Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 - Year in Review (in photos)

This is the time to look back and review all the successes and failures of the year. 2012 brought me a fair share of both successes and failures, as far as fitness and running goes.
I am working on analyzing my 2012 goals  -that will be a different post.
For now, I decided to post 12 pictures - 1 for each month of 2012 that highlight (or low-light) the year.
Healthy waffles with homemade fruit puree

Half marathon training with Sandy

Saint Patty's Day run with friends

HUGE accomplishment - 13.1 - CHECK!

Finishing Cresson 5k

Beautiful morning run before work

4th of July 15k - I look happy but it's only b/c I was done. This one went down as my worst run e-v-e-r

Looking tough

Leaving for a run from my parents' house

DiSepio Fitness Challenge 5k Halloween weekend

2 mile Turkey Trot - earned a 2nd place finish (lost 1st place by 1 second)

And finally, the Twilight 5k - that's tomorrow!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

SFU 5K Race Report

Yesterday was the annual DiSepio Institute's 5k challenge.
I thought it would be great to pass the challenge along to my class of senior OT students - I got all "this would be a great health and wellness activity for us to do as a group" on them.
About 12 (out of 38) took me up on it! I was thrilled. So I was pretty pumped to run this race, even though it's my least favorite race course to run (4 significant hills) but one of the best organized and everyone gets a ribbon upon crossing the finish line. Yesterday was also World Occupational Therapists Day - so it was perfect!
An elevation map of the course -notice how it ends - UP!
I was also thrilled because Jude wanted to run the kids' race. I signed him up and he got a bib and an official race tee shirt (which is one of the best race tee shirts ever)!
Before our races

There were about 12-15 kiddos in Jude's race. They ran it twice since it was just a couple hundred yards. Jude finished 3rd both times. Kids ranged from 3-9 years of age.
Look at him go (man, does he love this picture)!

The 5k started on time. Once again, I was chatting and being oh-so casual when the gun went off and caught me off guard. I really gotta work on getting my head in the game and keeping my yapper shut.
Although I claim to not like this course very much, there are certain things I do like about it: Jeremy and the boys get to see me for the entire 1st mile (we run 2 laps around the campus mall), so that's always comforting and motivating. Another thing I like is that the course is pretty and offers lots to look at along the way.
Here I am all smiles. Maybe I was enjoying myself? Maybe I was trying to look 'good' since I was in front of the chapel (hey, every little bit helps). Notice my 'outfit' - it's Halloween weekend. I knew running in costume wasn't a possibility, so I donned arm tattoo sleeves and fun socks. I really think it helped!
And there I go

Oh sweet Jesus, my favorite part of the race - finish line!
I crossed in 27:54
Obviously not my best time, but anything under 28:00 on this course is a success in my mind.

One of my habits (whether it be good or annoying) is standing near the finish line and cheering other runners in, especially friends. I stood and cheered in all of my students (those few who didn't finish before me) and also some of my friends who were running their 1st 5k. My friend, Missy, was one of those 1st-timers. Her kiddos were excited to see her come across the line!
Me with 2 of my friends - Sherri and Missy - both of them got their 1st 5k under their belt! Congrats girls!
Me with 2 of my students - also 1st timers on the 5k race circuit.
Race stats:
Time: 27:54
Age category (Female 31-40): 4th out of??? (need to figure it out)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

10k Race Report

Last big(ger) race of the year is in the books!

Saturday was the Hollidaysburg 10k/half marathon race. I picked the 10k because I knew all of my training would have to share time with the start of school (and semester for me) and soccer season. My training went well and I was excited to get to the race Saturday morning.
After fretting about the weather all week, I woke up Saturday morning to almost perfect race conditions - cool (mid 50s), overcast but dry. It was pretty windy, but not a worry.

My A goal for this race was 56:00-56:59 minutes. I was pretty sure I could pull that off. Arriving at the race, I got to catch up with a lot of familiar faces in the local running community- that totally calmed my nerves (and boy, let me tell you they were riding high that morning - it's like I never raced before).

