Friday, December 31, 2010

The running year that was.

It's the end of the year. Time for reflection and resolutions and parties and all that. Count me in!

So, yeah. Last year I had some goals. Did I reach them? Well, let's have a look at each of my goals and how I did:

  • To run strong and well throughout the year. DONE! True, I was pregnant for most of the year but I still ran strong. I ran a few races while pregnant, ran until week 38 of the pregnancy and then started again two weeks after giving birth. Now, with my little guy just about 12 weeks old, I feel great!

  • To set at least one new PR. Ha to the ha, ha, ha! Yeah, pregnancy running doesn't really lend itself to PRs. Enh, no big deal.

  • To run outdoors more often than indoors. DONE! Although I've been running on the treadmill more lately, for the rest of the year I ran outdoors. 

  • To meet some other running bloggersDONE! I met, ran, raced and became friends with Amanda, Suzy and Darlene. Love them! 

  • To run 1010 miles for 2010. Yet another ha, ha, ha. I made just over 600 and consider that a win.

  • To break the death-grip that is my Starburst jellybean addiction. The death-grip is too strong for me to even discuss this one.

  • Not too bad. Some of my goals simply had to go out the window once I learned that I was pregnant. There was just no going after a PR or 1000 miles in my preggo 2010. And, believe me, I am 100% OK with that. Overall, it was a great running year for me.

    I ran 611.8 miles in 2010. I ran six races: a 10K, a marathon relay (5.7 mile leg), a 3.5 miler, two preggo 5Ks (FRW and one while vacationing) and one 5K 8 weeks after giving birth. I helped some non-runners become runners.

    And now, I'm looking forward to 2011! I have plenty of goals for the year and I've been planning out my races so I'll post about those soon. I also have an exciting challenge that I'm putting together that I hope you all will be into. More on that really soon!

    In the meantime, I hope you all have a terrific New Year's Eve and I wish you the best in 2011. Thank you all for visiting my site and for the comments, encouragement and support you provide. I appreciate it :-)

    Cheers and happy running!

    ~ Felice

    Wednesday, December 29, 2010

    Eating (and eating) and running.

    So, wow. I sometimes have to wonder how it is possible to consume So. Much. Food. over the course of so few days. I mean, gingerbread cookies, Christmas chip cookies, chocolate crinkles, trifle, monkey bread, that white chocolate-cereal-pretzel mix stuff. Not to mention Christmas brunch, Christmas hors d'oeuvres and Christmas dinner.

    Yeah, I ate a lot. And then I ate some more.

    Fortunately, I ran a good bit, too. I extended my long run to 6.5 miles, ran a hilly, chilly 4.5 miler at 8:45 pace, and logged a few easy runs. And with that, the scale stayed right where it was the week before. Thanks, running!

    Now, I'm prepping for New Year's Eve, which will undoubtedly include more eating and, I hope, more running!

    I have to say, though, I've enjoyed it all. I love the goodies of the season -- who doesn't? But, now it is time for normal eating again. Oh, well . . . I'll miss you, cookies. And you, too, white chocolate-cereal-pretzel mix stuff!

    *     *     *

    So, non-food related question for you all: If you've used McMillan to estimate your race times, have you found it to be fairly accurate? I input some times to see where I should be for the half-marathon and I'm just wondering what other's experiences have been. THANKS!

    Happy Wednesday!

    ~ Felice

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    (Almost) Wordless Wednesday (the "ho, ho, ho!" version).

    It was Santa time at pre-school yesterday and, boy-howdy, were the kids into it!

    Santa asked Conal to check if the beard was real. It was.

    Time with Santa --


    Two brothers!

    Ho, ho, ho and happy Wednesday to you!

    ~ Felice

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Banner week!

    I don't mean to gloat but, friends? I had a great week!

    For starters, I had my highest weekly mileage since getting back to running: I logged 24 miles. That's the most that I've run in a week since last November -- waaaay back before I got pregnant. So, let's just say that I am happy about the 24!

