Saturday, February 27, 2010

When is the flu not the flu?

Last night, I was lying on the couch, watching Night #I've-Lost-Track of the Olympics when I started feeling a little cruddy. My back was achy and my shoulders felt tight. My arms were sore and my legs felt heavy.

Body aches, I thought. Must be the flu!

This late in the season? Could it really be that I survived until now -- the end of February -- with barely a cold and now -- now -- I get hit with the flu?

I moaned. And groaned. And felt sorry for myself and made the husband feel sorry for me, too. I was convinced that my fun weekend plans were doomed. I was bummed.

And then it hit me. That pain across my shoulders was familiar, but not from memories of influenzas past. No, that pain was the familiar muscle soreness that follows weight-lifting sessions.

Oh, yeah! I cross-trained on Thursday!

Well, duh. So it wasn't the flu after all. Body aches, yes, but more like delayed onset muscle soreness from a good workout. I guess that's what happens when you have too much time off between cross-training sessions!

So, I'm still flu-free. Bring on the rest of the weekend! Hope yours is a good one!

~ Felice

Friday, February 26, 2010

Five things Friday, ep. 14.

  1. Today started off crummy. Totally crummy. Conal woke up super early and was super hungry (I think he must be going through a growth spurt because he ate a good dinner and had a snack before bed so he shouldn't have been so hungry. But he was.). I gave him something to eat and crossed my fingers that he would go back to sleep. No such luck! We ended up battling a bit, which is never fun, but now things are fine. I hope the rest of the day is better than this morning!
  2. A few people have signed up for my group! Yay! Can't wait to get started with that.
  3. Yesterday's post was a bit of this: “To change one’s life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.” ~William James. I guess I actually follow the advice of some of those quotes that I like.
  4. I felt so sad for poor Joannie Rochette. I can't imagine what she must have been going through but that girl skated her heart out and I was so happy that she went away with the bronze.
  5. Yay for sunny Fridays!!!
Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

PS: You still have a few more days to enter the Eggland's Best giveaway. Check it out here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stepping out.

I wouldn't necessarily say that I am shy. I mean, I can talk to people and I'm not terrible in groups. Sure, I get the usual amount of anxiety in new social situations and I hate speaking in front of groups. But, I think I'm pretty average in the sociability category.

One thing I'm not, though, is a stepper-outer. I'm right there to cheer on someone else's good idea, but I'm rarely the one to orchestrate anything more than a playdate here and there or perhaps a dinner out with friends.

And one more thing: I'm a solo runner. I'm not a grouper.

So, this is big for me. I've decided to step out. I'm starting a group.

See, I've had this idea of motivating other moms to run for a while but, aside from going a little over-board with the "you can do it!" pep talks when moms tell me they want to run, I haven't done anything about it. Because, well, what would I do? Walk around Target and tell every harried mom I meet that she should start running? Stalk the fitness book shelf in the library to see if any moms are interested in getting in shape? Take out an ad on Craigslist?

None of that really seems like me. So, here's my plan:

I'm going to start a group of moms who want to become runners. We'll work together for three months and, at the end, we'll run the Freihofer's Run for Women together. The 5K takes place on June 5th in Albany and it is all women and just one of my favorite races ever.

I'm not a coach but I think that I can motivate others well and I know enough about running that I can help each mom/runner develop a training plan that will have them crossing the finish line strong, without having the training take over their lives. Because I know how it is being a mom and having to fit running into regular life. It can be tough but it can be done!

I'm not going to have the group run together every week, because I think that might be too much commitment for many moms. Instead, everyone will have a plan and we'll run together at least three times before the race.

And I'll be the biggest running mom cheerleader these mom/runners will ever know.

They will probably grow sick of me. But I can take it.

So, that's it. Me, stepping out. What do you think?

~ Felice

PS: Oh, yeah. You interested? Know someone who might be? E-mail me: felicehalf at yahoo dot com.

PPS: There are other mentor programs, like the awesome No Boundaries one at Fleet Feet Sports. Those are terrific and, yes, I considered getting involved and becoming a mentor. But, I couldn't work that out with my schedule and I really, really want to focus on motivating moms, so I thought this would be the best situation.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What gives?

OK, I know that my favorite running pants are charcoal gray. And I know that my windbreaker is charcoal gray. And I had an inkling that my windbreaker was not the most streamlined jacket in the world.

