Friday, January 29, 2010

Five things Friday, ep. 10

  1. Ran yesterday. On the treadmill. Was bummed about having to be on the 'mill but so glad to stretch out the legs for a run! With any luck, tomorrow will bring an outdoor run.
  2. I'm taking my little guy to see Sesame Street Live this morning. He is soooooo excited. I'm excited by his excitement! It may end up being the nuttiest hour and a half of my life, but I can take it. Really, I can. I hope.
  3. Just over three weeks to the Winter Marathon Relay! (Suzy, I owe you an email with my time.) I'm running the 9.2 mile leg so I really had better step up my running.
  4. I posted the winner of the Darn Tough giveaway over here. I'll have another giveaway starting on Monday for everyone who likes breakfast. Yay for breakfast!
  5. Speaking of giveaways, Marlene is hosting an awesome one from Lift Your Sole jewelry. Check it out! Oh, and I've started a weekend giveaway spotlight at my other site. Every Saturday, I'll post about some fun giveaways going on around the blogosphere. Let me know if you have one that you'd like to have included!
Have a super weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fake turtles of life.

Right now, there is a plastic turtle growing in a bowl on my kitchen counter. A goody from a recent birthday party, the turtle started out tiny and is supposed to "grow" by 600% in 7 days. Or something like that. All I know is that the weird thing looks oddly real, save his neon green head. And his flippers or whatnots get bigger and creepier each day.

I don't like turtles. I have nothing necessarily against them, I just don't really go for them. So, fake ones, sitting in big bowls of water, growing, on my counter? Yeah, not so down with that.

But my son, on the other hand, likes the turtle. He's all about how big it has gotten and how it went from little to BIG! And because he likes this turtle, I indulge him. I let the turtle be.

Which is the way it goes with life. Things come along and, before you know it, you're growing fake turtles, jumping up and down and going bonkers because your son used the toilet, or bumming-out because you can't do your favorite thing. Which happens to be running. Sure, you're disappointed and you crave that most favorite thing. But, you know, that's life. You get over it. You take it in stride.

If there is one thing that I have learned in this here life it is that you have bend with the wind, lest you break. And who wants to break? Not me, that's for sure. So I bend. I try to go with the flow as much as possible. I don't always do the best job, but I work toward it. I try to be flexible. I let the fake turtles of life grow on my kitchen counter.

So bend away. Take it all in stride. And if you are lucky, you'll soon get to do that favorite thing. Me? I'll be running tomorrow. And hoping that my son suddenly develops an aversion to reptiles of all sorts.

Fat chance.

~ Felice

PS: Don't forget about the Darn Tough socks giveaway here. Ends tomorrow at midnight!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy on a Monday.

Lovely Aron at Runner's Rambles tagged me to write 10 things that make me happy. Thanks, Aron! Not only is it a fun exercise but it gives me something to post about ;-) Ha!

I've decided to list 10 running-related things that make me happy. So, here goes:

  1. My hilly neighborhood. I love that I can walk out my front door and go for a peaceful 5 mile run -- hills and all -- and never be too far from home. It's comforting. Sure, I sometimes enjoy running other routes, but my neighborhood one is perfect for me.
  2. When Conal asks me if I'm going running. OK, OK, most of the things that my little toddler does make me happy (the now-infrequent tantrums excluded!), but when he shows that he is into my running, that makes me happier than happy.
  3. My favorite running shorts. They are a sassy dark pink. They fit perfectly. They were $4.98 at Target. Happiness all around!
  4. My Craisin and almond post-run snack. Protein. Carbs. Vitamin C. Yum! My post-run handful of Craisins and almonds is a favorite treat.
  5. The way I feel after crossing the finish line. Strong race or not, crossing the line indicates that I've worked hard and finished what I've started. That is one satisfying feeling.
  6. Marathon telecasts. Why aren't more marathons on TV? I would watch every weekend, honestly. And, yes, I like to watch the whole race, not just the last few miles. I'm a fan!
  7. Running blogs! Oh, my. Yes. I am an addict. I love reading about running and I love learning from my fellow running bloggers.
  8. Brooks. I have been a loyal Brooks running shoe gal for over seven years and I don't know if I'll ever change. They work for me and make me happy!
  9. New gear. If I could, I would buy running gear all the time. And then I would end up in the poor house. Right now, I'm digging my Garmin Forerunner and my awesome turquoise running bra. The bra and I have been together for only two runs, but it is love.
  10. Feeling strong. When I run, I feel strong. When I set a PR, run with vigor up a hill, nail my speed work, or tackle a new distance, I feel even stronger. Running really lifts me up, making me happier with every step!
If you haven't made a happy list yet, try it out. Happy Monday, everyone!

