My Shortest Birthday Run ~ Ever!

Birthday Run ~ the big, very challenging run in honor of a birthday. Usually requires training to achieve, seems insane to most non-runners and is absolutely loved by runners.

At 10pm after a couple glasses of vino I agreed to do a local 10k race.  What the hell, we had family visiting and therefor built in child care. No excuses!  No reason to go on a long run when I could go race with my hubby.

For years, almost 8 to be exact, I’ve had pregnancy or a double jogger as my excuse or out for shorter races. I did a ton of 5k’s pushing the girls. The beauty of that is that there’s no bad race time while pushing 75-100 lbs.  I even came very close to placing at times!  Losing the jogger and that buffer was oddly unnerving. I didn’t want to suck.  I had a few rough marathons and lost all confidence in my racing.

I didn’t have much of a strategy. A 10k is a pretty short race, so I just figured you need to comfortably push yourself. To eliminate all of my self-inflicted uneasiness, I decided that this race would be used as my new baseline. A time to work from.

The race started up a hill.  This was actually great news for me. I’m happiest on hills. The crowd immediately started to thin and soon I settled in with a group of guys running my pace.   I pulled away from them on the up-hills and they caught me coming down. We all stayed together for the first 4 miles and then it was me and one other guy. Having our own race within a race.

Ultimately the race ended with a lap around the track. I had it.  Somehow stepping out from behind the stroller wasn’t that bad. I ran a strong race finishing in 43:53! I even placed 3rd woman overall and 16th overall finisher. Who knew!!!  Happy birthday to me!

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My Super Bowl, New York Fashion Week

That is how it all started.  A discussion about the Super Bowl and dream vacations.  Well, for me, my idea of the Super Bowl is going to Fashion Week.  A trip to New York’s Fashion week and all that it has to offer (fashion shows, parties, shopping, dinning and just the energy of New York) would be completely appreciated and cherished on every level.  And thanks to my amazing and supportive hubby, I attended my first Super Bowl in September!
Here are my highlights!

I’m crossing my fingers that I make it to another Super Bowl. Go Fashion Week!

Pure Barre and Marathon running

The last 6 miles of a marathon are a killer.  A common joke, though reality if you run marathons, is that mile 20 is the half way point.  Yes, those last 6.2 miles are that difficult.

Once your endurance runs out and the adrenaline of the race has run it’s course, it is time to push your body physically and mentally to the finish line.  All of those months of training and sacrifice become evident.  What’s your strategy for those last 6 miles?

My strategy is Pure Barre.  A strong core can help in an infinite number of ways.  Thanks to Pure Barre you will retain a strong running posture during those last few miles.

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“When your core is strong, everything else will follow,” says Greg McMillan, a running coach in Flagstaff, Arizona, who has worked with scores of elite and recreational runners. “It’s the foundation for all of your movement, no matter what level of running you’re doing.” ~ This quote is from an article called “Fast Abs” on the Runner’s World site.

Core work is commonly overlooked or forgotten.  As a runner we love the ease of running out the front door for our workout.  A little core work can make a big difference.

 

 

Our Life With Hugo

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Hugo.  Huu-ga-ba-doo-ga, Stinker, Boo Boo.. what a dog!  It is amazing how he changed our lives.  There is something about a living creature overflowing with unconditional love. This little puppy can pee on our floor, make us frustrated and a minute later have the entire family giving him kisses.

The first couple months were the most work.  Have you ever worked in a factory and seen one of those signs that say how many days since the last accident?  That is exactly what it was like with our dear Hugo.  We would have a good week, go 6 days with no accidents in the house, and all of a sudden we would be back to 0.

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Hugo is a lover.  He loves all people and dogs.  As I write this post he is already 6 months old.  Each and every day he enhances our lives.  The way he fearlessly approaches everything is remarkable.

Our kids adore Hugo.  In addition to finally having a dog, they are learning so many valuable lessons.  Don’t get me wrong, they are not taking care of the dog.  That is my job.  The girls really help on a daily basis.  My older daughter takes the dog out every morning and will pick up after him on walks.  My younger daughter will feed him lunch and is incredibly sweet and gentle.  Hugo is a family dog, and the entire family contributes.

