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!! 😀

 

 

 

Snow Running

In the United States a phenomenon occurs that we call “Winter.”  For those of us in the northern part of the US, Winter consists of cold temperatures, snow, ice and wind.  Here in West Virginia, Winter has been reoccurring for as long as I can remember.  And after reading the history books, it sounds like Winter has actually been around these parts for centuries.  Nevertheless, people still seem to be amazed when Winter hits, especially when it hits in its fullest fury.  Schools close, church services are cancelled, roads are impassable, wrecking crews make boocoos of money, and snowmen emerge from the drifts.  But just because it’s snowing and blowing outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the fun has to stop….  people find fun ways to enjoy Winter with ice skating, sled riding, snow skiing, snow boarding and snow tubing.  And for us runners, there is Snow Running.

if-you-wait-for-conditions

Don’t confuse that with “No Running”… it’s “Snow Running.”  Last Winter was my first time trying out Snow Running, and I fell in love with it one the first run.  There’s just something so peaceful and immaculate about being a part of a wintry landscape.  The air is brisk and clean; frigid to the nostrils and lungs…. the sound of snow crunching under each step creates a rhythmic echo that breaks the solitude of the landscape…. the sunshine reflecting off the snow is blinding to the eye but warming to the heart…. the feelings, sights and sounds of Winter is almost indescribable and nothing like any other season.

Winter is a sight to behold, physically, mentally and spiritually, but it requires some precaution and extra preparation for Snow Running.  After experiencing running in these elements myself, and researching it through other blogs, fellow runners, virtual running groups and etc., I thought I would share some of the strategies I use to have successful Snow Runs.

SAFETY FIRST!!

I run a lot on narrow country roads where there’s not much (if any) berm on which to run.  Sometimes, there’s absolutely nowhere to go if one car is coming, nevermind if there are two cars passing each other.  So I have to really consider if and when it’s safe to even run on these roads.  If you run on/next to roads, you have to consider the ability of drivers to maintain control of their vehicles when passing you.  If there’s a chance they can lose control and wreck, or you’re not able to get out of the way quickly and safely, then you may want to consider a different route that’s safer, or an alternative such as the treadmill or an indoor track.  If you run on sidewalks, remember to keep an eye out for ice, and be leery of the possibility of ice hidden under snow.  Slipping and falling onto hard concrete could put a quick end to your running.

 

DRESS THE PART

Consider the temperatures and dress accordingly.  Dressing in layers allows air to be trapped between layers that will actually help insulate you from the frigid temps.balaclava  Plus, if you get too warm, it makes it easier to take off a layer.  Personally, I think it’s just as bad (if not worse) to be overheated, than it is to be too cold.  Keep your hands, ears and toes well covered and insulated.  The greatest percentage of heat goes out the head, so wearing a hat will help keep you warm.  Although I haven’t tried it yet, I know a lot of runners who wear balclavas to keep their face warm and help with their breathing.

Speaking of hats, one thing I always do when it’s snowing is wear a baseball cap with a bill to keep the snow out of my eyes and block the wind from my face.  If it’s cold, I’ll wear a head band around my ears to keep them warm.  I hate when my ears get cold.

 

DITCH THE MUSIC

I love to run with music…. I run with it almost all the time, even races.  But there are two times that I ditch the music… at night and on bad snowy days.   I don’t listen to music at night because I want to listen for possible attackers (both men and animals) because I can’t see them as well.  When Snow Running, especially along roads, it’s important to keep an ear open to listen for traffic.  At the very least, wear only one earbud in the ear that’s away from the road keeping the ear next to the road open so you can hear better.

Although I recommend ditching the music, I recommend carrying your cell phone with you.  You never know when you may need help, and having the ability to call someone is convenient and smart.  When it’s cold, however, keep in mind that cell phones will freeze up and shut down.  I carry mine in a pocket or in a belt that’s under a layer or two of clothes and close to my body to keep it warm.  I’ve been able to carry a cell phone and keep it on over the course of a half marathon by using this tactic.

 

SECURE TRACTION

yaktraxIt’s nearing the end of January and I’m missing a very, VERY valuable part of the Snow Running gear…. traction cleats for my shoes such as YakTrax.  These cleats will help your run better by giving you more improved footing which will increase your overall pace, but it they will also keep you from slipping, sliding and falling.  I slid around a lot today during my 4-mile Snow Run and wished the whole time I had some cleats.  I had a pair last year and loved them, but they have disappeared over the summer.  I guess I’ll be hitting the local running store soon to get a set.

