Gearing up for Marathon #2

Today’s post is brought to you by my Mom! Enjoy!

On the road to Marathon #2 | 2 Generations RunningSo, it’s official. I am in the second week of training for Bay State Marathon, using an intermediate race plan from The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training.

Runner's World Big Book of Marathon TrainingThis plan is a bit more aggressive than the one I used when I trained for The Rochester Marathon, but I figured I could step it up a bit for marathon #2. (Definitely think I can cut out some of those walk breaks!)

But despite my not so speedy time of 4:59 for that marathon, I know I did focus on the right things. I   was determined to finish, but I also wanted to enjoy the race. So when I’m running this October, I want to remember – again –  to enjoy the day and to be grateful that I am able to run, and to remember that I don’t need to  finish the race crying and crawling to my car to have had a “good” race.

Which brings me to an interesting point.  At this week’s Good Times 5k, the members of our running club were chatting about the winning runners,  (I am always stunned by the times posted by the top women in my age group!) and one of my fellow Squannies (shorthand for our running club – the Squannacook River Runners) remarked that I’ve probably got a little more speed in me because I never “look uncomfortable when I run.” (She had finished the 5k long before me, so she wasn’t there to see me stumble over the timing mat: I could NOT have looked comfortable!)

But really, I do know what she is saying: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and you can go faster!

But here’s the thing. I’m one of those women who never participated in sports as a kid. I ran a bit on my own in college, mostly to keep my weight down, but this is all relatively new to me. So, for the most part, I’m pretty happy just running injury-free, and looking for the occasional PR. I don’t think about winning and there is definitely a place where I draw the line, where I tell myself, “You’re doing great, you don’t need to go harder…”

But I have to admit that since I’ve moved up a bit in the standings at the Good Times Series, I am beginning to wonder if maybe I can push that line out a bit.

And I find I’m excited about the new training plan with hill repeats, speed work, and time trials – all sorts of things I have never done before. (I even had to look up what they meant.) I know it’s going to be interesting and challenging and I guess that somewhere along the way, I will discover where that new line is between, “I’m uncomfortable but it’s all good” and “This is stupid, I’m too old for this…”  And then I’ll work from there.

And I figure that by the time I run my marathon in Lowell on October 18, though I may still slow down before I cry or crawl, I will definitely let myself get uncomfortable.Rochester Marathon | 2 Generations RunningNora and I at the expo before our first marathon!

 

Are you training for a fall marathon? 


Lowell Good Times Series 5k #3: America’s BDay

Happy Thursday!

I’m back with another recap from Tuesday’s 5k (I swear I DO have some other posts that are not 5k-related in the works – stay tuned!)

This week’s theme was America’s B-Day in honor of the 4th of July. Again, neither me or my mom actually knew the theme and apparently most of the runners didn’t either, as there was not a lot of red, white, and blue running attire in sight!

It was another hot, muggy night, but my  cold had all but disappeared, so I was excited and ready to run despite the crazy summer heat. My plan was to pace myself with another runner from our club who had beat me last week after I went out too fast. We warmed up, stretched a little, and then it was time. 🙂

The first mile, I forced myself to keep my running buddy in sight, as we both weaved in and out of the field of runners. There are a lot of sharp turns at the beginning of this course (and a lot of people like to go really fast at the beginning and then drop off) so it’s kind of to be expected. Before the first mile, there is a turn down onto the walkway along the Merrimack River, and there’s always a photographer. This time around, my face was ENTIRELY blocked by the ponytail of a runner in front of me (LOL), but my mom got some photogenic shots (she’s in the blue Nike tank).

Lowell Good Times Series 5k Recap

Lowell Good Times Series 5kThis photo cracks me up. That is some serious side-eye my mom is getting!

Side Eye GIF

Despite getting a little boxed in a few times, my mile 1 split came out as 7:40 and I kept next to my teammate as planned.

Mile 2 had a little uphill section (I can’t say it’s very impressive, but even a little hill feels pretty hard when you’re running fast!) and our pace slowed down to 7:50. I felt good though. After I hit the Mile 2 mark, I knew I was almost there, just over a mile to go and I could do that in less than 10 minutes. I could do ANYTHING for just 10 minutes, so it couldn’t be that hard, right? Wrong. I should just learn to accept that the last mile of a 5k is always going to hurt.

Even though I was breathing hard and practically melting into a puddle of sweat, I actually felt like I still had a little something left in the tank at this point, which was a HUGE change from last week. I decided to pick up the pace a little and give it everything I had. I gave my running bud a thumbs up and passed her (we had agreed ahead of time that we would run our own races), and set my focus on running the last half mile or so as strong as I could (I think my pace was fluctuating between 7:10-7:30 on this section).