    I'm even happier about how my runs felt. My feet, which had been bothering me a few weeks ago, have held up well with the increased mileage (yeah, they hurt on and off but nothing like how they had been). I ran a few times on my treadmill and actually had a good time doing so (sure, Conal and Niall's company didn't hurt!). Best of all, I went out for a run on Saturday and just let my legs fall into a comfortable pace, looking at my Garmin only to press start and stop. My pace for the run ended up at 9min/mile, which just happens to be the pace I was planning to target for my April half marathon. I ran 6.26 miles at that pace and honestly felt like I could have kept going and going.

    All told, this week has filled me with running confidence! I'm heading into 2011 with a short term goal to run a half-marathon in April and the past week has me convinced I can do it and do it well. With my legs gravitating to the 9min/mile pace, I know that with proper training, I can hold that for 13.1 miles and break 2 hours for the half. Yes, it will take a commitment to training but I'm ready for it. My training will start in about two weeks and right now I have a plan but I'm still tweaking it.

    So, let me ask you this: As I tweak my plan, who has suggestions for me? Any good half marathon training advice or tips? Lay it on me. Thanks!

    Hope you all had a great weekend!

    ~ Felice

    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Photo Friday!

    Yesterday afternoon my two little guys behaved incredibly well and I was able to run for 5.5 miles on the treadmill. It was great. Conal ran around, Niall laid next to me. At one point, Conal decided he needed to "protect" Niall so he surrounded him with hockey sticks. Nothing like the logic of a 3 year old . . .

    I thought they were so cute that I had to stop my run for a sec to snap a pic.

    My view from the 'mill:

    As much as I'm happy to be getting my runs in on the treadmill, I'll be really glad to get to run outside this weekend! Yahoo!

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    ~ Felice

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    You call that a run?!?

    My boys were cooperating with me on Tuesday so I DID get that run in. If you can call it that . . .

    It started out with me feeding Niall and then speed-changing into some running clothes. I tossed back a sip of water, laced up my running shoes and brought the boys downstairs to the basement.

    Then Niall needed a diaper change. So back upstairs we went. Once he was all clean, I put him on the floor next to the treadmill, hopped on, and started to run. Warm-up? What warm-up?

    Conal played soccer, Niall laid peacefully and I ran. For about 2 miles.

    Then there was a diaper explosion.

    I hit the pause button, hopped off the 'mill and brought Niall upstairs to change him. I thought about calling it a run at that point and then shook my head at my folly. I was not giving up on the run. No, sir.

    So, back downstairs we went. I put Niall back on the mat next to the 'mill and ran. For almost a half mile . . . until he started screaming. Since I was not giving up, I strapped on the Baby Bjorn, put him in and walked for a bit to calm him. Then, I started all over again.

    Another mile. I was going well. Until Conal needed me SO MUCH because he had lost a hockey puck. I hopped off the teadmill, found the puck, and then hopped back on. Felt like I barely broke my stride.

    I knew it was only a matter of time before Niall started fussing again so I ran fast, getting in another 2 miles before the boys lost it and I had to stop.

    4.8 all together but I almost want to round up to 5, given all the extra curriculars I had to deal with!

    But, yes. I do call that a run. At this point, I take what I can get :-)

    Thanks for stopping by!

    ~ Felice

    PS: Don't miss my cranberry juice giveaway HERE and my Coolmax EcoMade socks giveaway HERE.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    #11: Run.

    So, the thing is, even though I've re-friended the treadmill, I can only run when I'm not otherwise occupied by such things as:

    1. Breastfeeding (which my son requires frequently)
    2. Changing diapers (which the same son requires even more frequently)
    3. Holding a baby (that would be that same son again)
    4. Making breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and snack (for both sons. And some for the husband. And, OK, much of it for me.)
    5. Trying to write a blog post
    6. Collecting, washing, drying and folding laundry
    7. Breastfeeding (did I already mention that?)
    8. Working (ha! Deadlines? What deadlines?)
    9. Occupying one or both of the boys
    10. Fantasizing about running a 1:50 half-marathon
    Last night, I thought I would sneak in a quick run while both boys were in good moods. Owen was going to be late, so I knew I wouldn't have time to run after he got home. I put Niall on a pad next to the treadmill in the basement and let Conal loose to play soccer/football/hockey/basketball.

