Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 - The Year of the Marathon

I am such a goal-loving person that it is not even funny!

Goals are what drive me to do better and achieve everything that I set out to do. At times I get a little obsessed with my goals, cough maintaining a 4.0 GPA in grad school cough, but if it is what makes me happy I don't see anything wrong with it.

Interestingly, my obsession with goals has never driven me to set New Year's resolutions. As I mentioned yesterday, Mike and I maybe set one resolution last year and I don't even think we stuck with it, oops!

I'm not sure I like the concept of a resolution and, who are we kidding, most of the time we break our New Year's resolutions before the end of January. The concept of a goal is much more doable for me. A resolution and a goal might be the same thing, but I like the word GOAL much better! So we are going to go with that, okay?

Courtney at A So-Called Runner reminded me that goals need to be SMART. I hope that the following goals live up to that expectation!

Running Goals

  • Run a smart, well-trained marathon, more specifically Wineglass on September 30, 2012.
  • Run a sub-4:45 marathon! (This previously said sub-5 hour, but Mike said it wasn't consistent enough with my other goals).
  • Crush my current 10K PR with a sub-1 hour time. I would be thrilled if this happened in either of the Freezeroo 10Ks, but if not definitely by summertime.
  • PR in the 5K with a 25:xx time.
  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon.
  • Finish a 15K race (automatic PR), this will most likely happen at the Spring Forward 15K or the Boilermaker.


  • Train with other runners (not including Mike, Mike's mom or my mom).
  • Volunteer at a race.
  • Run in a race every month of 2012. Thank you Freezeroo for getting us off to a great start!
  • Run races in two new states. Rock 'n' Roll Chicago will take care of one of those, the other one will most likely be in Maine.
  • Run 1,000 miles the entire year.
Triathlon Goals

  • Compete in a duathlon. Okay, I know this says triathlon but it's similar! I haven't decided if I want to do the SuperSprint or Formula 1 distance yet.
  • Compete in a triathlon or two.


  • Train with other triathletes.
  • Become comfortable using my bike and general maintenance of it.

General Goals

  • Strength train twice a week. This is almost non-negotiable because if I want to be an Ironman I need to get stronger.
  • Try a new recipe once a week and only go out to eat on special occasions.
  • Try a clean food cleanse and/or a juice cleanse.
  • By the end of the year stop drinking soda.
  • Drink more water!!
  • Remain injury free!

I think that is a good start and I'm sure that I will come up with some other goals as needed (in other words, when I kick these goals' butts!) However, if I completely fail at everything else the one goal I want to achieve is running a marathon. That is my number one goal for 2012.

What are your goals for 2012? Good luck with them!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Year of Firsts

2011 was a year of firsts, for sure.

Since I didn't start this blog until September I don't have a blog post with my goals for 2011 and let's be honest here I probably didn't really have very many. I think we made one New Year's resolution and it had nothing to do with running or fitness. If I can't recap my 2011 goals why not recap 2011 instead? I promise it will be fun.

First Dog

Okay, I know this blog focuses primarily on running and fitness but this was an exciting event in our life! On January 30, 2011 (we actually adopted him on January 29th but we had to get stuff ready for him) we brought home Bernie the then Chow-Chow/Bullmastiff mix (yes, then).

Cutie, with a mud mustache

We have actually learned (or deduced) that Bernie is a Chow-Chow/Black Lab mix and might have some Bullmastiff in there, but I doubt it. We prepared for an over-100 pound dog (his crate is HUGE) and now have a perfect 60 pound dog. I just wish he could run with us!

First 5K

When I decided that Mike and I were going to do the Couch-to-5K, which we started on April 12th (I guess Facebook Timeline is good for one thing - I can find my old statuses easier!), I didn't know which 5K we were going to run. I researched local 5Ks and found the Rochester School for the Deaf River Ramble 5K. After training and basically completing C25K we ran our first 5K together on June 4, 2011!

Mike's happy, I'm happy too it's just harder to tell

Even though our time was pretty slow, but not bad for our first 5K, I was really happy that we ran the entire thing together. It is the only race that we crossed the finish line together and to me it makes it that much more special.

