Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ignoring and motivating.

Yeah, so, when you decide -- 10 days out -- to talk about how great the weather forecast for race day is, well, you tend to jinx yourself. Or at least I do.

Because it seems that's what has happened here, folks. I've been jinxed.

Not so much for race day, because the forecast is still decent for that (high of 50 and cloudy). But tomorrow? My travel day? Yeah, doesn't look so good. In fact, the forecast is for, oh, just 6-12 inches of snow. Or more. And maybe some freezing rain. Why not?

Right now, I'm ignoring the weather. Hoping it is all a big joke. April Fools!

I'm also still ignoring my knee pain and pretending that the extra stretching, rolling and tennis ball massaging that I am doing is just part of my race day build-up.

In more productive fashion, I'm getting revved up! And I thought I would share some motivation with all of you, whether you are running in the Happy Runner Half Marathon Challenge or just running on your own this weekend. So, here you go:

"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."
- Doug Larson

"Dream barriers look very high until someone climbs them. They are not barriers anymore."
- Lasse Viren

"Sport is not about being wrapped up in cotton wool. Sport as about adapting to the unexpected and being able to modify plans at the last minute. 
Sport, like all life, is about taking risks."
- Sir Roger Bannister

"The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. 
You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. 
It is the will to succeed."
- - Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ

Run on!

~ Felice

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Half Marathon Challenge: It's race week!

It's the FINAL COUNTDOWN to the half marathon, which means it's the FINAL COUNTDOWN to the Happy Runner Half Marathon Challenge!

And, yes, I do have this song playing in my head now that I've typed "final countdown."

The rules for the challenge are listed HERE. Everyone who signed up is listed HERE. If you are signed up and you no longer plan to participate, or I have you in the wrong category, or you aren't listed and you should be, PLEASE LET ME KNOW with a comment here. Thanks!

As much as I can't wait to run the race, I can't wait to read your race reports. When I'm running on Saturday, I'll be thinking of everyone else who is either running 13.1 that day or over the course of three days.

My training for the half is done. I have two more runs on the schedule but they are just maintenance runs; the hard work is over. I ran an easy 7-miler on Saturday and was happy that my comfortable pace for the distance was 8:45. I hope I can hold that -- or faster -- for 13.1 on Saturday! I'll be posting my goals later this week.

How has your training gone? Are you excited to run this weekend? Do you have nice weather in your forecast for Saturday? Send some to Queens, if you do -- I don't want any snow or ran for the race!

The race is in five days. Five days! Exciting . . .

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by :-)

~ Felice

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ten days!

The 13.1 NYC half marathon is in 10 days!

This means that I will pretty much have up on my computer all the time. And, yes, I will obsessively refresh the forecast. Right now, we're looking at partly sunny with a high of 56. I'll take it. Just don't rain on me and I'll be happy!

Ten days also means that after my peak mileage week last week, I am now right smack into my taper and all the madness that goes with it. Every twinge and soreness looms large but I'm forcing my mind to win out over the wimpy whining of my knees, hamstring, calves and whatever other body part decides it wants a little attention.

Speaking of which, I did have to give my knee a little break this week with two days off. It was feeling sore -- not injured, just sore. The days off did the trick because it's fine now, even after some short but solid speedwork last night. Phew!

Now don't think I haven't put two and two together and blamed my sore knee on the fact that my running shoes have 400+ miles on them. I have. Multiple times. It's just that there's nothing I can do at this point. I have checked, re-checked and then checked again and my Somnios are still not in stock. I've facebooked Somnio. I've emailed with a company rep. There's some sort of back up with the manufacturing or something. I don't know. All I know for sure is that I will not have new shoes for the race. Instead, I will be running in the same shoes that have carried me so many miles since giving birth in October to running the half marathon in a mere 10 days.

There's bound to be some good karma in those shoes.

So I take back the blame. It's not the shoes. The shoes have been incredibly good to me. I love them. Probably a little too much. I just wish that maybe they didn't have quite so many miles on them. But they do. And in 10 days they'll have about 40 more, including the 13.1 from my first half marathon.

Before I sign off and go obsess about the weather, my race day outfit, the pros and cons of carrying my gatorade, etc., etc., let me ask you this:

How do you get through the last 10 days before a big race? 
What's your secret to managing taper madness?

~ Felice

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I get you, Kara Goucher.

I read this today:

I just really mentally decided I'm not trying to run the Boston Marathon and be the best woman with a six-month-old baby, I'm trying to be the best woman period, so I have to stop giving myself that out. Just do it.

