Monday, April 30, 2012

The last long run.

Yesterday was my last long run before the New Jersey Marathon. Which means that, yes, the marathon is less than a week away.


Fortunately, my last long run went well. Even though I was up too late having fun with fab friends on Saturday:

Me, Bridget, Janis and Monique
. . . and then I forgot my Garmin when I went out for the run, it was still good!

I met Melissa, Suzy and Amanda at the bike path early Sunday morning. Melissa and I planned to run with Suzy and Amanda for a few miles and then take on the remaining miles on our own. It was nice to catch up with Suzy and Amanda and we all ran together for about 3 miles. Then Melissa and I turned around and ran the remaining 10 miles together.

I wore the shorts, socks and shoes that I plan to wear for the marathon and they all worked out well. I also made the final decision to carry my handheld water bottle for the marathon -- I know there will be plenty of water stops but I want to be able to take a sip of water whenever I need it.

We took our run nice and easy and it felt so good! We covered our 13 miles in just over 2:04, a 9:33 pace.

Last long run . . . done!

Now, I am resting, hydrating and trying my best to keep the sickies at bay. Yup, that means drinking a lot of this:

Oh, and, yeah. I'm feeling a little nervous already! That's normal . . . right? Please tell me it is!

Have a great week, everyone!

~ Felice

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What's next?

A lot of people start out the year with resolutions that include starting to run, or running their first race. By this point in the year, many have met that goal and seem to be asking the question, "I did Couch to 5K . . . now what?"

It's a good question and, to me, it means that the person posing the question wants to keep up with the running. Music to my ears!

And, since you all know I love running, I'm happy to share my advice on what new runners can do after reaching their first goal like, for example, completing the Couch-to-5K program. My answer to, "now what?" is: Build your endurance, stretch your limits, and sign-up and train for a half-marathon this fall.

You finished a 5K. You caught the running bug. Yay! But without a plan and a goal it can be easy to shake that bug and lose your running motivation. If you focus on setting a new goal for the fall you can stay motivated throughout the summer. And a half-marathon is a perfect distance to train for.

The half-marathon has been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years, for good reason. To run a half-marathon, you need serious commitment. After all, 13.1 miles is no joke. But, half-marathon training takes far less time and effort than full marathon training, making it an ideal distance if you wish to push your limits without having running take over your life.

Completing your first half-marathon will give you a great sense of accomplishment and will kick your running up to a new level!

And, most half-marathons hand out shiny medals to finishers -- and who doesn't like a little bling?

That's me, sporting my medal, after finishing my first half-marathon in 2011!

Most half-marathon training plans are 12 to 16 weeks, making now the right time to start planning your fall half-marathon.

Here are some good training plans to get you started:

Runner's World Beginner Training Plan
Hal Higdon's Novice Training Plan
Jeff Galloway's Training Plan
HalfMarathons.Net Training Tips
Cool Running Beginner Training Program

So, if you've become a runner, tackled your first race and find yourself asking, "now what?" I say, go find a half-marathon. Commit to it. Train hard. Have fun. And keep on keeping on with your running!

Do you have any other advice for people who've completed 
Couch-to-5K and are looking for something new?

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

ING Run for Something Better.

Does your local school have a running program? Do you think they should start one? Well, here's a cool opportunity from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the ING Run for Something Better program that you should know about.

These organizations are sponsoring the 2012 ING Run for Something Better Grant that will winning schools $2,500 to start a new running program, or expand an existing one. Last year, they gave grants to 50 schools to create or expand running programs. How cool is that?

Pretty cool, in my book. Running is, after all, a perfect form of exercise for kids of all ages and ING and NASPE want to help encourage all kids to run more.

Check it out! You can learn more and access the online application on the web site HERE. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2012.

I think this is a wonderful opportunity! Good luck to all who apply!

~ Felice

Disclaimer: I was sent information about this grant but was not compensated in any way for posting. I simply chose to share what I believe is a great opportunity.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fearing the marathon.

The New Jersey marathon is a week and a half away.

That's it. 

There is one more weekend in between now and the race. One more long run. A few easy runs. And a lot of crazy.

