Tag Archives: Half marathon

Reflecting on 2014

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Can you believe 2015 is already here?! 2014 seems like it just flew by for me. 🙂 It was a great year overall, and before making some New Years Resolutions, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what happened this year.

Reflections on 2014

the Medal from the Mad Half Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont

 

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post race

  • We also got to hear Shalane Flanagan speak at the event, which was so incredible! She was so down-to-earth and funny, and I’ll definitely be rooting for her in 2015.
  • Shalane Flanagan. Runners World Heartbreak hill Half Marathon and FestivalIn September, my mom and I finished our first marathon – the Rochester Marathon!! After playing with the idea of a marathon for so long (and even mentioning it in my 2014 Non-Resolutions post), it feels incredible to think I actually did it. And I know for sure that there will be more. Even though my toenail still hasn’t completely grown back. 😉

At packet pick-up for the Rochester Marathon

  • I began my senior year of college at SUNY Geneseo… and then I graduated. I absolutely loved my undergrad experience, and I am very excited to go back and see my friends in May and walk at my graduation.
  • What it Means to Graduate Early, Adventures of a Mother-Daughter Running DuoI continued to grow this blog! When I first started blogging, I didn’t really know what I was doing (at all). But I’ve learned so much since then, and I’m so happy to see my little corner of the internet improving! Now that I’m home, I’m really excited to devote some time to making it even better (but I’ll talk more about that later!)

I want to come up with some goals for the new year. But for now, I’m pretty happy to just celebrate 2014.

I hope you enjoyed 2014 too and have a wonderful New Year’s Eve!

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Running Goals

Hello again!

Hope you all had a festive Halloween! Can you believe we’re moving on to Thanksgiving and then… *gasp… CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is coming. Adventures of a Mother-Daughter Running Duo

 

Brady. Adventures of a Mother-Daughter Running DuoGoing back to Saturday’s post, I wanted to let you all know the Janji project reached 100% funding, yay! If you purchased a shirt for yourself or someone else, thank you!

It’s crazy how fast this year is flying by. I’m happy to say, looking back, I’ve done really well with my Non-New Years Resolutions though! I remember cautiously voicing the idea of running a marathon in 2014, not being sure if I could actually do it!

26 in 2014

Check that off the list! 🙂

However, I am getting awfully antsy to do another race. There may be one in the works, but stay tuned for more on that! For the next half marathon I do, I would love to maybe try for a personal record. I ran my best time for the half this past summer at the Amica Iron Horse Half in Connecticut in 1 hour 55 minutes, which is around 8:40/mile.

Amica Victory Shot

I would love to squeeze this down to 1:50 (am I jinxing myself by putting this in writing? Please tell me I’m not.)

Maybe it’s the competitive streak in me, but I love how running races gives you the chance to compete against yourself. I can’t really think of any other sport where that’s the case. Obviously, there are other runners there to race against, but I don’t think I’m ever going to be the first female finisher in a half or full. So, I can just focus on improving my performance and forget about the other racers. I’ve never been very good about fitting speedwork into my running – I generally prefer to go out and run at a comfortable pace for however many miles I am planning on doing that day. But I wonder how much stronger I would feel as a runner if I got better about doing this? So, I’m starting to browse around for 1:50 half marathon training plans. If you have a plan that’s worked well for you, I’d love to hear about it!

That’s about all I have time for (got an exam this week), but stay tuned for Friday’s Fall Fitness Challenge update. 🙂

Do you enjoy speedwork? Do you like to “compete” against yourself in running?

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Running Long and Volunteering

Happy Labor Day everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend. As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to test myself with a ten mile run on Friday. I wasn’t sure if my foot would cooperate with the increase in mileage, but I was excited to give it a shot!

I woke up bright and early, drank a cup of coffee while eating some toast with peanut butter, and grabbed two GU’s to power me through. I was super excited to try a new flavor – salted caramel! We had ordered them just before my foot started bothering me, and so I had never gotten to test this delicious-sounding flavor. Instead, I jealously watched my mom use them! 😉

Salted Caramel GU - testing a new flavor of gels!

I decided to run along the same course of the race that I was volunteering at on Sunday, the Oak Tree Half Marathon. It’s a gorgeous course that runs through conservation land, and it was gloriously quiet. I think two cars total passed me while I was on that stretch of the run. I also saw four deer bounding away through one of the fields, which added to the peaceful setting.

