Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm a Versatile Blogger (apparently)

Kristin at Mrs. Miller's Miles tagged me as a versatile blogger!

The Rules are as follows:

1) Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their post.
2) Share seven things about yourself.
3) Tag some recently discovered blogs, and pass the award a long.

Thank you Kristin Miller! A fellow runner who is training for her first marathon, the NYC Marathon, mind you, who is saving and improving the quality of lives while doing so. She is supporting World Vision. Please private message her to donate or find out more info!

Okay, so here I go with seven things about myself. They may or may not be interesting, but either way, I'm following the rules...

1. I was married in Las Vegas at one of those quintessential chapels on the Strip. My husband Joe and I have been married for 10 years. We planned a big wedding to be held in October 2002, but in September 2001, we traveled to Vegas (where my sister lives) to attend her wedding. While we were there, we agreed we would save $1,000's if we tied the knot then. I contacted the Candlelight Wedding Chapel, booked our wedding and on September 24 (one day after my sister and brother-in-law were married), we were married by a barely English speaking French-Canadian who, for an extra $50 would have dressed up as Elvis.

2. I have three sisters whose names are Melissa, Melissa and Alyssa. Okay, so only one is my biological sister. One is my step-sister and the other is my sister-in-law. Still makes for an interesting fact :-)

3. I'm a huge Howard Stern fan! Not a day goes by that his show doesn't play on either the computer or Sirius car radio. I listen for several hours each day (my hubby works from home and streams the show from his computer which is just next to the kitchen). Howard is witty, funny and speaks candidly. I can't say I agree with everything he says, but he is the epitome of good broadcasting. I love the News with Robin and calls to Tradio the best!!

4. I have a 17 pound cat. She is all white and her name is White Kitty. We call her Whitey.

5. I have never watched an episode of Jersey Shore, the Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars or any of the other (non) reality CRAP that is sadly taking over prime time television. I love a good sit-com or series. My faves are Fringe, The Killing, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Community and I love Tosh.0 and The Soup. My latest fave is American Horror Story! Excellent series... well written, great acting, original material.

6. I have impeccable time management skills. Most days are NOT dull but I never overbook myself or family and we always have much needed down time. I'm a full time mom, wife and homemaker, a part time waitress, I work at home as an Assistant to the CEO of a web-solutions company, I babysit for friend's children weekly, I train for marathons, triathlons, half marathons and overall HEALTH and WELLNESS. I used to have my own custom jewelry business, but I sacrificed it for the love of running!

7. My lucky number is 9. I have 9 letters in my name. My birthday is 9-9-81 (do the math...9x9=81). I was born at 8:51 a.m., which is 9 minutes til 9:00. I graduated in 1999 and I turned 18 (divisible by 9) on 9-9-99. I'm pretty sure there are more 9's but I can't think right now...

Okay, the original rules say to tag 15 blogs, but I only know of 2 in addition to Kristin's. So here are 2 blogs which I follow and a short description of the authors...

Self Embodiment
- The blog of a personal trainer with whom I went to high school. If you look up "fitness" in the dictionary, I'll bet his pic is there. Seriously.

Strides to Health- The blog of a determined runner (I also went to high school with her). She has high hopes and the will to get her to which ever finish line she'll set her mind her to.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Staying With It

People often take a stab at a lifestyle change by adding a fitness routine and/or eating better. It's not always easy to maintain a new lifestyle if A. You are not 100% committed, B. You do not have a support system or C. You have a combination of A and B.

The people successful in making positive changes in their life are those determined to see their goals met at all costs. A rainy morning will not prevent a determined person from getting their run in. A late night at the office, a child's baseball practice, traffic, a bad day... The list of excuses is long. A successful goal setter will ensure they do not let the obstacles become excuses.

It helps too, to have people in your corner. That friend who tells you to skip the gym because she wants a buddy at happy hour is the personality a successful goal setter will want to avoid. Sure it's fine to have fun with friends, but plan those happy hours on your rest days. You'll enjoy them even more!!

I will share a few things with you that keep me successful in my training. People often wonder how I stay motivated, but motivation may not be a factor. It boils down to commitment. Being driven to stay committed.

1. Enjoy. Do what you like to do! Don't run because you think you should. Do it because you are passionate about it. If running isn't your thing, then bike, yoga, kick box, power walk, weight train, zumba, or do all those things! If you don't like your workout routine, you will not stay committed.

2. Prepare. Know what the week ahead holds. If you don't know, then find out. Build your workouts and meals around your life. Or if it works better to build your life around your workouts, that's fine too. Always lay out your clothes the night before for an a.m. workout. Bring your gym bag to work with you for a p.m. workout. If you are meeting friends for dinner, plan a morning workout. If you need to be to work early, workout in the evening. Change your clothes at work then go straight to the gym. You're less likely to follow through on a plan to hit the gym if you stop at home or run errands.

