Thursday, June 28, 2012

Don't wish it away.

Last week, my 5 year old graduated from pre-school.

During the ceremony.

That's me with my little guy after the graduation.

And there's the graduate with his dad.

He seems so old. And, yet, still so young (this is a kid who still asks to watch Blue's Clues after all). I can't believe he'll be off to kindergarten in the fall. It doesn't seem possible.

Parenting really is like that saying: The days are long but the years are short

The years certainly are short. And those long days? I believe they are meant to be enjoyed. A friend sent me an email the other day and in it she wrote, "It really is lovely to see how you enjoy your family." It touched my heart -- such a kind thing to say. And so true. I do enjoy them. I truly love spending my days with my family and that is a great feeling. 

Yet, there have been times when I've gotten caught up in the trap of wishing it all away. I hear others talking about how they can't wait for their kids to go off to kindergarten, or they can't wait for camp to start, or they can't wait for this milestone or that. And, truth be told, I've often covered my discomfort in those conversations by nodding my head or giving a "Yeah, I know."

But I don't. I don't know. I can wait for kindergarten. No, I don't want to keep my kids home forever but, honestly, I'll miss my little guy when he goes off to school for 7 hours. It is not popular, but I wish our school district had half-day kindergarten. We don't. So, he'll be off to kindergarten. He'll get older and older. 

And me? I don't plan to wish any of it away. I plan to continue to enjoy these days. I plan to make the most of all the moments we have together.

Source: via Felice on Pinterest

So, now, I'm off to enjoy my days of miracle and wonder with my two little boys!

Enjoy the day, everyone!

Thanks for stopping by.

~ Felice 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Get out the vote!

So, last week I told you all about the Coca-Cola Live Positively America Is Your Park campaign.

I sure hope so! Remember, the voting period only runs through July 15, 2012. This program could result in your favorite park winning thousands of dollars. When I think of all the good a park could do with $100,000, I hop over to the web site (HERE!) and vote.

Because, honestly, I love parks -- and so do my kids and husband. We'll go for hikes, plan day trips and sometimes go camping. OK, full disclosure: I don't go camping. But my husband and son do, like last year when they enjoyed a little camping at Cherry Plain State Park, about a half hour from our house:

So, yeah. I'm all about the America Is Your Park campaign. 

What about the awesome park I'm voting for? (Schodack Island State Park, if you've forgotten.) It is racking up the votes! Right now, I'm ready to ratchet things up to campaign for my park, and you're invited to do the same.

See, community action is the name of the game. The park that won the title of "America's Favorite Park" last year had tons of community support. Fans of Oak Park in Minot, ND (the park that won) organized events in the park, got busy online spreading the word about the campaign and voted, voted and voted again.

You can support your favorite park by getting others involved:
  • Visit the America Is Your Park campaign website and VOTE between now and July 15, 2012. After you vote, you'll see a link to share your action on Facebook. Do it! The more people who know, the more people who can vote.
  • Speaking of Facebook, why not set up a page to support your favorite park? Invite your friends. And, heck, your frenemies too! Let them help you support your park.
  • Check out the "Campaign for your park" link on the America Is Your Park site. It has lots of information and tips for supporting your park.
  • Go to your park! But don't just park there. Run! Or bike, or stroll, or whatever you want to do. A busy park is a happy park. :-)
  • Do you do those check-ins on Foursquare? Each check-in earns your favorite park 100 votes, so go for it! I might even be tempted to figure this Foursquare thing out...
  • Tweet about it! Email about it! Get up, walk over to your neighbor's house and chat about it! 
Basically: Spread the word. For your park's sake.

If you've voted, take a minute to let me -- and others -- know which park you voted for!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and D.C.) who are at least 13 years old and reside within the U.S. at the time of participation are eligible to vote for a Park. Participate on behalf of a Park by: July 15, 2012. The 3 most popular Parks will be offered a grant and there will be 1 Wild Card drawing at the end of the Contest to award an additional grant.  To participate, for Official Rules, and complete details including grant descriptions, visit Void where prohibited.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Marathon tips Monday: Melissa.

