Ultimate Coffee Date – December

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Since today is the first Saturday in December, I am joining up with Coco & Deborah for their ultimate coffee date.

Over coffee…
I’d tell you that after the girls weekend Wineglass Half Marathon, our group has been continuing to plan weekend runs together. Best thing ever. I hate running alone so now I don’t have to.  Everyone may run at a different pace or for a different distance but we manage to pair up. Afterward we go out to breakfast together.

still missing 2 in the group but such a nice bunch of ladies

Over coffee…

I’d tell you that my BRF may not be able to join me on weekday runs anymore.  Her husband is ill and needs her home. I am bummed.  I guess I’ll have to suck it up and run alone.

will miss you Alyssa 😦

Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I am trying to plan my 2018 races … at least the half marathons.

Singer Island Half on March 17, 2018 – anyone want to join me?

So far I only registered for the one above. I booked my flights, contacted my friends so I have places to stay and booked my hotel for the night before the race.

Now all I have to do is train…through the winter months… oh boy!

Over coffee…

I’d tell you that I may be ODing on NYC. I was there for 3 days this past week for work. I will be there again for work next week and the week after. Then my friends want to go on one weekend to see the Downton Abbey exhibit.

Image result for nYC at Christmas

Nah won’t get tired of this sight…

Over Coffee
I’d tell you that speaking of New York City, I ran along the Hudson River this past week.

And yes, this trail goes to where that terrorist mowed down innocent bikers.

Scary!!

Over coffee

I’d tell that I’m a little nervous about training for my March race.

Now that I travel for work, my running routes (except NYC) do not have lights.

I am not a hotel treadmill kind of gal.

I have knuckle lights so we’ll see. (Did you enter my giveaway?)

But at least I am going to Liverpool at the end of the month …where there will be lots of lights where I normally run.

Image result for lights in Onondaga lake state park

Over coffee

I’d tell you that I AM GOING TO FRANCE!!! October 6-16, 2018.  With a friend who has friends to visit there (in Sanguinet) and me…to run a race in Paris, of course. (I’m over the moon!!) We got a great price on plane tix…now I have lots of time to work out the details. Race registration doesn’t open until Feb 14.

Oct 14, 2018 – over 25k run this race…yikes!

Happy Running! Got anything to spill? Share it here!
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RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Recap

It seems like I’ve been planning this race forever (since March) and now it’s come and gone.

I signed up for this race for several reasons:

  • FOMO. Many of the PCB blogger/runners said that they wanted to run it.
  • I love race-cations.
  • I had enough FF miles for a free flight and Marcia offered to share a room with me (since the other bloggers were bringing their hubbys.).
  • I’d heard great things about the course and the race and it was supposedly pretty flat.
  • Running down the Vegas strip at night?  Why not?
  • The bling. Run 2 races in one weekend and get 3 medals!

Half Marathon Training:

If you read my blog, you know that I am not strict about following a training plan.  I ran my last half marathon on October 1 and since then I have completed some easy weekday runs and a few long runs on the weekend.

Though I don’t usually care much about my short runs, I do like to get in a 12 miler before each half marathon.

I skipped my long run entirely the weekend I went away with my friends. I added extra miles to two races and then shortened my 12 miler to 10.  But I did taper with 10 instead of 8.  (I am a coach’s nightmare LOL)

I wasn’t really worried since with 40k runners, I didn’t expect to run at a PR pace anyway.

Marathon #29.

I was thrilled to be out there running and healthy and to be in the company of so many other enthusiastic runners.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

I learned some valuable lessons about pre-race prep on this trip.

Resting your legs is probably a good idea. Fueling for a long race is important.

After 28 half marathons, you would think I would know this.

And I do.

But when your race has no time goals, you may ignore the prerequisites for a pain-free race.

Anyway, the day before this race, I put 16.4 miles on my legs which included a 5k race.

I took a fabulous bus tour of Red Rock Canyon. The scenery was breathtaking and I did some some hikes at several of the stops.

In the evening, I slowly raced a 5k. (You can read about it here.)

Afterward the gang (bloggers and spouses) decided to walk to find a restaurant for dinner.

One thing I learned about Vegas is that nothing is as close as it seems. Even taking the monorail involves tons of walking.

Race Day:

Race day included a lot of meet-up planning. Most of which was unsuccessful.

Marcia and I went out for brunch at Mandalay Bay around 10 am. We planned on eating again before our race which was scheduled to start at 4:30 pm but that never happened.

looks better than it tasted – over cooked and cold

Eventually we headed back to our hotel from the Paris Hotel (where we had hung out with Kim & Tricia and their hubbys) to get ready and walk to the race start which was near New York New York hotel.

on the walkway heading to the start

We were very lucky as far as the weather was concerned. It was cloudy and high in the 60s. Though I was warm while running, my tank and skirt was a perfect race choice.

I won that tank in a giveaway 2 years ago.

