Thursday, October 25, 2012

The other (younger) happy runner.

We have another happy runner in the family.

This guy:

My little kindergartener had his first race on Monday -- the school-wide Great Pumpkin Race.

(I dressed him accordingly. Because, yes, I am that mom. Hey, he didn't complain!)

Anyway, the race was fun and my little guy ran hard and with determination -- and he finished in third place for the kindergarteners! He was super excited because although all the runners received pumpkins at the end, the first, second and third place winners all got a BIG pumpkin. He really wanted a big pumpkin!

Happy guy with his big pumpkin!

Getting a celebratory hug from little brother.

So, it appears I'm no longer the lone racer in Happy Runnerville. And I'm sure it is only a matter of time before I'm no longer the faster runner, either. My little guy will be leaving me in the dust in time! His school has a running club that starts in third grade and I admit that I can't wait for him to be part of it. I want to encourage this running thing. Surprise, surprise . . . 

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lucky Shutterfly winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my Shutterfly giveaway! I used to select one winner from all of the valid entries and the winner is . . .

Lindsay, who writes the great running blog, Chasing the Kenyans!

Congratulations, Lindsay! Your gift card code will be sent by email from Shutterfly.

Thanks to Shutterfly for this giveaway!

~ Felice

Monday, October 22, 2012

Such good fortune.

I'm very fortunate -- for many reasons -- and I was reminded of a major one this weekend: My friends.

I have some super wonderful friends and this past weekend we all went away together. It was great fun. Great, great fun.

We spent Friday night in, and then hit the little town on Saturday for some walking around and shopping:

Bridget and me taking a break outside a shop.

We let loose on Saturday night. Everyone got dressed up and then we went out to dinner and to a gasp! nightclub. Well, a pizza nightclub -- pizza parlor by day, bar-with-a-dance-floor by night. 

That's me with Noelle before heading out for the night.

And me with Gina at the Irish bar.

Last stop was the pizza nightclub: Monique, Lisa, me, Stacey, Gina and Noelle in the back row. Janis, Jen and Karyn in the middle. Kara and Bridget in front.

Pizza nightclub. No lie. It was a tad strange but it worked. There weren't many options in the tiny town where we were staying so we went with it. It didn't much matter where we went, honestly, because we were going to have a good time no matter what. And we did.

Not that I forget very often, but this weekend reminded me that I'm really fortunate to have these awesome friends. I love them all!

And, if you're wondering, yes. I ran. Just a 4 miler on Saturday but they were 4 incredibly hilly miles and they were covered with friends so it was a terrific run. 

Now, I'm all about catching up with home and running and non-junk food eating! In other words, I need to recover from the weekend :-)

Thanks for stopping by -- have a good week!

~ Felice

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shutterfly giveaway!

There are some companies I just really enjoy working with and Shutterfly is one of them. I have used Shutterfly for my photos for the past six years -- from photo books and Christmas cards to birthday invitations and regular old prints. The web site is easy to use, they have a wide variety of products, they ship quickly and they produce good quality items. I've been pleased with them every time I've used them.

So, this year, I'm heading back to order by Christmas cards from Shutterfly yet again. They have a ton of cards to choose from and right now I'm leaning toward these two:

I love the colorful designs on the black-and-white photos. Now I just need to get my kids to cooperate for a photo shoot!

Check out the Special Offers page on Shutterfly for some more good ideas. 

And if you'd like, enter my giveaway!

The Giveaway!


Thanks to Shutterfly, one lucky reader will win $50 to spend on the site (does not include shipping and cannot be combined with other promos)! Order up some holiday cards! Or thank you notes. Or whatever you'd like. With $50 to spend, you can kinda go crazy :-)

To enter:

Leave me a comment letting me know you'd like to win. That's it!

Additional entries:

As always, you can gain extra entries. Remember, though, you must complete the required entry first! (Leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):
  • Follow this blog, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment
  • Follow me on Pinterest, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment 
  • Pin an image from this post to share the giveaway on Pinterest (leave a comment  
  • Follow me on Twitter, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment
  • Share this post on Twitter using this tweet:

Win $50 to spend on Shutterfly from @TheHappyRunner #giveaway

  • Follow me on Instagram (felicepd), or let me know that you already do (leave a comment
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog  (leave a comment 

This giveaway will run through Tuesday, October 23rd at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Good luck!

