Friday, March 29, 2013

Forced to Retire at 70

I introduced you to my Loyal Hound a couple of years ago when I started writing this blog. Booney has been running with me since he was a pup back in Ohio, but he made his race debut here in New Hampshire at the 2011 My Dogs Are Barking 5K.

For the last few years, Booney has been slowing down on our runs and struggling with anything more than 3 miles. As much as he loves the idea of going for a run, it just isn't the best thing for him anymore. So more times than he would like, he has to wait for us back at the house or next to the treadmill.

Booney turned 70 10 last week, so my husband and I thought it was time to officially announce Booney's retirement. He will still get to join us on short fun runs, but most of his exercise will come from walks, playing in the yard, and swimming!

How far does your running buddy go with you?

Monday, March 25, 2013

What's In Your Fitness Closet? Winter Edition

When I first started running, I didn't think much about what I was wearing. I just grabbed whatever was already in my closet. Years later I have learned that running year round requires some investment in appropriate gear. 

Since I am beyond ready to pack up my winter gear, I thought I'd share what I have been running in all season in a Winter Edition of What's In Your Fitness Closet?

My winter gear is mostly made up of thermal tops, half zips, and long pants. The winters here in New England can get bitterly cold and snowy. So I have stocked up on some essentials to make sure I can run outside in any conditions.

The Nike therma-fit crew neck pullovers are perfect on most of my cold running days. They have thumb holes so I can keep my hands warm without having to wear gloves. They are thicker than the normal dri-fit, yet work the same way: keep me dry.

I also like to wear the Nike dri-fit half-zips. Although they are ideal for winter running, they are a little lighter-weight. Like the therma-fits they all come with thumb holes, but the best features are the mitten cuffs and back zip-pocket that can be found on some. 

My favorite winter running top is a new one I found this year. The Nike Pro Hyperwarm Mock Turtle Neck is perfect on those cold AND windy days. The turtle neck is adjustable with drawstrings and can be used to protect your face. 

In the winter my bottoms are either pants or tights. The pants are nice because they fit snuggly without feeling restrictive the way some running tights can. Running tights work perfectly on runs when the streets are slushy because they don't get wet and heavy.

This year I splurged on a pair of Lululemon Runder Under tights and they became my favorite because they are really soft, warm, and look good. The hidden pockets are very convenient and you can roll them up to add a safety reflective feature. But really, they just look the best!

On really cold days, I obviously wear gloves and/or a hat (if I must), but my new favorite accessory is my Lululemon Brisk Run Neck Warmer. It might look a little funny, but it works so well as either a hood or turtleneck. 

Since it is officially Spring according to the calendar, I am really hoping that the weather here in NH catches up so that I can replace my winter running gear with shorts, skirts, and tanks!

Now, tell me: What's in your fitness closet?

Check out more closets by heading over to Pavement Runner's link up today!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

TrainingTruths: Next Up #9

After completing half marathon #8, last week was about recovery and switching gears. I've mentioned that I'll be heading home to Cincinnati to run the Flying Pig Half Marathon in May. I was going to run this race last year, but instead choose to be a blogging ambassador for the Cox Providence Half Marathon

So, over the next six weeks I'm going to maintain my endurance and try to stay healthy. 

#TrainingTruth: The run never ends

Tuesday: Another snow day here in NH kept me cooped up inside, but didn't keep me off the treadmill. This post NYC Half run felt pretty good considering my legs were a little sore. Easy runs are great for recovery.

Thursday: My husband was back from his trip and on running duty. He is beginning his half marathon training which worked perfectly with my recovery week. We took advantage of the gorgeous afternoon to run one of our favorite routes to the pond and back. The easy 4 miles felt awesome in the sunshine and sporting some capris. Hurry Spring!

Saturday: Still following the hubs' training schedule, we eased into the morning with a six mile run to town and back. We were virtual runners too, dedicating our miles to the Sandy Hook Run for the Families 5K. Although the sun was shining, it was a cold morning with frigid winds. 

