The Broad Street Run and Running Friends

              Matching team singlets!

Last weekend, I joined 40,000 people to run the infamous Broad Street Run 10 Miler in Philadelphia. I love seeing the whole city and the energy the race brings, but I think I am going to have to cross it off the list for next year.

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This is what 40,000 people looks like, for your reference. I just cannot handle that kind of crowd, I decided. Several fights broke out as people tried to make it to the start corrals. People went through a man’s yard and he came out and threatened them. We made it to the start corral, literally with minutes to spare. I was actually a little scared for my safety. Now, I can say I have had the experience twice, cross it off the list, and move on.

Overall, the race was a pretty good race for me. Last year, I ran the race at an average pace of 9:22. This year I ran a 7:40 pace. I wanted to be able to run it at a 7:25 pace, but I am trying to focus on the positive, the improvement from last year. It was close to 80 degrees when I finished. I had been doing great keeping the 7:25 pace for the first 6.5 miles, but then I had to stop for water, and that has never happened to me. Then after getting the water, I never really got back down to 7:25 again. It was hard because we never really got to train in heat. The heat came out of nowhere that day.

TAOLife-Comarison-is-the-thief-of-joyAlso, I tell myself this all the time, but yet I never really listen. I train with one woman who is just a bit faster than me. We are great during training, even most (not all) speed workouts, but then she always smokes me at the races. She was able to pull off the 7:25 pace, but I wasn’t. It is a catch 22. Training and racing with her brings out the best in me, but it can also leave me a little disappointed when I compare myself to her. I need to remember to run my own race. I am working on it…

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On the plus side, training buddies make for the greatest friends. Even though the marathon was over six months ago, our core training group still gets together. Our Cinco de Mayo celebration was pretty great last week. It’s funny how similar our lives can seem, even though we all are such different people. There are few people I would rather spend time with than these guys.

How do you keep from comparing yourself to others?

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Speed and Compression Sleeve Giveaway!

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With teaching, grad school starting up, wedding planning, and assistant coaching middle school track, things are starting to get pretty busy around here. I don’t know a lot about coaching, but I am really enjoying working with the kids.

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Things are also pretty crazy in my training right now. I feel like I am seeing some of the gains from my work this winter. I honestly never expected to do be doing tempo workouts at a 7:20 pace this spring!

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All of these speed workouts have had me feeling the burn. I have been rocking the compression sleeves under the dress pants to work. Once it gets warmer, I don’t know what I will do! I got some new compression sleeves to review from Compression Sleek. I like the sleek look (no pun intended) of the black style. I also like how they are long enough to cover my entire calf. The price is pretty reasonable at $21.99. The only downfall is that they come in one size. I am pretty small, so I would have liked them to be a little tighter. I do believe they still helped with my soreness.

Lucky for you, Compression Sleek is running a giveaway for a $1 pair of compression sleeves! Two winners will be announced. Just click the link below. The only downside is that you need Amazon Prime, or you have to pay shipping. The giveaway ends May 6th.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ef8465e81/

What sort of speed workouts do you like to do? How do you recover after?

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Compression Sleek provided me with this pair of compression sleeves to review. All opinions of the product are my own and unbiased.

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Love Run Philly Race Recap!

I am a little late in posting my half marathon recap from last week. Last Sunday I ran the Love Run half marathon in Philadelphia. It was a very chilly start – low 30s with wind. The course was also hillier than expected. I guess I didn’t pay attention when they said they changed last year’s course. They added a giant hill!

0329150549Despite all of that, I managed to snag a 17 minute PR! It has been a year since I ran a half marathon, and I was able to cut my time down to 1:44:51!

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I was hoping to go a little faster, but my mental game really was thrown off by that second hill. The last three miles felt like a struggle, even though it seems I kept a steady pace.

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Updating the PR board!

I ran the first 10.5 miles with someone, which I think really helped. They really forced me to keep pace when I wanted to slow down after the hills. Granted…they did fly off the last three miles. This is the first time I really raced with someone for that long.

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My real finish time was 1:44:51!

After the race, we went to the bar to celebrate with a much earned beer! This is the hardest I have ever raced a half marathon. I can honestly say that I could not have gone any faster. This was also coming off racing a 5k as fast as possible the weekend before. I am still unbelievably happy with a 17 minute PR!

