One last state for 2016: Spilling over high tea December 2016

I truly cannot believe that this is the last time in 2016 that I will hold a nice warm cuppa in my two hands, pull up a seat, and let you know what’s on my mind lately. I can’t say that I will be sorry to see 2016 go — it was a hard year in many ways, although there were a lot of good times, too.

So let’s just get right down to it and I’ll let you know what’s on my mind lately.

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Today I am joining up with Coco and Deborah for their ultimate coffee tea date.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that while no, I don’t wish my life away, yes, I am looking forward to 2017. I have hopes for a calmer year this year. You never know, and there is still a lot of work to do in the parents department, but new years are just so full of hope and promise.

Bandit is taking over Lola’s bed (who stole it from Giz)

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that there are times that I feel Bandit is the reincarnation of Chester. Don’t get me wrong, they are very different dogs — I never, ever worried about Chester biting a vet, and in fact, most vets were really in love with him.

Sometimes I can’t help but think that somehow Chester had a hand in sending Bandit to us.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that I made it through 2016 without making a lot of goals. Monthly goals? Ha! Most months it was just a matter of survival.

I made a few goals way back at the beginning of the year, but I’m sad to say if I were getting a report card on them I think I’d get an F — and I’ve never had an F, ever!

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that I am looking forward to a little bit of an off season. When I don’t worry about speedwork or tempos. This one is going to be very brief, though, as I have a half at the end of March.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that I am currently in FL enjoying a lovely blogger meetup instigated by our Weekly Wrap hosts, Holly @ Hohoruns and Tricia @ MissSipiPiddlin. And while I may have complained of the work it took to get there, seriously, I’m writing this a couple of days before I leave and I can’t wait!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that by the time you read this, chances are pretty good that I will have completed my 14th half marathon and state #12. Stay tuned!

Tea? Iced Tea? Coffee? Decaf? Or something else?

Have you ever adopted a furkid that reminded you of one that had passed?

Are you into an off season, still racing, or streaking?

2016: good year, bad year, or meh?

The 2 that got away

Today I’m talking about half marathons that didn’t go quite the way I expected, and what I learned from them.

Las Vegas 2011
Still love to know how I could do knowing more these days

Las Vegas RnR: the first time
I chose (sort of) Las Vegas to be my first half marathon because:

  • Running with friends (or so I thought)
  • I love Vegas
  • Mr. Judy also loves Vegas
  • Running down the strip at night sounded like a ton of fun

And it was fun. It was also my first half (you can read the recap here), I was unknowingly under trained, and despite all my reading and research, I had a lot to learn.

So why would I like to rerun this? Because I’m really curious how I could do now in a flat and fast race. Well, aside from the fact that it’s a big race, and that has its challenges.

Blackstone Valley
This half marathon may just have had the most perfect running weather I’ve ever had in a half. It was also one of the flatter races I’ve run (although nothing is flat in the northeast).

Little did I know that every single half marathon I ran after this race would be unseasonably hot — with the except of Green Mountain Half (and that one was only insanely windy, but not hot — it is my current half PR, although I came close with my latest half to beating it, but you know what they say about close).

I haven’t yet written up my recap for this race, maybe because it is still too painful to do so after three years. It’s the one with the knee pain.

I learned:

  • It’s normal to ache, but if there’s pain, you better seek professional help
  • It’s not always wise to push through an injury
  • I will not get through a half without pain if I am not properly trained

These were painful lessons — literally. I learned a lot from them, though, mostly about what not to do.

That darn hill!

Craft Classic Phoenix
I know: I haven’t yet recapped this race and that makes three, not two. There hasn’t been time yet; I’m aiming for next week. Maybe. It was so close to a PR, though; I’m still mulling over what I could have done differently to make it happen.

It was a hard fought race — actually, it may just be the hardest race I’ve run to date. The hill in the middle made Heartbreak Hill look like a mole hill — because while I’ve never run Boston, I did do the Heartbreak Hill Half. In fact, the weather conditions for both races were incredibly similar — and I took almost 5 minutes off my Heartbreak Hill Half time.

That hill, and the smaller one towards the end did me in, though. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ve learned from that.

