Monday Love: Wicked Freakin’ Awesome Edition

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I haven’t had one of these posts in a while! It’s Monday and it is a GREAT day! Here we go…things I am loving on this great Monday!

1) Wicked Freakin’ Awesome weekend with Kevin. Because of his job it’s rare that he gets an entire weekend off – so since he had this entire weekend off we booked it solid. From breakfast and Cliff Walk in Newport, to Saturday night’s UFC fight, to a PawSox game yesterday, we were go, go, going all weekend! I even found time to create some wicked cupcakes…I suppose I should share the recipe. We also spent a considerable amount of time with my brother, which is always a good time!

Enjoying a gorgeous day in Newport

2) The best shin update EVER. I got right on the phone this morning, and after over an hour of not being able to get through to the doctor, I finally got a live person. The verdict is:

The X-Ray came back normal!

I am beside myself happy, and yes we are going for a run tonight. I only ran once last week, and the time off definitely did me some good. This also means that I’ll be able to run alongside Kevin as he runs his first half-marathon on Saturday, which is so much better than spectating.

3) Paying the bills. Who says paying the bills can’t be wicked freakin’ awesome? You guys know I live at home, with my parents, because of financial difficulties. Well today I paid off and closed FIVE CREDIT CARDS. And I have a very solid plan in place to finish off the rest. Oh. happy. day.

4) A new and improved marathon training plan. More on this later…Between life and injuries, my thoughts on distance running have changed considerably, as I told you guys the other day. This plan will be shorter, with a new finish goal, something that will still make me extremely happy and ready to move on from marathons to whatever may be next…

Now it’s time for me to get a haircut, then go for a run!

I hope everyone had an amazing Monday.


Filling a Void

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Lately I haven’t really wanted to run – more specifically, run long.

I thought it was because I’m worried about my shin.

I thought it was because it’s summer and it’s been so hot out.

I thought it was because my short runs have been so amazing that I don’t want to ruin that amazing runner’s high by having a so-so long run.

And then it dawned on me…

Marathon training has been the plug in the void I’ve had in my life over the past year and a half.

You see, 1 1/2 years ago I told my now ex-husband that I wanted a divorce, which happens to coincide with my first half marathon – when I started thinking of running a full. There’s a long history and series of events that led to this – none of which I’ve spoken about here, and I don’t plan on doing that. The past is exactly that – it’s done and over with; however, when you’re in a relationship for 7 years, and then you’re not, there is bound to be a void.

A void that I filled with massive amounts of running. 7 half marathons, 3 full marathons, 15 races in 2011 alone.

But now, that void has been filled – I’m not alone anymore.

I don’t need hours alone on the road with my thoughts.

I am in a very good place right now. I have re-found the girl who disappeared over years in a crappy marriage. I have found a man who supports me and all of my dreams. He’s always encouraging me to go farther, try harder, push through boundaries and break through those comfort zones that I created when I was a single girl.

Right now I have no idea what this means for me and running. Running is a passion, I’ll never quit running, that’s for sure.

I’ve had a few ideas, that I won’t put into effect until after Chicago:

Focus on shorter distances – really drop my 5k, 10k, and half times.

Triathlon – I really want to get into triathlon. I like the challenge that having to master 3 sports versus 1 presents. I like the idea of variety.

The minimal amount of running I’ve done through May and June has not affected my mood, my weight, my fitness, nothing. Honestly, I don’t miss the long runs that much. I’m thinking 4 marathons is good for now, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things!

Have you ever experienced anything like this? How did you deal with it?

 


So, You Say You Want to Run ZOOMA Cape Cod?

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You said that, didn’t you?

That’s what I thought.

Our first matter of business – and this is important so pay attention:

Register for ZOOMA Cape Cod using the code “CCAMB6” for $10 off the half and $5 off the 10k.

Who doesn’t like saving money?!