Lowell Good Times SeriesI passed another girl who looked to be in my age group and then immediately began thinking, “Oh god, don’t slow down, don’t let her pass you!” I also passed a 12 or 13-year old boy… Until he SPRINTED by me like I was standing still. Haha, I guess I’m glad I gave him the mental push he needed for a strong finish?

I kept running, really wanted to check behind me to see if that girl was close behind, but instead I focused on my leg turnover, trying to keep it quick and relaxed, and then FINALLY, I saw the clock and was crossing the finish line – official chip time: 24:03. 

I was only a few seconds faster than last week, but I have to say, I ran this race a thousand times better. My splits were 7:40/7:50/7:40 – so much more consistent than last week when I went out way too fast that first mile and then got progressively slower. This week, I raced smart. By sticking with my running club friend through the first 2 miles, I managed to pace myself so that I still had something left for the last mile. It paid off too – I finished up a place in my age division, coming in fifth. 🙂

Another fun aspect to this race is that you earn points over the course of the summer based on where you finish in your age division, and they keep track of everyone’s points from week to week. So, as long as you run every week, you can end up doing better overall than someone who races really well but only runs the 5k two or three times. My mom is currently FIRST in her age group (which she is very excited about; this race series is bringing out her competitive side!)  I am fifth in the overall points in my age group, but I have high hopes to keep moving up in the standings. 🙂

So there you go! Another summer 5k in the books! This weekend, I’m looking forward to some speed work at the track and then a bit of a longer run Sunday.

What are your weekend running plans? Do you have any pacing tips for 5k’s? 


Stu’s 30K Relay Recap

Happy Wednesday everyone!

First off, thanks so much to everyone who entered into the giveaway for the Glow Girl Fitness workout tank. The winner is Charissa, the blogger behind Charissa Running! Congrats Charissa!

Today, I wanted to share my recap of last weekend’s relay race, Stu’s 30k. My mom ran this race with our club the last two years, but this was my first time getting to run it since usually I’m away at school. After experiencing it, I have to say this is a pretty intense race! Most of the runners actually run the full 18 mile course as a tune-up for the Boston Marathon in April, so there were A LOT of very serious runners (I overheard one runner say this would be his 11th time running the Boston Marathon!) and many New England running clubs present. Our running club posed for a quick picture in the warm gymnasium.

Squannacook River Runners at Stu's Relay.Earlier in the week, my mom and I had gone out and gotten in a good, 8-mile run (I had been thinking of doing 6 miles, but she tricked me and kept me running until it wound up being just under 8.) My knee had held up pretty well through that, so the plan was for us to split the 18 mile race as a 2-person relay – I would do 9 miles and she’d do 9 miles.

After some debate about how exactly to split up the 4 legs of the race, we decided that I would run the first two legs consecutively, rather than running 4.5 miles, and then stiffening up before running another 4.5.

I lined up at the start, alongside all the other crazies who were running on this cold, gray day. Despite the frigid temps and snow flurries, I was excited to be racing again. The gun went off – and we were on our way.

I quickly got caught up in the racing spirit – and went out fast (for me) – my first mile was my speediest at 8:33. Not the best strategy for a distance race. Oops.

Of course, that was when the hills started kicking in. Long, gradual ascents, just steep enough to make the effort of running uncomfortable. I wanted to walk early on, but NONE of the experienced marathoners around me were walking. So, I used the feelings of peer pressure to my advantage and forced myself to keep running.

At mile 4.5, there was the first relay exchange. At this point, I knew I was halfway done and was settling into a rhythm. It was a great boost to see my mom and some of the club members at the exchange, cheering me on and snapping pictures.

Stu's 30K Relay Recap. 2 Generations Running

Stu's 30K Relay Recap.Despite a few twinges, my knee felt amazingly good. I was worried because the course was very hilly, but my knee held up. Around mile 7 (I think), there was a long descending section and the road became very canted towards the bottom – I was nervous that the uneven surface was going to throw my knee out of whack, but the road became flat again relatively quickly, and I was all good.

Miles 6 and 7 felt tough. The wind was brutal and the snowflakes kept coming down, and all I could think about was how happy I was NOT to be running the full 18 miles (I guess it’s a good thing I’m not registered for a marathon right now!). Surprisingly, the last mile flew by, and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw I was coming up on the mile 9 relay exchange where my mom was waiting to take over. I gave her a hug and wished her good luck, and she was off!

My average pace for the 9 miles was well off my half marathon PR, but I was still very happy with it. Considering the hills and my less-than-stellar training lately, it was a solid pace. And I had barely walked (I probably walked 30 seconds or less on only a couple occasions). After catching my breath, I hopped in the car with some of our running club members, and we went to find a good midway point to scope out and cheer for our team.

