Monday, December 23, 2013


These weeks leading up to Christmas have been packed with delightful days. Not as much running as I would like, but definitely as much fun!

Here's a look at these delightful days of December:

Santa visit at preschool.

Gift from my little guy.

Dancing elf!

Aunt Claire's visit from Chicago!

Shepherds in the Christmas pagaent.

Two gingerbread-house-making parties means we have a gingerbread neighborhood!
Happy boys happily waiting for Christmas day.

And, while I'm at it, I might as well delight in the fact that this weekend I had two great runs. On Saturday, I ran 6 miles with Bridget and we both rocked the capris for our moderately warm first-day-of-winter run. Then, yesterday, the 60 degree temperature called for shorts. Shorts! For a run the second day of winter. In upstate New York! Awesome.

Now, the boys and I are enjoying the holiday break -- kicking off the week with some rollicking indoor hockey.

Thanks for stopping by -- have a great week!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday.

Here he is, my little runner:

I love this picture of my happy little runner!

It was the Candy Cane Kids Run in December 2010. The run took place right before the Jingle Bell Run 5K, which was my first race after Niall was born (8 weeks earlier). Cold day, fun runs.

Can't believe that was 3 years ago, and my little runner was just 3, in his first year or preschool. Now he's 6 and a big first-grader. Time flies.

Yup, it sure does.

Thanks for stopping by -- enjoy the rest of the week!

Monday, December 9, 2013

No worries.

Here's why I should never worry about running and racing:

On Friday, I worried that overnight snow  would wreck my Saturday morning running plans. But the weather people were wrong. We only got a dusting of snow, not the 2-4 inches that had been predicted. I didn't need to worry.

So, I was able to get 7 miles in with Bridget and Elisa. It was a great run, sure, but it also included a little worry. See, earlier in the week we, and our friend Janis, had emailed and talked about spring half marathons. We all wanted to run one but couldn't find one that was going to work with our schedules. We chatted about it on the run, and bemoaned the fact that none of the races were going to work out.

And then, probably 5 miles into the run, we figured it out. It all fell into place. JustLikeThat. We didn't need to worry.

Now, we're all registered:

Boston, here we come!!

I'm so excited to have this race on the schedule. Our friend, and super-awesome runner, Sheila has run this race the past three years and says it is a great one. Can't wait to find out!

The race is in late May, so I have plenty of time to continue with my easy winter running before starting to train in February. Just be prepared: You'll probably be hearing a lot more about this race from me!

Now, tell me:  Have you run Boston's Run to Remember? 
Do you know anyone who has? Have any thoughts or suggestions? 
 I'd love to know!

Thanks for stopping by ------

Friday, December 6, 2013

Four things Friday.

1. The weather this week has been terrific. Yesterday, the high was 52 and I ran in the morning wearing capris and a t-shirt. Glorious!

2. Alas, the warm December is not to last. Tomorrow, we're supposed to get 2-4 inches of snow. Snow! You know what that does to running plans? Well, it complicates them, that's for sure.

3.We have a packed weekend ahead so I'm really hoping that I get that long run in, even with the snow. Maybe the forecast is wrong -- it has happened before, I'm sure it will happen again! Fingers crossed . . .

4. I have to share my Spandits love with you all. Check out my capris:

I'm a headless wonder!
I'm jumping for joy! 

The tights (women's 3/4 tights in hyperspeed) are super cute and super comfy. I love my Spandits -- and I really love that they are made in Maine.

I try to buy US-made products and Spandits makes it easy because their products are high-quality and fun.

So . . . check them out. If you find anything you like, let them know I sent you!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Don't quit.

Me? I think this is some pretty good advice:

Could be a good mantra for 2014 . . . don't you think?


Monday, December 2, 2013

November recap.

November was a decent month for me. I ran fairly consistently, although I did have a few glitches in the schedule when my hip injury flared up and when I had to lay low because of some nasty headaches.

I haven't been running all that fast or all that long. Instead, I've kept most of my runs to an easy pace and my distance has topped out at about 6-7 miles. That's right where I want to be now. I'm pleased. At some point, though, I need to get serious again and start thinking about what I want to do in 2014.

Those lyrics give me the racing itch!

Spring marathon? Fall marathon? Neither? Both? And what about those trusty half marathons? And my beloved 5Ks?

I have questions to answer. And time to do it.