Speaking of saving money – registration fees for ZOOMA Cape Cod increase TOMORROW. Use my promo code and register NOW! This is a race you don’t want to miss.

Another thing you don’t want to miss? I am the queen of the segue tonight!

ZOOMA Cape Cod Training Kick Off: Start with a 3 mile run then join us for raffles, refreshments, massages, discounts, swag bags, and SO MUCH MORE.

I will be there along with my fellow ambassadors, meeting, greeting, and running with all of you!

(Are you ready for another segue – or are you sick of that yet?!)

Meet the ZOOMA Cape Cod Ambassadors! I personally know 4 of my fellow ambassadors and cannot wait to meet the rest!

So, will I see you Tuesday? Will I see you at ZOOMA Cape Cod on September 22nd? I sure hope so!

Have a great night and great weekend everyone!

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Today is the Day…

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Day one of the next sixteen weeks of my life…

16 weeks that will probably have you sick of hearing the words “Chicago” and “Marathon”

16 weeks of torturing running with Kevin because he told me he’d run my training plan with me (if only the race wasn’t sold out…*evil laugh*)

16 weeks of kicking ass and taking names because I plan on owning this race come October.

Week 1 is an easy week:

Monday: Upper body/core workout

Tuesday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace

Wednesday: Upper body/core workout (a.m.) 4 miles of hills (p.m.)

Thursday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace (a.m.), yoga (p.m.)

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 4 miles @ 9:55 pace

Sunday: 9 miles @ 10 pace

Aside from a quick treadmill mile with my very first personal training client on Saturday morning, and some yardwork, I took the entire weekend off in preparation. My legs are really happy right now, I’m completely healed from my injury, and I’m ready to run.

We have 4 weeks until the Jamestown Half Marathon – the first race of the summer! That week will also be the beginning of the high mileage weeks involved in the plan I’m following – it tops out at 48 miles a week toward the end of the plan. I’m a tad nervous about that, since it typically takes me two weeks to run that many miles, but I trust in this plan and my body, I’m ready for it!

Is anyone else training for a fall marathon? What type of plan are you following?


More Exciting News!

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Good morning and HAPPY SATURDAY my friends!

I woke up this morning to a very exciting e-mail from Tricia, the Social Media Director for the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series, asking me if I’d like to be an Ambassador for the Half Marathon that takes place in Falmouth, MA (On Cape Cod) on September 22nd.

After consulting my training plan, my answer was a no brainer:

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15 miles or 1/2 marathon on the exact same day as the ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon? I’m IN!

Jess is also an ambassador for this race, which makes it even MORE exciting!

Local ladies, you should register for this race and join us on what is sure to be a fun and fantastic day in September!

Have you ever run a women’s only event? I haven’t – I’m very excited for this event and opportunity!Signature

 


You Say It’s National Running Day?!

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That’s a “holiday” I can get on board with! After taking a week off of running because of the shin thing I’ve been talking about – Kevin and I set out for some speed intervals last night.

He’s never run intervals in a training run before so we agreed on a few 400m intervals. He kicked my ass. That’s what I get for telling him to run 400’s “balls to the wall.” I did say not so hard that the next intervals were too hard – oops. Oh wait, that was just my DAMN LUNGS.

K's First Speedwork

6:44?! That’s a 400m PR for me! My lungs were SCREAMING – Hence the slow down on the 3rd interval by a minute, and then the walk break.

Once my lungs (and stomach) returned to normal we started running again, and agreed to just work toward a constant speed increase for the final mile.

Not to be outdone by a boy (he may kill me for this) I pushed the last 1/4 mile or so and ended with a killer kick, and I won (were we racing? Yes, I’m always racing…)! I’m really enjoying having someone to run with that can kick my butt in the short distance speed department, while I whip him into half marathon shape for his FIRST half marathon (I feel like I told you guys this already? yes? no? Am I losing my mind?).

