Do other people do 19 mile long runs?

Since today was long run day, I hit the road for a 19 mile run. It seems like an odd distance to me, you hear a lot about “the 20 mile long run” and even the 18, but rarely (if ever) have I seen someone talk about the 19 they ran. Also, I’ve seen a lot of training plans that jump directly from 18 miles to 20 miles. What’s up with that? Are other people not running 19. I’ve basically made up the long run mileages of my training plan, so I’m curious what other people do.

Anyways, my run went pretty well. My legs seemed to be on board with the whole thing pretty much right from the start, and I continue to be elated with the mild temperatures this summer. My glutes (or something nearby) and hamstrings have been feeling pretty tired all week, and that’s how they felt this morning, too. Aside from that all was well. It’s pretty exciting to think how good my legs are going to feel for the first part of the marathon when they’ve been nicely tapered. (That sounds weird. Like I’m getting my legs surgically modified to fit perfectly in tapered jeans.)

I spent the first 6(ish) miles getting into a groove. I was searching for some stragglers on my scavenger hunt list and listening to an audiobook (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn), so I was pretty well entertained. I reached the top of my steepest hill right before 6 miles and the downhill that follows is where I tend to really start feeling good. The next 7 miles flew by, bringing me to 13.1 miles at around 2 hr 25 min.

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I really like this part of my run. The view helps me ignore the hills, at least.

After I reach 13 miles, my brain tends to get a little fuzzy. I have an extraordinarily difficult time keeping track of how many miles I have left to run, and simple subtraction (19 – 13 = 6) can easily get messed up. Today I missed a turn that I take on a regular basis. And not just any turn, this street I forgot to turn down is one of my favorite parts of the run. I ran a quarter mile passed (past? which is it?) it before I realized…oops! My thoughts were something like “Wow…I’m feeling really good for 13.5 miles, and I’m still pretty sharp, I can even do math – I have 5.5 miles left….wait a second…..I’m not supposed to be here…”

I turned around so I could run down Pickman & Neptune Streets (my two favorites), and by the time I was back to some louder, more difficult streets I’d reached 15 miles. The point where things start to hurt a little. Like a switch turns on.

“What, your legs are starting to hurt? Let’s run up this really hilly street. It’ll be fun!”

The next 4 miles were pretty much just a countdown. I still felt pretty good for a while, but it was getting hot, and I was excited to finish up. While my legs were still hanging on at 16 miles, my brain had completely checked out.

My inner dialogue:

  • 15.85 miles: “Sweet! Almost at 16, and then only 2 short miles to hit 19…no, 3 short miles.”
  • 16 miles: “Woo! only 2 miles until 19! No, 3 miles, 3 miles…”
  • 16.2 miles: “2 miles, 2 miles….Seriously, brain?! It’s 3, come on.  Just stop looking at the watch.”

At that point, I started focusing on the ground so I wouldn’t hit any uneven spots and trip, and that task kept me sufficiently occupied until well past the 17 mile mark.

I had purposefully sent myself out on a run that I knew would end with me crossing the bridge to Salem, and pretty much immediately turning around to cross back over. Even though I knew it was coming it was still a very, very sad thing to actually have to do that. The timing ended up working out so that I got a walk break immediately upon reaching the top of the bridge. The walk break then ended as soon as I had finished the downhill portion. No fair! It was difficult having to start running again only to turn around after a tenth of a mile and climb back over, but I know (hope?) it’ll be good training for late hills in the marathon.

18 miles plus bridge = 😦

Despite my pitiful face in the picture above, it was really a great run. I can’t believe that with step back weeks and tapering, I only have 3 more long runs before the race. I mean, it isn’t until October 26th for goodness sake!

Next week is a step back week, so I’ll probably go for 10 miles. I’m going to try to keep my pace in check because these last two long runs have really done a number on my legs. I suspect I’m running them too fast (11:14/mile average pace, around 9:50ish on the running portions), but it’s not easy to slow down when I’m having such a good time.

Have you or do you plan to run a 19 miler? Anyone else have huge brain farts towards the end of long runs? And what are your tricks for keeping the “S” in LSD? (LSD being Long Slow Distance)



When did my short runs become so long?

