Monday, December 30, 2013


Well I can't believe this year is almost over, where the heck did it go? 
I raced over 300 miles this year over the course of 23 races. I ran over 1500 miles total, biked even more and kicked my own ass numerous times (as well as having it handed to me by others). I really liked Amanda's (aka MissZippy) "year in running" link-up so I had to join in with the fun!

Best race experience?
This one is a 3 way tie all for different reasons.
Best Social Race Experience: Rock N Roll Virginia Beach... I spent the weekend with 2 of my best friends and had the pleasure to meet a few others IRL as well. We talked, we laughed (a lot), we ate (a lot), we had a great time and made for an awesome race weekend.

Best New Race Experience: Although Musselman was not my first triathlon (Keuka was), it was my first half-ironman(70.3) distance triathlon. It was an incredible day, an accomplishment I will never forget. The hard work and months of training paid off, and the support of John and my friends and family was more than I ever could have imagined.

Best Personal Race Experience: For a million and one reasons, CIM will hold a huge place in my heart. Maybe it's all too fresh in my mind right now, but I tear up just thinking about it all over again. I flew, I Landed, I ran and conquered my goals and then flew back.

Best run? 
Okay, a 2-way tie for this one.
Best run with a friend: My first ever run with Hollie. Back in February, Hollie drove from Oswego to Rochester to run with me even though we hadn't met IRL before. Not only was it flipping blizzard outside, but we tackled 18 miles together and didn't have any problems finding things to talk about the whole time. That was pretty much the moment I knew we were destined to be great friends.

Best Solo-run: I'm going to have to go with my longest training run ever. The 23 miler I did in between Wineglass and CIM. The weather was an amazing sunny perfect temp fall day. Everything clicked, and mentally I was in "each mile" for the entire run.

Best new piece of gear?
No tie on this one for triathlon gear. Dear Fiona, I love you. (yes I named my bike)

Best new piece of running gear would be my Saucony A5 Racing flats.

Best piece of running advice you received? 
Oye. Not sure where to begin with this one. I can't pinpoint exactly who said this to me, I actually think its a combination of all the advice I was given this year. You hear people say trust the training- this year I believe it was about trusting myself. Trust my abilities, my strength, trust that I did what I needed to do. Trust that I am capable of whatever I put my mind to, whether it be my first multi-sport event, completing a half-ironman, PRing in the marathon (twice), or even just trusting my abilities to push through the hard training.
At the end of the day it comes down to YOU, so you damn well better trust yourself.

Most inspirational runner? 
Broken record here but there is NO way I can choose one on this.
Hollie- everything she pushed through this year, girl was on the move more than a damn gypsy and still managed to throw down some awesome times and also run a kick ass first marathon.
Jen- you'd think befriending an elite runner would be intimidating, but not with Jen. Nothing short of inspiring and motivating.
Heather- Despite dealing with injuries, less than stellar race conditions (on many occasions) she kept on pushing forward. It takes strong will  to keep going, and she definitely proved that. I have had a blast getting to know her this year (Especially in NYC and Cali) and I can't wait for the next round of shenanagins!
CR Mike: Do you want to talk about running your first marathon in 3:15(when you have only been running a year)? Um yeah. His wife Michelle, and their friend Rhoda also write the blog they call "3 Cheap Runners" All 3 of them are seriously awesome. 
Michelle: Y'all know Mrs.Inspiration herself, rocking her first Ironman at Placid this year. She trains like a rockstar in all that she does. She had a few rough races, but never gave up or lost hope. Another seriously strong willed person. She also recently reached out to me when I was feeling down and frustrated with some things. She has so much going on but still made a point to support someone she has never met. 
Shannon: Good grief, this girl is awesome. First of all, I wish I could swim like her. Second of all, she just really really inspires me for who she is as a person. Takes whatever life throws at her, uses it as fuel and stays positive along the way.
Beth: I don't know how it began, or why. But somehow through twitter, sassy pants was born. With the sassy funny and inspiring comments- she seriously  knows how to put a smile on my face.
Kristin: She ran as a guide for a disabled athlete in the NYCM. Enough said. Amazing.
My Sister: Remember that time she came incredibly close to PRing in a half marathon in her first post-baby race...yeah I do. Shes officially a mother runner.

If you could sum up your year
in a couple of words, 
what would they be?
 Finding my stride. This year I found so many things that worked and didn't work for me which allowed me to grow as a person and an athlete. I am grateful to have learned so much and hope that I can put it all to good use for 2014 and beyond.

Tell me something awesome about your 2013, 
and something awesome you are looking forward to in 2014!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Week & Finding my normal

Before I get into the workouts from the week I will do my duty and share some holiday photos so y'all don't think I am a hermit who runs but has no life or family.

My Family :) Brother in Law on left, mom, sister, dad, nephew, me and J.
This little man has absolutely stolen my heart.
Leave it to Aunt Laura and Grandma to get him all riled up!
My dad and I trying to help him open his bulk box of baby wipes. This really was an awesome present for him, because he LOVES the crinkly packaging the baby wipes come in. 
Reading The Night Before Christmas to my cousins little kids.
I know, I know- enough pictures. 

On with it.

Quick Run-Down
Monday: 45 Minutes Elliptical
Tuesday: X
Wednesday: X
Thursday: 2 mile TM warm-up, 30 minutes Strength training Core/Legs
Friday: (A.M) 3 mile TM warm-up, 30 minutes Strength training Arms/Core
Friday: (P.M) 3 mile TM run, 22 minutes Stretching & Core Strength, 15 minutes Bike Cool-down
Saturday: 6.15 mile progression run, 10 minutes elliptical, 20 minutes weights
Sunday: 6.2 mile TM run, 25 minutes Stretching/Core/Jump Roping

Total Running Miles: 20.35 miles
Total Cross Training Time: 197 Minutes

As you can see I had no guilt in really taking it easy the first half of the week. I had to work all week (except Christmas Day), that combined with travelling and family time left me wanting to just unwind. (Note: I do not feel guilty for taking time off on the Holidays.) But there is something else....

