Good Idea/Bad Idea

Alright, let’s play a game called “Good idea or Bad idea”!

Here’s how it works: I’ll tell you about my life, then ask you a question about whether I should run a half marathon, and you tell me if it’s a good idea or a bad idea. (Spoiler alert! It’s a bad idea, but I want to do it anyways, so tell me it’s a good idea. wink wink!)

Here’s some background-

  •  The company I work for has a program that pays race entries for employees and their friends/family (with some restrictions)
  • Since I moved at the end of July 2015, a lot of the races are local to me, but I’ve only been able to participate in 1 so far (due to the time of year, pregnancy, general busyness)
  • They just sent an email with the spring schedule of races which has a half marathon on the list that’s in the next town over
  • I have not run more than 5 miles since, hmmm….well, it’s been over a year
  • The aforementioned 5 miles happened once…Turkey Trot 2016, aside from that I mostly run/walk no more than 4 miles at a time (3 times a week, at best)
  • In the last 3 weeks, I have run once….2 miles, and I walked a good chunk
  • I am studying for an exam that is at the end of April, and while I wouldn’t say it’s going poorly, I will admit that I am doing the bare minimum and struggling to get that done. (I say this to insinuate that I have no time for training, and if I somehow make time for training, I should really be using that time for studying instead)

To recap- I am in no shape (physically) to run a half marathon, I have almost zero time to train for a half marathon, and yet… I WANT TO RUN THIS HALF MARATHON!!!  And it would be FREE!

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Finishing my last half, which was apparently almost 3 years ago! Gosh, has it really been so long??!

So, here’s the big question: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Oh, also it’s in like 9 weeks.

Talk me into or out of it, please!

 

Michael’s Run 5k: Hopkinton, MA Precap!

What’s a Precap you say? Well, I finally have some free time and I’m in the mood to blog, so here’s my chance to say “Hey, ya’ll, I’m runnin’ one of them 5k thing-a-ma-jigs this weekend!”

My work has this program that allows employees to create teams to participate in local races, and if enough people sign up, they will pay the registration fees. After nearly a year of working here, this is the first one I’ve signed up to be a part of. They didn’t really sponsor any races in the winter, and then most of the others have either been too far or didn’t fit with my schedule, so when this one came up that is located just 10 minutes from my house on an open weekend I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.

Plus…I get a t-shirt from work in addition to the race shirt. Score!

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I was feeling fat the day I signed up, so opted for medium instead of my usual small…not my best decision.

So, this Saturday after I take my work photo at 9:45 AM, I’ll be lining up near the start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, MA for Michael’s Run 5k. I have been slacking pretty hard in my running lately, but I’m not too worried for this race. It’s the half marathon I’m doing next weekend that has me a little concerned. 😉

How not to worry about being undertrained for a 5k? Easy! Be even more undertrained for a half the following weekend!! Haha. Running tips by Amy.

Now, off to bed…I’m going to attempt to get up early for a run tomorrow.

What’s this? A blog post?!

Remember when I used to actually write in my running blog? Yeah, me too. I think it’s about time I got back to it, don’t you?

Let’s jump right back in! I’ve been training for a 10 mile race that’s coming up on 6/21. I’m not really in the best shape for racing, but I’ll be able to finish. And the training has served it’s purpose by getting me back in somewhat of a running groove. I signed up for it kind of on impulse because I was having trouble motivating myself to run. And sometimes, the fear of going into a long race unprepared is what I need for motivation.

Capture

I made up my own “loose” training plan, and have been following it pretty well. It has two rules:

1. Increase long run by 1 mile per week.

2. Run other times during the week.

I won’t be setting any records at the race, but it’s a pretty EASY plan to follow. 🙂

Whelp, that’s about all I have for you right now. One big reason I haven’t been writing is because I’ve been short on time, so if I’m going to get back into it, I’m going to have keep it short and sweet. So, if there’s anyone out there still following this blog, have a good night!

