Monday, January 31, 2011

Half marathon training: Check-in #4 and Help a Reader.

Welcome to check-in #4!

(More information on the Happy Runner Half Marathon Challenge can be found HERE)

This happy runner feels good about the way training went last week! I pretty much hit all the right paces and I rocked my long run so, yay! Training is going well.

The worst part of my training so far is that I am TIRED. This whole breastfeeding-a-baby-while-training-for-a-half-marathon thing is a bit tough. Niall is still waking up at night -- some nights more (much more) than others and while I'm mostly used to it at this point, it does take a bit of a toll on me. So, I'm trying to rest whenever the opportunity arises but that doesn't seem to be as often as I would like.

Anyway, as I said I'm mostly used to the lack of sleep so no real complaints. It could be a lot worse!

Here's what I had planned to run / what I ran

Mon: rest / yup
Tues: 5 miles easy / Done! Ran 5.3 miles on the 'mill at my easy pace and felt good.
Wed: 5 miles w/3 @ tempo / Sorta:  I was all sorts of annoyed at the world on Wed and after my warm-up and 1 mile at tempo, I just seriously felt the need to do something different so I alternated 30 seconds at mile pace with 90 seconds at 10min/mi. That workout did wonders for my outlook!
Thurs: rest /yup
Fri: 4 miles easy / Done! Ran 4.5.
Sat: 10 mile long run / Done! Ran 10.03 hilly miles on the roads near my house, at 9:24 pace. Was pleased that I was able to keep my pace slower for this long run -- my last outdoor long run was too fast.
Sun: rest / Oh, yeah. Done!

Total mileage: 24 / 24.8

I was worried about running my 10 miler on Saturday morning, just about 12 hours after running on Friday. But, my thinking in putting together my schedule was that I would stress my system in a different way with the back-to-back runs. I'm not going to do it with every long run but some of my research shows that taxing your muscles in that way helps with late race fatigue. That tends to be my downfall so I'm hoping that workouts like the Fri/Sat runs will help me get beyond that on race day.

And it seems that the workout agreed with me, at least in the short term. I felt GREAT while I was out running the 10 miles. I carried Gatorade with me in my handheld and that was enough fuel for the run. Here are my splits (you can see by the vast differences in pace among the miles that my route is super hilly!)

mile 1: 9:56 
mile 2: 8:55 
mile 3: 8:56 
mile 4: 9:53 
mile 5: 9:44
mile 6: 9:20
mile 7: 9:37
mile 8: 9:46
mile 9: 8:41
mile 10: 9:15
total: 1:34:18, 9:24/mi

Yay! And, friends? That run was my LONGEST run in about two years. Two years! Wow. I'm glad to be up in double-digits.

I'm equally as glad to have a cut-back week this week. My body will do well with some extra rest.

Here's this week's plan:

Mon: 4.5 easy
Tues: rest
Wed: 6 miles w/4 @ tempo
Thurs: rest
Fri: 4 easy
Sat: rest
Sun: 6.5 miles @ long run pace
Total: 21

Now, throughout the Happy Runner Half-Marathon Challenge, I've invited you all to submit questions and for everyone to give feedback/advice/answers to those questions. This week I have a bunch for you. I'll start with some questions from Julie/Nobel4Lit today. She asks:

1) Is it really true that you can do a long run (much) slower than your race pace?
(Because that's what I do.. about 1-2 off pace per mile, in fact!)
2) How do you train at race pace without getting injured? I'm always getting injured the minute I think about pushing my pace any significant amount. =(
3) What is your opinion on number of days per week that you run? I'm currently subsisting on 3/4 days, as 5 was too many for me...
4) What is your pacing stretegy for a half? 
I'll give my thoughts and I hope you guys will jump in and leave some answers for her, too.

1. YES! By most accounts, your long run should be anywhere from 45-120 seconds per mile slower than your race pace. So, you'd be right on with 1-2 minutes/mile slower.

2. That's tricky. If you push your pace and you get injured, that pace might not be the right one for you. But, if you want to go for a certain faster pace, consider doing your faster runs on softer ground or running hills. Hills are great for building speed and strength and tend to be less punishing on your legs, as long as you take care on the downhill.

3. I like to run 5 times per week but for this half marathon I am trying to stick to 4 days. For me, right now, the extra days of rest are important. First, I'm coming off a year of pregnancy running so I need to rebuild. Second, I'm not getting as much sleep as I would like so my body would probably break down if I tried to run 5-6 times per week. If you are running 3-4 times a week and you are doing consistent, quality workouts, you should be able to see progress.