The truth is....I don't feel right.
Although my legs appreciate this "down time" after a busy year, my stomach is NOT loving it quite so much. Things that I normally eat daily or weekly, no longer sit well with me. My stomach is not digesting food properly, which leaves me constantly nauseous or having stomach pains.

My appetite is the furthest thing from consistent. I'm not overly consistent from day to day even when I am training but throughout the course of the week it usually balances itself out. Right now, although I am not logging my food- I know that it's not healthy and it is affecting my mood, and general feelings of well-being.

At first I thought it was just me this happens to, but after hearing from a few others that they also experience this I felt a little better. The only thing I can think to do right now is get myself back into a routine. I'm not going to kill myself, seeing as I technically still have one week left of "off season" but time to start gearing up for training. Mentally and physically I am craving routine again.

It felt great to strength train more this week, and start getting more workouts in. I forgot how much I used to love strength training regularly- now I just need to make it a habit and not let it fade out (like is usually does).  Sadly I can tell I have lost some endurance during this off season the last few weeks but I know that I can get it back. Don't get me wrong, I know backing off for a few weeks was the right thing to do. I'm slowly working my way back though, trying to find my 'normal'.

Last Weeks Goals
I did great with my strength training and blog planning goals for the week but unfortunately I didn't take ANY classes this week. Due to scheduling and my general blah feeling- working out on my own was a better option. I have always been more of a 'individualist' with my runs and workouts so when I am trying to get back into my groove- solo is better for me. Wine night will have to wait!

Goals For This Week
1. 4 Runs-I don't really want to set a distance goal because that wouldn't be very "off season" of me. But with Boston training officially starting next week, a little consistency with running this week will do me some good.
2. 3 Strength Training sessions, I'm going to be a broken record with this one for a while- but I know it will help me get stronger and make a better habit of not neglecting these sessions.
3. 4, yes 4 morning workouts. Normally I'd set a slightly smaller goal especially when pertaining to getting my butt out of bed in the morning. But it's time to make this a habit- and there's no time like now to make this change.
Reward: Fitbit Flex! I have been DYING to get one of these bad boys, and now is the perfect time! My mom has been bugging me to get one (so I can be her fitbit friend and help hold her accountable, I already warned her she is going to regret that decision... LOL, I have NO issues cracking the whip to help get her to her goals!)

This is my last week of "off season", I can't believe it's already been a few weeks since CIM. Another thing I will be working on this week is finalizing my Boston training plan, I can't believe it starts next week! I'm excited to start training again- excited to push myself and see what 2014 has in store for me!

How was your Christmas?

Have you experienced Stomach/GI issues while NOT in training?

Who has a fitbit?
Let me know, so we can be friends WHEN I meet my goals this week!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Resolutions Are Not Just For the New Year

Lets look at this from a numbers standpoint. Today is 12/27/2013, and tomorrow is 12/28/2013 and the next is 12/29/2013. Which number changes first? 27 becomes 28 before 2013 becomes 2014. Okay, let me try and make sense of my point here- the days change faster than the years. There's something in your life you want to change- why do you have to wait until the LAST number changes, why not the month or the day(Or the minute or the hour)?

I've never been a resolution person, sure I say there's things I want to focus on but I've never felt the need to wait until the calendar changes to do so. I am guilty of procrastinating sometimes, or 'waiting for the right time', but it's something I am working on. There will never be a "right time" for something. If you are always waiting for the perfect time to change your life, you'll never stop waiting. There is no perfect person (despite what some think of themselves), there are no perfect conditions, there is no perfect plan and there is no perfect time to change.

Change means stepping outside your comfort zone, it means breaking the routine (or making one).
Change means putting aside the fear and deciding that you are capable of different or better.

According to

I'm sure none of these are surprising- we've all heard them, heck I'm sure we have all said them at one point or another. But the things about ALL of these is--- Why can't you start doing these things BEFORE 1/1?

If you want to do one of these things in April, what is stopping you? Does Gandalf all of the sudden pop out and jab his staff into the ground saying "You shall not resolve!"?
(note, if this does happen please send me video evidence...)

Sure, some of them might be dictated by times (I.E. you want to go back to school but semester doesn't start until January or August)- but why not get yourself ready? You still have to apply and schedule your classes ahead of time. What's stopping you from picking up a book and start learning on your own?

You say you want to drink less but think it will be easier waiting until after the holidays? Guess what, start when it's hard and it can only get easier. Did you ever look at it that way?

I talk a LOT about my goals (typically my athletic goals on here, not necessarily my personal ones), I love goals and I think they are incredibly important(the little ones AND the big ones). So when someone asked me why I don't like resolutions because they are basically goals- I took some time to think about it.

What did I come up with? Resolutions are similar to goals yes, but they aren't the same. Resolutions are NOT a bad thing, my issue is when people feel they need to wait to start said resolution. Is there some law that says you can't resolve on another day of the year?

The other way I like to look at it is that resolutions are long term. Resolutions are the commitments that help you build a better life for yourself. Goals are the steps along the way to helping you keep that commitment. Resolutions are permanent- you don't make a resolution to quit smoking for a certain amount of time, you want to stop all together. So you make goals along the way to help you get to that point.You don't make a resolution to eat better for a certain amount of time- you want to turn that into a healthy lifestyle. 

