Girls on the Run 5k Race Recap 11/24/19

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Girls on the Run (also known as GOTR) is an awesome nonprofit that helps train young girls to run a 5k, but more importantly, also helps them with their self esteem. The lovely Deborah @ Confessionsofamotherrunner runs one of these groups, by the way.

This was my third time running this 5k (not in consecutive years) and it’s always been kind to me. In fact, it’s my “real” 5k PR. I say real because technically I have one a few seconds faster, but I also know that course was short. Like at least a quarter mile short.

Love the color; not so much the 100% Cotton

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was Friday night at our local Fleet Feet, from 4-7. The locals know how crazy busy that road gets on a Friday afternoon, but I knew it would make my life simpler not having to go back and forth to my car on Saturday.

I ran some errands in the vicinity and got there just a tad before 4, and they were enthusiastic, all set up, and ready to go. I had signed up on Wednesday, so they had to make me a packet, but it was quick and easy.

Not a lot of swag: some True Lemon drink samples and a lip balm. I actually used on of the True Lemon samples last week. The 100% cotton tee was a pretty teal color — of course I prefer a tech fabric, but sometimes in the winter I like to wear cotton tees under a sweater to keep warm.

The river is why I love this path

Getting There & Hanging Out
Since I had picked up my bib the night before and was going solo, I didn’t feel the need to get there super early: only an hour before, LOL. I parked in the Riverfront parking garage, which is free on weekends, and a short walk over a bridge to the race start.

We run in this area frequently, and it’s actually one of my favorite areas to run (but only in a group, as there have been several attacks there), so I knew where other free parking was, but I was unsure how far from the start the alternative parking lots were. Note to self: only a quarter of a mile.

I stayed in the car and meditated a bit. I had a really good feeling about this race. It was sunny, but still cold out. Eventually I got out and used a portapotty, walked around a bit (asking a stranger to take my photo), and then did my warmup.

I almost went back to the car to get my slightly heavier jacket, as my teeth were literally chattering as I walked over to the race start — but in the end, after I warmed up, I was fine.

Loving the Skirt Sports High Waist 7/8 Tights!

The weather & dressing
The weather was on the chilly side, but really, it was pretty darn nice. Partially sunny. Wind not too bad. 36F (which passes for warm this time of year here).

I chose Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Long Sleeve , Light-ish Jacket, and High Rise 7/8 Tight. (Skirt Sports Ambassador). I had light convertible gloves on as I walked around and did my warm up, but by the first half mile or so my hands were warm and I put them in my pockets. Newton Motion on the feet.

I might have been okay with a Watch Me Go Top instead of the Wonder Wool, but all in all, I was happy with this outfit.

I lined up close to the start to try & avoid too many girls (they can stop suddenly in front of you!)

My Race Plan
I put a little thought into how to handle this race. Yes, I wanted to run hard and chase that PR (this race being my 5k PR, after all, and flat, too!). I haven’t been training super hard, of course, and I slept horribly the night before.

I always knew it would be run in positive splits, and I was okay with that.

  • A Goal: PR
  • B Goal: How fast can I comfortably run that first mile and what could I hang onto after that?
  • C Goal: Run Naked
  • D Goal: Finish with a smile on my face feeling good

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 9:49. My Garmin Vivoactive 3 can be wonky on the first mile. If I just go by what it says, sometimes I’ve slowed down thinking I was running too fast — and I wasn’t. So I just wanted to go comfortably hard. I think that’s the fastest mile I’ve ever run in a race, so mission accomplished. Obviously I decided against the run naked goal.
  2. Mile 2: 10:13. I knew this mile would be slower. I don’t walk at all the first mile, so the second, when I take a short walk break to drink some water, is always slower.
  3. Mile 3: 10:31. I wish I could’ve held on to mile 2’s pace. Even just a tiny bit slower would have snagged me that PR.
  4. Last .10: 9:44. A sprint to the finish. Yes, indeed, finished with a smile and feeling good (well, feeling spent when I crossed the finish line but overall happy with the race after I caught my breath).

31:31 — Official Time
10:09 Average Pace
33 out of 159 (remember, lots of young girls!)
1 out of 6 F55-59

2016: 31:28, 10:08 Average Pace
2015: 31:37, 10:11 Average Pace

The official time is Gun Time (man, I hate when they do that). Net time was 31:27 (which would have been a 1 second PR, LOL!).

There was some ice on the course in several different spots, and I chose to slow to a walk over those spots. I’m quite sure I could have eeked out those few extra seconds for a PR had the course been ice-free, but you do what you do and if it’s not an actual PR, it’s not. No whining. I am very happy with this race.

Don’t get too excited about the fact that I was first in  my AG (whether you did 5 or 10 year AGs), because this isn’t a race that draws the speedsters. This race is about the girls, and a lot of people don’t enjoy dodging around them. Oddly enough, almost all my fastest 5ks have been ones that are geared to girls.

Was the race well run?
The race started exactly on time and miracle of miracles, my Garmin showed it was also exactly 3.10 miles. There was a warm up (geared to the girls) before the start. It’s a simple out and back on a narrow path, and yet there are plenty of course marshals to cheer the girls (and adults) on.

