Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Memories Giveaway

Do you scrapbook?  Nope?  Me neither.  Since I do not scrapbook I had to think long and hard before even thinking about this giveaway.  I like everything nice and neat, organized, and digital.  My photos I take are primarily for the blog, although some do make it to print form.  Instead of writing out a list or a story, I will type it up and print it out (only if necessary).  I thought and I thought and finally I said sure, I'll look at the My Memories suite and do a giveaway.  

For a non-scrapbooker who likes my photos to stay on my computer this is right up my alley:  digital scrapbooking software.  Wow, what an awesome program!  Another bonus:  I really believe that people who love to scrapbook the traditional way will love this too!

When I open the My Memories software I have the option to 'Create Album From Designer Template' or 'Design Your Own' or Browse More Content Online.'  Since I'm not big into scrap-booking I played around with the 'Create Album From Designer Template' and it was easy-peasy.  I could definitely get lost in this digital scrap-booking world.  

There are a lot of templates available in the program and even more on-line for a minimal amount of money (most look to be less than $5 per kit).  

I have not completed a scrapbook, but I have started a lot of them (my bad, I know!).  Here is one that I started.  I picked a Christmas theme because of the time of year...and added running photos.  You can see there are a variety of lay-outs and plenty of space to add commentary.

Other layouts that are available (no, I didn't add pictures or comments to these...)

 Aren't they cute?

Thanks to Liz who contacted me about this giveaway!

Do you want to win a copy of this software?  I have one to give away.  Here is what you need to do:
  1. Visit My Memories and let me know what your favorite digital paper pack or layout is (required!!)
  2. Like My Memories is on Facebook
  3. Follow My Memories on Twitter
  4. Follow the My Memories blog
  5. Follow my blog
  6. Share this with others (tweet, blog, share on facebook...1 entry for each share)
Giveaway ends Dec 28!

Another option...cannot wait to win and want to buy this right away?  You can.

Simply click above and use code STMMMS9039 to get your discount!

I was given a copy of this software free of charge.  The opinions here are mine and mine alone.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Wednesday?

I swear it isn't Wednesday.  All day I've been going under the assumption that it is Thursday.  I think I even taught my students this morning what I have planned for Thursday.  It's been one of those days.

Thankfully, I did get my run in and it was awesome!!  Tomorrow, I hope to get Maddie out for a walk or a short run.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The List is Getting Longer

It seems like my list of things to do is getting longer and longer, despite finishing a lot of things on it daily.  Even with my lists, I am taking time once again to run almost daily.  I am not going far or fast, but I am going.

Yesterday I took Maddie out for a short run in the morning before the family was off to ride The Polar Express.  It was a great time and I'm glad we went, but it certainly made 4:46 come early this morning because I was late going to bed!  Add being tired to the fact that I haven't been running first thing in the morning and it was a rough 4 miles.  I'm glad I ran.  In a few short hours I'll be at yoga, a treat when I have Monday's off.

This weeks plan:
Monday:  4 miles + yoga
Tuesday:  walk Maddie*
Wednesday:  speed work of some kind
Thursday:  walk or run Maddie
Friday:  6 miles
Saturday:  walk or run Maddie
Sunday:  repeat Saturday

*walking Maddie is different than Maddie's normal walks.  When it is my exercise for the day we go longer and we go faster; we walk but we do more than her short walk route.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November by the Miles

November was not a month to write home about when it comes to mileage, but I did do some good this month so I will celebrate those accomplishments!

November Mileage:  50.83
November Days Run:  12 (40%)
2011 Mileage:  1086.26 (I hit my goal of 1050 miles during a 15k)
coming into the Stockade-athon 15K finish line
November races:  2 (Stockade-athon 15K and Raffal Run)
November goals not met:  Running 13.1 miles in one shot.  I'm fine with this and will miss this goal in December too.

Me & Amanda at the Raffal Run
All in all, it wasn't a great month.  I went back and looked at my previous months' mileage.  The last time I had this low of a month was in February 2009.  No wonder I feel like I haven't been running this month!