~ Felice

Disclaimer: This is a compensated post but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scaling back?

I didn't race on Saturday.

Not that I had firm plans to do so, I just kinda wanted to. There's a 5K that takes place 5 minutes from my house and last year I ran it and ran well, finishing just seconds off of my PR for 1st in my age group, and 4th female overall. 

In my head, I figured that if I felt good coming off the half marathon, I'd run the 5K. But then there was the issue of my fall at mile 5 of the half and the fact that my ankle is still not 100%. It is healing well, but it is still a little swollen and I knew that if I raced again less than one week after the half, I'd risk messing up my ankle big time.

And I'm all about running over the long term. I don't need any sort of lingering injuries.

Which was the point of my recent email exchange with my friend, Tami. She ran a marathon the week before my half and went ahead and ran that 5K that I'd been thinking of running. She ran a great race and finished third female overall. But, she'd battled a cold after the marathon and racing the 5K lowered her resistance just enough so that cold came back with a vengeance.

There's Tami with her third place medal! Way to go!!

Discussing our shared desire for PRs and a healthy winter full of running, the subject of winter and spring race plans came up. What are you running next? What are you running this winter? Planning on a spring marathon?

We went back and forth and our discussion eventually led us to conclude that scaling back could be good.

For me, that meant skipping the 5K and rethinking what races I plan to run this winter. For Tami, it meant likely shelving plans for a spring marathon . . . but contemplating a fall ultra (hey, what happened to scaling back?!?!)

So, now I have some decisions to make. I know I'm going to run a 10K in early November but should I also run the 10K turkey trot on Thanksgiving? And what about December? Our road runners club puts on a great winter series and that kicks off with a 15K on December 9th. And then there's the Hangover Half on January 1st, two other winter series races in January, the Winter Marathon Relay in February . . . and I really would like to run the inaugural Nike Women's Half in DC in April.


I need to prioritize. Quality over quantity. I need to make it through the winter healthy and ready to race strong in the spring. So, I need to get my A races lined up, and back-fill from there. I'd also like to focus on cross-training this winter, to head into the spring with a stronger foundation.

Now the question is . . . do I focus on that spring half marathon or full? Hmm . . . 

Do you reduce your running mileage over the winter? Or do you keep up the same level? 
If you reduce, for how long before picking back up?

In other news, I just picked up a stack of running books from the library, including one by Adam Goucher and one by Scott Jurek. Lucky me!

Have a great day, everyone!

~ Felice

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Maddie's Mark 5K.

Are you looking for an October race? Want to run a 5K for a great cause?

Well, if you are anywhere in the greater Albany, NY area, I have the perfect race for you: The Inaugural Maddie's Mark 5K on October 27th.

This race is a fundraiser for the Maddie's Mark Foundation, which was created in honor of Madeline Musto, who died earlier this year at the much-too-young age of 5. Here's a little information:

Madeline Musto was born and lived her 'best days ever' in the town of
Rotterdam, NY. At the young age of 5, she was diagnosed with an inoperable
brain stem tumor, and passed away just 5 days later. Maddie has forever
changed many lives in the Capital Region. Her story has encouraged families
to live each moment without regret and to make each day as meaningful as
possible. The mission of the Maddie’s Mark Foundation is to provide
opportunities, create environments and enable people and families to live a
life of ‘best days ever.’

Although I didn't know the Musto family well, I had the good fortune of meeting Maddie, her sisters, and her mom at several playdates with a local moms group when my 5 year old was younger. The news of Maddie's illness and then her death was incredibly sad -- to me, and to everyone who heard about it. 

But the Mustos have created a foundation to "provide opportunities, create environments and enable people and families to live a life of ‘best days ever.’ " What a great mission! And the Maddie's Mark 5K will support that mission.

The race will be held on October 27th at 9:00 am in Central Park in Schenectady. The entry fee is $20 -- and everyone who registers by tomorrow (Saturday, October 13th) will be guaranteed a t-shirt.

You can register online HERE

Or, if you can't run, you can consider donating to Maddie's Mark HERE

If you're local, I hope you'll consider running the race or sharing the information with your friends and family. If you plan to run, let me know! 


Have a great weekend, everyone!

~ Felice

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Apparently, Matched, the book by Ally Condie, has been out for over a year. I guess I live under a rock because I didn't know about it until I was invited to read and review it for the BlogHer Book Club.