The swag and the after race refreshments were underwhelming, but at least there was something, and it’s a good cause.

Final Thoughts
Was it a PR, or wasn’t it? I guess it wasn’t. So tantalizingly close. Much like my recent 15k, I think it could have been without the icy spots, but there’s no prize for could-have-beens (or PRs, for that fact).

There might still be a couple of 5ks in the next few weeks. One is strictly a fun run. The other depends on weather, again. PR or not, I am so, so pleased with this race. I have been running roughly 11 years now. I don’t think my PR days are behind me, not yet, although you never know.

Are PRs important to me? Yes and no. Running is still about challenging myself, being the best version of me under the circumstances given to me on race day. Some day inevitably I will slow down and my PR days will be behind me. I’ll keep running, as long as I’m able to. Maybe I’ll race less. Maybe I’ll run less in general. As long as my body can run, though, I will run.

This race is for a good cause: using running to help young girls feel better about themselves. I wish I’d been exposed to something like this as a young girl, although chances are I would have hated it. I encourage you to see if there’s a chapter near you here.

There are definitely days I wish it hadn’t taken me until my mid 40s to find my inner athlete, although on the other hand, there are days I’m thankful that I started so late, because running may be good for our bodies, but it also is hard on them.

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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10 Goals for a Great 2018

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Expecting my 2018 Goals? Gotcha! I’m still working on my own. Are you still working on your goals for 2018? I know some people feel that goals are too stressful, but would you take a road trip without your phone? Of course, back in that day, it would be would you take a road trip without a map?

Most people wouldn’t. Some people, of course, do just like to wander, but most of us want some guidance. Goals are just that: guidance — they’re not written in stone, they’re something to help motivate you and challenge you.

Maybe you’re like me, taking a little off season or running sabbatical. Or maybe you’re already gearing up for that Spring marathon/half marathon.

1. Hire a running coach
You may have heard me mention Rachel @ Runningonhappy a time or two. I hired her during her free month offer last January and as you may know, I also had the best running year of my life.

Coincidence? I think not.

Guess what? She’s offering the same deal in 2018. You still have time to hire Rachel and have your best running year — which doesn’t necessarily mean lots of PRs; there are different ways to define a great running year (no injury, better endurance, having fun running, and tackling a new distance are just a few).

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Foam rolling does a body good

2. Foam roll
While I’m quite good about foam rolling — most of the time — I know that some runners really struggle with it. I also know that it’s a habit/goal that benefits every runner.

I get it thought: it’s just one more thing to do on your very long to-do list. And oh-so-tempting to skip.

“They” say that the best way to create a habit/goal — and stick to it — is to tie it to something you’re already doing. So try foam rolling before your run. You’re going to run, right? Telling yourself you’ll do it after your run makes it too easy to skip.

3. Get into those compression socks
This is one of my personal goals. Not for right now — my favorite compression socks are my Mud Gear socks. They’re knee high and they keep me warm in the winter so I run in them and then stay in them afterwards..

This is a goal that I’m penciling in for the summer, when I tend to skip compression altogether because it’s simply too hot. I know that compression benefits me and makes recovery quicker, thought, so it’s a goal for me to keep at it year-round.

4. Strength Train
If you’re in your off season like I am, now is the perfect time to start a strength training program. Don’t go nuts, because then you’re going to burn out, but if you start now, it’s more likely to become a habit and something you’ll continue to do as your training gets heavier.

5. Work on your mental training
We’re all mental: agreed? Or maybe that’s it’s all mental. Not all, but often we’re held back by our beliefs. An off season or the beginning of training is the perfect time to work on your mental toughness. Here are a few posts on that:

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2017 was the year I started hiking again

6. Take up a new sport
Swimming. Biking. Yoga. Barre. Kickboxing. Boxing. Cross country skiing. Snow shoeing. Pilates.

Triathletes tend to get injured less frequently than runners. One of the reasons is that they’re always cross training. Doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of insanity, right?

7. Epsom soaks
Epsom soaks can speed recovery and you can do it at home and it’s not expensive. I really enjoy them. So don’t ask me why I don’t do them nearly as often as I should. Oh wait, because filling and lugging around my foot spa is a royal pain! You don’t need a foot spa, of course, but they are very nice.

But would you believe I’ve actually done it twice in the last few weeks, after months and months of not doing it at all? So how did I get it done? I filled up that bad boy early in the day, so it was all ready to go whenever. It’s not like I’m going to let that go to waste once I took the trouble to fill it up already!

Will I keep up that behavior? Probably not. But maybe it will get me to do them more often than I did in 2017.

8. Join a running group
If you’re a slower runner I get it — it’s scary to try a running group. And if you run a 10 or 11 mm, I’m sorry, no, you’re not slow; you will almost certainly find someone to run with.

I’ve made some great friends from running groups, yet I still struggle to find people to run with. Most of my running friends are faster. Most don’t run/walk.

If you’re lacking motivation, though, check out your local running groups. Guess what? If you hate it, you don’t have to go back. But what if you love it?

