Sunday, March 31, 2013

55 Mile Weekend

As I write this Mike is currently on the bike trainer getting in his 35 miles for the day.

 This wasn't today, but he pretty much looks the same

This was a big weekend for us in terms of mileage. Yesterday we ran 20 miles, it went really well!

It finally felt like spring in Rochester and although it was a little bit cold at the start, it warmed up quickly. We actually both got some color because it was sunny the entire time.  We lucked out because we were able to use the bathrooms at the Harley School, where we started, so that we didn't need to make any stops during the run.

The first mile of the run was on the Pittsford Railroad Loop Trail, it isn't a major trail but it also isn't on pavement. I made sure to keep our paces in check, we often go out too fast, and we held around a 10 minute pace.

After that first mile the next four or so were on some roads in Brighton and the city of Rochester. We had run this same route last year during our only 20 miler and it is the hilliest part, but not too bad.  We maintained an average of 10:00 minute pace during this part of the run too.

When we got into Genesee Valley Park that's when things got a little messed up. For some reason, Mike couldn't remember which way we were supposed to go to get on the canal path (where we would run our last 15ish miles to Fairport).  We ended up doing a loop and then circling back to start going in the right direction.  This added about .75 miles to our run, which wasn't a big deal except we had people waiting for us around 12 miles.

 Our route

We got to Sarah and Mark and they ran with us for 3 miles, it was a great way to break up the run!  We actually picked up the pace a bit, some miles were 9:30 pace, and we helped Sarah get her fastest unofficial 5K so far.  At 15.5 miles we went our separate ways and at this point Mike and I hadn't stopped yet (except for at a few stoplights and for a brief second while lost in the park, maybe a minute total of "standing" time)!

I had broken the run up into four 5 milers in my head, and this was also when I took my energy gels. I really need to figure out my nutrition because the mocha flavored energy gels that I have been using aren't sitting well with me (of the three I took, the mocha almost made me puke at 15 miles). I needed to start to break the run into smaller increments and just thought to get to 18.6 miles.  I think we got there at 3:08 which was 3 minutes faster than my time last week!

Mike and I had thought of doing 20.5 miles but in the end we just wanted to stop at 20, and when we did it felt great! We finished in 3:17, which is a 9:52 average pace.  The only bad part about stopping "early" was that we had to walk the .75 miles back to where our car was parked. 

Today we both got in our 35 mile rides (Mike now has less than 5 miles to go) and we are going to go swim 1,250 yards later. 

This was our first over 100 mile week and although it was tiring at times, I feel really accomplished!

How did your weekend go? What's the most mileage you have logged in one week?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blogging, Training and Racing

Happy Thursday everyone! I thought I would just share a few things with you today so enjoy!


Head on over to Two Red Birthstones and check out my guest post. As you'll see in the post Danielle and I went to high school together and I am really excited to follow her 5K journey!

 Make sure you go check it out!

Mike and I are currently on week 11 of marathon training and week 3 of 70.3 training. So far it has gone pretty well, we've had to cut out a few workouts here and there but nothing major. 
While the Easter Bunny visits everyone this weekend we are going to be pounding the pavement and getting friendly with our saddles. We have our first 20 plus training run this weekend. I say "plus" because if this weekend goes well, our next 20 miler will be changed to 21 or 22 miles. 

We are using the same 20 mile route that we used during our training for Wineglass and we are planning on meeting up with some of our friends along the way. Including these two lovely people!

Love them!

We haven't seen Sarah and Mark in a little while and we are having withdrawals. It was time to change that so I asked Sarah if they would like to join us for part of our run and they said yes!  I can't wait to see them while running along the canal path. Sarah and Mark are training for the mini-mussel which is the sprint triathlon of the Musselman races (where we are doing our 70.3).  We're definitely going to cheer them on!

This weekend we also have a 35 mile ride on Sunday. I'm hoping we can get outside since it will be nice, but we have to go practice clipping in and out first while not on the trainer.


Speaking of Sarah and Mark, they are two of our teammates for Seneca7 which happens to be our next race!   April is going to break our trend for the year of one race per month (who are we??), where we'll be racing not once, not twice but three times!  I guess technically it is only two weekends, but it is three separate races.

