Its the MOST wonderful time of the year: Scavenger Hunt Recap

This past week has gone so fast! Jeff and I spent Christmas in Buffalo with my family, and although there was no snow (in Buffalo! for Christmas! Can you imagine?) it was still pretty easy to get in the Christmas spirit. I’d been ramping up all week with the Christmas Scavenger Hunt, and spending several days with family brought it all together. I didn’t get a ton of miles in (one per day to be exact, just to keep the holiday streak alive), but I did get some “cross training” at our annual family bowling competition. Unfortunately, I was unable to defend my title, and the Rudolph Cup has a new home for 2015.

2014-12-26 16.58.10Handing the trophy off to the new champ!

Now, speaking of the scavenger hunt, I said I was giving myself through the New Year to find everything on the list, but I feel like I’ve had enough time, so I’m calling it. Feel free to keep searching, if you’ve decided to play along!

I was looking for 8 items (some holiday in nature, and some tricky ones to keep me on my toes.) And here’s how I did:

SNOW

2014-12-24 16.38.20So lame. But, it’s still snow.

A CHRISTMAS TREE

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A HOLIDAY CHARACTER

2014-12-24 16.41.12Santa in his RV. Yeah, I don’t know either.

 A SNOWMAN

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A DECORATED HOUSE

2014-12-22 18.51.53So Awesome.

 AN OUT OF SEASON DECORATION

2014-12-24 16.33.46Someone forgot to peel the witch off their tree!

 SOMEONE WEARING SHORTS OR SANDALS

2014-12-24 16.44.40Yeah, that’s me, big ol’ cheater.

I did not find a runner wearing red or green. I didn’t actually see another runner at all. I’m sure they were there, but I mostly only ran a single mile at a time, so that didn’t give me much time to see anyone else. I could have worn red or green myself, but I thought I should probably only count myself for one item. 🙂

All in all, not too bad. Getting back to scavenger hunting was pretty fun, too.

Did you have a good holiday? Find any items on the Scavenger Hunt List? 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

If you’ve been running outside lately, I’m sure you’ve noticed that “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!” But just in case you haven’t noticed, it’s time to get your eyes off your running watch, and start looking around! Because Kristen from Run Away With Me and I are sponsoring (aka: we made up) a Holiday Running Scavenger Hunt!!!  (Try to contain your excitement.)

Since we both had a blast creating and participating in Running Scavenger Hunts this summer/fall, and are huge fans of the Christmas Season we joined up to bring you the VERY MERRIEST RUNNING SCAVENGER HUNT LIST!

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Kristen and I will both be searching for these 8 items on our runs this week, and we’d love for you all to join us. So, bundle yourself up in multiple layers, hats, and mittens, and strap on your studded running shoes, and head out the door! (Unless you live in a warm climate…in which case, you can spend much less time gearing up.)

Feel free to let us know what you’ve found in the comments section of this post (or her corresponding post), OR create your very own post to show off pictures of what you’ve found.  I’m giving myself through New Year’s day to find these items, and then I’ll post my results.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hunting!

 

Runnin’ with the Devil!

I hope you all are having a Happy Halloween! I don’t have any big plans for tonight. We live in a building that doesn’t get trick or treaters, and I don’t intend to go out even though I live 5 minutes away from probably the biggest Halloween party in the country (Salem, MA). I’m just not really into crowds, or staying up past 10 PM. (Can you say party animal?)

But I do enjoy Halloween. We’ve decorated the house, and I have some much more low key plans for today/tonight:

1.) Candy! I bought some last night at the grocery store, and I plan on eating fun size chocolate bars throughout the day. I’ve also really been looking forward to candy corn and peanuts ever since the candy corn started showing up on store shelves in August. (Recipe: Mix together candy corn and peanuts in a one to one ratio, then enjoy!)

2.) Costumes! Even though I don’t like parties, I still like getting dressed up. How’d I do? Can you even tell who’s who?

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Amy Farrah Fowler (from The Big Bang Theory)

3.) Scary Movies – We recently watched The Conjuring and that was really good. We still have to pick one for tonight though. Any suggestions? 


One thing I won’t be doing this Halloween, but have had a blast with in the past, is the Devil’s Chase in Salem, MA. I’ve run it three times and it has quickly become one of my favorite holiday races. Unfortunately, I’ve missed the race the last two years because it’s fallen on the same weekend as a goal race. (Niagara Falls Marathon last year, Cape Cod Marathon this year.)

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Let’s go running!

In honor of it being Halloween, I’ll give you a quick run down of what I love about the Devil’s Chase:

1.) It’s a Holiday Race: Really, I know no better way to celebrate than by running. This race in particular is good because it gets me into Salem around Halloween without having to deal with all the Hullabaloo.

