Happy Friday (and the Giveaway Winner!)

Happy Friday everyone!

I am super excited to announce the winner of the Massage Envy gift card is… Jeffrey! Congrats Jeffrey, there’s a free massage coming your way!

Happy DanceI hope you’ve all had a good week. Mine has been a little insane. Between training for Delaware, traveling for work, and impending deadlines,  to say I’ve been slightly stressed this week would be an understatement.

But at least it’s the weekend now. 🙂

I finally got back into the swing of my regular running routine this week, starting with 3 miles on Monday, 4 miles + strides on Tuesday, and 7 miles on Wednesday. You know what made me SUPER excited about these runs though?

Running along the CharlesThe warmth + sunlight late into the afternoon/evening! The picture above is probably from around 6 pm and it looks like broad daylight!!!! I might be a little too excited about this.

I stayed after work on Tuesday and Wednesday and ran along the Charles, which was gorgeous and such a nice change of pace from all the treadmill miles I’ve logged recently. There were so many runners out, many of them wearing Boston Marathon jackets. There are also banners on some of the streetlights now advertising the race. You can tell the city is beginning to feel the marathon fever.

SunsetI love running along the Charles. The only thing that bummed me out about these runs in the city was that my GPS watch was never able to find signal with all the tall buildings and I don’t think MapMyRun was very accurate, so I’m not entirely sure what my paces were. Not a huge deal, but I like to at least know that I’m running fast if it feels like a challenge.

This weekend, I’ve got another 20 miler on the agenda. I’m not looking forward to it, but I’m not really dreading it either. After last week, I know I can do it. Right now, I feel like I need to work on dialing back into my goal marathon pace. I was doing really well during the first half of the training block, but I feel like I’ve lost some of that speed since my work travel kicked in. I want to get back to the feeling I had when I ran Augusta – like I can crank out the miles and just pick up speed as I go along.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the beginnings of spring!

Spring RunningIf you run in an urban area, do you ever have issues with your GPS watch? Are certain watches better at finding signal than others? Are you loving the extra daylight as much as I am??


Marathon Training: Over the Half Way Point!

Hey there! This is Nora’s Mom again posting today 🙂

This week, as we prepared for the New Bedford Half Marathon, we finished up week nine of our 16 week marathon plan, so thought it was worth a few words.

So far, we’ve been very lucky! No injuries and though we have sometimes had to make modifications in the plan to accommodate schedule conflicts (mostly Nora because of her job), things are going pretty smoothly.

2 Generations RunningThe brighter the sneakers, the faster we run.

The only thing was that, on my end, I was having a bit of trouble with sore toes. I felt this was to be expected after the hilly course at Stu’s, but the following Sunday, my toes hurt from the very beginning of my 14 miler. I managed to get in the miles, but was forced to admit that the pair of Saucony Triumph sneakers I had bought at the Bay State expo were the problem. Now I’ve worn this model for at least four years and loved them, but, by mistake, I bought this pair a half size bigger than I usually wear. Oops (The good news is that I don’t think I will forget my “running shoe” size again!). When I noticed this back at home, I decided it would probably be ok. And I think it was, for a couple of months, but as we get into the higher mileage, it’s clearly started to be a problem. So I was off to see my friends at Fleet Feet, where they set me up with the new version of the Triumph 11, the Triumph ISO. After one run in these, my feet were so happy I felt a little foolish that I hadn’t broken down and switched sooner. And they are such a pretty color! (It’s a little scary, but I’m calling them BQ Blue!)

They felt great on my nine miler and on the New Bedford Half, so hopefully no more “tender toes.” (which usually means several black toenails. )


 

Nora’s Thoughts on Marathon Training So Far:

Like my Mom mentioned, I also feel incredibly lucky that so far (fingers crossed so I don’t jinx this), I’ve been getting through the training block with no major injuries. The only issue I had was some pain in my heel that I think I mentioned on the blog a few weeks ago. Since experiencing that, I decided to buy a nice, black pair of sneakers that wouldn’t look weird paired with my regular clothes when I went to work. I’ve been wearing those sneakers every single day since I got them, and my feet have never felt happier! I think I will have to save my cuter, more fashionable shoes for after May 8th.

The other challenge has been all the travel I’ve had to do for my job lately. I spent a week in Texas, and missed every single workout while I was gone. My ankles also ended up covered in fire ant bites and blisters from that trip, and it took several days for the swelling to go down – not ideal for training. 😦 Running New Bedford after that trip was definitely challenging, but I’m hoping my fitness will bounce back quickly.