One and done
Going after a half in every state (and being 54) means that I’m one and done: I don’t do over races. Although maybe Vegas someday . . . maybe. Just because we like Vegas. Probably not.

Every race presents its own unique challenges, but what you learn from those challenges can help you in future races. I know I’ve learned a lot from five years of running half marathons. I also know I have a lot more to learn!

Let me know in the comments:

Is there a race you’d like to run again?

Is there a race you have run again because you weren’t happy with what happened the first time?

Don’t you think time should be taken off results for, say, every 5 degrees above 50 or so?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

State No. 11:10/10-16 Weekly Wrap

Lucky 13 today. I’m not overly superstitious, but I was wearing the same skirt as ZOOMA Annapolis & that one didn’t go so well. 

But first, let’s look at the workouts leading up to the race. 

So because I’ll be traveling a lot in the next few months, but “wrapped” up with family business too, follow me on Instagram to find out what shenanigans I’m up to. I’m wrapping it up with the Weekly Wrap from Holly @ Hohoruns and Tricia @ Misssipppiddlin because you just never know who you might inspire.


Workouts update

  • Monday: PT16x16 WO15, YFR Hamstrings 
  • Tuesday: PR16x16 WO16
  • Wednesday: 3 miles trail running, roughly 5 miles hiking, YFR Hamstrings 
  • Thursday:  3 miles with 4 strides, Pahla B Stretch & Strengthen Yoga
  • Friday: 3 mile hike, private yoga
  • Saturday: YFR Back & Hamstrings 
  • Sunday: Craft Classic Phoenix Half Maratho, Lululemon recovery yoga (search YouTube)

Mileage: 19.1 (-.9)

TIU = Tone it Up
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief
YTU = Yoga Tune Up Lower Body*

*Disclaimer: Amazon affiliate links; I will make a small amount of money if you buy through these links

Running updates 


Bell Rock was within walking distance of our hotel. We headed there in the morning. I tried to run but it was rocky and steep so there was more walking than running & what running there was was slow.

But it was so beautiful I didn’t care!


I took it much easier and stuck to the roads (mostly downhill), with frequent photo stops and some strides thrown in at the end. 


Craft Classic Phoenix. A class act. I had a great race. Definitely tough, but the tough is what makes it great.  

Favorites of the week
Sedona. I’ve wanted to come here forever and I wasn’t disappointed. 

Today I finished my 13th half marathon (thank you Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherunner for the entry) & state 11. Awesome race especially for an inaugural one. It was tough but good. You understand. 

AZ you were good to me but it’s time to head home & move my parents.

And that’s a wrap 

Let’s get the conversation started:

Best vacation?

Are you superstitious?

Do you chat up runners at the start (I do!)?

A Tale of 5 Mugs

I try to collect a mug from every state I visit — I started this tradition before I became a runner, but it has become even more important to me since I started to try to run a half in each state. I’ve talked about this a few times on the blog, including another Friday Five about how I choose my mugs

These mugs remind me of the good races, the bad races, the weather, the training, and how hard I fought to finish a race.

So for this free Friday with the Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run,  I’m talking about five races, their mugs, and what they mean to me.

I am working on recapping all my half marathons to date, and you can look for the next one on Tuesday. I’m still not even halfway through my halfs!

“Glowing” with happiness to finish my first half

Vegas, Baby!
Your first half probably will always have a special place in your heart. It was also the first (but not last) time I met my friend Natalie in real life.

I probably should have tried to photograph it somehow to show off the fact that the medal glows in the dark. I already owned this mug, by the way, having visited Vegas many times.

A PR along the ocean

Another half that will always have a special place in my heart: because it was my comeback from an awful half, because you come in running along the ocean, and because of the lobster roll at the end.

This mug reminds me that we can overcome our challenges.

One of my favorite mugs & medals

Heartbreak Hill
Much like Lola, I felt called to do the one and only Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half. I’d always assumed my MA half would be on the Cape, but when this race was announced, I knew it was my only chance to run up the infamous Heartbreak Hill, because I’m not fast enough to qualify for Boston.

Not to mention there’s the whole pesky I’ve never run a full marathon thing.

Like so many of my spring halfs, unfortunately it was an unusual heatwave. In fact, until I did ZOOMA Annapolis, this was my hottest half. So my finish time wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and I ended up walking up Heartbreak Hill after training so hard for it.

