Thursday, January 31, 2013

Marathon Training Plan Changes

If you like my blog's Facebook page you already know that Mike and I are going to be changing our marathon training plan a little bit.  This post isn't meant to be an excuse, but I wanted to share WHY we are cutting back our running a little bit.

I LOVE sharing our training plans, our workouts, our races, etc. with everyone but sometimes I feel a lot of pressure. I am the perfect example of someone who constantly tells people to just run his or her own race (literally and figuratively), but even I get stuck on what other people are doing.

I also get really, really, really annoyed when people give way too much unsolicited advice or constantly say what works for them (in a way that makes it seem like that's what we should be doing). Well that's nice and all but you aren't me or Mike (and Mike and I are even different in what works for us and what doesn't, as hard as that is to accept sometimes), and that's a good thing.

This world would be really boring if we were all the same, even when it comes to running.  I love talking with our friends, Amber and Greg, about running but there is no way in hell I am ever going to be able to run 50 days in a row or run a 1:29 half marathon like Greg just did last weekend. Ali hits PRs by only running 3 days a week, which is AMAZING, but I love running too much to just run 3 days a week.  And I would go bat-shit crazy all the time if I didn't run more than that, just being honest.

I love running!

I love talking with other people about what they do, but don't be offended if I don't do what you do.

When I made our marathon training plan this time, I wanted to do more than one 20 miler and Hal Higdon's Intermediate Marathon training plan did just that.  It also has you run 5 days a week.  I was a little bit hesitant because I knew that once 70.3 training started in March that the 5th day of running would have to go and also because Mike and I are injury-prone.

 This is what February was supposed to look like

I thought that we could handle it for a few weeks, but today I just felt like it was too much.  This is our third week of marathon training and Mike only ran 4 times the first two weeks and I ran 4 times and then 5 times.

When I run, I don't really take many "easy" runs.  Even our long run is at a pace that is a little bit faster than I should be going (which is another topic entirely), add the one day of speed work and one day of hill training and my legs were waving the white flag.  

I successfully completed our first marathon with only 4 days of running, and quite a bit of cross training until the last month, and Mike got to mile 18.5.

That should have been an indication to me that maybe 4 days was good enough, but I have to admit sometimes seeing what other people do makes me want to do it too.

I might still run 5 days a week if I feel good but just to put into perspective all of the OTHER things that we are doing this is what my month of January looked like in terms of miles:

Swimming - 4.2
Biking - 112
Running - 84.75

We also did strength training once a week.  The last two Tuesdays I have done a full triathlon (in the wrong order and with more "transition" time than normal) after work.

My "triathlon" stuff

In the end, I want to finish two marathons and our half Ironman this year without any injuries.  Cutting out a few miles here and there isn't going to hurt our chances of doing that, and actually it will probably INCREASE our chances of finishing all three of those races.

In order to get ready for half Ironman training, we are going to ditch our mid week longer run and keep running on Saturdays and Sundays.  Once 70.3 training starts in March, we will run on Saturdays and bike on Sundays and our midweek longer run will be back.

I think I am becoming a better runner/triathlete because I am realizing that I need to be more flexible and do what is best for me, rather than what other people tell me is best for me.  And that's a good feeling.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Adoption Day

I have a special "guest" post for you all! Today is Bernie's two year adoption day, and he wanted to write a post for all of you. I hope you enjoy it!

Hi everyone! I'm Bernie, one of my mom and dad's fur-kids.  You've seen my picture scattered throughout my mom's blog, since I like to join them on lighthouse and hiking adventures!

Two years ago, a very special day happened. I was adopted! (Actually all of us were adopted, but don't tell my kitty brothers, they don't know!)

 My mom made this for me

I wanted to tell you about the first time that I met my mom and dad. I had been dropped off at Lollypop Farm with my brother, for some reason my previous humans didn't want to keep me, and they called us "Bert" and "Ernie".  I'll give you one guess which one I was.

I was confused, but not lonely. At least I had my brother "Bert" with me (did you guess right?). I was only 8 weeks old so we just played and slept all day. We hadn't been at Lollypop for very long before Saturday, January 29th came along. The second best day of my life!

I was sleeping next to my brother when all of a sudden I saw them, my mom and dad! (I didn't know it at the time, but I would soon). I thought that they smelled and tasted good, and then I went back to my nap.