After a one week break, I'm back with Marathon tips Monday!

Today's tips come from one of my training partners for the New Jersey Marathon, Melissa. Melissa inspires me with her ability to run fast while pushing her 2.5 year-old daughter, Mia, in the jogging stroller. I can barely break 10 minute miles while pushing my son in that thing, but Melissa? Well, she puts me to shame. She's speedy -- in fact, she recently ran a 34-minute 4-mile race while pushing her daughter! 

Melissa crossing the finish line of her second marathon in the month of May, alongside her daughter, Mia.

Not only does this 33-year-old mother-of-one (and wife of Joe, who also runs) run fast while pushing her daughter in the stroller, she knows a thing or two about marathons. So, let's check out today's tips from Melissa:

How many marathons have you run?

6 attempted, 5 completed (2 in the month of May!)

Two marathons in one month . . . I'm always amazed when I think about that! What was your favorite marathon?

New York City, it’s like one big party the whole way. The crowds are amazing.

And what is your marathon PR?


What is your favorite part of marathon training?

The long runs. During my last training cycle I did my long runs with a group of amazing women (including the Happy Runner). In the past I have done my long runs by myself for the most part and always dreaded them. This time I found myself looking forward to them every week.

I felt the same way! Loved the long runs this spring. So, what is your least favorite part of training?

Probably trying to balance training with the rest of life, but I love it so with the support of my wonderful family I am able to do it.

How long do you typically train for a marathon?

I have always followed 16-18 week training plans and I run 5 days a week.

What advice would you give to runners setting out to train for their first marathon?

Ha ha!! I have a lot of good advice that I should learn to follow.

Don’t start out too fast and run your own race. I went into the New Jersey Marathon with the goal of breaking 4 hours and I knew exactly what pace I needed to maintain to get there, I even made a pace band. Instead I let myself get caught up in the race day excitement and took off like a maniac. I ran the first half with a pace 30 seconds per mile faster than I should have. I felt great and was mentally thinking how I was not only going to break 4 hours I was going to crush it. Then at around mile 16 I started falling apart. I hadn’t trained to run a marathon that fast, I should have stuck to my plan. I ended up with a 10 minute PR at 4:23:59 but I was disappointed because I knew I could have done better if I stuck with my plan. I’m still extremely proud of that race and I learned a lot from it.

What race are you training for now?

My next race is the Utica Boilermaker a 15K on July 8th. I feel like I am in good shape from just coming off a marathon training cycle so I am going to focus the next few weeks on recovery and maintaining that. After that I will be running the Hudson Mohawk Marathon in October and finally getting that sub 4 hour marathon!

I bet you'll get that sub-4 in October, for sure! Aside from running a sub-4 marathon, do you have a "dream marathon" on your list that you'd love to run some day?

There are several marathons on my dream list. One is the Big Sur Marathon in Big Sur, CA, I have seen photos of this race and it’s a beautiful course. The views are spectacular. I hope to run it in the next few years. Another one on my list is the San Diego Marathon. I had just signed up for it in 2009 and begun the first few weeks of training when I found out I was pregnant with Mia. I decided not to run it since I didn’t know how my body would handle pregnancy and running let alone attempting a marathon, plus I didn’t want to spend the money on travel across country for a race I most likely could not put my all into. I would also like to participate in a Run Disney race, either the Walt Disney World Marathon or the Disney Princess Half. They look like such fun races!

*     *     *

Awesome, Melissa! That was wise to beg off the San Diego Marathon to see how your body would handle running while pregnant. I hope you get to run San Diego someday! And, thanks for sharing your marathon advice.

You can read more from Melissa at her blog:
Or, if you have any questions you'd like to ask Melissa about her marathon experience, leave a comment and I'll pass them along!

