Giving Back

I am already a mentor to a young unwed mother of 2 but I also wanted to do something related to running.

I am grateful to all running has given me so it’s time to GIVE BACK.

Thanks to Facebook,  I saw a post that said:

This is another call to arms for (STEM) Strong Through Every Mile, my domestic violence couch to 5k group. We’ve expanded to a partnership with the YWCA in Schenectady and need new volunteers! I know this is a tough time of year for racing and training but if you have a couple of hours to spend on a Monday, Wednesday and/or Friday at 9am or 5:30pm to train some well deserving women for the next two months to their first 5k, it would literally mean the world to them (even if they don’t know it yet). Any one day per week, morning or evenings would be amazing (double hugs from me if you can do more but it isn’t necessary).

ALL paces welcome, we just need enthusiastic bodies to bring running to non runners.

We’ve been really successful in Troy and are super excited to work with another organization and would love to have you join in on our expansion

Sounded perfect.  I can’t do Mondays or Fridays but although I usually run on Wednesdays, I decided to pass and do this instead.

I signed up and got more info last week:

Hi all –

So we’re getting started on Wednesday this week!
Our 9 a.m. group will meet at the bike path at Schenectady County Community College. Our 5:30 p.m. group will meet at the parking lot  by Alexander Field at Union College, and we’ll be running the campus. 

We’ll be starting with Day 2 of the Couch to 5K training program. ( You don’t have to download it if you don’t want to. Someone else in the group will surely have it and be able to tell you what the plan is for the day.

This is going to be a great season. It’s hard to explain how powerful this program has been for our past participants. The time you’re taking each week to run with these ladies is truly changing lives.

Jennifer Gish
Features editor/sports columnist
Times Union -Albany, NY

According to the info I received, there are 4 mentors for each session.

I was not familiar with the Couch to 5k program. When I started running with the New Boundaries program, it was a 12 week program and we basically starting running 1 mile and progressed up to 3 miles. So I looked up the Couch to 5K program online. This is basically the 9-week plan:

So after work last Wednesday, I rushed to Union College and found the meeting location (with some difficulty.)


People arrived little by little since no one knew exactly where to go.  Without any introductions, I wasn’t sure who was who but there seemed to be 5 mentors, 4 interns/case workers, and 6 clients.

It was unseasonably warm – near 80 (unbelievable!) and humid. Luckily the impending rain held off and we were able to do our workout.

The mentors used the Couch to 5K app and spaced themselves among the clients…giving them encouragement.  We did some dynamic stretches, a 5 minutes walk, then alternated 60 sec run and 90 sec walk for 25 minutes and then a 5 minute cool down followed by stretches.

The clients were, of course, skeptical about their ability to run but they did great!

The Union College campus is a great place to run – lots of paths, no traffic and lights! (I plan to run afterwards here each week.)

The STEM goal race is Jingle Bell 5K on December 6. Unfortunately I work at the LSATs that morning and already signed up for a 5k that night. (I’ll have to see how it goes and if I  can go cheer them on.)

I am looking forward to tonight’s group run.  They will have also run last Friday and Monday.  I hope the clients don’t drop out.

It is so rewarding to know that you are making a difference in someone’s life.

 Happy Running! Have you ever volunteered in a running group?



Tuesdays on the Run: Tapering

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs hosts Tuesdays on the Run with April @ Run the great wide somewhere and Patty @ My no-guilt life!

This week’s topic is: Tapering

Well, this topic is appropriate because I have a 10 mile race this coming weekend.

So I guess I am tapering.

What does “tapering” mean?

It is the gradual reduction of training intensity and duration as you edge forever closer to race day. It is a necessary aspect of endurance training and it starts in the last few weeks before the big day.

A few weeks in the case of a marathon.  For me, it is the last week before a half marathon.  After my long run of 12 miles, I reduce my long run to 8 miles and run several times during the last week.  Those runs are usually only 3 miles and then I rest for two days before the big event.

Why is tapering important?

  • Studies show that levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones–all depleted by high mileage–return to optimal ranges during a taper.
  • The muscle damage that occurs during sustained training is also repaired.
  • And if that isn’t enough, immune function and muscle strength improve, as well, which reduces the odds you’ll catch a cold or get injured just before the race.
  • You will not lose your fitness during the tapering period.
  • If you do it properly you are likely to feel fresher on race day than you have ever felt.

What should you do during a taper (so you don’t go crazy)?