Then tonight I got home from work and somehow pulled this off:

National Run Day Run

The day after intervals with a fast finish? I have no idea where this run came from but it felt great! I’m feeling it now – but I stretched, I’m hydrating, I drank my protein smoothie, and I’m swaddled in compression.

Now I’m off to write up some fitness questionnaires for a new project I’m working with another blogger on – more on that soon!

Did you celebrate National Running Day?!

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Five for Friday: Stuff, Just Stuff…

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Hey everyone! Happy Friday! Lets get right to it, shall we?

1) I have been suffering from a SEVERE case of writer’s block. Not good as a blogger, eh? So I may be a tad scarce for the next couple of weeks – I do hope it doesn’t take much longer than that to come back.

2) Speaking of that writer’s block – Chicago Marathon training begins on June 18th. So, I should have plenty to talk about very very soon. I’m following a program from Runner’s World to get me to my time goal. And this time around, I’m not talking numbers. I was dared by a certain someone to not talk about my number goals – and, well, I’m not one to back down from a dare.

3) I started my new position at work this week – and so far I really like it. I’m working with the Project Managers processing and expediting construction documents. My official title is Expediter/Submittal Coordinator. Sounds important, right? It’s so much better than the Office Manager position I was working before – I feel like a giant weight has been lifted! I know I talked about it a bit earlier in the week – but I felt like reiterating now that I really know more about the position and what’ I’ll be doing.

4) So much for heat training…temps are dropping again this week. I know, I know, I have all summer. But I was really looking forward to starting now, since, well, I already started… I’m planning on keeping up my weekly hot yoga classes to assist in this process. With two half’s (July and August) and a full coming up that could potentially be warm – I’ll run in all the hot weather I can between now and then!

5) I know, you’re reading this going, and what about all that vagueness about that someone from the other day right? I didn’t want to write about him without permission – some people don’t like their lives being talked about all over the internet. But, he said I could – soooo…I am officially no longer a single woman. My friend Jen set me up with Kevin – she knows both of us well and knew we’d hit it off, which we most certainly did do. I am beyond grateful to Jen for her involvement in our relationship (I don’t usually care to be set up!) – but we never would have met without her! We are like 99% the same person – it’s fun to continue to figure out what else we have in common. It’s great to have a running partner who can push me in pace while I can push him in distance (We’re working him toward his first half marathon this summer!). Honestly, there’s so much more, so so much more. But, there’s plenty of time for that! I just couldn’t keep my excitement to myself anymore. (Did I mention there’s so much more? Did I mention I’m a pretty happy girl right now?)

So, life is good, right?! Everything is falling into place – I feel so happy, lucky, blessed, for everything that’s happening to me.

Have a great Friday/weekend my friends (if this block continues…).

XOXO

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The Day I (Didn’t) DNF

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Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been MIA – Something about Sunday’s race kicked the life out of me. After going to bed at 9 last night and a massage tonight I’m feeling a bit more human.

So, let’s back up, shall we?

Sunday morning I woke with the alarm at 6 a.m. And, I didn’t want to get up, so I snoozed. Luckily I stayed in Providence the night before, so I didn’t have to rush. I got up at 6:10 and meandered my way down to the ever so convenient Starbucks located in the hotel. Damn good thing I did – it was already chock full of runners, being that it was about 2 blocks from the start.

I got myself an iced coffee, a bagel, and a banana. I nervously munched and sipped as I got ready. As I was wrapping up my preparation, I reached into my bag for my Garmin, and *GASP* IT WAS DEAD! It must’ve turned on when I tossed it into my bag!

I was panicking because I had hopeful big plans (big plans that didn’t come to fruition – but really, I only ran twice a week for the past 7 weeks so…’nuf said) and I really wanted my Garmin. I was convinced it was going to be a bad day.

When I met up with Coachy and our friend Don, I told them about my Garmin. Coachy and Don were running together anyway, so (being the wondaful person that he is) Coachy gave me his Garmin to wear (thank you thank you THANK YOU AGAIN!). It’s the same as mine but the boy version.

