Oysterfest ~ Friends, Hills and Fun!

Last year, Oysterfest was one of our favorite races. It was far more challenging than we had realized going into it, but we ran with friends and attended the festival when we were done. Who doesn’t like live music, seafood and a beer with friends after a difficult race?

I had remembered last year was chilly pre-race and thought a lot about clothing options. I went with capris, t-shirt and light weight sweatshirt. My husband had a hat on the counter and I thought to grab my own (best idea of the day).

We enjoyed a pretty sunrise on our drive down Cape (which is actually north) to Wellfleet. We drove the course before picking up our numbers and there were those hills as we had remembered. Somehow, they had grown to mountains in my memory. Driving them, they didn’t seem as scary.

We picked up our numbers and met up with our friends. As we bounced around to stay warm and did a little yoga pose for fun (and stretching) we chatted about last year’s race. We were excited that my husband had his watch on this year and we would know what the elevation is.

There are three hills in this out and back race (so you climb and descend 6). The race began at 7 feet above sea level. The first hill is 61, the second 55 and the third 57. No wonder my quads were crying for mercy ;)

I ran the first part of the race with my running buddy. She keeps me working hard to keep up and I always feel pretty good. It was running with her that I had my best time in August. I sent her ahead near mile 2 as I knew I needed energy for that last hill.

I felt pretty good going into the race. My running has been funky this month with travel, but I’ve still put in some decent runs. Hills are difficult to find on the Cape and it’s hard to be ready for them. I remembered feeling strong on them last year and was hoping for the same success.

It seemed I was ready to give in and walk just as we reached the top of each hill. No matter how big the hill was, the top came at exactly the right moment. I was able to keep trucking and enjoy the down hill that much more.

As I ran and warmed up, I took my hat off. I watched people peel off layers expertly. I kept going with my long sleeves which I was thankful for at the finish. The cold wind took care of that heat as soon as I stopped moving.

Luckily, we all brought a fresh change of clothes and pulled a Clark Kent in our cars before walking up to the festival. Sadly, I have an old iPhone (new one has been ordered) that doesn’t hold its charge and I didn’t get any pictures from the festival.

In the end, I finished the race in exactly 33 minutes, shaving just over 3 minutes off last year’s time! If I’m honest, I was hoping for 4, but am happy with 3. It’s been fun to re-run a few races and have something to compare it to.

What’s your favorite post race activity? What fall festival is your favorite?

500 miles and counting!

500 milesAs I approached 500 miles from when I began tracking mileage in April 2013, I looked back at a few posts. The one that struck me was my one year recap and how surprised I was to hit 246 miles. That was in March and here I am at 500 miles with the same surprise.

I began to wonder why I was so shocked. Did I really think I would quit? Was I expecting to be one and done? Honestly, I’m not sure.

It’s not my personality to only go half-way. I’m always in it to win it and maybe that’s it. I knew I wouldn’t be winning any races and thought I would throw in the towel.

I am here to say I have survived not winning. I have survived and embraced cheering others on. I have survived being, literally, in the middle of the pack.

Somewhere along the way, I began to love it. The feeling of accomplishment, camaraderie, and fun. As each mile passes, I feel stronger and more comfortable calling myself a runner. I’ve even missed it when I was away – who knew that could happen.runner

I have loved each goal I’ve worked for and right now, I like just doing it. I enjoy my time on the treadmill (you read that correctly) and truly love running outside with my friends. It is a time to relax, reflect and laugh.

If you had ever told me I would talk and laugh while running I would have had you committed. Yet, here I am on the other side. Somewhere along the way, it became a lifestyle and a part of me.

As I write this, I wonder if I will feel the same at 1,000 miles or some other huge milestone. All I can say, is I can’t wait to find out because at some point in the future I will hit 1,000 and more miles.

I can’t believe everything this adventure has brought so far and I can’t wait to see where it goes!!

Have you surprised yourself by sticking with something after reaching your initial goal? Do you track your progress? What’s your favorite fitness/healthy living accomplishment to date?

Maintaining my stride

With the boys back in school, I’ve been back to running outside with my friend. Our first run was a TOUGH one! It was the first day of school and the hottest day of the summer, yet we made it through!

Frankly, it could only get better from there. We knew we had to jump right in and create our routine. We logged five 4 mile runs in the month of September. The last week, we ran early in the week and snuck in an extra one on the Friday as I was going away the following week

I thought it would be fun to check in monthly on our outdoor runs and of course mileage ;)

I’m hoping to have more consistency in my monthly totals. I seem to run a lot one month and then drop the next. My focus isn’t so much about a number, but staying even. Life and weather happens, but I think it can be done with a little effort!

Are you consistent in your training or does it vary monthly? What’s your favorite fall activity?

Running to heels ~ Mighty Meehan 5k

I have always heard good things about this race and wanted to check it out last year, but we had committed to a different race. We hadn’t run a race in a month and were looking for one to check out.

I saw the signs for this race and realized we could squeeze it in before attending a family wedding. It seemed like the perfect morning activity. The weather was beautiful and we were greeted by this sight…

My husband had looked up previous years and we knew the field was generally around 1,000 entrants. By far the largest field we have run with!

The start was great and a little too fast for me. I wound up with a nasty stitch in my side and had to walk around the one mile marker. Thankfully, I had this to look at as I was beyond frustrated!

It wound up being a blessing. I was behind the people I couldn’t keep up with and now I was with a pack that I could maintain the pace. Unlike the race in August, I was feeling like a failure and had to really push myself mentally. I wanted to walk again, yet not because I was so exhausted I had to. I was tired, yes, but not walking tired.

