UTAH! Pt. 1

Hey there everyone!

After an awesome week, my mom and I are finally back on the East Coast. We had a blast exploring Utah, hitting up Moab and Arches National Park before heading back north to the Provo area to run the Hobble Creek Half for our 16th half marathon and 12th state. A race recap will be comin’ your way shortly, but in the meantime here are a bunch of pics from our trip.

Arches National Park – 

This place was so cool. It seriously felt like another planet!

Arches National Park

Selfie with the Balancing Rock!

Arches National Park | 2 Generations Running

Arches National Park

Photo Aug 21, 10 55 58 AM

And of course, we made the hike to Delicate Arch! I totally understand the hype about it now. 🙂 My mom just about had a heart attack  watching all the tourists running around near the edge of the drop-off though.

Delicate Arch

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

One night, we planned to do a tour cruise on the Colorado River. Sadly, a thunderstorm was moving into the area and we had to head back after only 5 minutes on the water. Looks a little scary, huh? We were totally bummed to miss it, especially since we were leaving Moab the next day.

Moab | 2 Generations Running

But then, we caught this view of the sunset in the opposite direction. 🙂

Colorado River

It was an awesome trip, but it definitely feels good to be home.

Have you ever been to Moab or Arches National Park? What was your favorite part?


I’m BACK!

Hello again!!

Hi GIF | 2 Generations RunningLife has kept me pretty busy on the weekends lately – 2 weeks ago, I was traveling for a wedding and this past weekend I spent away working at a race in Pennsylvania. I pretty much rely on weekends for writing my blog posts, which is why I have been a little MIA lately. I think that I had some crazy idea that with my new apartment and shorter commute, I would have more time on my hands for blogging, but if anything, I just seem to have gotten busier (why does life always do that?).

But since I am back, let’s talk about running since that is what I like to do around here! The Bay State Half Marathon  (and marathon in the case of my mom!) is THIS WEEKEND! Ahhh! I’m so excited for it – I think I’ve been experiencing a little race withdrawal since the end of the summer 5k series. But with traveling these past two weekends, I was a little concerned about not being able to squeeze in a final long run before the big day. My training for this half has been very loosey goosey to say in the least, but after running 11 other half marathons, I kind of know the drill. Given that my previous long run of 14 miles was at least 4 weeks ago, I figured it would be on the smarter side if I could squeak in at least a 9-miler. Unfortunately, the days are getting shorter around here, so that left me with only a few options: 1) Try to run 9 miles after work, where I would be able to start in daylight but would end in the dark OR (2) Get up early to run 9 miles before work, where I would be starting in the dark and finishing just after sunrise. I opted for #2, but I did the first 6 miles on the treadmill at the gym so that I wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to see in the dark.

My verdict on treadmill running now that I’ve done it several times in a short span?

2 Generations RunningI honestly kind of hate it. The miles drag by SO SLOWLY and I just get so sweaty without any breeze and on top of that, I’m bored. But enough of the pity party. I guess if anything, treadmill running makes me appreciate outdoor running more, because check out this sunrise (or runrise as I am terming it) I got to see when I went out to the park to do the last 3 miles of my 9-miler:

Runrise | 2 Generations RunningThat view right there kind of made the whole waking up at the crack of dawn thing worth it. The last of my miles flew by, and now I feel ready and confident for Bay State. I’m also psyched to get a weekend at home – my first since I moved out! This week, I’ll just be focusing on a few shorter runs and doing a little carbo-loading (obviously, this is the best part about race week).

Stay tuned this week for a final post from my mom on her thoughts on her training for marathon #2! Hope you have a great week!!

Do you also hate the treadmill? Any strategies for getting through runs you HAVE to do on a treadmill?

 


The Falmouth Road Race: Part 2 [Race Recap]

So, as promised I’m back to give a full rundown of the Falmouth Road Race! (See Part 1 here.) I’ll get into more specifics, but to start, here are the positives/negatives about the race:

Positives:

  • Very well-organized. There were PLENTY of shuttles, and porta-potties everywhere you looked from the shuttle pick-up point in Falmouth to the starting area in Woods Hole.
  • Tons of crowd support. I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever run a race with this many cheering fans crowding the roads, and it really does give you a HUGE adrenaline boost. I’m glad that the locals don’t mind 10,000+ runners taking over their city for a few days because all the support really does make a big difference.
  • Beautiful course. It’s the Cape, so you know it’s going to be beautiful, but somehow, it still managed to surprise me.