What I did not know is that charcoal gray over charcoal gray is dreary. Worse, baggy charcoal gray over charcoal gray is dreary and frumpy.

And this, dear Internets, is how I apparently look while running in the winter: Dreary and frumpy.

I give you the evidence:

Ouch. Good thing I was wearing my pink cap. The black headband would have been too much!

So, this happy runner needs to rethink the running jacket. Maybe electric blue? Neon pink? Obnoxious orange? Definitely something with some color and maybe a little bit of a better fit. Sheesh!

Chalk this up to a lesson learned!

* * *

Post-race, I've been feeling great. I took Monday off completely and did an easy workout yesterday. We'll see what today brings. There will certainly be NO outdoor running because we're getting walloped with snow. It's pretty and all, but it a lot and it just isn't stopping. Yikes!

Have a great day, everyone!

~ Felice

PS: Don't forget my eggy giveaway!

Monday, February 22, 2010

HMRRC Winter Marathon Relay race report.

So, what do you do on a Sunday morning when the temperature is hovering just above 30 and the wind is a biting one, whipping from the WNW with gusts reaching 41 mph? (Yes, 41.)

Run a marathon relay, of course!

Friends, Sunday was windy and cold and, honestly, if two other runners weren't relying on me to run my leg of the relay, I might not have raced. It was just so flippin' windy. But race I did and I'm so glad.

It was a great time! Sure, our team placed 58th out of 59 teams. Who cares? We just had a good time.

Here's our team before the race:

Pink ladies! Suzy, Amanda, me.

The race was split into three legs: 9.2m, 5.7m and 11.3m. Suzy ran the first leg, I ran the second and Amanda (who is running a half-marathon in two weeks) ran the third. As Suzy warmed up and then took her place at the starting line, Amanda and I hung out on the sidelines and cheered the runners on when they took off.

Here's Suzy, looking ready to run even though she had been battling a stomach bug, at the start:

Note the nutty people wearing shorts:

Yikes! Anyway, after the start, we headed inside to get out of the wind and figure out how to prepare for our legs. I ate a banana and had some water and coffee. And then we just hung out and chatted, which was cool because we got to know each other a little more. We decided to make our way to the relay exchange a little too early so we ended up standing around for almost a half hour. At about 1:37 into the race, Suzy ran in to the exchange and off I went!

Running a relay is very different from all other races. For starters, you can't be exactly sure when you are going to run so warming up and fueling is slightly off. When you do start, you start alone. To me, that was the weirdest part. I ran alone for most of the race. There were many super fast guys who passed me along the way and I passed a few people (none of the fast guys) but, overall, I was running alone.

I settled into what felt like a decent pace and just ran. There were stretches when I felt good and others, when the wind was strong enough to screw up my breathing, when I didn't. Unfortunately, the last 1.5 miles were straight into the wind and I felt like I was pushing and pushing and hardly moving.

But I finished in 50:25 and handed off to Amanda.

Suzy and I booked it inside where I cooled (ha!) down and fueled up. After changing into dry clothes, it was time to go cheer for Amanda at the turn around:

We cheered loud and hard and then booked it inside again and I headed straight to the massage table. My massage felt awesome!

With the massage done, I decided to eat some soup and stretch a little more. Suzy and I hung out and then made our way to the finish line to see Amanda come across at 4:22:59. She ran 1:53 for her leg, which was well under the 10:30 pace she thought she might run! Just awesome!!!

Here we are after the race (happy to be done!):

Suzy, Amanda, me.

Overall, it was just a GREAT experience. Running on a team like that is a much different experience than just running a race on your own. I loved the feeling and I'm so happy that I met these two women through the blogging world and we've become running buddies. We plan to run together again -- hopefully in better weather!

Race stats:

Total for relay: 4:22:59
My leg, 5.7m: 50:25 (8:51/m pace)


If you haven't run a relay before, I highly recommend it! They are lots of fun.

Happy Monday, everyone!

~ Felice

PS: New -- yummy -- giveaway over here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Five things Friday, ep. 13.