Yesterday morning I was struck by a sudden jump in my weekday mileage. I’ve always enjoyed when my long runs have climbed to a distance that makes normal people shake their heads and wonder at my sanity, but I like to keep my week day runs on the shorter side. I’ve repeatedly avoided training plans that climb to 8 or more miles on a weekday. I mean, come on, who has time for that? Certainly, not someone running at my pace.

But right now, I do have time for longer runs during the week, so this week I allowed my training plan to trick me into an 8+ mile run on a Thursday morning. I say trick because it was written as a ladder workout (warm-up, 1 mile @ goal pace, recovery, 2 mile….etc.), those miles sure do add up!

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I never get sick of running by the water.

My 8.13 mile run (yes, I count every teeny tiny bit, I refuse to round down to 8) included two 1 mile segments and two 2 mile segments each run at goal pace. Currently I’m using a range of 9:35/mile to 10:05/mile for goal pace workouts. (I don’t have a very strict time goal, so I used my predicted marathon pace based on my last two races to arrive at that window.) I ended up running around 9:50/mile during those portions of the run, and it never felt impossible, which I’ll take as a good sign.

One thing I’ve been doing that I’m not sure is a very good idea: walking on my recovery intervals. I don’t walk the entire recovery part, but at least half. I don’t know whether this is bad or not. I’m not super concerned because I plan on taking walk breaks in the race, but I still feel a little guilty when I do it.

What’s the longest “short” run you’re willing to do? Should I stop walking my recovery? 

Scavenger Hunt {5}

I just finished my long run and wrapped up scavenger hunting for the week. The run went fantastic! But my brain is almost as tired as my legs, so let’s get on with it before I type something ridiculous.

Last Week’s 5 items included:

A Red Car & A Bumper Sticker

Two birds, one stone!

A Mile Marker

I forgot I needed a mile marker until about 5 miles into my long run. Luckily, I knew where I could find some, and I had plenty of time to get over there. It was fun to change up my route a little, I hadn’t been over in that area for a while, and I got to skip running over the bridge for the day!

Mile 2.8 @ mile 11.

A Sundial or Outdoor Clock

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Christmas Lights

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Yes, I used this before, but I ran by it 3 more times this week so I think it counts. Go ahead, call me a cheater…

I think this coming week might be the last round of Scavenger Hunting. 5 sounds like a good number to end on, and I don’t want it to get old, you know? We’ll see. For this week, the random number generator selected numbers: 60, 88, 83, 4, & 130 from my master list. So, we’ll be looking for:

I’m glad some of you have been playing along! It’s been fun checking out what everyone else has found. If you haven’t been scavenger hunting, feel free to join in the hunt!

If you joined in last week, how did you do on your Scavenger Hunt? 

The Friday 5 {14th Edition}

Here we go with Five Random things!

1) I have a hard time spelling Massachusetts  I’m not a good speller; I never have been, but over the years with the help of spell check and memorization, I can usually avoid embarrassment. Some words that I have a particularly hard time with: chocolate, definitely, maintenance, and Massachusetts. I usually get these right these days, but I have to think about it, and they always kind of look funny and wrong. (I am now wondering how many words will be misspelled in this post…)

2) I use bloglovin’ to read blogs  I really like it. Mostly because I can read any blog from any host. I could only read word press blogs in the word press reader. I do have one question, though. If I’m following people on bloglovin’ should I also follow them on word press? It would only take a second to click the follow button, but I usually don’t bother. Should I? Even if I don’t use the word press reader someone might like to know they’re being followed. Any one have thoughts on this?


Click to visit bloglovin

3) I took the Cherry Juice Challenge! Originally, I thought this would get it’s own post, but I didn’t really think I had enough interesting things to say. So here’s the bare bones: I read about the challenge on the No Meat Athlete blog, got some concentrate from the internet, and I drank 2 tablespoons of tart cherry juice concentrate (diluted in water) every day for 16 days. Tart cherry juice is supposed to help reduce muscle soreness and improve sleep quality. I can’t say I noticed a difference in muscle soreness; I’m not usually very sore in the first place, so there wasn’t much to compare. I think I’ve been sleeping more soundly, and my fitbit seems to agree (it says I’ve been restless less now than I was before), but I’ve never been a bad sleeper so again there’s not a lot of room for improvement. Final thoughts: Cherry Juice is delicious and I’m going to keep drinking it because I look forward to it every day. I like to think it’s beneficial, but when it comes down to it, my proof is somewhat flimsy. You’ll have to try it out for yourself.

