Monday, October 31, 2011

Shutterfly Holiday Card Winners ...

Thanks to everyone who participated in my Shutterfly Holiday Photo Card giveaway. There were 69 entries and thanks to, the winners are ...

#17 Julie Arts @ Adventure is Out There
#32 Wym @ A Tall Order
# 38 BigHappyFamily @ Big Happy Family

Congrats! Please email me at racingwithbabes (at) yahoo (dot) com to claim your prize!

baked goods and running ...

As you may have figured out by now, I have a slight obsession with baked goods. Cupcakes are my best friends. I've never met a pie that I didn't like. And there may have been a time or two where I ate a half dozen donuts in a single day. Oh, and there was that time, I fueled myself for an entire day on Christmas cookies. A calorie is a calorie, right?

Fortunately, I might also have a slight obsession with running. It usually cancels out all of the baked goods.

But now, after what feels like an eternity of enjoying my obsessions individually, I have been given the opportunity to combine my two loves, because I just registered for this 5K ...

Seriously, this might be the best idea ever. Each racer will be given the opportunity to eat munchkin donut holes throughout the race. Upon completion of the race each racer will receive a box of Dunkin Donut Munchkins. Donut eating during the race IS optional (Note: Only optional to the weak.)

And look at all the perks:
  • Signature Dunkin Donut Munchkin Run race T-shirt
  • A certificate for a full 25 count box of Dunkin Donut Munchkins
  • Dunkin Donut 99 cent refillable Coffee Cup
  • Dunkin Donut Coffees at the finish line
  • Dunkin Donut Hot Chocolate
  • Post-Race beverages
  • Great Swag-Bag with a variety of coupons and certificates
  • GOT MILK - Refuel with Chocolate Milk Lanyard
  • Prizes for age group winners
  • Prizes raffled off at end of race for all racers
  • The chance to say you participated in the first-ever DUNKIN DONUT MUNCHKIN RUN!
  • You’re helping a phenomenal cause.
ALL FOR $15!

I seriously CANNOT wait. So, if you are in the Richmond area, you should totally check it out. For more information and to register click HERE.

Note: I was not asked to post about this event. I just think it will be a super fun event with the proceeds going to a great cause, ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation.

Friday, October 28, 2011 Giveaway ...

OK, so yesterday I admitted that my pink hair wasn't done in an attempt to show support for Breast Cancer Awareness. A nice coincidence, yes. But the intention, no.

I have, however, teamed up with to help spread the word and raise as much money as possible for the Breast Cancer Awareness fund. From now until October 31st, will give $1 to the fund for each new "like" on their facebook page HERE.

If you don't know what is, here's a little information from their website:

"About Us: The world's best gear, apparel, and travel destinations at prices up to 70% off on most leading outdoor brands. Sale events start daily at 9:00am PST and last up to 7 days. All sales are on a first come, first serve basis. So please come visit us early, and have fun shopping!

At we're passionate about people, the outdoors and the world we live in, and we're excited to share this passion with you.

Invite your friends to become members of, and we'll send you an instant $10.00 credit when they make their first purchase* Membership is free!"

Pretty cool, huh? Great deals provided by a company that is supporting an amazing cause. You should probably CLICK HERE right now and go "like" their page.

And if doing your part wasn't simple enough, there's something else in it for you. Thanks to the people at, one reader will win a $40 credit to shop on their website.

Entering is easy, but please leave one comment per entry or they will NOT be counted.

REQUIRED: Like on Facebook HERE (you should have done that already) and leave a comment to let them know I sent you.
REQUIRED: Become a follower of Racing With Babes

BONUS ENTRIES (separate comment for each, please):
  • Share the link to the Facebook page HERE. The more "likes" they get, the more money that goes to the Breast Cancer Awareness Fund.
  • Share this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Like the Racing With Babes Facebook page HERE and leave a comment on my wall to let me know how breast cancer has touched your life.
Entries will be accepted until Monday, October 31st. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Tuesday, November 1st.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Shocking - Since I dyed my hair pink a few weeks back, people have been asking me if I chose the color to support Breast Cancer Awareness. Depending on who's asking, I say, "Um. Sure, that's why." or "Not really. I just thought it would be fun and it is a nice coincidence."