9. Tweak your nutrition
If you’re not heavily into your training, it’s a great time to focus on healthier eating. And if you are training? Maybe it’s an even better time. I’m doing that right now with Laura @ Mommyrunfast’s Runner’s Fit & Fueled Course (sorry, it’s closed right now). I’m enjoying what I’m learning so far.

In addition, I signed up for Tiffany’s Feel Great in 8 Challenge. I’ve followed her a long time, and I decided now was the perfect time, while I’m not running a lot, to explore her program — the challenge is also closed now, but you know I’ll be giving you a review and she runs these challenges a few times a year.

My review of Danette May’s 30 Day New You Challenge (yeah, also closed, but also run a few times a year) is one of my most viewed posts from 2017. And yes, I’m still using many of the recipes, still listening to the meditations, and when I feel better — still using the workouts.

10. Organize your running gear
In my weekly wrap post I alluded to the fact that with less training I’ve been tackling some stuff in the house that has been sorely neglected. We have a three bedroom house. We share a bedroom, and then we each have a bedroom for our stuffcrap. Mine tends to be a second closet. A very messy second closet.

Or maybe that’s a third closet, since the bedroom has a closet (although to be fair, Mr. Judy and I share the master bedroom closet — which isn’t exactly large.

It’s the proverbial I know where everything is in the mess — which is sort of true. But I’ve been spending 10 minutes or so in there most days of the week, going through all the stuffcrap, bagging up stuff to donate, getting rid of stuff, and generally trying to see the floor in the room, too.

Eventually I’ll be putting the clothes wrack I took home from my parents, and hanging up a lot of my Skirtsports gear on it. And I’m going to try to organize it better, so I can actually find things like throwaway shirts, gloves, extra water bottles, etc. — without wasting an entire day.

Wish me luck. It’s a big job. And once I’ve whipped that into shape, there’s plenty of other areas of our home that need some going through/organizing.

 

Let’s make 2018 Great!
There are as many goals as there are people (probably more). These are just a few suggestions. I’d love to hear some of your goals, too. Leave me a comment and let me know what goals you’re working towards in 2018.

 

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Is there a nutrition challenge you’ve tried and recommend?

Any organizing tips for running stuffcrap?

If I wasn’t running, I’d be __________?

Looking back at 2017

And looking for those silver linings

When I picked my word for 2017, I wrote about having the patience to see my training bear fruit (read about that here, and my word for 2018 here). Little did I know, that patience would be rewarded; in spades!

January
Rachel @ Runningonhappy offered a free month of coaching. Yes, please! And so started a year of a beautiful relationship.

I also started the year with my normal New Year’s Day “race”. What I didn’t do? Record it! And apparently it’s not even in the records of the running group’s Website (unless I dig deeper). Garminconnect had it though — no, I did not start the year off with a PR!

Otherwise, there was just a lot of base building. It was also the start of my driving to my parents every weekend to work on emptying out their house (it’s a 90 minute drive each way).

February
Nothing much going on in February. Lots of lonely running. The good news was that it was a relatively mild winter and most, but not all, runs were done outside.

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Beating the heat in NOLA

March
More of the same in March. I began to slightly overdress for runs, both inside and out, in preparation for what I knew would be a hot race in NOLA. Little did I know just how hot! I had hoped spring in NOLA would be kind to me, but it turned out to be a hot and muggy day for The Best Damn Race NOLA (read about that here), and yet I still managed to snag another PR — flat courses, I love you.

I also for the first time in my running career wore a new-to-me-top (from Skirtsports, of course) in the race. I’d run in it once; never done a long run in it — it would go on to be my go-to for many long runs that summer.

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Lots of great eats in NOLA

I also got to meet up very briefly with Tricia @ Misssippipiddlin.com, MB, and Jodi @ My Kind of Fit. Not to mention we had a marvelous time eating our way through NOLA (read about that here) — I definitely think putting the vacation portion before the race allowed me to somewhat acclimate to the weather.

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Dorky throwaway gloves I never threw away

April
Back home and time to turn my attention to the trails, since my next half was my first trail half marathon. I figured if I was going to visit the MIL & SIL, I might as well find a race, right? Truthfully, when I read about the Mud & Chocolate Half in Runner’s World I just badgered Mr. Judy until he agreed.

I ran on trails twice a week, including my long run (more lonely running, no trail running buddies). It was actually quite hot for some of those long runs and I worried about the 4 hour time limit.

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Run all the miles, eat all the chocolate!

The race lived up to its name, including sucking the sole off of one of my trail shoes towards the end, but the chocolate at the finish line made up for it. My slowest half ever (read about it here). I also got to meet up with a couple of Skirtsports sisters.

May
No rest for the weary. It was time to train for the next half, Utah Valley Half Marathon. More lonely running up and down Blatnick Hill (for the locals) in preparation for a race that was net downhill. That was tough!

I also signed up again for USAFit Albany with my friends, so some group runs began at the end of the month.

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Bloggers do Utah

June
After all that up and down, it was time to see how it all worked. I didn’t have lofty aspirations for a race at elevation, but it was time to meet up with Holly @ Hohoruns, MB, Marcia @ Marciashealthyslice, Teresa @ Findingfabulousatfifty, Zenaida @ Zenaida Arroyo, and Kristy @ Runawaybridalplanner for the Utah Valley Half Marathon.