Everything was very organized at the beginning of the race. We followed signs to gear check, our planned blogger meet up and waited until everyone arrived.

hanging out on a rock

Finally they did so we could snap the obligatory pre-race photo.

ready to rock n roll

The corrals were organized by colors and then by numbers. Everyone was in blue except for MaryBeth. We squeezed into our location and waited. Checking out all the crazy costumes kept us entertained. Elvises, super heroes, brides and grooms and more.

I took a Gu since it had been over 5 hours since I had anything to eat.

Little by little waves of 5 moved forward and started with a fire send off. This was very cool.

Marcia, Kim and I started together. I planned to start out slowly and stay with them as long as I could.

It was so crowded that it was impossible to run fast. We were just weaving in and out.

We started by running toward the airport past the Welcome to Las Vegas sign and by where the shooting occurred. There was no music during this stretch to honor the victims.

I stopped and walked at the first water stop around mile 1. My mouth was already parched due to the dry air. Marcia and Kim were smart to carry water (I never do.)

I caught back up to Marcia and Kim but then lost them when they stopped at the port a potties around mile 2.

I stopped again at the mile 3 water stop and walked for awhile. I thought that possibly Marcia and Kim would catch up but they never did.

At this point, I knew that the race was going to be a struggle. I felt light headed probably because I was hungry. My legs felt heavy and I just had no energy. This was worrisome since it was only the beginning of the race.

But the music started which was a nice distraction and we were entering the strip.

Around mile 5 I took another Gu (Smores – yum!!) and walked again. This was the pattern for most of the race. Run and then walk at the water stop which were every 2 miles it seemed.

Running was more of a struggle than I ever remember. But lights and sights of the Vegas Strip at night were mesmerizing.

It was hard not to smile even during a struggling pace.

We ran by the Mirage, Paris, the Bellagio fountains. Indescribable.

Eventually we left the lively part of the strip and headed toward Old Vegas. This part dragged until we arrived at Fremont Street.

Here the course looped around and finally we were running in the direction toward where we started. There was hope that I could do this thing.

Around mile 9, I took my final Gu (toasted marshmallow) which did not sit well. I won’t be buying this flavor again!!

The winner of the marathon passed me by and he had more zip in his step than I did. LOL

After mile 10, I gave up only walking at water stops.  I just walked whenever I felt like it. I just wanted to cross the finish line.  I had no idea what my time was and frankly I didn’t care.

I can look happy whenever I spot a photographer

Eventually I spotted the Mirage Hotel and then Paris and the Bellaggio Fountains.  Of course, they weren’t as close as I thought but I did it.  I finished it this strugglefest….with a smile!!

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was handed a metal, water, chocolate milk. Other goodies such as bananas, bars, Pringles chips, pretzels were available including free beer.

I headed to get my Remix Medal and then to Gear Check (Both were easy to find.) to wait for the others to finish. One by one, they arrived. Everyone finished!! We were ALL happy (even though none of us had PRs except for Greg running his first half.)

oops Mary Beth left before the pic

Off we went (on foot, of course) in search of a place for dinner and celebration.

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Organized packet pick-up.
  • The Expo
  • Easy to navigate to gear check, port-a-potties, the start, etc.
  • Fire send-off -at the Start
  • Amazing crowd support. People lined the entire course.
  • Flat course.
  • Awesome medal.
  • Remix Challenge
  • Perfect weather conditions
  • Water and Gatorade stops at least every 2 miles
  • The music – all genres from country to Elvis to Elton John to Kiss
  • Security – police in helicopters and armed police everywhere
  • The runners and their costumes
  • Lots of photos (I had 18)
  • The sights and sounds of the Vegas Strip (unforgettable)
  • No major injuries. (just the usual blister on my foot)
  • Sharing the race experience with friends

The Bad:

  • Lack of sleep (3 hour time difference)
  • Too much walking the day before
  • Not properly fueling the day of
  • Dry Heat
  • Training (no 12 miler?)
  • Flat course (I actually enjoy the variety of ups and downs)
  • Black tees for a night race (neon perhaps?)

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really.

The RNR Vegas Half Marathon was a great race. I am so glad that I had to chance to run it.

Whatever made the race more painful that it should have been was my own doing.  Lesson learned.  RESPECT THE DISTANCE!!  13.1 miles is no joke.

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I don’t usually repeat half marathons but if I did, I would run this one again. And especially if it were closer and cheaper.

Final Stats:

I never looked at the watch throughout the race since it was dark and I had zero goal other than finishing.  So there’s no reason to post my paces.  They were consistently in the 10s which is slow for me until the last three miles when they were 11s.

Yes, one of my slowest recent half marathons even slower than some hilly ones. Am I disappointed? Nope, not in my finish time. Only disappointed that I didn’t choose to painlessly stroll to that time. In this race, that was as fast as I was capable due to several preventable mistakes (whining over!!)

Next Up:

March 17, 2018 

Image result for singer half marathon

I’m also linking up today for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin. You should do so too.

https://hohoruns.blogspot.com/p/weekly-wrap.html

Happy Running!  Have you run the RnR Vegas Half Marathon? Ever run a race just for fun that turned out to be a struggle?  