Honestly, I can almost always tell what people really think of it just from the look on their face and usually telling them that I did it as an awareness measure, somehow makes it seem less deviant. Go figure.

But, this morning, I totally read someone wrong. I was at Dizzle's school and one of the teachers asked me if there was a meaning to my hair color. I thought she was on board with the crazy pink hair so I said, "Nope. I just thought it'd be a fun thing to do."

Her reply? "Oh. (pause and loss of smile) That's nice."

See what I mean? Apparently, deviance is OK, as long as you have a good reason.

Six Minutes - Speaking of Dizzle's school, I visited this morning to join her for PE class. They were scheduled to run as many laps as they could in six minutes. It was awesome. Dizzle paced herself well and ran the whole time, finishing 5.25 laps (.58 mile) in the six minutes (10:20 pace).

When we got back inside and the teacher was tallying everyone's mileage, she asked how far I ran. I said I also ran 5.25 laps. She replied, "OK. I just wanted to check because some of the parents in other classes have run farther than their kids."

WHAT!?!? This was a race? I didn't have to stick with my kid? I could have schooled them all?

Don't get me wrong, it was great to run with Dizzle. But I already told her that next year I am going to crush her ...

10 Days - There are only 10 days until the NYC Marathon. My training plan does not have a taper built in. Yet, I am not freaking out at all. I guess this is what "trusting the plan" feels like ...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

mistaken punchline ...

If you've been reading for more than say, three seconds, then you know that we have a fair share of randomness and hilarity going on in this household. I mean, just last week, Dizzle spelled "DON'T" with a suppository instead of an apostrophe.

Many of the things that make me laugh on a daily basis are caused by user error, generally that of my children. They misuse household items. They misuse pieces of apparel. Most commonly, however, they misuse words, phrases or have incomplete thoughts.

Yesterday, Dizzle had the following conversation with me.

Dizzle: Mom, do you know what I am going to do when I am married?
Me: No, Dizzle. What?
Dizzle: My husband ...

(Long pause and blank stare from Dizzle, while I laugh)

Dizzle: No wait! I am going to do the work and my husband is going to do all the driving. Because I don't want to drive.

What Dizzle? You either work or drive? That makes no sense. Plus, I'm still caught up on that whole "my husband" thing ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

detail ...

My number one running goal for 2011 was to run 2,000 miles.

This morning, I logged my 1,604 mile and had to admit that I am not going to make my goal.

Although, it will be REALLY close.

Sure, it's possible for me to run 396 more miles this year.

That's only 5.9 miles a day.

Maybe if I hadn't crashed my bike and only ran 16.38 miles in May.

Maybe if I didn't have bigger plans and goals for 2012.

Maybe if I didn't have three fabulous kids, a husband and a life that needs balance.

The thing is, I will not compromise the bigger picture for the details.

And 2,000 miles is a detail.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shutterfly Holiday Card Giveaway ...

Do you know what my favorite thing about Christmas is?

Christmas cards.

I stalk the mailbox all December long waiting for them to arrive. I ALWAYS send Christmas cards. And not just any Christmas cards. Christmas Photo Cards from Shutterfly.

You might even say that I am obsessed. OK, I am obsessed. It's just that I can ALWAYS find the perfect design on the Shutterfly website, in fact I often have a hard time selecting just one. With styles ranging from "simple and classic" to "bold and modern", I'm never disappointed. Plus, photo cards are super cute and I love to see how the girls changed through the years.

But for me, the process of creating the perfect holiday card starts long before December, in fact my 2011 cards have already been shipped to me.

Here's how the magic happens.

1. I take a zillion and one photos throughout the year, in search of the "perfect shot."
2. I start to narrow down my selection of holiday card designs in late September/early October.
3. I choose a design, a photo and have 100+ cards printed. (I use all the photos that don't make it onto the card in photo books that I give as gifts.)
4. I address and stamp all the cards by hand and have them in the mail the day after Thanksgiving. (My Christmas card is sure to be the first you'll receive.)
5. I sit around and wait for cards in return.

Want to see what I've come up with in the past? Of course, you do.



And this year's is even better (Close your eyes if you expect to get one of these from me) ...

Awesomesauce, right?