We enjoyed a vacation hiking through Zion And Bryce National Parks before the race (and very little running) and I was surprised by another PR (read about it here). My love of shorter day hikes (actually, I wouldn’t mind tackling longer ones) was rekindled and we continued to hike when we could throughout the relatively mild summer.

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Always a good time with friends at the Firecracker

July
I started off July with the Firecracker 4 race on the fourth. Nope, no PRs at this one, but the best time I had ever done at the race on a hot day.

My next big goal race wasn’t until October, so it was mostly a month of maintaining my base again.

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Hope to add more of these in 2018!

August
August was mostly maintaining my base with a little speedwork/tempo runs mixed in. At the end of the month, on a whim, because the weather was nice, I decided to run a trail 5k (read about it here) the day after my long run and also volunteered after my race, since they also offered a 10k, 15k, half, and more.

September
September was the buildup to the race Rachel & I had targeted as my goal half for the year: Wineglass. I also ran Maddie’s Mark 5k with my neighbor, as we have for the last few years. It was a hot day and I decided to treat it like a training run — and actually succeeded with that.

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We all made it!

October
At the end of 2016 I convinced some running friends to sign up for Wineglass with me — making Mr. Judy happy that I finally snagged NY, my home state. They invited a few friends, who invited a few friends . . . before I knew it, it was a 10 women girls’ weekend. And I ran my last half of 2017 at Wineglass, added a fourth state for the year, and snagged a PR all at once.

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Then walked around Watkins Glen the next day after Wineglass
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It was hilly but I conquered a lot of hills this year!

But I didn’t stop there; I snagged another PR at the Great Pumpkin Challenge, a 10k, even though I just barely made it to the start on time — this was a new-to-me race that I’m pretty sure I’ll do again if I’m in town on that weekend.

November
I continued to set PRs at Stockadeathon and the Cohoes Tureky Trot this year; these races have been very kind to me — both challenging, hilly races, but always enjoyable.

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Getting festive

December
Time to run for fun again, if running in snow, insane winds, and extreme cold can ever be fun. Well, sometimes, with friends. I laughed my way with my running buddies through Albany Last Run to a PW and opened my home to them afterwards for some hot soup.

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Turning into snow women

We had some awesome trips in 2017; I added 4 new states to bring me up to 16 states and 4 half PRs (if you count my slowest half, aka my first trail half, as a PR); we added in hiking when and where we could.

Yes, 2017 was kind to me when it came to running. I tackled a lot of challenges (read about that here). On the personal front it was often lonely, exhausting, the sale of my parents’ home fell through, and they are just not happy campers, Bandit drove me nuts going on hunger strikes over the summer, but is thankfully back to eating normal.

Life is never all good, never all bad, and you have to always look for those silver linings. And keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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What were your silver linings in 2017?

Favorite race/s?

Favorite experience/s?

Cohoes Turkey Trot Race Recap 11/23/17

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Yes, I know it’s 2017, but I was unable to find this year’s logo. This is my third year running this low key, free, yet chip timed turkey trot. I’m sure the big ones are a ton of fun, too, but it’s just far easier for me to get in and out of a smaller race and still have a peaceful morning.

Packet Pickup
I probably need to leave a bit later than I have been. There was no one parking where I park, or very few, and it’s not a very long walk to packet pickup (which is always easy). Unfortunately City Hall continues to be closed, but I was early enough to use the porta-potty before the line formed.

Then I just took my time walking around and taking some photos. There’s cookies, banas, donuts, coffee, hot chocolate and more out before (and after) the race, but I had my Honeystinger waffle since it had been a while since breakfast and I was good (although that hot chocolate was a little tempting).

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The sun helped & the wind wasn’t as bad as forecast

The Plan
I continued with my flow of gunning for a PR but not actually looking up what my previous PR was. I just decided to to try to keep it under an 11 minute mile for the race — and even with the big hill in mile 2, I managed to hold onto that pace — just!

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:39. There are some rolling hills the first mile, but I started off a bit faster this year; not quite as I had hoped for — thank you, hills.
  2. Mile 2: 10:59. You go up the hill. Then you turn, and continue uphill. And up . . . still faster than last year.
  3. Mile 3: 10:02. Ah, what goes up most come down. And a couple of seconds faster than last year — literally.
  4. Last .48 mile: 9:52. The only slower lap, which oddly was apparently just a tad longer than last year.

2015: 38:19
2016: 37:56
2017: 36:31

The weather & dressing
It was warmer this year, and yet I still wore my North Face Thermoball; with my Skirt Sports Wonder Wool Tee and Hearbreaker skirt (discontinued? say it ain’t so!) I felt I nailed my outfit again. Or maybe it felt warmer because I actually dressed warmer than last year — but again, I was comfortable.

Was the race well run?
I think it’s extremely well run, especially since it’s free! You can pay for a race shirt . . . or not (I never have — maybe if they ever went to sweatshirts! That’d be cool). It’s chip timed. Although there’s no starting mat and I always wonder how that works. The refreshments are pretty nice.

This year there was a drone at the start, which was fun, but I’ve no idea where that footage was posted, if it was. I know I got to wave at it, so I’d like to see it. I think!