Beautiful 10 mile run during marathon training

Long story short, it was a fantastic run. The salted caramel GU – so good! I think vanilla might still be my favorite, but this would be a close second. 🙂 And *drumroll please*… my foot didn’t bother me! Yay!

10 mile run

At mile 8, I ended up walking up most of this giant hill which is why I slowed down a lot, but I was happy with the speedy negative splits that I hit on miles 9 and 10! Now that I know I can handle 10 miles, it’s time to test it again this week with an 18-20 miler.

On Saturday and Sunday, I helped out with the Oak Tree Half Marathon. I ran the race last year and really enjoyed it! It was also the first race where I broke 2 hours in the half marathon. It’s a fantastic race that is put on to benefit the Genesee Valley Conservancy and I was really happy to be involved in it this year. Saturday evening, I helped with packet pick-up and got to meet a lot of friendly and excited runners. The running community is so fantastic and I’m so grateful to be a part of it. Sunday, I got up bright and early to help with race-day registration.

Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse, and it ended up being a cool, rainy morning. Not terrible for running in, but not great if you’re standing around outside as a volunteer! The runners didn’t seem to mind the conditions though, as a course record was set in the half marathon with a time of 1 hour, 8 minutes. That is just over a 5 minute mile. Pretty freakin’ incredible.

Kip Tisia won the half marathon, setting a new course record in the process!

Kip Tisia won the half marathon, setting a new course record in the process!

Kip Tisia, winner of the Oak Tree Half Marathon

Today, I relaxed and enjoyed the day off from classes. 🙂 I slept in, went for a 6-mile run, and caught up on some homework. So overall, it was a pretty darn good weekend!

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

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Mad Half Recap Part II

Need to read Part I? Get it here.

So remember how I said our room was an excellent bear-spotting location?

the view from our room at the White Horse Inn

Well, as my mom and I were snuggling down in our beds the night before the race, we heard a metallic banging sound. My mom excitedly looked out the window and spotted the silhouette of a bear running back into the woods! She was pretty psyched to have seen it, and we went to bed dreaming of friendly Vermont bears (the kind who don’t attack innocent runners who stumble into their midst). 🙂

Some of my best friends are runners.

Before I knew it, it was 5:20 and the alarm was going off. We dressed quickly and headed down to the dining room to check out the early morning spread for the runners. While there were plenty of freshly baked muffins, raspberry oat squares, bacon and pancakes, we sadly opted for bagels with a smear of peanut butter, a breakfast we know works well for us on long runs.

At the start/finish area of the Mad Half.

At least we knew there would be coffee nearby at the finish.

Excited to run! (Not at all scared about those hills, no not us!)

Excited to run! (Not at all scared about those hills, no not us!)

We then headed out to the starting area, about 5 minutes down the road. The race had only 1,000 runners, split between the marathon and half marathon distances. The great thing about there being so few runners – parking was a breeze!

After a little stretching, it was time to go. The National Anthem was sung, the gun went off, and we headed out! There was excitement in the air, and it was a sunny beautiful day to run. We crossed the first of several gorgeous Vermont covered bridges-

Crossing the first of several covered bridges in the Mad Half

and then the hills began.

My mom and I did our best to alternate power-walking with a light jog up the worst of the hills, and this seemed to work well. We weren’t setting any speed records, but we were enjoying the moment and the prospect of bagging another state (as a sidenote, we met many other runners who were also attempting to run a marathon or half in every state! So maybe we’re not that crazy…?)

You don't run the World's Most Beautiful Marathon without stopping to take a few pictures!

You don’t run the World’s Most Beautiful Marathon without stopping to take a few pictures!

Another beautiful view of the mountains from the Mad Half

Another covered bridge.

Another covered bridge.

We kept climbing and climbing- but what goes up must come down! While I deeply appreciated the fact that I was no longer running uphill, we had hit a fairly steep downhill stretch that must have lasted a good ten to fifteen minutes of running. I love me some down-hills, but this was brutal on the quads and ankles after a while.

Eventually we passed this sign, which made me laugh out loud (and pause to take a picture).

A sign along the Mad Half course read "Keep running, cows are watching"

Keep running cows R watching. We did see plenty of cows along the course, and many DID appear to have an ominous glint in their eyes. We successfully avoided all dangerous cow-runner interactions though! Phew… 😉

Our run-walk strategy worked pretty well, although we definitely modified it on some of the hills, walking a little bit more than the 6 minutes run-1 minute walk plan we had agreed on. Nevertheless, we managed to maintain a pace right around 10 minutes/mile.

