Monday, October 31, 2011

White Halloween?

Happy Halloween!

After the freak snow on Thursday -- this is what we woke up to Sunday morning:

Yup, lots of snow. Fortunately, Sunday was a warm-ish and sunny so we were all able to be outside a lot and actually enjoy the crazy October snow. And, even more fortunately, lots and lots of the snow melted.

But, not before Owen and Conal made a cute Jack O'Snowman:

He lasted maybe a hour or two and then he melted and the poor Jack O'Lantern that they had carved came crashing down and smashed into pieces. Bummer.

Today, we have the Halloween parade and party at preschool and then trick-or-treating and pizza with friends this evening. We've been getting together on Halloween with the same group for three years or so and it has become a nice little tradition.

What isn't a tradition, however, is having snow on Halloween. White Halloween? That's a little weird. But, it's all cool. Conal has informed me that the roads and front walks are all clear of snow, so we shouldn't have any problem trick-or-treating. He's pretty excited about Halloween this year because he knows what to expect a little more than he did last year.

He was also really excited about being "Boo'ed" by a friend then and "Boo'ing" one of our neighbors. Saturday evening we were Boo'ed -- one of Conal's little pals dropped off a bag of goodies, rang the doorbell, and ran. This was our first time being Boo'ed so it was all new to my little guy. Yesterday, we made up a Boo bag and walked up the hill to one of our neighbor/friend's house and Conal was giddy the whole way. When we got to their house, we set the bag in front of their door and Conal did a great job ringing and running.

I just hope I haven't set him up for a future of pranking. Yikes!

Anyway, it was a nice weekend and we're looking forward to a fun day.

Do you have fun Halloween plans? 

Enjoy the day! And remember to enter my Rudi's Organic Bakery giveaway if you haven't already. It ends tonight!

~ Felice 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Five things Friday.

1. The snow hit us early this year. This is the scene from my front door this morning:

And here's my little goofball, getting in on the photo action:

We got about TWO INCHES of snow. Wet, heavy snow. Conal is excited. Me? Not so much. But if there is one thing I've learned in all my years, it's that complaining about the weather is not only boooooooring, it is fruitless. You simply cannot control or change the weather. So, snow it is. Too early, but it is what we have. Let's hope it melts quickly!

2. I was not up for running in the snow last night so I hit the treadmill and ran some repeats. 6 x 400 at 7:12 pace. And I only had to hop off twice to console my crying toddler! Win!

3. Yesterday, I had a GREAT doctor's appointment. I am trying out a holistic practice and so far, so good. The nurse I met with yesterday was considerate, took her time with me, asked lots of questions, and seemed very understanding and knowledgeable. I'm hopeful!

4. I'm running a 10K in two weeks so I need to break out of my 4-5 mile rut. That's about all I've been doing since the half marathon. Pick it up, Happy Runner!

5. If you haven't entered my Rudi's Organic Bakery giveaway yet, please do! You can check it out HERE.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I have another giveaway coming up this weekend so be sure to check back.

~ Felice

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rudi's Organic Bakery (review and giveaway).

I promised you a giveaway and here it is!

Sometimes I get lucky and I'm asked to review and host giveaways for products I love. Rudi's Organic Bakery products are such products. 

(My all-time favorite Rudi's product? The Honey Sweet Whole Wheat. Try it. You'll love it. I swear!)

I think Rudi's bread is delicious and I appreciate that it is organic, since I try to serve my family organic foods as much as possible.

For this review, I was sent two loaves of bread: One Cinnamon Raisin and one Rocky Mountain Sourdough. They are both really tasty! Cinnamon Raisin bread is a favorite of my two boys so having them try out the Rudi's Cinnamon Raisin was a true test for the bread. 

When I opened the package, I was a little worried. The bread is dark and dense -- very different from the other cinnamon raisin bread I normally buy. Fortunately, my 4-year old was unfazed. The color and density didn't bother him one bit and he chowed down on the bread and enjoyed it! Yup, a hit!

Buy it!

You can't always find Rudi's Organic Bakery products at every grocery store. Near me, it is available at my local co-op. You can find out where to buy Rudi's products by using the locator tool on their web site HERE. You can also download a $1 off coupon HERE.

