GBN: Week 14

Confession: I took a break after the Army Ten Miler.

Not on purpose, it just worked out that way. My hamstring had been bothering me since about mile 7 of the race and was pretty sore after…so I decided that a few days off would be good to keep injuries at bay… and then that “few days” turned into eleven.

But I’m back. And I have my eyes set on a slightly bigger prize.

So, here’s week 14:

Thursday-4.3 miles + cool down (Treadmill workout). Strangely, my first run back was on the treadmill. I say strangely because no matter how much I ran in the past or how great of shape I was in, I have NEVER been able to run on treadmill for more than a few minutes. In fact, I could barely manage a brisk walk on the treadmill. And when I say a few minutes, I mean a few minutes. Maybe 8 minutes running, tops.

And then it happened. A Thursday night at the Y, I found myself doing a 40 minute run (with a five-minute cool down) on the treadmill.

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End Result….

Again, this has never happened. So I was pretty shocked…and sweaty. Not too shabby…but I admit, I used zero incline…mostly because I didnt’ know how it would go or if I would abandon it part way through (which usually happens). Regardless, I finished…and at a pretty good pace!

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If you look closely, you can see my photographer. Hi Vanessa! Also, I’m over-glistening here… ick.

2. Saturday-2 mile night run! The hubby has been nursing a foot injury since the Ragnar Relay so he hasn’t run in over a month. But Saturday night, he felt like it was time. So we went to one of our usual spots and did two miles…fast!  9 minute pace.  I won’t lie, I was surprised–and impressed–that he was running so fast! He left me in the dust. It was a perfect way to end the day.

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Showing off my Army Ten Miler Shirt!

Unfortunately the rest of the week didn’t go as planned… between a ridiculous drop in temperature, this cold that has been chasing me for over a month finally catching up with me (TMI: So much flegm!), work and life in general, I didn’t get another run in… however I did get to spend some extra time with Farmer Ben and we did some mall walking on Monday night… No, there were no windbreaker suits involved.

Overall, I am a little disappointed in myself this week, but at least I did SOMETHING. And you know, sometimes stuff happens. And you can only move on. So here’s to next week!

I think the time has finally come for me to bite the bullet and get a gym membership. Or to invest in some better winter running gear. 

How was your week? Are you braving the elements or hitting the gym for a workout?

Happy Running!


GBN: Week 13 & The Army Ten-Miler!

I’m late. Please accept my apologies. Contrary to my initial thoughts, instead of slowing down a bit, my schedule is actually crazier than it was before! What’s the deal with that?

Anyway, I’m still battling with my body and trying to be healthy. Some days it works more than others. Last night, I was out cold by 9 pm, highly unusual.

The Army Ten Miler was this weekend. It was a crazy, ridiculous, truly amazing time! Although I ended up driving down alone and not having a race buddy, I still had a great time and am so glad that I did. Happy birthday to me. I ran 10 miles! 

Now onto your regularly scheduled blog post.

Week 13:

Monday Night-1.6 mile walk: Instead of a run, Ben and I opted to walk to a friend’s house. After a few fun-filled hours of making egg noodles (super easy to make, btw!), we headed home, again via foot. I really wanted to run, but I was feeling pretty weak. A night off was necessary.

Tuesday-8 miles: I already told you a little bit about my Tuesday run. Although I had a run-in with a Michigan, it was better than expected. I’d like to think that the run helped me get rid of some sickness, but who really knows? I finished the run at 1 hr and 23 minutes… not bad, considering I had to stop and assess the situation, then clean myself up.  I also have a giant bruise on my leg. No big deal.

So dorky…but safety first!

Wednesday-4.5 miles: This was supposed to be an easy run. I wanted to get out and enjoy the weather without pushing too hard. I ended up running a bit faster than I expected (it must have been that darn music!) but was glad I got out. My legs were feeling a bit tight, so it was nice to stretch them out a bit.

Perfect Evening Running Weather.

