Friday, October 30, 2009

Five things Friday.

  1. I've already set my DVR to record the NYC marathon recap on NBC, just in case I don't get to watch it when it airs. Yes, I'm that geeky.
  2. I ran in shorts again yesterday evening and I'm crossing my fingers that the weather holds so I can do the same tonight. Love the late-October runs in shorts. Such a treat.
  3. My last CSA delivery was yesterday. Seems so . . . final. I'm thinking about whether or not to purchase a share again next year. This year, I split a share with a friend, but she's not planning to buy-in next year. Decisions, decisions . . .
  4. This here Happy Runner is not planning to run any races right now. None. I had been planning to do at least one more 5K this year and a 15K. Then I dropped them from my "schedule." I don't know, just wasn't feeling it. Ever since I dropped the races? Wow -- my runs have felt great. Free and easy and fun. Loving it! I think it is exactly what I need right now.
  5. Go Yankees!!!! (Sorry, Phillies fans -- although I do love your Phillie Phanatic.)
Have a great weekend, everyone! Good luck to everyone who is racing -- yay!!!

~ Felice

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Helloooooo, Genie!

Do you ever wish you could have your own genie to grant all of your running wishes? Maybe à la Barbara Eden?

Well, that's the theme over at Runners' Lounge today for Take it and Run Thursday. So let's get wishing!

This week's sponsor is Julia, author of her blog, Chocolate Shoestrings. Julia knows all runners have dreams and wishes, so she invites us to share ours. Julia asks:

If a genie were to appear and grant you any three running wishes in the world, what would you choose? It can be anything from superhuman powers, new running inventions, race entries, shoes, you name it!

What would be your three wishes?

I've often found myself mumbling the words, "I wish . . . " about something related to my running. I wish I had more time to run, I wish I had more endurance, I wish I was faster, I wish my foot didn't hurt so much, I wish, I wish, I wish.

If I could be granted three wishes, though, I know exactly what I would ask for:
  1. First, and most important, I'd wish for my toe problems to completely disappear. I'm afraid of the surgery. I mean, surgery is just so, blech. And then there's the three months without running during the recovery period. The alternative, though, is to continue to run (and walk, stand, sit, lie around) with the pain. Doesn't seem right. So, toe problems -- gone. Yes, that would be my first wish.
  2. My second wish would be to have as much time as I'd like to run, whenever I feel like running, for as long as I feel like running. What often happens is that I feel like running but can't because of any number of things. Or, I get going on a run and would like to keep it going for a few more miles than planned, but can't because I need to get back.
  3. And then, since I'm working with a genie here, I have to have the shallow wish. I wish that I could have an endless supply of extremely flattering running clothes. You know, a huge closet full of shorts that don't ever bunch up but make my legs look lean and long. Tops that slim my torso and show my arms to their best advantage. Lots and lots of flattering gear. That would rock. Rock!
And then I'd be perfectly happy. A perfectly happy Happy Runner!

What about you? What are your running wishes?

~ Felice

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nuts-o and knees.

Things have been nuts-o here. I had a tight deadline, which meant I was staying up late and trying to squeeze in work whenever I had a free moment. I also had a knee thing.

I didn't want to write about it because I feared that doing so would give it life and make it worse (weird? sure.). So I didn't say anything and now the knee thing is gone so my weirdness may just have paid off!

But it was a drag. It crept up on me on Wednesday. My knee just started to hurt. On Thursday, it hurt a little more but I ran anyway. On Friday, it hurt for real. I took the day off. When it still hurt on Saturday, I skipped my planned 5K race and secretly felt pretty OK with that since it was pouring rain here.

Then, Sunday. The knee felt fine! Totally better, like nothing had ever happened. I ran 5.5 easy and enjoyable miles. Monday, easy and enjoyable 4.5. Yesterday, I ran 4 through an evening drizzle. All three runs were grade-A fall runs and (knock on wood) my knee hasn't bothered me one bit since Saturday.

I feel like I dodged a bullet!

I've got a lot of catching up to do but I'll leave you with a giveaway to check out:

Mel -- Tall Mom on the Run is hosting an AWESOME Brooks for Her giveaway! She's giving away a pink jacket that is just too cute. Enter here.

