Foto Friday

TGIF.  Have a nice weekend.  Here are some pics from my run on Wednesday:

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still some snow left

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ice has melted…ducks are venturing out on the cold water

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people will return when the weather warms up

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Moses statue – no water in the fountain yet

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hopefully these tulips will bloom before Tulip fest (May 10-11)

Happy Running! Are you doing anything fun this weekend?  Please share.

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Choosing Your Next Race

Yes, I like to run races.  So I run a lot of them.

But how do you decide which race to run?

Here are some things to consider:

What is the race distance and where does it fit into your training?

Obviously a marathon and half marathon are goal races.  I can only speak about half marathons.  I always make sure that I have 12 weeks to train whether do I sign up for a spring, summer, winter or fall race.

So if you choose a spring one, you have to train in the winter (which was awful this year.) And if you choose a fall one, you have to train through the heat of summer. You just choose your poison. The reward is worth it.

Sarasota HM – March 2013

Mohawk-Hudson HM – October 2013

Sometimes a 5K can just be a training run and you may want to run additional miles before or after.  Or the 5k can be a race where you want work on your speed and try to PR.  A short race can also be a way to get back into racing after an injury. A 10k or a 15k can be just a different distance to try. Each distance accomplishes a different goal.

I am fortunate that where I live, between April and October, there are many races to choose from each weekend. Most are 5ks. So when I only ran 5ks, it was easy.  Then I started training for half marathons and sometimes I just had to skip a 5K if I wanted to run long. That’s when the 10K and 15k worked out well.  But there aren’t as many of those. I

So if you like to race a lot, you just have to be flexible with your running schedule.

a fun 10k to get miles in while training for a half

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running a 5k (for speed work) and then adding more miles on after

Do you want a big race or a small race?

Big races offer a lot of excitement and they are a lot of fun. They are also more expensive. More expensive sometimes means more perks – medals, swag, food, photos, etc.

Small races are less hectic, it is easier to find parking and there is just less hassle.  You also have a better chance of winning an age group award in a small race.

I like both. In big races, you are always running with a crowd and it is very motivating. You can feel the excitement in the air. Sometimes it is lonely in a small race.  You may often be running by yourself.  But then again, they are more personal and I have been lucky in winning awards & raffle prizes in some small races.

racing among 5000 women

winning a medal in a small race

Are you willing to travel and how far?

I know someone who is willing to travel for hours to a race. That’s not me.  Gas is expensive and if the race is far away, you have to get up at an ungodly hour. What helps is if you can carpool or go with a friend.  Even better is knowing someone who lives close to the race and staying over the night before.

Then there are destination races.  Those are races that are too far away to go for the day.  You may make them in a vacation or just a weekend away.

As I said, I don’t like to drive more than an hour for a race. (I’ve only done it only once.) I do like destination races.  I have been lucky and been able to stay with a friend (in Florida, California, Pennsylvania, etc.) which saves money.  I also save up my frequent flier miles (that I get my using my credit card) for these trips. So my vacation to visit an old friend just happens to include a race.  Perfect!

Biggest Loser 5K Run Walk

this was farthest drive – 2 1/2 hours to VT

visiting an old friend in CA.

What is the course elevation?

Check it out ahead of time.  No one likes to be surprised by a hilly race.  I don’t like hills but sometimes you can’t avoid them.  Other factors about the race may be more important.

For a half marathon, I love a flat course since even then this distance whips my butt.

Florida races are usually flat (except if they go over bridges)

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hilly 4 miler in Lake George

What is the course like?

Is it on trails?  Is it on roads open to traffic?  It is through a park? Is it in a residential neighborhood? Do you run along the ocean or a lake or a river? In other words, will the scenery be a distraction from the struggle of running.

I love to run a race along the water and through a park.  The course is important to me.  That’s not to say that I haven’t run on some boring courses.

these free races run around the state office campus – so boring

scenic fall 5k in the Adirondacks

Do you get good swag?

Who needs another cotton tee shirt?  At least now, most races are giving gender-specific tech shirts.  Some races give bags or mugs.  And some short races even give medals. We love bling, right?

free windbreakers!

a medal for a 5K!

Has it gotten good reviews?

The race’s advertising always makes the race look great. Try Googling  the race name + “race recap” to pull up bloggers’ reviews.  They are much more helpful.  No one likes to pay for a race that doesn’t have enough parking or bathrooms or water on the course.

Most of my race experiences have been good just a few snafus here and there and I have honestly blogged about them. (I have had 2 bad experiences at 2 USRA races.)

USRA Lake George Half – poorly organized

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CGI Love Run – well organized

So speaking of choosing a race, my next one is this Saturday – Rabbit Ramble 4 miler.

I chose it because it was nearby and supposedly not too hilly. 4 miles is a good distance since I am not training for a half right now but it is short enough to add on more miles if I feel like it. As far as swag – Special 20th anniversary t-shirts, door prizes, special 20th year medals and awards to all overall and age group winners and if you registered early, a pair of Rabbit Ramble running gloves. Some runners that I know have run it and said that it was a fun race.

