January ends with another memorable run!

Well here we are the last day of January and once again I feel like I am behind on my training schedule for my upcoming half in March.  My longest run has only been 6 miles. This time it's not because of an injury (thank goodness) but I can't really pinpoint why I am behind. Obviously it's just been a lack of long runs on the weekends. 

I've been doing the majority of my runs during the week and by the time I come home from work, take care of Baylee, change my clothes and drive to the park, I really only have enough time to get in 6 miles before it starts getting dark.  I guess this means that I need to make a commitment to get out and run on Saturday and do more than 6 miles.

I want to share a bit about how my last run of the month went yesterday because it ended up being another memorable one!

I saw on my weather app that there may be some flurries late in the afternoon, so I made it my business to try to get a run in before it started.  The entire way home the skies were blue and the sun was shining. When I pulled into the parking lot of the park, I saw that although there was no snow on the road, there was a light covering on the grass. Hmm, it must have snowed here already.

I did my normal loop, and then ran across the bridge where the pedestrian path was covered with a light sheet of snow so I took it pretty easy. I looped around town and during the last block I had to walk a tiny bit because it was starting to get slippery on the road. I crossed the street and headed back over the bridge where I took it easy once again.  Once I ran back into the park, I saw the most beautiful sight. There were 6 deer  on the path! I hadn't seen deer here in so long. I've become less frightened of them since the almost-attack a few years ago and have now become more intrigued!

I couldn't get all 6 of them in the picture at one time but I am surprised how long they stood there and let me take pictures of them.   When I first saw the deer, I shut my music off and just watched them for a moment. They looked so pretty against the back drop of snow.  I only had a half mile left to run  after I spotted them and I did it sans music. It was such a peaceful way to end my run (and my month)!  -M

I say that this run ends my month because I hear we may get snow tomorrow afternoon and if that is the case I will not get out to run.

                                            We are linking up with the gals from TOTR.

Weekly Wrap...Jan 29

Here we are at the end of the month and I only now feel like I'm getting into a groove with my running.  Since I'm not going all out for this training cycle (you can read about that HERE), I decided to work my running around my life instead of work my life around my running. That pretty much means I haven't designated certain days for training and certain days for rest.  I'm basing it off of the weather and what other tasks I have planned for the day. 

So I guess that means that if the weather's nice I'll go run or if I feel like coming home and spending the afternoon with Baylee, I'll do that too. I'm not training for the Olympics here and I'm not gonna win any prize money so it doesn't really matter. I know that sounds completely lazy,  but I don't want running to over take my life this year. I have too many other things in my life that I want to dedicate time to as well. 

After several days of sunny skies, we finally got some grey ones here this week.

It was a bit hazy for my run on Sunday but it was warm so I didn't care. My Garmin recorded the humidity at 93 percent! I was debating on doing 5 or 6 miles. I decided on 6 but my Garmin could only hold out till 5.65 miles before it died (my fault for not making sure it was fully charged).  When I got home a had a REALLY good foam rolling and stretch session! I haven't done that in a long time.

Monday was a clerical day at work before the new semester started. We had no students so I got out early. I would have run except for it was raining. I know rain hasn't stopped me before but this was a colder rain.  Instead, I picked up Baylee and we went for treats.

A Gingerbread Latte for me and organic pumpkin treats for her. Just perfect for a rainy afternoon.

On Tuesday I had a work delay due to the sleet and then spent the rest of the evening on the phone with iFit about my iFit module for my bike and treadmill. I have called this company several times and I will tell you that once I get a customer service person they are SO helpful but the process of actually getting a person is awful. I am on hold for no less than 30 minutes each time. I've actually put my phone on speaker phone, got in the shower, got out and was still on hold!

Wednesday the skies were blue again and the sun was out. I only did 3 miles because I was annoyed with my Garmin. I mentioned in my Running Through a Horror Film post that my band was getting ready to fall apart. Well right before I left for this run, it did. I made do by taping it back together for the run.

I was annoyed because I could not see my mileage time or pace through the tape. I was running just by the sound of the beeps. It ended up I stopped .08 miles short, so I continued to run even after I stopped the Garmin.  Luckily my dad has agreed to let me use his Garmin Forerunner until I either get this one fixed or get a new one. 

On Saturday I did 8.9 miles through Central Park (on my Nordic Track bike)!  I finally started using the iFit program for my bike and treadmill which has the Google maps and I absolutely love it! I can bike and run anywhere in the world.  I chose Central Park in NYC for this ride and let me tell you it was tough! I normally can do 10 miles on the bike with no problem but I was ready to be done on this ride by mile 3. Since the bike is iFit compatible, it as able to use real elevation levels of the route that is chosen.  I don't know why I waited so many years to start using this program!

And that's my week in a nutshell!   Do you have any programs you use for your indoor bike or treadmill?  -M

Thank you to Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap link up! 

