Saturday, February 27, 2010

Is there such a thing as too much chocolate?

Trying out my new compression tights - Loved them!

We had a great 8 mile run this morning. With the recent snow we were back to a picturesque snow covered route.  The temperature was reasonable and T was running with me.  As we ran we discussed the possibility of entering the Seattle Marathon.  It's kind of a 50/50 deal right now with work being in the way for T.  I would love to do it as the time works out supremely well for me.  I also gave T a recap of the half marathon I ran last weekend. She is always a great audience for as many race details as I want to give her.  Her son is down visiting my daughter in DC so we spent some time speculating what they had on tap for today.
Temperatures are warming up but the river continues to look cold!

This afternoon my husband and myself as well as two friends headed up to Burlington's Mardi Gras parade. There have been many years where I have FROZEN at this.  No worries this year, the temperature was almost balmy!  It is always a great parade. I tried to take some pictures but I mostly got arms reaching for the many things being thrown from the floats. I saw one of my students there who was busy collecting his own beads.  
Waiting for the parade to start

The owner of Magic Hat Brewery Who Sponsors the Parade

Most of my pictures of the floats look like this, arms reaching for the multitude of stuff being thrown

Okay I'm finally getting to the chocolate referred to in the title! We left there and went to a local restaurant. We sat at the bar sporting our many colorful Mardi Gras beads.  We chatted and enjoyed wine/beer before we all ordered burgers.  That should have been enough but I looked over the dessert menu. I found out it was Chocolate Fest which meant there were many chocolate offerings and you could have as many as you wanted.  Thankfully my friend's husband decided to partake with me so I didn't look like a total hog alone.  All I can say is YUM!  How could anyone resist!!!  

A fun day overall.  

Friday, February 26, 2010

Whining my way through personal training

Yes, I whined my way through my personal training session tonight.  "I can't do it."  "That is too hard."  "Are you serious?"  I am sure there are more but those are a few of the statements I made.   The personal trainer took it in stride although he did let me know I was being ridiculous.  Part of the problem  was that the PT was my son!  He had given me some sessions for Christmas and this was the first one.  I would not have given up so easily if the PT was someone I didn't know.  But by the end of the session I was doing a couple of things I had thought I wouldn't be able to.  Although I am a very motivated person I have not yet stuck with a strength training regimen.  I actually stayed with it last time for a year and a half and then abruptly stopped. Foolish I know.  This was the jump start I needed and now I will continue at my own gym. Unfortunately I won't be able to train with J again for awhile as his gym is a ways away.  It is an amazing facility which believe me mine is not!! So thank you J for putting up with me and getting me back on another important aspect to my fitness. We discovered J has waaay better balance than I do.  One of the things I whined I couldn't do was to balance on "whatever it is called" that I am balancing on in the picture above.  Whereas J can do it on one foot with major weights in his hand.

Before this I went to Dicks to buy a foam roller. I am hoping it will help my minor injuries before they become more major.  I heard a lot about them on various podcasts that I listene to and it all sounded good. Does anyone use a foam roller and have any advice or comments?

I'm also posting pics of the two items I bought in Maine last week. Well, one was at a running store in Portsmouth, NH.  I returned more items than I bought which believe me is good for me!
3/4 zip from Nike - very comfy

Love my new Mizuno 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Am I supposed to get in the snowbank/TTT

Three Things Thursday
 Am I supposed to get in the snowbank? 

1. Today I was running on my usual route when a van waited until it was beside me and laid on the horn startling me, making me jump and giving me a heart attack.  I assume they thought I was in the way.  Well, I was on the side of the road, the "shoulder" was filled with snow and there was NO CAR COMING IN THE OTHER DIRECTION so there was plenty of room for this van and myself. The car directly in front of the van had no problem. The other 41 (yes, I counted) cars I met had no problem. If he truly wanted me to move he could have given a slight honk BEFORE he was beside me but no he wanted to go for the nasty approach!

2. I had a decent 5 mile run today except it was raining. Yesterday we had this beautiful snow and I stayed in because my body really needed a day off. Today I go thinking it will still be beautiful but the snow was already ugly and it was raining.  It wasn't cold though and the roads were clear.