We'll be doing Seneca7 again with almost the same team. My mom, Mike, Sarah, Mark and I are all returning but we have the lovely additions of Jenny and her husband, P. Unfortunately Rena couldn't make it since she moved and Cat is injured, BUT she will be our team driver! I can't wait!  This year our team name is "Sole Sisters and their Misters".

 Can't wait to do this again!

The following weekend Mike and I will be racing in the Flower City Challenge.  We picked the Double Du which entails racing the duathlon (5K run, 20 mile bike, 5K run) on Saturday and racing the half marathon on Sunday.  

This will be our final "long run" of our training for the marathon. Although it wasn't the preferred way to do it, it was necessary since the marathon will only be a few short weeks after Flower City!

What's going on in your blogging, training and racing life? 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Around the Bay 30K Race Recap - Part 2

Did you miss Part 1?  Check it out here!

15K-20K (AKA running on my own)

After I left the group I kept my eyes out for Lyndsey, Ali's teammate for the relay, and I slowed my pace a bit. When I went by the relay exchange point, I saw Lyndsey and yelled out her name. We waved to each other and I continued on my way.

Mile 10 came in at 9:50 pace, which is what I had originally intended to run.  I kept going and as I approached the bridge, I saw the Burlington Canal Main Lighthouse. I probably looked like a weirdo because I was staring at it as I ran past.

 Shamelessly stolen from MacNic, this is what I saw though I wasn't with her at this point

As I approached the golf course I knew I was going to see some familiar sights (19.5K is where the last three person relay exchange takes place) and I just focused on getting to 20K. I gave myself goals along the way, get to 10K, get to 15K (halfway), get to 20K, etc. Miles 11 and 12 came in at 9:52 and 10:26 pace.  I knew I was slowing down and I was trying as hard as I could to keep up the pace.

Then the 20K water stop approached and I took a little bit of my second (and last) energy gel. Just 10K more to go.

20K-30K (AKA running to get to the finish)

The final part of the race is the hardest part, it has the most hills and you are tired anyway from running 20K. At 13 miles I thought to myself, "yes only 4.6 miles to go!" Then I ran a little further and realized that I actually had 5.6 miles to go.

The increments that I "gave" myself to get to got smaller and smaller. I just told myself to get to 15 miles, our longest run of this training cycle before this race, and then I would have just over 5K to go. Miles 13, 14 and 15 came in at 11:06, 11:48 and 11:30.

I kept expecting Colin to catch up to me at any moment, so I would keep looking for him over my shoulder. I was trying to focus on the spectators, some had some interesting signs like "run a zombie is behind you".  Each kilometer marker had a motivational/funny saying on it and I would read some of those as well.

 Somewhere during the second half of the race

At 25/26K I saw this old man sitting in a wheelchair getting high fives from runners, I couldn't get to him because I was too far over, and he had a huge smile on his face. I got a little emotional, I love old people, and it helped me prepare for what was to come: the biggest hill on the course.

We turned down a hill and then over a little wooden bridge and there it was, the hill. It wasn't the biggest hill I had run up before but it was big considering how far I had gone at this point (about 16 miles).  I ran up part of it, walked up a bit, and then ran up the rest. At the top of the hill spectators said, "just down the hill to Copps".

I went through the last water stop at 27K and knew that I was going to see the Grim Reaper at the cemetery soon. Miles 16 and 17 were 10:36 (I think that hearing "We Will Rock You" pumped me up a bit)  and 12:13.

I ran by the Grim Reaper, who was yelling about catching a bunny and making bunny stew (a pace bunny must have been near me).  Now it was all about survival, I put one foot in front of the other and just concentrated on getting to Copps. Which wasn't too hard to do since you could see it FOREVER.

Mile 18 came in at 11:13.  I was so close, I had about .6 miles (.69 according to my watch) to go. Everyone was cheering for all of us runners and then as I got close to the entrance to Copps (you finish inside) I saw Mike, and two people with him that I kind of recognized. For whatever reason I looked again and it was our friends Amber and Greg! They drove from Rochester just to see us finish and I said, "what are you doing here?!"

Then I ran down into the entrance of Copps, focused on not falling and turned the corner. There it was, the finish line! The end was near!

I crossed the finish line in 3:11:10 (10:15 average pace).  The last .69 miles was 10:40 pace.

 I was so glad to be done!