Running Update: 11.6.17-11.12.17

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Last week – Race Week

  • Monday – It rained most of the day and it was cold and windy. Plus I left my jacket home. So I was ready to bail on the run. But Alyssa talked me into going to UAlbany. As usual, I was glad that she did.

  • Tuesday – Is winter on the way? It sure felt like it. Glad it was a rest day. But I did get to play tennis for a change. (It was fun and I used muscles that I haven’t used in a while.)
  • Wednesday – Off to Liverpool again for work. And I managed to squeeze in a chilly run before darkness. My last run before the big weekend.

The sunshine made it more pleasant

Then I went back for a sunset walk.

So purdy

  • Thursday – Another rest day as I needed to drive directly home after work. 
  • Friday – Early morning flight to Vegas (through Chicago). Arrived around noon, took a shuttle to the hotel and then headed to the race expo.

a HUGE expo but only indulged on Gu.

Later on I took the monorail to take in the evening sights.

Unfortunately with the 3 hour time difference, I was too pooped to party.

  • Saturday – I took an awesome bus tour where I got to see and explore Red Rock Canyon. The scenery was spectacular.

Then in the evening I ran the RnR Vegas 5k with some blogger friends followed by a long walk to dinner.

not run on the strip but still a fun time.

16.4 miles for the day before a half marathon. Probably not an ideal rest day but so worth it.

  • Sunday – In the morning, Marcia and I went out to brunch and then neglected to eat for the rest of the day. That and the previous day’s miles may have impacted my race performance but the race itself was awesome. Running on the strip in Vegas was an experience that I’ll never forget.

Oh what a night!!

Next Week

  • Monday – rest, fly home
  • Tuesday rest, tennis
  • Wednesday – rest, drive to Buffalo
  • Thursday – rest, long drive home
  • Friday – rest, mah jongg
  • Saturday – 6 mile run
  • Sunday – rest, trip to NYC for college reunion lunch and Broadway show with tennis ladies

https://hohoruns.blogspot.com/p/weekly-wrap.html

Please link up for the Weekly Wrap hosted by these wonderful bloggers Holly @ HoHoRuns and Tricia @ MissSippiPiddlin.
And with Jess @ the Right Fits and @Jess Runs Atlanta

Linking up with the Jess’s

Happy Running! How is your running going? What’s new with you? Please share.

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Friday Five 2.0: Planning a Stress-free Race-cation

It’s Friday so I’m linking up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostesses and visit some other bloggers.

My topic for today is: Five Tips for Taking a Stress-free Race-cation

If you follow my blog, you know that right now, I am on a Race-cation – in Las Vegas!!!

You may also know that I love to travel and when I do, I make sure that a race is included. I am fortunate to able to fit one into my schedule at least twice a year.

So here are some tips to avoid the stress:

1. Plan early.

Pick out a race and register. Decide how you are going to get there (drive or fly?) Arrange lodging (hotel or friends’ place?) Even decide how you get to the race start (walk, drive, subway, taxi, friend?)

It is less stressful to know all the details of your race-cation way in advance.

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trained for this race together and/or roomed together.

 I actually booked my flight for this trip way back in March so I could use my FF miles. My blogging buddy Marcia booked a hotel near the start and graciously allowed me to share her room.

2. Start packing early but prepared for last minute changes in weather.

I start a few weeks in advance. I use a bed in my spare bedroom. Sometimes, I use an extra laundry basket. And everything I think of something to bring, I put in the pile. You can’t do it all in advance because as we know, the weather forecasts will change. And the forecast is not always accurate. So bring a shirt for a warmer forecast and one for a cooler one. Bring a rain poncho & an umbrella. Of course, bring throw away clothes.

getting ready to head out into the rain

I thought that it didn’t rain in southern California.

 I doubt it will rain in Vegas but it can be cold and it can be hot.  This one was tough to pack for…due to the variety of things that I may do.  (I think I over-packed but still may not have the right clothes.)

3. Bring your race morning breakfast and any special food that you require.

I never count on that a friend or hotel will have what I usually eat. I bring packets of oatmeal/cream of wheat and coffee/tea. (Don’t forget a cup, bowl & spoon.) I also pack energy bars in case I need a snack the day before.

DSC_0069

 Both the 5k and the Half Marathon in Vegas are not in the morning – they’re at 6 pm and 4 pm.  This makes eating quite complicated but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

Not knowing the breakfast situation in the hotel, I did bring cereal and coffee, just in case.

4. Plan to arrive at least 2 days before the race.

Of course, you’ll have time to relax. And if you car breaks down or your flight is cancelled, you won’t miss your race. (Yes, it happened to me twice.) And you will have time to get used to the weather or altitude by doing a test run.

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From winter in the NE to winter in Fla. What a difference!

I planned to arrive at noon on Friday (if everything goes as planned.)  The 5k is Sat. eve and the Half Marathon is Sun. eve. 

The time change may put a little damper on things but it is what it is.  (I am a horrible sleeper, anyway.)

5. Have fun! Plan things to do in addition to running a race.

Do some sightseeing. Visiting a new place is one of the perks of a destination race!!

image

Ignore the hair but got to climb to the top of a lighthouse after a Florida race.

