2014 Running Recap

Since I spilled my guts about my 2014 great racing plans gone awry last week, I figured that I should give you all a proper recap. Looking back, I kind of failed at posting race recaps this year.

Anyway, I did nine races this year…with the schedule I had, I am pretty proud of that! True, I didn’t have any crazy PRs or end up doing a full marathon, but it wasn’t too bad of a year after all.

Races of 2014 Past:

Race 1: Run to Chocolate. This was only a two mile race, but Farmer Ben and I had so much fun!
Time: 18:44

Race 2: Frostbite 5k. The day after Run to Chocolate… It was cold. REALLY cold. But we ran fast, had fun and our friends’ son ran his first 5k that day! Time: 29:01

Race 3: Doc Lopez Run for Hope (5k). I was supposed to do the half but after taking a spill at work and messing my knee up, I decided to drop down to the 5k. It turned out to be a pretty fun race and had amazing post-race food! I took second in my age group.
Time: 28:28

Race 4: Plattsburgh Half Marathon. This was my first (official) half marathon. My friend Kristy ran with me the whole race (even though she is faster than me), and I am so glad she was there! We were decked out in pink tutus and got a lot of encouragement along the way because of this wardrobe choice. My training for this was…okay. I did a few long runs. Regardless, it was great to spend a couple hours hanging out with Kristy, running all over Plattsburgh. The hardest part was running on the neighborhood streets behind the college, I don’t know why but that part of the course really messed with my head. Either way, it was a good race. Time: 2:28:30

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Race 5: Families Helping Families 5k. This was really well put together and had an interesting and flat course. I ran the fastest 5k I’ve done in a couple of years and ended up running into an old friend. Another plus? The proceeds went to a local charity.
Time: 27:34

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I stopped my watch late...

Race 6: Biggest Loser Half Marathon. Not gonna lie, this sucked. I wasn’t sure I was going to do this race but I ended up signing up at the expo the day before. The race took place shortly after the restaurant opened and I really hadn’t done any running (other than 4 or 5 miles here or there) in at least a month. We worked really late the night before and I woke up knowing that this was going to be tough. Kristy started out with me (we rocked our pink tutus again) but I immediately started feeling some stomach discomfort and told her to go on without me a few miles in. From mile five to six, I seriously considered not finishing but I refused on the grounds that I had paid to race. I ended up walking a lot and finished about 15 minutes slower than the half I had done a month before. As for the race itself, it was a let down in that I expected more people to be out watching/cheering, especially down town. Also, there were so many runners in the 5k but hardly any running the half.
The plus side is that I had a lot of people cheering me along the course and the volunteers were great!
Time: 2:45:49

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Race 7: Dirty Girl Mud Run in DC/MD. My friend Liz scored a Groupon deal on this race and I ended up road-tripping with our friend Kayla down to DC. This was my first obstacle run and first time running a women-only race. We had a good time.
It was rainy and cold…and muddy… I think the best part was being able to hang out with Liz and Kayla for the weekend, eating delicious food and drinking too much wine. The only negative aspect was the parking was super disorganized and the wait for the showers/changing area was outrageous.  Luckily, we aren’t that modest and ended up changing in the parking lot.
Time: I have no idea!

Race 8: Adirondack Ragnar Relay. Shortly after the mud run, I decided to drop down to the half marathon for Wineglass and Ben and I got an invitation to join our friend’s Ragnar team. Of course we said yes.

I chose the shortest leg but also ended up running a few extra miles for one of our teammates. Ben chose one of the longer legs and hit a distance PR. I was so so so proud of him! Unfortunately, he ended up hurting his knee.
Ragnar also showed me that I was not in that great of shape and confirmed that my decision to do the Half instead of the Full was the right one.
Time: various.

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Race 9: Wine Glass Half Marathon. I was excited to run this as it takes place where I grew up…but also pretty nervous…Part of this was my total lack of training in the months of September and most of August, and part was that I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself with racing and this was no exception. I was thrilled that Farmer Ben was (unexpectedly) able to join me on the trip down to my sister’s (where we stayed) and we got to spend some time with the family, toodling around my old stomping grounds. We hit up the race expo to pick up my bib and swag bag (champagne for the win!) and then spent the rest of the day with the family.

