Party Time: 30 by 30!

Today’s a special day folks! It’s my BIRTHDAY! And like any 5 year old mature adult, I’m super excited…because, I’M 30!!!

I’ve recently started to notice lists of things you must do in your twenties or things to do before X age. Particularly, I’ll notice people making their own lists (like Phoebe, from Friends). It’s great to have goals, but for me this would be super stressful and a recipe for a giant let down on my birthday. Who wants to spend the day lamenting trips they didn’t take, concerts they missed, skills they never learned?

Instead I decided to make a list of 30 things I DID do before 30, and it was a really easy and fun list to make! I’d highly recommend making your own list on your birthday, or whenever.

Now, in no particular order:

  1. Ran a Marathon (running blog…obviously this one had to go on the list.)
  2. Hiked a Mountain
  3. Fell in Love and Got Married
  4. Learned to Knit
  5. Went to a Rodeo!

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    Yeehaw!

  6. Graduated College
  7. Became a Professional Engineer
  8. Ran an Obstacle Race (Another shout out to the whole running blog world!)
  9. Earned a Varsity Letter (Soccer)
  10. Had an Awesome Halloween Costume (several actually)

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    That (scary) clown was probably so jealous!

  11. Visited Ireland
  12. Went to Disney World
  13. Bowled a 222
  14. Voted for President
  15. Rode in a Hot Air Balloon

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    This was sooo cool!

  16. Visited a Lighthouse (or 1,000…thanks mom!)
  17. Saw Niagara Falls (more times than I can count.)
  18. Built a Muppet (or two)
  19. Learned to Juggle
  20. Graduated from Clown School

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    Bubbles the Clown, folks! I juggle, make balloon animals, and know how to put on clown make-up and nose that won’t easily come off!

  21. Traveled to France
  22. Saw George Carlin (Live!)
  23. Pulled an All Nighter (multiple times)
  24. Bought Harry Potter 7 at midnight when it was released.
  25. Went to SARStock

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    AC/DC, Rolling Stones, The Guess Who, Rush….this was just unbelievable!

  26. Became an Auntie (x2)
  27. Memorized (and forgot) all the American Presidents and their terms
  28. Played Handbells on the soundtrack for a movie.
  29. Had a Monkey come to my birthday party!
  30. Played “Wanna buy a Duck?” in Duck, NC while wearing Duck PJs
WannaBuyADuck

“Of course it quacks, dummy, it’s a duck.”

Not too shabby! I’m so lucky I’ve had all these great experiences, and I look forward to many, many more!

Aside from being a birthday post, this post is special for another reason. It’s my 100th post! Isn’t it funny how that works out? (Okay, full disclosure: I noticed on Friday that if I timed it right, my 100th post could be today, but I really didn’t do anything special to make that happen.)

Well, I’m off to eat ice-cream and listen to Captain Zoom sing me my personalized birthday song, Happy July 29th!

Do you have a list to complete by a certain birthday? Have you done all the things on my list? 

Week in Review

During half training, I started a little training log by recapping my weeks here. I haven’t done that since the race, but I’m going to start again because I want somewhere to keep track of what I’ve  been up to. (note: I’ve tried an actual paper running log, and it was not my cup of tea.)

This week’s highlights:

1.)  I ran all of my weekday runs in the morning. This is unheard of in Amy land. While I enjoyed getting it done early and in cooler temps, it was tough. I definitely notice a difference in morning and evening in terms of alertness and the amount of time it takes to wake up my brain and get my legs warmed up.

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While waiting for my watch, I was fascinated by my shadow.

2.) My marathon goal pace is most likely too fast. But it doesn’t really matter because: a) I’m not signed up for a race, and b) I don’t have any attachment to running that particular pace if I do. I’ll still use this pace for training, unless it becomes overly difficult, but I don’t have any illusions that I’ll magically be able to PR by over 40 minutes. (again, if I end up racing)

3.) My favorite boat has been missing for months and months, but I noticed a snazzy new boat that I like quite a lot.

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No one can replace the Amy Elizabeth, but that red one in the middle there is pretty snazzy. I’ll have to get a close up some time.

