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I can tell its Monday…

I’ve already stubbed my toe on our ugly driftwood table in the living room landing me a lovely shank sized splinter. (I swear someday that table will be FIREWOOD!) I’m sure it will heal by my marathon next Sunday. I’m just that full of optimism and that’s the first thing that happened. Secondly, my wonderful child chose to play hide and stink AGAIN right after I painted my nails this morning. So that epic fail is really all my fault. I should have painted them last night at 11:30pm before falling asleep instead of this morning when I had a free moment and everything I thought was under control… Arrg. I found the stinking child and luckily by the time I wrangled her upstairs the nails were tacky enough I don’t think they smudged much. That I can I see anyway… Honestly, I really do appreciate these crazy moments. It’s all a part of the journey making each step forward toward my goals all the more worth it.

So for now, I’ll just sit here working away and listen to Rapunzel the movie play that song in the background “When will my life begin,” for the thousandth time.  Oh the irony.

Over the weekend me and mini-me went down to the shore (because that is what you call it in NJ!!). I had won a free entry to the “Run While you Can 5k” event which was in Toms River, NJ. That’s technically exit 82A for all you GSP nerds. LOL The race was entirely in Winding River Park, which I had never previously been too but it’s certainly a lovely little NJ gem worth taking the kids and family too. The course was a winding bike path under the cover of lush trees in the shade. Considering NJ was having its third day of a heat wave of over 90 degree weather it was nice to have the shade.

The race director let me bring mini-me and run with the baby jogger so we could participate. I tried starting in the back of the pack figuring we’d go easy and slow but ending up passing many of the runners ahead of us. Heat, luck, whatever it was we ended up placing 3rd in Mommy’s age group and ran/pushed the 5k in a time of 26:38. I ended up placing 18th out of 70 finishers and fifth female overall. A really pleasing performance as it’s so hard to find 5ks or races in general that will let you use a baby jogger. It was a great race that raises money for Parkinson’s disease research with the Light of Day Foundation, something very close and personal to the race director’s heart. (The credit for the photo below goes to the photographer from the race – sorry I don’t know his name)

rwyc5k2

Then we were off to the beach, sure to get sand everywhere for days and days after. Mini-me loved it! And by love, I mean she kept running back to the water as fast as her little legs would get her there until her adorable teeth were chattering like those chicklet gum candies. We checked out the boardwalk, beach and Seaside Heights. I used to go there as a kid every summer for as long as I can remember. It’s tough to see the homes and sections still devastated, slowly coming back from Hurricane Sandy. Seeing this kind of stuff puts life into a better perspective, especially with those awful tornadoes in Oklahoma right now. We left once the sun sleepiness started to set in and headed home.

beach6113

I ended the weekend by coming up with a tasty new smoothie recipe to enjoy. Using whatever produce I had leftover in the house. I call it: Apple – Carrot – Lemonade.

AppleCarrotLemonade

I peeled the following and cut them up for the Vitamix:
2 large Gala Apples, 1 Bartlet Pear, a handful or more of baby carrots (already peeled).
The juice of 1 lemon, but feel free to add more for the lemonade taste.
Finally, about a cup of chilled coconut water.

Blend until smoothie texture and then enjoy! I hope your weekend was as much fun as mine.

XOXO

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So in honor of reaching 200 Twitter followers (yay!) I’m doing a giveaway because really, who doesn’t love a giveaway? It’s also a great opportunity for me to help promote a great new company that believes in supporting women and giving back.

Malya Rosa

This company was started by a new friend, Stephanie whom I met running the NJ Reach the Beach Relay in 2012 just a few weeks prior to the devestation of Hurricane Sandy. She contacted me about trying one of her headbands for her new company. The idea behind Malya Rosa is to donate 5% of the sales to two really wonderful organizations; Dress for Success and The Girl Effect. Soon Malya Rosa will be branching out into technical tops and cycling jerseys for women. Pretty Awesome! I am excited to see what other items this company will have in the future. One person will have the opportunity to win one headband of their choice.

headband

Here I am wearing the peacock print ribbon. These headbands are super cute, comfortable and absolutely lovely for working out, going out or just bopping around town. 🙂 I have worn mine on a few twenty mile runs and to yoga. It stays in place and is very comfortable. I didn’t get the “headband headache” which we know is important in getting your sweat on!

headband2

Even the packaging is cute!

ribbons

The ribbons have adorable patterns that match so many outfits, it was hard to choose which one I wanted. I think I will have to purchase the red little birds next, they look fun and I’m sure I have a few outfits they will match!