Saturday-3.2 miles: I spent Thursday running around like a mad woman and Friday was spent driving to DC in the rain. The pouring rain. But Saturday, I went out for a leisurely jog with my friend Liz in my old stomping grounds. Although it was odd to be running those paths again, it was a nice little jog down memory lane… and in real life.

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I’m really bad at taking pictures like this.

Sunday-THE ARMY TEN MILER: Talk about a rush. Not only was there thousands of runners, but there were also thousands of spectactors. So many people, costumes, cow bells! I mentioned that I did this race in 2009… and I loved it just as much this time around. My stomach was doing flip flops all morning and I thought my heart was going to beat right out of my chest! But once I started running, I knew that it was going to be a great race.

Between mile 1 and 2, I tripped and almost fell on my face, but managed to catch myself. Thank God!

I had so much fun running this race, I talked to everyone around me, splashed more gatorade/water all over my face and shirt than in my mouth, was inspired by how many people came together for one race and just enjoyed the comraderie that goes with such a huge event.

I finished in 1:39:15. About what I expected. The first 7.5 miles flew by but the last 2.5 were a little rough. Slow inclines at the end of a race are no fun, but I finished. And I was feeling great!

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Evidence of missing my mouth when trying to sip water? Or sweat? The world may never know?

Huge thanks to Liz for not only getting up at the crack of dawn, but coming with me to the start line, cheering me on and braving the giant mass of sweaty, smelly people to find me after the race! You rock!

Not gonna lie, my drive home on Sunday afternoon was a bit rough and I am still feeling pretty stiff…but it was well worth it.

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Cheesing with all my free stuff!

I think it’s been a pretty good week as far as running goes. I got in a few quality runs without tiring my legs out and I had an amazing time at the ATM. Winning!

This weekend I am doing a 10k with Farmer Ben and then looking for a few more races before the season ends.

What are some of your favorite races? What keeps you motivated at the end?

Happy Running!


What the Heck is a Michigan, Anyway?

I woke up this morning to frosty windows and a chill that you only understand if you are in the North Country on an Autumn day. I loved it.  There is something very peaceful about it. Soul-calming, if you will.

I also woke up to some aches and pains, and feeling completely plugged up. Ew. I know it’s only Wednesday, but it’s been a rough week. Work-wise, things have been busy. Life-wise, I’m still sick…it’s difficult.  I’ve been “trying not to get sick” for a few weeks now, but it’s getting the best of me. It’s affecting my sleep, my work and–even worse!–my running.

I got to the restaurant last night and my boss sent me home when he found out I was still sick. Thank you, so much! I stopped to pick up some medicine and then headed home. After being home for about an hour, I was lamenting that I haven’t gotten in “one last long run” before the Army Ten-Miler.

Before I go on, I need to educate you about some of the finest cuisine in my area..at least according to most who live here. When I first moved to the Plattsburgh area, people kept talking about this thing called a Michigan. It’s basically a hot dog that has been topped with a spicy meat sauce (kind of like a sloppy joe or a chili dog–minus the beans). I’ve also heard them called Texas Hots in other parts of the country. People have fierce debates about who has the best sauce, whether you eat them buried (with onions) or just topped with mustard. I personally don’t understand the appeal. I mean, I’ll eat one every now and then, but it’s not anything speical…That being said, Michigans and poutine are a hallmark of the North Country.

Now that you have been properly educated as to what the heck a Michigan is, I can continue my story. It will make sense later.

I’d been feeling pretty down on myself for not having run as much as I should. After being home for 30 minutes or so, I started to pace. I finally decided that I wouldn’t be able to go on unless I tried to run. So I changed into my running gear–including my bright yellow reflective vest and trusty head lamp (it was getting dark out)–and headed out the door.

I set out to do an 8 mile route, but it was one that could easily be cut short at various points. I wanted to keep my options open as I knew that I was not feeling well and wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to handle.