After I finished, I went through the line to get my food and medal.  After walking forever I  finally found Mike, Amber and Greg. I was so happy to see them! It was such a nice surprise to have them there, it really meant a lot to us.  Mike did amazing and finished the race in 2:42:21 (8:42 average pace)!

 Focused on his time even at the end!

After spending a few minutes with them, we saw Colin walking through the line for the finishers.  We went our separate ways and Mike and I went to meet up with Colin and Ali.  We waited for Lyndsey to finish and when she did we all had successfully finished Around the Bay! (Colin finished in 3:29 and Ali and Lyndsey finished in a combined time of 3:59).

 All of us after the race
Photo stolen from Ali

After we were all done, we took some photos and then went back to Ali and Colin's house. Mike and I had to get ready quickly (so we could pick up Bernie) so we didn't have much time to hang out with them. 

I love them so much and I always have withdrawals after leaving them!

As soon as we got in the car and started driving, I told Mike that we had to do Around the Bay again next year.  I think/hope that Ali, Colin and Lyndsey agree! It is becoming a tradition with all of us after all. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Around the Bay 30K Race Recap - Part 1

What a weekend! Mike and I should move to Canada since we always have a great time with Ali and Colin (they did tell us that there are houses for sale near them).

 Yay for us!

We got to Ali and Colin's in the afternoon on Saturday and we all just hung out for a little bit, while Logan finished his nap. After he woke up, we went to the race expo just to do some quick browsing and shopping.

We ended the night with an amazing dinner that Ali and Colin made for us, chicken parmesan, it was delicious! Since they know us well now (i.e. they know we aren't creepers) we were able to stay at their house which made getting ready for the race pretty easy.

On race morning we woke up and got dressed. The entire night before we didn't really know what we were going to wear (well Mike and I had limited options), but we all went with lighter clothes since we knew we were going to warm up.

 Inside Copps before the start

We got to Copps Coliseum, where the Hamilton Bulldogs play, around 8:30am and we went inside to avoid the cold and find some DailyMile peeps (including MacNic who I would be running with).

Once we were inside, Mike and I saw Laura which was crazy since we were of the minority being Americans and this is a HUGE race! After we did all of our meetups and bathroom (aka washroom) pitstops, we made our way slowly to the start of the race.

Mike's half marathon PR allowed him to get a bib number for one of the corrals, which was new this year.  He had to go a different way than me, Ali, Colin and MacNic so we wished each other luck and we were on our way.

Apparently at 9:30am the race started, but we didn't hear it since we were so far back (one other reason I need to run faster in the half marathon distance).  We slowly started to walk toward the start and Ali dropped back a little bit since she was planning on running slower than us. Finally 7 minutes and 11 seconds after the start, we were off!

I'm going to break up the rest of the recap into three sections, since it is only appropriate because this race was almost like three different races for me.

 What we would be running around

1 - 15K (AKA running with three strangers)

MacNic, her two friends Wayne and Phil, Colin and I were all supposed to run together averaging around 9:50-10:00 pace.  Right away we "lost" Colin, he knew that he wouldn't be able to keep up with us and we literally did lose him after 5K.

The first two miles we had to dodge some people, this race is crowded which I knew from last year, but we still averaged 9:46 pace for both miles. The one hard part was that I was the only American so the other three were all used to kilometers! One time MacNic said our pace was 6:00 something and I said that my watch said we were going 9:45 pace (knowing she meant kilometers), and she jokingly said, "we are going so slow!"

 This was later in the race, but she was like this the entire time

There were water stops at 3K and 5K and each time I had to go get my water and then "sprint" to catch up to the group, they all had their own water. I tried something unusual for me this race and I walked through all of the water stops, later it was out of necessity because they were so crowded. More on that later.

I was getting a little nervous because my 9:50-10:00 pace plan had really gone out the window.  Miles 1-6 were: 9:46, 9:46, 9:36, 9:20, 9:23, 9:25.  At the 10K point I commented that this was where I was done running last year during the 3-person relay, and I took my first energy gel. Unfortunately the next water stop wasn't until 11K.

At this point we noticed a HUGE group of people and we saw a train in the distance. I guess some people were stuck waiting for the train up to five minutes! It only caused issues with congestion at the water stops for us (and Mike missed it too, luckily).

