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! 


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:


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


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


2014-12-24 16.35.10


2014-12-22 18.51.53So Awesome.


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


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!



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!


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.

2014-08-30 09.47.52

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!

2014-12-21 10.12.37

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! 

2014-12-21 10.13.07

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!

2014-12-21 10.13.30

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!



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.


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.


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!



I’m Going Streaking!

I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog already, but I can’t do a running streak without a post claiming “I’m going streaking!”. Har har har. It’s basically part of the tradition. (This is year two for me, so that means it’s a tradition, right?)

I’m playing along with the Runner’s World rules, they’re the same rules I followed last year and they worked for me, so why not? It’s simple: at least one mile per day, every day, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.


Last year, I hadn’t ever run more than two or three days consecutively when I signed up for the running streak, so I had no idea how it was going to go. I just thought it would be fun. I promised myself that if I was hurt or sick I wouldn’t push it, and I didn’t. I ended up having a blast and finishing with a PR race on the last day of the streak, so I feel pretty confident saying that I didn’t push it.

It was a lot of fun, so if you’re on the fence, I’d say you should join right in!

Still not convinced? Check out my posts from last year’s streak: 2013 Holiday Running Streak

Tomorrow morning, I’m shuffling off to Buffalo for Thanksgiving, so I’ll see you on the other side of the holiday! Enjoy!


I wore a headband on my run today, but this post has nothing to do with that.

I finally got my act together and went for a run! Yay me! I didn’t end up going to the gym with Jeff because it was practically a heat wave (44 F), so I went outside instead. I ended up going 5.5 ish miles, and even though I had a pretty good time, it was a tad harder than I would have liked. My legs felt kind of cement-like. I think I need to do more stretching and foam rolling, or you know…any stretching and foam rolling.

2014-11-23 07.57.49

I don’t look like myself with a headband. Also, the face I’m making is a little odd, too.

After farting around for an hour and a half, I finally got out the front door around 8 this morning. I ran over the bridge (will this ever get easier?) and then around Salem for most of my run. I like this route. I despise running up the bridge, but it’s a very nice view. I love running by the water. 🙂

2014-11-23 08.14.43

Only one boat left, that’s how you know winter’s coming.

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this week. I feel like the entire month of November has flown by. I’m looking forward to visiting with my family and friends that I don’t see very often. And of course, I’m thrilled to be running the Buffalo Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. My brother in law agreed to join us for the run this year, which is super exciting. I’ve never run a race with him before, and I love racing with family.

As for this coming week, I’m planning on a short run Tuesday night before I finish packing for our long weekend in WNY. Then, the Winter Running Streak starts on Thanksgiving, so I’ll be running at least a mile a day for the rest of the year. I think that I may have went on a skipping binge this week knowing that pretty soon I will not be skipping at all. 😉

How do you feel about headbands?

What changes around your neighborhood when the weather gets cold?

Are you excited for Thanksgiving?



Skip, Skip, Skip to My Lou!

In case you couldn’t guess from the post title, this week was NOT full of running. As of right now this morning, it’s somehow been a whole week since I ran. Where does the time go? You might be wondering why I haven’t ran, but I don’t have a very good excuse. Luckily I’m not injured or sick or  buried in 6 feet of snow (I’m talking about you Buffalo), or overwhelmed by work or other responsibilities. I just chose not to.

On Tuesday, I was cold and tired and had to stop for gas on the way home (that’s a good reason to skip, right?). I told myself (and Jeff) that instead of skipping running and ordering pizza we were being good by skipping running and eating a healthy dinner. haha. Then Thursday rolled around and my (already obnoxiously long) commute ended up being an extra 20 minutes long…and I was cold, so I sent Jeff off into the night by himself and I read blogs and took a hot shower. It was a relaxing alternative.

So, after all that skipping, I obviously went running this morning, right? Nope! I have a bunch of things to do this morning, so I opted to postpone the long run until Sunday. This comes with the additional perk of hitching a ride with Jeff to the gym, where I can avoid running in the cold. So, instead of running I’m blogging, eating breakfast, and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

2014-11-22 08.17.12

Toast w/ maple pumpkin butter that my sister sent me (because she’s awesome. Not shown: diet doctor pepper.


And, I guess I’ll get back to running next week. It’ll still be cold and dark, but maybe I’ll remember how much fun winter running is? The turkey trot will help with that, I’m sure!

2013-12-25 13.23.47

Proof that I think winter running is fun.


Ever skip a week for no good reason?

How do you feel about it? I’m not really concerned.

Do you like pumpkin butter? How about pop with breakfast?

I’m Knot Crazy!

After reading a review of Lock Laces last week, I got to thinking about how I lace and tie my running shoes. For years, I’ve been fascinated with different methods for lacing shoes (not just the running variety), and my favorite thing to do when getting a new pair of sneakers is to remove the laces and sit on the couch with both shoes. I usually choose two lacing methods, lace up the shoes, and pick the one that tickles my fancy. I’ve also been known to lace other people’s (Jeff’s) new sneakers, but he usually request that I lace them in the traditional manner. What can I say, I just genuinely enjoy lacing shoes. (ahem…weirdo). So, when I read about shoelaces the other day, I got all excited.

