Thursday, April 25, 2013

Silence is . . .

. . . well, it just is.

And it is what's been going on around here. I haven't had it in me to post -- everything I've thought about writing has been just not quite right. So murky have things become since the marathon bombings. 

Yes, I'm still running. And still focusing on what's wonderful.

And, yeah, I've gone on a few runs for Boston:

In fact, I've had several good runs and my half marathon recovery has gone well. I'm ready for what's to come -- including marathon training this summer. 

But, writing about running hasn't happened. Like I said, it has all seemed not quite right. So, instead of writing here I've turned to blog silence. 

I'm shaking it off, though. Silence may be golden and all that but it makes for a crummy blog! Crummy, crummy. And who wants a crummy blog? Not me, that's for sure. 

So, I'm off to shake off the crummy! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 19, 2013

PROBAR winner.

With everything that happened this week, I've been distracted and have just gotten around to picking the PROBAR winner. Thanks to everyone who entered. I used to pick the winner and that is . . .

Jeff Gallup

Congratulations, Jeff! Please email me at felicehalf [at] yahoo [dot] com with your mailing address so you can get your bars!

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Focusing on what's wonderful.

Running is wonderful. Even -- perhaps, especially -- amid the awful.

I'm choosing to focus on the wonderful.

My first marathon.

Pre-race with my 2 year old.

Pregnant running.

Racing with my almost 3 year old.

Jingle Bell run with Jen, Bridget and Janis.

Joyful running.

Winter Series with Amanda, Suzy, Janis and Bridget.

Future running buddy for sure!

High-fives from my little guy in the half marathon.

First half marathon with Janis, Bridget and Amanda.

Mother's Day race.

Boilermaker with Elisa and Bridget.

Refreshment after the Schroon Lake half.

More high-fives from my little guy!

Love the NJ Marathon group!!!

Boilermaker with Bridget, Sheila and Amanda.

Strong Running Mamas at the Mohawk-Hudson half marathon.

Finishing the half!

Enjoying the post-race moment with my boys.

Future marathoner?

Strong Running Mamas in NYC -- happy and ready to run.

Still a happy runner.

Still sad about the Boston Marathon bombings.

But still -- always -- a happy runner.

Monday, April 15, 2013

More/Fitness Half Marathon race report.

So, on Friday, I wrote this about the race:

"Whatever happens, as long as I run a smart race for the day and the situation, I'll be pleased."

I wasn't lying. And, fortunately, I ended up pretty pleased with my race.

But let me backup before I get to the finish.

The More/Fitness Half Marathon is an all-women race that takes place in Central Park in Manhattan. I traveled with my good friends Bridget and Elisa down to NYC  on Saturday morning. We spent the day walking around the city, eating, going to the Expo, eating, people watching, taking in the sights, and eating some more. Really, we did a lot of eating.

Bridget, Elisa and me

After a pretty rotten night's sleep (as is to be expected the night before a race!) we woke up at 6:00 to get ready for the race. 

We walked up to the start and met up with some of our fellow Strong Running Mamas and, of course, snapped a quick pic:

Go, Strong Running Mamas!

Soon enough it was time to start the race. I had a plan, as I'd outlined on Friday. Run a smart race. Pace myself. Shoot for 1:55 or better. 

I tried. I felt so good as the race started and I knew that there were some big hills so I tried my best to keep my pace under control. I think I did a pretty good job:

Mile 1: 8:16
Mile 2: 8:04
Mile 3: 7:43 

I had told myself not to run under 8:00 pace and, actually, I wanted to be closer to 8:30 for those early miles so I didn't quite stick to the plan. But, that happens, right?

Anyway, around mile 3.5 is the biggest hill of the race and, yes, it is big. And long. However, I run hills all the time so it didn't seem nearly as bad as everyone said it would be. It was followed by a nice downhill and then a few additional hills before the course brought us through the start line again for the second loop.

Mile 4: 8:04
Mile 5: 8:42 (grabbed some water to add to my bottle)
Mile 6: 7:49 

At the halfway mark I was still feeling good, although I was getting pretty warm because I'd dressed in a long sleeve top and it was getting sunnier and sunnier. 