Checkout this link to enter the Rafflecopter for the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ah yes the MHS or the Mental Health Sabbatical as I like to think of my days where I have successfully escaped from the office like a political prisoner… Something I think more of us should really embrace and celebrate more often. I have as of recently been seriously burning the candle at both ends. I’m about to go out and just buy some new clothes because I don’t even have time to wash the ones I have… You know the feeling when making a simple decision about dinner is likely to send you into a nuclear meltdown. I try to save myself and my family from such insanity, thus a healthy dose of a MHS. They may not understand my need to disappear and go running for hours, but they always thank me for it later.

Since I have a marathon coming up, in… oh… say… quicker than I would like given my lack of long runs and overall training, I figured it was as good as any to take to a few local rails-to-trails and get in a solid 20 miler. I don’t know about you but I seem to make better decisions about life in general when my body is falling apart and I’m filthy from trail grime. True Story.

Mostly I have been running the roads this winter/spring and have mapped out a number of nice 8-12 mile loops. I even developed a great 5k PR making dreadmill workout which I had been using over the winter. I swear it works, for me atleast. Just checkout some of my recent races and age group places/wins. (See my previous post about it.) But yesterday, of all glorious days it was the trail that called to me and of course I answered. I had a peculiar amount of items on my mind and as the miles slipped away I was making sense of things. Outlining my final paper draft by around mile 8, deciding what would work best for some weekend plans in the months coming up, the grocery list, work commitments, news I would be travelling out of the country again (Meh, was my passport even current?), days we would need childcare coverage, vet appointments for the three furbabies, etc… taking a call from my headhunter and exploring another professional adventure which was unexpected around mile 15 before my watch pulled some snarky “low battery” nonsense… Arrrg! My list is not even complete here, but you get the almost nuclear meltdown possibility.

I don’t know what other people do for a MHS.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

Seriously.

I’m way curious here, cause the only thing that works for me is a long exhausting run and given my busy schedule I sometimes can’t take the time for a 3-4 hour run like I used to pre-partner and pre-child days. LOL, no I’m blaming them but they do lovingly suck some hours of my day .

Views from the Trail

Views from the Trail

A total of 20.2 miles. I loved every painful, dehydrated mile of it. Next time I will plan better and see if I can pick up the trail maybe closer to some places I might be able to get more water or something. Perfect weather, minus the allergies. By the end I was probably cursing (oh, I know I was!) all the people who live next to the trail and didn’t have a backyard hose carelessly running with fresh water. I thought about drinking from a few small waterfalls and clear streams I saw but again, I can’t vouch for the water quality/safety nor would I advise drinking water freely like that anyway. Knowing my luck I’d end up with some shit-storm-stomach-bug the night before my marathon.

Hydrate well.

XOXO

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After Boston.

To say that my mind has been consumed since last Monday would be an overstatement. I tried writing several times since that has typically been my outlet, but it’s the images I saw sitting helplessly in my living room on April 15, 2013 that chill me and continue to wake me up in the middle of the night. I’ve tried running but during the last week the miles have become stalled choking cry fests if I go to that dark place and think about what happened. I wasn’t there, but my heart was. I waited anxiously to hear from friends and those I consider my running family. Phone circuits jammed and overloaded, the only connection to them I had were through media outlets replaying the blasts over and over again without editing the graphic details. The man who ultimately helped to identify the bomber in the white hat, who is now without legs is what I have been waking up to every night for the last eight nights. I’m barely able to function through a workday and still I was one of the “lucky” ones who had not been there directly according to my family members who still don’t understand a marathon is a standard distance of 26.2 miles… I have never hated a word such as “lucky” until now. I did though have the misfortune of turning on my television at 2:52pm as I was getting ready for work to witness those first news broadcasts as I scanned my phone wondering why I hadn’t gotten my athlete text alerts for friends who were still running the race up there. I kept thinking, “It’s been four hours, why haven’t they finished yet? Where are they?” I maintain that such events are not comparable by any means. Last Monday was not 9/11. It was not a “typical” day in Syria. I can understand that there are people in the world who may hate my country, who may hate my religious beliefs and my democratic ideals but there was something about Boston that made it shockingly unexpected. I feel speechless. Helpless in ways I don’t I fully understand and I wasn’t even physically there.