Have a great (half over) week!

~ Felice

Friday, October 23, 2009

Five things Friday.

  1. After Tuesday's tantrum, my little guy has been fine and fairly well behaved. In fact, we had a great day yesterday that involved lots of outdoor play, some errands and lunch at the bagel shop.
  2. In the midst of that great day, I barged in on this blogger. Barged! She won the Solixir giveaway that I hosted at my other site so since she lives near me, I delivered it to her. But I didn't let her know I was going to deliver it so I just sorta showed up. That's the way it goes sometimes with kids, though. I'm not always 100% sure I can do something (like, what if I said I was going to go to her house and then Conal had another tantrum?) so sometimes I have to wing it. And that's what I did yesterday. But Suzy was nice and didn't shoo me away. And, how cool that I got to meet another running blogger?!?!
  3. Yesterday evening's run was terrific! Just a little easy one, but run in shorts and a t-back top. Not wearing a jacket (or sleeves!) made me feel so free. I wish we could have more of those not-too-hot, not-too-cold days. They are perfect for running.
  4. I dreamed that I was wearing a pair of fleece-lined running tights and extolling them to no end to a (non-running) friend. Fleece-lined tight are on my winter gear purchase list (thanks to one of your recommendations) but do I really need to dream of them? I guess so.
  5. My Friday morning babysitter had H1N1 last week so she wasn't around to watch Conal. She's back and healthy today so this morning I'll have some time to get to work. Which is a very good thing because I have two deadlines early next week.
Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

PS: I just posted a review of the Opedix running tights over at my other site. Check it out!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why race?

Today's Take it and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge is sponsored by MCM Mama who asks:

We've all discussed why we run, but why do you RACE and how do you choose which races to run?

Do you look for certain distances, swag, location, start time, or something else? Tell me how you decide where and when to race. Also, I'm currently on a quest to run a race in every state. Please tell me--and others about a particular race you've run that is not to be missed.

That's a good question. Why do we runners race? Why do we do we push ourselves so hard? Why does someone, like me, who has no chance of winning, race?

I wondered that a lot a few weeks ago when I ran that rotten 5K race. I felt like crud. I just wanted to be done. I did not like racing one bit on that day. Not one bit.

But that passed. Because, truthfully, I enjoy racing. Although I don't race all that often (just a few races a year; so far I've run 5), I like it. I like the build up to the race, the goal setting, the anticipation, the hard effort that a race takes in order to be successful. I like the purpose and focus it gives to my running.

I also like the feeling of community that comes with the shared experience of racing. When you line up at the start of a race, whether that race has 35 entrants or 3500, you can't help but feel part of a pretty awesome group. Now, I may be biased but I think runners kinda rule. And to get out on a Saturday morning or whenever and try to run your best, knowing that all the runners around you are doing the same, can be very empowering. All those runners, running hard. I like that community!

The other thing that I like about racing is that it gives me a glimpse of what I'm capable of doing. Because I race, I know I can push myself fairly hard. I also know that sometimes my mind gets in my way and trips me up, but other times it helps me reach what I may have otherwise thought were unreachable goals. Racing sharpens the body and the mind.

There are so many other reasons to race, more than I could mention here. I can't wait to read about why others race!

Have a great day, everyone! It's going to be 70 degrees here today!! You better believe I'll be out running :-)

~ Felice

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Missing the run.

Some days, you need to run. Things haven't gone well, you're stressed out, you feel like a mud puddle. Your body needs to get out and run to re-set itself.

That was my yesterday. Only, without the run. I had the need to run but couldn't.

The short story is that my little guy decided to explode at the library. He didn't want to leave, so he threw a huge tantrum -- of the sort I have never, ever experienced before -- in the parking lot. He thrashed on the ground. He rolled under the car. He kicked. He used his super-human toddler strength to fight getting in the car seat. He went on and on for 45 minutes.

Do you know how exhausting and humiliating a 45-minute toddler tantrum is? Multiply your guess by 853 and you're close.