My next Race-cation is coming up! Please don't judge me.

I really want to run in NYC, but I don't have the guts to run the full marathon. The thought has crossed my mind to do the 5K but it's a pretty pricey endeavor for a 5K that doesn't even give a medal to show for it.

I found the NYC United Airlines half marathon a few years back but the March race date always became a deterrent.  After completing my last Disney Race on my bucket list ( the Wine n Dine), it became more apparent that there were other races I wanted to run so I set some intentions to run big city races and of course NYC would HAVE to be one of them.

     So, I'll be running the New York City half marathon this March.

I did not get into the lottery, Scott purchased the race registration for me for Christmas through a travel partner which honestly was the best way to do it.  By going through the travel partner we are getting top notch hotel accommodations and race day transportation taken care of as well as some other incidentals.  This is a huge relief for me as I would have stressed out about trying to find the best hotel and on how to navigate to the start line by myself.

Okay, so here is the part where I ask you not to judge me. I'm pretty sure this race is going to be a one and done for me (but then again I said that about my first marathon), but really, I'm pretty sure.  For this reason I want to concentrate on just taking in the experience and not having ANY time goals. I'll do what I can and that will be it.

I know I often say I have no time goals but secretly in my mind I usually have a time to beat (don't we all do that?).  But this time it is different for several reasons.

1. Training takes place in the winter and that is when I am LEAST motivated to run. Plus, I have a lot of personal things going on now until the end of March so that is eating up some of my time.  Honestly, I'm going to do just enough to get by and keep from getting injured.  (Don't judge me). I'm not working on speed here.

 *Edit: The weather here has been nicer than expected so perhaps I will be able to get more outdoor runs in than I had originally anticipated (If I can find the time).

2. I know another thing that will slow me down are the hills in Central Park. I don't have hills to train on here but I am doing more incline runs on the treadmill.

3. I'm prepared for race day to be MISERABLE (I mean weather wise).  I'm prepared for colder temps up in NY and gusty winds.

4. I'll be running by myself. I don't actually mind running by myself, it just means that I can run my own pace and do my own thing and not feel obligated to keep up or slow down to someone else's pace. However, when I run with my sister I do feel like she keeps me motivated.

5. My only goal is to just finish and grab a few iconic pics along the way.

I already know for these reasons that this will be a tough race for me mentally, but I'm looking forward to it!

Will you be training over the winter for a long distance race? -M

The Shamrock Struggle

We all know it is hard to motivate ourselves during the winter months when it seems to be always cold or dark on our runs. The other week the TOTR the topic was race-cations  and whether we're a fan or not. I am definitely a fan of race-cations. But again, you can’t beat local races where you can sleep in your own bed and do not have the travel expenses.  

I have been undecided lately about putting a spring race on my calendar.  Every year I've lived here I would always run the Shamrock Marathon. Not sure really why, because every year I have done it the weather has been awful, cold, windy, and/or rainy. 

This is probably the biggest race in the area and attracts many runners. I knew that if I was going to sign up it had to be soon before the price increased again. I looked up the price and of course it was already more than I wanted to pay. I noticed that there was a processing fee also (like most races have). I wonder what the processing fee really is for?  I feel like it is another way for the company to make a few more dollars.   I remembered last time when I lived down in the area I was able to drop off the check personally to their corporate office to eliminate the fee. 

I was going to call and see if that was still possible. They said it was going to still be a $5 processing fee to do it manually now. What? Now that is just ridiculous! I said well I should just use my friend’s coupon code for $5 off the price. He says yes you can do that and that would eliminate the processing fee. I said well it would not eliminate it, just reduce the price, because the processing fee was still more than $5I feel like they get you one way or another! 

I kept thinking if I should spend the money on the race this year after running it before.  I don’t even like the race that much nor the course. And why would I want to spend money to run on a course I do daily? Maybe because I am used to the course because I run it regularly so I know what to expect. When I have run Shamrock in the past, those races were always my best times.  I feel like I have become a much strong runner now than I was back then so I want to see what I can do. Bonus, it is a flat course! 

 I was debating on signing up for the race for a while now but It wasn’t  until that weekend when I got snowed in (and was stuck in the house for three days straight) that I actually thought I needed something to motivate me to get my runs done.  So I finally made the decision to click submit. 

Honestly I think my biggest reason was because of FOMO. Not only do I see this on social media, but I see signs and advertisements for this particular race around my area daily. As much as I hated to spend the money on this local race, I think I would have ended up regretting not doing it when it came to the date. 

Do you have FOMO? What is your reason to repeat certain races? Do you repeat ones you do not like just because it is convenient?  L

Collect Moments

I saw this graphic and thought it was perfect for this week's blog topic which was about how much $ we are willing to spend on races.

