Viva!

Viva Vacation!

Viva Life!

Viva Running!

Finally after 9 days of work in a row, I can now say that I am officially on vacation!  I haven’t had time off like this in nearly six months.  Don’t worry, I won’t let that happen again.  

I haven’t even begun to pack, and I don’t even care.  I have my feet up right now, basking in the vacation glow.  I tied off things at work, and now I don’t have to think about that place until a week from tomorrow.  Yep, it feels pretty damn good.

Question to myself now, and thoughts on my mind the last few days….  should I pack my running shoes and clothes?  I swore I was going to take time off to rest and rejuvenate my legs.  I don’t know now.  I am beginning to wonder if it’s a good thing to take a week off this close to a marathon.  I know I am tapering, but no running at all?  Not sure that is the right thing to do.  Maybe a few two or three miles while I’m gone would do me some good.  I guess I will throw my gear in the suitcase just in case the running mood strikes.

I really would like to head out for one final 5k before I start packing, so I think I will.  It’s my vacation, right?  I can do what I please.  The laundry is going, the plants have been watered.  I think a celebratory 5k is in order.  

I may blog intermittently while I’m away, that is if I find some down moments, but no promises. I intend on enjoying this time to the fullest.  

This is where I am off to in case you were wondering.

 

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VEGAS, Baby!

Eye Candy Marathons

Only 16 days to go!!!

Running Wild

With 44 days remaining in the countdown to my next marathon, I spent a good portion of the morning reading up on and looking at pictures of Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah.  Of course, this is the location of my next race, the Hoka One One Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon.

I was chosen to represent @RunRevel as an Ambassador, which is quite an honor.  I am already in love with this race, and I haven’t even stepped foot in Utah yet.  Why?  I run with not only my feet, but majorly with my eyes.  I don’t listen to music when I run, not in races and not even while on training runs.  My focus is always on the “eye candy”.  The Big Cottonwood race looks to be one of the most beautiful races around.  With one of the most beautiful race courses, this race shapes up to be one that…

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Happy Feet? No, I’m not a dancing penguin, I’m a runner.

Progressing toward a month of over 100 miles of training, and very few days off from work, my feet are tired.  I have had to work very hard to get them some rest.  Elevation has helped a lot, as well as spending some quiet evening on the couch.

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As I struggle through the final days of training for my next marathon in a little over two weeks, my focus now is more on rest and recovery.  I need to make sure that my body is ready to conquer the next 26.2.  It was a beautiful morning today, and cool.  It was the type of morning that just screams get out and run.  I refrained.  I plan on running a smooth and pace focused five miler tomorrow morning, and I’ve run four days in a row.  Time for a rest day.

Vacation is looming.  Getting on the jet plane on Saturday morning, my thoughts are all about vacation.  I’ve worked six straight days, and work tonight, tomorrow and Friday before I can breath  a sigh of relief.  Can you believe that?  I have to work 9 days in a row leading up to vacation.  Well, most of the battle has been fought already, just three shifts to go.  The problem is that I work on my feet.  I don’t have a cush desk job.  My job is physical and demanding on my feet.  I know how to take care of them though.  This is nothing new to me.  

So my final wind down/taper is upon me.  Wow, can’t believe I haven’t even thought about how this is taper time.  Usually I go mad during the taper, but this time I will have vacation to distract me from taper blues.  

How long do you taper prior to a big race?  How do you fill those empty hours that you would have been out running?  I do know one thing, I am hoping for Happy feet come September 13th.  Happy hamstrings, too!  😉

It’s the final countdown!

Everyone around me is gearing up for Fall.  You see, I am originally from upstate NY, and up there, you could just about bet on a change in the weather come Labor Day weekend.  It would be 85 degrees the day before, and 60 the day after.  I’m sure it wasn’t that drastic, but Labor Day up north meant the end of Summer.  The start of school, the end of sleeping in.  

That is really not the case here in NC.  We will continue to have sticky, hot weather sometimes right up to near Halloween.  Fact of the matter is though that one of my kids is already a week into college, and my younger is starting his Junior year in High School tomorrow.  I’ve already hear the complaints, but I explain it like this….  As a kid/young adult you get to have Summers off.  That’s like three months of rest, relaxation, sleeping in, etc..  As an adult in the working world, you may get two, three or four weeks off a year.  Quit the complaining already, right?

Summer means more daylight hours to get my training runs in.  Sure it means more heat, but I think that training in the heat makes me more ready for nice Fall weather racing.  As we inch closer and closer to Labor Day, what does that mean for me?  First, another run in just a short bit.  Yes, training continues.  It’s winding down, but still moves forward.  Five more days until vacation remain.  A week off, then a week of work and my first Marathon of the Fall season.  Big Cottonwood is only 20 days away now!  It’s creeping up fast.  