2.) Everyone Dresses as a Devil: Okay, not everyone. What I mean is that this isn’t a costume race, it’s a Devil’s Chase, so there are hundreds of devils running around the streets of Salem. It’s funny. And there are some creative costumes, like deviled eggs or Devil Dogs.

3.) It Has a Theme Song: It’s not official, but I can’t think of a better way to get pumped than by listening to Runnin’ With the Devil on repeat on the drive to the race.

4.) It’s 6.66 miles: I like this; it’s quirky. How often do you run 6.66 miles? They also auction off bib no. 666 and proceeds go to charity. 

5.) You have to Dress up to Win: So even the super fast runners are devils. This is genius in my opinion.

6.) Candy: I don’t know why candy isn’t a more popular post race food. It’s delicious. 

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I’m way too happy for a devil, but Jeff has the right idea.

Have you ever run in costume? What are you going to be for Halloween this year?

Nifty Fifty!

Turns out the Cape Cod Marathon was my 50th race!

I haven’t really been keeping track of this sort of thing on purpose, but I noticed it because I use an excel document to keep track of all my races and the rows are numbered automatically. Once I noticed, I thought it was pretty cool that a “milestone” race was a special one; one I’d trained for for months and months.

In celebration of my 50th race, I’d like to share some fun facts from my first 50 races!

FIRST RACE: May 27th, 2007 ::: The Run to Remember ::: Boston, MA ::: 5 miles ::: 55:50 minutes Recap

LONGEST DISTANCE RACED: Marathon ::: 26.2 miles ::: 3 races

MOST RUN RACE: Delaware Avenue YMCA Turkey Trot 8k ::: 6 times ::: I Love this race! I can’t wait to line up for it again this year. 

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And I’ve run with my sis all 6 times!

MOST RACES PER YEAR: 2010 ::: 9 races ::: I don’t really shoot for a particular number of races per year, and I don’t think I’ll ever get up past this number. I don’t run to race, so I’ve become more particular about the races I sign up for. 

MOST POPULAR MONTH: October ::: 10 races ::: Best time of year to race, no one can convince me otherwise.

DISTANCE MOST RACED: 5k :::13 races ::: This is funny to me because it’s my least favorite distance. A lot of holiday races are 5k, though, and those are some of my favorites, so that probably has something to do with it.

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Did you say “Jingle Bell 5k”? Sign me up!

TOTAL DISTANCE RACED: 360.46 miles

TIME SPENT RACING: 63 hours, 48 minutes, 30 seconds

BEST POST RACE FOOD: Run-A-Latke 5k ::: Swampscott, MA ::: December 1st, 2013 ::: Latkes and Doughnuts ::: We had plans to go out to breakfast after the run, but the food was so delicious that we filled up after the race and didn’t even bother.

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Jeff always makes sure to capture the important moments. 🙂

 

Do you keep track of how many races you’ve completed? What are some of your favorites?

***Also, I just finished up editing a new Races page, where I’ve listed all my races and times and linked to all the recaps I have written. So, if you want to check out my 1st fifty races, take a look.***

A little of this, a little of that

I’ve been having the worst time with running motivation lately. I’m still enjoying the weekend long runs, but the shorter weekday runs just aren’t doing it for me. If I didn’t have a marathon at the end of the month, I’d probably take a bit of a break. I think one of the reasons that I’m dragging is because I am not enjoying my weekly speed work. I go out feeling like it’s something I have to do, and that’s not really any fun. Hopefully, when I enter taper mode after tomorrow’s long run, I can regain some motivation. I’m thinking of trying to find a short race to do in the next few weeks to jump start my excitement a bit. 


In the meantime, I’ll try and focus on some exciting things:

I got new kicks and they are AWESOME! I went back to the Newton Gravity. I love them so much. I tried out Brooks Pure Flows for my last shoe (because Newtons are expensive), and while they weren’t terrible, I did have some problems with foot pain. So, when my mom asked what I wanted for my birthday I pointed her toward the Newton store!  I’ve been wearing them every chance I get so they will be broken in for the marathon.

Limited edition orange w/ blue laces….it’s like they read my mind that I thought the regular color (pepto pink) was hideous.

It is fall. According to the calendar and the weather and everything. My run yesterday was one of the first where it looked, felt, and smelled like fall. It was nice. Cooler temps, faster feet. My marathon takes place on the weekend before halloween, and they have a candy station at mile 17. They polled on facebook, and candy corn was a big winner! I think I’ll hold off eating any candy corn until then, and it’ll be even more delicious.

Look at that red tree out there across the water. 🙂

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It was a bit windy.

