Friday, January 8, 2016

Where I've been (2015) & Where I'm going (2016)

I had a million drafts sitting in a folder on here for end of year and beginning of year stuff. Lately finishing posts just hasn't happened- life has. Living it, breathing it and making it have all taken priority over writing about it. Not a bad thing, but I also do want to touch on some bits and pieces of those "would have been" posts.

2015 was a big year for me in many, many ways. I finally saw some hard earned breakthroughs in my running, I was also able to be there for others during their breakthrough's. My personal life, followed the cliche of "when you stop looking" adage and here I am happier than I have ever been. Life in general, still had the roller coaster high's and low's but nothing that I felt I couldn't handle with the great support I have around me.

In running, it was a huge year of building. Consistency in training, finding the right support and removing what wasn't working allowed me to really come out on top (personal success). Another 2000+ mile year in the books, with a little less than 200 of those miles raced (22 bibs) and also a new state off the marathon list. I set a personal best in almost all distances with three personally meaningful breakthroughs. Years ago I would say you were crazy if you told me I'd accomplish a sub 3 hour marathon, a sub 85 minute half and a sub 19 5k(1,2,3,4 times) let alone all 3 in one year. I also spent some miles this year, helping others reach their goals. Pacing a half marathon, pacing a marathon, and also running with some friends in parts of their races. I think that those experiences motivated me even more than my own running did.

My three favorite finish lines from the year?

The Most Adrenaline Filled
I don't have words to add.
The Most Rewarding & Emotional
This Photo says it all. I'm emotional, excited and so PROUD of my cadet and friend. Brittany had an amazing first marathon and I was so lucky to experience it first hand with her. Being a part of it throughout the process made it even better, it was so rewarding in a million ways.
The Most Spontaneous and Inspiring
Running the last few miles of Wineglass with Michele wasn't necessarily planned. But it was incredible. She didn't NEED me, but I was glad to be there and it was inspiring to watch her pushing through the final miles. She's always been someone I admire, this only solidified that.
2015 was a year that I really got to experience so much in my life, but also in other peoples lives. I got to be there for some friends during their "big moments". Races, weddings, struggles, all things that I was lucky enough to be by their sides. For clarification, I don't LIKE seeing friends struggle but I certainly can be grateful that I had the chance to give back and help them like they have helped me. I found so much joy this year in being there for others during the good and the bad. Some situations, trying to be a good friend backfired in my face- but I have no regrets. You can't regret supporting others, even if things don't work out.

During the year I also had some great opportunities fall into my lap. I became an athlete for two companies that I have used for years. Zensah and Honey Stinger became more than just brands to me, and I'm so excited to be a part of that again. I have been a loyal Saucony runner for years. I stand by their products and the company itself, which made being a coach for their Saucony 26 Strong project that much more special. Throw in getting a chance to run a great friends first marathon with her, and experience a  race weekend with so many other inspiring women- nothing can compare. Late in the year, I also branched out with my writing and started being a contributor for Salty Running. Over there I'm known as Barley, aka the resident beer girl/runner. I have gotten to know some amazing women through that, and also learned even more about running, training, and the sport itself.

On a personal level, the year started in the black hole of self pity. 2014 was incredibly challenging and even though I worked through so much, the overflow of emotions carried into the new year. So, I tried my best to move forward. It involved attempting online dating (yes, I'm serious) which was an adventure to say the least. Beyond that it turned to focusing back on myself. I was working a lot, training hard, dealing with some family stuff, and also just trying to be comfortable on my own two feet in life. I answered to no one and it was incredibly freeing.
"So trust me when I say I'm not afraid to eat alone....or with my dog"
Then one night at work, things changed. I walked in circles over and over, bought this guy a beer, gave him my number and put myself out there. I couldn't tell you what made me do it, but I knew I wanted to. It started great, but then I got scared, overwhelmed with life(you know, like losing your grandmother two days after Boston Marathon and then also finding out your Mom would be moving out of state) and went back to only thinking about myself. Luckily a few months later, when I realized I'd made a mistake- we tried again and the timing was so much better. Timing is everything, and this time we got it right. This fall I packed my stuff up, and moved Moose's kennel to our new home. Moose has a step sister named Pepper, and Brian and I love our little Brady bunch fur family. Cue the awwwweeee's and the eye rolls.