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Summer is always a mixed bag of emotions for me.  Due to where I live, and the heat, most of the time I chose not to race.  As a result, I get really antsy, and look forward to those race days.  I haven’t raced now since June 6th.  Two and a half months ago.  That’s a long time without racing for me.  Last year I mixed in a July 4th 5k, and a Half Marathon in August in NY to keep my race legs satiated.  This year, I held back.  

Fall season is packed with racing excitement.  I’ve tried really hard all Summer to push myself, but not overdo it.  I don’t want to get injured before or during the season, so I have really listened to my body, and have maintained a good regime, yet not too extreme.  

The countdown is getting exciting.  As I near vacation and race days my mind fills with the anticipation of running, and running a great race.  I will take them one by one, focusing on having fun, but also pushing my limits.  So excited to see Utah for the first time, to run Chicago for the first time, and to run some tried and true Fall favorites here close to home.

What exciting Fall races do you have planned?  Do you get antsy when you haven’t raced in a few months? I sure do.  

Vacation Request

I made a really big mistake this Summer.  All good intentions behind it, but it ended up being an error.  Back in the early Spring, as my kids were winding down their school years, I imagined a nice Summer trip to the beach for us.  Maybe the Outer Banks, Wrightsville Beach, Myrtle or Hilton Head.  A great idea that went up in smoke.

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Due to a busy work schedule, and an even busier social schedule for my sons, our vacation never happened.  As Summer approached we had graduations, a few races, parties, yada, yada yada.  You know how that goes.  All of the sudden my oldest now is in college, and my youngest is starting 11th grade on Monday of next week.  We didn’t make the time, or make it a priority.  Something happened.  

So, as a result, I have not been on vacation since March.  Far too long!  I am in crazy need of some time off. Luckily, that time is soon to be here.  Without the kids, finally vacation looms just around the corner.

Officially just 9 days away now, I am chomping at the bit to get the hell out of here.  I have spent the Summer working hard, and training hard.  It’s time for a well deserved break from the madness.

Thankfully Fall will be filled with some much needed time off, play time, relaxing time, and races galore.  First up is a trip to Vegas.  I like to go at least twice a year.  Looking forward, let me tell you.  Once back from Vegas, a few days of work, then my trip to Utah for Big Cottonwood Marathon.  From there, the Smoky Mountains for a long weekend.  A local race at the start of October, then a monumental trip to Chicago for a little thing called a marathon.  It will certainly be a whirlwind six weeks ahead, and I SO need it!

Did you get to enjoy a Summer vacation this year?  Where did you go and what did you see?  Maybe your stories will tide me over during my lengthy nine day stretch at work I am starting today.  You see, my next day off is vacation on August 30th.

Now for my RANT about the 1% in the running community

Excuse me folks, but I need to get this off my chest.  If you would please just oblige me for a few moments while I clear out the disgust I’m feeling for some of our very own.  

Every group, be it social, political, cultural, or whatever, has them.  The 1% that shall be called “HOLIER THAN THOU”.  Can I just say that I had a run in with one of those people yesterday, and it really ticked me off.  

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Yeah, a person came across as he was just better than everyone else.  A person that spreads hatred, or arrogance around like fertilizer.  I think he must have been covering up for inner shame, or a very small member.  Something!  

Runners as a community I have found to be overall very accepting, and open to all.  New runners, experienced runners, young and old, tall and short, skinny and overweight, black, white, you name the color.  We are a varied bunch, a group of people seeking fitness, health and often times in a competitive nature.  But, like every other group known to man, the 1% does exist.  

I’ve felt it before.  Haven’t you?  Standing in the start of a race, getting that holier than thou glance from someone near you.  Judging you.  

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I guess it’s common to be judged in life.  Just most of the time, it’s not fair judgement.  You know what they say about sinners and casting stones, right?  

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Let’s all get along.  Simple, right?  Well, not really.  There will always be the 1%.  I choose to stay as far away from them as possible though.  In a nut shell, let me tell you the store from yesterday.