It was the first time I tried taping my knees, and I have never felt better after a race (except for some horrible cramps due to the heat and not getting in salt immediately after finishing).

I love this mug because it was made in Hopkinton (where the Boston Marathon starts). We also visited the Boston Marathon finish line after the race.

Love the mug; the medal is meh, but the race was good

Green Mountain Half
It’s a simple mug, just like it was a simple, no thrills race. Unless you call that wind thrilling (not)!

But notice the paw print.

It was a hard fought PR for me and I use this mug on days when I know I have tough workouts ahead of me.

Too bad I don’t drink beer, eh?

Shipyard Maine Half Marathon
Another spring race, another heatwave, another race where they ran out of water 3/4 of the way through the race at one of the aid stations.

So yes, this was a disappointing half marathon. Again! But I use this mug on days that I need to remind myself that the most important thing is to just keep running.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

What do you use to motivate yourself to train?

Do you collect anything race related? What is it?

Do you keep reminders of the bad races?

* Disclaimer: this is an affiliate link. I make a very small commission if you buy this product from Amazon after clicking through my link.

Am I an athlete?


People tell me all the time that I’m an athlete. I run half marathons, after all. Go drive 13.1 miles in your car — even to me, suddenly it seems like a long distance.

But am I really an athlete? Let’s take a look at the definition:

a person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise

And now let’s look at the definition of proficient:

competent or skilled in doing or using something

It seems I am left with a catch-22 here. Am I proficient in sports? I’ve never won a race or an age group award. In fact for most races I am solidly BOTP (back of the pack). Everyone thinks they’re slow — even the elites, I’d wager — and yet I posted that photo of my view of my group run in my Weekly Wrap: the pack getting ever further and further away from me until they disappear altogether.

There’s the pack, way ahead of me (while I could still actually see them)

Doesn’t sound (or look) particularly competent or skilled to me!

Is finishing proficient?

I want to say that simply finishing a race requires some skill. And it does; it definitely does. Yet what percentage of runners who enter a race DNF (did not finish)? I don’t actually know, but my guess is that it’s a very small percentage.

The same with DNS (did not start). More people sign up for races than actually race. Life happens: illness, injury, family affairs. I’d still wager that if you combine DNSs and DNFs it’s only a small percentage of the number of racers.

But how about all the people that never start running at all?

And there are plenty. Or the people who try and give up — there are plenty of those, too.

Just continuing to do something doesn’t mean that you’re competent or skilled at it — it simply means you’re stubborn. Guilty as charged.

My Conclusion . . .

No, I don’t think you’re an athlete just because you run. Or swim. Or bike; well, you get the idea.

If you sing, and do it all the time, but can’t carry a tune — I’m sorry, you’re not a singer. You’re simply someone who enjoys singing and isn’t very good at it.

At what point could I call myself an athlete?

I’m a fitness enthusiast. I’m a runner, a swimmer, a yoga lover. I lift weights. None of those things makes me an athlete; I am just not gifted that way.

I don’t know that I could ever call myself an athlete. I doubt it.

So let me know in the comments:

Would you call yourself an athlete?

Why or why not?

What do you enjoy doing but are not very good at?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

The time I . . .

. . . left my water bottle in the garage

As a slower runner who has “run” into empty water stations, I had always carried my own water with me, in one form or another, for a half marathon. Most shorter races don’t seem to have as much trouble keeping water stations stocked, or I can get by without it.

In 2014, heading out to the Redding Road Race, I had my water bottle filled and had put it in the car. Or so I thought.

Until we got there, and I realized I didn’t have it. Redding is a relatively small town and the race was relatively small, too, as was the race expo. Not a hand held water bottle in sight.

It was the first time I relied on water stations in a race, and thankfully, this is a super well organized race. I decided that I could rely on water stations in halfs.

Until the Shipyard Maine half, of course, which was an unusually hot day, and they ran out of cups at one station and water at another. So now I’ll rely on water stations unless it’s unusually hot — lesson learned.

Today we’re talking race mishaps, and I’ve had a few.