What do you do when you reach your fitness goal?

#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!

Friday, March 22, 2013

If It Makes you Happy

Happy Friday everyone! Angela at Happy Fit Mama recently asked What makes you happy? Of course Fridays make me happy because I really like weekends, so to kick off Fitness Friday I'm going to share my happy list. Angela guarantees it will make me happy.

My Happy List:

Race-cations - I love to take weekend trips and if you throw in a race, even better! Last weekend I was hanging out in New York prior to the NYC Half, but I've also taken race-cations to Newport, Cape Cod, Cape Elizabeth, and Providence. Coming up next is a weekend in Newport to include the Newport 10 Miler.

ZOOMA Ambassador 2013 - I was recently notified that I will be serving as an ambassador for the Cape Cod race again! I'm looking forward to hanging out with the ZOOMA ladies and meeting some new friends.

My treadmill - Five years ago I bought this little gem because I was a newbie to NH and somewhat intimidated by the elevation and lack of sidewalks in my neighborhood. Even though I have (somewhat) successfully become a year-round New England runner, there are still times when the weather just doesn't cooperate.

Snowplows - Speaking of weather, this is a glimpse at what Mother Nature dumped on us during the Nemo Blizzard. Thankfully the plow guy showed up with the Big Rig! Hopefully I've seen the last of plow guy until next winter.

Shiny New PRs - Whether I'm aiming for them or not, I love the feeling of besting my time in any distance, but especially the half marathon. The only thing that could make it better, would be knowing what I did right to make it happen.

Pizza - I'm not sure what it is about some dough, sauce, and cheese, but a Margherita pizza always puts a smile on my face. 

Strawberry Daiquiris - Even though it's loaded with calories, I love to splurge on a frozen, fresh strawberried drink.

Flowers - I know they only live a short time, but receiving a colorful bouquet of flowers always warms my heart. I'll never get tired of walking into a room and seeing my favorites.

Home - We have a crazy family schedule in our house, but I really like it when we can all hang out together. 

So, now it's your turn. 

What makes you happy? 

If you write your own blog post, be sure to come back and leave a link to your post for me!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NYC Half Marathon Recap

I was so excited to arrive in New York City for the NYC Half Marathon on Friday evening with my running partner. The drive from NH wasn't bad at all and Daisy easily got us to the hotel. After checking in we had a late dinner at a little pizzeria down the block near Radio City Music Hall.

On Saturday we grabbed a quick breakfast from the Gourmet Deli across the street from the hotel and then walked to the expo. Even though we knew we were looking for the Penn Plaza Pavilion (which by-the-way is NOT in Penn Station), we were both expecting to see expo signs to help us with the NYC address of 401 Seventh Avenue at West 32nd Street - no such luck. So, it was a little difficult, but we finally found it.

I learned from Daisy that just a few years ago, this race did not have an expo at all. That might explain its small size. The expo may not have been as large as I was expecting, but it was sufficient. We picked up our bibs and shirts, and then browsed the vendors serving the usual runner needs of clothing, shoes, nutrition and recovery, along with some souvenir items.

One fun part of the expo was the free runner photos. Jump in, snap a picture, print it out, and then email it to yourself if you want. These photo opps are always fun.

We were on our way out when I spotted a familiar face from nycrunningmama! It was so nice to finally meet Michelle in person.    

It was a 530 wake up on Sunday morning to get out the door for the race. We grabbed some breakfast from the deli again, and then made our way to Central Park. It was pretty easy getting there, just follow the runners, but it was freezing! For a race hosting over 15,000 runners the pre-race process was super organized. Runners had the option of dropping provided bags at the designated gear check on Fifth Avenue before entering the park and heading to corrals. 

NYRR photo

We had to be in our corrals by 7AM, so we made our way through the park toward the start area. Each corral had its own set of approximately 20 port-a-potties which meant no line, no waiting. I was glad that I brought a throw-away sweatshirt (courtesy of my husband) to wear over my Nike half zip because with the windchill the temp was 20 degrees. I should have brought a throw away hat and gloves too.