3. Today I had lunch with two former colleagues.  I don't see these two wonderful friends as often as I would like but I am glad we haven't lost touch.  One woman left to pursue a new career which she has been very successful at. The other woman retired. She and her husband have done retirement the way I think it should be done. They have done a ton of traveling with lots of wonderful adventures.  Back in the day when I was 50 pounds heavier and pretty much a slug I admired C for her dedication to her running and fitness routine.  (But I only admired it with no attempt to follow it. )  She has stayed fit and is way more adventurous than I!  If I can do half as much when I retire I will be thrilled!  

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two Amazing Early Morning Runs in Maine

Generally following a half marathon or marathon I take some time off to allow my body time to recover.  But after Sunday's fun fun fun half marathon, I have not yet stopped running. I was in Maine on the ocean and could not resist running in one of  my favorite places.  Last week ESH at Sweat Once a Day asked what our favorite running routes were. I added running on the ocean as a distant fourth but that is only because I get to do it so seldom.  Running in York up to the Nubble Point Lighthouse is right at the top for me.  It totally rocked this year because I got to run it on a clear sunny day which was beautiful and then on a cloudy stormy day which is how I truly love the Maine ocean!  I ran slowly and smart so as to not strain my muscles and pretended it was recovery. Truly though I had a couple issues before my race (hip flexor and piriformis) and they both feel much better now!  Let's hope they stay that way!

Much of my running route in York follows the route of my last half marathon All Women and One Lucky Guy.  If you haven't run this race, think about it!  Crush Til It Hurts, you want to meet some running ladies, here is an opportunity for you!

Monday I left my hotel (off in the distance in the picture on the top left) and ran along Long Sands before heading up to Nubble Point Lighthouse.  I love going up toward the lighthouse looking past the houses on the cliffs to the ocean beyond.  My entire run was only about 4 1/2 miles so I don't think I did too much damage to my recovering muscles.  This picture to the left is headed back down on the other side to Short Sands.

Tuesday (today)  I was up bright and early again but I could see rain on the window.  It only rained for about 3 minutes but it certainly felt like it was going to storm later in the day.  The sky was much grayer as was the water.  When I got to Short Sands today I started playing
with my self timer. I am NOT headed into the water, just away
from the camera not always timing things the way I mean to.
I fooled around with it again at the lighthouse having trouble
finding a rock to balance the camera on and figuring out how to keep the ugly electrical wires out of the picture.  Lame lame photo but I was having fun! When I headed back to the hotel I went down onto the sand to run.  It was pretty wonderful. I guess I will take tomorrow off not that I am back home but it is snowing hard out and I do love to run in the snow when it is light and fresh!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunshine that is Gorgeous!

Thanks to Lisa and Katie A. for giving me the sunshine award!  I need to tag 12 people who bring sunshine to my day.  So many of you do this and I know I already tagged some of you once on this. In fact Katie and I were tagging each other at the same time! I also got the Gorgeous Blogger Award from Molly. Thanks Lisa, Katie and Molly!  I love getting awards!  For the Gorgeous Blogger Award I'm supposed to list 6 things about myself.  I'll give it a try.  I'm going to try to write about 6 things that I haven't already written about. No promises.

1.  I am very competitive even if it is just with myself.  That is one of the things I like most about racing.  You can always do better.  You can have lifetime goals, race goals, yearly goals.  I love setting goals and trying to meet them.  I am a huge list maker and love crossing things off my list as I complete them. This so feeds into my love of goals: lists......crossing lists.

2. Skiing used to be my main sport of choice!  I loved it and spent most of my childhood winters skiing. I continued skiing a lot through college. In fact a large part of where to go was based on how close skiing was.  After college it got very expensive and I stopped skiing with any regularity. I was on my high school ski team but I was also a middle of the pack skiier  although I didn't call it that.

3. I like to eat popcorn for supper on Friday nights. Lots of it. Parmesan cheese on top with a good book in my hand.  I don't cook on Friday nights.

4. I love going to concerts.  My all time favorites are Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  I have seen them in different groupings many times.  Some of the best concerts I have seen are Paul McCartney, Dixie Chicks, James Taylor and Maroon Five.  If I could see someone new I would choose Coldplay or R.E.M. I am NOT a classical music fan.  AT ALL.

5. I have been a teacher for more than 30 years.  My mother was a teacher and it's all I wanted to be. Good thing I liked it and it worked out.  8+9 year olds are the best to teach!