 

On Sunday, we ran the New Bedford half and since this was Nora’s birthday week race we thought we would not be too aggressive, but just try to have some fun. Despite it being another cold morning for the first day of spring and our enthusiasm levels being somewhat low, we both managed to enjoy the day and run great races!

New Bedford Half MarathonI took 2 minutes off my previous best from the Cox Providence Half, and finished just a few minutes behind Nora. This was my 13th half, and Nora’s 14th, which is crazy to think about. We celebrated at home with a delicious home-cooked meal of bacon-wrapped scallops, salads and cheesecake (Nora’s favorite). March has been our own running-inspired version of March Madness with 3 races in 4 weeks and now the two of us are both looking forward to a break from racing until the marathon.

Wish us luck! 🙂


Stu’s 30K Recap

Hey there! Nora’s mom and the other half of 2 Generations Running here posting today!

Since running the Augusta half nearly 3 weeks ago, Nora’s schedule has kept her super busy, so I thought I would do a quick guest post, and let her catch her breath.

The very next Sunday after Augusta, we tackled Stu’s 30K in Clinton, MA. Nora and I had done this as a relay, but neither of us had ever run the entire 18.9 miles! It was a lovely day, sunny and about 40 degrees, so nice for running. We decided we wouldn’t run this one together, because we were going to try to maintain our marathon paces, and Nora’s is a good bit faster than mine. (I was hoping to have an average pace of something between 9:30 and 9:15) The start of this race was pretty informal: no mat, just an air horn, and we were off!

Stu's 30K Relay Course Map.

So let me say that we knew this was a hilly course, but “rolling hills” does not begin to describe it. From the very first, it’s a constant up and down, and I for one really struggled to find, and maintain a comfortable rhythm.

Stu's 30k RecapI tried to concentrate on the views. There are some pretty views of the reservoir in the first nine miles, but the second half seemed to be a lot of highway with trees on one side and a brief view of the dam, until, at just before mile 18, you are back in Clinton and going up that last hill to the finish.

At this point the sidewalk was pitted and crumbling and I was tired and cranky and began to walk. Then I looked up and saw Nora running towards me and I thought, “She’s come to rescue me!!” Well, it wasn’t Nora, but another young blond runner, running back along the course to shout encouragement at all us tired runners. It helped me tremendously and I started running again and managed that last mile at 9:15, crossing the finish with a 2:56:35 at a 9:25 pace. Initially, I was a bit disappointed. I had met my goal, technically, but felt completely drained and felt that this did not bode well since I would need to do another eight miles for the marathon. But as I thought about it, I realized the course had been super challenging, and that I had run pretty well and kept it together “mentally” . Mostly. (Thank God for that young mystery runner!) So in the end, I decided, it was not a bad result, and that I had learned plenty!

Stu's 30K Relay

And Nora did equally well, with a finish of 2:41 and an average pace of 8:35.

2016 Stu's 30K

Afterwards, we had some delicious clam chowder and bagels in the school cafeteria as we listened to the distribution of the awards (we didn’t win anything) before heading home.

Overall, another fun race! If you have to do 18 miles, might as well do it with a whole bunch of other people and get a medal for it at the end. 🙂


Delaware Marathon Training: Week 5

It’s hard to believe we are another week closer to Delaware. Training is continuing to go well, although I have to admit I’m having some pain in my left heel that feels disturbingly close to plantar fasciitis. I don’t think it’s anything too serious yet, but I have been making a concerted effort to ice, foam roll, and stretch my calves. I’m going to keep monitoring it and if I need to skip a run or two to give my body a little more rest, then that’s what I’m going to do.

But moving on, here’s how the week went.

Monday – I did my 10 miler, which I included in last week’s recap.

Tuesday – 4 very easy miles. In hindsight, I probably should’ve switched around my rest days to give myself a little more recovery after the 10 miles the day before…

Wednesday – 7 miles on the treadmill. This was supposed to be a hill workout, but as I mentioned in my last post, my EHL tendon on my other foot had been acting up a little (what the he*% is it with my feet???) so I decided to stick to 1.0 or 1.5 on the elevation setting. I did try to make up for skipping the hills by keeping the pace up a little bit (I  alternated between a 9:05 and 8:35/mile pace). This run didn’t feel fantastic, but I think that was more the result of treadmill boredom than anything else, especially since I’ve been hitting faster paces on my long runs and usually feel pretty good on those.