 

SAVOR THE MOMENT

Above all else, enjoy your Snow Run.  Unless you live in the southern hemisphere or the North Pole, you only get to experience Snow Runs in the Winter months.  Although it can feel like forever to those who are Summer-lovers, Winter really only lasts technically three months with just a few weeks of actual Snow Running weather.  Being outside when the temps are in the high-20s to low-30s, snow flakes the size of pancakes are wafting down, the tree limbs are dressed in the soft white snow, and the sky is a brilliant blue is amazing and awesome…. so savor the moment, drink it in and ENJOY your Snow Run.

I had a wonderful time today on my Snow Run in my Winter Wonderland today, and am looking forward to a nice long 10-mile run tomorrow in even more perfect, pristine wintry elements.  I hope you can get out there to experience Snow Running as often as possible.  It’s definitely unforgettable.

What is one of your most favorite Snow Running experience?

Do you have any other tips for comes to Snow Running?

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?

Run to Read Half Marathon (Fairmont, WV)

The Run to Read Half Marathon took place at 2:00pm on a beautiful, wintry Sunday afternoon on January 5, 2014.  There was no precipitation with temps in the 40’s with no wind, so I thought it was perfect weather.  However, as the sun went down, it did start cooling off a little.  The entry fee for the race was between $25 to $40, depending on how early you registered.  The proceeds from the event went to the Literacy Volunteers of Marion County, a very worthwhile and deserving organization.

R2R Half3

The organizers were hoping for 400 participants, which they came fairly close with 268 people finishing the race.  The beginning of the race was very crowded on the narrow course, so another 100+ people would have made it very packed.  But more about this issue later.  There were runners from all over West Virginia and several other states.  The ages ranged from 13 to 69, so there was a good representation in each age category.

R2R Half4The race was held at the historic site of Prickett’s Fort.   It is a “rustic log fort and is a re-creation of the original Prickett’s Fort of 1774, which served as a refuge from Native American war parties on the western frontier of Colonial Virginia.”

The course itself is one of the unique aspects of this race, especially since it is held in West Virginia.  This course is almost completely flat.  The most gain in elevation my running app showed was 200 feet during mile 10, which for anyone who has run in this state knows that is very minimal.  This made for a pleasant flat, fast course.  A former railroad track, the course has been converted into a rail-to-trail to include bridges, a tunnel and beautiful scenic views of the river and woods.  Less than 5 miles of the course was asphalt, with the remainder being crushed limestone.  The park crew had cleared the majority of the trail of snow and ice the day before the race, so on race day there were minimal icy spots, and a little mud in a few places.  The crew did an awesome job prepping the course to make it safe for the runners. 😀

The race was well run by the director and committee.  The volunteers were friendly and always helpful and supportive.  With this many participants, I’m sure it took a lot of work to organize it so well, so the race crew definitely gets a two-thumbs-up.  The post-race event was awesome.  Since it was chip timed, awards were handed out as soon as the winners crossed the finished line, so there was no need for everyone to wait until all runners had finished.  But there was lots of great food…. including hot chili, fruit and more following the race.  There’s not much better than a bowl of hot chili on a cold winter’s day.

As for how I did… well, I didn’t set a PR which kinda bummed me out since the course was so flat and fast.  But over the Thanksgiving and R2R HalfChristmas holidays, I ate too much and didn’t stick to my training as I should have.  So I paid for it during the race.  I finished 212th overall and 5th in my age group, with a time of 02:23:11 (4 minutes slower than the half marathon I ran 5 weeks earlier).  The bling wasn’t too bad… everyone received a finisher’s medal, and instead of T-shirts we got a toboggan and gloves.  The toboggan had the Run to Read logo embroidered on it and is very well made.

I really liked this race as it allowed me to kick off the new year with a major run.  The flat, fast course was a pleasant change of venue as it was nice for once to not worry about the hills…. you could just set your pace and run.  A couple of things I feel could use some attention was in regard to the beginning of the race.  The start line was overcrowded, and I was surprised no one was knocked down.  On top of that, some of the speed walkers were in the middle of the pack, holding people up (one of my biggest race pet peeves!).  I wonder if waves of runners according to past race pace could be set up so smaller groups could start at different times.  If that’s not possible, at the very least it would be nice if the chip timing mat were at the beginning.  Racers in the back of the pack have a lot of time added before they ever get across the starting line.  Granted, it’s only a few seconds to a minute, but every second counts…. right?

Gold-Medal-225x300Overall, it was a good race and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It’s definitely one that I will plan on doing again next year.  Additionally, this is the first race of a three-part race series, so this year I hope to run the 10k and 5k (or possibly changed to a 1 1600 meter, I’ve heard) to get in the whole series and earn the series T-shirt.  If you’re looking for a flat, fast long distance race in West Virginia with some history, beautiful scenery and competition, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed in the Run to Read Half Marathon in Fairmont, West Virginia.  For this race, I’ve given a gold medal.