Am I making any sense?

Let's replace resolve with commit 
and start making goals..NOW
Commit to losing weight, (set a goal to reach a healthy weight)
Commit to helping others more (set a goal to volunteer once a month)
Commit to quit smoking (set a goal to cut back by a set number each week)
Commit to educate yourself (set a goal to take one class a semester)
Commit to a better job (set a goal to update your resume and start looking)
Commit to save money (set a goal to put away $X each month)
Commit to get fit (set a goal to get to the gym  3 times a week)
Commit to eating healthier (set a goal to log your calories for a month)
Commit to manage stress (set a goal to take 15 minutes a day for YOU)
Commit to manage debt (set a goal to pay $X each month to your debts)
Commit to make a trip (set a goal to plan and save for it NOW)
Commit to the 3 R's (set a goal to take your recycles out once a week)
Commit to drink less alcohol (Set a goal to limit yourself to X drinks a week)

What is the best part about ALL of these? 
Nothing about them says you must wait until January 1st.

I guess what I am saying is, live your life and live it now. 
Don't wait to make your life better, don't wait to make yourself happier. 
Don't underestimate your abilities to handle change, 
and to do things differently than you have always done. 
Don't wait, because there is no guarantee tomorrow will come. 
Don't wait, because if you step outside your comfort zone- you just might surprise yourself how much you really are capable of.
Don't wait, because no one can change your life for you.
Don't wait, because you never know what will happen if you try today. 

Commit to something, and set goals to get there--anytime you want.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reindeer Run 5k Recap

This race was Saturday December 21,2013.

Although this race was called the Reindeer Run, for my own purposes I am renaming it the RAINdeer run. What would you expect for upstate NY race in December, 1600+ "reindeer" dashing through the snow. Nah, mother nature said that would be too cliche. So instead, we dashed through cold rain.

I decided earlier in the week I would run from my house to the start of the race for a warm-up (less than 2 miles). When I left the house it was 50 degrees and raining[am I seriously in Rochester, NY in December??] no biggie, threw on my Pallidium Jacket to keep dry and went on my way. 

By the time the race started the temps had dropped at least 15 degrees. I really had no time goals going into this, I wanted to end the year on a good note and whatever time I ran really didn't matter. It was super fun seeing all the families there, and people wearing toy costumes and/or reindeer antlers. 

I took off at the start then  I was like umm, why am I so close to the amazing Iron-woman Jennie right now? (because I started too fast, that's why). I backed off a little and took the first 2 turns cautiously (ice/slush/puddles on corner) and tried to settle in. It was awesome seeing people out there cheering, saw a few people I know which is definitely good to put a smile on my face. 
Hit the first mile in 6:09. Normally I would be happy to see this but I knew that 2 weeks off of marathon # 3 for the year, I wasn't going to be able to hold it. Trucked along on the inner loop (they actually close down a freeway for this race) just trying to save a little punch for the end. 
Second mile was 6:30. Ha. This is typical for me though, my 5k MO is 1st mile fastest, 2nd mile slowest and 3rd mile 2nd fastest. It was raining pretty good at this point and I was getting cold, my legs felt non-existent.

Third mile was 6:13, at this point I just wanted to get to the finish. I was soaked and cold and decided that it was time to push. This very well could be my last race mile of the year- I took all the mental battles I fought this week and put it to use. 

Final time was 19:31, good enough for 3rd female and 1st female reindeer!

[Luckily the owner of FF Ellen saw me struggling to keep my antlers on (I ran most of the race with them in my hand because they kept falling off) but she knew I tried so I still took the female reindeer award)]

After the race caught up with Laura for a little while (hadn't seen her since our run before Wineglass...too long!) and then waited for awards. 

Best. trophy. ever.

 Goofing off at home afterwards, I think I was still cold.

And my award for first female reindeer-- a Nathan Backpack and small handheld water bottle! Thanks Fleet Feet and Nathan! 

Thoughts: Although it wasn't a PR (wasn't expecting one) it was still one of my better 5k times. Anytime I can run a 5k under 20 without killing myself is A-OK with me. I really want to work on my speed this coming year. I know I said my goals for 2014 the other day and my running one is a half PR, but I also want to work on some shorter ones as well I think they will go hand in hand. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Down Time" Week 2 Recap

Week 2 of "off season"/"Down time"/"Recovery time"--whatever you want to call it.

Quick Run-Down
Monday: 30 Minutes Elliptical
Tuesday: 4 miles on Treadmill, 21 minutes Weights/Core
Wednesday: 45 Minutes Treadmill (5.57 miles)
Thursday: Christmas Shopping
Friday: 4 mile run (outside)
Saturday: 4.74 miles run (1.73 mile warmup, 3.1 mile race)
Sunday: Lazy day :)

Total Running Miles: 18.4 miles
Total Cross Training Time: 51 minutes

Slowly but surely I am starting to feel like a normal human being again, albeit a little softer than normal. Tuesday was my first run in 9 days, and I can tell you that the time off was needed. 9 days might not sound like a lot, but it was just what I needed. I didn't do a ton this week, but felt good to get some workouts in for sure. This "down time" is going to be really important for me- I love working out( I really do), but slowing down once in a while isn't all that bad either.

The last few years December has been my off season month (as I have been doing later fall marathons). In 2011 I ran 3.2 miles in the month of December, last year I ran 14. As of right now I am already over 70 for December. Yes running a last minute December marathon added to that, but I also feel that even if I hadn't done that I would still be over 14 miles for the month. The difference is, this year I am in a much different place.