3. Eat well. If you eat like crap, your body will react like crap. If you don't feel well during a workout, you will enjoy doing it less, thus being likely to stop.

4. Be accountable. Track your workouts and monitor progress. When I realized my running pace was 60 seconds faster per mile than a year ago, I wanted to make it 90 seconds faster. I'm now working on shaving off another 30 seconds per mile. is awesome for tracking cardio progress and Fitness Tracker 90 is good for resistance and weight training.

Talk about your progress with others. If you tell someone about your plan to run the next morning it may encourage you to follow through. Or BLOG about it!! LOL. Use Facebook... Update your status to say "Gone Running". Personally, I feel like if I say I've gone running, I MUST go running. It's following through, which I'm all about!

5. Set goals. Always wanted to finish a 5K? Better yet, in under 30 minutes? or even under 25? How about those half marathons all your girlfriends have been doing? Want to jump on the band wagon? Set your goal, create a REASONABLE plan and get it done!!

Okay, so there are some secrets. When people ask me, "how do you it?" and I reply with, "it's just one foot in front of the other, over and over and over", I guess I'm being cynical. There is MUCH more to it. And much more to it than what I just wrote about. It's got to be IN YOU. You've got to WANT IT. We each have our own secrets to success, and I'm glad I could share a few of mine with you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Great Training

I had been thinking about my marathon training over the past few days and realized that I followed a really great plan! To be actually walking around, cleaning and even willing to go for a recovery run/walk the very day after the race shows that I must have had successful training. It's not enough that I was able to complete the race (with no injury in fact) but to recover rapidly is a true testament. I figured I would share my plan for anyone who is interested...

Setting the goal to race is obviously the first step. Depending on your level of physical fitness should determine when you race. Four months out? six months out? Personally, I knew I'd be doing Hartford Marathon a year ago (right after I completed my first one). From months 1-6 (October '10-April '11), I pre-trained. I did a few 5k's, and even a half marathon. I didn't over stress about timing. I just ran to run. Got my miles in before I got down to business.

Come Spring 2011, I began training for the Ironhorse Half Marathon. It's a race I've done before... a flat course with beautiful scenery. It's at the beginning of June and I was able to PR with a time of 1:56:30. A minute and a half past my goal, but a PR nonetheless.

Post Ironhorse...let's get down and dirty...four months until the full marathon. My plan was to get a lot of cross training in (I'll add that I trained for two sprint triathlons in August and September. This helped immensely to avoid injury). My training schedule consisted of long runs on Saturdays with running and cross training during the week. I swam, biked, attended spin class, etc.

The distance of my long runs began at 6 miles and I added 1-2 miles to that distance each week. Below is a sample week from months June-September/October...

Monday: 5:45 a.m. Spin class followed by 5K run
Tuesday: 4 mile run, 600 meter lap swim
Wednesday: Weights, cross train (most likely the ARC Trainer at the gym)
Thursday: 4 mile run, 600 meter lap swim
Friday: Rest or cross train/weights
Saturday: Long run (Or brick training depending on where is was with tri training)
Sunday: rest completely

As it got later into my training, into the 15+ milers, I began to back pedal with mileage. For instance, if I ran 15 one week, I'd back pedal to 13 miles the next week, before doing 17 the following week. Then I'd go back to 13 before 19 the next week. This helped with extra healing time. I think not following this type of plan last year led to extended recovery time after the race.

Looking back on my year, I realize I was quite busy!! 2 half marathons, 2 sprint triathlons, 1 full marathon, several 5Ks, even a Warrior Dash and still one more half before the year is over.

Knock on injuries!! Definitely less running, more cross training is to credit for this year's success... and added weight training too. I'll save my weight training regiment for another post...

Hope this is helpful to anyone looking to adopt a successful training plan. In the end though, it boils down to what works for the individual. Good luck to you all!

Stroller Running

Most days I feel great during and after a run. It's no wonder why I enjoy the sport! If I had to run every day with Justin, my 25 pound kid in his 40ish pound stroller, however, I don't think I'd keep running. During and after my 4 mile run with hills today I felt incredibly unfit. Maybe it was the 65 extra pounds, maybe it was the hills, maybe the humidity, maybe a combination of it all.

I don't run with Justin too often. Maybe twice a month at best. If he's able to stay home with hubby or one of my parents, I'll opt to run solo, but today I had to bring him. Don't get me wrong, I love that I have the option. I'd just rather my arms be free and I not push a load up a hill.

I averaged a 9:15 pace which isn't great but still not bad. I love to be in the 8's for anything under 10 miles. The sense of competition I have with myself is awful, I know!!! Why cant I just go out and enjoy the sun on my face and the wind in my hair? I suppose I do, but it seems to be secondary to beating past run times.

