Sunday, March 30, 2014

A running hurrah.

Two years ago, I ran the New Jersey Marathon. I trained through a mild winter with some great friends -- some long-time friends, some new ones -- and ended the training cycle with a memorable New Jersey weekend that will forever live in my mind as one of those really, really awesome times of my life.

Cheers! It was such a fun weekend!

One of the women I got to know while training for the marathon was Gail. We ran together some before the marathon and then had that super marathon weekend away. After the race, we continued to run here and there. And, as it goes with running, when you're out there running 10 (or however many) miles, you talk about pretty much everything. You get to know people on the run and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Gail whenever we ran together.

Fittingly, Gail is right in the middle.

Now, though, Gail is taking off. She's moving away sniff, sniff so her dear friend Elisa put together a running "last hurrah" for her on Saturday.

I think there were 12 of us who came out to celebrate Gail, including most of us from the NJ Marathon crew (and that includes Melissa, who just had a baby!), and a few other running pals. We ran a little more than 9 miles, starting together, but then spreading out over the miles. We all came back together at the turn-around where we chatted for a bit and then spread out again as we got running. We were back together again at the end:

Gail's Last Hurrah! Post-run -- Lara, Heidi, Elisa, Gail, Mike, Ginny, Melissa, Bridget, me, Janis (missing Sheila, Melissa D, and Karyn). Running friends rock!!
Elisa did a super job organizing the run and making the whole thing special. She even got the weather to cooperate . . . how nice of her!

It was the perfect way to send off a running friend -- with a run. We'll miss running with Gail, but we're all so happy for her!

So, cheers to Gail! And cheers to running friends! Mine sure are awesome.

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What do you #RUNFOR?

Running. We do it for all sorts of reasons. And, at different times in our lives, we probably run for different reasons -- some more inspirational than others but, I'd say, all of them real and meaningful to the runners they belong to.

DICK'S Sporting Goods has tapped into the inspirational end of why runners run. Their #RUNFOR campaign shares truly inspirational stories about how running has impacted individual runner's lives.

One standout is the story of Alicia Shay. You may have heard a little of her story at some point. Her husband, Ryan Shay, was a promising long-distance runner who died during the US Olympic marathon trials in 2007. It was terrible -- he had a massive heart attack a few miles into the race and died.

He left behind his wife, Alicia, who is also a runner. She turned to running to work through her grief after her husband died -- eventually starting "Shay Hostel," a communal space where runners live and train. Now, DICK'S is sharing her story.

Check it out:

They have other short films, too, including one about Team Hoyt, which I also recommend you check out.

These kinds of stories can surely do wonders to motivate you on days when you don't feel like lacing up your running shoes, or when you're feeling a little out of sorts. Watch one of the #RUNFOR stories and you'll probably feel pretty grateful for what you have and you'll likely be motivated to get out there and run -- whatever your reason!!

Run on, friends!

Disclaimer: I am not associated with this campaign -- I was sent information about it and decided it was worth sharing.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A week of running.

Finally. A week of good running for this happy runner!

Following the Runnin' of the Green on Saturday, I took Sunday and Monday off to rest my legs. On Tuesday, I was fortunate to get a quick 4.25 mile run in, before my little guy got sick that evening. I am no kind of fan of the stomach bug, that's for sure. But, I am happy that the rest of us avoided getting sick. Phew!

Wednesday was all about taking care of my patient, and he was such a good one, even though he felt lousy.

Smiling through the stomach bug -- but look at those sad eyes!!

Thursday was back to normal and I went to my physical therapy appointment and then for another quick 4.25 mile run. At my appointment, my PT taped my injured area with KT tape so I'm giving that a try. So far, so good!

On Saturday, the boys started swimming lessons -- which they loved -- and I sneaked in a sunny-but-windy run later in the afternoon.

And that brings me to today.

It was cold. It was windy. The route was hilly. We started early.

Yes, this morning I ran 10 enjoyable miles with Bridget and Janis, plus a bonus of 4+ with our friend, Elisa. They were tough miles, but we covered them at a 9:44 pace. Go, us!