Squirrel!

Sorry about that. 

A little while later, one of the nice ladies at Lollypop Farm brought me into this HUGE room. I was so excited because there they were again! I just ran and ran and ran, and occassionally played with my mom and dad.  The  nice lady was there answering their questions, because my mom and dad were concerned about my mix. (She told them I was going to be HUGE! Lollypop thought I was Chow Chow/Bullmastiff, they were wrong about one of those breeds).

I just kept running around and then I heard them say, "we want him" and I was so excited, I peed on the floor right then and there.

But then, I was sad for my brother "Bert". We were going to be separated and what if he didn't get adopted? Luckily, he found his mom and dad that day too!

I didn't go home with my mom and dad right away, they had to go buy me a bed, food, and toys. Lots and lots of toys!  They also wanted to spend one more night with just my kitty and bird brothers.

 Here I am when I was 8 weeks old!

I wasn't worried that they weren't going to come back, I knew that they would.  And sure enough, on January 30th my mom and dad came back for me!

They changed my name to "Bernie" (so I will always have a part of my brother with me) and off we went. As we were leaving the nice ladies at the front desk said, "oh what a cute Lab".  My mom and dad just smiled because they thought I was Chow Chow/Bullmastiff.  But those ladies were right! I'm a Chow Chow/Black Lab.

 I like being outside

I love my mom, dad and my brothers (although I don't see my bird brother often and my kitty brothers never want to play with me!)

 We love lighthouses, I'm the lighthouse dog after all

That's my story, I hope you enjoyed it!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eating Hills for Breakfast

Our training plan calls for us to run 5 times a week (until we transition to 70.3 training in March) and I knew that I wanted to incorporate a variety of runs through the week. This is to help us not get bored and also to make us stronger. 

I decided that I wanted to try to run hills, either a designated hill workout or a really hilly route, at least once a week.

I have to keep telling myself this

I mentioned earlier in the week how Mike and I were planning on running the Freezeroo race this weekend, well we didn't. I didn't register us and I just wasn't feeling it, plus it was a good 1.4 miles longer than we were supposed to run on Saturday (the Hearnish 10K is actually 6.385 miles).

Well that didn't mean that I couldn't just make a route using most of the race course and adding a little bit extra to make it 9 miles.

 Two grade 5 hills!

The route is extremely hilly, but there are some nice downhills.  One exciting thing is that I ran the HUGE hill at 10:30 pace this year compared to the 11:00 pace I ran it during the race last year. I also ran the 9 miles at 9:33 pace overall and I did the 10K last year at 9:49 pace, I'll take it! Mike killed our workout today and ran a 15K (he ran back looking for me one time when I didn't do exactly what we were supposed to) at 9:10 pace.

Now, why are we doing so many workouts that include hills?  Well other than the fact that they make you stronger and faster, we are doing a lot of hilly races this year.

Around the Bay 30K (the last part is hilly) - March
Seneca7 77.7 Mile Relay - April
Flower City Half Marathon - April
Musselman Triathlon (our 70.3) - July
Mount Desert Island Marathon - October

Last year I really wanted to run sub-9 minute pace as much as possible during Seneca7 but it just didn't happen. It didn't help that I was sick, but the hills were killer. 

 Running my second leg which was completely uphill

Mike's second leg had a HUGE hill, he's using his hand to show the incline

This year I want to CRUSH those hills. 

Plus, running a marathon that is pretty much constant hills requires us to train on hills. I don't want to completely fall apart during my hometown marathon!

Here are some articles about hill training that you might find interesting:

Exercises for Hill Running - Livestrong.com

Do you try to incorporate hills in your training?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Questions and Answers

I haven't written a questions and answers post in awhile and after reading Hollie's post yesterday, I thought that it was time for another one!  I asked on my blog's Facebook page if people had any questions for me and I got a few responses.

Remember that you can always email me at fromcouchtoironwoman@gmail.com (which some of you have) or connect with me on my Facebook page with any of your other questions!

How did your knees/joints handle the training?

Now I wasn't sure if this person meant training in general or for an Ironman (which we haven't done yet), so I'm just going for training in general. 

