1. Why are my training runs at a 12 minute pace and my races between 9 and 10??

I always feel so lethargic when I run by myself. I walk frequently. I don’t push myself. If I didn’t sign up for races, I would never get faster.


see what I mean?


2.  Why do I feel pressure to PR at all my races?

I am competitive and want to get faster and even win an AG award.  I would have more fun if I get went out there to run and not think about my finish time.

Lighthouse 5K

disappointed in my time

Biggest Loser 5K Run Walk

having fun – didn’t care about my time

3.  What are my goals for this weekend’s 5K race (another new one)?

als 2014

  • run the whole thing without stopping
  • finish under 30 minutes
  • keep each mile’s pace under 10 minutes
  • have fun! (do not have to win a AG award or have a PR)
  • stay healthy!

Happy Running! Are you running or racing this weekend? How do you motivate yourself to train well?


Where Do You Run?

I get bored easily.  So I like to run different routes:


on the track

I run on the track if I am injured because the track is easy on the feet.  Also it is close to where I work so I run there when I have to squeeze in a quick run during lunch.  It is also good for speed workouts.

in town (Delmar)

in the city (Albany)

I work in the city.  So when I run after work, that’s where I usually do it if I don’t feel like driving.  The downside is the traffic and having to stop at lights and in the winter, the icy sidewalks. In the town where I live, it is the same.  I do my long runs or early runs there because it is convenient not to have to drive somewhere.

Washington Park

The Crossings

I love to run in the park.  I can run to Washington Park or it’s a short drive. I love the flowers in the spring and summer and the leaves in the fall.  There are hills so that is either good or bad.  I like the Crossings also but I don’t go there often because I have to drive, and there is a lot of traffic getting there.


on the Delmar rail trail

Elm Ave park fitness trail

I am not much of a trail runner. But there is a rail trail not far from where I live.  It is 4 miles out and back (and they plan to extend it.) Again, it is easier on the feet.  There is no traffic so an easy out and back route.  I also enjoy the foliage of the different seasons on the trail. I run on it frequently.  Occasionally I have run on the fitness trail but I find the exercise stops distracting.

on the treadmill

I hate the treadmill. But I run on it when it is raining or too icy to run outside.

Nisky Bike Path

Corning bike path

Colonie park bike path

For any run longer than 5 miles, I love to run on the bike paths.  They are flat and there are no cars.  There are usually bikers, runners, and people around.  The scenery along the river is beautiful.  Unfortunate in a winter like this past one, they were not cleared of snow.


Nope, not lucky enough to live near the ocean but if I did, I would be running there most of the time.

Bolton Landing

But as soon as summer comes, you will see more pictures like this when I am running.

Happy Running! Where do you run?




Run the Perfect 10 Miler With Me on October 26th!

A few weeks ago, I heard about a women’s-only ten mile race at Mercer County Park, New Jersey in October, called the Perfect 10. It’s put on by CGI Racing, which also organizes the Rutgers Unite Half and the LoveRun, among other events.

Except for the rain, the Love Run was a fun event and so well organized that I wanted to run another CGI race.

I have a college friend that lives in NJ about an hour from the race so I registered and plan to stay with my friend for the weekend.

Until the end of May, it’s $50, which is pretty good compared to half marathons and other area races around that time of year. Also, there will be a chocolate fountain at the finish – how can you say no to that?!

The Perfect 10 race is an event that is not only a running competition but a celebration of our own positive image as women, both inside and out. The organization encourages you to share your inspiring stories of why you are a perfect 10, and those featured monthly will have a chance to receive the Perfect 10 Honor on race weekend.

In a Runner’s World article by Kristin Armstrong, she wrote, “you are most beautiful when you are doing what you love.” That is a message I hope runners everywhere will understand, especially those who are self-conscious when taking their first strides outside the door.

So, if you’re in the NJ/NY/PA/DE area and get excited about the prospect of a mid-fall ten mile race, chocolate, or men in tuxedos, please visit the Perfect 10 website to check it out further! Also, follow their Twitter and Facebook pages for the latest information and inspiration!

Check out this video, too!

Happy Running! Anyone running this race or have run it before?


Monday Running Update

20140406-150059.jpgLast Week:

  • Monday – 3 miles, Passover seder

on the track during lunch – gusty & steamy



  • Tuesday - rest, 1 mile walk at work, tennis

back inside – RAIN

  • Wednesday – 1 mile walk at work, 4 5 miles

40 degrees colder than Monday


sunny but cold…snow was almost gone

  • Thursday – 2 – 1 mile walks at work, 4 3.5 mile run

indoors, looking outside into the courtyard


outdoors followed by a treat


outdoors – cool but sunny

  • Friday –  2 -1 mile walks at work, rest, mah jongg

on the track


  • Saturday -  4m race + 3 miles

unofficial PR & 2nd in my AG


slow recovery run on the rail rrail

  • Sunday –  rest, Easter dinner, some spring mulching


This Week:

  • Monday – 4 miles
  • Tuesday - rest, tennis
  • Wednesday – 4 miles
  • Thursday - rest
  • Friday –  3 miles, mah jongg
  • Saturday -  rest
  • Sunday – 5K race + 4 more

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


Good Luck Boston Runners!