4. Good question! I've generally focused on shorter races ranging from the 5k to the 15k, with only one marathon. This half will be my first so I'm hoping to learn about my pacing during this training cycle. I hope others can jump in with some good advice here!

Thanks in advance for any answers you can share!

Hope everyone had a great weekend -- thanks for checking in!

~ Felice

And PS: A yogurt giveaway is over HERE

Thursday, January 27, 2011


So a few kind bloggers tagged me for the Stylish Blogger Award, including Tall Mom, 13point1miles, and (G)O'Donnell

Thanks, ladies!!

Here's the deal for accepting this award:
1. Make a post and link back to the person who tagged you with the award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award to 7 great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won!
OK, well then, let's have at it!

1. I used to live in the Big Apple (back in my 20s) and that's where I met my husband. We moved to upstate New York the year after we got married. Now we are total suburban dwellers, complete with two kids, a cat and a (gasp!) station wagon. 

Here's a little peek at that suburban life -- me trying to appear "together," Conal being all sweet, Niall deciding the time is right to be cranky, and our cat, Chili, wishing we'd all just leave him alone:

2. I make a mean noodle pudding.

3. My favorite color is green.

4. I ran a marathon back in 2004 and would like to run another some day. It would be awesome to clock in at under 4 hours while I'm at it.

5. I am training for a half marathon but my favorite race distance remains the 5k. 

6. In addition to being a full-time mom, I am also a freelance writer and editor. I mostly work on test-prep and career development projects, so it isn't the most exciting work but it is usually interesting. And I am always looking for new projects (hint, hint!). 

7. I've traveled outside the U.S. to England, Ireland, France, Spain, Canada, Bermuda, Aruba, Jamaica and Mexico. But I really don't like to fly and I have no idea when I'll get out of the country next. 

Random, random. 

And now I need to tag some people. I know many bloggers out there have already been tagged so forgive me if I'm a double-tagger. I've decided to tag some of the lovely ladies I run with (who actually have blogs). Click on the links on their names to head over to their blogs. You'll be happy you did!

Amanda @ Manderz Road to a New Life
Bridget @ Our Life, Our World, My Thoughts
Darlene @ My First 5K and More
Jen @ Jedimama
Suzy @ Running on My Time

Thanks for playing along!

~ Felice

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Half marathon training: Check-in #3.

Welcome to check-in #3!

(Have you signed up for the challenge? Read about it HERE. Past check-ins, participants list and other resources are on that page, too. If you signed up for the challenge and I have you listed incorrectly on the participants list, please let me know!)

Wow. What a week. It was tough -- really tough -- and I thank you all for your kind comments and emails. 

Since the week was full of those curveballs, I didn't get to run exactly according to plan. We traveled to Maryland and Virginia for my brother-in-law's wake and funeral and it meant that my running plans were shelved. But, I did get some good runs in, which helped.

Here's what I had planned to run / what I ran

Mon: 4 miles easy / Sorta: 3.25 miles
Tues: cross-train / Done! 
Wed: 5 miles easy / Sorta:  4 miles
Thurs: 4 miles easy /Sorta: 3.7 miles
Fri: rest / yup 
Sat: rest / yup 
Sun: 10.3 -- 15k race + warmup & cooldown / Sorta: Didn't race (it was too flippin' cold) but did run 9.3 miles on the treadmill, at a nice, slow, long run pace.

Total mileage: 23.3 / 20.25

Overall, it wasn't too bad, running-wise. I wasn't too pleased about having to run 9.3 miles on the 'mill but I got it done. Although, I did have to pop off about 5 miles into the run to quickly nurse my 3-month old. Not sure how I should count those 12 minutes . . . 

Here's this week's plan:

Mon: rest
Tues: 5 easy 
Wed: 5 miles w/3 @ tempo
Thurs: rest
Fri: 4 easy
Sat: rest
Sun: 10 miles @ long run pace
Total: 24

No problem. Today's run will most likely be on the treadmill, as will tomorrow's run. Friday? Who knows. Sunday's long run? I better be able to get outside!

How's your training going?

Do you have a question about half-marathon training or anything else running related? Leave a comment and I'll post your question this week so you can get feedback from others.

Have a great week, everyone!

~ Felice

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Life throws them at you, sometimes.

Today, my heart is full of sorrow, worry and, thank goodness, some joy.