2011 I was so burned out mentally and physically at the end of the year, I didn't want to think about working out or doing anything other than sleeping. Last year life was just messy, and I was also a little burned out from a crazy year.  This year, it feels great not to feel that way. I feel happy and proud of all I have done but I also don't feel completely drained and unmotivated. I'd like to think I played it smart over the course of this year. I took down time when needed, even if it meant losing mileage. I have really taken the time to learn what works for me and what doesn't and how I feel right now is proof that it paid off. My highest running mileage year ever, and I am finishing stronger and happier than ever- I'll drink to that.

A few scenes from the week for you, proof that I didn't just sleep the week away outside of work.
Friday night ran in shorts! This weather constantly changing is insane.
P.S. have I ever mentioned that I feel like a nerdy superhero whenever I wear my headlamp and reflective vest?
1.We're all ready for Christmas in our house, as well as winter training season. Both of our bikes are set up on the trainers in the living room- I should have put lights on the bikes!
2. I got a new pet. More on this tomorrow.

1. My Dailymile Secret Santa was awesome, Diane got me my 2 favorite S's!
Starbucks and Saucony
2. Speaking of Saucony- can we discuss my mom for a second, nothing like a mothers love telling a company what to do :)
3. My ACE Personal trainer card finally arrived.
Wait, did I ever mention on the blog that I passed?
Oh well in case I didn't tell you... I passed a few weeks ago!

I did meet all of my goals from last week, BUT I decided to share my reward with my man. Life is crazy and I figured we could BOTH use some relaxing time. Luckily I was able to get us the couples massage room (and I still get my normal LMT) for us today. We had  a great day date complete with a massage, lunch, movie and then relaxing at home. Was nice to slow down life a little, and I didn't feel one bit guilty about not getting a workout in.

Goals for this week
1. 3 Strength Training workouts. Super excited for this one, good motivation to get stronger. The H2B just bought a TRX system and we set it up last night. I plan on using this for at least one of the workouts this week!
2. 2 classes this week. I've been lame and missed PiYo the last 3 weeks and really need to get back to it. I miss it and so does my body. So PiYo on Monday night and some other class (most likely a spin one) by the end of the week!
3. Work on some blog changes/updates (some new tabs will be going in), as well as finish a few posts that have been sitting in drafts for eons.

Reward: Wine night- I legit feel like it's been forever since I had a girls wine night!

Do you feel guilty during "off season"/"Recovery"?

Are you ready for Christmas?

What is your favorite strength training exercise I should do this week?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What's Next (Version 2.0)

Well, I suppose it's time to talk about "what's next" for me with racing/training now that CIM is over- I did this after Musselman earlier this year-- you can read "What's next" (Version 1.0) here.

First and foremost this is my "off season"; well until January 6th at least. Everyone has their own version of what off season means. I still intend to workout but have no set workouts or plans for the next few weeks. If I get a bunch of stuff done in workouts, that's great-- but if I don't it isn't a bad thing. I talked a little about my personal recovery rules the other day.

CIM was my last 'goal race' of the year, and good news--with that race I crossed off my final goal for the year of running sub-3:15. It was a different feeling after the race, because I was so happy I met my goal and surpassed it. I know that I can do better, but I am not in any rush to get that right now.

Which leads me to....
My next marathon is The Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014. I am incredibly excited for that day, more than words can even describe. BUT this is NOT going to be a goal race, yes you heard me right. I want to embrace every second of that day, every step and every moment. I want to celebrate the journey I took to get that first BQ. I want to think about that amazing day I got the register for Boston finally. I want to honor the many many many people who were affected by the events of last year. No, I am not going to sandbag it and slack off. In fact I plan on training even harder for it, but come race day- the time on the clock is not my goal. My goals for Boston are purely training related, and they WILL require me to stay focused and push myself, but will allow me to really embrace the day.

My MAIN race goals for 2013 were....
5k PR
Complete first 70.3 Triathlon
3:15 Marathon

My MAIN race goals for 2014 are....
Sub-1:30 Half Marathon
Sub-6 hour Half-Iron (70.3)
Complete my first Ironman (140.6)

I have said multiple times in the past few months that the marathon has turned into my favorite distance. I'm sure it's a surprise for me to say that, and NOT have a marathon goal time for next year(we can, and WILL chat about this more soon).
Am I ruling out a marathon PR next year? Absolutely not.
 I have taken 24 minutes off my marathon time in less than 13 months. 
It's time I give a little more effort to some other distances, and help turn myself into a more well rounded runner. 

I am still working on my 2014 race calendar right now, within the next week or so there will be a new tab up top for this. I have quite a few races in mind that I plan on doing, of varying distances.
  BUT, I do know the 3 races I am planning on for the above goals.
Buffalo Half Marathon, Musselman 70.3, and Ironman Cozumel 140.6.

As for the more immediate future (i.e. next few weeks/months), training and base building is priority. Something I have never been good about is consistency in training. I worked hard on this during the fall, and the results and payoff was well worth it(not just because of improved races times, but my general confidence and strength as a runner).

Running Training
Training for specificity
[I'm good about getting speed workouts in, as well as hill workouts BUT not consistently. I want to make a point to work on both speed and hills with no more than 2 weeks between the workouts]
Strength Training
[I'm usually pretty good about this in the winter, but I want to find ways to make it so that once spring hits I don't immediately ditch the weights]

NOTE: the following triathlon training goals are for the base building phase, these will increase/change once training peak phases begin.

Triathlon Training
Consistently swimming 2-3X each week
[The pool is kind of my nemesis and definitely my least favorite of the tri disciplines. Last year while tri-training my swimming was all over the place. Some weeks I swam 3-4 times and others maybe once(if that). So naturally, my swimming wasn't seeing consistent improvements]
Consistently Biking at least 3X each week
[The bike is the area I am looking at for the most improvement this year. Much like my swimming, I was not consistent about time on the bike last year and therefore didn't excel as much as I would have liked. This year I am going to focus on a strong base so I can work on finding "beast mode" when it comes time for racing]

What is something you wish you did more consistently?