Crazy? Yes, crazy. In the form of me. I fully admit that I have gone crazy. I've gone crazy fearing-the-marathon style. 

Almost 17 weeks into this whole marathon adventure, I'm afraid that my training hasn't been enough. I'm afraid that something will go wrong. I'm afraid that the goal I've set for myself is far too aggressive. I'm afraid I'll implode just feet from the finish line.

I have a case of the Taper Crazies. For sure.

Sane me knows that I followed my training plan, ran my paces, worked hard. Sane me knows that I set my time goal based on recent races times and my level of dedication to reaching my goal. Sane me knows that implosion is highly unlikely -- I could easily slow to a jog, shuffle or walk before I reach the point of implosion.

But crazy me? Crazy me is having a super hard time shaking the fear. 

And then I came across this:

I'm choosing to believe it.

My marathon fears only mean that I believe those fears are worth overcoming

I've never set such a grand goal for myself as I have for this marathon. 3:45? That means I have to run 8:35 per mile. Easy enough for a few miles -- heck, I've run a good bit faster than that for 10, 11 and 13.1 mile races -- but 26.2 miles? Can I hold that pace? Without falling apart? 

I'll find out soon enough (just a week and a half!). 

I'm not going to let my marathon fears stop me from going for it. I mean, after all, what's the worst that can happen? I run slower? I don't reach my goal? I fail?

If I fail, so be it. At least I'll know I went for it.

I'll be telling myself this for the next, oh, 11 or so days!

What fears do you have before big races?

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Monday, April 23, 2012

Solo long run.

You know what I learned yesterday? Two things: First, that I'm a lousy running-route planner. Lousy. Second, and much better, that I have a fairly good sense of my marathon goal pace.

About the route. I was looking to run between 14 and 16 miles by myself and I wanted to be able to run from my house, so I wouldn't have to drive anywhere. I spent a long time pondering my route, fiddling around with the gmaps hack and plotting and scrapping routes.

The one I settled on kinda rotted. It was hillier than I expected. There was way more traffic on one two-mile stretch than I was comfortable with. The worst part? I had to run past several growling, barking, mean-seeming dogs and each time I was frightened. I mean, really. When huge mean-looking dogs run up to the side of the street, barking and growling, it makes a runner scared.

Anyway, the route wasn't ideal but you know what? All of these hills are making me stronger. I know it. And the near heart-attacks from those dogs? Well, let's just hope there is some sort of benefit from that.

When I wasn't running from the dogs, I was trying to hold a steady 9:30 pace for the early miles and then I had hoped to drop down to my marathon goal pace for the middle miles. I planned to end the run at a 9:30 pace.

I wanted to run as much by feel as I could so I didn't look at my watch much. Checking my splits after the run, though, I was pleased. I started out the first mile at 9:43 and then settled in to a 9:15 pace for the next few miles. Then I picked it up. I wanted to run my marathon goal pace (8:35) for 5 miles. I came close.

Middle miles: 8:37 average pace for 5 miles.

Sure, I was off by a little but I was running by feel and the route was, if you remember, hilly. And windy. (Wah, wah, wah.) So, I'm pleased that I was as close as I was. Those 5 miles felt good and I felt that it was a pace I could run comfortably and for a long time (26.2 miles? We'll see!).

After running at pace, I finished up with some miles ranging between 8:40 and 9:30. Overall, I ran 14.5 miles at 9:05 pace.

Am I ready for the marathon? Gosh, I hope so.

I want 8:30 to feel easy. I want my legs to gravitate to that pace and stick to it on race day. I want to cross the finish line ahead of 3:45. I've been working to make those wants come true. I hope they do.

Two weeks until the marathon! 
What is your favorite thing to do while tapering? Clean? Sleep more? Worry about the weather? Let me know!

~ Felice

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Book of Jonas (review).

The Book of Jonas is the debut novel from Stephen Dau and it is a heart-wrenching and very well written book.

The book tells the story of Jonas, a 15 year old Muslim boy who lost everything (his whole family, everything) in an American raid on his town. He is brought to America to live with a foster family and deal with his grief and attempt to rebuild his life. But he can't rebuild his life until he deals with his past. And there is a lot to deal with in that past.