My original plan was to run conservatively over the first half of the course so I wouldn't burn out and fall off pace for the second half. I didn't run quite as conservatively as I'd planned, but I did keep things under control so, fortunately, I held my pace fairly well as we made our way through the second loop.

Mile 7: 8:16
Mile 8: 8:22
Mile 9: 7:53
Mile 10: 8:19

After going through the 10-mile mark, I felt like I was guaranteed a sub 1:55 finish (which was my A goal).   All I had to do was run 10-minute miles for the last 3.1 and I'd have it. 

No problem!

Except . . . well, I'd had a stomach cramp for pretty much the whole race. It wasn't that bad and I'd been able to ignore it. Until right around mile 10. That cramp kicked-in big time and I knew I had to figure out a way to ignore it so I wouldn't let myself slow down. I needed to keep going, keep up the pace, finish strong.

Cramp, be damned!

Mile 11: 8:34
Mile 12: 8:05 
Mile 13: 8:17

I was holding on. As we turned toward the finish line at mile 13, I saw that I was running right behind Mika Brzezinski, the Morning Joe co-host, who was co-hosting the race (with Allison Sweeney from The Biggest Loser). Everyone was cheering for her and I let all the cheers carry me through. 

(I ended up finishing 20-seconds in front of Mika and about 10 minutes in front of Allison. How cool!)

Last .32 miles: 7:33 pace
(my Garmin registered 13.32 miles so I did a little extra zigzagging out on the course . . . oh, well!)

More/Fitness Half Marathon, done! And done well. 

I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face, knowing that I'd run well and was feeling great. Sure, I'd pushed myself but I didn't feel spent. All that and I finished less than two minutes slower than my PR -- on a hillier, more crowded course.

I couldn't be happier about the race!

Here are my stats:

Official time: 1:48:46 (8:19 pace)

Overall place: 575 out of 7,550
Age group place: 56 out of 1,096

I met back up with Bridget and Elisa -- both of whom ran strong and enjoyed the race as well -- and we walked back to the hotel. We were slightly ridiculous in our back-patting but we felt pretty proud of ourselves and enjoyed basking in our accomplishment. After cleaning up, and doing a little more patting ourselves on the back, we headed home.

It was a super weekend! Great race, great friends. I'm already thinking about planning a race weekend away for next spring! Why not, right? Right!

Thanks for reading -- and for the good luck wishes before this race! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

More/Fitness Half Marathon

Race weekend is here!

I'm running the More/Fitness Half Marathon in NYC on Sunday with two friends, Bridget and Elisa. Tomorrow morning we'll head down to the city and enjoy the day before pushing ourselves through the hills of Central Park Sunday morning. It should be a great time!

Since it is a weekend in NYC, we want to have fun but, of course, we do have a race to run. Which means I should probably develop some sort of race plan. I've been putting it off and putting it off . . .

According to the McMillan calculator, I should be able to run a 1:45 half. I would love to run a 1:45 half. And, some day, I plan to do just that. I just don't think it will be this weekend. Sure, a 2 minute PR would be awesome. But, the More/Fitness course is notoriously hilly (two laps around hilly Central Park) and crowded, so the conditions aren't ideal for a PR. And, like I said, it is a weekend away and I'd like to enjoy myself with my friends.

So, I'm not gunning for a PR and I'm totally OK with that. But I would like to run well.

My goals, then, for the half look like this:

B goal: Finish in under 2 hours. My slowest half was the ZOOMA Cape Cod half that I finished in 1:59:57. It was a tough, tough race for me so I imagine that, unless something dreadful happens, I should be able to beat that time on Sunday.

A goal: Finish in under 1:55. Totally doable. That's 8 minutes slower than I ran in October so even with the hills and the crowds, I should be able to run 1:55 or faster.