It's Kara Goucher in RW, talking about her training for next month's Boston Marathon (she ran an awesome 1:09:03 at the NYC half on Sunday). 

I totally get what she's saying. 

My half marathon is in less than two weeks and while a) it isn't the Boston Marathon and b) I am not gunning "to be the best woman period" in the race, what Kara expressed applies to me. When I first returned to running two weeks after having my son, I gave myself a lot of outs. When I ran my first race, I kinda had the attitude of being the best woman with a two-month-old baby. I don't think I ever verbalized it but that's where I was.

A month after that race I started training for the half. I brought that attitude with me into training. I'm doing great for having a three-month-old baby. I'm kicking butt on no sleep! I should probably run a little slower, considering I just had a baby. Shouldn't I take it easy since I have a four-month-old baby?

Having a baby gives you tons of built-in excuses. 

Fortunately, like Kara, I determined that I don't need them. Yeah, my son will be just under six-months-old when I race the half marathon on April 2nd. Yes, I trained during a period when he was (and still is) nursing around the clock and only occasionally lets me have a decent night's sleep.

So what?

So, does that mean I can't train hard? Does that mean I can't strive to run a fast race?

No, no it doesn't.

For the past month or so my training has reflected my change of attitude. I am not going into the half marathon thinking I want to run a strong race for a woman with a six-month-old baby. I want to run a strong race period

This will be my first half marathon so I'm guaranteed a PR. And that's nice. But what I really want is a kick-butt time. I really want to finish in the low 1:50s. That's my Plan A and I'm all about living your Plan A

There are a million excuses out there, if you want them. I don't. I'm with Kara: Just do it. Isn't that some kind of slogan?

~ Felice

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The confidence booster.

Today I had 11 miles on my original training plan but for the past 3-4 weeks I've been modifying the plan based on where I am now, compared with where I was when I started training. I felt the need, desire and ability to run another 13 miler so that's what I ran. And, I decided to stick in 4 miles at race pace in the middle and to try to finish with a fast last mile.

When I was getting ready to run, though, Mother Nature decided she was not going to go easy on me today. It was cool, very windy and there was something falling from the sky. Not quite snow, not really rain -- pellets of ice? Sleet? Hail? Whatever it was it was annoying and I didn't want to run in it.

But it stopped so I finished getting ready and after putting the baby down for a nap I headed out the door to start my 13 miles. And it started to sleet/hail again. For just the first five or so minutes of my run but still.

Anyway, I wasn't about to turn around (even though with the wind I was a little tempted) so I ran on. Here's a look at my 13 miles.

I ran the first 5 miles nice and easy, without looking at my Garmin, just running by feel:

Mile 1: 10:33
Mile 2: 9:29
Mile 3: 9:21
Mile 4: 9:18
Mile 5: 9:35

My plan was then to pick up the pace to run at my goal race pace of 8:30 for 4 miles:

Mile 6: 8:17
Mile 7: 8:28
Mile 8: 8:57
Mile 9: 8:27

Then I wanted to slow back down to an easy pace for the next 3 miles:

Mile 10: 9:23
Mile 11: 9:46
Mile 12: 9:27

And finish (somewhat) strong:

Mile 13: 8:50

Total: 1:59:22

I am super pleased with how this run went. I missed my goal race pace by 2 seconds (wanted 8:30, ran 8:32 overall pace) but I'll take it because this was a hard run. I don't know if my mile repeats from earlier in the week caught up to me or if it was the whipping wind that I faced during most of the run but, man, this was a tough one! It took a while for my legs to feel loose and once they did it was just about time to speed up.

Oddly, my race pace miles were the best miles of the whole run. I wanted to keep going but knew that I shouldn't. My plan was not to race this training run, just give myself a feel of the pace. A confidence-booster, if you will.

Now there are two weeks to race day. I feel so completely ready for this race! I'm going to be nervous on race day, for sure. But I know I can go the distance and I know I can push it. What remains to be seen is how hard.

I'm off to enjoy the rest of the weekend. Hope you all have a great one!

~ Felice

Thursday, March 17, 2011


My little lads are wishing you a . . . 

Enjoy the day!

~ Felice

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A year.

Leave it to me to be reminded of an anniversary and then promptly forget to do anything about it.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my runners' first run! That's right: March 14, 2010 was the first group run, the day the 5k training began.

First group run -- March 14, 2010 -- new runners and some bloggy buddies!

What a difference a year makes.

A year ago I think the new runners all thought I was nuts and that there was no way they were going to really run a full 5k. Who was I kidding?