The time I thought I knew where the start was

I ran my first 10k in 2011. At that point we’d only lived here for 2 years. I knew how to get to the place the race was held, and I thought I knew where the start was, too. But as I was walking, and walking, and walking, I realized it obviously wasn’t in the direction I was going.

I ended up sprinting to the start line and just making the start.

The time the chip was wrong

And that would be my very first half. Who thinks to check the information on the timing chip (the kind that you tie to your shoelace)? Thankfully, Mr. Judy is who!

Yes, the information on my bib was correct, but I had someone else’s timing chip. This was also 2011, by the way, not that many races actually use that sort of timing chip anymore, but you do “run” into it now and again even today.

I guess I had a lot to learn!

Yeah, it was that cold

The time it was colder there than it was back home

And that would also be RnR Vegas — the first time, not the second. It is still the coldest half I have ever run, 11 half marathons later. Generally I don’t choose to do a half in winter, but you figure Vegas shouldn’t be so bad.

Luckily I’ve been to Vegas many times. In winter. So I knew it could be cold. But damn, it was colder there than it was back home in upstate NY!

Mr. Judy saed the day by getting me pins

The time I forgot the pins

That would be the Gettysburg Blue/Gray Half. At the time I was using a hipS-sister (*affiliate link) to pin my bib to, and I needed at least one point to make sure my bib stayed. I thought I had some with me; I always do. Except, of course, when I don’t. And because I thought I had some, I didn’t take any when I picked up my bib.

Mr. Judy walked over to Walmart to get me a box of pins which I still have to this day.

Blackstone Valley
Blackstone Valley – well, the start was good

The time I should have DNS’d

It was such a picture perfect day for a half. Bright sunshine, but cool.

I’d had some knee pain as I entered my taper for the Blackstone Valley half, so I didn’t run much the last couple of weeks. Training had gone so good up until that point.

And the first six miles of the race went well, too. Then the knee pain set in. By mile ten I was walking, and it’s the only race I’ve ever had to call my husband and tell him that I was going to take much longer than expected and please bring some ice when you pick me up.

I really shouldn’t have finished this race. It messed my knee up for many months, but I did learn a lot about my body and came back with a PR in my next half.

The time I couldn’t call Mr. Judy

That would be the second RnR Las Vegas. The one I ended up walking with my friend Natalie, who was injured. I’d requested Mr. Judy get me a bagel and lox for my post race recovery meal.

Which he did. And he waited. And waited. And waited. Unfortunately, I coudn’t get a cell phone signal at all, and was unable to call him this time and let him know that we would be much later than expected.

But we did finally find each other and he had my bagel and lox. And I was surprisingly sore the next day (but nothing like my friend). Did you realize that you use very different muscles for walking than you do for running? I found that out the hard way!

So let me know in the comments:

Have you noticed the days getting shorter — already!?

Do you have a goal race coming up in the fall? Which one?

What is your go-to remedy when you feel like you’re coming down with something?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

Race week!: 5/9-15 Weekly Wrap

This week did not start out well. Too much to do, too little time, and a shattered phone. But did it end well? I guess you’ll have to read on.

I’m wrapping up my race week with the Weekly Wrap from Holly @ Hohoruns and Tricia @ Misssipppiddlin. You don’t have to be a runner to participate in the Weekly Wrap — just a supportive, active blogger. It’s a great way to get to know other bloggers!


Workouts update

  • Monday: Dogwalk, Iron Strength Abbreviated, PT Exercises x 2
  • Tuesday: Dogwalk, 3 miles (speedwork 7 x 1 min fast, 2 min recovery), PT Stretches x 2
  • Wednesday: Dogwalking & traveling
  • Thursday:  Dogwalking,  3 miles east, PT Stretches x 2
  • Friday: Dogwalking, PT Stretches x 2
  • Saturday: Shipyard Maine Coast Half, PT Stretches x 2
  • Sunday: Dogwalking m, PT Stretches x 2

Mileage: 19.1 (+3.1)

TIU = Tone it Up
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners
WU = warmup
YFPR = Yoga for Pain Relief

Running update
Let’s just say things weren’t going my way before we left for my half. First I shattered the screen on my phone the day before leaving (by dropping it on carpet — c’mon — who does that?).