2015 Wicked Frosty Four – Race Recap

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

This morning I ran the 9th annual (I think) Wicked Frosty Four in Salem, MA. It was my first run and first race of 2015 as well as my last race of the “season” and my last run of the 2014 Holiday Running Streak. And, spoiler alert, it was a good one!

After partying hard w/ burritos and buffy the vampire slayer, I hit the hay around 11:50pm last night. (I know, I know, super lame, who goes to bed at 11:50 on New Year’s Eve?) I set my alarm for 8ish, and then read in bed for a while before having breakfast. Eventually, Jeff asked why I wasn’t getting ready for the race, so I hopped up and got my butt ready to go.

2014-12-21 08.27.14Can I wear my bag to the race?

Because I’m a baby who doesn’t like to drive myself places, Jeff offered to come to the race and cheer me on. I told him he didn’t have to, but I think it was pretty clear that I was overjoyed by this suggestion.

I’ve been excited about the race all week, but about halfway there, I started wondering why I had even signed up. I can’t really explain it, I love running except for the 15 to 20 mins before I go running. In that period of time, I hate it and don’t know why I do it. My less than excited mood lasted all the way until we got there. Then I took off my coat and got out of the car.  Guess what…..that didn’t help! On the walk over to the start line and then waiting for the race to begin, I kept thinking that I just had to get it over with.  A+ for attitude over here!

2015-01-01 09.53.32Hey, at least I smiled for the picture.

And then the race started. I fell into a rhythm pretty much immediately upon crossing the start mat, and my love of running returned.

My plan was to run at a relaxed, but brisk pace. One that felt sustainable, but not easy. The first mile went by fairly quickly. I warmed up within the first quarter mile, and I saw a celebrity! (Did you read the runner’s world article about John Young, who ran the Boston Marathon?….He was in my race!) Before I knew, it my watch buzzed for the first mile. It read 8:28/mile, which I assumed was pretty unlikely, but I was pleasantly surprised when I passed the mile marker not long after (at 8:44 by my watch).

Prior to this point, I assumed that there was no way that I was going to PR today, but after hitting mile one so quickly I started to wonder. I kept up my comfortably hard but relaxed pace and continued on with a “we’ll see what happens” attitude. Much like mile 1, the second mile passed fairly quickly. I did start noticing some hills at this point, but I was still feeling good when I hit the second mile marker at 17:28 min (in case you were wondering, this is exactly 8:44 for the second mile, too..sweet!)

Heading into mile 3, I had officially decided to shoot for a personal best. I continued along with my relaxed but brisk running strategy, but “brisk” was becoming increasingly closer to “hard” as this mile ticked by. We tackled a steep hill in mile three that I run fairly often in my usual runs. (Parts of this course overlap some of my regular routes, but not very much.) It was tough, but it helped that I was familiar with it. Shortly after climbing the hill, I passed the mile 3 marker. This mile was a bit slower at 8:52, but at 26:20, if I could run the last mile in less than 9:38, I would make it.

2014-04-03 18.21.41Most of my runs and races have beautiful ocean views…I’m such a lucky duck.

I took a couple deep breaths, and started mile 4 at a pace that I would call “I think I can run one more mile at this pace” pace. We ran along the ocean, with an icy headwind, and up one more slight hill before coming into the finish. It was tough. “I think I can run one more mile at this pace” pace is slightly painful. Eventually, I turned the last corner and the finish line was in sight. I saw Jeff hanging out on the sidelines, but he wasn’t paying much attention. This made me smile because I knew that what happened was that he wasn’t expecting me so soon.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting me so soon either!

And then, I was done! I crossed the finish line with an official time of 34:55! My last mile was 8:35, and I had a shiny new PR of over a minute!

Hip Hip Hooray!

Nothing like a surprise personal best to kick off 2015!

Did you run today? Did you race? Have you ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Don’t tell me what happens, I’m watching it for the first time and I LOVE IT! 

Race Recap: Solstice Sprint 5k Virtual Race

I’m a little behind on the race recaps. I want to get one up for the Turkey Trot I ran on Thanksgiving and also the Reindeer Run I did the week after that, but I ran a Virtual 5k TODAY, so I’m more inclined to write about that one right now. Chronological order isn’t really that important, is it? 

