Archive for the ‘running.’ Category

Polar Cap recap.

The Polar Cap 4 miles put on by The Adirondack Runners was my first race of the year and the first of twelve races I have planned for 2014. This was also my first run with a friend, Alison. She suggested this race about a month ago and because I couldn’t find a more appealing one locally, I made the drive up to Lake George. No race really looked appealing because of the frigid temperatures we’ve been having the past week or so. That and I hadn’t really trained at all.

But I had registered and a goal is a goal!

I was happy when I saw that the race started at ten o’clock; it gave the day a couple of hours to warm up. We all got lucky with the temperatures, too. The sky was blue, it was almost thirty-five degrees and there was no wind. My kind of day to be running in the winter!

I got there about forty minutes early to pick up my bib and assess my outfit. Because I hadn’t ran outside since New Year’s Day, I was really unsure of what to layer on. I decided on my warm pair of UnderArmor tights, a long-sleeved Lululemon shirt, my warm-up jacket from college volleyball and a baseball cap. And really, I would have been fine with my light vest instead of the jacket. I was surprised to see such a great turnout, but then again, I couldn’t blame them because of the weather conditions. Before I knew it, it was time to line up at the start.

The start is a slight up-hill and the crowd sprinted up at the sound of the gun. Alison and I had mutually agreed that this would be a fun run because neither of us felt prepared. We fell into groove and the first mile was at 9:05! I saw this and knew I could hold it however, what I hadn’t taken into account were the remaining hills that I hadn’t anticipated.

The first hill sucked and I wanted to walk but there was a great recovery after so I convinced myself to keep running. The course was easy to follow and there were volunteers at every turn. Before I knew it, we were down by the lake and taking in the views. This was also the point where you could see the top finishers zoom pass.

Now let me fill you in on a little pet-peeve of mine. If you sprint by me but then I pass you when you walk up a hill, I sure as hell don’t want to see you sprint past me once the road evens out. I take note of those people very early on in a race. There was a gentleman who did this maybe FOUR times throughout the race. I’d chug right along, and bam! He’d be in front of me again. Red coat, orange and grey hat. Note taken.

The last half mile of this race was uphill. If you were running on a treadmill, it would be approximately a 3.7% incline. I hate hills but for some reason, run harder and faster. Happens every time. I started up strong and in a zone. I then remembered that I was running with someone and slowed down to let Alison catch up; I didn’t want to cross the finish line before her. (Another pet peeve of mine: running the race with someone and then sprinting away during the last leg to only finish first.) When I turned to see her, she said “go ahead” but my response was “I WANT TO CATCH THAT MAN IN THE RED COAT!” A passing running dude in a grey hoodie and sunglasses said, “you want to catch that man in the red? Let’s go get him!” I looked back at Alison, she gave me the-go and I took off! That man in grey was much faster than me but I tried my hardest to catch him. I didn’t but let me tell you, I passed that man in the red coat!

The race photographs aren’t very flattering but hilarious. You can see my tense face as I’m struggling for air as I was running up that hill. You can see me look back to check his distance. You can see my smile and then relief as we approached the finish line chute. Oh man, Alison got to see my competitive side come out full-blown within the last few seconds of the race.

After a couple of sips of water, she and I ran another mile because we were participating in a virtual 8k for the Winter Miles Challenge. It was much slower but comfortable and just what I needed to shake-out my legs.

Overall, it was a great morning and I loved seeing some new faces. And the long drive home wasn’t so bad after I made a quick stop for fries. Mission accomplished!


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Four weeks ago I decided that I was going to register for the Troy Turkey Trot 10k = my first 10k race ever.

I also decided that I wanted to finish under 56 minutes = 8:59 average mile = the first time ever running a race in the 8:XX range.

So, I laced up my sneakers and set out to run the 6.2 miles to see how much time I’d need to shave off. I ran it in 1:00:46 = 9:48 pace = I needed to shave off 4 minutes and 47 seconds or 49 seconds per each mile.

Today I ran the Troy Turkey Trot 10k and I CRUSHED my goal: 54:35!!! That equals an 8:48 pace, which means I shaved off 6 minutes and 11 seconds. Also means I shaved off an entire minute per each mile.

Blows. My. Mind.

Quick race recap: Miles 1 & 2 Started off going over the Green Island Bridge, my normal route for my long runs. Last week when I ran a test run (in 55:36 btw), this first mile was my slowest and I was expecting the same today. Nope. Instead I ran an 8:45. And then again for the second mile. I was nervous that I started out too fast but knew that even if I slowed down a tad, that I’d still have wiggle room. Oh, and my Garmin quit for some odd reason before we even made it to the first mile marker. Probably the best thing that could have happened.

