sometimes be technologically challenged, and usually find myself asking my students for IPhone help, so this was a biggun for me.
I read this article, and learned a lot about the phone I basically use just to text and check my Facebook/twitter. These are pretty much the only three things I knew how to do.. Also, I should probably confess..I didn’t use Siri until Friday night… She’s cool and all, but I think I’ll stick to my basics 😉 . This was my favorite new thing I learned:

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It always drove me NUTS that I couldn’t see the times that my texts came in. Now you know how to see it too… You’re welcome.

2.) I have officially begun obsessively checking the weather for April 21st. I scoured the World Wide Web until I found a site that gave me the weather for the whole month of April… it’s looking good, folks.

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3.) I am loving that spring is finally trying it’s hardest to appear..please see the small, yet pretty, flowers below(they are purple)…>

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I also wore shorts on two of my runs this week …loving this weather..#40isthenew80

4.) Sent to me by my friend, Raquel…I plan to do a large post on this very soon, but for now:

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I will be first to admit…when I pass a boy/man/man-boy… I am so much more energized because it’s a member of the opposite sex. Yeah, maybe it’s sexist and shallow, but I’m cool with it…Plus, then I get to chant “you got beat by a girl”..even if it’s only in my own head 😉

5.) I have official started wearing my marathon jacket.I know that people are superstitious, and think perhaps it is bad luck to wear it before finishing the race…but I am here to tell you: there is no way that I will have any bad luck. Why not? because when you survive a bomb blowing up ten feet from your head…I’m pretty sure that you have been officially blessed and meant for bigger/better/awesome-er things. And also…I don’t believe in bad luck…Because I make my own luck 😉

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And This is where I leave you. I hope everyone has an amazing weekend! Today I get to see my patient partner Everett and his family, YAY!!!!!

Tell me something random from your week!

Anybody racing this weekend?

Run Free, Run Strong!!!

The Rundemic (I’m coining this)sweeping the nation..

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It’s Sweeping The Nation! Taking Over The World!

Does anybody else besides me see a growing trend in the number of runners you know? Or races being organized? And even more than just “races” it’s the growing number of the REALLY COOL races-like the color runs, mud runs & laser runs, warrior dashes, Ragnar’s, Reach the Beach, haunted runs, jingle bell runs through the snow… Really, I could go on and on because there are THAT many different styles of competitive running events now a days. Also, you can see the growing number in family involvement in the sport of running: parents are introducing their kids to running early on, and a lot of races are including “kids runs” with the other more traditional races. This to me is so cool. (You bet my future kids are going to be runners!)

Running is the most basic sport there is. Actually, I take that back. It isn’t a sport. It’s an inner sense that our bodies have.. We are born with the ability to run: Fight or Flight : The fight-or-flight response (also called the fight-or-flight-or-freeze response, hyper arousal, or the acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival (wikipedia) Example: A typical example of the stress response is a grazing zebra. If the zebra sees a lion closing in for the kill, the stress response is activated. The escape requires intense muscular effort, supported by all of the body’s systems.(source: wikipedia) “Running” is the body’s natural response to moving quickly. It’s our animal instinct.

People have so many different reasons WHY they run. I’ve probably done about 16 individual posts on all of my reasons. Lately, fitness and healthy lifestyles are the focus everywhere you look:in our schools, our classrooms, on our magazine covers. And it’s a good thing. This energy of the force to live your life healthy is part of the increase in running sales, I just know it.

Running sales? You have to pay? Isn’t running free?
Although running IS indeed the most basic of our instincts..there is a flip side to this: that basic instinct? It ain’t cheap! Nowadays-There sure is a big business to be had in running.From the most basic gear like sneakers to the new super cool GPS watches, the sport of running has really come along way. NO longer do runner run in cotton t shirts and your drugstore sneakers…caving into the Rundemic means we runners are swept up into the expensive world of Nike, Garmin, Adidas, Brooks, lulu lemon…etc 🙂 We seek out the latest and greatest dry fit technology and we flock to our local running stores to covet the sleekest models of our favorite kicks. And it’s not just shoes you can spend the big bucks on.. It’s…
-Clothes for Cold weather
-Safe running clothes for running in the dark
-Clothes for rainy days
-Clothes for Hot weather
-Technology
-and clothes for all the days that are just perfection:) (cue Joe Nichols, “sunny and 75”)
-Race entries-I have paid anywhere from $45-$325 for a Race entry free. It sucks away your paycheck – but…here is the CRAZY PART …

we like it that way.
The Rundemic can be expensive…
I thought it would be eye opening interesting to add up all the money I’ve spent over the past season(now this is ONLY falls expenses)
-Pureflow 2 Running shoes: $70
-2 Roxy Running shirts: $75
-Applefest Half Marathon entry: $55
-Baystate Marathon Entry: $70
-Wolf Hollow Half Entry: $55
(And god only knows what I’ve spent in Swedish fish, candy, and Gatorade, haha)
I’m almost afraid to use the calculator right now. GRAND TOTAL:$325!! And the thing is…I totally am holding back on registering for more races right now cause I know I’ve spent a lot, AND that big huge money sucker also known as Christmas is coming up!!!!!