Probably makes you want to go create your own holiday card right now. And you should, because thanks to Shutterfly, three (3) of my readers will win 25 FREE Holiday Cards from the 2011 Shutterfly collection.

Entering is simple, just leave me a comment telling me your favorite holiday tradition. Want a bonus entry? Let me know how fabulous (beautiful, talented) you think my family is.

Entries will be accepted until Sunday, October 30th. Winners will be randomly selected and announced on Monday, October 31st.

Note: I was provided these photo cards for free, but the opinions are all my own and I would have purchased them anyway.

Friday, October 21, 2011

love who you are ...

Yesterday afternoon, my mom called and told me how she had been bragging about me. This fact alone is not uncommon. She's a proud mama and is happy to let others know all about the things her children have accomplished.

The thing that struck me what the response she got from the women she was speaking to. She told them about my running, the amazing experiences this blog has afforded me, my coaching business and my 15 minutes of fame in Runner's World.

The women (who are also runners) said, "She sounds exactly like who I want to be."

Hmm? Really? You want to be a middle of the pack runner who squeezes in her workouts between carpool and her three daughters' potty breaks? Or if she's really lucky, at 5 a.m.? Or is it the year-round training without pay or sponsorship that sounds appealing? (Note: I'm totally open to sponsorship. Feel free to email me.)

On most days, when I look at myself, I want to be something better. Something more. I think this is a great way to approach life. It keeps me motivated and driven, moving forward in a sense. But the problem with this outlook is that it is easy to overlook how far I have come, how lucky I have been, and how amazing my life truly is. Getting caught up in what's next can make you miss out on what is.

I won't lie, I often forget to take into account is that today could be the best day I ever have. And honestly, today could be my last. It's important not to forget to to LOVE WHO YOU ARE right now, in this very instant.

And when that seems impossible, just remember that there is someone out there who wishes they were just like you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Rest - I'm on day two of court-ordered rest and I am feeling much better. Like so much better that if I could find my running shoes, I would hit up the treadmill tonight. But, I won't because I know I need a break and I'll be back on schedule tomorrow anyway. I really think the key to my quick recovery was that two hour nap I got yesterday when G watched my kids for a few hours so I could rest.

It's so awesome to have ...

1. A best friend who has a kid that is your kid's best friend.

2. A best friend who realizes the importance of proper recovery during marathon training.

Pacing - My biggest trouble in any race is pacing. I feel good at the start and get caught up in the crowd, ultimately running too fast in the first few miles, then crashing hard at the end. The few times this hasn't happened, I've crushed my race goals.

Headed into NYC, I need to have an awesome pacing strategy in place. So, on the recommendation of Erin, I checked out the Greg Maclin calculator and put together a pace band to fit my need. I am in love. It's epic. And completely doable.

I am leaving NYC with a PR.

Bank - On Tuesday, when I was tucking Dilly into bed, I asked her about our day. She recounted it like this.

Dilly: We went to Doodle's school and the pumpkin patch and soccer.
Me: Yes, we did go to all of those places.
Dilly: Where did we go too? (answers herself) We went to the piggy bank and I got a lollipop.

Yup, Dilly, We went to the Piggy Bank ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

cost-benefit analysis ...

I get asked a lot of questions about running. I'm not sure if this is because people know that I am a running coach or if they just think that I spend every waking moment of my life obsessing about the sport. (Note: Just because the vast majority of my clothing was purchased from running stores and there are running gear/magazines/medals/etc all around my house does not indicate an obsession.)

Either way, I feel like I'm usually answering one of the following questions:
  • Non-runners: "How do you run so much? I'd die if I had to run a mile."
  • Runners: "Can I run through XYZ?"
To the non-runners, I say, "I just do. I wanted to run, so I started. Over time, I started running farther. I promise you will not die if you run a mile."

To the runners, I say, "Maybe, but probably not. If you have to ask the question in the first place, the issue is probably serious enough to warrant concern. But, go ahead and try. If it's too uncomfortable, stop."

Fortunately, I haven't personally been affected by too many of these questionable situations. I've been relatively injury free (i.e. no pains that have lasted more than a day or two) and I don't get sick all that often (other than the occasional runny nose - which is usually allergy related).