First 10K

Even before we finished C25K, I knew we were going to move on to the Bridge-to-10K program. We signed up for our first, and only, 10K - the Ten Ugly Men Festival 10K.

It looks like he is waving, but probably not

So glad that finish line was in sight

Let me just say that this was probably my worst race, ever! I struggled (and walked) so much, mainly because of the heat but also because I was mentally not into it. Mike and I did not run this race together, which I knew was going to happen since we didn't run our second 5K together. I probably would have done better if he had been by my side, but I have worked on my mental toughness since then!

I can't wait until our next 10K because I am going to have a massive PR. I have already unofficially beat it a few times but I want to officially get rid of the 1:11.34 PR in 2012 (stay tuned for my actual goal in my next post).

First Half Marathon

Our half marathon was probably our defining moment this year. After we finished B210K, we started Hal Higdon's Novice Half Marathon training program. In the beginning we didn't know if we wanted to even run a half marathon, but that quickly changed. Our sights were originally set on the Cape Cod Half Marathon but after looking up the directions I didn't think it would be a good idea to run in a Saturday race that was 9 hours away from Rochester.

Enter the Fall Foliage Half Marathon!

The half marathoners!

This race was HILLY! Mike, Mike's mom and I all ran in the race and it was a challenge, but a good one. I would run in the race again and just train on terrain that better resembled the race's terrain.

Even if we don't accomplish anything else, we can confidently say that we are half marathoners!

First Virtual Race

A few weeks ago Mike and I participated in our first virtual race! XLMIC at Taking it On hosted the Jingle Bell Hell Virtual Run and we ran 8.7 miles for it. This was probably my best long distance race, ever! If I had been able to hold the 9:45 minute per mile pace that we ran I would have crushed my 10 mile time and my half marathon time!

Not everything in 2011 was great, although the good times outweighed the bad. Here are the firsts that I wish never happened, but without them I may not be the runner that I am now.

First Injury

Ugh! This was so disappointing. Throughout our entire half marathon training (including our 5 mile and 10 mile race) I felt some pain in my feet. I was able to manage the pain adequately enough to finish the half marathon, but the hills eventually destroyed them.


When I went to the doctor I was thrilled that I didn't have a stress fracture, yet, I was so disappointed that I had to take some time off from running. During that time Mike had to run by himself a few times and he said that it was weird!

Unfortunately, it had to take not one but two injuries for me to really learn to take it easy. Which leads me to my...

First DNF

This may have been even more disappointing than my injury. I had a feeling that this was probably going to happen as Mike and I prepared for the Stockade-athon 15K but I wanted to try to run in the race.

Unfortunately, less than 2 miles into it I knew that I wasn't going to finish the race. After finding Mike's dad I stepped out and got my first DNF (did not finish).

When Mike found out I DNF

I took even more time off from running and I am happy to say that I am now officially recovered. I can't wait to get my official 15K PR to rid myself of the DNF label.

Well there you have it, the ups and downs of 2011! We have trained hard, raced hard and learned a lot of valuable lessons. How will this all come into play for 2012? I guess you will just have to wait and see!

What were your highs and lows for 2011?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Recap

Alas, Christmas 2011 is over.

This weekend was one of the best that we have had in a long time.

It started out with Mike and I decorating our house and getting ready for our visitors.

Cute snowman ornament

One of three lighthouse ornaments, don't judge

The tree

This year we did things a little bit differently and we celebrated Christmas at our house, usually we drive to Maine but it worked out better for my brother to fly to Rochester. This unfortunately means that we aren't going to see Mike's family this holiday season but we have had some great visits with them the past few months.

Thursday evening my mom and dad arrived and we all just relaxed.

Friday, my dad and Mike set up a closet organizing system that we purchased awhile ago but don't have the right tools (drill) to set up on our own. It came out great and I can't wait to start organizing our clothes better.

The end result, thanks dad and Mike!

