Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When bad math equals a good run.

Late last week, Bridget and I agreed to meet up for a 12-mile run on Saturday morning. Around the same time, Elisa and Gail were making plans to run 12 as well. At one point, their plan was to run on the bike path in Niskayuna -- too far for Bridget and I to meet them on this particular Saturday.

So, there was talk of meeting in Poestenkill -- closer, yes, but also hillier. Given how my running had gone last week, I needed to avoid hills. My hip was acting up (no big surprise since I was coming off an aggressive 10-mile race) so I told Bridget I needed to run somewhere flat.

There was a lot of back and forth about the plan and, while I was out enjoying a kid-free evening with my husband, Bridget and Elisa ended up finalizing it. Bridget and I would meet at 8:00. Elisa and Gail would meet at 7:00. They'd run 6 miles by themselves during that time, meet us, and we'd all run 6 together.

The only problem is, their plan called for us to meet at a spot that was 6 miles from where Bridget and I were planning to start.

The plan was victim of a little bit of bad math.

Fortunately, Elisa re-checked the calculations and caught the bad math before we started out on Saturday. Even more fortunately, she and Gail scrapped their plans to start in Niskayuna and decided the run the entire 12 miles with Bridget and me.


With a new plan, we took off all together and tackled 12 enjoyable miles! We banged out 8 strong miles in just under 10-minute pace. Then, we dropped the pace and ran the last 4 miles in 9:10, 9:01, 8:56 and 8:59. Go, negative splits!

Gail, Elisa, Bridget and me after the run.
Thanks to some bad math, Bridget and I got to run with Gail and Elisa for the full 12 miles. And it was a great run!

Long runs with friends truly rock.

Have a great week, everyone. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips.

In a perfect world, my kids would snack on homemade kale chips, grain-free carrot muffins and a wide variety of fresh-from-the-garden fruits and veggies every day, all year long.

But, this being real life, that doesn't always happen. Yes, I make kale chips. And those grain-free carrot muffins. And even some rocking granola bars. I don't, however, make them every day. In fact, there are some weeks -- weeks! -- when our lives are completely void of any kale.

It doesn't mean I turn to junk options, though, when the weather turns cold and the farmers pack up their stands and we sigh at having to wait another 8 months for farm stand fresh veggies again. I try to provide healthier snacks options all the time, homemade kale chips or not.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Clove Run race report.

I blame it on a fast mile.

Back in July, I tested out my speed and in addition to a few fast half miles, I ran a pretty speedy mile. 6:44 on legs that were far from 100%.

That mile made me happy. It also made me start to think some things. Like, for example, I might be ready to run a race in August. And I might -- just might -- be able to actually try to push the pace in a race.

Fear of re-injury, though, tended to over-ride those thoughts. I continued to run fairly well, and about two weeks ago I decided I would run one of my favorite local races, the Clove Run.

For the past two years, I've run the 10 mile option (and finished as first female overall in 2011 and second female overall in 2012). This year, I decided to run the 5K.

But, then, well . . . I ran 10 miles with Bridget and Elisa on August 10th and I felt fine. I began to wonder if I should just go for it. And as the week progressed, I scrapped my 5K plans and decided to go for the 10.

I would run it nice and easy.

Except, when race morning came around, I couldn't do it. And, for that, I blame that good ol' fast mile.

At the starting line on Saturday, I changed my mind. I wouldn't run nice and easy. I wanted to know what I had in me -- just like I had wanted to know what I had in me when I ran my mile. So, in the 10 mile Clove Run, I would push it.

My plan, devised about a minute before the start, was to push the pace over the first 3 miles and then see how well I could hang on.

Strong Running Mamas before the race!
I definitely pushed the pace in the beginning, running through the 3 mile mark in 23:29. I felt like I needed to pull back a little after that so I consciously slowed down (it would have happened anyway!) and settled into a steady pace. I ran through the 6 mile mark (which was just a little spray paint on the road) in 48:22 and I started to feel like I'd be able to finish the race with a good time.

The two big hills of the race were still in front of me, though. And my plan was to walk up them. I need to save my hip for the half marathon in October so there was no sense in pushing it up the hills. So, walk I did! Yes, that move slowed me down but that is no big deal in my book.

In the end, I crossed the finish line in 1:24:10, just 2 minutes and 16 seconds slower than last year, and that was when I was healthy and running well!

I was elated. Elated, I tell you! As a bonus, I finished first in my age group. Go me!

With Bridget and Elisa after the race -- Bridget set a 10 minute PR at the race!
Great race.

Now, how did I feel? Well, my hip felt a bit tight in the beginning of the race and I definitely felt it throughout the race. It never felt really bad, but it was just there. To me, that means I need to warm up better before my next race. I ran an easy mile with Elisa before the start, I think I need to supplement that with some more rolling and hot packing.

Afterward, my hip felt a little sore but, again, not terrible. I'm healing, for sure.

One thing that did not feel good was my stomach. I took a gel at mile 5-ish and, yeah, that didn't work out so well. I had a rotten cramp for 3 miles afterward. Yuck. I don't know why I went with the gel since my Paleo diet has been working so well for me. But, I did. Now, though, I need to figure out a better race fuel option.

That will come. Right now, I'm just happy that I ran a strong race!

Here's a breakdown:

Overall time: 1:24:09 (8:25 pace)
Overall finish: 22 out of 82 (small race!)
Age group finish:  1 out of 12

Next up, the Youth Make a Difference 5K on September 7th. Now that I know I can push the pace over a longer distance, I'm ready to drop down to a 5K and get speedy!