We then met up with Jess, Scott, and Christine, right by the start line. After a long drive from northern MA to RI the girls had to find a bathroom, so while they did that I saw the marathoners off (aka Coachy and Don).

Me, Jess, Scott, and Christine lined up around the 10 minute pace and chatted a bit, took a few pics, and tried to keep our minds off of what was about to go down. Next thing we knew we were off.

About half a mile in I remarked to Jess that we had already lost Christine – but Christine had decided she was going to start slow (smooth move – you can read all about it in her recap). I’m totally doing that next time.

I really never felt great during this race. I’d talk to Jess for a bit – Scott would gesture for us to catch up to him – we’d go silent and just run.

I slowed around Mile 4 water stop, but caught back up to Jess and Scott. They were moving at a pretty good clip, and my confidence was slipping. It was humid, the clouds burned off and the sun was fully out. Between the humidity and the very high levels of tree pollen in the air, I couldn’t breathe.

I told Jess around Mile 5 that I was dropping back, to go ahead without me.

That’s when the mind games started. I knew I was holding a pace well enough to PR, but not get my ultimate goal (which you guys all know what that is by now so I’m not speaking about it).

I finished Mile 5 and 6 strong, and even Mile 7 considering the biggest hill on the course (100ish foot climb) exists between 6.5 and 7.5 miles.

But during Mile 6 and 7 I hyperventilated. I cried. I convinced myself that I was not going to finish this race.

I said it quite a few times. “What if you just quit?” “You can DNF, save your leg, save your knee, just stop running.”

You see, my knee was wigging out on all the up and down. I didn’t do any real good pre-race stretching and I spent hours walking around on Saturday.

Oops.

I knew there was a medic around Mile 8ish, because we passed the ambulance around Mile 4. I stopped there and got some tape for my knee.

I had started the race with my knee strap on but it just wasn’t cutting it.

I then realized that I was being a complete fool for even thinking I was going to quit this race. There was nothing wrong with me other than a bitchy knee. I knew how to control it, and I did. I powered on and even managed to save my pace after the unplanned knee repair stop.

Then Mile 9 started. Also known as the mile with “that damn downhill”. You guys know I love running downhill, but this is ridiculous. You drop from 93 feet to 10 feet in about half a mile. It’s a steepy.

But I managed to really pick up my pace and have an awesome Mile 10.

Then another UPHILL. I talked about this last year too – some really evil person decided it was a good idea to put a long steady uphill in between Mile 10 and 11. It’s also on the Rock N Roll Providence course, almost at the same mileage, in case you’re planning on running that one.

I walked. I cursed. I cried. I ran (if you can call it that). Relief came in the form of another super but not so steep downhill. I looked at my Garmin though, and I knew if I could just stay strong a little while longer that I’d have a PR that I’ve been working for – FOR A YEAR!

Then suddenly I heard a voice from behind me.

IT WAS CHRISTINE! Oh she could not have come at a better time. I told her about my knee, and she was really rocking it – the slower start and steady pace really kept her strong.

We ran, and chatted. I warned her about the Team in Training signs in the park (all about people who have passed from cancer – so sad, but so inspirational – they make me cry. Last year I hyperventilated from crying).

We pushed each other almost to the end. We cursed out the fact that Mile 12 was DEFINITELY long and we couldn’t find “the damn sign.”

We saw (RI) Jess at the Whiskey Republic, cheering for us! That gave me another bit of energy!

Somewhere right before Mile 13 I dropped back from Christine. She told me if I lost her she’d cry (thank you for that, BTW – I didn’t want to make you cry) – so I made sure I stayed in sight, even if behind her.

The final stretch came and I somehow got the burst of energy I needed to power across the finish line.

Official Time: 2:10:10 – a 3 second PR.

This was, mentally, my hardest race ever.

I truly wanted to quit.

