Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

This year has flown by and in a couple of hours a new one will begin only to go by even faster, I'm sure. I am proud of the accomplishments I have made this year - here I will share my top ten in no particular order.

1. Started running (again) February, 7, 2011. I ran/walked 2 miles at just over 10 minute pace and thought I was going to die.
2. Went from a size 10 to a 6 and now fit into all my clothes from before our first child.
3. Ran 11 races, seven 5Ks and four 10Ks.
4. Bettered my 5K PR from 27:12 to 23:49 over the course of the year.
5. Bettered my 10K PR from 53:29 to 50:11.
6. Ran a total of 423 miles.
7. Started this blog and "met" some awesome runners from all over. 
8. Started running with an incredible group of ladies. I am so excited that tomorrow is Sunday and we get to run the first one of the year together.
9. Our oldest son turned four and our youngest turned one. They are as close brothers as I had hoped they would be. Love them.
10. Celebrated my 7th wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband. No seven-year itch here.

I hope all of you have a safe and happy new year. See you in 2012!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Three Things Thursday: Final Edition 2011

1. I ran my last run of the year this morning. And it was AWESOME! Ian planned on going into work late so we could get some things done around the house. There has been zero time to get things clean and organized since Christmas. This also meant that I could sleep in a tad AND run in the daylight! This would be a perfect time to run on the road instead of going to the track. It has been so long since I did that (the last time was October 6th to be exact) with the exception of races. 

Today's run was supposed to be a tempo run of five miles at mid-tempo (8:12). Previously, I have had difficulty having a successful tempo run on the road. The hills around here throw all hopes of a steady pace completely off. But this morning, all the speed work and pacing I've done in the last few months is really starting to show.

My mile splits:
8:24 (hill)
8:29 (another hill)
8:10 (uphill and with a headwind!!! YEEHAW!)
Average pace - 8:14 (just 2 seconds off)

I felt so strong the whole way. Yes, I was tired, but it never felt really hard or that I was pushing that much. Take that, road!

2. I received the latest issue of Runner's World in the mail today and two Mainer's are featured! Kristin Barry and Sheri Piers are two amazing ladies who have both qualified for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials. 

I can only dream of being that fast.

3. Team Tough Chik. Yup, mentioning it again! There's still time to join. The registration deadline has been extended until January 7th. The original Tough Chik, Shannon, has set up a Facebook page for us all to talk and get to know one another. So much fun and an honor to be a part of a team with members that include Miss Zippy and Tonia from Running With Babes, two of my favorite blogs to stalk. Come on, you know you want to join!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back On Track (Tuesday)

Enough of gorging on high calories foods! I went out with a bang last night and nearly ate my weight in cheese. On top of that, I stayed up too late and felt like crap during my interval run this morning. But after my holiday hiatus, I feel that I'm ready to end the year right.

We got between 2-3 inches of snow accumulation on Christmas day and there has been no chance of melting. I went with my Yak Trax in hand (rather on foot), and drove to the deserted snow-covered track. Someone must have been there on Sunday because some of the snow was piled up on the first turn and made running in that section a bit precarious, particularly in the dark. After my warmup mile I had tamped down a path, but went in knowing I'd still need to take it slow.

My run - 
1200 @ 5:27 (actual time - 6:37) 
1000 @ 4:30 (5:33) 
800 @ 3:34 (4:22) 
600 @ 2:40 (3:11) 
400 @ 1:45 (1:59) 
200 @ ? (:54) 
w/ 200m RI between each 

Obviously the snow slowed me down, though my perceived effort was as if I had been hitting my paces on a dry track.

Hope everyone had a happy holiday weekend!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three Things Thursday (in photos)

1. I had to share this picture that my sister-in-law took at Zeke's birthday party last week.

(Photo courtesy of M. Hart)
He unwrapped it, saw it was a box of Christmas lights, was excited, put the box down without opening it to see what was really inside, and moved on to the next gift.

2. Look at what Santa is bringing me this year! Well, he's not delivering them until January, but I told him it was okay. Worth the wait!

3. Team Tough Chik! Nine more days to join - what are you waiting for?
All over the world! (Photo courtesy Tough Chik)
(Photo courtesy Tough Chik)
Five Mainers representing! I know who the four on the right are, but who are you team member from the Bar Harbor area?!?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Caught Santa...

I came across a really neat site for those readers with kids. On you can create a custom photo as "proof" Santa visited your house. All you have to do is upload a photo and add Santa (a variety of poses are available) and you can print it out or share it with your friends and family through Facebook and/or Twitter.

Santa is sneaking over our stone wall!

One photo costs $9.99 and there are other options, such as creating a video and gift certificates are also available.

Not my house. (photo courtesy of
For a limited time, you can get 50% off your entire order. Just enter SANTA50 for the discount!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Something Had To Give...

Unfortunately, it had to be blogging. Maybe you noticed (it's okay if you didn't) that I haven't written anything in over a week. As I'm sure all of you are just as busy with the holiday season, I am still adjusting to working five to six nights a week. With Zeke's birthday falling the week before Christmas and my insistence desire to make crazy, time-consuming cakes, I just haven't found the time to sit down to chronicle the goings-on of my life. Well, there has been time, but I either didn't feel like it or wanted to spend evening hours with Ian rather than sit in this room where the computer is. I think I really would like a laptop next so we could at least have a conversation while I'm on here.

I have still kept up on running. Last week's tempo run was awesome and really helped with the stress. I was supposed to run five miles at 8:12 pace, but my splits ended up being 8:04, 7:50, 7:57, 8:07,  and 7:58! I did find it impossible to get out of bed this morning for my speed workout. Now I'm feeling guilt that I just didn't suck it up and get up. I will do it tomorrow, I promise.