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

PS: If you would like to be featured on Marathon Tips Monday, send me an email at felicehalf at yahoo dot com.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ZOOMA announcement!

Things are a-happening over here in Happy Runnerville. Lots of good stuff!

And one of those things has some relevance for you so let me get right to it: I've been invited to be an ambassador for the new ZOOMA Cape Cod half marathon and 10K this September.

I'm super excited to be part of this race. The ZOOMA series' mission is to "inspire women to live healthy and active lives." Sounds right up my alley, huh? Yup!

So what does this all mean? Well, for starters, I'll be running the ZOOMA half marathon on September 22nd in Cape Cod. Before that, I'll be working to spread the word about the race, and writing about it here and on the ZOOMA site.

Step 1 in spreading the word is to let you know two things:

1. Cape Cod registration is open NOW! The current price is good through June 22nd but increases by $10 after that. So, if you are interested, save yourself $10 and register now!

2. But before you do that, grab my discount code! If you use my code: CCAMB5 you can save $10 on the half marathon registration or $5 on the 10K registration.

You can read all about the race on the web site HERE.

I would love to hear from anyone who is planning to run either the half marathon or the 10K ~ leave me a comment and let me know! 
Or, if you've run one of the other races in the series, let me know what you thought about it!

~ Felice

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mental running lessons.

This weekend, I re-learned a running lesson.

I had a long run set up with my friend, Rebecca. Because of timing, we had to meet at 8:30 and needed to be done 10. My schedule called for 10 miles on Saturday but, as we were figuring out the plan to meet for the run, I decided to scratch that. Sure, I wanted to run 10 but that meant we'd have to hit the path right at 8:30 and run 9 minute miles the whole 10 miles.

I didn't think that would happen.

And then Rebecca wrote that she wanted to run 10 -- or maybe even 11 -- miles at an 8:30/9:00 min/mile pace.


Stop sand-bagging, Happy Runner. You can so easily run at that pace. Didn't you run a half marathon at 8:15 pace and an entire marathon at 9:00 pace? So, 10 miles at 9 min/mile? You can totally do that.

Yes, I could.

So I agreed to meet Rebecca and we'd bang out 10 miles at an 8:45-ish pace.

And that's almost what we did.

Rebecca was delayed getting to our meeting spot (darn one way streets!) so we didn't get to start right at 8:30. Since we got off a little late, we decided to run 9 miles. We settled immediately into an 8:45 pace and kept it going as we chatted and chatted for the first 4+ miles. We turned around at 4.5 miles and continued to run strong. About 7 or so miles into our run, Rebecca needed to make a pit stop. She told me to keep going (because she knew I needed to be back at my car by 10) so I did.

Here's the thing: I started our run feeling cruddy. My breathing was crap and I couldn't get into a good rhythm for the longest time. The whole first 4 miles, I wanted to stop. If I hadn't been running with Rebecca, I would've slowed down or maybe even cut the run short.

And then, after 7 miles at a good clip, I had to finish the run alone.

Photo from my friend, Amanda. Lonely stretch of road --
that's what the last two miles of Saturday's run felt like in my mind.

For a second, I felt my body slow. Just take it easy. Slow down. Why do you want to run so fast, anyway? 

For a second, I entertained those thoughts. And then I silenced them.

So what if I was now running alone? I can push myself. I am a strong runner. This run would make me an even stronger runner.

I reminded myself that I have run much faster than this for much longer. Then I reminded myself that discomfort in training runs leads to better races. I focused on my breathing  -- in, in, out, out, in, in, out, out -- and on how strong I was truly feeling (brain fatigue aside). I did a posture check.

I picked the pace back up and told myself there was no way I was finishing this strong run with two weak miles.

I finished with 9.05 miles at 8:43 pace.

And felt great!

Now, what of that running lesson that I re-learned?

