Would you Rather Running Style Survey

Hi friends! Happy 2014!

How did you celebrate?

I spent New Year’s Eve working both jobs and spent yesterday (mostly) in bed, trying to kick this nasty head cold… today, I am back at work, drinking Kombucha and a fruit smoothie, in hopes that I’ll be back to normal in the next day or so…

Anyway, Cori over at Olive to Run posted another one of her awesome “Would you rather…” running surveys and I had to join in! Check out her post to see more responses or join the link-up party!

Let’s get started!

#1. Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm? I’d say thunderstorm…there’s something so freeing about running in the rain and I feel like a bad-ass… not that I mind snow… but rain is better.

#2. Would you rather breathe through your nose or breathe through your mouth? I do both, depending on the day…. today, I’m a mouth breather…. yuck.

#3. Would you rather do 100 squats or 100 crunches? [Now take a break and go do them. ;)] I’m going to go with 100 crunches.

#4. Would you rather have a baked good for dessert or an extra serving of your favorite entree? Extra serving of my favorite entrée…. unless it’s really good chocolate cake (and I am picky about my chocolate cake).

#5. Would you rather run on a treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour? I’d pick running around the same street block…I HATE the treadmill.

#6. Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch? Headache….I think.

#7. Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off? I’d say probably a day off…but I normally end up doing my rest days on a work day…. weird.

#8. Would you rather be a race director or a race volunteer? I’ve done both… I love being a race director and am currently in the process of planning Strides for James 2014. It’s so rewarding and I love getting to meet/keep in touch with so many people in the community–both runners and volunteers!

Last Year's Race Prep...

Last Year’s Race Prep…

#9. Would you rather spend your money on running gadgets [HRM, GPS watch, Headphones] or running shoes? Running shoes… I’m not a huge gadget person.

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#10. Would you rather run in a relay or do the run portion of a distance triathlon? Run a relay…Ragnar Relay, anyone?!

ADK Ragnar Relay 2012

ADK Ragnar Relay 2012

What about you?! How would you answer these questions? What’s your best “would you rather…”  question?


My Year of Running, 2013

Happy Holidays Friends! Hope you’re enjoying the last week of 2013!!!

I came across this running survey on Miss Zippy’s site and decided to play along…visit her original post to view the link-up party!

So, let’s get started!

What was your…

Best race experience? I didn’t do a lot of racing this year…but the races I did do were all pretty awesome.  Regardless, I’ll have to go with completing my first marathon.  It’s something that until this year, I never really had the urge to do and up until crossing the finish-line, I wasn’t sure I could do. This was the most difficult race I’ve ever done but it was so worth it.

You can't tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

You can’t tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

The marathon tested my entire being but I’ve never felt more uplifted in the running community. I’ve never connected with other runners, volunteers and spectators  as much I did with this race and the memory of that day is something I will cherish forever.

I’m already looking forward to marathon number 2.

Best run? Again, I’ll have to go with the Adirondack Marathon. I’ve never felt so accomplished in my entire life and I don’t think I’ve raced a more beautiful course.

I did it!

I did it!

Outside of racing, I’d have to say my best runs were the last month of marathon training… I felt on top of the world.

Best new piece of gear?  

Hmm…I don’t feel like I really use a lot of “gear” and/or “gadgets.” I’m pretty low maintenance on my runs…  If I had to pick something, I’d go with my CamelBak or ENERGYbits…. both of these were instrumental in marathon training and really helped me stay on track nutrition/hydration-wise.

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I loved ENERGYbits so much that I became an ambassador so I could share them with everyone I know (*and a 25% off discount–use code “NoellesNotebook”).

Powered by bits

Powered by bits

Best piece of running advice you received?

Run your own race. It’s really easy to get caught up in the comparison trap…especially when you are a blog reader/writer. It’s tempting to compare yourself to other runners and wish you could be more like them… but at the end of the day, your biggest competition is yourself.

Trust your training. It takes hard work to improve. There’s no way around it…if you train well, you’re going to run well. I had a lot of mini-meltdowns over the summer as a result of a crazy schedule and marathon training…but I survived.

Most inspirational runner?

This is a tough one. In real life, I’d have to say my friend Kristy. She’s a mom, a student, a small business owner and still finds time to run. It puts me to shame! In real life/blogging life-my friend Jona. She’s so determined–when she establishes a goal, she doesn’t stop until she’s accomplished it–She’s a 46er and recently PR’d her 10k time by a lot. Pretty awesome!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

I’d say 2013 was a challenge, a year of learning, pushing through and a test of my abilities–both mental and physical.

Let’s chat: What was your running highlight? Biggest challenge? What inspires you?!

*Disclaimer: As an ENERGYbits ambassador, I do receive a little bit of money if you order using my discount code, however all opinions are my own.


Life Update: Bearded Ben, Turkey Trotting and Running Fast

Hi Friends!

I know it’s been awfully quiet around here lately!

So here is a look at what’s been going on (in no particular order):

Confession, I wrote most of this post last night…

Farmer Ben had all four wisdom teeth out today (yesterday) and I have to say, he is a trooper!

I just took a Bourbon pumpkin cheesecake out of the oven (last night) and I am 65% sure the crust is burnt….

Also, have you ever gone to bake something (that you need to bring somewhere the next day) and realized you were missing almost half of the ingredients? Yeah, that happened to me tonight. Cue my scrambling to find substitutes to avoid leaving the house. Thankfully, I went a bit overboard on buying random ingredients for Thanksgiving/December baking so it all worked out… I think.