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Maybe it helped me burn off some pie?

Final Thoughts
Because it’s not crowded, you can quickly find your own running space — especially once you hit the hills. Although speedy runners come out for this, the families looking for fun do, too; they can be path hogs, but hey, it’s a holiday (there was no swearing).

It’s a challenging run. While a 127 foot hill doesn’t sound like much, trust me, it’s steep. I ran into one of those friends after the race, and I had warned her it was hilly (her first time running this race) — she likes hills — and her comment was “Holy Hills!”. But the payoff is that sweet downhill to the finish (with a few minor hills). My friend thinks this needs  to be her new holiday tradition.

It’s also a ton of fun to watch the kiddie’s races, although I admit since now I do a warmup mile, I really didn’t. It’s just an all around good ole American fun way to stoke  your metabolism before Thanksgiving dinner and I’m always glad I run it, despite having to hustle home and shower and change quickly and make sure everything is pretty much done the night before (although Mr. Judy helps out, of course).

This week I am joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, and Coach Debbie Runs  for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Dear Fall: 5 Things I want from You!

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It’s the first day of Fall and I decided to go off script for the Friday 5 and write a little letter to Fall and ask it for a few favors.

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Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy to share the five things I’d like to ask from Fall.

Sunshine!
I won’t rehash our summer weather, you know what you threw at us, but Dear Fall, please let us have some bright blue skies with little cotton candy clouds. I need to recharge my batteries before the grayness of Winter arrives.

I’d like to run without the jacket (or hike!)

Cool enough to enjoy running . . .
. . . but not so cold I need a jacket. Gazillions of layers will come soon enough; for now, please let me enjoy the freedom of running in just a skirt and a tee (or capris, or even tights) — let’s save the jackets for winter, shall we?

No snow!
I mean seriously, it’s bad enough dealing with the snow during the Winter. Do you really need to throw it at us during your season, too, Fall? We runners don’t enjoy it. The furkids don’t enjoy it. And the plants certainly don’t enjoy it.

I know you’re just getting started!

Colorful leaves to entertain me . . .
. . . on the trees. Please let there be a trail angel to blow those leaves off of my running paths. I don’t want to roll an ankle because a branch or a rock was buried under all your Fall colors.

I do enjoy leaf peeping as I run.

A few PRs would be awesome
Seriously, Fall, if it doesn’t happen, I’m cool. I’ve had a good year of running. But you are often my best season for running. I’m hoping for a PR at my Fall half next week, but I’m not putting pressure on myself — it will be what it will be.

I’m counting on you, Fall, to help me out a little in the PR department with some crisp days that make running a pleasure.

So let me know in the comments:

What would you ask Fall for?

Any big Fall races coming up?

What is your favorite thing about running in the Fall?

The real victory . . .

. . . was to keep on keeping on

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Victory: achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties

Today’s word prompt got me to thinking: is the real victory the PR, or is it the journey to that PR?

If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards. — Paul Bryant

The Price IS high
I have written about this before — about whether to challenge yourself or play it safe. I think there’s a time for both. Yes, it’s easy to injure yourself by pushing too hard, but the rewards from challenging yourself are high, too.

I think the true victory comes in challenging yourself, but not at the cost of ignoring what your body is telling you. Become too afraid of failing and you become stuck. Become too fearless and victories can be snatched away right when they seem within your grasp.

Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.
— Jack Lemmon

I will admit that doing things that make me afraid can absolutely stop me — sometimes. And sometimes I’ve tried things, and failed, and realized that that was something I didn’t enjoy. Victory can also be enjoying what you do, not doing it because other people recommend it or enjoy it.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment; full effort is full victory.
— Mahatma Ghandi

Being satisfied with journey
Ah, now this one is a tough nut to crack. But it’s an important nut, too. Here’s the thing, though: if you’re not satisified with your journey, no PR is going to satisfy you for long. PRs are fleeting, and often there’s a let down afterwards  — those post-race blues — when  how you thought you would feel doesn’t match up with how you actually feel.

A “is that all there is?” feeling.

Some, no doubt, expected me to write about the victory of my latest PR (you can read about that here). Instead, I would argue that that PR was the product of (mostly) enjoying the journey. The aches, the fatigue, the bad races, the bad weather, the family stresses . . . no, I don’t really enjoy that. But they are all part of the journey, and it’s a journey that motivates me to lace up and get out there most days.

To do all the boring work: the foam rolling, the stretching, the prehab or rehab exercises — all the things that help me to continue on my running journey. To watch what I eat, most of the time, because it isn’t fun when your running clothes don’t fit or carrying around a bag of kitty litter (that would be the 40 lbs I’ve lost . . . several times).

The real victory was to keep on keeping on, knowing that someday, yes, it would pay off. Knowing that when it didn’t pay off, it was just one more rung in a ladder I need to climb to keep improving as a runner.

The real victory is the journey to the finish line, not the finish time.
— Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

 

Deb Runs

Tell me in the comments:

What do you see as a victory?

What do you consider your latest victory?

Can you find joy in your journey?