Our mile splits from MapMyRun

On one of our uphill walk breaks, we fell into step with a young woman, commiserating over the ridiculous hills. She was running her first half-marathon with her boyfriend (who was running ahead). After chatting for a few more minutes, we wished her good luck and continued on.

Another view from the Mad Half

Just after mile 10, we hit another beautiful downhill section, and my mom and I were able to turn on a little more speed. My mom showcased her abundant energy in this crazy pic-

Running the Mad Half with energy to spare

At the bottom of the hill, we had only a mile or so left, and feeling strong, I pushed the pace a bit more, getting back down into the 8 minute/mile range.

Finally, after 2 hours and 14 minutes of uphills and downhills (and stunning views), I crossed the finish line, my mom only moments behind me.

the Medal from the Mad Half Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont

Post-race treats-

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Cold apple cider and cider donuts. They were AMAZING after such a long, sweaty run.

While we were hanging out near the finish, waiting to cheer on the first finishers of the marathon, who should come over to us but our new friend from earlier in the race! She was very excited to have completed her first half marathon (and much faster than she had expected!)

alison

Congrats Alison!

Runners World writer and speaker, Bart Yasso was also at the race, having run the half marathon.

Bart Yasso at the Mad Marathon in Vermont.

What a great race! It was definitely one of the smaller ones we’ve run recently, but it was well-organized and fun. The views truly were gorgeous, and I had a blast, despite my griping about all the hills. I’m not sure it’s the race I would choose to run 26.2 miles (those marathoners looked tired!), but it was perfect for 13.1 miles. 🙂

After cleaning up back at the White Horse Inn, my mom and I drove into Montpelier to walk around a little bit. Not too long given how tired we were though! We did a little shopping, then headed back into Waitsfield, where we had a great dinner at the Akes’ Den.

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We shared salmon with a sweet potato crust (top) and crispy fish tacos (bottom). Both were insanely good. 🙂

That night, we watched a little tv and then zonked out pretty early.

Monday morning, we slept in and took advantage of being able to eat the wonderful breakfast provided at the inn.

Breakfast at the White Horse Inn

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French Toast from the White Horse Inn

Popover eggs scrambled with Vermont cheddar and French toast. And more bacon, naturally. 🙂

After the crazy-good meal, it was time to head home. Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend, and ate some yummy food too!

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Mad Half Recap Part I

Well it is safe to say that “The World’s most beautiful marathon” (as it is described on the website) was also the hilliest half marathon my mom and I have ever run! The world's most beautiful marathon- the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont. Despite all the crazy changes in elevation on the course, my mom and I had a FANTASTIC weekend and successfully bagged another state! 🙂 We kicked off the trip by first stopping by the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, Vermont. There was a bit of a summer crowd and we probably waited on line for 30-45 minutes, but our ice cream was well-worth the wait. Our visit to the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Vermont. After that, we got back on the road to go to Waitsbury and pick up our race packets before navigating our way to the little bed and breakfast we were staying in, the White Horse Inn. This little inn was adorable and so reasonably priced that we were able to stay for two nights, rather than just the one. There was a white carousel horse statue in the foyer, freshly baked cookies at all times (which were almost too yummy!), and a warm, cozy atmosphere that you just can’t get at a hotel. The owners were very friendly and gracious, and gave us a heads-up to keep our eyes out for bears! Apparently for the last month or so, bears had been visiting their dumpster, tempted by all the delicious smells. My mom was very excited when we realized our room had a nice view of where the backyard met the forest- and the dumpster. A prime bear-spotting location! After settling in and unpacking our things, we set out to explore the little downtown area and to drive the half marathon course. mad elevation I had looked at the elevation map provided on the race website, so I knew we were in for some hills, but boy oh boy, driving that course really brought those hills to life! The worst hill of the Mad Half! Are you seeing this hill?! My reaction on seeing this as we drove the course – “Are you KIDDING me?!” Sure, it had this nice downhill bit, but after that, it just goes up and up and up. Basically, we were going to have to run up a mountain.

There were some scenic views along the Mad Half course too.

the Mad Half Course

I will grudgingly admit that it was pretty darn beautiful, despite all those stupid mountains.

After seeing that course, we knew we were going to have to take it easy and not make the same mistakes we had made during the Heartbreak Hill Half (namely, getting a little too excited and going out too fast). We decided to try to stick to a run six minutes-walk one minute plan. By inserting more walk breaks earlier on, we hoped to maintain a strong pace through to the end.