You may have noticed from this photo that Farmer Ben participated in No Shave November at his workplace.

Post Turkey Trot...My face is frozen because I don't have a beard.

Post Turkey Trot…My face is frozen because I don’t have a beard.

And apparently people like it because he won a gift card… Why can’t I win a gift card for not shaving my legs?! I’m only half-kidding.  And I’m still waiting for Farmer Ben to shave…sigh.

On Black Friday, the hubs and I scored a pretty sweet deal on cold weather running gear at Dick’s. All Reebok stuff was 50% so we couldn’t resist….major sales are pretty much the only time I buy name brand anything, so we splurged on some tights, (not exactly) sweats, gloves and a half-zip w thumb holes (!).

The pants are (almost) the most comfortable pants I’ve ever worn and I am not even embarrassed to say that I have had them on almost every waking moment that I don’t have to wear work pants since I purchased them. My standby XL sweats may have a rival!

On Thanksgiving, Farmer Ben and I did the Turkey Trot…. and froze our butts off. We actually had our family dinner on Wednesday so we got up with slight food hangovers to run in ridiculously cold and windy weather (15 degrees. Real feel, 5. and WIND.).

Luckily, we pre-registered and picked up our race packets the night before so we just had to show up.

I had signed up for the 10k… but at the two-mile mark, while I was struggling to run in a semi-straight line, not slip on the ice and not blow all over the road, I decided to drop down to the 5k… I just didn’t have the gumption to continue in those conditions for another 4.2 miles. That’s the thing about the Turkey trot, you never know how the weather is going to be. Do I feel bad for dropping down to the 5k? Not really…it happens.

I’ve been participating in the #elf4health challenge with Elle and Lindsay and am loving my partner elf! Hi Rach!

You know that crazy (and super vague) thing I mentioned I *may* be doing? Well… I took the first step. Not gonna lie, I have no idea what the outcome will be! Its invigorating and nerve-wracking at the same time.

In other news, I’ve been thinking about what my goals are for the new year, particularly my fitness goals:

To start,  I want to focus even more on my nutrition (oh hey, ENERGYbits!) and my form. But I also want to get stronger. And Faster.

Another marathon is definitely on the docket for 2014… but I am looking to improve and not “just finish.”

I want to finish strong.  I don’t know why, but admitting that out loud (or on blog) kind of freaks me out.

I think this realization hit me on a run a couple of weeks ago. For the last year, I’ve been running about 9:45-10 min mile pace, give or take 10 seconds. Completely respectable and nothing to sneeze at. I really haven’t been focused on time, just getting out and getting those miles in.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I did a four mile run at a faster-than-usual pace. When I got back to my car, instead of getting in or starting to stretch, I ditched my excess layers and reset my watch. I proceeded to run a timed mile at 8:23 pace.

What?!

You can imagine I was pretty stoked.
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About a week later, I had a jam-packed day, so I planned to run at lunch.

Unfortunately, my work place is not located in a runner-friendly area. There’s a lot of traffic and people drive fast. So, I drove to a spot in town where I do some of my night runs.

This meant I would have just under 30 minutes to run, after drive time/make-myself-presentable time (luckily it was a Friday). After parking, I started mapmyrun and took off on the bike path. I meant business (mostly because I didn’t have a lot of time).

When the app notified me that I had completed a mile and gave the split, I thought it was a mistake but kept moving (my second mile was about a minute slower and the third was somewhere in the middle).  

In the end, I ran 3.1 miles (I had only planned on 2) in 28 minutes. My first mile was run in  8 minutes and 16 seconds.

That’s speedy for me. I haven’t run that fast in a long time…and it got me thinking… Could I run that pace consistently for a whole 5k? Or longer?!

I haven’t trained for speed in a long time… since high school. I’ve gone out and run fast, and randomly done a speed workout here and there, but I haven’t consistently tried to get faster.

So, this is going to be a new adventure…and a challenge.

And completely off topic, but there is currently 2.5 gallons of hot sauce in our fridge. Go big or go home, right?

If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking through my ramble!

Let’s chat, what have you been up to? Did you run a turkey trot? Beards-yes or no? What are your fitness goals for 2014? Any suggestions for speed work?


Real Talk: Sworkit Review And {Giveaway-CLOSED}!

UPDATE: The winners of the giveaway are Liz, Vanessa, Jessica and Chelsea. Congratulations!  please contact me to claim your prize!!!

Hi Friends!

Hope you’re having a great week so far!

I’m super excited because I discovered a new fitness app.

If you’re anything like me, once the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, getting outside to workout is really difficult. Why? Because motivation disappears. I’d rather be reading a book, curled up under the blankets and wearing my giant XL sweats than venturing outside in a pair of running tights and a moisture-wicking base layer… and let’s be honest, I don’t have the cash for a gym membership right now.

For example, on Saturday, I planned on running. I really did… but it was my first REAL day off in I don’t even know how long and, well… I didn’t feel like doing a damn thing. I managed to venture out to drive the hubby to work, but then I went directly home, popped in a movie and got sucked into being a bum. I know I’m not the only one this happens to.

Anyway, it got to be 4:13 pm and I realized that my plan to get out and run was not going to happen as daylight was quickly fading (and can we talk about how windy it was?!). So, instead of putting on my reflective gear and head lamp, I searched for an alternative.

I found Sworkit.

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I downloaded the free version and opted for the 20 minute “anything goes” workout. Before I knew it, I was doing burpees, shoulder clap push-ups (excuse me?!), side planks, tricep dips and a variety of other exercises I probably wouldn’t have thought of doing on my own in that short of time. And I was so glad that I did them.