Miles 7 and 8 were both 9:16 pace, and in my head I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up with MacNic, Phil and Wayne. Mile 9 we did slow down a bit, it was 9:31 pace, and when I ran over for the 15K water stop I intentionally slowed down. I also don't think I would have been able to catch up to them since that water stop was EXTREMELY crowded.

And since this was REALLY long when I had it all together, this is all you get for now. Come back tomorrow for part 2!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Magic of Around the Bay

This weekend Mike and I are going to be racing the Around the Bay 30K.

Around the Bay takes place in Hamilton, Ontario and I actually ran this race last year as part of a 3-person relay team, you can read the race recap here.

The amazing "Spatula Runners" relay team

Running this race last year was completely a last minute decision. I saw that Ali needed a third member for her relay team and since Hamilton isn't that far from Rochester, I thought sure why not. Best. Decision. Ever.

 We love spatulas!

Not only have Ali and her husband, Colin, become two of our really good friends, I also had an amazing time running this relay. Even though it was sandwiched inbetween two half marathons (yes, I admit it I am crazy), I had a blast. It was the first time that I really had a running high for an entire week. 

That's the magic of relays and Around the Bay. 

 One of the best days ever!

This year, there was no last minute decision. Ali knew she wanted to run the race again and we tried to get into the relay, but it was full! (Our original plan was the girls do the 3-person and the guys do the 2-person).

That's when we all decided that we were going to run the full 30K.  Unfortunately, Ali has been experiencing some injuries so she was able to get into the 2-person relay and she is doing it with her cousin, Lyndsey (the other member of the "Spatula Runners" relay team). 

Mike, Colin and I are all still running the 30K and I am planning on running with Colin. This isn't really a race for Mike and I, although I am sure we will get caught up in the race adrenaline a little bit, but it is a training run for our marathon. We had 17 or 18 miles on our plan this weekend (before all of our races were scheduled) and the 30K (or 18.6 miles) fit in perfectly!

I am going to use this race to test my marathon pace, which this time is going to be a little bit more conservative.  I am going for 9:50-10:00 pace in the beginning and then I'll see how I feel. 

Regardless of how it goes, I am excited to see Ali, Colin and Lyndsey!

Are you racing this weekend? Have you experienced a "magical" race?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Going Clipless

Mike and I have been meaning to go clipless for awhile now, and yesterday we did just that!

What does that mean?

Our road bikes are now equipped with new pedals, clipless pedals. In order to use these clipless pedals we had to get some new fancy shoes!

Using clipless pedals means that we will now be clipping in and out of our bikes during rides and races. The term "clipless" is a little bit confusing, but it really refers to the fact that the newer pedals don't have toe clips on them like older pedals.  Our shoes have cleats on the bottom that allow us to clip in and out of our pedals. 

 We both got Bontrager RXL Hilo

The only scary part about going clipless is that our chances of falling have increased.  Not really while we are riding, but while we come to a stop. In order to stop we need to unclip one of our shoes and place that foot on the ground while the other foot remains clipped in. Typically people fall when they are first using clipless pedals because it is a big change from the regular pedals on a bike. 

For that reason we are getting used to our new pedals on the trainer, but really the weather still isn't reliable enough to ride outside in Western New York anyway.

 Mike riding while I wrote this post

We have our first multi-sport race of the season on April 27th, the Flower City Duathlon.  That will be a great practice run for tri season and our first time racing clipless.

I just have to say that our experience buying our clipless pedals and shoes was great! We went to Towpath Bike and they really took care of us. The first guy we worked with asked us what kind of riding we do, and when we told him that we are triathletes he steered us in the right direction for shoes. Our shoes are tri specific, so that is perfect!

While our pedals were being installed on our bikes, the other guy who helped us fit our bikes as best as possible for our bodies.  Unfortunately, my bike isn't the best (and neither is Mike's) and my handlebars are about 2 inches too far apart for me, and also not women specific which is weird since it is a women's bike. Other than lowering my stem post (where the handlebars are) my bike was fit appropriately for me.

 You've been good to us bikes, but you'll be getting replaced soon

Mike just needed to have his seat post raised a bit and then he was all set. The guy noticed Mike's cadence sensor and when we told him it wouldn't pair with his Garmin, he fixed the problem!