  • Obsessively check the weather for race day.
  • Plan your race outfit.
  • Make sure you have the right fuel for the race.
  • Check the race Web site for race-morning particulars such as start time, and work out the details of how you’ll get to the start on race day.
  • Also check the race Web site for the course map and study it.
  • Relax!!

Back to my tapering.

I don’t feel like I need to taper because I really didn’t train hard.

10 mile training

13 mile week included my only uninterrupted long run of 8.5 miles

Most of my long runs were interrupted by a race.

This taper will be an easy one since the forecast is for rain everyday. I hate to run in the rain and I’m not a fan of treadmills.

Happy Running!  What are your thoughts about tapering?


Monday Running Update

20140625-122436-44676505Last Week:

  • Monday – walk at work, 4 3.5 mile group run

AM walk


  • Tuesday – walk at work, rest, tennis

AM walk

  • Wednesday – walk at work, 3 mile run at lunch, STEM training mentor (1.5 miles) + 2.5 miles after

AM walk


  • Thursday – walk at work, 4 3 mile run, dinner out with friends

after work but didn’t run enough to work off what I ate for dinner (see below:)

Beef on a Kummelweck

salted caramel cream puff

  • Friday- 2 walks at work, rest, gym, mah jongg

AM walk


PM walk


  • Saturday – 10k race + 3 more miles

in the rain but got as PR!



baked 2 apple pies

  • Sunday – rest, duathlon spectating, farm with mentee & kids




made some chili

This Week:

  • Monday – walk at work, chili cook off at work, 3 mile group run
  • Tuesday – walk at work, rest, tennis
  • Wednesday – walk at work, STEM group run + more (4 miles)
  • Thursday – walk at work, 4 mile run
  • Friday-OFF from work, rest, drive to NJ
  • Saturday – rest, reunion lunch in NYC
  • Sunday – 10 mile race!

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


Day at a duathlon and then a farm

Today was a REST day! No running!

This was my third year watching AJH competing in this Duathlon.


The first year, it was raining and I had a stress fracture in my foot. It was not so much fun.


But last year, it was much more enjoyable. It took place near Krause’s restaurant on the Mohawk Towpath Byway and I was able to get in a run during the bike portion of the race.

This is where I ran a few weeks ago. I love this area.

However, this year, they changed the location of the race.

It started at Riverview Orchards.  I had never been there so I was excited to explore a new running route (even though I ran a 10K yesterday.)


However, it was so COLD, windy and nasty that I decided to forego the run and just watch.


waiting to begin

The runners started with a 2 mile run on a fast, flat section out Riverview and Droms Road and then back to the transition area.


here she comes finishing the first 2 mile run

Then the bikers left the transition area and traveled 1 1/2 miles southeast on Riverview Road.  They rode two 7 mile loops of rolling terrain including Sugar Hill Road, a mile on Grooms, south on Vischer Ferry Road and west on Riverview Road and returned to the transition area with 17 miles completed (set within the historic context of the Erie Canal and against the backdrop of colorful fall foliage.)


heading out on the bike

As I mentioned…it was COLD.  I took advantage of the race being at the orchard and stayed inside the store while Andrea was racing.

I had some hot cider and watched them make cider donuts.


finishing the bike portion of the race

The bike route was very hilly and the riders had to finish uphill riding INTO the wind.  I was so impressed with how AJH did as well as the others.

The race ended with the same running route as it started. So after that hilly ride, they had to run again!!


almost done with run #2



As soon as Andrea was done, the sun came out briefly and then it started to rain.  I was glad that Andrea did well enough to stay dry.


She won 1st in her age group and the grand prize in the raffle.

As soon as the awards were over,  I took off so I could pick up Amanda and the kids for our annual outing to Ellms Family Farm.


The day included all the usual fun stuff: Jumping Pillow, MooMooChooChoo, Chicken Show, Spider Web, animal feed area, hay ride, kiddie mazes, zip lines, pedal carts, barnyard mazes, Bean Bag Toss and more!


60 ft slide – their favorite



Of course, we had cider donuts and picked pumpkins.

Unfortunately, it was COLD and windy…at least I was very cold. We had fun but not as much as we would have had if the weather had been nicer.

It was along day and I had to rush home to make chili for our annual chili cook-off at work.


guess what kind?

Happy Running! How did you spend your Sunday? Resting or Running? 





Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K race recap

I had intended to run this race before.  I signed up for the 5K in 2009 and it was pouring so I left.  Then I signed up for the 10K in 2011 and I got ill and couldn’t run it.

Third time’s a charm, I guess.

I know that they changed the 5k course so that it was flatter.  The 10k course continues from the 5k and there are several hills.  I am used to that after last week’s race.