“WAIT..you have to PAY to race?”
A non-runner often asks me this question. They are shocked and even appalled that we would consider forking over our hard earned dough (sidebar story: my BIL just found out this summer that I have to pay to run the Boston marathon. He honestly thought it was free. Oh, you non runners…you’re just so cute!) We pay for our own glory. Because we want to reach goals. We pay for the free t shirt.. (haha). We pay to see our names forever immortalized on Coolrunning.com (don’t even tell me you don’t adore seeing your name on the website. You know you do.)

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I think we all love to race..are you with me?I love to race. I love the feeling of finishing, adding another race to my blog 🙂 . And don’t even get me started on how much I love to hit a new PR. I could write songs and poems and limericks about it. Or doodle my initials and times on a piece of paper…

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This is why I don’t take that marathon number and race medal off when I go out to eat after a marathon. It’s not for my own personal validation; it’s not a cry to “look at me”. Yes, I do like it if you ask me if I ran The __________ Marathon today. OF COURSE I do. But if you don’t ask-that’s okay too. I don my race gear with pride because chances are-I just PR’d and I’m PROUD of myself. (Or, maybe I DIDN’T do so well-yet I had the HEART to keep going and I FINISHED the race.) I love to race and if you’re reading this post…I bet you do too 🙂

I love the Rundemic sweeping the nation.
I love:
-when people tell me they are beginning running, and have been inspired to do so.
– I love when I hear someone is doing their first race. Whether it’s a 5k, fun run, 10k, half or full marathon…it ROCKS.
-I love hearing that my friends are signing up their kids yo do races with them.
– I love being asked running tips and advice…it is so awesome to give both
-I love hearing running stories

So keep up the good work, runners! And for all of you teetering on the edge of the Rundemic- come over to the dark side..we’re a great bunch, I promise 🙂
Have a great, great Saturday…. Today I’m doing my long run, hopefully 17-18 miles!
Day 6 of STREAKING(without today’s numbers-30.5 miles:)

RUN FREE, RUN STRONG!!!
The Girl Who Ran Everywhere

Training for a half or a full marathon? Some tips for the big day..

As I sat waiting for my half marathon to start yesterday, I started thinking about all kinds of tips that could help someone running their first marathon.

-Con a friend/spouse/loved one into doing it with you. Not only will you get a schweet training buddy out of it-but It’s always more reassuring on the morning of the race that if/when you get lost and cant find your way to the start-you have a friend to be lost with. Two lost brains can surely find the way to the start right?

If you run with music, make yourself a kickass motivating playlist that you save JUST for running. The fresh tunes will help push you through.

Get to the start early. Seriously. Drag your tired butt outta bed and just do it.

Have a plan ahead of time How you will be getting back to your car after
You finish? The bus? A friend? These are important things to know. Nobody likes anxiety!

Porta Potties.. Are disgusting. Get over it now. The bigger the race, The worse they will be. If you are bringing a pouch/fuel belt, carry a little wad of tp with you. Also-Before the start: When you see an open porta potty.. Use it. Even if you only have to go juuuuust a little bit. Sometimes, there ARE NO porta potties on the entire course, or places that you (legally) can tinkle!

Pick up your number the day before. (If it’s possible)You can check out the course, finish line, where you’ll park, etc. This also helps you feel more in control of your situation on race day morning.

Never eat anything new on race day morning ..once upon a time, while waiting outside in the cold, I had a cup of coffee before the Boston marathon. I don’t drink coffee. Just Imagine how that went down. Yeah.

Never wear anything new on race day morning. Give your clothes, shoes, pouches and whatever else a test run. You’ll thank me later when your fuel belt isn’t chaffing you while you’re trying to set your amazing pr.

Stick with what works for you. Just because that girl you know got her PR on her half marathon by eating oatmeal and sucking back gu’s doesn’t mean it’s for you. Every body is different.

Read about your course so you’re not surprised. Any race I have ever done has had their course listed online. You can compare the elevation in your own runs to the course’s to see if you are training on similar hilly areas.

And most importantly…

HAVE FUN!!! Enjoy yourself. Remember WHY you signed up for this race in the first place. Remember you will NEVER have THIS MOMENT again in your lifetime-so take it all in and enjoy it:)

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