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I like to add the cherry concentrate to seltzer water.

4) Next week I’m changing up my eating  For a whole bunch of boring reasons I’ve been wanting to change up what I’m eating, and because of that I’m doing a 28 day challenge/diet starting on Monday. I’m excited to try out some new foods and recipes and see how eating healthier makes me feel. But I’m also nervous. I’ll be cooking a lot more than normal (and I’m sort of delinquent in the kitchen), and I’ll be avoiding or switching up some recipes that are current staples for me. I’m a planner, so I’ve got a whole menu set out for next week already, I just need to do some serious food shopping and prep this weekend. Wish me luck! Since this isn’t a food blog, I probably won’t share too much about this, but if I find a particularly delicious recipe I’ll post it, and if the diet makes me run faster, longer, awesomer, I’ll be sure to let you know! 

5) Walking 10,000 steps per day is tough! I’ve been building up my number of steps per day all summer, and ever since I passed 8,000 it’s been a lot trickier to get in enough steps, especially on days I don’t run. I’m not sure how many steps per day is my final goal, but I better start walking more if I have any hope of getting it.

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Fitbit says: WALK MORE!

Happy Friday, friends!

Are you a good speller?  Have you ever changed your diet drastically? How many steps do you walk per day?

Bridge & Back 10k Race Recap

A few weeks ago, I ran my 3rd race of the year, the Bridge & Back 10k in Salem, MA. I had mixed feelings going into the race, but by the time I crossed the start line I was excited, and by the time I crossed the finish, I had no regrets.

I originally signed up for the race because one of my friends was running it, and it was going to be her first 10k. I didn’t want to miss such a momentous occasion, especially because the race was taking place right in my backyard.  To be completely honest, I would not have signed up for this race if it wasn’t for her. I don’t normally enjoy summer races (too hot, too humid), and I knew this course was going to be a challenge because it crosses a bridge I frequently complain about run over.

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Bridgey Bridgerstein.

Unfortunately, my friend ended up not being able to run the race. In addition to feeling pretty bummed on her behalf, this detail made me stop looking forward to race day. These things happen though, and even though my plans had changed, I knew I should run the race and be grateful that I could. Plus, I found out that I had another friend running, and I hadn’t seen her in ages.  So even though I don’t like summer races, was unhappy about the route, and wanted to get in a long run that weekend, I still never really seriously considered not running the race.

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Bridget McBridge

The day before the race I finally got a look at the route map. The race website was terrible and uninformative, and didn’t have a link to the route (that I saw) until fairly late in the game. (These days, I rarely go into a race blind, and not knowing the route had been driving me crazy. I used to never care about routes or elevation maps, and for years I wouldn’t even bother looking at them. I even ran my first marathon with no for knowledge of the course, which to present day Amy, sounds totally insane.) So, I was glad to finally see what the race course was going to be.

The good news was that it was primarily on routes I run all the time. The bad news….it included my arch nemesis. Dun Dun Dunnnn.

This turn/uphill is the WORST part of every long run I do.

On race morning, I woke up to cool temps and overcast skies…perfect! I ate something (banana? smoothie?) and picked out and donned my running gear. We live a short drive from the start, so there wasn’t any time pressure and getting ready felt pretty relaxed. On the way over Jeff and I discussed our race strategies/goals. (Did I mention Jeff was running too? Well, he was.) I didn’t really have much of strategy: start slow and then pick up speed once we reached the top of the bridge. And my only goal was to come in under an hour, but I wasn’t really invested in a specific time; mostly I wanted to run hard enough that I felt like I could get a bit of an idea of where I’m at in my training. We decided we’d run together at the start until one of us (me) went excruciatingly slow on the first hill, and then we’d see if we ever caught up with each other again.