Thursday – REST DAY!!!

Rest Days and Dwight Schrute | 2 Generations RunningMy legs definitely needed this one. I did 20 minutes of abs in the morning and then chilled out the rest of the day and it was glorious.

Friday – 4 miles on the treadmill, 2 at goal pace. I felt much better on this run. The 2 goal pace miles felt solid and I did my last cool-down mile in 8:35, which felt easy and comfortable. In the evening, I took the train home to visit my family and the dogs for the weekend. I hadn’t been home since Christmas, so it was a much needed visit. 🙂

Saturday – My mom and I opted to do our long run on Saturday this week since our running club was having its monthly brunch run on Sunday and who are we to say no to a run followed by a delicious potluck brunch? We headed out for 13 miles together, figuring that I would start with my mom and then head off about halfway through to do some speedier miles. It was cloudy and in the 40s when we first headed out, but after the first couple miles, we both warmed up and the sun came out. It ended up feeling more like an early spring day than February! So weird to think that just the week before it had been -18 degrees (and -30 with the wind chill)! Guess that’s New England for you.

My mom and I ended up splitting up just after 4 miles, when she paused to do a GU. I continued on, dropping the pace down into the 8:30/mile range. I was able to continue this way, except for when I hit the giant hills on my route. I’ve gotten so used to the new, much flatter routes around my apartment that these rolling hills felt TOUGH. It didn’t help that even with the warmth, there were still some icy patches on the sidewalks in shady areas. Around mile 9, I was stepping off the sidewalk to run a short stretch on the street to avoid some ice. Well, I guess I got distracted by the cars on the road, because I ended up stepping directly onto a different patch of ice and nearly went down. I swear, it felt like my body was inches from the pavement. Somehow, I magically caught my balance and continued on, this time being a little more cautious on the icy patches.

I ended up finishing the 13 miles in about an hour and 55 minutes. My pace was a little slower overall than on some of my other long runs because of the hills, but I felt ok with that. I have to admit, I was kind of excited that I was able to run a sub-2 hour half marathon on just a basic training run, when only a couple years that was my big goal for the Oak Tree Half Marathon.

Later that afternoon, I relaxed by first getting my haircut, and then my mom and I got special race day manicures for Augusta!

Race day nails

Augusta Half Marathon NailsThat’s a check mark for GA on my mom’s nails. 🙂

Sunday – 3.2 miles very easy with our running club. My legs felt surprisingly ok on this run, but I was still happy to be taking it easy and running low mileage. Afterward, we celebrated with some awesome food.

Total Mileage for the Week: 32

Motivation Levels: Running strong 🙂

And for a little inspiration, I’ve been listening to the rap song “Me, Myself, and I” quite a lot on my runs lately, so here is a little excerpt-

“Oh, it’s just me, myself, and I / Solo ride until I die / Cause I got me for life / Oh, I don’t need a hand to hold / Even when the night is cold / I got that fire in my soul”. 

Perfect for those long, hard solo runs. 🙂

How was your week? If you’re training, how’s it going? 

 


Boston Christmas Tree Run

We made it to the end of another week!

Friday GIFAnyone else remember that song?

It’s the end of another good week for running for me, I’m happy to say! When I had gone to the fun run last Monday night hosted by the running club I’m thinking of joining, one of the girls I had chatted with told me about a $5 Christmas tree fun run in Boston, and had invited me to join her and her friends. $5 for a run, food, and some good ole’ holiday cheer?! I was totally in.

Boston Christmas Tree RunThe run started from McGann’s Pub in Boston, only a short walk from my office. I headed over on Tuesday evening after work and quickly met up with my friend. There were a lot of very festive running outfits (think Christmas tree lights, ugly sweaters, full-on snowman costumes…) – I’ll have to work on that for next year since I was seriously lacking in festive running clothes.

After a little bit of a late start, we headed out on the run to stop at 4 different Christmas trees in Boston. First up on the list was a tree in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. This was a fun run and not a race, so everyone was chatting and relaxed while we ran and clearly feeling the holiday spirit! Sadly, this tree was actually not plugged in when we got there. Fail. Nevertheless, we gathered around and sang Frosty the Snowman, while the real Frosty danced around.