Stu's 30K Relay Recap.We hadn’t been waiting too long when my mom ran by, looking quite happy for still having roughly 8 miles to go!

After that, it was back to the finish line which was at a middle school. This was awesome because I was able to change into warm, dry clothes in a real bathroom (not a porta-potty)!

I had some of the wonderful post-race foods while I waited for my mom to finish, which included donuts, bagels, and hot clam chowder! Then, I went out hoping to catch my mom crossing the finish line – but ended up missing her by just a few seconds. So, no dramatic finish line photo unfortunately. 😉

Stu's 30K Relay Recap

Stu's 30K Relay RecapWoo! Another racing success for this mother-daughter team!

I’m thrilled it went so well, and my knee wasn’t even too sore the day after! Our next race is the Run for the Troops 5k in April, and now I’m even more excited for it. 🙂

Have a great day!


The Hatches have been Battened.

Hello from inside the storm!

As I’m writing this, it IS STILL SNOWING. Last I heard, my town had gotten 2 and a half feet of snow, but that was several hours ago and it’s snowing pretty hard still, so who knows what the final amount will be! It’s definitely looking like this is going to be a storm for the record books.

When I woke up to this blizzardy winter wonderland this morning, I felt inspired to experiment with a fun breakfast while I drank my morning coffee. I’m a HUGE fan of pancakes, and I loved this healthier single-serving version! It came out pretty darn good, and it smelled amazing too – after I finished cooking mine, my mom requested that I make her one too! It’s simple and quick to make, so I didn’t mind (she repaid me by making a fresh pot of coffee too.) 🙂

Cinnamon Oatmeal pancake. 2 Generations Running.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancake. 2 Generations Running.Ingredients:

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 coconut flour

1 egg

1 tablespoon almond butter

Large dash of cinnamon

Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)

Directions:

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. It will form a dry dough. Once the ingredients are well-combined, start adding splashes of almond milk and continue stirring. I didn’t measure exactly, but I probably added around 1/2 cup almond milk. The dough will be thicker than regular pancake batter. Spoon all the batter onto a frying pan over medium heat, forming a single pancake. Cook for 3-5 minutes, then carefully flip! It will be a bit crumbly from the oats, so it’s best to do this quickly. Cook another 3-5 minutes until crispy and light brown on both sides. Top with another sprinkle of cinnamon, a dollop of almond butter, and maple syrup! I enjoyed mine with half a banana as well.


 

It was delicious! After cleaning up, I did a 40 minute beginner yoga video with weights on Gigabody. It was tough, even for a beginner workout, but I was able to get through it. For the most part. My arms were exhausted from one too many downward dog poses at one point, and I just collapsed in a sweaty puddle on my yoga mat. But I rallied, and got through it alright in the end. 🙂

Then, I went outside to check out the blizzard for myself!

Blizzard 2015. 2 Generations RunningThe verdict?

Blizzard 2015. 2 Generations Running.Snowy. And yep, it’s gonna be SO MUCH fun to brush off our cars.

Brady was not too upset about all the snow, he just really wanted someone to play with him in it.

2 Generations Running. BradyPlay with me?

2 Generations RunningCome on, just throw me a ball!

Brady. 2 Generations RunningPLAY WITH ME NOW!!!!!!

He’s demanding. Keeper (our resident old lady dog – she’s 14), was being smart and hiding indoors. She doesn’t like snow very much in the best of circumstances, and snow that’s twice as tall as she is? Nah, not gonna mess with that.

If only I could train Brady and Keeper like these two penguins…

2 Generations Running. Penguin Gif.

Maybe a new goal for winter 2015? 😉

The rest of the day was spent holed up inside under a blanket with some hot cocoa and Game of Thrones (I’m late to the game, just starting the first season now!).

If you experienced the blizzard, how did you spend the snowday?


Run To Kick Cancer 5K

Hey there! 🙂

So as I mentioned in a previous post, the Resolution Run is one of my favorite 5Ks to do. It was one of the first races my mom and I signed up for in the early stages of training for our first half marathon about 3 years ago. All the proceeds go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology department at the Floating Hospital for Children. A lot of cancer survivors will run the race, and there are prizes for the top 3 male/female cancer survivors. You can also register to join the registry of bone marrow donors at the race, something my mom and I did last year when we ran.

Resolution Run To Kick Cancer

Not only does this race support a wonderful and important cause, it also has the BEST FOOD of any race I have ever run. And I do not say that lightly. 😉 So, I was looking forward to running, despite my strained hamstring.

It was pretty darn cold (about 15 degrees), so my mom and I were happy to hang out in Lexington’s indoor track/gymnasium area after picking up our packets.

