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...