Speaking of running, the ladies and I had a great 10-miler on Sunday. It was a frigid 13 degrees. Faces and butts were frozen, poor Jill had no hat or earwarmers, and Stacy's CamelBak hose froze. Nonetheless, we got it done in record time. Ten miles in 1 hour, 36 minutes, a 9:36 pace with a short break at mile five to refuel. Jen, the good blogger she is, brought her camera for a picture. 

Jen, Jill, me, Kim, Stacy, Jess (photo courtesy Running With The Girls)
I know you are all jealous of my running pants with the tapered legs circa 1998. Gotta love the noise they make...yeah, no. Glad all the sound was muffled by 12 feet hitting the trail and the fact my ears were covered.

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for. Zeke's birthday cake. I have to admit I would have liked to do somethings better and forgot to get some close-up pictures, but it came out pretty good for the time allotted. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

So-So Tempo

One of the things I really like about the Run Less, Run Faster training programs is the ability to make changes to the schedule to work around outside forces that may require a bit of flexibility and compromise. Case in point, yesterday was supposed to be a tempo run day, but due to slippery and windy conditions I made it a cross-training day. So I did the tempo run today instead. Well, kind-of.

The back straightaway of the track is pretty shaded, especially in the winter months so there was a crust of snow and ice. This made running a tad perilous, but I was able to keep the slipping to a minimum by running flat-footed through this section. Needless to say, there was no way I'd be able to run the three 7:57 minute miles per my training plan. I could have run slower over the snow and sped up on the clear section, but that defeats the purpose of a tempo run. So I compromised by slowing my tempo throughout the whole run to go at a steady pace for the entire 6 miles.

Instead of:
2 miles easy @ 9:32
3 miles ST @ 7:57
1 mile easy 

I ran:
6 miles @ (8:58, 8:52, 8:48, 8:55, 8:55, 8:53)

Not at the required intensity, but I got the miles in. Changing one or two or even three workouts is not going to make a huge difference in the outcome of the half marathon, in my opinion. It's not worth stressing over and what is more important is doing something.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I decided to push my tempo run to tomorrow and have a cross-training day today instead. It is pretty blustery here in Maine and some snow fell overnight. Conditions should be more favorable for running tomorrow, so today I did 30 minutes of rowing.

2. I have to get working on Zeke's birthday cake soon. Finn and I are going to make a stop at Home Depot on the way to pick up Zeke from school so I can get supplies. Cake supplies at Home Depot, you may be wondering? It will make sense when I reveal my creation. I do have to find some way to top last year's cake.

3. I found out yesterday that I was the second winner of two Chica Bands from Michelle's giveaway over at Average Girl Doing Average Things! I seem to have a way with winning headbands! I can't wait to get a sparkly one!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Track Tuesday and 1/2 Marathon Training: Day One

It definitely doesn't feel like December 6th in Maine. Rainy and 50 degrees. If we hadn't put in our Christmas tree yesterday, I don't know if I'd believe that winter is just two weeks away!

I wasn't sure how I'd feel doing speed work this morning after my PR performance on Sunday, but this being the first official day of my half marathon training plan, I didn't feel right slacking right off the bat. That doesn't mean my internal monologue during my warm up mile didn't go something like this: 

Twelve 400s, I don't know if I can do that. My calves are tight from the 5K, maybe I shouldn't push it right after a race. But it's the first day of of half training. I can't not do something. Maybe I'll do this week's tempo run. No, I can't remember what that is this week. Just do the 400s. Maybe just do eight. NO!!! You haven't PR'd your last four races by slacking off. Just do the friggin' 400s!

So this is what I did:
1 mile warm up 
12 x 400 @ 1:45 w/ 90 sec RI
1 mile cool down

My splits:
1 - 1:42
2 - 1:39
3 - 1:39
4 - 1:41
5 - 1:38
6 - 1:36
7 - 1:35
8 - 1:36
9 - 1:39
10 - 1:39
11 - 1:37
12 - 1:36

I guess I could have slowed them down a bit, but in all honesty, they felt good and it wasn't until #9 that my legs really started to feel fatigued.

Day one - check! 122 days to go!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jingle Bell 5K Race Recap

Yesterday was my final race of 2011. A few of my Sunday running pals and I, a.k.a. the Rail Trail Chicks, ran in the Jingle Bell 5K in Freeport. The weather was ideal for running, clear and cool, for the 600+ people that took to the street donning bells reindeer antlers, Santa hats, and/or bells on their shoes. The girls and I dressed alike with matching snowflake socks and shirts customized with snowflakes and a Rail Trail Chicks logo!
Jen, me, Jill, and Stacy - aren't we cute?!? (photo courtesy Running With The Girls)
Go Team! (photo courtesy Running With The Girls)
For the race, I knew that if I could stay with Jen, or at least keep her in sight, I'd might just PR this race. However, the last 1.5 miles of the course is pretty much all uphill and this race was going to be more for fun anyway. We joined the crowd near the front of the starting line (or so I thought) and soon were off and running. There were, however, a ton of people in front of us and it took a lot of bobbing and weaving, slowing down and speeding up until the crowd thinned a bit.

I think I stayed with Jen for about the first half mile. I honestly don't know. The race went by pretty fast, so this recap isn't going to have a lot of detail. But I did try to keep Jen in close sight to pull me along at a good pace. Mile one split - 7:17! Wahoo! My fastest split in a race this year. Yeah, so it was downhill, so what?!?