My goals for this race are:

  • run the whole thing without stopping
  • finish under 40 minutes
  • keep each mile’s pace under 10 minutes
  • win an AG award 
  • have fun!
  • stay healthy!

Happy Running! How do you decide which races to run?

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Who Keeps You Healthy?

 The American Recall Center is a brand new site devoted to providing health and wellness news in simple, straightforward terms. Their ultimate goal is to help their readers take complete charge of their health by being fully informed! 

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This past March, they reached out to a group of other bloggers to create a blog post that included an explanation and photo of who in their life kept them healthy. In other words, who’s their “Health Hero“? Because of the fantastic response and the relatively small number of bloggers that participated, they are running this campaign again for the month of April.

Like they did in March, they will feature a collage of all of the images from every participant in their Community Section

My Health Hero:

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My health hero is my co-worker Sherri.  Where I work, our jobs are mostly sedentary.  In other words, we sit at a desk all day and work on the computer.

Sherri, who has severe neck & back problems (that require PT and cortisone shots) and recently had a hysterectomy, is more active than anyone I know.

She arrives early each day so she can walk before work. For her 15 minute morning break, she walks a 1 mile inside when the weather is cold (which his most of the time in the NE) or outside around the track in the nicer temps.

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For her lunch hour, she rides the exercise bike or walks on the treadmill.

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And for her 15 minute afternoon break, she repeats her morning routine.  If that weren’t enough, she has free weights at her desk so she do upper body strength exercises in preparation for kayak season.

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Before I met Sherri, I would sit at my desk all day!  I even ate lunch at my desk.  Now at 11 am, she stops by my office and encourages me to accompany her on her 15 minute walk around the school.

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I am a runner but she walks almost as fast as I run.  I struggle to keep up but I am so happy that she gets me out of my chair once a day. She may even motivate me to leave my desk for lunch, too.

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Happy Running!  Do you have a “Health Hero”?

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I Suck at Hills

Hills are my downfall in running.  I avoid them at all cost.  As a result, when I encounter them in race, I am unprepared.  Then what do I do?  Walk, of course.  And there goes my race pace.

Here are some strategies that are supposed to make hill running easier:

  • Lean into the hill from your hips with your chest out.
  • The steeper the hill the more you lean.
  • Shorten your stride and lift your knees.
  • Think of picking up your feet more and stepping lightly.
  • Drive off your back foot.
  • Pump your arms but no need to exaggerate the action.
  • Look straight ahead and try to focus on something a few feet in front of you. This will help pull you up the hill.
  • Try to run relaxed, you mightn’t feel this way but don’t worry you’ll soon be at the top.
  • Keep an even and steady rhythm.
  • Try to maintain the same breathing rate as you would on the flat. Of course on very steep hills you’ll probably be breathing harder.

from: http://www.women-running-together.com/hillrunning.html 

So my goal is to get better and…

And the only way that is to happen is to practice.

Hill repeats, here I come!

I have some hilly races coming up this summer so hopefully I can get more comfortable with hills.

Happy Running?  Do you do hill repeats? Do you practice running on hills?

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Monday Running Update

20140406-150059.jpgLast Week:

  • Monday – 1 mile walk at work, rest, tennis
still indoors

still indoors

  • Tuesday - 1 mile walk at work, 3 miles on the TM (too tired), tennis (instead)
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indoors again

  • Wednesday – 1 mile walk at work, 3 4 mile run
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reward

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so windy

  • Thursday – 1 mile walk at work, 4 mile run
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first walk outdoors

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warm but windy…on the rail trail

  • Friday –  1 mile walk at work, pizza party, rest, mah jongg
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ate 4 slices of pizza for lunch. I don’t think 1 mile was enough to burn it off but it wasraining

  • Saturday -  5K race + 3.5 more miles

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  • Sunday –  rest, day with Amanda & sons
at the butterfly exhibit

at the butterfly exhibit

at the park

at the park

This Week:

  • Monday - 3 miles at lunch, Passover seder
  • Tuesday - rest, tennis
  • Wednesday – 5 miles
  • Thursday – 4 miles
  • Friday –  rest, mah jongg
  • Saturday -  4m race
  • Sunday –  rest

Happy Running! How is your running going?  Any races ?

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Spring is Here (at least for a short time)

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Finally a day that feels like spring!

As I said yesterday, it was too beautiful outside to not run some more miles. And the area where the race race took place was so nice that I decided to stay put and run there.

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I heard that the 10k had better views so I decided to go that way.  I wasn’t going to run 6.2 miles — just maybe 3 more.

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It was farmland and mountains in all directions.

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No traffic at all.

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A sign that I was not in the city any more.

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Definitely a dairy farm area.

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I miscalculated and wound up with 3.5 extra miles.

I think I made the right decision to run the 5k.  I won a pie and I got my miles in as well.

Afterward, I decided to take a different way home.  On my run I saw a sign for a yarn store and a zoo.

Well, I found neither but I did take a delightful ride along the Hudson River.

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At one point, I had to stop and take the pictures above.  The spray of the water was breathtaking.