Resolution Run To Kick Cancer. Lexington, Mass.We walked around, stretched a bit, and paused to take a picture in front of the fun backdrop they had-

Resolution Run To Kick CancerI love their slogan – “Think Winter Running is Hard? Try Battling Cancer”.

After a little more stretching, we lined up outside – and were off! The first 5-10 minutes felt the worst for my hamstring. My steps felt short and choppy because swinging my right leg too far forward made the muscle ache.  Not great, but I knew I could make it for 3.2 miles. My mom and I ran together at a nice, comfortable pace. We ended up running negative splits – 10:10 for the first mile, 9:28 for the second, and 9:02 for the third. Not too bad for not feeling my best! I would have liked to have been able to race it more competitively, but I know for now it’s best that I take it easy and work on healing before the half marathon in Florida next weekend.

Before I knew it, we were crossing the finish line and making our way back inside to finally sample the delicious spread! My final results-

Results of Resolution Run To Kick Cancer

Resolution Run To kick Cancer

They had Larabar granola, pastries and bagels from Panera, sandwiches and wraps from local delis, pizza, cookies, Greek yogurt, hummus and pita chips, and thankfully– coffee!

Resolution Run To Kick Cancer

Resolution Run To Kick Cancer

We loaded up our plates with  some wraps and a couple pastries and happily dug in as we warmed up. 🙂 It was another wonderful race.

The rest of Saturday afternoon was spent by the fire, rooting for the Patriots! It was such an exciting game! Go Pats!

New England Patriots.

Hope you’re having a GREAT weekend!


Should You Eat That Bacon- The New England Running Company 10-Miler Recap

Hi again! 🙂

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA this past week – I’ve been trying to sort out some of the formatting issues with the blog! If you’re reading this on a smartphone, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about (great!) and if you’re reading this on a computer, I’m sorry! I’m hoping to fix the background issues in the next week or so.

First, a quick recap of the marathon training this week –

marathon recap

So far, it’s not too intense. But I know that mileage is going to start ratcheting up soon, and I’m a little nervous for those 15-17 mile long runs. I’ve never run further than 13.1 miles right now, so it’s going to be unknown territory. BUT I don’t want to worry about that too much right now. 🙂

Yesterday, my mom and I completed our first ever ten-mile race – The New England Running Company 10 Miler! It was the first time this race had been put on, and apart from not having quite enough porta-potties (there were only five), it was really well done.

race start

The classic pre-race selfie.

The weather could not have been more perfect either – it was in the low 70s and there was a breeze off the water. My mom and I hadn’t planned on running it too fast (we knew we were guaranteed PR’s since it was our first time running a 10 mile race!), but with the great conditions, we both found ourselves comfortable enough to run harder than expected.

The views of the ocean were spectacular, and I managed to snag a photo while running. Props to me for not dropping my phone!

race pic

The course was a little hilly, but nothing compared to the Heartbreak Hill Half, and there were so many beautiful views that you could almost forget how hard you were running. Almost… 10 miles later, I finished in 1:26:43, good for a fifth place finish in my age group! I was a little bummed I didn’t finish two places earlier so I could get a prize, but oh well. Also- no medals at this race, which was a little disappointing, but we did get nice Brooks technical running shirts.  My mom came in two minutes later, so we both finished in under 1:30, which would have put us on pace for sub- 2 hour half marathons! Woo! It should be noted however, that my mom’s first words to me after crossing the finish were – “I blame you for making me run this fast.” We only ran the first mile together. Haha, so I’m not sure how I’m responsible, and if I am, I’m still waiting to hear, “Thank you Nora for encouraging me to push myself and test new boundaries.” 🙂

I managed to get a photo of my mom finishing!

And the significantly more sweaty post-race selfie!

After snacking on some delicious bagels, bananas, and chips, we decided to make the 10 minute drive over to nearby Salem to walk around and explore a little.

salem1

captured

I hadn’t been to Salem in probably a couple of years and I forgot how beautiful it is! There were tons of cute shops to explore – many of which emphasized the witch/magic/history of the location, but others which had more cute jewelry and clothes to browse through – a perfect way to wrap up a race day! Around lunchtime, my mom and I shared a turkey, brie, and fig marmalade sandwich from a little cafe. I’m not normally a big fan of fig anything, but it was delicious in this!!

sandwichWalking around, I also discovered this fascinating flowchart that I think all bacon lovers (such as myself!) will appreciate –

eatbacon

Are you a coward? No? THEN EAT THE BACON! Haha, I love it. And now I wish there was bacon in my house…

We got a little lost trying to navigate our way back to our car, but found it after only a little aimless wandering. 🙂 A new race, a little shopping and some eating – overall, not a bad way to spend a Sunday! 🙂

Did you have a good weekend?