Do you set training goals or just racing goals?

Do you focus on a PR in a set distance EVERY year or switch it up and focus on different things each year?

What is one of your main goals for 2014?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I wanted to do a post on California International Marathon, as I have gotten  quite a few questions regarding the race itself. The race is advertised as one of the fastest courses in the country, so naturally it gets a LOT of attention (especially from those with dreams of OQT's and BQ's). 

I tried to break it down into various aspects of the race. As always a reminder that I am not affiliated with the race, and all of this is simply based on my own experience this ONE time I ran it. You can read my recap of the race here, might offer more personalized insight than this post.

Small enough, but big enough. Good variety of exhibitors, quick and easy packed pickup, good location (not cramped, centrally located). Everything was really well organized and had no issues with picking up bib's and shirts. There is a also Starbucks in the Sacramento Convention center where the expo is, so that is clearly a selling point for coffee & running addicts alike. 

Race morning
Busses were timely, and nice to have warm place to relax at the start in the cold. They had over 300 portopotties, once nice long line of them, little to no wait if you walked down a little further. Kudos to the race organizers on this, how many times do you hear people say "OMG they had enough potties!". Seriously though, that matters!!!

Corrals would have been nice, but it wasn't the worst start I have experienced. I didn't like that handcycles started with runners, it was dangerous about 1/2 mile in when handcyclists were coming up behind runners. (<---I'm beginning to wonder if the one that came up behind me started later than he was supposed to?)

Water Stops
Some were more organized than others, worst part was that it was so cold that spilled water turned to ice, almost slipped on a few different occasions (not that I am saying that is race's fault AT ALL. I know they aren't in cahoots with Mother nature). I'm not sure if I was hallucinating but I think that the water cups and the Powerade cups were different colors which made it easy to distinguish (although I always say "water?" before I take a cup--learned my lesson at a race a few years ago). Quantity wise, there was enough water stops, and I know they had gel stops (I always bring my own) so for some that was important.

Mile Markers & Tracking
The miles were all clearly marked with nice big signs, gave me something to look forward to seeing. As for splits, they had mats at start, 5.9, 13.1, 20, and Finish. It would be nice if they offered runner tracking that wasn't ONLY for social media (they offered posting to twitter/facebook)- I know some people would prefer emails or texts so they don't have to sit on FB and wait to see it pop up without notification. 

Rolling Hills (& CIM vs. Wineglass)
MY PERSONAL OPINION is that the first half the course was tougher than I expected with the rollers. I wouldn't say it was super hard or anything but I honestly think Wineglass was an easier course. (This is specifically because a few people asked if I thought CIM was faster course than Wineglass). Again, no crazy hills, but if you didn't start conservatively there was definitely the chance for bonking (which is the case for ANY race, let's be honest). Overall I DO think it can be a very fast course when run wisely. 

There were a decent amount through a good chunk of the course. I was amazed at the amount of people outside their homes (many in PJ's) braving the cold cheering on runners in first few miles of the course. The little town around 10 was really hoppin', lots of people and bands outside making things extra lively. Also nice whenever we passed relay exchanges because there was WAY more people around. Thank you to all the people out there in that cold weather, we appreciate it!!

This is the first time I did a race with separate male/female finish lines, this didn't make a big difference for me either way. The medals were great, they also had space blankets which was huge especially on a cold day.

Bag Check
It was a little less organized at the start.  Basically looked like a concert scene but with bunch of clear bags crowd surfing over peoples heads being passed into trucks. BUT the trucks were all marked with bib #'s so you knew where to go, so there's that.But it was MUCH more organized at the finish. They had them all lined up by number and you had a nice volunteer (a lot of kids) eager to run as fast as they could to get your bag for you.

The food that they did have was good- hot soups, a WIDE selection of kind bars, water, coke, and some other things. Not the biggest selection of overall food, but wasn't the worst either. Unless I missed the pizza, bananas, bagels and coffee section- they were lacking the post-race basics for me.

Post Race
Really cool finishing in front of the Capital building (along with their gigantic Christmas tree). I would recommend that they adopt a system for family meet up (like the alphabetical signs or something of the sort) because there is a LOT of runners, and a lot more family members to crowd in and try to find each other. 

I highly recommend they invest in disposable chip timing. It was not fun to have to stop and lift your leg up onto a stool so someone could cut it off your shoe after you just ran 26.2 miles. "You want me to lift my leg" 

I really liked the race, and would definitely run it again. They managed 14,000 people pretty darn well if you ask me. The city is a nice place to visit and I wish I could have spent a little more time wandering around. As for it being one of the fastest courses in the country- I have only ran 7 marathons so I don't think I can say yes or no. YES, this was my PR so it has potential to be a good course for that, but I also think that my training had more to do with it than the course itself. Courses are what you make of them, you train for whatever course you are going to be running and you will stand a better chance no matter what. I can say with 90% certainty that I WILL run this course again someday, but there are so many races out there that I wan't to try others as well.

Anyone else have thoughts regarding this race?

I know there are some things that others experienced that I didn't, please share!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Catching up on Recovery

Happy Monday! (Wait, isn't that an oxymoron?) Anyways, I hope everyone had a good weekend.

I'd love to tell you I was SOOOOO incredibly productive last week, but that just isn't the case. I'd call it 'marathon recovery' but in reality I think its a recovery period from this year. It's been a crazy busy (and amazing) year, thinking about it all just makes me tired! Mentally and physically the next few weeks of 'down time' are incredibly important for me.