For an additional review, visit Sandy Runs.  Her blog tells about her stories as a Marathon Maniac, Half Fanatic and 50 State Marathon Club member.  It was a pleasure having her visit West Virginia and she gives an excellent review of the race.

If you were at this race, feel free to add to the review.  What did you like the most about the Run to Read Half Marathon?  What did you like the least?

A correction from the RD, Jim Woolfitt: Just to set the record straight: MCPARC (Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission) gets the credit for clearing snow off the trail & the parking lots. The parking lots are not under MCPARC’s jurisdiction but the park superintendent is not complaining. MCPARC also helps with the water stops providing manpower, tables, chairs & water coolers.

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??

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!!

My 2013 In Review

Before I set any goals for 2014, I felt I needed to look at how I did in 2013… what I did right… what I did wrong… where  I’ve come from so I know where I need to go from here. Below are some of the milestones I’ve met over the past 12 months…

2013 medals

  • First consecutive 12 months of running in my life (2013 goal accomplished!!)
  • I will have run over 860 miles by December 31 (I still have 3 days left to run) (2013 goal of 500 miles…. SMASHED!!)
  • I will have my first ever 100-mile month in December
  • I ran 16 5k’s during the year (2013 goal of 10 5Ks accomplished!!)
  • Ran a sub-30 minute 5k (2013 goal accomplished!!)
  • My fastest 5k pace was 8:54 min/mile (I only did that once)
  • I ran 3 10k’s during the year
  • I ran a sub-60 minute 10k (2013 goal accomplished!!)
  • I ran 2 half marathons
  • The first half was my first half ever (2013 goal accomplished!!), and my first trail race since high school
  • I set a much better time on the second half at 02:19:18 since it wasn’t a trail race.

Some things I have learned over the past year from racing and training is as follows…

  • Trail racing is very, very, VERY hard!!  Never ever underestimate the trail!! :/
  • Don’t try to carb load with a heavy pasta dinner the night before the race…. start two days prior and end with LUNCH the day before!
  • Dress for temps 20 degrees warmer than what it really is, and in layers in case I get overheated
  • Drink lots of water every single day to be properly hydrated
  • Remember to eat and hydrate properly for trainings runs, especially long runs…. not just races
  • Although I have a good base now, I need to increase leg and core strength and do more speedwork to improve speed
  • LISTEN TO MY BODY!!  If I’m in pain, get it checked!!
  • Just because I burned 1,000 calories doesn’t mean I can eat 1,200 calories of junk food!!  Seriously!!
  • Don’t skip the long run!
  • Don’t skip breakfast!

And finally, when I look at what I’ve done right and what I’ve done wrong… here’s a look at where I started a year ago to where I am now… 12 months later….

  • January 2013 I ran a total of 53.92 miles…. December 2013 I may double that as I currently sit at 93.39 miles and 3 days left to run… yea, I’ll double that!!
  • In January 2013 my longest run was 8 miles at a 12:00 min/mile pace…. I ran 10.5 miles today at a 10:30 min/mile pace
  • The longest distance I ran this year was 14 miles in November
  • Today I ran up hills with no problem that I couldn’t run up in January 2013
  • My first 5k of 2013 (March) took me 35:06 at a pace of 11:19 min/mile…. I ran my fastest 5k in September at an 8:52 min/mile pace…. I ran several 5k’s later in the year between 9:00-9:30 min/mile pace
  • I ran not just one, but TWO half marathons… the longest race I’ve ever run
  • January 2013 I weighed 130 pounds…. today I weighed in at 135 pounds.  I’m confident the increase is muscle.  🙂
  • I’ve lost over 3 inches around the waist, but feel I can still tone up more with some concentrated core exercising

runjunkeeProbably one of the coolest things about my running adventures this year is how I’ve made literally hundreds of new running friends both in real life as well as virtually.  I started out running alone, but then moved up to having my racing buddy, Wanda join me for most of my races and even my husband for a few.  Now, I’m part of a group of ladies who support and cheer each other on as we train and go to races together.  Additionally, I’ve met friends that I keep running into at different races on the circuit (no pun intended).  Then there are the virtual running friends I’ve met…. I started a Facebook running club called Central West Virginia Road Runners Club where I’m keeping in contact with folks in my area.  I’m also a part of an awesome Facebook group called Run JunkEes Run Club.  On Twitter, I virtually hang out at #RunChat and participate in a virtual group discussion every Sunday night.  It’s a great way to get and receive motivation and inspiration.

