2015: Our Year in Running

Can you all believe that 2016 is basically here?? I don’t know where the time goes!

Happy New Years | 2 Generations RunningIn the spirit of a very attractive Leonardo DiCaprio, let’s toast to a new year and take a look back at all the awesome running that happened in 2015.

Some stats:

  • 956 total miles run (probably a bit more than that from runs I forgot to log)
  • 3 half marathons completed (2 for my mom)
  • 1 marathon run (Baystate for my mom)
  • A lot of 5ks run (from the Lowell Good Times Series over the summer)
  • 2 age group wins (for both my mom and me in the Good Times Series again!)
  • New PRs in the 5k, half marathon, and marathon for both me and my mom! My mom went sub-2 hours for the first time at the Providence Half.

2015 running mileage, Map My Run | 2 Generations RunningIt was a pretty awesome year. Winning the Good Times Series by one point is probably my all-time favorite running memory EVER, and I was insanely proud that I was able to shave 45 seconds off my 5K PR.

The Lowell Good Times SeriesThat win was a huge confidence boost for me, and I went into the Baystate Half Marathon ready to be more aggressive than I had ever been in a half marathon before. While I was nervous that I was going to crash and burn at the end of that race (I’m not used to starting out at 8:15/mile), I actually got stronger, running my fastest times for miles 10-13 for a 5-minute PR. Watching my mom finish the marathon and shave roughly 30 minutes off her previous time was icing on the cake.

Baystate Marathon 2015Here she is going into the finish, still looking strong after 26 miles!

Injury-wise, there was nothing too serious in 2015 (thank god). I seem to remember having some slight runner’s knee at one point, but it went away quickly with stretching. My mom remained strong throughout marathon training and was able to reach race day 100% healthy. We also started strength training on a more regular basis, especially after I discovered Fitnessblender videos!

2015 was also the year we got to meet one of our running idols, Meb!! This was after we won the lottery (for entry into the Falmouth Road Race).

2015 Falmouth Road RaceTaking selfies with Meb, like the pals we are.

In 2015, I walked in my graduation and symbolically entered the real world.

grad_2So far so good – I actually managed to get a job doing what I wanted to do (planning races), I moved out, and I completed 2 obstacle course races! I even managed to convince my mom and brother to join me for one!

Fenway Spartan Race | 2 Generations RunningWow, writing this post and just looking back at it all makes me realize just how fantastic 2015 really was. I am so excited to get started on 2016. Who knows what the Augusta Half and Delaware Marathon will hold for us, but I feel in my gut that it’s going to be good.

2 Generations RunningLet’s get running.

How was 2015 for you? Any big goals going into 2016 (fitness or otherwise?)

 

 

 

 


Marathon Fever

So, I hinted in previous posts that I was wrestling with a difficult running decision lately – to run a spring marathon or not to run a spring marathon. That is the question.

Well, I think this past weekend may have been a turning point (and not just for me). Let me back up a little first though. Saturday, I decided to go out and run long again after my success running 9 miles at the Mill Cities Relay last week.

Mill Cities Relay 2015 Race ReccapI decided to aim for 9 miles again, and I threw in a few challenging hill repeats along the way. My average pace was generally around 8:30/mile, with some slower splits on the miles with the hills and on my warm-up/cool-down miles, so I was pretty pleased with the effort. I’m still slightly in shock that I’m in a place where I can run sub-9 minute miles consistently over a long run. Part of me wants to keep building on this and see just how far I can get. And then part of me says, But what about the snow/ice/freezing temps that have GOT TO BE coming eventually? So, that’s been the root of my indecision I guess – the practical part of my brain arguing with the crazy idealist in me.

After my morning run on Saturday, I went home so that I could go to our running club’s holiday brunch run the next day. It’s always a well-attended event because this is when our club awards 2 runners waivers for entry into the Boston Marathon (the BAA sends our club 2 entries as a thank you for promoting running in the New England area.) You have to apply for the waivers and my mom and I had not applied, so we knew we weren’t going to get it, but we still wanted to go and support the club. Watching the waivers being awarded got me really excited. And now, I have to admit something (even though it’s kind of terrifying) – I really want to run the Boston Marathon someday. (and I want to do it by qualifying.)