I was pleasantly surprised. I knew after 4 miles that I would be doing the entire 8 and this made me incredibly happy. I was in the zone and nothing could stop me. There is a point on this route where I turn off of a back road onto a main road. It passes a school and all of its playing fields and track.

At this point, my head lamp was on because it was now completely dark, but I felt safe knowing that I had on my reflective vest and said head lamp. Cars could see me. Even though there is a wide shoulder on this particular loop, I always move over when cars come, just out of common courtesy and to play it extra safe.

A car was coming toward me. I thought to myself that it was going a little fast and driving really close to the shoulder. I moved over a little more…As it passed me, the car got extremely close to me and then I felt a pain in my leg. It felt like someone had punched me as hard as they could.

I’d been hit!  At first I thought the mirror had clipped me, but I realized it was too low. I wasn’t sure what to do, but whatever had hit me, it hurt! I looked down and using my headlamp, inspected my leg. There was some sort of food stuck to it. A thick, kind of chunky substance…a meat sauce of sorts.

At the time, I was so bewildered that I didn’t think to try to get a plate number or try to find what I had been hit with. I just stood there staring down in utter disbelief at the giant spot on my leg.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I shouted. At this point I was either going to burst into tears or start laughing. I think it was a combination of the two. This was the icing on the cake that had been an already rough and stressful few days.

I groaned and, not wanting to touch the mystery substance,  found some leaves to wipe off the excess chunks.  I was now past the point of bewilderment and was just…mad. Not only had some jerk thrown something at me, but now I was wasting time and ruining my run because I had to stop and a.) make sure I wasn’t hurt and b.) wipe off some mystery substance.

Upon closer inspection, I realized what I had been hit with.

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Of course I would take a picture…

That’s right, a Michigan. Or at least the sauce. As I said before, I didn’t stop and look for what hit me, I just wiped off as much as I could and kept going. I was still a few miles from home…I could have made my run a mile shorter by going straight instead of turning onto a side road, but I had set out to do 8 miles and I was going to do it, dammit!

My leg was sore where I was hit but I finished my run and actually felt really good. I later discovered that a black and blue mark had formed where I had been hit.

So I have to ask, who throws a hot dog?! Seriously.

I didn’t see the attacker but I am assuming it was a group of hooligan kids. I could be wrong. I’ll never know.

If it hadn’t happened to me, I probably wouldn’t believe it…And I admit, after sleeping on it, I do find it sort of amusing. Stuff like this actually happens? Not just in movies???

But all joking aside, this could have been very dangerous. Throwing something from a (fast) moving vehicle at a pedestrian? What were they thinking?! What if they had gotten my knee instead of my thigh?! And had they been paying less attention, they could have actually hit me with their car. And then what would they have done?! Driven away? I shudder to think.

So, although I see the comedic value in being hit with a Michigan and the fact that it left a big bruise, I am very thankful that I wasn’t actually hit by a car…or injured. Thank you, Lord for taking care of me!

Have you ever been hit by something on a run? Or had something equally strange happen? Tell me about it!


GBN: Weeks 10 &11-The Ragnar Relay Adirondacks!

Confession: I am super behind on my blogging.

I have so much to tell you!

So, for the sake of time, I am combining GBN Weeks 10 & 11 into one post.

Here we go.

Week 10:

Monday-9.6 miles. I came down with a cold early in the GBN week and decided not to push too hard because it was so close to the race, this resulted in 4 days off without running. On Monday night, Farmer Ben and I were determined to get a long run in. And we did. Per usual, the first mile or two was a bit tough but after? I felt like I could take over the world. The original route was 8 miles, but I decided that I could go further. And I did. I was sore the next day, but it was totally worth it.

I am ready!

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were rest days. Unintentionally but definitely needed. I managed to kick the cold for the most part and was mentally prepared for the Ragnar Relay.