~ Felice

PS: My Darn Tough socks review and giveaway is up at my other site. Yay!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Five things Friday, ep. 10

First . . . wow, 301 followers?!?!?! Thanks, everyone! I love visitors -- I hope I don't disappoint :-)
  1. I jumped in and created a Facebook page for this here blog. You can check it out here. I feel a bit like a copycat because I'd never thought of making a page until I started to see a bunch of blog pages on FB in the past two weeks. Maybe I'm not a copycat, though, since I was just inspired by all of you FBers!
  2. The early registration notice came out for my CSA (community supported agriculture) share yesterday. That, to me, means spring is practically here. Granted, we're only a month into winter but I've got fresh, local produce on my mind!
  3. Haven't run since Sunday. A forced layoff of sorts and it is getting to me! The weather has been decent (it was 39 degrees yesterday) so, ugh, the not running is tough. Luckily, I have a wedding on Saturday and my son's preschool open house on Sunday to distract me this weekend.
  4. What happens if you eat too many clementines? I mean, can that happen? And what is too many, anyway? Six in a sitting? Nine in one day? I've done both . . .
  5. I posted the Bondi Band winner over here. Next giveaway? Darn Tough socks on Monday. Dude!
Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Harder and better.

Last week, I finished reading 50/50by Dean Karnazes. I'm so glad that I finally got around to reading it; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yeah, I'm never going to anything similar to Dean's feats, but I was inspired by much of what he had to say. He wrote a lot about how running is his passion (it would have to be is you're going to run 50 marathons in 50 days!) and what that passion means to him and how it relates to the rest of his life.

Running is my passion, too. Yes, I have others, but the thing is, I love to run. Running can wipe me out, running can kick my butt, but I still love it.

Karnazes wrote about this "hard work" idea in the book and I wanted to share this passage because I thought it was so right-on:

Running teaches you that there's a difference between working hard and feeling bad. Consumer culture tries to teach us otherwise. How many television commercials talk about "making life easier"? If everything you knew about life came from TV, your goal would be to live the easiest, most comfortable and unchallenging life you possibly could. You would believe that the only good feelings are sensual pleasures such as the taste of a good soft drink and the fun of driving an expensive car and lying on the beach.

But it's just not true. Challenging and testing your mind and body, even to the point of exhaustion, failure, and breakdown, can feel as wonderful as anything else life has to offer. I suppose the enjoyment of hard work is more of an acquired taste than the taste for pleasure and fun, but once you've acquired it, you're blessed with more ways to feel good, and life is better. Harder and better.
-- Dean Karnazes, 50/50
When I enter a race, I know I am not going to win. The facts are the facts: I'll never run be a speedy 16-minute 5ker or sub-2:30 marathoner. Just not going to happen. But that doesn't mean I can't continue to enter races and challenge my body and my mind. I can train. I can run for fun. I can run tough workouts. I can work hard and enjoy every minute of it because running is my passion and working hard at your passion can be exhilarating.

Yes? No?

For me, it is a hearty, fist-in-the-air yes.

Run hard, everyone. Run happy!

~ Felice

PS: Don't forget to enter my Bondi Band giveaway over here. The giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happiness maker.

I feel like I barely know which way is up, but that's OK. My life right now is one part excitement, one part super sea of stress, one part hopefulness, and one part fear of the "what if...?" Not unlike most people's lives, I'm sure. It just feels very concentrated right now and has for the past two weeks.

But, the sun is shining! The weather is lovely for upstate NY in January. I got in two refreshing runs this weekend, both outside in the crisp but warm-for-winter weather. They were exactly what I needed. Running is the true happiness maker.

And, I got to prove my mother wrong.

Some of you may recall from past posts that my mother has a thing about my running. In October, after I missed my 5k goal, she asked me what I expected since I was, after all, getting old. I gave her that look I mastered back at age 13 and she went on to say something like, "Well, you are. You're getting up there. You can't expect to run as fast as you did at 30."

So, I was very happy to be able to gloat about my second place age group finish in my recent 10k. I pointed out that not only was I second, but I was second in the 30-39 age group, and I am at the oldest end of that range. So there!

Of course, I did not tell her how few people were actually in the age group. But don't worry, I wasn't too misleading because there were a few others who didn't place!

Anyway, she congratulated me and was happy for me. And she told me she took back what she had said in October. What a mom!

I hope you all had a great weekend and have a nice week ahead. I have another giveaway up at my other site, this one is for a Bondi Band headband. They are super cute, so check it out!