Ok, now here are a few negatives:

  • The course is CROWDED. Even with staggered start times, the group never thinned out along the course, so my mom and I were doing a ton of weaving, which did get tiring.
  • You have to get to the shuttle pick-up point very early (my mom and I got there around 6:15 or so), but then you end up having HOURS to kill at the start in Woods Hole. Not a huge issue, but I do prefer races where you can sleep in a bit more, especially if it’s a 9 am start time.
  • It’s an expensive race for 7 miles. Yes, it’s a great experience. But at least for me and my mom, if we’re going to spend good money on a race, we’d rather it be a half or full marathon.

Ok, now for the specifics of the day!

Because the course is point-to-point, my mom and I took the shuttle from the finish in Falmouth to Woods Hole bright and early. The good news about being there 3-ish hours before the race was that we were able to grab a couple of iced coffees at a little local bakery while we walked around, checking out the views along the water.

The Falmouth Road Race |Race Recap2015 Falmouth Road Race Recap

Falmouth Road Race | Race RecapNot a great photo I know, but you can kind of see all the runners hanging out along the water!

Finally, when it was getting closer to 9 am, my mom and I found ourselves a spot in the middle of the 9:00 min./mile corral (it was self-seeded based on the honor system). This part was not the most fun. It was already hot and sunny, and we were packed in with other runners.

The Falmouth Road Race | Race RecapBut then, what REALLY annoyed me, was when a group of 4 or 5 girls jammed themselves in front of me and my mom a few minutes before the start, when there really was NO space. They then proceeded to talk loudly about their lives, take a bunch of group photos, and fix their hair (which was essentially right in the face of the runner they had jumped in front of). I’m not trying to be a stick in the mud, and I know running should be a fun, social activity, but they just really didn’t seem to follow any basic running etiquette, and it just rubbed me the wrong way.

From where my mom and I were in the pack of runners, it ended up taking 25-30 minutes for us to actually start after the first waves of runners began at 9 am. But FINALLY, we reached the start and were on our way.

2015 Falmouth Road RaceThe course had more rolling hills than we had expected with it being so close to the water, but luckily, my mom has been doing a lot of hills as part of her marathon training and I’ve joined her for a bunch of those workouts, so we had no problem coasting up and down the small hills, maintaining a pace right around 9 min/mile. Unfortunately, it seemed a lot of people were much less prepared for the hills, so getting around people taking walk breaks was a little challenging.

By this point, it was also really hot – 80s, humid, with absolutely ZERO seabreeze. Thankfully, many of the spectators were out in their front yards with hoses, spraying down runners as needed. My mom and I took advantage of this a bunch of times, and it made all the difference.

At mile 5, my mom encouraged me to take off. She wanted to slow the pace a bit, and I was feeling good so I decided to go for it for the last 2 miles.

Mile 6 split – 8:19, not too shabby for already having 5 sweaty miles under my belt! Mile 7 had a brutal hill into the finish, but the last street into the finish was INSANE – the crowd of spectators was at least 3 people deep, all of them cheering like it was the end of the Boston Marathon. I loved it, and ended up running my fastest split of the day, 8:00/mile, to finish. My final time ended up as 1:03, with an 8:55/mile pace, which I was pretty pleased with, given that I wasn’t really trying to race it, but rather just enjoy the whole experience.

The end was a little confusing. I saw tents along the beach, and automatically assumed that was where the post-race party was, so I hopped out of the finish chute. A few minutes later, my mom called me, trying to figure out where I was. Well after a lot of confusion, I finally realized I was supposed to stay in the finisher chute, and walk about another half mile around a corner – that’s where all the food, porta-potties, and awards were! It didn’t help that by this point, the heat had really caught up to me and I desperately wanted to sit down. But eventually, I caught up to my mom and found out she had only finished a minute behind me! We gladly grabbed food from the awesome spread they had laid out for runners – bananas, bagels, Cape Cod potato chips, cranberry juice, chia bars, and my personal fave – Yasso frozen Greek Yogurt bars.

The Falmouth Road RaceWe also got to see the awards ceremony, where our new buddy Meb got first in the Masters division (for ages 40+), and tenth overall. Woo, Meb! A local woman who is a regular at the Good Times Series 5k my mom and I have been running this summer took first place in the Masters for the women, so that was pretty cool too.