During my last race-cation in Florida, I went to a NY Mets spring training game, visited a bird sanctuary and met up of with different friends for various lunches and dinners.

For this trip, I scheduled a bus trip to Red Rock Canyon.  I plan to meet up with many bloggers and how can you not have fun in Vegas???

and why should you??

Happy Running! Any other tips for taking race-vacations?

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Wineglass Half Marathon Race Recap

It seems like we’ve been planning this race forever and now it’s come and gone. It certainly met our expectations and more.

I signed up for this race for several reasons:

  • FOMO.  Many local runners including my weekly running partner were going.
  • I love race-cations.
  • Ten women running the same race and staying in the same hotel – How fun!
  • I’d heard great things about the course and the race and it was supposedly pretty flat.

Half Marathon Training:

If you read my blog, you know that my last long run was actually a half marathon.  The weather was hot and very humid and so I didn’t fair so well (but my running partner did get a PR.)

Thanks to Judy, I had a great 11 mile run but the 10 and 12 milers were nothing to write home about.  In fact, they sucked.

Whether or not, I was ready to try for a PR, I was still excited to run the race. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be too disappointed with a mediocre performance and that I would pace myself better than during my previous half marathon.

Marathon #28.  I was thrilled to be out there running and healthy and to be in the company of such a bunch of awesome ladies.

Pre-Race Activities and Preparations:

Months ago, we all made reservations to stay together in small, cheap hotel nearby.

We even arranged to meet-up several times to get to know each other better.

Then we attempted to coordinate who would drive whom.  In the end, it all worked out.  Most of us arrived on Friday at various times.

I was lucky to be able to leave early on Friday.  I drove with Judy and Jan. The weather was awesome (nicest day of the weekend) and we got in a nice walk in Glimmerglass Lake State Park and lunch in Cooperstown before arriving in Painted Post where our hotel was located and had dinner.

On Saturday after breakfast, we drove to the expo to collect our race swag and we met up with Alyssa, my roommate.

Afterward, we walked into town (Corning, NY), checked out the race finish and had a scrumptious lunch.

Everyone but Alyssa and I headed back to the hotel to relax.  We decided to visit the Museum of Glass, shop in town (and get ice cream) and then make a sand-blasted wine glass.

We all reunited for dinner at the Radisson Hotel.  The dinner was amazing- pasta, salads, potatoes, chicken, meatballs and more. Then we listened to the speaker, Dave McGillivray…so inspiring (go hear him if you ever get the chance.)

Finally early to bed to prepare for the next day (Although as usual, I didn’t sleep much.)

Race Day:

So 4:45 am came early on Sunday morning. Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep in on a weekend??

The race was scheduled to start at 7:45 am but we had to catch a shuttle to the start.

Wineglass is a point-to-point race starting in Campbell, NY and finishing in Corning, NY. (see course map below:)

at least 11 water stops and 4 bathrooms 🙂

Check out this elevation chart:

looks pretty flat, right?

The 90 degree temps left for awhile. And it was actually pretty chilly.  Not chilly but COLD like 35 degrees!!!

I planned to wear my usual half marathon outfit of a tank and skirt. I brought my DIY sleeves, a long sleeved shirt and gloves to discard when I warmed up.  I also brought sweat pants and a jacket to wear before and after.

One good thing about the hotel (that and the price) was that they opened breakfast early for everyone – 5 am!! So I was able to eat my oatmeal and have coffee.

At 5:30 am, we piled into two cars and headed out to find parking near the shuttle bus which would take us to the start line in Bath, NY.

We found parking in parking garage, hopped the bus and in 15 minutes arrived at the start where there were port-a-potties (lots) and a school to gather in to stay warm  This was a God send.  It was freezing!!!!!!!!! I had to surrender my jacket and pants to put in the bag check so I would have them at the finish line.

We hung out in the gym for awhile bumping into many local runners that I knew (and didn’t even know were running the race.)

Soon it was time to head to the start line. Brrrrrrr.  Some of used the port-a-potties again. And some of us (me) headed to the start line but on the way, found a booth handing on tinfoil heat wraps.  Score!

There were several corrals: under 2 hours, under 2 hours 30 and everyone else (with pacers for different finish times).

This was the crowded part.  It was hard to get to your pacer because you had to squeeze past the faster corrals. You entered at the start line and then had to head to the back.

I just wound up squeezing behind the 2:00 pacer and huddled in the crowd until it was time to throw away my tin foil and move.

The race is a blur as usual but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1-3:

9:16, 9:22, 9:18

I was in the second wave and didn’t have to wait long before I started to run. The race started on a narrow country road lined by corn fields. So it was quite crowded at the beginning which slowed me down and that was a good thing.

The scenery would have been quite beautiful if it weren’t so darn FOGGY!!

The one and only hill came in just past the 1st mile marker but it wasn’t so bad.  Even I was able to run up the whole thing.

As I said, the scenery I believe was awesome…lots of streams, fall foliage and corn fields.