My 2015 Takeaway? You can't force things. Relationships cannot be forced, timing is everything, and when you know. You cannot force others to be good people, you cannot expect them to change because most of the time they won't see their actions as wrong. You cannot force broken things to be fixed; some friendships, relationships, and life methods are just too far gone to keep pouring time and energy into. That isn't negative, it's realistic. You can't force your training, the PR's or the work that needs to be done to reach your goals. It takes time, effort, and choices to get there and sometimes you'll need help.

The best part about all of that though? The freedom of letting go, and seeing what happens. Because your stress level will go down when you stop trying so damn hard to make everything fit into what you think it should be. Life isn't perfect, it never will be- but if you try hard for yourself instead of trying hard to make it be something else....things WILL get better.

Where does that leave me while starting off 2016? 
Well, the first weekend of the year was pretty amazing. Brian and I had a weekend away together in Buffalo for an NHL game, a night on the town just the two of us, and then rounded it out with witnessing the Bills put a stop to the Jets post-season dreams. We talked, we laughed, we drank, we ate, and we shared a lot of memories together.

Then this week Boston training officially started. Although I've been sick (not that a cold snowy Bills game where I yelled for 4 hours had anything to do with it), it's still been a good week getting ready for a training cycle that will be challenging but rewarding. This weekend, I get to see Heather and Britt to share beers, miles and laughs. So yeah, I'd say 2016 is starting off pretty darn good.

I don't know where the rest of the year will go, but for once I'm not over planning, over stressing, or worrying about things that I can't control. With that said, 2016 I think you and I are gonna get along just fine.

So, here's to 2016. 
More Running
More Laughter
More Love
More Family time
More Friend time
More Writing
More Helping Others
More Goal Chasing
More Nephews to Love....

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

(4)0 Degree not so W, Trail Festival

A week and a half ago, I did something that I hadn't done in a while. I raced on trails! Running on trails is very infrequent for me, racing even more so. It's not that I don't like them, it just isn't my first choice right now. But, I had agreed to do this race and was even excited about it. It is the last Trails ROC race of the year, very low key, low priced ($1 for every mile you run- 5, 10, and 15 mile options), and all around a fun afternoon. I spectated last year, which was quite a bit different scenery. The race is called 0 Degree WTF, as in...Winter Trail Festival. This unseasonably warm weather we are having didn't bode well for the "winter" part of the race. The race director scolded the runners for our lack of properly functioning snow dances- sorry Eric, I didn't do one at all.
Spectating and making snowmen last year....
I felt a little out of place pre-race, but eventually decided to go out and run a short warm-up and shake off the cobwebs. I only did a little over a mile on the roads around the lodge, but was enough to get my legs ready and my mind prepared to handle 10 miles of trails. I finished my bottle of UCAN and ate a pack of honey stinger chews for good measure.

Something I love about trail races is the feeling of ease at a start line. It's so much less formal, everyone is just joking around, laughing and saying well wishes. It's not that they aren't serious, don't care, and aren't about to kick ass- it's just generally more laid back. I like that.
I don't know why I look so serious here, I serious could I be with my foxy $1 target gloves and "Beer me" singlet on!
The course is a 5 mile loop with roughly 1300 feet of elevation gain throughout. The 5 milers run the loop once, 10 mile race twice(2600ish ft/gain), and 15 miler rounds out 3 loops(3900 ft/gain). When I signed up for the race, I decided on the 10 as an active challenge but not over reaching with the 15 miler (after not running trails, not running a ton of hills, and also coming back from taking a week off of running). That elevation or distance might not be a lot for some people- but I knew it was going to be character building for myself.

The first loop, was great until it wasn't. I found my heart rate absolutely skyrocketing with each climb, even when walking. I hiked hills when I needed, and focused on preserving myself- I didn't want to walk the entire second loop. "Ski hill" was a bitch, and admittedly defeated me the first time through. I passed off my gloves at the top, and walked for a bit after trying to re-focus. A while later came "hell on roots", though there was a rope to help climb it unlike when I ascended it on a preview run. I did my best, and reached the top trying to smile. I definitely muttered something like "I'd rather do a marathon". That was the fear and insecurity talking. I'm comfortable on roads, I'm comfortable pushing pace and breathing heavy on asphalt, and I'm comfortable with 26 miles. 10 miles of trails isn't comfortable when you don't do them often, it isn't naturally easy for me and I let some negative thoughts get the best of me.