Boston Marathon My mom’s marathon time at Baystate this fall was great – she beat her previous time by 30 minutes, and now she is only 16 minutes off the BQ time needed for her age group. I KNOW with the right conditions she can get it. I’ve only run the one marathon (the Rochester Marathon), and my time there is WAY OFF where it would have to be for me to qualify for Boston.

Rochester Marathon | 2 Generations RunningBut, I really don’t think that first marathon reflects where I’m at with running now. When I ran my first marathon, I was coming off an injury and I was just not running the paces that I’ve routinely been hitting lately. If Baystate is any indication, I think I could go sub-4 in a marathon now. And maybe, (and that’s a very strong maybe) with the right course and conditions, I could qualify for Boston. I know some runners work on this goal their whole life and don’t qualify, and so it’s incredibly nerve wracking to admit that this is something I want. But I also like a challenge. I’ve never been the type of person to just enjoy coasting by. And since I’ve moved to the Boston area, it just feels like fate. How can I live in the city that hosts the world’s premiere marathon, and NOT at least try to run it?

So, I *think* my mom and I will be signing up for a spring marathon. We’ve been scouting some potential options and looking for where we can get some new states crossed off. Nothing is finalized, but I think we both caught the marathon fever this weekend. One thing’s for sure, if we do end up registering for a spring marathon, you’ll be hearing about it on the blog!

Good thing I asked for a thousand running-related gifts for Christmas.

How was your weekend? Have you ever had a HUGE goal that you didn’t know whether you would actually be able to achieve?

 

 


The Baystate Marathon: Part II

Missed my recap of the half marathon? Check it out here. Without further ado, here is my mom’s post on running the marathon!

As Nora already mentioned, it was pretty cold at the start but we tried to convince ourselves that that was better than it being too hot.

Baystate 2015 MarathonIt was sunny and breezy and I didn’t shed my throw away hoodie until about a mile and a half in, then settled in for a 10 min/mile pace. I felt good and tried to remember that my “Big Blue Book” had said that in the beginning “it should feel so easy that it’s crazy…” And weirdly, it did feel like that, so I resisted the urge to pick up the pace. Because I had eaten a protein bar sitting in the Tsongas arena, I didn’t fuel until mile six, when I did a GU and walked long enough to sip some water at the nearby water stop. I had decided not to carry water and to coordinate my fueling breaks with the water stops on the course. (It’s hard to get those gels down without a bit of water!) And I decided to see if I could skip my usual 1-minute walking break as I fueled. This seemed to work pretty well. I got to 13.1 in 2:14, still feeling good and decided to stick with that pace for a bit longer. I was also thinking about Nora; I knew she had finished by now and was wondering if she had gotten her PR. I was anxious to get her call!

The wind had definitely picked up by this point and soon I was feeling something like the early stages of cramps in my legs. I tried to think back to how well I had fueled and how good I felt on my long runs, and eventually realized that what I was feeling wasn’t cramps, but just cold! Somewhere around mile 17, I realized I was  passing a good number of runners. Still, I thought it was too early to start cranking so I kept my pace steady and kept running even when I fueled.

At 11:30, Nora called.  I was super excited to hear her voice. I had passed mile 20, and realized I could well be within my goal of breaking 4:30! She was super excited for me, and just hearing her voice and words of encouragement gave me such a boost!! (And oh, yeah…she got her PR!)

Suddenly, the voice in my head said, “I am not going to screw this up! I am NOT walking ….just keep running… RUN! RUN!

Still, around mile 24 I was pretty ready for this race to be over. Luckily, by that point we were nearing the part of the course that Nora and I had run during the Lowell Good Times Series this summer. This was a great psychological booster for me:  I reminded myself that I was fast and powerful on this course, that I had won my age group on this course!

