Friday, December 28, 2012

Running for a Memory

As I'm sure you've noticed (because why wouldn't you be checking my blog everyday), I've been pretty MIA the past couple of weeks.  The craziness of the holidays has made taking Garmin pictures and writing about myself the low man on the priority totem pole.

I've been keeping up the miles and even got a race in, but just haven't had time to sit down and write about it.  Today, I debated doing a big ol' recap to get up to speed.  I debated doing a big picture smorgasbord to show off my miles.  But all of that just didn't seem right, given the significance of today.

December 28.

One year ago today, a life was lost far too soon.

One year ago today, a soon-to-be bride learned that she would never see her husband at the altar.

One year ago today, our family lost someone who we did not have nearly enough time with.

It was this tragic event that was the underlying motivator for my running journey this year.  The slap-in-the-face realization that life is short.  Why put off something until tomorrow when you can do it today?

My jump into 13.1 was inspired by someone who always lived life to the fullest and enjoyed the great outdoors.  What better way to honor him than to dedicate my journey, my miles, my race to him.

Running has become more to me than just pounding the pavement.  It has become my way of celebrating life, and honoring those who can no longer celebrate it themselves.  And while I often times get caught up in the vanity of it, running is something that has come to have so much meaning to me.

So today as I somberly lace up my sneakers and head out on my run, I am running for you, Matty.  Thank you for being my inspiration.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Doggy Paddle for the Win

After a super low key week, I amped up my game this weekend with back to back races.  More on the best weekend ever later.

I took it easy during the week since my leg was still bothering me and I was feeling a little under the weather.  I went for a nice solo walk on the canal on Monday and strolled along into the sunset.  18 minute miles for the win.

On Tuesday, Fleet Feet had a yoga for runners class that some of the girls and I did.  We were anticipating running a few miles beforehand, but when you take bad weather and throw in 3 unmotivated attitudes, you don't have a very good outcome.  Instead we hung out with our FF BFF's inside the warm store for 40 minutes before it was time for yoga.  Can't win em all I guess.  

Since I am terrified of my train wreck of a leg sabotaging my upcoming marathon training, I called up my buddy and paid him a visit.

home away from home

Dr. Dan stretched me out and did some work on my leg (aka dug his elbow in my entire lower left extremity for an hour).  We chatted a bit about my training and he gave me some tips and advice that will help me re-vamp my training schedule to (hopefully) avoid any training cycle disasters.  He also assured me that it's okay to come see him during training for a "tune-up."  You better believe you'll be seeing me in a few months, Dr. Dan.

Thursday and Friday was back to back nights of good food and (a little too much) good wine.  On Thursday we celebrated my sister's birthday with a big ol family dinner.  Can't believe my little babies are all grown up.  Friday night was my work Christmas party and let's just say that Friday + good work friends = I am not waking up for a long run on Saturday morning.

sissys and co-worker bff's

After pulling a college move and sleeping until 1pm, it was time to get my butt in gear and get ready for a festive 5k!  The race, It's a Wonderful Run 5k, is an evening race in Seneca Falls.  The whole event is based on the movie It's a Wonderful Life.  Hint: in order to understand the coolness of the race, it might have helped if I had seen the movie.  Good thing we had a long car ride for the girls to explain it to me.  Also helped distract me from the college-style hangover I was rocking.  Woof.

There were over 3,000 people at the race and the whole course was festive and decorated.  People were outside their houses blasting Christmas music (and also Bruce Springsteen) and cheering for everyone.  I've never ran a race at night and it was so cool to have all the Christmas lights light the way!

After taking eight days off from running, my legs seemed to be a little confused about what was going on.  It wasn't until about mile 2 that they remembered what they were supposed to do and once they woke up I went flyin (you know, relatively speaking).

The race was a blast and obviously we went and got dinner afterwards.  A good run + Blue Moon + a burger = best hangover cure ever.  Tis the season!

Once I got home it was right to bed because this morning was race day #2.  I was really intimidated about this morning's race and not particularly looking forward to it, so enter my new race morning alarm tone:

If Eye of the Tiger doesn't make you want to be a beast then I don't know what does.  My race this morning was an indoor triathlon and the local Y.  I had seen a flyer for it a few weeks back and thought it was the coolest thing.  15 minutes each of swimming, biking and running.  