    By the time I got warmed up, Niall was done. I couldn't run while he cried so I called it after 1.5 miles. Whoop-dee-doo.

    But, you know, that's what happens. My situation right now is that my little guys come first and my running is, um, maybe 11th on the list. 1.5 miles isn't much, but it is better than nothing and right now, I take what I can get. I'm happy about every mile!

    Today, though, I could really go for a long run . . . wish me luck. And cooperative kids!

    *     *     *

    Speaking of luck, I have a running SOCKS giveaway going on HERE. Do check it out.

    ~ Felice

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Going long.

    It seems that the treadmill and I have decided to be friends this year. This is not to say that I will be forgoing my outdoors runs in favor of the 'mill. There's no way that will happen. I can't imagine a more dreadful season than one spent running every mile on the 'mill. It's more that I think I won't hate every mile that I have to run indoors. And that's a good thing.

    I found a bit of a treadmill groove this week. After taking a few days off after the 5k race, I was itching to run, but I had little interest in running in the cold and dark this week. So, the 'mill it was. And it wasn't horrible. The key to my decent runs was starting slow -- and I mean S. L. O. W. The problem with me and the 'mill is that I always jump into my regular run pace and, for some reason, that doesn't work. I can do that outside, but not in. So, this week, I ran the first mile at a wicked slow pace and then a bit faster for the second mile and got into the groove of my regular pace for the third and fourth miles. I don't know why it takes me so long to warm-up/find a rhythm on the treadmill but it does. It's too bad my time was short because once I was in the groove I felt as if I could have run many miles more.

    Yesterday, though, was an incredibly beautiful day -- really warm (for December!) and sunny -- so I was happy Owen was home so I could get outside for a run. I ran a nice 5-miler at 9:20 pace and felt great! Today, I followed up with a 4.4 miler. With more time on my hands, I could have gone much longer for both runs.

    All of this "I could have gone longer" is leading up to the inevitable: Training for a longer race. Now that I'm feeling like 5 miles is an easy-peasy run, I'm getting more confident in my (95% sure) decision to run a half marathon this spring.

    You read that right. I'm going long!

    I haven't run a race longer than a 15k since I ran a marathon in 2004. That's a long time and two babies ago. What am I thinking?

    I'm thinking I can do it. The race is in April. Yes, I'll still be breast-feeding but my little guy will be almost 6 months old, so he should be able to handle being away from me for half a day. Yes, I'll have to train in crappy winter weather but I'm at peace with the treadmill (this week). And I have a head lamp. And warm clothes. So, basically, no excuses.

    I've started putting together my plan. It's a combination of a bunch of different plans that I've seen, mushed together and tailored to fit my style, goals and time constraints.

    So, there you have it. I'm friends with the treadmill, better friends with the warm December weather and hopeful that the 13.1 distance will be friendly to me come April. We'll see how that works out.

    Hope you all had a great weekend!

    ~ Felice

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Candy Cane Kids Run race report

    You think mama was the only one having a good race on Saturday? Oh, no. Conal was right there racing too, only he was handed candy at the end of his race and I had to wander around in my depleted state searching for coffee and water.

    Wah, wah, wah . . .

    The Candy Cane Kids Run took place a half hour before the Jingle Bell Run 5K on Saturday. There were only about 20 kids in the race, which was far fewer than Conal's first race, the Freihofer's Kids Run, where there were so many kids that they had to start in waves. And there were no race bibs or t-shirts, two things that Conal fully expected to receive. When I told him that this was a small race so they didn't have bibs or tees, he didn't believe me. "Nooooooo! You is wrong!" Sorry, kid, I'm right. And, you know what? That's life.

    Once he came to grips with the fact that he was indeed the wrong one (and I was right! Ha ha!), he was ready to race. He lined up next to his friends, the sibling pair Luke and Leah, and waited for the word, "GO!"

