3 Things Learned from a Great Race


Five years ago I ran a half marathon with some fellow bloggers in Florida. At the time it was a long awaited PR — it didn’t even feel hard. It also kicked off a year of PRs in halfs.

It was also the start of a lot of turmoil in my life — the ongoing saga of my parents’ decline. At the time they were still living in my childhood home, but it became very clear right around that time that they couldn’t stay there after my mom had some surgery.

It was also not long after we had adopted Bandit, and we were embroiled in the mess that turned out to be. When we adopted him, we had Lola and Gizo, and they all had to be kept separate for months. We couldn’t walk Lola & Bandit together. He was a senior rescue and he had issues — he’s come a long way! — but at the time it was just another stress piled on top of the ongoing stress with my parents, not to mention the many years I’d just spent taking care of sick furkids.

Yet the race, which was in general was an afterthought for me, went well, and I learned a few things.

I learned my sweet spot
Everyone has a sweet spot when it comes to training. A certain weekly mileage they need to hit to be well prepared for a race, or maybe a certain length run — or a few of a certain length run.

Your body needs to be prepared both physically and mentally. I learned that I could definitely do well on lower weekly mileage — as long as I’d been consistently running. Running consistently, training or no, is like money in the bank. It’s the golden ticket to staying strong and (hopefully) uninjured (although many factors go into injury).

I relearned how important Nuun was to keep me running smoothly
If you care to read the recap here (warning: it’s long!) you’ll learn that I had really bad cramping starting at mile 10 and getting steadily worse until the end of the race.

When I started running, I used Nuun. At some point I got away from that — mainly because I don’t like to drink anything sweet on long runs. After this race I went back to Nuun. I won’t say I never cramp, but it’s pretty rare these days. #teamnuun for life!

Those saltstick chews I lost during the race? Yes, those have also become a staple because I’m a salty runner!

You may recognize several of these runners. The rest no longer blog.

I learned that it’s not so bad to be one of the slowest runners in a group
Because then you have a built in cheering squad, since the speedy runners have already finished and can cheer you in and take photos of you crossing that finish line.

Final Thoughts
I had been running halfs for about five years at this point. I trained consistently. I did all the things you’re supposed to do. I remained stuck at pretty much the same finish time. Deep down I knew I had a faster finish time in me. I just knew it.

I was right, too. In fact, I have had a lot more PRs since that breakthrough race. Not all the halfs have been PRs, of course, but somehow that one race cascaded into a lot of improvement.

Only it wasn’t really that one race, right? It was all the work I’d put in before that race, and continued to put in after it.

You may also like:

  1. PRs Don’t Just Happen
  2. C is the Most Important Letter
  3. 5 Ways to Take Off Pressure
  4. Can You be Content with Failure?

Have you ever had a breakthrough race?
What did you learn from it?


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.


February at its best: 2/1 – 7 WRD

There was nothing remarkable about this week — except for the fact that my mom got her first vaccine. Otherwise, pretty much same old, same old. February is doing what February does best: cold, gray, and snowy. Although I’d still say despite that we’re “enjoying” a somewhat mild Winter.’

I have to admit I don’t really quite remember what I did when in the beginning of the week — it was mainly Yoga, walking, and a little shoveling. I ran three times this week, and even squeezed in a short full body ST session yesterday.


I’m joining Kim @ Kimrunsonthefly and Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner, and easing slowly back into running.

Workouts update

  • Monday: Yoga (90 min), Dogwalk
  • Tuesday: Yoga (30 min), Dogwalk, Yoga (90 min)
  • Wednesday: Yoga (90 min), 2 TM Miles, Yoga (20 min)
  • Thursday: Yoga (30 min), Shoveling
  • Friday: Yoga (30 min), 2.5 miles easy, Dogwalk, Yoga (20 min)
  • Saturday: Yoga (60 min), Dogwalk, PB ST (10 minutes)
  • Sunday: Yoga (30 min), 2 miles very easy, Yoga (20 min)

Running Mileage: 6.5 (+3.25)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
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 Update

Wednesday Intention: work on endurance
Still on the treadmill. I took a “fun” run — seriously, Peloton has to rename these. Every “fun” run I’ve taken is speedwork, and I go in intending to take it easy and then don’t. I did love the 60s soundtrack!