Overall, I ran 22.5 miles for the week. That's my highest weekly mileage since the first week of January. January! Sheesh. Yeah, I'm happy to be getting back on track.

My hope now is that I stay on track. I could use a long stretch of good, solid training.

And, with that, I'm off. Have a great week, everyone!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Gimme a B!

On Friday, I posted my goals for the Runnin' of the Green 4-mile race. I wanted to run a solid, fast-ish pace. But, I was also a little nervous because I am trying to crawl back from injury. Plus, I'm training for that half marathon and had 8 miles on my schedule for Saturday and decided to run 3 of them before the race.

So I wasn't totally sure what to expect from the race!

Kara, Bridget and me before the race.

I met up with Bridget and Kara to run 2 miles. Then Bridget  and I went out for 1 more mile to give us the full 3 before the race started. My cousins Kate and Josh and Kate's boyfriend, Felix, were also running the race. I was happy to find them before the race and we chatted for a bit before lining up.

When the gun went off, I just ran. I was pushing myself, for sure, but I was also letting myself fall into a good race pace. About a half mile or so into the race, Felix ran up to me and we ran together for maybe 3/4 of a mile or so. It was good to run with him -- but I knew he had a faster goal in mind than I did so I told him to run on because I didn't want to hold him back.

He ran off and I settled into a good pace. I went through the 2-mile mark at 15:32 and felt really strong. Sure, my hip and hamstring were complaining a bit, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had worried it would be. Phew!

For some reason, I had a lot of pep in the third mile. I started passing people right and left and ended up running that mile in 7:18. Huh.

I then held on to the end. I could tell I'd started at a good pace for me because I was not dying at the end! Such an oddity for me -- I'm usually falling apart at the end of races! Feeling strong is a much better way to go.

That's me running to the finish!
I finished in 30:36 gun time, 30:26 net. You know what's cool about that? My second half was 28 seconds faster than my first. Woo hoo!

And . . . that time was a solid B from my race goals. I'd set the B goal of running 31:56 or better (just under 8 min miles) and my 30:26 was just that.

Yes, I fully admit that at 3 miles I was doing the math to see if I could push myself and run under 30 minutes. But, you know what? I'm glad I didn't. While I would have liked to finish closer to last year's time (29:37), I didn't want to make my injury worse. I wanted to run a strong, smart race, not a foolish one!

Felix ended up with a super time, running 29:23! Josh ran 34:16 and Kate ran 44:30; Bridget ran 35:44 and Kara ran 43:16. Yay!

After the race, Bridget and I stuck to our plan and ran an additional mile to get us to 8 for the day. After that, I went home and prepped for a fun St. Patrick's Day party at our neighbors' house. Overall, quite the fun day!

Race stats:

Official (net) time: 30:26 
Pace: 7:37/mile
Gun time: 30:36

First half split (2-miles): 15:32
Second half split: 15:04

Overall place: 155 out of 652
Overall female: 42 out of 383
Age group (female, 40-49): 16

Now, I'm itching for that next race. I only have the half marathon on my schedule for this spring but, jeez . . . I think I might have to add another!! We'll see.

Well, thanks for stopping by -- have a great week, everyone!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Race goals!

Tomorrow will be my first race of the spring season, the Runnin' of the Green (Island) 4 miler. Sure, we still have snow all around but spring has to be coming, right? Right. And so I'm going to kick it off with the festive Runnin' of the Green!

In the past, I've used this race as a gauge of my fitness and this year is no different. Last year I ran a solid 29:37 for the 4 miles and was pleased with that. I was training for a half marathon in April and felt that finishing under 30 minutes for 4 miles was great since I was focusing on longer runs.

This year, well, I just don't know. I haven't been running much, for one thing. And I've been injured, for another. I'm also training for a half marathon in May, so I'm planning to run 3 miles before the race and 1 after, to give me 8 miles total for the day.

But, this is me, folks. I can't go into a race without some sort of goal. That's just how it goes.

And so, yes. I have goals.

My C goal is to run at my goal half-marathon pace (8:05) and finish in 32:20 or better.

My B goal is to run under an 8:00 pace and finish in 31:56 or better.