On Sunday, we woke up at an ungodly hour and my sister and Ben drove me to meet the shuttle to the starting line. There was some confusion with this and I breathed a sigh of relief because if I had shown up any later, I would have been one of the poor people who missed the last shuttle and weren’t able to race. This was the first time I had taken a bus to the starting line, luckily, I met some pretty cool people waiting. As my bus was one of the last ones to arrive the starting area, I had to sprint to the bag check and the porta-potties and barely made it to the start line before the gun went off. There were a lot of people!

Since I had already decided that I wasn’t going to race this, I just had fun, talking to the people around me and enjoying the autumn scenery. The weather was perfect.

I hung out with a couple of the pace groups, but ended up leaving them so I could be alone with my thoughts. I randomly ran right by my sister, Meghan, and Farmer Ben (unbeknownst to me, they would end up buying a new battery for my car because mine died…Thanks!) just before the 8 mile mark. This made me so happy, I can’t even tell you! Running down Market Street, toward the finish line, I passed my dad and was called a Bad Ass by another runner (she found out I had run it the weekend before).

The finish area was super organized and there was delicious soup, pizza, bagels and other goodies. I ended up eating half of the items and sharing the rest with Ben and my dad.

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I ended up running the race in 2hrs and 31 minutes… not my fastest time for 13.1, but I was definitely happy with it, considering my training.

To be honest, I got a little emotional, especially watching the first marathon runners cross the finish line (it turns out, I actually ran Cross Country with the winner!)…people of all abilities, running to complete the elusive 26.2 mile race… and I wasn’t even one of them this year! Then Ben told me that he was really proud of me and I almost cried.

I definitely enjoyed this race the most, from the hand-blown glass medal, to the volunteers and the finish on Market Street, it was really well organized and everyone was SO nice. My family being there definitely helped.
Time: 2:31 (I think)

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In short, It was not the year I had planned, but it still pretty fantastic!

Your turn: Favorite race? Greatest achievement in 2014? 


Doc Lopez Run for Hope; Elizabethtown, NY

Last Saturday, I woke up early. This will shock you, but I really hate getting up early—especially on weekends. However, I will do it for a race (long runs are still debatable).
 
I had registered for the Run for Hope a few weeks earlier and had hoped to do the half marathon. Unfortunately (and in addition to my sporadic training) I slipped at job number 2 and managed to bang up my knee… which caused me to skip my last  two long runs.

On Friday night, while having a fancy date night out with Farmer Ben, I was still debating which distance I was going to do.

My Thought Process:

“I know I CAN finish the half BUT it is a pretty challenging course (read: HILLS). So the big question is should I run the half and risk messing up my knee in doing so? Or play it safe and stick with the 5k? I’m not expecting a great time, regardless…but is it worth running it just to run it?!”  

 
On Saturday morning, the 2 glasses of wine I had at dinner were not settling well and I was not looking forward to (another) cold and windy run. I took some ENERGYbits and drank a giant glass of water…then I stumbled around gathering everything I would need to race—including a change of (dry) clothes. I ended up leaving a few minutes later than I wanted to, but I wasn’t too worried as I knew that this was a relatively small race.

On my way out of town, I stopped and got iced coffee and a bagel for breakfast and jumped on the highway to make the 40 minute trip south to Elizabethtown.

As long of a drive as it is, it’s one of my favorites view-wise.  I blasted the radio and tried to not drive off the road (driving conditions were horrible!). My stomach was flip-flopping as I drove and weather conditions were, for lack of a better word, crappy.

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Once I pulled into the school parking lot, I had made my decision. I found the race director, introduced myself and asked if it would be possible to switch to the 5k. Of course this was not a problem…even if I wasn’t entirely happy with my choice.

After getting my registration/check-in straightened out, I wistfully watched the half-runners jump on the waiting school bus and drive away to their starting line…then I realized that I had about an hour and a half to kill before the 5k started. So, I got some water, found the bathroom, caught up on my tweets/Instagram/favorite blogs and finally went into the high school gym to ditch my hoodie and keep warm. I ended up running into someone I knew (her husband was doing the race) and chatted with her while I stretched.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how hi-tech this race was. We even had an ankle timing chip—my first time racing with this!
 