Unfortunately I had to battle wind & of course the sun came out later

Friday Intention: fresh air + a little further
Why yes, I did finally venture outside for a run. It was a lot warmer than it’s going to be next week, although the winds were definitely fierce. Since my Garmin is set to run/walk intervals I just went with that. I was hoping the forecast flurries would fall during my run (and not the Wintry mix, also in the forecast), but there was just wind. No black ice, though, so very happy about that.

Trying to find the beauty in Winter but it’s a Charlie Brown shrub! We need to take a hint from the plants: rest up now to be ready to bloom in Spring.

Sunday Intention: early start (if not snowing) + ease back on distance
Met my intention completely. Much colder than Saturday, but no wind for the win. Running from my house very short distances — so much easier than getting in a long run. It would be hard to run long in my neighborhood in Winter. I was not nearly as tired after this run as I was after Friday’s — that wind makes a big difference.

Because it’s rechargeable, I can literally use it anywhere

Favorites of the week
My new portable essential oil diffuser! I’ve been wanting this forever, but it was always sold out. I freakin’ love this thing, especially the fact that I can move it around from room to room; it’s been used in my Yoga room, the family room, and the living area (which is quite open).

I also love the AirX essential oil I bought at the same time. I’ve had a very slight nagging cough, just enough that I had to take cough medicine in the morning and evening. After the first time I started diffusing AirX I was able to stop the cough meds. I won’t say I don’t cough at all, but it’s much less.

An immunity dessert!

Add Nuun Immunity tablets to the juice and let them dissolve completely to make immunity jello.

Bandit says February is for snuggling

How are you dealing with the snow (if you have it)?

Favorite type of chocolate — dark or milk? As a kid it was milk, now it’s dark — very dark!

Signing up for any real races? Not me, not yet, I think it’ll still be a while for me.

GWY Yin Yoga Saucha

ICYMI: Yin Yoga doesn’t always get into our upper body that much, but this practice will. It targets the Small Intestine — not to mention the hips and hamstrings in addition to the upper body. We’ll be discussing Saucha (decluttering/cleanliness — you can read more about it in this post here). I really encourage you to pay attention to what feels right in your body — always important. You’ll find the video here.

Coming up on Tuesday: Five things you may or may not know about me + takeaways for you. Friday I’ll be talking a little about one of our most important muscles. Can you guess which one it is?

Silver Linings Playbook: 6/4 – 10 Weekly Wrap

I can’t say as I was super happy about the unseasonably cool weather this week — except when it comes to running. On the other hand, running in unseasonably warm weather the previous few weeks set me up for a good race last weekend. There’s always a silver lining, right?

I’m joining up with the Weekly Wrap from Holly @ Hohoruns and Wendy @ Taking the Long Way Home to wrap up another week of training, dodging raindrops, and silver linings.


Workouts update

  • Monday: Dogwalk, 6 miles (6 x 400m hill repeats)
  • Tuesday: Dogwalk, 5 miles easy, PB Total Body Toning (15 minutes)
  • Wednesday: Dogwalk, Abs, Hips & Glutes
  • Thursday:  Dogwalk, YFPR Hips, 4 miles easy
  • Friday:  Dogwalk, Pilates Legs & Arms
  • Saturday: YFR Hips, 8 Mile LSD
  • Sunday: Short Hike

Mileage: 23 (+7)

JY = Jasyoga
PB = Killer B
TM = Treadmill
YFR = Yoga for Runners*
WU = warmup
CD = cooldown
SB = Stationary Bike
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


The view never gets old, even though the workout is damn hard!

Careful what you ask for, right? Downhill repeats on the schedule since my upcoming half has a 3000 ft drop. I was blessed with a unseasonably cool day (and the rain had ended earlier). It’s still hard. I’m sure it will always be hard.

I was pleased that it was faster than when I did downhill repeats last year — not that I was trying to be faster, in fact the warm up miles were quite slow — and most of all, that my body felt fine the next day.