It’s important to my girls, so I’ll list his tricks.  Hugo is smartish.  Let’s just say he can learn fast if food is present.  At 6 months of age he can sit, down, side, touch (my hand when I say the word), leave it, drop it, fetch and sits before he is feed.  My biggest accomplishment is that I taught him how to ring a jingle bell hanging from the door when he needs to go out.  He’s far from perfect, but aren’t we all a work in progress?!

The past 4 months taught me a ton about Frenchies.  They make crazy sounds (like they are trying to talk), jump pretty high considering their size, have a mind of their own, are big dogs at heart, love fruits and veggies, love the outdoors, don’t like hikes, shed a little, are always hungry, live up to all non-sporting breed standards and honestly can not handle the heat (anything over 80 for Hugo).  I grew up with dogs and other animals, but I have never had a pet that wanted to be with me all of the time.  For example, Hugo loves the garage for some crazy reason.  A couple days ago I peeked in to see what he was doing.  He was sitting in the dark by my car door so I wouldn’t leave without him.  I take him almost everywhere!  What a sweetie!

Yes, life is busier and more complicated with Hugo.  He is worth it.  Our life with Hugo is the new norm.

 

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One Mile Bang

Let me start by saying I identify myself as a distance runner.  No pressure, just run and run.

One of my lofty summer running goals was a sub 6 minute mile on the track.  Pre-summer my previous mile PR was a 6:43.  I had some serious work to do!

My summer training began with long consistent runs while my kids had a couple weeks of camp.  When the girls’ camps ended and my running time became synonymous with kid time, I took to the track.  Sometimes going several times a week.  My workouts weren’t that long.  A mile warm up (done with the girls at a 14 min pace), 2-3 miles of intervals with recovery laps between with the girls and a mile cool down was my formula.  I got in some speed work, the kids ran a few miles and we would bring the dog so he could run around.  It was a win, win, win.

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I never really felt the benefit of track while on it. Track is hard. It is always really hard. Especially for a distance runner. Even if you improve your times, you feel every bit of the effort and pain.  Little did I know my track works would pay off.

A not so short pre-race prayer by a prayer leader, real track gun start with a very loud blank and this intense and foreign race distance almost paralyzed me.  The one mile race.  It was all a blur.  The gun went off, my ears were ringing and the people around me took off from their track like starting positions. I was way, way out of my element.  I had no time to laugh or cry, just get moving!

My hubby helped me plan the race.  He found me a bunny. The person to keep in my sights.  She was a young, cute high school aged girl with long legs I would kill for.  I was also told to expect quarterly splits by people on bikes.  When the race started I was so thankful someone would have splits because during the ‘short’ prayer my Garmin went into power save mode.  Lovely.

My bunny was great, but I knew this race was a constant push. I had more, so I passed her. Unfortunately, my quarterly splits didn’t happen.  The only person I saw on a bike was mumbling and riding against the race flow.  All I could do was run faster.  My next bunny was the next woman I could see. I could hear her breathing heavy and just knew I wasn’t that extended. So I passed her too.  Then the craziest thing happened. After my next turn the finish line was right there! I picked it up just a little more and finished with a time of 5:56! I can’t believe my body ran a sub 6 minute mile!

One mile races are catching on and more than doubling in quantity over the last 10-15 years.  I can see why they are so popular.  They are a fun and different distance for most of us.  My hubby rocks the one mile race.  Two years ago he ran a ridiculously fast 4:51 mile! The crazy part is, that doesn’t win the race.  He placed 11th overall and 2nd in his age group!

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I don’t know if any additional training could have prepared me for that race.  I learned a ton and was able to reach my time goal and be the first woman finisher! I’ve been running since I was 9 years old and never placed first in any category!  Maybe there’s a little sprinter in me after all…

My Wonder Woman, My Mom

11 Days after hip replacement surgery my mom went back to work.  Two weeks after surgery my mom walked a mile and ditched her cane.  A month after hip replacement surgery my mom volunteered to be race support for a 50 mile run she planed to run pre-injury.