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I also noticed this little gem in the swag bag (yup, no shame).

 

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Race promo!

Anyway, we lined up in front of the school and waited for the race to start. It was a flurrying and windy. I had opted for a pair of tights, a long sleeve core layer, a t-shirt and my trusty blue hat.

The 5k was an out and back, complete with some little hills  and an uphill finish. The wind was rough running out, there was one spot that I felt like I just wasn’t moving. Coming back was really nice because the wind was at our backs.

It started snowing even harder right after I finished. Not gonna lie, I was happy that I opted out of the half at this point.

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Yes, that is snow.

After taking the obligatory post-race photo, I headed back into the gym to scope out the snacks. Locally made delicious looking bagels (I may have grabbed two of these to bring home with me), coffee, hot tea, a great looking salad and some homemade chili. I opted for the latter options.

 

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Will run for snacks

I ended up hanging around to wait for my time and the awards ceremony and I’m so glad that I did!

My official time was 28:28 and I placed 2nd in my age group (16-29!)—24th overall—not gonna lie, I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t really gone into this with a race mentality, so placing was an added bonus.

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Surprise

They butchered my name…but I’ve gotten used to this.

Overall, this was a great race; super chill, very well organized and a great group of people. I will definitely do this again (hopefully, running the half).

Let’s chat: Ever had to change your distance on race morning? Favorite post-race snackage? What are your plans this weekend?


Big (Racing) News!

Hi Friends!

As you may or may not know, I am one of the race directors for Strides for James. It’s a 5k/10k run  and walk, in memory of my co-worker who passed away in 2012. James was a runner and loved the outdoors…so this event is a perfect way to honor his memory.

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We are super excited to share that registration is now open! This year’s run is on May 10, 2014.

If you live in Upstate NY, or are looking for a reason to visit in the spring, I highly recommend signing up! All race profits go to the James Wilson Scholarship Fund at Clinton Community College. This cause is very near and dear to my heart and our scholarship committee has worked extremely hard to make the fund happen.

In its first year, the run had over 200 participants and raised over $5,000. This year we hope to double that.

Our second year will be bigger and better than last year, here’s why:

We’ve already have some AMAZING sponsors lined up. I can’t wait to fill you all in… It hurts to keep it under wraps right now!

We’ve moved the event back to Chazy, NY (where James lived). That’s right, we are back on his home turf!

We’ve lowered the registration fee…and who doesn’t love saving money?

If you have any questions, would like to volunteer or are interested in sponsorship opportunities, you can email us at stridesforjames@gmail.com.

To register, use this link: http://www.active.com/chazy-ny/running/races/strides-for-james-2014-4941580.  *

*Please note, there will be team and family discounts. Please contact us at the above email address for information regarding these discounts.

Anyway, please pass this along! Hope to see you on race day….and I apologize now for future posts written on this…I am pretty darn excited!

Let’s chat, what races are you signed up for this year? Ever volunteered/directed a race? What are some of your favorite charities?

 


It’s All About the Benjamins; Running on A Budget

I bet you thought that this post was going to be about Farmer Ben, but it’s not. Sorry…I know he’s a pretty neat guy. Instead, I’m talking about cash. Dinero. Money. It can be a dirty word. Having money is really nice, and not having it…well, it stinks.

I hesitated whether to write this post or not… but in all honesty, I feel like there are plenty of people out there who deal with the same kind of thing… so here’s some real talk, straight from the Notebook.

The other day, the hubs and I were having a discussion about money. We have some silly debt (student loans, car payment, etc.) that we just want to get rid of. So, we are committing ourselves to paying them off–early!–one at a time. It’s kind of like when you’re running a race, you start from the back, pick off the slower runners first, and move up to take on the big guys last–after you build up your confidence.

So, we are getting back to our B-U-D-G-E-T.  Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with that word? I find it empowering and depressing at the same time.

This means that we had to take a good hard look at where our money is going. What are we buying? What are we spending money on that isn’t necessary?

As I’ve rekindled my relationship with running, I notice that I spend more of my hard earned cash on running-related things…whether it be a race entry fee, new sneakers, or some shiny new gadget, running on the regular can add up.