Nonetheless I got my workout in for today. I hit the gym yesterday and got a 5er in on Tuesday. Rest day tomorrow then 8-10 miles Saturday morning...minus the stroller thankfully ;-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegas Half training begins!!

It's another quintessential New England day... Gray skies, blowing leaves, temps around 50something...perfect running weather!! I want to get back out there and begin training for the Vegas half which is in 6 or 7 weeks. I think I may run my first post marathon run tomorrow. Today will be a gym/crosstrain day. I rested for two days (albeit I did a short recovery run/walk on Sunday) but now it's back to the grind! I go back to work today so it's appropriate to get completely back into my routine.

Vegas will be memorable. Several people I know will be there all at the same time, a lot of them running the half. It's a night time run which starts and ends on the strip so will be pretty cool to be among the "glitz".

Joe, Justin and I are flying out with my mom. She is going to stay with my sister and we'll stay in a hotel. Then two Emilys I know are going too!

Emily Woodward, a fellow Windsor native will be doing her first half marathon!! And Emily Guayaba, a former Windsorite, will be leading a pace team and raising money for Chron's and Colitis! Of course my sis will be running too!

Until December 4, the day of the race, I'm going to focus on building speed and muscle. Gonna hit the track more often and do speed drills. I was dreaming about this last night sadly, lol. Going to focus too on eating better. I love sweets! But I need to cut back BIG TIME!

I think a good goal for this race should be 1:50, pacing 8:24/mile. I'm capable. I think. A few weeks ago, I did 13.1 at a 8:43 pace and that was with no "race adrenaline". We shall see. My sis wants average in the low 7's, eeekkk!! Who knows if either is possible. I know the race is close to selling out, making room for movement sparse.

So, I had my alarm set for an early gym sesh this morning but Justin was not allowing it to happen. That's okay though...will hit the gym later. Let's get this going! For now... Off to Burton's!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marathon #2 Complete!

I'm ready! Bring it!

Here I sit comfortably on the couch one day post ING Hartford Marathon. #2 in my marathon career. I'm feeling good! Sore of course but good. I'm still able to do the normal mom stuff... cleaning, dishes, laundry, etc. with minimal discomfort. My stomach was in knots yesterday but that's from the GU and Gatorade cocktails I was ingesting during the race.

I'm feeling sore but empowered! Love the fact that I have two marathons under my belt. 5 years ago I never would have thought I'd be able to say that. I was a lazy, pot smoking couch potato... now I'm not!!!

So, I started yesterday with the 4:05 pace group. Having stayed with them, I would have averaged a 9:21/mile pace for the entire race. I WISH I stayed with them. At the first few water stops, my group stopped to hydrate. I did not since I run with my water belt. I kept them in my sights though and kept at the target pace (so I thought). A few more water stops... they stopped I did not. I kept looking behind me and saw the bright yellow shirt my pace leader was wearing so I kept on, knowing they were right behind me. Then the group started to pass me. As they passed I saw on the back of the bright yellow shirt "3:55 Pace Group Leader". WHAT?? I had been running ahead of the 3:55??? I was averaging an 8:something mile! Woah, better slow down.... I didn't want to slow down though. I felt good.

I had made arrangements with my mom to meet me at mile 12 with a snack. I told her I'd meet her around 10:00am, assuming I was with my group. Since I was ahead of my group, I started to worry she'd not be there yet. It was 9:50 or so and luckily for me she was there. Holding up a big sign and holding my Mojo Bar. THANKS MOM!!

I saw my Aunt Gila next at miles 14 and 20. She lives just off the race route and goes to watch it every year. Saw my mom again around mile 22.

After mile 14 I had to pee. I pulled over to a port-o-potty. Ahhhh... relief! While I was in the bathroom though is when the 4:05 Pace group passed by. Mile 17 is the turn around point and just as I was approaching mile 17, the group was on their way back to Hartford. They had already turned around.

I almost started to cry. I had used so much energy at the start of the race that what I had left was escaping me. I held back tears. I made it to 17...18...19...20...22...saw the 4:10 group pass me...GRRRRRRRR!!!!!

"Get yourself together!!!" I kept on. I'll be honest, I had to stop and walk for a minute or so a few times. My feet were killing me. If I stayed with a group, I'd have moral support and probably wouldn't have stopped. Oh well.

Mile 24....25...There's Hartford!! I see it! I'm no longer in the suburbs. The finish line is CLOSE!! No more walking...People are watching....there are cameras everywhere. Can't let anybody see my weakness!

Mile 25 was soooooo long! Then 26... but it wasn't over....still .2 to go! LOL. By 25.5 I was back at a strong pace and form. Definitely the crowds were to thank.

Coming around the bend to the finish line, I saw my dad! then I heard Joe. I waved. I couldn't wait to cross the line and see my hubby and little boy!!