Superaging: Spilling over tea/coffee April 2017

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Mostly I’m thinking about my last race today. Not so much in a “I should have done this” or “I should have done that” sort of way. More in a “I’m just kind of shocked” kind of way.

Have I ever told you the story of my engagement to Mr. Judy? I don’t remember (guess there goes the superaging thing). Well, the short of it is we got engaged, many years ago, around my birthday. It was a rather unplanned proposal, no ring involved, nothing like what they young’uns get up to today.

When I got home (we live about 400 miles apart at the time), Mr. Judy-to-be called me to ask if I’d told my parents. I hadn’t told anyone. I wasn’t sure it was real.

Yeah, that’s how my PR feels.

Confessions of a Mother Runner

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

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Shocked at the finish; yup!

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that I am still rather in shock over my PR in NOLA. I think a lot of thanks goes out to Rachel @ Runningonhappy. Sure, I did the work, but she was able to push me without pushing me right over the edge. She was always there to listen, and knowing I’ve struggled with injuries, she was always asking if the paces felt right.

Most of all, she believed in me. Maybe more than I believed in myself! I knew I’d put in the work, but I have always sucked in heat and humidity. I guess now I can lay that one to rest! I know that on a day about 20 degrees cooler, if nothing had gone wrong, this most likely would have been an even faster finish time.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that I also believe that those last few overdressed runs helped a lot. Sure, they couldn’t even come close to duplicating the humidity that I faced on race day but . . . they got me somewhat comfortable with being uncomfortable.

We’ll never really know, but I don’t think I’d hesitate to do the same things again facing the same circumstances.

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you I don’t know what finish time Rachel was actually targeting for me. I didn’t do the math, and thankfully she gave it to me in paces, not overall time — which is what I prefer. I know that it was faster than what my actual time ended up being.

I told her I wanted to target a PR for this race. Given the flatness of the course, I knew it was possible. That doesn’t mean I expect every half this year to be a PR (I don’t).

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that they say that new runners, no matter when they start, have about 10 years to improve their times, and then it’s downhill from there. I’m about 8 years from when I started to run. I do wonder about  how long I can improve (and there’s that pesky age thing, too).

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you that this last half actually approached the finish time I’ve said I would need to be able to do to even consider running a marathon.

Having just put that recent finish time in a calculator, and come up with a potential time of 5:30 for a marathon . . . no, I still don’t think I want to run for that long. Plus I know that those calculators lie!

Now, I know all sorts of people take much longer to finish a marathon. And that’s fine and dandy. I simply do not want to run that long. I’m not saying never, but with aging parents and furkids, I don’t see my time freeing up anytime soon. A half is doable even when your life is kind of stressful and crazy. I think a marathon might end up being just one more stressor right now.

Don’t worry, I definitely have no plans to run a marathon this year. I’m way too busy running halfs

If we were enjoying high tea . . .
I’d tell you I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a SuperAger (just google it, if you’re interested).

Talk about them seems everywhere these days, and while yes, staying active is one of the things I do to try to age well (eating healthy is another thing), I’m not sure I really push myself enough mentally. I don’t really play brain games, I no longer knit, I’m not learning a new language or instrument . . . is blogging good enough? Probably not.

Maybe I can just be a good ager.

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

Does it matter to you how long you’re out there running?

Do you wonder about how long you can improve?

Seen all the news about the SuperAgers lately?

Never say never: TOLT

Today I’m Thinking Out Loud about not being jinxed by well wishes for a PR in my upcoming race, and everything race related. Of course. Plus the furkids. Of course.

Trying something different
I’ve pretty much been trying to lose weight for the last 8 years or so. That includes during training for all my halfs. This year is no different. And yes, I’d still love to drop about 5 pounds, but I decided to try something different, at least during the last few weeks.

I didn’t worry as much about what I ate. I’m not saying I went crazy, or didn’t continue to plan my meals, or be mindful of sugar. But I decided this training cycle it was more important to eat some extra carbs and maybe be just a bit heavier. As long as my clothes are comfortable, I’m okay!

And speaking of okay, yes, I’m about 3 pounds heavier than I’d like to be — I know that sounds like nothing, but for a petite girl that can make a big difference in how my clothes fit. So while I’m not saying my clothes are uncomfortable, they are a wee bit tighter than I’d like.

What will my night before race meal be?
Normally I like sushi. But since I was in a group for my last half, pizza and cheese garlic bread it was. And then there was that surprising PR.

Maybe I should go for cheese garlic sticks again? Nothing much better than cheesy garlic bread if you ask me.

Finding the time
I spent just under 6 hours running in my peak week of running, which was actually a total of 29 miles.

So why does it seem like it was all consuming? We have 168 hours in a week, so seriously, 6 hours shouldn’t be a burden. Of course, there’s changing, driving to an area to run in, warming up, foam rolling, showering, eating a recovery snack . . . it’s not really just 6 hours.

Still it seems like it should at least have been about 20 hours!

And then of course there’s the thought that that’s like running a marathon. Only spread out over a week. So no, not so much like running a marathon.

I’ve seen the signs
Everyone keeps telling me on I’m track for a PR. I know that it all comes down to race day; no matter how hard you’ve worked for it, a PR is never a given. I also know I do better if I don’t put that sort of pressure on myself, even if I did tell Rachel @ Runningonhappy that I wanted to work towards a PR.