I would definitely recommend that anyone local check out Towpath Bike, they were great! They gave us our RATS (Rochester Area Triathletes) discount even though we forgot our member cards.

We were told we should seriously consider getting new bikes and we will definitely be returning there soon to buy them!

For all my cyclists out there, do you ride clipless?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Facts

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Here are some random "facts" that I thought I would share with you.

Pi Day

Today is Pi Day. We celebrate this day on March 14th every year because π (the mathematical symbol used to represent pi) is 3.14159... and so on. If you work in my department you not only celebrate the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter (which is what pi represents) but you also celebrate the homonym, pie!

 Pie contest at work

 Yummy pies!

 Cute pi cake

This is a perk to working at a college full of interpreters who love to eat pie, and talk about pi. Imagine interpreting a sentence with both pi and pie in it, it can get confusing!

 Lemon Meringue and Blueberry, delicious! 

Cathe XTrain DVD

About four weeks ago, I received a Cathe XTrain DVD in the mail. Mike and I tried it out (unfortunately we can't use the entire DVD yet because we do not have a step or gliding discs) and while it was a little confusing at first, it was fun!

The specific DVD that I received was the All Out Low Impact HIIT. The DVD includes a warm-up, round one floor hiit, round two step (haven't tried that yet), round three disc (haven't tried yet) and stretch.  It also includes bonus sections with bonus core #1, bonus burn set chest, bonus burn set shoulder and 100 rep challenge scarecrows.

Mike and I did the warm-up, round one floor hiit, stretch and then added on the bonus core #1.  It was a good work out and I then looked through the DVD options and it includes different preset workouts, one was what Mike and I did just with the stretch and bonus core switched.

New Photos

Mike and I had some old photos hanging in our dining room and we needed to replace them.  I ordered some photos of us running or being with our running friends, those who are a bigger part of our life than those in the old photos, and I hung them up yesterday!

The only disappointing part is that 7 of 9 photos were able to be printed as true digital prints, which now I know is not 4x6 but 4x5.3. Those photos didn't fit the frame as well, obviously, but other than that it looks good!

I just need to find a place for the one vertical photo I picked out of Crystal and I crossing the finish line at her first marathon.

Did you celebrate pi/pie day today? How often do you change out old photos with new ones?

Monday, March 11, 2013

March Book Club: A Life Without Limits

Book club time, again! It feels like we just did book club, which maybe has to do with the fact that February is a shorter month.

The book for March was A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey by Chrissie Wellington.  

I picked this book for obvious reasons, if you know who Chrissie Wellington is that is, and I loved it!

Chrissie Wellington is a four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion, but her life didn't start out on that track.  Her autobiography starts out with a brief snippet of her first Ironman World Championship race and then it backtracks to describe her childhood, and journey to becoming an elite endurance athlete.

I enjoyed learning about her career choices, and how these choices ultimately lead her on the path toward the sport of triathlon, and her travels as a young woman.  The first chunk of the book doesn't even talk about triathlons (except for a brief introduction of Ironman) but it was still fascinating. We all come into this sport for different reasons, even the pros.

 Who would have thought I would be doing this?

Eventually, Chrissie transitioned from describing her journey toward becoming a triathlete to actually being a triathlete. She described her training, her accidents, her coaches and her teammates. She originally wanted to pursue a career as an Olympic triathlete, but then was inspired by Ironman Switzerland in Zurich.  That was when she dropped the Olympics and focused on the Ironman.

I thought it was funny that at the beginning of her career as an unknown professional, who ultimately won the World Championship her first time there, that she didn't know a lot about the sport at all. She didn't know the history, the other professionals or even the "voice" of Ironman, Mike Reilly.

Chrissie's passion and her drive were described in detail in her autobiography.  She even candidly talked about how this drive, and desire to control things, developed into eating disorders, specifically bulimia, in her earlier years.  This raw look at her life helped me connect with her as a reader because she felt like a real person, rather than a "star".

The only part of the book that I didn't like was when it felt like some chapters were just thrown in there randomly, specifically when she talks about her training and the heroes of Ironman (although I enjoyed the chapters, I just felt that the book's pace was thrown off a bit).

Overall, I enjoyed the journey of "Muppet" and reading this book couldn't have happened at a better time.  Mike and I start Half Ironman training this week and now I am more pumped than ever!

