Cape Cod Marathon Relay ~ So much to share

In many ways this race was similar to going on a big trip. There is the unknown with lots of preparation and the experience is difficult to describe.
I’ve been asked to run this relay in the past and declined. This year, a good friend from my past asked if my husband and I were up for being on a team with her and her husband. My husband and I decided it would be a great way to reconnect and have fun!

The training…

I was a little concerned about my lack of training. Since the boys have gone back to school I have been meeting up with my friends to run. Before the race, we were covering 5 miles a few times a week, but there was still some walking. I was also walking 5-7 miles twice a week while our oldest was at football practice.

The miles were there, but I hadn’t run 6 miles all the way through since June. Add in the idea of hills and I was a little nervous. I knew I had the strength and ability, but there was a little voice of doubt in my head.

The fears…

I’ve mentioned the hills and training, but I was also uncertain about running by myself. Part of the fun of races is the collective experience. Being out there with others working hard on the same path. 

Holding up my end of the bargain was another concern. I had the longest and considered by many the hardest stretch. When we picked up our packets, a runner heard I had the 4th leg and joked that I should switch immediately – not helping the nerves 😉

The joy…

This was my first time being involved in a marathon (aside from cheering on the Boston marathon when I was younger). The energy was amazing! This is where it gets hard to describe. There were runners everywhere. Some running the full marathon and others on relay teams. Each transition point was filled with energy! Some passing through and others switching up and bringing new exuberance to the course.  

I ran from mile 15 to mile 21. There were rolling hills (not as scary as I had imagined) and the marathoners were digging hard. They were surrounded by support. There were entire families cheering and working water stations, signs all along the way, and of course support from fellow runners. 

It ALMOST made me want to try one (if you are one of my running friends – step away from the registration button, I said almost ;)). I love running local races with my husband and friends, but this had a different feel. I was both a participant and spectator. 

We cheered through all of the transition points and at the finish. There were familiar faces along the way. My leg came and I set out with a group of runners.

The run…

Dare I say, the run felt good! I had some leg issues for the first few miles, but it gave way and I felt great. The pace was slower than I hoped for and I slowed through miles two and three, but then the magic happened. I felt stronger, my legs were moving without me thinking and my pace was getting better.

I was surrounded by different runners, spectators and beautiful scenery! There was never a time I felt alone on the course.

I came up what was a long hill. The road winds and it just kept climbing (luckily, it wasn’t steep) and then it was literally down hill from there. I had no idea where I was in terms of the exchange point. I was looking for my husband and enjoying the run. 

Then I saw my friend! She had ridden her bike to the exchange point and rode along side me for my finish. It was awesome!!

Overall, it was a great day and I can’t wait to do it again next year! As I ran past all of the supporters, I was reminded of how meaningful it is to see people along the way. If you ever have the opportunity to support a race, please do! I promise, you won’t be disappointed :)

A huge thank you to Mashpee Madness!!  My friend signed up up through her running group.  We were team 17 out of 19. That’s right 95 runners wearing bright yellow and cheering along the way!  It took relay team to a whole new level :)

Have you ever been involved in a relay? What is your favorite distance to walk or run? Have you supported anyone at a race?

Oysterfest 5k ~ Hills, hills, hills and surprise a new hill!

This race has always been one of our favorite races and is probably the hardest one we run. This year, my husband had to travel for business during Oysterfest and I considered not running the race. My running friend convinced me to bring the kids and her husband would watch them while we ran, leading to this fun crew :)

Registration seemed to go online late and it stated there would be a new course. Finally, registration went live along with a map of the course. Having run it two years in a row, we know the area pretty well. Imagine our surprise when they eliminated the flat and added a hill – eek!

I decided to not psych myself out and drive the course. It wasn’t going to change my game plan. My running has been interesting. I haven’t hit some of my distance goals, but I’ve been getting out there running consistently and walking during football practice. My hope was a continuous 10:30 pace. This seemed obtainable and it was :)

This Sunday, I’m running a marathon relay with my husband and friends. I have a 6 mile, hilly leg ahead of me. I was using the Oysterfest 5k to gauge where I was in training. Thankfully, I felt pretty good.

Don’t get me wrong – the race was HARD!! By the time we were done, we had climbed 254 ft! This is a lot for our little sandbar. I’ve said it before, one of the best parts about this race is the scenery. For example…

The boys have never gone to this race with us. I asked the boys if they wanted to run the kids race. Our oldest was excited to join in the fun; the youngest, however wasn’t too sure. As the day went on, our youngest decided to give it a try. The course was a little different from the adult course, but there were still hills. We talked about working hard, but respecting the hills. 

