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Today is My Birthday

Today is My Birthday

As my unoriginal title indicates, today, July 12th, is my 28th birthday.  Some years I write X number of things I learned before age X.  Other years, I don’t even write a post about my birthday.  Some years I spend with family, some with my husband, friends, and others I’ve spent alone.  I haven’t learned a heck of a lot new since last July 12th, and there is no way I could write 28 things I’ve learned since 28.

Last year, I decided I wasn’t interested in material items or junk.  I stopped buying new clothing, and in 2018 my New Year’s Resolution is not to buy any new nonathletic apparel (I don’t go crazy on buying athletic apparel either).  After bills, I’ve chosen to spend my money on experiences rather than things.  Experiences like races, diners, and traveling to random places.  Things that I can look back on and think: dang that was fun.  I don’t need or want any useless junk.

As I reflect upon that, I’m also sitting on an airplane to Denver, Colorado.  I’m doing something out of my comfort zone, and maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m going to run the Copper Mountain 25k.  My only goal is to finish.

I haven’t been secretly training for trail races, but after running the Xterra 10k a few months ago and having fun, trail no longer terrifies like they once did.  I’ve spent a lot of time this spring and summer hiking and it’s become just as fun to me as running. It will be my longest run in a long time, the highest altitude I’ve ever run, and maybe not my wisest idea.  As I mentioned on my blog, when the opportunity first presented itself a few weeks ago, I said no but thought: why not? I have nothing to prove, and it’s getting me out of my comfort zone.

I’m really looking forward to running this weekend.

A few highlights of adventures from age 27:

Visiting the Grand Canyon

grand canyon north rim

Our vacation last year that we booked two plane tickets to Denver and a rental car with no plans.  We ended up driving 2600 miles and seeing amazing places.

road trip through colorado

PRing at the Phoenix Half in February Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

10 Mile Hike through GrayBeard Trail (North Carolina)

Air Force Marathon (half for me) with my husband and in laws

Apparently, I decided to nap and close my eyes right there…

Private Flying over NYC

flying over nyc

Those are just a few of the many memories I have from age 27.  I can only hope 28 will be just as fun!

Questions for you:

When is your birthday? How did you celebrate last year?

Any last minute trail tips?

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Irish Festival 5k (20:25)

Irish Festival 5k (20:25)

Last week I jumped into the Irish Festival 5k in Bergen County (just near the George Washington Bridge).  My husband and I were traveling to Connecticut to pick up car parts, and it seemed like a fun race.  It was a different location, and somewhere we had never raced.  In fact, just a couple of miles near the George Washington Bridge is a beautiful part that you can get plenty of miles in.

Anyway, we arrived around 8 am, and it was already scorching hot.  As we looked around, we noticed there was absolutely no shade around.  The park was made up of open fields, water, and multiple soccer fields.  I knew immediately it was going to be very hot.

We warmed up about 3 miles, and I had already sweat through my entire outfit.  Luckily, I packed 5 running outfits for 2 days.  The race started a little late, and we stood in the sun for another few minutes.  Once we started, I found myself in third overall.  I could see the first two women ahead, and I thought I might be able to catch one.

The first mile headed out, and there was a small downhill.  I caught the second place women around mile 1, and we both hit the mile around 6:20.

During the second mile, another woman sailed by me as if I was standing still.  She cruised by me so quickly, I honestly didn’t know if she was in the race and it took the better part of the next mile to figure it out.  I only wondered because at the pace she passed me, she must have either missed the start or started very far in the back, and this wasn’t a big race.

I hit the second mile in 6:40.  I grabbed water which was hot.  I just wanted the race to be done.

The third mile loops around a large open meadow.  You can see the finish from about 2.1, so it doesn’t make the final mile feel any more comfortable.  I was going back and forth with a couple of men.  One passed me, and one did not.  Finally, I hit the last mile in 6:45 and just powered to the finish in 20:25.