Win it!

One lucky reader will win TWO coupons for a free loaf of bread (that's two free loaves!) and two Rudi's sandwich boxes:

To enter, leave me a comment and let me know that you want to win!

Additional entries:

As always, you can gain extra entries. Remember, though, you must complete the required entry first! (Leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):
  • Follow this blog, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment) 
  • Become a fan of The Happy Runner on Facebook, or let me know that you already are (leave a comment) 
  • Link to this giveaway from Facebook or Twitter (do as often as you'd like, just leave a comment each time) 
  • Like Rudi's Organic Bakery on Facebook -- tell them The Happy Runner sent you! (leave a comment)
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog (leave a comment) 

This giveaway will run through Monday, October 31st at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be announced on Tuesday.

Good luck!

~ Felice

Review/giveaway disclosure: I was sent two loaves of bread to review. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And then I took a break.

 . . . from just about everything, except some great girlfriends and FUN.

That's right. Last weekend I left my husband and two boys and headed north to Lake Placid with nine of my wonderful friends. We had a blast! Words cannot describe the fun. For real.

We ate. We drank. We laughed. We danced. A lot.

Seems the only thing we didn't do much of was sleep. But who needs sleep when you're having that much fun? Not us, apparently.

This was us, Saturday night when we hit the town:

Someone -- not us -- had a huge limo.
We thought we were pretty hilarious posing in front of it.
Everyone has to have a "caught by the paparazzi" shot, no?

All of us!
Bridget, Monique, Lisa, Stacey, Kara, Karyn, the bartender (!), Gina, Janis, me, Jen

It was . . . worth it. Worth everything. To get a away with good people and have fun moment after fun moment is one of the best things ever. This weekend was the first time I'd ever been away from Niall for any extended amount of time and I admit I was nervous. But, he had stopped nursing on Tuesday and had done well with Owen putting him to bed on Wednesday and Thursday so I had hope that everything would be fine.

And, of course, it was. My guys had a good weekend together without me. That's important, too. Boys need long periods of time with their dads -- without mom butting-in all the time. Ha!

Oh, and, yes. If you're wondering, I did run. Saturday morning Bridget and I went out for a nice little run around town and Mirror Lake. It was beautiful and the smell of pine trees was invigorating. This happy runner can't possibly go out of town and not run! Just doesn't happen.

*     *     *

On another note . . . thank you all so much for your comments on my Lyme-ish post. I really appreciate all of your kind words. I tried to really put that whole situation out of my mind while I was away and I mostly succeeded. Sure, all of my symptoms are bugging the heck out of me now but, again, the weekend of fun was worth it all.

I hope you all had a great weekend, too. Giveaway tomorrow -- check back!

~ Felice

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where I am.

I've written a little about my Lyme disease, with which I was diagnosed in August, treated with a course of antibiotics for 3 weeks, and which flared up about 3 weeks ago, shortly after my treatment ended.

And I've also written about how I am not letting the Lyme stop me, how I am running on and not accepting this stupid disease.

What I have not written about is the roller coaster ride that has been my medical treatment. It has been one huge pain in the butt, extremely frustrating and disappointing, and proof that you're really on your own when it comes to your health.

In a nutshell, after my symptoms came back in September, I was retested for Lyme and told I don't have it. In fact, my doctor sent my two Lyme tests to the county epidemiologist who reported back that not only did I not have Lyme, I never had Lyme.

Really? So, why was I told I had a positive test at the time -- by both my doctor AND the very same epidemiologist? And why was I given 3 weeks of doxycycline (an antibiotic that made me feel totally crappy)?

Well, according to the epidemiologist, she never told me I had Lyme. That's funny to me, considering how she called me, told me she received a copy of my positive Lyme test, and then asked me a series of questions about my symptoms, where I live, if I was bitten by a tick, how long I think I'd had Lyme, whether or not I'd had a bulls-eye rash, etc., etc. But, apparently, she never did this.

Interesting, huh?

In the meantime, since August, I've been tested for tons of different things -- rheumatoid arthritis, vitamin B12 deficiency, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, etc., etc. I've had an EKG, echocardiogram, x-rays, lots of bloodwork.