A mom asked if I would be running with the boys and I laughed stating they are much faster than me. Not surprisingly, they proved me right. Our oldest came in first and his younger brother was less than a minute behind him.

After everyone was done, I showed them the best part of the Oysterfest race – Oysterfest! They enjoyed chowder, crab cakes and some fried dough ;). It was a great day and I’ll be ready for those hills again next year!!

PS. I finished with a time of 34:01 one minute slower than last year. I keep reminding myself it was 8 hills and not the 6 from last year 😉

 Time to celebrate :) 
How is your fall going?  Have you attended any fun festivals?

46 miles in September

Wow, how is it October? September has been all about getting back in the swing of things, but thankfully the transition back to school has been pretty easy. Our oldest is playing football for the first time and our youngest is playing soccer and fall baseball. Add in open houses at different schools and it’s safe to say, we are quite busy. 

My teaching schedule has picked back up and I’m finally back running. Not surprisingly, my body is talking back a little bit. My running hasn’t been exactly where I want it to be. I’m able to get in a longer run and then it seems to take more recovery. I’m still getting out there and I’m trying to accept that sometimes I have to walk.

I have expanded my running circle by reconnecting with an old friend. She noticed I was running and we decided to meet up along the canal as she lives off Cape. I’ve even run with both running friends together!  

Sadly, races haven’t really worked with the activity schedule. We have signed up for a relay marathon at the end of October. It’s nice to have the external motivation of a race on the horizon!

We are looking forward to a great school year and embracing our new routine! Obviously blogging has taken a backseat to everything else. My goal for the time being is to get one post up a week and build from there :). As the kids keep us busy there will probably be a few sports/parenting posts in the future.

How is your fall going? Does your routine change with the season? What’s your favorite part of the fall?

Running to run

When I began running I followed a training plan. I began walking one minute and running one minute for a total of 30 minutes and increased the number of minutes I ran. This plan helped get me through my first race and I continued along this route for a while.

Over time, I began running with my friend outside. We started with 4 miles once a week and eventually increased it to 4 miles two or three times a week. This turned into 5 or 6 miles a few times a week. As I added miles and outdoor runs, any formal training fell by the wayside.

I simply ran for fun. Racing continued to be a part of my routine as I love it. The longer miles and better stamina certainly helped with 5Ks. I am sure speed work and intervals would help improve overall performance but it isn’t a priority for me right now.

I practice pilates and yoga and work with weights and body weight. Not for running, because I like it! All of these habits help each other. I can definitely feel the effects of strength training when I run hills and improved cardio has helped in all areas of my life.

Training sounds like it has an end date to me and I don’t have an end date in sight. I simply want to do what I enjoy and right now that is running, yoga, pilates and general strength training.  

I have already talked about how running will be more challenging this summer. Frankly, I just have to change my mindset. Maybe I bring the boys to the track before teaching or gasp become one of those early morning runners ;). Like everything, it will be a little trial and error.

For me, following a training plan is important to get started in any new adventure. It provides structure, knowledge and confidence. Over time, it’s important to take that knowledge and confidence and translate it into something that works for you.

Do you follow a specific plan? What is your favorite way to get moving?

Ocean to Bay 5 Miler ~ Nerves, fun and high fives

What a day! This race has been on my radar since I began running. I never ran with it as a goal, but I loved the idea of running across Cape Cod (we live at a much wider part of the Cape). It came across as a race we could sneak in and we were sold!

We knew the boys would have flag football playoffs, but didn’t anticipate all star baseball practices. Thankfully, my parents rock and got everyone to the first round of games and practice. We scooted back from the race for the second round :)

The race started at 9 and we like to be early and take it all in. We headed off early as it was an hour away from home. This allowed us to take in the beautiful start! Like most lighthouses on Cape Cod (I think all, but am not 100% sure) this lighthouse has been moved back from the edge of the dunes. Storms around here take a toll on our beaches and the lighthouses have to be moved from the edge.

  The race benefits the lighthouse and had the best mile markers along the course :)

  They promise the most scenic run and they didn’t disappoint! My plan was to take photos when I was tired, for blogging purposes of course ;). If nothing else, I was getting a picture of the bay, just because.

  I could have taken pictures along the entire course, it was that beautiful! As we approached our final turn around, I had to slow down for this photo. The ocean matches the sky, but it’s there. It definitely helped me keep going.

  The course had two up and backs which is a little funky, but fun all the same. This allowed me to get two high fives from my speedy husband and one from my running friend (we were still at the same pace for the first high five).

