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Monday, March 31, 2014

18 Mile Sunday

 Hello Monday!  I had a great weekend despite the rain  here,  I hope you did too. Friday I stayed in like a hermit, Saturday was full of horses, barn chores, and a dinner party with my college friends, and then Sunday was Runday.  

 I was supposed to run the Boston Blowout 30k Sunday an hour away in Fairfield, CT.  However, it has been down-pouring non stop since Saturday.  When I woke up at 5am to check the weather and leave for the race, it was still down-pouring.  The roads were already bad driving home Saturday night from dinner, and I DID NOT want to run 18 miles in the pouring rain.

I decided to eat the $18 entry fee, sleep in, and wait for a pause in the rain to run.  At about 9:30 there was a lull in the rain so I had breakfast and geared up.  Leftover blueberry pancakes from Saturday's breakfast (recipe coming)  with bananas and maple syrup.

I decided I was going to bust out the compression socks but it was still a little cool for shorts (and I have yet to find a great pair of shorts that don't chafe or ride up the entire time). I wore  moving comfort capris, compression socks, newtons, and a long sleeve running top with my camelbak.  The plan was to run a 10 mile loop with Olive, drop Olive off at home, and run 8 more with Stacie .  

I used the USTAF Route Tracker to plan the route.  The only problem is that route tracker did not tell me that road going through Cockaponset State Forest wasn't an actual road... more like a dirt trail.  A really hilly dirt trail.. which would have been okay if it wasn't after days of torrential downpours. 

This was one part of the road that was actually pretty solid but most of it was super muddy, with huge puddles/lakes in the road.  It got to a point where I stopped trying to avoid them and was running through the lakes.  Ten miles later I was a little tired and a lot soaking wet.  After dropping Olive off I quickly changed into dry socks and an old pair of sneakers.

This is the yard down the road- which is now a stream.  There was a light rain throughout the entire day but the neighbors properties were swamped from the rain overnight.   Little streams were now rapid rivers and back yards were under water.  Kind of amusing to see the change of scenery on my normal running routes. 

After my ten mile loop, I changed my shoes and grabbed Stacie next door.  She had not run any distance in a little, and had no races lined up, but like a champ agreed to run my last 8 miles with me.  It was great timing to have someone to talk to (besides the dog) for the last 8 miles.  I have been forgetting about time and focusing on making sure my runs "felt good"  so we stuck with my 1.5 miles running 1.5 minute walking program which also helped to pass the time.

It is SO NICE to chat with a friend during a long run or at least part of it.  Good conversation, a time to catch up, and in what other situations can you talk about bodily functions, runners feet, and just enjoy conversation that isn't forced or fake?  We agreed running is such a great way to catch up and spend time with friends. 

The run was slow overall, but with the steady rain and rolling hills I was happy.  My only goal is to do the distance and feel good doing it, and not to worry about the time.  Mission success because I felt great the entire 18 miles besides little things like a tight arch or crampy calf.  MUCH better than the 13, 14, and 15 mile runs I had last month. 

If you read the blog regularly, you probably know this is my second attempt at marathon training.  Last year I had to stop the week after my 18 miler due to some really bad tendinitis.  It feels really good to get back to where I was prior to the injury, a little lighter and feeling much better... and injury free!  All smiles after getting my 18 miler done. 

Lunch was a bagel margherita pizza.  It was delicious and was perfect for my "runger".  Instead of trying to devour an entire pizza, a bagel is perfect portion control.   Perfect post run lunch. 

The dog was happy to get a long run in after a week of cold and rainy weather, and I spent the rest of my Saturday doing chores, cleaning the apartment, painting furniture, snuggling the critters, and cooking for the week.  

Right on track for marathon training and a long run that felt good.
Another step closer to 26.2

Friday, March 28, 2014

27 runner struggles

Man the weeks just get longer and longer.  Maybe its the fact that winter just refuses to go away here in New England. 

 I am planning on a 5 mile run today, and then struggling with the idea of my race this weekend.  I signed up for a 30k (18.6) for 20 bucks about an hour away from home so I can do my long run/marathon training run in a fun race environment.  BUT....  Forecast says 100% chance of rain----- to go or not to go.  Guess I will have to wait for mother nature to make up her mind. 

Runner struggles.... 

Hope to report back with sunny blue skies and a great 18 miler.
Until then, I hope you get a few laughs out of this Thought Catalog Article.