I am celebrating what I did in November.  I ran my first 15K!!!  It was long and the hills hurt my calf, but I did it.  I purposely skipped perfect days to run my favorite 5 mile route so I could go to yoga.  I am happy I went to yoga and I hope to have time to go again next week.

December will be better.  Unless I am hurt, it cannot get much worse.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pictures and Miles

I had a busy Thanksgiving and while I did not log a lot of miles, I did run almost every day.  Most of the time I kept my runs under 3.5 miles for various reasons.  Today I went out and ran 5 miles.  It was a cloudy 50F and I needed to take advantage of the weather!  It isn't this warm at the end of November very often.  I set off on my favorite 5 mile loop and ran it backwards.  This meant I hit my hill at the beginning of mile 2 instead of during mile 5.  :)  Miles 1 & 2 were right on and then I hit mile 3.  Oh My!!!  I got a side ache and couldn't catch my breath and had to walk.  I have no idea what was going on, but it all happened during that one mile.  I did run the rest of my loop and finished stronger than I thought was possible with the miserable middle mile.

Over Thanksgiving break we also went and took our Christmas picture.  It is November and the leaves have fallen, the sun was out and there was a light breeze.  It was nothing less than a perfect day.  No, this isn't the picture we picked...but I wanted to share it because I think it is a great picture of my kiddos.

Back in August, I took some pictures from the same spot when I was on a 19 mile training run.  It looks a bit different:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Strange Footing

I just found this photo from my marathon and I have no idea what is going on with my footing.  I've seen other pictures of myself running I don't usually look like I'm trying to cross my legs.  This was at the best water stop of the course!  One of the high school teams was all decked out in Hawaiian gear handing out water, gatorade.  Plus, one kid even asked if I wanted any H2O (music to this chemistry teacher's ears)!

ADP on the other hand was uber focused as he turned one of the corners in the cemetery during his 15K.  I think this would have been about mile 6.5:

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Scale Lied

I weigh myself once a week just to keep tabs on my weight.  The scale let me know I was up a little so I was expecting it when I went to Weight Watchers on Saturday to weigh in and work.  Well, my scale at home LIED!  Apparently it is two pounds light.  That is not acceptable in my world (both the scale being that far off and my weight being up by more than a little...and those two 'extra' pounds put me over 'a little').

When I finished working at WW I did some thinking and calculating and more thinking.  Yes, I've been enjoying a peanut butter and honey sandwich after dinner most nights.  But that alone shouldn't do it.  So I figured out how much I've been running.  In the first 21 days of November I have racked up a grand total of 33.7 miles.  And, 23 of those miles have been in the last 9 days.

Just call me a running slacker*!!

I have a plan.  It includes getting out and running more (I really miss running daily), walking the dog, and hitting the gym.  I'll do something every day.  I'm also cutting out those evening sandwiches.  It will take time, but these pounds will be gone before the new year.

*In my defense, I have been having a very hard time figuring out when to run with my work schedule.  ADP and I talk about it almost weekly.  I need to let go of something to fit it all in, I just don't know what is going so I can still do everything I want.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

rafFal Run, or race?

This morning was the local rafFal run.  It is called a run, but I'm sure some consider it a race.  Here's the gist:

  1. run the one mile loop and get a raffle ticket
  2. repeat
  3. stop when the clock hits 60 minutes, or before if you cannot finish another lap in the time allotted

It was a lot smaller than last year (291 runners & walkers this year compared to 415 last year).  Just like last year Amanda and I ran it together.  This year Darlene joined us and it was nice to catch up with her.  I realize that Amanda and I ran the first hour of the 15K together last week, but we still had plenty to talk about this morning.

thanks to Lisa for taking the picture
We ran the mile loop getting passed again and again by all the various high school cross country kids.  And the fast college runners.  And the fast runners.  The thing is, it just gave us more to talk about.  I ran 4 laps with Amanda and Darlene and then opted to walk/run the last lap.  Today I wanted to try running without my IT-band strap and I was fine for ~4 miles and then there was an oddly familiar discomfort in my left leg.  I knew what it was so I played it safe and started walking.