After listening to some fun music, they introduced the elite runners, local favorites, and then the National Anthem to start the race. It took 15 minutes for us to cross the start line! The first half of the race was a loop around Central Park. Running with the crowd helped me be patient and let my legs warm up for the park hills. First half splits: 9:09, 8:49, 8:31, 8:46, 8:49, 8:29. 

Just after the 10K split, the course exited the park on Seventh Avenue. The wall of spectators cheering from the sidelines was the most deafening and incredible experience. I felt like a rock star coming out of the park. I paused on the side to grab some Cytomax, take a quick picture, and look for Daisy. We somehow got separated around mile 5. When I didn't see her, I figured she had already passed by.

View down 7th Ave.

The next couple of miles literally flew by. These were some of my fastest of the race and I remained in awe of the spectators, the music, and of course Times Square

Running in Times Square

After passing through Times Square, the course took a right on 42nd Street for about a mile and then turned onto the West Side Highway for the remaining stretch to the finish. It was at the u-turn that I finally saw Daisy (which was a relief to know that we were close to each other). At mile 9 I started playing the mental game. Only 4 more miles to go. Then at mile 10 I was thinking, just a 5K left. I tried to focus on the sites I was expecting to see along the Hudson River waterfront, such as the WTC and Statue of Liberty. 

View down West Side Hwy

With less than a mile to go and feeling a sense of urgency to get to the finish, the course headed into the Battery Park Underpass Tunnel. The tunnel was fun as runners' and spectators' cheers and shouts echoed off the tunnel walls. The fun ended when I realized I had to climb out of the tunnel and to the finish line. Second half splits: 8:17, 8:03, 8:54, 9:12, 8:45, 9:06, 9:45.

Everything about this race was organized, including the finish line area. After being handed my medal, I was directed to the finisher's photo line where I texted my husband and Daisy, and then waited for her. We had our photo taken and then continued our exit. On our way to claim Daisy's gear bag, someone handed us our recovery bags and mylar blankets: two things I needed because my Simple Hydration bottle was empty and I was freezing again. The recovery bag was much appreciated because everything was already in it: water, Gatorade, apple, pretzels. More races need to do this!

I went into this race fully intending to have fun and take a bunch of pictures. I had a blast while running thanks to the amazing NYC spectators, volunteers, and entertainment. If it had been warmer and I knew WHAT to take pictures of, I would have taken more. There was just so much to see; I admit that I was a little overwhelmed. I found some great course photos by another blogger here. Needless to say, I was completely surprised to see my finish time and a brand new PR! And I love that the NYC Half Marathon had its own app that runners and spectators could use before, during, and after the race.

From NYC Half '13 App.

Once we made our way through the crowd we stopped at the NYRR tent. I wanted to buy this really cute tee, but the CC system was down and I didn't have enough cash without giving up my subway fare. We waited for as long as we could stand in the cold and spare since we had to check out of our hotel by noon. Sadly, to order online I'd have to spend $14 to have it shipped. 

You can view all the excitement in this highlight show from On the Run:

Huge thanks to my BRF Daisy for not only running with me, but also for joining me on this race-cation adventure! Stay tuned for the next one...

Monday, March 18, 2013

TrainingTruths: No excuses.

First, let me announce the winner of the NYC Blogiversary Awesome giveaway:

Congratulations to Jill F!

Check your inbox for an email with details on how to claim your prize!

It was another slow week of training last week

I use that word loosely because I actually only ran once before leaving on Friday to run the New York City Half Marathon.

I was supposed to run on Tuesday, but it was raining. Instead of coming right home after a day of "professional development" and running on the treadmill, I took a break. That break ended up lasting all evening. Training fail.

On Thursday morning I received my daily dose of Runner's World motivation via the Quote of the Day.

How fitting. So after school I came home and went for an easy run with my husband. We did our regular out and back route. Once we got going, I found myself feeling better. The lack of motivation I had been experiencing began to be replaced with happy endorphins. 