Well, it finally ended and all I could think about was how I could seriously use a run. I imagined hitting the road for a longish, slow run and how soothing that would be to my bruised psyche. Then I thought that maybe a good hard run would be the better option, to pound out my frustration as I pounded out the miles.

Either way, it would have been nice.

This Happy Runner, though, had no chance to run. I had work on the schedule for nap-time, then a meeting at 6:30 so my afternoon and night were taken. Sigh. Something about really, really, really wanting to run and not being able to made me appreciate running just a little bit more. Running can work wonders to improve a mood and yesterday I didn't have that. I missed it.

I'll be running this evening, no doubt. My hope for today, though, is that I don't need it in quite the same way as I did yesterday!

Hope you all have a tantrum-free day :-)

~ Felice

Monday, October 19, 2009

Adirondack weekend.

My weekend away was great. Relaxing. Fun. Full of laughs, food, drinks, and a (very, very) hilly run.

It was something I'd been looking forward to for ages. Some friends and I had talked about doing a "girls weekend" for years and it just never happened. Then, this summer, we talked about it again and, by some stroke of luck, actually made it happen. And I'm so glad it!

There were six of us who left our kids and husbands at home while we enjoyed a perfect fall weekend in the Adirondacks. Two nights for the moms!

We stayed in on Friday, just hanging out. On Saturday, we walked around the village and did some outlet shopping. Like the true moms that we are, we mostly purchased stuff for our kids. I had visions of finding that perfect winter running jacket but instead I found the perfect pea coat for my toddler. That's the way it goes, these days.

That afternoon, I hit the roads for a run!

Although I had wanted to get in an 8-miler, I only managed 5 because the hills wiped me out a bit. Wimp! The views during my run were striking. The leaves, the lake, the mountains . . . all oohs and ahhs. I wish I had been able to capture the beauty a little better, but I was running and the shots were quick.

Here are some views from my run:

I'm glad I made time for the run. After spending Friday night eating, drinking and staying up late and then spending Saturday eating and shopping it would have been easy to bail. And don't think I didn't consider it! But, the runner in me beat out the lounger for an hour Saturday afternoon and I'm happy it did.

That night, we went back in to the village for some yummy Mexican food (and drinks). Here's the group:

A little later, after a few rum-aritas:

See? I wasn't kidding about the laughter -- the weekend had lots of it! To me, that's proof of a good weekend with good friends.

One of the best parts of the weekend, though, was when I got home and Owen told me that he and Conal had an awesome day together on Saturday. I guess it is good for everyone when this mom gets away for a bit!

I hope everyone had a super weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Thanks for all of your winter gear suggestions. I've got some good ideas now on what to buy so I can make it through the chilly season outside. Now I just need to make sure that I stay healthy. People are popping up ill all over the place this week. I'm still a firm believer that moderate running keeps you healthy, and I'm continuing to load up on the vitamins C and D* so I believe I will be OK. But . . . I do feel weird that so many people around me are coming down with "something."

The babysitter who watches Conal on Friday mornings, for example, has H1N1. Well, huh. I don't know that we've been exposed, because her doctor said she most likely came in contact with the virus Sunday or Monday (but how does he know?) and we last saw her on Friday. We'll see, I guess.

And then there are the many, many friends who've come down with that dreaded "something." Yuck. All yuck.

I, however, will not some down with anything, let alone "something." And why not? Because I've got a big weekend ahead of me, that's why. I'm going away. On a girls weekend. Watch out, world!

Yes, seven of us are leaving our husbands and kids for the weekend and going away. This is big stuff, people! I can't wait. And yet, I'm nervous and I know I'll miss my two guys. But, really, I can't wait!

I plan to run while I'm away and I hope that the weather cooperates because I still only have my wimpy winter gear and I won't get to do any shopping before I go away. Once I'm back, though, I'll be all about the gearing up!

~ Felice

* in case you are interested:
Vitamin D Council

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Winter gear!

This year, I am determined to be less of a wimp about running in the cold weather. Last year, I gave in to my inner softie and ran on the treadmill quite often once the temperature dipped and the days shortened.

It's time to toughen up!