Boston Christmas Tree RunThen, it was off to Copley Square! We had better luck at this tree.Boston Christmas Tree RunWe also had some GORGEOUS views of the State House from here. Unfortunately, my pictures came out really blurry. After we sang some more carols (and I began to realize how few words I actually know of Christmas carols), it was off to the Boston Common.

Boston Christmas Tree RunHave I mentioned how absolutely beautiful and festive Boston is right now? It was such a blast running around, taking in all the lights and holiday decorations. I don’t usually see too much of Boston beyond my walk to the subway station everyday during my commute, so it was really cool to see the other parts of the city all lit up and decorated.

Boston Christmas Tree RunAfter more caroling (or humming, in my case), we ran over to the tree that’s on top of the Macy’s store in Downtown Crossing (top right picture). There were a lot more people in this area and they were super confused by our large merry group of runners at first, but then they got SO excited when we started singing carols (even if we were slightly out-of-tune). Last on our list of trees, was Fanuil Hall.

Boston Christmas Tree RunThis one was probably my favorite. It had blinking lights which made the tree really look like it was sparkling. From there, we headed back to the pub for some drinks and free food! Overall, it ended up being just over a 4 mile run with around a 10 minute pace. Perfect for a relaxed evening taking in the holiday sights. 🙂 And now I can’t believe Christmas is only 2 weeks away!!!! Ahh!

Do you have any fun holiday runs coming up? Do you know the words to Christmas carols (beyond the chorus – everybody knows those parts!!)?


Mill Cities Relay 2015

Another race down for 2 Generations Running!

Mill Cities RelayYesterday, my mom, brother, and I all ran the Mill Cities Relay, a 27-mile relay race open exclusively to running clubs in the Mill Cities region. Since we were running with the club, there were A LOT of teams (16 to be exact), and we were all on a different team. My mom and I were both slated to run the longest leg, 9.5 miles (That’s what happens when your running club knows you’ve run a marathon/half marathon recently!) I was hoping we would leave around the same time, but our teams ended up being just a few minutes apart, so it was a solo long run for both of us!

Mill Cities Relay 2015 Race ReccapMe and my team before the start!

You may notice we are pretty bundled in the above photo. That’s because it WAS FREAKING COLD in the morning! I had been checking the weather all week leading up to the race and was psyched when I saw Sunday was supposed to have a high of 55 degrees. Well, I kind of forgot about the fact that it was going to be in the 30’s at 6 am.

Mill Cities Relay 2015 Race RecapMy toes seriously did feel like little blocks of ice in my sneakers. Sad Nora.

Thankfully, the 9.5 mile leg was the second to last leg of the relay, so it did manage to warm up a bit before I had to run. Good thing too, because I had decided to wear shorts when I saw it was going to be so warm!

Watching my teammates take off to run their legs got me really excited. My goal going into the race was to try to run the pace I ran for my PR at the Baystate Half Marathon in October, 8:16/mile. I wasn’t 100% confident I’d be able to pull it off though. I hadn’t run long at that pace in a while, so I didn’t know if I was setting myself up for a total bonk.

When my turn finally came around, I pulled off my sweats and the 500 layers of jackets I was wearing and headed to the exchange area. The hand-off was super smooth; my teammate saw me, I saw her, and then she was passing me the slap bracelet and I was off!

I was happy that the first part of my route was the same stretch of road  along the Merrimack River in Lowell, Mass that I had run during Baystate. It was a real confidence booster to be running the same roads that I had previously run such a great race on!

Baystate Half Marathon and Marathon 2015Maybe too much of a confidence boost though, because I definitely got a little too excited at the beginning, and ran a 7:57 for my first mile. Dial it back Nora, 8 and a half miles to go still!!

Even though, I was happy with my times during those early miles, my body did not feel so great during. Much like at the start of Baystate, I felt stiff – particularly my ankles (which never bother me usually!) With every step, I was very aware of my ankles flexing – and how TIGHT they felt. I just tried to stay calm and remind myself that I was still warming up, and that the crappy feeling would go away after the first few miles. And it did.