My sister and I talk about this subject often. Over the years we've done a lot of race-cations and we've never regretted spending $ on any of them. In fact, vacations is something we never skimp on.

But let me keep this in perspective, we don't buy a lot of "things".  We don't spend money at bars, go to movies every weekend, or eat out every night. When we buy clothes, we try to buy on sale and our shampoo does not cost $12 a bottle.  I think there is a give and take to everything.  We like to race and we like to stay at nice hotels, so that's what we would rather spend our $ on.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you have to spend a lot of $ to have a great time or a memorable experience, that is NOT the case. I'm just saying at the end of the day (or month), you might regret not doing a race but I doubt you would ever say, "I wish I really wouldn't have spent (x amount of money) on that race/vacation".

Some of my best life moments have been travel with family and friends for race-cations and that alone is priceless.

On the OTHER hand, when it comes to local races, we do have a limit. We think anything more than $30 is too much for a small 5K.  Before you think we are cheapskates, let me explain.

 We've done a variety of races at a variety of different price points. Some of the higher priced 5K's offer an event along with it, a t-shirt, a medal or at least AG medals, and raffles.  Some smaller races don't offer any of those things and they are priced accordingly.

 HOWEVER, if a race registration is $25 or $30 and they don't offer a t-shirt, or AG awards, or anything else but the course, I'm sorry but I think that is greedy of a local race. I've seen this happen before and I know they are usually suppose to be for some charity (sometimes), but come on, they need to offer something to their runners.

So there ya have it. We are willing to spend whatever (with in reason of course) on race-cations but when it comes to local races, they better be reasonably priced. How's that for logic?

We'll be linking up with the gals from TOTR!

Weekly Wrap.....Jan 22

This  week is going to be pretty picture heavy as I post about some random highlights from my week.

For this training cycle I'm trying to do one shorter run and one longer run on the trail each week. Some runs are going to happen on the treadmill depending on the weather and how busy the week is.  This past week was pretty busy but fun.

Sunday I did 5 treadmill miles at home. I should have went outside but I was being lazy. Then Thursday I headed back to the trail.

This week's trail run was SO MUCH different different than last weeks. I had sunny skies for all 5 miles and not a drop of rain. I was pro-active and decided to run only 5 miles instead of 6 because I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish 6 miles before the sun went down.  I got my 5 miles completed just in time.

We are working on a home project so my cross training this week consisted of packing and carrying boxes (and furniture) up and down steps.  It may not seem like a workout but believe me, it WAS!

Other fun things from the week.........

I made home made authentic Restaurant style Chinese food for dinner this week. I'm a huge fan of Chicken and Broccoli at our local Chinese restaurant and have been wanting to try to make it myself.  I found some recipes online and tweaked them. Not to toot my own horn but it turned out AMAZING! Even Scott couldn't believe how good it was.  I'll try to post the recipe later.

I got a new book this week! I have been wanting this book by Victoria Beckham for years now! My intention was to look for it at the library instead of buying it but I never did. One evening Scott was shopping on Amazon and feeling pretty generous so he invited my friend and I each to  to pick something out we wanted. Of course I picked a book!

It was time to change the background on my work computer from Christmas labs to something more seasonally appropriate. I found this one with the lab and the rose and fell in love. It reminded me of my old lab. It makes me smile!

Speaking of work, I had a student come in the other day to make up a presentation she missed. Her presentation was on visiting Orlando. One of her slides was on Disney world and she had plenty of pictures. As I looked more closely I saw a familiar one.

It was a picture of  my sister and my mom riding bikes on the path at Disney World. It was posted on our blog a few years back.  When I saw it I had to laugh and asked her where she found the picture. She said she just found it through a Google search.  Isn't that something? What are the chances!

Okay, I guess that's enough randomness for the week! What were some of your random highlights this week? -M

We are linking up with Holly and Tricia for their weekly wrap! 

Winter Randomness

  I admit that I was never really the "outdoorsy" type.  Heck if it was less than 70 degrees outside, I would say it was cold and I certainly would have no reason to be outdoors.  And winter, I thought winter was just miserable UNTIL I actually started spending time outside running in it.

1. Since running, I've found a greater appreciation for nature in ALL weather. I not only love running in the summer, but appreciate the smell of fall air and the crunch of leaves beneath my feet in autumn. I even enjoy the beauty of a snow covered path and frosty branches in winter.

2. I've realized that "cold" is relative. Since I've been running I no longer think 50 degrees or even 40 degrees is cold.  I will admit that when it gets below 32 degrees, it gets cold and if it's in the 20's I probably won't run.  I do all my runs during the day so I rarely see those low temps on my run anyway. 

3. I've come to realize that I live in a part of the country that will indeed experience winter weather every year. I also realize that my area does not experience the "Polar Vortex' that I hear other bloggers talking about.  When I hear others are running in negative temps, I surely won't complain about weather in the 30's or 40's.