The weather is already getting chilly here and it is getting dark earlier and earlier. Yesterday, for example, was a fine day but very windy in my neighborhood. When I set out for my run around 6, I knew I was going to have to deal with a sharp wind. I psyched myself up and went for it, not giving in to the part of me that wanted to bail and just run a few easy miles on the 'mill.

Nope, I put on tights, a long-sleeved top, my windbreaker and gloves (gloves!) and headed out. Chilly and windy though it was, it was also a refreshing run.

Now, here's the thing. I need more and better winter running gear if I'm going to be successful at running outside this season. I have a decent windbreaker from Target (cheap but functional) and an OK pair of (also Target) running tights. I was sent a high-tech pair of Opedix tights to review and they are more or less fine, so that means I now have two pairs of tights.

Does anyone have a recommendation for good tights or not-too-loose running pants?

On the jacket side, the windbreaker works for now but it doesn't have any reflective properties. Since I'll doubtless be running in the dark, I'd like a reflective (and warm) jacket. I recently tried this jacket from IllumiNITE:

I had to send it back because the sleeves were too short. That's my problem: I have broad shoulders and long arms. Tops and jackets that fit well in the body, often have sleeves that are too short. Other than the fit, I liked the jacket, especially the highly reflective properties.

Has anyone tried IllumiNITE jackets? Do you have any other jacket recommendations?

* * *

My Take it Easy Training Plan kicks it up a little today with hill repeats. I'm ready!

Have a great day and thanks for any gear recommendations that you have!

~ Felice

Monday, October 12, 2009

Next training plan.

After a week of just running to run (and enjoying it a lot!) I'm itching to start training again. Luckily for me, I've been planning to run the Stockade-athon 15K on November 8th. So, with four weeks to go before the race, I'm back to training!

This time, however, I'm not going to stress myself out. I'll train as hard as I need to but I am not going to focus so narrowly on a goal, like I did for my last race. That, apparently, does not work for me. Instead, I'll follow my Take it Easy 15K Training Plan. Which looks a little something like this:

Week Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Sat Sun
1: 10/12-18 easy 4m
easy 4m hill repeats(6x)
(~7m total)
easy 4m Rest
8m run Rest

2: 10/19-25 easy 4m
6m tempo
easy 4m
easy 4m Rest
5K race+
(~6m total)
recovery 4m
3 10/26-11/1 easy 4m Rest hill repeats (8x)
(~8m total)
easy 4m Rest
10m run
recovery 4m
4: 11/2-8 easy 4m
6m fartlek
Rest easy 4m Rest
Rest 15K race
(~11.5 total)

My total mileage for each week will be: 27 for week 1, 28 for week 2, 30 for week 3, 25 for race week.

I'm doing hill repeats instead of speedwork because there are killer hills in the Stockade-athon. The biggest one comes just before the 10K mark and it is tough. I want to be prepared to run strong up that hill and the ones that will greet me after it. Hill repeats here I come!

That's the plan.

* * *

I was out of town over the weekend at a cousin's wedding. It was a blast! Just a total blast. Here's a pic of Owen and me at the reception (the dress was a last minute purchase and I got it for a total steal so I'm one happy mama!):

After the weekend away, today has been a catch up day. Catching up on cleaning, running and the blogs. There were some big races and I need to see how everyone did!

And, hey, don't forget that today is the last day of my Solixir giveaway. Check it out and you might just win a case of Solixir!

~ Felice

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Friday!

Just a quick post today. First, I want to wish everyone a happy Friday and a great weekend! I hope everyone who is racing has a terrific time -- I'm sending out positive vibes to all of you.

Second, I enjoyed my 7-mile run yesterday and I hope to get a 4-miler in today before heading out of town for a wedding tomorrow.

And . . . I have a giveaway! I can't host them on this site any longer so I've started a separate site called, inventively, Happy Runner Giveaways. I know . . . where in the world do I come up with this stuff?

So, check it out my new site. Today's giveaway is for a case of Solixir. Woo hoo! Go enter!

That's it. That's all I've got. Enjoy the weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Break. Stats. News.

I'm enjoying my training break this week, for sure. Running only as often, as long and as fast as I feel like running. So basic. So freeing.