They can't find anything wrong.

And yet, my symptoms -- all of which correspond to Lyme disease -- persist.

Yup, frustrating. And that's where I am. In the middle of frustration but able to see a little flicker of light at the end of the tunnel: Next week I have an appointment to see a doctor specializes in the treatment of people who have Lyme and similar problems. I really hope I get some answers.

I honestly would rather not have Lyme. But if I do, I'd like to be properly treated. And if I truly don't have it, I'd like to know what is wrong and what can be done to fix it. That's all.

So, it's been on my mind, that's for sure. I haven't been able to post as much as usual so I have tons of review and giveaways that I'm behind on. And I haven't been able to get around to other blogs as much as I'd like to. Just the way things are right now.

OK, that's that. Thanks for stopping by and for continuing to read my little blog! I'll be back to my regular self in no time. I'm sure of it!

~ Felice

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My funky Skechers (review)

All summer, I walk around in flip flops. Sometimes I wear my Birkenstocks sandals but I try not to wear them too often because they make me feel all hippy-dippy.

Now that it is fall and the colder weather has settled in, I've been wearing some pretty funky Skechers. Check them out:

They're cute, right? Black, so they don't stand out too much with jeans. But -- and here's the funky part -- they have pink soles. Pink! Just the little bit of flair I need. And a far cry from my hippy-dippy Birkenstocks!

I was sent these Skechers (the SRT-ProTR) to review. They are billed as a SmartShoe with a mid-foot strike, designed to help runners and other exercisers land in a more natural position. The idea is that if you do that, you get more energy back in your legs from the impact of each step.

Sounds good, but did it work for me?

Well, let me tell you. I've had foot and toe problem after foot and toe problem. So, I'm gun-shy. Or, more accurately, shoe-shy. But, I agreed to try out the Skechers and so I did. I wore them on my treadmill runs so I could easily stop and change shoes if they hurt my feet.

They did not. They did, however, make my calves super-tired. I felt like I was working those calf muscles in a much different way than I normally do. Running, I was landing right under my body, so my stride was shorter and the different stride took a little getting used to.

I don't think I would wear these running shoes for most of my runs. At least not right now. I'm too scared to shake things up too much so I'll stick to my regular running shoes.

For cross training and getting out-and-about, though, I love the Skechers. I've worn them for several different workouts and like the way they make my legs work a little extra hard. I've also worn the shoes tons of times while doing my day-to-day activities. The shoes are comfy and stylish. Love the funky Skechers!

The Skechers SRT Pro-TR shoes retail for $80.00 on the web site.

Have you tried these shoes, or any of the other fitness Skechers? 

Thanks to Skechers for letting me try their new shoes! They are keepers in my book.

Have a great day, everyone!


Review disclaimer: I was sent a pair of Skechers to review. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Race Away Stigma 5K race report.

I had been debating running this (very) local 5K for a while. I figured I would see how I was feeling with my weird symptoms before committing. On Thursday I thought I would not be running because I could barely make it through 2 miles. Granted, I had to run at 8pm so when I felt fine on Friday I chalked Thursday's cruddy run up to evening fatigue.

And I decided -- screw it! -- I was going to run the race.

My plan this morning was to try to run 7:30 miles for the 5K. If I could do that, I would feel very strong in terms of my speed.

And now? Well, let's say I feel very, very, very strong!

Today, I ran a 22:53 5K!

That's just 2 seconds off my PR. Yup. Two seconds. Part of me wishes I just could have run a teensy weensy bit faster to get that new PR but the rest of me is so flippin' happy that I had such a good race.

(Clearly, bringing out my inner Marshall Ulrich is working.)

Best part of the race? My first mile was my slowest and my last was my fastest. As it should be.

Here are my race stats:

Finish time: 22:53 (7:22 pace)
Age-group place (female 40-44): 1st (!) out of 8
Female place: 4th out of 80
Overall place: 14th out of 137

Yeah, I know. It was a small race so I shouldn't get too excited about being 4th female overall. But, you know, you can only race against those who show up and today only 3 women ran faster than me. That amazes me. 