The Falmouth Road Race | Race RecapAfter hanging out for a bit, my mom and I headed out to check out the rest of Falmouth and grab some lunch. We ate outside at a cute little Mexican restaurant that had been taken over by sweaty runners! After seeing some of the other runners enjoying some delicious looking drinks, I decided to order a margarita! It was totally delicious, but I’m not sure my stomach really appreciated tequila after the 7-mile run. 😉

The Falmouth Road Race Race RecapAfter that, my mom and I headed out to beat the Cape traffic heading home. Overall, it was another successful race weekend and I’m already looking forward to the next one!

*Note: I realized I made a mistake in my Part 1 post of the Falmouth Road Race – with the detailed results chart, I was passed by 10 runners during the last mile of the race (not the whole thing), and I passed 246 runners during that last mile.

Have a great day!


It’s My Favorite Holiday!

Happy National Running Day folks!

Ok, I have to admit, I kind of exaggerated. National Running Day is not my favorite holiday… But it’s up there! 😉

Last year was the first time I ever heard of such a thing as National Running Day, and I celebrated it by writing this post (throwback to my old blog!). In case you don’t know, National Running Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday in June every year (why Wednesday, I don’t know…) It’s basically just a day for runners to share their passion for running and to celebrate by getting some miles in. It’s also a day to think about the question, “Why do I run?”

Why Do I Run?Obviously, there are the easy answers to that question (exercise, health, reduced dessert guilt…), but I know for me, running has become something more than that.

I’ve always been very goal-driven, and I love that running ALWAYS provides me with a challenge. No matter who you are, elite or middle-of-the-packer, you can always work towards something with running. It can be faster times, longer distances, a new race, whatever! Having a goal to work towards (even if it’s a small one, like getting more comfortable running trails) gives running a whole new purpose. Frankly, I also think it just makes it more fun. Who doesn’t like seeing real, measurable improvement? Especially in something like running, that can be pretty darn tough at times.

National Running Day | 2 Generations Running

I love that my mom and I have the goal of running a half in every state. While this dream sometimes seems somewhat overwhelming (or crazy as I’m sure some people would label it), it’s made for some seriously awesome experiences. My mom and I both love traveling and there are so many parts of this country that I’ve never seen. We loved exploring Virginia Beach when we ran the Shamrock Half last year, and the Mad Half Marathon in Vermont really was beautiful.

National Running Day | 2 Generations Running It may seem weird, but running is giving us a whole new way to explore the US. Is it going to take us a long time? Hell yeah. But we’re not in any rush. My mom and I plan to keep on running for many years to come.

However, if Runners World wanted to start wanted to start comping our race entries in exchange for writing a column for you, that would be cool.

Why do you run/What’s your favorite thing about running? How are you celebrating National Running Day?


Friday Five: 5 Tips for a Smooth Race Day

Happy Friday!

First off, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone for their kind comments on Wednesday’s post. It feels awesome to be able to discuss these issues with my fellow health and running bloggers, and I feel so much better for having discussed my mixed feelings about telling people about my blog and labeling myself as a ‘blogger’. You all are so awesome and friendly and I am lucky to belong to such a kind and supportive community.

Friday 5 Link-UpI’m once again hopping back into the Friday 5 Link-Up this week, hosted by Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC, Mar of Mar on the Run, and Cynthia of You Signed Up For What? This week’s topic is all about race day!! Honestly, the timing of this one could not be better with my mom and I gearing up for Sunday’s half marathon in Providence! I figured I would share with you all 5 tips for keeping the race day running smoothly (pun very much intended). Race mornings can be stressful, but these tips have helped us keep calm and enjoy the experience.