Because I had already run the finish (in reverse), I knew it would be uphill. This was definitely in the back of my mind as I was getting tired. In the end, it wasn’t as scary as I built it up in my head. It was definitely a head down, no stopping type of finish; but so worth it!

  Five miles is one of my favorite distances to run, but I was really nervous about how it would translate to a race. I loved it! It’s definitely a challenge, but so worth it! This race was about checking out a new distance and seeing how it worked. Anytime you run a new distance, it’s a PR (personal record). My goal was to finish under an hour (which was modest, but I was nervous about hills) and I finished in 52:03 :)

I hit my secret goal pace through the race and was really happy with the entire experience. Yes, we are looking for more 5 mile races that fit within the all star schedule.  

How was your weekend? How do you balance activities? What’s your favorite distance to walk or run?

Viva 5k ~ 3 years running

Somehow, this race has been a somewhat last minute addition to our schedule two out of the three years it’s existed. After we ran our first race (3 years ago, how has it been that long) we had caught the racing bug and found this 5k in its inaugural year. We decided a few weeks before to run it and had a blast. Last year, we planned ahead and our oldest joined us on the course.

This year, we planned on running it with both boys, but they had a baseball game and all star try-outs so running seemed unnecessary. It didn’t look like we had anyone to watch the kids and we decided to miss the race and focus our energy on other events.

That Thursday, my parents became available to watch the boys and my husband said, “great, we can the viva 5k”! If you follow me on Instagram, you know my runs after the Michael Aselton 5k were TERRIBLE! My legs had felt like a cement/lead combination and while they eventually loosened up, it was pretty miserable. One of those times you look at the stairs and think, do I really need xyz? Hesitantly, I agreed. My legs couldn’t feel this way forever, right?

I asked one of our friends to join us and decided, it would simply be. Of course, I wanted the same or better time as the race only the Sunday before, but knew it might be a little slower. Once we were registered and at the race, everything changed. I forgot how much I love this race. It is not only a fun race, but the culmination of a rec running program. There are TONS of kids on the course. I saw a few of my BOKS kids before the race and they were pumped!

We all lined up and headed off on the pretty course. No ocean views on this one, but still a nice part of town. It was a sea of neon ahead of and behind me. My legs started a little tight, but loosened up nicely before the mile marker. My big goal was to increase my pace consistently through the race. I shaved 10 seconds off each mile and was very happy with my 32:12 finish.

As I was running, I came up to one of my BOKS buddies who was walking. I took out my headphones and asked him if he was having fun. He said YES with a huge smile! I told him I would see him at the finish line and he sprinted past me yelling, “I’ll see you at the finish line Mrs Fishback”. I laughed and kept my pace. I came upon another BOKS friend at the end and was able to cheer him on too!

It was a great experience and I can’t wait to run it again next year! I am constantly amazed at what a difference running consistently has made in running 5Ks. Seems obvious, I know; but it has really changed my experience.

This weekend we are tackling our first ever 5 mile race. I ran a 5.7 mile race on New Year’s Day, but there were no numbers or clock. It was a genuine fun run. I have had my eye on this race for the last 3 years and can’t wait to tackle it. The course is supposed to be stunning. I may have to sacrifice a few seconds on my time for photos. We will see 😉

Do youth sports/kid activities dictate your weekends? Is there an event you put on the calendar every year?  Do you have your eye on a specific event?

Running in May ~ 56 Miles

I know it’s a little late, but May saw some fun milestones!  My friend and I were finally back to our 6 mile runs after a dismal March and rebuilding in April. The weather is improving and our route has been beautiful!

A highlight was running overseas with my husband. This was the first time I planned to run while away on vacation and more than once! We ran in Dublin, Ireland and Albufeira, Portugal. Completely different climate and surroundings, but early runs all the same. I’ve seen photos from other people who have run while visiting different places and initially thought it was lame. Then, something changed and I thought it was really cool (this continues to happen for me pertaining to many things running related).

We also ran two 5Ks in the month of May. One was planned and the other was last minute (recap of the second race is coming this week). The runs felt really good and my time was pretty consistent as they were only a week apart. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact I can randomly sign-up and run a 5k. I can vividly remember all of the prep work and stress of trying my first road race. I still get butterflies, but it isn’t the same stress :)

Looking ahead to June…

June can be a tough month. The boys get out of school on June 25th and the last few weeks of school can be pretty hectic. I’m hoping to stay consistent in miles through the end of school. The boys decided to try out for and made the local all star baseball team. This will change some things this summer, but they couldn’t be more excited!  

Is school out for summer where you live? Does your routine change over the summer? Do you have any trips planned?