 These feet put a lot of miles on them

When we first started running, I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to continue because my knee hurt so bad.  I figured out how to run more appropriately (mid-foot strike) and I fixed that problem.  Unfortunately, during training for our first half marathon I had the wrong shoes, Nike Frees, and I got not one but TWO injuries. 

 Sad day

The first injury was an overuse injury on my left foot. I had really bad pain, so bad I thought I had a stress fracture, on the top of my foot.  My second injury was peroneal tendonitis on my right foot.  I had to stop running for awhile and eventually everything went back to normal.  Now I have my beloved Sauconys and I haven't experienced pain like that again.

 Some of my loves

I do get some twinges and tweaks here and there, but I just use the stick or take a rest day. Doing three different sports helps too, you can change it up when you need to!

What's your worst triathlon discipline?

Hands down, biking. That's true for both of us.  

 Us with our bikes

We were both swimmers growing up, for me I started when I was 8 and stopped my second year of college, and we swam on a Masters swim team for a little while. Running has come pretty easily/naturally for us, but we really have to work at biking.

I hope that the workouts I'm doing this winter on the bike will help me get faster, plus we're going to buy new pedals, clip-in shoes, and aero bars. 
  
When do you plan to do your first Ironman?

This year we are doing our first Olympic distance triathlon and our first 70.3.  Our plan is to do our first Ironman in 2014, and we decided on Ironman Louisville.  We can register for it in August!

How did you get started in this?

I've talked about this a few times on the blog, but about 6 months after our wedding I felt like we needed to do something. I had seen Couch-to-5K mentioned on Facebook and I was intrigued.  As I mentioned before, I wasn't sure if my knees could handle it but I'm so glad they did!

We did the Couch-to-5K, Bridge-to-10K and then a half marathon training program from April 2011 to October 2011.  

Finish our first 5K together, wearing cotton

I got the idea in my head to do an Ironman from my dad, he was talking about how he used to do triathlons (with rowing instead of swimming).  Why I couldn't just be satisfied with a sprint triathlon, I'm not sure. (Well, I like to go big or go home I guess). We've done two sprint triathlons and one duathlon so far, and I'm excited for this season!

Are you ever going to have kids?

Haha, well I guess I said that I would get real on the blog so here it is: no, probably not. 

We aren't in the position to have kids right now, we need a better house (in general), Mike needs to pay off his student loans and we train too much.  Plus, I don't really see kids in my life plan.  I always said I would adopt if I ever had kids, and that remains true. 

Things could change, but for us, I just don't see it happening. And that's fine, I'm not really concerned with living up to the "traditional family" standard (if that even exists anymore) and it's really our decision.

I like this cutie

Now, I'll hang out with your kids and then give them back at the end of the day. Just because I don't want any, doesn't mean I don't like them. 

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask and I can include them in a future post sometime!

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's Cold in Rochester

This week it has been extremely cold in Rochester, often the real feel has been below zero sometimes double digits.  I know that I said that I will still run outside in the winter, and this remains true, but this week I just wasn't feeling it.

 My workplace

Luckily, Mike and I have the option to use an indoor track at our gym.  If I had to choose between running in the negative temps or the treadmill, my choice would always be outside.  The indoor track gives us another option, and allows us to do some speed work.

Tuesday, I did a different than normal order triathlon. I biked on the spin bike for half an hour, then when Mike got to the gym we headed to the indoor track.  We did a pretty fast speed work session, our workout was 800m, 4x400m, 2x200m, 800m with a half mile warmup and cool down. 

 Shoe change, old Mirages for biking and Kinvaras for speed work

I was shocked at some of my paces! For the 200s I was running sub-7 minute pace.  One of these days I want to do a time trial for the mile and see how fast I can go! We're going to keep doing speed work at the track on Tuesdays throughout the rest of our marathon training.

After running (and biking for me), we got changed and hit the pool. We did 1,200 yards before calling it quits for the day.

 Swimming essentials

On Wednesday, I hit the indoor track again and ran 5 miles (40 laps).  I got so HOT! My mouth was completely dry and I had that nasty film on my mouth.  I need to stash a water bottle somewhere so I can grab it when I need to (there is a water fountain up there but that would be hard to drink from on the go).