Me (far left), Jen (center) See, not too far behind! (photo courtesy Maine Running Photos)

The course loops around and soon we were seeing the leaders coming back towards us up a hill we were soon to climb. I felt good and was hanging on pretty good in pace. Mile two split - 7:29.

More gradual hills and I started to feel sick from the fast pace (fast for me). And stupid me had coffee earlier that morning. Something I never do before a run...and will never do again. One last hill to climb and I spot Jen's husband, Ward, taking pictures from the top. Ugh, I feel like crap and this is probably going to be a ugly picture, but look - it came out pretty good!
(Photo courtesy Running With The Girls)
Ward was so awesome shouting words of encouragement. Just what I needed at that point! I completely missed the marker for mile three to get my split, but turned on the afterburners when I spotted the clock at the finish and it was in the low 23:40s. I can totally PR! Run, run, run!!!

I hear a guy right behind me saying, "Go, go, go" and wonder if he's talking to me or to himself. It wasn't until later on that I found out that it was another one of Jen's friends that was running.

I was sprinting so hard that I totally forgot to press stop on my watch so I don't know my exact time. Well, gun time was 23:54, which is still a five second PR, but I want to say that there was at least five seconds before we reached the starting line. Jen mentioned that there was an eight-second discrepancy between the time she saw on the clock and her watch (and then the official posted time is twenty seconds off her Garmin time). I think my time is pretty accurate, so I'm going to say that my actual time is 23:49. Good 'nuf.

Another awesome thing is how I fared in the overall standings and age group!

96 out of 609 overall
7 out of 100 in my age group (30-39)
20 out of 394 females

Yee haw! Great way to end my 2011 racing season! And now I move on to my half marathon training program that starts tomorrow! Yea!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I've previously mentioned that I'm running in the Jingle Bell 5K this Sunday with a few of my Sunday running buddies and can not be more excited. We are going to be super cute in our matching shirts and socks and I can't wait to share pictures! I just may have a little surprise for them, but can't tell you yet...they might be reading this. Hee hee!

2. I didn't go on my tempo run this morning.  I didn't feel that going five miles with three at 10K race pace was smart for me going into a race this weekend. My hammies are feeling a bit tight and I'll be working Friday night and all day Saturday on my feet. And I really felt like I needed that extra hour of sleep and was so happy when Finn slept through the night. I feel great this morning! I might go on a short easy run tomorrow just to keep my legs in running mode.

3. Seriously, it's December?!? How the heck did that happen? November was another personal record distance month with 67.9 miles run - ten more than October. And my official start to half marathon training starts on Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Three Things...I mean, Track Tuesday

1. I'm so glad that it has warmed up and all the snow has melted. This means I could head back to the track for this morning's run instead of a treadmill.

1 mile warm up
5 x 1000 @ 4:32 w/ 400m RI (4:20, 4:22, 4:28, 4:26, 4:28)
1 mile cool down

2.The girls and I are running in the Jingle Bell 5K in Freeport on Sunday. I am so excited because we are running as a team with matching outfits! This race benefits the Arthritis Foundation and if you would like to help just search for our team, Rail Trail Chicks here to donate. Thanks!

3. Wow, I think I need to go back to bed. Ten minutes into writing this post, which I had originally titled "Three Things Thursday," hence numbering my topics, I was trying to think of a third thing to write about and I realized it is actually Tuesday. Geez...

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

I mentioned this morning that I had been tagged by Jen from Running With The Girls for The Versatile Blogger Award. It is something fun that gets passed around the blogging world and helps us learn new things about the people we are connected to through our blogs.

 The rules are this:
  • Thank the person who tagged you. 
  • Share 7 random things about yourself.
  • Tag 15 other people for the award.  
Thanks Jen! You are awesome!

1. I am obsessed with HGTV and DIY. I built our entertainment center and bed headboard from scratch. I paint, drywall, and tile. Now I feed my obsession by working at The Home Depot. If you need help wiring a light or replacing a toilet, I'm your girl!

2. I went to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England for a semester in college.  During this time I had the opportunity to backpack throughout western Europe and visit Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Lyon, Monaco, Rome, Pisa, Venice, and Edinbourgh. I also learned how to rock climb and climbed on the cliffs of Cornwall. 

3. I still hold the Wiscasset High School record in the 300m hurdles. That was over 17 years ago and was also the day I won the Maine Class C State title in the event. I was so crazy about track that I even purchased my own starting blocks and had senior pictures taken with them...what a dork.
The back of my shirt said, "What exactly did you think I was?"
4. My middle name is Alice, as is my mother's and grandmother's. It was my great-grandmother's first name. I hated the name when I was younger and wished my middle name was Marie or Anne. Though today I'm a little sad that I can't pass on the name since we have two boys, their middle names are after their grandfather and great-grandfather, which is just as good!

5. When I was younger I wanted to be a meteorologist when I grew up. Instead I went to school for Mass Communication and haven't used that degree at all. 

6. I have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity twice. Once to participate in a build and more recently to create the Volunteer Orientation video for the 7 Rivers Maine chapter.

7. I play the clarinet. I even went to band camp at least three times...maybe four, I honestly can't remember.

It's going to be hard to tag 15 people since I don't have that many followers yet and a lot of those I do have have either already been tagged or do not have a blog. If you have already been tagged before, I apologize! 

I pick:
1. Morgan @ The Hartastic Blog
2. Mandy @ Caratunk Girl
3. Michelle @ Average Girl Doing Average Things
4. Jen @ Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood  
5. Erin @ Skirts Rock!
6. Theresa @ Barefoot Mama
7. Lisa @ Running.Fitness.Health
8. ...ughhh...I think that's it! I hope I can keep my award! ;-)

If you do follow me and you haven't been tagged I'm so sorry that I missed you. I can't wait to read your posts if you choose to participate!