Then I remembered why I was doing this race in the first place. To be uncomfortable, to do something different in the "offseason", and also to appease Eric of Trails ROC who had been asking me to try trail race for a while now. I was there to run, have fun, experience some scenery change and to challenge myself--I spent a minute reminding myself of that and then embraced the rest of the first loop and got excited to go at it again.

Between loops, I stopped at the aid table and drank some of my Nuun that I had left there. It wasn't a long stop but it was good to hydrate, and catch my breath for a minute before heading back out. I had caught up to two men also in the 10 mile race, and figured it would be good to push myself and chase for a while. We bantered back and forth, and our pack of 3 went down to two. I had found a new set of wheels and was having a blast. The guy I was running behind at one point asked "you're not going to make this easy on me are you?"....I replied with a simple "nope". Friendly competition at it's finest.

I hiked up "Ski hill" again, but with a much better attitude. I went up "hell on roots" still huffing a bit but again....a better attitude made all the difference. Shortly after that I knew I could run the rest and at a decent enough pace. I could still have a strong finish. I tackled the rest and ran the last bit of the course (around a grass field to the finish) as if I were on the roads- that felt good. I got my big high five at the finish, crossing first female and third overall for the 10 mile distance.

Due to the favorable conditions- all of the course records fell, and fell hard. The male winner of the 15 miler (who totally lapped me even though we started at different times), broke the record by 16 minutes and the leading female broke the record by about 9 minutes. In the 10 mile race the male broke the record by about 18 minutes, and I broke the female record by about 12 minutes. The 5 mile records were both broken by 1-2 minutes. So when I say it was a solid running day, in comparison to previous years conditions- I wasn't kidding. No way in hell could I have run that time if there was a foot of snow! But, I'll take it. It was a successful day all around.

Post-race was, in my head- how it should be. Cheer for other runners, congratulate others on their race, share beers with friends and strangers, and take joy in the fact that we have a commonality in running. Being the "new girl" in the situation was a little odd at first, but the cries of "she doesn't even go here!" never came. Most everyone was welcoming, inviting (for more trail running, of course), and friendly. We chatted running (trails and roads), beer and life- I left the race with a big smile on my face and it had little to do with a time or a placement but for an experience.

If you want to see some AWESOME photos from the race, check out The Ascend Collective- WTF Gallery--> here.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Freezeroo #1 Don Curran Memorial 5k 2015

I mentioned last week that I was excited to be doing the Freezeroo series this winter, as a way to stay motivated and get outside. This weekend was the first race of the series, and oddly wasn't very Freezerooish with the weather- but no one was complaining. Temperatures were in the low 40's I think, with a slight breeze.

One of the things I love about the series, is that the races don't start until 10 AM. I was in bed until about 8:30 with my coffee, waffles and the newspaper....maybe even a little later. The series races take place all around Rochester, and this one happened to be 10 minutes from home.

My friend was working the packet pickup and said it was a fast course ( I didn't know this course) and I thought he was messing with me, I would proceed to spend most of the race waiting for a mountain to jump out of nowhere. It didn't.
Photo credit: GRTC
These races are so low key, everyone just hangs out chatting until the start. We took off and I instantly went out way too fast. I was running 5:35-45 pace for the first half mile- NOOOOO Laura. The first mile had lots of little turns through and around parking lots until we finally got out on a main road. I hit the first mile in 5:58, I was like okay just hold on to that.

The second mile featured a half mile out and back portion. This told me I was somewhere in top 10 overall, and only had one female in front of me. Goal, don't get passed. I enjoyed the out and back portion, cheering for friends and hearing their support on the other side as well. Mile 2 was 5:59.
Smile for the the last mile.
The last mile meant weaving back through the parking lots and turns, which didn't excite me but wasn't a big deal. I knew I could keep running for a few more minutes and just focused on hitting one turn to the next. I could hear heavy breathing not far behind me and knew someone was close, DON'T get passed damnit.