  1. I am in a super-good mood! I'm just all kinds of happy and things are going well so there's no stopping the good mood. And it's Friday, which makes it even better! Yay!
  2. Two lovely bloggers tagged me with a Sunshine award: Darlene and Suzy. Thank you both! The idea is that now that I've been tagged, I tag others who bring me sunshine. Well, not to be dorky, but everyone who stops by my blog brings me sunshine -- especially those of you who take the time to leave me a comment! Thank you for the sunshine!!!
  3. I know I've mentioned it a million times but I'm excited about the marathon relay this weekend. I really can't wait! By the way, a few of you have asked which leg I'm running. I'm running the second one, which is 5.7 miles.
  4. Tomorrow is the NYRR's Run for Haiti and the virtual Run for Haiti starts today. You can participate anytime through the 24th. So, even if you are not in NYC, you can take part in this fundraiser for the hard-hit country.
  5. My Champion shorts giveaway goes through noon on Monday. Don't forget to enter!
Have a terrific weekend, everyone! Good luck if you are racing -- and have fun whatever else you do!

~ Felice

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The final countdown.

The Winter Marathon Relay is this Sunday. Although my teammates and I have decided that we are running it for fun, not for time, I still feel the pressure to perform. We've given each other time estimates, so we'll each know about when we're likely to start our legs of the race. So, in order to not be the one to throw things off, I want to at least finish within the time range that I gave them.

I'm pretty sure I'll be able to do that. Let's just hope nothing happens between now and Sunday! Hmm . . . and I probably should stop staying up so late watching the Olympics. Relay racers need to sleep, don't they?

That's what I'm planning to do: Sleep a little more this week (if possible), eat well, and run easy. I'll take Saturday off to give the legs some extra rest. Then, we race! I can't wait!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

~ Felice

PS: I have another giveaway going on over here. This time, it's a pair of Champion shorts.

PPS: Here's a little article on running in the snow. In case it is snowy where you are :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zany orange zeal

If you've seen any of the long track speed skating during the Olympics, you've probably noticed the Dutch fans. They love their speed skating and they're nuts! I mean, nuts in a good, wacky, patriotic way.

Check these people out:

They have what Mary Carillo has called "zany orange zeal."

They cheer. They sing. They dress all in orange and wear wacky orange wigs. They lo-o-o-o-ve their speed skating.

After watching those fans, I got to thinking. Where's my zany orange zeal? Is there anything that I am so jazzed about that I would consider wearing bright orange capri-length overalls -- in public, with a contrasting neon orange top underneath -- for?

I didn't go to a college with a big sports program. My son isn't even in school yet so I can't cheer from the stands for him. While I'm a huge Yankees fan, I'm just a fan. I don't even go to the games now that we are no longer in NYC.

Running? Do I have zany orange zeal for running? Well, not for races, necessarily. Sure, I was cheering with every ounce of my body when Meb won the NYC Marathon but that's not zany orange zeal. I wasn't so passionate about the event that I had to drive 2.5 hours south to watch the race, while dressed in my red, white and blue best.

No. I am a running fan, but not one with the same kind of zeal.

The Olympics? Well, kinda. I love the Olympics. I love rooting for Team USA. I was nervous during short-track speed skating when the Koreans fell and USA took silver and bronze. I was cheering hard during snowboard cross. And I held my breath as Bode Miller barreled down the mountain to bronze.

But, again, no real zany orange zeal. I was watching from my couch. Wearing sweats. Black sweats. Nothing zany there.

My zany orange zeal is a little more private. As I thought and thought and thought about this (too much time thinking? Maybe . . . ), I determined that I have some zany orange zeal for me. For this person. Me. Not in some weird "I'm good enough and gosh-darnit people like me!" type of way.

My zany orange zeal exists for me and my running. I feel it when I'm running my neighborhood loop and thinking about my upcoming race. I imagine myself running a strong leg in the Winter Marathon Relay (on Sunday! Yikes!). I pump myself up. I think about how I'll start and how I'll finish. What my time will be. I cheer for myself with a zany orange zeal that you would only know existed if you could peek inside my mind.

And sometimes, I imagine future races -- like when I'm burying the masters competition, or setting a series of new PRs, or running Boston just months after a stellar BQ race. I pull out all kinds of zany orange zeal in those moments.

None of it may happen. Some of it might. Who knows. But it doesn't matter because those moments of dreaming and imagining are fun and inspiring and I enjoy them.

I am my own Dutch fan.

So much of running is about striving -- to run better, smarter, faster, whatever. To do more. To continue. To strive, and thrive while striving, I guess I need some zany orange zeal. And I'd argue that we all do. I'd argue that imagining what could be is an important part of running.

So, what about you? Do you have any zany orange zeal? Gonna muster some up for yourself? I think that would be a good idea.

Have a great day, everyone!