It’s my slowest time since last summer, but I’m not disappointed.  It was a hot day on a harder course.  I’m not in the fitness I was 6 months ago, and that is okay!  My husband finished in 18:57 which is good for the training as well.  It was fun and I’m glad we still ran.

Questions for you:

What is the hottest race you’ve done?

This one was one of the hotter, a 10k in Texas, as well as a half marathon in Texas, were both up there.

How do you adjust to the heat?

Training Last Week: It’s Hot

Training Last Week: It’s Hot

Last weeks training was nothing unusual or unique.  Like most people, I’m grinding away.  I am the first to tell you, I am not adjusting well to the heat.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, but paces that were once easy for me are far more than challenging.  In fact, last weekend I ran my slowest 5k in almost a year, and I was working hard!

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 45 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 70 minutes
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Irish Festival 5k (20:25)
Sunday: Easy 60 minutes

Thoughts:

As mentioned, there isn’t a lot to say about this week.  I’ve just been summer grinding away.  I know it won’t be a “fast” summer, but I am trying to stay as healthy as possible.  Running PRs and racing halves faster than a 5k, seems like a lifetime ago but that’s what I usually say most summers.

Irish Festival 5k: 20:25:

I’ll have a full recap soon.  Over the weekend, my husband and I decided to drive up to Connecticut to pick up some miscellaneous car parts, including a bumper.  We saw a 5k in Bergen County, which seemed fun and we decided to run it.  The course itself was relatively hilly, with the second mile all uphill.  On top of that, there was zero shade so you could feel every part of the 80+ degrees.   My splits were 6:20, 6:40, 6:45 and I was the third female.

I’m pleased with my performance for the day and with factors and have no complaints.

Posts of the Week:

Benefits of Racing Frequently

Bungalow Beach 5 Miler (32:12)

Diadora Fly Shoe Review

Questions for you:

What are some techniques you use for summer running?

Do you run better in the Winter or Summer?

Diadora Fly Shoe Review

Diadora Fly Shoe Review

Before a few months ago, when I thought of the brand Diadora, I thought of soccer shoes.  Even fashion shoes, but definitely not running.

Diadora is an Italian company that is slowly breaking into the running industry.  If you are local, they are creating their US headquarters in Camden, NJ.  Pretty cool since most running brands are based out of the West Coast or Boston area.

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Ride:

Diadora has designed the midsole with their “Blushield technology”.  What does this mean? The BlueShield technology is designed to provide dynamic stability.  So it’s stable when you need it and not when you don’t. This is especially good if one-foot pronates more than the other or your gait drastically changes at the finish of the run.

Diadora Fly Shoe Review

It’s very soft and cushioned.  I like how light and responsive it is. One thing I appreciated is right out of the box, the shoe felt great. I never felt as though I needed to “adjust to them” or “break them in”.  You shouldn’t feel like that anyway, but I felt good when I added these to my rotation.

There is plenty of cushioning in both the heel and forefront of the shoe to absorb the impact. Even with all of the cushioning, you still maintain a lot of contact with the ground, and they are responsive.

Fit:

As far as running shoes go, these are one of the widest brands out there.  They are cut on an overall more full and straight last.  Typically I wear a women size 10-11 wide, and the regular 10 felt bigger than any other 10 I’ve worn.  I stuck with the 10, and it’s a good fit for me.

The upper has no seems which is great for someone with bunions. It is lightweight and breathable.  I don’t have any complaints.

Diadora Fly Shoe Review

Conclusion:

I was pleasantly surprised and like the Diadora Fly.  You won’t find a lot of information online about them, because they are newer to the running scene.  In fact, local to me in New Jersey they are available to Philly Runner, Haddonfield RunningCo, Runners High, and Brooklyn Runner.  Diadora is a high-quality brand, and I’m enjoying them.  I hope they continue to stay in the industry.