Unfortunately, Mike had to work later in the day but my mom and I got busy and made cheese balls, deviled eggs, gnocchi and whoopie pies!

I like cracking eggs

The gnocchi
actually came out really well (even though I was worried that we used too much flour). Next time we are just going to make one batch and see if that works better.

My brother flew into Rochester at 11pm and after visiting for a little while we went to sleep.

Christmas Eve was a lot of fun! My mom, Mike and I started the day by running in Kiley's Christmas Virtual 5K and Amy and Amylee's Christmas Eve Virtual 5K. It was nice to kill two birds with one stone! I was really happy with our finishing time of 28:55. We didn't win any of the prizes, but congratulations to Jen at Running with the Girls who did!

The Christmas Eve runners

We spent the rest of the day eating pancakes and playing games. Our big dinner was on Christmas Eve and we had plenty of food including turkey, sweet potato casserole, potatoes and of course cranberry sauce!

Christmas morning we all opened our gifts from each other. We got a ton of great running gifts (Mike gave me a Garmin 405cx!), biking gifts (new bikes!) and fun gifts (new blender and smoothie book!). The best part was seeing my mom and dad get really excited about the gift that my brother, Mike and I gave them. I hope that they have a lot of fun seeing Bob Marley, a Maine comedian!

While my brother, dad and Mike played ping pong, My mom and I took Bernie for a 3 mile walk. At first it didn't seem like the walk phased him, he was running around like a crazy dog, but then he finally passed out.

Sleepy boy in his lighthouse collar

My parents left yesterday morning and my brother flew out of Rochester around 5pm. I'm sad that they are all gone but I'm glad we all got to spend some time together since we don't see my family that often. It is hard for all of us to get together since we live in Rochester, my brother lives in Atlanta and my parents live in Maine!

Yesterday was made that much sweeter when I clinched the Championship in the Fantasy Football League that Mike and I played in this year. I guess I am going out with a bang since I am most likely not returning to defend my title next year.

Today Mike and I sweat out some of the holiday treats and food that we indulged in this weekend by running 5 miles. Even though my legs felt like lead and I was having some trouble breathing, I was really happy with how the run turned out!

I wore my new GlitzBand from Lesley at Racing It Off


Leg 1 - 9:15 pace
Leg 2 - 9:35 pace
Leg 3 - 9:32 pace
Leg 4 - 9:55 pace
Leg 5 - 9:41 pace

Total Time: 48:00
Average Pace: 9:36 minutes per mile

I'm ready to get back into some serious training and once the New Year rolls around I think we are going to! I'm also planning on writing a 2012 Goals post sometime soon.

I hope that you all had a great holiday weekend and are enjoying the rest of 2011!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Virtual 5K Race Recap

This morning Mike, my mom and I headed out to run Daily Vitamin F's Christmas Virtual 5K.

All decked out in our Christmas gear

My mom and Mike are WAY faster than me, but they were nice and ran at a pace that was only a little uncomfortable for me (but more on that later).

We didn't feel like running near our house and in all honesty I have been trying to avoid running on the sidewalk because of the concrete. I don't want to re-injure myself so I have been running on softer surfaces, which is one reason we ran on the treadmill on Wednesday (although I don't want to do that again for a long time).

The Genesee Riverway Trail was the scene for our 5K race. Mike and I have run there a few times before and it is great because of the varying surfaces. It had actually snowed a little bit last night but the surface wasn't too slippery. We ran through Turning Point Park and had to slow down a little bit when we ran along the boardwalk. We saw one lone swan hanging out in the water all by himself.

Throughout the entire run I knew we were going at a pace that was similar to what I ran at the It's a Wonderful Run 5K. My mom and Mike were running effortlessly, but I was quite literally racing! My mom even mentioned that I was going to have an awesome time, but I wasn't sure if I was going to beat my official PR.

We pushed the pace at the end and my mom counted down 3.05, 3.06, etc. and then we were finally done!

