Blog Archives

Too Many Irons in the Fire

WOW….I knew I hadn’t posted for a while, but didn’t realize how long it had been. February 23rd was my last post. I had intentionally taken some time off as my scheduled just got a little crazy recently. I work a full-time job as a facility director for a correctional training academy, but I’m also an adjunct professor for a small local college and teach a couple of classes a week. I can typically handle all that and still get my housework/laundry done, blog once in a while and keep up with my running and racing schedule. However, my son added an extra element to the mix that made it near impossible to keep my head above water.  I ended up with too many irons in the fire.Tony

You see…my son is a senior in high school this year. Plus, he is the baby. I have no more “kids”, just adult children. So I made it a point to make him, his education and sporting events top priority this year. Of course he has to play three sports which keeps us busy year round, but that’s ok. Football season wasn’t too hard to keep up with since they only play one game a week. But basketball proved a little more difficult with 2-3 games a week, and now it’s baseball with as many a 6-8 games a week.  He keeps me running, and it’s not the kind of running that prepares me for half marathons.  But…. just look at this face….

Who could refuse this man-boy the simple pleasure of having his mom watch him play baseball??  (Just so you know, he’s being a goofball in this picture because they just won the game.)

Well, I couldn’t resist. However, I couldn’t keep up with everything and something had to go. So I took a hiatus from  Running Hills and Hollars….the blog, not the actually running.

His season is winding down which is proving to be very bittersweet for me.  I’ve watched this boy play baseball since he was just a tot and even shorter than the bat he would swing.  I can remember his first hit off the T when he took off towards 3rd base instead of 1st base, and when everyone started yelling, he just cut across the pitcher’s mound.  Best of all….he was still safe.  You gotta love T-ball.  😀

In just four weeks, he will be graduated from high school.  He’s already registered for fall courses at college, and he will be on his way in the adult world.  Although I’m so very excited for him, I need something to keep me distracted from the inevitable heartache and deafening silence of the empty nest I’m about to face, so I’ll be back to Running Hills and Hollars more.  This spring I have run some distance races on which I’ll be posting reviews very soon, such as “Haulin’ in the Holler 25K Trail Run” and the “Gristmill Grinder Trail Half Marathon”  to mention just a couple.  I’m also now eligible to become a Half Fanatic, so that’s definitely worthy of a blog post when I receive that honor.

I’ll be back at blogging this week with my first of many reviews for summer races here in West Virginia.  Be sure to stop back in to catch up, and I appreciate the patience of my readers during my time off.

Have you ever needed to step back from blogging for a while….

maybe due to burnout, or family obligations or some other reason? 

Please share your story.  I’d like to think I’m not the only one.

Until next time…..enjoy the run!! 😀

 

 

 

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3rd Annual Race Into the New Year 5k (St. Albans, WV)

NY Race 5kFor the first time ever, I ran a race on the first day of the year with the Third Annual Race Into the New Year 5k.  What an awesome way to start out 2014!  My husband, Tony and racing buddy, Wanda ran it with me.  We traveled to St. Albans, West Virginia (near our state capitol, Charleston) to run this afternoon 5K race.  Scheduling it at 2:00pm was a little different from what I’m used to, but they did that so people could stay up late on New Years Eve to celebrate, but not have to get up too early to race.  Being in mid-winter, I especially liked the afternoon time as it give the sun time to come out and warm things up a little.  Fortunately, the weather fully cooperated with a sunshiny day with temps in the 50’s to 60’s and little to no wind.  The cost for this race was $20 if you pre-registered and $25 on race day which included a nice T-shirt and post-race snacks.  This is the third and final race of the St. Albans Race Series which includes a quarter marathon in August, and 2- 5k’s (one in November and this one on New Years Day).  If you complete all three races, you earned a really cool looking medal (which is why I want to run the series in 2014).NY Race 5k3

There were a total of 189 runners participating in the race this year ranging in ages from 7 to 66.  It was a very nice turnout.  Over forty of the participants were involved with the 2013 racing series.  The race is a typical city race with a the course that started and ended at the St. Albans High School and winding around the streets of a small neighborhood.  There wasn’t much scenic beauty, but the neighborhood was well-kept and several people came out of their house to cheer the runners on.  The course was flat and fast with the exception of one small hill that even a beginner could easily handle.  The course record was broken this year by David McCollam, 34 with a time of 15:28.