My A goal is to run 30 minutes or faster (7:29 pace).

I believe I can probably achieve my B goal -- but that A goal will be a total stretch this year. I will see how I feel at the starting line and how much determination I have.

What I really want is to feel good while running with some speed. Not the fastest speed I have, just with some good, really pushing it, type of speed.

So, we'll see what happens!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spartan Up!

Looking for something new to read to get inspired this spring? Check out this one by Spartan Race founder/owner Joe De Sena: Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life

The book will be released in May, but I received advanced information and will be reviewing the book on this site closer to the release date. In the meantime, you can learn more about Joe and the book, and place a pre-order if you're interested!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

February recap.

Yup, that's right. I'm just writing my February recap on March 10th. Slacker, slacker . . .

But, see, that's the way this month has gone. It has been up and down -- just like February. The biggest downer has been that I am still (still!) dealing with my injured left leg. It is my whole hip/butt/upper thigh/hamstring area and it just plain rots. I have been fine for a while but for the past month, it has been flaring up again.

Not cool. Not cool at all.

After all, I have a 4 mile race this Saturday, a half marathon in May and a full marathon in October. I can't have a nagging injury that forces me to not run!

So, I'm dealing with it. Reduced mileage. Rest. Chiropractor. PT. Ice. Rehab exercises. Just about everything.

Fingers crossed that it all works!

As a result of my wonky leg, my February mileage was low. Here's what it looked like:

February stats:

Running (miles): 51.4
Racing: none
Cross-training (sessions): lots!

One of the highlights of the month was our trip to DC for a family wedding. I ran around and took in the sights:

And then got cleaned up for the fun wedding:


When we got back from DC, the boys had a full week of from school for winter break and we filled our time with lots of play and getting to see some friends and family we don't normally see. After break, it was back to normal and I was back to the chiropractor and trying to keep my running on track!

Slowly and un-surely, I think that might happen.

And now, back to March! Enjoy your week, everyone. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Strong Running Mama: Darlene Cardillo

This week, I bring you a totally inspirational Strong Running Mama: Darlene Cardillo!

Darlene is 60 years young and has two grown stepsons. She taught French for a number of years and is now an Instructional Technologist at a law school.

Running the Naples (FL) Half Marathon.

She is also very -- very -- active. In addition to her running, Darlene plays tennis once or twice a week, knits, quilts, reads, plays mah jongg, and fits in yoga when she can. But she makes a real effort to prioritize running:
"My running is very important to me and I am a type-A person.  So I plan all my runs each week.  I put them on my calendar(s) and post about them on my blog. I often re-arrange social activities to fit them into my running schedule and even plan vacations around races.  I am lucky to have a pretty understanding husband and friends.

I don’t own a treadmill but there is one where I work.  I hate running on it but sometimes in bad weather, it is the only way that I can squeeze my running (and if it’s on my calendar, I do it!). Watching a TV show on my iPad during the run makes it bearable (barely.)
I am currently paired (through IRUN4- with John Anthony, a special needs 9 year old.  This program has given my running new meaning. If ever I don’t feel like running, I think about him and out the door I go."
And this winter, for sure, has been rough so I'm sure that treadmill has come in handy -- especially because Darlene has a big race coming up soon:

"I am currently training for the LoveRun half marathon (Philadelphia) on March 30.  My hope is that I stay healthy and maybe regain some speed for shorter races this summer."
Speaking of races, Darlene runs tons of them. (I'm always amazed when I see that she has run yet another race -- I wish I could run as many as she does!) But she has good reasons to:
"Due to time restraints, pace and distance requirements, I find it easier to run alone.  Every now and then I do run with others and I enjoy it.

Running a lot of races helps to keep me connected to other runners."
Connecting at the Adirondack Half Marathon -- Darlene, me, Elisa, Amanda, Janis and Bridget

Some of Darlene's favorites:

Gear: "I prefer to run in running skirts.  I find them much more comfortable than shorts or capris.  Compression socks are essential for me. I wear them for long runs and races."

Place to run:  "During the week, I enjoy running around Washington Park (in Albany) since I work nearby.  On the weekend, my favorite places to run are the local bike paths – Corning, Niskayuna, and Colonie Town Park."