Still working hard on not obsessing on what's next and what I did wrong in the last race. It's hard not to think about those things but I'm in active Block Out Those Thoughts mode. I will allow myself a little look back, however, to recap September's running since I forgot to do it last week.

September stats:

Running (miles): 100.2
Cross-training (sessions): 1

September was my highest mileage month yet this year. Yahoo! But, one cross-training session? One?!? Jeez, no wonder my arms were feeling weak during my race!

I was pleased with how good my body felt during my race training. Overall, my plan was a smart one (I still believe this); I just failed on race day. Can't blame the plan. I know! Slipping back into Those Thoughts! I'm done...

Hopefully, my October mileage will be about the same as my September mileage and I'll have a few more cross-training sessions in there. These arms need some work!

In other news . . .

I just became the Albany Running Examiner! So far, I've written a whopping one article. But there will be more. Soon. I promise. In the mean time, you can check me out here.

It's almost the weekend -- woo hoo!

~ Felice

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Yesterday was a stellar, non-running day. Conal had gymnastics in the morning, followed by a good speech therapy session. Before and after the running around, we colored and played and enjoyed ourselves. After his nap, we ran errands and spent our car time cracking jokes, which made him laugh so much he had an almost constant string of drool coming out of his mouth. Gross, yes, but evidence of a good time.

This morning, we met friends and went apple picking. It's a beautiful day and Conal had a blast pulling the apples off the branches.

And yet, it is almost impossible for me to stop thinking about "what's next." What's next, that is, in terms of running.

Last night, I was hunting for upcoming 5Ks. I've got to stop! Then, I started to read a new book, Fit Soul, Fit Body by Brant Secunda and Mark Allen. I'm just 27 pages into the book but that's enough for me to see that the training break I mentioned in my last post is not only a good idea, but really important for me right now.

You can only do so much with the body, and so much more with the mind . . .
-- from Fit Soul, Fit Body
I imagine this is true. So I'm on a brain quest. In addition to starting this book, I also ordered Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training for Runners. I need to train my brain not to melt down under pressure.

In the meantime, I'm trying to not think about races or training. I'm having fun. I'm looking forward to getting out for a run this evening. Perfect apple picking weather is also perfect running weather and I'm going to take advantage of it.

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Race for the Cure 5K race report.

I apologize for yesterday's annoying wah-wah post. I was just so totally disappointed when I wrote it and, looking back, maybe I shouldn't have posted it because I hadn't had a chance to digest what had happened.

But, I posted it so that is that. Now, on to my full race report!

The day started out great. The weather forecast was calling for rain at the start time but it never happened. We were lucky, in fact, to have perfect racing weather. Before leaving, I had an English muffin with peanut butter and some coffee and water. Then I rolled out my legs with The Stick and was ready to go!

I warmed up for a little less than a mile and felt great. So ready to race and get a PR.

Then, the race. I had to line up a little farther back than I would have liked but I figured it would just keep me from going out too fast. Well, that and the uphill start. It did that, for sure! Only, it felt rotten. I was weaving around people and couldn't find a good pace. I kept speeding up and slowing down. I had no rhythm and when I crossed the one mile marker at 7:50, I was crushed.

That's when my race went all wrong.

Instead of looking at the clock and thinking that I ran a conservative mile putting me in a good position for the rest of the race, I looked at the clock and thought, "I'm so far off my pace. I'm never going to get my PR." I defeated myself right there and then.

The next mile was torture. I tried to pick it up after the first mile and, in doing so, I burned out. The course winds through Albany's Washington Park (which, by the way, is a great city park). I was speeding up and slowing down around the sharp turns of the park. Not running according to plan at all. I walked through the water stop, thinking it would give me a breather and chance to adjust. After that break, I set back out to run hard and try to get my PR. No dice. I ran hard, but it was too hard and I had to walk -- again. I started back up, ran for less than a minute and stopped. I almost walked off the course.

I was not hurt. Nothing was wrong, other than what was happening in my mind.

I fought my mind and decided that there was no way I was going to quit so I started running again and when I saw 16:34 on the clock at mile 2 I just had to shake my head. This was very far away from what I had hoped and trained for.