I wanted nothing more than to walk off the course and lay in the grass.

I had myself convinced that I was coming back to this computer to write to you guys about an extremely disappointing race.

Instead I came back with a PR.

I came back with a new respect for the training plan.

I came back PROUD of my friends for their amazing times – Jess and Scott with a 2:03:10 (a 2-ish minute PR) and Christine with a 2:09:44 (also a 2-3ish minute PR!).

I EVEN came back to the course and ran a mile or so with Coachy and Don when they came through on their way to finish the marathon.

As I reflect upon Sunday and write this post I’ve learned a lot. How to trust that my body will get me there – even if I wasn’t as trained as I would have liked to be.

Super props to Jess for removing the words “undertrained” from my race day speak. It was all I had to say for a while post-race. But she corrected me.

I learned that quitting is not the answer (unless, of course, you are actually doing more harm to your body – in that case, please quit. I knew I wasn’t harming myself. I was just pissed off and frustrated by the fact that sub-2 had slipped from my grasp yet again. On my 4th try.)

I learned that I am going to train my ASS off all of June and July and when the times comes in July and August to run my next two 13.1 races – I WILL own them, and I will get that sub-2. No questions asked. It helps that by then I’ll be running longer than 13 miles as I train for Chicago.

There ya have it folks. My extremely long winded, at times sad, at times educational, race report.

I hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks to everyone on Facebook, Twitter, and Daily Mile for all of the congrats for my finish and PR. Your words mean more to me than I can ever describe.

And thank you to Coachy, Don, Jess, Scott, Christine, (RI) Jess, Martha, & Kevin for being there for me. I love you guys!

XOXO

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P.S. The pics in here were totally stolen (with permission) from Jess and Christine. Thanks girls!


Race Day Giveaway

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Hey everyone!

While I’m off basking in the glory of my 7th half marathon you have an opportunity to win a truly ass kicking prize.

Yup, I’m still giving stuff away. It’s craziness around here.

I am giving you the opportunity to win a Coaching Plan from 26.2+ LLC

Seriously. A full blown Coaching Plan – You choose the distance (from 5k to marathon), they provide the rest.

26.2+ LLC is an online running business dedicated to the working athlete that exists to keep you training strong, see you reach your running goals from 5K to the marathon, grow, and strengthen the running community.

Check out their Coaching page for all that they offer.

Phil is a local guy, who I haven’t had the opportunity to actually meet yet, but we run a lot of the same routes, so it will happen. I am so pleased to offer you guys a giveaway from a local company! SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS!

So, now that you are all fired up about getting your very own custom training plan, here’s how you enter:

1) Follow 26.2+ LLC on Twitter (Required) https://twitter.com/#!/26point2plus

2) Follow me on Twitter. (Required) https://twitter.com/#!/runcupcake

3) Tell me what training plan you’d choose if you’d win, and what race you’d use it for. (Optional)

4) Tweet about this giveaway: @runcupcake is giving away a coaching plan from @26point2plus for her 2-year raciversary. Enter here: http://wp.me/p25oLf-Km (Optional)

This is a seriously wicked prize – thank you Phil, for offering this up to my readers!

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Giveaway is open to all US residents.

Giveaway ends at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 12th.

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Monday Love: Race Week Edition

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Hey hey everyone! Can you believe it – Cox Rhode Races half marathon is a short 5 days away! It’s going to be here before we know it!

With that being said, what better time than to offer up a “Race Week Edition” of my favorite way to beat a case of the Mondays? So, what am I loving this race week?

1) Completing a training schedule: strong, proud, and happy.