Back at home with our race bibs



The Christmas Virtual 5K stats:

Lap 1 - 9:18 pace
Lap 2 - 9:27 pace
Lap 3 - 9:10 pace
Lap 4 (.12) - 8:36 pace

Total Time: 28:55
Average Pace: 9:17 minutes per mile

My mom's watch actually said our total time was 29:02 but that is still faster than my official PR.

As we were walking back we saw a beaver, he was huge! I wish we had a camera with us, he was quite oblivious of us walking by him.

Overall I would say that was a great race for me! I'm glad that my mom and Mike pushed me to a sub 29:00 minute time.

Merry Christmas!!

Edited to add:

Since we did this run on Christmas Eve, it meant that we also completed the Christmas Eve Virtual 5K put together by Run Mom Run and Run My Guts Out.

Finisher's Medal

If you ran this Christmas weekend, how did your run go?

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Christmas Time

In Rochester.

My mom and dad arrived yesterday evening and we have been busy getting things ready for our Christmas celebration. We've been making deviled eggs, cheese balls and whoopie pies from a mix that Mike's mom bought me last year. I think that the whoopie pies are going to be really good!

On Wednesday my mom and I decided that we wanted to make the gnocchi recipe that Vanessa at Gourmet Runner posted a few days ago. We had a few issues with it being too sticky (we did double the recipe, though) but hopefully it is going to turn out alright!

Following the recipe on the computer

Gnocchi-making fun

A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to participate in Daily Vitamin F's Christmas Virtual 5K. My mom, Mike and I are all going to run it together and I can't wait! I will be wearing the same outfit that I wore for the It's a Wonderful Run 5K two weeks ago.

The only thing left is for my brother to arrive at the airport at 11pm, then we can get our celebration on!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

So Many Races, So Little Time

In 2012, anyway.

I'm not sure if you have taken a look at my Upcoming Races page but the 2012 Race Calendar is jam-packed with lots of fun options.

In the short amount of time that Mike and I have been running, we have fallen in love with racing. Don't get me wrong if I had to stop racing I would still run, but having a race to look forward to provides that extra excitement that I might need every once in awhile.

Ten Ugly Men 10K

Finishing my first half marathon!

The other night Mike registered us for the Freezeroo Series and I can't wait! We missed the first race in the series because it was the day after our last 5K, but we are going to do the remaining 5 races. It will be fun to get out there in the winter and see what we can do, although if Rochester starts living up to its name of being the 2nd snowiest city in the country we may not be full on racing.

This series means that starting January 1st we are going to have a race every two weeks until February 25th! Any local runners who want to join us?

Beyond February 25th our race calendar only has two races that we are registered for on it, the Seneca 7 77.7 mile relay and the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon.

I have put some potential races that we are considering registering for but if you look closely we have some decisions to make. A few of our potential races conflict with each other!

I want to try to run in the Polar Bear Series Half Marathon in March. When I saw Ali talk about it awhile back it sparked my interest. After looking into it more I realized that the race is only $10! I did see a race in Rochester that looked interesting, Johnny's Running of the Green 5 mile, but I think it is going to end up being on the same weekend as the half marathon. In the end we will do whichever race we feel like we are the most prepared for, I may not be quite ready to train for another half marathon just yet.

The biggest conflict that we have is the Cleveland Half Marathon and a local Spring Classic Duathlon in May. We really want to do the Cleveland Half but since we are already paying for one destination race this year we might do the duathlon instead. I just found the duathlon this weekend and thought it would be a good way to get into multi-sport races. I am leaning toward this option since the race fee is cheaper and we wouldn't have to pay for travel and lodging. Plus, with the money we save we could register for another local race!

If we end up not running in the Cleveland Half Marathon I am sure that it will be a top contender for our 2013 race calendar. It's hard to fit everything that we want to do into our schedule, plus we don't want to go broke paying for races!

The most important race that we have to register for prior to the end of February (when the fee goes up) is the Wineglass Marathon. This is the race that I am looking forward to the most and no matter what I am toeing the line in Bath, New York on September 30, 2012.