On Tuesday morning (OK, Monday night, if we are being honest), I had one of those questionable situations. I wasn't feeling well, but the ick was contained to my head. So, I got up at 4:30 for my 10 mile run, even though I wasn't sure 10 miles was a smart idea.

Within the first 4 minutes, I had decided that the whole run wasn't going to happen. Even after I warmed up, my pace had slowed considerably from usual. By mile 5, I was drained, but was left with no option but to run the last two miles back to my car.

I shook it off. No big deal. I'll probably feel better later and then I'll just rearrange my workouts for the week. I planned on trying 10 again on Wednesday.

That was until 3 p.m. I started to lose the ability to breathe normally. The thought of running pained me. Almost as much as the thought of not running did.

I tried again to rearrange my schedule. Started playing scenarios in my head.

"I'll skip the run in the morning. Then if I feel OK, I'll run it on the treadmill that night. I can always double up if I have to. I can do it all. I'm epic like that."

Truth is, I'm not epic like that. I woke up and felt worse than expected. I'm confident that the Bat Pig Flu has invaded my home. That's when I realized that I needed to apply some of those fancy principles I learned in college to my training. Specifically, cost-benefit analysis.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: a systematic process for calculating and comparing benefits and costs of a project for two purposes: (1) to determine if it is a sound investment (justification/feasibility), (2) to see how it compares with alternate projects (ranking/priority assignment). It involves comparing the total expected cost of each option against the total expected benefits, to see whether the benefits outweigh the costs, and by how much.

Let's consider the facts:
  • I'm sick, I know I am sick. But, I also know that I don't like to miss a run.
  • I'm just 18 days out from the NYC Marathon. I've logged nearly 1,600 miles this year. Missing 10, 20 or even 50 miles this week, isn't going to make or break my race performance.
  • Running some or all of those miles while in a weakened state probably won't help my training in any way other than making me feel good about accomplishing what I'm "supposed to."
  • Running some or all of those miles while in a weakened state may cause me to remain in a weakened state for longer than necessary.
  • When faced with losing my sanity due to not running or losing my PR due to running while ill, I'd rather be completely insane and unbearable than finish without a PR.
  • Running 2,000 miles this year is of lesser importance to me than running the marathon that I have trained for.
Looking at the facts, it's clear that the risks being stubborn and continuing my training uninterrupted far outweigh the potential benefits. And it's even clearer to see that the possible negative impact of my stubbornness could derail my ultimate goals.

So, I am making the executive decision to take the next few days off (I know, pick your jaws up off the floor).

No running today.
No running tomorrow.
And who knows, I might just take Friday off too.

I just hope someone hides my running shoes ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

spelling missteps ...

The great thing about kids is that they often give you things to laugh about without even realizing it. It happens here pretty much every day. Sometimes, you squeeze them and they explode (literally). Sometimes, they draw crazy pictures. Sometimes, they mix up the facts. And sometimes, they blame their troubles on their parents.

Yesterday, Dizzle made me laugh (and everyone on Facebook) with her spelling. Like everyday, I was quizzing her on her vocabulary words. I asked her to spell "don't". She replied ...

"That's easy. It's D... O... N... suppository ... T."

I didn't have the heart to tell her otherwise. So, instead I just turned away and laughed. Yeah, I'm a good mother like that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baltimore Half Marathon Recap ...

Location: Baltimore, MD
Date: 10/15/11
Temperature: 65 degrees
Official Time: 1:59:02 (9:05 pace)
Garmin Time: 1:59:03 for 13.16 miles (9:01 pace)
Place in Age Group (25-29): 258/1359
Place in Gender: 868/5374
Overall Place: 2248/9154

As you may recall, I was supposed to run the Amica Newport Half on Sunday. Well, due to the fact that all three of my kids were sick last week and one of them vomited all over my living room just three hours before we were supposed to leave, J and I decided to cancel our trip. Knowing that I was bummed to miss the race, J suggested I find a replacement. He offered up Baltimore (which only had spots left if people "no showed") and two races in NJ (a 5-6 hour drive from here).

When I woke up on Friday morning, I checked Baltimore's website to see if they had opened up any spots. It was listed that there were 50 spots left in the half, which would become available at the opening of the expo at 10 a.m. I knew if I left right that instant (7:50 a.m.), I MIGHT be able to get one of those spots (you had to show up in person to register). So, I told J my plan, picked up my bag and left.