Yesterday, we continued our trend of working out inside and ran with our friend Amber. She had asked me last week to run on the treadmill with her, and since she ran outside with me in the dark and cold back in December I had to say yes. I owed her after all!

 Love her! (And we need a better picture together)

We ran 3 miles and I didn't hate it. I liked running in between Mike and my friend. Then we had dinner at Amber and Greg's house.  Right now they are on their way to Miami for the ING Miami Half Marathon, I'm jealous!

The cold weather should break soon, and it is going to really warm up next week, so we will be back to our normal routine this weekend.

How have your workouts been going? Is it really cold where you are?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Let's Get Real Here

Today's post was inspired by Lea at Running for Dummies. She wrote a blog post about being afraid to publish certain posts because it wouldn't portray the perfect, healthy living blogger lifestyle that some of us try to live up to.

I started thinking about how I am pretty real on my blog, but there are certain things that I don't talk about.  Not because I am hiding them from you, but because they haven't really come up yet.  Most of these things aren't healthy living related at all.

 Don't let these faces fool you, we aren't perfect!

So here they are, things that you may be shocked (or not shocked at all) to know about me (and us):

We are MESSY.  It may not always be obvious in the photos that I post but we rarely have a 100% clean house. Our friend Amber would be shocked and appalled if she set foot into our house.  This is part of the reason why we rarely have friends over (Bernie is the other reason, some people are afraid of him).  You should see the mad dash to clean the house before our family comes over!

As soon as I get home, I put on my pajamas and take my hair down.  My hair is instantly messy, and it probably doesn't help that I haven't gotten a haircut in about a year.

Speaking of hair, I sometimes like to chew on mine. Ali has witnessed this. I think I have done this since I was little and my parents tried to scare me out of it by telling me I would get a hairball in my stomach.

I will re-wear dirty running clothes. What? We only do laundry every three weeks (only semi-joking when it comes to regular clothes).

 When I hit 1,000 miles this outfit was dirty

I like food, a lot, but this wasn't always the case. I have had my ups and downs with food (and eating in general), but I think I am at a good place in my life now.

Sometimes I really can't tell if people are joking. This can cause problems.

I have wanted to talk about our relationship with some people in our family, but I can't.  Let me just say that the relationship is pretty strained.

I often feel like a bad sister, because I don't know much about my brother. I hope that changes some day.

 Weren't we cute?

I have mini panic attacks when Mike (or anyone else but me) drives, because I am typically afraid that we will get in a car accident.

I am actually pretty anti-social, so if you are lucky enough to get to hang out with me that means I consider you one of my good friends.

I am afraid of failing, but I try to pretend like it doesn't bother me when things don't go the way I want them to.

We spend a lot of money on this triathlon life of ours, so much so that I haven't bought new regular clothes in a long time (with the exception of one pair of jeans a few weeks ago).  I'm really in need of new clothes.

 I'd rather buy new running clothes

Well, there you have it. I hope you still like me after reading all of that!

What are some things you have a hard time blogging about?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sharing Old Posts

I haven't really had much to say lately, I'm not really sure why.  It's probably because the holidays are over, we just got into marathon training and we aren't racing almost every weekend like we were last year. Although we may do the Freezeroo Series race next weekend, I can't wait to see how much I improve on that course compared to last year!

 I did it in 1:04 last year

I think that every blog goes through phases of readership, some people have been loyal throughout the entire life of this blog and some people have come and gone.  I think that's pretty typical in the blogosphere, but it can get pretty confusing when you start referencing things and new readers have NO idea what you are talking about.

I shared an old post today on my blog's Facebook page, again head on over and "like" it if you haven't yet, and it sparked the idea for this post.

Here are some random, and not so random, posts to help some of you new readers (or people who have be here for awhile but not quite since the beginning) get to know me and this blog better. Enjoy!


My first (on this blog) blog post ever

Our first 5K

The first time we ran on the treadmill (My opinion hasn't change since then, haha)

First half marathon

Why I run

First triathlon 

My tribute to our new runner/triathlete friends

First marathon

Any other favorite blog posts that I didn't include in this list?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to Stay Motivated in the Winter

This post seems a little hypocritical because only three days into our marathon training we already skipped a run, but we had a good reason. I still am not feeling 100% so rather than risk it we decided to cut out one of our 5 milers this week. Plus, we are running 5 days a week this time rather than 4, so it's not too bad.