6. I love coats/jackets. I own a ridiculous amount.  I don't seem to feel you can have too many.  Some people like shoes.  Nope, it's coats for me.

Now  I am going to tag some people to win the Gorgeous Blogger Award.  I am not going to promise you haven't already been tagged.  I will tag 6 people for my 6 things.

Alicia at Alicia Runs
Alisa at Ambitious Aspirations Make Great Accomplishments
Anne at Asthma and the Gift of Running
Tina at Gotta Run Now
Jocelyn at Running with High Heels On
Moni at Wife, Mom, Teacher, Jogger

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Have a good time at half marathon - CHECK!!!

I have been finished my half marathon for 9 hours and I am still flying high from those wonderful endorphins.  I didn't have a PR but I was certainly pleased about many aspects of my race.  I have done about 10? half marathons and my time today was probably somewhere in the middle for my times. I raced it in 2:05:08 which was a 9:34 pace.  I was 10/24 in my age group.  And 716/1153 overall. My friend who came with me remarked at all the younger people that came in after me!

I cannot remember each mile to give a race recap but I do have lots to tell! I am going to talk about things in no order that makes sense.

My Consistent Pace
 I was most pleased with my consistent miles.  I often start out way too fast, settle into a pace I am going for and slow waaaayy down near the end.  Today I had a small spread over all 13 miles.  I swore that my last 3 miles were wicked fast. I thought I really picked up the pace and was going much faster than I had been. I was not but it was slightly faster. I guess it just felt quite different from my usual slowing down.
Here are my mile times.
 1 - 9:29
2- 9:29
3- 9:31
4 9:29
5 9:16 (fastest mile - I do remember thinking it was a good one!)
6 9:20
7 9:36
8 9:33
9 9:37
10 9:39 (slowest mile - it was after this that I thought I was going wicked fast)
11 9:32 (7 seconds faster)
12 9:27
13 9:28
13.1 8:37
Here I am very pleased with my race!!

Following/passing other racers
Overall I loved the race.  I felt like I passed many more people than passed me particularly near the end.  In the beginning I was trying to keep up with The Giant.  I would pass him and he would pass me.  I got ahead of him and thought I was all set but then he passed me again.  I decided he would be the guy I would follow but soon after that I passed him again. That was the last time I saw him although I kept expecting him to pass me.  In the second half of the race I got behind "Rebecca" This was a racer that totally reminded me of a colleague at work.  I stayed behind her and her friend for a couple of miles. Then I realized that I was slowing my pace to do so as they were slowing down so I passed on by and never saw them again. Then I noticed that I was once again by an older woman I had seen earlier. This woman was quite "speedy" (in my world) so I was pleased that I was still somewhat near her.  I tried to keep her close by and managed for quite awhile although she got a bit ahead of me in the last mile. She was picking people off quite regularly as she cruised to the finish line.  I tried to emulate her as best I could!

The Course
I loved the course.  Hampton Beach is a fairly tacky tourist town.  (sorry if you are from Hampton) so I was expecting some of the course to be pretty poor.  I knew what it was like along the ocean but wasn't sure what it would be like as we looped around. The neighborhoods that we ran through were great. There were beautiful houses to look at.  I do remember thinking on the fourth and fifth mile that it was going well.  I was tired and must say I was thrilled when I reached Mile 7 as I was now more than half way. It was around this time that I passed Team Hoyt. If you don't know about this amazing father/son team follow the link.  Somewhere after this we rounded a curve and we were back on the ocean. OH MY GOD!  It was so amazing and beautiful.  It was a clear sunny day and it was just so beautiful!  We were running along the ocean, some of the time on a cliff looking at the waves pounding on the rocks below. There is nothing like the Maine coast!  Some of the view was obstructed later by an ugly cement wall but you could see beyond it to the ocean.  I loved the final miles along the ocean. I was in heaven!  I didn't have that dead feeling that I have certainly had in other races. I totally felt like I could keep up my pace for the remainder of the race!

There was good traffic control but I didn't get the feeling everyone in those cars was glad to be waiting. There were 1200 racers spread over quite a distance and some cars were waiting a long time. I so appreciated the volunteers.  The prettiest part was actually a little sketchy traffic wise. We were running along the shoulder with cars right next to us.  Passing other runners was a little tricky. Not many people could be beside each other.