Bath or Bust

Have you started planning your 2012 race calendar? What races are you looking forward to the most?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Your Questions Answered

A few days ago I asked you all to come up with some questions that you wanted to ask me and today I finally have time to answer them! Thank you to everyone who had a question, I hope you like the answers.

asked, how did you prepare for your FIRST half marathon?

Mike and I have only done one half marathon so far, the Fall Foliage Half Marathon in Rhinebeck, New York on October 23, 2011. After completing the Bridge-to-10K program, we decided to jump right into Hal Higdon's Novice Half Marathon training program. This program worked out really well for us, but a different program or a combination of programs may work better for other people.

Running to the finish!

I do love sweat

The Novice program required four days of running: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Tuesdays and Thursdays were shorter runs that started out at 3 miles and increased to 5 miles. Wednesdays were recovery days (at least that's how I viewed it) with really low mileage starting at 2 and ending at 3 miles. Our long runs were on Sundays, some people prefer them on Saturdays but Sundays worked for us. The mileage started out at 4 miles and capped at 10 miles. We were supposed to run in two races during our training, a 5K and a 10K. We "raced" the 5K and we did a 5 mile race instead of a 10K. We also raced a 10 mile race the week before our half marathon. Some people don't like this approach but it worked for us.

The one thing I can say that we did not prepare for were the hills! I knew that the half marathon was hilly by looking at the elevation but we never trained on hilly terrain. We should have included more training runs that better resembled what we were going to experience during the half marathon. Live and learn!

She also asked, how do you prepare for any race in general?

When we first started running we went through the Couch-to-5K program and then moved on to the Bridge-to-10K and ended with Hal Higdon's training program. Now that we have been running for awhile I don't think we have to prepare too much for 5Ks or 10Ks. We just need to maintain our training.

We like crossing off training runs

When we start training for our upcoming half marathons and marathon we are going to continue to use Hal Higdon's training programs. We will probably use the Intermediate training program for half marathons and the Novice or Intermediate program for the marathon.

Other than that I try to eat right and get enough sleep two nights before the race. That is actually when it is the most important since you most likely won't sleep well the night before, but you can get by on adrenaline.

I also have to say that figuring out your fueling preferences is crucial. For shorter races I don't need fuel, just hydration, but for longer races I do like to have some fuel. Everyone is different and if you are like me it may take you a few tries to figure out what you like!

Clif Shot energy gel all the way!

Nina asked, can you remember the first time you heard about marathons and long-distance triathlons?

I don't really remember the first time, but I do remember watching part of the Ironman on TV when I was younger (not sure my exact age). Also, a co-worker of mine ran the Mount Desert Island marathon when I was in high school and that may have been my first exposure to marathons.

She also asked, did you know you wanted to do these races as soon as you heard that there were races like this?

No! I was a swimmer growing up and I did not really enjoy running that much once it went up to 3 miles in high school. I never really thought about triathlons as something that I would want to do.

I do remember fantasizing about swimming the English Channel, though. Maybe that dream was foreshadowing that I would one day be an endurance athlete, just in a different way.

Laura asked (Suz, too), was there anyone in particular that inspired you to start running and go for a marathon/Ironman? Mike's mom also asked, what made you decide that you wanted to do an Ironman?

The dream to run a marathon (and many more) was just sparked when Mike and I started running. One day when we were in the car, I told him that I wanted to run a marathon before I turn 30. It looks like I am easily going to accomplish that so now my goal is to run in the Mount Desert Island Marathon before I turn 30!

The Ironman dream came about for so many different reasons. Mike once mentioned that he would do the Ironman, I think at the time he may have been joking a little bit. My dad told him that there are training groups out there for that and then went on to talk about the triathlons that he did when he was younger.

The final push for me to want to do an Ironman was reading about Emily's Ironman experience on her blog Sweat Once a Day. I was so amazed and knew that it was something that I wanted to accomplish!

They also asked, what's your favorite race distance so far?

I would have to say that I really enjoyed our half marathon! My best race so far was our 10 miler, but I know that I am going to love longer distances.


I already mentioned that I really hate the 5K but I am still willing to do it because I know Mike likes it!

