4 years of running ~ 1388 miles, sometimes tedious with a sprinkle of fun

To be honest, I was quite surprised when Facebook showed me an old blog post celebrating my running anniversary. I had completely forgotten! In a way, this sums up my last year of running.

Many times it was tedious and frankly lack luster. My running motivation was pretty much gone. I exercise a lot outside of running and decided to honor it. I cut back on running and made sure I was in shape enough to participate in races.

Slowly, my running desire is coming back. The weather is improving and I’m enjoying getting in miles with friends when I can. My hips have been getting cranky on the treadmill so I’m focusing my cardio elsewhere.

Before I started running, I was envious of people who could just run. They decided to simply run a 5k. This seemed impossible to me. I couldn’t run a mile. I put in a lot of hard work and eventually got there myself.  

As I play on different cardio machines, I realize how much running has helped. They aren’t as intimidating as they once were.

Of course, there was a lot of good too! We ran the 10k trilogy and that was amazing! The atmosphere at each race is electric and it’s a great sense of accomplishment to finish all three. Not to mention the courses are beautiful 🙂

The boys were more involved in running and look forward to running 5ks with us. We are planning to run as a family at the end of April. It can be a challenge scheduling races around their busy activity schedule, but it works.

It’s not a bad lesson for them to cheer us on once in a while as we spend much of our time cheering them on. Not to mention the lesson of perseverance and working towards fitness goals as adults. They’ve both noticed how their sports season affects their race. For example, one noticed he runs better during soccer season as his conditioning is on point versus a season with less running.

While it wasn’t the most glamorous year of running, like many runs themselves, it got done. I’m looking forward to this year of running and seeing what it brings 🙂

Hyannis Marathon, Half & 10k ~ Recap

I must admit, I don’t know where to begin with this recap – there are so many emotions and stories! I guess I should just start at the beginning. After running the trilogy last year, my husband placed in the top ten and qualified for free entry in all three races this year.  

After lack luster (to put it mildly) training for the last race in October, I wasn’t too sure about doing it again. In the name of support and having a goal, I decided to join him again.

As the race approached, I read my recap from last year and felt that my training was actually pretty good. The weather looked great again and I started to get excited for race day. We met up with our friend to collect out trilogy jackets at the race expo and the excitement went to a new level.The buzz around this race is contagious!! You can’t help but get pumped! You know this is true because my friend spontaneously signed up for the 10k! I was through the roof to have a friend run with me!!

We got to the race nice and early as parking can be a challenge and enjoyed amazing people watching (one of my favorite activities 😉). There are so many different types of people at this race. It is one of (if not the) last qualifiers for Boston. This means there are a lot of serious runners looking for great times. There are also lots of half marathoners training for Boston or accomplishing New Years resolutions.

As we were sitting there, the Hoyt’s came in and started getting ready. I don’t think there can be anything more inspiring! It really is such a treat to see them in person and know how much running has done for them and others!

We met up with a few other friends and headed to the start. My friend revealed her “Roger That” t-shirt during pre-race photos and I can assure you it was a huge hit along the course. I’m pretty sure it must be what it’s like to run with a celebrity. One of the college kids volunteering along the course even threw her a football around mile 3. Of course, I wasn’t paying attention and almost took it to the face, but I didn’t and she made an Edelman catch 😉.

My friend hadn’t had the opportunity to train as extensively – because life happens. We decided to have fun and take it all in. I know she was a little frustrated and wanted me to go ahead, but I reminded her that I had talked her into it. I was so happy to have company!!

We finished and found out my husband had his best time – he was pretty excited. The three of us had some water and decided to go grab lunch. After battling our way out and getting to the restaurant we discovered my husband had won his division and the awards ceremony was about to start. Back to the race we went and luckily made it just in time for the awards ceremony. Here he is collecting his trophy from Frank Shorter (who won the Olympic gold medal for the Marathon in 1972 and silver in 1976).

We were doubly lucky to have gone back as they held up a found car key. Yup, it belonged to our group! It had fallen out of an arm strap designed to hold your phone and wait for it, key 😉. Luckily all is well that ends well.After collecting his award and the key, we went to the after party for a post run beer 😊. It seems crazy to think I was considering not running. The day was everything I hoped for and I’m already looking forward to the next one!!