Apparently, I was not kidding them because I am happy to report they are still running. Those moms who started out skeptical became super strong running mamas. One year later, still running. And, if you'll indulge me, I'll share with you what they are all up to.

Janis (originally profiled HERE) ran a 31:09 in that first 5k and has gone on to run three more 5ks, two 10ks and she ran the 9.2 mile leg in the Winter Marathon Relay last month. She has a 27:50 5k PR and a 1:01:44 10k PR. Speedy times! Just as impressive, though, is that she is currently training for the 13.1 NYC half marathon in April. Janis is going to rock that race!

Bridget (profiled HERE) has shown remarkable dedication to her running. She posted a 32:47 in her first 5k and has since run five more 5ks, two 10ks, a 3.5-miler and the 5.7 mile leg of the relay with Janis. Bridget has a 5k PR of 28:46, a 10k PR of 1:04:17 and she is also training for the 13.1 NYC half marathon. I know it will be an impressive debut!

Jen M (profiled HERE) rocks one of my favorite mantras: Run your own race. That's what she does. Jen wanted to break 30 minutes in the 5k (after running a 33:18 in her first one) so she set out to do it. And do it she did. In December, she ran 29:40 after a few months of solid, diligent training. I can't wait to see how she does in her 2011 races!

Jen F (profiled HERE) crossed the line of her first 5k in 35:29 and has lowered her PR to 31:19. She ran a total of three 5ks in 2010 and a 10k. Now, she's looking to have a strong showing in this year's Freihofer's Run for Women, which was her first 5k last year. I have no doubt that she will do it!

Lisa trained for the 5k last year while also chasing after her very active toddler twins. She cruised over the finish line in 38:02 and then went and got pregnant with her third child! She'll be back, lacing up those running shoes after having her new baby, I just know it. And we'll all be ready to run with her!

The running group after the Freihofer's Run for Women.
Bridget is kneeling on the left.
Jen M., Janis, Jen F., and Lisa are standing to my right.
Cheers to the no-longer-new runners! You've more than earned your moniker, ladies:

Strong Running Mama. No doubt.
Keep on running!

~ Felice

Friday, March 11, 2011

Five things Friday.

Thank whatever that it is Friday.

1. Owen and I are going out to dinner and then to see Lion King tomorrow night with some good friends. This will be our first night out since the baby was born 5 months ago! Needless to say, I cannot wait! My parents are coming over to watch the boys so everything should be fine on the home-front. Yes, I'm nervous about how Niall will do (he only recently started taking a bottle without putting up an enormous fight) but I'm going to expect that it will all be good. Hope so!

2. I have an easy 4-5 miles on the schedule for tonight and 9-10 on Sunday. The weather is going to be good for running; partly cloudy with highs in the 40s. I can practically feel spring popping up!

3. DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!! Oh, man. DST rocks for runners like me. Running after Owen gets home from work will become all kinds of easier with daylight savings time. Yay!

4. I'm troubled by my running shoe situation. I fell in love -- head over heels -- with my Somnio shoes after reviewing them last year. I wore them and my Brooks while I was pregnant but since giving birth I've had a hard time with the Brooks. So, I switched to the Somnios completely and couldn't be happier.

The only problem is that my shoes now have over 350 miles on them and they are out of stock. Because they are semi-custom I can't just pop to my local running goods store and pick up a pair (plus my local store doesn't sell them -- but they should!). I have to order the shoes and wait for them to be delivered. The company expects that they'll be in stock in about a week. So, if that happens there is a chance I could get my shoes a week before the race. But there's always a chance that they won't be in stock or delivery will take longer and I'll end up wearing old shoes. Just another thing to obsess and stress over . . .

5.  I'm giving away compression socks. Here. What are you waiting for?

Have a great weekend, everyone. Good luck to all the racers!

~ Felice

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

(Awesome shirt from my pal and fellow running mama, Jen.) 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Doubling up and giving away.

Yesterday was one of those nutty days and for one reason (who happens to be 5 months old) or another (who happens to be 3 years and 9 months old) I couldn't squeeze in my planned run when I wanted to. And when I finally did, I had to stop after 2.25 miles (see reason #1).


Two and a quarter miles? That's hardly a run!

So what did I do? Well, stayed in my running gear, for starters. Then I nursed the bambino, made dinner, ate dinner, cleaned up, nursed the bambino again, put him to bed, put the preschooler to bed and then . . . hopped on the treadmill for a few more miles. I couldn't let the original run stand at just 2.25 when I had 7 on the schedule.