Last week I asked on my blog's Facebook page, which if you haven't liked yet you should, for blog post ideas.  When we aren't racing all the time I am at a loss for what to blog about, only half joking!

Someone suggested that I write a blog post on how to stay motivated during the cold, snowy winter months.  I am going to answer this from a runner/triathlete's perspective, but I'm sure that it will be applicable to other activities as well.


We all have days when we would rather stay in bed or sit on the couch under blankets and avoid the cold, snowy, windy, rainy weather outside during the months of October-April (in Rochester at least). Combine that with the holiday season and you have a potential disaster on your hands. Running (or swimming and biking) could be put on the back burner and before you know it you haven't run in weeks.

Here are some tips to help you stay motivated, and not succumb to the lure of your warm bed.

Start Training for a Race or Race in General

Last winter was the first winter that Mike and I were runners, we were lucky that it was an unusually mild winter (I think it snowed five times, maybe) but there were still times when we didn't want to go running.  We had signed up for the Freezeroo Series, a local winter series with races every two weeks, so that forced us to stay in shape. 

We did the New Year's race this year, and we will probably sign up for one or two more of the races as they fit with our training.

Mike finishing up our New Year's day race

 Near the end of the race

This winter we will be training for our second marathon and we are going to have to brave the elements whether we want to or not. 

Change up Your Workouts

As a triathlete this is easy, if it is really snowing badly (and no, I will not run on a treadmill) we can either swim or bike instead.  We just got a new bike trainer from Mike's parents for Christmas and I can't wait to use it. 

 Swimming is fun too!

If you really can't handle the elements, then the winter might be a great time to try something new: a new workout DVD, a new treadmill workout, a new group fitness class at your gym, etc. Last year I tried turbo kick, and while I only did it once I had a lot of fun.  This year I want to try cross country skiing or snowshoeing, hopefully we can!
 
Workout with Friends

Scheduled running dates with your friends make it harder for you to bail on your workout.  This happened to me on Sunday since Mike and I were going running with our friend Amber.  I wasn't feeling great but I still enjoyed the company.  I am looking forward to running with our friends more often this winter.

Dress the Part

When you have the right gear for winter running, or other activities, it can make the temperature bearable (and you may even get too hot like me).  

 Yaktrax rock

If you live in an area where you get a lot of snow, you might want to invest in some snowshoes or Yaktrax (depending on where you run).  Mike and I both have a pair of Yaktrax and they work great, and give you the extra traction that you need to get your run in.

If that isn't enough, then maybe Bernie can give you some motivation:

 The snow is FUN!

Any other tips for staying motivated during the winter?

Monday, January 14, 2013

January Book Club: You Are an Ironman

Wow, it feels like it has been forever since I have written a book club post! We took the month of December off, but now we are back into the full swing of things. 

While most of my readers identify as runners, it is no secret that I am a triathlete.  Therefore, the book for January was Jacques Steinberg's, You Are an Ironman.


Now, I have to say that I did love this book because while I was reading it I kept visualizing the journey that Mike and I will be (are) embarking on very soon.  We get to register for our first Ironman in about 7 months and I can't wait!

That said,  I felt like there was something missing from the story.  Often Steinberg would just pull from the triathletes' blog/training journal, which is fine but some of the details were lacking.  I would have liked to "experience" more of what the potential Ironman finishers went through during their training, and the race itself.

You Are an Ironman follows six potential Ironman finishers during their training leading up to the 2009 Ironman Arizona, otherwise known as IMAZ.  Each of the individuals followed in the story had his or her reason for pursuing the dream of becoming and Ironman, from overcoming cancer, proving to themselves that they could do it, losing weight, etc.

Steinberg did delve into the training that each individual went through, from open water swimming, long rides on a bike trainer, daunting long distance runs and anything in between.  He also included some of the tune-up races that the men and women chronicled in the book participated in, and I had to laugh when one of the participants said to not train for a marathon and an Ironman at the same time.  Maybe it's not as bad when it's a marathon and a half Ironman??

If the individuals were lucky enough to make it to race day, ie. they hadn't been plagued by injuries, Steinberg included stories from some of the participants' morning routine to what happened at the finish line.