Until I do, here's a look at my November:

November stats:

Running (miles): 76.7
Races: none!

Welcome, December! I'm looking forward to more easy miles and maybe, just maybe, a low-key race or two.

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving.

In case you were wondering 'bout them 'taters . . .

I couldn't resist! 

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Grain Brain challenge wrap-up.

 The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain. Opinions expressed are entirely my own!

Four weeks ago, I started the Grain Brain Challenge and now I'm here to let you know how I fared.

But first, let me give you a little reminder of what Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, recommends for optimal brain health:

Good fats from eating olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, fish, grass-fed beef, goat cheese, and fish oils are fundamental for health, while carb-derived calories as one might get from things like bread, pasta, potatoes, below-ground veggies, fruit and fruit juices are things you want to avoid on a brain-healthy diet. -- Dr. David Perlmutter (via Facebook)

I started on the challenge 4 weeks ago, focusing on food, sleep, exercise and supplements, as laid out in the book.

For me, the challenge wasn't all that hard. I've been following a Paleo diet for a while now and the recommendations in Grain Brain are similar. There are differences, of course, but I didn't have to make the same sort of changes as someone who has been eating grains on the reg.

Basically, I stuck to eating lots of vegetables and high-quality protein and good fat.

Avocados! Such good fat.

I also experimented with . . . READ MORE ------->

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Running Me.

Right now, I'm a month away from the banner day of the half marathon. A month and about 60 miles. Maybe not even.

In other words . . . I haven't run much since crossing the line with a new half marathon PR.

Oh, that was such an awesome day!

I knew it was coming. And yet, well, I've been feeling a little like I'm letting Running Me down. Resting Me is perfectly happy, of course. So is Cross-training Me. But Running Me? I'm not so sure.

Running Me is sick and tired of having days and days go by without a run. Of having potential running time taken up with blood-work and mammograms, or ruined by really, really crummy weather. Of having the Most Frustrating Injury EVER continue to flare up each week.

Running Me just wants to freaking run already!

Running Me, let me tell you something: I'm getting there.

Yesterday, I ran with Bridget and it was great. Five miles. Some twists, some turns, some hills, lots of chit-chat. It was just what I needed. I was sick on Saturday and still feeling blah and a run with a good friend was the perfect tonic.

We ran easy but at a good pace and we talked about tons of different things and before I knew it, the run was over. So, of course, we stood around after the run, talking about more stuff. It was good to catch up, and great to run.

Running Me was totally happy.

Thanks for the run, BG!

Hope you all had a good weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 4, 2013

October recap.

My mileage for October was down, just as I expected. Leading up to the half marathon, I had two taper weeks and then, after the half, I didn't run at all for a whole week. Since I started running again, I've taken it easy and haven't piled on too many miles.

I also had to take another extended rest -- of 4 days -- last week because my hip was troubling me. I have 0% interest in suffering through another injury-induced long layoff so I figured a short but extended rest would be exactly what I needed. And it was. After the 4 days off, my hip felt fine again. Here's how October looked for me.

October stats:

Running (miles): 67.2
Racing: 1 -- the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon (and a new PR!)

My plan for November and December is to keep my weekly mileage consistent, but easy and down in the 16-20 mile range. I also plan to do a fair bit of cross training. I won't race in November but I hope to run most of the HMRCC Winter Series (free!) races that start up in December.

Happy November, everyone. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Good-bye to Grain Brain!

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain. Opinions expressed are entirely my own!

Have you heard of Grain Brain? The full title is Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar -- Your Brain's Silent Killers, a new book by Dr. David Perlmutter, outlining lifestyle changes you can make today to keep your brain healthy, vibrant and sharp. Last week I received a copy to read and review. I also received an invitation to join Dr. Perlmutter's Grain Brain Challenge, a 4-week challenge designed to improve brain health through some diet, exercise and sleep recommendations.

I gladly accepted the invitation and agreed to take on the challenge.

The timing couldn't be more perfect because I'm not training for any races right now, so I don't need to freak out about changing up my diet. And, as you'll see, Dr. Perlmutter's dietary recommendations really aren't that different from what I'm doing now anyway . . .

READ MORE ----->

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon race report.

I wanted to run an awesome race and, in some ways, I did. I'd like to say I sailed smoothly over the 13.1 miles of the half marathon on Sunday but, honestly, I didn't.

