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!

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.

Marathon training – almost there

Wrapping up another week of training, the countdown seems to be ticking away faster and faster.  I don’t know about you, but the tediousness of a long marathon training plan sometimes makes me feel like race day will never get here.

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Now just 39 days away from my BQ attempt, I have to say that training is going about as well as I can expect it to.  We had a nice break from the heat here in NC over the past five days which really helped.  I got in some quality runs, mixing in a lot of downhill work along the way.  I have to say, looking back at my training last Summer, I am certainly not putting in the miles this year like last year.  Last year in July, I ran over 110 miles.  This year like 83.  I really think the difference being that I have run five marathons this year already, and my body is still sort of in recovery mode.  Last year that wasn’t the case.  I’ve been hampered more than I care to admit by hamstring issues.  Yes, lingering issues.  Looking back at some older blog posts, I mention my hamstrings hurting damn near nine months ago.  I’ve been struggling with them, and I know it hampers my pace.  Sometimes I just can’t get loose, or it takes me a few miles before I really can get up to speed on a run.  I tell myself, just get over it, and run, but sometimes it just really is irritating, literally.

Enough about that.  It is what it is.  I will survive.  I go on vacation at the end of this month, and I will get my rest then.  I don’t plan on running at all while on vacation, so these next 25 days are really the final stretch of training.  I plan on meaningful and impactful runs mostly revolving on the downhill work.  I will try to get in two final long runs, but nothing over the top.  I know I can do the distance, and I don’t want to injure myself in an attempt to “get the miles in”.  I must arrive at August 30th feeling that I gave it my all. When I return from vacation, all I will do is some short maintenance runs in the five days leading up to my trip to Utah.  I want my legs to be fresh, and ready to take that downhill marathon by storm.

So, with a vacation involved in the final stages of this training plan, I have a taper built in.  What a great way to taper, too.  I really need this vacation.  The benefits a vacation will have on my mental game will help me too during the final stretch.

So, how is your training going?  How many days until your big race?  How do you like to taper?

Another great race planned

With such a huge focus on my upcoming marathon in Utah, at Big Cottonwood, I can’t forget that just a week later I have a beautiful Half marathon to run in Tennessee.

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A National Park series race, put on by Vacation Races.  The event, named the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon, is an inaugural race this year.  With a race course extending from Maryville to Townsend, TN, this race should be a beautiful run.

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I have been working hard trying to find the perfect accommodations for my trip to the a Great Smoky mountains.  I have looked a quite a few properties, but a few necessities are a must.  Trying to find them all in one property is proving a bit challenging.  Pet friendly is a must.  I have two dogs that will bark at a bear in an instant!  A hot tub for pre and post race, is a must as well.  A nice, fully equipped kitchen for preparing meals.  A comfortable king bed.  How about a really nice view, too!

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Looking forward to taking part in this race, and spending some time in the mountains of Tennessee.

REVEL Race Series Ambassador – I am a REVELer

imageI am proud to announce, and excited to begin another ambassadorship with an extremely popular and brilliantly run race series.  REVEL Race Series is known for fast, beautiful and downhill races with amazing amenities.  

When looking for a new vacation race several months ago, I read about the Big Cottonwood Marathon and Half in Cottonwood Canyon south of Salt Lake City, Utah.  It didn’t take me long to make the decision to register for this event!  It’s fast, it’s beautiful.  This race is unique as it starts at a high altitude, and descends down through Cottonwood Canyon.  It offers a great chance at qualifying for Boston.  My fastest marathon time is just seven minutes shy of my Boston Marathon qualifying time, so this race naturally became my BQ goal race.  

A few months later, I saw the opportunity to become an Ambassador for this race series.  Naturally, I applied.  Recently selected to the team, I couldn’t be happier to help promote this awesome race series.  Great locations, beautiful courses, amazing swag including one of the biggest finisher medals I have ever seen, and charity supporters are some of the reasons why I applied.  

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I will provide much more information and even provide you with a race discount if you check out this race, or one of the others in California or Colorado, and decide to run one.  I would love to have some company this September!  I am adding the race in California and in Denver to my “must run” list.  Check them out online at http://www.runrevel.com.  

Follow them on Twitter:  @runrevel. They are also on Instagram and Pinterest.