If you like the Brooks Ghost, Brooks Launch, Saucony Ride, Saucony Kinvara, Mizuno or Wave Rider, New Balance 1400, or Nike Pegasus they might fit nicely into your rotation.

Current Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Hoka Mach, Saucony Ride ISO, Brooks Glycerin 15

Workouts: Nike Fly, Saucony Type A

Races: Nike Fly, Saucony Type A

Questions for you:

Have you ever worn a smaller brand?

What is your current favorite shoe?

Benefits of Racing Frequently

Benefits of Racing Frequently

My cup of tea is not everyone’s cup of tea.  In fact, trivial to the post I don’t drink tea, just coffee.

It’s no secret I haven’t been training like when I set my half marathon PR in February.  After February, I trained and ran, but I know myself well that I’m good for a couple of PRs (if I’m lucky) a year.

April, May, and now most of June has gone around, and here we are.  I want to consistently run and train again, something I rarely do over the summer.  It’s hot and humid, but I want to spend all of my time outside.

Like when I set my 5k PR over two years ago, I plan to do a lot of 5ks on weekends.  This is what led to my 18:13  a couple of years ago.  I don’t think I was quite there in February but did run 18:29 at the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k in March.

Benefits of Racing Frequently

Many people have asked:

Why race so much? Why spend so much money on running road races?

I’ve talked about this before but I don’t have kids, and my husband and I don’t spend a lot of useless junk.  I prefer experiences or good food, versus an expensive piece of clothing or whatever.  In fact, my New Year Resolution was not to buy any new nonrunning clothing.  So far so good.

 Won’t You Get Injured?

I would like to hope not but I take at least 1, sometimes 2 days off per week.  I either cross train (it’s been hiking recently) or don’t do anything.

I also take my easy runs, extremely easy.  I could run 8 minute miles (extremely unlikely) or 12-minute miles, but I keep it easy and by effort.  I mentioned last week I had a Garmin Vivosport which I put in timer mode.  I usually run for X amount of minutes or on a route I already know the distance (then I don’t time it).

It’s Also Important to Remember a Few Things:

You’re not going to progressively get faster:

As I know and have experienced many times with racing frequently, you won’t get faster every single time you race.  You shouldn’t expect too!  Progress is not linear with anything.  Last week I ran a 20:06 5k.  It’s a great base and who knows, next 5k might be slower but I know I’m putting in the effort, miles, and consistency.  A few years ago, I ran a 19:10 5k in one I was hoping to PR.

Remember, at the end of the day, “it’s just running.”  You will be the same person whether you logged a PR or didn’t.

Races are Hard:

If you are like me, you know you can push yourself harder at races.  If I do a workout alone, it usually feels harder and more of a challenge.  Running a race as a workout, allows me to push myself harder than I would alone. I usually have to watch out for mentally burning myself out from overracing.

Racing with Friends:

Since I work at a running store, I do appreciate being able to see friends or people I’ve helped in achieving their goals.  It’s great to run with friends at local races and support a local cause.

Progress is Measurable:

There are many factors with a race, but you are able to see if you are progressing or not.

I like the ability to see that progress.

The Experience of Racing:

I don’t get nervous before big races.  Sure I get the butterflies but I don’t nervous to fail because I know both good and bad races come with the territory.  Not every race will be the best ever, but it’s those not great races that make the good ones feel…good!  I know my family and friends still care about me whether I PR or not.  The experience of toeing the line frequently has taught me that.

Questions for you:

Do you race often?  Do you prefer too?

Bungalow Beach 5 Miler (32:12)

Bungalow Beach 5 Miler (32:12)

Last weekend I ran the Bungalow Beach 5 Miler in Atlantic City.  As I continue to build miles, I’m trying to make it a point to race more whether I feel great or not.  If there is anything I learned from the weekend, it’s how to spell Bungalow (at least I think so).