I would love to hear how you did in 2013.  Leave a comment below telling me about it, or better yet… I encourage you to write a post on your blog about it.  Let me know, and I’ll definitely stop by to read about your accomplishments and share it with my virtual friends.

Christmas Running Gifts

I know I’m a day late, but….

Merry Christmas!!

What a wonderful Christmas I have had.  Our sailor is home visiting for a couple of weeks between training and her first ship assignment.  She and my husband have already been outside shooting the new 9mm pistol we got her for Christmas.   Our oldest daughter and her husband have spent several days here at the house with us, and have been setting up the new notebook we got the for Christmas since yesterday.  And finally, our son (the baby who’s turning 18 in just a few weeks) has been playing on the PS3 since yesterday as well.  He’s really not much for video games, but he’s enjoying this one.  My husband has fixed dinner last night and breakfast this morning on the new electric frying pan the kids got him.  He’s discovered the chef inside him that’s been hidden for years.

Then there’s me…. well I’m enjoying a couple of Christmas gifts myself.  Hubby and I bought ourselves a new treadmill, so I’ve been on it every day since we got it.  Our old one worked, but all it did was change speed and incline.  The new one has pre-set workouts and other functions that make it more fun to use.  Plus, I love Christmas movies and have actually had some time during vacation to watch them.  So they keep me entertained during runs on the treadmill.  I’m actually going to hit it soon to get in a good 5-mile interval training run later.  Something that can be challenging and unsafe during the snowy, icy weather during a West Virginia winter.

RoadID Elite Bracelet and BadgesOne of my other Christmas gifts from my kids is a RoadID bracelet with all the contact information I need in case I ever get sick, hurt or run over by a car while out on a run.   I also got badges to go on it… a Christian fish, and a 5k, a 10k and a 13.1M badge.  I love it!!  In addition to the valuable contact information, a couple of my favorite Bible verses are referenced….

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 NKJV

“I can do all things through Christwho strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV

Once I got it sized and assembled, I put it on and haven’t taken it off since.  Honestly, I hope it’s never used, but it’s so nice to know that information is easily accessible on my person just in case it is needed.  It’s nice to know my kids don’t want to lose me, too.  😀

That’s all the running gifts I got this year, but they’re both great ideas, much appreciated and will be valuable resources for my running addiction.  In my virtual and real-life running groups, friends have shared what their running gifts… Garmin watches, socks, race entries, gear, shoes, gift certificates, books and more.  What running gifts did you get for Christmas this year?

 

How You Doin’?

I’m doing fine… glad you stopped by for a visit.  I just thought it would be nice just to chat a little bit if you have the time.  I haven’t posted for several days as the craziness of the holiday season has kept me quit busy.  I have a few minutes of downtime at work before I go to the company Christmas dinner…. so I thought I’d jot a few things down to let you know about some posts coming soon and what I’m thinking of writing about.  I’ll be quick as I know you’re just as busy as I am.

Everyone is starting to post their 2014 goals.  I have some ideas of what I want to do, but haven’t really taken the time to start putting my goals down on paper.  You know how it is…. once it’s down on paper…. it becomes real.  So I want to be sure my goals are ones that will best benefit me, that I want to accomplish and can accomplish.  I’m tossing ideas around in my head, taking into account what other bloggers are saying and making some plans.  I’ll be posting about that soon.  I’d really like to read your 2014 goals…. so if you don’t mind, please leave me a comment with a link to your blog post.  Others might be interested in checking out your goals as well.

But before I set my goals for next year, I think it’s wise to review the past year first.  I want to revisit everything I accomplished as well as everything I failed, where I went wrong and what I did right, how I did improve and where I can continue to improve.  Since I just started running in late 2012, I don’t remember setting any goals.  Since I was a beginner, I really didn’t know where I was in regards to running and where I was going…. or if I even wanted to go anywhere.  I hadn’t decided yet if running was just a temporary fixation I had, or if it would become a true change in lifestyle.  Since then I do believe it’s become part of my lifestyle.  I’ll find what 2013 goals I can find (if there’s any) and assess how I did on them.  That will help me look toward 2014 and setting next years’ goals.

Finally, I have my third half marathon coming up in about 18 days, so I may post some on training, tapering, running in the snow, streaking, doing intervals on the treadmill, P90X3 or just some general Christmas posts.  All my kids are coming home for the holidays this year, so it will be exciting and I will want to tell you all about that.  I’m sure I’ll get some running-related Christmas gifts that I’ll have to talk about, too.   And who knows what else may pop into my head and end up here.  😀

So until next time….. run happy!!