Goodbye Summer!

Summer is officially over. (Well…at least for teachers.) It has been a whirlwind of a summer, so I will post a little recap of what I have been up to this last month. First off….

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I got married! It was a great day with just close friends and family. We decided to get married at Miami University in Ohio, where we both went to school. Planning a wedding from afar was a little challenging, but I am so glad we picked our old college. We had a lot of fun visiting our old favorite places. The old buildings on campus made for nice locations that required minimal decorating.

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There were also beautiful gardens on campus for pictures.

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Then, after the wedding, we headed back to Jersey and left for our honeymoon to….

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BORA BORA! It was a very long flight, but worth every minute. It is exactly like the pictures and what you see on TV – absolutely perfect.

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We stayed in one of the over-water bungalows with our own deck. There was coral right under the bungalow which made for amazing snorkeling. The water was a beautiful clear turquoise.

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I ate and drank a lot and didn’t run at all. I did ride a bike once, though! I figured I can run more marathons in the future, but I probably won’t be back to Bora Bora. It was a nice little break too. Really, once you are in Bora Bora, you just feel like relaxing all the time. It’s paradise – literally.

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Now, the fun is over. Back to work. I can’t complain too much though. It was the greatest summer of all time. Besides, I do actually enjoy teaching. But not only is it school time, but a new semester of grad school starts today, and marathon training is really getting intense now. Time to step it up!

How are you handling the end of summer?

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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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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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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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Last day of the running break!

Tomorrow is the big day! I start back up to running after a two week rest from the marathon! It feels good to come back from a break. The legs will be a little stiff, but they will be fresh! After my last break, I made a large jump in speed, I am excited to see what I am like after this break!

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It’s amazing how much free time you have when you don’t spend four hours of your Saturday on a long run! I went to look at bridesmaid dresses, and I think I found the one! This lovely little number in golden yellow, more accurately called “sunbeam.”

We also picked a venue and a date! August 8th look out! It is going to be some fast and furious planning, but such is the life of a teacher. Gotta get married in the summer! We are planning on getting married at the college we both went to. That is where we started dating!

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I am thinking about this for invites, too. Can you guess what our color scheme is?! I found my wedding dress, too, but I am not going to post that one online. You will have to wait for the after pictures. Now we are off to pick registry items! Woohoo! I promise the next post will be running related! 🙂

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Non – Running News!

Today’s post is short, but very sweet! I cannot believe the marathon is one week away exactly. It doesn’t quite feel real yet. I am both nervous and excited at the same time! If that wasn’t a big enough life event…I also got ENGAGED!

1102142143Two weeks ago, we went on a nice little hike in the Leigh High Valley. He planned out a cute trail, that led directly to this waterfall.

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And, that’s where it happened! He couldn’t get down on one knee because of all the rocks! So begins the wedding planning madness! For now, though, I am going to enjoy being engaged and my first marathon!

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Have a wonderful week everyone! Enjoy every moment!

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What I Think About for Four Hours in the Rain

great-gatsby-quotesToday was the last 22 miler of marathon training. It was was awful weather. Beyond awful really. Freezing cold, rainy, and extremely windy. The worst. I was out there for a total of 3 hours and 40 minutes. For the first hour and a half, we didn’t really encounter a single sole on the road. That’s when it dawned on me. There is probably a reason no one else is out. They aren’t crazy.

Why was I? 22 miles gives you a lot of reflection time. My mind wandered to my favorite book – The Great Gatsby – and the awesome quote above. We keep going out there, logging the miles in the pouring rain, to keep chasing the dream. As Fitzgerald said, “to run faster, stretch our arms father…” That’s why I signed up for the marathon, after all. After several half marathons, it was time to “stretch farther.”

1101140648And so, I ended up running 22 miles in a trash bag. What else do you wear in a downpour? Who pays money for jackets?! The strange part is, I’ve run so many times in the pouring rain this training cycle, that it really didn’t bother me a ton while I was out there. Then, I came home. Do you think it is possible for your soul to be tired? My body seemed to be functioning, but I got really weird and emotional. I guess you just go into survival mode out there in the storm. Then, you don’t really have anything left. And you cry for no reason and weird everyone out.

Thank goodness for the taper coming up. Otherwise, I might be barrel rolling to the finish line. (That might not work on the big hill on the course…)

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Maybe race day will be like this picture? If not, I don’t know if I can survive another training cycle. But really, you know I will be on to the next big thing before I know it.

Does your soul ever get tired?

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Not Every Idea is a Good Idea

1025141148This weekend was full of running. Probably too much running. This weekend was the first of two 22 milers in my training. 22 is the farthest I go, though. Then, the taper begins. We went to Philadelphia to race parts of the course. While in theory that seemed like a great idea, the roads weren’t closed like they would be for the race. Stopping at traffic lights and running around outside restaurant seating got to be a pain downtown. At one point we even ran through a flea market. I almost stepped on a ceramic plate. There were also plenty of hills. The weather was great though, and the run was pretty good overall.

Now, you would think I would have stopped there. I had a 10 mile race scheduled long before I really knew what marathon training entailed. It is a great race that I didn’t really want to miss. I was going to run 12 before the race to make my total 22, but two of my training partners convinced me to do the 22 on Saturday, do the race slowly on Sunday, and then just take Monday off. I should have gone with my gut. I bet you will never guess who didn’t show up at the race Sunday.

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NOT the race bailers!

Oh well. The race course was beautiful, and the weather was amazing. I had plenty of friends running, so I wasn’t lonely. I didn’t go as slow as I probably should have, but nothing hurts too bad. Just a little soreness. Tomorrow I will take a needed rest day.

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At least there was an awesome hoodie and some of the best post race food of my life. They had a full buffet of grilled chicken and vegetables with a coffee bar. While this wasn’t the ideal way to work the race into my training, everything really turned out fine in the end. Next time I will listen to my gut though. After all, you’re the one who actually has to live with your decisions.

How do you work races into your training? Ever get any bad training advice?

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I Get By With a Little Help From my Friends

IMG_754632939633001This morning I ran a beautiful 17 mile route in Philadelphia. Do you ever run parts of your race route? We decided we needed to prepare ourselves for the dreaded hills we will encounter in the Philadelphia Marathon next month. We got to try out the brand new Schuylkill Boardwalk. It was beautiful. I only wish it was longer!

IMG_1408I ran with my trusted running buddies. It is amazing that we all run about the same pace. Running partners share a very unique bond, especially ones training for the marathon. Most of my friends don’t understand why I wake up at 5:45 am on a Saturday to spend three plus hours sweating in the heat and pouring rain. These people get it. We run in downpours, we have our own lingo, and we know more about each others’ bodies than we ever should. You usually can’t shout “code brown” to your friends without them thinking you are completely disgusting. Anything happens on the long run. And no one wants to be the one that bails because of weather or cuts the run short. They make me a better runner and a better person.

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Although, they definitely test my kindness when they plan out hills like this at the end of our 17 miles! I have always contemplated trail running, but today’s Wissahockon Trail was no joke. Check out that elevation change. If it wasn’t for my buddies, I might have quit, but they kept me going. Sometimes we just need a little help from our friends.

How do your running buddies affect you as a runner?

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