And now, after reading it, I'm itching like crazy to get my hands on the next two books in the series.

Series? But you don't like series!

It is true. I don't like series. Especially trilogies. And yet . . . this book got me. It hooked me and . . . well . . . here I am, hooked.

The fact that I'm hooked on a trilogy is irrelevant. Sorta. My point today is to let you know that Matched was quite the read.

I enjoyed it. Sure, it was super easy YA reading so I breezed through it in no time. But it was also thought-provoking. Matched is the story of Cassie Reyes who, because she is turning 17, is being "matched" to her future husband. Matches are made by the Society -- in this world people don't pick who they can marry. Nor do they pick what they eat, how much they exercise, where they work, what they can read . . . it goes on and on. Lives are controlled by Society.

It is scary stuff.

But Cassie is perfectly happy, until something goes a bit wrong with her match. I won't give away too much of the story because you should go out and read this book and I don't want to ruin it for you. Let me just say that the mistake -- along with a glimpse of two poems that are not among the official, Society-approved poems -- sets off a series of events that makes Cassie question Society in a way she never has. There is plenty that is formulaic about the story as it unfolds but, still, it got me and at times I couldn't put the book down.

After reading Matched, I feel a little techno-phobic. Just a little. I still love my phone and my laptop and all the great gadgets that we have today to make our lives simpler. But Matched shows a world where people can no longer write with pen and paper -- they can only type on their scribes. And they only read electronic books.


Again, scary stuff.

Before I get into more details about the story, I'll stop. You should check the book out for yourself. And if you've already read Matched, what did you think? Did you like it? Have you read the other books in the trilogy? 

~ Felice

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

About the ankle.

As you may recall from my race report, I twisted my ankle around mile 5 of the half marathon. Since then, my ankle has swollen up and become a bit discolored. I've been resting and icing and compressing and elevating. Classic RICE going on here in Happy Runner-ville.

It seems to be working. Today, my ankle is noticeably less swollen. Yay!

My plan was to test out the ankle on an easy 3 mile run today. That's not happening. I went in for a nerve conduction velocity test and an EMG this morning and, wow, is my leg ever sore. The NCV test involves getting shocks on various places -- for me, it was mostly my left leg, and some on my right leg, low back and left arm. The lovely shocks were followed by electromyography -- EMG. That's when they stick needles into your muscles to test their response to nerve stimulation. Or something like that.

It hurt. The doctor said it wouldn't -- said, in fact, that it would feel like a "little, tiny zap of static electricity." Um, no. That was a lie. The whole thing was uncomfortable and the needles hurt. Now, my left leg still hurts so I'm bagging the test run.

Tomorrow is a new day and I believe that one more day of rest can only do me good.

So, where I thought I'd be able to report about my return to running, I'm reporting about my continued rest. Such is life.

Fingers crossed that I'll return to the run tomorrow.

Have a good day!

~ Felice

PS: Don't miss my giveaway HERE!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

b-leve! (review and giveaway)

I'm on a roll with the hair care products.

Most recently, I was invited to try shampoo, conditioner and body wash from the new b-leve line, available at Price Chopper. I chose the b-hydrated shampoo and conditioner, and opted for the b-refreshed body wash.

I've tried out all three products several times and I have mixed reviews. I like the shampoo -- the scent is mild and similar to the types of shampoo used at salons. It works well. And I like the body wash. It is light, produces just the right amount of suds and, like the shampoo, the scent is mild. The conditioner, on the other hand, was a miss.

Now, as I've mentioned before, I'm a conditioner addict. My hair does not work well without it. So, I've tried pretty much every conditioner out there. OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but not much. Seriously. I've tried a ton of the stuff.

Some of it works, a lot of it doesn't.

The b-leve conditioner just didn't quite cut it for me. I liked the scent and it felt good when I rubbed it over my hair. However, it left my hair all sorts of tangled every time I used it. To me, that's a miss. It could very well be just a mismatch of my hair's texture and the conditioner that I chose; the conditioner could be fine for someone with different hair. It simply didn't work for me.

Overall, two thumbs up and one down.

The giveaway!

Would you like to try the b-leve line out for yourself? I have three coupons for free shampoo, conditioner and body wash to give away, courtesy of Price Chopper. One lucky reader will win all three.

To enter:

Leave me a comment and let me know that you'd like to win. Please have access to a Price Chopper so you can actually use the coupons (you can search locations HERE).