Somehow, through all my chattiness, I ended up pretty close to the front of the line-up (1st mistake). 8:00am hit an we were off! The course is fairly hilly the entire route but starts with a slight grade - to which many runners passed me (duh!). My mapmyrun app was on, so I was getting pacing updates. Mile 1 hit and Chica (that's what I named the voice that updates my paces through the app) told me I was running an 8:14 pace. Wow! I would've never guessed. That's way too fast for me (I could keep that pace for a 5k, but not so much in this race). I knew I needed to slow down or I'd crash and burn. So I slowed a little. The rest of the course was pretty uneventful - I managed to keep a decent pace, mixing in some walk breaks (thanks to bolting out at the start I seemed to lose steam, not to mention the hills).

The elevation lay out  - I'd call that a little more than 'rolling' hills

Hey Amy (there in the center of the screen with the grey shirt)! 
Maybe you'd be more effective if
#1 you turn around to face the right direction and
 #2 stop chatting! 

Fact check: I'm not in there :)

Before I knew it, I was cresting the last hill (with a few choice words for it) and making my way toward the finish line - always my favorite part of the race because I always see my guys there waiting for me! I could see the time clock and knew that I could hit my time goal - so of course, I picked up the pace a little. I crossed in (officially) 55:33! Score, check! Under my A goal! I ended up scoring a 3rd place finish in my age category and earning some bling by way of a medal :) Yay!

Here I come ( a big shout out to my sister who bought me the awesome tee shirt I was wearing - you can buy it here - the front has a list: Run Happy, Run Grumpy, Run Speedy, Run Slow, Run a little, Run a lot. The back says: Just Run)
There I go
Note the guy in the yellow shirt in the 2 pics above. We followed each other for about the last 2 miles - I'd be in front, then him. When we hit that last hill, I looked over to him and said, "Dude, this hill is our bitch - let's do this thing!" (sorry for the swearing - remember that I was 6 miles in and starting the steepest climb of the race).


Me with 2 running friends from work who also earned medals in their age categories!

Final Official Results:
Time: 55:33
3/9 female 35-39

The rest of 2012 brings 3 more 5k races - October 27th is up next!
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Race Week

It's the last day of September! What?!?
My last post was mid-August. Since then, well, life has been busy. We started soccer season and school. The days are getting shorter, as is the year.
For the past 8 weeks, I've been training for a 10k in Hollidaysburg. And now it's race week.
The race is Saturday. I ran this race 2 years ago and totally shocked myself with my time (54:25), taking 1st place in my age category. That is not my goal this time, rather, just run!
I've been following Hal Higdon's intermediate 10k plan and well, I'll be honest, it's been tough. I'm used to running 3-maybe 4 times per week. This plan is M-Th runs, Fridays off, Sat long run, and Sun cross training. Wow!
I've done OK following the plan.
My goals for this race:
A: 56:00 - 56:59
B: 57:00 - 57:59
C: 58:00 - 59:59
I really don't want to take more than 60 minutes to complete this race.
Some photos to prove that the past 2 months have been busy and that I'm not just dodging blogging!
1st day of school!

 Open house @ school


Ag Progress Days at Penn State (also known in our house as tractor fest)

College soccer games


Jackson turned 10! P-a-r-t-y!
Whew! It's a wonder I have time to run!
It's taper week :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Exactly What I Needed

I've kinda been MIA on here if ya haven't noticed.
I've been in a running slump (spoiler alert: I'm gonna whine and complain for a sentence or two - I won't be offended if you decide to click off the post now or just skip to the next paragraph). The 15k that I ran in July not only kicked my butt physically, but mentally. I've just felt defeated in my running - every run has been hard, distances have been short, pace has been slow, I missed quite a few days of running due to a house full of sicknesses(including my own respiratory virus).
I needed to get OUT of that slump.

So I showed up at a 5k race today, registered on site (it seems many of the runners had the same idea I did this morning and I barely made it through the registration process and to the start line in time - there's a lesson in here!), and ran my heart out - this was my chance to prove to myself that I'm ready to get back into the swing of things!

Gun went off, we were off, and I was moving pretty good. Nothing big to report - it all went pretty smoothly. Had to stop and tie my shoe(my new shoes - Brooks Ghost 5 - I'll comment on in another post) but other than that, I cruised in to the football stadium, rounded the last lap, and crossed the finish line in 26:40, earning me a 3rd place finish in my age group! And as the title of this post says, that's exactly what I needed!