 Mike's got his game face on

Here are some other book club member's reviews:

Emily at Life, Fitness, and Me!

Now for some questions to ponder and discuss:

The topic of body image, and control, came up often in the book. This is a sensitive subject, but one that many women face in their lives. What are some ways we can stop sending these kinds of messages to younger generations, both those involved in sports and not?

Chrissie's autobiography shares her journey toward triathlon, how did you get involved in triathlons (or running)?

The chapter "The Heroes of Ironman" discusses the age-groupers (non-elites) that Chrissie looks up to in the world of Ironman.  Who are some of the athletes, professional and non-professional, that inspire you?

Do you think it is important to know the history of the sport that you are participating in (such as Chrissie not knowing the history of Ironman when she first started out), why or why not?

Just a reminder, April's book is The Long Run by Matt Long and May's book is Devoted: The Story of a Father's Love for His Son by Dick Hoyt.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Social Running

Check out my Runner Spotlight on Road Runner Girl, here

When Mike and I started running, we only ran with each other. We completed the entire Couch-to-5K program and Bridge-to-10K program without running with anyone else (with the exception of one time in Atlanta, Georgia when we ran with my mom). While we were training for our first half marathon we ran with my mom and Mike's mom in Maine, but other than that we didn't really run with other people for a long time.

I almost pulled a Mike, but my eyes ARE open!

Part of the reason we didn't run with anyone else is because we didn't know any other runners. Other than our moms, and a few people here and there, we didn't hang out with people who ran regularly. 

After I started blogging and we became more active in the local Rochester running scene, we started to make friends through running.  Then, we started to run WITH those friends.

Since the middle of February we have gone on quite a few group runs.  Most of these runs have just been with another person, or a few other people, but this weekend we participated in two unique group runs.

On Saturday we went to the annual Run Around the Bay (different from the Around the Bay 30K we are running in two weeks) in Irondequoit, New York. About 100 to 200 runners from various running groups (or runners in general like us) in the Rochester area came together to run around Irondequoit Bay.

 The route and the elevation, two category 5 hills!

There were a few route options and Mike and I did the 15 mile route. While it was a "group" run, we were primarily running alone since everyone else was really fast! When the 15 mile route connected with the 13 mile route we did see some more runners. It was a fun time anyway!

Then this morning we hit the trails (which is where the majority of our group runs happen) for the 0 SPF Trail Half Marathon preview run. We aren't running this race, it is the weekend after our Half Ironman, but we are volunteering. 

 Photos courtesy of Eric

Photos courtesy of Eric

About 30-40 people came out to run the first 4 miles and the last 4 miles of the course (it is an out and back). I love running with Trails ROC and other trail runners, but it was tough the day after a 15 miler.  If it was just me and Mike, I probably would have given up or turned around. Luckily, the group setting motivated me to finish! And the promise of dirt cake at the end didn't hurt either!

Mike and I have enjoyed adding group runs to our running routine (and I would like to add group rides, soon).  It is a nice change of pace (literally and figuratively) from running solo or with just each other. 

This Runner's World article describes the benefits of solo running and social running, and also emphasizes that it is good to have a mix of both. We agree!

Do you like social running, solo running or a mix of both?

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Ultra Decision

Thanks for all of the comments on my birthday vacation post! It definitely was a great way to celebrate (and as Amber said, my celebrations aren't fully over yet)! We also ran with Amber the day after my birthday, which was special since it was my first time running as a 28 year old. I think I will write a post about all of the group running we have been (and will be) doing lately.

But today, let's talk ultras.

As soon as we started our journey, we knew that we wanted to do an Ironman. 140.6 miles is a long way, but you still "only" run a marathon. At first I said that I would never want to do an ultra (haha, see what happens when you say never), but then we made a lot of friends in the trail running circle who run ultras.

And we all know what happened then, I wanted to do an ultra. I honestly didn't think I would be able to do one until after our Ironman in 2014 because of training and logistics, but then I really got hit by the bug.

A lot of my Maine running friends, and some non-Mainers, started talking about applying for the Great Cranberry Island (GCI) Ultra (50K). For those that don't know, Great Cranberry Island is an island off of Mount Desert Island near where I am from. I looked at the date and it is two weeks after our Half Ironman, not going to happen. Plus you have to apply and there is no guarantee that I would get in.