After m first Sworkit

After my first Sworkit

The great thing about this app is that it does the thinking for you. Each exercise is 30 seconds. If you need it, there is a short how-to video (I needed this for a couple of the exercises). 30 seconds of rest is also incorporated every few minutes. And if it a two-sided exercise (like a side plank), it will tell you when to switch sides. So, basically, you start the workout and let Sworkit do the thinking–and the counting–for you.

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It’s also easy to mix it up. You choose the workout length (anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes) what type of circuit you’d like to do (strength, cardio, yoga) and what areas you’d like to work (arms, legs, core, anything goes, boot camp, full body stretch, etc.). You can also customize workouts.

Here is an explanation directly from the Sworkit Website:

What is it?
Sworkit builds randomized circuit training workouts that you can do anywhere. You just choose which part of your body you want to work on and how long you have to work out, and Sworkit takes care of the rest. By providing an actual workout and taking you through the motions, you don’t have to do any other planning or have any extra equipment.
Why Sworkit?
We all have the desire to take care of ourselves and we know that we need fitness to stay healthy. But it’s easy to come up with excuses: “I don’t have the time”. “I don’t like gyms”. “I don’t want to buy new equipment”. “I get bored too easily”. “I travel for work”. “I don’t know where to start”. Sworkit is here to make sure that none of these excuses apply and we can all get a simple workout in whenever we want.
What’s with the randomization?
Workouts can be boring or they can be fun. The reason Sworkit employs randomization is to give the user a new experience every time they workout. This allows for more motivated sessions and provides excitement, and sometimes even pain. Pain is good.
Why circuit training?
Circuit training has been proven to provide highly efficient workouts at a fast pace. Sworkit allows you to choose the total amount of time you want to work out and provides you with the proper exercise timing, rest, and transitions.

Another plus? It syncs with myfitnesspal. I love love love this!

The Pro version has a few more options to choose from, saves your customized workouts and saves your stats (weight, daily/weekly goals, etc.).

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I downloaded the app on Saturday and have done a variety of workouts ranging from a few five minute workouts, to a 20 minute workout. I tried to mix it up to get a complete picture of what the app has to offer. And I was not disappointed. Each sworkit left me feeling accomplished. If I wasn’t sure how to do something, the how-to videos were short and sweet.

On Sunday I did three of the five-minute workouts. Last night, I did two of the ten-minute workouts. The possibilities are endless!

Post ab and back strength sworkits.

Post ab and back strength sworkits.

The most exciting part about finding this app? I can share it with you!

After my first sworkit, I tweeted about my experience and was very surprised to receive an email from the creator, Ryan. He informed me that there is even more customization coming out in December-I can’t wait to see what’s next!

He also thanked me for tweeting, AND gave me some codes to share for a free upgrade to the pro version!

How nice is that?!

So, after checking with Ryan,  I decided to share the free upgrade to Sworkit Pro with a few of you lucky readers. I have 4 Pro upgrades to give away!

Here’s How to Enter 

  • Check out the Sworkit Exercise List and leave me a comment, telling me which exercise listed is your favorite OR if there is one you’d like to be added.
  • In the same comment answer the following question: What is your biggest excuse for not exercising?

All comments must be received by Thursday, November 8 at 11:30 pm. Winners will be picked at random.

I will announce all 4 winners on Friday, November 9, 2013.

Sworkit is available for iphone and Android. Download via the App Store or Google Play.

  • As with any new workout, please consult a physician before starting a fitness regimen and be smart.
  • Disclaimer: I received a free upgrade to Sworkit Pro, HOWEVER I was not compensated to write this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Scenes from the Pumpkin Prediction Race

Hi Friends! Sorry things have been a bit quiet around here lately…life has been hectic and I haven’t been on top of my blogging game.

But I have some exciting news to share!

A couple of weeks ago there was a little race in my town… it’s actually something they do all over the country, but this was the first year I participated.

It was called the Great Pumpkin Prediction Race… I absolutely love the concept. Basically, when you sign up, you have to guess what time you THINK you’re going to run the course in. Whoever gets the closest to their estimated time wins the race. And of course, it supports a local charity.

How cool is that?

I love it because, even if you aren’t the speedy kid, you can still win prizes.

Anyway, the race was held at the local civic center. The start and finish were indoors and then you ran either a short (about a 5k) or a long (about a 10k) course on some nearby trails.

This was one of the most organized local races I have been to. I was impressed. And the swag was awesome, but we’ll get to that later.

My friend Kristy and I signed up a few days before and decided to dress up.

I headed over to Kristy’s house a couple of hours before race time (we had pre-registered so we weren’t super worried about arriving early) and she got to work on doing my face.

She did an amazing job… 

Pre-Race

Pre-Race

But we weren’t paying attention to the time, so we ended up running late (no seriously, we were pinning on our numbers/signing our waivers when the gun went off!). Oops!

Anyway, we got ourselves situated and took off, sprinting after the group that had already started. Thank goodness I remembered to take my ENERGYbits!

It was cold and windy, especially being so close to the lake. I had neglected to ditch my sweatpants before we started running, but honestly, I was glad to have them on. It was drizzling out, but the rain held off until we finished, thank goodness! The course was relatively flat but interesting, we ran by the beach and even saw people on the lake! Crazies!

Kristy and I took it relatively easy, mostly because we both haven’t been running regularly, but it felt good to just run for fun and it was good to catch up and talk about random things (such as homemade laundry soap, facial toner, and all-natural makeup).

