Monday, December 31, 2012

Cheers to 2012!

What a year! 

Here's a snippet of the year that was (for this happy runner, at least):

Winter Series with friends.
True words!
Runnin' of the Green 4-miler
Fun with good friends.

The New Jersey Marathon crowd.

My running boys.

Freihofer's Run for Women
Before the Boilermaker.

Beach time!
2nd place female at the Clove Run 10-miler!

Sandy Paws 5K
My little kindergartener.

At the ZOOMA half.
Told myself this a lot in 2012.
Before the Mohawk Hudson Half.
A new PR!
Post-race with friends!
The little guy's first school race.
Love my friends!
Veteran's Day Run -- new PR!

I know, I'm not great about making the photos look good and line up. I tried, believe me!

I hope you all have an enjoyable New Year's Eve -- and best wishes for 2013! Thanks, as always, for stopping by!

~ Felice

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday week.

I hope you all have been enjoying the holiday season!

It has been a good week here in Happy Runnerville. I've been keeping my mileage up, through lots of chilly outdoor runs -- including a nice 9-miler last Saturday with friends -- and a bunch of treadmill ones. Now that most of my running is indoors, I treasure the occasions when I can get outside. I don't care how bundled-up I have to get!

There was also this little thing called Christmas on Tuesday and it was great. My boys were so in to the holiday this year -- I think one of Conal's favorite things this year was making cards and drawings for people, especially his little brother. It was pretty cute.

Christmas day was spent at home in the morning and then over to my parents' house for the afternoon/dinner. There were 39 of us this year. Check out the panoramic pic my brother took:

That's a lot family, huh? Yup.

Yesterday, we were hit with the big snowstorm, which thrilled my boys. They even got out to make the first snowman of the year:

Sadly, we're finishing up the week with a wake and funeral but they are for Owen's elderly aunt, who lived a good, long life. And that's really all any of us want.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice

Monday, December 24, 2012

Scott Jurek and Food for (my) Life.

Have you read Eat and Run by Scott Jurek? If you haven't, let me tell you: It's a great book and I highly recommend it. His story is an interesting one: Growing up as a meat-eating, hunting-and-fishing Midwesterner; becoming a vegan; developing into an elite ultra-runner.

I read the book about a month so ago and as I was doing so, I experienced a funny coincidence. In the book, Scott Jurek talks about his love of a particular bread, the Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain bread. Just so happens I was invited to try out this bread for review and two luscious loaves of the Sprouted Grain Flax bread were delivered when I was about halfway through the book.

A sign? Perhaps.

You see, Scott Jurek rocks. He doesn't just run those crazy ultra-races, he wins them. He runs far and fast. I have no desire to get into the ultra-running world but, yeah, I'd take a little more speed and endurance. I mean, who wouldn't?

So, the bread. This stuff:

It is in no way your regular bread. Nope. It is made of sprouted grains, not flour. But, looks aside, the stuff is good. Really good. I love it. My boys, who I thought would scoff at the idea of even trying bread that looked so different from the norm, love it as well. So much so that I had to actually cut my younger son off. He wanted to eat too much of it and, well, his digestive system just wasn't up to the task of so many sprouted grains.

The bread is hearty and filling. And it is tasty. It makes great toast! I'm sold.

You can learn more about Food for Life on their web site. I'd never tried their sprouted grain breads before but, honestly, I'm now a fan. One of my favorite things is that Food for Life doesn't use any GMO ingredients in their products. That is the mark of a good company in my book!

Would I buy this with my own money? Sure would. In fact, I already have. Yes, the bread is much more expensive than the regular supermarket bread but it is also better. (I think it is about $4.99 a loaf at my local Price Chopper but I've been lucky to find $1 off coupons to use, which helps! Check out CommonKindness to see if they still have printable coupons.)

Have you tried any of the Food for Life Sprouted Grain products? 
Which is your favorite?

~ Felice

Review disclaimer: I was sent two loaves of bread for review. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own. I read Scott Jurek's book on my own. Took it out of the library, in fact!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tips for running in the snow.

Welcome, winter!

Yup, winter is here so for lots of people -- like, me, here in the northeast -- that means snow. My hope is that, like last year, we'll have a fairly un-snowy winter. In case that wish doesn't come true, I'm prepared. Yes, I'm a big time treadmill runner when the days are too chilly to push my toddler in the jogging stroller and the evenings are just too dark and cold. But I do stick to outdoors for my weekend runs and I love it. 