When I was 10 minutes away from the expo (10:46 a.m.), I got a call from SpeeDee, who said that it had just been posted on the Baltimore Running Festival Facebook page that all the spots were gone and not to come to the expo asking for one. I started to tear up. Would I have made it if I didn't have to stop at the bank or get gas for the truck?

I decided to go anyway, figuring that I would shop at the expo, have lunch and head home. Once I arrived, I walked up to registration and asked if there was any chance that they had a spot left in the half. The woman behind the desk said, "Sure, I have two."

I nearly crapped my pants. I filled out the form and $95 later, I was in.

The Good:

A sub-2 finish: Although I was hoping to run faster, I am really proud of my sub-2 finish. The course was definitely challenging and I had a less than perfect day, so I am happy I was able to suck it up and power to the finish when I realized I could still break two hours.

My outfit: Epic, as always. Random people were asking to take my picture. I looked awesome.

Meeting up with friends: As I was walking out of the expo, I heard someone shout my name. I looked up to see Jen and TriGuy.

Later that night, I had dinner with SpeeDee and the rest of the HCB crew (I saw them off at the start of the marathon too).

I also ran into Katye and Becka along the way.

The course: The first 8-9 miles of this course is covered with climbs, but the atmosphere and views make up for it. You truly get a feel for Baltimore as you cover this course. After mile 9, the course levels out and eventually starts a decent into the finish area. Over the last mile and a half, you run a gradual decline into past Camden Yards and the Ravens Stadium. The crowd support is awesome. The route is awesome. Even with the climbs, I'd run this race again. I'd just pace myself better next time.

The shirt and medal: Under Armour is the title sponsor of the Baltimore Running Festival, so the shirts are AMAZING. And the crab medal was wicked cool.

Post-race pecan pie: Not actually from the post-race festivities, but still delicious. Yum.

The Bad:

Fire alarm: At 11 p.m., I was woken up and evacuated from my hotel by this.

A minor inconvenience, but I could have lived without walking down 29 flights of stairs, half asleep.

Late start: The half marathon started at 9:45 a.m. That's just insane.

The hills: Hills are never fun.

The weather: It was 65 degrees at the start (too warm for my liking) and there were winds of 25+ mph. There was more than one time when I lost my footing due to the wind.

Missed goals: I didn't achieve what I set out to do. It happens. Just kind of wish it didn't.

The Ugly:

Dehydration: I stopped sweating somewhere between miles 8 and 9. When I finished, my clothes were completely dry. It kind of made it hard to push harder during the race.

Now, I am sick. I have to believe that the two are related.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Big Hair - So, you might say that I have the opposite of big hair. Even when my shaved head is grown in, my hair is on the thin side. However, my lovely sister, who is visiting us this week and dyed my hair pink, is pretty much the definition of big hair. Her hair is super long, ultra thick and crazy curly.

After she finished bleaching my hair, we had the great idea to dye the underside of her hair blonde. We thought it would look great, but turned out to be less than stellar. So, yesterday, I dyed her hair back to dark brown. The thing is that she had to comb out her hair so that I could dye it. Have you ever seen big hair combed out? It's not pretty. It kind of looks like this.

Yeah, I laughed at her a lot.

Rhode Island - We are headed back to Rhode Island this weekend for a friend's wedding. Due to fantastic planning, her wedding happens to fall on the same day as the Newport Half Marathon. Coincidentally, there was a Groupon for this race a few months back.

Hello, fate.

I registered and am planning to crush this race on Sunday. I've got a kicka** outfit from Lululemon and a sweet bib number (3828). Plus there was that awesome 16 miler I ran two weeks ago, it's going to be good ...

Mileage - In the last 6 days, I have run 54 miles. And I'm already at 108 miles in October. Can you say peak marathon training?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

open letter to croup ...

Dear Croup,

While I can understand why you want to visit my awesome family, I am pretty sure I never invited you into my house. And if I did, you most definitely did not RSVP. Due to your rudeness alone, I am going to have to ask you to vacate the premises immediately.

Now don't get me wrong, I am sure you're nothing like the Bat/Pig Flu or the Plague, but I am also sure that I never needed to hear the sound of my child gasping for air or barking like a seal. You haven't made a good first impression and I suggest you get out before you face the wrath of an angry mother.