Let’s talk about how I tie my running shoes. I use a modified double knot. I’m not sure where I picked this up, but since I’ve been using it, I’ve had no problems with my shoes coming untied on the run (unless I forget to do it). I call it a modified double knot because it’s not the same as your traditional double knot, with the main advantage (in my opinion) being the ease of untying. Double knotting can be tricky to get untied, but this one is much better in that department.

So, here’s how I do it (I apologize for the horribly inadequate and unclear explanation):

2014-11-17 19.13.51

Start tying your shoe like normal.


2014-11-17 19.14.03

Still normal.

2014-11-17 19.14.14

Instead of pulling it tight, stick your second loop (on the right) under, around, and through the hole a second time. (Does that make sense?)




And the untying:

2014-11-17 19.14.41

Pull one end (not too hard, though)


2014-11-17 19.14.50

Pull the other end, and voi-la!


Now that we’ve got that explained, let’s talk about lacing the shoes. Here’s a magnificent website that has more ways to lace shoes that one would ever need to know: Ian’s Shoelace Site. It’s amazing, and my go to for choosing a method to lace my non-running shoes.

Normally, I choose to go with traditional lacing for my running shoes. The fancy lacing methods aren’t necessarily ideal for running, but there is one specific lacing method I do like for running. It’s called lock lacing. It’s not very fancy, but it does keep your laces tight and holds your foot in place in your shoe. The main reason I don’t always use it is because it requires a longer shoe lace. But if you have trouble with your shoe laces staying tight and your foot staying put, you can find standard shoelaces in many different lengths for pretty cheap.

You can see step by step directions on Ian’s Site, but in case you wanted to follow along with me:

2014-11-17 19.16.03

Lace up like normal, leaving the last eyelet (hole) empty.


2014-11-17 19.17.25

Feed lace through the last eyelet on the same side.


2014-11-17 19.17.47

Feed lace through the loop you just created. And Ta-da!


Any other lacing enthusiasts out there?

Do you tie your shoes like me?

Can you follow along with my instructions? I have a feeling they’re pretty awful.


Have I Mentioned That I Love Running?

First things first: You’ll notice I changed the theme on my blog! I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but I wanted to make sure I picked one I liked. I don’t want to switch it up too often, I always find it a little disorienting when others make big changes to their blogs. I hope you like it, and it doesn’t take too long to get used to. 🙂

Now let’s talk about running! Yesterday, Jeff and I ran another long run together. We also ran together Tuesday and Thursday night….I’m really loving non-marathon training!

Tuesday we did 3.5ish miles (my watch was being difficult) and Thursday we did 2.5 miles. These runs were just okay. My legs have been sluggish and I’m still getting used to my new “working amy” schedule. After working all day and then driving home for an excessively long time, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to go back out in the cold and dark to run. But I did it, and it was a good decision both times.

Our long run was a lot more exciting than the two weekday runs. First of all it was Saturday morning, which is my absolute favorite time to do a long run. I pretty much can’t sleep in on Saturdays anyways (I woke up at 6:13AM this weekend, and it’s usually not much later than that.), and it’s just so nice to get out there when you have the whole weekend ahead of you.

This Saturday was COLD. In the low/mid 20s. I’m still getting used to the weather change so I wore a lot of my “it’s super cold out” gear…hat, mittens, multiple shirts, and of course my fancy cold weather running socks:

cool kids wear argyle

Last week, we did 5 miles with a fast finish (last mile) and I really enjoyed it. With my long runs so much shorter than they were in the summer/fall, I have more options when it comes to pace. When I was doing 20 milers, the only option was “run as slow as you must in order to not pass out”. But now, a little speed thrown in is totally possible. This week we did a progression run, trying to make each of our 6 miles faster than the last.

It was really interesting. I loved getting faster and faster as the run went on, but it was tricky because it required us to not speed up too much and end up with a last mile that would be impossible. When our first mile clocked in around 10:30, and the second at 10:11, I was seriously concerned about what time we’d have to beat for mile six. Luckily we stopped getting faster at such an alarming rate (10:06, 9:56, and 9:48 for the next three miles), and our goal for the last mile wasn’t outrageous.

We finished up with a 9:36 mile, and I was thrilled! I was most proud of tackling a tough hill in mile five and not slowing down. I used all my focus and “hill tricks” to push through that mile. The last half mile was also a struggle, but Jeff was there cheering me on, and I knew it was the end…it’s so much easier to push at the end. So we finished all smiles having completed our goal, and I realized that my legs had felt the best they have since the marathon. I think I might be out of recovery mode…hooray!

2014-11-15 06.55.49

Another perk of winter running….hot chocolate to refuel!

Do you like running in the cold? I do! Right up until the ice makes an appearance.

Do you ever throw some speed work into long runs?