One of my co-workers happened to be taking photos that day, so he hooked me up with our finish photos. The last one is hilarious to me.  (Photos courtesy of Jeremy Miller)

Coming in....

Coming in….

Crossing the line

Crossing the line

Do you like how we kind of match?

Finish Photo... what's going on with my hand?!

Finish Photo… what’s going on with my hand?!

After we finished, we checked out our runner bags (a cloth Target shopping bag, black and red. I’ve been using it to carry my lunch/snacks ever since!). Inside was a pretty sweet t-shirt, a $10 gift certificate to Fleet Feet, a bottle of water, 6 raffle tickets to be used on our choice of raffle and a meal ticket. Yes, we got a meal, Subway, cookies and apples (it is the North Country after all). I’ve had worse.

Kristy and I meandered over to check out the raffles and our official finish time. We happened to notice that Kristy’s estimated time was wrong, so we let the race director know.

It’s a good thing we did because Kristy ended up winning the race! And guess who got second. This girl! Can I just say, I was ridiculously excited because I never win anything.

Post-race

Post-race

The prizes were awesome. Kristy won a pair of Merrell Trail Shoes (heck yes!) and I won a $25 gift card to Fleet Feet. In addition, we both got a pair of Vermont Darn Tough wool hiking socks and a $15 Road ID gift certificate. Awesome. Again, ridiculously excited because I never win anything!

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After we received our prizes, we stuck around to see if we’d have any luck on the raffles.

Good decision. I won a coffee gift basket from a local café. It had a 1/2 pound of locally roasted coffee beans, five $1 off coupons on any beverage, coffee mugs (Farmer Ben was super excited about adding these to our already full glass/mug cabinet) and a hazelnut syrup (which Farmer Ben and I have already disposed of because the first ingredient was corn syrup). Score!

So, I’d say we did pretty well considering we didn’t even make it to the start line on time. I’m definitely adding this to my (ever-growing) list of races for next year!

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All of the swag/prizes.

The best part about this little race? It gave me the bug. I’m anxious to fit in a few more races by the end of the year. This time of year is usually when I want to crawl into my XL sweatpants and hide under the covers until late spring…but I’m feeling motivated. I want to get out there and run!

Kristy and I are already planning on doing the 10k loop of the Turkey Trot this year and I am scoping out some end of the year half-marathons…. I’ll keep you posted!

Thanks to Kristy for doing the race with me! And thanks Jeremy, for the photos!

Happy Wednesday!

Best prize you’ve ever won at a race? Ever shown up late to a race? What did you do? Any end of the year races on your calendar? Which ones? Are you a winter runner or would you rather hibernate like me?!


“A List for the New Year,” an(other) Update.

Oh hey! It’s October 18, 2013.  I figured I owe you all a second update on how my 2013 To-Do list is going.

So, here you are! Enjoy!

Noelle’s (Re-Updated) List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

Not gonna lie, STILL haven’t done this… however, I have gotten some ambassadorships that are pretty awesome and feel like I’m moving in the right direction. (you guys get 25% with my code for Energy Bits!)

I also finally broke down and got Twitter and Instagram… not that I know how to use them very well, but it’s all about networking, right? (usernames for both are NoellesNotebook if you’d like to give a follow!)

I’d love to know what you, readers, would like to see content wise…I realize that this space has morphed into a different animal from what I originally intended it to be… but I’m okay with that… however, I want to keep it interesting for all of you…so I’d love your feedback!

2. Excel in my job.

Confession: I struggle with this one.

I feel like my “promotion” has transformed into something else… my time is filled up with special projects that seem to take over what I’m actually supposed to be doing. And honestly, I have days (or months) where I just wonder how I am supposed to get everything done…  Does anyone else have this problem?

My boss tells me I’m doing well, but some days, I really have trouble believing that….but I just keep on going and I’m hoping that counts for something.

To be completely honest, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this particular aspect of my life, what’s to come of it, and what not.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year/7. Be more present.

I’m killing this one.

  • Strides for James was amazing–we had over 200 participants and raised over $5,000 after expenses. We were able to reach our scholarship goal in less than a year and someone in our community is already benefitting from our group’s hard work.
  • Farmer Ben won tickets to a Red Sox game. We went and loved it.
  • The Hubby and I were in the bridal party/catered our friends’ wedding. Not gonna lie, it was exhausting but worth it.
  • We got to do some hiking this summer! I cannot tell you how happy this made me!
  • Just starting a new online class today.
  • Farmer Ben and I just returned from a kick-ass road-trip and are craving more adventures. We drove to St. Simons Island, Georgia, then headed up to Charleston, South Carolina. I am ready to move there!
  • On our road-trip, we ate Barbecue for 3 days. I’m not even a little ashamed.
  • Ben finally got to meet my good friend Natasha who lives in DC and we visited (and by visited, I mean had a couple of drinks and crashed on her floor before getting up ridiculously early and hitting the road again) Liz–FINALLY! I even got to show him my old apartment.
  • Also on our trip, we spent the night on a sail boat-a first for me!
  • I also ran my first marathon.
  • Spent more time with family
Catamount Mountain, August 2013

Catamount Mountain, August 2013

I think those are all of the big ones, but honestly, I feel so blessed this year with all of the adventures we’ve had and I am wondering what’s next!