Obviously, my mom is crazy strong and determined.  You have to be, right!  Doctors are telling her she will never run again or best case scenario she only has a set amount of “miles” on the prosthetic hip.  Her response should be obvious to us all.   She plans to log a few miles.

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This picture was taken just after surgery.  You can easily see which leg is swollen.

My mom’s only complaint stems from something other than her hip replacement.  Why is it that she feels noticeably stronger from her hip replacement surgery each day, and for years she couldn’t pick up her pace running?  I don’t know the answer to this, but I love that with all that she’s going through this is her gripe.

While my mom was in the hospital preparing for her surgery I found her a great blog to turn to for support.  It is called Hiprunner.  If you ever need inspiration, look no further.  The blog is a support group of runners of all ages that have gone through the same surgery either as an elective or by necessity.  My mom is now a member and a contributor.  Now my Wonder Woman can help and inspire others.  I’m so proud of you mom.

Two Running Partners, One Day

I’m writing this post on Monday, April 21st.  I am exhausted and unable to sleep.  Today my first running partner, my mother, had a total hip replacement and my current running partner ran the 118th Boston Marathon.  The irony is beyond belief.

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My mother had a milestone birthday this year and had a goal of re-qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  She has run it 4 times.  Last time she ran with Team Hoyt in 2012. Her birthday gave her additional qualifying time, and she was determined to give it her best.  Training was tough, full of old and new injuries and with a ton of races lined up she continued to chip away at her time.

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On Saturday, April 19 on a rainy Florida day she set out to run a half marathon trail race.  A half mile from the finish line she tripped and fell.  Her hip was crushed.  Devastation.

Today my mom had her operation.  The surgery seemed to take forever, but she came out in great spirits.  Honestly, she is the strongest woman.  My own Wonder Woman.  We know running is about the journey.  Difficult and full of hurdles at times, but everyday should be embraced.  My mom will run again.  There’s no question in my mind.  We even made plans to run her first 5k together!

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My current running partner ran the Boston Marathon today.  She too had her share of injuries and hurdles to overcome.  No marathon is without huge sacrifices and extraordinary determination.  Today she had a great race.  The races she runs may be difficult, but this woman is a competitor.  Honestly, I don’t think she has had a bad race and today was no exception.  Let’s just say if she wants to run again next year, she’s already in!

Dealing with all of the emotions that come with a marathon, being so close to my running partner and the stress of my mother’s upcoming surgery made for a tough day.  I dealt with it just like they would.  I went for a run.  My wonderful husband sent me marathon updates by text and my sister kept me current about my mom.  I cheered for Meb Keflezighi as I heard he won the Boston Marathon, visualized myself with my running partner on the course and cried when I thought about my mom’s injury.  Basically, it was my favorite 5 mile hill run on auto pilot. My legs took me up and so my mind and heart could deal.  That’s just what runners do.

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Pure Barre Modifications for Runners

My chronic running injuries include tight ITB (Iliotibial band) and tight hamstrings. Naturally, I have other injuries at other times, but I almost always have some version of the above.  Both of these injuries are in focus areas for Pure Barre classes and require some slight modifications during class to avoid further injury.

First make sure your injury doesn’t require medical attention.  Next, I recommend talking to your instructor before class begins.  This way they can give you modifications throughout the class.  Most importantly stop if an exercise is hurting!!

Hamstring injury modifications

  • Drop the ball from behind your knee
  • Use the bands
  • During seat work instead of flexing your foot keep it relaxed to help relieve tension
  • The closer your heel or foot works to your hamstring the more work in your hamstring, so during seat work work with your leg closer to the ground  

ITB modifications

  • Keep your knee on the ground when doing seated exercises
  • Lower your leg

Regardless of the modification, Pure Barre is always a great workout.  I’m thankful that I found this great form of cross-training!

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