Friday, September 30, 2011

September Recap

Average Temp: 72F/22C

Miles run: 112.2 miles - passed 1000 miles for the year!
Rest days taken: 9 days

Highest mileage week: 9/12 - 9/18 with 28 miles

Average pace: 8:11 min/mile (same as last month!)

Races: Buffalo 15k - the last race with my maiden name!

Current Obsessions:
Wedding Photos! Cannot. Wait. To. See. Them. ALL! 

I think we were saying "We're Married!! AHHH!"

Current Blessings:
1. My uncle having successful heart surgery this week and being released from the hospital tomorrow!
2. A stress free life and a free schedule! I love having more free time than I know what to do with now that wedding planning is over!  My weekly calender is completely empty and it is the best thing ever!

Current Excitement: My running club is hosting the National Master's XC race in October....and we are having some special guests!!

Current Bane of My Existence: Changing my name! Who knew it would be so difficult! Pain in the butt!

Current Read: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. It is a collection of connected short stories about a woman named Olive and her immediate family and friends in the town of Crosby in coastal Maine.  I also started and finished The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson while on our honeymoon.  It was a pretty good book - the sometimes graphic portions were hard to read.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Free hot chocolate at work.  I had about 4 cups today.

 Hope your September was great! Bring on October!

Rewarding Yourself

This week has been rough.  As if coming back to work after two weeks off wasn't bad enough, I decided to throw in three early morning runs along with it. Monday was my first 5am run at our house and it was DARK outside.  It was a bit scary at first because I wasn't completely comfortable with my route but once I got going everything was alright.

Then I faced a dilemma - our weekend is too packed for me to guarantee that I would be able to fit in a long run on Saturday or Sunday.  So I decided to try for a long run on a weekday morning.

Thursday morning I was up at 5am and out the door for 9.3 miles at an easy pace.  It was a long and dark run and I only scared myself once with my own shadow but I got it done.  I decided that because I had accomplished my goal of getting up and out for a long run I should treat myself, so I packed a little snack pack in my lunch.

Leftover peach rings and swedish fish from our Wedding Candy Buffet!

Friday morning I decided to fit in a tempo workout because my schedule was so mixed up and I didn't know if there would be another time this weekend to do this workout.  Waking up Friday morning was even harder than Thursday and I honestly considered going back to sleep.  I was up and out the door by 5:10am and ran 2x2 miles at approximately tempo pace to complete 6.2 miles. 

This run was tough - I had picked a loop with a giant hill which really killed my legs.  But I made it and finished the workout.  So as I was packing my lunch once again, I included a slightly larger snack pack as a reward for compelteing two great workouts on weekday mornings and running 15.5 miles in two days!

Leftover peach rings and Peanut M&M's from our Wedding Candy Buffet!

My legs are definitely dead now and will enjoy a full rest day tomorrow - AND sleeping in! For me, rewarding myself is definitely the best motivator!  Do you reward yourself??

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Morning Runner go Honeymooning

The morning we were set to leave for St. Lucia, Brian and I were up at 3am to get to the airport in time to make our 5:45am flight.  Now we may be morning people but that is really EARLY!  We made a quick stop at Tim Hortons' for some coffee to help us stay awake.

The next few hours were a blur of waiting to board, flying, sitting in JFK airport, waiting to board again and then flying 5 hours to St. Lucia.  We finally made it there by 3pm in the afternoon and I was starving and tired.  The drive to the hotel was about an hour over some very hilly terrain.  It was beautiful though. 

Scenery along the way to the hotel
When we finally got to the hotel, there was a nice surprise waiting for us along with a plate of snacks.  I basically scarfed those down as quickly as possible.  Dinner wasn't set to happen until 6:30pm so Brian and I set out to do some exploring to distract us from our hunger.
The view from our room/balcony
The little surprise waiting for us
After a satisfying and filling dinner Brian and I decided to just go back to the room and rest.  The sun had set at about 6:30pm so we were pretty sure that St. Lucia was an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.  We continued to think this until the next day when Brian finally found his watch and told me that we were not actually an hour ahead.  The sunset and sunrises were just so different from home.

The next few days were filled with sun and lounging at the pool.  Brian loved having the swim up pools so he could go and get drinks very easily.  We ordered food by the pool most days and just enjoyed relaxing!

I basically lived in my bathing suit except for when I worked out or went to dinner.  It was awesome.  On the 4th day of our trip we took a catamaran boat ride to the other side of the island to see the beautiful Pitons!  You may recognize these mountains from the finale of the Bachelor a few years ago with Jake and Vienna. We actually sailed passed the resort that they stayed at!