All together I managed to get in 5.7 miles. Not really the 7 I was hoping for but close enough in this world.

Today, I rest.

And share with you the word of my exciting new giveaway! Compression socks! You know you want 'em . . . Go, go, go!

Since we're on the topic of giveaways, here's my deal. I don't post any giveaways or reviews on this site. Instead, all of my giveaways, reviews, and information on good deals are posted on my companion site, Happy Runner Reviews. Almost all of the giveaways, etc., on that site are running related, but I do post some that are just items that would appeal to parents, who may or may not be runners. For example, I recently reviewed the Medela Breastmilk Labeling and Storage System.

I generally have about one giveaway a week over there (like the compression socks one going on now; the Rokit Fuel (yum!) giveaway just ended yesterday) so if you are interested in giveaways, reviews, deals, be sure to check Happy Runner Reviews often, or become a follower.

And on that note, I'm off. To not run.

Have a great day!

~ Felice

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rockin' 13.

Here's the thing: 13 hilly, outdoor miles are way easier than 12.5 on the treadmill.  Go figure . . . 

And, 13 miles that seem to fly by are even easier.

So, yeah. I had 13 pretty easy miles on Saturday. It was one of those runs that I would like to bottle. Can you do that? Bottle up a good run? Hmmm . . . maybe I'll work on that.

Anyway, I had 9 on the schedule for Saturday but I decided to run 13 because next Saturday, when my plan called for 13, I'm going to be too busy with life.

Aside from some very strong wind, the weather was perfect for a run -- mid-40s. I headed out right after nursing and putting my baby down for his morning nap. My goal was to run easy but strong, just going by feel. Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 10:00
Mile 2: 9:19
Mile 3: 8:54
Mile 4: 8:59
Mile 5: 9:20
Mile 6: 9:18
Mile 7: 9:02 (just before 7 miles I looked at my Garmin and was shocked that I was already halfway done with my run)
Mile 8: 9:46
Mile 9: 9:31
Mile 10: 9:36
Mile 11: 9:10
Mile 12: 9:32 (when I looked at my Garmin right after 12 miles I was disappointed that this run was so close to be over)
Mile 13: 9:07

Total: 2:01:33 / 9:22 min/mile

I could have gone faster. I could have gone farther. I could have pushed.

But I didn't. I just ran comfortably and it felt terrific! What a nice way to start a Saturday :-)

Like the mile repeats I've been doing, this is a run that I will call upon if I end up hitting a rough patch in my half marathon. I know I can go the distance. The question is how well.  The next four weeks will show me.

I feel like I should knock on wood -- repeatedly -- after writing this post. No jinxing, no jinxing!

On Sunday, I had to hit the treadmill for a quick little recovery run, which was just that. My legs feel good. I can tell I ran long (did I mention this was my longest run in, oh, about 7 years?) but that's it. No aches, no pains. All good.

A rockin' 13.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

~ Felice

Friday, March 4, 2011

Flexible Friday

It's all about flexibility today.

I have one son with an ear infection and the other son with a lingering cold and a mystery rash  .  .  .  they woke me up all night  .  .  .  I think I got about 3 hours of sleep total  .  .  .  I have 9 miles on the schedule for tomorrow but I'm going to swap it with next Saturday's scheduled 13-miler so my son can go to a birthday party he's been invited to  .  .  .  but it's supposed to rain tomorrow  .  .  .  and  there's the whole issue of the  no sleep thing  .  .  .  so I'll just have to head out early and get it done  .  .  .  the boys' illnesses have already caused me to miss two social events (and I really don't get out that much!) and it looks like I'll miss another tonight  .  .  .  but they need extra cuddle time  .  .  .  so what's a mom to do?

Stay at home. Take care of the boys. Hope they feel better (and hope I can get that run in tomorrow!).

Oh, and register for a few races. Sounds about right: When things are looking sketchy, sign up for a race. Or two. Or -- what the heck? -- three!

What's on your schedule for the weekend? Whatever it is, I hope it's a good one!

~ Felice

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Three things Thursday.

1. That 3 x 1mile at 5K pace is a killer workout for me but that's just what I ran last night. After the kids went to bed. Which meant I was already pretty tired. But I did it! And my legs feel tired yet OK today.

2. If you haven't checked out my Rokit Fuel giveaway yet, please do. The stuff is delicious!

3. One of the moms from Conal's preschool class sent some photos from his recent Pajama Day party. Yes, they do those things in preschool. Conal was pretty excited -- he got to wear his Thomas the Tank Engine jammies, which he loves. But, from the look of things, he didn't carry that excitement with him to school:

A little bored, Kid?