Double Digit Run and Getting Caught Up

Wow, I feel like I am so behind on this blogging thing. December is such a busy month already and throwing starting a new job into the mix hasn't helped with having any extra available time.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We did and I ate entirely too much, but it only comes once a year and I thoroughly enjoy all the delicious food! I tried heading out on Friday morning for my tempo run to run off all the calories, but last Wednesday's storm left several inches of snow on the track. I scaled the four-foot snowbank and ran one lap before scrapping the idea.

Yesterday I completed my first two-digit run ever! The girls and I met up at the rail trail for nine icy miles and I turned around for one more when we got back to the parking lot. Despite the ice, the run was a lot of fun. It's exciting to think that all I have to add to the run is a short 5K and it reaches half marathon distance. I have no doubts of my ability to complete my first half in April.

Jen from Running With The Girls has tagged me for The Versatile Blogger Award and I will be fulfilling my requirements shortly with a post later today.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Track Tuesday

It was the coldest outdoor run of the season for me, thus far. A chilly 18 degrees had me wearing three layers - my long sleeve YMX, long sleeve Champion shirt, and because I didn't want to go back upstairs and disturb the sleepers to fetch my Brooks vest, I wore my L.L. Bean vest. I knew this vest would make me too warm, but it actually worked out for the workout I was about to do.

The moon was just a sliver, but you could still see the full circle. That, with the silhouette of the trees against an growing orange sky, was really pretty. Pretty enough for a picture, but I didn't have my camera. Of course.

Today's run - 
1 mile warmup
4 x 1200 @ 5:30 w/ 400m RI
1 mile cooldown

My paces - 
#1 - 5:33
#2 - 5:33
#3 - 5:33
#4 - 5:33

I'd say I am consistent!

I was definitely warm on the running portions and had to pull up my sleeves, but was sure thankful for my vest to keep me warm during the rest intervals!

If I don't get another post in before Thursday, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Long Run Sun.

I had a great eight-mile run on the rail trail with the girls this morning. Temperatures in the mid-forties and clear made it easy to warm up quickly. My schedule hasn't allowed me to go in the last couple of weeks, so I'm glad to be back running with them. I've said it before, but it is even more fitting this week before Thanksgiving, that I am so thankful to have the opportunity to run with these lovely ladies. We may not run fast, but it's all about being together above all else. So thank you, Jen, Stacy, Jill, and Jess (and today, Kim)!

I woke up a little early today because new registration for the Mid-Winter 10 Mile Classic opened this morning at 6 am and I wanted to make sure I got in. And I did! I think this will be a good warm-up distance for my first half the first weekend of April.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Today's tempo run was awesome. I can't believe that I can run comfortably in a t-shirt in mid-November at 5:30 in the morning!
The run: 
1 mile warmup (9:09)
1 mile ST @ 8:00 (8:11)
1 mile easy @ 9:35 (9:21)
2 miles ST (8:15, 8:03)
1 mile easy (9:14)
1 mile ST (8:06)
1 mile cooldown (9:23)
8 miles total in 1:09:46, 8:43 pace

2. I've been invited to join a relay team for the Reach the Beach Relay, a 200-mile race from Wachusett to Westport, MA that takes place in May of next year.

From reading how exciting the West Coast's Hood to Coast Relay from various blogs a few months ago was, I got it in my head that I'd like to be a part of one of those some day too. Here's my chance, but I'm still trying to convince the hubby that it's a good idea since I'm already going to be training for my first half and full marathons next year. What do you think? Good idea or should I wait?

3. Since the end of the year is fast approaching and it is a natural time to be coming up with goals for 2012, I told suggested the non-running hubby do the same. He may just have agreed to run a 5K with me at some point next year! Yay!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Worm Track Tuesday

I first want to apologize to all the poor worms that I may have squashed at my track workout this morning. At first it was dark and I didn't realize that you guys were scattered all over the track after last night's rain. When it got lighter I tried my best not to step on you, but seriously, get back on the grass!

My right shoe has developed a squeak that was quite annoying, but I'm hoping it was only because the track was wet. We'll have to see on Thursday's run.

Today's workout:
1 mile warm up
6 x 800 @ 3:36 w/ 1:30 RI
1 mile cooldown

My splits - 
1 - 3:34
2 - 3:35
3 - 3:28
4 - 3:30
5 - 3:27
6 - 3:31

Somehow, these 800s seemed much easier than the 10 400s I did last week. I'll take it though!

In other news, I'm going to be a part of Team Tough Chik! And you can too!

It's a wonderful company with a great mission that has developed a team that anyone can be a part of. It was just fate that I happened to be wearing my Tough Chik "i run" tee when I got the email.


They are accepting members from now until January 1st, so head over to the Tough Chik blog here or their website for more information.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A New Job

I had my first day of training at my new job today. I'm still keeping my old one, but an opportunity arose and I snatched it up. It's by no means the best job in the world or the highest paid by any means, but it's with a company that I trust, in a field that definitely has my interest, offers a great benefit package, and has many opportunities for growth. So, I'm proud to announce that I'm the newest member of The Home Depot team!

Going in today meant I missed my long run with the girls on the rail trail this morning, but I want to get training out of the way as fast as possible and agreed to come in today. You can't say no right off the bat! But we're headed to out to Long Island (Maine, not New York) tomorrow for probably the last time before winter so I can have my run out there. There aren't many other places more beautiful to run than there.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Thursday!