I continued on my way and arrived in familiar territory — where my hubby and I used to fly his plane (it got destroyed by ice several years ago). And I stopped at our favorite ice cream place – Bubbles diner.

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coffee raspberry twist – yum!

At that point, I headed back to the highway toward home to do some mundane things like grocery shopping, laundry, etc.

Today, was another spring-like day.  I had promised to take my mentee’s kids to the the butterfly exhibit at a local museum.

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We had a lot of fun with the butterflies.

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As well as the other fun hands-on science activities.

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After a stop at Mac Donald’s to pick up lunch, we  headed to the park to eat and play on the playground.

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It was warm but quite windy.  Perfect for flying kites.

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What warm day would be complete without a stop for ice cream on the way home. So we did.

This was my rest day but boy am I tired!!

Happy Running! What did you do to enjoy the warm weather?

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Bacon Hill Bonanza 5K Race Report

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I am not sure why I registered for the 10K instead of the 5k.  Maybe cuz they were both the same price or that it was more worth the drive.

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Anyway, the 10K would be downhill for the first half and then uphill for the last half  but the 5k was an out and back and would be mostly flat.

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So I changed my mind. I switched to the 5K and then planned to run 3 miles after.

This was a new race for me.  There were other closer races but first place male and female winners for each age group (5 year increments) would receive a homemade pie, second place age group winners homemade cookies, and third place homemade muffins. The finish line would also feature homemade chili and other goodies for all runners. Enough of an incentive for me.

The race started at 10 am which was good since it would be an hour minute drive.

Again the weather was tricky. What to wear? It was cool in the morning (low 40s) but scheduled to warm up to the 60s.  I opted for a long sleeve shirt (the one I got from last week’s race), skirt & compression socks. I brought a jacket just in case.

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I got to the race early and found a parking spot in a field next to the church.  The race started at the church  in the town of Bacon Hill, a small farming town with awesome scenery. (It reminded me of Vermont.)

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This was the second year for this race but the first year for the 10K.  There were a little over 200 for the 5k and a little over a 100 for the 10K (nice numbers for a small town race.) I bumped into a lady from my age group that I know from previous races but she was running the 10K.  It seemed that the faster runners were doing that one.  Good for me!!

It was chilly.  First I had my jacket on, then I put my race shirt over my other shirt and then I put them both back in my car. (Right move, it got warm!)

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love the pink tech shirt, men got neon green

I hung out and started chatting with a guy and his wife.  They were from my town and we have done most of the same races.

First there was the kids race – one mile.  They were so cute. I told the organizers about my running buddy and they gave me this medal (I usually mail him my race shirts but I doubt he would want a pink women’s shirt.)

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Soon it was time for the race to start. The pastor read a prayer and the church bells rang and we were off.

The 5k  was an out and back.  The 10k veered to the right and supposed had hills and breath taking views.

I decided to go out fast.  I have have negative splits so why try.  It wasn’t as flat as I thought.  The hills were bad but I felt like I was running up.  I didn’t walk up any!!

There were volunteers on the course calling out times. I occasionally glanced down at my Garmin to make sure I was running in the 9′s. Eventually we turned around and head back….INTO THE WIND!!!  Tough running into the wind for 1.5 miles but again I didn’t stop for water and I didn’t walk up any  hills.  I just pushed myself.  I even found myself passing people.

As I approached the finish line, I realized that not only was I under 30 minutes, I could finish under 29 minutes.  Unfortunately I had no gas left and I barely made it.  Not sure what my official finish time was but my Gamin says: 28:53!! I was pleased.  First 5k under 30 minutes since last November.

I immediately made a bee line for the chocolate milk.  Boy was it good.  I think I had 5 cups.

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They had great food – the usual food but also chili and homemade muffins & cookies (including gluten free ones).

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Someone that I met at the Malta 5k last September recognized me.  We had chatted a lot after that race.  Holly is just a year younger than (different age group – YAY!).  We talked while waiting for the results.

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results for me and my new friends (I beat the “guy”)

I looked and saw that they had my age wrong: 59 not 60.  I told them and they changed it but they had a lot of ages wrong.  This meant that we had to wait a really long time for the awards. It was nice to have someone to wait with.  They were giving out homemade pie & cookies so everyone was waiting. And I won a pie!!! (Love my age group!) Holly won 3rd and cookies.

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I put the pie in my car and changed into my race shirt. I really didn’t feel like running more but I promised myself that I would.

I had planned to head home and stop at one of the bike paths on the way.  But this area was so nice, I decided to stay and run. (More about it in my next post.)

All in all, I loved this race.  I will definitely do it again…maybe even the 10K.

Splits:

mile 1- 9:00
mile 2 – 9:32
mile 3 –  9:33
.1 – 8:09

(yup, positive splits – can I blame it on the wind?)

Goals:

  • run the whole thing without stopping – YES!
  • finish under 30 minutes – YES!
  • keep each mile’s pace under 10 minutes – YES!
  • win an AG award (they’re giving out baked goods!) – YES! 1st!
  • have fun! – YES!
  • stay healthy! – YES!

Happy Running! Are you running or racing this weekend?

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