My plan for today was to run a hanukkah race that I ran last year called the Run-a-Latke 5k. The race was fun and had the best post race food I had ever eaten, and I was looking forward to running it again this year. But, at the last minute I decided not to sign up. I had hoped to run the race with Jeff and his sisters, but he’s been sitting out due to a knee problem, and with all the craziness of this time of year his sisters were both busy. While I originally planned to just run it alone, I opted not to because it’s a very family oriented race and I thought I’d feel weird being a loner. Plus after several busy weeks, not having any plans was sounding real nice. Luckily, as I was reading through my favorite running blogs last night, I was reminded that Kristen over at Run Away With Me was hosting a Virtual 5k the very next day! (today!) It couldn’t have been more perfect timing. 🙂

I got up this morning around 7 to celebrate Amy Christmas with Jeff. We always celebrate early because we travel for the holiday. I get to open presents early, I love it! (note: I give Jeff hanukkah gifts and one christmas gift, he gives me christmas gifts and one hanukkah gifts). He really outdid himself this year…I got a selk’bag! So, after opening gifts I sat around on the couch in my bag, reading blogs.

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Its a miracle I ever got up!

 

 

After printing my race bib and having a nutritious breakfast of a banana and some cherry coke zero, I was eventually able to get out of my bag and into some running clothes. I dug out the hole punch and some safety pins and attached my bib before heading out the door. I felt a little silly wearing a bib out on a solo run around the neighborhood, but in all honesty, I’m sure it’s not the strangest thing I’ve worn running.

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Race ready!

 

 

On my way out the door, Jeff asked if I was going to try and PR and I immediately said no. I was expecting a virtual race to be fun, but not really “race-y”, so I had no real intentions to treat it like a real race. But by the time I was standing outside waiting for a GPS signal, I had completely changed my mind. Even though I wasn’t going for a PR (I’m not really in shape for that), I decided to push just as hard as I would in a normal race.

When I had a signal on my watch, I quickly crossed the street, pressed the button and was off!  In typical racing fashion, I took off like a bat outta hell, and was struggling before I even hit the quarter mile mark…right on! The slight climb at the beginning of the run ended up being a blessing because it forced me to slow down and not be a crazy person before I’d done any damage.

The first mile flew by pretty quickly, with only a short stop at one intersection to wait for a light. Unfortunately, my watch lost it’s signal at some point and I hit the one mile mark (on my watch) before the actual one mile mark (that I know from landmarks). I took note of my actual one mile time: 8:34/mile, so I could add on a little extra for my official time.

Mile two was quite a bit more difficult than mile 1 as it included several hills. The first hill ends at a stoplight and I was really looking forward to taking a quick breather while waiting to cross. Unfortunately Lucky for me there were no cars around to force me to stop.

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Summer photo…same hills.

Why on earth I’d chosen a hilly route when I get to pick the course is beyond me, but that’s what I did, at least for mile 2. At least I got to enjoy some downhills along with all the up, and my mile time, while slower than the first mile, was still under 9 min/mile (8:59/mile to be exact!)

Going into mile 3, I was really feeling it. My “winter running streak” legs were probably wondering what I’d gotten them into. They haven’t felt fresh and bouncy in at least a week, and now I was asking them to sprint it out to the finish! In a a race with no one else around, no less.

I slowed a bit early in the mile due to some walkers taking up the entire sidewalk, and then had a short downhill. Although, I was initially annoyed that these people were taking up the whole sidewalk as I thundered toward them gasping for breath, it was probably a good little break before starting the final climb – a gentle incline about half a mile long. If I had been doing a regular run, I would have absolutely, no question about it, stopped on that last hill. But, by golly, this was the Solstice Sprint 5k, and even though I couldn’t see them I knew there were other people racing. So I thought about that to distract myself, and kept running until I hit 3.1 miles!

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The pole on the left there ended up being my finish line. Where’s the party?