The race was well run with a very unique starting event…. after making the general race announcements and before shooting the starting pistol, the race director got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend.  She said yes and all the racers and volunteers cheered for the young couple.  It was quite exciting.  The race was chip timed, so that sped up the awards program after the race.  For the post-race activities, there were the usual snacks and water available for the runners, and the race awards and series awards were handed out. Instead of medals, the age group winners for the race received cool trophies with penguins on the top and a Christmas tree ornament.

NY Race 5k 2

The series awards and medals were definitely an encouragement for everyone to run all three races for the 2014 series.  I finished the race in 30:46, but didn’t place nor did I set a PR, which was a disappointment since the course was so flat and fast.  But, just like the half marathon I would run a few days later, I had let the holidays get the best of my diet and training.  It was just a fun race anyway and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with Tony and Wanda.

I plan on doing this race again next year…. it was a great way to start out the new year and charge right into my running resolutions.  The only problem with the flat, fast course is that it’s easy to set a PR on it making the other 364 days extremely challenging to PR.  But since I didn’t do so well, I guess I don’t have that problem personally.

Silver-Medal-225x300Overall, the course wasn’t very challenging, making it was more of a fun race.  For that reason, I’m giving this race a silver medal since I consider it closer of an average 5k.

If you ran in this race, feel free to share your opinion.  What did you think of the proposal at the beginning of the race?

2014 WV Race Review Changes

My racing scheduled has slowed down a little with winter upon us, but I’ve still been crazy busy with the holidays, work and preparing for a new semester as an adjunct professor. So I’m running a little behind on writing reviews for a couple of races I did complete at the beginning of January. (But they will be coming in the next few days!)

The main reason for my delay is that I’ve been trying to decide on a template to keep the race reviews consistent. I want to deliver information to you that may help you decide on whether or not to do the race in the future, but I want to be sure I don’t miss anything. So that has contributed to my belatedness as well. Please accept my apology and know I’ll step things up to get you more timely and accurate information.  Here’s is what future reviews will entail….

  • Race details such at distance, time, location, weather, cost, sponsor/charity, etc.
  • Pre-race and post-race events
  • Runner information such as how many, ages, etc.
  • Course details
  • How the race director, committee, volunteers did
  • Awards and how I did
  • Pros and cons
  • Miscellaneous such as history or race or area, local legend, etc.
  • Overall rating
  • Pictures of the race will always be included

Gold-Medal-225x300For the overall rating this year, I thought I would use something visual.  At first I thought I would use the Star Rating with one star being a bad race and five stars meaning it was a great, can’t-miss-this-next-year race.  But I didn’t think stars really related much to running.  So I decided to use medals.  Hey, we all love to get medals from the race…. this was my chance to give a medal back.  So I will give gold medals to top races, silver medals to middle ground races, and bronze medals to the needs-a-lot-of-work races.  Of course, please realize I’m giving you “MY” opinion of the race…. there are always others with different opinions.   But I do try to be open-minded when rating something.

Finally, and something I’m very excited about is the fact that I may have some guest bloggers helping me with race reviews.  Last year I ran in a lot of races, but of course I couldn’t hit all the races in West Virginia.  So I’m talking with some running friends of mine that hit races in other areas and of different distances to add some spice to my race reviews.

So I wanted to write-up this short post to let you know what’s coming to my running blog in the very, very near future.   If you run West Virginia races and would be interested in sharing your review here… just let me know.  I can’t pay you for the review, but I can help promote your blog, website, Facebook or Twitter page.  It’s always interesting to get a review from someone else’s perspective.

What do you think of the template I’ll use?? 

Is it too much information??

Am I missing any information someone may want to know about races here in West Virginia??

My Workout Buddy, Tony

In the past, I have added cross training to my running schedule to improve core strength, leg strength, flexibility and etc.  I’ve used programs such as Christine Felstead’s Yoga for Runners, Rodney Yee’s yoga programs, several different Jillian Michaels’ workouts, and lest I forget the trusty ol’ weight machine.  When I’ve done these workout series, it usually wouldn’t last more than two weeks, three at the absolute longest.  But this week, I committed to 90 days of the newest workout on the market…. P90X3!!