About 2.5 miles into the race, I found my rhythm. I was running strong and at my race pace but it was far too late. I finished in 25:08.

It was a terrible race. Terrible not really because of the finish time, because that doesn't -- and rarely ever does -- tell the whole story. It was terrible because I did not run the way I know I am capable of running. My mind went into "you can't do it" mode so early and I couldn't shake that. It's rotten feeling. I trained hard for this and I believed that my hard work had prepared me for success.

When I look at the race results, I see that my time placed me 95th out of 1360 women. That's good. So, it is not the time that reads failure to me. It is my effort, my inability to stick to my plan and my negative thoughts. Had I run a strong, smart race and finished in 25:08, I would be proud of my effort, even if I missed my goal. But, that wasn't the case. I was all over the place yesterday and even considered quitting the race. That's not like me. That's just something else.

Maybe I put too much pressure on myself to get this PR. I trained seriously and, I think, well for six weeks. I built this race up in my mind. I wanted to run under 23 minutes so badly. But, it didn't happen.

Today, I'm OK with that. Yesterday, not so much.

Today, I'm moving on. I've gone on two re-energizing recovery runs since the race and they have helped me clear my mind. I am happy and grateful that I can run. I love to run. Maybe I'm not great at racing. Or maybe I just need to train harder. Or, more likely, maybe I need to work on the mental aspect racing.

What I know is that my disappointment yesterday was real but today is a new day and a new opportunity to enjoy the run. And that's what I am going to do for the next few days. No more thinking about training or races. Just running. Just enjoying the run.


~ Felice

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lousiest race. Ever.

If ever there was an epic fail, there was one this morning. On the streets of Albany, NY. By me. Me, the Big 5K Failure Queen.

No excuses. I just failed. Failed to meet any of my goals. Failed to run well. Failed to run even close to my ability. Failed.

My sorry stats, according to Garmin:

Mile 1: 7:50
Mile 2: 8:44 (the mile when I seriously considered quitting -- what?!?!?)
Mile 3: 7:53
Last .1: :41
Overall time: 25:08 (for real!?!?)

Yup. You read that right: 25:08.

I have no idea what happened. None whatsoever. I am so very disappointed in myself and my lack of mental toughness. ARGH!

And that is that.

I'll take a look at what happened at some point. But, for now, I'm going to enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Hope you all are having a great one!

~ Felice

Friday, October 2, 2009

The only thing left to do is run.

My race is tomorrow. I've been preparing for this little race of mine for six weeks and all that is left to do now is run.

Between now and then, I will not think about my failed tempo run on Wednesday (when it felt like my wonky toe was going to break in half so I had to stop running and then, later, my whole toe was swollen and sore). Nor will I think about how that failed run led to me not run yesterday, because I was petrified that my toe actually would break if I didn't watch out. And I'm certainly not going to think about the weather forecast (58 and rainy at start time tomorrow).

Nope. Not going to think about any of that.

Instead, I'll think about how prepared I am. How I ran some super tough speed workouts; how I put in the time and the miles and should see positive results when I cross the finish line. And I'll focus on my goals. I have three of them and they are:

A++ goal: 22:56 or better (otherwise known as a PR)
A goal: sub-23 (my main goal)
B+ goal: 23:26 or better (otherwise known as a post-baby PR)

I have no interest in a C goal. None whatsoever. B+ or better for this muthah runnah!!!

I feel like my goals are reasonable and achievable. Yes, it is true that my 5K PR of 22:57 was run waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when I was a fleet-footed 32-year-old. However, I am wiser and more tenacious now. So, I think I can beat that younger Happy Runner.

And last year, I ran the same race on the same course and did fairly well. My stats:

2008 Race for the Cure
Finish time: 23:27
Age group (female 35-39) place: 2/139
Overall female place: 40/1450

Not bad.

Can I beat it? Can I beat it by 31 seconds? Twenty-eight seconds? One second? Can I continue to obsess and obsess and obsess about this a little more?

I'll know tomorrow!

Now, yay for Friday! I hope everyone has a terrific weekend -- especially those of you who are racing!

~ Felice

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