~ Felice

Friday, January 15, 2010

Five things Friday, ep. 9

  1. First, I have to say a public, "Congratulations!" to Amanda who has not only lost 104lbs (!!!!) but also just celebrated one year as an ex-smoker. If you haven't been to her site yet, you should stop over and help her celebrate her awesome accomplishment! She shows that it really is true that you can do anything you set your mind to!
  2. After a forced break from running the past few days, I'm itching to head out for a run this weekend! I'm planning an easy 5-miles for tomorrow when the temperature is supposed to be 38 degrees. Woo hoo -- warm spell!
  3. Do any of the moms and dads out there feel like potty training goes on forever? I mean, c'mon!
  4. I *heart* Vampire Weekend.
  5. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! I'll be rooting for you :-)
Happy, happy weekend, everyone! Thanks for visiting.

~ Felice

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nothing but thanks.

Can't tell you how much I greatly appreciate all of your kind words and wishes over the past two days. You're all terrific and you've helped buoy my spirits and keep me on the positive side of things! So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Not much else to report from Happy Runner-ville. I have a giveaway ending tonight at midnight EST (here) and I'm pleased to report that the super cold temperatures I've (almost) gotten used to have climbed out of the single digits and into the 30s (!). Very, very nice.

Oh! And there's a snowshoe race that I hope some local runners might consider checking out. I wrote about it here.

Well, that's it for me. Over and out.

~ Felice

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Only because I *really* need it . . .

I don't write too much about personal stuff on this blog, preferring to stick mostly to running and running-related things. But, today, I'm veering.

I have some stuff going on and tomorrow morning I could use some good vibes. Do you have any to spare? Can you send them my way? Your good vibes, your well wishes, your happy thoughts . . . I could use any and all of them.

Cryptic? Yes, I know and I know how annoying that can be. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't ask if there wasn't a need. And since there is a need, I'm asking. And thanking. I always appreciate my bloggy buddies and will appreciate whatever good vibes you can send my way!

* * *

OK, now that that's done, what of the running? Ha. My hamstring felt a little stiff today so I decided to loosen it up with an easy treadmill run. I slogged my way through 3 miles and that's about all I could do. My hamstring feels a lot looser and better after the run but I just couldn't handle too much more on the 'mill. Plus my son had an "accident" and needed an underpants -- and regular pants -- change so 3 miles seemed like a good time to stop.

Not sure how much I'll be blogging in the next few days. So, I'll wish you all a great week! Oh, and don't forget to check out my giveaway if you're interested in entering to win some natural shielding lotion.

Thanks for reading!

~ Felice

Monday, January 11, 2010

HMRRC Winter Series 10K race report

Alternatively titled: Running with others is good for the soul.

When I woke up on Sunday, the thermometer outside my bedroom window read -2. I'm going to run in this? So I went downstairs and looked at the thermometer outside the kitchen window: 3 degrees. Just like that I had gained five degrees!

Still, it was cold. I bundled up, basing my attire on what I had worn for Saturday's chilly run, and left for the local road runners club race. Driving into Albany, the big billboard that has the time and temperature said it was 4 degrees. Brr!

The HMRRC Winter Series races are held every other week (or thereabout), starting in December and ending with the Winter Marathon and Marathon Relay (which I'm running with Amanda and Suzy) in February. Sunday offered a 5k, 10k and a 25k. At first, I signed up for the 5k but then decided that if I was going to get out there in the cold, I was going to run 10k. And so I did.

But first, I had to meet up with Suzy and Amanda! Now, if you will recall, Suzy is the blogger that I barged in on back in October. So, I had already met her, but I hadn't met Amanda. Well, as I was waffling over which distance to run, I saw Amanda signing up for the 5k and Suzy volunteering at the sign up.

We all chatted like old friends, signed our marathon relay form (woo hoo!) and then Suzy snapped this photo of Amanda and me:

Notice our rocking color coordination! I should have taken off my jacket and then we really would have been some Pinkies!

Anyway . . . the race.

I forgot my Garmin. At first, I was bummed. How was I going to know how I was running (this no-frills race series doesn't offer mile splits or markers of any sort)? Well, I wasn't. I just wouldn't be able to know. Instead, I would have to run by feel. And that's what I did. I just went out there and ran. I ran and ran. Not my fastest, not my slowest. I just ran.

It was terrific!

At one point, an older man ran up beside me and said we'd just crossed mile 4 in 32:46. I thanked him and figured he'd run on. Nope. He stayed with me and we chatted for almost a mile. I never do that. I'm a solo runner! I'm no chatter! Or am I?