Miles 3 & 4 I really started to feel this pace. My breathing was harder but by the time we got to the park/111 street, I knew I only had to run home. Each time I saw a mile marker, I did the math and knew that I was keeping my original pace. My friend Phil snapped a photograph of us, and when I asked him what the pace was, his response was: crushin’ it!

Miles 5 & 6 I had to mentally tell myself that I was doing it and that just because I was out of breath did not mean I was going to quit. Around mile 5 I ever so loudly asked those around me if I was going to get a medal… which they all seemed to think was funny; I don’t know if I was delirious or just searching for something to look forward to… but they all reassured me that I would get one. The wind near Brown’s pushed me forward up one of the last *small* hills and from there…

… the last .2 was a full sprint. When I rounded that corner and saw the time on the clock, I had to hold back the tears. I saw the beau, who I thought was taking a video and I ever so loudly screamed, “I did it!” I had done it. And then I searched for the volunteers who were handing out the finishing medals.

I must admit that this race has lit a flame in me that I never knew was there. I’ve run races before in the past and yet still had the crazy idea in my head that I wasn’t a runner. I think it’s because I’ve never finished a marathon. I know, I know, so not right but that’s what was in my head. I don’t have that feeling any more. This race at this pace, changed my image of myself. I officially feel like a runner. And can’t wait to lace up my sneakers again.

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Well, we did it! Most importantly, my little sister crossed the finish line of her first half marathon! This was a gorgeous route- I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been training on a bike path week after week or because this was the city I fell in love with running, but the miles seemed to tick by. I found myself repeatedly saying out loud that it was the most perfect day for this race; something I tend to do a lot in the mountains when hiking. I was thankful that there wasn’t a tiny percent of humidity in the air and that it was quite brisk when we started- my two favorite things about autumn running.

Here’s a little recap of the miles:

Miles 1-3: If you follow along with my training on DailyMile, you’d know that the past couple of weeks I have been running the biggest hills in Troy to prepare myself for the incline up North Broadway to Skidmore College. I remember running this route with Marla years ago and it would KILL me. I didn’t want to start this race dragging, or dragging my sister back, so hills have become part of my routine. This morning I could have flown up that incline. I could have flown up the two hills throughout the campus and breezed back down toward downtown. I could feel my body pulling myself faster but I stayed right along with Naomi, encouraging her the whole way. See, she hadn’t trained with hills. She did exactly what I told her to do: run comfortably up those hills and we’d gain our ground later in the race. Start slow and finish strong.

Halfway up North Broadway she gave me a look and asked me if there were people behind her. I said yes, but not many, and not to worry because if we were the last two people to cross the finish line, I’d let her go first. I knew we wouldn’t be the last two people and reassured her that she was doing great. I caught her looking at her Garmin far too much and she would ask why she was going so slow or how the pace felt to me- I just told her to STOP looking at that watch or I’d take it away from her. (Great words my friend once said to me last year during my marathon attempt.) I didn’t want her worrying about time; I wanted her to finish. We passed our family and were thumbs-up with smiles!

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Miles 4-6: The best part about this race was that I knew where all the hills would be and when to prepare her for them. She made it up the hill on Broadway heading toward the Saratoga State Park and I just followed her pace. She fell into a nice little groove and held that consistently until about mile 5.25. At this point in the course, we could see the runners that were MILES ahead of us and some were MUCH older than us. She had me laughing out loud when she made a comment about a “grandpa” who was beating us but I reminded her to run her own run and not to think about those people. To me, those people are inspiration. This was when I saw a No Meat Athlete and a friend named Gabe run by and had to give them a holler. This was also when I saw the competitive side of Naomi come out; she started to verbalize “targets” of whom she wanted to pass. I did this earlier in the race to her but backed off because I didn’t want to push her too soon. I reminded her that if she were to pass people now, she better hold it to the finish line; not a problem.

Miles 7-9: I refueled around mile 6.5 and started taking routine sips of water every two miles. Naomi also shared the water bottle I carried which was great because we didn’t stop at any water stations. We hit our last hill of the day and she passed people going up! These weren’t memorable miles for me until about mile 9.75 when we saw our family a second time… I’m still all smiles and thumbs-up! I think this was a huge relief for my mom because this was right around the time I was pulled from VCM.