Yep… I have a date with Tony Horton, himself, six days a week at 5:30 in the morning.  Well… Saturdays will be a little later.  I’ve completed the first three days of the LEAN option of the program, and I’m feeling it.  My core, legs and even arms are all a little sore, but it’s a good type of sore.

Tony and meTo make it even better, my 18-year-old son is doing the workouts with me.  He’s a senior in high school and plays sports year round.  (The picture to the left is of him and me before the Senior Night football game in November 2013.)  At first, I doubted he would be interested, but he seems excited to be doing it.  Because of space issues, we do the workouts at different times, but we keep track on the same calendar.  I make the \ slash of the X, and he makes the / to complete the X.  It sounds silly, but it’s our way of completing the team goal… and it matches the Tony Horton’s X theme.  (Oh and by the way, my son’s name is Tony, too.)

Working out… whether it’s running, circuit training, lifting weights, spin class or whatever…. it’s always a lot more fun when you have a partner.  It helps to have someone hold you accountable.  I don’t know about you, but I tend to believe the stupid, crazy excuses I make up to keep from working out or cutting a session short.  But with P90X3, I’ve given my son strict instructions to keep pushing me no matter what I tell him.  Trust me…. he’ll do it…. he likes to watch me suffer.  😀

Tony (my son) and I are also part of a Facebook P90X3 challenge group.  There are 15 of us in the group together encouraging each other, motivating each other, and crying on each other’s virtual shoulder.  We leave tips, hints and recommendations, and of course lots of praise and high-5’s for accomplishments.  So far, it’s working great and a definite added support system to help me live through the next three months.

tony3

I’ll keep you appraised as to how I progress through the program, what transformations occur and whether or not I’m successful meeting the goals I’ve set for myself.  You are welcome to hold me accountable as well.  I can use all the help I can get.  I have my first 25K scheduled at the end of March which is right at the end of this program, so being successful with P90X3 might make or break that race for me.

The beginning of a new year always entices people to make improved physical fitness a New Year Resolution.  Unfortunately, it’s just a short-lived fad for the majority of people.  Having a support group or a workout buddy helps improve the odds of being successful with the resolution.

Did you set a physical fitness resolution this year? 

Are you a part of a support group or have a workout buddy to help you out? 

What type of support group do you have to help you be successful?  Is it a physical group or virtual group, or a combination?

If you have come up with a unique idea, I would love to hear about it and I’m sure other readers would, too.  You might just have the answer to help someone else be successful in completing their 2014 physical fitness resolution.  😀

Enjoy the run!! 😀

I Ran to Palm Bay, Florida

As the 2013 is coming to its final hours and minutes, I’m sitting here trying to keep myself occupied (and awake) long enough to watch the ball drop at midnight. I have an hour and 40 minutes to go, and the Texas A&M and Duke football game isn’t doing that much for me. Although I have to say… Johnny Football is as impressive as ever.

Anyway, I’m tired of football as that is about the only thing on our TV during Bowl Season.  So I thought I’d write my last post of the year.  I didn’t know what to write about, so I did some social media surfing and checking on the weather for the next few days.  I have a Running into the New Year 5K tomorrow in Charleston, WV with clear sky’s and temps in the low-50’s.  YEA!!  But then I have a half marathon on Sunday afternoon with a forecast of rain/snow combination and temps in the high-30’s to low-40’s…. I fear that’s going to be a long 13 miles. 😦

As I was thinking about my running accomplishments for 2013, it really struck me that I ran 867 miles this year.

867 MILES!!

For a novice runner in her first full year of running, that’s not too bad.  Then I thought to myself… it would be really cool to see WHERE I could have run to… something like a Forrest Gump moment…. just taking off and running until I was done.  But instead of 3+ years, it would be 867 miles for me.  I played around on Mapquest.com for a while finding where I could go.