My personal experience of running Boston in 2009 was overwhelming for a number of reasons that now, today, no longer even register for me. My priorities have deeply shifted. Although, while running in my fourth ever marathon at the time, I had never experienced such a large community of people supporting runners. Where else do you take water and food from strangers? Accept kisses and hugs along the course at Wellesley and drink beer with rows of fraternity brothers in the presence of police officers on the street? Where else do you feel an outpouring of innocent love and are proclaimed a rock star at the finish line? Not even my best dreams end with such illumination and feelings of success. As runners we wear our medals to post race dinners with pride and joke about traversing stairs and getting dressed the next day for work while our adrenaline is still keeping us mobile. The finish time becomes unimportant as much as the journey we took to get there. The Tuesday water cooler becomes a place to tell glory stories of crossing the finish line when you were least certain about your abilities and how you dug deep there at the very end and made it through. The very best stories are there at the finish line because so many of life’s circumstances inspired you to try, to make the attempt and effort to get there. Yet, last Monday’s innocence was seemingly destroyed in a succession of ten seconds.

Ten Seconds.

I say it was “seemingly” destroyed because if you are a runner, know a runner or love a runner you know we will continue to keep doing what we love. We are resilient. No act of cowardice will change this. Nothing will alter those early morning long runs, speed work sessions and taper tantrums. We will be changed; this is true on a fundament level. We will be marked in a way that will always ache for those at Boston last Monday. The purity of our sport tainted but like the phoenix rising from the ashes of tragedy we will continue running, because that is simply who we are.

I believe that for those of us runners, the best medicine will be to turn off the TV in the coming days and weeks, shut down the cell phone and go for a run. Let the miles exhaust our turning minds and begin to reclaim some of the peace we sought in our running to begin with. For those that don’t run, I believe this is equally painful for you; I have no doubt that all people from all walks of life have experienced pain on some level. There is NO comparison here. When I look at images of people who trained daily for hours, days, weeks, months and years to achieve the BQ (and still continue to do so) those grievous injuries of losing limbs and being severely injured from the finish line blast, words just choke me. My thoughts are to support those continuing to grieve the events of the day, the runners, families, volunteers and first responders. If you need to run miles as a tribute, fundraise for those in need, get back in shape and start anew then just do what you need to do to help your grieving process along. Understand that we might not want to talk about this, it’s hard enough to think about the “what ifs.”

So again, while I wasn’t there, my heart still hurts for Boston and my running family. It grieves for the little boy who doesn’t get to grow up, the restaurant manager who doesn’t get to marry her sweetheart, the young college student who will never complete school and the security officer who fulfilled his duty to protect and serve with the ultimate sacrifice, lives simply cut too short, for all the victims, now survivors struggling to make sense of such an illogical event. When you see us staring blankly at our sneakers encourage us to put them on and get out there, heck grab your own and join us, we’re a friendly bunch and we accept all people from all walks of life. For me it will be the getting back into the swing of things, finding a new normal all over again, training for a new BQ, new PRs but mostly to be with my fellow runners.

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” ― Kathrine Switzer, 26.2: Marathon Stories

The following video clip is of the fans at the Boston Bruins game breaking out into singing the National Anthem. I’m trying to focus on the positive images of strength and solidarity. Those are most helpful for me to reflect on during this difficult time. XOXO
Boston Bruin fans sing the National Anthem

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This was my third year running the Wurtsboro 30k this past Sunday in Sullivan Co. NY. I love this race without a doubt. I probably try to pimp up this race each year and usually get at least one person who has only vaguely heard about it to join me in the insanity of running the hilly 30k course (Poor Tom this year!). For me this race has a lot of personal history as I ran this the day after I met my Mister for our first real “alone” date four years ago. You know, after you’ve met and had your closest girlfriends initiate them into the fold willing or not… I think he may still be recovering from that and that was 2009!! On a side note that was probably one of the few times I ever stayed at my parents’ house after college thinking it would make the drive to the race easier the next morning, but trying to go out on a date and then deal with your mother’s sense of curfew when you are well past the adult age of 21 just makes the situation even more ridiculous. (For future reference there IS a Days Inn hotel just outside of town, FYI.) I can remember her asking me at 1:30AM when I rolled up to their house with postdate giddiness, “Are you drunk?” Which I wasn’t, followed by: “And just who is this boy keeping you out all night, don’t you need to sleep before a marathon??” *sigh* A 30k is not a marathon, mom, but whatever… Needless to say we all survived that night. We even saw a bear rummaging in the dumpster outside the bar and if you know me, you know bears are like my kismet animal! *insert corny romantic line here*

Wurtsboro, NY is a sleepy little town just across the border from NJ and Port Jervis. Think craggy hills, D&H canal, Route 17 North, farms, woods, etc… The race is very low key. There are only two port-a-johns for the whole race, at the start, none on the course. Bad for me but maybe not for a guy…

PJ

The start has no horn, just some guy yelling go and giving shoddy directions about orange painted arrows. The food in past years was pretty good, pizzas and 12 foot long sub sandwiches. I guess the economy has hit everyone/thing pretty hard because this year was only sandwiches you had to make yourself (boo) and tomato soup (which for some reason was very appealing to me afterwards). My poor watch even had trouble getting coordinates initially but we made do and finally acquired a satellite from somewhere.