I will be following 3 runners:


I work with Colleen.

Race for the Cure 09

me & Colleen at the Race for the Cure 2009

Michele is one of my former French students.


with her sister Laura at the 2011 Boston Marathon

Sheila is a member of the SRMs (a local running group.)

she is front right

Happy Running! Are you or do you know anyone running in Boston?


Rabbit Ramble 4 Mile Race Report

April 19, 2014 10 am Guilderland, NY

Another weekend, another race.  I did 13.1 miles, then 5 miles, then 3.1 miles.  This weekend, it was a 4 mile race. And a new one. So no idea if it would be a fun one or a hard one.

It was advertised as an out and back course on country roads and because this was the 20th year they would be giving out Special 20th anniversary t-shirts, along with live music, door prizes, special 20th year medals and awards to all overall and age group winners. In addition to all this, if you registered early, you would receive a pair of Rabbit Ramble running gloves. Sounded like a fun race to me.

(After I registered, I found out about a closer and flatter new race.  Oh well, next year.)

at the Corning Preserve

After a warm weekend, the weather cooled off this past week. It was almost 80 degrees on Monday and it snowed Tuesday night and went down to 30 degrees. Today it was back to normal – that is, in between weather – 40s to start and then a little warmer (but with lots of WIND.)

I decided to wear similar clothes to my last race — long sleeve shirt, skirt, compression socks & bring a jacket.

The race started at 10 am so I could sleep in and it was only about 30 minute drive.

This race was so close to a DNS.  I spent the morning in the bathroom.  I had eaten the same foods yesterday as I did Thursday but at mah jongg I ate several gluten-free pastries.  Maybe that was it. Who knows??

But I had severe cramps and I wasn’t sure I could stay after from the bathroom long enough to run. But I left and figured that I could just get my shirt & gloves and come home.

It was chilly and very WINDY.  I immediately regretted not wearing an extra layer.


I was starting to feel better and decided to run the race. (If I felt bad I could walk.) At the last minute, I wore my race shirt over my long sleeve tech shirt and in the wind, I was still cold.


The race was a little informal with no starting line and no chips.  There was also a 2 mile walk that started at the same time but just turned back after one mile.

Since I felt crummy, I just wanted to finish. The route was out and back along a country road.  It was not flat!! Rolling hills which somehow always felt to be uphill.

But it was pretty out there:

Running into the wind was very tough.  I vowed to muscle through it and not walk!! I was tempted many many times. There weren’t any mile markers or any water (a table with cups but no water.) I just ran and every now and then glanced at my Garmin to make sure I was still running under a 10 minute mile.

Amazingly I was keeping a steady pace. It was better without the wind gusts but they kept coming.

Of course, since I was feeling better, I looked around for older women.  I spotted two.  One was way ahead and one was within my view but I couldn’t catch her.

Finally the finish line was in sight.  I started to feel very nauseous but I didn’t care.  And believe it or not, my nose was running too. Blood, ew!! I had a bloody nose but gross or not, I just wiped it with my hands.

I wanted to pass the gray-haired lady.  I got closer and closer and at the last second I did!! And the clock said 37:XX. (I’ve never run a 4 mile race under 38 minutes!)

However, without a chip, you just handed in the tag from your bib.


My official finish time was recorded as 38:06.  Not a PR!! (4 seconds too slow.) But my Garmin read: 37:53.

So I’ll call it an unofficial PR. But considering how I felt before and after race, I am happy!

I stuck around chatting with old friends and new.  They had raffle prizes.  I wound up winning a Road ID.  This was great since I recently lost mine.

It took quite awhile for the results to be posted and all they had for refreshments were cookies and water.

Eventually they did post them and it seemed that there were quite a few (more than 3) women in my age group who finished ahead of me.  I was going to leave but someone said that the walkers’ results were mixed in the the runners.

Glad I did stay.  I won 2nd in my Age Group! WooHoo!


silver medal

Definitely turned out much better than I expected.


mile 1- 9:23
mile 2 – 9:43
mile 3- 9:30
mile 4 – 9:15

(YAY! negative splits!)

My goals for this race were:

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

After the race, I had planned to run 4 more miles but I was beat!  I stopped off at the rail trail but all I could muster was 3 slow slow miles.


Happy Running! Are you running or racing this weekend?



Foto Friday

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


still some snow left


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



people will return when the weather warms up


Moses statue – no water in the fountain yet


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

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





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


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)


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


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?


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! 

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:


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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





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.


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?