I sailed smoothly for about 7 miles. But, then . . . well, then I struggled. I struggled for 6 miles, willing myself to run toward my A goal (1:46:58 or better!).

Fortunately, my day started surrounded by lots of friends and Strong Running Mamas. Here's a bunch of us at the start:

Go, Strong Running Mamas, go!

I lined up in the middle/front at the start line and told myself to run strong, but start slow. I have trouble holding back at the beginning of races and I wanted to try to rein myself in.

It didn't happen. See, I'd made a tactical error leading up to the race: I'd entered my recent 5K time into one of those race time predictor calculators and I'd seen what time I (according to the calculators) should be able to run a half marathon. Low 1:40s.

Low 1:40? Well, heck. If that's the prediction, shouldn't I be able to run 1:45, no problem? Should I make a new goal? Skip the A goal and go right to an A+ of 1:45???

1:45 . . . so tempting. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to sell myself short, but I also didn't want to run too hard and blow up at the end and miss setting a new PR.

After all the back and forth, I started the race like a fool.

7:51, 7:34, 7:42, 7:48, 7:37 . . .

The first five miles ticked by and I felt great. Great! Effortless. I loved every minute of those first five foolhardy miles and I foolishly led Foolish Self to believe that, yes, I could hold that 7:45-ish pace for-evah.

Running happy!

Around mile 5, I tried to take a gel and -- blech -- it didn't work. I got a little bit down but could barely swallow it and could stomach it even less. I guess I just can't handle gels during races. Lesson learned (for about, oh, the tenth time . . . ).

Anyway, mile 6 and 7 were still strong but I remember hitting the mile 7 marker and thinking, holy crow. I still have 6 miles to go. I might not make it.

I started doing the math and freaking myself out. 6 miles. That's 60 minutes, if I run the rest of the race at a 10 minute pace. One. Whole. Hour. I can't run for an hour! I don't have another freaking hour of running in me! 

No worries, Happy Runner! I replied to Freaked Out Self, You're running faster than that! 50 minutes. Just run 6 miles in 50 minutes. You can do it!

I could barely do it.

I was fading with each mile and by mile 10 I really needed a gel but couldn't risk it. By mile 11 my legs felt like lead and I was pretty convinced that my A goal was out of reach. I simply couldn't muster any more speed. 

And then I heard a cheer. It was my friend and Strong Running Mama, Melissa H. with her daughter, Mia. Melissa was not running because her body's working hard growing a baby -- but she was out on the course cheering. Hard. She put a smile on my face and gave me some much needed pep.

Not far from Melissa were two other friends and SRMs, Danielle and Melissa D. Another smile. A little more pep.

With maybe a tenth of a mile to go, I was locked in. I saw the clock and I knew if I pushed it I could get my PR.

Pushing it to the finish.

I got it.

1:46:17 -- a 42-second PR!!!

I was so happy. So. Wildly. Happy.

I ran a foolish race but still pulled it off. I couldn't even run back in June but I still pulled it off. I had doubted myself many times over the past month but I still pulled it off.

Pulling it off ROCKS.

And you what else rocks? Friends.

Like Bridget, who rocked the race to a HUGE PR of 1:58:

Happy PR runners!
And Janis, who didn't run but still came out to cheer and snap happy pictures of her pals:

That's me with great friends, Janis and Bridget.
And Jen, who ran her first half marathon; Darlene, who climbed back from injuries to run; Karyn, who put up a big PR of 1:56; and Karyn's SIL, Eileen, who drove up from Long Island to run with her:

Jen, Darlene, me, Karyn, Karyn's SIL, Eileen

And many more (like all those SRM in the first picture -- and the awesome cheerers!!).

But, back to the race. Overall, a tough race with a terrific result. Now, you can take a look at my embarrassing splits:

Mile 1: 7:51
Mile 2: 7:34
Mile 3: 7:42
Mile 4: 7:48
Mile 5: 7:37
Mile 6: 7:50
Mile 7: 8:00
Mile 8: 8:13
Mile 9: 8:24
Mile 10: 8:25
Mile 11: 8:24
Mile 12: 8:35
Mile 13: 8:14
last .1: 8:03 pace

Tale of two races, huh? Yeah. I need to work on my pacing -- obviously!