Stephen Dau is a wonderful writer and he tells Jonas' story -- and that of Christopher and Rose -- through quietly beautiful prose. Prose that, to me, seemed to respect the weight of the stories.

Indeed, this is not a light book but it is worth the read. I've struggled through some other BlogHer Book Club books -- notably, The Kid by Sapphire -- and wished that I hadn't had to visualize certain characters, scenes, or situations. At first, I thought The Book of Jonas was going to be another one of those books. I thought I was going to regret reading it or not be able to handle the sadness.

It is a credit to Dau's writing that I didn't regret reading it. And while the story weighed on me, I was glad to let myself be part of it as it unfolded.

Have you read The Book of Jonas? What did you think? 

~ Felice

Review disclaimer: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Five things Friday.

1. Yesterday was a speedwork day. I was supposed to do the workout on Wednesday, but life got in the way and I ended up not being able to run. Good thing I'm tapering!

I ran my new favorite workout: 2-mile repeats, running 2x2mile at 8:20 pace, then running 800 at 7:15 pace and a 400 at 6:45 pace. I had wanted to run another 800 and another 400 but the kids needed me to be done. Overall, though, I loved the workout!

2. There was, however, one thing I did not love about the run: My new fuel belt. I've been going back and forth about whether or not I'll use one for the marathon and I finally broke down and bought one. I tried it out during my run yesterday and it bounced around like mad. Ugh! I was disappointed and now I'm back to thinking I might run without one. What to do, what to do . . .

3. If you're in the New Jersey area and looking for an event to run, walk or bike in May, I have one for you! The 4th Annual Health Trek on May 12. The event raises money for the Joseph Enright Foundation, "a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the community about melanoma and other skin cancers as well as working with medical professionals to prevent this deadly skin cancer." You can learn more about the event on their web site. It looks fun!

4. My long run this weekend is 16 miles and I'm going it alone this time. I've been running with others for almost all of my long runs this training cycle and I think I need to prove to myself that I can push it and run strong when I'm out there alone. So, I'm going to set out for 16 miles and I plan to run the middle miles at marathon goal pace.

5. Have a great weekend, everyone! 

~ Felice

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Embracing the taper.

You want to know what a 22 mile run does for a runner? It makes her -- or, OK, me -- embrace the taper.

True story.

Before my 22-miler, I was not looking forward to my taper. Not at all. I've enjoyed this marathon training so much and the thought of scaling back made me feel, well, a little sad. I didn't want the training to come to an end.

Then I ran 22 miles.

And after that? I gave the concept of the three week taper a big ol' hug. So to speak.

Yes, I get it now. I understand. I've been building and building and my foundation was getting stronger and stronger. Now, I need to scale back and let that foundation solidify, let that strength settle-in.

And, yeah, let my legs catch a little rest.

So, thank you, 22 mile run. When I started running you, I wanted nothing to do with the taper. By the time Melissa and I clicked "stop" on our Garmins and you were another successful run in the training log, I was ready to embrace the taper for all it is worth.

Taper madness has nothing on me!


~ Felice

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade larabar-type energy bars.

I've been busy in the kitchen again. Lucky you. This means I have a delicious treat to share today: Chocolate almond energy bars.

These homemade Larabar-type bars are my new favorite. For a while, I was stuck on my two-ingredient cashew cookie bars (cashews and dates, yum!). Now, I'm getting on stuck on these five-ingredient bars.

They are so good. Seriously.

Even the kids love them. Well, mostly the toddler. He's slightly addicted and, really, I don't mind. These bars are relatively healthy -- especially when compared to some of the other junk they could be eating, including those so-called healthy granola bars that are nothing of the sort.

So, my bars. I've found homemade Larabar recipes on a few different sites and through a bit of experimentation, I've modified those recipes to my own liking.

The base for the bars is always the same: Dates. Sweet, delicious dates. I buy whole, unsulphured medjool or deglet dates at the local food co-op. For these bars, I used deglet dates:

Mmm . . . dates!
My advice is to start with the whole dates, not chopped dates. Chopped just aren't the same quality. Go for whole. Trust me.