When I initially registered, I was all "oh I can totally learn how to swim in the next couple weeks."  Buuuut that didn't happen.  So I awoke this morning throwing a Hail Mary to the swim gods to keep me afloat.  

here goes nothin
Steph and Coach Rob showed up to cheer me on which turned out to be a huge help.  I also know one of the volunteers and the three of them helped make my disaster of a swim a little more bearable.  Let me tell you, just because you are "in shape" in the world of running, does NOT mean you are at all in shape to swim.

The swim was SO. HARD.  I did two laps and almost wanted to die when I saw the clock telling me I still had 13.5 minutes left to swim.  My front crawl quickly turned into a kinda-sorta breast stroke which turned into some side stroke shuffling which eventually turned into some water jogging and doggy paddle.  I was a train wreck in there.  Longest 15 minutes of my life.

Swim - 20 laps in 15 minutes

After the swim we had 5 minutes of transition time before the bike.  Naturally, I forgot to pack a towel so had to dry off with my tshirt after the swim.  Since I was still pretty much soaking wet, trying to get my capris on my wet legs turned into a 4 minute fiasco.  I ran over to the bikes and heard "30 seconds!"  Wait.  I'm still barefoot.

As I hustled to get my socks and shoes on, this happened:

In the whirlwind to get situated and on the bike in time I tore a huge hole through my sock as I was trying to put it on.  And then apparently forgot how to tie my shoelaces.  "Three seconds!"  AH!  Sock ripped, shoes half tied, GET ON THE BIKE!

After my less than relaxing transition, I pedaled my little heart out on the bike and felt much more in my element.  I was still soaking wet, but I was on dry land.  And doing something that I actually knew how to do.  With no possibility of drowning.  Despite my flustered start, I was in my zone.

The bike went by the fastest and even though I had zero resistance (call me a cheater, I don't care) I was definitely working my wet, flustered butt off.  

They had music blasting and the volunteers (along with my personal cheerleaders) were cheering and so encouraging the whole time.  It was great!

Bike - 7.04 miles in 15 minutes

The "transition" to the run was much less chaotic than my first transition and I was ready to take on 15 minutes of the dreadmill.  I started my speed at 6.0 and that quickly faded to 5.5.  I surprisingly didn't get (that) bored during the 15 minutes.  Usually I want to peel off the thing after about 2 minutes, but between the race atmosphere and Rob and Steph cheering me on, I was in the zone the whole time.

Because I'm a wuss, I dropped my speed down to 5.4 with 5 minutes to go.  The second I touched the screen to slow down, Steph yelled at me encouraged me to pick it up.  "You can do anything for 5 minutes!"  So I picked it back up and ended up running the last 2 minutes at 6.5.  My average pace for the 15 minutes was right around 10:30; not bad for tired legs!

Run - 1.43 miles in 15 minutes

I seriously had so much fun this morning!  It was really well organized, the volunteers (and my cheerleaders!) were fabulous, and I felt really good about the whole experience.  Despite my less than successful attempt at swimming, I loved the entire event!  I would absolutely do one again and it got me really excited about cross training and incorporating biking (and maybe swimming?!) into marathon training.  

Overall a fantastic weekend! :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Big Things Poppin

I've got some big things poppin over in this joint but before I get to that let's recap my completely sub-par week of running.

I had three weekday runs scheduled but it turned into two and this is what it looked like:

Low mileage, but high quality so I'll take it.  Tuesday was hills as usual and yet again it was kind of an "eh" run.  Hills just aren't my thing and I don't think they ever will be.  One of these day they have to get a little easier though right?!

After a rest lazy day on Wednesday, I was looking forward to track party Thursday.  Even though these are hands down the toughest runs of the week, there's something about the variety and the challenge of them that makes me look forward to it.

On tap this week was 400m repeats, 8 of them.  My goal was to keep each repeat in the range of 2:19-2:32.  The verdict?

Boom.  Mission accomplished.  Let me tell you though, you don't realize how long one lap on the track can be until that is all you are focusing on!  Some of those 400's were the longest 2+ minutes of my life.  

That running club of super fast runners from last week was there again this week, running circles around us.  Their coach was there calling out times for their laps and every time we passed he told us "great job ladies" "you're working hard" "looking strong."  It was some nice encouragement, although I don't think he'll be recruiting us anytime soon.  I'll take him as a cheerleader every Thursday though!