So this past week, there aren't many workouts (*cough*ONE*) so I'll try and drag it out a bit. Okay fine I won't drag it out, I worked out ONCE this week by riding my bike on the trainer for an hour while watching the pilot of Breaking Bad. Well, maybe you could say I worked out 1.5 times because I would like to think the shoveling a foot of snow out of driveway counts for something.

I have a few 'personal rules' for  recovery and I am trying to be good about sticking to them right now. I don't live and die by these, but I have found them to be helpful in previous 'recovery periods'

1: Don't run unless I want to. ( I almost broke this yesterday by forcing myself to get on treadmill for a bit, but in the end I didn't. I AM running a 5k this coming weekend, and at the rate I am going it could possibly be my first run after CIM). Surefire way to burn yourself out after a big race is to force yourself immediately back into things. If you want to run, then great go for it- but if you don't, it isn't the end of the world.

2: Sleep, a LOT. Sleep is incredibly important (I have talked about this before), especially after a big race. I struggled a little this week with sleep (jet lag) but caught up a decent amount this weekend. An added rule for this one: Don't feel guilty for sleeping more, your body needs it!

3: Don't log food during this time. I don't log 100% of the time anyways, but especially not in recovery mode. It's not that I all the sudden start eating cake 3 times a day, but if I did..I wouldn't have to log it anywhere (Eating cake 3x a day is just silly, now cookies or ice cream....I'd consider it). In reality I don't think I eat much different nutrient wise- I just tend to ride the roller coaster of hunger for a week or two. Some days I want everything in sight, and others I don't eat more than a few snacks.

So basically I worked, ate and slept this week. Okay, did some other things too. Sat in bed doing Christmas shopping(something rewarding about being overly your sweatpants). We went to a family holiday party in Buffalo Saturday, and Sunday went to see The Grinch musical. Nothing super exciting, and obviously nothing overly Fit-productive.

But I will be a good girl and still set goals for myself this week- 
1. 3 workouts this week (any kind!)- I'd like to do more than this, but start small! Don't want to dive back into things too quickly. Next week I will get back into more specific types of workout goals.
2. Finish Christmas Shopping (So I don't have to do ANY next week!)- This will seriously help my stress level stay in check.
3. 10 Sun Salutations each night before bed. I know I am a broken record on this one- but it really helps. I wasn't as good about it last week as I should have been, so time to get back on track!
Reward: Holiday MASSAGE (hell to the yes.)

Anyone have any 'personal rules' (running or non-running related)?

Did you do your Christmas Shopping online (if so, how much?)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

CIM Recap: It Was All About Trusting Myself

I'm going to give you fair warning and be up front with the fact that I am incapable of writing a short marathon recap, I'll try to keep it interesting for you. I honestly just want to remember everything I can about this race.

You can read about race weekend and travelling here-->West Coast Shenanagins

Plan going into the race
I had a long talk with the 3:15 pacer Peter at the expo the day before the race. He is an experienced CIM pacer and had some great tips for running the course. The talk really made me think a lot about how I wanted to approach the race. I ended up settling into a loose plan of starting behind a little and catching the 3:15 pace group by 5-10, staying with them until 20 and pushing if I felt good. Peter questioned the negative split plan, but in the end I had to trust myself.

Race Morning:
I was up before 4, and started with my standard race morning routine. The hotel was nice enough to put their breakfast spread out early for all of the runners. Bagel and coffee came back to the room with me which I picked at while I got ready. I was less awake than I normally am on race day, which is most likely due to the travelling but wasn't too bad.

Race gear was on, then layered with my throwaways that I got at a thrift shop the night before. I was really sad knowing that I was going to have to throw away my new amazing where's waldo shirt. 
 I ended up wearing Capris instead of shorts for the race due to the temps. Outfit all Saucony: Scoot Capris(not pictured), Type A5 Racing flats, Socks, DryLete Arm warmers, Curve Crusader Sports Bra(not pictured) and Solid Racerback Tank. My throwaway clothes on the right: $5 Thriftshop Walmart sweats, $3 Thrift Shop where's waldo shirt. (Jacket on Right is Saucony Pallidium Jacket, wore it race morning but it went in my gear bag prior to race)
Around 4:45 we walked the few blocks to the convention center to grab a bus to the start line.The bus ride wasn't bad, I put my headphones in trying to get psyched up and also took calls from my parents as well as John. Not only that, but I also played this video of my nephew, over and over. My sister sent it to me the night before telling me that Alden was cheering for me. Try watching it and not smiling, I dare you. (Ok, somehow it got turned into a GIF, pretend you hear baby squealing because that's the missing cuteness to go with this)

We sat on the bus for a while when we got to Folsom, we were also able to get off and use the portopotties (they had mass amounts so it was quick) and get back on for a while to stay warm. I think the temperature was 27° at the start by the Folsom Dam but it felt like 19-20° ("Am I seriously in California right now?").
We took a quick Selfie together, I put my phone in my bag and passed it along to the volunteers and we made our way to the start. I gave Heather a big hug, and I made my way over to find a place somewhere behind the 3:15 pace group. 

I tossed my sweatpants and before I knew it, it was time to go.
Start of race: Source
The first 6- Let's Call These The 'Goldilocks Miles'
7:39, 7:33, 7:31, 7:30, 7:29, 7:27
[1 shot block at mile 3, 5]
I settled into the not too fast, but not too slow starter miles. I looked at my watch a LOT, I wanted to make sure I was being conservative but not TOO conservative. I ditched my throwaway where's waldo shirt shortly after mile 3. I was happy with the pace that I held, and knew I made the right decision by holding back a little. I have to say, even though it was cold it made for a really pretty morning. Watching the sun come up over the hills, reflecting on the layers of frost covering everything, something very peaceful about it. I felt like I was on just another Sunday run back home.