Yea, nothing super special, just wanted to let you know that it is Thursday.

I think I have officially gotten to the point where I have become obsessed with running. With the RLRF program only having three running days, I really miss it on the off days. And the fact that I run before anyone else in my house is awake, so when the day's activities continue, it feels like it was forever ago that I a whole three hours ago at the time I'm writing this. By tonight, I will struggle to accept that it was this morning that I ran and not yesterday, it will seem to have been so long ago. Now I have to wait until Sunday to run again. Maybe I'm now to the point where cross-training on my off-days will be doable. My increased energy level could also be due to the fact that I actually got nearly seven hours of consecutive sleep last night. The one time I woke up was because I had to pee, not because Finn woke up. Thanks Finn!

It was sprinkling a little this morning as I stepped out the door, but was nice and warm at 52 degrees. I drove through a downpour for the 1.5 miles to the track and seriously considered stopping at the Community Center to run on a treadmill, but thought to myself, "You sally, it's warm outside while you still can!" I'm glad I did. It was just misting during the whole five-mile run.

The run:
1 mile warm up (10:00)
3 miles @ 8:00 (8:08, 8:00, 7:50) Woohoo, negative splits!
1 mile cool down (9:31)
Total time: 43:31

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Few More Pics from the Great Osprey 10K

Pictures from the finish of the Great Osprey 10K Ocean Run have been posted so I thought I would share...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Track Tuesday

Even though the time change has screwed with my boys' sleep, I love that it is light early, as this is the time when I run. I was very excited to see the sky already turning pink in the east at 5:30.

My left calf is still feeling a little sore/tight from Saturday's race, but it felt good to get out there again. They have finally cleared the soccer timing tables off the first lane of the track and the snow and ice has melted, so it was clear sailing for this morning's run.

On the schedule:
1 mile warm up
10 x 400m @ 1:46 w/ 1:30 RI
1 mile cool down

My splits:
1 - 1:33
2 - 1:34
3 - 1:36
4 - 1:36
5 - 1:36
6 - 1:33
7 - 1:36
8 - 1:37
9 - 1:37
10 -1:33

I thought I remembered the pace being 1:37 for 400s, so I was thinking I'm right on or below the whole way. When I got back home I realized that I was supposed to be running 1:46 splits. Oh well, better faster than slower, I guess!

In other news, my official start of half marathon training starts four weeks from today! Oh, and don't forget to get out and vote!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Great Osprey 10K Ocean Run Recap with a PR

It's very exciting that the last three race recaps I've written have PR as part of the title. With one more 5K to go for 2011, I'm hoping to write another in about a month.

Saturday was a perfect fall day for running. It was a bit cooler than I expected at 36-degrees at race time, so I opted to keep my tights on for this one. The sun was shining with little wind for the field of 294 runners that toed the line.

I got to Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park in plenty of time to pick up my bib and shirt and warm up. As the runners were milling about trying to keep warm in the sun waiting for the start, I ran into an old friend, Maggie, who I ran against in high school and with in college. She was there running with her twin sister, Mollie.
Mollie (left), Maggie (right)
The race began down a narrow trail/road out of the park...super congested, but we made it through. There aren't too many exciting things that happened during the race or that I can think of that is blog-worthy, other than it seemed that there were more uphills than down! My goal for this race was to PR, with a secret goal of sub-50. I wasn't taking my secret goal too seriously, though. A sub-50 is actually a goal I have for 2012 and wasn't going to be disappointed if I didn't get it.

Mile 1 split - 7:58 and feeling good. The pack of runners had spread out and I noticed the cameraman taking pictures as I was passing a guy on the opposite side. Can you see me?

I was trying to keep a steady pace, right around 8-minute miles.  

Mile 2 - 7:54

Mile 3 - 7:48 (downhill on this one) 

Mile 4 - 8:07 Still feeling okay, breathing is hard, but only 2 miles and change to go.

Oops, heel strike!
Mile 5 - 8:02

Wow, this is on pace for a easy sub-50 if I can keep it up. Oh, what is that? Another hill? I don't remember this on the elevation profile. It looks really steep. It feels steep. I want to stop. Oh, a head wind. Awesome. My lungs feel like they are about to explode. I am moving soooo slow.

Mile 6 - 8:55 POOP!!!!! Pick up the freaking pace!

Mile .2 - 1:24

Official finish time - 50:11, 8:06 pace SO CLOSE!!!

83 out of 294 overall, 21 out of 150 females, 9 out of 50 in my age group (30-39). By far my best finish in the standings with the number of people racing.

I have to note that when they posted the times after the race my time was 50:16 (gun time). When I went back to look at the results online it was changed to 50:22. How did it change after the fact? But I'd like to go by my watch time 50:11 (I started it when I crossed the starting line).

I was a little disappointed with mile 6 and wondered if I should have/could have pushed it more. I would have gotten that sub-50. But you know what? I am very happy with the outcome and I am more that confident I will get it next year. No problem.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Last 10K of 2011

Tomorrow I'm running the Great Osprey 10K Ocean Run in Freeport. It's the 30th Anniversary of the race that starts and finishes at Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park...beautiful. I'm pretty excited for this race, the weather is on my side - sunny and in the 40s. For me, that equals perfect running weather! And while not the most important thing, I think another PR is entirely possible. I mean, my current 10K PR was on an insanely hilly course in a torrential downpour. The only course map I could find was on MapMyRun and I am unsure as to its' accuracy, but it looks really promising!

