2014 Running Goals

Since my life has so many different facets I have decided to split my 2014 goals into categories.  I already feel better about them by doing it in this fashion.  Instead of one long daunting list, I have three smaller lists which seem easier to tackle and complete.

So for my 2014 running goals I only have a few:

  1. Hit 1000 miles for the year (will be my first time)
  2. Run my second marathon in November
  3. Get the cooler for running all of the J&A races in 2014
  4. Hit a 25 minute 5K
  5. End the year uninjured

I have many more smaller goals that I would like to make along the way but these are the stickers I want to stamp with a smiley face.  This is definitely doable and not scary to look at in the least.

Reflections in Running 2013

2013 started out with four months off from running due to an injury in December 2012 followed by physical therapy.  Not the start I wanted by any means.  It also forced my very first race deferment ever, the Shamrock Half Marathon.  This would have been my fourth year in a row doing this race.  Very sad moment for me.

It actually took me until June to ‘fully’ recover from that injury.  That poor ankle just seems to take the punishment over and over again.  I’ve since rolled it a few more times at the trail for which surprisingly it survived.

The hardest part of it all was having to almost start over from scratch.  All the work I had done for the past year to get my 5K times down in the 25 min range was gone.  I was now struggling to hit 30 again.  For anyone who has been there, you completely understand how emotionally draining that is to an age competitive runner.

I did however finish out the year with two PRs and the drive to get back that 5K time and even surpass it by two more minutes.

I learned the importance of varying your running surface by adding those hills that make us work so hard but seem to be the hidden key to increasing pace and help to prevent ankle injuries.

I take away from 2013 the knowledge that even though it felt like I had lost what brought me so much thrill that if the desire still remains as the smallest spark you can return with a vengeance.  It just takes a little patience and a slight kick to the ego to get you where you want to go by knowing you can do it.  You can do anything.

Altra Torin My First Run

I had a few firsts ending with my run today.  All of which have a little story that gets me to this point and thus my Altra shoe review.

A couple of years ago, I like so many others, jumped at the chance to try out the barefoot running phenomenon.  I had been running in Asics and Wave Riders, both of which I had several pairs over two years.  But while participating in a popular running online community I purchased my first pair of Kinvaras.  I loved these shoes, still do even though they mean something different now.  I trained many miles with no run being over 6 in length with these pink beauties.  These had become my 5K-10K go to shoe.  Today I use them mainly on the treadmill as they really are quite comfortable but not substantial enough for me to tackle my daily runs outside.

Unfortunately I ended 2012 with two stress fractures in both knees and shins so decided I may need just a little more cushion for my street runs.  I bought a pair of Pure Flow 1 shoes.  These to this day are my favorite.  Unfortunately the mileage has added up and when I went to buy another pair found there are none anywhere.  I tried on the second version and just do not care for them.  The change was too drastic between 1 and 2.

I had seen the Altra commercials many times on TV and those folks earned their money as my interested was peaked and I began to ask around about them.  I searched for a store which sold them and found none within driving distance.  This meant I would have to buy them online.

I had never bought shoes online before.  I am one of those runners who will spend hours in a running store trying out shoes because my arch is high enough that it is difficult to find a good match.  But when I saw the Torin on sale as well as free shipping and more importantly free return I decided to take a chance.

I had read the many reviews prior to making my final decision.  Many users reported being injury prone and the Altra Torin working for them for high distances.  As I am looking to do my second marathon (hopefully uninjured this time around) in 2014 I made up my mind and ordered a pair.

1492690_10201684192844651_272224711_oToday I laced up for a lunch run and was pleasantly surprised.  Walking around the house they did not feel as if they would have the support I need but while hitting the neighborhood streets they felt very adequate.  Even quite comfortable.  Granted this is my first and only run in them.  I have 6 miler this weekend planned with the group so I will definitely know more by then.  But after the first trial I am happy with the chance I took with ordering shoes before trying them myself.

Would I recommend these to others?  Yes.  I am very injury prone as my body cannot absorb calcium like it should, I have high arches, most of my runs are on asphalt and even though I do not have wide feet I am unable to wear regular width shoes.  These fit all of the requirements so far and I look forward to my next run.

Taper Friggin Crazy

Chapter 109

So we login to the Loop and read all about runner’s experiences to hopefully gain insight into our own path of enlightenment that we have all chosen. We talk about training, we give race reports and sometimes a few blogs about ‘how absolutely friggin crazy you feel during a taper!’

We all sit down and read these posts when we come across them, give encouragement, let them know we believe in them and the big day is almost here but you really really really cannot understand until you experience it yourself. I so feel for everyone now whom I have told that they are great, their training has gone well and they are definitely ready. Now I know all you are actually thinking about is, I want to run today…. CRAP it’s not on my schedule, I’m cutting back. How about a quick ride, CRAP another rest day??? Really?