Mile 1 – 7:58/mile, Mile 2 – 8:10/mile, Mile 3 – 8:08/mile

I didn’t take any pictures during this race because I was really focusing on maintaining my pace, but after the first 4 miles running along the water, we were mostly on the edge of busy roads, so not very scenic anyway. I didn’t mind though. The temps had warmed up to the 40’s, the sun was out, and it felt PERFECT for running. The other great part of the 9.5 mile leg was that it was very straight, which meant I could always see runners ahead of me, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s chasing runners down. 😉

Evil Laugh GIF | 2 Generations RunningI tried to keep track of how many runners I passed and how many passed me, but I got confused after a while. I think I probably passed around 10.

Mile 4 – 8:07/mile, Mile 5 – 8:14/mile, Mile 6 – 8:07/mile

The whole leg was mostly flat, but there were a few long, gradual ascents. I tried to focus on my form, rather than the hill itself as I ran up them. I am definitely not one of those weirdo runners who enjoy hills, but I think I did a really decent job keeping my pace in my target zone anyway. I also walked for a second around mile 4.5 while I drank the water at the one water stop provided on my leg.

Around this time, I started seeing more teams from my running club passing me in their chase vehicles. I got a lot of cheers and honks, which I LOVED!

Mile 7 – 8:05/mile Mile 8 – 8:06/mile, Mile 9 – 7:57/mile

By Mile 7, I was getting excited to finish. I knew I only had a couple miles to go, and I had a good pack of runners I was chasing. I managed to catch a few of them! I was ecstatic when my watch beeped at mile 9, and I looked down to see I had run a 7:57 – 1 second faster than my first mile! I think that officially means I did not bonk. 🙂

I flew into the exchange area, passed off the baton to our last runner, and just like that I was done with 9.5 miles! I quickly met up with my team and we hurried back to the car to make our way to the finish. The traffic gets HORRIBLE around this stage of the relay, and we knew there was a chance we would miss our teammate finishing if we didn’t move quick.

It took us a long time to get out of the exchange zone since there was a steady flow of runners that the traffic had to yield to, but finally, we were able to get out and make our way to the Claddagh Pub in Lawrence where the race finishes.

Mill Cities Relay 2015 Race RecapWe made it there just in time to see our teammate finish! She had run her 4.75 mile leg fast, so we almost missed her.

Then, it was off to the pub for some well-deserved post-race beer and pasta!

2015 Mill Cities RelayYou said it Bethenny.

There, I finally caught up with my mom and brother. My brother had ended up having a difficult race, with 2 of his 5 teammates not showing up! 😦 Not what you want in a relay race. My mom had a great day though, running an average of 8:30/mile over the 9.5 miles.

My team didn’t end up winning any awards, which was a bummer, but I’m still thrilled with how Mill Cities went. I feel like my paces are really starting to get faster, and I’m able to hold onto that pace for longer distances. A year ago I would have thought it was crazy to run an 8:05 pace for 9 miles. Hell, that was pretty much my 5k pace! So I’m happy. I feel like I’m in a great place with my running right now and I’m excited to see what that leads to in the future. I’ve got some pretty lofty goals when it comes to running, and I’m beginning to think they just might be within my reach…

Did you run/race this weekend? If so, how’d it go?


Hello December

OMG, and just like that, it’s December.

Merry ChristmasI totally slacked on blog posts this week, let’s just say life was a little weird. However, I did get in some great runs!

On Tuesday, I went to a free fun run hosted by a running club in the area that I’m thinking of joining. It was a small turn-out with temps in the 30s, but I ended up having so much fun! I had been feeling a little bit anxious about going – I wasn’t going to know anyone there and it was so dark and cold out that I almost convinced myself not to go. Well, I’m so glad I did go! I talked to a bunch of different runners and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I even made plans to run a fun Christmas tree run in Boston with one girl who I spent a long time with chatting about marathons and lost toenails. 🙂

You Know You're a Runner When ... 2 Generations Running

The rest of the week contained some strength training, Fitnessblender videos, and a 4 mile treadmill run at goal pace. I say goal pace because I’m running a race this weekend! My mom, brother, and I are all running on separate teams at the Mill Cities Relay with our running club!Stu's 30K Relay Recap.My mom has run this race before, but it’s going to be my first time and I’ll be running a 9.5 mile leg. I feel relatively trained for it. I’m hoping to run around the same pace that I ran at the Baystate Half Marathon (8:16/mile), but I also haven’t been doing as many long runs lately, so I’m not sure how that will go.

Anyways, that’s my quick check-in for the week! I’ll have some better posts coming your way next week. 🙂 Have a great weekend!