I plan to pace myself over the first half of the race and run around 8:30 miles or so. I tend to take off faster than I should in half marathons, running under 8:00 pace for the first 4-5 miles. I can't hold that pace over 13.1 miles. I know this. I know it is better to start slower and not burn out. My plan is to start slower on Sunday. Run at an 8:30 pace for the first 6-7 miles and then see how I feel. Maybe I'll hold that pace for the whole race. Maybe I'll speed up. Maybe, if I'm feeling cruddy, I'll slow down. Whatever happens, as long as I run a smart race for the day and the situation, I'll be pleased.

So, that's the plan. Now, I can continue obsessing about race day weather and what to wear!

(Yes, it looks like perfect racing weather. Still, I obsess.)

The forecast could not be more perfect!

Are you racing this weekend?
Good luck to everyone who is!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PROBAR review and giveaway!

Bars, bars, bars! Let's give it up for bars!

I'm talking about energy bars, here . . . 

And right now I'm enjoying PROBAR protein and meal replacement bars. A big reason for my enjoyment is this:

Dairy free. Certified organic. Non-GMO Project verified. Made in the good ol' US of A.

All good stuff.

Another big reason is the taste. The PROBAR bars are really tasty. And taste matters, especially when you are on the go and rely on energy bars as much as I do (yes, I always carry bars with me wherever I go -- for me and for the kids).

I was given the opportunity to try out an assortment of PROBAR Core (protein bars) and PROBAR Meal (the whole food meal replacement bars). Both are good but PROBAR Meal is my favorite.

Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Coconut, Superberry Slam, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip . . . all good. And you know what? Pretty good ingredients. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd go with oatmeal raisin, which is a bit funny because I'm not much of a raisin girl. And yet, for real, the PROBAR Meal Oatmeal Raisin is delicious. Simply delicious.

OK, so I like the bars. And I like the fact that I get to share them with you.

How? Discount and giveaway, my friends. This just happens to be your lucky day . . . check it out:

The Discount:

I have a discount for you! If you'd like to try out PROBAR (any kind) just pop over to the web site and enter the code BLOGGER at checkout for a whopping 40% discount. No joke.

The Giveaway:

As if the discount wasn't enough, I also have a giveaway. One lucky reader will win a box of either the PROBAR Core or PROBAR Meal -- winner's choice! How fun, right? Right.

To enter, leave me a comment telling which type of bar you'd choose if you win (Core or Meal).

Additional entries:

As always, you can gain extra entries. Remember, though, you must complete the required entry first! And, yes, I'll check. (Leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count) So, here's what to do:
  • Follow me on Pinterest, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment 
  • Pin the image from this post to share the giveaway on Pinterest (leave a comment  
  • Follow me on Twitter, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment
  • Share this post on Twitter using this tweet:
I just entered to win PROBAR bars from @TheHappyRunner #giveaway
  • Follow me on Instagram, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog  (leave a comment 
  • Follow PROBAR on Facebook (leave a comment 

This giveaway will run through Monday, April 15 at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be announced on Tuesday.

Good luck!

Review disclaimer: I was sent an assortment of bars for review. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My best run.

It was Friday afternoon and I had some unplanned-for time on my hands. The boys were at my parents' house, the weather was running perfect, I had some new kicks that I was dying to try out.

It was time to run. Outside.

So I laced on my new Saucony Kinvaras (check out the fresh color!):

And I headed out in my neighborhood.

I didn't know what to expect, wearing new shoes. And part of me worried that I was foolish. A week before a half marathon isn't usually when people decide to give new running shoes a good test. Who wants to risk injury from bunk shoes?

Not me. But no worries, you know from the title of this post that didn't happen.


A few strides into my run, I still felt a little worried because I could tell that my stride was just a little different. I could hear my footfall as I climbed the first hill on my route and it sounded strange. Then I flew down the other side of that hill and something changed. I fell into a rhythm and my stride became comfortable.

I turned and climbed the big hill at the back of my neighborhood. I usually slow way down on that hill, but this time I didn't. I held strong and when I looked at my pace for that first hilly mile, it was 9:32.

I ran on.

The second mile of my run is flatter with a few downhills and only small uphills. I floated through it in 7:28.

Then I floated through the third mile, with its big uphill, in 8:20.

And then my last mile, mile 4, with yet another steep incline, as well as some nice downhills, was an easy 7:40.