True, all you really need to run is a good sports bra (if you’re a female), and a good pair of sneakers… but even those can cost upwards of $100…and if you’re on a tight budget like myself, it can be tough to afford it.

Obviously, it’s easy to be envious of other runners (especially other bloggers) who are able to do all of the cool races, have all of the latest models of running shoes and other gadgets and always seem to be up to date on…everything…especially when we are constantly hit with images of their cool stuff on social media. Am I right? BUT….it’s also a perfect example of why we have to work hard, on our runs and in real life.

This year, one of my goals is to run 14 races (click the little icon on my sidebar for more info!) in 2014. Depending on when and where races are, that can add up.

Side Note: I decided on (committed to) this goal right before the previously mentioned “budget conversation” with Farmer Ben. Impeccable timing, am I right?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any free race entries, running shoes or other fun gadgets/apparel coming my way… I also don’t have a ton of extra income to spend on said items because right now, paying off the silly debt comes first…but that’s okay. It just means I have to get creative.

So, I decided to share my plan for saving money AND accomplishing my 14 in 2014 goal.

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1. Sign up early. Most races will have the cheapest entry fees the further out you sign up…. if you wait closer to race day, you’re likely to pay up to $60 more! Bonus: If you already spend the money, you’re more likely to stick to your training!

Real Life Example: Remember how I signed up for the Wineglass Marathon in December? Well, the registration fee has already gone up $10!

2. Scope out smaller races. My first marathon was an $80 entry fee (and that was after the price increase), why? Because it was small. Not only do you get to see more and feel less rushed, but you save! Bonus: A lot of times smaller races have some pretty unique swag (Wineglass has a blown glass medal!) that you won’t find in a bigger race.

Real life Examples: With more popular races, such as the Rock n Roll Series, you’re going to pay $130 (got that from their website), plus you’re going to have to shell out travel and lodging expenses in major cities–if you don’t live in said city. (Not that I wouldn’t love to run a Rock N Roll race…but this year will not be that year). I paid an $80 entry fee for Wine Glass. Next, I was perusing active.com the other day and found a half-marathon about 40 minutes from me for $20. Um, yes please!

3. Stay close to home or with friends! While it may be temping to turn a vacation into runcation, if you’re a penny-pincher, like myself, shelling out big bucks for a hotel room and air fare is not always an option. So, if possible, stay with friends/family,  race within driving distance, or car pool! (When I run Wineglass, I’ll be crashing at my sister’s house!) It’ll be more fun!

Real Life Example: When I ran the Army Ten Miler a couple of years ago, I drove down and stayed with my friend Liz-this saved me over $200 that I would have had to spend on a hotel room. AND while it took more time, I ended up saving quite a bit by driving instead of flying (This was due to the fact that I ended up getting into the race at the last minute, and the closest airport to me only flies direct to Boston, Florida and Vegas.).

4. Use discount codes. Many bloggers are also race ambassadors. That means, if they are running a big race, they’ll often have a discount code to share with their readers. This also applies to gear and running fuel (Shameless Plug; 25% off ENERGYbits with code, “NoellesNotebook.”).

Real Life Example: I’ve found some great discount codes for brands such as ProCompression, ENERGYbits (see above) and Reebok from some of the blogs I read and #RunChat is always offering discount codes to their twitter followers.

5. Bring something with you. A lot of races will allow for a discounted race entry if you do something for the organization.

Real Life Example: I’m looking at a “run for chocolate” in February–they will discount your race entry if you bring something chocolate! Other races will ask that you bring a canned good or similar with you.

6. Volunteer. I’ve seen a trend in the last few months that certain races (or a race series) will give you a credit for a future race if you volunteer. OR, if you bring a volunteer with you, you’ll get a free race entry. What a great way to give back and save some cash! Team up with some friends and make it a party!

Real Life Example: This organization out of Massachusetts.

7. Run as a team. Some races allow runners to form a team, especially corporate groups. This allows team members to get a discounted registration, while repping their organization….now if only I could get some of my co-workers to run!

8. Look for deals. I cannot stress this one enough. I very rarely pay full price for running apparel/sneakers. Not because I’m cheap (okay, maybe I am), but because I look for the deals… whether in the store or online–I hate getting weekly emails, but I keep myself subscribed because every once in a while, I find a GREAT deal. I also look in places out of the ordinary (Craig’s List, TJ Maxx, Woot, etc.) Lastly, I try not to worry about getting the newest model clothing/shoes because last year’s model is usually discounted.