CHiPS 10k+ Recap ~ only 4 months later

 Right after this race, I went away with my husband and came home to the end of school year joys and completely forgot to write a recap. As our latest race got closer I thought I would simply combine the recaps into one post, but they were such different experiences, I decided to write them separately!

Some of the specifics of this race have faded into the background. I had to look up my pace and the temperature, details that aren’t important anymore. What I do remember vividly is the feeling I had while running and after!

  My friends were running the half and we came up with a plan to pace ourselves steady and slow from the beginning. I decided I would take pictures along the way and just enjoy the course.

We chatted the entire time and the miles seemed to cruise right by. I remember distinctly thinking how are we already to mile 5? It just felt good and fun to be with my running friends. Eventually we parted ways as they continued along and I turned back towards the finish.

  One detail I remember very clearly is the distance of the race! A few days before the event, an email was sent explaining that the cute little plus was a whole mile ~ eek! I had never run 7 miles before. It wasn’t even on my radar.

I knew my legs would carry me through and they did. I had finally reached a point in my training that allowed for extra distance without too much thought. How could I just tack on an extra mile? Seems crazy to me even now!

The day was a great success and I was very happy with the whole experience!

I’m a winter warrior!

  
OK, the challenge was for January and we are nearing the end of February; but I’m still excited about all January had to offer. Throughout December, I couldn’t pick a goal or word for 2016. Nothing was really exciting me. I decided it was time to focus on feeling success in what I already do. My plan was to run distances I felt good about and feel good with the weights and reps I do in class.

Then I signed up for the Winter Warrior challenge on January first. My friend had mentioned it earlier in December and I wasn’t ready to commit. A) I don’t like being cold (ever) B) How does this fit with feeling successful in what I’m currently doing C) What the hell – go for it 😉

I had already done the First Day 5k when I signed up and decided to go all in. They give you an option to buy the shirt when you sign-up. The names of everyone who completes the challenge are on the back. Of course I decided to buy it and there was no way my name wasn’t going to be on it!

  
I decided to do the bronze challenge which meant getting in one mile everyday (walking or running) outside for the month of January. The boys and I found a fun mile in the neighborhood that includes a decent hill. I also found a flatter mile in the neighborhood for the truly yucky days.

Luckily, the least inviting days fell on days I run with friends. There were times we were tempted to do our miles in the neighborhood or my friend not doing the challenge was going to go on the treadmill. Somehow, we decided to get together and get it done. Something about sharing the experience and if you’re going to put on all those layers, it might as well be for more than a mile 😉

  
My friends doing the challenge and I even got our mile in through gross weather before attending the Pats playoff game ;). As we said in my house, anything for my name on a shirt!

The challenge was a huge success and gave me the perfect goal to start the year! It allowed for success and took some extra effort. There were a few times I told my friends “I am not this bad ass!” Turns out I am 😉 There were some bitter cold, windy and snowy days; yet I conquered them with my friends and it felt great!!

I was excited to complete the challenge with my husband and friends at the Frozen Pilgrim. Maybe even more excited to celebrate with a cold beer after 😉

Time to find a new challenge – I really enjoy the external motivation!

Frozen Pilgrim – wasn’t that cold!

  Our friends were running the Frozen Pilgrim in Plymouth and it sounded like a fun excuse to run and hang out. Somehow the photos of the course covered in snow and last year’s cancellation didn’t sway us (not really sure what happened to me that snow and cold didn’t scare me).

There were three distance options: one, three or five miles to coincide with the Winter Warrior challenge (more on the challenge in a later post).  We all decided to run the three mile course.

Race day came and it was beautiful! Sunny and 50 degrees for January 31st is as perfect as it gets! Dressing can be a little tricky and I definitely overdressed. I knew I was in trouble when I wasn’t cold at the starting line 😉

There was a great turnout for the race and everyone was excited about the weather. We were a little surprised about a big hill one mile in – thankfully, the view at the top was beautiful and then there was a big down-hill :).  My friend and I decided to walk up the hill and run the rest. I haven’t done this in a race when I had the ability to run the entire distance. It worked out really well and gave us good power through the rest of the race.

I figured I would be somewhere between 32-34 minutes. As I came around, I saw the clock at 31 and sprinted hard. I crossed the finish as the clock turned to 32 – ahhh – my final time was 32:01.