Miles 7-13- & The Chase Begins
7:29, 7:26, 7:23, 7:14, 7:25, 7:26, 7:18
[1/2 shot block at 8, 1/4 Clif shot gel at 10]
Mentally this is where I flipped the switch from "a Sunday run at home" to "You're in California running a marathon, let's do this".  I didn't pick up the pace dramatically, just enough that I knew I was making up ground on the pace group without pushing too soon.

I crossed the half in 1:37:53.  I kind of wish there was a picture of my face at this point- because I know I was smiling like a fool here. I was half way done and feeling good! This is where I realized I wasn't far behind the pace group, I set my sights forward and went on with the chase. 

Miles 14-16 Catch & Release
7:11, 7:07, 7:11
[1/4 gel at 14]
As I went forward I could see the 'cluster' in the distance and assumed it to be the 3:15 pace group. I kept my eye on that and just said, okay get there. I didn't look at my watch because I didn't want to get caught up in running a set pace to catch them. I wanted to do it safely and comfortably, there was still plenty of race to go. I increased my stride length a little, tucked my arms a little more and slowly but surely closed the gap with each step

Miles 17-19 Holding the Pace
7:25, 7:19, 7:25
[1/4 gel at 18]
Once I got within striking distance of the group and confirmed it was the 3:15 pace group, I hit the brakes and settled in to their pace. This was technically my first time running with a pace group in a marathon, I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. For some reason, being in the group stressed me out a little- people were bobbing and weaving around, and when we neared water stops people pulled Chinese fire drills. Mad dash to go forward get a cup without regards to anyone around them, and then settled back in with Peter the pacer. With each mile I made my way closer to the front of the group and at 19, I was in front. I mulled it over for a second, looked at the group and just knew it was time to see what I had left in me. 

Miles 20-23 My Favorite Miles
7:10, 7:13, 7:07, 7:07
After passing the group I knew that I had made the right call. These were honestly the best feeling miles of the entire race. The steps felt easy, I felt 100% in control and ready to tackle what was ahead.  I cruised through the 'wall' (they had a legit wall set up, haha!) at 20 and cranked up the tunes. I don't think I looked at my watch at all during these miles. I kept focusing on the positive things in my life, the hard work I have put into this, and the many things I have overcome. I really was 'in the moment' with these miles, truly feeling like myself, and just trusting my abilities. 

Miles 24-25 Fighting the Self-Doubt
7:18, 7:22
I knew that I was fading slightly at this point but continued to push. Physically I could feel my stride wasn't as strong, and my feet were starting to get sore. I kept telling myself "it doesn't hurt, you are almost there".  I was also the paranoid person, afraid to look over my shoulder. I was afraid that Pete and the 3:15 Co. were gonna sneak up behind me. This is when I started doing math in my head, which doesn't work well when I'm running. I knew that I was on track, but self doubt kicked in a little and I did everything I could to kick it right to the curb.

Mile 26 "March to the Capitol"
Even though every step of this mile was an ungodly amount of work, I was incredibly pleased with myself. My fatigue, and weariness was a sign that I ran my heart out, I ran strong and I wasn't leaving much gas left in the tank. I didn't want to finish this race feeling like I could have given a ton more, and I didn't. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and refused to look at my watch. It felt like I had slowed to a 9 or 10 minute pace, when in reality that wasn't the case. I kept my head up and straight forward, focusing on finding the finish line. 

Home Stretch
Finally I got to turn down the women's finish chute, headed between the colored flags towards the California Capitol Building. Truth be told, at NO point earlier in this race did I feel like I had 3:15 in the bag. I didn't allow myself to think that, because a little amount of fear is a good motivator to keep pushing. When I finally saw the clock and smiled, I gave one last little push. It was hazy afterwards, I remember wanting to sit down IMMEDIATELY. I was confused, part of me didn't feel like I was done. I didn't feel like I had gone 26 miles (physically I felt like it, mentally I didn't).
Don't mind the awkward look on my face, that's normal.
I moseyed around the finish area like a lost child for a few minutes. I wasn't sure what to think or feel. After Wineglass I was incredibly happy with my PR but had that feeling in the bottom of my stomach that I could have done more. I didn't have that, or many other feelings this time. It was a surreal almost numb kind of emotion. I did it-I accomplished what I wanted to(3:15), and even beat my goal by 92 seconds. 

Technically I didn't negative split every mile-
but I DID negative split from one section to the next.

This race meant a lot to me, much more than I thought it would. It was about taking the things I had working against me, and turning them into things that worked for me. I went in with a big goal, a goal I decided I wanted badly enough and that made me work even harder. 

As much as that cold weather scared me- I'm an Upstate NY girl, and in the weeks leading up to CIM I had multiple runs outside that were colder and worse conditions. In the end I think the cold worked for me, although I wouldn't have complained if the outdoor thermostat got turned up a few degrees. 

Flying across the country to run a race has it's downfalls- unless your support crew is able to make the trip with you. I went into this race knowing that I didn't have spectators I knew along the way. I didn't have Joe waiting at mile 18 to run with me like Wineglass, Ben and Katie to run me in the last 2, John on a bike coaching me along. I also didn't have John at the start or finish for lots of love & hugs, I really missed that. I didn't have the added comforts of my family/friends physically being there. But I tell you what, I thought about all of the amazing people who support me- every damn step of the way. 