27 Little Struggles Only Runners Know :)
1. When you think you’re going to make eye contact and get a head nod from someone passing you in the opposite direction, so you make a cursory little nod yourself — and then get nothing in return.
2. Picking between two different colors when you swap out your new shoes.
3. If you’re a woman, being expected to always choose between different shades of pastel.
4. Waking up ridiculously rungry, so you eat something before your run, but then you have to wait to digest it a little, and then you’re just sitting around like a character out of Dr. Seuss, just… waiting.
5. The difference in motivation between wanting to run 6 miles just because, and needing to run 6 miles because it’s on your training plan that day.
6. Being two seconds off from your best mile time — or worse, being thirty. six. freaking. seconds off a race P.R.
7. Walking up or down stairs after a particularly long run.
8. Finding pants that fit your thighs, your butt, and your waist simultaneously. Pick two, invest in a belt, and move on.
9. When it’s just warm enough that you no longer to wear every layer humanly possible, but then that new spring wind picks up and cuts through the fleece you thought would be just right.
10. Your headphones falling out, shorting out in one ear, or otherwise not cooperating the way headphones are supposed to.
11. Dodging black ice patches and puddles after storms, so it suddenly looks like you’re prancercising rather than running.
12. People who call it “jogging.”
13. Finishing a run and suddenly being hungry enough to eat absolutely everything in sight, but knowing full well that three miles does not an extra-large, extra-cheese pizza justify.
14. Heartbreaking injuries during training that force you to drop out of your race entirely.
15. … and forfeiting that race fee.
16. When the running shop is out of your favorite flavor fuel.
17. The supreme gore that is a black toenail.
18. Shorts chafing.
19. Generally strange tanlines, including but not limited to: Sock tan. Shorts tan. GPS watch tan. Armband tan. Sunglasses tan. Always running on one side of the street so the left and right sides of your body are two different colors tan.
20. Needing to pack double in any travel bag, and the subsequent annoyance of those with whom you’re traveling when you explain that no, you really can’t fit everything into a carry-on.
21. People who send the bread basket away.
22. Realizing you need to go to the bathroom halfway through a run, but you’re either in the middle of nowhere, or there is nary a Starbucks in sight.
23. When you make a pact with a friend to be run buddies, but then you both wind up texting each other asking if you maybe just want to grab drinks instead, so yeah, you’ll settle for drinks, it’s cool, you can always run, y’know, tomorrow.
24. Not being allowed to wear spandex at all times always.
25. That moment when you see someone beautiful doing the Baywatch slow-mo run in the summer sun, their hair bouncing along perfectly as their sweat glistens and it’s like you might as well be running across a daisy field to your one true love — but then the sunlight bounces off their wedding ring, and it’s like, oh, right.
26. Talking to someone about running, and they just casually happen to mention that they’ve logged 45 miles that week at 7:15 pace and are training for their fifth ultra and you’re just sitting there, screaming internally.
27. Getting off the couch. TC mark

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Central Park Run and more

Saturday in New York City.

I am an interesting individual, and sort of a controlling one... I will admit.  The runner in me really wanted to do one more thing before I left New York City to go back to Connecticut.  I woke up Saturday morning in New York City with two demands.  I wanted to:

A.  Go for a run in Central Park (I had not run in days- hello marathon training)
B.  I wanted brunch
C.  and I wanted these things in this order 

I dragged Thatcher to Central Park where I told him he could hang in the park and read his sci-fi books on the bench while I put in a few easy miles.  Thankfully he is a go with the flow kind of guy and deals with my demands.  

If you want to feel motivated, and empowered, and part of something bigger, than go for a run in central park.  There were thousands, I mean thousands of runners out there pounding the pavement on a Saturday morning.  Big runners, little runners, heavy runners, thin runners, out of shape runners, and all star runners, runners pushing strollers, runners with their dogs, bikers, and walkers.  Every shape size and type.  

It was so motivating to be around so many runners just enjoying the morning in a lovely park.  I ran 4 miles with a smile (rare) that flew by quick (rarer), stopped to take a few pictures, and enjoyed the morning. 

Oh, I also got a little lost on my way back and couldn't find Thatcher was late for brunch, but it all worked out.  All in the name of a run. 