Here are my stats:

Overall (net) time: 1:46:17
Pace: 8:07 per mile
Overall place: 121 out of 800
Age group place (F, 40-44): 6 out of 92

And with that, I'm resting up. My plan is to take the whole week off to ensure that I give my hip ample time to recover so I don't risk re-injury. I will probably run on Saturday or Sunday and then I'll see what's up next. I'm contemplating a 15K in a month but I'll decide on that later.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon goals.

It is time to lay it down.

Here we are, two days until race day for the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon. Two days . . . yikes!

I've been thinking about the race a lot and, of course, one of the biggest things I've been considering is my race goal. I've gone back and forth about my goals (I just want to finish! OK, I want to finish strong! Make that finish under 2 hours. No, just finish with a smile on my face, no pressure!) and now it is time to lay it down, to put it out there.

I want to have an awesome race.

First and foremost. As recently as the end of June, I couldn't run. At all. And, now? Now I'm back at it. I've had a good training cycle, including (yay!) a new 5K PR. But, I've also had some bumps in the running road.

The biggest bump has been getting Lyme disease -- again! -- in September. It has screwed me up but I've been determined not to let it stop my training and general living. Living being pretty important and all. Yes, training is not quite as important but, to me, it kinda is. So, I've kept at it.

And I ran that 5K race to a PR while I was ill so . . . well, so, shouldn't that mean I can run an awesome race on Sunday?

You betcha!

Awesome race, here I come! My time goals are, as always, three-tiered and they look like this:

C goal: 1:52 or better. I ran 1:53 for a 13.1 mile training run two weeks ago so I should be able to achieve this, no problem.

B goal: Beat my More/Fitness Half Marathon time of 1:48:46. 

A goal: My "if the stars align and shine their magical light down upon me" goal is to set a new PR, 1:46:58 or better. Grand goal, I know, but a girl's gotta dream!

Now, I'm off to hydrate, rest and dream. Oh, and figure out what the heck to wear on Sunday. Such runner problems . . . 

Thanks for stopping by -- have a great weekeend!

Monday, October 7, 2013

September recap.

I'm a week late but, eh, that's just the way things are going around here these days!

September was supposed to be my peak month before the Mohawk-Hudson Half Marathon. I figured my workouts -- long runs, a few strong tempo runs, regular ol' runs -- would push my monthly mileage up to about 120 (from 108 in August). I wanted a big month to prepare me for the race. My running has been going so well since the beginning of August -- with a big month full of strong runs well, maybe, just maybe I could start thinking about a PR.

Well, I didn't exactly have the big month I was planning on. For a variety of reasons, there were a few runs that didn't happen. Although I got in all of the long runs that I was counting on, I didn't get in the harder speedwork, and that accounts for the lower mileage.

I'm not going to worry about it.

I ran a great 5K at the beginning of the month and a kick-butt solo 13.1 mile run at the end (13.1 hilly miles in 1:53!!!).

Here's my month in numbers.

September Stats:

Running (miles): 101.9
Racing: 1, the Youth Make a Difference 5K (new PR!!)

Happy day -- rocking a new 5K PR!!

October mileage will be lower, because I'll talk a (needed) rest after the race. I'd like to think I'll be much smarter about rest this time than I was six months ago when I hardly rested after the More/Fitness half and ended up with a torn-up hip. We'll see!

So, thanks for stopping by -- have a great week!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Goddess Garden Organics review and giveaway!

Two things about me: 1) I buy organic stuff -- mostly food but I've been branching out to cosmetics, and 2) I'm a daily sunscreen user. Given these two things, you'd think a product like the Goddess Garden Organics daily lotion (SPF 15) would be a perfect match for me.

You'd be right.

I was invited to sample the daily lotion and opted to try out the Tangerine Lavender scent . . . CONTINUE READING----------->

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Paleo Apple Muffins.

It is apple season and thanks to the generosity of our neighbors, we are loaded down with apples right now. We've been eating them and eating them and yesterday I decided we needed to get serious about using them up. So I decided to bake.

Always a good thing, in my book.

I was going to make a regular old apple cake. The same flour-and-sugar filled cake that I've made several times in the past. It is a favorite around here. But it is also -- as I mentioned -- filled with flour and sugar.

I don't eat those anymore and I am trying to get my boys to eat way less of them, too.

So, I figured I would try some paleo apple muffins.

I searched the good ol' Internet and came up with plenty of recipes. The only problem was that they all called for almond flour and, honestly, I wasn't feeling the almond flour yesterday. I wanted something different. Something nut-free.

The time was right to put on my creative baker hat and I fiddled around with a few recipes and came up with one that I love.