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Running and strolling.

I'm going to state the obvious: I'm a running mom. Which means, I fit my runs in around the kids and other family stuff. But, I also occasionally force the kids -- well, actually, just the younger one -- into my schedule: I grab him up, plop him in the running stroller, and take off for a run.

Now, I live in a hilly neighborhood so running while pushing a 35 lb boy in a heavy stroller is quite a workout. For the past few years I've been using a decent running stroller. It got the job done, but it wasn't particularly easy.

This summer, however, stroller running got a lot easier. A lot.

Enter the BOB Revolution SE stroller. Begin joyful stroller running.

I mean, look at how happy my little guy is!

Loving the stroller!

Super happy, right? Right. And that's because the BOB Revolution by Britax -- which I was sent to review as part of the Saucony Mom Blogger program -- is awesome.

There's a lot to like about the BOB Revolution stroller.  It is light. It is streamlined. It is easy to maneuver. Plus, I think my little guy finds it to be pretty comfortable. I liked that the front wheel can be stationary (good for running) but easily converts to a swivel wheel for general strolling around. And I liked the height of the handle bar, which I found to be more comfortable than other strollers I've used.

It could just be me, but it was tricky to figure out how to fold the stroller. Once I figured it out, it made sense but I did wish that it folded in a different way. There is something about how it ends up that just seems awkward to me. But, since I usually keep the stroller up and ready-to-go in the garage, it is really no big deal.

So, BOB stroller -- a hit!

And what about those super-cute green running shoes my little guy is sporting in that photo? Well, those are Saucony Kids running shoes, a joint product from Saucony and Stride Rite that are "designed with Saucony DNA but engineered with Stride Rite know-how."

The shoes are designed specifically for kids -- they aren't just shrunken down versions of adult Saucony shoes. This allows for special design elements, like a very flexible outsole that is extra durable (but probably not necessary for adult shoes).

According to my little guy, they are cool and fast!

Here's proof:

Fast runner boy!

The design is great. The shoes fit well, they are easy to slip on, easy to close (thank you, velcro!) and easy to take off. Plus, they stay on. No kidding, that's a good thing with kids shoes!

I love that they are designed to look like "real" adult running shoes.

Kid kicks. Mom kicks.

Sure, mine have laces and his don't. But, to a kid? Same shoes. Same shoes for fast running like mama!

The only thing about the shoes that I don't like -- and this is totally minor -- is that the color on the outsole (orange for this pair) quickly starts to wear off and that looks a little messy. I know, I'm picky. But, the shoes are otherwise so sharp looking, it is a shame to have anything like that take away from their look.

Saucony Kids running shoes -- a hit!

(That's two hits, if you're counting. Ha!)

You can tell that running -- family style, here in Happy Runnerville -- just got a whole lot easier and, dare I say it, happier! New gear will do that for a running family!

Have you tried any of the BOB strollers? 
Or the Saucony shoes?
Let me know!

Have a great week, everyone! Thanks for stopping by.

Review disclosure: I was sent shoes and the stroller to review as part of the Saucony Mom Blogger program. I was not otherwise compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Officially in.

It is official. I am racing in October:

Just like that.

I knew I couldn't pull off running the full marathon this fall, after being off running for so long this summer. But I've been running well for the past three weeks and feeling like I could manage the half marathon.

So after logging three long-ish runs (6, 7, 6.5) I sent in my request. The day I did, I ran even longer and felt even better.

(Check out my post-run pic -- we'd just finished up 10 miles. My longest run since April!!)

Bridget, me, Elisa. Happy and sweaty after our early morning 10 miles!

Was the strong long run a sign? Perhaps. But I wasn't sure my request would be accepted because the half marathon sold out so quickly. 

And then the email appeared in my inbox this morning.

I'm in.
I'm running the half marathon.
I'm excited!
Yay, yay, YAY!!!

Now, I have to get busy putting together a two-month training plan. I'm on it!

Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

LUV Footwear winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my LUV Footwear giveaway. I used random.org to pick a winner from all of the valid entries and the winner is . . .

Allison Behan

Congratulations, Allison! Shoot me an email at felicehalf [at] yahoo [dot] com and I'll get you hooked up!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Long and faster.

At long last, my running is starting to return to normal.

I ran 59.7 miles in July, which is a HUGE bump up from the measly 7 I ran in June. Over the course of those 59.7 miles, I've slowly begun to feel like I'm overcoming my hip injury. I'm running longer, including a 7 mile run last weekend, and my weekly mileage is creeping up -- to 20 miles last week!

I'm also running faster. For most of my first month back to running I've been going at a slow pace. I had to walk up hills for the first two weeks (doctor's orders!) and I was also a bit afraid to push it. Slow is the way to go when coming back from an injury.

But then, I started to feel better. And I developed an itch to go faster. So, on Thursday, I did some speed work. I met my friend Bridget to run at the track and after we warmed up a bit we ran a fast half mile. Then we split up and she ran some sprints and I timed my mile.

Surprisingly, I ran my mile in 6:44.

And I wasn't even gasping for breath! Instead, I felt pretty good. I felt like I was running a steady, strong, fast pace. I almost -- dare I say it -- felt like I could have gone faster.

What a great feeling! Great feeling any time, I suppose, but especially so when returning from an injury. Two months ago I thought I was washed up. Now, I'm full of hope.

I'm back.

Well, on my way back. But that's more or less the same thing, in my book!

Now, I need to focus on continuing to build my mileage while continuing to heal my hip. Switching to the half marathon in October is looking more and more likely . . .

Have a great week, everyone!

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