The Pitons
Jade Mountain resort - Host to the Bachelor Finale

Once we got to the little village by the Pitons, we got off and were taken on a tour of a botanical gardens and also the sunken volanco.  The sad part is that during the botanical gardens my camera battery died.  I was so upset and partially blamed Brian for not reminding me to charge my camera. 

The gardens were beautiful and even though I was bummed about my camera, I soon was over it and just enjoyed out little excursion.

The next two days were once again relaxed by the pool and ate lots of food.  The best part was that there were actually great sunsets to enjoy from our balcony! 

It was such an amazing trip and I loved St. Lucia - such a beautiful island and so relaxing.  I am just so thankful that we didn't have a run in with a hurricane.  It only rained a few times during the trip and for the most part the temperatures were in the high 80s (26C)!  I am so glad that we waited a few days after the wedding before going on the honeymoon - that way I was all rested up and ready to enjoy the sun and fun. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vacation Running

Since we still don't have internet at our house, I am working on ways to get the pictures from the honeymoon onto the blog.  I seem to be making it a bit more complicated for myself but I hopefully will have some tomorrow! 

In the mean time, I wanted to talk about fitting in exercise while on vacation or in my case, on a honeymoon. 

I ran almost every day while in St. Lucia except for the day we arrived and the one day we had an early morning excursion trip planned.  So for the duration of the trip, we were there for about 8 days, of which I exercised for 6.

Now if I had kids and went on vacation, I do not know how I would have fit in exercising, but since it was just me and Brian it was a bit easier.  We of course wanted to spend time together so we went to the hotel gym together.  Just 30-45 minutes a day and we got a decent workout in which made eating a ton of junk food the rest of day seem not so bad.

Each morning whenever we woke up, we would change into workout clothes and head to the little gym.  A quick workout and then we were off to breakfast before lounging all day at the pool.  Before I left I came up with a few easy workouts that I used during the trip to help maintain my speed but not take up a ton of time.  It was definitely a bit different running on the treadmill after running outside consistently but I actually didn't mind it too much.

Easy Vacation workouts:

  • 1 mile warmup, 2.5 miles at tempo pace, 0.5 mile cool down, total = 4 miles
  • 1 mile warmup, 5x800m at tempo pace w/ 400m jog recovery, 0.25 mile cool down, total = 5 miles
  • 1 mile warmup, 2x2000m at tempo pace, 0.5 mile cool down, total = 4 miles

Three good tempo paced workouts, with easy runs sprinkled in between to help recovery.  Keeping it simple was definitely the way to go - maintaining a focus of just trying to fit in ~4 miles each day didn't make the workout seem overwhelming or too time consuming.  I am definitely glad I was able to get some good workouts in while on vacation.

I really wish I could have run outside while in St. Lucia! It definitely is a VERY hilly island which could have been fun to explore or maybe not - I don't really like hills anyway!

Do you run while on vacation? Or do you just take the time off from all exercise?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back from the honeymoon!

Brian and I are back!! After a long day of traveling and being delayed in JFK for hours we made it home safe and sound from our honeymoon! We had such a great time relaxing for a week in beautiful St. Lucia! Although I didn't get to run outside, I was able to hit up the hotels gym for some tempo and easy runs. It made me feel better eating and drinking so much if I at least got a little workout in. I wish I could post more but we currently don't have Internet at the house and it's hard posting from my iPhone :( thanks for all your comments on our wedding photos - I still can't believe it's over and we are married!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Post: Running To the Aisle

While I am on my honeymoon, I asked Linzi from Beyond Destination 26.2 who is also a newlywed to do a guest post for me! Enjoy!  I will be back soon!

Being a newlywed myself (I was married on July 23rd), I could completely relate to J over the last few months as she had been planning her own wedding, was a Maid of Honor in a friend’s wedding, as well as training for a big race.

So I was super excited when J asked me to return the favor of guest posting for her while away on her honeymoon, as she did for me while I was on my honeymoon!

In the last three months, I have also planned my wedding, been training for my second marathon, and was a bridesmaid in my good friend’s destination Vegas wedding.

My trick for success with all these huge important life events was to run it out!

I say that like it was totally an easy thing. But honestly when the wedding planning got to be too much, and all I wanted to do was have a cry fest and eat a tub of ice-cream to chill myself out, I threw on my running shoes.

And I just ran.

Just the time away from all the craziness in my life was enough to clear my head. The runs leading up to the wedding were by far the most important runs I’ve ever done.