This race series offers races in beautiful canyons, fast Boston-qualifying courses, with a huge emphasis placed on the runner experience.  Great customer service, great refund policy, awesome shirts, medals and free photos and videos.  Free photos?  What?  Yes, free race photos and personalized video from your race.  High quality races, and top notch fun!  

If you have any questions about how to REVEL, just ask.

Don't you want to run here?  I can't wait.

Don’t you want to run here? I can’t wait.

 

Channeling the Mountains

As I take a few breaths before heading out on my long run of the week, my mind wanders….

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I am getting prepared for my next marathon.  Marathon #14 will start high above the ground I stand on now.  The ground that will be underneath my feet during my final 8 weeks of training.  There is no preparing for altitude here at home.  I have to trust that with my hill training, my increased downhill pace will get me out of the clouds quicker than I can get out of breath.

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Eight weeks from now the race will be over.  An epic event, starting at the Brighton Ski Resort in a Utah.  My thoughts everyday revolve around those mountains.  I cannot wait to see them, I cannot wait to run down Cottonwood Canyon.  

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Focus…  Focus.  Even though these hill workouts are really killing me, I have to think of those mountains, and the reason why I am putting myself through extra pain now.  It will all be worth it in the end.  Even if I don’t run the race of my life, I get to enjoy the beauty all along the way to the finish.

If you’ll excuse me, I have some hills to conquer on my run today.  Happy running to you all!

 

…I Need A Vacation

What I am in serious need of is decompression time.  Time to sit, time to ponder and not have any obligations.  Time to do things for myself, and enjoy the things that mean the most to me.  That means family, that means running…. and cooking, hiking and breathing in the clean air.

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I haven’t been on vacation since March.  Contrary to popular belief, even though I was at the beach last week, I worked about 46 hours, and barely had time to even see the ocean.  

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What I need is some serious time in the mountains.  Time away from the terrible, oppressive heat and humidity.  It makes me think of the many times I have been to the mountains, and had the most relaxing vacations.  I’ve rented cabins or homes mostly, because we like to have the space to spread out, and also be able to cook.  A fully equipped kitchen is a must while on vacation.  I know, some of you may be saying, “there is no way I am cooking on vacation”.  I love to cook though, so I find it a necessity while on vacation in the mountains.  I would much rather cook than go out to eat constantly.

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What I look forward to are the crisp, cool mornings.  A nice run, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature.  A good hike with family.  Taking pictures.  

Yeah, now I’ve got myself all worked up, yearning for the day this a Fall where I will be able to get away and enjoy “me time”.  Family time.

Luckily for me, I have time away planned for September.  A few months back I signed up for a Half Marathon in the Great Smoky Mountains.  This will be the weekend following the Big Cottonwood Marathon (another mountain getaway, yeah!) so extending my vacation to a full week and a half, and including two runs will be just amazing.  Vacation Races has several great National Park Half marathons on their event list, so check them out.  I am really excited about it.  I am now in the process of finding the perfect cabin to rent for a few days so that I have time to relax while in Tennessee, as well.

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While I am enduring long, tedious training runs in the North Carolina heat of Summer, I guess I just have to dream about my upcoming vacations, and hold tight, knowing that they will be here before I know it.  

Do you run while on vacation?  Maybe you plan your vacations around a race?  I like to be able to do it all while on vacation.  Relax and run.  How about you?

Beach Bound & Running

I never travel for work, but I got word that next week I will be. I will be heading down to Wilmington, NC, and the beaches to work and play.

I guess there could be worse places to travel for business, right? The beach during the Summer? How can I really complain. I will be heading down on Monday morning, and staying all week.

To keep myself from getting bored while not at work, I plan on doing some nice runs while there. I’ve gotta map out the area before I head down. If you are a faithful reader of my blog, you know I ran a marathon in Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington back in March. It was much cooler then, so my runs next week will more than likely be very hot and humid. No excuses though, as I will be staying in a hotel, with little much else to do. No family, no dogs to tend to.

I plan on spending a little time in the surf and sand, maybe even get a run or two in on the beach. Even though the beach is only a few hour drive from home, this little getaway may be a nice change to my workouts.

See you at the beach!