We reached the start line just in time to run into my friend, Jess, and her adorable 1 year old who were both doing the race. FYI: Jess is a superwoman who was pushing a jogging stroller up and over hill after hill after hill.

See..I got excited for the race after all.

The race started on a cobblestone side street in Salem and we immediately turned and headed for the bridge and Beverly (the city, not a person named Beverly). It was a pretty typical start: a bit crowded, some runner dodging, fiddling with my Garmin, and hoping my legs would wake up and realize we were running a race. And before long, we were heading up the bridge. Jeff took off, and I settled in to the first climb. I couldn’t help but notice that Jess and her jogging stroller, were also speedier than me on this first climb. As I was passed by runner after runner, I was starting to get excited. Because, although I may stink at climbing hills, I have a secret weapon…I am one heck of a downhill runner, and a huge downhill was coming! (Yes, I know, downhill is easier for everyone, but I swear I have some kind of an edge.)

As we crested the top of the hill/bridge, I moved to the outside, and flew down the bridge. Passing all those stinkers who had just passed me, including Jeff, King of Stinkers.

When I hit the bottom of the bridge, I kept motoring along. I wasn’t paying a ton of attention to distance or pace, and before I knew it I hit the 2 mile mark…and my nemesis.

It really feels to me like I”m going straight up.

And, you know what happened when I ran up that tiny, steep hill? It wasn’t really so bad. Turns out that the reason it’s so terribly difficult is because I only ever run up it in the last mile or two of my long runs. At mile 2 of a race, it was tough, but really didn’t deserve the fear and hatred. haha.

The next two miles were uneventful as we ran around Beverly near the beach and through some residential roads. All of this was very familiar, and I was back to my nemesis, this time running down in almost no time at all. At this point, Jeff had caught back up to me and we ran together for a ways before we hit the bridge again.

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Bridgedor Bridgeson

The second time across the bridge went about as well as I expected….slow. It was pretty nice getting to run in the street for this race because in some places the brick sidewalk has some fairly large holes created by missing bricks. Anyways, I eventually made it to the top of the bridge and sped up again on my way back down. I wasn’t able to catch Jeff on this descent, but I could see him up ahead. I was starting to fade, but I kept my eyes on his back and tried to push myself to close the gap.

With about a mile to go, Jeff stopped to fix his shoe, giving me the time I needed to catch up to him, and we ran the remainder of the race together. This was the only section of the course I was unfamiliar with, and it was a doozy! I was tired and not expecting the two small hills we had to run to reach the finish, and they were not a pleasant surprise.

Soon enough we turned the last corner and could see the finish line ahead of us. We sped up and zoomed to the line.

0018521_bf06a685-2955-4674-97cb-0dff1777983dThat last push was exhausting, but the water and frozen yogurt at the finish line rejuvenated me pretty quickly. Plus, I was thrilled with my finishing time of 56:12 min, an average of 9:03 min/mile. I positive split this race, with the first 3 miles falling around 8:50/mile and the last three falling around 9:10/mile, but it doesn’t bother me because I feel like I paced well. I held back in the beginning and pushed in the end.

I didn’t get at PR (not even close), but I was very happy with how my legs held up considering I did my long run (15.5 miles) two days before. I had a good time, and I’m glad I ran the race even though I had my doubts in the beginning.

Finished! [I never know what to do with my arms in pictures. Does anyone else have this problem?]

Have you ever run a race you weren’t excited about? Is there a portion of your running route you consider to be your arch nemesis? And, what on earth should I be doing with my arms in pictures? 

Would You Rather Recap your Week or Play a Game?

This week was a step back week, so not a lot of action for a review post. Instead, I’m hopping on the “would you rather..” band wagon. Apparently this has been going on for a bit, but I first heard it here.

1. Would you rather run a 5k or a marathon?

A marathon. If I had to pick one to run tomorrow, I’d have to go with a 5k; I’m not ready for a marathon tomorrow (watch out fall 2014!), but if I was only able to do one of these distances again for the rest of my life, I’d go with the marathon.