In the end I ran 5.3 miles and earned 5 rafFal tickets plus the one that I found on the ground.  With three of us we had 15 raffle tickets and did not win a single thing.  :(  Maybe next year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grace and Stability

One of the benefits of my job is that it is part-time so I have time to go to the gym again.  When I started this position at the beginning of the school year I did not want to go to the gym and try new things for the sole reason that I had a marathon coming up.  Well, my marathon has come and gone so I have been visiting the gym and hitting up some classes.

Lucky for me, I have had a string of Mondays off which is one of two days the gym offers yoga in the morning.  Yay!  I like yoga and how it stretches the muscles at the same time I have to work hard to hold certain poses.  The past few Mondays have not been too bad and I walked out happy, tired, and wanting more.  We did some great stretches and lengthening poses.

Yesterday I went to yoga again.  I had run a 15K the day before and was more sore than I expected to be considering I did not especially push during the race.  Yoga was going along fine (with the few poses I couldn't do properly because of my ankle and calf...but I made due) and then once we were warmed up the instructor says we are going to work on 'grace and stability.'

My first thoughts were 'Huh?  What?'  Then she explained and my thoughts changed more toward a line of swearing.  I am a go with the flow person and I don't swear out loud, but that doesn't mean a word or two slips through in my thoughts on occasion.  Here's what she explained using my words:
You are going to get into a pose that is near impossible to hold and your legs will be shaking uncontrollably in a very short amount of time.  Once you get into the pose you have to hold it for what will feel like 20 or 30 minutes before moving onto the next pose.
OK, so we didn't really hold poses for 30 minutes, but each one was at least a minute long (some as long as two minutes) with little rest between the poses.  It felt great, but not recommended for the day after a race.  I'm a bit sore and tired today.

One thing I learned yesterday:  the planks that I've been doing at home after running, well apparently I don't hold them for nearly long enough.  The 75 year old next to me was smiling and having a great time while I was panting and dripping sweat.  

Next up is probably spinning.  It's been a long time and I'm sure to have a numb butt and a smile on my face when I'm finished with it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My First 15K

I finally ran a 15K.  Yes, I've run a few half marathons and even a full marathon, but I've never run a 15K.  I didn't just pick any old 15K for my first.  I picked the Stockade-athon, which is recognized as the oldest "major" 15K road race in the USA.  The best part, it was ADP's first 15K as well.

Yesterday we went and picked up our packets.  In years past the shirts have been long sleeve so I was quite surprised when the shirts were short sleeve.  It isn't short sleeve weather around here, but it is a nice shirt that will sit in my drawer until next April when it is warm enough to wear it.
ADP's name is before mine in the ABC's so he had number 1229
Yesterday we were busy with life, taking care of the neighbor kids and getting things done around the house.   This didn't leave a lot of time to think about the 15K, which is a good thing because I may have changed my mind about running the race (as opposed to pushing myself and racing it).
ADP and Suzy pre-race

This morning dawned bright and early.  We got ready, dropped the kids off at the neighbors (we had their kids yesterday, they have ours today!!), and were off to the race.

We were there plenty early, which is good because I only had to wait a few minutes to use the bathroom.  Closer to race time the bathroom and port-a-pottie lines were horribly long.  There was a record turn out of ~1,800 so they really needed more port-a-potties.

ADP gave me a quick kiss (awwwww!) and was off to line up.  I stuck around with a group of local runners. Most are moms and all are amazing women.  We had a couple quick pictures taken and then we were off to the start.  Of course, getting to the starting line isn't a straight path because I saw some USA Fit runners and had to say hi to them as well. It is great to have a local race with so many familiar faces.

Strong Running Mamas
My plan for the race was to take it easy, walk up the hills (if need be) and finish the race.  Even though that was my plan, I had a time in mind as well...what runner wouldn't??  I really wanted to finish under 1:45 because I didn't know how I'd handle it mentally if I went longer.  My 'I don't know if I can do it because it'll be hard work and I'll have to push' goal was 1:40.  I really didn't think I'd have a chance to break 1:40.