My 3rd mile rang in under 9 min/mile, too although I don’t remember exactly what it was, I’d have to check my watch. And my finishing time clocked in at 26:29. Because my first mile was off, I’m recalculating that to add in the extra time it took to hit the one mile marker, leaving me with a finishing time of 27:07! 

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The best picture I’ve taken of my watch, ever.

 

Not bad! I was very pleased with my time, and really enjoyed my first experience at a virtual race. It was cool watching twitter all day and seeing some other people finishing the race as well, and I was pleasently surprised how race-like the run felt even though it was just a solo jaunt through the neighborhood. Thanks Kristen for putting it on!

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Happy Racer!

Have you ever done a virtual race – what did you think? Are you going to run out and buy a person shaped bag to lounge around in? I highly recommend it. 

 

 

 

Remember me?

Oh hello, there! It’s been a busy couple of weeks over here in Amy land. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and December is getting off to a good start (err…first half?).  Things are going pretty good here, both in terms of running and life in general. I’d love to get you all caught up, and I promise I will eventually, but right now…I was tapped for a Liebster award!

liebster

 

It’s been making the rounds, so I’m sure you know what it’s all about. If not here’s the gist: an awesome blogger nominates you (in my case it was the fantastic Sweaty Mess), you answer the questions they ask, then you nominate some other awesome bloggers, and give them questions to answer. Easy peesy!

Now, I should probably answer all 15 questions I was asked, but I’m short on time (theme of my life lately), so I’ll just answer whatever I can before it’s time to go to bed.

1) What is my current health related goal?

The Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak!

2) What is my biggest irrational fear?

Vomit. I know that no one likes vomit/vomiting, but I’m afraid of it the way other people are afraid of spiders, heights, the dark. And, I don’t mean germaphobia here (that’s another fear I have, but I don’t think that one’s irrational).

3) Do I enjoy wrapping presents?

For about 5 minutes. It gets tedious, real fast.

4) What’s my favorite cross training activity?

None. I only like running. I would say snow shoeing, except I probably have to do an activity more than twice a year for it to count.

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Look I’m cross training!

5) I have 2 weeks off work and 2 round trip plane tickets to ANYWHERE. Where would you go and who would you take?

I’d go to New Zealand/Australia w/ Jeff for 10 of those days, and hang around the house doing nothing for the remaining 4.

6) Okay so I HAVE to eat a fast food meal. What restaurant would I choose and what do I order?

Ha….you make it sound like I don’t eat fast food burritos at least once a week and LOVE IT! Anyways, I’d pick Chipotle – burrito bowl w/ white rice, black beans, and sofritas, topped w/ corn salsa and cheese (no guac. it costs an outrageous $2.00!)

7) Share a pic of myself in non-workout clothes.

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You were looking for something nicer, weren’t you?

8) If I could choose to have a ‘do over’and switch careers, what would I choose and why?

I just did a do over…I’m a former engineer, one month into my career as an actuary. And why? Well, we don’t have time to get into all that.

9) What do I want for Christmas?

A relaxing day with my family.


Now, time to nominate some other bloggers! I’m sure some (if not all) of you have been nominated before, but well…not by me! And, if you’re not on the list but want to answer some questions, please join in!

And, here are the questions I want you to answer. Only 5, because it’s bed time. 🙂

  1. Do you speak a foreign language? If so, how do you say “I love to run!”? If not, which language would you like to learn?
  2. What’s your least favorite household chore?
  3. Do you enjoy running when you can do whatever you like, or do you prefer to have a training plan?
  4. Share a favorite holiday tradition you have.
  5. What was the first job you ever had?

Have fun!

 

 

How to get a lot of likes from travel bloggers

After I posted my Cape Cod marathon recap, I immediately started getting more likes than I normally do, and from new readers. As I checked out these other bloggers, I started to notice a theme…they were all travel blogs. Hmmm…that’s odd. And then I had a realization. I had categorized my post under “travel” because I had traveled to the race. This must have led all these travel bloggers to my post. I think this is really cool, and I will now be using a “Running” category on every post. It’s kind of funny, though because I didn’t actually talk about travel AT ALL in my post. Haha.