I didn't quite stick to my plan- caught the pace group later than planned but I feel like this was actually a good thing. It allowed me to run at paces that were comfortable for me and ease into things. I have found that negative splitting is most comfortable for me, and I will continue to make this a priority in my training. I pulled another 4 minute PR (after 4 Minutes at Wineglass), I'm really starting to find what works for me and what doesn't.

If you were following along there with the fueling- you'll notice it wasn't much at all. The shot blocks got so cold that it was nearly impossible to chew them. So I started the gel earlier than planned, but could only stomach a little at a time. It was not ideal fueling, but it was enough to maintain my effort and not hit the wall. Hopefully I can work on some cold weather fueling techniques this winter.

Partner in Crime for The Weekend
I can't say enough good things about Heather and how awesome this trip was with her. In all honesty, this trip wouldn't have happened without her. We both had some unfinished business and decided CIM was the place to take care of it, together. I'm incredibly lucky to have a great friend like her, and I owe her more than she even knows. We took East Coast and West Coast by storm together in a matter of a weeks- something to be said about that.  P.S. Hollie we missed you, don't fret- Lake effect is going to have plenty of shenanigans to make up for it!

THANK YOU :) As many of you know I wanted that 3:15 REALLY bad and worked incredibly hard for it- but I also know that support (even virtual) from others was a huge factor. My motivation was on a roller coaster leading up to this race, and encouragement from everyone made it much easier.

If you read this whole thing, you deserve a medal. 

Two Final Things
1. a REVIEW of CIM is coming in another post for you
2. Yes, there will be a "What's Next" post as well

Have you run CIM before?

What are your favorite miles of a race?

Pace groups...yay or nay?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

West Coast Shenanagins

I knew this weekend was going to fly by (particularly the 24 hours of total travelling in 90ish hours) but seriously, where the heck did time go? No, seriously I have no concept of time or day right now. Apparently I am not so awesome at the time travel thing. Anyways, moving on. Here's a rather photo heavy post for you. 

Friday was a early and long day of travel. It wasn't the smoothest (between delays, being forced to check my luggage without being able to take my marathon gear out, bumpy flights, running through airports, and some other things) but looking back I can now laugh at it all. It worked out, I made it here safe and sound and so did my things, at the end of the day that is all I can really ask for.
1.Swedish fish and reading on the plane, 2. please explain to me where in that leggings tight outfit I was hiding something, because I got frisked for no damn reason, and 3. Giant Jenga game going on in the Sacramento airport.
After getting into Sacramento, I relaxed at the hotel for a while before meeting Michelle and her sister Nicole for some lunch and expo going.

 So great to finally meet in person. Michelle just ran a huge PR & BQ at MCM and was pacing with her sister hoping for a BQ. Awesome ladies, let me tell you.
Nicole, Me, and Michelle (Photo from Michelles IG)
That night was more relaxing (travel and time change was starting to get to me), and waiting patiently for Heather to get into town. Girl had a LONG day working and then travelling cross country. I wanted to do something nice for her, so I left her Swedish fish on her bed- because that's what friends do.
Photo from Heathers IG & Blog. 

Saturday Heather and I had trouble sleeping in (our bodies were still on East coast time) so had breakfast at hotel and ran side by side on gym treadmills for a shake out run.

We then hit the expo, did a little shopping and grabbed our race gear. Also met up with Michelle & Nicole again as we were all representing east coast!

Me, Nicole, Heather, and Michelle. Short to tall.
We then meandered to Old Sacramento, which seriously is the cutest little area ever. Old school buildings, wood side walks, looked straight out of a movie. We also walked by the river and the old trains, I of course had to be a rebel and jump on the back of one to take a picture.

We have a fabulous lunch at Rio City Cafe on the water, Salmon BLT's and beer made for the perfect pre-race meal for us. I didn't get a photo of the food because I ate it too quickly, it was amazing.

On way back to hotel we stopped back at Expo so I could meet up with Ellen. She was one of my first friends on Dailymile a few years ago and it was awesome to finally meet IRL.

The night consisted of relaxing, playlist making, race planning (mainly for the cold!), a little thrift shopping (I needed throwaways), Modern Family watching (marathon on TV!), skyping with my man, and then a good old Nyquil sleep session.

I'll save the deets of the marathon Sunday for another post, as well as thoughts on CIM itself.

Post-race Sunday involved shuffling back to the hotel, laying in bed, watching football, drinking beer and eating pizza. Heather and I did recovery right. Later that night, I hopped a shuttle to the airport to catch my 10:55 PM red-eye flight home.

Did you know that if you show up to airport at 9 PM, TSA looks like this?

I had time to kill so I celebrated the weekend by relaxing at the airport wine bar (celebration/prepping to pass the flip out on the plane). They were out of the chocolate torte on the menu so I settled for apple crisp with my wine flight, it was fabulous. 

The red-eye was PACKED. Legit b737 that holds 180 people was very crowded- I was grateful to have an aisle seat and a cheesy bright orange neck pillow. Apparently I did the post-marathon zombie shuffle through the airport and instapassedout when I got to my next gate (I had 3 hour layover). Flight from Atlanta to Rochester was uneventful, I read part of it and slept the other.

One of the best parts about homecoming (even when you are 26 years old)-- having your mom waiting at the gate for you when you get off the plane with flowers, tears, and a hug. My mom travels a lot for work and her outbound flight was delayed from Rochester so she was able to be at the gate when I landed. When you have been travelling for 12 hours, I don't care how old you are, a hug from your mom is the best feeling in the world. She walked with me to the exit before going to her own gate, and then I got to see J waiting outside to pick me up. Talk about a darn good homecoming.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Have you ever been to Sacramento?
Who has some awful travel/airport shenanigans to tell me about?
Anyone disagree that mom hugs are the best? (at any age)

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