When I started running in February I thought I would mostly run 5K's, but I'm finding that I really enjoy the longer run too. This will be my fourth and final 10K of the year and second to last race. I'm looking forward to comparing numbers and seeing how far I've come in nine months and creating new goals for next year. I know I've got so much more in me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Track Tuesday and My Fiftieth Post

I think my days at the outdoor track are numbered for this year. The snow from Saturday night/Sunday morning hasn't melted on the back straightaway of the track and footing was a little slick. Temperatures are supposed to get into the 50s this week, but that portion of the track is shaded. It was fine as long as I didn't step in any of the footprints that must have been made yesterday which froze overnight. The snow was just a thin crust and running on it was fine. Still, it made hitting my paces difficult. 

On the schedule:
1 mile warmup
1600 @ 7:27 w/ 400m RI
1200 @ 5:30
800 @ 3:36
400 @ 1:46 
1 mile cooldown

My paces:
1600 - 7:40
1200 - 5:44
800 - 3:40
400 - 1:35 (I really sprinted the last 100 meters!)

Not too bad considering...

Last month was another record-setting mileage month (which they all should be from now on), with 57.2 miles run. It would have been over sixty, but I didn't do my 10-mile long run due to the storm. One of these is going have to be my new friend real soon -

Last week was also the first time I've gone over 20 miles in a 7-day stretch and each one was great! And today's run brings my all-time mileage total over 300 miles, well since I started running again!

On Sunday we had fun in the snow. It was perfect for building snowmen and snowdogs.

The boys had a great time yesterday for Halloween and I'm happy to report that I got their costumes done in time.

Finn the Bumblebee and Peter "Zeke" Pan

And so concludes my 50th blog post!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Freezing Nine

Wahoo! I had an awesome run at the track this morning! The thermometer at the house said 29-degrees, but my car said 32. It felt it! I got to wear my new Brooks vest and Champion capris. Along with my long sleeve YMX, Zensah calf sleeves, hat, and gloves, I was ready!
After getting back as it was finally light out!
The stars were beautiful with Jupiter blazing brightly. Gorgeous! Just what I needed to take my mind off the cold and fact that I was just starting my nine-mile, personal record distance, tempo run. After my warm up mile I was in fact warm. I didn't run this yesterday because when I woke up it was 35-degrees and raining. I don't have a problem with either separately, but really didn't feel like being soaked and frozen. This week was also supposed to be a short 4 miles, but since I didn't do my tempo run last week due to my hip pain and next week is a taper week before the Great Osprey Ocean Run 10K, I decided to do last week's tempo run instead.

The run:
1 mile warm up
2 miles @ ST (8:00)
1 mile easy (9:35)
1 mile @ ST
1 mile easy
2 miles @ ST
1 mile cool down

While I didn't hit my paces for the fast miles, I felt great. My breathing was totally in control and I truly believe that I could have kept going forever...well, at least 4.1 more miles!

My paces:
Warm up (9:26)
2 miles ST (8:31, 8:27)
1 mile easy (9:20)
1 mile ST (8:26)
1 mile easy (9:23)
2 miles ST (8:38, 8:24)
Cool down (9:26)
Total time: 1:20:05, 8:54 pace

I'm feeling very optimistic about a sub-2 half marathon come April!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Track Tuesday

I had a great weekend! My hip is feeling a ton better since resting it late last week. Saturday I had a birthday lunch with my parents and got some great new running gear. Thanks Mom and Dad! Sunday I did seven miles on the Rail Trail with all the girls, Jen, Stacy, Jill, and Jess! Words can not express how thankful I am to be able to run with this awesome group. I spent yesterday with the boys and my niece and nephew while my brother and sister-in-law went back to Boston to have my brother's knee checked out again post-surgery. And today, another stellar track session!

The run:
10 min warmup
4 x 1000 @ 4:32 w/ 400m RI
10 min cooldown

My splits:
1 - 4:30 
2 - 4:30 (consistency is the key) 
3 - 4:32 (right on the money) 
4 - 4:26 (zoom-zoom)

And now to get to work finishing the boys' Halloween costumes. Last year, I started them in September. They were pretty involved though. Zeke's T-Rex head alone took me several hours.

Halloween 2010
This year I've been slacking like crazy. I don't even have one done, but I'm not stressing too much...yet.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Skipped Tempo

I made the decision to skip my tempo run this week. After last Sunday's eight-mile run followed by a twelve hour work day on my feet, I got a nagging pain right on the top of my pelvis on the right side. It's in a very specific spot and doesn't hurt all the time. Really it only hurts when I climb stairs or am bent over pushing the boys on one of their riding toys.

Iliac crest (source)
I've had this pain before, a few months ago when I started upping my mileage for the first time. I found by just taking it easy for a bit it eventually went away. I'm assuming it's just aching again from overuse. It's definitely not as bad as last time.

I did my track workout Tuesday with no problems, just a twinge here or there. My tempo run was supposed to be nine miles on Thursday, but I decided to wait until today to give myself an extra day to rest. It was raining Thursday morning anyway. Last night my hip was still a little achy. I decided that I'd just skip the run altogether, instead of risk injuring it further. I also wanted to make sure I can go "running with the girls" this Sunday when we have seven miles planned.

It was really hard not to get up and run, but on the other hand, Finn has slept really well the last two nights which means I do too!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Track Tuesday: Birthday Edition

The first gift I got for my birthday today is a kick-ass run at the track. I've been super excited to do this particular interval run since I saw it on the training schedule. Lots of short, fast runs! Other than having to remember four separate target paces, I was ready to kill it. I wore my new YMX shirt that I won on a Facebook contest. I love this shirt and now that I've run in it I love it even more! I'll get around to a review at some point.