Although, I wasn’t warm or thirsty, I did walk and drink at every water station. I warmed up a little and rolled down my DIY arm warmers but didn’t dare take them off in case I got cold.

The bottom of my left foot (due to a bunion) which usually starts to bother me around mile 9, started to hurt at mile 2.  It hurt on and off for the rest of the race but not enough to affect my pace.

Miles 4-6:

9:14, 9:41, 9:38

I don’t remember much about the scenery in this part but I did see Amanda, a fellow Skirt Spirts ambassador.  She was wearing the same skirt as me and so I caught up to her so we could chat a bit.

Around Mile 4.5, I took a GU and found it impossible to open with gloves on. So I took off my gloves and carried them in my hand for the rest of the race. (My hands were numb by the end!!!)

In hindsight, we didn’t need that many water stops due to the cold but that’s just my opinion and my downfall.  I use them as walk breaks and so I walked more than I needed to (which cost me a PR 😦 )

Plus the cold seemed to be cramping my legs.  After every time I walked, I found it difficult to start running again.

Miles 7-9:

9:38, 9:51, 9:55

These miles were on busier roads and even part of the highway, so I ended up running on that slanted part of the shoulder a lot.

I wasn’t really concerned about my pace and glanced down at my watch every now and then.  I was always pleasantly surprised to see that even with all that walking, my pace was in the 9s.

We didn’t see a timing clock until mile 8.5 and I was at 1:21 which was pretty good, I thought.

I took one more Gu hoping for an energy burst.

PR thoughts now floated through my brain!!! Was it possible???

Miles 10-12

9:41, 10:00, 10:06

I LOVED the crowd support in town and how we were running on these little paved paths for some of it.  There were kids and lots of awesome signs to distract me.

Unfortunately, I was losing steam and my walks at the water stops got longer.

I knew a PR was possible but my legs were not cooperating.

As a distraction, I started chatting with a young runner running her 2nd half.  She was having a big PR race and I was happy for her.

Mile 13- 13.17:

9:42, 8:32

The last little bit of the race winds through the town of Corning and across a large bridge. In the last half mile, the course turns onto Market Street, the anchor street in this old fashioned downtown, and finishes right in front of a cute clock tower on a little square.

just wanted to be done (and didn’t see the photographer)

I didn’t see anyone from our group the whole race until now.  Then all of a sudden, Alyssa caught up to me.  I was shocked.  That meant that she was going to have a BIG PR!! She tried to encourage me but I was spent. I did the best I could but I could not catch up to her.

disappointed

And when I saw the clock, I knew that I was close but would not PR.

but done!!

at least I beat the lady in blue LOL

Chip Time: 2:07:07

Garmin Time: 2:06:54

mile 8.5 and mile 13.1 – you can see how I slowed down

Post Race:

As soon as you crossed the finish line, they put a medal around your neck, gave you a bottle of water and then chocolate milk (Woo Hoo!!)

I made a beeline to get a heat foil and then put my gloves back on…my hands were NUMB!

Alyssa rang her bell.  I was happy for her.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was a little jealous.

The sun still hadn’t come out and we were freezing so headed to bag check to get our extra clothes. On the way we stopped for a few pics.

I felt a lot better once I got some extra clothes on.  The sun was starting to come out but it was only in the 40s now.

We debated getting massages but we were afraid to miss our group who were starting to cross the finish line so we headed to the food tent. There was a line but it moved quickly.  They handed you a bag which was greatly appreciated. The food selection was impressive – bagels, cookies, apples, bananas, two kinds of hot soup and pizza.

Little by little we bumped into the other members of our group.  Everyone did great – some got PRs, some improved their times from their last race, some were recovering from injuries, and even one finished her FIRST.  It’s a good race when no one says “Never again!!”

We continued to wander to check out our official times and find the restaurant that we ate at the previous day.

a thumbs down because my Garmin said I was faster

Additional Race Reflections:

The Good:

  • Organized packet pick-up.
  • Great race swap (bag, glass, champagne, 2 $10 intown store gift cards).
  • Gender-specific high quality half-zip shirts
  • Half price discount to the Glass Museum and free entry to Norman Rockwell Museum-.
  • Outstanding selection of food at the pre-race dinner.
  • Inspirational keynote speaker at the dinner.
  • Flat course!!
  • Scenic and varied course (countryside, small town, bike path)
  • Excellent crowd support
  • Lots of water stops (every mile past mile 5)
  • Organized finish chute (medal, water, milk) plus a bag for refreshments
  • Decent selection of refreshments (bagels, pizza, soups, cookies, and CHOCOLATE MILK)
  • Easy to access post-race results
  • Nice Medal (Corning glass)
  • PR bell (not that I needed it 😦 )
  • No major injuries. (just the usual bottom of left foot pain)
  • Sharing the race experience with friends

The Bad:

  • Too foggy to appreciate the views
  • COLD COLD COLD
  • Hard to line up at the start
  • The only clock was at mile 8.5

The Ugly:

  • Nothing really.

It was a great race. I enjoyed it! I am so glad that I had to chance to run it.

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I don’t usually repeat half marathons but if I did, I would run this one again. And especially if it were closer.