Once we had finished driving the course (and thoroughly psyching ourselves out!), we grabbed dinner at a nearby restaurant, where we sat outside, enjoying the beautiful Vermont weather.

The all-important pre-race dinner.

The all-important pre-race dinner.

I’m not usually a burger person – but this burger, topped with bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions served on a pretzel roll drew me in. I can honestly say it was probably the best burger I’ve ever eaten. My mom had steak with a creamy cheese sauce, and she said that was really good too. For two people who generally stick to a more veggie-based diet, we sure enjoyed our beef! We went to bed early that night, since we had our race at 7 am the next morning. Thankfully, the inn was pretty much full with runners, so everyone was very quiet and respectful, and we slept wonderfully in our big, comfy beds (quite a step up from the freezing cold Boston College dorms we stayed in for the Heartbreak Hill Half!).

Stay tuned for Part II to hear how the Mad Half went (and how we survived all those mountains/hills!)

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Greetings From the Mad Half!

Hi there!

Just wanted to post a quick update – we drove up to Vermont today, and we are getting ready for what looks like a beautiful (yet extremely hilly) course tomorrow.

Our lunch today? Well, we stopped by our friends’, Ben and Jerry’s obviously.

Ice Cream at Ben and Jerry's Factory in Waterbury, VermontWhat’s a trip to Vermont without a little ice cream? Also, those waffle cones were INCREDIBLE. And the lady who served us told us we got the last two, so that just makes it even better. 🙂

Some other glorious Vermont sites we took in-

Nothing is more Vermont than this scene right here. :)

Nothing is more Vermont than this scene right here. 🙂

A view of the Green Mountains from the Mad Marathon course

A view of the Green Mountains from the Mad Marathon course

We have to be up bright and early to run 13.1 miles tomorrow, so that’s all for now!

Hope you’re having a good holiday weekend! 🙂

 

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Fitletic Fuel Belt Review

Disclaimer: This product was NOT provided to me by Fitletic, nor was I compensated for writing this post; I purchased it on my own and all opinions expressed are my honest thoughts on this product.

Hey there! 🙂

I wanted to do a quick review this week to just share a little about a running product I’ve been using now for a few weeks and am ABSOLUTELY in love with!

Fitletic Fuel Belt Review

My Fitletic running belt.

I realized I needed my own running belt the night before the Amica Iron Horse Half. My mom and I were getting all our stuff together the night before, and I went to take the one black fuel belt we have, when my mom informed me she was planning on using it! Things you don’t wanna discover the night before a race… sigh.

I considered arm-wrestling her for it, but then after some creative thinking, we found an old fanny pack and safety pinned it to make it less floppy and I used that during the race. First off, let me just say I hate the word “fanny pack”. It conjures up images of 90 year-old tourists for me (not exactly what I wanna feel like when I’m running a half marathon!). But I will say, it did serve its purpose during the race.

The week after the race, I made it a priority to drive up to our local running store, where I got my fantastic new Brooks running sneakers –

This is Brady, our crazy chocolate lab.

Ignore the adorable dog, and check out those fancy new sneakers!!!

-and a belt.

Fitletic Fuel Belt with pockets

I always hated the idea of running with a belt because I felt like it would ride up or chafe, or just be downright annoying.

I’ve now worn my Fitletic belt for the Heartbreak Hill Half, the New England Running Company 10 Miler, and every training run I’ve gone on since purchasing it, and I have to say, it has wildly exceeded all my expectations. The belt does not move an inch while I run. I usually adjust it so that it sits on my hip so I can access my phone to see MapMyRun or grab a GU, and that’s where it stays!

The fitletic fuel belt sits right on my hip and doesn't move around

No slipping around to the front or back – and it’s not ridiculously tight. The stretchy band has plenty of give, so I don’t have to worry about cutting off my circulation either 😉 In fact, it’s so comfortable that a few times, I’ve completely forgotten that I’m still wearing it, only realizing when I go to take a post-run shower. 🙂

Inside, the belt has a couple of pockets – perfect for keeping my phone separate from my GU’s, and making it a cinch to grab one or the other. It also has a handy feature that allows you to attach your race bib directly to the belt, to avoid having to safety pin it to your clothes. I haven’t actually used that during races; my leg would just keep bumping the bib if I did because I prefer to wear the belt on my hip, but I do think it’s a great idea!

The fitletic fuel belt can even attach to your race bibs!

So if you’re a runner who THINKS you hate fuel belts, I would really recommend giving Fitletic a try. Let’s just say, it’s quite a step up from a safety pinned fanny pack! 🙂

 

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