Last week, my brother and sister-in-law had a baby. A beautiful, big, healthy baby boy. He's beautiful. And we're all so happy to welcome little Joseph to the world and our family. It's great seeing how happy they all are. It's the kind of good feeling I'd like to hold on to, especially in times like these . . .

Yesterday, my brother-in-law -- Owen's sister's husband -- died unexpectedly from a heart attack at age 51. He was in fine health and we'd seen him just over a week ago at my mother-in-law's 75th birthday party. He was a good man and his death is a terrible loss. My heart breaks for my sister-in-law, nieces, nephew and everyone else in the family.

And then today my other brother had an accident at home and seriously injured his eye. He was rushed to the hospital and tomorrow we should know the extent of the damage. He's just 23 and the ramifications of his eye injury could be with him for the rest of his life.

Right now, I'm wishing healing and a full recovery for my brother, peace in this time of sorrow for my sister-in-law and her kids, and a life that lives up to its promise for my new little nephew. Life is uncertain and at times unfair. But it is also wonderful and full of beauty.

I probably won't be around much in the next few days so I'll wish you all a happy weekend now. If you have any spare good thoughts, feel free to send them along. Just no more curveballs. At least not now.


~ Felice

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Half Marathon Challenge: Participants

OK, folks. Here's the list of the Happy Runner Half Marathon Challenge participants.

(Need more info on the challenge? Go to the intro post HERE. You can still sign up, if you are interested.)

There are three categories: Those of you running the 13.1 NYC --  with me :-), those of you running a half marathon (distance or race) all at once, and those of you running 13.1 miles over 2-3 days.  If I missed you or mis-categorized you, please let me know!

13.1 NYC racers!


Half marathoners!

The Turtle
Lauren @ merrymishaps
Sarah Richie
Jess @ Blonde Ponytail
H Love
MCM Mama
Cynthia O'H
Oz Runner
Liz Z
Jill @ Run for the Hills

Weekend milers!

Amy Lauren @ proudpatriot07
Jen F
massage momma

The challenge prizes will be category specific -- stayed tuned for that info!

~ Felice

Monday, January 17, 2011

Half marathon training: Check-in #2 and Help a Reader.

Welcome to check-in #2!

(Have you signed up for the challenge? Read about it HERE.)

The first week of training for the 13.1 NYC  -- run and done!

Here's what I had planned to run / what I ran

Mon: 4 miles easy / Done! 4.25 in 40:25
Tues: cross-train / Nope, didn't happen. I, um, ran instead. Oops! Just 2.75 miles. I couldn't resist . . . 
Wed: 5 miles w/3 @ tempo / Done!  Total of 5 with 3.1 @ 8:50 pace
Thurs: rest / Done!
Fri: 4 miles easy / Done! With lots and lots of interruptions but I got the mileage in
Sat: 8 miles @ long run pace / Moved it to Sunday 
Sun: rest / Long run done! 8.04 miles @ 9:03 pace

Total mileage: 21 / 24

Overall, I'm happy with my first week of training. I couldn't resist the extra run on Tuesday -- sometimes that happens, you know. Your legs just itch to run and you have to give in. You just have to. Or at least I have to!

My tempo run was a bit disappointing in that I wanted to run outside but the weather forced me in. My pace was slower than the 8:45 I had hoped to run but I'm more or less OK with that because I find it harder to run on the treadmill.

On the other hand, my long run was faster than I would have liked. I ran yesterday and I tried hard to keep my pace slow (my goal for the long runs is 10 min miles) but I kept speeding up at finished at a 9:03 pace. That's just a little bit slower than my goal pace for the half marathon so I need to work on containing myself as my runs get longer. Sure, part of me was happy that I finished the 8 feeling as great as I did -- I felt like I could have kept running but wisely stuck to the plan instead -- but I also know that running long runs too fast can backfire. And I don't want anything to do with that.

Which brings me to this week's plan:

Mon: 4 easy
Tues: cross-train 
Wed: 5 easy
Thurs: rest
Fri: 4 easy
Sat: rest
Sun: 10.3 -- 15k race + warmup/cooldown
Total: 23.3

I may change things up. I'm considering ditching the race in favor of working on slowing down my long run, 10 miles @ 10min/mi. If I do that, I may toss in an extra run -- maybe 3 miles or so -- with pick-ups of 30 seconds of every 2 minutes for 2 of those miles. Nothing taxing, just something to keep things fresh.

How is your training going?

Challenge housekeeping

The week got away from me. I had promised the list of participants and prizes for you all last week but it didn't happen. I could make all kinds of excuses -- I had a deadline! And my sister-in-law had her baby! -- but the truth is I just didn't get to it. So, getting those things going is on the agenda for this week.