So how do I handle all these nerves usually? I RUN!!! How am I actually handling it in taperville?

That’s right. I’m so hungry I am eating anything and everything whether I like it or not. Or at least I think I’m hungry. I sure do feel hungry. And what a horrible time of year to go through taperville! There is always something nutritious laying around to grab. So not the case…..

And where did all of these aches and pains come from? I mean I’m doing nothing comparitively and yet I hurt more? Logic please???? Man my brain is in overdrive and what do I want to do? RUN

CRAP… it’s not on the schedule.

Originally posted on The Loop December 27, 2011

UGG I Fracked Up

Chapter 107

I have somehow screwed my schedule, or I invented a time portal, went through it a week ahead and then erased my memory. I have lost a week somewhere. I have 22 miles on my schedule for this Saturday. If you think about me only having 13 days until the marathon that would give me just one weekend between my long run and the race. So basically just a two week taper.

I’m a little worried about that as this whole scenario is new to me. Yes I’m in marathon nube crazy mode. I spoke with the spin instructor tonight after class as she talks about how she did Philly this year and she seems to think it should be ok. Perhaps take it to 20 miles but that two weeks should be fine. What do you guys think? I know many of you are marathon veterans. I haven’t done a long run in three weeks due to injuries and that was only 18 miles.

On to tonights workout, did 1:30 of spin. I arrived early and got in a 45 minute ride before class started. She did an endurance ride tonight and I was glad. It was exactly what I needed. Now if I can just calm my hyperactive mind I may sleep tonight.

Originally posted on The Loop December 22, 2012

Always the Best Runs

Chapter 98

The first run after a race.

I had the 5K on Saturday, and yes this is a cut-back week but I could not see my weekend run only being 3.1 miles, so I set off Sunday to the trail. Figured I would do one lap (6 miles) since I was driving my mom to VA for shopping a couple hours after. That would last all day.

So I headed out, left Xena in the car and just ran. No time in mind, no pace to hold. Just me, the sun and the trail beneath my feet. It turned out to be a run great and really reminded me of why I love to do this.



My local trail.  I love it.  It is beautiful but just wish it wasn’t paved.


Originally posted on The Loop December 5, 2011

A Very Frosty 5K

Chapter 97

So here is part two and the actual race report. I just had to put up my results yesterday as soon as they emailed them to me. I really like the way J&A Racing handle their races. They do a great job.

So we arrived yesterday at the convention center about 45 minutes before the start. Me, my mother in law and oldest daughter.


Everyone met inside.  It was cold.

Once we got our group photo and checked out some of the other costumes, we headed outside to the corrals. My oldest daughter was in corral 2 with me. The gun started and a minute plus later, we were off. I decided this time we were starting at the front of the corral. I think it was a great decision. I still had to do some manuevering but not as much. They started the 10 miler and the 5K together so I believe the slower runners off the gun were probably the 10 milers, no walkers.

This was a great race. Everyone was cheeful and we all just pushed on with jingle bells on our shoes. About mile 2.50 there were three of us grouped on the right. The guy slightly in front of us leaned to the right and shot a rocket, then got ready to do the same thing to the left, where we were. The other guy and me just staired at him, he grinned and stopped slowly righting himself. Thank goodness, LOL! That could have been nasty.

The last half mile was the hardest. It was 39* and we were now running into the wind. A young boy passed me and I thought, “I’ll try to keep up with him. He’s not going that much faster”. That lastest all of 10 seconds.

The end of the race was actually in the convention center which I thought was cool. They had stadium seating setup for spectators and the annoucer was calling everyone’s name. I heard my name called as I crossed.


That is such a great feeling! I saw the clock said 27 something. As soon as I crossed the lines, I began walking, then all of a sudden was I heading to the closest trashcan which was right in front of the stands. Guess I gave everyone a grand show they probably did not want to see. A really nice lady rushed over to me. I was fine after a few seconds, but evidently I had lost my color because she insisted she walk me to the med tent. As we walked by everyone still cheered my name. That made me smile.

Once I sat in the tent they put a pinch of salt on my tongue and I felt immediately better. So much so that my hubby said I am pro now. Crossed the line, puked, got salt, 15 minutes later had a Sam Adams in one hand and a bowl of chili in the other.

Since there was hardly anyone finished still at this point, I took this opportunity to go ahead and get my picture with Santa.