Real Life Examples:  I always update my cold weather running gear in November. Why? Because Dick’s has all Reebok cold weather gear on sale for 50% off AND I use coupons (I saved $85 this year)! I also get apparel at Target–I found a pair of C9 compression capris that are the most comfortable I’ve owned and weren’t ridiculously priced. Next, I snagged Ben a pair of Vibram Five Fingers from Woot.com for $30…Lastly, I purchased my foam roller at TJ Maxx for $15 and frequently see high-end sneakers there for a very affordable price, just never in my size. Bonus: Now and then you can score an amazing deal on treadmills or other equipment on Craig’s List, it never hurts to check the “free” section!

9. Save your race goodie bag! I know it’s tempting to just toss it  without looking through it, but speaking from experience, people spend a lot of time putting those together…at least take a peak at what they’ve got for you!

Real Life Example: I’ve gotten $30 worth of gift certificates (to the same store!) from the last two races I’ve done…not to mention other coupons, all in my goodie bag. That’s $30 off the price of my next pair of running shoes.

10. Start Saving. This may seem a bit elementary, but it doesn’t hurt to set aside some money in your budget specifically for races (especially if there is a big race you REALLY want to do)…even if it’s just saving the random change you find while cleaning your car. It all adds up.

Real life Example: The other day, I was going through a pile of stuff I had been neglecting and found $23. It immediately went into savings. I also set aside some of my tip money whenever I randomly pick up a shift.

That’s it. Simple enough, right? We’ll see how I do as the year progresses!

What about you?! Any tips and tricks for saving on races or running must-haves?! Favorite major savings story on running related items/events? Best race swag you’ve gotten? What races are you running this year?!


So Now What?

In case you missed this post, I finally took the plunge and officially signed up for my first marathon! Wow.

On September 22, 2013, I’ll be running the Adirondack Marathon in Schroon Lake, NY. I’m pretty excited.

Here is a view of the course elevation (and part of the map):

Source

Source

It’s going to be ridiculously a bit hilly… but I’m not worried (yet).

So what is my plan?

1. Train: I opted for Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 program. I’m currently on week 4. Luckily, I had already been running consistently for a few weeks because I had to start at the end of Week 2 to be on track. Poor planning on my part….Oops!

I’m going to focus on hill work…because, well, you can see why. Luckily, Schroon Lake isn’t too far of a drive, so if I get desperate, I can head there for a long run.

I’m focusing on, not only getting in the mileage, but also on getting stronger. If this means doing a 10pm 30 Day Shred session or doing an early morning core workout, then so be it.

I’m not as fast as I was last year, but I’m not beating myself up. I’d rather be slow and steady than fast and injured (again).

2. Plan ahead: I’m really good at filling up my schedule, and this summer is no different. Between full-time work, part-time work, volunteering, online classes, praise and worship team, weddings, baking and hubby time, I’m committed almost every weekend for the next couple of months. This is going to make fitting in those long runs tough. It’s also going to require me to say “no.” And…I’m going to have to drag my butt out of bed early. Really early. This is tougher. So if you have any tips, please share them!

3. Sleep: Speaking of dragging my butt out of early, I need to focus on quality sleep. This is going to be the hardest part for me because I have never been a good sleeper. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleep…I’m just not good at it…if that makes sense. It’s really hard to get up early and run (or go for a late-night run, as I had to a few days ago) without enough sleep.

So how do we remedy this? The hubby and I have made a commitment to turn our phones off and, taking it a step further, keep them out of the bedroom. Have you ever woken up at 3:00 in the morning to that obnoxious flashing because you got some sort of junk mail or late night text? Yeah, me too… I’m over it.

Another thing we’re doing is unplugging at least an hour before bed and trying to make our room dark (there’s a light outside our window that goes on at random intervals through the night… not conducive to quality sleep). I’ve also been trying to make a conscious effort to not drink caffeine after a certain time… or anything for matter (raise your hand if you have a small bladder!). Someday, we’re upgrading to memory foam. Someday. Until that day, we’ll see if these other adjustments help.