Kelli asked, who or what inspires you?

So many people! I already talked about how inspirational my mom is and how she is the most amazing runner that I know (without even running in a race!) Mike's mom is also a runner and she has run about 10 marathons.

All of us before a run in Maine

Mike is probably the most inspirational person for me. He works extremely hard and is very dedicated to this sport that we have both fallen in love with and I am so glad that he is there with me every step of the way!

While this may not be very inspirational, I do find setting and accomplishing goals extremely motivating. I think that is one reason why I love this sport!

Rena asked, how do you convince Mike to do the running thing with you?

At this point I don't have to convince him to do it since he is just as into it as I am!

In the beginning I thought that this would be a great way for us to get in shape and have some time for just us. We completed all three running programs together and I never had to convince him to do it with me, he just did.

If I had already been running or vice versa it may have been more difficult to do it together.

Finally, just for fun, Laura and Suz wanted to know how Mike and I met.

Mike and I met my second year and his first year of college (yes I'm older). We always just tell people that we met on the swim team which is only partially true.

I was on "the hub" (what we used to download music) and this random person started talking to me, no not Mike! I happened to mention that I was a swimmer and this guy mentioned that his roommate (Mike) was a swimmer. All three of us decided to meet up and after hanging out with Mike for a few hours I knew that he was special.

Early on, we were so young!

It's interesting to think that we would have met anyway since we were both on the swim team, but things may not have turned out the way they did.

One other interesting fact about us is that we celebrated (and still do) our dating anniversary on September 20th. We never really had that "will you go out with me" moment in our relationship so we just decided that the day we met would be our anniversary. We got engaged on our 5 year anniversary in 2009.

I hope you enjoyed this questions and answers post!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jingle Bell Hell Virtual Run Recap

Today Mike and I ran 8.7 miles for the Jingle Bell Hell Run put on by XLMIC at Taking It On.

Image borrowed from Jess

The local run that XLMIC was participating in was a 1/3 Marathon, which is where we got 8.7 miles from, and the virtual run had a few rules to follow. It had to be at least 5K in length, it had to be a challenging course and we had to laugh at least once. I would say that we successfully completed all three of those rules!

When I first signed up for the Jingle Bell Hell Run I was still recovering from my injury and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to run the 1/3 Marathon. I also wasn't sure how hilly the course was going to be able to be since it seemed as if my injuries were triggered by our extremely hilly half marathon in October.

Since I have seemed to recover, keep your fingers crossed, Mike and I decided to give it our all. Mike found a 10K run that someone mapped online and we used this as a guide for our Hell run.


We decided to do our run at Mendon Ponds Park. We are running a 7.5 mile race there on New Year's day and we have heard that it is pretty hilly so we decided to give it a try today! Plus, Mendon Ponds holds a special place in our hearts since we did some of our engagement photos there and we hadn't been back until today.

It did not look like that photo today. It was about 25 degrees outside, but luckily it wasn't snowing. When we got there we decided to drive the course that Mike had found and realized that part of the road was blocked off. We figured out a way to add on the extra 2 miles or so that we needed and then got going.

I wasn't really sure what to expect since my longest consecutive run in the last month or so was just a little under 4 miles. We quickly realized that we were way under 10:00 minute per mile pace. We slowed down a little bit and continued to hit under 10:00 minute pace! We had a good laugh when we were around 9:10 pace when we started the third mile. Mike also made fun of me around this time because my stomach was making funny noises!

One thing we knew was that mile 4-5 was going to be tough, maybe even quite hellish, but we didn't expect it to be a hill in the park that killed us. We still managed to get under 10:00 minute pace but I definitely slowed down to a crawl.

We had to run one portion of the course twice, in order to add mileage, and I was definitely starting to get tired but I kept pushing. Each mile we were under 10:00 minute pace got me closer to the finish!

Once we had .7 miles left I knew I was going to make it. We ended up finishing in 1:24.51!