We arrived in NYC on Friday evening, spent most of Saturday at the expo and site-seeing before the half marathon on Sunday. I went into this totally planning to just have fun and take some pictures along the way. I did that, but then I PR'd too! (Race recap coming soon)

Crazy blurry start corral picture!

How do you get past the excuses and do the work?

#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fitness Friday: NYC or Blogiversary?

NYC or Blogiversary? It's hard to chose which makes me happier!

Today my bags are packed and after school I'm off to NYC with my running partner for our NYC Half Marathon weekend

It's been fun getting ready.

It is also my Blogiversary Weekend! I've had some amazing experiences in the last year:

I ran another half marathon with my husband
I served as a ZOOMA ambassador
I met and ran with with Joan Benoit Samuelson
I participated in my first relay RTB:NH
I hosted my first Chilly Challenge
I added Maine to the list of places I have run

As a way to say Thank You to all of you for reading, following, commenting, and supporting this little blog of mine for the past two years, I thought I'd pick up a NYC souvenir and have a fun little giveaway. I don't know what it will be yet, but you can count on it being running related.

To enter for a chance to win my Blogiversary Gift

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Entries will be accepted until 11:59 on March 17, 2013. US residents only. Winners will be announced Monday.

Monday, March 11, 2013

TrainingTruths: Running Gives You Freedom

Congrats to Sassy Bands winners Erin S., Kasy, and Mindy! Check your emails!

Last week was unusually busy, and I was tired. My normal running days schedule went out the window completely, but not the miles. I love that with running you can decide when to run, determine your pace, choose your course, and think about whatever you want. 

TrainingTruth: Running gives you freedom

THURS: This was my first workout of the week. I laced up my shoes with trepidation about how it was going to go after "resting" for five days. I decided to run on the treadmill (just in case) and choose a 6x800 workout. Other than initially flip-flopping the order of run/recover, I felt pretty good. I'm still doubting the pace of my treadmill, but going by effort I feel like I did a good interval run.

FRI: I don't usually run two days in a row (I fear injury), but with an unexpected snow day, I couldn't resist. This gave me a chance to catch up on the miles I lost at the beginning of the week. Since there was a snow storm going on, I choose the treadmill again and just ran. I didn't go with a planned distance or pace or workout. I just ran. When I felt like stopping, I did.

SUN: We pushed our Saturday long run to Sunday. This was our final long run before the NYC Half Marathon. Since Central Park has hills, lots of rolling hills, we chose a long route that also had some hills. It felt really good to get back outside. I was worried about how my legs would feel, but my conservative approach to hills seems to be working. I still get winded, but my legs are holding up better.

Since we're talking hills, I saw this on Pinterest

                                                         Source: Uploaded by user via Kelly on Pinterest

Which reminded me of this tweet.

What does running give you?

#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fitness Friday: Keep it Sassy Giveaway

Running gear isn't cheap. Like most runners, I'm always on the lookout for quality products at reasonable prices. Headbands are required running gear for me. They need to stay put, hold my hair away from my face, and look nice. 

I first saw Sassy Bands in pictures being worn by my friend Erin who is also a runner. After seeing several more pictures of the super cute headbands, I finally checked them out. There were tons of colors and designs, but I couldn't believe the prices.

I reached out to Sassy Bands because I wanted to see for myself if these headbands were as good as they looked, even though they are much more affordable than other bands out there. I found out that Sassy Bands was started by a soccer mom who found the other headbands too pricey, so she started making her own for her daughter. Soon her daughter's teammates were making requests for bands too. 

Paula sent me three bands to try. Not only are they adorable, but they are non-slip velvet backed and comfortable (I tried them on several runs). They come in over 300 different styles (with new ones every week) and the choice of 4 different widths. Sassy Bands also offers custom sizes and have been made for as young as 18 months.

I'm really looking forward to wearing the Flying Pig Sassy Band during the half marathon in Cincinnati in May. You can order your own Sassy Bands by sending an email through the Facebook Page or by emailing directly at

Now I want to share some sass with you! Three of you will win your choice of three Sassy Bands! To enter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run until Sunday, March 10 at 11:59 PM EST.  Winner will be announced on Monday.  Good luck!