They also gave me a chip and told me that I qualified for the costume contest, but I had to stay until 11AM for the pick. Unfortunately, my youngest was having none of that, so we left the fun around 10. All in all, it was a great race which I will definitely do again next year. The bling was also very cool

5K PR by almost 7 minutes :0) Granted the only other 5K i’ve done was my very first race in May of 2009 in 32 minutes, but it feels good just the same.  Plus I took home my first age group award, 3rd place. Not too shabby.  I’ve got the fever now!

Overall Results
Time: 26:41
Pace: 8:36/M
Place: 68 out of 908

Age Group Results
Group: Women 35 to 39
Place: 3
Finishers: 91

Gender Results
Gender: F
Place: 27 out of 613

Originally posted on The Loop December 4, 2011

A Wicked PR

Chapter 87

It all actually began Friday with the expo. It was very small this year, but I did end up getting another box of gels, some toe socks, three tech shirts, one wind jacket, four fuel belt replacement bottles and one Hammer gel (so many bloops about it I had to try something other than GU). I literally got all of this for nothing. I love expos where you walk in and there are boxes set up selling shirts, hats, jackets, you name it for $1 – $5. Anyway I left happy. The expo always starts my race excitment. Part of my race ritual.

We watched the weather that night and they are predicting 99% chance of a down pour, around 50* and 40 mph winds. Lovely….. So all night long I’m thinking should I wear the outfit, should I not, if not, what should I wear that will work in that crappy weather. Regardless I had a PR in my sites and come rain or shine (or a geyser from haides) it was happening.

So I get up early the next morning as all of the races are an hour + drive for me. Change mind and clothing several times. Luckily I’m smart enough to pack my bag the night before with any change of clothes, food, drink, socks, different shoes and this day a towel so I’m not late. I mean, I’m not wearing my Kinvaras on the beach after the race on the beach. Pft! Right?!?

The temperature was actually perfect, 45*. We ran into a few spinkles on the drive up to Va Beach ocean front but nothing really threatening. After we park, we walk up to the convention center where everyone else is. The wind is kicking and it is cold right on the ocean. I may be shivering in shorts and a short sleeve shirt but I knew without a doubt I’d be happy during.

There were a few very exciting costumes. I love this race. Some people really have great imagination and it shows. You can always go buy an outfit, these folks make theirs and it definitely shows, in a good way. The most exciting costume was yet to be seen.

So we line up in the corrals, go through the normal pre-gun procedures and we are off. By this time, the rain still had not really hit. I’m grateful!

Now for my rant. All that huffing and puffing I do at the trails with those groups of gossip girls that take up the whole width and do not move I’d now take anyday. Why oh why do people sign up for corrals they do not belong in? If you are not going to run the race, why put yourself in a corral that expects under an hour? Com’mon! It took me almost two miles to get around these folks. We are talking a 11 MM! I was very upset. I’d run up on the side walk jumping obsticles just to get around some. You politely ask to go by and they look at you like you have put mud on their face. Uggg.

So finally into mile 3 I could pick up my pace. I was aiming for 57 minutes. That would have put me around a 9:13 pace. Would have been no problem. I am so far behind at this point I just let go. I’m hitting 8:45s off and on where I can. The wind is blowing so hard that when I hit a stretch where there is a break in the building, my right foot is beating up the left. I have a pretty bruise on my inside left ankle as a souvenir. It was funny, you’d see all of us leaning to the left and move slightly that direction. It was blowing that hard.

Then along the final stretch I look down and see I can still make it in under an hour if I put the pedal to the medal. The race pic is hilarious. You can see the struggle on my face to move around slower folks while kicking butt, literally. It looks like my back foot is kicking my own butt. And as I was about 1/4 mile away I’m breathing hard and wanting to slow down. Here comes the costume!

At first you cannot tell; is he or isn’t he? NAKED! When I finally got up closer to him all he was wearing was a speedo type contracption that was nude color. I mean matched perfectly to his skin. Luckily he wasn’t too shabby to look at and while trying to catch up and see if he was just flat out crazy I forgot all about being tired and made it under an hour.

My fastest 10K to date had been 1:05. It is now 59:51. With how many times I had to almost stop, putt along and go backwards to get around herds of turtles I’m happy.

So hubby and I head off the boardwalk and go grab my grub. It is now starting to rain so we hurry under a small tent they have setup on the beach (after changing shoes of course. that was the priority ) Once under this small tiny open sided tent it begins. My backside is getting wet but my food is dry as I’m shoveling the chili.

Then we head toward the beer tent. I’m not a beer drinker at all, except after races. Two free beers and they always seem to go down easily after running. Who knew?