1 mile warmup
200 (200 RI), 400, 600, 800, 800, 600, 400 (400 RI after each), 200
1 mile cooldown

I got a good day's rest yesterday after my eight miles followed by a 12-hour work day on Sunday and my legs felt ready to run fast. The stars were bright at a half moon lit my way.

I'm happy to report that I beat all my target paces by 7  to 13 seconds with the exception of my last 600 (that was by 3 seconds...I know awful :-P), but during that one I was paying more attention to the huge flock of seagulls that flew into the infield and I was trying not to get pooped on.  

My splits:
200 - :45 (no set pace for a 200) 
400 - 1:37
600 - 2:28
800 - 3:27
800 - 3:29
600 - 2:38 (look out for the birds!) 
400 - 1:36
200 - :44

And now I am officially halfway to age 70. Ewww... More positively, I am officially in the year of my life in which I will be running my first half and full marathons! 34 was a great year, I got running back into my life, fit into my pre-pregnancy, even pre-marriage clothes (I think I gained 10 pounds on our honeymoon!), started this blog that has helped me to find the incentive and commitment to make running a permanent fixture in my life and through I have the support of my friends and family, virtual or in-person (some of the former have become the latter).

When I got back this is what Zeke had waiting for me:

Blue frosting, because blue is my favorite color.

Zeke dictated the inside of the card to Ian. But he signed his name!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Running with the Girls

Yesterday morning I got to run with Jen and Jill of Running with the Girls fame!
Jen, Jill, Stacy, Jess (Photo courtesy of
I was so excited to be running with them, to be running in a new place, and be setting a personal record distance of eight miles. The girls run regularly at the Kennebec River Rail Trail, a 6.5 mile path that runs from Gardiner to Augusta. My dad also happens to be on the Board of Directors. I can really see myself running there often in the future. It's just over 20 minutes from my house, has great views of the river, no traffic, and is relatively flat. The only other time I've run with someone was with my friend Heather at the Androscoggin River Bicycle and Pedestrian Path in Brunswick. You can read about that here. The issues I have with the Brunswick trail is that it also runs along heavily traveled Route 1. Breathing exhaust isn't the best while running. The Rail Trail is also nearly three times as long as the Brunswick path making it more conducive for longer runs and it is 10 minutes closer to home. Why wouldn't I go back for more? But the best reason for going back is to run with these awesome ladies again.

Jill is just coming back from a short break from running and ran with us for the first three miles before turning back. Jen and I continued on for another mile. We talked about our kids, husbands, weight loss after babies, work, running shoes, our blogs and the sweet stuff we've won. I picked her brain about her Garmin since I'm still on the fence about wanting/needing one.

And then we were done. Eight miles behind us. Wow, that was fast. I mean, we weren't really running that fast (9:24 pace), but the time flies by when you are running with others. I get a little bored with the conversations with myself on solo runs. Technically, according to my 10K training plan, my long runs should be at a 8:30 pace (this will be bumped up to around 9 minutes when I start the half marathon plan), but this run wasn't about how fast we were going. It was about making friends, connecting through running, and enjoying the company.

Thank you Jen and Jill for making my day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Long Run Fueling Advice Needed

On Sunday I'll be completing my first eight mile run. I've done a seven-miler twice. Next week, I've two nine mile runs and a ten-miler the week after. Starting in December I'll be starting the RLRF half marathon training program. Since all of my runs thus far have been less than an hour minus one, I haven't had the need to refuel on the go. I don't even bring water to drink.

It's now time to start experimenting with fueling during my runs, but I honestly don't know where to start!

How long do you run before refueling?

What have you tried? 

What products work the best for you? 

What are the easiest to carry and eat while you are huffing and puffing down the road?

Do you carry a beverage and how?

I really appreciate any suggestions you have. This long run newbie needs your expertise!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tempo Run Success...Finally!

I had the brilliant idea last night that I would run this morning's tempo run on the track.  I though this would be smart for a couple of reasons. One, it's a lot safer running on the track. No traffic and it's partially lit from the parking lot lights since I have to run before sunrise. Two, what better way to be able to keep a steady pace than on a flat surface that is measured out for me? My prior tempo runs have been less than successful. I've done the distances, but meeting the required paces have eluded me. This way, I'd be able to easily see how far I've gone in what time, how much distance I have left, and keep a steady pace due to the lack of hills. And my plan worked!

On the docket:
1 mile warm up
4 miles @ MTP (8:15)
1 mile cool down

The verdict:
Warm up mile - 9:53
Tempo mile #1 - 8:16 (so far still to go) 
Tempo mile #2 - 8:16 (keep it up!) 
Tempo mile #3 - 8:19 
Tempo mile #4 - 8:10 (loved counting down the laps on this one) 
Cool down mile - 10:10 (a hard mile, it would have been easier to continue to go fast) 
Total time  - 53:05

Other than the monotony of 24 laps around and around, I am stoked that I was able to pretty much hit the right pace. I think I'm going to employ the track for my tempo run for the time being, at least until daylight savings kicks in and it is lighter in the morning. Plus it does wonders for my attitude toward the tempo run!

In other news, I might be running my long run on Sunday with Jen, very exciting! I'm supposed to do a personal distance record of eight miles, we'll see if it works out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Track Tuesday

I'm back, did you miss me? I realized that I haven't posted in a week. Maybe it's because I haven't been running much...not following my schedule. I didn't run my track workout last Tuesday. My legs were still recovering from last Sunday's 10K. I ran a six-mile tempo run on Thursday with dismal results and didn't feel like it was worth complaining writing about. On Sunday, I had an eight mile long run to do, but worked a double that day which equals 12 hours running around without a break on a crazy Columbus Day weekend. I probably walked close to eight miles that day, though. So...I doing a do-over. I'm repeating last week's running schedule since I only completed one out of three runs. No problem. I've still got 178 days until I need to be able to run 13 miles for my first half marathon.