4

What I like about this race is that I find it to be mentally challenging. I ran this prior to Boston in 2009, and then again in 2012 and 2013. The first 4.5 miles of the course is uphill and very difficult to keep pace. Your calves are burning like fire and you’re probably wishing that whoever told you about this race gets explosive #2’s because you can’t possibly keep this up for 18.6 miles. Don’t worry though, because by the time you crest the top of the hill at mile 5 it becomes smooth sailing and a chance to really work out those negative splits on the downhill. The mental game is pushing through the first 1/3 of the race and then hanging on the last 2/3, so that if your marathon day ends up being real shitty (and I’ve had a few of those!) you can think fondly on the hills and muscle fatigue and tell yourself that whatever you’re experiencing right now is a cakewalk. I loved that this race really has minimal traffic on the roads and not huge packs of people that you end up running with and having to carry on awkward conversations. It was peaceful. I needed that and I totally got it, so paying $35 as the race fee for a swag hat and country roads was worth it to me.

map

The weather on Sunday was probably beyond perfect, 33 degrees at the start with sunshine and a low wind of 6 mph, warming up to 40 by the end. I think I have race day dressing down to a science at this point and went with all my favorites to ensure a good day. UA Hat, sunglasses, Timex GPS watch, cotton gloves, UA sportsbra, Nike half zip top, RunningSkirts ultra swift skirt, ProCompression socks and my Asics TriNoosa trainers. This time I suffered no blisters (thank God) maybe because I used some fabric adhesive Band-Aids called “tough strips.” They worked so I’m not questioning a damn thing.

For fueling I used a lot of my standard options. I believe timing is everything the night before a race and sometimes a few days ahead of time. I hydrated with water, coconut water during the week and the night before made sure I slightly carbo-loaded (chicken & rice dinner) but again I didn’t go overboard because this wasn’t a marathon per say but the tummy training never hurts. The morning of I consumed a peanut butter crunch cliff bar, 2 bananas, 1 power bar GU and some coffee (around 550-600 calories). I also consumed 30 ENERGY Bits, which I’ll talk about in a separate review post. Needless to say those bits of green algae were very energy packed and I’m glad I took them pre-race. During the race I consumed 2 more power bar GUs in the strawberry banana flavor (because anything else would make me vomit and I like their drinkable consistency). So hey, all in all I finished in a respectable time and had a really great race. Despite not training the way I had hoped given weather and work conflicts I still managed to enjoy every minute of my race and push for a three minute improvement from last year. It wasn’t the PR I dreamed of but damn it was a good try.

2009 – 2:37:16 5th AG (20-29)
2012 – 2:44:05 2nd AG (30-39)
2013 – 2:41:34 2nd AG (30-39)

3peat

Whoa, what?? Yes you read that correctly, twice I won 2nd AG. I have to say I was disappointed by that deeply but the woman who beat me killed my time. She ran something like a 2:33 which would be a PR for me and just wasn’t happening. I have a lot of work to do to improve and I’m telling you training for 2014, started the Monday after. Always a Bridesmaid it seems and never a Bride. I’m hoping to change that though. Don’t make me get all Tracy Harding on you 30-39 year olds…

medal

I ended my race by devouring a Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter candy bar. Think snickers but a lot healthier or at least that’s the organic lie I tell myself. I stash them for post-race as a treat and holy moly it was worth every inhaled bite. I should have eaten a second one just so I could taste it but I have more races in my future and a waistline to slim down. That was my weekend, hope yours was just as good and we get around to enjoying that elusive spring before the weather Gods melt our asses off this summer.

XOXO

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I’ve been playing a perpetual game of catch up. At home, at work, in my fitness, ect… This past Sunday I had an opportunity to finally race for the first time in 2013. A bit late, I know but that’s what comes from too much work/school/excuses/ect… I finally renewed my USATF membership and this time I opted for 2 years because frankly I can’t be bothered to remember such details. Then I signed up for my first team race in years… or at least since I had my daughter in 2010. Luckily the weather this past Sunday was something of a small miracle given all the snow and icy crap we’ve had to deal with in the Northeast. Um hello March? Can we get past the lion/lamb thing and just have some 60 degree days already?? We’ve got a new Pope so can we get some sunshine with that too?