~ Felice

Friday, February 12, 2010

Five things Friday, ep. 12.

  1. The Olympics start tonight!!!! Yowzer -- I am so excited. I love, love, love, love, love the Olympics and I can't wait to watch it all. I love the speedskating. And the figure skating. And the downhill, the ski jumping, the bobsled. I love it ALL! I am an Olympics fanatic. For real!
  2. Just over one week to the Winter Marathon Relay. I'm starting to get nervous! The 10-day forecast is looking good -- right now we're looking at a high of 34 for race day. That would be perfect!
  3. I posted the Champion gear winner over here. Yay!
  4. Thanks for your suggestions for the blender. I appreciate your help. I use the blender at least once a day so it is important to me and my frustration with my current one is just too high. I'll let you know how my new one works out!
  5. It's a long weekend (around here at least), with Valentine's Day in the middle. Long weekends are the best. They mean three outdoor runs in a row (yay!). And some relaxation. Not much wrong with that!
I hope you all have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Today's not my day so just a quick post.

Does anyone have suggestions for a blender?

I make smoothies every morning (banana, frozen strawberries, plain yogurt and flax meal) and my blender can't really handle it. I have to stop the machine several times to mix up the ingredients to get things moving. I need something better, something that will support me through my smoothie-making days! Seriously, I need a powerful machine and I'm looking to you for recommendations! THANKS!!!!!

And don't forget: My Champion gear giveaway ends tonight!

Yay, tomorrow is Friday!!!

~ Felice

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So once I sent that little cold packing, it up and left for real. I'm back to 100%. I guess I get better quickly because I run!

Maybe yes, maybe no. I'm not ready to give running all the credit. I'm just glad I'm back in healthy-ville and I celebrated with an evening run last night. Isn't that what everyone does when they shake a cold? Celebrate with a run? In the cold? And the dark? Well, it should be!

It was a good run. I ran a bit slower than I would have liked but no biggie.

So last night's run isn't really the point of this post. The point is that my cold made me feel old and made me think about what it would be like not to run. What a bummer that would be. Then I read an old issue of Runner's World on Monday (does anyone else hoard old issues?) and there was a little sidebar about this 41-year-old mom whose best time in some distance (can't remember which one) was only a few seconds off her time from when she was an All-American in college.

How flippin' cool, I thought. That is so going to be me. Only -- ha, ha, ha, and this is the kicker -- my times are going to be better than when I was a youthful collegian. OK, that's not exactly fair, considering I never raced back then. But, if I had, I would have been slower than I am now! For sure! And when I did start running races? Back in my early(ish) 20s? Slow, people. I was slow. I totally beat those times now.

What's my point? I don't know. I'm just not going to hang it up because I'm getting older. I guess that's my point. Two days off of running because of a cold, thinking about life without running . . . well, that steeled my resolve to continue to run smartly and, most of all, to run my own race. To run the mile I'm in, both figuratively and literally. To heed my own advice whenever possible. I don't want to ever not run so I'll do all that it takes to always run.

Wow, I'm such a rambler today. Thanks for sticking with me . . .

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Go celebrate with a run :-)

~ Felice

PS: Don't forget about the Champion gear giveaway!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I am not invincible.

I thought that I was.

I don't catch colds because I run. I have tons of energy because I run. I'm so healthy that those kids with the mucusy faucets for noses can't touch me because I run.

Oh, such foolery.

This weekend, I learned that, no, I am not invincible. Running may rock, but it can't protect me at all times. This weekend, I came down with a . . . cold.

I am grateful that I made it for this long without contracting anything. But, man. I wanted to get through the entire cold-and-flu season of 2009-2010 unscathed. Oh, well. It was only a matter of time, really. Last week, almost everyone I saw was either sick, getting over "something" or on the verge of coming down with "something."

I felt my "something" coming on late Friday afternoon. So what did I do? I didn't run, that's what I didn't do. Instead, I cross-trained. Looking back, a run may have helped me ward off the cold, but maybe not. Saturday's awesome run surely helped keep the cold from exploding and, today, even after a crappy night's sleep last night, I don't feel too bad. I shouldn't complain. But when you have this grand idea that you are invincible, and then you learn that you are not, well . . . it crushes you a little. Just a little.

So, that's that. Wha, wha. I feel 90% today so let's consider this cold thing behind us. Common cold? I'm done with you!

Have a great week, everyone! I've got a fleece-rific giveaway over here, so please check it out!