54 degrees on my run yesterday, just perfect!

4. I've looked at the extended forecast for my area through the end of March and I have to say it doesn't look too bad. We have about 2 or 3 really cold days coming up but after that it looks like Spring might be on it's way. But then again, how accurate can those extended forecasts be when they are predicting weather for 2 months out?

5. I've realized that I don't hate winter. I think winter in December is just festive but by the end of January/early February it's just a prelude to Spring (hopefully), It keeps us anxious as to what's to come! 

So even though I 'm not bothered by less than ideal weather, I do enjoy a good old snow day once in a while. They are the perfect time to cuddle up on the couch and watch Hallmark movies without feeling guilty!

How has weather been in your area? Have you had nice days like us or are you experiencing negative temps?

Hawaii- KoKo Head trail stairs in Oahu

I wanted to share one of the activities that we did in Hawaii that I didn't go in to detail on during the Friday 5 post (because I didn't want to make the post so long).

Koko head trail stairs in Oahu Hawaii

On Thursday, after visiting Pearl Harbor,  we hiked up Koko Crater Trail ( also known as the KoKo Head Stairs). We have wanted to hike this trail all week, but didn’t want to do it before the marathon or the next day after (as I'm sure you'l be able to see why).

The trail consist of old railroad ties that are mounted on the side of the mountain from the bottom to the top.   During World War 2, the Military created a pillbox bunker lookout on top of the mountain. They used the railway as a way to transport cargo and supplies to the top.  Now it is just used as one of the best look out points on the island.

 We had read several reviews about this and they all said it was very challenging. One said I consider myself fit, and I thought it was difficult. We both thought, well heck we just ran a marathon I think we can do a few steps. And oh my, they were not kidding. The distance was 1.8 miles up a mountain. The steps were very uneven and there was no railing to hold on to. Some steps were extremely steep. 

hiking, Hawaii

  We were struggling and we were not even half way up.  The higher up we got, the better the view was and the more we were able to see.

Hawaii Marathon

Yocould tell the people that were tourist because most would stop every few steps while the locals would be running up it (they must be used to it). I did ask this one guy after seeing him several times how many times he runs up this. He says only 3 times about 4 times a week like it was nothing.   It took us over an hour to get to the top and we did not even know if we were going make it.  I read somewhere there was a total of 1050 steps. And like I said, a lot of them where uneven and not spaced equally which made it even more challenging.

                        It was so hot and we didn’t bring any water (I know, stupid us). 

Best views in Hawaii, World war 2 bunker lookout

After arriving at the top, we were happy we stuck it out. The view was amazing!   At top there are plenty of other things to explore including many lookouts.  You get a panoramic view of the island/coastline and I know my photo doesn't even begin to do it justice.

After a bit of a rest at the top, it was time for us to hike back down. The hike down is equally as challenging. 

 By the time we finished the hike, we were completely drenched.  We had already checked out of our hotel for the day and had a red eye that night. Luckily my friend that is a local was home and was generous and allowed us to freshen up before our flight home!   -L

Cold weather gear, check out these Mizunos

Right before the holidays I received an email from Abby at Back at Square Zero saying I won her giveaway.  Needless to say I was so excited!  I always enter giveaways and never win anything. Winning any giveaway is great, but this particular one I thought was awesome and just what I needed to kick start my winter running gear.

       It was a full Mizuno outfit from head to toe. Never owning any Mizuno products, I did not know how the brand fit so she explained that it does run a bit small.  I had to respond with my shirt, pant, and shoe size, and the company was quick to send the items out to me right away.

When it arrived, I eagerly opened the box like a kid on Christmas to see all my goodies I received.

I received a top ( the Breath Thermo Base Layer Crew), running pants ( the Breath Thermo Tights), gloves, and shoes.  Everything fit perfectly, even the shoes which I was worried about.  So of course the first thing I did was go for a short run to try it all out.  The tights are not fleece lined or anything but they do seem to be much warmer than any other running tights I have had. 

                                                             I even received gloves to match my outfit.  

 The shoes that I received were the new Wave Rider 20. I have never run in Mizuno shoes but know many people that run in them (including my sister) and love them.  I always have wanted to give them a try, but I think people get stuck in what they are comfortable in and do not want to change. 

Luckily I have no foot issues and can try out many different brands without having problems. I do think these are a bit narrower than my Brooks Launch but I do like them and it will be nice to rotate my shoes since I never have done that before.  I am glad to have been able to try these out. Had I not received a free pair I probably would not have ever bought them and found out how much I actually do like this brand. 

Thank you to Abby and Mizuno for my near gear! 

Do you find yourself going for the same products because you do not want a change or are you open to trying out new products that you may like?  

We'll be linking up with the gals from TOTR.