For a race that covers a distance of 140.6 miles which is broken down into a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run, I felt that this part of the book was slightly rushed.  I LOVE watching the Ironman World Championships every year and the age groupers are my favorite part, which is why I was slightly disappointed with the 2012 coverage last year.

Regardless, Steinberg's story got me slightly teary-eyed as he described the new group of Ironmen hearing Mike Reilly proclaim, "you ARE an Ironman!", for the first time.  I can't wait to hear those four words.

Here are some other book club members' reviews:

Carrie at Fitness and Frozen Grapes

Now for the discussion portion:

Which of the potential Ironmen did you relate to the most? Why?

When do you first remember watching or hearing about an Ironman?

Would you ever do an Ironman or a triathlon? Why or why not?

Answer these, or discuss anything else that comes to mind, and check back to see what everyone else has to say!

Reminder: February's book is is Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich and March's book is A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington.  We will discuss them February 11th and March 11th, respectively.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Marathon Redemption Starts Now

This is our last weekend "free" from training (we are running a 12 miler tomorrow though so we're never really free).

 Training plan love

You all know I love a good training plan; I like being able to look at a calendar, see a workout and then cross it off.  We'll be doing a lot of that this year since we will be following a training plan from January 14-October 20 (when we run the MDI marathon).

 The three of us will be running MDI together

This "cycle" (is it really a cycle if it goes for 9 months??) is going to be a little bit different.  From January until the middle of March we will be focusing on training for the Cleveland Marathon, the middle of March until May we are simultaneously training for the marathon and Musselman (70.3), May until July we are training for Musselman and then after Musselman we start training for my sub-2 half attempt and our second marathon of the year: MDI.  Are you confused yet?

Last time, we did almost all of our training runs. We got rid of a few here and there, and cut some short, but for the most part we accomplished everything on our training plan.

Still, on the day of the race things did not go as planned. Mike DNF'd and the rest of my race from that point on was shot, more mentally than physically since I did finish the race.

If you asked me right now how I feel about how Wineglass went down and if I am over the fact that it did not go as planned, my answer would be yes and no. Will I ever be alright with the fact that I finished the race and Mike didn't, even though we trained for months together? No, probably not. Every part of me still wishes that I could have convinced him to join me when I saw him on the sidelines at 18.5 miles.

 Close to where he decided to call it a day

On the other hand, I know that we are going to go into this training cycle smarter, faster, stronger and prepared for changes.  I know that everything happens for a reason, and Mike DNF'ing allowed him to run Reach the Beach (whereas if he continued the marathon he may have injured himself) and has opened our eyes to potential problems during our training and racing this time around.

 Next time I want to start and FINISH the race smiling

Last time, we didn't swim or bike the entire month before the marathon.  Did this have an impact on race day? Maybe, maybe not. This time since we will be training for Musselman at the same time, we will be swimming and biking consistently right up to marathon day. (We will reduce the amount and distance two weeks before the marathon and then build up again).

I am excited for this training cycle, even though I know it will be difficult at times, and even more excited for the marathon.  2013 is OUR year for redemption.

Our training plan, up to Musselman, has been written (by me). I combined numerous training plans and came up with this plan that should hopefully get us across the finish line of our marathon and 70.3 triathlon. If you want to check it out you can, here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Choice Organic Teas Review

A little while ago I was given the opportunity, through my affiliation with Girls Gone Sporty, to try Choice Organic Teas.

I immediately jumped at the chance to try some! Although I like coffee, I also enjoy a cup of tea from time to time.  After I was contacted by the company, I browsed their website and I saw that they had chai.  I have had chai lattes before, so I really wanted to try some of that.

 It's a tea rainbow

Choice Organic sent me six different kinds of tea to try: masala chai, rooibos chai (caffeine-free), premium Korean green tea, decaffeinated green tea, genmaicha (green tea) and wild forest black tea.

I'm not really a big fan of green tea, but Mike likes it, so I haven't tried any of those yet.

I tried the two chai teas first, and I really liked them.  They were both spicy but had their own unique flavor.  I like to put honey and milk in my tea and this was a perfect combination with the chai.  I also like that the rooibos is naturally caffeine-free rather than decaf.

I also tried the wild forest black tea and enjoyed that as well. It tasted like your typical cup of tea.  Mike also tried this one and he enjoyed it as well.