I finished up with a quarter mile at a 7:20 pace.

Friday's run was -- by far -- the best run I've had in ages. 

I can't say exactly why, unfortunately. Maybe it was the pleasure of running outside on a weekday after so many treadmill runs. Maybe it was the freedom of having unexpected time alone to run. Maybe it was the new shoes. I don't know.

Whatever it was, I had a great run. I let my body "just run" and it fell into some speed. I never felt like I was pushing myself, I just felt like I was floating through my miles. It was the best feeling.

I hope to have many more of those runs this spring and into the summer!

Have you had a best run lately? 
Want to read about some other runner's best runs? 
Check out Miss Zippy's site for a whole list of them!

Thanks for stopping by!

PS: I was sent the Saucony shoes for review, free of charge. I'll be reviewing them in a future post.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Simply Snackin'

I've been so busy enjoying my latest review product, I forgot to post the actual review!


I was sent a big package of Simply Snackin protein snacks (beef and chicken sticks) to try out recently:

And try them I did. When I could wrangle them away from my 2 year old, that is:

He loooooves jerky and especially loved the Simply Snackin sticks.

Here's a little about Simply Snackin, from their web site:

"High protein, low calorie Simply Snackin gourmet dried meat snacks are the preferred choice of on-the-go people leading or adopting active, healthy lifestyles. Although often referred to as "jerky," Simply Snackin products deliver an experience unlike any conventional jerky -- bite after bite of moist, lean, savory chicken breast or beef sirloin is paired with flavorful mangos, apples, blueberries and other artisan ingredients."

To that, I say, "You write the truth, Simply Snackin web site people."

I am a fan. The flavor combinations are great: Sirloin with cranberries and blueberries, chicken with mango and papaya, sirloin with pineapple. And the texture is, in my opinion, superior and easier to eat than regular jerky.

Now, please know that I am a jerky fan. There is almost always jerky in my pantry and the whole family loves the stuff. So, in some ways, I was primed to love Simply Snackin. But the opposite is true as well. As a jerky lover, I could have been turned off by the ways in which it is different from jerky.

I wasn't turned off at all.

Here's what I love:

  • The convenience of the individually wrapped sticks (so easy to keep in my bag!)
  • The simple ingredients list
  • The low (for jerky type snacks) sodium
  • The texture
  • The taste
  • The taste
  • The taste

It's true. I love the taste!

My favorite flavor? Dried Beef Sirloin with Cranberries and Blueberries. No question.

So, I'm sure you're thinking, "OK, Happy Runner, it's all well and good for you to write about how much you love your free beef snacks. But do you love them enough to spend your own money on them?"

Good question, friend. Glad you asked.

And my answer is, yes. Yes, I do. In fact, I already have. I ordered up the beef assortment, 24 pieces. I only wish I had ordered 48. Live and learn, live and learn . . .

You can treat yourself to some Simply Snackin by ordering on their web site, too.

Have you tried Simply Snackin? What did you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

Review disclaimer: I was sent a package of Simply Snackin meat sticks. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Monday, April 1, 2013

March recap.

March was a full month. First day of spring. My longest treadmill run ever. My longest outdoor run of this training cycle. My first race of the season. Lots of sugar-free experimentation.

Overall, a good month.

I feel like my training for the More/Fitness half marathon in two weeks (gulp!) has gone fairly well. I've gotten in plenty of miles, even when the weather and my body haven't completely cooperated. I've been (knock on wood) healthy and injury free. All good things.

The only bad thing in March was that my treadmill started crapping out at fast-ish speeds. I still haven't had anyone look at it so I'm not sure what is the matter and I need to get on that. Fortunately, it works at regular running speeds so I've been able to use it almost as much as I've needed to.

Anyway, here's a look at the month that was.

Warming up for stroller running!

Runnin' of the Green with Bridget.

Snow at the beginning of the month. 

March stats:

Running (miles): 114.2
Racing: 1, the Runnin' of the Green (Island) 4 miles (not a PR, but a strong race)
Cross training: 8

Happy April Fool's Day, everyone. Hope April is a good month for you!

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