Total Mileage: 9.6 Miles

Overall-Even though  I only ran one day, I still feel it was a success. I got my long run in and I stayed healthy, for the most part. That’s all I wanted to do. And I did it.

Week 11:

The Ragnar Relay!!! Hooray! I woke up at 4:15 am on Friday morning. Having gone to bed after midnight, it wasn’t a happy morning, but I was pumped. We crammed everything into Zeke (the Versa) and headed toward Saratoga.

Because we had a bit of a van snafu, we ended up having to bring my car along for the trip, this allowed for some extra room, but was a huge pain. I totally missed out on precious hours of sleep because I had to drive my car to the major exchange points and then to my mother’s house. Le sigh.

Anyway, my first leg of the relay started around 1 pm. It had rained all morning and I was not looking forward to getting–and staying– soaking wet. I tried to nap before I started running, but of course that didn’t work. I was too excited to sleep! 

At the starting line!

It felt like an eternity before I started running and I was starting to get nervous. When I saw runner 6 (Hi Jessi!) barreling toward me, I knew that there was no turning back.  It was time to go. I put one headphone in my ear and found a good station on Pandora, then I started on my 9.3 mile trek.

It was still raining, but barely and it would be clear by the time I finished running. I was feeling pretty good but knew that I hadn’t hydrated enough. No worries, there would be a water station somewhere along the course, right?

Wrong. I got to what I assume was the 6.5 mile mark, based on my leg map (they only marked the last mile of each route) and realized that I was on my own. Had I known this, I would have had the van meet me at the halfway mark with some water, but it was too late. I kept going and had, up until that point, kept up a good pace, but lack of sleep and proper hydration was definitely catching up with me. My phone died around 7 miles, taking my tunage with it.

Shortly before I saw the glorious blue mile marker (which by the way, was NOT at the mile mark, but further out), I started to crash. My body did NOT want to keep going and I slowed down a lot. But seeing that blue sign awakened something in me, and I took it one step at a time.

The funny thing about running is that even though your heart and your body are going crazy and pushing as hard as you can (at least during a race), and sometimes you’re not sure if you’ll be able to finish, your head is usually calm. Focused. I find that I have some of my most intimate conversations with God when I am running. Not intentionally, it just happens that way. Something about pushing yourself to the limit makes you clear your mind of all other distractions.

I used the last two miles of the race to talk to God. And to ask Him for help. And he sent it.

I didn’t catch his name, but this ridiculously tall, overly excited Ragnarian whizzed by me…at the exact moment that I let out a pained grunt. He whipped his head around and cheered me on. Although he was much faster than me, he yelled all the way up the last little hill until he was out of sight. After that, Sara, another runner ran by and continued to cheer me on, I ended up staying close to her for the remainder of the leg and went over to thank her for helping me finish. 

Then I thanked Him.

After my first leg.

After my first run, I cheered (loudly and obnoxiously) for the rest of our team. It had started raining again but we didn’t care. Our team was looking good and by the time we got to exchange 12 we were running on Clif bars and adrenaline.

 At around 8:30 the first runner started his second leg of the race. We were in Lake George. Our van went to find food and I drove my car a little over an hour to my mother’s house, stopping at a Stewart’s to grab a sandwich, chips and chocolate milk (best recovery drink ever!). When I got to my mom’s, I threw my wet clothes in the dryer and then drove by where she would be volunteering for the rest of the night. After that, we drove to Ticonderoga (just under an hour), the next major exchange point and the beginning of my second leg. I got there a little after 11 and managed to nap for an hour or so.  According to Van 1’s schedule, I’d be running around 2 am.

I was exhausted but wasn’t too worried about this leg as it was only 2.4 miles. I walked around and stretched to wake up and warm up (although it was warmer out in the middle of the night than it had been all day!). Once I started my leg, I was feeling great. My shoe came untied so I had to stop and tie it, other than that, things went off without a hitch. The last mile was uphill, but after some of the hill training I’d done, this was no big deal.