Race: "I enjoy both 5Ks and half marathons but for different reasons.  I love the feeling of accomplishment when I cross the finish line after completing 13.1 miles. I enjoy 5Ks because there are so many different ones to choose from so there are many opportunities to work on speed and maybe even win an AG award.

My favorite race is the Freihofer’s Run for Women.  First of all, it is ALL women – all ages, all sizes, veterans, newbies, elites, walkers.  When I ran it the first year that I started running (2008), it made feel like a “real” runner. Being part of the SRM’s first 5k (2010) made me so proud. Finishing it after suffering a serious injury (2012) helped me believe that I could be a runner again. And finally last year, completing it with a broken foot showed me how strong (or maybe stubborn) I was."

Yep, you read that right: Darlene ran the Freihofer's Run for Women on a broken foot. She's one tough mama!!

At the Mother's Day 5K.

Which brings me to injuries. We've all had them and Darlene is no exception. She's strained her Achilles tendon, and dealt with both a stress fracture and a broken bone in her foot. For each injury, she had to take 6-8 weeks off from running. Eventually, though, she was able to come back. When she was dealing with her worst injury, though, Darlene wasn't so sure she'd ever run again:
"My most serious injury was slipping on the ice during a long solo run and breaking several bones in my ankle, which then required surgery. Besides being painful, there was a lot of doubt about whether or not I would be able to run again.  I am not sure that I dealt with it well but I tried to remain positive and patient. I now realize that if you are a runner, injuries will happen. You don’t give up, you heal and then you return to running. Each injury makes you a stronger runner and person."
So, so true. I remember when Darlene suffered that injury and, man, it was horrible. Everyone in our running group felt awful for her -- but we also knew that if anyone was going to be able to overcome a terrible injury, it was Darlene. And, she proved us right!

I asked Darlene to talk about her most memorable running achievement.  Here's what she said:
"That would definitely be my first half marathon.  I didn’t tell my friends that I was doing it.  I had only raced 5Ks up to that point and they wouldn’t have understood.

The race also took place in Naples, Fla, my favorite vacation spot (where I go annually with my tennis friends.) It took place on my wedding anniversary and my hubby was there waiting for me at the finish line.

When I finished, I couldn’t believe that I had run 13.1 miles and I couldn’t wait to sign up for another.

I have to thank the Strong Running Mamas (SRMs) for their inspiration.  In their first year of running, they had run 5Ks, then a 10K and were training for a half marathon. I was supposedly the veteran runner and I was only training for 5Ks. I thought to myself “If they can do it, so can I!!”  So, thanks SRMs!!"
Darlene is right -- that group that started running in 2010 was -- and is -- inspirational. But, here's the thing: So is Darlene. She was a big help getting that group going, showing up for group runs and generally being supportive and encouraging! So, thank you, Darlene!

After the 2013 Mohawk-Hudson Half Marathon with Jen, Darlene, me, Karyn and Eileen.

Darlene's PRs:

5K: 27:30
15K: 1:36:08
half-marathon: 2:22:39

What Strong Running Mama means to Darlene:

“Strong Running Mama means being the best runner I can be.  That means setting my own goals.  I am older so my goals may be different than other runners’.  It means recovering from bad runs and injuries with a positive attitude.

The more I run, the younger I feel.  It’s my own personal time machine.

Strong Running Mama also means being part of an incredible supportive group of women of all ages and running abilities."

I love this: "The more I run, the younger I feel. It's my own personal time machine." It is the truth! So, keep running, Darlene. I know you will!!

You can follow Darlene's running adventures here:

Blog –
Twitter - @dcardillo
Facebook –
Instagram - @dsc59

Thanks for sharing a little of your running story, Darlene. And thanks, everyone, for reading!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Popchips winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my popchips giveaway! I wish you all could try them!

But, I had to pick one winner and I did so using And that lucky winner is . . .

Julie from Girl on the Move

Congratulations, Julie! Email me at felicehalf at yahoo dot com with your address so you can get the yummy popchips delivered.

Thanks to the fun folks at popchips for this giveaway! Have a great weekend,

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