So, for you, remember that a snowy season doesn't mean you have to give up your outdoors runs! Just be sure to follow a few key tips to ensure your safety when you head outside:
  • Expect your runs to take more out of you. Running in the snow requires more energy so modify your expectations and your pace accordingly.
  • Warm up well. Running on snowy or icy routes will call your outer- and inner-thigh muscles into action in ways they may not be used to. Be sure to warm up your legs muscles well with some extra flexibility exercises for those muscles. Rubbing your legs with The Stick or using a foam roller can work well.
  • Wear trail shoes or add traction to your regular running shoes. Traction devices like YakTrax and STABILicers will give you extra stability in the snow.
  • Make yourself visible. Gray days, dark evenings, and snowy weather can make it tough to be seen. Wear high-visibility or reflective gear so drivers can see you, if you run on roads. Consider getting a headlamp if you run in low-light conditions. 
  • Alter your stride. To maintain better balance, shorten your stride and don't lift your feet as high as you normally do. Altering your stride will reduce your chances of falling or slipping.
  • Activate your eyes. Be on the look-out for ice patches and snow-covered potholes, tree roots and other things that could trip you up. When in doubt, slow to a walk.
  • Seek out fresh snow. Fresh snow provides more traction than packed snow.
If you follow these tips -- and you remember to dress for the weather -- running in the snow can be tons of fun. So get out there and enjoy yourself!

Do you have any other tips for running in the snow?

~ Felice

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Half-marathons . . . help!

OK, friends. I need your help.

I had plans to run the inaugural Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC this spring but that didn't pan out. So, I'm in need of a spring half to put on the schedule. I need it now, you see, to keep me motivated through cold weekend long runs and (far too) many mid-week treadmill runs.

Ideally, the race would take place sometime between late March and early May. It would be within driving distance of upstate New York and would require no more than a one overnight stay (if at all).

What do you think? Got a favorite half that I should look into? 

I need your suggestions!

And if you have a favorite, super-duper spring marathon that fits the bill, let me know about that, too! I might just be convinced to up the mileage and go for the full . . . you never know!


~ Felice

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Great deal for you from Fekkai.

*     *     *

As Conal reminded me this morning before getting on the bus, there are only 7 days until Christmas! That means procrastinators really need to get busy.

So whether you are a procrastinator and need to pick up a few items for someone special, or just need a little extra treat for yourself, I have a deal for you!

Fekkai, the web site from renowned hairdresser Frederic Fekkai, is currently running a holiday promotion to help you with last minute gifts. In addition to free shipping, they are offering 10% off your total order and a complimentary exclusive holiday headband with a $50 purchase (while supplies last). 

Check out how cute this headband is:

Wouldn't that be perfect for a New Year's Eve party? Sure would.

To get the deal, visit the Fekkai web site through this special holiday promotion link and, when ordering, use this promo code: HEADBAND.

That's it! Easy.

There are a ton of products to choose from. Me? I'm interested in the Brilliant Glossing Cream. Maybe the whole Brilliant Glossing line. I could use a little glossy brilliance in my life!

What about you?
Do you have someone on your list who could use a few Fekkai goodies? 
Ever tried anything from the Brilliant Glossing line? 
Should I try it out?

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great week!

~ Felice

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reflect some light.

This weekend I was grateful . . .

  • when my 5-year-old got off the bus -- safe and sound -- on Friday . . . 
  • for a long run with a good friend (thanks, Bridget!) . . . 
  • for the smiles on my boys' faces when they got home from their Saturday morning outdoor adventure . . .
  • for home-baked Christmas cookies . . .
  • to be part of a religious community that vibrates positivity . . .
  • for an enjoyable Sunday dinner with the family . . . 
  • for all of my loved ones -- my family and friends, near and far!

It's just a short list. I know there is plenty more that I can -- and should -- be grateful for. 

But today, and always, I want to focus on what I can control and what is important, right, and good in my life. I can't do anything change any tragedy that has already happened. I must do what I can. And what I can do is try to reflect some light, because where there is light there can be no darkness.

Shine on, my friends. Shine on!

~ Felice

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A dozen running ideas.

Hey, cool! It's 12/12/12 today!