Anyhoo, I ran the Miles for Music 20k race in Highland Park. The race has you circle around Johnson Park several times, about 2 1/2 loops and pretty much after the first loop I will admit I was kind of bored. The park was pretty enough, near the river and across from the New Brunswick Rutgers campus but I just wasn’t feeling the course. My mind kept drifting to wishing I had music *snicker* to distract me during all these miles. I don’t know if it was because I had exited myself from team races for so long or felt apprehensive about my performance. The weather did however warm up nicely and I got to take my longsleeve top off and enjoy the sunshine on my shoulders. I just hope nobdoy took shots of my post baby body, lol. Although, I did get a ton of compliments on my coordinated race outfit.
Miles for Music 20k
I was just keeping it classy, Jersey. I took some before and after shots of my race gear and my finish time. I was happy and pleased with finishing around 1:39, 20k races are hard for me to judge pacewise and I’m grateful I just got my GPS timex watch back in time to run this. My pace ended up being around 7:56 per mile so hey, under 8 minutes a mile and you won’t hear me complaining. It’s technically faster than my marathon pace of 8:20-ish so this is my goal to work towards for Steamtown in the fall. I wore my Lululemon pace setter skirt, but since I lost 8lbs. with my DietBet group it ended up being a little big and chaffed my thighs. Lovely… but that wasn’t even the worst part!!! Ouch
Yeah, total blister nightmare! My new Tri Asics tore my ankles to shreads. *facepalm* I realize this is a pretty newbie running mistake but I swear I broke them in… sort of. It was not pretty and now 5 days later it’s still less than pretty. I thought about doing a swim workout this morning but I was kind of “germed out” and didn’t want to risk any kind of infection. So lesson learned here is that even if I took the shoes for a low milage warm up I will be duct taping my ankles to prevent this stupidity in the future. DUh!

In the meantime, I made full use of Big Eddie as my foot pillow. He didn’t seem to mind and I was appreciative he was willing to help out. I’ll let you know how the bloody socks turn out in the next wash…

-XOXO-

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To say that things have been insanely crazy around here is an understatement! Between January and now nearly the end of February it’s been nothing but an overhaul. Personally, professionally, fitness and health wise, and now my daughter turning three…?? I don’t know where to even begin? I plan to post seperately about my monkey’s birthday party to give you the special day details. We celebrated an awesome budget friendly Sesame Street bash purely decorated by moi. Fun games and even a homemade pinata. (Let me just say that sucker was hard to destroy and needed some “Big Kid” assistance.) Now that our house has been inundated with toys, toys and more toys, I have a huge project ahead of me to purge all the outgrown stuff.

I wonder where she learned to be so organized...?

I wonder where she learned to be so organized…?

I will have to wait sometime between naps and bedtime, otherwise this could be a huge fight over territorial rights. So… in an effort to maintain my sanity and treat myself, I decided to go through my bucket list of “love me” items I wished to purchase for myself. Valentine’s was approaching and I needed some seriously L-O-V-E. The Mister around here is not big on the holiday… I have even more reason to treat myself, tee hee! I was browsing my list and made a few purchases, one of them being a Rainbow headband from SPARKLYSOUL. Rainbows are not just for unicorn hunters! Ladies be prepared for a headband of awesomeness!
I love the pretty, girly sparkle!

I love the pretty, girly sparkle!


O M G
Is this not the cutest headband ever? I swear I have a funny shaped head and this headband was AMAZING! It stayed on securely during a 12 mile run, chasing my daughter non-stop and a full day of work in my office. I can’t say enough good things about this headband. I ordered it on a Tuesday and it arrived two days later. Speedy delivery! (No Unicorns involved!) What more could you ask for? The company makes a ton of sparkly colors and two different sizes. A thin headband in 3/8 of and inch and a thicker headband in 5/8 of an inch. I plan to purchase these throughout the year for friends, family and fellow moms-to-be because seriously this would have been perfect while giving birth! And even for my daughter’s school teachers.

I give these headbands 5 out of 5 Sneakers for their durability and comfort all day long.
5 out of 5 Bananas because they are just so darn cute and pretty!
And 5 out of 5 Spears because I have had so many people compliment my fashionable headband.

Because I love these headbands and believe in their awesomeness so much, I am giving away one Rainbow headband just like the one I am wearing above. You choose between the thin or the thick band and I will purchase it and send it to you! 🙂 I was not compensated by SparklySoulInc in anyway and these opinions are entirely my own. Please see the rafflecopter widget below for entry details. Best of Luck to the winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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