Amanda and I lined up with a lot of the group and we stuck together for the first ~5.5 miles.  We needed some time to catch up as it had been way to long.  I was surprised when I saw my splits coming up for the first five miles (10:11, 9:56, 9:54, 9:33, 10:28).  Happily surprised.  Here's the thing:  we were running mainly downhill.  A race where the start and finish lines are close to one another and is downhill for the first half means only one thing for the second half:  UPHILL!  And then I saw "the hill" and made it part way and then walked.  I'm glad I walked because my calf is a little tender now.  I walked when it was uphill and ran when it was flat  for the next three miles (11:21, 10:26, 11:26).

Then I turned the corner and saw ADP.  My first question was whether he hit his goal (he did!!!).  He ran with me for about 1.5 miles.  It was great to have ADP running along with me and talking!  He ran me almost to the finish line and didn't even say a word when I had to walk for a few seconds here and there.  My final splits were 10:49 and 9:24 equiv.  What does that add up to?  Garmin says 9.39 miles in 1:37:46.  WAY faster than I could have hoped for!

ADP did amazing!  He finished in 58:30!  His prize:  he got a sticker for finishing the 15K in under 60 minutes.

My official numbers:
90 of 126 in my AG
#1344 of 1603 finishers
5K:  33:28
10K:  1:04:32
Finish:  1:37:35 net (1:37:59 gun)
10:29/mi average

ADP's official numbers:
7 of 98 in AG
#62 of 1603 finishers
5K:  20:02
10K: 38:36
Finish:  58:30 net (58:37 gun)
6:17/mi average

Friday, November 11, 2011

Five Things Friday, 11/11

1.  Happy Veteran's Day!  Today we honor the almost 25 million military veterans in the USA.

2.  I am working on my race list for 2012.  This year was completely different than I thought it would be, so I'm leaving the second half of the year open because you never know what will happen.

3.  It was 64F the other day when I went out and ran.  It is not supposed to be anywhere close to 64F in November where I live.  I was drenched when I was done with my two miles.  Thankfully, everything is back to normal and it is a nice 41F this morning.

4.  I'm floundering with my running....and with my exercising....and with my eating.  Thus, I haven't been blogging much.  I'll figure it out; I always do.

5.  I have a 15K on Sunday that I'm planning on running.  My legs feel good and are finally back after my marathon.  My calf doesn't hurt when I run or walk or skip anymore!  I still don't think it would be a good idea to push too much in this race because my plan has always been to run this to keep myself moving after my marathon and I'm going to stick to my plan.  It is supposed to be dry and ~40F at the start.  Perfect weather for a nice Sunday morning run.  The best part, ADP is running too...although I think he's got a time goal in mind.  As always, he'll beat me to the finish line and I know I'll see him there cheering me on when I finish.

Friday, November 4, 2011

One of the benefits of finishing at the end of the race is that when you see the finish line video you will have no problem figuring out which one you are crossing the finish line.  Why?  Because you are the only one finishing!

(I do have to say that holding hands with two kids and running is not the easiest.  But it is the best!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October by the Numbers

October was quite a month for me!  Wow!!!

October miles run: 104.564.39
October races:  1 (Mohawk Hudson River Marathon)
October days run:  10 (32%)
Shortest run:  2.15 miles 
Longest run:  26.25 miles (marathon day)
Pain: Yes, there was pain.  I trained to run a marathon and then walked the majority of the second half.  My left calf is almost back to 100%.  I had peroneal tendonitis in my left ankle previously and the marathon inflamed the tendon a little so the pain was back.  All better now!

Looking forward:  In November I have two "races" planned.  The first is a 15K and I am not racing it.  Frankly, I am not 100% sure I'm even going to try to run the whole thing (see "pain" above...calf hurts going up hills and this races has some hills).  The purpose of signing up for the 15K was to keep me moving after the marathon and it worked!  The second is an hour rafFal run.  Last year they announced that the course record was an hour.  I intend on going for the record this year.  I think my winter running buddy Amanda is going to be there too so we'll have plenty of time to catch up.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What's My Pace?

The 24 weeks leading up to my marathon I worked hard to slow my pace down.  I knew it was the only way I'd make it 26.2 miles.  Even though I have a race coming up in less than a month my goal is to run it, not race it, so pace is not on the forefront of my mind.
fallen leaves make the creek visible
Now that the marathon is done (12 days to be exact), I am running by feel and not paying attention to my pacing at all.  I even changed my garmin so my pace is no longer listed.  I am good enough at math that I could easily figure my pace out by looking at the time and distance, but I don't want to...yet.  I have not run a lot, but I have run enough to be surprised by the splits on my garmin.