No photos to show....just imagine me with a smile ;)

Saturday, July 7, 2012


A PW? What's a PW you ask?
Well if you can have a PB, or personal best, then you can have a PW, or a personal worst.
I can check a PW off my list of things to do because I scored a PW on Wednesday - the 4th of July 15k (9.3miles) race in Altoona.

Here I am before the race.
I actually felt pretty good about my training and I wasn't too nervous for the race/distance. Maybe I should have saved some of my crazy energy for the race...

And then we were off. the 9.3 miles took us from downtown Altoona across town to the Eldorado section of town and back. It was a hilly and challenging course and the heat/humidity played a significant factor in my energy levels.
Jeremy and I planned it out so that once I took off, he and the boys would drive to meet me at various points along the course. I'm so glad we did that because seeing them out on the course gave me motivation to keep going. They switched out my water bottles for me, offered me chap stick, ran along side of me, and cheered me on.
Sounds like a good race,yes?
So why the PW?
Official time: 1:36:22
Pace: 10:22
Female 35-39: 12/17
About 4 miles into the race, I felt like my energy was zapped and I started taking walk breaks. I did that pretty much the remainder of the race.
It was very hot and humid and I guess I just wasn't prepared to run in those conditions.
I was pretty well hydrated and I used up my fuel (pretzels and shot blox) along the way, so I know it wasn't water or carbs.
I walked through every water station and even if I didn't drink the water, I dumped it on myself to help cool down. Maybe the extra 5 pounds of wet clothes slowed me down?
I don't really feel like over analyzing what I did wrong or what I could've done better. I just know this is a race that I just want to put behind me.

It's hard to see me (in the purple) - this is just a little over the 1mile mark. Going strong at this point. my first mile was 9:06

About 4 miles in - this is when I started my walk breaks.

This is the home stretch. My mapmyrun app was reading 9.3 miles at this point (my app logged 9.64 miles for the race).

Coming into the finish line - trying to pick it up a bit!
I guess the up side of coming in after most of the runners is that everyone else is there cheering you on!

Me and Sandy. She did great - finished in about 1:28:xx
With our smiles, you wouldn't know we just ran a 15k (maybe it was the popsicle that was bringing the smile). 

It's been 3 days since the race.
I ran 3.2 miles this morning just to give the legs a test - everything's OK:)

Up next? Vacation, where I'll only be running for fun.Then I have to figure out what's on the horizon!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Motivation

I am signing up for a 15k (9.3 miles) race on the 4th of July!
I started my training plan and I don't have any specific goals set yet, but I do know that my biggest challenge in this training period is not the number of runs, cross-training sessions, strength-training sessions, etc. I have before me, rather, the extra pounds (lbs, #s) I've been carrying around with me.
I know that I've come so far in my weight loss journey, but there's just this extra ~10 pounds that has been hanging around for many months. I go up and down 3-4 pounds constantly, but have been at a plateau for too long. It's gotta come off.
I know for me, exercise alone is not the key. I need to control what goes in my mouth or I will continue on this 3-4 # roller coaster.
So from this point forward, I will post my weekly weight loss (I might follow a cute idea I found on another blog called "WIW," or weigh in Wednesday). I can't bring myself to post my actual weight, but pounds lost (or gained) I can handle.
I'm gonna need some motivation, so here's some to start:

Some Days.....

It's been a long time since I lacked the motivation to exercise; weeks, months, years maybe.
Well, yesterday I woke up with no real plans for anything, let alone exercise. See, I got my long run in on Thursday evening with the Fox Trot running group, so I didn't have specific needs to SLR (slow long run) yesterday. I thought I'd want to maybe add another SLR in yesterday, or maybe I'd want to combine a short run with some cross-training. Instead, I found myself not wanting to. do. anything.
I slugged around the house for several hours and finally I knew what I needed to do = RUN!
But I also knew that I needed some motivation to get going, so I went to my Pinterest board "All things Running," and found the exact thing(s) I needed:

I laced up my shoes, grabbed my gear, and headed out. I told Jeremy that I was hoping for 3 miles, probably slowly and possibly even stopping to walk - I just had to get out there!
3.27 miles - 30:03 minutes - DONE!
I walked in the house and when Jeremy asked how I felt, I told him, "Exactly how I was hoping I'd feel - great!"
Lesson: Exercise - you might dread it, but you'll never regret it!
So true, so true.