As far as spending less time on my phone, I’ve absolutely cut down on this. I deactivated my Facebook account and haven’t looked back. I may re-activate it when I get back into the heart of planning Strides for James 2014… but for now, I am content to be in the dark about what that girl who was in my gen ed class, freshman year is doing. I’m learning to appreciate those around me and treasuring the time with people I don’t see every day.

Any suggestions to continue my “Yes” Year?!

5. Take more time to read.

Yes. Doing this.

I won’t bore with the entire list, but these are my favorites I’ve read this year (Not gonna lie, it looks almost exactly like the list in my last update):

  • My Bible
  • all three Hunger Games Books (twice)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • Garlic and Sapphires
  • The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Born to Run
  • Eat & Run
  • The Dirty Life
  • The Beautiful & Damned

Any other reading suggestions?

4. Run a half marathon/6. Run 26.2 miles.

Half Marathon-I’ve run the distance but haven’t raced it. Can we call this one even? I may look for a race in the next month or two… just to check it off the list, but I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t get that race in.

Marathon-Done. One of the most difficult and worthwhile things I have ever accomplished… and I’m already planning to do another!

I did it!

I did it!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

I’m getting closer.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

I still haven’t been working on my burpees.

10. Do more food-ing.

Absolutely!

I definitely went on a vegan recipe kick after reading Eat & Run. I’ve also been experimenting more with using different ingredients, especially when I was training for the marathon, I had to get creative with pre/during race foods because of some digestion issues.

We’ve also made an effort to eat at home more this year…and when we traveling, we try to eat at a local restaurant.

Roasted beets, cukes, lettuce, beet greens, tomatoes, carrots and homemade horseradish avocado dressing.

Roasted beets, cukes, lettuce, beet greens, tomatoes, carrots and homemade horseradish avocado dressing.

So, there you have it. I’d say for the most part, I’m doing pretty well…I definitely see areas where I can improve, but I am happy for now.

Now it’s your turn! How are you doing with your goals? Anything you’re struggling with? OR, do you have any advice to help me out?! Let me know! 


GBN: That time I ran a marathon

Well, I did it.

It was one of the most difficult, amazing, ridiculous, painful and spiritual things I have ever done, but I did it. I finished a marathon.

On Saturday morning (after a quick stop for breakfast), my mom and I headed the hour south to go to the race expo. After picking up my packet and sweet (and by sweet, I mean BRIGHT orange) half-zip windbreaker, we meandered around the gym, visiting with volunteers and looking at what the vendors had to offer. Note: They had my mizunos for significantly less than I paid for them, but I restrained myself from buying a new pair–Farmer Ben was so proud.

This was probably the smallest race expo I’ve ever been to, but it was really nice because we weren’t fighting a crowd and didn’t feel rushed to get in and out.

After the expo, my mom and I decided to scope out the course. We took the leisurely 26.2 mile drive around Schroon Lake. My mom’s reaction? “This is beautiful,” followed by, “You’re going to run this?!”

I knew the hills were going to be tough, but now, at least, I had a point of reference and would have an idea of what was ahead. We started out on the main drag, turned onto a side road that just kept going up and then came out right next to the lake, then, we went back to Route 9….

Here are some pictures from the drive:

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

Saturday night, Farmer Ben and I stayed in and watched Ratatouille, complete with a big bowl of pasta and marinara sauce.  After laying out all of my clothes and fuel for the day, I showered and went to bed… but I’m sure you already know that I barely slept.

I woke up on Sunday morning, a big ball of nerves, complete with a nervous stomach. I toasted two English muffins and put a smear of peanut butter on each and grabbed a banana to eat on the drive down (it’s about an hour and a half from our house). Unfortunately, I was so nervous that I could barely swallow… I only managed to choke down the first English muffin and most of the banana.

After parking, I immediately found the bathroom. Then we had some time to kill, so we meandered around; Ben got a coffee, we went back to the car so I could drop off what I didn’t need and grabbed my fuel belt, put on my number and did a last check…then I found the bathroom again…

I don’t know if it was the realization that I was actually about to run a marathon, or if it was just nerves (or maybe a combination of both), but I was a complete basket case on Sunday morning…at one point, I was holding back tears and was starting to have some serious doubts about running…. luckily Farmer Ben was there to hold my hand and talk me down.

He told me that once I started running, I would get into the zone and be fine…and he was right…

I managed to get a pretty good spot on the starting line and started off at a relatively quick pace…when we passed the first time clock, I realized I was going way too fast (even though it felt comfortable) and slowed down.

I was still going a little faster than I should have, but I was feeling good.

At mile 4, the hills started. Now, the elevation chart shows a straight up-hill until mile 6, then a straight down-hill…and then some little hills in between miles 7 and 11 (the next giant hill). This was not the case.

Instead, you went up, then flat, then up, then flat, then up, then down, then flat, then up and up and so on and so forth… I looked at my splits on mapmyrun this morning and they are all over the place…. I managed to run all of the hills until mile 11…I decided to sacrifice running up this hill in order to save my strength for the rest of the run, looking back, I definitely made the right decision.

I was feeling really good for the first half, once you hit mile 12, you come out right next to the lake…it was a beautiful day and the sun shining, but after running so many hills and being super sweaty, the breeze from the lake was not pleasant… the last half of the race was very cold.

I got to the halfway (13.1miles)mark at 2 hours and 27 minutes… I kept a steady pace until about mile 16. I was getting tired. I slowed down a bit and took a few short walk breaks.

Throughout the entire race, I was repeating three things.

1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

2. Run your own race.

3. (Wo)man can plan their course, but the LORD directs their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

At mile 18, we turned onto the Word of Life Campus and were welcomed by a wall of cheering people on either side (Note: I could hear their cheers all the back at mile 16, I could NOT figure out where it was coming from).