What I do have for you though, is a chance to Help a Reader!

marsfire98 asks:

Hey there! I ran my first half at the end of 2009. I started running in early 2009, about 9 months after my first child was born. I had to stop running when pregnant with my second last year. My second child is now 2 months old, and I started running again last week. Any suggestions on how to ease back into running? I would love to do another half again and marathon.

Who has some advice? Please leave a comment with suggestions/tips/advice for how marsfire98 can ease back into running.

In the meantime, I'll share my words of wisdom (har, har . . . ).

I started running 2 weeks after my second son was born, but that worked because I had run through most of my pregnancy. It took me almost 4 weeks to start running after my first son was born because I didn't run through that pregnancy.

When I eased back after both boys, the thing that I found helpful was to sign up for a 5K. With my first son that 5K was 4 months after he was born. This time, it was 2. The timing is personal and doesn't matter all that much. The key is signing up, committing, and using that commitment to motivate you to get out the door and run.

Another tip: Take walk breaks during those early runs. Be flexible -- if you can't run one day, don't get down on yourself. If you hadn't planned to run but your schedule opens up, take advantage of the opportunity. With kids, especially those early weeks and months, you have to be flexible with your running routine. 

What other tips do you have for marsfire98? 

Hope you all had a good weekend -- thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

(A sneak peek. And, yeah, heed those words.)

~ Felice

Monday, January 10, 2011

Half marathon training: Check-in #1.

Welcome to check-in #1!

(Have you signed up for the challenge? Read about it HERE.)

It's Day 1 of half marathon training for this happy runner. 12 weeks to the 13.1 NYC. The schedule for this week looks like this:

Mon: 4 miles easy
Tues: cross-train
Wed: 5 miles w/3 @ tempo
Thurs: rest
Fri: 4 miles easy
Sat: 8 miles @ long run pace
Sun: rest

I can't tell you how excited I am for this training cycle. I haven't trained for a race in over a year and I've missed it. I hope that those of you who are training along with me are as excited as I am!

Challenge housekeeping

The sign-ups are coming in! I'm really pleased that so many of you are into the challenge! I'm going to post the participants later this week but that doesn't mean I'm going to close the sign-ups. You can sign-up any time between now and the weekend of the race. (Sign-up HERE.) The benefit to signing up early is COMMITMENT. So, consider doing it! And, remember, you don't have to run the full 13.1 miles all at once -- any time from Friday, 4/1 through Sunday, 4/3 works.

Later this week, I hope to post the preliminary list of goodies that I have for prizes. Yay!

Call for questions! Do you have a question about the 13.1 NYC, half marathon training or running in general? Leave a comment with your question and I'll post it later this week so you can get feedback and answers.

Last -- would you like weekly motivation via email? Leave me your address (or send it to me at felicehalf at yahoo dot com) and I'll put you on my Happy Runner Half Marathon Challenge e-mail list.

Hope you all had a good weekend -- thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy Runner Half Marathon Challenge!

Yesterday I wrote about my plans to run the 13.1 NYC marathon on April 2. I'm really looking forward to the training and the race, especially because several of my friends are also running it.

Because I think it will be such a fun time, but also because I know that training for 13.1 is a big deal, I'm looking for YOU to run the half-marathon with ME in the

Happy Runner Half Marathon Challenge!
(or HRHMC for short)

Now, don't worry, it doesn't have to be in person (although that would be great). We're all kinds of virtual in this here blogging world. And, you don't even have to run all 13.1 miles at once. If you're not up for training for the full 13.1, you can run the half marathon distance over the course of 2-3 days. The rules are very flexible :-)

All you have to do is commit. Commit to running (virtually or in person) a half-marathon (all at once or over 3 days) with the Happy Runner! If you do, you will be rewarded, I promise.

