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!