Between Nora’s call and the familiar terrain, I made it to the end, and finished in 4:26:22 and I wasn’t even crawling or crying!

Baystate Marathon 2015And amazingly, my splits for the last six miles were my fastest:

Mile 20:   10:01/mile

         21:    9:47/mile

         22 :   10:14/mile (last fueling stop, stuffing pretzels and carb tablets in   my face) 

       23:       9:58/mile

       24:       9:58/mile

       25:       9:43/mile

       26:       9:24/mile

Needless to say, I was thrilled and excited and pleasantly surprised that, even though I had run faster, I felt much better than I did after our first marathon in Rochester. After a few minutes, I found Nora and after swigging that really delicious can of Pepsi, we found our way to a bench near the river where I devoured some soup and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Baystate MarathonThe food was great and the tents had been set up along this really lovely spot near the river, but the sun had disappeared and the wind was still blowing, (as you can see by the Mylar blanket flapping crazily around my shoulders) so I was cooling down quickly and Nora had been out in the cold for two hours waiting for me. So we agreed it was time to head home… As Nora mentioned, we were treated to pumpkin waffles and coffee, which warmed us up nicely.

Fall Cocktail| 2 Generations RunningLater that evening, we toasted our success with a nice fall cocktail, of our invention, and agreed that despite the cold, things could not have gone better. (I was super grateful that we hadn’t had the snow showers originally forecast, that there were so many wonderful volunteers, and that I have the greatest running buddy.)

But now, with such a big achievement behind me, I am feeling a little adrift and asking myself, “What’s next?”  If Nora has her way it will be a Spartan Fenway sprint! …Yikes! It might be easier to just run another marathon… 🙂

Hope you’re having a great week! Have you ever experienced a little post-marathon letdown? 

 

 


Closing Thoughts on Baystate and Looking Ahead

Happy Monday guys!

Before I dive into this past week, I have a few final thoughts on Baystate (My mom’s post on her experience running the marathon will be posted on Wednesday!).

  1. For the first time in a really long time, I didn’t get ANY blisters running this half marathon. I definitely credit this to wearing my Feetures running socks (LOVE THEM!!) and my Asics sneakers, which seem to have a wider toe-box than previous sneakers I’ve worn. I’m just happy that I seem to have found the winning “recipe” for happy feet, and I plan on sticking to this for all my future long runs and races.
  2. I’m psyched about my new PR, BUT… Like the overachiever I am, I’ve already started thinking about what I could do to get faster. And after seeing all the incredible marathoners (like my mom!) finishing the race, I seriously want to sign up for a marathon again. I’ve been contemplating trying a spring one, since my workload at my job will be a little lighter over the winter. Of course, that would mean training for a marathon through a Boston winter, which might not be the smartest decision for me right now. But by the same token, if I try to wait for the PERFECT time to train for a marathon, I feel like I could be waiting forever…

So for now it’s onto the next race! My mom and I may do a little local 10k next weekend, but then in November, we have an especially fun race lined up! My mom, brother and I are doing a Spartan! Despite my mom saying she didn’t think she’d ever do a Spartan (there seems to be a pattern here), I managed to talk her into the Fenway stadium sprint. From what I’ve heard, Spartan stadium races tend to be a little easier than a regular race, so I think we’ll end up having a blast. I totally need to start doing my burpees again though!

Burpees | 2 Generations Running(That’s what a burpee looks like in case you didn’t know what the heck I was talking about. They aren’t fun.)

Now, looking back at my week – it wasn’t as good in the workout department as I would have liked to be totally honest. I was a little sore in my calves from the half marathon, but nothing terrible. I can’t remember if I went to the gym on Monday night at all (which probably means I didn’t…). On Wednesday, I had planned on jumping back into the weekly runs my work hosts. I love running around Boston in the Fall. It’s so gorgeous, and I feel like I’m finally beginning to get a sense of the city’s lay-out. But that run didn’t end up happening. I got caught in a late afternoon meeting, and didn’t end up leaving work till pretty late. By the time I got home, I was hungry and tired and I didn’t have it in me to go to the gym to run on the treadmill.

Thursday night, I stayed after work with another coworker to do another outdoor yoga class put on by CorePower Yoga and Social Sports Boston. The funny thing was that BOTH of us forgot to bring yoga mats, so we ended up sharing with another friend. It was a little cozy for yoga, and I was a afraid that I was going to end up toppling the three of us over domino-style on some of the poses. Still, it was a really cool setting to be doing candlelit yoga in the middle of Boston, and the temps were perfect, hovering around the 60s, despite it almost being the end of October.

Corepower YogaImage borrowed from Social Boston Sport’s Instagram page.

Friday was another lazy day.

Workout GIFYep, that pretty much sums up how I felt most days this week.

At least by Saturday, I was excited and finally motivated to exercise again. The fact that I could sleep in to a reasonable time AND also do a workout might have had something to do with that.

Saturday morning, I went out for an 8-miler at the park near me. It was a nice, cool morning and it felt great to be running again. The park was pretty quiet apart from a couple other runners and walkers, and it felt almost like I had my own private park at times.

2 Generations RunningI wanted to push myself, so each mile was somewhere around 8:30-8:45/mile, except for when I had to wait at street crossings.

Sunday, I decided to focus a little bit more on cross-training. I did Fitnessblender’s 22-minute abs and obliques workout (check it out here – it’s a doozy!) Then I went to the gym and did a 20-minute run on the treadmill. I ramped up the elevation to simulate some hills and pushed the pace until I had worked up a decent sweat. I rounded out the workout with a little upper-body work on the machines and then called it a day.

Overall, I’m pleased with the workouts I got in on the weekend! I still have to figure out how to fit in exercise during the week though. I think waking up REALLY early is probably my best bet, even though I’m not super excited about the idea of getting up around 5 on a regular basis. 😦 On top of that, I’ll be traveling for work this week, which will probably not be great for a new workout routine. Oh well, I guess.

Hope you had a great weekend! What do you think about trying to wait for the perfect time to train for a big race? Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday for my mom’s post on Baystate!

 


Bay State Marathon: The Final Week (Guest Post)

So after a long absence, here I am! In fact, I had started a post at the mid-way-training point for the marathon, and never finished it, then had hopes of writing one at week 12, and never got around to that either! I think working at my local farm stand, my vacation on the Cape with hubby, and then moving Nora into her new digs all had something to do with that – not to mention all the running!

Chatham, MAAt least I had some beautiful views for my training runs on the Cape!

But in any case, here we are at week 15!! Marathon #2 is THIS WEEKEND!

Bay State Marathon | 2 Generations RunningI have to say this year’s marathon training plan seems to have gone well (though obviously, more will be revealed on race day). Still, I made it through a more ambitious plan than I had used previously and managed to do so without apparent injury. Knock on wood!!

Aside from following the training plan’s  running schedule  (the intermediate plan from Runner’s World Big Book of Marathons and Half Marathons <- great resource!), these are the things I tried to do consistently these last 4 months:

I ate a lot of ginger and drank ginger tea. (I boil slices of ginger in water, drink the water and eat a few slices of ginger every day. It isn’t the most pleasant thing, but considering that I have only taken Ibuprofen once in the last four months, I have to think it is doing something good for me.)

I make sure I eat well before those long runs. I learned last year that skipping the meals leading up to a long run really affected how I felt, so this year I was mindful about eating, especially those lovely carbs!

I have been more diligent about eating breakfast, even if I am not running. This is actually hard for me, because I am not a breakfast person, and I really don’t want to eat in the morning. Maybe ice cream would go down more easily, but wait…I think Nora and I learned that ice cream is not really a good running fuel. 😉

I have been much more diligent about stretching and using my foam roller after a run, and even on rest days. To make sure I don’t skimp on stretching I have made it a sort of ritual, with a little incense and some wonderfully relaxing music by R. Carlos Nakai. After some of his wonderful Native American songs, I feel re-energized and ready for anything.