The race takes place in Saratoga State Park which is a beautiful place to run especially in the fall.

Lately we have been blessed with some beautiful weather…unseasonably warm. I wish it had stayed that way.  I love Indian Summer.

Today it cooled down and again rain was forecasted.  Not knowing what the weather will do makes it hard to dress.  I dressed similarly to last week but with the longer distance and higher humidity, I worried that I would be too warm.

It rained during the night but it had stopped by the morning and just drizzled on my drive up. (Fingers crossed that it would stay that way.)

I left for the race early in case I had to park where I needed to get a shuttle to the start. The race was to start at 9:30 and I got there at 8:30 am. I was lucky to get a spot right next to the finish line.

This is a popular race. They were hoping for 2000 runners. (I think they were about 1500.) Quite a few folks from the Turkey Trot  Training Group were planning to run it but I didn’t know if I would see them.

I hung out for a while in the pavilion.  There were real bathrooms and a fireplace.


I bumped into one of my former French students and her daughter.  She graduated in 1986 and is a doctor. We chatted and reminisced.

Then I saw two ladies (Helen & Sue) from the Turkey Trot running group.  It was nice to see a familiar face. We hung out until the start of the race.

It was chilly but I decided to leave my jacket (and race shirt & phone) at the bag check.  It was still dry outside but it didn’t look like it would stay that way.

I lost Sue and Helen so just pushed my way into the crowd.

photo from a previous year

Finally the race started.  I think it took me at least 20 seconds to get to the start line.  It was so crowded and even then I had to weave ar0und the walkers and slower runners.

This was the 5K course:

a quick right onto the North-South road and past the entrances to Columbia and Ferndell pavilions. .. north past the toll building and a left onto the Roosevelt Bath Drive for several hundred feet and then a right onto the stone path entering the mall area. ..pass the Administrative building (on right) with the reflecting pools (center), continuing to the far end and  a left following the path parallel to the Avenue of the Pines. Next a left on the path heading back down the mall continuing on the stone path and right onto the road in front of the Hall of Springs. …following this road passing the SPAC entrance and entering the parking lot behind the Automobile Museum running to the end of this lot. .. then bear left onto paved path that will bring them around a pond and taking another left …then take a right onto the stone path that runs behind the SPAC amphitheater bringing them out to face the Box Office … bear right and then left into the parking lot running straight down the parking lot about ½ way and a right heading towards the perimeter stone road. … then left onto the perimeter stone road that runs along edge of the lot with another left at the south end of the lot and finally a left to head back toward SPAC along the opposite side of the parking lot. … right to re-enter SPAC at the sundial and go through the gates, across the bridge and run through the grounds bearing right leaving the SPAC grounds and entering the parking lot near the Roosevelt Baths… continue through the Roosevelt lot and continuing on to Roosevelt Drive. …right onto the North-South Road and back toward Columbia Pavilion.

It was nice and flat and running on the dirt & gravel helped me slow down my pace.  I even stopped at the water stop.

My 5K time was faster than it should have been but this gave me cushion to take it slow the second half.

As soon as we started the 10K course, the skies opened up.  I mean it started pouring!!!

And the course was HILLY:

continue on the North-South Road and a left on to East-West Road heading east past the toll building to the turnaround (where large park map is located- near the entrance to Route 9.) From the turnaround, continue in the opposite direction going west on East-West road past the Peerless Pool and Carlsbad Pavilion…. a right at the top of the hill heading down and will continue on the road until it meets up again with the East-West road. (on this back loop will pass to the left Coesa and Orenda pavilion and down the hill the Geyser Pavilion will be on the right)….then a left on to East-West road…. up the hill and another left on to North South Road and finish the at the Columbia Pavilion.

The hills were LONG and there were many of them.  They just kept coming.  And the rain was a cold soaking rain. I stopped at the 2nd water stop and WALKED up every hill. I was happy that the first half allowed me to not feel guilty about all the walking.

When I looked down at my Garmin, I was surprised that I was still running under a 10 min/mile pace.  Maybe I could even PR!

After one more walk near the end, I gunned it through the finish and crossed at 58:46 which was 58:28 chip time.

That was more than 2 minutes faster than my PR on a flat course and 6 minutes faster than my last hilly 10K. WooHoo!!!

I saw Sue near the finish line and we waited for Helen to cross.

We were wet and happy – all of us had PRs today!!