4.) I need to run slower on easy days. I ended up with almost the same pace in my Tuesday easy run as I did on Monday for my Goal Pace work out, and as a result my legs felt like concrete during Wednesday’s run. I tried harder to be slow on Thursday and it worked out. I’m more proud of my 11+ miles on Thursday than of those 10 min miles on Tuesday.

5.) With temp and humidity swinging wildly from day to day, I have no idea what paces I should be running. I try to run by feel most days, but then when I look at the pace afterwards, it’s really hard for me to tell if that was good or bad.

6.) OMG I did cross training!  I started (completed day 1 of)  the Kinetic Revolution 30 Day Challenge a few weeks ago. But then I stopped after only 1 day, because I have trouble sticking with things like that. This week I started again..repeating day 1 on Friday morning! I had good intentions of doing day 2 on either Saturday or Sunday, but that didn’t actually happen. I have high hopes for this week, though.

7.) I stuck to my long run pacing plan, really well. I ran very easy for the first 7 miles, I ran medium hard for the next 5 miles, and then I ran the last 2 miles reasonably hard (not all out). As always, I wish my average pace was faster, but effort wise this system felt great.

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Errrm….my tan lines are getting pretty bad.

And the numbers:

(probably more interesting to future Amy than to anyone reading this right now):

  • Monday:  (4x) 1 mile GP, 3:30 jog ::: 5.75 miles ::: 10:03/mile 
  • Tuesday:  35 minutes easy w/ (6) 20 second strides ::: 3.53 miles ::: 10:05/mile
  • Wednesday: 55 minutes – 25 brisk, 5 easy, 25 brisk ::: 6.2 miles ::: 10:16/mile
  • Thursday:  40 minutes easy ::: 3.62 miles ::: 11:02/mile
  • Friday: Day 1 of Kinetic Revolution Challenge (Basic Mobility Stretches + Balance Drills)
  • Saturday: Long Run – 14 miles ::: 11:28/mile 
  • Sunday: Rest Day

 How was your week last week? Anyone else have some awesome tan lines?

 

Scavenger Hunt!

I recently read a post on a (new to me) running blog about a running photo scavenger hunt. I immediately thought it sounded like tons of fun and wanted to do my own! Originally, I was going to create my own hunt list, but as I started to do so I found that I was picking things that I knew I’d be able to find (ahem, that’s cheating).

Instead, I compiled a master list from a number of sources:

  • Fairytales & Fitness: This blog created the list from the post I read. I’m now following their blog, because it sounds like fun!
  • Runner Girls Podcast:  They did several scavenger hunts along w/ their 3rd season of their show. I haven’t listened to their podcast (I’m not in a podcast groove right now), but it sounds pretty good from their website.
  • Pintrest: As you may have guessed, there are a bajillion lists for scavenger hunts on pintrest.

I don’t really know how much structure this game is going to have, but to start, I randomly chose 5 items from the master list and am giving myself one week of running to find them. I also made up some other rules because that is how I roll.  If you’d like to join in the fun, find some things, and share some pictures of what you find, I’d love it!

I really only insist on number 5. If you want to drop your phone all over the place, it’s totally your decision. 🙂 (please ignore my spelling errors)

I think I might create some kind of points system, but no need to get too complicated right from the start. And, now, with no further ado, here’s what we will be hunting for this week. The random number generator selected numbers: 114, 3, 23, 71, & 1 from my master list. :

HuntList1Good luck on your hunt! Have fun! And let me know if you’re playing along!

 

Throwback Thursday: My 1st Race

Am I actually writing one of these Throwback Thursday posts? Crazy! It’s kind of funny; the whole reason I wanted to start this little series is because I wanted to recap my old races on the blog. I started the series writing about how I first started running (the boring preamble, in my mind), but then when it finally came time to write about my first race, well…other things came up, and it’s been over a month since the last Throwback Thursday post. Weird how that happens, isn’t it? But I’m back at it now and ready to recap!


MY FIRST RACE

Race: The Run to Remember
Location: Boston, MA
Date: May 27th, 2007
Distance: 5 miles
Time: 55:50 (11:10/mile)

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from this race to include in the post, instead I took a little creative license here. First, please enjoy this photo of my niece wearing my old clown hat. (In case you’re wondering, this totally counts for throwback Thursday because I used to wear that hat a long time ago.)

clownin around

Photo courtesy of my sister!