I found that kicker of a gear and went through the line without getting passed, 18:49 and good enough for second female and my second fastest 5k time.  I also took 5th overall, always fun to do that....nice to see 2 women in top 5 of a race(even for a small race).

I'm really happy with this, and it was a good start to the series. I know I won't be able to run "race speed" for all of the races....snow and sub-zero temps are inevitable. So it was nice to come out with a bang and can then try and hold on for the remainder of the races whatever the weather brings. The girl who won the race was not registered for the series, so she gets the race win but I get the points for the win in the series (if that makes sense).

As for my personal race, I'm happy with the time and also happy with stringing together those two sub-6 miles. I struggle with that and found this race to be good progress. I do wish though that I had more grit in that last mile. My kick was faster than it should have been, meaning I wasn't doing enough in the last mile. I could have been pushing more, there may not have been people around me but I should be able to push myself regardless. Not a complaint, just something that I know I can work on though going forward.

The next Freezeroo race is on New Years day, which I will not be doing. It's important for me to not have running/racing invade every part of my life. I'm looking forward to ringing in the New Year with Brian and not worrying about what needs to happen the following day. This will probably be the only series race that I miss, and that's ok. You need 4/6 of the races to be eligible for awards and I plan on doing all of the rest. Lucky for me, I should have some company from Britt and Heather for the 5 miler on January 9th!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Winter Training & Racing

After not running for all of last week, here we are and it's December. Seven full days off of running, and I tell you what- it was just the thing I needed.  It also made me even more excited for the upcoming months of training and racing.

I get that 7 days off isn't a lot. It's a week. We have FIFTY TWO of them in a year, and I took ONE totally off. But in that one week, I got what I needed. I got more sleep than I have in a while, I spent quality time with family and friends. I caught up around the house, and little odds and ends in life. So nope, not a big deal to take 7 days without running. It's better than not taking it and needing WEEKS down the road because I didn't take it now though.

I would much rather take time off on my own terms, which allows me to recover and recharge. That is much better than NEEDING the time off for other reasons. So, I embraced the hell out of my self-imposed break.

After Boston Marathon this year, I took 4 days off of running. After Erie Marathon I took 4 days off of running as well. Besides 1-2 day stretches within training (2 days in a row off was semi-rare), those 4 day stints were the longest I took off of running since last December. I took 11 days off of running after Memphis Marathon last year, and it was so good and oh-so-necessary. Had I raced another late fall marathon this year, I would have taken at least another 10 day running hiatus.

While I have been feeling good, and even after my PR at the Philly half marathon- I knew that I was due for a break. Tina and I did some chatting about this, and I know that the break was important. In my head I said at least a week of no running, but perhaps a little more depending how I felt come Monday.

I ran on Monday night after work, with fresh legs and a renewed sense of motivation.

What exactly is coming up? 
December plans are to get back into routine, enjoy the holidays and get ready for the new year to start with a bang for Boston training. No crazy miles or workouts, just getting myself into that aerobic monster zone that worked so well before specific training before Erie.

What is Boston training going to look like?
One of the things I accomplished on my time off last week was compiling a pretty good rough draft of my Boston training plan. After parting ways with my coach around the time of Erie, I decided that I would go through at least another marathon cycle on my own before potentially considering another coach. I'm excited to be in the drivers seat again, and I feel like I can be more successful now than when I was self-coached before. I've learned a lot, and have a much better idea of what works and doesn't work.

With that said, I would like to see some things with my training this time around. I want another gradual mileage bump, I've taken this pretty serious over the years about no drastic changes and it's kept me healthy. I also want to see consistency with "the little things" that I know can make a big difference (core work, dynamic stretching, hydration, post-run strides, hill sprints etc.). Workout wise I'm still playing around with them, but most won't be anything crazy different or new- just good solid race specific efforts. I will be updating my training logs each week over on Salty Running.

What is next for racing?
Two winters ago I did more racing than this past one. I used the local Freezeroo series as a way to motivate myself to get out regardless of conditions. Last year I didn't do it for a bunch of reasons, but kind of missed the commiseration of scheduled hard run in sub-zero temps with other locals. I never really stressed about those races, because the conditions were always different and never usually ideal- but it meant a good workout and a morning with other runners. Something to be said about low-frills races as supported workouts during training.