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How do you celebrate after a race?

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A New 5k PR!

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Giant potholes and chunks of snow falling off trees couldn’t stop us from PR’ing yesterday! The Adrenaline 5k is a bit of a community staple here in south Jersey! It is a 5k put on by the local running stores with a giant after-party. The race really brings out the local running community.

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I had a great time running with my friends and managed to snag a PR. I ran a 21:56! I am really happy with this time. Just a month ago I PR’ed with a 22:40, so I took over 40 seconds off my time in one month! I really pushed it to the limits. This is absolutely, with no doubt, the fastest I can possibly go. I was feeling the burn the entire time!

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It felt amazing to erase and add my new PR to the board my fiance and I made. I am feeling very inspired now that I am really seeing tangible results from all of my training. Now, foolishly, I am running a half marathon next week. I hope I am not still sore by then! Every year I promise myself that I am not going to run ALL THE RACES, and yet here we are…

Do you sign up for too many races?

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Big Dreams

Sorry I fell off the face of the earth. I have been busy sewing like a fiend. I finished my bridesmaid project and now am moving on to something new, and even more exciting! I am going to attempt to make my first piece of workout apparel!

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A vest! I just ordered some material online that I am super excited about. There will be a wind and water resistant outer layer, some lining, and then a moisture wicking inner layer. I even ordered some reflective ribbon to add. I can’t wait until the fabric arrives so I can get started!

dream bigIn other news, my running coach completely threw a curve ball at me this week. I guess it was one of those ideas that was always lurking in the back of my mind, but she put it out there, front and center. And…now, it’s real. She gave all these scientific pace reasons for how Boston is now in the realm of possibility.

impossible quoteNow the very reason I never said this aloud before was because I do NOT want to be devastated. I guess that is the thing about big dreams, they are scary. Luckily for me, I have a training buddy going through all the same emotions. I will keep you posted as I process this information and make training plans for my next marathon. Which I wasn’t even considering until the coach dropped this load on me!

In the meantime, I’m just going to watch this trailer until I make sense of my life.

Do you set really big goals? How do you handle them?

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What a Difference a Year Makes!

IMG_20150214_082248This weekend was very exciting!! I ran in a little Valentine’s 5k Race called Cupid’s Chase. I was really anxious about this race. I have been training really hard this year and have seen a lot of growth. I didn’t quite realize how far I have come until this weekend.

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Valentine’s Day was very cold and windy! With the windchill, the starting temperature was in the teens! I was also running along a river, so that made for some extra wind, which was lovely. (It was great that they put hand warmers in the race swag bag!)

Anyways, last year around this time I had a PR in the 5k. It was 27:53, and I was very happy with this. Well…at the Cupid’s Chase 5k my time was 22:40! That is an average pace of 7:13. That is more than a minute faster per mile!!! All those speed workouts really worked! Even with the wind!

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If the PR was not enough, I won first place female! I got an awesome trophy, 2 Vera Bradley bags, and a gift certificate to the local running store. I could really get used to this winning thing! It was such an amazing experience to have people congratulating me!

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This was the perfect Valentine’s Day present. I think it really demonstrates the value of loving and taking care of yourself. Whenever I start to feel burnout or tired, I will look at this trophy. I have come a long way and can’t wait to see how far I can go next!

How was your Valentine’s Day?

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Running Gait Analysis and Exercises

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To say it has been cold on recent morning runs would be an understatement! Thank goodness for good friends to keep me going when I would much rather stay in my warm bed. Also we look less ridiculous in our reflective gear when we are together!

This past weekend at the running club, a group came by to analyze running gait and check muscles/flexibility. For the most part, my evaluation went pretty well. He said I had good flexibility and mostly balanced muscles. He said the I could work on some weakness in my hips. He gave me these exercises to work on.

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I have started doing the exercises, but have been working up to the full amount of sets. I could definitely feel them working!

What are some of your favorite exercises?

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A Little of This, A Little of That

Today’s long run was extremely cold. With the wind chill, my phone said it was 1 degree. The wind was relentless. Needless to say, no one really spoke on this run or took any pictures. Since I have no pictures of running to show you, I will show you what other fantastic things have been going on in my life.