I am a member of the running group/club called Half Fanatics.  A paid, and until yesterday, a happy member.  It’s not anything I gloat about.  When I first started seriously running a few years ago, I admired people who could run further than me.  It’s natural.  Watching folks compete in a half or full marathon was something that gave me an inner drive to accomplish something more.  Well, eventually I ran my first half marathon, and loved it.  Distance running and racing became a passion of mine.  I aspired to be able to qualify for a club such as the Half Fanatics.  I qualified in 2011.  I paid my fees, and bought a shirt.  I did it!  It meant something to me.  An accomplishment.  Something I could hang my hat on.  I’ve never worn the shirt, because I don’t need to advertise it.  In 2013 I qualified to become a Marathon Maniac, another running group.  It was then that I realized that for me, I didn’t need to pay to join a club or buy a shirt.  It’s enough for me just to know that I could if I wanted to.  

Ok, background established.  We all have different goals.  Mine are personal, as I’m sure yours are as well.  The success or lack thereof I get from running is mine.  Mine alone.  It’s internal, it’s for me.  I can choose to  talk about it or not.  I try very hard not to judge.  I’m not perfect, but I do try to be as good a person as I can be.  

I’ve seen a lot of posts, and a read a lot of negative comments from people in the Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniac groups lately.  It’s almost like it’s becoming an elitist club, or is at least taking on that air.  Yes, I know that the holier than thou attitude comes from a very few, but it really sheds a bad light on the group as a whole.  I had posted in one of those groups on Facebook yesterday, soliciting feedback from a race this past weekend that I am really considering running next Summer.  I just asked that anyone who ran it, to please share their thoughts.  I was almost immediately attacked asking what was in it for me.  I thought, can we not just share race experiences in an open forum.  Solicit feedback?  Wow!  I was so taken aback that I just deleted the post before this guy got out of hand.  I am an ambassador for the race series in question, but hadn’t run the race, and stood to gain nothing from the general chit chat other than to find out if people enjoyed running it.  I like to talk about “the runner experience”.  I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It helps me make decisions on if I will spend my money on a race.  It’s no secret that I like to share my experiences, take them for what they are.  If I can help a person make a decision to run, or not, a race in the future that is my right.  Judge me if you want, but I am just trying to spread the love of running around.  This guy was just a first class jerk, and I hope to never bump into him at a race.  If being a Half Fanatic now means that somehow I am better than you, or that you are better than me or someone else, then I want no part of it.  I am pretty sure this club was not established to drag down our running community or act as a pulpit for those to cast stones or shame other runners.  Just floored me, the ignorance.

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I guess until this feeling subsides, I will just plan on focusing my thoughts on the positivity around running and our community.  I will not let the actions of the heavy minority weigh me down.  For me, we are all out there putting feet to pavement.  Regardless of how fast or slow you are, if you win the race or come in last.  Our community should be joyful, and celebrate each other.  Let’s try to do that, shall we?

Big Cottonwood Training Update

As most of you probably know already, I am running to qualify for Boston at the Revel Big Cottonwood marathon next month in Utah.  With officially under four weeks left, my training has been spot on.  Here is an update so far for August….

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I’ve gotten a run in 14 days so far in the month.  I am actually taking today off, as I have run the last six days, and need a break.  I have the next two days off from work, so it’s the perfect time to try to squeeze in my last long run of the training cycle.  Then, it’s taper.  Actually I have a built in taper planned, in Las Vegas in a few weeks.  I will not be doing any running at all while there.

My last long run of 17 miles went pretty well.  I will try for 19 tomorrow or Wednesday, depending on the weather.  My short burst, and downhill training have been going great.  Increasing my strides to take advantage of the downhills, and building endurance on the uphills.  I really do feel good, except for my nagging hamstrings, which are extremely irritating most days.  I will take some time off this winter to deal with them once and for all.  

This past week consisted of six moderately short runs.  All hill based, and hell bent for downhill speed.  Having already run five marathons this year, one Half, one 10 miler, and one each 10k and 5k race, I know I can knock out the distance come race day.  My focus has been solely on working my quads.  I’ve been told by many this is the most important part of training for a downhill race such as a Big Cottonwood.  I want to be as ready as I can be.  I really want to go for it on September 13th, and have no regrets.

I truly have been trying to lose that five pounds I told you about in an earlier post.  Less ice cream, and a better diet overall have helped.  I have lost three pounds, and feel confident that with smart decisions over the next few weeks, that I will be right on target.  I typically hover around 170 pounds, and I would like to be at or near 165 on race day.  

So, as the countdown to Cottonwood continues, so does my commitment to finishing training as healthy as possible.  I am not sure that I have ever been so focused on one race.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself as a reminder that I have a big Fall season planned with many races, not just Big Cottonwood.  I am running the Chicago Marathon for God sake!  I can’t forget about that amazing adventure.  And Greensboro Full, and some Halves, as well.  

I love running!  I love racing!  I love marathons!