Final Stats:

12th in my age group but a year older and I would have placed 3rd

So I didn’t think I would PR but I also didn’t think I would be that close.  (My PR was 2:06:52.) It’s hard to see it slip away in the last half mile.

But I didn’t have a bad race.  In fact it’s my second fastest half. And my time was over 9 minutes faster than the one I ran 2 weeks before.

Yes, I know, I am crazy to be disappointed.

Next Up:

Nov. 12  RNR Las Vegas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There will a 5k and a Half Marathon in the same weekend (a first for me) and a reunion with many of the Panama City #HoLottaFun gang.


I’m linking with Susie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches’ Corner


It’s also Friday so, I’m linking up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup! Join in! Don’t forget to link back to your hostesses and visit some other bloggers.
My topic for today is: Five Reasons to Run the Wineglass Half Marathon:

  1. The scenic course
  2. The flat elevation of the course
  3. Lots of fun things to do in the area – wineries, museums, boat rides, hiking, etc.
  4. Great race swag
  5. Impressive pre-race dinner and guest speaker
Happy Running! Do you have a favorite Half Marathon? Do you train to PR? Or does it happen by surprise? Are you disappointed every time you don’t PR? Have you run this race or do you plan to?

TOTR: September Report Card

Image result for welcome september
Fall has arrived. And we had some nice cool dry days but summer temps and humidity did rear their ugly head too.
Here’s how September worked out for me:

Weekday Runs:

I was able to run at least 3 times outdoors each week which is great because I do not have a treadmill at home. I prefer to run 4 times but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

I ran at UAlbany (near work), near home, in a local park and at the Corning Bike Path. I even ran while in Rochester, Buffalo and Liverpool for work. My weekday runs were usually around 4 miles.

I ran alone most of the time. But Alyssa was able to accompany me a few times and new Judy once. I also hooked up with Laurie, a former turkey trot group member. It’s definitely more fun running with friends.

I thought the Turkey Trot running group started up again on Monday, September 18 and I would get to re-unit with my running friends as well as meet new ones. I even registered.  But it turns out that they changed the day for the first time this year – Tuesdays!!!  I cannot do Tuesdays… So no group runs or drills for me this fall.  Boo Hoo!!!

PP hills, I’ll miss you!!

Long Runs:

Long runs began in preparation for my next half marathon. I also snuck in a half marathon as a training run. The 11 miler was my only decent effort but at least I got the miles in.

Total Mileage:

I have run 87.5 miles this month so far. An increase over previous months and I am still feeling healthy so all is good.

Races:

I had several races on my schedule this month.  I skipped a local 5k but instead the next weekend, I ran the Saratoga Palio Half Marathon as a last minute training run.  It was a hot, humid day and I bonked the last 3 miles. I also ran the Helper’s Fun 10K, a hilly small scenic race. For this one, I ran a smart race, had a course PR and won my age group so I was a happy camper.

Cross Training:

I played tennis once (indoor season has started.) Again this month, I was out of town working every Tuesday 😦

I did NOT go to work out at the gym at all!!!! Not once! Nunca! Jamais! And my free membership ends in October!!!!

I thought I might fit in a yoga class. I did NOT!!

I did walk occasionally at lunch. Not everyday like I used to. I find it hard to tear myself away from my desk and I have been traveling a lot.

I finally got to go hiking after my 10k race. I loved it!!!

Other News:

The hubby and I continued our boating on the weekends. It was actually warmer in September than in July & August.

Despite working ALOT, I also managed to attend my weekly mah jongg games and monthly dinner with the tennis ladies. 

As you can tell, running is not my whole life. I think it is important to make time for other things that bring you pleasure….family, friends, food….

Feeling healthy so Life Is Good.

Looking Ahead:

Two half marathons (#28 & #29) planned- October 1 in Corning, NY. and November 12 in Las Vegas.

I also have quite a few shorter races planned. I have to squeeze them in before the winter.

This is my list so far for the next 2 months:

  • 10-01-17 – Wineglass Half Marathon
  • 10-07-17 – Apple Run 5K
  • 10-14-17 – Great Pumpkin Challenge 10K / ZOOMA Cape Cod Virtual 10K
  • 10-22-17 – ZOOMA Amelia Island Virtual 12k
  • 10-29-17 – Goblin Gallop 5k?
  • 11-11-17 – RnR Vegas 5k
  • 11-12-17 – RnR Vegas Half Marathon
  • 11-18-17 – Girls on the Run 5k (volunteer with STEM) or maybe 11-19-17  – Race to Deliver 4m in NYC
  • 11-23-17 – Troy Turkey Trot 5k and Troy Turkey Trot 10k

I am linking to Deb at DebRuns for her Sepember Race Linkup:

Deb Runs

No monthly goals.

This motto worked for 2016 so I’m sticking with it in 2017!


Since today is Tuesday, I’m also linking up with these wonderful ladies:

Erika @ MCM Mama Runs, Marcia @ Marcia’s Healthy Slice and Patty @ My no-guilt life for

Today’s Topic is: Give your running month a letter grade.