The main reason I did tell her I wanted to work towards a PR was that the course should be flat and fast and since it’s early spring, there’s hope for favorable weather.

Whatever, I truly intend to enjoy my race (and carry a little extra water in case).

But Thursday, I saw the signs! As I left to go to my chiropractor appointment, I was passed by a Smuttynose truck. I’ve never seen one here. And Smuttynose was my triumphant return to running after a really bad half and intense bout of ITBS.

Then who should I run into while at the chiropractor’s? My running buddy, whom I kept meaning to email (she’s not on social media, dammit), but hadn’t gotten around to. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of months.

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Another timely affirmation

Are these really signs? Who knows, but I’m going to take them as such!

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Come run Utah with me
Don’t forget that code crj15 gets you 15% off of your registration for the Utah Valley Marathon (your choice of three race distances). The price goes up on March 2, so register today!

I’m running the half, and quite a few other bloggers will be racing, too.

Disclaimer: I make a small amount of money if you register using my code.
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A surprising find

Bandit update
Speaking of things I’ve never seen before . . . the photo above. Oh sure, every once in a while they share a bed. For like 30 seconds.

This time they stayed side by side for a good 10 minutes, while I went downstairs to retrieve the good camera (taking a few shots with my ipod first because I was sure they’d never be together when I came back up).

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Would you rather drop a few pounds to be comfortable or eat all the carbs?

Do you believe in signs? If you do, do you remember the last one you saw?

Got any NOLA restaurant recommendations for me? Or any tips about NOLA?

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

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Must get faster — how?: TOLT

I’m Thinking Out Loud about running, training, how to get faster without getting injured, and male dogs vs female dogs.

Generating heat
I often wonder about strange things. Like if you’re a faster runner does that mean you naturally generate more heat? Do you run hot, so to speak?

Darlene and I dress very differently for the same temperatures. I have often wondered if I don’t get as hot because I run slower. And yet I sweat much more than she does. Our friend Barbara, who is just as speedy as Darlene, tends to dress even warmer than I do.

And Wendy recently said that she felt chilly at our Panama City Beach half, dressed in a running skirt and tank, which is how I was dressed, and I felt comfortable (although my tank and skirt were heavier material).

My unscientific conclusion is that we all run at different temperatures.

Do friends make you faster?
I haven’t run many races with friends. I did do a speedy (for me) half marathon relay last March — was I speedy because I knew someone was waiting on me?

Did I run my PR in my last half because others were waiting on me?

Seriously, in the relay, yes, the fact that someone was waiting was on my mind. The fact that all my friends finished their halfs about 20 minutes (or more) ahead of me really wasn’t on my mind.

And of course I have also run half marathon PRs in a race with no friends at all (that would be most of them). Like I said, weird thoughts pop into my mind. All the time! Thoughts for which there are no answers but I think about them anyway.

Scheduling races
So I’m looking at what will be next for me after the best damn race NOLA in 2017. Any half marathon with the word mountain in it? Nope, not gonna happen. I’m passing on the ones that have Endurance Challenge in the name, too.

A half marathon is plenty of challenge on its own, thank you very much.

The Training Trap
I hope I don’t fall into that in 2017. So 2016 definitely didn’t go the way I wanted to. I wasn’t able to run as much weekly mileage as I wanted to because of what was going on in my life.

Yet I had a good year of running — I had PRs at every distance I ran, actually.

And then that thought creeps into your head: if I could do that well with minimal training, how much better could I do if I trained harder? Which is a trap, because it’s so easy to overtrain and end up injured.

How I gauge how sick I am
When I’m really sick, I lose my appetite. I don’t want to eat veggies, I don’t wear my contacts, and I often don’t shower for days at a time. It’s too much effort and I’m often chilled — which is another way I can tell I’m sick, my feet will be cold.

My feet were really cold when I first got sick, but I didn’t really lose my appetite. Low grade fevers completely wipe me out, though. I just shake my head in wonderment at the tales of athletes who compete with fevers. How is that possible?

Thanks for the well wishes, I am definitely on the mend, but still very tired so still taking it fairly easy.

Getting along . . . so far

Are male dogs harder?
Or do I just feel more kinship to female dogs? Chester was a hard puppy. Seriously, it’s not just Bandit that I was ready to give back for months. And I still miss Chester so much. I no longer miss my first cats, Cleo and Puss, that much — it’s been 10 years since we lost Puss, even longer for Cleo. So I know it does get better with time.

The hard work with Lola paid off

Lola was not exactly an easy dog when we got her, either. 10 months old, also with no housetraining (or really any training at all), extremely reactive to other dogs (except Chester) . . . she was a lot of work, too. Somehow I never wanted to give her back, and I’ve been rewarded with a well trained, very sweet dog (who is still a bit reactive to other dogs while on leash).

Bromance

So Mr. Judy is always falling in love with the male dogs — like, immediately — and I seem to gravitate towards the female dogs. Initially, anyway. Maybe it’s something along the lines of us women have to stick together.