OK. So, here's my recipe for these tasty bars!

Chocolate-Almond Energy Bars

2/3 cup whole medjool or deglet dates, chopped

1 cup almonds (NOT salted)
handful dark chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Place dates in a food processor and process until they form a sticky ball (about 2 minutes). Put the dates in a bowl. Add almonds and cinnamon to the food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds. Add chocolate chips to the nuts and pulse for about 20-30 seconds. Some of the almonds should be finely processed, with some larger chunks remaining.

Add the mixture to the dates. Add vanilla. Combine all five ingredients with your hands -- you really need to work the mixture for a while to combine it all.

Shape into bars, like this:

The dates will become like a paste, but there should still be small nut pieces in your mixture.

I wrap mine in regular plastic wrap and store them in the pantry:

Wrapped and ready to go!
This recipe makes about 5 bars, or fewer if you end up giving pieces to your kids while you're shaping the bars. You can fiddle around with the recipe, trying different nuts or adding in other spices or additional dried fruits to change the flavor. This one, though, is my current favorite.

The bars are a good mix of carbs and protein, making them a nice post-run treat. I ate one after my 22-mile run on Sunday and it tasted great!

Do you have any homemade bar recipes you'd like to share? 
Leave a link - I'd love to check it out!

~ Felice

Monday, April 16, 2012

My 22-miler.

I'm not going to lie: This was a tough one. Tough.

Also, it was pretty flippin' awesome.

On Sunday, I ran 22 miles, all of them with Melissa, 19 of them also with Tami. We had an amazing run. Despite the humidity and the already warm temperature at 7:00 am, the first few miles flew by and it seemed like we hit the 5-mile mark in no time at all. Right around 5.7 miles into the run we passed a parking lot on the bike path where we were running and heard someone yell, "Felice!!!!" It was our friend, Amanda, who was just getting started on a run with another friend, Suzy. So, we took the opportunity for a quick bathroom break, said hi to Amanda and Suzy and headed back out to cover some more miles.

We turned around at 9 miles and that's when things turned a little sour for me. I had been feeling great the whole run but at that turn-around I started to get a cramp. At first, I thought it was just a little nothing-ish side stitch that would be gone in a half mile.

I was wrong.

That cramp kept me company for 11 miles. That's right: 11 miles.

I don't know why I got a cramp so I don't exactly know what I could do differently to avoid it next time. All I know is that it pretty much sucked to run with it. I tried all the tricks but they didn't work until, suddenly and for no apparent reason, it went away 20.1 miles into the run.


The good thing about the cramp? I proved to myself that I can run through it. If you remember, I ran a half-marathon on January 1st with a cramp from mile 4 to 11 and I could not run through it. I guess I needed this run to show me how far I've come since the beginning of the year.

But that shouldn't be the focus of this post. The focus of this post is that Melissa, Tami and I ran strong. We chatted away on this run and the miles felt good. At mile 19, Tami left us and Melissa and I felt her absence over the final three miles. Tami is a great chatter and once she left us, I told Melissa I didn't have much chat left in me and she agreed that she didn't, either.

So we covered the remaining miles mostly in silence, although we both made the occasional exaggerated sigh. Those miles were hard and it took all I had to keep the pace and stay focused. In my head, I repeated pretty much every mantra I've ever used -- with an emphasis on, "Don't quit now."

We didn't quit. Far from it: Our last three miles were run in 9:26, 9:34 and 9:14. And overall? I think we ran well:

Longest run. Over and out.

Bring on the New Jersey Marathon. I'm ready!

Have a great week, everyone. And, Boston marathoners -- be careful out there and have a great race! I hope the weather forecast is wrong.

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Friday, April 13, 2012

Five things Friday.

1. First and foremost: This is peak week and I love it. My three mid-week runs have been a mix -- a nice easy run on Tuesday, a great speed workout on Wednesday, and a meh kinda crappy run yesterday. I am not worried about the meh run because it happens every once in a while and I'd rather it happen on an easy Thursday run than an important long run. Which is what I have on Sunday -- an important 22 miler! I'm running with Tami and Melissa. 22 miles. I. Can. Not. Wait.