I kept the pep-talk going. I can do this, keep going, one foot in front of the other, don’t go past a certain pace – guess what?!?! I did it and I finished strong. It certainly wasn’t my best race, but I had some gas left to push hard through the finish and even passed people coming in.

We scooted home post race and got ready for the wedding. It was a wonderful time had by all :)

Post race and dancing in heels, my legs were a little sore – a happy, proud sore!!

Have you run before a family event? What’s the largest field you’ve run with? How did you find exercise this weekend?

Heavy legs and feeling blah = a PR!

I’m not sure how this happened! It was gray, cool and extremely humid as the race approached. The boys were excited and running in the kids’ race. My husband and I were definitely going through the motions.

We met up with our friend and we all admitted to having heavy legs and questioning the outcome. It didn’t seem to be a day for a PR. The course had a bunch of small hills, but thankfully some fun water views along the way.

It wasn’t a chip race, which means the further back you are at the start, you are that much later on the clock. My husband snuck towards the front while my friend and I were further back.

As race time approached, a local police officer began singing the national anthem. The microphone wasn’t really working and all of the runners sang the national anthem with the police officer. It was an amazing moment.

Then we were off. All of a sudden, my heavy legs were feeling pretty strong. The beginning of the course is pretty windy so it was easy to set short-term goals. Keep this pace to the next road, get to the top of the hill, get to the bottom of the hill, etc.

My goal pace was a 10:00 mile – I was chugging along at 9:30!! I even maintained 9:18 for the second mile. Who knew?!? My friend ran with me for most of the race, but I let her go ahead at 2.5 miles as I had to slow down a little. Somehow, I didn’t slow down too much and finished strong with a time of 30:51! My husband also PRed at 22:40 :)

As a slower runner, I have become accustomed to being passed by many people. In this race, I was actually passing other runners and not to have them pass me again. I’m not sure where it came from, but I definitely felt strong through the entire race.

Maybe it was not being that into it in the beginning, I just wanted to get it done. I have definitely been training hard with my friends, but it’s been on the track. No hills there ;). I was really curious to see how our training would translate.

So far, pretty well :) The true test will be this week. We are running a 3 mile race on Thurs. It’s definitely the fastest turn around we’ve had. I’m hopeful for a good time and to have fun! The boys will be running the kids’ race the same day as they complete their running class.

Have you run your best race on heavy legs? What’s your favorite strategy while running? How was your weekend?

Moving along in July

I can’t believe we are half way through July! Maybe it’s because Arthur decided to stop by our Fourth of July that it doesn’t seem possible that it’s already July 17th; yet, we have had a lot of fun this month!

We have been enjoying plenty of beach time, company, friends and family. The boys have been enjoying baseball camp, swimming lessons and their track class. Our summer schedule seems to be working well for everyone :)

50 Miles in July

I was hopeful to hit this goal after missing it by so many miles in June. Thankfully, I am back on track (literally ;)) and have logged 31.5 miles this month. I am meeting our ever growing group at the track tonight and hope to get in 6-7 miles.

We have been walking the first lap for a warm-up and then running three laps and walking one while the kids are in class (90 minutes). It’s a great way to keep it interesting. We chat and catch up along the way.

Next week, we will bump it up to 4 laps and walking one. Keeping the lap count smaller keeps it more interesting and less daunting :)

Grilling Veggies

Our CSA is in full swing. It’s still mostly greens, along with summer squash, spring onions (one of our faves) and this week, baby red potatoes.

One of our favorite ways to use the greens is to grill them. I put a little olive oil and often Trader Joe’s Everyday seasoning on the greens before grilling. Our youngest loves it! The first time, I put a little on each of their plates and our youngest asked for more spinach (it was kale) and has devoured both the kale and Swiss chard :)

Here is our grilled salad from last week…

We grilled kale, spring onions, summer squash and broccoli (not from the CSA). Then, I added some tomatoes and cucumbers that I had in the fridge with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese – delicious!!

We have also grilled kale and zucchini (from the CSA) as sides to chicken on the grill. You really can’t go wrong :)

This week, we have collard greens and I am not sure what to do with them. Have you prepared collard greens? What’s your favorite recipe? How is your summer so far?

June is done and July has begun!

Soooo, my June goals didn’t exactly end up as I had hoped. I knew it was ambitious for such a busy month, but I wanted to try.

I had originally planned on running during our trip to California, but my body was begging for some real rest. Of course, we walked a lot and explored; but that was it! Frankly, what my body needed.

We got back and I jumped into my heavy teaching schedule. My miles were still hard to come by. Then, it got back to normal. I wound up with 33.5 miles – a long way from 50.

In the past, I wouldn’t share if I didn’t hit a goal – darn ego. Now, I’m a little older and realize that life happens inbetween. It’s not only about miles but quality time with friends and family.

Because of my mile challenges, I have generally found more quality time by walking with my family, and running with my husband and friends. It’s also important to be at little league games and end of the school year celebrations.

That being said – I’m going for 50 miles in July! Thanks to the boys being enrolled in a running program, I should hit this goal and have fun with my friends along the way.

I need to regroup on the blog and I’m planning to be back on a more consistent basis. Starting next week, I will be back to a Mon/Weds/Fri publishing schedule. I’m taking part in a new Instagram challenge through Fit Approach that begins today! Follow along or join in the fun :) #SweatPinkSummer

The most important goal is to enjoy summer and all that it has to offer with family and friends. We are off to a good start with beach time, house guests and more beach time. This week we will take in some Cape Cod baseball and of course fireworks!

What are your goals for July? Do they change for the summer? What are your summer plans?