The spectators were great.  There were many enthustiastic people all along the course.  I'm sure most were there to see people they knew but they so kindly cheered for all of us!  Thank you!

The Weather/Outfit
I worried a lot about this.  But I must say my running in cold cold weather in Vermont totally prepared me.  I felt like it was rather warm.  The temperature was around 33 and windy.  I felt like we were running into the wind much more than having it with us. But most of the  time I felt just right.  I was worried I had too much on but I found myself zipping my hoodie up tighter to my neck several times.  I wore compression shorts under lightweight pants, a long sleeve tech shirt, and my favorite lulumon hoodie.  I wore lightweight gloves and a very light headband.  I would say the outfit was a WIN!

So the start was cloudy (see above)  but most of the race was incredibly sunny.

Emily on the other coast
I did find myself thinking of my daughter running on the Pacific Coast at the same time and each time I did it brought a smile to my face!  I wondered where she was on her course and how she was feeling. I wondered what she was looking at.  This was a bonus fun part to my race.

The organization of the race overall was quite good. This is huge for me. I can't stand a disorganized race and will usually not go back.  The race hotel was okay. Parking was a huge pain. We had to park a ways away and taking all our luggage (tons) out this morning with no late check out was a pain.

I know I know what kind of a geek comments on the bib.  But it was a cute one and totally matched my jacket.  The shirt is good because it is a woman's cut and fits!  I like the medal. Everything had The New Hampshire Marine Memorial Statue on it which was where the race ended.

Then of course there is the feeling that you can eat whatever you want after the race because you have earned it.  (Somewhat like the right to shop!)  I can't eat right after a race but give me a few hours.  What is a trip to the Maine Coast without a trip to the Maine Diner for a lobster roll!!!  

So all in all a huge win! I LOVE RACING!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Racing with my daughter - On opposite coasts!

This Sunday my daughter, ESH at Sweat Once a Day,  and I are running races on opposite coasts.  I will be running next to the Atlantic Ocean (top right) while she has the Pacific (left) in her sights.  How cool is that!  My weather prediction is:

Partly sunny. Highs in the upper 30s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.

Her weather prediction is: Sunny. Highs in the 50s. Light wind becoming northeast 10 mph or less.

Em's race starts at 8:00 a.m. and my race starts at 11:00 a.m. (hopefully it will have warmed up) so with the time difference we will be racing at the same time!  I am running a half and she is running  a whole marathon but with the speed difference we will probably finish at the same time too!  I love the thought of this happening. Thanks Heidi for making me more aware of it. I really hadn't put it all together.
Good luck to both of us!  I love you, Em!  

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Three Things Thursday - Glass Half Full or Glass Half Empty?

Long long week but after 3:00 tomorrow I am on vacation so will not complain too much.

1.  This week was long because the kids are ready for vacation as are the teachers.  It is usually a week earlier. In addition to regular hours I had two evening events to attend and several meetings. Who invented meetings?  Glass half empty.

2.  I have my half marathon on Sunday and I can't wait. piriformis injury is acting up just a wee bit and my hip flexor which has never bothered me is also letting itself be known. Nothing is too bad, I can certainly run but I like things to be perfect!   I am worried that running the half may aggravate either pain but I'm not willing to not race.  I am optimistic it will be fine. Glass half full.

3.  I will soon be at the ocean!!! There will be running, eating out, shopping, time with friends and just time to enjoy the ocean!  Glass way full!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Little Running/ A Lot of Books Part 1

This last week I ran 29.4 miles.  The odd thing about it is the week before I ran exactly 29.4 miles also.  I couldn't have done that had I been trying. I am a few days into my taper. The first two days I could have kept running whereas today 3 miles felt long.  YIKES!  Let's hope that changes soon!  

As I have mentioned before reading is another love of mine.  I always find time to read at least at some point each day.  I can remember my roommate in college going to bed with Grey's  Anatomy - the book which was nowhere near as exciting as the tv series.  I could not and still can't imagine reading such a boring book to fall asleep by.  I generally read for entertainment, not to be educated.  Having said that I do like to read running books and become better educated about running.  I also like to read biographies but mostly  I read fiction!  I'm going to mention a few of my all time favorites in no particular order.

