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. ūüėČ

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.)

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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?

Hot and Fast

Another week of “I might be running a marathon” training has concluded, and I’m still not signed up for a race. But I do think that I’m closer to a decision now! I’m leaning towards racing this fall (!), and I’m ready to change up some of my non-long runs to reflect that.

So, two things happened this weekend that have me leaning towards signing up.

First, I hung out with my husband’s family on Saturday and talked to his sisters about all doing a race together. We’ve been going back and forth on this together for a couple weeks, and on Saturday I realized that his one sister is about 90% there. That made the whole thing seem more real and I got excited about the possibility of racing.

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Us three in the back would be marathoning together! Two in the front seat would (hopefully agree to) be part of our support crew.

The second thing that happened was that I realized that my alternate plan is stupid.

My main reason for not wanting to run this fall is that I¬†want to build speed before my next marathon, and I am doubtful that I can do that in this training cycle. As an alternate to running a marathon, I’ve been thinking that I¬†would¬†run about 10 to¬†12 mile long runs all summer and somehow magically get faster at that distance without having to do¬†speed work during the hot and humid summer.

Yesterday, I realized that that is insane. Sure, I will build a good base with that, but I will not get significantly faster. If I want to get faster I will have to do speed work. For some reason, this realization is encouraging me to run a marathon. Probably because my favorite part of the alternate plan was that there was no summer speed work.

So, I’m adding speed work to my “I might be running a marathon” training plan. And marathon or not, I’m going to push as hard as I can to get faster this summer.


I started with a tempo run yesterday morning.

I had been somewhat following a Leading Edge training plan during May and June, and have decided to pick that back up after a few weeks of only easy runs. My current plan is to follow this training schedule for midweek runs, while continuing to up my mileage according to the long run schedule I made up a few weeks ago. This is a bit of a mish mash, but strictly following the Leading Edge plan would require me to jump into a level that is too advanced for me (speed work wise) at this point.

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Speed work is less scary when it’s on a plan that looks like this. (At least I hope that’s true)

Yesterday’s tempo run was the key speed workout in level six.¬†It was oppressively humid, but I want to get faster, so I had to just get over that.

The run was: 10 min easy, 25 minutes A.T., 10 min easy. ¬†The plan describes A.T. (anaerobic threshold) as significantly faster than goal pace and pushing the edges of my comfort zone. I used an online pace calculator with my spring half marathon time to decide my goal pace. The pace calculator thinks I can run a 4:10 marathon (current PR of 4:51), which is totally insane, but puts my goal pace at 9:32ish. So I shot for faster than that. I ended up averaging 8:52/mile in that 25 minutes. Is that “significantly faster” than goal pace? I don’t know, but I’m pleased with my pace and I certainly wasn’t comfortable, so I’m judging this a success.

Whatever I decide about the race, I’m happy with my decision¬†on the speed work.

 

 

 

Marathon Decision 2014

As I mentioned in my Up Next post last week, I’ve been mulling over¬†obsessing about¬†which Fall marathon ¬†I should run, and should I run a Fall marathon? And also, when to start training, which level to start on, and on and on and on. Seriously, at this point, even I’m¬†starting to get bored thinking about it.

Ever since I finished the Niagara Falls Marathon last Fall, I’ve been wanting to run another marathon. After my first marathon, I didn’t really feel quite the same way. I wanted to run another one, to redeem myself, but I was content to relax for a while first (and I did – my second was 3.5 years later). But after Niagara Falls last year, I wanted to run another one RIGHT AWAY.

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“I see the finish line! When’s the next race?”

I obviously didn’t sign-up for and run another marathon a week or two later, and eventually that compulsion died down… a little. Instead I took a little time off, scaled back, and then ran three holiday 5k’s over the span of 10 days- Holden Road Race (Thanksgiving), Run-a-Latke (Hanukah), and the Reindeer Run (Christmas). This was also the start of the Holiday Running streak which I managed to keep up for the entire time between¬†Thanksgiving and New Year’s. ¬†I set a 5k PR in the Reindeer Run, and a 4 mile PR at the Wicked Frosty Four on New Year’s Day. And, I started to get into the habit of writing this blog. Looking back, I’m certainly happy with how I channeled that I MUST RUN ANOTHER MARATHON energy into some other productive goals.