The mile that we ran together flew by (or so it seemed) and when he took off I was oddly disappointed that I no longer had anyone to run with. Hmm . . . I kept on running and running and crossed the finish line in 51:24.

I haven't run a 10k in forever so I wasn't sure what to expect. And with the weather -- well, the weather wasn't ideal (officially, 9 degrees at the start) but it didn't stop me. I'm proud of that!

After the race I went back inside and learned that Amanda had set a 5k PR! How cool is that? Super cold day and the girl sets a PR. Rock on!

And what else . . . well, I won a yummy loaf of bread because I was the second place female finisher in my age group (30-39)! Yay!

Here are my stats:

10k time: 51:24 (8:16 pace)
Overall place: 51/105
Female place: 13/42
Age-group place (F30-39): 2

The award was nice and an unexpected bonus. But the best part of the race is that I was buoyed by my running bloggy buddies (just knowing that I was going to meet up with them got me out of the house in the morning, and their wishes of good luck before the race gave me extra pep) and the camaraderie on the course. Since I normally run alone, I've forgotten how wonderful it can be to run with others. It lifts you up. It gives you a feeling of being a part of something, not apart from. Yesterday, that feeling was wonderful. All of us were battling the cold and winning, simply by being out there. We were running together. I loved it.

Ah . . . I feel a little wistful today. I already can't wait for the next race!

I hope you all had a good weekend. Have a great week!

~ Felice

PS: There's another giveaway starting today at my other site: Some shielding lotion to combat winter dry skin. Check it out :-)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Feature!

The Happy Runner has a new feature. OK, it's not like a feature feature but it's something new. I added a list!

Ground-breaking, I know. But this is a list of my virtual neighbors! Scroll down a bit and right there on the sidebar, right above the followers block, is a list of Upstate New York Running Bloggers! My happy neighbors:

Are you a fellow upstater that I missed? Let me know so I can add you to the list :-)

Speaking of upstaters . . . I'm going to see Amanda and Suzy tomorrow at the Winter Series race. Yes, it will be frigid. It is supposed to be 8*, with a feels like temp of -1*. NEGATIVE ONE. I may just freeze instead of running.

I went for a test run in the c-c-cold today. It was super windy but the sun was out so it didn't feel too bad. I think I have a good idea what I should wear for the race based on today's run. Let's hope my plan works!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Friday, January 8, 2010

Five things Friday, ep. 8.

  1. Back on track after all the holidays. I love the holidays as much as the next gal but I also like getting back to "regular" life.
  2. Casey over at Running After Violet (nee Green Girl Runs) is hosting a virtual 10K on January 23. Check it out!
  3. I posted a sunglasses review and the winner of the Smartwool socks giveaway over here.
  4. Good luck to everyone running the Disney Marathon -- and the Goofy Challenge. Have fun! Those cool temps should actually be good for you. (Go, Marlene!!!)
  5. I think the folks at Champion are pretty cool. I received some info from them about what they are doing at the aforementioned Disney Marathon. They have this Innovation Lab that (according to the Champion material):
"underscores the brand’s heritage in competitive sports while bringing to life its "How You Play" mantra through the experiences of real, everyday athletes. This year, the 2010 Innovation Lab works with nearly half of the "Perfect 17," those who have participated in the Disney Marathon Weekend since its inception 17 years ago, as well as runners, race-walkers and wheelchair athletes from all skill levels, to test Champion Athleticwear."

Through this program, Champion says it is able to develop great performance apparel by getting real feedback from everyday athletes who participate in the Innovation Lab. Participants were given a variety of Champion performance apparel and, starting in September 2009, asked to catalog their experiences in a Training Log and share real-time insights with the Champion New York Design Team and Champion Athleticwear Consumer Research. The runners received apparel from the brand’s popular Double Dry® line featuring wicking technology, compression tanks and briefs and athleticwear from the Seamless product line. Questions include pace, weather, route (e.g., trail, street, treadmill), comfort, fit and washing machine care.

It was interesting to learn about this program and see that the company tries to have regular runners use their products to ensure that they work for them, in everyday running situations. I would imagine that regular runners are, after all, the bulk of the runners out there, no?
Well, that's it for Friday. Speaking of which . . . WOO HOO! It's Friday!!! Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Thursday, January 7, 2010

So. Very. Sore.

For one reason or another, I haven't run in few days. Take yesterday, for example. I figured I would run when Owen got home from work. But by the time I put Conal down for a nap, I was feeling sluggish and blah. I needed to do something. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to turn on the monitor in Conal's room so I couldn't run on the treadmill.