With that said I decided to register for the series this year. It's $65 for SIX races, which is a nice tag for supported runs. Some people pay well over $11/class for a workout so why not pay roughly ~$11 for a supported running workout? I know for a fact I won't do all 6 races (already nixed the New years day one), but I will plan on at least 4 so I can be eligible for series awards (2 years ago I took second place for women). 

Besides the series, I am also registered for two halves- both of which will most likely be workouts and not all out races. I'm glutton for punishment & going back to Lake Effect even after this years mess- but will be much better about adjusting goals and such if need be. I am also doing Syracuse Half Marathon again, but the new race date is only 2 weeks from Boston so it will likely be a marathon workout or just another long run.

So that is where I am at, and what is next. I'm really excited with life in general right now, which makes running the icing on the cake. I'm gonna have this cake and eat it too.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I'm Racing a Half Marathon this Weekend *Gulp*

It's scarier for me to say I am running a half marathon this weekend than it would a marathon. I've run 20+ halves and still don't feel like I know how to race them. I haven't trained specifically for a half in a few years, they have all been in the middle of marathon training. I don't regret that, and it probably won't change for a while. I like my marathons, sue me. 

I've run a few halves this year, none of them stellar. Lake Effect was a snowy bad attitude disaster. Syracuse was a strong effort and good course PR, but still not an all out race for me. Pacing Buffalo was fun half, but again not a race effort. With that, my last half was really Empire last year (still my current official PR). Right now my half marathon PR pace and marathon PR pace are only 2 seconds/mile apart. Needless to say I have some room to move with that half time. We will see.

The last 8 weeks have been a roller coaster of training, with a marathon thrown in the middle and a bunch of random 5k's surrounding that. Most importantly though, it's been FUN. I've not stressed about training for the most part, and haven't been following a strict plan. Mentally I have needed the break after go-go-going on a training plan for well...a really long time.

With that said, I am taking Philly semi-seriously because I KNOW I can PR. But, I'm also going into it knowing this won't be the best I can do (ever) but it will be the best I can give on that day. Reality is, I believe I have far faster times in me but that isn't the point of my running right now. This is my "I'm not following a training plan and if I don't wanna run I won't- Season".

A look at the weeks leading up to this weekends race....

Race week: "Head Cold + PMS= Rage week"
Workouts: Track session: (2 x 1 mile @ T, 2 x 800, 1 x 400, 4 x 100 strides) Cut-down workout
Long Run/Race: -Philly Half Marathon-

2 Weeks out: "Where'd my motivation go week"
Workouts: 60 Minute treadmill tempo (about 45 minutes of "work")
Long Run:  12 Miles with Heather

3 weeks out: "weeeeee training again feels awesome"
Workouts: 9 mile tempo (1 up, 2 Steady State [6:55], 5 Tempo [6:30 avg.], 1 down),
Track workout (4x200m, 2x400m, 4x200m) + Strides
Races: East Ave Grocery Run 5k
Long Run: 16 Miles

4 weeks out: "go with the flow and get it done week"
Workouts: 6ish mile fartlek, 7 mile tempo (1 up, 5 @ 6:28 avg., 1 down)
Long Run: 16 Miles
Races: Pumpkins in the Park 5k (costume race)

5 weeks out: "Getting back into a groove week"
Workouts: Track (1 mile @ T, 2x800m, 2x400m, 4x200m)
Long Run: 14.5 Miles
Races: Scare Away Brain Cancer 5k

6 weeks out: "Recovery week from Chicago Marathon"
Workouts: -none-
Long Run: -none-
Race: Courage Run 5k

7 weeks out: "Chicago Marathon week"
Workouts: -none-
Long Run/Race: Chicago Marathon with Brittany

8 weeks out: "First time doing anything fast since Erie week"
Workouts: Track (10x200)
Long Run: -none-
Race: Photo Finish 5k

9 &10 weeks out: Erie Marathon/Recovery Weeks

I admit looking over this made me feel better about Philly, I have done a few workouts and the races help too.  This race was not on my 'goal race radar' until maybe 5 weeks out. I wasn't sure how I'd feel with back to back marathons, but knew that a half PR would be good way to end the season. I was already planning on spectating the marathon so it worked out to run the half and then play cheerleader after. Win-win.