My first outdoor run was just over 3 miles and my splits were surprising.
A few days later I went out for a six mile run and once again didn't bother looking at my splits or pace until I was finished.

Considering I am not 100% yet and only 12 days post marathon, I am really happy.  So, what will my pace be when I finally recover fully?  Maybe I'll even set a PR or two in 2012.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Aglove Review and a Discount way to buy

Do you have a phone with a touchscreen?  I do and all last winter I had to keep stripping my gloves off to use it.  So, when Agloves offered to let me review a pair of their touch screen gloves I accepted!

I had to send them my hand measurement.  Please note that their sizing is different depending on the style of glove you want.  I measured, e-mailed and then waited.
When the gloves arrived I had to try them on, despite the warm temps.  I tried them out with my phone right away as well.  Here is what Agloves says about their gloves:
Touch Screen Gloves for cold weather use. You can text with these gloves on! Agloves touch screen gloves are lightweight, soft, warm, stretchy and slightly fuzzy knitted gloves. Made in the USA, these seamless, knitted gloves have high quality workmanship. Agloves are compatible with any and all of your touch screen phones, cameras, multimedia devices, game systems, and eReaders.  Two unisex sizes S/M or M/L  Color is black with silver flecks to produce a charcoal grey coloring.  Hand washable in water.
It has not been cold out so I do not know if they keep my fingers warm, but I definitely agree with everything else they say about the gloves.  I can use my phone, but I do have to push a little harder and cannot txt as fast.  I am fine with it because I do not have to take my gloves off to keep in touch or take pictures.

Their gloves, available at Agloves, range from $17.99 to $23.99.  Shipping charges are only $3.00.  The lucky thing for you is that on October 19 Agloves is participating in a groupon-like promotion with    For three days, the discount is a $24 voucher for $12!!  Amazing.  If more people buy the price can go even lower.

You can check out their website,, their Twitter and Facebook pages for more information.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Taking it easy

I am back running a little here and a little there. It has only been a little over a week so I don't want to push or hurt myself so close to my marathon.
I do have plans... In less than a month I'll be running my first 15k. I am running it because I want to and so that I have something to keep me going post marathon. It will be slow and I am good with slow. ADP, who is also running it, will just have to wait a little longer at the finish line for me.
Here is the newest addition to my car (the sticker looks crooked in the photo but is straight even though this type-a person refrained from getting a ruler out to ensure perfect alignment):

Friday, October 14, 2011

Marathon Tidbits and More Pics

A few tidbits that I found funny or interesting about the marathon this weekend.

Toward the end of the race I managed to find a biker (course marshal or medical person) who had something salty in his pack of goodies.  He gave me a little package of trail mix.  Knowing my stomach was not agreeing with anything, I very sadly threw all the M&M's to the side of the course and said a sad goodbye to each and every M&M.
the photographer cut Amanda in half...though you can see she is holding my handheld
I ran without music.

the finish from one side.  it looks like Bugs is hiding
I had no appetite after the race.  My stomach started growling during the middle of the night so loudly I thought I'd wake the whole house.  Needless to say I was in the kitchen at 2 am for my first breakfast a mere 12 hours after finishing my marathon.
finish...sign and all
Somewhere during the 24th mile of the marathon I hit 1,000 miles for this year!  I only have 48 mile to my goal for the year.
my favorite professional photograph!