I love Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.  I like all of his books including the sequel to this one but this one makes my all time top 5.  It takes place in 12th Century England and is about the building of a cathedral.

I also like Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn.  It is an old book about racial conflict. I have not read it in years and need to do a rereading soon.  The characters still hold a place in my memory from many years ago.

Another top choice is  Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel which became a series. None were quite as good as the first one.  Ayla is a richly developed character who breaks the norms for women way back in the stone age.

The Stand by Stephen King is my favorite by King.  I no longer read King but I read many of his earliest books. This end of the world with good VS evil has many characters you will love and hate!  In my opinion Salem's Lot by King has Twilight beat by many miles.

All the Usual Rules is a book intended for young adults that just won my heart.  I loved many of the characters.  (Are you seeing a thread here?  Characters matter to me big time!)  It is about what happens to a family after 9/11 through the eyes of a teenaged girl.

Caddy for Life; The Bruce Edwards Story is a true story about the caddy Bruce Edwards who had ALS.  He was Tom Watson's caddy, a truly remarkable person.  (I have read a lot of golf books and I don't play golf.  But my father was a terrific golfer and obviously had a lot of influence on me.)

One True Thing by Anna Quindlen,  a favorite author, is another top choice of mine.  She writes about a woman taking care of her dying mother.  This book affected me more than any book ever has, perhaps because I wasn't able to take care of my own mother when she was dying.  This story made me wish I had been able to experience those final days in a different way than I was able to.   I knew after reading this book that I never wanted to see the movie. I would be unable to handle it so why go there?

Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham is what started it all for me.  I have to include this on the list.  John Bingham really spoke to me as a beginning runner and I am sad to see him leaving Runners World.

So here is my first book post.  I hope you get some ideas and I am always looking for good book recommendations.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Sunshine Award - Pass It On!

As I was reading my newest comments tonight I discovered Anne had tagged me with this wonderful sunshine award.  Thanks Anne. If you haven't visited Anne's blog be sure and do so.
Now I need to pass it on to 12 blog friends who bring me sunshine and let them know with a comment. 
Darlene at My First 5K Blog
I got tagged again by Katie A at the same time I was tagging her so I would like to add:

He brings lots of sunshine into my life being yet another one of my children!  (The other being ESH as many of you know!) 

Everyone have a great day tomorrow and let's hope we have some sunshine! 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

And the layers come off.......

The thermometer said 21 degrees this morning.  Yee Haw!  Slight changes in the running outfit.


Mittens - still the thick ones
Hat - wear the headband
Pants - wear one layer, not two
Long sleeve shirt - the same
Title Nine Vest - leave at home
Lulu hoodie - wear
turtle fur neck warmer - leave at home

T and I played around with the self timer on the camera in the middle of the run which is always cause for much hilarity!  We NEVER see other runners that we can ask to take our picture.  Having said that we are sure to see one the next time we are out!

When we got back it was 28 degrees.  I can't tell you how many times one or the other of us said, "It is so nice out."  There was no wind when we turned around.  I didn't feel like I was running in molasses. Score: Win! I also felt good like I could have run farther which is what a taper is all about. I will continue to lessen my mileage this week.  I don't want to wish time away but I can't wait for next Sunday.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Beginning to Taper

I am beginning to taper for my half marathon next week.  I ran 6 today and I am going to run 8 tomorrow.  It was cold but perhaps not as bad as last weekend. I am looking forward to a one pant day for running!  I did go from a hat to a headband but that may have been it for weather changes!  

I can't wait for my half marathon.  I am  hoping that it isn't too cold but suspect it may be. I  have run on the ocean in the winter but not raced.  I don't plan to PR but would like to have a respectable time and that might be hard to do with too many clothes on!  Lately in the cold I feel like I am running in molasses.  I have only done long runs for training, no pace runs, speed runs etc.  

This afternoon I took my husband to the movies as a pre valentine treat. Well I forgot my pocketbook at home!  Luckily he had brought money. We saw Edge of Darkness. It was a bit gory but certainly kept you captivated. We also considered the one with Jeff Bridges or Avatar.  I must be one of the last people to have not seen it.  I may yet bow to peer pressure and go. 

Tonight it's a good night to settle in watch the Olympics.  Enjoy!