0129151617I joined USATF. I joined for a few reasons.

  1. To support elite athletes in the sport I love (especially my coach!)
  2. Guaranteed entry into Broad Street (a big race here in Philadelphia)
  3. The awesome ID tag above (actually I didn’t know I would get this awesome perk)

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Wedding planning is still in full force. Things are slowly coming together. With the bad weather this week, I was able to sport my new workout tank on the treadmill. Mine says bride on the back, but my bridesmaids have their own versions. The material is unbelievably soft.

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I am also working on my sewing skills. I am making something for my bridesmaids. Unfortunately for you, they read this blog. You will have to wait a few months for the big reveal. I think I am actually getting kind of good at this sewing thing.

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Also, somehow I forgot to show you all this cake I made for my friend a few weeks ago. She ran the Disney marathon, and her biggest fear was pooping her pants. She did not poop her pants, or at least so she claims!

What have you been up to?

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Winter Weather and New Running Belt!

Well, it looks like winter is finally in full swing! We have been lucky so far, but now the storms are coming. We were hit with snow and ice on Friday night into Saturday morning. As a result, I moved my long run today. The weather was much better today, but they say another storm is coming tonight, and then possibly one more on Tuesday! Back to back storms do not help with half marathon training. This is part of the reason I did not want to sign up for a Spring marathon…but then of course, I went ahead and did it despite my best judgment. I am being more realistic this year, though. I am just training to stay in shape, knowing that winter weather can seriously interfere with training. I am trying not to stress. Sometimes it’s even too bad to make it to the apartment complex gym for the treadmill!

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Please ignore the camel toe.

On a happier note, I was sent a new running belt to review from GoVivo! Overall, I am fan of the belt. It has two pockets, which are very nice. I can put my phone in one pocket, and then my keys in the other, so they don’t scratch the phone. This would have been awesome for marathon training and all those gels. These pockets are deceiving to the eye. They look small, but there is a ton of room in them! The expand.

DSC_0527I even wore the belt in the rain and was impressed with its water resistance. In the past, I have had belts that claimed to be water resistant, but my phone after a long run revealed the contrary.

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The one problem I had with the belt was the large buckle. It was a lot larger than other running belts. It took me awhile to find a comfortable spot to wear it. There was some movement and sliding until I found the right spot.

This is a very sturdy, well-made running belt, but I think I will reserve it for those really long runs when I actually need that much space. Otherwise, I am not sure I want to deal with the large buckle. It will be perfect, if and when, I decide to train for another marathon!

What is your favorite running belt? How do you deal with winter weather?

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Not Everyone is a Great Running Partner

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I’m slowly easing back into higher mileage after the marathon. Long runs are a great time to catch up with friends. Until…you have the long run “crasher.”

Now, I am very open to having new people join the group. The more, the merrier! I try to be friendly most of the time. Some people can make that a little harder than others, though. While most people are great to run with, sometimes you get a ….what should I call them…a dud?

Many times you just stop running with someone because paces are off or your schedules don’t match up. Occasionally, though, you just meet someone that doesn’t mess with the group. Maybe there are a lovely person, but it just isn’t working out. They just aren’t for you.

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Here are a couple of pet peeves of mine when it comes to running partners:

  1. They don’t go the pace you agreed upon, not even close. In fact, they zoom off ridiculously fast. This group is not for you, buddy. Either go slower or find faster friends.
  2. They never stop talking. You seem to get in a rhythm with your running partners. Sometimes talking trails off as the run goes on longer. Other times, it just goes in little spurts. I suppose this one is negotiable. It really depends on how close you are to the running partner. Some people are great to talk to for hours. With strangers, though, it can be horribly awkward.
  3. Telling me your intimate life story before I know your last name. I do not know if I can handle the messy details of your divorce or last gynecologist appointment within the first five minutes of knowing you.

This may or may not have happened to me this weekend. I really promise that I am not completely heartless. Long runs just become infinitely more unbearable with a bad running partner. An hour can seem like three.

Now the hard part comes. Do you sacrifice the pain of an excruciating long run just to be polite? I’d like to say I have the answer to this conundrum, but usually my buddies and I just show up 15 minutes early the next couple of weeks to avoid the situation all together.

Has this ever happened to you? What did you do?

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