Then, since I had time to kill waiting for Mike to get home from work, I looked up the Can Lake 50 (50K and 50 miler).  If I survive my first ultra, I will run this someday since Canandaigua is special to us since it is where we got married.  That race was out too, it is one week before the MDI Marathon.

Now, I love trail running and if I could dedicate enough time for training for a trail ultra, I would. Unfortunately, with the MDI Marathon, my sub-2 half marathon attempt and other races, it just isn't possible right now. Plus, the trail ultra that I had in mind might not even be happening this year.

 Trail friends

Then, I got creative. I started just searching for ultras in November (when I thought I could feasibly do one and use MDI as a training run) on pavement. A hard feat, but then I found it.

The NYRR NYC 60K (formerly known as the Knickerbocker 60K). I was hesitant though, I wanted to do 50K as my first ultra. Could I handle another 6 miles? Would 9 weeks be enough time to train (the time after my sub-2 half attempt until the ultra)? Would I get really bored running NINE loops around Central Park?

 Here I am questioning my sanity

I started out 50% sure I would do it. Then I started looking up race reviews and found NYC Running Mama's review. I asked her on twitter if it would be a good first ultra, and she assured me that it would.

 More reassurance

Other friends said the race was great and that they would come run a few loops with me.

50% turned into 90% and then it turned into 99% sure that I would run it.

And since I am writing this post, you should probably assume that it means I am 100% sure I am running a 60K on November 16, 2013 in NYC.

There's no time like the present right?

Oh, and Mike has no interest in running this at all. So it's just me, but he will run a few loops with me and if anyone else is interested in running with me I would be happy to have you join me!

Registration isn't open yet, but as soon as it opens I am in, 100%.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birthday Vacation

Well, as you can probably tell by my lack of posts this week I am back at work. My schedule every day is 8am-4pm, which isn't too bad but it takes me a little while to get used to waking up at 6am.

The last two weeks of vacation were AMAZING! I was able to run, hang out with friends (both running and not running), and celebrate my birthday (which was on Monday, my first day back at work).

Here are the highlights of my vacation:

Miles ran: 59.22
Miles ran with friends: 40.22
Miles raced: 13.22

A lot of those miles were with friends.  The second day of my vacation, Mike and I ran with our friend Jess (who just ran her first half marathon in 2:05:14). We covered 12 miles in snowy/windy conditions. Other than almost becoming pancakes because of a snow plow, it was a great run!

We also ran another time with Jess, this past Saturday. We ran 7 miles out in the country and it was a great run. We need to take a group photo one of the next times that we run together!

You all already know that Mike and I paced our friend Crystal to her first FULL marathon finish (this previously said half by accident, and Crystal politely told me to edit it)! I can't wait until our next adventure with her and Joe (and by the way, I guilt-tripped her enough to run the MDI Marathon with us!)

 Jumping for joy for more adventures together

On Sunday we ran with Ali, Colin, Eric and Sheila to celebrate my birthday. We all ran together for the first 2.5 miles and then the guys head up the 2 mile hill (sorry guys!) and the girls turned around. Sheila and I ended up doing 8 miles.

 Sheila, me and Eric
Photo courtesy of Ali

Then we went out to breakfast with Ali and Colin
Photo courtesy of Ali

Friends I hung out with: 9

Other than all of those running dates, we hung out with our friends Amber and Greg. It was a great time and we were able to meet Amber's kids. They were so much fun!

Times I heard "Thrift Shop": too many to count

Shows I watched: numerous

I got caught up on Nashville, SMASH, Switched at Birth and then I started to watch The Carrie Diaries. Don't judge.

Running related birthday gifts received: 3

My mom and dad got me a gift card to Running Warehouse, my brother bought me "Run Faster" and the lovely Crystal got me a gift card so I can buy my own Road ID. As she said, now I can think of her every time I run, not that I didn't already.


Overall I would say my last birthday vacation was a success! (Unfortunately, this is the last time my birthday will fall around spring break at the college I work at since next year we are switching to semesters).

Oh, and one more thing.

Crazy thoughts I got while on vacation: 1

In case you can't read that, it says 60K.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hyannis Marathon Relay Race Recap - Part 3

Oh, you thought we were done with relay race recaps? Nope! I have one more for you, sorry it is out of order but here is a special guest post from my husband, Mike. Enjoy!