(I was given headbands by Sassy Bands in exchange for a review.  Sassy Bands is providing the giveaway.  I was not compensated for this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Black Cat 10 Miler 2013

Saturday I was back in Salem, Massachusetts for a Black Cat 10 Miler repeat. This race was started in 2010 with the intention of being a Boston Marathon 20 mile training race, but then evolved to offer a 10 miler and relay option too.  Last year I ran it a couple of weeks after completing an awesome sub 2-hour half marathon. This year, I used it as one of my final long training runs for my next half marathon.

Getting to the race meant an early wake up and departure because it was about 70 minutes away and it started at 8AM. At the race site we quickly picked up our race bibs and shirts, hit the restrooms, and then stayed warm inside while listening to the DJ'd music.

We spent a little more time at the start line than I would have liked since it was only 30 degrees and the sun wasn't strong enough to provide much warmth. I was wearing a new pair of Nike thermal running pants, but I still got the shivers. I knew once we got going I would be fine though.

As usual I went out faster than I would have liked. Since the first mile or so was mostly flat, I didn't worry too much about my pace. I knew we would hit the most challenging hill on the course heading into Marblehead around mile 2.5, so I slowed down even though I wanted to keep up with Daisy. When I hit the turn around, I saw her heading to the port-a-potties, so I stopped to blow my nose. She was having issues with her running top, so I went on ahead of her.

Turn around at Devereux Beach

My first half splits:

Mile 1    833
Mile 2    839
Mile 3    901
Mile 4    837
Mile 5    851

After the turn around, my early morning departure started to catch up to me. I did not have my normal pre-run breakfast and my gas tank was running on low. My Simple Hydration Water Bottle with Cytomax helped boost my energy, but also left my stomach feeling queasy for most of my final miles. In the last mile there were a couple of short climbs that tested me mentally, but I was so ready to be done that I forced myself to push on. 

Official time 1:32:21

Second half splits:

Mile 6    913
Mile 7    909
Mile 8    908
Mile 9    935
Mile 10  858 

This was my third ten-miler and my slowest time, but I chalk that up to my fuel fail. I'm happy with my race pace (officially 914) and my ability to pull it together when I started feeling crappy. I guess you could say that I'm finally learning to listen to my body.

I like this race. It has a horrible start time for runners coming from out of town, but it's a great distance, semi-challenging, has great runner support before, during and after, and gives out a finisher's medal along with an awesome long sleeve shirt. 

Want to know more about my awesome silver sparkly headband? Check out my Sassy Bands review and giveaway coming soon!

Monday, March 4, 2013

TrainingTruths: Running with the Stars

When people read that a trio of Olympians will be running the NYC Half Marathon in a couple of weeks, they might get nervous. Even me, although I've already met and run with an Olympic Marathoner

This is one of the reasons I find the running community so amazing. Olympic runners, elite runners will line up along side average runners like me to run a race. For a short time, we will all be winners.  

#TrainingTruths: Every runner is a star!

Tuesday: Not even a vacation could interfere with my training to give chase in New York. Although it was a rainy morning in Florida, I still enjoyed a relatively warm run through the green. Not many people ventured out, so I felt like I owned the road.

Wednesday: Since I would be traveling on Thursday and I try to avoid running two days in a row to keep injuries away, I decided to go for a walk. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and I loved the easy, relaxed feeling of being on vacation.

Saturday: Used the Black Cat 10 Miler in Salem, MA (through Marblehead - home to Olympian Shalane Flannigan) as our long run. I love when races fit so perfectly into the training plan! This was a pre-fuel fail for me. The 8AM start meant we were out the door at 530 without my traditional pre-run breakfast. Thanks to my Simple Hydration Water Bottle and some Cytomax I was able to manage the energy in my tank for a pretty good finish.

Have you ever met a celebrity runner?
Tell me about your most recent bright moment!