Today's workout:
1 mile warm up
2 x 1600 @ 7:27 and 1 x 800 @ 3:36 w/ 400m RI
1 mile cool down

The results:
1600 #1 - 7:22
1600 #2 - 7:27
800 - 3:31

It is so dark at 5:30. I do like watching the sky turn colors with every lap of the track, though. We'll see how the rest of the week goes. I might get up half an hour earlier on Thursday and do my long run then, since I'm also working all day on this Sunday too. Or maybe suck it up and do it Monday morning. At least I have a whole slew of new compression products to try out. The folks at Tommie Copper sent me an awesome package full of gear for my review, so be on the lookout!

Oh, and they posted some photos from the Apple Fest 5K from a few weeks ago. There were only a few taken it seems. I only found myself in the one of the start.

Can you see me hiding in there?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Westport Island Shore Run 10K Recap and Another PR!

Wow, that's a wordy title! I feel like adding the PR part makes it more exciting. I hope I don't bore you with what is to come, but I suppose it's just another race report when it comes down to it.

Sunday was the Westport Island Shore Run 10K that had been postponed due to Hurricane Irene. And, of course, it was raining buckets. Actually, other than the astronomically high tides that threatened to wash the runners off the two causeways along the course, the weather was much better on the original race date in August.

I like running in the rain. I think it makes it a little more exciting, though not always the most comfortable. The best part of running cross-country in high school was getting wet and muddy. Luckily, it was pretty cool (54 degrees at race time) and I knew I wouldn't have a risk of overheating like I did during the L.L. Bean 10K in July and the Beach to Beacon in August. Maybe for some that would be cold, but once I get going it is perfect. I decided to wear my black running skirt, my new Everyday Endurance performance tee that I bought with the gift certificate I won from FitCraftyEnglishTeacher, and my blue Zensah sleeves. One runner asked me if I was cold as we made the trek to the start (about a quarter mile from the finish) as a lot of people were wearing long sleeves or jackets. Nope, this is perfect running weather. I'm a little crazy. They were offering runners trash bags to wear for the walk to the starting line, but I declined. I was about to get wet, why bother trying to stay dry? Another guy asked me what the blue things on my legs were and I gave him a quick lesson on compression. I love how they make my legs feel AND the fashion statement they make!

Once lining up, I recognized Wade, Jen from Running with the Girl's brother-in-law, and at first thought it was Ward, her husband. They are twins. But, duh, why would her husband be running this race when she is running her first marathon?!? Anyway, Wade ended coming in second overall! The race director made the announcements and we were off. I led the female runners for about .2 miles! I was winning! Ha ha! One girl passed me as we were passing the town hall where we would eventually circle around to finish at and I tried just keeping her in my sights (She was only one of two people to pass me the entire race). Ian and the boys came to cheer me on and I waved as I ran by. Troopers they are, coming out in the rain. Zeke was happy though, he got to hold the umbrella.

I felt really good the first mile. Soaked already, of course, but having a good time. I felt like the pace was manageable and the field of runners so small that it was easier focusing on my pace than racing everyone else around me. Mile one split - 7:47. Wow! This feels good for that fast! 

I caught up to one guy and ran with him through the second mile. We actually chatted for a bit and he was from Edmonton. As in Canada. As in over 2700 miles away. And he was just passing through on his way to Arizona making a giant circle around North America! Mile two split - 8:00. Chatting and running fast. Awesome! There was an unmanned water station that I skipped and he slowed down at, so I went on ahead.

There were some major hills throughout the course. Steep, almost fall on your face downhills and steep, almost crawl on hands and knees uphills. Mixed with wet leaves and pine needles, I really had to concentrate on not falling down. I could still see the girl that passed me in the beginning way up ahead, but for almost the entire rest of the race I ran by myself.

Mile three - 8:06 (still going strong)
Mile four - 8:35 (slowing down, but still on the road to a PR)

So up until this point I was in second place for females. Very exciting. Then I heard someone coming up behind me right before the mile five marker. And then they passed me. Darn, it was a woman.

Mile five - 8:39 (stay strong and you will PR)

Down a hill, across the second causeway, and ahead lies the beast of a hill. Sea level to 110 feet in less than a quarter mile after running for over five miles = torture.

My legs were screaming and now I have to admit that I walked up this hill. Yes, I walked. For shame. But it was a full arms pumping, lean into the hill, power walking that was probably close to as fast as I was running, and it allowed me to catch my breath and the lady who passed me and was still running got no further ahead. I normally like to attack the hills, but knew if I wanted to finish strong I needed to let up and recover a little here. It started to level out and I took back to running.

Mile 6  - 8:53 (see, I didn't loose much time from walking)

The last .2 is mostly downhill and I powered to the finish, waved at the boys on my way by, and looked at the clock at the finish line!


Seriously? That's 1:55 off my best 10K! On a hilly course in the pouring rain. I was probably carrying a good five pounds of water in my clothes. I was hoping for a sub-53, but was unsure of how the terrain would actually be and I killed it! Yay!

Final standings - 
8 out of 24 overall (very small field)
3 out of 10 females
1 out of 3 in my age group (30-39)

Lucky #11 and race bling!
Soaked and smiling!