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Miles 10-12: Once we hit ten miles and high-fived (we did that at every mile marker), I reminded her that we had just a 5k to go! She really started to pick up the pace and it was tricky for us to fall into a new groove because it was much more crowded and practically single file on Crescent Ave because of traffic. She let me know when it was safe to pass. She said mile 10-11 was her most difficult but I couldn’t tell. By this time, I had to pee but couldn’t imagine stopping. She told me all the better to pick up the speed and finish, so I did. Once mile 12 came, she kept asking, “where’s the Farmer’s Market?!”

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Miles 13-13.1: We booked it! As we were passing those who were walking, I couldn’t help but try and encourage them during the last mile. Once we rounded the corner near the police station and could see the finish, I really fell into stride; and she was right there with me. We passed her boyfriend, my dad who was on the phone looking for her boyfriend and then there at the finish line was the beau and my mom. I grabbed Naomi’s hand and crossed we did! My DailyMile friend John even announced the two of us and the fact that it was her first race! She looked like she was going to barf (sorry Naomi) and I couldn’t help but smile because I knew she gave it all she had in her. We found our family, including the beau’s! and relaxed for a while before heading home.

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It was a great day! Once the beau and I made it back to Troy, we sat down for a delicious meal at Carmen’s with a celebratory mimosa! That mix of spinach, seasonal veggies and rice were just what I needed to refuel. I got home and passed out to take a short nap and when I woke up, I was surprised to find out that the beau had made homemade tomato sauce (seriously impressed with the flavor), pasta and fried/baked eggplant… oh, and had a 12 pack of Saranac seasonal beers chilled! Isn’t he great?! I stuffed my face had a hearty serving of dinner while watching Sons of Anarchy- season five is getting better and better! It was a wonderful way to wrap up a busy weekend.

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Other highlights from this weekend: we finally got the record player up and running! I love looking through the box of records and dancing around the apartment. Now if only I was productive while dancing around, say, sweeping or picking up dirty laundry. Oh! And the beau ran his first (ever) 5k on Saturday! I loved to see him participate and I think it’s safe to say that he’s hooked: I’m pretty sure he’s going to run the Turkey Trot with me!

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In this week’s bag:

  • concord grapes
  • braising mix
  • broccoli
  • roma tomatoes
  • yummy snacking peppers
  • sweet corn
  • seckel pears

The beau and I were both super excited to see/smell the concord grapes in the bag because last year when we got them, I ended up making a big batch of fresh grape juice. It was delicious and lasted us a week or so; we diluted it a ton because neither of us is use to drinking juice on a daily basis. I may throw some into my morning shakes for an extra pop of flavor!

The sweet corn will be tasty in some sort of stir fry, possibly with the onions and peppers I plan on cooking up tonight with tempeh for “fajitas”.  The broccoli I’d love to steam up and enjoy with the eggplant parmesan I plan on making this weekend, layered with fresh tomatoes and basil. The beau tasted one of the peppers this morning and said it was good; paired with some homemade hummus and sriracha, they will become a perfect snack. Lastly, those pears. We were advised to let them ripen a few more days- after that, I’m poppin’ them in the oven for a sweet treat with cinnamon. Nature’s dessert.

This morning I ran my last run, five miles, before the race this Sunday. I ran alone and only spoke once to myself as I was nearing the top of Congress Street; no I’m not going to quit! My meals over the next 48 hours are going to be “strict”- as clean as possible with tons of vegetables, complex carbs (my favorite, short grain brown rice) and plenty of water. I am a no meat athlete and truly thrive on clean food!

I can’t wait to spend time with my sister and see her cross that finish line; this will be a tricky course for both of us (the hills!). Hope you all have a wonderful and rewarding weekend; send positive vibes!

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I’m realizing that I never posted my veggies photograph from Field Goods last week- oops! The last two weeks the beau’s parents were on vacation and I got to pick up their weekly share of vegetables at the Farmer’s Market, so we’ve had veggies galore!

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While the beau was away, I was very good about cooking every meal fresh and it really paid off over the weekend. Let me fill you in. If you remember from this post, I announced that I was going to run a half marathon with my little sister. Well, to be completely honest, I’ve been slacking over the past month. I’ve been so focused on my hiking each weekend, that I really haven’t been committing myself to the long runs. A big no-no for any distance race.