So, I hit up Exercise TV on Demand for a little workout. Or, in my case, a tough, butt-kicking workout!

Holy cannoli. I did a few different "shows" (I normally stick to The Shred but yesterday I shook it up) and they didn't feel too terribly tough when I was doing them but, today? Today I am sore. So. Very. Sore. My calves, hammies, butt, back, arms, core -- all sore. Sore in a good way, for sure, but sore nevertheless. The workouts kicked this runner's butt!

The workouts had a lot of lateral moves and a lot of jumping rope. Those two movements called some pretty sleepy muscles into action. Running doesn't involve very much lateral motion, afterall. And jumping? Not much of that in running either.

Anyway, I haven't run in a few days but I'm better off! Sounds weird but it is true. Whenever I get on a cross-training kick I feel like my running improves. Using those under-used muscles, and giving a break to the over-used ones, is a good thing!

So, need a break? Exercise TV on Demand really does have some effective programs to get you moving! Check it out, if you haven't already.

And . . . don't forget to check out my Smartwool giveaway, which ends tonight at 11:59pm EST! Go here to enter :-)

And one other thing! I wrote about the new Consumer Reports report on top treadmills here.

Well, that's it. Happy Thursday, everyone!

~ Felice

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday*

Proud boy during the last day of gymnastics ribbon ceremony.

*with the exception of the caption.

PS: Don't forget to check out my Smartwool giveaway here!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thanks for the cans.

I'm so behind in posting my Cans for Comments wrap up but here goes.

The deal was that I would donate one can of food to the Food Pantries for the Capital District for every five comments left on my Friday posts in December. During that period, you guys left a total of 127 comments, good for 26 cans! I was really pleased!

The 26 cans:

I went with the no salt veggies and some low salt veggie soup. I'm going to add in some diapers as well because food pantries have been seeing a real need for them lately. So, that's that!

It was a fun little campaign and I appreciate all of your support!

Enjoy your day!

~ Felice

PS: Don't forget to check out my Smartwool giveaway here!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Let's go!

Happy new year! I hope everyone had a nice New Year's Eve and has enjoyed the start of 2010 so far. I had a great time with fun friends on NYE/the early morning hours of New Year's Day. And I followed up the festivities with an easy 5-miler on the 1st so, all in all, a positive start to the year!

But now, it's time for me to set out my 2010 goals!

Last year, I started January with one set of goals that I quickly re-adjusted (in early March, I think) because I hadn't really thought out the original set well enough. Then, my re-adjusted goals were a little weird. So this year I hope to avoid setting scrap-worthy goals that are quickly followed by weird goals. Good plan, huh?

OK, so. Here they are. My 2010 (running-related) goals:

  • To run strong and well throughout the year. I ran through 2009 without injury (some nagging soreness here and there notwithstanding) and I would like to do that again in 2010. If I continue to listen to my body, keep up with the cross training and run smart I believe I can easily achieve this goal.
  • To set at least one new PR. Last year, I wanted more than almost anything to run a sub-23 minute 5K and set a PR at 22:56 or better. This year, I'm expanding on that goal. I would like a PR and will take one in any distance that I have raced so far: 5K, 3.5m, 4m, 10K, 15K, marathon.
  • To run outdoors more often than indoors. I mostly do this now and with my new headlamp and decent cold-weather running gear I should be all set for success here.
  • To meet some other running bloggers. This one should be a piece of cake since I'm planning to run the HMRRC Winter Marathon Relay with Suzy and Amanda. But, maybe I'll meet others? Who knows!
  • To run 1010 miles for 2010. I ran 904 in 2009 so 1010 should be no problem!
  • To break the death-grip that is my Starburst jellybean addiction. I was practically shaking just typing that. I lur-ur-ur-urve the Starbusrt jellybeans. They are my thing. But too much of a good thing is actually rotten so I would do well to cut back on the jellybeans. For real this time. Yes, I've quit before. This time will be different. How? I don't know! But it will!
As you can see, I'm all about setting myself up for success and I believe I can succeed in meeting these goals. Maybe not the last one but everyone has to have a stretch goal, right?

Over the course of the year, I'm sure I'll set some additional, short-term goals that will probably support at least one of these goals in some way. That's the way I do it. Let's just hope I don't scrap these goals in March. I doubt I will!

OK, yay! My goals are out there! I'd better get to work :-)

If you're interested, I wrote about running resolutions and suggestions for enhancing your running in 2010 over here.

Have a great week, everyone!

~ Felice

PS: Do you like Smartwool? Check out my giveaway over at my other site! Smartwool -- woo hoo!

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