I'm looking forward to trying the rest of the teas, and drinking them throughout the winter! It's nice to warm up with a hot cup of tea after a training run out in the cold! And with marathon training starting next week, we'll have a lot of those.

 The tea will taste great in our new cups from my mom

What is your favorite kind of tea?

I was provide Choice Organic Teas free of charge for the purposes of review. I was not compensated in any way and the opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year's Day Race in Photos

I should have just waited to post my recap since the photos were all up by the time I got to work this morning, but I am impatient!

There weren't very many of me, I guess I like to hide behind other people while I am running, but there are a few good ones of Mike. 

 The start, running up the first "hill" (that's a baby compared to the rest!)

Here are a few of me hiding, can you find me? Notice the wardrobe change.

 During the first mile

Right before the halfway point

This one I didn't really want to be in the frame, I guess I was too fast!

At one mile

Mike had a few that I would call, outtakes.  Not the best photos, but not the worst!

Not exactly sure where this is, maybe around 6 or 7 miles

Within the first mile, so intense!

Right before the water stop

And now our best photos, Mike wins hands down.

I look like I'm boxing, but I'm unzipping my jacket (I had it up while waiting for the start)

Nice form, thumbs up and eyes OPEN!

How would you rate your race photos?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year's Day Resolution Run Race Recap

There are two photos from the race posted and hopefully soon they will post more. I'll share them as soon as possible!

Last year Mike and I ran the Freezeroo Series and our first race, and first race of 2012, was the New Year's Day Resolution Run: a hilly 7.5 mile race.

We aren't doing the series this year due to marathon training, but we did start 2013 off the same way as 2012.  If only the weather had been the same as last year!

Since the race didn't start until 10am we were able to sleep in a little bit after staying up to see the ball drop.  We got to the race start at about 9:30, which was enough time to get our bibs/ankle chips and go to the bathroom.

The roads were a little snowy in the park, where the race started, but the main roads looked like they were going to be fine.  We did a brief warm-up and lined up with the rest of the "crazies" running in 25 degree weather, which is the best way to ring in the New Year!

A little after 10am, we were off!


You can see Mike, to the right, at 1:10 and me, to the right, at 1:30

Mike and I really need to line up further back during this race because we have gone out WAY too fast both years.  Next year we will pace better, hopefully.

After a pretty blazing start, 8:18 for the first mile, I settled into a good pace.  I didn't know if I was racing-racing or if I was just out for a harder effort run, but I just tried to keep a sub-9 minute pace.

Mendon Ponds and the Mendon area are pretty hilly, so I wasn't able to hold sub-9 minutes for very long but I kept a pretty even pace during the middle miles.  The roads weren't very snowy, just in a few spots when we turned back into the park, and I felt pretty good.  I did feel like I was breathing pretty heavy and that was probably due to the cold temps.  Speaking of the temps, I did wear my new headband from my mom and my gloves and those came off after the first mile!

Around 3 miles someone was yelling out the time and I was right around 26 minutes.  There was a water stop at 4 miles and for the first time in the race I had a hard time getting my legs to go.  I took a little breather, just slowed down the pace, and eventually I felt better.

I made the next turn and this is where it started to get a little snowy on the roads.  Some cars weren't moving over for us and there were some kids and a mom out cheering for us, and telling the cars to slow down.  I remembered them from last year and I was glad to see them out again.  I even saw a horse playing in the snow on this road!

Right before the second to last turn, my feet started to go numb.  This isn't really a pleasant experience under normal circumstances, but this is when the roads started to get slippery.  I had to slow down, plus there was the last major hill, so the last full mile was the slowest.

Finally, I saw the final turn and pushed it as much as I could.  I saw Mike on the sidelines and crossed the finish line, four minutes faster than last year!

My final time was 1:10:10, how about that for nice numbers, and Mike's time was 1:01:47 (he beat his time from last year by about 3 minutes!)

 Comparing last year and this year

After we were done, we made our way back to the lodge for some food.  As we were walking we saw my friend/co-worker, Jess, and we walked with her and her friend.  They both had great races too!

I really do love this race and I'm hoping that it is one that will always (unless we do the midnight run in New York City one year) be on our race calendar.