This gave my spirits the boost I needed to keep going… people were yelling for me, cheering me on, playing music, calling my number and my name…

Not gonna lie, I almost cried because I was so happy…so grateful for these beautiful people who were helping me go on.

Actually, I almost cried a few times throughout the run because of the volunteers and the spectators… everyone who came out and watched the race, supported the runners… it was an emotional day. Hearing people call my name, who took the time to look up my bib number and find out my name, I was completely overwhelmed.

I made it to mile 20, still riding on the cheers of that amazing group… but then I started to hit the wall… I hurt. Everywhere. My feet were the worst, every time I took a step, I felt like a thousand knives were being pushed into my feet, my bones felt like they were shattering… but I kept going.

My hands swelled up to twice their normal size and I could barely bend them, my wedding ring was starting to dig. I was covered in salt from my sweat and my under-arms were raw…not to mention, the pain in my feet and legs was getting worse.

Luckily, there was a girl running near me and we ended up duking out the last 6.2 miles together…slowly but surely. We ended up doing a lot of power walking for that last 10k…at that point, running was so painful that power walking was a faster mode of transportation… we did the power-walk/run together and I told her I was glad we ended up together because we kept each other going.

There were two more hills (though, I must admit, they were not even close to the hills between miles 4 and 12) before we finally neared the finish… we came around a big corner and realized we were less than a mile away.

I looked at my new friend (Liz) and said, “come on, let’s go!” We started kicking it to the finish…I managed to look up just in time to see Farmer Ben standing there with a big smile on his face, iPhone ready to take pictures and yelling my name.

You can't tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

You can’t tell from this photo, but I am incredibly happy at this moment

I turned onto the side street and pushed it to the finish, my entire being hurting and fighting to make those last steps…. I made it!

My time was 5:24:37…not the best time, but it’s a PR for me (the perks of it being my first marathon)…and this was a crazy difficult course! I’m just happy I finished….and now I have a time to beat.

I got my medal and my thermal blanket (thank God!) and turned around, waiting for Liz. I hi-fived her and thanked her sticking with me… and then Ben and I took a couple more pictures….

I did it!

I did it!

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing husband.

I would not have been able to do this without my amazing husband.

After finishing, we went down to the finishers’ area and I managed to get a bagel, a bottle of water and some grapes…unfortunately, my body and brain were on power-save mode at that point…I tried to walk around for a few minutes, but ended up just sitting down in a chair, staring off into space. Ben had to hand me grapes and small bites of bagel in order to get me to eat anything.

Again, I had to hold back tears…the realization that I had just finished a marathon was heavy. My body and soul felt absolutely empty.

All finishers were entitled to a massage, but I worried if I got one, I wouldn’t be able to get up, so, when my lips starting turning blue from the wind, Ben made the decision and helped me hobble back to the car.

In the warmth of the Versa, my brain starting working again, slowly but surely.

In my post-race fog, I knew that I needed to change out of my sweaty, and consequently, soaking wet clothes. I told Ben “I need your help.”

I pushed my seat all the way back and Ben fumbled around in the back seat for my big comfy sweat pants and long-sleeved shirt… I painstakingly started pulling off clothes, not caring if someone happened to walk by.

I started with my sneakers, then my socks. I don’t think my feet have ever hurt so much in my entire life. Then I pulled off my leggings and my underwear. I slowly pulled on my sweat pants, with Ben’s help, really glad I had gone for the XL pair.

The next part was a lot more difficult. my shirt was soaking wet and my skin under my arms was raw (Note: I used Body Glide, but apparently I didn’t use enough under my arms). I managed to pull the sleeves from my tank top down and held my shirt over my chest (I am a lady, after all!) while Ben helped me pull my sports bra off, one side at a time. After I pulled on my long-sleeved shirt, I ditched the tank top.

We debated going to one of the restaurants in Schroon Lake, but everyone else had the same idea, so we headed home. I could not get comfortable and spent the entire trip putting my seat up and down, moving it back, propping my feet on the dash, and stretching them out on the floor… then I passed out for the last 30 minutes of the trip.

Upon reaching our apartment, I realized that I was going to have to climb the stairs in order to get inside. My heart sank. Luckily, Ben took everything in from the car so I could use both arms to pull myself up.

After sitting with my feet propped up for an hour or so, we got an invitation to go to a friend’s house and visit with them and their family. Ben whipped up a quick dish to bring with us and I took a hot shower. I cannot even begin to describe how good it felt.

I conquered going down stairs, slowly but surely. And we got to our friend’s house for a great night of relaxing, good food (a lot of it!) and good times. It was the perfect way to end a monumental day. I finally had the energy to snap a picture of my sweet medal….

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I’m so blessed I have the ability to run, that I was able to finish a marathon. I still get teary-eyed remembering different parts of the course, how I was feeling, the spectators and the volunteers… It was amazing and something I will cherish forever. It tested my faith, my mind and my body, but I survived…and came out stronger (and somewhat chafed).

Today, I’m sore…I hobbled around the office at work all day and am looking forward to a week of rest… but, I wouldn’t mind doing another marathon sometime in the (sort of near) future. I’ve already scoped out a few races… as a 14-time marathoner that I befriended yesterday told me, “you definitely picked a difficult course, your next race can only be easier.”

Before I end this post….

A major thank you to Farmer Ben. You are the world’s greatest husband. The end.