Oh goodness! and finally the finish line was under my feet!! Official finish time was 4:12:26. More than a half hour shaved off my time from last year! Disappointed I didn't finish with 4:05 but considering my original goal with the race was 4:20, I'm satisfied.

Maybe next year I'll do a sub 4:00...hmmmm

So another "victory" is had. I'm so thankful for my family... You all grant me not only the time to run but the motivation to. Without Joe, my parents, Justin and my sister, I'd have never ever entertained joining such a crazy culture!

Post-race with Dad, Missy and Vicki

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taper Week

Oy, I just got done with a post-punishment snuggle sesh with Justin. He was punished (put in his room) since he decided to smack me in the face during a diaper change. Diaper changes are NEVER easy with my kid. We even use "slip on" diapers now because they are quicker and take less steps to get on.

I think the hitting thing is a phase. He is two and I think him hitting is the way he feels he can express his frustration the best. Let's hope it passes. Potty training is on the horizon...which deserves a premature "oy".

So my 80's party on Saturday was great!! I had a blast. Danced, sang and partied til (gasp) 1:00am!! Lol. There was not one person that did not dress up. It was great and the birthday girl was so surprised!!

I took a rest day on Sunday as far as running goes. Ran 4 miles at an 8:45 pace on Monday but felt every bit of Saturday night in it. Too much beer and junk food. Today I did weights and the ARC trainer at the gym. I think I will do my last pre-marathon run (another 4) tomorrow then rest Thursday and Friday. Massage on Thursday, woot woot!!! Can't wait for that!!!

Loving taper week!! Very little stress and worry to get a workout in. And a massage too!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Crimped hair and lace gloves

I woke up today at 7:20...a late start to the morning. Justin let me sleep in a bit which was great because it was a cold morning. I wasn't ready to hit the pavement until it warmed up a bit...around 9:00. I enjoyed a cup of coffee, a mojo bar, some cartoons, Thomas the Train, then set out for 10 miles. Today's run was the last scheduled "long run" on my marathon training plan. It was a good feeling to finish and know that I'm now in my taper period. A week from today I will have two marathons under my belt! Yeah!!

I'm going to a party tonight which was perfectly scheduled. A girl I work with turns 30 tomorrow so her friend is throwing a surprise party for her with an 80's theme. Looking forward to letting loose with no run to worry about tomorrow. Hair is crimped, Debbie Gibson-esque outfit is laid out and Justin is with my dad overnight! Joe's not coming with me but I'm excited to have a night out on my own with people I don't usually hang out with.

Enjoying my day, now on to enjoying my night....

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Too easy to sleep in!

So here I sit on the floor playing Thomas the Train with Justin at 7:17 a.m. Still in my jammies, coffee in hand. My alarm was set for 6:20 to get a chilly morning run in (it's 37 degrees) but as soon as I heard the ding of the alarm, so did Justin. He knew what my intentions were and got all snuggly with me. I didn't fight it. Nothing better than snuggling in bed with my two fav guys. Except now I have the guilt of missing a workout...especially because yesterday was an un planned rest day. I already called dibs on an afternoon workout with the hubby. Let's hope however I still have energy after work to follow through.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I beat the rain!

I have a usual 4.1 mile loop I do around my neighborhood. It's fairly hilly, but quick. Today I completed my fastest run time of the route, ever. I averaged an 8:03 mile, finishing the run in 33:02. I felt comfortable at that pace which is exciting, considering two years + ago I was averaging well over 10 minute miles. What's better is I'm still dry! A big storm is about to open up right over our heads and I beat it home.

Every day holds potential for accomplishment. Today I'm pleased with my accomplishment.

Two Years Later...

Wow, just read what I had written two years ago and had a laugh. I had forgotten about this blog honestly until I was accidentally directed to it. Just got up to speed on what my thoughts were as a VERY new mom trying to complete her first marathon. Talk about whiny.... Flash forward two years and I am a whole new person. Thank goodness. Maybe it was hormones back then, lol.

Since November 2009, I've accomplished a lot in my running life. My first full marathon was not the Hyannis as I set out to do per the below posts. I think along the way I decided 26.2 before Justin turned 6 months was too much. I completed my first full in October 2009. My son, in my hubby's arms greeted me at the finish line, age 15 months. I've completed countless half marathons since a few years ago, entered the triathlon community as a sprinter and will be completing my second 26.2 in another 10 or so days. The ING Hartford Marathon again. I've also managed to become a placer in my age group and overall among women in 5K's.

My goal is the same as it was before... to set an example for our youth. Justin is growing up watching his mama succeed in maintaining physical health. He is at almost every finish line with my husband to cheer me on. I believe I'm fostering an environment for him that encourages growth, strength and perseverance. He sees me in pain and in glory after my training runs and just maybe 10 years or so, I will have rubbed off on him enough that he'll be running races with me.