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Post PR…all smiles and reindeer hats!

After all that, when I sat down to write my 2014 running resolutions, I felt like it was a good time to revisit my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon – and that goal took the number one slot on my resolution list. But I was also still itching to run another marathon, so that made the list, too. Sort of. Technically, the resolution is to run a fall marathon with my sister in law if she wants to, and if she does’t want to, then the resolution is to decide whether or not I want to run solo. By mid-April (maybe earlier), I was feeling pretty confident that I would run solo if she wasn’t ready to tackle a marathon yet, and I began stalking races, and training plans. (Good job focusing on my upcoming half, right?)

Then I ran the Twin Lights half marathon, crossing that first resolution off the list, and I became OBSESSED with the marathon idea. I bought the training plan I’ve had my eye on for a while. And, I started really looking into “local” races. I read race reports, studied elevation profiles, investigated exactly how far each race is from home, and fiddled with a training schedule for each potential race date. And then…well, after all that, I still couldn’t make a decision.

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Bring on the marathon!

The contenders

I started out thinking that I would likely choose the Cape Cod Marathon as my fall race. I’d heard it was a nice scenic course, it’s at the end of October, I’ve never been to the cape, and for some reason I’m supremely interested in visiting cranberry bogs. But I just couldn’t pull the trigger on it. For one thing, it’s hilly. I might be able to overlook this, but the hills are at the END. Judging by past experience, the end of the marathon is not the right time for things to get hilly. Also, the cape is not actually very close to where I live. Yes, it’s closer than Niagara Falls, but it’s still a 2 hour drive.

So, I wasn’t sure about Cape Cod, and I decided to check out some other options. I found 3 that seemed appealing – Manchester City Marathon (Manchester, NH), the Baystate Marathon (Lowell, MA), and the Miles Standish Marathon (Plymouth, MA).

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Manchester Marathon Pro: Mr. Mac’s Mac N’ Cheese restaurant nearby.

They¬†all have positives and negatives, too and none of them really stood out as the clear choice. Days went by, a week, and I still couldn’t chose. It’s not that I need to sign up right away, but I needed to know what day the race would be if I was going to plan my training schedule. Which brings me to the other object of my intense scrutiny.

Training

Before my half marathon when I was becoming enamored with the idea of Fall marathon, I saw myself continuing to run at least 10 mile long runs on the weekends after the race, but not starting actual marathon training until June, possibly July. I was eager to get started on the new training plan, but I wanted to take it slow.

Then¬†I realized that if I was going to have any hope of making it through all 24 Levels of my new plan, before the Marathon I had not yet chosen, I’d have to start training right away, and not on Level 1. ¬†The plan recommends that I can start on Level 8 because of my current fitness (can run a half marathon and have been doing speed workouts), but my legs were WIPED OUT by the hard effort at that half marathon. Also, my hamstring isn’t at it’s best, so¬†I’m trying to do some strength work to build up my hamstrings and glutes. I’m doing these exercises three times a week (as previously recommended by a PT), so these muscle groups are never fresh. None of this is ideal for the start of marathon training. Plus, I really wanted to start the new training plan on the first level. My legs are still recovering so it just seems like a good idea to get used to the new types of workouts by doing the easier versions.

training plan

So, I waffled about even more. I didn’t want to pick a race because that would mean that I needed to start training, and I wasn’t ready for that quite yet. And, honestly, it’s May, I feel like I shouldn’t have to start training yet.

The Decision

With all of this in mind and some wise council from my husband, I decided not to decide yet. If I’m going to do a marathon I really need to be all in, and I’m not there. One thing I’m sure about is that I want to start on level one of my¬†new training plan, so that’s what I’m going to do. The long runs in the early levels are very short, so I’m running longer because I like long runs. I’ll keep checking the races in case they start to fill up, and eventually I’ll know what I want to do. I won’t get through all 24 levels of my training plan before the race (if there is one), but as long as I can keep my long run miles up, I know I’ll be okay. I just need to calm down.

KEEPCALM

Do you obsess over races? Are you as picky as I am about which races to run? Which Marathon should I run? Should I run one? Isn’t it kind of nice not having something big on the calendar?