Bandit has found his bark
Although he has occasionally barked at random things since we got him — sometimes so random we had no clue what the heck he was barking at — in general, he wasn’t that barky a dog.

Lola was advertised as a dog that didn’t bark. She tends to only really bark at other dogs.

But Bandit has begun barking at pretty much any car/truck that drives past our house now that he is almost free in the house. He’s not too annoying . . . yet.

 

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

Do you find yourself gravitating towards male or female furkids? Or does it matter?

Do you think there’s a training trap?

Do you ever think about what makes you faster or do you just do it?

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

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

Cohoes Turkey Trot Race Recap 11/24/16

You can have your Troy Turkey Trots, because even though I’ve never done it, I’m pretty sure I prefer the more low key (and free) Cohoes Turkey Trot. Here’s how it went down for the second year I’ve run it.

Packet Pickup
I got to the race earlier this year than last year. I knew that you could hang out in city hall before the race. More on that later. Walked over to the sign in table in the park, gave them my two boxes of soup, and got my bib.

The Plan: run by feel
Unlike last week’s Girls on the Run 5k, I had no PR aspirations and no plans to even watch my pace. Just move my body and put myself in a good mood for the rest of the day.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 11:04. 3 seconds slower than last year.
  2. Mile 2: 11:45. 10 seconds slower than last year — this mile has 2 very steep uphills (really, one long uphill). No idea why I was slower — still warming up because it was colder than last year?
  3. Mile 3: 10:05. 13 seconds faster than last year — downhills, I love you. Although I was very grateful the snow held off til later in the day — had it been snowing, I would have had to slow way down, because there are some very steep hills in there.
  4. Last .44 mile: 9:15. Almost 1 minute faster than last year. Um, maybe because it was a lot colder (again)? Except by this point I was warm. Not too warm, just comfortably warm.

2015: 38:19
2016: 37:56

Yes, it was a PR – maybe? – and I wasn’t looking for one again. However, you’ll also notice that the pace is quite a bit slower than last week’s 5k and this race isn’t that much longer. And it seemed like maybe I didn’t press my Garmin at the same time or the course was somehow short (or maybe I just ran tangents better?). I am still totally satisfied with how both races “ran”.


The weather & dressing
It was much colder than last year, and for some reason this year, they didn’t open City Hall. I kept hoping maybe they’d open it at some point, but they never did. So I hung out in the cold for an hour.

I wore a fleece lined jacket from Fabletics, my Skirtsports Switzer capris (I guess they’re currently sold out — too bad, one of my favorites!), and the free flow long sleeved top. I also tried out the convertible saftey mitts — I was disappointed with the tech tips, I had a hard time using my Ipod with them. But they kept my hands warm (although the wind guards make my hands look humongous, and I actually have very small hands).

What I Saw/Felt
It was so cold that I had zero desire to take any photos (other than the one I asked my new friend to take of me). I happened to meet a guy as we walked to get our bibs, and we both headed over to city hall afterwards, thinking we’d wait inside. We went back to ask if it would be opened and where some bathrooms were!

There were some portapotties next to City Hall — and no lines — so I just used them. Later there would be a small line.

My new buddy left at some point, and I struck up a conversation with a woman who somehow looked familiar to me. We had a lot in common: started running late in life, run for stress relief and weight management, and her son went to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (which is at my alma mater, RIT). We kept chatting and eventually the same runner came back — wouldn’t you know they were friends?

I eventually left to warm up, which included some jogging back and forth because I was just so cold.

Last year I thought we ran past Cohoes Falls, but never actually saw them. This year I did. While I love the downhill finish, a lot of it is on the sidewalk, as the streets are narrow and the route not closed to traffic.

In fact, at one point I was running in the street, and this car was driving on that side of the road. And it just kept driving slowly along with us — I found that incredibly annoying (and potentially dangerous).

I also realized that the part of the race that is on the bike path is actually a portion I have run many times. I choose not to run there real often, as it’s a decline out, and an incline back — but we were heading in the direction of the decline.

When I was done, I took a quick look at the food, and then just decided to head on home (I had snacks in my car). I started walking back to the car, and then just decided to jog back to it. So maybe about 4 miles for the day — good thing, as the rest of the day was devoted to cooking/entertaining/cleaning up.

Was the race well run?
It’s free, y’all. You can get a tee if you pay for it. Getting my bib was easy. Where the start line actually was? Confused everyone. There’s one water stop and they hand out small bottles of water. Sort of nice, except then you have to carry them with you. I think last year I just didn’t take one. This year I did, drank some water, and put it in my pocket for the rest of the race.

There’s not a whole lot of food post race, but there are some protein bars and other snacks. In the end I didn’t take anything — it’s Thanksgiving, after all, and I had plenty of food waiting at home!

For a free race that’s meant to be a fun run to get the whole family moving (there are multiple kid races before the main event), it’s very well run. I’ll probably be out there next Thanksgiving.

Final Thoughts
I’ve never tried Troy, even though I know plenty of runners who do it. Because Thanksgiving is always a hectic day for me, I prefer my turkey trot to be more low key and close to home. Free doesn’t hurt either.

I also don’t really want the secret to get out . . . I like practically rolling out of bed to go and race — that almost never happens!

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