4. Proper Fueling: I eat pretty well…most of the time (80/20 principle)…but eating for a marathon? I’m not really sure how to eat for optimum training and energy. I can tell you what foods I wouldn’t eat because of stomach issues…and I have a vague idea of eating a variety…but after that, I’m not really sure. I can tell you that the thought of ingesting all those gu’s and gels kind of freaks me out.

So, I’m doing research and experiments to figure out alternatives; I’m reading new running/health blogs and am in the middle of Eat & Run by Scott Jurek (he’s a vegan ultra runner! Awesome, right?!) and getting some ideas from the recipes in the book and his personal anecdotes. I know not all of them will work for me, but I’m willing to try. I’m also eating lots of veggies, mixing up my meals and trying new foods (chia seeds, anyone?). I am also focusing on eating enough quality foods….like this salad (90% of this came from our garden).

My go-to mode of enormous salad transportation.

My go-to mode of enormous salad transportation.

Yesterday, I made rice milk. I don’t think Farmer Ben will ever forgive me.

This weekend? Chocolate Adzuki bars. I’ll be posting my kitchen/fuel successes, so be on the lookout! I’m not working my second job as much, this means that I have more time to play in the kitchen. Win.

5. Have fun. I don’t think this one needs an explanation.

After a really enjoyable run...

After a really enjoyable run…

What about you?! Are you in training? Any tips?!

Happy Running!


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!


What the What?!

Have you ever had one of those weeks months where you have absolutely no idea what will happen next? Or, for that matter, you’re not sure how you got to where you are? I am currently there.

I don’t know if it’s daylight savings time, being super busy or…something else, but I feel like I just got off the zipper and am waiting for my head to stop spinning.

The past few weeks have been a blur…consisting of getting up, rushing to work and then rushing to job number two…followed by driving home, cooking random foods and entertaining my husband with my ability to make a giant mess in less than 5 minutes…with a little life organizing, mini trips,  connexion groups, date nights, church, sporadically exercising, pretending to get enough sleep and trying to keep in touch with family and friends mixed in….topped off with some total randomness.

Like I said, not sure how it is already March 14. There is so much going on.

First, some good news! After being married for almost seven months, Ben and I FINALLY mailed out the very last of our long overdue thank you notes. Better late than never I suppose. I am embarrassed to admit this, but we wrote and mailed out the first half about two months ago… and then just never found a spare moment to finish the other half…until a few nights ago…so if you were included in this second batch, I’m really sorry for the hubs and I dropping the ball.

Second, Ben finally let me try the pickles he made this summer-both varieties! AMAZING. I ate so many that I gave myself a stomach-ache. Typical.

Third, we have a mini vacation planned for next week and it cannot come soon enough! Granted, we are only driving six hours south…but it will be a nice escape… and five days off. I love road trips..even if they are short. I also love days off…especially when they are consecutive.  I am so excited to see my family and to get out of town…and to spend an entire five days with my hubby!

The hubs and I may have some changes on the horizon, so keep us in your prayers! Nothing serious, just some things to take care of/decide on.

It’s been beautiful in the North Country as of late, temperatures have been in the 50’s and the sun has been shining. Not too shabby for March. If I could change the fact that my driveway is a giant mud pit then all would be perfect. Some day it will dry… sigh…

The weather has really helped my running…meaning that I’ve actually been running. I’m still not too great at the whole getting out of bed early thing..but I’m trying!  Mondays and Wednesday are the glorious days when I can run after work and thanks to daylight savings time,  I can now finish before dark! I’m looking forward to hitting the pavement tonight. This is my latest motivation: Ragnar Relay … This race looks AMAZING!

We’ve been experimenting with some new recipes, including some homemade energy/granola bars. This means glorious bulk items from our co-op including nuts and coconut. I love it.

It’s almost garden season. Ben is already making big plans for our yard. I cannot wait. I also cannot wait to break in our solar food dehydrator. Hello sun-dried tomatoes!

Jalapeno of Yesteryear...

Green Tomatoes of the past...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you can’t tell from the pictures, I am ready for garden fresh veggies!

In other news, I have a couple of restaurant reviews to post…along with a recipe or two. There is even talk of that Ben guy doing a guest post!

Stay tuned and have a great rest of the day!