Decision & Training:

When I first started getting into running, I never looked into local races. I always thought it would be neat to run a marathon some day, but racing just wasn’t on my radar for quite a long time. After about a year of running, I saw an ad on the subway and it made me think that maybe the time was right.

The ad was for The Run to Remember, a race to benefit families of police officers injured or killed in the line of duty.  There were two options, a half marathon and a 5 miler. At the time, I was consistently run/walking 5 miles a few times a week, so that option seemed perfect for me, and when I’d finally seen the ad enough times to remember it, I signed up.

I didn’t change much about my running routine in preparation for the race. I continued to run exclusively on the treadmill about 3 times a week for 5 miles. The only thing I did differently was to make an effort to eliminate walk breaks. By the time race day rolled around, I could run 5 miles without stopping in about an hour.

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What’s that, this pic doesn’t apply either? Well, the puzzle says Boston, and that’s where this race was, so….yeah, totally works.

The Expo & Morning of the Race

I decided to go to packet pick-up the day before the race in order to avoid extra craziness the morning of the race, and to give me a little extra time to sleep in. Also, having never been to the start before, Jeff thought it would be a good idea to know how long it would take to get there.

There were not very many people hanging around the expo, and it was not very impressive. I think we may have arrived either before or after the thing began. In general, I’m not a big expo person, so in retrospect it’s not surprising that this one didn’t excite me.

The morning of the race went off without a hitch. Jeff and I took a combination of walking and public transit to the start line. We saw a few other racers on the ride there, and it was pretty exciting. Before the race, running was very much a solo endeavor for me, and it was cool to feel the camaraderie that you get at races.

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You thought the last few pictures didn’t apply? Ha! This is a radiator. You guessed it, a really OLD radiator….totally counts!

My Race

Shortly after lining up, the national anthem was sung and the gun went off. I’d lined up towards the back, and it took a little bit of walking and shuffling along before I crossed the start line and everything erupted into chaos! At least, that’s what the start of the race seemed like to a newbie. Some people took off like they were hoping to win the race, while others continued to walk and chat (oblivious to others around them.) Most people started darting around and zig-zagging like they were trying to get lost in the crowd. I had never seen anything like it. And the whole process was such a huge distraction that I was shocked at how quickly we reached the first mile.

As we ran through the first few miles, things had calmed down and I was just cruising along enjoying the scenery and people watching. Not only was I new to races, but I ran exclusively on the treadmill at the time, and all of this action was quite exciting. The course went through downtown Boston, nearly passing by the office building where I worked at the time, and one of the best parts was getting to run the streets that are usually so packed with cars. It’s still one of my favorite things about races with road closures: feeling like we own the roads for just a little piece of time.

With all the excitement and novelty, miles 2 and 3 passed almost as quickly as the 1st, but as I closed in on the second half of the race, I started to wilt a bit. I was not used to running outside, and my legs were getting tired from the elevation changes as well as pounding the pavement. Simultaneously, I noticed that it was getting pretty hot and sunny out there – another thing I wasn’t used to. These miles felt like a lot of work, and I was eager to be done.

After what felt like twice as much time as the first 3 miles combined, I finally turned a corner and started up the final bridge. The finish line was in sight (if somewhat far away), and I was thrilled to be on my way.

And then my iPod died. I had never run without it, and the silence was unnerving and distracting. Pushing up that last hill had suddenly become ten times harder.

As I finally crested the hill and took off for the finish, I swallowed a bug. It tasted BAD.

Again I was distracted and really not focusing on finishing my race. But I kept plodding along (seriously, why was the finish line so far away?) As I got closer and closer, I noticed people holding up a ribbon. What’s going on? I’m clearly not in first. Is someone special behind me? And then I was directed off to the side. I ended up finishing to the left of the big finish line in some mini version of the finish shoot. I grabbed my bottle of water and medal, returned my shoe chip, (remember when you had to tie them into your laces and then give them back?), and turned back to see the winner of the half marathon barreling towards the ribbon. That race had started slightly before the 5 miler, but I was still amazed (and still am) at how quickly someone was able to run a half marathon.

Afterwards, I stumbled around looking for Jeff in a bit of a daze. It didn’t sink in right away that I had run my first race. It was a weird finish, with my iPod, then the bug, and finally being detoured out of the way. But by the time I found Jeff, I was excited about my time and couldn’t wait to tell him all about the race.