This was a mad house! No actual lines, people just standing around, pushing, stepping on feet, mine…… I swear I was in a line and for some reason I kept going the opposite direction while still facing the table. I know I am just too dang nice for my own good. I hear it constantly and I let them keep getting in front of me and pushing me back a little bit more while they smiled at me. That is gaul. At least have the curtisy to look shyty while being rude. But I finally got up there and grabbed two. One for me and one to give to my sister once she finished. It’s kind of our thing. I always finish first, so I greet her with a beer.

When she arrived, she was SOAKED! While in the beer tent the sky had opened and just let it all go at once. Then, it cleared up and was sunny the rest of the day. We ended up with a cool medal and hat. Nice swag for my favorite race.

Originally posted on The Loop November 4, 2011

Do You Remember When

Chapter 86

You ran that first 9 minute mile? How about 8:45? 8:30? Even if you’ve been doing that for years now, do you remember when you finally did it and it was not a struggle how you felt?

Yea, I know I owe you all a Wicked RR, its coming. I have to get the pic

I had a tempo on the schedule for yesterday, so after work I laced up hoping beyond all belief that the sun would stay up long enough for me to complete this run outside. Once I arrived at the hateful trail, I waited (impatiently i might add) for Xena to find a dern satelite, then took off from my self appointed starting line. Once I hit one mile, I glanced down curious and it said 8:30!!!!!

No heavy breathing, no struggle, this was an easy mile. Ok so I slowed once I looked at the watch but not by choice. It’s almost like I could have kept that up if I just resisted that one small glance down. But since I had to look and now I knew it was all over. Oh well. I finished my 5.5 mile run in 51 minutes. I was very happy. Especially since Sundays run was a bust.

So for anyone who had bets on whether (a) she’ll get in that 16 miler after the 10K (b) she’ll try it and stick it out but her IT Band will kick her butt (c) she’ll try it and her IT Band will force her beyond all belief to quit or (d) she just will not try. The final result was C. It was ALLLLL my fault though. The race was great and I cannot wait to give you guys a RR. But I got so caught up in the downpoor of rain, the 40mph winds, trying to get the food, etc that I did not stretch. All day!

And then that night my sister and I took my oldest to the Rocky Horror Picture Show since we promised her once she was 18 we would, so did not get home until 3am. Still no stretching. UG! You’d think I’d know better. It only crossed my mind as I was crossing the street at 2am back to the car and my legs felt like Frankenfurter took that chainsaw to me instead of Eddie.

I really believe I would have been alright if I would have just stretched out. But instead, I got 2.40 miles in to my 16 and there was just no way. It was one of those feelings that you know you have to stop. It’s not a “well if you slow down (or speed up) it will ease off like normal”. No it was you WILL STOP NOW. So I did.

Originally posted on The Loop November 3, 2011

Color Vibe 5k 2013 RR

This was my first color run.  We really wanted to do the Color Me Rad in May but my ankle was still not quite ready from the injury in December.  But when the youngest sister found the Color Vibe many of us decided to sign up.

We bought shirts, painted them up and sported them proudly Saturday morning as well all piled into the car.  Regardless of negative feedback, I kept my name ‘sweaty spice’.  And boy did it fit nicely.

Sweaty Spice


We arrived at the venue and walked to the pre-party.  This was interesting.  Color party bonanza.   Soon it was time to line up.  There were no corrals, no clocks, no timing chips.  This was all for fun and to raise some money for CHDK.

The DJ counted down the first wave and off they went.  20 minutes later it is announced they had to bring most of them back because they went the wrong way and start again.  We eventually went in wave 4 almost an hour later, standing in a huddle in the extreme heat directly in the sun.  This was not fun and rather miserable.

Once we were finally off, the path itself was horrible.  So I may be spoiled by not running on trails where large tractors left divots along the way, but this seemed awfully dangerous to me.  It was very narrow, most were walking in lines that stretched the width of the “trail”.  I use that word lightly as it was the driving path for the tractors around the fields.  Granted, this was not a race built for PRs or even PBs but it still sucked to get stuck behind groups of walkers who would not move to either side to let those going slightly faster behind them by.  Even upon asking.

It was so hot several people physically could not handle it and there were many laid out along the sides in the fields or throwing up around their teammates.  The ambulance stayed busy.

Once I finished I headed to the none running part of our gang sitting under a tree and tried to cool off by spending $5.00 on a snow cone.  I desperately wanted to ice.

The after party was fun.  We all gathered by the stage and they had periods of throwing out color bags and group disbursement to music.  Even my daughter wanted in this action.

After run party


I probably will not do one at this particular venue again just because the ankle is feeling it today and it has been so good to me the past month or so.  We do have plans however to do the Rad next May.  And we look forward to it.  Other than the run itself, it was one big party and with great group of women.