Additional entries:

As always, you can gain extra entries. Remember, though, you must complete the required entry first! (Leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count):
  • Follow this blog, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment
  • Follow me on Pinterest, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment 
  • Pin the image from this post to share the giveaway on Pinterest (leave a comment  
  • Follow me on Twitter, or let me know that you already do (leave a comment
  • Link to this giveaway from your blog  (leave a comment 

This giveaway will run through Friday, October 12th at 11:59pm EST and the winner will be announced on Saturday.

Good luck!

~ Felice

Review disclaimer: I was sent coupons for free product to review. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon race report.

I really, honestly wasn't sure what to expect from this race. I wanted to go after a PR but I my confidence was a little shot. First, there was the tough ZOOMA half marathon two weeks ago. And then I spent the better part of last week battling a wicked cold that, as of yesterday morning, was not backing down.

But the weather was pretty close to perfect -- chilly, overcast, dry. And the race was close to home. I'd also learned some lessons from the ZOOMA race and was determined to apply them in order to run strong.

So, after much thought, I went ahead and printed out a 1:48:00 pace band so I could better my PR of 1:48:27.

I reviewed my race report from the Clove Run 10-miler, noting my conservative first miles and my fairly consistent splits. I felt terrific in that race and finished very well. It was nearly a perfect run. I wanted to build on that strong race for yesterday's half so I told myself to run conservatively and consistently. Hit your paces. Don't speed. You can do it.

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 6 and had a banana and a glass of water, then a plain English muffin with butter and a cup of coffee. At 7:15 I picked up Bridget and we drove to our friend Karyn's house so her husband could drop us and two other friends off at the start.

That's me with Bridget, Karyn, Kristy and Danielle -- Karyn, Kristy and Danielle were all running their FIRST half-marathon!

The starting area was packed but we met up with tons of other friends:

Go, Strong Running Mamas!!!

I lined up at the start by myself because I felt like I needed to just be alone for this race. I needed to run my own race from start to finish. And that's what I did.

I took off with the starting gun and kept telling myself to hold back. Conservative and consistent. Conservative and consistent. It was tough to do because I felt so good!

And then it happened.

I passed the 5 mile marker, took a gel and about a minute after I gelled -- bam! I stepped into a pot hole, twisted my ankle and fell. I didn't let the fall break my stride much at all and I got right back into my running rhythm as quickly as I could but, man. It threw me off. I was nervous and my heart was racing. My ankle hurt and so did my left hand, where I had landed.

I can't believe this is happening. What is it with me and mid-race mishaps?!?!

I couldn't let it bother me. I had 8 more miles to go and I was running strong. So what if I had a twisted ankle? I had to keep on keeping on because I knew I had a PR in me. I knew it.

The next 5 miles still felt great and I found myself passing a few people and that certainly buoyed my spirits. At mile 10, I took another gel and blech. I couldn't swallow it. I don't know what it was but that gel felt like poison in my mouth. I forced it down, took a swig of water and decided not to bother with the rest of the gel. As it was, the amount that I took just sat in my stomach and made me feel pretty gross.

The last three miles were not easy. I slowed down quite a bit and really had to push myself. I pulled out every inspirational phrase I could remember and begged myself not to give up.

With one mile to go, it really was too late to give up and I knew I could hit my goal. Also, my friend Tami had done something really special for all of us strong running mamas: At two points along the course, she wrote a message for us in chalk, the second message was in the last mile and just what I needed.

As I neared the finish line, I saw some friends cheering -- Tami and Nicole -- then my dad with my two boys and right after I crossed I saw Owen, who immediately told me I did great.

My fans :-)

According to the race clock, I finished in 1:47:12! Later, I checked my official (net) time, which was 1:46:59! I broke 1:47 and I couldn't be happier!! 



What a difference two weeks makes!

After eating a banana, I cheered for the rest of my friends as they crossed the line, including Bridget, Elisa, and Angela, who all set big PRs; Karyn, Danielle, Kristy and Melissa, who rocked their first half-marathons; and Gail and Lara, who ran super strong!

What a great day.

When's my next race?