Overall, I had a terrific time, and afterwards, I couldn’t wait to sign up for my next one.

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What’s this? A picture that has something to do with the actual race! That’s crazy!

 Do you remember your first race? Do you have pictures of it? Any weird things happen? 

 

Recovery Week: Group Run!

Aside from gallivanting around Western Massachusetts, another fun thing I did last week was my long run. My two sisters-in-law and I have been talking about doing a long run together for quite a while, and it finally worked out! It’s a little tough to get all together with everyone’s schedules, and I live a bit far away from them (about a 40 min drive), so I don’t often get to join them. But this weekend was good for everyone, so it finally happened.

The two of them live fairly close to each other, and they also both live near running/bike paths, so we picked one of those, and met up for our run on Saturday morning. The plan was to run 8 miles together with the option of adding on extra to the end if anyone wanted to. I ended up sticking with 8, but both of them went longer (I think 10 and 12 miles).

My niece also came along for the ride in her brand new jogging stroller! I think she slept most of the way while her mom did all of the hard work. I took a (short) turn pushing the stroller towards the end of the run, and while it wasn’t as physically difficult as I imagined, it was really tricky having something else to focus on. Maybe next time I’ll take a longer turn and get a better idea of the difficulty. We’ll see.

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Sunglasses, check! Camelbak, check! Giraffe, check!

Before heading out, I was nervous that they would be a little too quick for me, but I really shouldn’t have been. I told them I was worried about it, and they agreed to take it slow if I needed to. In the end, we ended up around the same average pace that I have been doing in my long runs. The whole thing went by really quickly. With three of us, there was at least one of us talking the whole time, and that was a great distraction.

We discussed whether to run a fall marathon together and which one to chose, and it seems like we’re pretty close to a decision! All the races we’re looking at have price increases at the end of the month, so we (I?) set that as an unofficial deadline to figure it out for sure. Regardless of whether we sign up or not, I think there will be more group runs in our future. 🙂

Do you think long runs go by quicker with friends? Have you ever pushed a running stroller? Do you bring a giraffe when you exercise?

 

Recovery Week: Adventures in Western Mass.

Last week for me was a recovery week (sort of). I built in a few rest/step back weeks into the long run plan I made up because whenever I’m adding miles, I like to have a few weeks here and there that I get a break. And, last week was a perfect time for this because Jeff had some time off work and we went adventuring out in Western Mass.

It wasn’t a true recovery week though, because I squeezed in some speed work before we left. I just decided last weekend to add speed work into my training plan, and I didn’t want to quit that before I even started. So Monday morning I did a tempo run, then Tuesday an easy run before we left on our adventure.

While out in Western Mass. I didn’t do any running, but there was still a lot (in my opinion) of activity. (Cross-training, woo!). On Tuesday we visited Historic Deerfield Village, the Yankee Candle Store/Village, and the Bridge of Flower in Sherbourne Falls.

Historic Deerfield is a section of Main Street that has several old homes from the 1700s preserved and furnished as they would have been back in the day. It was interesting to see, and we learned a few fun facts (this area is good for growing broom corn, adults with tuberculosis used to be kept in adult cradles to make them easier to care for, and people would put beds in pretty much any room of the house – kitchen included).

Stebbens-House

Photo of Stebbins House from Historic Deerfield Website. Click photo to visit website.

After Historic Deerfield, we went to the Yankee Candle Village store. This place was HUGE! There were tons of candles (obviously), but also a lot of other stuff. They have a whole Christmas section w/ decorations and ornaments, and a room where it SNOWS EVERY 4 MINUTES! And they also have housewares, and toys, and make your own candles. Just a lot of stuff, really.

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After candle world, we stopped in Shelbourne Falls to see the Bridge of Flowers before heading to our hotel. It’s an old (out of use) train bridge that is landscaped every year to be covered in plants and flowers. I hear there’s a 5k/10k, but it doesn’t actually go over the Bridge because it’s too narrow. I’m not sure I’d add this to my race bucket list, but the area is nice enough to make it worth a short trip.

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There should be more bridges like this.