2. Speaking of which, is it slightly nutso to be consistently excited about my 20 milers (and now this 22)?

3. The Boston Marathon is on Monday! I love following the race, tracking runners I know (mostly just virtually), and getting all teary when the winners cross the finish line. This year, the race takes place on Day 1 of this runner's taper. I know it will charge me up and be an energy booster to help get me through the next three weeks.

4. And . . . speaking of the taper . . . I'm not ready! I already feel like I miss my training and I still have my longest run yet to do. What the heck am I going to do once the marathon is over?

5. This just cracks me up:
Happy Friday! Have a great weekend.

~ Felice

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Favorite marathon workout.

I have a new favorite workout, my friends. I still love the long run (woo hoo ~ 22 on the schedule for Sunday!) and I'll always be a fan of 400s at 5K pace and 200s at mile pace.

But! This new favorite rocks and I really, really, really hope it sets me up to run well on May 6th.

The workout in question? Two-mile repeats. I love this workout. To paraphrase Ferris, the workout is choice.

Today was the second time I knocked off two-mile repeats. (They've been on the schedule three times but I had to miss one workout when I was sick.) The way that I run them is like this:

1.5 miles warm-up (going from 10:00 pace to 9:00 pace)
2 miles at slightly faster than marathon goal pace (around 8:20)
quarter mile rest
2 miles as above (8:20 pace)
1.25 miles cool-down
7 miles total

It rocks! Because the pace is not killer, I never feel like I'm dying while running the fast portions. But, two miles is a fairly long fast interval, so I definitely feel like I am pushing it and making myself work. Since I run them at a little faster than marathon goal pace, the workout is a good mental one. A confidence booster, for sure.

My one regret with this training cycle is that I haven't run two-mile repeats more often. And I wish I could do three of them, instead of just two. But, I have the time for two so that's what I do.

I'm already looking forward to running them next week!

What is your favorite running workout? 
Any other two-mile repeat lovers out there?

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


For a whole host of reasons, I usually do my three mid-week runs on the treadmill (my two weekend runs are outside. No matter what.). It's just the way it is.

But, I've begun to feel kinda bad about this. Not because I fear I'm getting less of a workout, or that I'm going to develop some sort of over-use injury from the repetitive steps. I feel bad because of the kids.

True confession: I park the kids in front of the tv so I can run.

I know. I know.

It's a new development. For a long time, we didn't have a working tv downstairs (where the treadmill is) so I was constantly jumping off the 'mill to do one thing or another for the kids. Now? With the tv? Uninterrupted miles are mine. All mine! Bwah, ha, ha, ha!

The first time I used the tv, I had 7 miles on the schedule, with 2x2 miles at 8:20 pace. Before tv, I would have probably eked out 5 miles with 1, maybe 1.5 of them at pace. I would have had to hop off the 'mill, probably more than once. That was just a given. With tv, though, there was no such problem. Seven uninterrupted miles. At pace! WOO!

Now my toddler can play with whatever "big boy" toy he wants to (he hasn't been all that interested in the downstairs tv), without Conal taking over. And Conal sits and watches Curious George and Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman (two decent enough PBS shows). He no longer whines that he wants to go back upstairs. He no longer begs me to stop running.

No complaints at all.

And I get to run and run.

So why do I feel like this is a bad idea?

Because I do. I have this nagging feeling that it is just not cool to park the kids in front of the tv just so I can run. I mean, isn't that a bit selfish? It feels that way . . . but, yet, it works. And it allows me to get my proper run in without the kids getting all antsy. Never mind that I don't have to wait until 8:30pm to get an uninterrupted run in.

It's good and bad, I guess.

To lessen my guilt, I've been limiting the tv to one hour of PBS, although I did turn on the Yankees game on opening day last week. And, yeah, the boys loved it and were high-fiving each other all over the place. I also try to encourage them to play with the toys that are downstairs, and they do hop on the trampoline and jump a little, or play in the ball pit, all those things they did before we had the tv down there. The tv is there as my safety net.