2. Would you rather run a flat race in the heat or a hilly race in the cold?

Hilly race in the cold. No question.

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Cold and moderately hilly race.

3. Would you rather get new running shoes or a new running outfit?

Easy, new shoes. Although, I wouldn’t turn down either.

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Most recent pair of new shoes….early May feels like so long ago!

4. Would you rather run a race without headphones or without a Garmin?

Without headphones, I guess.

5. Would you rather run on the treadmill for an hour or in a circle around the same street block for an hour?

Treadmill for an hour. I don’t mind the treadmill, and if the block passed my front door I’d want to quit every time I lapped it.

6. Would you rather run a Ragnar Relay or a marathon relay?

I’m not sold on either. Marathon relay, I guess. At least then I would know all the people on my team, and I wouldn’t have to run in the dark.

7. Would you rather come in 4th in the Olympics or 1st in the New York City Marathon?

1st in NYC! 1st 1st 1st! in NYC!

8. Would you rather give up running for 1 year to get a BQ or never BQ but run as much as you want?

BQ! I could find something else to do for a year. Plus, I’m assuming this means that after my year off I come back magically fast enough to BQ…so, yeah, that one!

9. Would you rather run in an urban area or on a trail?

Depends on the trail and the urban area. If the trail isn’t too nature-y I’ll pick trail.

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10. Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch?

Side stitch. I get these kind of often, and they usually eventually go away. I can manage. I’ve had a headache while running, maybe twice. And it sucks.

11. Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm?

Snowstorm. If I’m out running and it starts to pour it can be a pretty fun time, but I can’t make myself step out the door into pouring rain. I just can’t. Snow on the other hand, makes me want to go out and play.

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12. Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off?

Day off. I like having the whole day stretched out free in front of me.

13. Would you rather run just because or train for a race?

Just because, assuming I would actually do it. Sometimes, I need a race to keep me going.

Which would you rather: cold hilly race or hot flat race?

Scavenger Hunt {4}

Third week of scavenger hunting went well. I saw most of my items within the firs half mile, and had a lot of options of what to snap pictures of. And then there was the horse…good thing I live near some weirdo who…well, you’ll see. 🙂

My list of 5 items included:

An American Flag

A Traffic Light

Something Pink

I”m reading a book {it”s fiction} that said new england houses are “dismal”…tell that to this purple house w/ pink flamingos!

A Horse

Yes, I do live in Medieval Europe.

A Fire Hydrant

I’m totally into this for my easy runs, so here we go for round 4! The random number generator selected numbers: 14, 97, 120, 61, & 39 from my master list. So, we’ll be looking for:


I’m glad some of you have been playing along! It’s been fun checking out what everyone else has found. If you haven’t been scavenger hunting, feel free to join in the hunt!

If you joined in last week, how did you do on your Scavenger Hunt? 

Week in Review [8/4 – 8/10]

This past week was tough. I think my legs were tired from the long run and 10k the week before (BTW, still working on the race recap for that), and I was a little lacking in the motivation department. I still got out there, but it wasn’t quite as exciting and my legs were really dragging by the time I got my long run in on Saturday. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean this week wasn’t exciting…

This week’s highlights:

1.)  I SIGNED UP FOR A MARATHON!!!  Yes! I finally made a decision and signed up! I’m running the Cape Cod Marathon on October 26th! It’ll be my first time to Cape Cod (after living in the area for 8 years, it’s about time), and I can’t wait. It was a really difficult choice, but the route is supposed to be really beautiful. Let’s hope the scenery can carry me through the hills that start at mile 15. 


Here I come!

 2.) I saw some weird and interesting things on my long run on Saturday. I didn’t get a picture of any of them because they all happened after mile 14. At mile 14, I walked for a 1/2 mile because I was so exhausted. Once I’d started up again, I didn’t have the energy to stop, take a photo, and restart…so no photos of these amazing sights.

* First, I saw a children’s triathlon. The part I saw was the boys ages 4 to 6 running from the beach to the bike transition. They were all so small…and running so much faster than me. I’m glad they weren’t all passing me on their running segment.