I’d say overall a B+.

You know, zero gym attendance, skipping lunch time walks, slacking on those long runs, easy lackluster weekday runs. I know I can do better.


This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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Saratoga Palio Half Marathon Recap

2008 Saratoga Palio Poster (Palio!) Tags: race poster memorial compassion run promotional legacy scholarship palio halfmarathon 5k fund mentalhealthcare melaniemerolaodonnell

Sunday, Sept. 17, 2016 – 7:45 am

Ok, I broke all the rules here.  This is a repeat half marathon.  I’ve made it a practice to never repeat halfs. (only because there are so many to choose from…)

I did not plan on running this race. My runs had not been going well.

But I felt the need to race to lift my spirits.  It was too late to register for the Dunkin Run 5k, 10k or 15k. The HMRRC 2.5 or 5.9 was  on a really boring course so that left this race.

I could have registered for the 5k and just tacked on extra miles to count it as a long run but I just decided that an additional lonely solo 9 miles would not be any fun.

Besides, my running partner, Alyssa was running the half in hopes of a PR.  I could be there after the race to celebrate with her.

Half Marathon Training

Training? What’s that? Only kidding…

I tried to get in all my double digit runs on the weekends but they were intended to prepare for Wineglass which will take place two weeks later on October 1!!

The 11 miler was ok but the other two were downers.

During the week, I always ran 3 times and usually for 3-4 miles. No drills…just plain easy running (with walk breaks). Sometimes alone but many times this year with a friend. The ones with a friend were my better runs.

Pre-Race Preparations

Runners start the race in downtown Saratoga Springs along Broadway Avenue, and from there they head south down along Broadway toward Saratoga Spa Park. From there, they spend the next few miles of the race running through the park’s roads and trails. Later, the course heads north along Nelson Avenue all the way back into downtown, and next brings runners north up into the finish line in Congress Park.

This was the new course from last year which I ran.  I remember there being hills but much of the race is a blur. It was raining during part of the race and I had a nosebleed during part of the race.

Anyway, below is a map of the course:

sphm

More importantly, this was the elevation:

sphmelev

Yup. There are some hills but compared to Lake George and Race the Train, this was nothing!

I decided to wear my normal half marathon outfit – tank, skirt, cap, compression socks. Although we had been blessed with cooler dry weather, this weekend was predicted to be warm and humid.

Race Day

I got up early (like 5:00 am) and had my usual race breakfast of cream of wheat and tea. It was nice to sleep in my own bed before a big race (although I really didn’t sleep well…as usual.)

I left around 6:00 am and it was already 63 degrees and HUMID. I was thinking that this weather would make for a very uncomfortable 13.1 miles! (I was right!)

I tried to park in the same location as last year – the hotel parking lot but it was already full.  I did, however, get a close spot on the street.  Unlike last year, I didn’t drive up the day before and pick up my race packet. I picked it up today and then used the restroom in the hotel.

long sleevd shirt

It was early so I had plenty of time to chat with the other runners while waiting for the race to begin. I quickly bumped into Alyssa and we walked to start together.

I ran into so many people that I knew. Some running the 5k and many running the half. It is a very popular local race.

Soon it was time for the crowd of 1200 or so to take off. Alyssa and I started together close to the front but not too close. Alyssa wanted to PR and that meant under 2:18.  I knew that she would have no problem but I think she thought that she would need my help.  So I agreed to run with her but I knew that I wasn’t excited about running a fast pace in this humidity. I reminded her that it was a training run for me and at some point, I may let her go ahead and not hold her back.

pic from FB

A lot of the race is a blur but here’s how I remember it:

Miles 1-4:

9:16, 9:26, 9:47, 9:47

photo from the Gazette

I was planning to run a consistent pace of around 10mm but as you can see, I started out too fast. Everyone was passing me by. I kept wondering how they could run so fast at the beginning of a half marathon. Alyssa and I ran together and chatted for the first 4 miles. It is the first time that I have ever run a race with someone else.

Yes, we saw the photographer!!

The course started us running down Broadway. It was a slight incline but nothing too bad. Then we headed down Route 9 (So) until we turned around at Crescent Ave and headed back on Rte 9 the same way. There was a water stop around mile 2 and I walked. I walked through ALL the water stops. Next we turned and ran around the backside of the park and eventually down Avenue of the Pines. At least, this part of course was shady but it was sooo humid!

I guess we didn’t see the photographer here

I was feeling very strong in the early miles. There were mile markers at every mile and a clock at the 5k, 10K, 15k and 10m points. I think my 5k time was around 29 minutes.

Miles 5-8:

10:45, 10:07, 10:19, 10:00

At this point, Alyssa and I separated for good. I started to get stomach cramps and needed to walk.  Alyssa was still running well (in fact, she ran the whole thing!!) so I told her to go ahead.