Going north, I would be somewhere between Montreal and Quebec, Cannada.  Now, I have never been to Canada and would probably enjoy the visit, but NORTH?  No thanks… I’ve had enough of cold, snowy weather here.

palmbaySo I thought I’d head out west and ended up near Joplin, Missouri.  I guess that would be ok, but that’s not much excitement or relaxation.

But then, I started looking south…. aahhhhh, Florida!!  Sunshine, palm trees, ocean breeze, warm temperatures…. that’s where I wanted to go.  What an awesome run that would be.  And when I got there, I could run on the beach early in the morning to watch the sunrise and maybe catch a glimpse of dolphins jumping out of the water near the shore.  So, I ended up near a little town on the eastern side of the state along the ocean called Palm Bay.  From the pictures I saw of the area, it definitely looked like the perfect destination.  Well worth running 867 miles, for sure.

Here’s a map of what my annual mileage looks like.  It sure makes it look a lot more extraordinary than just looking at numbers.  It was fun to find where I would finally end up, just to abruptly stop and tell my zombified followers… “It’s time for me to go home now.”

palmbaymapWhere did your 2013 miles take you?  I encourage you to map it out.  I used actual road routes, so I would have went even further had I used the way-the-crow-flys method of measurement.  You may be even more amazed (and proud) at your accomplishment.  If you do map it out, let me know how far you went and where you ended up.  I’ll help share your post with my virtual running friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Enjoy the run!! 😀 kc

I’m Streaking in 2014… A Lot!!

Ok… so what’s so wrong with streaking anyway.  Admit it, we’ve all done at sometime during our lives.  Granted for most of us it was when we were toddlers as our mom was towelling us off after a bath and we happened to slip away to run through the house with her chasing after us.  But then there is the occasional exposed streaker on the NFL or MLB field that is tackled and led away by security.  I can’t help but think of the Allstate Mayhem streaker commercial.  Classic!!  😀

mayhem streaker

But the streaking I’m talking about isn’t like Mayhem.  I’m not quite that brazen.  What I’m talking about is doing something every day, non-stop for an extended period of time.  I’ve already posted my running goals for 2014, which includes a running streak, but I thought it would be fun to quickly mention some of my other non-running streaking plans for the year as well.  So here’s my I’m-going-to-do-it-everyday-in-2014-or-else streaking list….

  • Run…. minimum of 1 mile per day (it was worth mentioning again)
  • Make my bed
  • Read my Bible
  • NOT sneak a cigarette
  • Eat healthy…. 1 cheat meal per month allowed
  • Drink water… at least 24 ounces
  • Say “Thank You” to someone at work
  • Tell at least one family member that I love them
  • Pet my dog
  • No matter how hard it is, smile at myself in the mirror and say “You got this!!”

So there you go…. that’s how I streak.  How about you?? (No Mayhem wannabe’s, please!)

 

Consistancy is #1 in 2014

I posted My 2013 in Review recently, and have been reading it over and over to assess my progress over the past year. It’s always hard to make such an assessment when you don’t have year-over-year results to compare. Since this was my first full year of running and don’t have 2012 to use as a benchmark, I have to break the year in chucks and compare it that way.

Fortunately, I used Runtastic, a mobile app on my iPhone to track all of my running throughout the year.  I can review and assess the past 12 months, read notes I left to myself after training runs and races,  see how much speed work I did and how many long runs I ran.  I’ll note if my runs were on the road or on a trail, what the temps and weather was like, and how I felt after the run.  There’s an immense amount of invaluable information I’ve saved in that little app.  I highly recommend using a run diary whether it be one on your phone, a GPS watch or hand written.  You’ll thank yourself one day.

2014 goals

Now I’m ready to set my goals for 2014…. to get serious and down to work about where I want to be this time next year, then… I can make a plan that will get me there.  I take goal setting very serious, because if I don’t give myself a direction in which to go, I’ll fail.  I’m a goal-setting-to-be-successful type of person… at work as well as at play.  So here I go…