Here are a dozen ideas to celebrate the day:
  1. Run 12 miles
  2. Run 12K (7.45 miles)
  3. Run 12.12 miles
  4. Run 12.12K (7.53 miles)
  5. Run 3 x 1.2 mile repeats
  6. Run 12 x 400 (quarter mile) repeats
  7. Run 12 30-second pick-ups in the middle of your run
  8. Run a time trial mile at 12:12pm
  9. Start your run of any distance at 12:12pm
  10. Run at tempo pace for 12 minutes in the middle of your run
  11. Finish your run with some strength moves: 12 squats, 12 walking lunges, 12 push-ups, 12 sit-ups
  12. Finish your run with 12 x 1 minute planks

~ Felice

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mastering the 'mill.

I'm back to running all of my mid-week runs on the treadmill. And last week I even had to run one of my weekend runs on the 'mill. Better than nothing.

Fortunately, after a few weeks of not feeling my groove at all, I've found it. In fact, last week I felt like I was the Master of the 'Mill. 

My runs have been varied -- fast 5 milers, easy 4 milers, tempo runs of 7+ miles. And, of course, intervals and pick-ups because they are my favorite ways to pass the miles on the 'mill.

If you need any treadmill inspiration, I'll remind you of my favorite workout:

I love this one!

Enjoy. It really is a good workout!

Do you have a favorite treadmill workout?

Thanks for stopping by -- have a good week!

~ Felice

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

July 2001 -- December 2012

You were a good cat . . . we'll miss you!

~ Felice

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Getting oaty with Nairn's!

I love a good snack. And healthy snacks that taste good? Well, what's not to love there?

Which would explain why I really enjoy Nairn's oat cookies. Healthy, tasty, snacky. I'm in.

I didn't even know about these tasty little things before I was invited to try them out. I was sent a box of the stem ginger cookies and one of the mixed berries and I like them both. My son, the younger one, favors the mixed berry cookies. I, on the other hand, am all about the stem ginger.

And let me tell you: If you like ginger, get yourself a box of the Nairn's stem ginger cookies. Enjoy them in all of their not-too-sweet but full-of-ginger glory. Then, if you want to kick it up a notch, treat yourself to one of these concoctions:

Yes, my friends, that is Nutella spread on the stem ginger cookies. And it is heavenly.

Spicy ginger. Crispy cookie. Chocolate-y goodness. Heavenly.

Try it out.

Each stem ginger cookie has 43 calories, .7 grams of protein, .5 grams of fiber and 6.7 grams of carbohydrates.

Now, the question: Would I buy these with my own money? Yup. Sure would. Not all the time, because I do prefer homemade cookies to packaged ones. But, I can tell you I'm not baking up stem ginger cookies anytime soon so, yeah, if I needed a ginger fix I'd buy these for sure!

Have you ever tried Nairn's cookies? 
They have a whole line of gluten-free foods as well -- have you tried any of those? I'm interested in checking them out!

If you'd like more information on Nairn's products, visit the Nairn's web site.

~ Felice

Review disclosure: I was sent two boxes of the cookies to review but was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Monday, December 3, 2012

November recap.

November was a month of re-focusing for me. August, September and October were so up-and-down for me. Although I ran half marathons in September and October, I didn't run much in the weeks after each of them. So, my mileage was down.

I just needed to be consistent again. And that is what happened in November: I was much more consistent, with every week a 20+ mile week.

Sure, I need breaks now and then but I've learned a few things about myself and one of those things is that I run my best and feel my best when I am running consistently. One other thing I've learned is that trying to do a plank every day is waaaaaaaay too much pressure for me. The pressure of having to do planks has completely turned me off and I think I did a grand total of 3 all month. I believe in them, however, so from  now on I plan to do them when I feel like it -- shooting for at least twice a week. We'll see how that goes!

Anyway, here's a look at my month of November:

Running (miles): 87.8
Races: 1 -- the Valatie Veteran's Day 5K, where I set a new PR! (22:18)
Cross training (sessions): 4
Planks: 3

Love that new PR!

Now: Welcome, December! I kicked the month off with 5+ miles on Saturday and 3.5 on Sunday. In between, I enjoyed a fun night out with two great friends (and our husbands):

And capped-off the weekend with a birthday dinner for my dad last night.

Great way to start the month!

How was your November? Do you have big plans for December?

Have a great week, everyone!

~ Felice

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