I signed up for the Turkey Trot! I love the Turkey Trot, and I can’t wait! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and this is an awesome tradition. This year, we’ve convinced my brother in law to sign up, too! The more the merrier.

Family + Turkey Trot = ❤

I entered the t-shirt design contest for the Turkey Trot! It was a tad bit frustrating. They needed a file type I’d never heard of, and they require a high resolution file. Ha! My graphic design skills are limited to paint. I had to download multiple different free programs and create the design three times before I got it in the right format at the right resolution. But, I did it! And, it was pretty fun to do; worth it, even if I don’t end up winning.

Turkey_Trot_official_shirt_1024x1024

My design is top secret!

Starting 26 days out, Cape Cod Marathon has been posting a picture countdown to race day. It’s making me excited about the course. I think it’s going to be really beautiful. 🙂 They started with a picture of Mile 1, and are now up to Mile 3. I think it’s a really cool thing of them to do.

mile3

I assume I’ll be running up that hill, but at least it’s pretty. 🙂

 

What are your tips for getting out of a running funk? Anything you’re excited about lately? Have you ever entered a T-shirt design contest?

 

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!

    CIMG1761

    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)

    2014-07-28 18.06.48

    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

    CIMG1103

    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

    2014-07-28 18.22.51

    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

    2014-07-28 18.06.15

    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? 

Thoughts on Racing – Why I Run Races

It must be that time of year where people start waking up from their running hibernation and start getting out to races, because almost all of the running blogs I read have had a race re-cap sometime in the last week or two. Am I the only one who isn’t out running races?

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See? No races here.

 This has prompted me to think about my race schedule for the year, look back on all the races I’ve run, and think about my motivation for signing up for them. All this is too much for me for one post, so I’ll start with….

MOTIVATION:

There are three main reasons I sign up for races:

1. It’s Fun*

2. It’s a holiday

3. To push myself

*The second two aren’t reason enough without the first. I think races should be fun, and I don’t think I should sign up for them otherwise. In the past, there have been occasions when I’ve signed up for a race that I did not think would be fun, but I don’t want to do that anymore. It’s silly. This isn’t to say that every race IS fun; I have certainly done races that turned out not to be fun, but sometimes that just happens. One of my main goals with running is to have fun, so signing up for a race I don’t think is going to be fun, well, that’s just dumb.

Black Cat

“This race is going to be so much fun!”

Sometimes I have different ideas of what’s fun. Sometimes, I think it’s fun to push myself in a race and shoot for a PR. Other times my goal is to go slow enough to chat with my sister and cousin during the Turkey Trot or wear something crazy in the Devil’s Chase. On rare occasions, different goals can overlap, like in last year’s Reindeer Run – where I was able to push myself for a 5k PR while running w/ my husband and wearing a ridiculous Reindeer hat.

However, getting a PR in a holiday race is usually the exception, not the rule. Despite this fact I really do think that holiday races are the most fun races. I’ve come to think that holidays need to be celebrated with road races, and at this point, Thanksgiving would be incomplete without a Turkey Trot. I really find holiday races irresistible. Probably because I get to dress up, and I’m able to convince family members to join me…

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Devil’s Chase 6.66 miles…obviously we will dress as devils.

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Just a couple of 90’s Bills fans ready for the Turkey Trot

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If cousin Jeremy can’t run this year, the least we can do is put a funny picture of him on our shirts!

With that said, as much fun as holiday races are, I rarely use them as a reason to push myself. However, challenging myself is an awesome part of running, and racing has a role here too. Most of the time, when I sign up for a race “to push myself”, the pushing isn’t the primary goal on race day. If I’m trying to PR, that can be the exception, but mostly my motivation in signing up for longer races is to get myself out and running long distances on a regular basis. I love long runs, but I seem to forget that fact in the 30 min or so before I’m supposed to actually do one. Silly, brain. Once race day comes, I usually have a time goal in mind, but first and foremost, I try to enjoy myself.

When the “push myself” goal relates to a new PR or tough time goal, I need to be careful. Getting a new PR is awesome, and can quickly make a difficult race feel worth it. However, the flip side is that if I’m shooting for a PR and I miss it, the whole race might feel terrible. I want to be better about that as I shoot for my sub-two hour half marathon this year. Last time I tried this, I ended up with a 9 minute PR, but because I didn’t finish in under 2 hours, I was miserable. I thought the whole race was stupid and was disappointed and mad at myself. After that, I took a nice long break from time goals. And, hopefully, I’m better for it. I should never forget that my main motivation is to HAVE FUN.

 What about you? Why do you run races? Are you capable of celebrating a holiday without a race? Do you pressure yourself to PR at every race?