What's in it for you:
  • Weekly training updates -- each Monday I'll post an update of my plan and how I did with my training. I'll also give you updates on how the other runners are doing and you can share your updates too.
  • Forum for questions -- I'll put out a call for questions each week. You can comment with whatever questions you have and then I'll collect them and include them in a post for all readers to give their opinions. We'll all benefit from our collective running wisdom!
  • Motivation -- I'll share some motivational quotes and tips throughout the training period. Committing to the challenge will help you keep up with the running through the dreary days of winter.
  • Goodies -- People, there will be prizes. Fun, fun running prizes!
  • A discount -- If you would like to run the 13.1 NYC marathon with me, I have a discount code to share. Woo hoo!
Here are the specifics:
  • The Challenge starts Monday, January 10, 2011. This will give you 12 weeks to train for the full half, if that's what you'd like to do. (Here are some plans: Hal Higdon, Runner's World, Cool Running.)  
  • There are THREE options for running the half: 
    • Run the 13.1 marathon NYC and meet up with the Happy Runner, et al, on April 2, 2011.
    • OR run some other half marathon that weekend. 
    • OR run a total of 13.1 miles anytime from Friday, April1 through Sunday, April 3 (two 5m runs and a 5k, for example).
  • On Monday, April 4th, I'll post a race report and ask you to do the same and to leave a comment with your half marathon time.
  • I'll post a list of all the participants, your results and link to your race reports
  • I'll chose the lucky prize winners. I'll keep you all updated on the prizes as more come in.
To sign up:
  • Leave me a comment -- feel free to think about it for a bit; I'll post the first list of participants on 1/14.
  • If you plan to run the 13.1 NYC marathon as part of this challenge and would like the discount code, include your email address and I'll send it to you.
That's it! Feel free to share the challenge with others -- the more, the merrier!

I hope you'll join me! We'll have fun. I promise :-)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Registered and ready to go!

Dear Felice,
Congratulations! You are a confirmed registrant for the 13.1 New York City Marathon and 5K on Saturday, April 2, 2011.13.1 start: 9:13AM


That's right, all. I'm running the 13.1 NYC marathon!

Who, after all, can resist a race that boasts a John Travolta-esque silhouette in its logo? Not me, that's for sure! Stayin' alive . . . stayin' alive . . . 

This race looks like it will be super fun! The race tagline is "Where the party meets the pavement" and the description sounds pretty good:
Balmy New York weather and a great course provide the perfect spring time race for all runners. With great views in Flushing Meadows park, a disco dance bash at the finish line party, and the Karhu 5K, 13.1® New York is the premier running event for 2011! 
This could totally be me come April 2nd:

Yeah! Get down, get down . . . 

But first, I need to get training! Training starts on Monday. I have a 12 week plan that I put together based on a few different plans that I tweaked and re-tweaked. It factors in my lifestyle as it is right now -- my age, my lack of sleep, all that.

If you're interested, this is what I've come up with:

(click on it to make it larger)

I'm mostly satisfied with the plan, although I know I'm going to have to fight the urge to add in a fifth running day. We'll see how that works out.

In the meantime, I promised you a challenge, did I not? And that challenge has a little something to do with this race :-) I'll post the details tomorrow . . . get ready!

~ Felice

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 goals

Like most of you, I'm not big on making resolutions, choosing instead to set goals for the year. This year, I feel in some ways more certain of my situation (I know that I have a baby and a preschooler and there are no plans to add any other kids to this family, unlike last year) but in other ways I am less certain (how will I handle heavier training while nursing and not getting full nights of sleep?).

Well, nothing in life is truly certain so I've set my goals expecting for the best! Here's what I hope to accomplish in 2011:

  • Run a half-marathon -- this one should be easy considering I'm planning to run a half in April. Now I just need to train . . . 
  • Look into becoming an RRCA certified coach and perhaps start the process this year -- depending on timing and location of the courses, I'd really like to do this. I loved training the moms to run their first 5k last spring and think I could make a decent running coach. 
  • Run masters strong -- to me this means training efficiently and intelligently, being smart about rest but also making sure that my hard runs are hard. There is no reason I can't set some PRs as a 40-year old and I will be going after them this year!
  • Beat my 2010 Freihofer's Run for Women time at this year's race -- shouldn't be too hard considering I was almost 6 months pregnant when I ran it last year in 27:11! 
  • Run these key races
    1. Winter Marathon Relay in February
    2. 13.1 marathon in April
    3. Mother's Day 3.5-miler in May
    4. Freihofer's Run for Women 5K in June
    5. Indian Ladder trail run in July
    6. EDITED TO ADD: Warrior Dash in August (thanks, Bridget!)
    7. Race for the Cure 5k in October
    8. Stockade-athon 15k in November
  • Run 1000+ miles -- I just want to. 
  • Keep up with run-improving strength training -- I have a series of leg exercises that, when I do them regularly, improve my form and help me avoid injuries. I want to do them regularly all year and add in upper body work, too.
That's it! My goals for 2011. If I can accomplish all of these I will consider the year a success. I think I can, I think I can . . .

Happy Monday, everyone. Enjoy the first week of 2011!

~ Felice

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