Lap 1 - 9:43 pace
Lap 2 - 9:52 pace
Lap 3 - 9:30 pace
Lap 4 - 9:56 pace
Lap 5 - 9:36 pace
Lap 6 -9:36 pace
Lap 7 - 10:03 pace
Lap 8 - 9:34 pace
Lap 9 (.7) - 10:00 pace

Total Time: 1:24.51
Average Pace: 9:45 minutes per mile

I'm thrilled with those paces! Our 10K time ended up being exactly 1:00, that's my fastest unofficial 10K time ever! Even with all of the hills we held paces that I haven't been able to hold during long runs consistently. I think that I'm a winter running lover!

When we finished Mike looked at my face and laughed because I had so much salt on it. We didn't bring any fuel or hydration with us and I definitely looked like a salty mess.

To recap:

Distance - 8.7 miles (1/3 Marathon)
Course - Definitely challenging (miles 4-5 specifically)!
Laughter - multiple instances
Fun - Oh hell yes!

Thank you so much XLMIC for putting this virtual run on for us and giving me the opportunity to challenge myself and get a good long run in again!

Have you ever participated in a virtual run/race? Do you get just as excited about those as regular races?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

If You Want Results

You are going to have to make some changes.

With the end of 2011 rapidly approaching, I am thinking about my goals for 2012. I will do an entire post about my goals later, but for now just know that there are going to be some changes made!

I've changed many things in my life. When I was in kindergarten I said that I wanted to be an artist or a runner when I grew up, hmm well I guess one of those things came true! I changed my major in college from Computer Science to Interpreting. I've made changes to my social circle and relationships that I have with people. I've changed my appearance (I used to be blonde).

The first year we were dating!

In 2012 the changes that I am going to make are going to help me achieve my goals of becoming a future marathoner and Ironman. There will be people who are going to try to bring me down and there will be people who will support me in anything that I try to accomplish (maybe some Turbo Kick, Marissa?) I know I have friends and family who will be there for me no matter what and to you I say thank you. To the naysayers I just have to say that I feel sorry for you. I feel sorry that you gave up on your dreams and goals and just want to bring others down.

Nothing is impossible, you may just have to make some changes.

To end on a lighthearted note, I want to do a future "Question and Answer" post, but in order to do so I need your help! Feel free to leave a question that you are dying to have answered by me and I will compile them all and write a post sometime soon!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Rest of 2011

Can you believe that there are only 18 days left in 2011? I really can't.

Which means we are even closer to Christmas!

It feels like only yesterday that we adopted Bernie and brought him home to join our family, and that was at the end of January! It feels like this school year is flying by and I'm not even taking any classes this year (for those new to the blog, I was supposed to start my second Masters program this year but I deferred until next fall. I'm still debating on whether or not I want to go through with it or not).

Today I had a nice mid-morning run near where I work. Mike and I had semi-opposite schedules today so we decided to run on our own. I was going to run at 6pm after work, but I took advantage of my 2 hour break instead. I'm so glad I did! I was able to go home earlier and spend some more time with Bernie and Mike.

I didn't wear our Garmin, Mike was using it, so I just headed out on a familiar route that I knew would end up hitting a little above 4 miles. In 45:39 I covered 4.6 miles! Not bad at all.

The rest of the year is going to be full of other fun running adventures!

This Saturday, Mike and I are participating in the Jingle Bell Hell Virtual Run. It has to be at least 5K in distance, but we are going to try to do a 1/3 marathon (the distance the local run will be).

It has been awhile since our last long run, not including the Stockade-athon 15K, and I am so excited for approximately 8.7 miles of sweat!

I love it so much I bought more of these shirts!

Our final "race" of 2011 will be the Christmas 5K Virtual Race! My mom will be in town and she is going to join us on this 5K run. My recent outfit may just make another appearance!

In addition to all of this running, my personal Jillian Michaels 30 Day Challenge is going strong. Tomorrow will be day 6 of Level 1. Hopefully by the end of December I will be getting close to the halfway point!