The past week or two I've noticed a little niggle in my IT band/hip/knee area and it started to get pretty bad towards the end of this week.  It was so bad when I woke up on Saturday morning that it bothered me to even walk.  As much as I (surprisingly) wanted to do my long run yesterday, I called it off and decided to dust off my exercise sheet from Dr. Dan.

Yesterday and today have been full of lunges and squats and stretching and foam rolling.  I'm trying to nip this re-occurring annoyance before it gets too bad and benches me from running again.  After having a minor freakout about it, I emailed Dr. Dan because I've got some very important training coming up that I need to be 100% for.

What is this very important training for you ask?  Oh just this little event in May:

Yup, my first ever MARATHON!  I am officially registered and plan on running the Buffalo Marathon on May 26.  Training officially starts January 14 and I'm a whole slew of excited/nervous/scared shitless.  

Emily & Steph will be training with me (Emily is running Buffalo, Steph is running Cleveland) so I will have people to commiserate with, laugh with, cry with, and sweat with for the 19 weeks of training.  I still can't believe that I am doing this, but my "life is short" motto gave me the push to dive right in.  Why wait right?!  

I'll be working the next 6 weeks on building my base and getting in some more speed work.  Once January 14 is here, you'll be seeing a whole lot more of me as I document my journey to 26.2.  Buffalo, see you in 174 days!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Run for Stuffing.

Considering this week was full of turkey and stuffing and shopping, I still managed to log some miles and get some good workouts in!

Since Thursday was Thanksgiving, Emily and I decided to have Tempo Thursday on Tuesday.  It's still new in our routine so we're still excited to do speed work.  Let's see how long that actually lasts.

This week we did a pyramid workout and this is what it looked like:

It was tough because there were no mental breaks like in repeats...even the easy intervals got not so easy towards the middle.  And, it doesn't help your confidence when one of the local running clubs of super fast runners is doing their weekly speed workout on the same track.  If I had a dollar for every person that lapped me on this workout I'd have enough money to pay a year's worth of race entry fees.

Wasn't the best tempo workout, but not the worst.  Meh.

In other news, I've decided that my new favorite Thanksgiving tradition is running a race Thanksgiving morning.  Gives me an excuse to take a pre-dinner nap, and also justifies about 6 extra helpings of stuffing.

I was extra excited for this year's Turkey Trot because I was doing it in Syracuse with my sister.  Since running races in costumes is my jam, I decided to craft up a sweet costume for me and Heather.  After breaking a pair of scissors, burning my finger on the hot glue gun, and cutting my lip on a safety pin... I was left with the most poorly executed race costume ever.   

When I showed my mom, she thought we were being a horseshoe.  Really, Ma?!  (For the record, it's supposed to be a wishbone).  Looked fab in my head.... not so much in real life.  Better luck next time.

It was perfect weather for a race and I forced Heather to run with me even though she busts out 7 minute miles like it's nothing but a thing.  She chatted my ear off the entire 3.1 miles and didn't even break a sweat.  How come I didn't get the fast runner gene?

Steph and her dad ran this race last year and Steph sold me on doing it this year because she said it was a flat out and back course.  Apparently when I registered though, the race organizers could sense my I HATE HILLS mantra and decided to change the course this year to include, you guessed it, hills.  Regardless, it was a good course with great crowd support.  And having my own personal pacer chatting away made the race fly by.  Overall a fantastic way to kick off the holiday. 

You know what's almost as exciting as running a race on Thanksgiving?  Knowing someone who is running their first race ever on Thanksgiving!  DC Chris (who ran sprinted the Rochester half marathon in September) and his brother Jeff ran the Turkey Trot in Webster and this was Jeff's very first race.  I sadly missed his race debut but even without my superb cheerleading skills, they rocketed through the course and killed it.  Congrats Jeff on your first race!!

Bro's in beast mode

After 2 days of being in a food coma, I forced myself to go to the gym yesterday.  I didn't have anyone to run with, and since it was cold my motivation to go out on my own was zero.  Off to the gym it was. 