Up Next

Now that my big goal half is over, what am I going to do with myself?

I usually start thinking about what’s up next well before race day even comes. I tend to enjoy and look forward to training more than racing, so by the time I’m halfway through taper week, planning for “the next big thing” is well under way. This time around, I have a bunch of ideas, I just need to get them into some kind of order and make some decisions. ¬†I’ve been thinking about it a lot, deciding what to put on the top of my list and what won’t be on the list at all. Yesterday’s run helped make some of those decisions.

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“Okay, where do I go from here?”

Yesterday was my first run after the half marathon. I haven’t really taken much of a break since I started training for last fall’s marathon, so I decided to take a full week off after the race. I thought it would be a good opportunity to give my legs a well deserved rest, and I was looking forward to my legs feeling fresh and strong for yesterday’s run. Unfortunately, that’s not really how things went.

In the week leading up to the half marathon, my legs were not feeling awesome. Usually during taper, all the rest and¬†easy running leaves me feeling super strong, but that was not the case this time around. My right hamstring was bothering me (more on this below), and my legs just felt heavy. This was not a big confidence booster going into the race, but race day came and¬†I didn’t have any issues at all. My legs felt rested and strong, and my hamstring didn’t bother me one bit. Even after the race, I was sore, but my hamstring was fine, and the soreness went away after a couple of days. So I thought for sure that after taking an entire week off, I’d jump back in feeling better than ever. But, to my dismay, yesterday’s run felt exactly like the lousy taper week runs. My legs felt heavy and slow, and my hamstring was being a big wimp. Lame!

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No problems on race day! (except I appear not to have any hands)

History of my wimpy hamstring:

A couple years ago I had some problems with my right hamstring. Nothing earth shatteringly bad, but enough of an annoyance that I took a few months off of running and went to physical therapy to get it figured out. They told me I could keep running, but it wasn’t really fun to run with the pain and weakness, so I took some time off. Their diagnosis was that the muscle was tight and weak, so my physical therapy routine consisted of massaging the muscle, stretching, and doing strength exercises. Eventually I graduated from physical therapy, and have been running strong and healthy since then. They sent me home with a list of the stretches and exercises to keep my hamstring in line, but I haven’t had any problems, so¬†I haven’t been doing them lately. (Ha!…Let’s be honest, I never did them.)

That brings us to today where, except for the amazing/wonderful exception of race day,¬†my hamstring feels exactly like it did back then. And, this is how¬†yesterday’s run made some decisions for me about my next running adventures.

Up Next

First on the¬†list of what’s up next is going to be fixing my stupid, wimpy hamstring. I’m not planning on stopping my running this time though. Unless things get worse, or don’t get better, or stop being fun. My plan for fixing my hamstring is going to include stretching, foam rolling, and strength exercises (all my favorite things! blech). And maybe some ice or heat. Fun times, really.

Second on my list is The Great Marathon Decision of 2014. I have to figure out if I’m gong to run a fall marathon, which¬†marathon I’m going to run, what my training plan is going to look like, and when exactly I will have to start this training plan. I’ve been pouring over all these things for an entire week now, and the indecision is killing me. The two races I’ve been thinking of don’t seem to be on the verge of filling up, so I won’t have to register right away (good thing, given the hamstring issue), but if I need to start training now, that would be a good thing to know.

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Manchester, NH…Will I be back here for a marathon this Fall?

Third on my list is Fun Running. Initially, I thought I wouldn’t have to start marathon training until the beginning of July, and¬†I planned to¬†spend all of May running outside of a training plan followed by the Summer running streak (Memorial Day through July 4th). Given that the training plan I want to use (more on this in another post) is quite lengthy, and the fact that my hamstring isn’t super happy right now, I’m going to alter some of that initial plan.¬†I had a few ideas for fun runs that I’m still going to do. I can do those on easy run days if I start my training plan early. I think I’m going to cancel the running streak, though. Marathon training and hamstring trouble aren’t good times¬†for streaking.

And that’s it my friends, a rough idea of what I’m up to: Fix Hamstring, Start Marathon Training, Do Fun Runs.