    Check him out -- puffy jacket as streamlined racing gear? Hey, it kept him warm!

    Once the race started, the kid took off. Go, Conal, go! But then he stopped, turned, and waited for his friends, Luke and Leah, who -- in pure adorable fashion -- were running hand-in-hand. Running hand-in-hand slows you down a bit so they were behind and I guess Conal didn't want them to fall too far back. So, he'd wait. Then, once they'd get a little closer, he'd take off again. He did this several times. It was, as they say, too cute.

    The race was a 3/10ths of a mile loop around a pond and I'm proud to say that my little guy managed the whole loop. In fact, I'd say he showed that he has a little Happy Runner in him:


    That's some kind of joy right there, people. Happy running.

    And then, at the finish line, he collected his candy cane and moved on. In search of yogurt. Which they didn't have, but that he expected because, you know, they had it at his last race. This kid is nothing if not full of expectations. 

    Can't wait to find out what he expects from his next race.

    ~ Felice

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Jingle Bell Run 5K race report.

    My alarm came too early on Saturday morning. Yes, I was excited and raring to go. But, my little 2-monther has a cold and was up all night coughing, which means I was too. And so when the alarm went off at 7, I felt as if I hadn't slept at all and had to work hard to convince myself to get out of the bed.

    I eventually got up, at my customary English muffin with peanut butter, drank a glass of water and a cup of coffee and then debated what to wear. It was cold on Saturday but sunny so I settled on a pair of running pants over a base layer (thin EMS leggings) on the bottom, and a long-sleeve shirt under a fleece on top. In retrospect, I didn't need the leggings but, enh, you live and learn.

    I nursed Niall as much as possible and then it was time to go. There was a kids run before the 5K (race report to come!) so we wanted to get to the race early so Conal could run. I'm glad we did . . .

    So, OK. The race. We got there, I met up with some awesome strong running mamas and Conal ran his race. Then it was time for me to nurse Niall again -- yes, that was me nursing my baby in the lobby while a bunch of serious runners stretched  out. Yeah, let me say this for pre-race nursing: It's stressful. You're watching the clock (15 minutes to start time!); trying to keep the race bib out of the baby's face while not exposing too much of your own, well, you know; talking to yourself about not starting out too fast; ignoring the curious looks . . . aiy! The pressure!

    But I managed the feeding and met back up with my pals. Here we are before the race:

    Jen, Bridget, me, Janis

    And here we are with Santa. And Darlene.
     Janis, Jen, Santa, Bridget, me, Darlene 
    (we missed Amanda and Tami for the pic!)

    After the requisite photos, we made our way to the starting line and then we were off! As I mentioned in my last post, I had three goals for the race but I really wanted to go after my A goal of finishing under 25:13. So, I took off and weaved through the small crowd at the start, almost tripped over a dog that was running (?!?!) and smacked into a woman who had tripped over said dog's leash . . . and made my way to a clearing where I could run comfortably. 

    Oh, look! That's me!

    Throughout the first and second miles I passed people and felt good. I was running more or less at the pace I was hoping for and figured I had a good shot at finishing right around 25:13. Because the course winded back and forth through a local park, Owen and the boys were able to cheer for me at a few different locations. That was awesome. The best was that each time I passed Conal, he cheered exuberantly and stuck out his hand to give me a High 5. I loved it!

    But even my own personal cheering section wasn't enough to help me maintain my speed through mile 3. Just about as soon as I began the third mile I felt grateful for B and C goals.

    I faded. Big time. Where I felt strong in miles 1 and 2, I was just hanging on in mile 3. So much so, that I didn't even have a kick at the end. What's up with that?

    I loped to the finish and crossed the line in 25:50, just short of my A goal, but pretty far ahead of my B goal of finishing under 27:11. So . . . not too shabby, all things considered. And, in fact, I felt pretty good with my time and the race overall. 