Thirty minutes at the gym reminded me why I actually prefer to run outside in the snow.  The treadmill is SO. BORING.  I felt like I was dying a slow death.  I did 1.3 miles and felt like I was on there for an hour.  Even the 2 miles on the elliptical felt torturous.  I went fast, I went amount of intervals could make the gym bearable.  Get me out of here.

What do you do when you are on the verge of death from boredom and still have energy to burn?  Decorate for Christmas!

And the best way to round out a holiday filled weekend is with a Sunday morning long run!  The whole gang met up early this morning for a run that ended up being a little over 6 miles.  We ran on the canal, streets and trails and it was an awesome run.  WAY better than last weekends long run disaster.  Of course there was breakfast afterwards.  Nothing better than a good run, good company and a good breakfast on a Sunday morning!

I logged a whopping 14 miles this week which is significantly higher than the 3 I logged two weeks ago.  Slowly but surely getting my base back up so I can jump into January training ready to go!  No fun races on the cal this week, but lots of wintery runs in store I'm sure!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Smorgasbord Week

Last week seemed to be just the kind of kick-off week I needed because I actually logged some great workouts this week!

I traded in my run last Saturday to volunteer at a day of trail races.  There were two races that day and I got there around 8am to help with the post-race food set up for race #1.  Let me tell you, I really took the amazing post race food spreads for granted.

When you're tired and hungry after a race, you get so excited to see food that you don't even think about where it came from.  What do you mean the race food fairy doesn't magically make it all happen?!  I now have a whole new appreciation for the food I stuff my face with after a race.

My job duty for race #2 was water girl.  Sweet!  I've always wanted to man a water stop.  My co-water girl and I got a bit lost on the way to our stop but made up for it with our enthusiasm and superb water handling skills.  Who knew handing cups of water to sweaty runners could be so much fun?!

 Seeing these crazy runners run two trail races in one day inspired me to get my butt moving the next day.  Since it was gorgeous out on Sunday, I decided to bring out Mr. Trek before he gets put away for the winter.

I headed out on the canal for a 20 mile solo ride.  My plan was to do an out-and-back and I was feeling great when I hit my 10 mile turn-around point.

And then, literally 37 seconds after this picture was taken, I got a flat.  WHY.  Well I know why....I've been needing to buy a new tire for months, but I've been too stubborn to shell out the money to replace the poor thing.  Oh hey karma, thanks for slapping me in the face.

Thank god for friendly bikers on the canal - I struggled for 20 minutes after I got my wheel off until some riders stopped and helped me out.  And by help me out I mean fixed my flat for me.  Somehow I still managed to get filthy:

After my unplanned pit stop, I was nervously back on the canal to finish my ride.  The women who stopped to help me told me I needed a new tire like yesterday and asked how much longer I had to ride.  When I told her 10 more miles she laughed and said "good luck."  Thankfully I avoided any further flats on my way back.

20 miles and 1.5 hours later I was home safe and sound.  Well, that's not true.  According to Garmin, my elapsed time was 2 hours and 10 minutes.  That means I spent 40 minutes changing my flat.  I should probably work on my bike mechanic skillz.

Monday I did some Jillian Michaels and just about died.  I'm blaming Jillian for my crazy slow run on Tuesday night.  Nothing exciting about this run.  Re-acquainted myself with Cobbs Hill.  Remembered why I stopped running hills.

Emily and I had grand plans to run after work on Wednesday.  She came over, we got geared up, we headed outside......and then this happened:

No, my Garmin didn't break.  We turned around and walked back inside.  And bailed on our run.  I've bailed on plenty of runs before, but usually once I get my gear on and I'm out the door my mind is made.  I'm running.  I've never actually walked outside, walked 50 yards, and turned back around.  Can't win em all I guess.

The lack of effort on Wednesday meant that it was time to kick my own butt on Tempo Thursday.  On tap this week?  1/2 mile repeats.  Four of them.  Using my two mile time trial time as a base, I used this God-sent tool to figure out that I had to complete each 800m repeat in 4:58--5:13.  And by golly would you take a look at these splits:

It's crazy what a little focus can make you do.  It was definitely a tough workout and I was pretty maxed out at the end of each repeat.  But....I had fun!  I'm not sure if it was the change of scenery running on the track, or the fact that it was something different than just... running, but I really liked it!  Welcome back to my life, Tempo Thursday!