Then Tuesday was finally really gorgeous only I had to wait around for a couple of packages that needed signatures, so I did my speedwork on the treadmill. It went fine.

I realized I forgot my glasses 10 minutes after we left Wednesday so we had to go back. 

The forecast for race day when we left? 59 & rain. Actual race weather? Started at 60 & went up to the mid 70s. 

Lets just say it most definitely wasn’t a PR, but hey, I finished. 

Favorites of the week
Meeting up with a USAFit friend before the race.  

Chatting with a girl in my wave who is also trying to run a half in every state. 


Running near the ocean 

And that’s a wrap!

How do you put disappointing races behind you?

Would you rather have heat or cold for a race?

It’s not a half without some drama: TOLT

I’m Thinking Out Loud about my halfs today. Probably because I have one coming up in just a few days.

I’d like to say I train well and then everything just goes smoothly on race day. There’s no stress in training or during the race.

And then I’d tell you I have this bridge to sell to you . . .

So let’s just review the drama that has accompanied a few of my halfs.

Las Vegas 2011
Las Vegas 2011 – after getting to right timing chip, of course!

RnR Vegas 2011
The half that started them all. No Garmin. Using a Nike+ footpod, I was somewhat under trained but didn’t really realize it. Discovered I had someone else’s chip when I went to put it on because I didn’t think to check the chip attached to my bib. It was colder in Vegas that night than back home in upstate New York. And it started to rain at the end — a cold rain. My very first night race, too!

Well, I did say it was the half that started them all. I had a blast running down the Vegas strip!

I imagined I was running through Paris

RnR Montreal 2012
Hmm, maybe it’s just RnR races? This was the one where something just wasn’t right with my cat Simba — we would come to find out not long after this race that he had lymphoma, and in about 2 months he was gone.

The day before we were scheduled to leave, I found out my father had a brain tumor — hopefully benign — that would require brain surgery. I wasn’t feeling well most of this weekend.

It was a PR at the time. And although we lost Simba, 4 years later my Dad is still with us.

Blackstone Valley
Blackstone Valley – well, the start was good

Blackstone Valley 2013
My training had gone great  . . . right up until the taper. When the knee pain started. Back then, I really didn’t know what to do, so I cut way back on my running and basically prayed for a good outcome. It may just have been the nicest weather I’ve ever had for a half, and it was my worst half ever — knee pain set in at mile 6 and I had to walk the last 3 miles. It would take months before I could run pain free again.

Thanks, honey — one of my favorite postrace photos!

Heartbreak Hill 2014
I worked so hard for this one. I felt so prepared. Despite being in June, the weeks leading up to the race had been lovely running weather in the 50s. Race day dawned at 72F and by the time I finished it was about 85. Needless to say, I was disappointed in my time, but I know I did the best I could.

It was the first race I ever taped for, despite the fact that my knees weren’t bothering me, and my body felt wonderful afterward! I was ready to walk back to our hotel but Mr. Judy was tired. He had to wait for me in that heat!

Gettysburg Mug
Gettysburg Mug

Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half 2014
Another one where pain set in in the taper. Again, I had to ease up on the running more than normal in my taper. Taping helped me get through the race without having to walk the last few miles, despite the knee pain that set in at mile 9 (it wasn’t my knees that were bothering me!), and I managed to finish within the time limit — just. Another abnormally warm day, but not as bad as Heartbreak Hill.

You learn something from every race
So there you have it, when training goes really well and there are’t any hiccups — the race doesn’t always go so well. I sometimes feel as though if there isn’t drama, I won’t have a good race!

That’s not true — Austin Livestrong 2012 was a great race; training went well, and the weather was just about perfect.

I’ve also had other disappointing races due to weather, but I’ve run races in less than perfect weather and had a great race, too.

This upcoming half? Like Heartbreak Hill, I’ve trained really well. I feel ready. But I don’t know what race day has in store for me, and my drama this time was dealing with nagging ankle pain and then getting sick the last peak week of my training.

It will be a hilly race. I’m always hopeful of a PR, but that will definitely depend on the weather, how much the RD lied (because it seems they always lie!), and how I feel on race day.

I wonder what I will learn from the Shipyard Maine Half?

What were your worst races?

What did you learn from it?

What were your best races?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud