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?


What a Trip!

Hello hello and happy Friday!

We made it to the end of another week. The weather’s looking like it’s going to be gorgeous (hello 60 degree temps!) and I am just pumped for this weekend! Plus, I’m running the Homes for Our Troops 5k and a race always puts me in a good mood.

Today, I’m finally hopping back in the swing of the Friday 5 Link-up! You know the drill – every week, Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC, Mar of Mar on the Run, and Cynthia of You Signed Up For What? pick a topic, and this week’s topic is 5 trips you’ve taken! There’s nothing like reliving some of those good, old vacation memories (besides actually taking a vacation), so here we go!

Friday 5 Link-Up1. Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park.I was lucky enough to get to travel to Yellowstone while in high school as part of a school trip. It was honestly the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, and I have about a thousand photos saved from that trip that prove it. I recently discovered that you can now run a half marathon through Yellowstone through Vacation Races! HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?! I think this might just have to be our race for when my mom and I are looking to cross off Wyoming from our 50 states goal. 🙂 Of course, we’ll have to watch out for buffalo.

Yellowstone National Park | 2 Generations Running

2. Waitsfield, VT. Fun fact – I ran the “World’s Most Beautiful Marathon” (well, the half marathon at least).

The World's Most Beautiful Marathon - the Mad Marathon | 2 Generations RunningIt really was beautiful, and the food was TO DIE FOR! Not to mention, we were only about 25 minutes away from the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, so we were forced to fuel for our half marathon with ice cream. Now if only Vermont could flatten out all those pesky hills that kept popping up all over the race course. 😉

3. Booth Bay Harbor, ME. Despite it raining EVERY SINGLE DAY of this 3-day trip, my mom and I still had a blast.

Boothbay Harbor, ME | 2 Generations RunningWe kayaked (in the rain), ate some FANTASTIC food again (Hello raspberry ricotta French toast!), and explored some gorgeous gardens (in the rain again).

4.  Boston, MA for the Heartbreak Hill Half. Obviously this one wasn’t very far away as far as trips go, but we did stay overnight and it was a completely running-filled weekend and it WAS AWESOME. Seriously, if you haven’t run a race put on by Runner’s World, DO IT. These folks know what runners want. 🙂

Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon, Runner's World | 2 Generations Running5. Geneseo, NY. Ok, college might not technically count as a “trip I’ve taken”. But I love my college town  and I miss it, so it’s going on this list!

Geneseo, NYYeah, the winters can be rough, but upstate NY sure has some beautiful moments. And I can’t wait to go back in May. 🙂

So there you go! What are some trips you’ve taken that stand out in your memory (for good or bad reasons!)? Do you have any trips on the horizon?

 

 


Mad Half Recap Part II

Need to read Part I? Get it here.

So remember how I said our room was an excellent bear-spotting location?

the view from our room at the White Horse Inn

Well, as my mom and I were snuggling down in our beds the night before the race, we heard a metallic banging sound. My mom excitedly looked out the window and spotted the silhouette of a bear running back into the woods! She was pretty psyched to have seen it, and we went to bed dreaming of friendly Vermont bears (the kind who don’t attack innocent runners who stumble into their midst). 🙂

Some of my best friends are runners.

Before I knew it, it was 5:20 and the alarm was going off. We dressed quickly and headed down to the dining room to check out the early morning spread for the runners. While there were plenty of freshly baked muffins, raspberry oat squares, bacon and pancakes, we sadly opted for bagels with a smear of peanut butter, a breakfast we know works well for us on long runs.

At the start/finish area of the Mad Half.

Excited to run! (Not at all scared about those hills, no not us!)

We then headed out to the starting area, about 5 minutes down the road. The race had only 1,000 runners, split between the marathon and half marathon distances. The great thing about there being so few runners – parking was a breeze!

After a little stretching, it was time to go. The National Anthem was sung, the gun went off, and we headed out! There was excitement in the air, and it was a sunny beautiful day to run. We crossed the first of several gorgeous Vermont covered bridges-

Crossing the first of several covered bridges in the Mad Half

and then the hills began.

My mom and I did our best to alternate power-walking with a light jog up the worst of the hills, and this seemed to work well. We weren’t setting any speed records, but we were enjoying the moment and the prospect of bagging another state (as a sidenote, we met many other runners who were also attempting to run a marathon or half in every state! So maybe we’re not that crazy…?)

You don't run the World's Most Beautiful Marathon without stopping to take a few pictures!

Another beautiful view of the mountains from the Mad Half

Another covered bridge.

We kept climbing and climbing- but what goes up must come down! While I deeply appreciated the fact that I was no longer running uphill, we had hit a fairly steep downhill stretch that must have lasted a good ten to fifteen minutes of running. I love me some down-hills, but this was brutal on the quads and ankles after a while.

Eventually we passed this sign, which made me laugh out loud (and pause to take a picture).

A sign along the Mad Half course read "Keep running, cows are watching"

Keep running cows R watching. We did see plenty of cows along the course, and many DID appear to have an ominous glint in their eyes. We successfully avoided all dangerous cow-runner interactions though! Phew… 😉

Our run-walk strategy worked pretty well, although we definitely modified it on some of the hills, walking a little bit more than the 6 minutes run-1 minute walk plan we had agreed on. Nevertheless, we managed to maintain a pace right around 10 minutes/mile.

Our mile splits from MapMyRun

On one of our uphill walk breaks, we fell into step with a young woman, commiserating over the ridiculous hills. She was running her first half-marathon with her boyfriend (who was running ahead). After chatting for a few more minutes, we wished her good luck and continued on.

Another view from the Mad Half

Just after mile 10, we hit another beautiful downhill section, and my mom and I were able to turn on a little more speed. My mom showcased her abundant energy in this crazy pic-

Running the Mad Half with energy to spare

At the bottom of the hill, we had only a mile or so left, and feeling strong, I pushed the pace a bit more, getting back down into the 8 minute/mile range.

Finally, after 2 hours and 14 minutes of uphills and downhills (and stunning views), I crossed the finish line, my mom only moments behind me.

the Medal from the Mad Half Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont

Post-race treats-

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Cold apple cider and cider donuts. They were AMAZING after such a long, sweaty run.

While we were hanging out near the finish, waiting to cheer on the first finishers of the marathon, who should come over to us but our new friend from earlier in the race! She was very excited to have completed her first half marathon (and much faster than she had expected!)

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Congrats Alison!

Runners World writer and speaker, Bart Yasso was also at the race, having run the half marathon.

Bart Yasso at the Mad Marathon in Vermont.

What a great race! It was definitely one of the smaller ones we’ve run recently, but it was well-organized and fun. The views truly were gorgeous, and I had a blast, despite my griping about all the hills. I’m not sure it’s the race I would choose to run 26.2 miles (those marathoners looked tired!), but it was perfect for 13.1 miles. 🙂

After cleaning up back at the White Horse Inn, my mom and I drove into Montpelier to walk around a little bit. Not too long given how tired we were though! We did a little shopping, then headed back into Waitsfield, where we had a great dinner at the Akes’ Den.

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We shared salmon with a sweet potato crust (top) and crispy fish tacos (bottom). Both were insanely good. 🙂

That night, we watched a little tv and then zonked out pretty early.

Monday morning, we slept in and took advantage of being able to eat the wonderful breakfast provided at the inn.

Breakfast at the White Horse Inn

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French Toast from the White Horse Inn

Popover eggs scrambled with Vermont cheddar and French toast. And more bacon, naturally. 🙂

After the crazy-good meal, it was time to head home. Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend, and ate some yummy food too!


Mad Half Recap Part I

Well it is safe to say that “The World’s most beautiful marathon” (as it is described on the website) was also the hilliest half marathon my mom and I have ever run!The world's most beautiful marathon- the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont.Despite all the crazy changes in elevation on the course, my mom and I had aFANTASTIC weekend and successfully bagged another state! 🙂 We kicked off the trip by first stopping by the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, Vermont. There was a bit of a summer crowd and we probably waited on line for 30-45 minutes, but our ice cream was well-worth the wait.Our visit to the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Vermont.After that, we got back on the road to go to Waitsbury and pick up our race packets before navigating our way to the little bed and breakfast we were staying in, the White Horse Inn. This little inn was adorable and so reasonably priced that we were able to stay for two nights, rather than just the one. There was a white carousel horse statue in the foyer, freshly baked cookies at all times (which were almost too yummy!), and a warm, cozy atmosphere that you just can’t get at a hotel. The owners were very friendly and gracious, and gave us a heads-up to keep our eyes out for bears! Apparently for the last month or so, bears had been visiting their dumpster, tempted by all the delicious smells. My mom was very excited when we realized our room had a nice view of where the backyard met the forest- and the dumpster. A prime bear-spotting location! After settling in and unpacking our things, we set out to explore the little downtown area and to drive the half marathon course.mad elevationI had looked at the elevation map provided on the race website, so I knew we were in for some hills, but boy oh boy, driving that course really brought those hills to life!The worst hill of the Mad Half!Are you seeing this hill?! My reaction on seeing this as we drove the course – “Are you KIDDING me?!” Sure, it had this nice downhill bit, but after that, it just goes up and up and up. Basically, we were going to have to run up a mountain.

There were some scenic views along the Mad Half course too.

the Mad Half Course

I will grudgingly admit that it was pretty darn beautiful, despite all those stupid mountains.

After seeing that course, we knew we were going to have to take it easy and not make the same mistakes we had made during the Heartbreak Hill Half (namely, getting a little too excited and going out too fast). We decided to try to stick to a run six minutes-walk one minute plan. By inserting more walk breaks earlier on, we hoped to maintain a strong pace through to the end.

Once we had finished driving the course (and thoroughly psyching ourselves out!), we grabbed dinner at a nearby restaurant, where we sat outside, enjoying the beautiful Vermont weather.

The all-important pre-race dinner.

I’m not usually a burger person – but this burger, topped with bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions served on a pretzel roll drew me in. I can honestly say it was probably the best burger I’ve ever eaten. My mom had steak with a creamy cheese sauce, and she said that was really good too. For two people who generally stick to a more veggie-based diet, we sure enjoyed our beef! We went to bed early that night, since we had our race at 7 am the next morning. Thankfully, the inn was pretty much full with runners, so everyone was very quiet and respectful, and we slept wonderfully in our big, comfy beds (quite a step up from the freezing cold Boston College dorms we stayed in for the Heartbreak Hill Half!).

Stay tuned for Part II to hear how the Mad Half went (and how we survived all those mountains/hills!)