Run on, friends! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Planning, planning, planning.

With just 12 weeks or so left in 2011, I'm looking ahead to my 2012 race schedule. So far, I've committed to running the Winter Marathon Relay in February with Suzy and Amanda for the 3rd year in a row. And Amanda has planted the Ragnar seed in my head -- especially since this year the New York relay will start in Saratoga (a mere 40 minutes from here) and end in Lake Placid. I pretty much have  to do it.

But what of other races?

I've had this almost secret goal of wanting to eventually run a 1:44 half marathon in order to secure a guaranteed entry to the New York City marathon. Right now I'm at 1:48:27. The next step is to get to 1:46 (which was my goal for the last half) and then see if I can get down to 1:44.

But -- and here's the kicker -- I don't have as much time to get down to 1:44 as I once thought.

If you haven't heard, the NYC marathon peeps changed the guaranteed entry guidelines and starting with entry for the 2013 race, I will have to run a 1:30 half marathon to gain a guaranteed entry.

1:30?!?! That's 13.1 miles run at a 6:50 pace. I'm not there. And don't think I ever will be.

1:44? I could potentially get there. But 1:30? Nope.

So . . . what to do? Try for a 1:44 this spring and (hope to) run NYC in the fall?

Or do I go after the holy grail? Do I run a spring marathon and see how close I can come to qualifying for Boston (I need to run 3:45 to qualify)?

Maybe . . . just maybe for right now . . . I should shoot to do both. Screw it!

I have a lot of thinking, soul-searching and planning to do. Not to sound like a commercial . . . but as I've started planning I've been using the Best Marathons guide, that Woody from Find the Best sent me over to check out. I like the idea of the tool and the easy-to-read display -- but I'd definitely like to see it post 2012 dates -- or even 2011 (right now it just has 2010). I'd also like to see the entry fee added into the display but I'll cut the tool some slack since it is in beta.

Anyway, for the next few weeks I am going to think, soul-search, and plan. I would like to have my 2012 schedule and some of my larger goals nailed down by early November so I can get moving on them. A 1:44 half marathon doesn't just happen! And, honestly, I would really run one of those.

Have you made your 2012 racing plans?

Thanks for reading!

~ Felice

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My little guy's birthday has come and gone. He's no longer "almost 1." He's a full-fledged 1 year-old!

We had a party with some of our terrific friends and family, and then my SIL from Mississippi and her family came up for a visit. We rarely get to see them so it was a real treat. While they were here, we toured a working farm about 45 minutes south of where I live. Horses, cows, acres of vegetables -- it was pretty cool.

We even rode in the back of a pickup truck:

That's me and the little birthday boy riding in the truck!
I got in a run on Saturday and one on Monday and since they both felt pretty good, I'm hoping I'm back. I don't want to bore everyone with my Lyme disease tribulations so I'll just say this: I am no longer accepting my symptoms. Instead, I am channeling my inner Marshall Ulrich who, while running across country and facing a debilitating foot injury decided not to accept the foot pain. As he writes in his book Running on Empty:

The morning after my MRI in Colorado, I sat on the edge of the bed and looked at my fat foot, so swollen it felt alien to me . . .
Turning to Heather, I disowned my foot. Instead of embracing the pain, I rejected it completely.
'This foot doesn't belong to me anymore. It doesn't fit in with who I am, what I'm trying to do, or where I'm going. This is not my foot.'

That's my deal. My symptoms don't fit in with who I am or what I am trying to do. I will continue to take supplements and do the right thing but I will reject the pain completely. So, there.

*     *     *

In the midst of partying and running and pickup truck riding, I also had that little Go Band giveaway going on. And, yuppers, I picked a winner.

Congratulations, Mackenzie from Wealth is Health!  Email me (felicehalf at yahoo dot com) with your address so I can send you your Go Band! You'll LOVE it, I am sure!

I know it is already Wednesday but I hope everyone had a great weekend. I'm in post-party, post-house guests catch up mode! Watch out . . . 

~ Felice

Friday, October 7, 2011

Five things Friday.

1. My baby turns 1 this weekend! Wowzer. Where did that year go?

Aww . . . li'l guy . . . 
My big almost-one-year-old!