It’s the only color they come in & I have nothing they match!

I ended up hanging around most of the day, waiting for the guys who were working on our trees to finish. The upside was that my new Newtons arrived. As usual, when I’m in a bit of a time crunch, I run faster (it was a theme for this week). Picked Bandit up for the cool down and he managed to keep a decent pace, too.

Or the day I broke Bandit. No, no really, but . . . Thursday wasn’t a frustrating day overall, but there was some frustrating incidents. By the afternoon I was more than ready to take it out on the road.

After 3-speedy-for-me miles (frustration/anger almost always makes me run faster) I picked up Bandit for my cool down. I knew it was a bit warmer than he’d been running in, but he seemed game and didn’t seem tired while we ran. It was only 3/4 of a mile.

When we got home it was a different story. As soon as I took his harness off he just plopped down, which isn’t like him; he’s part JRT and though he does a good couch potato act, he’s got a lot of energy. When we went upstairs and I refilled the water bowl (Giz is constantly draining it), Gizmo of course called first dibs, and Bandit again flopped down while waiting his turn. And afterwards he plopped down on the floor on his side.

None of this was normal behavior and we were getting concerned. Long story short, he’s just fine, but let that be a cautionary tale to those who run with dogs — they don’t always have the good sense to stop before they’re overheated/tired and we have to be mindful of them.

Lovely day along the Hudson

If I could dial up weather for my races, this would be it. Although I met up with several friends, I had longer to run so I started solo earlier. The plan was to meet up more friends for breakfast afterwards, and knowing I’m in a time crunch almost always makes me run faster. Again!

Or maybe it was the Nuun with caffeine in it. I like to use caffeine for my races, but most of the time in training I don’t. But as usual, I’m playing around with new stuff and one of the things I decided to try this morning was to have Nuun prior to my run (not during, not after). I had one tube of Nuun with caffeine, and it’s only useful before a run.

Or maybe it was the new Newtons (a different model). I didn’t say I couldn’t find them at all, just that I couldn’t find them cheaply. I do wish they came in more colors!

I ended up with a pretty consistent pace, and quite a fast pace for me. The sort of pace I might run if I were running with Darlene (except I wasn’t). I felt a little knee tightness at one point, but it seemed to open up and I felt okay afterwards. And still feel fine.

Come join me!

Favorites of the week
I took advantage of Global Running Day and signed up for the inaugural Best Damn Race Savannah. In 2019. I’ve wanted to go to Savannah forever, but most of the halfs there are in months that are almost guaranteed to be hot. This half is in February. Even better, it’s two days after my birthday.

I did the inaugural Best Damn Race NOLA last year (read about it here), and I enjoyed the race (if not the heat) and felt it was in general well run — awesome medal, too!

You can join me by using my link here. I get $25 off if five of you sign up. Considering I could barely give away a race entry to UT last year, I’m not expecting any signups but I had to throw it out there. How about it, my Southern runner friends?

Mr. Judy wasn’t happy about the tick possibilities

Today I managed to get Mr. Judy out for a short hike at a nearby preserve. We were hunting for the waterfalls, but we never found them. Of course, we only hiked about a mile. Bandit and Lola were with us, too. I would have gone further, but I was happy to be out there and also to have some hills to climb. I much prefer the hills when I’m hiking . . .

We’ve also been doing a little more landscaping around the house

We stopped at a nursery/farmer’s stand on the way back. We wanted to get some shrubs for various places in the yard. We took the dogs with us, then I saw the “no pets” sign as we were checking out. Whoops! Well, the employee we were talking with didn’t say anything about the dogs. I picked up some corn to grill with our steak tonight.

The shrub above is actually giving us some fits. There were tree roots where we wanted to put and and we’re having the darndest time trying to figure out where it should go. Stay tuned . . .

Blog posts that caught my eye this week:


This week I am also linking up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup brought to you by Ilka @ Ilka’s Blog and Angela @ Marathons & Motivation.

Let’s get the conversation started:

Are you still planting?

What’s for dinner tonight?

Do you enjoy the act of hiking for itself, or must there be a great view?