After brunch with Thatcher's sister across from Grand Central, we caught the 12:00 ish train back to Connecticut. After a sleepy train ride (still in my running clothes- pretty normal) we grabbed the dog, made a snack at home, and went to Thatcher's father's house for dinner. 

After dinner I suprised Thatcher with all his friends waiting for him at a fun bar called the Malted Barley in Westerly, Rhode Island.  

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Lots of beer on tap, delicious pretzels, and some more wisdom from the bathroom.  
Another late night but a great Saturday in my books. 

Sunday, I did some horseback riding before taking the dogs to do some hiking at Hartman Park in Lyme.  We did a big 4 mile loop around the preserve , loosing Olive and Ivan about 3 miles in to go chase a deer.  Well usually we find them within a half hour, but according to my GPS tracker on Olives collar- these two were far away and quite lost.  After a huge debacle we found the dogs (thanks for the help Chris..), exhausted and muddy.

Finally it was time for lunch and a beer after a lot of hiking and searching.   

Billy Joel, NYC, Central Park run, Malted Barley in Westerly, and a 4 mile hike in Lyme.  
Could I fit anything more into this schedule?

Thatcher got back on a plane to Utah while I got back into the grove of marathon training.
(Sort of...) 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Billy Joel and New York City

It was one of those weekends that keeps your smiling well into the middle of the week.  This weekend was busy, all over the place, chaotic, and wonderful.

Thursday, Thatcher arrived from Salt Lake City, to spend a weekend so we could use my Christmas present.  Christmas eve, I unwrapped a few gifts, but one was in a small box.

NO- it is not what you are thinking.  But it is better.  In this box, was two tickets to see Billy Joel in concert at Madison Square Garden, in New York City on March 21st.  The combination of the wine, and the tickets had me in a teary giggle as I realized I was going to check another item off the bucket list.  I have always wanted to see Billy Joel in concert but with his very limited touring schedule and high price tickets, I stuck to some quality time with Mr. Joel on my Ipod.  Until Friday night.

Mid-day Friday we drove from Old Lyme to New Haven and caught the 12:30 train out of Union Station New Haven and into Grand Central, NYC.

I saw this little gem etched into the bathroom stall at Union Station and had to take a picture :) 

We were on the run, so we grabbed a foot long sub to split on the ride to NYC. 

We arrived in new York City a little before 3 and Grand Central was looking as beautiful and busy as ever.  I did the math and realized it was only a mile from Grand Central to Madison Square Garden (and our hotel) so we decided to walk and enjoy the sunny day and the hustle and bustle of the city. I am usually not a big "city fan" but I was really enjoying the change of scenery and the change of pace, and getting to enjoy the city with Thatcher.

While our hotel was no 5 star luxury treat, it was directly across the street from Madison Square Garden.  Location, location, location, right?

I got this super cute/wierd little dress at H&M ( $9.99!)and loved it in this weird grandma floral print sort of way.  It was sooo comfortable, and had a swoop neckline in the front and the back.  I paired it with some fun gold jewelry and a pair of tights before we walked the mile towards Times Square for our 5 o clock dinner reservation. 

 I have been obsessed with Open Table lately and grabbed a 5 o clock reservation at the Fig & Olive for 1,000 points :) 

They had a  "happy hour special"  so Thatcher got the El Matador, a spicy martini while I went with a fun play on a julep.  They were both delicious but Thatcher's cocktail was insanely spicy (even for him...).  I would probably stay away from this one folks. 

Next they brought us some delicious bread with three different olive oils to sample.  This was super fun for me... I have never sampled different kinds of olive oils and it was really interesting to compare the flavors... one was fruity while another one was quite bitter. 

As a part of the happy hour special, they offer a variety of tasting plates for $7.  This was a steal and after eating this one we wished we had just ordered a few of these for dinner.  This was a tasting plate from "Spain".  Manchego cheese, fig spread, olives, tuna, and a beef tartar.  It was all sooooo amazing. 

For the main course I got a paella (I love seafood more than anything) and Thatcher got the Chicken Tajin - chicken on the bone in a broth with veggies and couscous on the side.  

Everything was amazing and we were both so happy with our dishes.  It was probably the best meal we have had since the Copper Onion in Salt Lake City for my birthday weekend.  The atmosphere was wonderful, the service was great, they explained everything they brought over, and food was present in perfect timing.