It works. Now I just need to stop feeling guilty about it!

Am I the only one who does stuff like this to have time to run? 
Please tell me I'm not . . .

(Oh, and, yes. I ran today. A little over 5 miles on the treadmill while Conal watched Word World and Niall played trains. It was a great run. Great.)

Hope you're having a good week!

~ Felice

Monday, April 9, 2012

Running fast, running long.

Some people like to rest-up well the day before a long run. Long runs are, after all, the bread and butter of a marathon training plan so it makes sense to go into them with fresh legs. Right?

I guess. To some degree.

For me, though, I go in to my long runs with not-so-rested legs. My theory is that there will come a point in the marathon when I'll have to run on tired legs. Possibly very tired legs. I need to be prepared for that -- both physically and mentally. So, I've been fitting in a good run the evening before my long runs.

Like this weekend. I had 14 on the schedule for Saturday morning at 7:30. Friday afternoon at 3:30 I kicked things up with a speed workout. I warmed up, ran 6 x 400 at 7-7:05 pace, cooled down -- total of 6 miles. Later, I made sure to roll my legs. On Saturday, I met Melissa for the 14 miles and we rocked them! We chatted the entire run and floated along at what felt like a nice, comfortable pace for the entire run. Overall, our pace was 9:22, with our last mile at 8:57. Best of all is that it felt so very easy! (Helps having a good running partner!)

I've done similar routines before my other long runs, too. For example, for both of my 20-milers, I ran about 4.5 miles (with the last mile or so at marathon goal pace) the evening before.

For me, packing in tough-ish repeats the evening before a morning long run builds the strength and endurance to be able to push it during the late stages of the marathon. Knowing that I've run well on these back-to-back runs should give me a mental boost. I hope so, anyway!

Is running hard the evening before an important long run crazy? Or wise? I'm hoping it is the latter. In fact, this training cycle, I'm subscribing a little bit to this philosophy:

We'll see how well it works on May 6th!

And what about you: Do you rest or run hard the evening before a morning long run? 

After running fast on Friday and running long on Saturday, I ran easy on Sunday. It was a great weekend of running!

I hope you all had a good weekend! Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Friday, April 6, 2012

Five things Friday.

1. After a full week of discomfort and pain -- grrr to the back/neck/nerve pain! -- today I feel much, much better. YAY!

2. On the Boo! side of things: My poor little toddler caught a nasty case of Coxsackie virus. If you don't know of it, you don't want to. It is just yuck. No fun at all. I really, really hope that he's better for Sunday because we're supposed to host my whole big family (30 people!) for Easter dinner. I sure don't want to have to cancel.

3. My long run is just 14 miles tomorrow. Just 14! Easy-peasy. I'm running with Melissa and we're hitting a flat route so we should fly through those miles. Let's hope!

4. ONE MONTH TO MARATHON DAY! Egad! Really? One month? On one hand, I feel like I still have so much training to do. On the other hand, I feel prepared. I do wish that my crummy neck/back/nerve stuff hadn't caused me to miss runs this week and last but there's nothing I can do about that now. Just move on.

5. I failed to write up my March recap. So, here it is:

March stats:

Running (miles): 146
Racing: 1 -- Runnin' of the Green 4-miler (29:05 - PR!!)
Cross training: Uh . . . very little

Another all-time high! Not bad.

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

~ Felice

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Born Wicked (review)

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood is the first in her Cahill Witch Chronicles series. Now, I'm not usually a series kind of gal. And I've really avoided the whole adults-gone-crazed-with-YA-series trend.

And yet here I am, finished with Born Wicked, wanting to read the second book in the series.

Who am I?

Born Wicked isn't the best book I've ever read. But it was pretty good and definitely grabbed my attention and kept it. The story is interesting and unfolds in a way that kept me wanting to know more, to know what happens next. The character development left a little to be desired but I'm thinking that's the way it is in this type of series. I expect that this first book laid out the story and created some conflicts and that those conflicts and the characters will be developed more in the next book. We'll see.