AG update:  place 66 of 70

I went to a doctor yesterday because my ankle has been bothering me since Sunday when I ran.  Apparently I need Bengay (really, am I that old??) and I'll be good to go.  Thankfully, I just irritated the tendon that had tendonitis in it.  FWIW, I did go to a doc who specializes in tendon and ligament trauma so I am not going to question his opinion on this one at all.  I'll run tomorrow and test the ankle out.  Tonight, I'm going to help eat an R2D2 cake.
my afternoon project

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Good, Ugly and Ending, Marathon RR

There is no easy way to write a race report, much less one that covers 26.2 miles but I am going to do my best.  It all started out...
marathon 'stuff' ready to go
ready to leave for the starting line
7:30 am:  dropped off by ADP and the kids (who were sporting their PJ's).  Headed straight to the bathrooms where there were 4 people in front of me.  By the time I was finished the line was ~100 deep.
8:00 am:  Group picture of the USA Fit training group that I've spent the past ~24 weeks with.
8:30 am:  We are off!  We started right on time as the half marathoners start at the same time...only ~14 miles ahead of us (yes, 14 all works out though).

mile 3.5:  Get chills through my whole body as I run through the research circle because I know the rest of the course!  I have finished the only unknown miles of the whole race.
mile 4:  Quickly remember how beautiful but LONELY the rest of the course is!
mile 5:  If it was a training day, I would call it quits and head home.  Hot.  My stomach hurts.  Hot.  My head is light.  Hot.
mile 7:  It is getting hotter.  Start to add more walking into the running routine.
mile 10:  Walk half mile, run half mile.  Make sure to run through picture taking:
mile 10...still looking ok
marker 13.1:  2:29:34.  No IDEA how I did it, but hit my goal of running the first half in 2:25 to 2:30.  
mile 14:  Call ADP.  'I don't know how to do another 13 miles.'  He gives me some tough loving.  I try to run.  It is hotter now.  Running = light headed.  Gel = stomach aches.  Water & nuun = stomach aches.
miles 14-17:  Go back and forth with myself.  Try running...get light headed and have to stop and put head between knees.  (Have I ever mentioned that I don't like it when it is warm????)
mile 17:  Call ADP again.  My side of the conversation goes something like this:  'I feel like hell.  BUT, I don't care if I am the very last person out here I am going to finish this g** d*** race.'  ADP said something like 'that's what I wanted to hear.'
mile 17 to end:  walk - walk - walk - walk - walk (you get the idea).  Water over head and down back at most water stops. Try to keep up fluid intake but have long since given up trying to eat solids/gels.
~mile 18:  find Ragnar Relay teammate sitting on the side of the road on a barrier.  I ask if she's ok.  I ask if she can walk.  I didn't really pay attention to my watch again for pace or heart rate.  We spent the rest of the race walking and talking and catching up.  Apparently I walk fast for her because I was walking and most of the time she did a running shuffle/run to keep up.
~mile 21:  Amanda shows up to "run" me in.  I knew I'd see her...but didn't expect to see her for another mile or two.  She was great.  Talked when we couldn't.  Listened.  Carried our waters.  Kept us moving along.  Amanda is the saving grace in this race!!!  She was amazing.  During this time we saw people sitting on the side of the course not looking good.  We saw one person on a stretcher with oxygen.  When the race was done, I found out that they treated a lot more people than years past...most of it because of the 81F high temperature.
mile 26:
best cheering group ever waiting for me

me and Amanda (the other in our group was just in front of us as her BF was there waiting for her)

trying to hold back tears as my kids run out to me

Run with me!  I ran the last half mile...and about the last .1 was with my munchkins.  
 mile 26.25:  DONE!  5:42:24
my arms were too tired to hold the banana, so yes this technique works just fine!

The best running friend a person can as for!

Bugs, me, & Punky (kudos to the photographer ADP as well)
The details:
5:42:24 for a 13:06/mi ave
first half 2:29:34 for an 11:25/mi ave
second half 3:13:27 for a 14:46/mi ave (I'll take it for a quick paced long walk)
place:  849 of 884 finishers
AG place:  unk at this time...when "they" are done checking all the BQ times then I'll have access to that information.  It looks like 3 or 4 finished after me though.
High temperature:  81F with not nearly enough shade to stay cool

It started good.
The whole middle was ugly.
And then it ended! 

Thanks to everyone who shared in this journey with me!  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marathon Preview

I don't have it in me today to write my race report so I'll share my absolute favorite picture from the race with you.  My kids met me at the end to run with me over the finish line.  :)

I hope the photographers taking the finishing photos got some good ones.  I don't like buying photos from my races, but if there is a good one it will be worth it!