We continued to run around the park for the next few miles. Finally around mile 5.5,  there was the 2nd water stop. Here I walked and took a GU. My stomach felt better and I started to pick up the pace again.

always like to ham it up for a photographer

I was still running close to a 10 minute pace (thanks to those fast early miles). That, of course, put PR thoughts in my head. I tried to dismiss them but they wouldn’t go away! There was another water stop around mile 8 so I walked and took one more GU.

walking…. I said to the photographer: You didn’t take a picture of that (he took 2!!)

Miles 9-12:

11:07, 10:53, 11:29, 10:54

We were still running around the park. Here is where things started to get ugly. My back was getting achy and my feet were starting to hurt especially the annoying blister I was getting on the bottom of my foot. But the pain was still bearable. At mile 9, we hit the biggest hill of the race. I started to run up it but then decided that it was too late in the race for that and walked/ran it. There continued to be smaller but annoying hills after that. Sweat was dripping off me (and I’m not a sweater.) My 10 mile time had slowed down to 1:42. PR chances GONE!!

Soon we exited the park, ran down Rte 9.

After Rte 9, we headed back into the park and down Avenue of the Pines, past the baths and finally out of the park for good. We crossed Rte 9 and ran down Crescent Ave, turned onto Jefferson, then onto Circular, and finally Spring St. where we could hear that we were getting close to the finish line.

proof that at your worst, you can still smile for the photographer!!

At mile 12, I just wanted to be done. I walked and took my last GU and tried to pick up speed (but there wasn’t much left in the tank.)

Mile 13-14:

10:24, 10:10

It seemed like the finish line would never come. And one more hill at the end. Not fun! I didn’t even try to run up it. I knew my finish time was slow so I gave up and walked. I did try though sprint through the finish line. The clock read 2:15:xx and I wanted to at least beat 2:16 but I did not.

Gun Time: 2:16:29
Chip Time: 2:16:19

Post Race:

I got my medal (and a bumper sticker).

Alyssa was waiting at the finish line with her parents.  She was so happy.  She finished in 2:13 and took 5 minutes off her previous PR.

We went into an air-conditioned building to escape the heat.  We were both so sweaty.  I sat down because for a few minutes. I felt very light-headed like I was going to to faint. It passed but it seems that humidity is not my friend.

After we cooled down, we went to get some food. There was a pretty nice spread – bananas. muffins, donuts, cookies, pizza, etc. I ate it all.

Next we checked the results on their computer.

I was a little disappointed to not get an age group award because I was 3rd last year. But this year, there were more women in the age group and speedy ones!!. I guess I was getting used to always winning them.

would have needed a PR this year to capture an award.

After chatting with some other runners, we headed back to our cars. Since they gave a coupon for free beer and food at a local bar called Druthers, we decided to check it out.

pic from FB

I’m not a beer drinker but free is free. They also had mac n cheese, pulled pork sandwiches, cheese brats and a band playing. We hung out for a little while and relaxed.

Additional race reflections:

The Good:

  • Close enough to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before.
  • Organized packet pick-up
  • Real bathrooms before and after the race.
  • Air conditioned place to hang out after the race.
  • Lots of familiar and friendly faces.
  • Enthusiastic volunteers.
  • Scenic course esp. through the park.
  • No major injuries (just a blister on the bottom of my left foot)
  • Immediate race results from a computer.
  • Nice selection of refreshments – the pizza and cider donuts were delish.
  • Free beer & food at a local bar.
  • My BRF got a PR

The Bad:

  • No bag check and the start and end were in different places.
  • Big Hill at mile 9.
  • Hill right before the finish line.

The Ugly:

  • The HUMIDITY and heat

So there are way more positives than negatives!!! Overall, it was a great race. I loved it!.

Would I recommend this race?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I don’t usually repeat half marathons but I did for this race.

Final Stats:

I definitely slowed down as the race went on. I always do. My last 3 miles were were 5 minutes slower than the first 3.

My finish time was almost 10 minutes slower than my last half marathon and almost 5 minutes slower than this same race last year. Then I reminded myself that it was a training run not a race. But who am I kidding? Initially, I was bummed.

It was NOT my finish time that bothered me but the way I ran the race. It was hot and humid and I should have started slower and try to run a more even pace.

Last year (even with a bloody nose) my split times were all 9 or 10 mm. Nothing slower!!

Of course, it has me wondering:

  • Was my last PR a fluke?
  • Should I start out my next half marathon slower?
  • Should I ditch the Garmin? (I didn’t have it during my last PR race)
  • Maybe it was just the humidity?
  • Or the blister on the bottom of my foot?

In the end, I am super happy that I chose to run this race rather than running a lonely 12  or 13 miler. All races are learning experiences, right?

Now that Alyssa has a PR, the pressure is off me for Wineglass. She’s on her own. I predict another PR for her. (Gone are the days when I beat her by 20 minutes in a half.)

Next Up:

A (hilly) 10k and then another half marathon.

Wineglass Half Marathon presented by Dresser-Rand - A Siemens Business

October 1, 2017

I’ve never done one so close in time. 2 weeks apart! Yikes!

But I’m looking forward to nice fall weather and enjoying my races/runs.


This week I am also joining up with Running on HappySuzlyfeCrazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

Happy Running! Any advice for running two halfs close together? 

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