I didn’t feel great on Saturday.  While I only took a week off, I feel like I’ve distanced myself from the sport since about May.  I’ve been running but training for PRs, no.  I rode out the fitness from the training cycle through both Broad Street and the Newport 10 miler.

I woke up around 5, ate, and arrived to Atlantic City around 7 am.  The race starts in a different area than the April Fools Half. As I walking to pick up my bib, a very intoxicated man asked if I was just getting off from the strip club next door.  What a way to start.

The line to pick up bibs was long, and I had time to warm up about 2 miles.  As I was sprinting towards the start, I realized they were doing the national anthem. I paid my respect and made it to the start with about 30 seconds to spare.

The race went off right at 8 am.  During the first mile, I found myself running with a few men.  I passed one other female around mile 1.  My legs felt stiff and tired, and with 100% humidity, the weather was not ideal. I didn’t feel great or especially terrible and ran a 6:23.

I ran the second mile alone.  There was a cross breeze but nothing crazy. It actually felt good.  We left the boardwalk, and I ran a 6:28.

We turned around mile 2.3 and headed back towards the finish.  I like beach and shore races because usually, you get to see friends and other racers going in the opposite direction.  I saw a lot of local people and high fived a lot of people.

bungalow beach 5 miler atlantic city

Thanks, Meridith for the photo!

Around mile 4, I knew the second place woman was quickly catching me.  I was giving it my all.  We entered the beach, and I was worried I would fall, so I took running on the sand extremely safe.  Even though I was barely above a walk, I would instead not hurt myself versus attempt to sprint to the finish only to roll an ankle.  I could see the finish, but I thought it would never come closer!  I crossed in 32:12 and was able to win.

I am happy to be out there again, and it feels good to be racing. In February I ran a 5 Miler in 30:25 and while I’m not in that shape now I’m enjoying running and able to run.  Usually in June that hasn’t been the case.  I’ll continue looking for races and chipping away.  Right now I didn’t have anything “big” planned out, and I’m just enjoying racing each weekend.

Questions for you;

Have you ever run on sand?

Do you have beach plans this summer?

Training Last Week: Grinding and Racing

Training Last Week: Grinding and Racing

Last week felt better than the previous in terms of running.  I was able to add miles in the week and then had a quality race.  Not my fastest time but great for where I am right now.  I don’t think this will be an amazing comeback story, but more a story of plugging along through the summer months.

Monday: Easy 50 minutes
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Easy 50 minutes
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 50 minutes
Saturday: Bungalow Beach 5 Miler (32:12)
Sunday: Easy 60 minutes

Thoughts:

My easy runs of the week were just that, easy.  Originally I thought I might get a workout in Wednesday but my body was tired and that would be overdoing workouts and speed.

Bungalow Beach 5 Miler: (32:12)

It was the inaugural year for the race.  Since I like the Atlantic City races so much, I thought it would be fun to do.  The last 400 meters is on the soft sand which doesn’t make for a fast finish.  The day itself was 100% humidity.  So with the weather and course, I knew it wouldn’t be the easiest day.

I’m glad I ran and got to see a lot of friends.  My body didn’t feel great but not bad either.  I definitely didn’t feel fresh.  I was barely able to hang onto first, as the second place woman was fast approaching. In all, I’m happy with how I did and I post a longer recap this week.

Thoughts:

I’m happy with the week and I feel like I’m slowly progressing towards fitness.  I’m nowhere near there but I do feel like I’m progressing.  I was talking to a good friend, and while I only took a week off from running, I decreased my miles and was mentally disengaged for almost 2 months now. I do believe there is something to be said about that.  I don’t think this will be a “glamorous” comeback and I think it will involve a lot more grind but that’s ok.

Posts from the Week:

Vital Proteins Recovery Smoothie

Exploring the Maurice River Bluffs

Blah Blah Blah: Run Easy

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

Have you ever run on sand?  What is a meaningful cause/charity to you? 

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