Anxious to get warm, we headed for the pavilion.  I waited in line and had a bagel, some banana bread and some hot chocolate. Then I changed out of my wet shirt. (I was freezing at this point.)


this is this year’s shirt…for the race I was wearing a black one from 2010

Sue & Helen left and I hung around for a while by the fire.  They gave out beer glasses for the age group winners.  I was 4th.  I guess I can’t win an award at every race. (I would have if I ran the 5K but I’m glad I took on the challenge.)


those older women are fast!


mile 1 – 9:37
mile 2 – 9:43
mile 3 – 9:14
mile 4 – 9:16
mile 5 – 10:07
mile 6  – 9:44
.2  – 8:29

These splits are surprising — I really felt like I running faster the first half and slower the second.


only a minute slower the 2nd half and I walked A LOT!!!


  • Run most it. YES. Except for those darn hills!
  • Pace under 10 min/mile for most miles. YES. All but mile 5.
  • Beat my last 10K time (1:04:54). A PR would be a real stretch. A age group award would be a bigger stretch (the speedy older women do this one). YES. Beat my last 10k time and got a PR!!!
  • Finish strong and uninjured. YES.
  • Enjoy the race. YES. Would have enjoyed it more with some sunshine.

I am satisfied with how I did at this race.  Just think if I could only conquer the hills.

As I was leaving, it started to rain lightly.  I was thinking about running more in the park if the weather was nicer.  I drove home and it rained the whole way but stopped as I neared my house.

I decided to stop and run some more.  That 10 mile race is only ONE WEEK away!

So I parked my car where I normally do and ran down the street for a mile, turned and ran .4 and then ran back to my car.  It was at a very SLOOOW pace.  I even stopped at 2 garage sales.


With running done for the day… it was on to grocery shopping, laundry and baking apple pies

Happy Running! Are you running or racing this weekend? If so, how did it go?


Friday Five: Favorite Fitness Tunes


Every Friday, three DC area bloggers Mary at Mar On the Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?! and Courtney from Eat Pray Run, DC to host the Friday Five linkup.  Anyone can join with their own Friday Five post (yes, it must be a Friday Five!!)  They encourage you to visit other blogs on the linkup, comment, share and engage!

This week, the theme is Five Favorite Fitness Tunes!

Ok, I just picked ones that motivate me to RUN:

  1. Stronger by Brittney Spears
  2. Don’t Stop by the The Rolling Stones
  3. Stronger by  Kelly Clarkson
  4. Best Day of My Life by the American Authors
  5. Run Run Run by Michelle Lewis

and if you haven’t, watch this video:

Addicted to Running

Happy Running! What is your favorite running song?


Busy Weekend Ahead


last ride

Now that boating is over, you would think I would have some free time…


Saturday, I am running this 10K race.

It takes place in Saratoga National Park and it is a race that I’ve wanted to do since I started running but something has always gotten in the way.

photo from last year

They have a NEW flatter 5k course which is very tempting but since I have a 10 mile run in ONE WEEK, I think the longer distance would be wiser.

10K history:

  • 2012 – Camp Chingachgook – 1:09:07 (covering from ankle surgery)
  • 2013 – Hmrrc Winter Series #3 – 1:08:18
  • 2013 – Helper’s Fund  – 1:06:10
  • 2013 – Monster Scramble  – 1:03:18 (it was short!)
  • 2014 – Spring Run Off  -1:00:51 PR
  • 2014 – Camp Chingachgook – 1:04:54

As you can see, I don’t run many 10ks.

I usually train for half marathons by running long on the weekend.  With 5Ks, I just wing it.  But for 10ks, you want to run fast but not burn out.  So who knows how this will go.  I will try to go out slow and save some for the second half.

comfort zone

I have been getting better at the 5K distance but I still struggle with anything over that. I know I can win my age group with the 5K… most likely not with the 10K.

A 10K will be out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes a good thing.


  • Run most it.
  • Pace under 10 min/mile for most miles.
  • Beat my last 10K time (1:04:54). A PR would be a real stretch. A age group award would be a bigger stretch (the speedy older women do this one).
  • Finish strong and uninjured.
  • Enjoy the race.

After the race, I hope to run a few more miles before getting home.

would love to see this…

Maybe I will try to squeeze in some time with the hubby (dinner & a movie?)

On Sunday, I plan to watch AJH compete in a duathlon.

last year during the running portion

I did it for the past two years and really enjoyed it.

2 years ago (in the rain) during the biking part

This year it will take place at a new location. I have never been there so it should be fun.

After the duathlon, I am taking Amanda (my mentee) and her sons on our annual visit to Ellms Family Farm.

It is always a good time for all.

Happy Running! Anything exciting planned for the weekend?