~ Felice

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunny Saturday run.

What was I thinking?

For some reason, I believed the weather report that said we'd have temperatures in the high 20s on Saturday. In my mind, that meant 29 degrees. Maybe even 30 if they were off a little. Oh, no. The high yesterday was 22. So, yeah. It was chilly and because I live in the windiest of windy neighborhoods it was . . . you guessed it! . . . windy.

Very, very windy.

But I wasn't blown off course! I headed out for a 6-miler yesterday afternoon and I'm glad I did. The sun shone the entire time I was running and I felt glad to be alive! Because of the whipping wind, my pace was on the slow side but I didn't mind since I wasn't running for time. I was running for fun. For the pleasure of the run.

Later, I made a winter-worthy dinner of roast chicken, brown rice with mushroon sauce, and spinach. Yummm . . .

Hope you're all enjoying the weekend!

~ Felice

PS: The Year of Sport Travel giveaway (here) ends tomorrow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Five things Friday, ep. 11

  1. The weekend looks like it will be nice running weather (for February in upstate NY) -- partly cloudy, highs in the mid-to-upper-20s. I will be out there! I've got a long run on tap that I'm really looking forward to.
  2. I have been busy writing all kinds of articles over at Many are local and some should appeal to runners everywhere, like the one about NYRR's upcoming Run for Haiti (you in?).
  3. I'm finally comfortable with where I'm sending my son for preschool next year. How can something that should be so simple and easy become so tough? Oh, right, it's that special brand of mama-insanity. I'm glad I got over it. For now . . .
  4. Side steps -- you know, stepping from side to side -- work wonders for the hips. I started doing them about a month ago and my hips feel much stronger during my runs. A simple little exercise that yields results! I like those.
  5. I still have the book giveaway going on here. And a fun gear giveaway starting on Monday!
Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Made it so.

Why yesterday's run was better than Tuesday's (air-sucking) run:

  1. It was outdoors. With a strong wind in my face almost the entire time but, no matter. It was outdoors.
  2. I had eaten a good lunch and afternoon snack so I had plenty of energy.
  3. Owen got home from work at 5:25 and I was out the door by 5:28, so it was still light when I started and I could watch the last bit of the sunset.
  4. Once it was dark, my headlamp lit my way and, for some reason, I was mesmerized by the way my breath looked in the light.
  5. My pace was mine based on how I felt at the moment, not a pre-set number on the treadmill.
  6. Did I mention the run was outdoors?
  7. I had been looking forward to my evening run all day long. Seriously. All day long.
  8. I said it would be better and therefore it was. I made it so.
Frame of mind is where it's at, huh? Yeah, I think so too. It's a lesson to learn over and over again: The mind plays a huge role in your success as a runner. Huge role.

Happy Thursday, everyone! It's the last day of my cereal giveaway here. And, I have a book giveaway going on, too.

~ Felice

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

No stride

I couldn't find my stride last night on the treadmill. No matter what I did -- speed up, slow down -- I couldn't get it right. My breathing was off, my legs were funky. In the end, I managed only 3.5 not-so-great miles before calling it quits.

The best part of the run is that I figured out that time on the treadmill goes much faster when you are listening to good music. Why it has taken me all these years to learn this, I have no idea. Now I know. And knowing is half the battle, right?

Eh, big deal. Some runs aren't great. That's just the way it is. Fortunately, there's always tomorrow. In my case, today. I'll get it today. I'm up, I'm at 'em, I've got a busy day ahead. A run will be in there and it will be better than yesterday's run because I say so!

Hope you all have a great day on tap!

~ Felice

PS: Don't forget about my cereal giveaway!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Oh, outdoor run, how I missed you.

When you don't run for a bit, you miss it. And when your first run back is a treadmill run, you appreciate the run but wish it was taking place outdoors. But then, when you finally get that coveted outdoor run, you don't just appreciate it, you fall in love all over again.

With every step of my 5-miler yesterday I did just that.

Running, I love you. Running, I love you. Running, I love you.

Does it ever get old? Does running ever stop wanting to hear how loved it is? Dunno. And don't plan to find out.

All I know is that my run rocked, although it was nothing special. It was just my first outdoor run after my brief time off and I loved it.

Running, I love you. Running, I love you. Running, I love you.

In other news, my breakfast giveaway is going on over here.

Have a great week, everyone! Run on!

~ Felice

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