What are you doing during the last 18 days of 2011?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's a Wonderful Run 5K Race Report

If you are friends with me on DailyMile (if we aren't yet, that should change!) or my personal Facebook page you already know the outcome of our 5K race yesterday. If you aren't here is the race recap in its entirety, but you can skip down to the bottom if you just want to know whether we got PRs or not!

Yesterday morning we went to Tim Horton's for our race day breakfast and then just relaxed until the time that we had to get ready to go to the race. Seneca Falls, where the race took place, is about an hour away from our house and we hadn't picked up our race packets yet so we wanted to leave with enough time to get those.

I know that most of you wanted to see our race day outfits, so here they are!

He's wearing a Canadiens (hockey) hat

Bernie wanted in on the action

We got to packet pick-up around 3:00pm, the race didn't start until 4:40pm, and after finding a place to park we started walking to the local Community Center near the start line. Next year we won't leave as early but we weren't sure what to expect since 2,049 people were registered for the race!

After stretching and doing a few warm-up runs it was finally time to start the race. We had already been warned that we would have to line up according to our expected times and they even had signs designating specific minutes per mile pace. We didn't line up near each other even though in retrospect I should have just been up where Mike was, oh well! I took my place near the 9:00 minute per mile group and Mike lined up near the 8:00 minute per mile group.


One special part of this race was that we were started by Karolyn Grimes who played ZuZu Bailey in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". She said her line "teacher says, 'every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings'" and we took off on "wings".

There's Mike on the right!

The start was congested! I tried not to waste too much energy going around people but I had to if I didn't want to run into them, literally! That's why I should have started up with Mike (and my finish time would have been about 10 seconds faster, more on that later). I have to say that people who disregard directions to start according to time are a little irritating! There were people ahead of me already walking by the time I passed them before the first mile marker. Oh well, hopefully next year they will be more prepared!

A 5K is so short that I barely even remember very much of the race. I took water at the first water stop before mile 1 and I dropped the first cup and then spilled the second cup on myself. My gloves were a little wet after that!

When I passed the mile 1 marker the time said 9:45, but my watch said 9:20 something. Mike and I both started our watches when we crossed the start line, but the race didn't have chip times! I think next year they are going to have to since they may be pushing the 3,000 runners mark.

After passing by some Christmas Carolers, I took water at the second water stop and it had frozen a little bit! Mike later told me he only took water at this stop because he had to get the blood taste you get from breathing in the cold out of his mouth. It was only 30 degrees out!

When I passed the mile 2 marker a guy next to me asked me what the time was since he saw me look at my watch. I told him that it said 18:48, but that was based on when I crossed the start line. At this point I knew that if I kept pushing I would get my sub-30 time.

Throughout the race spectators kept commenting on my sparkle skirt! I appreciated that even though it was a small town race there were so many spectators saying "Merry Christmas", ringing bells and cheering us on.

I rounded the last corner of the race and pushed it to the finish. The best part of the race was the downhill into the finish! I saw Mike on the sidelines and ran as fast as I could to the finish line.

In the end my official time was 29:07 and Mike's was 23:53! We both got huge PRs, but I wish that they had chip timing because my time would have been approximately 28:44 and Mike's would have been 23:36. This is why I wish I had started with Mike, I most likely would have gotten an official 28:xx time! Next time I guess.

Here's a video of the race, you can see Mike from approximately 5:07 to 5:13 and me from 5:27 to 5:34 if you look hard enough.

Edited to add: You can see our finishes in this next video. Mike's is from approximately 6:11 to 6:19 and mine is from approximately 11:25 to 11:34.

I am so glad that I had my redemption race and I can't wait to get my official 28:xx 5K time! Don't get me wrong, I still dislike the distance but it is fun to push myself and see what I can do. I know I could have gone faster but I didn't want to aggravate my injury and I am happy to say that I didn't have any pain during the race nor today!

After grabbing some bagels we headed home to watch the Ironman Championships that we had DVRed. Everyone was so inspirational, but the athletes that got to me the most were the 70 to 80 year old men and women giving it their all to finish the race. Watching them stumble and fall, but still be able to cross the finish line really impressed me.

I can't wait until we get to do it!