I am also trying compression socks/sleeves for the first time. As the weather has gotten cool, I have worn them on longer runs and also the day after, and my legs feel great. I began to think there was really something to this when I ran 12 miles in the morning and then worked at the farm stand where I was on my feet for the next  5 hours – and felt no fatigue at all!  (Can’t wait for my Lily Trotters to arrive, maybe in time for Bay State?!!)

But no one is perfect and these are the things I have not been able to do:

I cannot seem to get to bed “early”. I’m kind of a night owl and even when I have a long run scheduled, I can’t quite get to bed at a reasonable time. I seem to be addicted to the shows that come on at 10PM. (ie, How to Get Away with Murder and Castle….)

Bay State Marathon | 2 Generations RunningAnd I can’t give up my glass of wine!! ( I suppose I wouldn’t be French if I could.)

Bay State Marathon| 2 Generations RunningWhere would I be without my life coaches? 😉

So with two weeks to go, I know that it’s time to take a breath, enjoy these two “taper weeks” and trust that I have done the work. And as long as we don’t have snow to contend with (which is actually a HORRIBLE POSSIBILITY given the current forecast), I’m pretty confident I will run a good race.

Wish Nora and I luck! Runner friends -which do you enjoy more: tapering or carbo-loading? 


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?

 


Marathon Envy

I have a confession to make.

I have marathon envy. Not really in the sense that I’m itching to go out and run 20-milers in the summer heat, but more that I have unfinished business with this distance.

Marathon Envy | 2 Generations Running

Me addressing any and all marathons.

This time last year, I was struggling with my EHL strain (a tendon that runs from your big toe up into your ankle).

ehl culpritI couldn’t get through a 5-mile run without serious pain along the top of my foot, but I was trying not to give up hope on the Rochester Marathon (which I had already registered for, of course). While my tendon ended up feeling decent enough that I was able to run the race, it really messed up my training. I managed to squeak in one 20 mile run before the race, but I missed out on the majority of my 15-18 mile long runs in addition to a whole bunch of shorter distances that would have been critical in contributing to my endurance.

Rochester Marathon | 2 Generations Running

At the time, I was really just ecstatic that I was able to run the race, and I am still happy that I did it. My time wasn’t even that bad. But now, there’s a voice in the back of my head wondering what my marathon time would look like if I was able to fully complete a training plan, uninjured. I’ve had conversations with some very talented runners in my running club who have said that it even took them 3 or 4 tries at the marathon to really ‘do it right’ so to speak. That makes me think I can’t give up on it yet.

I would love to be training to do the Bay State Marathon with my mom. It really would be perfect for a second (possibly PR-worthy) marathon. It’s nice and flat and it’s in the early fall, so temps should be perfect for running. It’s also an extremely popular course for runners trying to qualify for Boston, so you know that means it’s a fast course. I have to be honest with myself though – I don’t have the time to train for a marathon this summer between working full-time and my 4 hours round-trip of commuting each day. At first, I was considering it and kind of wondering if I was a wimp not to do it. But, the realistic side of me won out. The next time I run a marathon, I really want to do it right, and in order for that to happen, I know I have to be patient. Still, it’s difficult hearing so many runners discussing their fall marathon plans!

So for now, I’m trying to keep my marathon envy at bay by planning on signing up for the Bay State Half. It won’t be another state or a dramatic challenge the way a marathon is,  but it will at least give my summer running some sense of purpose while my mom and I try to figure out which state we’ll be looking to cross off next. As for the marathon, I’ll do some window-shopping for the right course and work on maintaining a strong base, so that when the time is right, I’ll be ready to give it all I’ve got.

Do you get race envy? How many attempts did it take you to really figure out the marathon (if you’ve run one or several)?