The lesson I re-learned is that running is one heck of a mental activity. Your legs might be propelling you forward but if your brain isn't thinking the right thoughts, you aren't going to go as far or as fast as you'd like.

Your brain is in control. And, sometimes, it is going to want to stop.

I am working on getting my brain in the game.

Saturday was a success. I overruled the part of my brain that didn't want to run at the 8:45 pace and then I overruled the part that wanted to slow down 7 miles in to the run. I ended up with a great run. I've done it before, I will do it again. It is a running lesson to learn over and over and over.  

To make this easier, I've put together a short list of awesome training runs and races that I can look back on when I'm hitting a rough patch in a run and my brain wants me to slow down or stop. It may seem like a dorky thing to do, but just writing those performances down gives them more life and -- I hope -- will make them a more powerful tool against the "slow-down" brain.

So there you have it. My running lesson re-learned and my tip for overriding your brain.

Now, please tell me I'm not the only one who has to repeatedly learn this lesson! 
Do you have any good tips for convincing your brain that you can do it?

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hello, Michelob Ultra Light Cider!

Back in the day (1990s . . . what?), I enjoyed some cider. Not the freshly pressed cider of the u-pick-em farms variety, but the adult kind. I spent the better part of a year in London after I graduated from college and cider was the thing over there. At least it was the thing for me.

But it was heavy. And sweet. And, honestly, as I got older I stopped liking it as much. It filled me up too quickly and felt too heavy and tasted too sweet.

And yet, I have fond memories of cider from those London days and my early years living in New York City. Sure, part of that might be because I was so much younger then. But, no matter. I remember the stuff fondly.

So I was happy to review the new Michelob ULTRA Light Cider. You know, so I could feel young again :-).

And you know what? It's pretty good stuff. ULTRA Light Cider has 120 calories per serving and is naturally gluten-free, making it a nice alternative to beer for people who need -- or want -- to avoid gluten. And it is sweetened with stevia, a good thing for people who like -- or need -- to avoid sugar. It is also a nice alternative for people like me who simply don't like beer, but like to have a bottled drink at summer parties. 

What I like about the cider is that it is light and crisp, but not overly sweet. It has a bit of an apple-y flavor, but it isn't overwhelming.

I had Owen and my dad both try it and they agreed that Michelob's new cider is not sweet and heavy like ciders they've had in the past. Did they love it? No, I wouldn't say they did. But that's OK. Not every drink is for everybody. I liked it. I don't know that summertime sips of Michelob ULTRA Light Cider will wash away my happy memories of good ol' heavy cider in London pubs, but I can see myself enjoying a bottle from time to time.

You can learn more about it on the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on or on the Sponsor’s site.

So tell me: Which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Cider? 

 ~ Felice

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

America is Your Park!

As a runner and parent, I have a fondness for parks and all they have to offer -- running trails for people like me, biking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, nature, the great outdoors . . . all that good stuff.
We love getting out to enjoy our local parks!
Fortunately, I live among several truly awesome parks here in upstate New York. Unfortunately, funding for parks is often at risk.
Right now, though, you can help your favorite park score some big bucks. Through Coca-Cola's third-annual America is Your Park campaign, people -- like you and me -- can vote for their favorite park to win one of three recreation grants: $100,000 for first place, $50,000 for second and $25,000 for third. Coca-Cola will also award a $15,000 grant, at random, to a park that comes in 4th to 25th place.
So, you're ready to vote, right? I mean, who wouldn't want to give their favorite park a chance to win this kind of grant? Exactly. So here are the details:
How to vote
Voting is super easy. Just visit the Coca-Cola Live Positively site HERE. Vote by searching for your favorite park using the interactive map, or by checking in via Foursquare. If, unlike me, you have such techie apps.
That's it! Easy.
Then, if you really love your park, tell you friends. And your relatives. Just vote between now and July 15, 2012.
I voted!
Of course, I wouldn't ask you to vote if I wasn't going to vote for my favorite park. I popped over to the web site (HERE!) and voted for Schodack Island State Park.
Why? Well, for starters, the park is in my parents' hometown. And it is right down the road from one of my best friends. And it has a nice playground, great trails and access to the Hudson River. It also hosts some good running races, like the Dodge the Deer 5K in April.
We even hit the park on cold days!
The 2011 Dodge the Deer 5K.
The park has also faced some closure threats recently, due to state budget cuts. It would be a shame if Schodack Island State Park had to close or cut services. So, yeah, it gets my vote.
What about you?
What is your favorite park? Give it some thought. And then go vote!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and D.C.) who are at least 13 years old and reside within the U.S. at the time of participation are eligible to vote for a Park. Participate on behalf of a Park by: July 15, 2012. The 3 most popular Parks will be offered a grant and there will be 1 Wild Card drawing at the end of the Contest to award an additional grant.  To participate, for Official Rules, and complete details including grant descriptions, visit  Void where prohibited.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marathon Tips Monday: Sheila Couch