And to my friends, Jona and Kristy. You are both such strong, amazing women and hearing/reading your running journeys continues to inspire me and helps me to keep pushing in mine.

Also, thank you to my other friends and family who have had to deal with my ridiculous schedule, constantly listening to me talk about my training and just being supportive.

Did you race this weekend? What is your best race moment/memory? What’s the worst thing about post-race recovery?


GBN: Pre-Marathon Jitters

You guys…I’m running a marathon this weekend!!! (Did anyone else just picture that scene in Mama Mia? Anyone?)

Yesterday, I found myself telling Ben that I was going back and forth between “feeling ridiculously excited and absolutely terrified.” No matter what happens this weekend, I am going to give it my all….and I am going to enjoy the ride.

I’m taking a lot of comfort in the fact that my last couple of weeks of training have been really enjoyable. I’m feeling strong on my runs (even if they are shorter) and I am have a great time in the process!

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Night Runs are exhilarating!

Anyway, it’s been a busy week in our house. Luckily, Farmer Ben is the best hubs ever.

So, here is my week in training…and then some life:

Monday: I ended up having to work at job 2 on Friday and Saturday night…between that, church, group meetings and having a minor car issue (my muffler decided it was going to break) which entailed a lot of running around, I ended up doing my final long run on Monday night.

Not having my car that day turned out to be a blessing…I finished much earlier than normal because I had to run from my job to meet Ben when he got out of work. My stomach was finicky the entire time, but I found my zone and ended up going a lot faster than I thought I was going. I don’t know if that is good or bad…..regardless, it was a beautiful day and I felt great! I ended up doing 9 miles instead of the prescribed 8.

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This is the face of confusion…sweaty confusion.

Tuesday: I got stuck at work until late and ended up taking a rest day… I took a deep breath and told myself this was not a big deal.

Wednesday: It was a much better day.

Not only did Farmer Ben get my muffler fixed (Yay!) but, he also got my oil changed, took me to lunch, went for a run with me and made a banging dinner.

Oh…you want to hear about my run?

We ended up doing one of our regular loops featuring a big hill backwards… there is still a hill going the other way, but not nearly as steep.

Ben ended up taking off and getting pretty far ahead of me as I was trying to stay closer to my goal pace for the marathon…but then my competitive side kicked in…. and I ended up booking it up the hill in order to catch up with him… when I finally caught him, he had a look of confusion on his face…

And then he asked the question: “Do you have a funny taste in your mouth?”

Me, completely confused and unaware: “…No…what sort of taste?”

Ben: “You don’t taste something? Like Dust? (insert pause for effect) because I certainly DON’T!”

It took me a moment to get the joke, then I burst out laughing and slapped his arm.

And then I left him in MY dust…for a couple of minutes.

I ended up slowing down a little bit for the last mile, but overall I ended up running faster than planned. In the end, I still felt good!

Practicing for race day with my fuel belt...

Practicing for race day with my fuel belt…

I had to take a picture of Farmer Ben after his zing… notice his smirk:

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Anyway, after our run, Ben whipped a Swiss Chard risotto (complete with garden veggies, homemade chicken stock and almond milk) and some (local) chicken sausage meatballs.  I had two helpings, it was soooo good! I have to say, I am pretty darn blessed to have such a good husband, even if he does tease me during our runs.

 

A bowl of yum.

A bowl of yum.

So what’s going on the rest of the week?

  • Tonight: I’m going out for an easy three miles to make up for Tuesday.
  • Friday:  Rest day.
  • Saturday: I’m heading down to the race expo and going to scope out parking, bathrooms, clothing check and the like… I’m also going to squeeze in an easy 2 miles to keep loose.
  • Sunday: Race day!!!

As for food, I’m focusing on quality… I’m trying to load up on my veggies and avoid too much dairy, sugar and heavy foods in general, as my stomach has been a bit off the last few days (nerves). I’m also taking my ENERGYbits, focusing on drinking a lot of water  and logging my food on myfitnesspal to make sure I’m getting enough of everything… Saturday night, I’m planning on a simple pasta meal and then Sunday morning, I’m going with a bagel with peanut butter, honey and a banana for breakfast.

Tell me, any advice for race day? What do you eat before a big race? Have any good running burns? 

Happy Running!


Confessions: Life & GBN (Marathon Training Update)

Hi friends!

September is flying by!

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve done a “Confessions” post… so here we go.

You may have noticed some new widgets on my sidebar:

Sweat Pink

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Loved coming home to this package!

I am super excited to announce that I am a Sweat Pink Ambassador, pink shoelaces and all!

For more info, click the image on the sidebar or check out the Fit Approach website.

Here is the Sweat Pink Mission, from the Fit Approach website:

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick. We sweat pink.

Pretty awesome, right? I am pumped to be a part of this community!

ENERGYbits

I’ve mentioned ENERGYbits and how they have become part of my fuel for marathon training and life in general. They are an amazing company and doing great things….and I am so happy to be a part of it. The best part is  that I can share a sweet discount with all of you (Use the code “NoellesNotebook” at checkout for 25% off!)! Also, if you’re interested in trying a sample, contact me and I can hook you up!

Officially an ENERGYbits Ambassador!

Officially an ENERGYbits Ambassador!

In other news, marathon training is coming to a close…less than 2 weeks until race day. I have to admit, I am sort of enjoying the taper, but my body is a bit confused.