And, yes. I know. Those fireman boots totally don't go with the Thomas jammies. But whaddya gonna do?

Have a good day, everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

~ Felice

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Half marathon training: Check-in #7.

Welcome to check-in #7!

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

Oops! I missed last week so it looks like I'm going to have to double-up and give you week 6 and 7 at once. Fortunately, both were decent weeks, running wise. Otherwise? Well, there were some issues but we won't dwell on them.

What I planned to run / what I ran:

Week 6

Mon: 6 miles easy / Nope. Had to squeeze in the run and only made 4.6 miles.
Tues: rest / Done!
Wed: 4 @ tempo / Done! Ran 5 @ tempo and felt great.
Thurs: rest / Done! 
Fri4 miles easy / Nope. Turned into a rest day . . . darn kids! Ha!
Sat: rest / Done!
Sun: marathon relay / Done! Had a great race (wrote about it HERE)!

Total miles: 19.4 

Week 7 

Mon: rest / Nope. Went for a recovery run: 4.15 nice-n-easy miles
Tues: 5 miles easy / Nope.  
Opted for rest since I skipped my rest on Monday. 
Wed: speed: 3 x 1m @ 5k pace / Nope. Body needed to skip the speedwork. Ran 4.2 easy instead.
Thurs: 4 miles easy  / Nope.  Went for rest.
Fri: rest / Nope.  Ran 3.25 easy.
Sat: 12 mile long run /  Nope.  Sick baby. Couldn't run.
Sun: rest /  Nope.  Baby was still sick, but somewhat better. Ran 12.5 miles on the treadmill. Yikes!

Total miles: 24.1

As you can see, flexibility is the name of the game for me. Although I missed some runs and had to shorten others, I'm still pleased with my training so far.

And that's good because . . . there is just ONE MONTH until race day! Yup -- 13.1 miles in Queens in one month. Can. Not. Wait.

How's your training going?

Happy Wednesday!

~ Felice

PS: There is a ROKIT FUEL giveaway on my other site. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Alpha, beta . . . and a February recap.

February was an OK running month. I had to skip or shorten a few runs but that's pretty much par for the course when you have a baby and a preschooler. I tackled some tough runs and extended my long run to 12.5 miles. I also ran a strong 9.2-mile leg at the Winter Marathon Relay. So, overall, a decent month. Here's what it looked like:

February stats:

Running (miles): 84.3
Cross-training (sessions): 2

The mileage was lower than planned but it will be back up this month! I'm ready for some nicer weather and evening runs when it is still light out.

*     *     *

I've seen this "ABCs of me" thing going around the blogosphere so I had to jump on the bandwagon and do one. Here goes.

ABCs of me:

  • (A) Age: 40
  • (B) Bed Size: Queen
  • (C) Chore You Really Dislike: Hard to choose just one . . . let's go with mopping. 
  • (D) Dogs? No, no, nope.
  • (E) Essential Start Your Day: Coffee (see T)
  • (F) Favorite Color: Green
  • (G) Gold or Silver? Platinum
  • (H) Height: 5'6"
  • (I) Instruments You Play: Back in the day, I dorked-out on the clarinet and also played the piano.
  • (J) Job Title: Most days it is Mom. When I'm lucky and have some paying work it is freelance writer.
  • (K) Kids: Two boys, one 3.5 years and the other almost 5 months.
  • (L) Live: Upstate New York
  • (M) Mom's Name: Cheryl
  • (N) Nicknames: Mom
  • (O) Overnight Hospital Stays? Yup. One stay when each boy was born and one stay when Conal had croup last spring.
  • (P) Pet Peeve: Gum smacking. Totally creeps me out.
  • (Q) Quote from a Movie: "I can remember lots of things" or "Everyone in this family has gone total outer limits" or really anything else from  Sixteen Candles. 
  • (R) Right or Left Handed? Right.
  • (S) Siblings: Two younger brothers and one younger sister.
  • (T) Time You Wake Up? All through the night. 
  • (U) Underwear: Yes, please.
  • (V) Vegetable You Dislike: I like most of them but I'm not a big fan of turnips.
  • (W) What Makes You Run Late: My boys.
  • (X) X-Rays: Foot, teeth, knee.
  • (Y) Yummy Food You Make: Peanut butter and caramel cheesecake. 
  • (Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Tiger

March on, peeps!

~ Felice

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...