Welcome back to Marathon Tips Monday!

Today's marathon tips come from Sheila Couch. Sheila has been kicking butt in races from 5K to half marathon lately so let's see what she has to share about the marathon.

Sheila sporting her well-deserved medal from Boston's Run to Remember in May.

Tell us a little about yourself:
I am 41 years young. I am married to Matthew Couch and I have two daughters, Gabriella, 5, and Brooke, 3.

How many marathons have you run?
I only have one marathon under my belt. So, I still consider myself a marathon rookie.

What is your marathon PR?
Well since I have only one marathon under my belt, does 4:46:13 count as a PR? Definitely room for improvement!

Do you have a "dream marathon" on your list that you'd love to run some day?
My dream marathon was my first marathon, ING NYC Marathon 2011. But, I would like to also run the Disney Marathon.

What is your favorite part of marathon training?
When I trained for the marathon last summer, my favorite part of training was going out for the first time to run 15 miles. I can remember thinking, wow I just ran 15 miles for the first time ever! What an accomplishment! And, so, every weekend, I would be amazed at how I could push my body to run for all those miles.

What is your least favorite part of training?
My least favorite part of training has to be when my stomach doesn't want to cooperate with the training. But, that didn't happen often, thankfully.

How long do you typically train for a marathon?
I typically trained 4-5 days a week for 16 weeks for my first marathon but this year as I get ready for the Hudson Mohawk Marathon, I will only be training 3 days a week for 16 weeks. That is 3 days of running, 3 days of cross training with 1 day rest. I believe, at least for me, that my body response better to less running days. Well, at least this type of training worked for the half marathon I just ran on Memorial Day weekend.

What advice would you give to runners setting out to train for their first marathon?
I would tell someone who is training for their first marathon to eat properly and get enough rest. Don't get into the mind set that just because you burned 1500 calories, you can eat whatever (JUNK). You will gain weight from having that mentality. Rest is so important. Do not go out for a run tired. You are setting yourself up for an injury. Do not try anything new on race day. Speaking from experience during a half marathon race. 

*     *     *

Thanks, Sheila!

Now, friends. Sheila is so right-on with her advice about not eating tons of junk just because you went for a long, calorie-burning run. I think a lot of runners, especially those new to long runs and marathon training, fall into that trap. I hear people blame running because they are gaining weight, when the reality is that they are taking in too many calories and that is why they are gaining weight! So, listen to Sheila!

And let me add: I know Sheila in real life so I can vouch for how fit she is. She clearly listens to her own advice! 

Do you have any questions for Sheila? 
Wishes for a good marathon training cycle for her marathon in October? 
Feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Boilermaker 15K training plan.

My next race has totally crept up on me! I've been so busy basking in my post-marathon and new-5K-PR glow that I failed to pay attention to the fact that the Boilermaker 15K is a mere 29 days away.