After all that, I thought I should write a little about the Cape and our travel experiences. I thought the best way to do this would be to make up a quick travel survey to fill out.

BARE BONES TRAVEL SURVEY

  • Location: Cape Cod, Falmouth, MA
  • Time of Year: Late October
  • Length of Stay: Not Quite 2 days, 1 night

Where’d You Stay? At the beach! Seacrest Beach Hotel. The hotel was nice, and had an off season discount, but I wasn’t super impressed. The pictures on the website are nicer than the actual rooms, and it was a bit more expensive than I felt was worth it given that it’s not beach season, but it wasn’t out of line with the area. In context of the race, the hotel was about a 15 min drive from the start/finish, and it was one of the very few (only?) hotels that didn’t have a 2 night minimum.

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The hotel beach

How’d You Get there? Drove. We had no problems with traffic, but I know it gets very backed up during the summer.

What/Where did you Eat? I purposely tried to eat “boring” things before the race, so I’m not going to comment on this one. It could give the wrong impression. 😉

Any Must See Sites/Attractions? The beach!  Specifically, the Lighthouse was spectacularly beautiful with the ocean in the background. (Mom, I know you’re laughing because of all the complaining about our lighthouse visits when I was a kid.)

lighthouse

Picture from the race facebook page. It’s even more beautiful in person!

Cranberry bogs being harvested. This was just so cool. You’ll have to visit in the fall though if you want to catch the harvest.

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Where cranberries come from.

What was the weather Like? Highs in the low 60s, sunny, and very windy.

What was the Running Like? Beautiful views, and the race was very well organized. Outside of a race, I’d stick to the beach front area, and maybe check out the bike path. There are a lot of blind curves on some of the inland roads and this was also were most of the really tough hills were.

Would you go back? Yes, but probably not during the summer….I’m not a “hanging out on the beach” person, and there’d be too many people, I think.

Did you know that categories actually did something?

Have you been to Cape Cod?

Any other questions I should answer?

So, I ran my fall marathon…now what? 

Well, this week I ran 7.5 miles – 2.5 miles on Wednesday and 5 miles on Saturday morning. I was hoping for a second short run during the week, but you know how it goes. I had a lot going on this week, and I’m still recovering from the marathon, so a low mileage week was A-OK with me.

I felt pretty good on Wednesday’s run, but yesterday was a bit tough. Jeff and I ran together both times, which was really fun. It’s been a while since we ran together regularly, and I’ve missed it. On Saturday we decided to try for a fast finish, and ended up running our last mile in 9:36/mile. We were shooting for something faster than any of our other miles and the fastest was 10:14/mile, so I’m pretty happy with how we did. Overall, we averaged 10:24/mile, and when we finished I was pooped! How on earth did I run a half marathon at a 9 min. pace in April? Race magic, I guess. 🙂

It’s cold out now, I get to wear my fancy cold weather socks.

Going forward, my plans are pretty simple and I’m excited about them:

  • For the next few weeks (until Thanksgiving), I’m going to aim to run 3 or 4 times a week with my longest run of the week being at least 5 miles.
  •  Then, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s I’m going to do the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. I ran it last year, and I had a blast! As long as I’m feeling good come Thanksgiving, count me in again!
  • During/bookending the streak I’ve got 4 holiday races I’m looking forward to: The Buffalo YMCA Turkey Trot 8k, The Reindeer Run 5k, The Run-a-Latke 5k, and The Frosty Four (New Year’s Day).
  • And in early January, I’m contemplating a 3 week break from running. I’ve been reading about taking an off season, and I really haven’t had much of a break in…I don’t know…years? So, this might be a good idea. We’ll see. Not running doesn’t sound like quite as much fun as running.

So, that’s the plan, I’ll be having plenty of fun and loads of running adventures in the next few months! And it’ll give me the opportunity to wrap up my 2014 resolutions and figure out what my 2015 goals will be.

What’s on tap for you? 

Got any Holiday races on the calendar?

Have you ever taken a non-mandatory, but not entirely wanted break from running?

 

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?

amyfarrahfowler compare

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.***