I remember squeezing in a 12 miler run just hours before my very own Bridal Shower, and feeling on top of world the entire day.
(I PR’d in a half-marathon just one month before the wedding)

I also remember my last run as a single lady, just two days before the big day!

(See… only the engagement ring)

I always felt like there was never enough time to squeeze in my runs, and usually wanted to scratch those as the first thing to go.

But in reality, they helped keep Bridezilla & Cryzilla to a minimum, and made everything seem doable again.

If you are person with a lot on your plate and don’t think you can train for a big race and deal with everything else you have going on, you might think again.

Running up until the day I married my best friend was the smartest thing I did. It helped keep me calm (I had the endorphins going) and well it sure didn’t hurt during my dress fittings either!

My husband and I even incorporated our love for running into the theme of our wedding!

Life is always going to be crazy, and I am just so glad I found something that I enjoy that helps me when I feel I like too much is going on.

If you would like to follow me on my journey through training for my second marathon, please stop by over at Beyond Destination 26.2!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guest Post: Tune-Up Races

I'm Marlene from Mission to a(nother) Marathon and I'm honored that J has asked me to provide a guest post to share during her honeymoon. J and I have been blog buddies for years and I have loved following along on her running adventures from the competitive college sprints to long distance. We share a love for dark morning runs and candy, and now we will share an anniversary too! (I got married on September 10, 2005)

The topic I've chose for this post is tune-up races, which I believe to have played a big role in my own running success.

Anyone who has read my blog probably knows that I like to race. A lot. In 2010 I completed 20 races, and I'm at 14 so far this year.

Of course, each event is not going to be an "A" race. I choose my goal races (where I hope to PR) carefully and plan my schedule around them.

After that, I fill up the rest of my calendar with races that have other purposes. I strategically plan tune up races throughout my training plan, which allow me to practice things like pacing, hydration/fueling and even wardrobe in a race situation. I also find that the more I immerse myself in the whole race routine (from nerves to logistics), the more comfortable I become with the process.

If you want to get better at racing, you need to race more!

5K and 10K races are a great way to get in some speed work - don't you find that those faster paces come much more easily when you're on the clock? I also use half marathons or 30Ks frequently as supported long runs and find that it's a great way to shake up the routine and keep things interesting during marathon training. I've even been known to run a 10K (or longer) warm-up before a half marathon, and then use the race to practicemarathon pacing.

Aside from these races with "purpose", I love to include some races exclusively for fun. Traveling to a new destination (like Disney!) or dressing up in costume and running with friends is a great way to find joy in the sport.

Are you a race addict like me?
What's your take on tune-up racing?

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or would like to share your own experience, please leave a comment or feel free to visit me at

Thank you J for hosting me and all the best on your wedding and honeymoon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The best day of my life

On Saturday, Brian and I officially became husband and wife.  It was the best day of my life, although there have been many great "race" days as well. 

Our awesome photographer was able to give us a sneak peak of a few of the pictures...we wont have the rest for about 4-5 weeks.  Hopefully those weeks will fly because I CANNOT wait to see the rest!

So enjoy these few pictures of our amazing day!

I asked the bridal party what photos they wanted to take and they said a jumping shot so we did it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Race nerves or Wedding jitters?

In exactly 24 hours from when I am writing this I will be marrying Brian.  Wow.  I just got even more nervous than I was before.

I know every bride says it - but I CANNOT believe that the day is finally here.  At times it seemed like this day would never some and other times it seemed like the time was just flying by and I could not get things done fast enough!

This morning I went for a final run before the wedding.  My final run as a Miss and my final run on one of my favorite routes.  I have spent so many quiet mornings on that route and I will be sad to not have it right outside my door anymore.

 Someone asked me a great question today -

Will you be more nervous for a goal race or your wedding?

I am more nervous to walk down that aisle tomorrow than I ever have been for a race.  Every time I think about it, my stomach turns to knots.  I am so excited but yet I am so nervous.    Hopefully tomorrow will be exactly like a race - once I get going I will feel fine and the nerves will just fade away.

I am nervous I will trip and fall.
I am nervous I will cry.
I am excited for Brian to see my dress.
I am excited to get MARRIED!

It has been a long journey to get here.  This morning my mom and I went and got pedicures and manicures - that was the final thing on my "To Do" list. 

Red toes to match my red shoes and the red bridesmaids dresses. 

Brian and I wont be leaving for our honeymoon right away so hopefully I will be back with some sneak peak photos!  Thank you everyone for all your help, support, advice and kind comments!