29 days?!?
 And I haven't even started to train . . .

In fact, my mileage has been hovering right around 20 miles a week pretty much since the marathon. I need to pick it up.

Because, of course, I have a time goal for the Boilermaker. And there is no way that I'll hit it without some work. So, my training starts today: 4 miles of hills while pushing my 29-lb toddler in the stroller.

Tomorrow: 9 miles with friends. Sunday: 5 miles easy.

And then I've put together this 4-week 15K training plan:

T: easy 4 miles
W: speedwork (6 x 800 @ 5K pace)
Th: easy 4 miles
Sat: 10miles
Sun: easy 4 miles

T: easy 4 miles
W: speedwork (4 x 1mile @ 10K pace)
Th: easy 4 miles
Sat: 12 miles
Sun: 4 miles, w/2 @ race pace

T: easy 4 miles
W: speedwork (4 x 1mile @ 10K pace)
Th: easy 4 miles
Sat: 10 miles
Sun: easy 4 miles

T: 4 miles with 1-minute pick-ups @ race pace
W: easy 4 miles
F: easy 4 miles
Sun: RACE!
(Since the Boilermaker is hilly and I happen to live in hill-central, almost all of my miles will be hilly ones.) 

So, that's what the next month looks like for me. I'm kinda happy to have a plan in place. Although I've enjoyed this free running for the past month, it will be good to focus a little on results again. Let's hope so, anyway!

Now, I'm off for that stroller run! Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Registering for fun!

I'm in. In for fun. Colorful running fun.

I registered for the Color Me Rad 5K coming to Albany this September.

Holy smokes. Have you heard about this race?

Running through color. 

A color bomb squad.

And I'm in. 

This will be something completely different for me and, quite honestly, I think it will be great for my running. The race is two weeks before the Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon, a race for which I have serious goals. I'm sure I'll be all focused for months before the half so this color run will force me to step back, take a break, relax and have some fun with my running.

Best part? I'm running as part of a team so I'll be having this fun with friends! 

Have you participated in a color run? Did you love it? Have any tips? 
Let me know!

~ Felice

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Celebrate running!

Hey, hey today is National Running Day!

What a cool day! I plan to run, for sure. What about you? Are you running? Going to do anything special to celebrate the day?

Why do you run? 

If you need motivation, you can head over HERE and check some out. Or, visit my new marathon training page to access lots of resources and personal running stories.

Happy National Running Day, everyone! I hope you enjoy it.

~ Felice

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The little jobber turns 5.

In a blink of an eye, my little guy has gone from this:

to this:

He's a big 5 year old and he's super excited about it. We're off to celebrate -- he wants to go to the museum and then to "Sub Boy" (Subway) for lunch. And, of course, play with his new Legos because that's all he wants to do these days.

Have a great day, everyone!

~ Felice

Monday, June 4, 2012

Marathon Tips Monday: Bridget Hughes Graber

Welcome to my new feature: Marathon Tips Monday.

I've invited marathoners to share their marathon stories, tips and advice with my readers. As runners, we can learn so much from each other. Yes, books and web sites and coaches are important, but reading about the experiences of everyday runners can provide you with that extra dose of motivation to carry you through your 26.2 miles.

Each Monday, I'll feature a different runner and this week, I bring you Bridget Hughes Graber.

Bridget Hughes Graber after finishing the New Jersey Marathon, May 2012

Bridget is a 38 year old mother of two -- Madeleine (7) and Aidan (3) -- and wife of Brian. She lives in upstate New York and blogs at Gabby Graber. In just over two years, Bridget has gone from not running at all to running a marathon -- proof positive that if you want to achieve a lofty goal you just need to get out there and do it!

How many marathons have you run?
One. Isn't that enough? Ha!

What was your favorite marathon?
The only one I ran...New Jersey Marathon

What is your marathon PR?