Two weeks ago I was scheduled to run 11 miles. (The furthest I ran prior to this was 9 miles three weeks ago) I got up early around 4am Saturday to fuel and was out the door promptly at five. And that’s when the wall of humidity hit me. I am not a summer runner and get discouraged by the humidity but told myself to suck it up. By mile two, I stopped to walk and started crying; right there on the side of the road. I knew this race wouldn’t be possible if I couldn’t run the eleven so I convinced myself to start running; only to stop one mile later. I walked the three miles home in the rain. I called my sister to tell her that I was out and that I would jump in and run a few miles with her to keep her company and finish strong.

I also told my sister that I’d try another long run this past Saturday just to confirm that I didn’t have it in me. I woke up late, ate only a peach and fewer Energy Bits than normal, and hit the streets. And then this happened:


I have no clue where it came from! The weather was absolutely gorgeous; cool with zero humidity. I nailed refueling after mile six and I remained positive, especially during the last two miles when my legs began to tighten. That overall pace is faster than some of my three milers throughout the week. I was shocked and called my sister as soon as I got home- I’m running the race with her! (As long as it’s not humid- ha!) I think eating well the week leading up to this run really made a difference, so I’m making an effort to eat super good this week (the race is on Sunday).

As if the run wasn’t enough, Sunday I went hiking! A coworker and I drove up at 4am to get an early start up Street & Nye. As we got off the exit for Keene, it was pouring and I was worried it would be a wet, miserable day. But as we left the Loj, the clouds opened up and blue skies surrounded us all day. It was cool. It was a little breezy. The trail has a lot of blow-down but easy to follow. And despite not having views, this was a great hike. I found it to be a nice little “break” from what Paula and I have been hiking recently.


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I officially have TEN more peaks to go! So close to becoming a 46er; anyone out there thinking about joining me for Sawteeth and 12 miles of reflecting on the past year?

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change in jar

Most of my friends know that anything shiny distracts me; any time, any place. Now with the potential of that something shiny being money, you better believe I’m going to stop for a closer look.

Yesterday during my lonely seven miles throughout the city of Troy, just as the sun was rising, I noticed a penny on Second Street. This was just around mile 2 and I didn’t stop. But from that point forward, all I could think was, “what if it was head’s up?” So, I planned a route back to that spot and found the penny around mile four. And it was head’s up. I carried that penny in my right hand until I walked through the door, greeted by kitty.

From this day forward, each time I find change during my run, I’ll put it into a jar. And when the time comes for me to roll the change, I’ll spend the dollar bills at lululemon; my favorite running apparel shop.

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In this week’s bag:

  • nectarines
  • golden plums
  • red tomatoes
  • romaine lettuce
  • joi choi bok choy
  • purple carrots
  • red, white & blue potatoes
  • blackberries

I didn’t get an opportunity to check out the veggies until about ten o’clock last night, hence the bright light of the bedroom. I had to carry the mini table into the bedroom because our living room was pure darkness; we don’t have a light just yet. I’m glad I did, many of these veggies needed to get into the fridge asap.

We decided to add-on the extra fruit subscription because the past couple of weeks that we’ve received our bag, we’ve been jealous of the fruit available and the fact that we didn’t jump on it sooner. The blackberries I’m going to share tonight at a little get-together with my friends from China; they are big, sweet and will be perfect paired with wine and an assortment of snacks. I look forward to this night each year to catch up and reminisce on our trip.

No late night for me, I’ve got a long run at 5am tomorrow and the Farmer’s Market following that. The beau is teaching a class at the local arts center and then we have to rush off to Albany for a wedding at the State Room. I’m pretty excited a) because I’ve never been there, b) I enjoy getting all dolled up lately, and c) there’s an open bar. Nothing but relaxation and cooking planned for Sunday.

Because I’m the fan of bok choy, I’m going to make a big stir fry with mushrooms and shredded carrots over rice. We picked up some Braggs liquid aminos that I’d like to experiment with instead of using tamari; my personal favorite. I’m also the one in the apartment that eats tomatoes so I’m most likely going to search the web for a new Indian dish that incorporates them. The nectarines are sweet! I had one for snack this morning and those plums intrigue me; I’ve never had a golden plum. Hopefully they are just as delicious as the purple variety because I’ll eat a couple prior to my run tomorrow morning. And as for the potatoes, those will probably wait patiently in the basket they are kept in until the evening that we crave a tofu scramble with homefries. Those evenings are the best.

It’s suppose to be a gorgeous weekend, hope you all get outside to enjoy it! Anyone looking to run 10+ miles, text me tonight. Anyone not looking to run 10+, I don’t blame ya! Leave me words of encouragement; I like to use it as motivation to finish what I set out to accomplish. Stay happy and healthy my friends!

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