We walked back to the hotel and enjoyed the chaos and lights that is Times Square.   Billboards, ads, random characters in costumes, restaurants, and herds of people.  

FINALLY it was time for Billy Joel.  I had no idea who was opening but we headed over at 7:30, grabbed a few drinks, and went to our seats.  Thatcher did good. Madison Square Garden is HUGE and we had fantastic seats.  We were on the main floor level, the second group back.  The best part?  We were in the front row of that second group so we had lots of space and a clear view to the stage.  

I was so excited when I found out GAVIN DEGRAW was opening up for Billy Joel!  I love love love his music, and especially love his new hits.  Especially Best I Ever Had-  He sang this song walking around the Garden.  He walked right in front of me and while I tried to boogy with GD, he completely ignored me.  Oh well.  

Well, finally it was Billy Joel time. 
 He came out and sat at his piano and everyone went wild. 

He was fatter and older and balder than I remembered (truth), but his voice sounds the same as it does on his albums from the 70's.  You know the feeling of disappointment you get when you see one of your favorite artists in concert and they sound NOTHING like the cd?... well this was the opposite.  He sang along and played the piano and it was everything you expected.  He had a full band with violins, saxophones, drums, guitars, everything, and of course he even played the harmonica while simultaneously playing the piano and singing.

The first half of his concert he played some of his less known music which was fun and different, but a little boring.  Then all of the sudden, he said he had a surprise.  Out comes the lead singer of ACDC to sing You Shook Me All Night Long and the crowd went WILD!  
What a fun surprise and change of pace. 

After this he played all of his classics, including New York State of Mind and Uptown girl, Always a Woman, Movin Out, It's Still Rock and Roll to me, many many others.   He did not play the Downeaster Alexa, my favorite song, but when you have been a professional musician for over 50 years, you have a lot of music and simply can't play them all- I feel you Billy.  The music was great and even Thatcher who doesn't really know much about Billy Joel, really enjoyed the concert and the music.

After the concert, we rode the subway all the way to Brooklyn where we met two of Thatcher's friends from Old Lyme who know live in the city.  We met Frank, Kevin, wife and girlfriend at the Zombie Hut in Brooklyn.   After a few drinks and catching up, we headed back to our hotel room for the night.

What a wonderful night filled with good food, a city, Billy Joel, and friends.

Good Night New York 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

8 Tips for First Time Marathon Runners- Guest Post from Sara at Loving On The Run!

Hey guys!!! It has been a crazy weekend and I can't wait to share it with you!  While I play catch up with real life, I have been freaking out a little bit with "running life".  My first marathon is 39 days away and I am running a 30k (can't believe I am even typing that) this weekend, 18.6 miles, my longest distance to date--- gulp....

I spend a lot of time reading other blogs, seeking advice, viewing training and eating plans, and trying to calm the marathon jitters.   I was jumping for joy when one of my favorite bloggers agreed to guest post today with a post on tips for new marathoners.  YES PLEASE!   Meet blogger and marathoner Sara! 

Hi! My name is Sara and I write over at my blog – Loving On The Run  where I talk about all things running, life, marriage, nutrition, fitness, blogging, and random ramblings. I would love it if you followed me along my journey over at my blog!

8 Tips for First Time Marathon Runners

So you have decided to take the plunge and run your first marathon? Congratulations! I remember it took me almost 3-4 years of watching my husband run them before I got up the courage to sign up for one.  The first time you begin training can be overwhelming. You don't know where to start or even what to do. There are so many opinions out there you don't know who's is right. Everyone trains differently. Some run lots and lots of miles while others can run 3 days a week and be ready by marathon day. At first, you won't know what is best for your body but you will quickly begin to learn.  Here are a few simple tips that can help you when you decide to take the plunge and sign up for your first marathon!

1.  Start Out Slow
The one mistake I see so many first time marathoners make is jumping right into full blown training.  When you are looking for a good plan make sure you are picking a beginner plan. It is important that you allow your body the time to slowly ease into the training.  We all start at different levels. If you haven't been running for very long, start off slow and work your way up to the plan. The risk of injury is too high when jumping in too quickly.

2.  Find a Training Partner
This is probably one of the best things that I wish I could have done. My husband is always training for a marathon, but greatly exceeds my level.  I wish when I first started training that I had a training partner to help me. Not only is it a great source of motivation, but it also helps beat the boredom.
Yes, running is fun but sometimes when you are out on your weekly long run it makes all the difference to have someone there with you.