Oh, and while you're at it, please tell your friends UTI and Strep to hightail it out of here too. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

Goodbye and good riddance,
TMB and her three sick children

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

shock value ...

Shock Value.
Otherwise known as: How to freak out all the other parents at your child's school in four easy steps.

Step 1: Cover your head in hair bleach.Step 2: Rinse out hair bleach.Step 3: Cover bleached hair with a less than subtle color.Step 4: Rinse out hair again and own it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

success = perfection?

"The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success."

That was my senior quote. I'm not really sure what made me pick it. Maybe, it just sounded profound to my 17 year old self. Truth is, I'm actually alright with success - especially when I am the one dictating the criteria of what makes something successful.

As a mother, a runner and a human being, in general, I'm constantly striving for success. The quest for success keeps me committed to my goals. Just as much as the fear of failure keeps me motivated to achieve them.

Success feels easy. It's comfortable. It's something you carry with pride.

Failure, on the other hand, is hard. It's painful. It's something you try to hide away.

They seem like polar opposites, but I think they are actually quite intertwined. And, running is the perfect example of this.

Have you ever finished a race and been 100% successful? I haven't. Even if I accomplish my goals or have an amazing performance, I almost always come up with something that could have improved upon. Some slight failure that if eliminated would have made me faster or stronger or better or more successful.

And maybe that's what makes success so hard to handle - the sheer fact that it is often equated with perfection. But, they are not the same thing. And they shouldn't be.

Perfection is unattainable.

Success is what happens when you accept that you are good enough. When you relish in your accomplishments and take pride in your achievements.

You set the standards for your own success. Be successful.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Flashback Friday ...

Sometimes, you need to be reminded of who you were

(December 2002)

to appreciate what you've become.

(October 2011)

Don't let your past mistakes control your future.
You are stronger than you think.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

One Month: Exactly one month from today I will be toeing the line at the NYC Marathon. In some ways, I am really excited. And in other ways, I feel completely unprepared. I'm sure you are saying, "TMB, unprepared? How is that even possible?"

Well, it is. As of right now, I still haven't figured out how I am actually getting to NYC, when I am going or when I am coming back. And then there's that whole thing about my unorthodox training plan? I've loved it to this point, but really, who uses a training plan that has NO TAPER and peaks at a 16 mile LONG RUN? I'm feeling kind of crazy about it.

Oh, well. At least my outfit is cute ...

(Note: I am completely ignoring the fact that I have run my fastest 5K and 16 miler ever while using this training plan.)

Domestic Partners: You are probably well aware of the fact that G is my training partner, running wife, and BFF. We are tight. We share a brain. And it probably annoys J that I take more vacations with her than with him.

But, what you might not know is that Doodle and G's daughter B-nut are BFFs too. Sure, we may have forced them into playing with each other since they were one and a half, but now they truly are best friends.

Since the girls don't (and won't) ever go to the same school, they don't get to see each other on a daily basis. I'm pretty sure they have become aware of that fact because the other day, when I had my girls and B-nut in the car, this conversation happened.

Doodle: B-nut, wouldn't it be so cool if you lived in my neighborhood and we could have playdates everyday?
B-nut: Yeah! That would be cool.
Dizzle: That would be awesome. But we need to get Tweet (our next door neighbor) to move out. Hmm ... We are going to need a lot of money to do that.


Doodle (to B-nut): Maybe we should just get married instead ...

Smart thinking, Doodle. Smart thinking.

Planning: I'm 99.9% sure that I have my outfit picked out for the Disney Princess Half in February. Yes, I am that insane ...

Any guesses? I've dressed as Belle and a Punk Rock Princess in years past.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Self Esteem

My philosophy: Found on a tee shirt at Target.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

pace revelations ...

I remember a time, back when G and I were training for our first Richmond Marathon, where we said to each other, "Wouldn't it be so awesome to just run eight minute miles and have it be no big deal?"

At the time, we were logging a lot of runs somewhere between a 10:00 and 10:30 pace. It felt hard. 8:00 miles seemed light years away. But, we kept running. Even if we'd never be fast, at least we were having a good time.