In short, the book is the story of the Cahill sisters, three witches living in a New England that is run by the Brothers. The Brothers are pretty anti-witch and hunt them out whenever possible. Girls and women who are suspected of being witches are ripped away from their families and sometimes go to trial, sometimes don't. They usually end up convicted, whether they are witches or not, and are sent to live at Harwood, some terrible place that the Cahill girls, and others like them, fear.

So, the Cahill girls keep their witchery a secret. Cate, the oldest of the three girls, has been watching out for her younger sisters since their mother -- also a witch -- died a few years earlier. It is a burden for Cate and, at the time covered in the book, she struggles with that burden while also struggling to decide what she'll do when she has to announce her "intention" in front of the Brothers. This intention ceremony is something every girl of her age has to go through, where they announce what they'll do with their lives -- whether (and whom) they'll marry or join the Sisterhood.

Cate faces a tough decision and the one she makes comes right at the end of the book. For me, it was disappointing. But, as I said earlier, I think it was just a set-up for the next book.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and I since I started the series, I'll have to read the next one. How can I not, right? Right.

Have you read Born Wicked? What did you think? 

~ Felice

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another 20.

Yesterday, I ran my second 20-miler in this marathon training cycle. I had been worried about the run all week. Very unlike me.

Normally, I'm excited for these big runs. Bring it on! I'll think. Not this time. This time, my body was threatening to betray me. Threatening to sabotage the run. And I was fearful that I wouldn't be able to make it through 5 miles, let alone 20.

See, this week my doctor made some changes to my Lyme disease medication. It screwed me up. I was sick from it on Wednesday night and had a rotten day on Thursday. My feet and hands hurt more than they've hurt in a while. My low back ached and I had shooting pain down the front and back of my left leg. I couldn't lift my toddler. Advil and ice were hardly touching the pain.

But I had 20 on the schedule! How could I skip such an important run?

I took Thursday and Friday as full rest days -- because I seriously couldn't run. I stopped my medication. I loaded up on the Advil big time. I started to feel better.

On Saturday, I went out for an easy run to test out my back and legs. As long as I was moving, I felt good. And, afterward, I didn't feel too bad. I decided to stick with the long run plan.

Sunday morning, though, I wasn't so sure. The alarm went off at 6 and I climbed out of bed, only to feel the pain in my low back and my neck.


I debated canceling. But, cancel? Me? No. Not going to happen. I thought about all the work I've put in toward this marathon. How could I let that go to waste?

That's the truth!

So, at 7, I met up with Tami, Melissa, Karen and Sheila and we headed out. We ran a 7 mile loop first (Sheila wanted to run 9, so she ran the first loop and a mile of the second), which was about 2 straight miles of uphill. I have to admit that those first 5 or so miles were hard. I wasn't feeling it. I guess I had some residual doubts about being able to complete the run. I just couldn't get into much of a groove. But, I kept telling myself, "You've come too far to quit now." It worked. I ran on.

Sheila left us around mile 8, just as we were hitting the major hills of the second loop. I'm not kidding about the hills. Not kidding at all. They are long. And . . . long. And they just keep coming. Over and over.

We ran on. We conquered every hill that lay before us. We ran on.

Around mile 15 or so, something happened. I'd been feeling fine since mile 5 but around 15 I started to feel . . . good. I had renewed energy. It was certainly a second wind. I felt strong. Maybe it was being so close to the end of the run, maybe it was that I needed 15 miles to warm-up. Who knows? Who cares? It happened and I finished the run feeling great! Melissa and I ran together -- hard and strong -- over the last 3 miles.

Second 20 miles, run and done!

We finished in 3:18 -- 20.05 miles in 9:55 pace. Yahoo!

Since the run, I've felt pretty good. Tired, sure, but not in too much pain. I guess 20 miles is the prescription for weird Lyme nerve/back/neck pain!

I'm grateful for my running partners -- and for my strong running mamas group who gave me support this week when I was unsure about this run! My marathon training wouldn't be going half as well if I didn't have my running partners and the SRM group!! Thanks, all!

This weekend I just have 14 on the schedule and then I'm back up to 20 for the last time before the marathon. Five weeks 'til New Jersey!

Have a great week, everyone. Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

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