Happy Training Plan

2) Completing the final run of the training plan at a pace that will allow me a PR on Sunday. *Disclaimer* I am not trying to PR on Sunday. I am going to run with my friends and have fun. I am going to listen to my body so as to not reinjure my leg. If I get a PR out of the deal, that would be fantastic, but I’m not getting my hopes up.  (Side note: This exact race, last year, still holds my PR. So I may be thinking about it just a little bit.) I ran the first half of this run with Jess at a comfortable pace. Since she’s still healing she could only run 4, so I was left to my own devices for the second half. After convincing myself to finish the run (and not get in my car and drive home) I decided to throw in some speedy miles. It was hard, but surprisingly not too hard. I negative split the second half of this run by almost 5 minutes!

Final Cox Long Run

3) My dog. No matter what kind of day I had, she always cheers me up. I love having a dog – they truly are (wo)man’s best friend. (Super strange side not: When I typed the wo in parentheses Live Writer turned it into a suitcase? Strange.) Tonight was especially hilarious – she was so nutso when I got home. Running around with the most disgusting looking tennis ball I’ve ever seen, jumping, playing fetch with herself basically, while my parents dog just watched her from the deck.  sometimes I swear he thinks he’s babysitting her. And now, well, see for yourself:

Sleepy Lexi

She seems to be getting better since I wrote the other day that she was having some behavioral issues. She had basically thrown herself out of my bed a couple of weeks ago, but I put her blanky back up on my bed and brought her back in, and she’s happy. She’s a big time cuddlepuppy. When she can cuddle, she’s happy.

4) Quick, but effective, workouts. I’m pressed for time this week while getting ready to enjoy my mini stay-cation. I’ve got posts to set up (so I don’t leave you guys hanging while I’m unplugged – I’ve got some great guest posters lined up starting Friday!), I’ve got grown up crap to do (like make sure my bills are all paid, laundry, etc.), a hair cut on Thursday, you get the picture. Wicked busy, as always. So in order to save myself some time I decided I’d skip the gym this week; however, I’m not skipping working out. I created a great, fast, full body circuit that you can do at home when you’re pressed for time. All you need is a stability ball and a set of hand weights. I used 5 pounders – I don’t want to be too sore or worn out come race day! I did 3 total sets in 25 minutes (except I only managed 25 total push ups – those babies are HARD!) Stability Ball Circuit

Exercise Descriptions (Be sure the ball is supporting your upper back, neck, and head for all exercises that you’re laying on the ball. Raise your hips into a bridge position so your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees):

Bench Press – traditional bench press, only laying on the ball.

Supine Tricep extension

Hammer Curl – Sitting on the ball. Engage your core, make sure your feet are on the floor and your legs form a 90 degree angle.

Push-up: Make sure the ball is directly under your shins. Engage your core, don’t round or arch your back.

Wall Squats

Ball “Roll-Ins” – Assume push up position on the ball. Bring your knees to your chest (rolling the ball in) and move back out to push up position. That’s one rep.

5) Another giveaway. What’s that you say? Oh yes, I told you guys I’d have a giveaway a day this week, right? Well it’s a freakin party around here! Today’s giveaway is brought to you by the wonderful people over at Perky Jerky. Have you had this stuff yet? I’ve tried both, I prefer the turkey, and OMG, it is the most tender pre-packaged jerky I have ever eaten in my life. I buy it all the time to snack on, and today, the folks at Perky Jerky are being kind enough to give away 5 bags each of the beef and the turkey!

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They’re not kidding. Since I possess this bag of yumminess, and it’s taken every ounce of power in me to not devour all of the turkey jerky myself, this is going to be a 24-hour flash giveaway! This giveaway will end TOMORROW at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

How to enter: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

1) Follow Running and Cupcakes (look to your right – where it says “Follow Me”) (Required)

2) Tell me if you won which flavor you’d prefer – Beef or Turkey (Required)

3) Tweet about the giveaway. However you’d like! Just make sure you copy me (@runcupcake) and Perky Jerky (@perkyjerky), and link back to this post:

Giveaway is open to all US and Canadian Residents.

This giveaway will have TWO winners.

Giveaway ends at 9:30 eastern standard time Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

Good luck! I hope everyone had an amazing Monday!

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