  • Number One: BE CONSISTENT!!  After reviewing last year… month over month… the lack of consistency has been my biggest downfall.  My mileage bounced around too much, and I would take as long as a whole week off for no reason.  The most damaging inconsistency was in my speed work… hence, the slow increase in speed.  Typically, I make my goals measurable, but this one is more general.  Additionally, I look at it in three areas:
    • Training Consistency:  I’ll set training plans and goals, and not deviate from them (unless, of course I’m injured).  No skipping long runs!!
    • Actual Running Consistency: Even during races and runs, I need to be more consistent and walk less.
    • Nutritional Regime Consistency: Be more careful with my diet.  Cut back the one cheat meal a week to one a month.  Although this may sound crazy to some, I need to increase my daily caloric intake from 1,200 to 1,500.  I’ll need to research this one some more to set a good plan in place.goodfood
  • Speaking of speed work… this needs to definitely improve.
    • Once a week, I need to either hit the treadmill or the track near work to do intervals or tempo runs.  This has to be 4-7 miles.
    • Twice a month (minimal), do hill repeats.  And do them for real!!
    • Incorporate at least a couple of strides in every easy run (except long runs).

And now for some more measurable goals:

  • Finish the P90X3 program by March 31
  • Incorporate P90X3 workouts 2-3 times per week into training program for remainder of the year
  • Complete a one-year run streak starting January 1st (at least 1 mile every day)
  • Run 1,000 miles in 12 months
  • Get weight down to 130 and maintain it there
  • Get body fat percentage into the fitness range… 21% – 24%
  • Run a sub-25 minute 5k
  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon
  • Run my first 25K
  • Become a Half Fanatic this year!!

Now… the last thing I need to do is print this up and stick it to my refrigerator so I see it every day!!  If it’s printed, then it’s for real… right??

These may be some lofty goals, but I feel they are completely attainable.  It’s going to be a lot of hard work, but I have a good support system from family and friends.  If I follow thru with these plans and goals, I’ll be in the best shape of my life by the start of 2015.  Then I can start thinking about a full marathon.  😀

What are your goals for 2014?  If you’ve blogged about it, leave me a link below so I can stop by to read about your plans for this upcoming year.  We can cheer each other on!!

2014 Half Marathon Wish List (EDITED February 2014)

I put this post together several days ago, but hid it away in my draft file thinking it was way too soon to talk about the large races I hoped to participate in next year.   Then I read a blog post of a fellow blogger, Running Wild that talked about his 2014 Race Season Planning.  So, I decided it wasn’t too early after all.  I put some finishing touches to this post and decided to publish it tonight.  Granted it will probably change throughout the year, but at least I have an idea of what I want to do.

Below are the Half Marathons (or longer races) I’m looking at for 2014.  I’m already registered for the first two, and I won’t get to do all of the others, but these are the one’s I want to run in the most… kinda like a wish list.  Who knows, maybe a friend or family member will ready this and pay for my registration for one of these races as a Christmas gift.  Nice idea!!  😀

If I do get to complete them,  I should meet the criteria to become a member of the Half Fanatic club also.  What an awesome extra bonus.  That would be so cool!!

What do you plan on running next year??

run2readHM14

January 5, 2014
9th Annual Run to Read Half Marathon

Fairmont, WV

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March 22, 2014

Haulin’ in the Holler 25K

Eleanor, WV

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babcock-state-park-mill

April 19, 2014

Gristmill Grinder Half Marathon Trail Run

Babcock State Park, Eleanor, WV

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DIVA-NMB

April 27, 2014
Run Like a Diva Half Marathon

North Myrtle Beach, SC

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June 7, 2014

Deckers Creek Trail Half Marathon

Morgantown, WV

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new_sentinelHM

August 16, 2014
News and Sentinel Half Marathon

Parkersburg, WV

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CDR_1

August 30, 2014

42nd Annual Charleston Distance Run (15 miler)

Charleston, WV

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R&R VA Beach

August 31, 2014
Rock & Roll Half Marathon

Virginia Beach, VA

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beckley HM

October 5, 2014

Beckley Half Marathon

Beckley, WV

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Runners-World-x388

October 17-19, 2014 (?)
Runner’s World Half & Festival

Bethlehem, PA

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MU-Marathon

November 9, 2014 (?)
Marshall University Half Marathon

Huntington, WV

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SmileyGuyhalfmarathon

November 23, 2014 (?)
Miles of Smiles Half Marathon

Monongah, WV