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.


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!


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!


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?



Running Gait Analysis and Exercises

cold run

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.

hip exercises-1

hip exercises-2

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?


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)


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.


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.


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?


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!


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.


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?


Not Everyone is a Great Running Partner

running partners1

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.

running partners2

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?


My Year in Running!

There is no doubt that 2014 was a big year for me. I got engaged and I ran my first marathon. I also changed a lot as a runner. I gained a lot of speed, but I also gained a lot of knowledge about running. I made some amazing friends along the way!

I am linking up with Miss Zippy to share my year in running!

miss zippy

Best race experience? Definitely my marathon. Everyone in my training group is talking about running another one, but I really don’t know if I can top this one. It really went according to plan. I fueled right, I dressed right, and I maintained the pace I wanted! I ran under 4 hours (3:54 to be exact.) which is exactly what I wanted. I had a lot of fun training and became very close to some amazing people.


Best run? This is a tough one. There were so many runs this year! I think it would have to be our first training run in Philadelphia. The weather was awesome, the company was fantastic, and the change of scenery was needed. We even got to try out the new boardwalk!


Best new piece of gear?  I would have to say my Garmin. It has been a love/hate relationship, but I have learned how to use the little guy appropriately. He is extremely helpful with pacing on my long runs, and I don’t think I could even do my speedwork without him. I credit him for helping me gain so much speed this year.

I can barely believe that I used to live in the 10:00 mile just last spring! Now, I am in the high 8:00s. What a difference a year can make!

Best piece of running advice you received? You need to do easy, recovery runs. Not every run needs to be fast. This was a game changer for me and helped make me faster overall. Rest and recovery are crucial to the process!

Most inspirational runner? I love Lisa from Running Out of Wine! I have learned so much from her! I also feel like I can relate to her, like she is a real person, not just someone out in cyberspace!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? I would say the theme was improvement!

How did 2014 go for you?!


Ugly Sweater Run

This week I was just easing back into running, so it was perfect for the most laid back race on the planet… The Ugly Sweater Run!


You basically wear ridiculous Christmas clothes, drink hot chocolate, and sort of run 2.6 miles. (Yes, it didn’t even end up being the full three miles!) Sometimes it is nice to just mess around with running and not worry about anything but having a good time with your friends.


We were a little disappointed with the cut backs from last year. There was not much fake snow, I only saw one pile, and there was not hot chocolate at the water stations this year. There was only hot chocolate at the end. Last year we got two beers, and this year we only got one. Oh well, it was still fun! The people you are with is what really makes it fun, anyways.


There were fun decorations along the course. You can’t really tell, but that is an inflatable reindeer behind us. The best part though, is the other people’s costumes.


I think this woman really loves cats….


These guys had a really hard time running in the gnome/elf costumes. We actually saw one fall off the edge of the sidewalk and roll into the leaves right after this picture was taken.


Running in a full suit is impressive!

Next year, we are thinking about just organizing our own low key unofficial Ugly Sweater Run. We can make hot chocolate, and we might even rent a snow machine. Then, we won’t even have to drive into Philly!

Do you have any fun Christmas runs?

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!


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!


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! 🙂


I Ran a Marathon


I did it! Less than a week ago I ran my first marathon. It was amazing. I can barely believe it actually happened. It was actually a whole week of festivities.



Don’t worry, I shared most of this!

My lovely coworkers wanted to make sure I was carb loading to the max. They made me this awesome cookie cake and brought me some delicious apple pie.


I stayed at the Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia. It was extremely convenient because it was less than a mile from the start.


Mandatory pre race photo.

I walked on over to the start, waited for about 45 minutes. Then, it all started! It was perfect weather. When we started it was 35-40ish. The race was a little congested at the beginning, but after 5-6 miles, it started to thin out. At mile 9 there was a big hill, and I was impressed how easily I went up it. After that, I was on an adrenaline high for a few miles. Then I hit some rolling hills in Manayunk from approximately miles 18-20, which was the hardest part for me mentally. Then, once I hit that home stretch, I felt good. I am really pleased with how the race went. I finished in 3:54! I am so happy that I finished under 4 hours. I really feel like I pushed myself as hard as I could and am really proud of myself.


The Fab 5 first time marathoners, as we like to call ourselves.

After the race, we walked to a local bar to celebrate. It was a really great time to celebrate. I had my running buddies by my side, but my mom, sister, and brother-in-law also came to visit.


My mom isn’t the greatest at taking clear pictures…

In my mind, there isn’t a thing I would change about my first marathon. Although, only time will tell if I can ever bring myself to train for another one. Never say never… 🙂



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.


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!


Have a wonderful week everyone! Enjoy every moment!