2. Ugh. I have not run all week. Thanks, Lyme disease! I'm trying not to think about it but the problem with my Lyme disease is that it is causing major fatigue, joint soreness (hips, knees, fingers), and extremely odd and uncomfortable numbness, tingling and restless legs syndrome-esque feelings in my legs, arms and face.

will go for a run this weekend. A full week off is more than enough. At least I hope it is.

3. If you have not entered my Go Bands giveaway, you really should!

4. We're having an early fall heat wave here. The forecast for Sunday is sunny with a high of 80 -- great for a backyard birthday party, not so great for all of my marathoning and half-marathoning friends. I'll be thinking cool thoughts for all of you!!

5. Boo! Hiss! I'm bummed that the Yankees couldn't pull it together and win Game 5. They're out. Baseball season, for this happy runner, is over. Oh, well!

I hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by.

~ Felice

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just. Keep. Going. (review & giveaway!)

Let's be honest. Sometimes, in the middle of a run or a race, you want to quit. Admit it. You've been there. I sure have.

Like here:

That's me, STRUGGLING up a hill in the Adirondack half marathon 10 days ago. 

Mile 8? Mile 9? Yeah, they kicked my butt and I totally wanted to quit. Many times. I kept hearing the quitting part of my brain tell the running part of my brain to "just stop and walk. This racing thing is too hard. Walk. Rest. Sit down. Whatever. Just, you know, don't run anymore."

But -- ha ha! -- the joke was totally on the quitting part of my brain because I had a secret weapon:

Go Band from Dailyologie

Yup. Words of wisdom: JUST KEEP GOING.

Donna from dailyologie sent me a Go Band to review and I decided to give it a true test and I wore it for my half marathon. 

That's me during the race. You can see the white of the band on my left wrist .

Those words helped me to quiet that quitting part of my brain. There were several times when I looked down at my left wrist and read the words and did as I was told.

Just. Keep. Going.

So simple. So important. Especially at mile 9.

I love my Go Band! It's a simple little canvas band with an image of a road and the words on one side, a color on the other side. It closes with one snap. The band is light and I didn't feel it at all when I ran. Seriously, it's great. 

The Go Bands are $14 each on dailyologie (an etsy site). Right now, there are only Just Keep Going bands in blue and green. But, there are plans for new bands with other motivational sayings and I can't wait to see them!

The giveaway:

Want to win a little dose of motivation? Well, I'm super happy to have one Go Band to give away! To enter, leave me a comment and let me know that you'd like to win.

Additional entries:

As always, you can gain extra entries. Remember, though, you must complete the required entry first! (Leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):
  • Follow this blog, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment) 
  • Become a fan of The Happy Runner on Facebook, or let me know that you already are (leave a comment) 
  • Link to this giveaway from Facebook or Twitter (do as often as you'd like, just leave a comment each time) 
  • Pop over to dailyologie on etsy and click the facebook "like" link (leave a comment)
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog (leave a comment) 
This giveaway will run through Tuesday, October 11 at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Good luck!

~ Felice

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recovery week and September recap.

After setting a new PR in the half marathon last Sunday, I took it easy and had a good recovery week. I ran 2.2 miles on Monday, 2.5 on Wednesday, 3.1 on Friday, and 4.8 on Sunday for a whopping 12.5 miles for the week. I also did two cross training sessions and went for a massage. Lucky me!

My runs felt fine, especially yesterday's run, and I think my body has recovered quite nicely from the half.

It has not, however, recovered so well from the Lyme disease. I completed my treatment 2+ weeks ago, but my Lyme disease appears to be back -- with a vengeance. So, that's fun. Or not.

The Lyme disease was one reason my September mileage was lower than I had planned and it will probably be a reason why October may end up being low, too. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, here's how September ended up:

September stats:

Running: 74.8
Racing: 1 -- the half marathon!
Out of town runs: 1 on Long Island
Cross training: 8

As Owen said, I didn't set out to run a million miles in September, I set out to run a strong half marathon. So what if my mileage was down?

Welcome, October! Hope you all had a great weekend.

~ Felice

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