After the race, we went out for a celebratory lunch with our friends on Plymouth harbor. We had a blast and enjoyed the beautiful weather before trekking home 🙂

Running with friends

IMG_1130.JPG

When I began running, it was all about me. I didn’t want anyone else running with me. Sometimes on the treadmill was ok because I could go at my own speed. I wasn’t responsible for anyone else’s workout.

Now, I hate running by myself. I’ve been walking on the treadmill to keep moving and often clear my head before teaching a class. Running has become social.

I love it in the summer when I run and walk with friends at the track. Again, it’s like the treadmill. People can go ahead or slow down at their own pace, but we are all there together. Somewhere along the way, running with friends has become a huge highlight of my week!

It’s my “me” time, the equivalent of meeting for coffee. I don’t know when this happened! There are so many strange phrases coming out of my mouth. For example, “it’s only _ miles” or “I wish I brought my running stuff on vacation”. The craziest was this past week.

My running friend and I had scheduled a 5 mile run on Friday afternoon. Her daughter wound up being home with a stomach bug (life of a mom) and she had to cancel. I was genuinely disappointed. I looked at my husband and said I can’t believe how bummed I am about not going for our run.

On my way to teach, I thought of a friend I might be able to talk into joining me. The running gods smiled down, because there she was running on the treadmill when I got to the gym. I mentioned going for a run/walk in her neighborhood AND she said YES!

I was psyched! Of course the weather was cold and wet. It was supposed to clear, but typical New England – it didn’t. I called after my last class to see if she was still game and she was! We ventured out for a 3.25 mile run/walk.

Her long legs made her fast and we only walked for a little over .25 miles. It was great 🙂 We chatted along the way and I found myself explaining that I love getting out and catching up while running.

I can still see the irony as a friend last year told me how great it is to run and talk. I thought she was CRAZY! Who can run AND talk, that’s just insane. Somehow, this has become my reality. I love running with friends. The mileage is secondary to getting out and catching up.

Not to mention, it keeps me accountable. I’m not going to be the one wimping out when the weather isn’t perfect or I don’t feel like it. I have an appointment, somewhere to be and someone counting on me.

I am capable of motivating myself to workout, but why make it less fun? As the winter months approach, I may be stuck back on my own. Right now, I plan on keeping it outside and with friends as long as it’s safe.

There is nothing like the fresh air and quality time with friends.

Do you exercise with friends? What has surprised you about leading a healthy lifestyle? Do you prefer being outside or inside when exercising?

Jolly Jaunt ~ Family, friends, and a jolly good time

20131210-162426.jpg

Over the summer our friends picked the local Jolly Jaunt as their running goal. We decided to join them, but we were a little wary of it falling on our youngest’s birthday. Well, it did. We asked him what he thought about it. He wanted to know if he could race too. We looked it up and there was a kids race. He wanted to run on his birthday like Daddy did on his.

We signed everyone up and recruited some more friends to join us. One of my awesome co-workers even made tutus for the event.

The day of the race was a balmy 34* with some wind, but no snow. We geared up after a morning of birthday presents and went to the race.

The boys ran first. They loved it! Our oldest came in second and our youngest was right behind him as he came in fourth. They were so proud of their numbers, medals and t-shirts. Our oldest put his shirt on the minute we got home and our youngest wore his shirt to school.

20131210-162509.jpg

When the kids were done, we met up with our friends and put on our tutus. This was one of the bigger 5ks we’ve run. There were people of all shapes and sizes. The outfits were pretty awesome. There was everything from Santa hats and tutus to full costumes.

20131210-162551.jpg

The course was pretty straight forward. There was a small loop before running back, so there were a few high-fives with my hubby and friend as they were heading back. Thankfully, we ran towards the water at the halfway point. It always makes it a little more fun. Of course, the water at this time of year means more wind (it was worth it).

20131210-162640.jpg

I was able to keep a pretty steady pace and found my warm gear the perfect level of warmth for me. I get cold easily (it makes me a little grumpy) and wanted to be as comfortable as possible.

While no race is easy, I’m beginning to hit my stride. I finished feeling pretty strong and not as exhausted as I have in the past. I was able to give the finish a solid sprint and not worry that my legs were going to give out. I’m always a little nervous that I’m going to face plant at the finish.

20131210-162715.jpg

Thankfully, no face plant in front of my amazing friends and family. It was cold and when you’re done running it is freezing! My friends and family all stayed to cheer me across the finish. There is such a great feeling of accomplishment and it means a lot to share it with others!!