Fast forward two years to the present, G and I are training for another Richmond Marathon. It will be her 3rd marathon and my 6th (NYC will be my 5th, just six days prior). On Sunday, we met at MTT for a 12 mile run (I'd go on to run 16). It was just a typical group run, except for one thing. It was only 54 degrees outside. A huge departure from the 75 degree starts we had become accustomed to.

We started with the posse and Birch, who has a tendency to quicken the pace. Right around the end of the first mile, I tried to reign in G by saying, "Um, this 8:38 pace is great and all, but some of us have 16 on the schedule today." I think she missed my comment, but less than a mile later, she had separated from Birch and we fell into a comfortable pace. So, comfortable, that I didn't look at my watch again for seven miles.

By mile 9, when I finally checked our pace, G and I had split from the rest of the posse. Some were running faster, some slower. As my Garmin, clicked over from 8.99 to 9, I looked at it and asked G how she was feeling. She said, "Really good, actually. You?" To which I replied, "Yeah, I feel great. Weird, because I'm pretty sure we can't talk at an eight minute pace."

We both laughed. The pace on our watches: 8:08

In May of 2009, my 5K PR pace was 8:29.

Somewhere in the last two years, we became those runners who could run an 8:00 pace and have it be no big deal. Yes, by the end, it felt hard. It should. It's running, not napping. I finished that 16 miler with an average pace of 8:35 and buckets full of pride.

Afterwards, I got to thinking. People ask me all the time why I run so much. I usually just say, because I love it, which is true. But, Sunday's run really exemplifies why I run.

I run because it allows me to push my limits and continually improve. It gives me a firm, measurable achievement. It shows me that hard work pays off and that I can be better than I was yesterday.

I don't run to be thin. I don't run to eat. I don't run to get away from it all.

I run to be better. A better athlete. A better mother. A better wife. A better me.

It's as simple as that.

Monday, October 3, 2011

September Rewind ...

Nine months down, three to go. Here's my recap of September 2011 ...

Run Miles Planned/Miles Ran:
213/218.75 (an all-time monthly high)

Bike Miles Planned/Mile Rode: 0/0 (I've given myself a reprieve to focus on marathon training. Half Ironman training starts after Thanksgiving)

Rest Days Planned/Rest Days Taken: 5/5

Highest Run Mileage Week: 9/19-9/25: 56 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: none.

Long Runs Planned/Long Runs Completed: 5/5 (with a post-surgery distance PR of 16 miles)

Current Book: Unless Curious George: Curious About Phonics counts, then none.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Lululemon. That is all.

Current Colors: Charcoal Gray and Purple

Current Drink: Grape, Lemon Lime, Strawberry Lemonade and Banana Nuun. I drink at least 64 oz per day.

Current Song: Story of Us - Taylor Swift

Current Triumph: That 3rd place overall finish and new 5K PR (22:04) earlier this month was pretty rock star. And yesterday's 16 miler at an average pace of 8:35 didn't suck either.

Current Goal: Stick to the training plan and crush NYC. And a new half marathon PR along the way ...

Current Blessing: I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful.

Current Excitement: Newport Half Marathon. NYC Marathon. Half Ironman training cycle. Christmas. My 30th birthday. Lots of exciting things happening in the next six months.

2011 Goals - Status Update:

  • Clean up my diet - I am tracking my food religiously at SparkPeople, survived my sugar detox and have been able to add a small amount of sweets back in without causing a total binge.
  • Eat no more than 25 cupcakes - As of October 3rd - 21 cupcakes eaten
  • Pay off our consumer debt by the end of the year - Due to purchasing a new car, our debt repayment has slowed, but we have paid off over half of our consumer debt and are on track to be credit card debt free in 10 months. Plus, we are on track to have our student loans eliminated by February 2013, five month ahead of our schedule. And 10 years faster than if we let it go to term.
  • Spend $0 on clothing - As of September 2nd - $178.50 spent - I caved and bought some stuff from Lululemon and a pair of jeans from eBay when my lone pair ripped.
  • Run 2,000 miles - As of October 3nd - 1451.22 miles run.
  • Run a sub 1:55 half marathon - Next race - 10/16, Newport Half Marathon
  • Take 30+ minutes off my marathon - Completed - 3/26, National Marathon, 4:15:48, 33:50 PR.