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Recovery: To run or not

The day after a race - do you run or do you rest?

Often I have chosen to rest.  After my half marathon in May, I took two days off from running.  But yesterday I decided to run even though I had just raced Monday.

And it was well worth it.

My legs were tight, my left hip was sore but once I got going I felt pretty good.  I kept the pace pretty easy and enjoyed a leisurely run in the 60F fall weather with my running group.  And after the run, I felt less sore and my legs didn't feel as bad as they had before.

Today - two days after the race - I definitely need the rest.  It seems like the second day after a race is always the worst for me.  I cancelled my run for today (partly due to all the rain we are getting) and pulled on my recovery socks in order to have a good recovery rest day.

Until I got into work - then things became a little different.  Most of my collegues know that Brian and I are getting married this weekend, in fact one of the groomsmen works with me.  So a few of the guys put together a plan to punish me! 

I have to walk around the whole day with a ball and chain attached to my leg.  Seems like I might be doing more sitting today than I planned since it is really hard to get around with this thing.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My last race with my maiden name

It is officially WEDDING week and I was hoping to start this week off with a bang by running a 15k race.  It was perfect timing as I could run my last race with my maiden name!

All week the weather said 80% chance of rain for Monday morning which was slightly depressing because I did not want to run a race in almost pouring rain.  Sunday night was pretty rainy with lots of lightning but when I woke up just before 6am on Monday there was no rain! Thank goodness!

I wasn't really nervous for this race - I just wanted to go out there and run a good race!  I ate a quick breakfast of oatmeal and coffee and we were on our way.  For a special treat, Brian's mom and dad came with us to the race.  I was touched that they took the time to come and cheer me on!

We arrived at the race with time to spare and I picked up my bib and waited for my running buddy to arrive.  Somehow I had managed to convince her to run this race and use it as a training run for her half marathon in two weeks!  I was excited to at least have someone there to warm up with and wave to on the out and back course!

Running buddies!
Walking to the start.

Soon it was time to go! With out much fanfare, the gun went off and we were off.  I took off much too fast but the pace didn't seem to hurt and I could not slow down.  It took me almost a whole mile to rein in my pace to just over 7 min/mile.  We had one small out and back portion first and I saw everyone in front and behind me which was a great boost.  The course was right by the lake and it was just beautiful to run by.  Just before mile two I passed my little spectating crew! It was great to see them but sadly that was the last time I saw them until the finish.

Still happy!

The next portion was a long out and back loop and as I continued on, the group I was with slowly began to thin from 10 runners to 6 to 4.  An older man and I ran with each other for almost 5 miles and it was great to have a pacer but I fell behind in the last mile.  The course was apparently a net down hill but there were two long gradual hills from mile 3 to 5 which took its toll on me later.  By mile 8, I just kept telling myself - "one more mile that's 7 minutes, that's easy you can run for 7 more minutes!" 

I didn't realize my time until I turned the corner and saw the finish clock ticking up.  I was so surprised to see it tick just into the 1:06 times.  I sprinted as fast as my legs would take me and crossed the finish line - thankful to be done!  It was an awesome race that really was just a blur for me.  I think I was concentrating so hard on putting one foot in front of each other that I missed many of the details of the race.

Now there is my death face!

To the finish!!

Final Stats
Time: 1:06:21 (a five minute PR - previous time of 1:11:13)
Place: 101/544
Female: 23/246
AG: 5/40

I could not have asked for a better way to start this week!  I cannot believe that I ran so fast today and in just under 5 days I will get to marry Brian!  Basically this is going to be the best week of my life!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. This mornings run was very eventful.  First I forgot to charge my garmin so I went out with only 27% battery left.  Then I was about a mile down the road when I saw lightning flash in the distant sky.  I am not sure if it was the approaching storm or the low battery but my garmin was acting all crazy and I think the paces may have been a little off.  Or I really could have been running that fast just to get home and out of the storm!

Made it home with battery to spare - recharge needed!

2. We are having a candy buffet at the wedding (they are the favors) and I have ALL the candy stashed in my closet! It is really hard to go in there without coming out with a piece of candy!

A drawer in my closet! Very tempting! (peach rings and chocolate covered pretzels!)

3. SINGLE DIGITS!!  9 more days people!  Cannot believe it is almost here.  Everything is almost done - and I mean that! I am literally going to relax and enjoy this weekend because I will be finished with everything by tomorrow!!  Oh yeah and race day is only 4 days away! 

Have a great Thursday!