If I use my most recent 5k time/PR (18:46), that converts to 1:26:53
If I use my marathon PR time (2:58:13), that converts to 1:24:41

I have problems with both of these conversions. My 5k times have never matched my marathon times, I always fair faster on the distance end (which is so strange to me based on my short distance experience being stronger). On the other end of things, using my marathon time seems illogical since that was 10+ weeks ago and I don't have that same fitness right now.

So I guess that leaves me somewhere in the middle, which is conveniently where my goal lies. I think based on training, and where I am currently at (not in peak shape, but not a couch potato) a 1:26:XX is a reasonable goal.

Throwing that out there for a little public accountability.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

East Ave Grocery Run 2015

Oh look it's another race recap! Sixth weekend in a row of racing to be exact, so not the norm for me but it's been fun! I knew this would be my last race before Philly half in two weeks though, and also know it would be a good confidence booster if it went well. I didn't go in planning on a PR, but I also didn't rule it out. I have been consistently between 18:55-19:07 for a while now so I was hoping to be somewhere around there.

B got up in the morning with me and drove me to the race, which is an easy drive. I warmed up solo and zoned out to some music (I may not listen to it while racing anymore, but I still love it for pumping myself up during pre-race!). I couldn't gauge how I was feeling, but finished with some strides and checked out the field anyways. Based on who I saw, I told B I could have a tough time cracking the top 10 but that I would try. A quick shoe change and last minute hug and it was about go time. I high fived and said hi to a few friends and other Bergen teammates (was nice to have a few of us there!)

I was on the line off to the side, but near some people that I knew would be good to chase once we took off. I was near a girl who I bobbled back and forth with two weeks ago at the 5k so I decided to just hang with her for at least the first mile. It gave me something to focus on and we were holding a good pace. The first mile is 95% straight, the marker was shortly after the first course turn. This mile also slight elevation loss. 5:55

After we made turn two, I pulled ahead and started picking others off as I could. I wasn't paying attention to my watch, just focusing on form and pushing forward. The second mile had two turns, and finished on a slight grade. I did see B shortly before the end of the second mile which made me smile. 6:06

The third mile of this course (new course this year) definitely was the most challenging of the three. First off it's the third mile of a 5k, it's supposed to be a grind at the end. Secondly this mile has FIVE turns and a short steep incline right between two of those turns. It was just enough to take the wind out of my sails, and admittedly I didn't pace it well. I continued to pick people off without looking at my watch, I had no clue when I needed to kick. I unfortunately waited until the final turn onto East which left me with very little room to make up ground. Live and learn.

No, that is NOT a lot of elevation change but damn I let it get to me more than I should have!
I pushed as hard as I could and was running 5:02 pace for the last 30 seconds. In my head I was a little mad at myself for not tackling the last mile better and kicking too late, but then I saw the clock and knew I was about to PR. 18:46 was the official time, and gave me a 3rd place finish. Anger went away pretty darn quick, I can't help but be my own worst critic but I'll also celebrate my success just the same.

Basically opposite pacing of the 5k two weeks prior, but I was faster overall this time so I can't be TOO mad.
Overall I am happy with how my times have been with shorter distances this fall since Erie Marathon. I still need serious work on short distance pacing but I know that I can fix that in time. This was a good confidence booster for Philly half, and was very pleased to end up in top 3 ($50 was a nice unexpected thing to walk away with). A few of the women I thought were racing ended up not, but this was still a solid field- I definitely ran knowing that I had quite a few women right on my heels (good motivation to push though!).

This week will be a bigger training week for Philly and next week I plan to do a small taper for the half. If you want to know about the previous two weeks of training you can check that out ----> here.

2014 Grocery Run Recap (Old Course)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ten things Thursday: Catching up on Life

Admittedly, for a good chunk of time I was rolling with the punches but also expecting the punches regularly. I kind of felt like I was in the ring with Ronda Rousey a bit, but somehow managed to come out alive and relatively unscathed. 
Lets file the last few years under 'Chaos' and current state as 'great changes'
Life lately has been much less of a boxing match, and much more of a zip line ride down a mountain. All of a sudden I look around and things are just....amazing. Life has been changing at a rapid pace, complete with all of the emotions. It's exciting, fun, a little scary but as a whole just a damn good experience. Sure, it's not always easy and I find my grip slipping here and there but you adjust and hold on like hell. 