* Next, I saw a man dressed as a pirate (outfit and hat but no peg leg or eye patch) riding a bicycle. He gave me a nod, which to me said, “Yeah, I’m a pirate.”

* Lastly, I saw a man running backwards. He was dressed like a normal runner, wearing headphones, but he was going backwards. Up a bridge. We were going in the same direction, so we were face to face for quite a while, but no head nods or explanations came my way. I think this was stranger than the bicycle pirate. You know, it was pretty hot out there….could I have been hallucinating?

Pirates? Backwards runners? What was in my pre-run smoothie?

3.) The last highlight from the week is not running related. I took my second actuary exam on Friday, and I PASSED!!! Woohoo! 

And the numbers:

  • Monday:  Cross Training/Rest Day ::: Went for a walk.
  • Tuesday:  “Fartlek” (8x 3 min fast, 2 min recovery) ::: 4.65 miles ::: 9:57/mile 
  • Wednesday: 45 minutes easy – Scavenger Hunt! ::: 3.57 miles ::: 12:30/mile
  • Thursday:  30 minutes easy ::: 2.37 miles ::: 12:49/mile
  • Friday: Test Day/Rest Day
  • Saturday: Long Run ::: 16.96 miles ::: 11:46/mile
  • Sunday: Rest Day ::: Binge watching TV on Amazon Prime

This coming week I’ll be taking a step back week, and I’m so ready for it. 

 How was your week last week? What’s weirder: bicycle pirate or backwards runner? 


Scavenger Hunt {3}

Second scavenger hunt! I had fun again, and the search entertained me on my (slow) easy run.

My list of 5 items included:

A car in disrepair


A rose bush

Guess who doesn”t know for sure what a rose bush looks like! Hint: it”s me

A ladder

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I can no longer use an apostrophe in photo captions….or parentheses. Any one else have this problem? I will now be using a ” as an apostrophe. FYI.


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Do beach runners run with shoes on or off? Do they get sand in them? I would get sand in them. I would hate that. I”d rather just look at the sand. [notice the ” in place of an apostrophe…also no parentheses]

A pair of orange running shoes


Totally saw these, but couldn’t get a photo, (OMG the apostrophe and parentheses started working!!) so I recreated them with this fancy paint picture.

As long as I’m enjoying myself, I’ll keep this up. This time, the random number generator selected numbers: 21, 90, 10, 89, & 17 from my master list. Actually, the random number generator picked 3 numbers we’ve already had, so I re-picked those…crazy, right? But, anyways, we’ll be looking for:

I thought it would be pretty easy, until…HORSE. Where am I going to see a horse? (Really, where?)

Feel free to join in the hunt! (the “rules”)

If you joined in last week, how did you do on your Scavenger Hunt? Where can I find a horse?

2014 Resolution Check-In: Bring it, August!

Somehow, July is over. Time flies when you’re having fun! So, here’s where I’m at with my resolutions (detailed list here).

I started with a list of 8 goals, so far I have completed three: Run a 1/2 Marathon in Under 2 Hours, Keep up with my Running Blog, and Keep a Running Journal.


Oh, yeah!

I’m working on/planning out three: Run a Marathon (I’m “this” close to signing up for a marathon, and I think that’s going to happen this month), Volunteer (At the end of July I signed up to volunteer at a race which is happening in early August.), and Run 1,000 miles (I’m at 545 miles for the year. This is a little behind schedule, but I’m closing the gap and I’m not worried about it.)

I’ve changed my mind about one: Join a Running Club –  I’m postponing this one for a while. I didn’t love the options the local club has for group runs, and right now I’m happy with the way my running schedule is and I don’t want to change it. I think this one may be coming off the to do list until the next time we move (not that we have set plans to move right now), and I want to meet new people.

And the last resolution, I’ve made no effort towards, but I’m hoping it will just happen: Beat Jeff’s 5k PR, which is 3 seconds faster than my 5k PR from last December. He helped pace me to my PR, and we didn’t even realize how close he was to beating his PR, so I threw it on the list thinking, “Wouldn’t it be neat if….”. We’ll see what comes of it.

I’m happy with my progress, and am excited to cross another one off the list in August. 

How are you doing on your resolutions?