I ended up running my middle leg at about 9:10 pace. Much faster than I expected, so it was a pleasant surprise. I got back to the van and someone noticed I was bleeding. Apparently, our team slap bracelet had cut me. No big deal.

A minor injury… and headlamps are totally in right now!
(Thanks for the photo, Tori)

Again, after running, I was too excited to sleep, at least for the next few hours, so I cheered on my team.

Our van stopped at the halfway mark for Farmer Ben and we noticed that he was taking a little longer than usual to get there. I started to worry because I knew his foot was bothering him and because it was 3 am, dark and rainy.

He finally came into view and I could tell he was hurting but he simply grabbed a bottle of water from me and kept going.

We went up a little further (about two miles from the finish) and I decided that I would jump out and finish his leg for him. That didn’t go as planned because he wouldn’t give me the slap bracelet, so I ended up running with him.  He was determined to finish, what can I say?

After Ben finished, I finally got a short nap in, but woke up a few times to cheer on one of our other runners. I stayed awake until we got to the next major exchange (where Van 1 would be starting) and then slept for a couple of hours. When we got Ausable Forks (where I would start running again), a few of us went in and got breakfast from the high school cafeteria. I had low expectations, but I was still disappointed. It was pancakes, eggs and sausage…I think. As gross as it was, I knew that I needed to eat something so I choked about half of it down. Then I ate an apple and filled up on water. I changed into dry clothes (it was still raining, but starting to clear up) and peed about 23543452456 times.

I was very happy to see two of my closest friends and the mother of another team member show up at the exchange point to cheer me on. Being exhausted, I was really worried about running my last leg. It was 5.1 miles, a rolling route that stayed along the Ausable River and seeing familiar faces really helped.

  My heart was struck with genuine fear when Jessi came sprinting toward me, slap bracelet raised high. But I took the bracelet like a champ and started running. You could tell the end of the race was near because the excitement was everywhere, cars and vans drove by, honked, beeped and blasted music. This all kept me going.

About a mile in, I heard a familiar voice and turned to see a friend from church in his car. He slowed down and chatted with me for a few minutes and then wished me luck and went on his way.  I later found out that another friend had seen me running. The perks of doing a crazy relay close to home!

I even passed a water station on this leg, but I was so disgusted that I didn’t stop.

I asked another team that had pulled off how far I had to go. They said the magic words: You’re halfway there. This was a great feeling. I felt a little spring in my step and even picked it up a little. Once I got to the 1-mile-to-go sign, I was feeling great. I handed off to our next runner and found out that I had run at 9:40 pace, which doesn’t seem that fast but it was a lot faster than I thought. I’ll take it.

I felt amazing after that last run. I had done it . 18.8 miles (this includes the extra two miles). I survived. Now my only job was to cheer for my team like crazy! 

Just finished running… surprisingly warm and not raining!

We ended up having to sub in a runner for the last mile and a half of the race, but we finished. We crossed the finish line at about 5 pm. And then headed over to get our free beer, medals and shirts.

Soaked but so happy!

This was an amazing experience. I cannot wait for next year. The actual running wasn’t as difficult as I thought, but the lack of sleep and food were a huge challenge. I definitely pushed myself and am jones-ing to do so again!

After the race, we met up with my mom (who lives about 20 minutes from Lake Placid) and I drove my friends Jessi and Niki back to Saratoga to pick up their car. Then we headed down to Albany to drop off the van. At that point, it was after 9 pm and I was so tired I could barely move, so we rented a hotel room to crash for the night.

Since the race, I have been pretty low-key. I’ve been going to bed a lot earlier and haven’t gotten any running in. But I will.

The Army Ten-Miler is 17 days away and I still have some work to do. That means tonight I get back to running. I’m fighting the sniffles after being in the rain all weekend but I am feeling a lot better and my body is finally recovered. So, the GBN journey continues!

What are some of your exercise challenges you’ve faced over the last two weeks? Any races coming up?

Happy Running!