What is your favorite part of marathon training?
I loved that feeling of coming back after a run and going right to the training plan and crossing off the run. It was done! Check. It made me feel so accomplished.

I also loved having a different perspective of what was considered to be a "long" run and what was considered short. It always made me chuckle when I would say, "I only have to do 10 or 12 today." (As opposed to 15 or 18.). Isn't 10 or 12 long enough?

What is your least favorite part of training?
It was time consuming. I hated knowing it was going to take 3-4 hours to run the 18 and 20 mile runs. I would say to my husband, "Okay. I will be back in FOUR hours." I felt guilty. Call it mommy guilt. Luckily, my husband was supportive. But I still felt bad.

How long do you typically train for a marathon?
I started training in January for my marathon and the marathon was on May 6th. I think it was a 16 week plan. Looking back, I think that was a good amount of time. If I had trained any more I would have felt burnt out. I ran 3 or 4 days a week. My weekday runs were 5 miles. Then I did my long runs on Friday or Saturday.

What advice would you give to runners setting out to train for their first marathon?
Take it day by day. Don't look weeks ahead on your plan, or you will get overwhelmed. 
Break each run down into smaller segments. That makes the long runs feel manageable.
Run with friends.
Eat. Eat a lot. After all - that's the reward from all that training!

Are you currently training for a race and, if so, which one?
I am running the Boilermaker in July and then it will be time to start training for the Hudson Mohawk Half Marathon that is in October. I hope to do much better than I did in my other three half marathons. My goal is to run it in 2:10.

Do you have a "dream marathon" on your list that you'd love to run some day?
I would like to do Philly. But really - any dream marathon is one where I do it with my friends. I know that sounds corny - but my friends are what makes the race. Sharing that experience with a group of women is special. And that is what makes it feel like a dream come true!

Anything else you'd like to share?
Two years ago, I couldn't even run for 1 mile. Now look at me. I have come a long way. Thanks to the Happy Runner - I found a new passion and a great way to exercise. It's amazing what we can do when we train and when we put our minds to it! If I can do it - anyone can!

*   *   *

Great job, Bridget! Thanks for sharing your marathon story -- and I look forward to running the Boilermaker with you!

(Yup, Bridget and I are friends in real life so we'll both be running the Boilermaker for the second time this year. I can't wait!)

Do you have any questions you'd like to ask Bridget about her marathon experience? 
Want to send her fast running vibes for her upcoming races? 
Leave a comment and I'll pass it along!

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

PS: If you would like to be featured on Marathon Tips Monday, send me an email at felicehalf at yahoo dot com.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Freihofer's Run for Women race report.

Yesterday morning was a wet one for the Freihofer's Run for Women 5K. I met up with Bridget and Sharon and we drove together to the race.

Yup. All in green! That's Sharon, Bridget and me (looking half-asleep).

We were there early, which turned out to be a good thing because it took forever to find a bathroom and then wait in line. And, after we did, we saw tons of porta-potties. With no one waiting in line. Of course.

Anyway, after hitting the bathroom, we met up with friends -- Tami and Melissa who weren't running (because, you know, two full marathons and a half marathon in the span of a month was apparently enough racing for them!) -- and then Gail and Darlene.

Before the race: Me, Bridget, Sharon, Darlene, Gail.
After the pics, I headed out for a quick warm-up and connected with my friend, Rebecca, who had trained a group of women to run their first 5K. She directed them to their corrals and then we lined up in our corral together.

The start area was packed, as usual. Rebecca and I had talked a week ago about trying to finish in about 22 minutes but we just weren't sure what the day would bring. She was coming off a bronchial issue and I was coming off the marathon. I'd only been running easy since the marathon -- could I still run fast?

Well, the first mile sure didn't give me any indication. It was crowded and Rebecca and I were weaving through the crowd, trying to find our pace for most of that mile. It was so much slower than I would have liked (7:51) but, no matter. The mile was run.