I'd really like to end this on a positive note, so I'm only going to say one thing about today's run: it sucked.  That is all.

Without my running buddies this morning, I surely would have keeled over and died (or, more realistically, turned around and walked back to my car).  Toughest, hilliest run in a long time and my legs didn't show up for the party.  Erasing all memories of this

Week two of logging more than one mile....success.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bringing the 'Miles' back to 'Molly's Miles'

As you could probably tell from my lack of daily life updates, my activity has been pretty lax the past three weeks.  I may be starting training in January for a big spring event (more on that another time) so this week was my "ease back into that thing called running" week.  In case you're wondering what I've been doing with my life until now.....

...I've been riding bikes through the city of DC...

...And posing around the Nation's Capital in my Fleet Feet team shirt...

...And buying Lululemon headbands with my best friend and DC hostess...

...Then I DIY'd some mouse costumes for a Halloween 5k.  Martha Stewart has nothing on my crafty skills and the real three blind mice have nothing on our running prowess....

...I did a handful of runs here and there, and I'm confident that Garmin needs to start paying me for all this free publicity:

...Had my Runiversary and PR'd in my anniversary 5k.  In case you forgot:

...Went for a 5am run one morning.  Happened to be the day after election day.  Got stopped mid-run and interviewed for the news...  

Does my headlamp make me look smarter?
I was fighting off crowds of fans for days after this.

...Brought back Tempo Thursday.  Two mile time trial on the track...

...In the pitch black...

...And somehow still managed my best two mile time trail to date...

I guess the girl still has it in her after all.  Welcome back, Molly's Miles.  Time to get the show back on the road.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


What better way to come back from my 3 week long blog hiatus than on the day of my "Runiversary"!

One year ago today I ran my first 5k.  It took me 42 loooong minutes.  I crossed the finish line dead and exhausted but on cloud nine.

That finish line in November 2011 was the start of an amazing journey that has changed me inside and out.  365 days ago I would never have imagined that this is where I would be today.

Today, I ran that very same 5k.  I crossed the finish line in 33:22.  As I pushed myself as hard as I could during those 3.1 miles, I was thinking about how far I've come over the past year.

Running has changed me for the better -- mentally, physically, emotionally.  I love where I am at in my life right now and, as crazy as it may sound, I have running to thank for getting me here.  It has become my stress reliever, my social life, my anti-depressant, my passion.

Today I shaved nine minutes off my time from last year, and I ran through the finish line this morning with a new 5k PR.  I left my heart on the course this morning and I wouldn't have it any other way on my one-year running anniversary.

All I can say is, what a difference a year makes.  My one year Runiversary is even sweeter then I imagined, and you better believe there will be many, many more to come!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quick Recap: Breast Cancer Awareness Ride

Today I am a woman of few words.  It's Monday, I'm tired, and Jillian Michaels just sucked every last bit of energy out of me.  Lucky for you, I managed to snap a few pics yesterday at the Breast Cancer Awareness Ride so I'll let them do (most of) the talking...

Rise and shine at 9:00am which is basically sleeping in these days.  All smiles and pink as I picked up my bike bib:

Perfectly fall weather meant no need for my neon jacket.  Good thing 92% of my wardrobe is pink so I was still prepared underneath my coat.

Just in case you were wondering, yes, of course my gloves are pink too.  Duh.

I really need to chill out with the thumbs up.  Sorry guys.

Look at all the pink.  Those are the 45 milers heading off.  Remember that time I originally signed up for the 45 miler and then did the 25 instead?  Oops.

Brie's dad was riding so him and I stuck together.  Actually, I really dropped down to the 25 miles for him.  So he didn't feel bad.  Just kidding.  If he wasn't there I probably would have done 10.

Oh good ol' Mendon.  Your hills never get old to me.  Mr. L tried teaching me how to use my gears correctly (still working on that skill) and I only half-wobbled up some of the hills.  The good thing about hills is they always = downhills.  Downhills are 97% responsible for my speedy 14mph average speed.

After an entire week of doing absolutely nothing active (unless you count my Corporate America business trip full of dinner buffets and happy hours), I was half surprised I didn't keel over and die during the ride.  

All in all it was a great fall ride and what's better than riding your bike in the country in the fall all while raising money and awareness to save America's boobs?  Triple win.  Boom.