I bonked a bit on my 20 mile run and had a minor freak-out about being ready…

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After a soggy 20 mile run…probably the most difficult run I’ve done in a long time

After I calmed down from my freak-out, I analyzed what went wrong… I think a big part of my bonk was my food choices from the couple of days before my run, not drinking enough and the weather. It was hot. Really hot. And humid….and raining.

So what am I using for fuel?

I have decided on ENERGYbits (of course!), Island Boost–another great company–and various fruit. This will depend on what I can fit in my running belt…

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I was going back and forth as to whether or not I should wear my camelbak on race day, but I decided against it. There will be water stops on the course and honestly, the camelbak is a lot of extra weight and extra sweat. It’s great for training runs, but I don’t want to worry about it on race day.

Thoughts on Marathon training:

Next time around (yes, I’m already thinking about next time! Let’s just get through the first one, shall we?!), I am only going to be working one job…and won’t be involved in as many real life commitments. Life happens. I got way too stressed out with training this time around because honestly, I skipped a lot of runs. Between trying to prevent/having an injury and just being over-extended, some days it felt impossible to fit in a run. I realize that there are people out there who do way more than I do (and I give them MAJOR props), but this time around, I had to make some sacrifices, and some weeks, it was my training runs.

I have a good friend (Hi Kristy!) who gave me some peace of mind a while back. She said that as long as you get your long runs in, it’s okay to skip some of your runs during the week.

Now, I am NOT in any way saying that you shouldn’t train for a marathon, because that would be moronic. But, sometimes life happens and things come up. And that’s okay, as long as you get back on track.

She also reminded me that as this will be my first marathon, I am going to PR. No matter my time, it’s going to be a personal record. Doesn’t that take a lot of the pressure off?

Again, I’m not saying that I won’t go out there and try and run my hardest, but…if I have to walk for a bit, I am still doing 26.2 miles in one shot. That’s still pretty hard-core.

With that being said, I’ve been having some really great runs lately. During and after each run, I have felt unstoppable…isn’t that the best feeling?!

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After totally rocking an 8 mile run.

Also, I purchased a foam roller ($15 at TJ Maxx for the win!) about a month ago… such a good investment! Luckily, Farmer Ben loves to torture… I mean take care of me and has been super helpful with working out the kinks in my legs. My recovery time has decreased significantly as a result…so thanks Farmer Ben!

On a totally unrelated topic, marathon training does a number on my digestive system. I’ll leave it at that.

Oh! I almost forgot, I need your help! I am deciding on whether to run with or without some tunage.

If I do run with music, I need to create a killin’ it playlist. What would be on your kicking butt soundtrack?!

In remembrance:

Today, 12 years have passed from that fateful day. I still remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the news. I think about how much our nation–and our world–has grown and changed, and I pay a moment of silence and remembrance to the past and those who were lost.

Anyway, those are my musings for today.

What about you?! What do you use for fuel during your long runs/race day? Any advice for a first time marathoner? What is on your killin’ it playlist?!


Confessions: Running out of a Rut

I have a confession….I’ve been in a major rut the last couple of weeks. Blame it on my insane schedule and my inability to ignore desperate pleas from Job 2 begging me to come in, but I have had a really hard time getting my runs in lately…or anything else.

I know this sounds an awful lot like an excuse, but up to late last week, I was working 13-16 hours days, 5 days a week… this is not conducive to a.) getting up early to run, b.) running after work, or c.) having energy to do anything.

Now that wedding weekend is over, I’m hoping that my schedule will open up. Marathon weekend is quickly approaching–less than a month away!–and I need to get those miles in. I’ve already warned Job 2 that I will not be available that much in September.

Anyway, I failed at getting in my long run this weekend, causing me to admit, that, yes, I am in a rut.

But I’m not looking back…because, well…it won’t change anything. Instead, I am looking forward and I’ve got a plan.

Get out there and run!

Get out there and run!

Noelle’s Plan for Running Out of a Rut:

1. Do something different.

Last night, instead of a run, the hubby and I opted for the 30 Day Shred. It felt great to get my sweat on after taking care of other details for the last week and it was a nice change of pace.

2. Pick a new route.

Not gonna lie, doing the same few routes can be boring. I’ve been looking for something different… so, I decided to sleep in this morning and brought my running gear to work…I’ll be hitting the pavement in a different area this evening!

3. Unplug.

I’ve noticed that paying attention to times, pace and mileage can get stressful. Sometimes, I just want to run! Today, I’m ditching my tunes, my watch, and mapmyrun and just heading out.

4.  Change your tunes. I have a routine of turning on a girl power/girly pop station on Pandora. Every once in a while, I’ll haul out my mp3 player from college (completely different!), or turn on some country music, just to try something new….or, as I mentioned above, I’ll just run without and get lost in my thoughts.

5. Appreciate Your Abilities.

Again, paying attention to time, pace, calories burned and mileage can be stressful! Do you ever stop to think about how amazing it is that we are able to run? That we can get out and just move?  I’ve been taking this for granted… so today, I’m taking a deep breath, and relishing the fact that I CAN run.

6. Remember Why You Run

What are your goals? Are you having fun? For me, running is a major release…there is nothing better than pounding out your frustrations and worries, while taking on a serious hill or a crazy trail. I run because it makes me feel good.

After some reflection, I realize that I  have been ignoring this…and, instead, I’ve been focusing on how little time I’ve had and how tired I am…that’s not helping anyone, is it?

7. Just Run.

The best way to get out of a rut, is to just get your butt out the door. Those first steps are the hardest…but the most rewarding.

Are you in a rut? What is your best advice for getting out of it? What do you do to change your routine?

Happy running!