5 Tips for a Smooth Race Day | 2 Generations Running

  1. Write EVERYTHING DOWN. The times that you can pick up your bib, the address of bib pick-up, the addresses of all the parking lots in the vicinity, and your bib number (if you know it). Make sure you’ve checked your information against the race’s website and Facebook page the day before in case any last-minute changes have been made.
  2. Lay out the flat version of “you” the night before. That means your whole race outfit, including sports bra, socks, sneakers, fuel belt, bib, hat… Make sure that you won’t have to scramble to find anything in the morning. Most races begin pretty early, so you will save yourself some valuable sleeping time by making sure everything is ready to go the night before.
  3. Check Mapquest or your GPS several days before to determine how long a drive it’s going to take (assuming you will be driving to the race that morning). I usually like to get to a race like a half marathon about an hour to an hour and a half before the start, but definitely budget in more time if you have a comprehensive warm-up routine you like to do! Do bear in mind, the longer the race, the shorter the warm-up! With a race that is 13.1 to 26.2 miles long, your body will have plenty of time to warm up and work up to your desired speed.
  4. Don’t forget to eat. A lot of people feel uncomfortable eating a big breakfast early in the morning, so if that’s the case, just bring it with you! I don’t like to run immediately after eating, so make sure you give yourself some time to digest before your race starts. Go with a breakfast that has “sat well” with you on your previous long runs; you don’t want to try anything new on race day and discover it makes your stomach all wonky. And yes, that is the technical term for it.

Tips For Race Day | 2 Generations RunningI love my bagels with almond butter and jam with a cup of nice, hot coffee before racing. 🙂

5. Running with a friend or family member (or meeting up with some spectators post-race)? Try to plan a spot where you can reunite. In this era of cell phones and technology, this will probably only be an issue if you are running without your phone, but it’s always good to have a back-up plan in case your phone dies on you midway through the race. This is especially important if you’re running in a really big race with thousands of other runners.

Tips for Race Day | 2 Generations Running

Now let’s see if I can put my money where my mouth is this weekend with a nice, smooth race on Sunday in Providence! I CANNOT WAIT. 🙂 (If you want more up-to-date news on how my mom and I do this weekend, follow me on Twitter and Instagram!)

Do you have any special tricks for getting ready on race mornings?


Tips for Traveling to a Race

Good morning!

So lately, I feel like I’ve talked about the darn snow A LOT on the blog. But I can’t help it, because it just keeps snowing! Yesterday, we got a foot (on top of the 3 feet we already have).

2 Generations Running. Snowfall over my head.Yep, that mound of snow is taller than me. While most people are bemoaning the shoveling and snowblowing, Brady is getting some serious enjoyment out of it.

Brady. 2 Generations Running.And here he is, coming back inside to defrost-

Brady. 2 Generations RunningHappy days. And to think, it was only a few weeks ago that my mom and I returned from Florida after running our tenth half marathon and crossing off another state (or more importantly, we got to walk around in sundresses in January. We won’t be getting to do that again anytime soon.) We’ve now traveled to run in several different states (Virginia, Vermont, and Maine were all far enough away that we had to make travel arrangements and stay overnight). We still have LOTS more running and traveling to do before we get close to reaching our goal of 50 states, but I thought now would be a good time to share some tips my mom and I have picked up from our experiences traveling to run in new areas. So without further ado…

Tips for Traveling to Races. 2 Generations Running.

  1. If flying, pack your sneakers and running outfit in your carry-on bag (if you’re checking luggage). My mom and I were paranoid that our luggage was going to get lost on our way to Florida, but it gave us some peace of mind to know we would at least have our running stuff if it did get lost.
  2. If you have a smart phone, take a screenshot of the info on the race’s website about packet pickup, race day parking/transportation – anything you may need to refer back to many times.
  3. Give yourself a day (or two) to acclimate. You don’t want to be spending hours driving or flying, only to have to wake up at 4 or 5 the very next day and run a long race.
  4. Pack 2 running outfits – one for ideal or expected weather, and one for if it ends up rainy or cooler than usual.
  5. Don’t forget your fuel (that you’ve trained with and tested). I made the mistake of trying Gatorade shot bloks during a race – these are about the size of a Starburst and about as chewy. I found I could barely breathe while trying to chew the stupid thing enough to swallow! Now I stick to GU’s and the much smaller Sports beans.
  6. Remember to fuel in the days leading up to the race! It can be easy to get distracted by the vacation environment, but if you’re running a half marathon or marathon, eating the right foods is SO important. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, carboload, and watch your fiber intake (you don’t want any digestive issues while running a race).

And here’s a handy-dandy checklist I’ve put together to keep in mind while packing for your race (we’ve come close to forgetting a few of these items a handful of times!)

The Runner's Packing Checklist. 2 Generations RunningI hope that helps a bit for when you’re packing for your next race vacation! If you take away nothing else from this post, let it be: remember your sneakers.