Mmmm . . . yummy . . .

My boys have gobbled these muffins up. Gobbled!

If you like apples and you like muffins, you need these in your life. Trust me.

Appley goodness. Let's get to it!

Paleo Apple Muffins
(makes one dozen)


5 eggs
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (I use Trader Joe's organic)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut flour (I use Bob's Red Mill organic)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbs cinnamon (don't be stingy!)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 medium/large apples, peeled and chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard muffin tin.

Whisk together the wet ingredients.

Sift in dry ingredients all together. Whisk or mix until well combined. Mix in apples. 

Fill muffin tin with batter and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

You'll end up with a dozen delicious muffins that look a little something like this:

Same picture! Two times!

Gobble them up!

OK, sure. These muffins have maple syrup in them. I know that isn't ideal but, really, you need to have a little sweetness in your life every now and then. Seriously. So, splurge on the maple syrup and treat yourself.

Try these! 

Then tell me what you think. 
I can't for a minute believe that my family and I are the only ones who love these!!

Happy baking!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gone to the mountains.

This past weekend was a wonderfully refreshing one. On Friday, I headed to the mountains -- Jiminy Peak, where Bridget's cousin has a condo -- with four great friends. It was tons of fun!

Saturday morning, Bridget and I got up and went for a 6 mile, very hilly run. Then the five of us went out to lunch and took a ride on the scenic chair lift to the top of the mountain.

Here we are -- all smiles! -- riding up to the top:

Made it! It was such a pretty view, even though it was freezing and cloudy up there:

Kara, me, Janis, Lisa, Bridget

The rest of the day was filled with relaxing, laughing, eating, drinking and just and overall vibe of fun.

Oh, and a flat tire.


After the ride to the top of the mountain, we drove over to the little store and when we got there someone told us that my front right tire was flat. I went outside to check it out and, yup, totally flat. We had no idea!

So, there was some flat tire hoopla that turned out fine in the end but forced us to bag our plan to drive into Williamstown for dinner. Instead, we stayed put at the condo and chowed down on our snack food.

Sunday morning I went out for a solo  run that was just what I needed after a night of fun.

It was a super-duper time!

Now, I've got to get on with the week and it will be a busy one at that. Thanks for stopping by -- have a great week!

Monday, September 9, 2013

YOUth Make a Difference 5K race report.

No suspense here: I had an awesome race on Saturday and set a new PR!

It was great. The race took place in my town, just 5 minutes from my house. We headed over early so Conal could run the 1 mile run and then I'd run the 5K afterward. 

Conal and me before the race, Conal running strong through the finish line and then sporting his medal.

A 1-mile race is a big deal for a little kid but Conal ran strong! Yes, he took walk breaks but then he started back up and he ended up finishing in 12:17. I was so proud of my little runner!

After that race, I lined up for mine. My plan was to try to run hard and see what kind of speed I have going into the last month of half marathon training. I've run only two fast workouts since coming back from my injury (my fast mile and a recent tempo run when I ran 2 miles in 15:15) so I didn't know exactly what to expect.

I started out faster than I probably should have, going through the first mile in 6:53.

Yikes! I have to admit I was cursing myself a little (OK, a lot) after that fast start. I had to hold on. So I kept pushing through the second mile and I went through it in 7:04.

A drop-off for sure, but not too bad.

The third mile, though, was tough. I was ready to be done and my internal conversation was not all that positive. I kept telling myself I'd blown it. That I had 2-mile speed and that was about it. That I just needed to stop.

But, thankfully, I didn't stop. I kept running and I went through the third mile in 7:14. I picked it up at the end to finish as strong as I could, running the last tenth of a mile at 6:20 pace and finishing the race in 21:37!

A new PR!!!

I never in a million years thought I would have been able to run that fast right now. I've been so worried about re-injuring my hip that I've been very, very conservative with my training. I believe that has been a good plan because, now, here I am running and racing strong!

Race stats:

Overall time: 21:37
Pace: 6:58/mile
Age group place (female, 40-49): 2 out of 30
Gender place: 8 out of 151
Overall place: 18 out of 241  

I followed up the race with a nice and easy (and very hilly!) 10 mile run with Bridget and Elisa at the crack of dawn on Sunday. My legs felt heavy but it was a good run with friends and it felt good to get the miles in.

Nice weekend of running for this happy runner!

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

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