3.  Don't Skip Strength Training
As you begin training you will find out that sometimes marathon training takes up a lot of time.
The first thing to go is spending at least 2-3 days a week strength training. It is easy to skip, but I promise you it is worth it to keep you strong and healthy.  Running injuries are no fun and can be defeating when they keep you from running a race you've been training for. Keep up your strength training even if only for 15-20 minutes, 2-3 days a week.
It is worth it, I promise!

4.  Nutrition is Key 
Marathon training is very hard and you will find some days you are always hungry. While it is good to treat yourself on some days, remember that proper nutrition is key.  You have to give your body the right things to make it perform at it's best. Don't skip meals and eat the right things. Carbs are your friend during marathon training, just be mindful in choosing the right ones.  Oh, and a little pizza every now and then never hurt anyone!

5.  Focus on Form
Form is so important when running. It can make you a better runner and keep you from those pesky running injuries.  Make sure you are landing mid-foot (not heal striking or landing on your toes), keeping your shoulders relaxed, and your arms aren't stiff.  There are just a few simple things to focus on when you are running. Another benefit of focusing on form is it keeps your mind off how many miles you have left to go!

6.  Shoes Aren't THAT Important 
I know some people will be shocked to read this, but at the end of the day shoes aren't as important as proper running form. You want to make sure you find a running shoe that you like and that fits well with your foot, but once you find it you don't need to keep trying others. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what type of shoe you are running in if you aren't using proper form.

7.  Core Work Is Important
Just like with strength training core work is vital to keep you strong and healthy. Your core does a lot more work than you think when you are running and if your core isn't strong enough, it can cause unnecessary stress on other parts of your body. Focus on adding core work into your routine at least 4 times per week. It doesn't have to be for a long amount of time, just enough to keep it engaged.

8.  Pick a Training Method and Stick With It

Just like I said in the beginning, there are so many training methods out there. Everyone will have an opinion on what is best and you will hear way too many opinions. When you are first starting to train for the marathon, pick a plan and stick with it. If you keep switching it around, it can hurt your training, plus it makes it easier to stay motivated when you have a plan in place.

You've already done the scariest thing by taking the leap of faith and signing up for the marathon. Remember, believe in yourself and the rest will follow!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Run Like A Girl Youth Program

Hump Day! 

Monday I took a semi rest day with some mat work at home.
Tuesday was a 5 mile run around Chester before lots of tasty food and wine at Book Club-  Reading The Gold Finch by Donna Tartt

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My legs felt heavy during my run but I was feeling super motivated and pushed through for 8:37 average.  I was feeling really inspired and "run happy" after Sunday's run and my encounter on the track. 
Sunday morning, I finished the last 6 miles of my 16 miler on the track.  About 3 miles in, a swarm of young girls entered the track.   I figured it was some kind of a "Run-A-Thon" for charity.  

There were about 20 girls with a few parent/runner chaperons.  I kept on with my run, and by the time I finished, they were still there. 

 I had to ask what was going on.

 I stopped to stretch and asked one of the girls what they were doing today.  Apparently they were part of a program put on by the town.  I stopped to eaves drop on the group and the girls were there  as a group, running laps, leaning about nutrition, and learning how to take their pulse and about heart rates while running.  


When I got home I was so intrigued and proud of my town putting on this even that I did some research.  This is what I found.  

The program is called "Run Like A Girl" 
and is put on by the Lyme Youth Service Bureau (LYSB)

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Ages 8 and up they meet on Sundays and do a group run 
followed by a half hour meeting.

The finale for the program is training for a 5k! 

" Embracing differences; stretching; nutrition; dealing with injuries; “your look”; team spirit; stress relief; goals and plans"
 No need to pre-register, just show up

This made my heart smile.  SO BIG!

Getting young girls exciting and educated about running.  Instead of spending their Sunday watching cartoons, they are together on the track training for a 5k, learning about healthy routines, healthy eating habits,  and team spirit.

I really love this because this can be applied to any community.  You don't need any fancy equipment, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on lacrosse gear, helmets, cleats, baseball bats, and balls. 

All you need is a good attitude, and a pair of running shoes. 
What an amazing program  and I hope to hear more about it.

Does your town offer anything like this?
Spark the idea in your town with your community!  

Run Like A Girl ;)