Race details:

Net time: 1:46:59
Overall place: 122 out of 764
Age group place (F, 40-44): 7 out of 100

My splits:

Mile 1: 8:18 (started with the gun, 8:05 from starting line)
Mile 2: 7:57
Mile 3: 7:57
Mile 4: 7:54
Mile 5: 7:42
Mile 6: 8:05
Mile 7: 8:06
Mile 8: 8:10
Mile 9: 8:07
Mile 10: 8:14
Mile 11: 8:33
Mile 12: 8:26
Mile 13: 8:25
last .1: 7:49 pace

Happy finishers! Bridget, me, Elisa.

Janis didn't run the half this year -- since she's carrying twins -- but she was there to cheer!

Overall, it was a great day. As for my ankle, well, that's not so great. I've been icing it like crazy but it is still swollen.

Oh, well! At least it got me through the race!

And with that, I am done. Thanks for stopping by and reading my long race report. I hope you all had a great weekend!

~ Felice

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Half marathon obsessing.

Oh, yes. It is true. I'm just hanging out, obsessing over what I can't control: Sunday's weather.

It's a useless exercise. But I can't help myself.

Fortunately, the last time I checked the forecast, there was a 70% chance of rain on Sunday, with a projected high of 48. So, seeing the chance of rain go down to 50% and the high increase to 52 makes me happy. I'm hoping tomorrow the chance of rain will decrease yet again! Fingers crossed.

Of course, now I'm in a bit of a holding pattern regarding my race outfit. Running skirt? Capris? Long-sleeved top? Who knows?!? Not me. Not yet, anyway.

In other news, today is my last run before the race. Enjoy the rest, legs!

What kind of outfit would you wear for a race where the start temperature 
will likely be around 45 degrees? 

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Soup's on! (giveaway)

I have a soup-er giveaway going on over at my other blog. You can check it out HERE.

The giveaway goes through Monday, October 8th -- be sure to check it out!

~ Felice

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September recap.

Wow, September flew by. I guess that's what happens when your first child heads off to kindergarten -- time starts to really fly.

And fly it did. With the rush of school starting, the peak of half-marathon training, my first-of-two fall half-marathons, and some work deadlines, the month was a whirlwind. And it shows in my mileage.

Here's what September looked like for me:

Running (miles): 81.6 
Races: 1 -- the ZOOMA Cape Cod half-marathon
Cross training (sessions): lots -- at least two a week
Planks: one a day!

Eh, so, my mileage was hardly over 80. What can you do? The cool thing about this month's mileage is that it kicked me over 1000 for the year -- I ended September with 1021.9 miles so far in 2012. It means nothing, really. But I think it is cool.

My goal for October is to run strong in my half on Sunday, continue my daily planks, and ratchet up my cross-training. With no major races on my schedule after October 7th, I think some concentrated cross training will do my body good.

That's my plan, at least.

Happy October, everyone!

~ Felice

Monday, October 1, 2012

Race week . . . take 2!

It's race week. Again!

Just two weeks ago I was getting excited for the ZOOMA half marathon and now here I am starting race week again. This time, I'm gearing up for the Mohawk-Hudson half marathon on Sunday.

I have no idea what to expect. After having such a hard time in the ZOOMA half, I'm having doubts about Sunday's race. When I originally signed up for the half, I wanted to go after a PR. And, honestly, I'd still like to run one. But, I'm worried that I don't have it in me right now.

My current half marathon PR is 1:48:27. Do I still have that in my legs? I don't know. I really don't.

Although . . . I've noticed something about my recent races. In looking over my times and experiences, a pattern has emerged. And it is making me wonder.

Take a look:

UP! -- In May I ran a strong, PR-setting marathon in 3:56:37.

UP! -- Then, in June I set a new 5K PR: 22:43

down -- In July, I struggled through the Boilermaker 15K. It was a tough, tough race for me and I didn't run very well.

UP! -- I followed that with a great race at the Clove Run 10-mile race, finishing second female overall.

UP! -- And at the end of August, I lowered my 5K PR yet again, to 22:42.

down  -- Two weeks ago, I struggled through the ZOOMA half.

So, based on that pattern, I should have a good race on Sunday, right? I mean, it looks like two UPs are in order following last week's down. At least according to my limited analysis. I guess I'll find out if that's true on Sunday.

In the meantime, I'm tapering. I logged some decent runs last week and I felt great on Saturday when I ran a nice, steady-paced 6 miler. I hope to go in to the race with confidence. I plan to spend this week building it!

Thanks for reading -- have a great week!

~ Felice

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