From the Bridge of Flowers, we picked up some food for dinner and headed to our hotel. We had a pretty low key night and got to bed early because we needed to be up early again on Wednesday morning for more fun!

On Wednesday we went zip lining in the morning and kayaking on the Deerfield river in the afternoon. Both were super fun and we ended up being the only two people on both tours! I’ve never kayaked anywhere with a current/”rapids” before this and I really liked it. I enjoyed just floating down the river on the gentle parts and when I wasn’t worried about hitting a rock and falling in, the rapids were fun, too.

After cleaning up from those two activities, we went out for dinner and then ice-cream before heading back for another early night. We wanted to be well rested for another early morning of adventuring.

Thursday morning we hiked a trail at the Western Summit of the Hoosac range. It was a beautiful day, and once I stopped freaking out about being in close contact with so much nature, it was pretty nice. We hiked up to Spruce Hill, which really wasn’t much of anything. There wasn’t even a view, so it was pretty anticlimactic. Luckily there were a few other spots to check out the view because I would have been pretty annoyed; I mean, isn’t the view a big part of why you hike up a mountain?

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From a Vista that was not at the top of so called Spruce Hill.

The hike ended up being 5.5 miles and taking us 3 hours round trip. It was a pretty good workout and I’m glad the weather cooperated, and that for the most part any bugs left us alone. I don’t think we would have completed the whole hike otherwise.

After our hike, instead of heading directly home we stopped over in Connecticut for some casino gambling. Although we didn’t win big (someday!), we didn’t bankrupt ourselves either, and we had a lot of fun. I can’t really explain why I think the casino is fun, even when I don’t win, but it was. And after a few days being all outdoorsy, it was a nice change of pace.

By the time we got home on Friday, I was tuckered out. It was a pretty active week, even with 3 days in a row of no running! For the most part, I usually am pretty good about running on trips, and have done a few running tours that were super fun parts of vacation, but on this little adventure, it made more sense to enjoy some other activities. So that’s what I did.

Do you run on vacation? Do you feel guilty if you don’t? What if you’re doing a lot of other physical activities?  

#100HappyDays – Days 92 – 100

I finished the 100 days challenge a few weeks ago, but I’m a little behind on the record keeping. Towards the end the challenge kind of fizzled for me, and I don’t have accurate pictures for all of these last 9 days, but I’ve done what I could.

Day 92: Game Night! I love a good game night, and this was no exception. Great food, and great people. Plus, I found out that Cards Against Humanity is hilarious and fun even for people like me that don’t enjoy Apples to Apples.

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Not the games I played, but they are still games.

Day 93: Cookie Butter Yeah, I’m a little late to the party on this one. I just couldn’t believe what all the fuss was about, until I tried it. I’m in love.

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Day 94:A Walk + a Run I was in a bit of a funk, and thought I wouldn’t go running but after taking a walk, I realized that exercise was helping and I went for a run anyways. Afterwards, I felt better.

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This is from a different run.

Day 95: Ordering Pizza No cooking dinner, no leaving the house. Just cheesy goodness. 

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This is a different pizza.

Day 96: Nailing a Goal Pace Run It feels extra good to do well at a run that I’m not confident in.

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Day 97: Green Guacamole! I make guacamole every Sunday for taco night, and I always have leftovers. Finding a way to keep it green for an entire week is beyond exciting. Just cover the top with water. It looks gross, but I just pour it off, mix up the guac and I’m good to go. And honestly, it’s less gross than brown guac. 

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This is on FRIDAY…I made the guac on Sunday.

Day 98: Tooth Tunes!  Do you know what tooth tunes is? It’s a tootbrush made for children (and teens?) that plays a 2 min song clip. Then you know you are brushing long enough. So, I brush my teeth to Dynamite by Taio Cruz every night now. It’s okay that it’s for kids because I have a small mouth. No, really, more than one dentist has told me this.

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Day 99: Ice-Cream I don’t believe this requires an explanation.

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This is not the ice-cream.

Day 100: Long Run Accomplished! It was only fitting to end my 100 day challenge on a long run. After all, a Saturday morning long run was my first happy thing.  

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So, there you have it – Challenge Completed! 

It was a good challenge. Taking a picture and remembering to post it to Twitter was kind of a drag, but the idea behind the whole thing is a good one, and I’m glad I saw it through.