Have a great week! Have you ever forgotten anything important while on vacation (or going to a race?) Does anyone else have a dog who is seemingly part polar bear?


The Clearwater Distance Classic

We’re finally home! And back to 30 degree temps and snow. Oh well, it was nice to escape from it for a week!  But anyways, it’s time for the race recap! The Clearwater Distance Classic was on Sunday, and my mom and I got up bright and early around 5 am to make the 7:05 start. We were surprised by how dark it was at the start, but I think we forgot it was mid-winter and that it’s still dark early in the mornings, even in Florida. Clearwater Distance Classic. 2 Generations Running Clearwater Distance Classic. 2 Generations Running.We were both excited to run, having not run a long race since the Rochester Marathon in September. Right at 7:05 the gun sounded, and everyone was off! And I mean, everyone. This race offered a 50k, marathon, half marathon, or 5-mile distance, and everyone started at the same time. This made it a little hectic and crowded at the start, but not terrible. Everyone just seemed happy to be running! Clearwater Distance Classic.The race took us into the edge of downtown Clearwater, and then across the first much-anticipated bridge! On the website, they described this as possibly Florida’s most challenging half marathon because of the steepness and difficulty of these bridges, which provide great views of the Gulf of Mexico and Clearwater Bay. Being from hilly New England, my mom had scoffed at this. “Bridges?! How bad can they be?” Well, pretty dang steep to be honest.

Bridge at the Clearwater Distance Classic.Impressive, right?

The only good news was that the first one came somewhere around mile 2, so we still had plenty of gas in the tank. The views from the bridge were wonderful – all sky and ocean and impressive silhouettes of the hotels in the distance. Clearwater Distance Classic. Clearwater Distance ClassicOnce we crossed the bridge, we started seeing signs for Hope and Winter – the famous dolphins from the Dolphin Tale movies who live in the nearby aquarium. One runner shouted out across the bay area “HI HOPE AND WINTER!!” 🙂 There were also jokes about all the beeps from GPS watches being understood by the dolphins nearby.

Clearwater Distance Classic. 2 Generations Running(My mom powering up the last bridge)

My mom and I kept running, maintaining a pretty comfortable pace right around 9:30-ish/mile. We passed some beautiful beaches, finally reaching the turn-around point in this out-and-back course. At this point, I was really starting to feel it. My hamstring was twinging, but it was actually my knee on the same leg that was starting to really hurt. I was so happy to just be doing 13.1 miles that day; I couldn’t imagine running a marathon with my knee hurting the way it was. My mom and I have definitely run more challenging courses in the past – the Mad Half in Vermont had tons of hills! But this race  felt the toughest for me, both physically and mentally, and I got progressively grumpier mile by mile. After crossing the bridge back towards the end of the course, we had to run down this spiral walkway that led back to the finish area. I kept running because I was desperate to be done, but yikes– running downhill made my knee seize up like I couldn’t believe! I got passed by lots of runners on this little section, which was disappointing – especially since running downhill is supposed to be the easy part!  Clearwater Distance Classic.Finally, that was over and I was crossing the finish line, a couple minutes behind my mom. Final time – 2:12

Clearwater Distance Classic.I’m smiling but only because I’m happy to be done running. And because the medal was cool.

I immediately grabbed an ice pack from the aid tent after finishing, and after catching my breath, went with my mom to check out the post-race food! There was a good selection and we helped ourselves to chocolate milk, pastries, pretzels, and bananas. There was also pasta available, but neither of us really wanted that after running for 2 hours. So despite the beautiful views, wonderful setting, and yummy food spread, this was not the best race for me. I’m pretty sure the knee issue isn’t too serious – I think it’s just runners’ knee, which can be treated pretty easily with stretching (I know because my mom had some issues with it not too long ago!). My plan is to look into that, and slowly start building my mileage up again so that I’ll be ready when the next race rolls around. I guess the moral of my last few posts lately, is that I need to be better about stretching (ahem, remember when I stupidly strained my hamstring a week and a half ago?) So yeah… I guess I’ll start doing that.  But looking on the bright side, my mom and I finished our tenth half marathon, and bagged another state! So a successful trip overall. I hope you all had a great week! Many thanks to Bonnie and my grandfather for hosting us and helping this be a successful trip! My mom and I are both so grateful to have such wonderful family.