    Race stats:
    Mile 1: 7:56
    Mile 2: 8:01
    Mile 3: 8:24 (?!?)
    last .18: 1:29

    Finish time: 25:50
    Overall place: 40/227

    Post-race: Jen, Janis, Bridget, me
    I wanted to run hard and run strong and I did. I wanted to use the race to gauge my fitness and I'm happy to say that 8 weeks after having my baby, I'm feeling fit. I had a hard time in the last mile, sure, but it wasn't terrible, really. I never stopped. And since the race, my body has felt fine -- no lingering muscle soreness (other than my bum foot, but that's just the norm around here), no pelvic discomfort, nothing. So, yay! I'm back!

    I didn't achieve my A goal, but that just means that I have something to strive for in my next race. And while I could be disappointed, I'm not. I'm putting this race result in the books as my Masters 5K PR! I hope to shatter that record soon but, for now, it stands.

    As a thank you to everyone for rooting me on in my first post-preggo race, here's a little photo for you to ponder over:

    I don't even know what was going on there. Maybe he was going for sunburn, windburn AND frostbite? Runners . . . sheesh . . .

    Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend!

    ~ Felice

    Thanks to Jen for the photos!

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Race goals.

    Tomorrow's my big race. (You know, the one I've been yammering about for, oh, the last month or so?)

    It's not an especially big race as far as participants go (I think there will be about 200 runners) but it's big for me. It's my first post-preggo race.

    Yup, tomorrow marks 8 weeks since I gave birth and I'm celebrating with a 5k.

    And although I haven't exactly trained for the race -- I've mostly just been running at a comfortable pace -- I do have some goals. Sure, it would be nice to say I just want to finish with a smile on my face but, let's be real. I want to run well. I want to run fast.

    I know I'm not going to be all that fast, unfortunately, because I'm still carrying about 12 extra pounds. But I'll use this race to gauge where I am, fitness-wise. So, here's what I'm shooting for tomorrow:

    • A goal: 25:13 or better. This was my time for my first 5K after Conal was born, 4 months postpartum.
    • B goal: 27:11 or better. This was my best preggo 5K time, run when I was 5.5 months pregnant.
    • C goal: 29:59 or better. I just don't want to finish in the 30s.

    Do I have any idea how I'll do? Not really. If I want to sandbag, I could go on and on about the cough that I have had for almost two weeks now or my feet, which feel oddly like they are broken. Bum feet and congested lungs probably aren't setting me up for any PRs. But will they ruin my shot at a good time?


    I've run through coughs and foot pain before. I can suck it up with the best of them. It's only 3.1 miles, after all. I can run hard for 3.1 miles.

    And that'll be my plan. Run hard. Run strong. Yup, that's my plan.

    Have a great weekend, everyone! And to those of you who are racing: Run hard. Run strong!

    ~ Felice

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    November recap.

    Since October was taken up with giving birth and taking care of a newborn, my mileage was low. So, in November, there was no where to go but up.

    And up it went!

    I feel as if I ran a lot in November, making the most of every opportunity. One thing I've learned since having another baby is that I need to be more flexible with my routines. In the past, I would make sure to eat 1.5-2 hours before a run. Now, though, that doesn't fly. I can try to keep to that routine, but it doesn't always work. When I was at my mother-in-law's for Thanksgiving weekend, for example, I had an opportunity to run only a half hour after eating breakfast. I didn't know if I would be able to run later, and actually highly doubted it, so I went for it, full belly and all.

    The other thing I've learned is to be prepared and not dilly-dally. Evenings when I plan to run when Owen gets home, I'm dressed and ready to go as soon as he walks in the door. That also means I've fed and changed Niall and have him ready to be peaceful while I'm gone (ha ha!) and I have prepped or completely made dinner. So far, it is working.

    And now, here's how the month looked.

    November stats:

    Running (miles): 64.8
    Cross-training (sessions): 4

    Considering September and October were each 21 mile months, that 64.8 looks pretty good!

    And now, bring on December! It's the month of my first post-preggo race (and you already know I'm super excited) -- but what about you? Big plans for December?

    ~ Felice

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