Hello everyone, you may or may not know me yet but I’m Mike, Jamie’s husband. I’ve written one guest post before and Jamie (plus several others of you out there!) wanted me to do another one to tell you about my experience this past weekend with team "Drove From New York to Run with a Dork" at the Hyannis Marathon/Half/Relay.

 The three of us

Let me start by saying that up until maybe 12 hours before the race was set to go off we had no idea who was going to run with Crystal for the first half and who was going to get her through the second half. Our plan the whole time was to leave it up to Crystal, we kind of had our own set of pros and cons for each. Little did we know that Crystal had been mulling the decision for the past two months or so and had a MUCH BIGGER pros and cons list. So in the end it was decided that I would go first, and I was looking forward to the duties of Sherpa #1, because I knew Crystal said she has issues pacing herself and I thought (knew) I was up to the task of keeping her right in the 10:25-10:35 range she wanted.

When we first got to the convention center it had of course been raining all morning and we had heard/were hopeful that the weather would be letting up at least for Jamie’s second half (haha, sorry guys!). Crystal and I got out of the car because we wanted to go check out the awesome port-a-potties (am I right fellow runners!?) before we went inside, stretched a little, and did their blogging/tweople meet-up, yup I made that up.

The conditions were worse than we had thought, we had to navigate some puddles that seemed like waterfalls, and we didn’t want to get our shoes too wet before we even started running. When we were finally ready to toe the line we saw that they had some pacing corrals but nothing too elaborate and we settled in somewhere in between the 9:00 group and 12:00 group (quite the gap there, I know). Crystal and I joked around a little bit at this point and this would be the theme for the first three miles or so.

 Keeping her laughing

Crystal or I would make some fun observation and then the other would laugh about it, we even came up on this guy wearing a Chicago Marathon jacket and we both agreed that we wanted to do that race. The guy must have overheard us talking and he joined in the conversation. I told him that I had done the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon, he asked about my baton, and Crystal and I explained to him our Sherpa situation. He also asked about the sparkle skirt Crystal was wearing and I said my matching red shorts were the closest they were getting me to one of those things!

 Matching red bottoms

Things went on this way for the first three miles, and then all of a sudden Crystal tells me she’s starting to feel side stitches.  I told her to do the best thing I knew to do for those, which is to take deep breaths like you're breathing all the way down to your stomach so you can get some oxygen to your muscles down there (not sure if this actually works, but it usually worked to at least take my mind off the pain when I used to get them). She also at this point started to take her shot blocks and I was getting a little worried because I thought it was a little early for her to start taking them, but she assured she was okay and they were helping.

I just tried to keep her talking/laughing as much as I could, and for those who don’t know me that well I am not a huge talker, so this got difficult from time to time but I think I managed! And as far as the talking thing goes, it’s quite funny because Crystal’s husband Joe (who was an AWESOME spectator throughout this whole thing) is strangely similar, the four of us have a running joke that we’re long lost brothers.


As far as pacing goes, we nailed it! We reached the halfway/relay exchange point at a time of 2:17 for an average pace of 10:24. By the end I felt it was mission accomplished for my Sherpa duties. I knew Crystal was excited to see and to start running with Jamie, and that Jamie would do just as good a job as I did keeping her entertained/motivated (maybe better!).

 All done!

When I was done running I met up with Joe, he assured me I had enough time to quickly change (in the car!) out of my sopping running clothes and into some “fresh” ones. Although these clothes would eventually become soaked themselves because we went out to the 5 (18 for the second loop) mile mark to catch the ladies there and get some more pictures of course. They looked great and as Crystal says Jamie was her bubbly self that she had been the whole time. Then we got back to the finish line with plenty of time to stop in the convention center for what was left of the food (mmmmmm soup!), and to warm up.

 Runner love

Then it was time to head-out back into the elements to watch the glorious finish. It was so inspiring to see Crystal finish her first marathon with the added bonus of a great friend by her side and holding hands for the cherry on top! This whole weekend was a HUGE motivator for me, a way to remember the not so great first marathon attempt, a way to look forward to what’s coming up this year, and make me hungry to achieve the goals we’ve set.

 Mission accomplished!