I told myself to push the pace in the second mile. Mile 2 of a 5K can be mentally tough -- you're starting to get a little tired but you still have two full miles to run. I did my best to focus and hold my pace and that's just what I did. I went through the second mile in my target pace: 7:05.

And then Mile 3. The third mile is always the best and the worst. You're almost done but you're also ready to be completely done. Now.

I pulled out every motivating phrase I could think of to keep myself going and repeated them over and over. It worked, because I ran the third mile in 6:51.

The last tenth of a mile is downhill. I tired my best to really run fast down that hill but, honestly, I was afraid of falling (it had been raining, after all) so I know I didn't let myself go as much as I should have. But even if I had, I would've only gained a second or two so it wasn't worth the risk of falling. I did, however, try to pick it up a little more when I heard Tami cheering for me. Having someone cheer my name in a race is awesome!

As I was pushing myself toward the finish line, I saw the 22 on the clock, with the seconds climbing higher and higher. Don't stop. Don't stop. Don't stop.

That's me in the green. Thanks, Melissa, for the photo!
I crossed the line in 22:51 -- my exact (chip) time from last year. I knew there was a small differential between my official start and the clock so I felt confident I had gotten a course PR, which would also be a new official PR.

And I did! My official time was 22:43!

Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 7:51
Mile 2: 7:05
Mile 3: 6:51
last .1: 6:09 pace

Official time: 22:43

Overall place: 216 out of 3892
Age group place (40-44): 22 out of 475

I am thrilled with my race performance. I would have been so easy to see my first mile time and think that my goal was out of reach and just give up. Instead, I called upon my experience and training and reminded myself that I had it in me. I knew I could run fast and make up the time and that is exactly what I did.

I ran faster with each mile. Faster!

Sure, I didn't get an overall PR, but my overall PR (22:05) was set at a race that wasn't chip timed so I definitely consider this my new official PR! What a way to start the month!

And what of my friends? Well, they were speedy runners, too. Gail ran a fast 5K, Bridget, Rebecca and my friend, Gina, all set PRs and Sharon set a course PR! Darlene, who is coming off an ankle injury and had planned to walk the race, ran the whole thing. I'm so happy for her! So happy for them all.

Post-race, I felt great. And then it was time to get ready for my little guy's family birthday party. No rest for this happy runner!

Next up, training for the Boilermaker! And I cannot wait.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Friday, June 1, 2012

May recap and race goals.

First, I had a great birthday! Owen and I rarely get to go out to dinner and we actually did last night. What a treat! My parents babysat the boys, we had a nice meal out, it was great. Plus, the boys cooperated with me earlier in the day and I got in a short, easy run. Lucky me! It was a super way to end the month.

Speaking of ending the month, here's how May shaped up:

May stats:

Running (miles): 96.3 (way down from April, my peak month!)
Racing: 1 -- the New Jersey Marathon!
Cross training (sessions): 7

May has primarily been about letting my body recover from marathon training. While I felt strong after the marathon, I know that a body needs rest after all of that training. I'm in to running for the long term, so I've spent the month listening to my body and running easy. I've enjoyed some long runs with friends and some quick-and-easy runs by myself.

Bring on June!

And to kick June off in a solid way, tomorrow I'm running the Freihofer's Run for Women 5K. Last year at the race I set my chip-timed PR of 22:51 (I've since run a 22:05, but that was in a race without chip timing). Although I haven't been running fast lately, I'm interested to see what sort of speed I still have in my legs, post-marathon. So, I'm going to try to go for it and beat my overall PR: 22:05. I figure, I ran 29:05 in a 4-mile race in the middle of marathon training so I should be able to get close to 22:05 -- if not beat it.

The forecast is for rain tomorrow so who knows what will actually happen. This race is a low-stress one for me so I'm just going to take it as it comes. And try to run really fast, of course!

Have a great weekend, everyone -- and good luck to everyone who is racing!

~ Felice

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