A few things to talk about, so in true Laura fashion we will go with the list....

1. I have a secret to share. My alter ego is published! You can now call me Barley, read more about that right here --->Introducing Barley!<--- on Salty Running. I am really excited to start writing over on SR, I will be posting my training logs as well as other running/training/racing posts. This little corner of the web isn't going anywhere though. I will be sharing the writing between sites, and created a tab up top for links to all my Salty posts as they are done! So I guess that really wasn't a secret but I just hadn't gotten around to talking about it because I was busy with....

2. Moving. This fall has been pretty darn busy (but in so many good ways!). The decision was made towards the end of September, even though we knew that October was going to be nuts. B was gone the first 2 weeks of the month, and I spent 5 days partying and running my way through Chicago. When we both got back it was time to just make things happen. A few evening trips with the truck (followed by food and beer at Tap & Mallet), and a few more day trips and a large trailer load and we were done. The house is full: 2 people, 2 dogs, 2 sets of adults belongings....and many jokes about needing a room for my books and my running shoes. Many adventures in cohabitation to come :)

3. Speaking of moving, I didn't realize how attached I was to my regular running routes until I didn't have them! I moved out of the city, but am in a pretty busy area with less convenient access to my go to running spots. Not a huge deal, in fact it's been fun finding new routes. Sometimes I get home and say I will NEVER run on THAT road again, and other times I come back all excited to return to a road for a certain type of workout. I do miss some of my old routes though, luckily it's not THAT far away.

4. Training has been, slowly becoming training again if that makes sense. Between Erie and Chicago I basically just ran if I wanted and didn't otherwise. After Chicago it's been a mish mash of runs, races, and whatever I could fit in. I finally feel like I have some structure back which is a good feeling. I also have a new gym membership which is 2 miles from my new home- convenient for getting workouts in, and for running (treadmill time is imminent, it's November). This is Upstate, NY. It may have been 78 yesterday, but I'm a realist and I know I'll be grumbling over white crap in no time. I'm sticking with a pretty loose training plan for the time being though- after a big year of training and racing, the stress free and fun is a great distraction.

5. Bibs Galore! I used to race a LOT, like a lot lot. Over the past few years it's dwindled a bit, although I still race a decent amount. Somehow, fall fun running turned into racing a ton! Since I'm not high volume training right now, and have gone into all but one (Erie) of these with no expectations/pressure/stress- I don't think it's a bad thing to spend my weekends poking myself with safety pins at ungodly hours.
9/20 Recovery Week
9/27 More Recovery running

6. Racing. While we are on the topic, there are two more to add for upcoming races. I am running a 5k this weekend (I'd like to be around where I have been, but also have been training more this week so who knows), and then racing Philly half in two and a half weeks! Admittedly, I do have some bigger goals for Philly but that we can talk about another day.

7. I know I already did a race recap- but um, yeah. You gotta see this again. because...jorts.

8. Can we talk about the weather? No, seriously...the weather has been awesome! We had a cold snap for a bit but then this week has been 70's! Yesterday Rochester reached 78 which broke a 70+ year temperature record. Usually we are breaking cold or snow records this time of year, so cheers to something new! Buffalo Bills also won a new title, drunkest fans. Admittedly this shocked me far less than a record breaking 78 degrees on November 4th.

9. We all know I love my Zensah compression. What you may not know is they have wool sleeves now! I know I was just talking about it being 70 degrees outside, but it's NY and that could change in 5 seconds. I love the wool sleeves and can see myself using them a LOT this winter. They are super warm/cozy but still offer great compression without being crazy itchy! Check those out here---->Wool Compression sleeves

10. Apparently my life isn't changing as much as I thought if I can't come up with 10 things without talking about the weather. Obviously there are other things in life going on. I still work (ONE job for the time being, WHATTTTTT?!). I still run. I still drink beer. Basically, I'm the same person but I smile a hell of a lot more and my zip code is different.

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