Thursday, September 30, 2010

Worst. Run. Ever.

It started out ok. Even though I had to pee since the second I left the office, and refused to stop at one of the port-a-potties along the trail (G-ross). Even though I was a little bit tired from having run four days in a row, and was into my fifth. Even though I was doing my first ladder workout. Even though I was wearing my watch which always made me run a little faster. I was just SO EXCITED to be out of the gym, off the treadmill and outside running.

I'm usually not that prissy when it comes to running. I get dirty, I sometimes spit, I don't mind running through puddles or running in the rain. Except I hate bugs. All summer there have been a large number of tiny little bugs swarming in some of my favorite running locals. Especially in the early evening time that I run, and maybe the fact that I am always running next to water. They are so tiny and almost invisible unless you are looking in the right light, but usually even that isn't a problem as long as you remember not to run with your mouth open (ew).

Yesterday's run, however, was nothing short of a disaster. What started out as good, started feeling awkward and icky after about a mile when I realized the bugs, instead of being in concentrated clusters along the road, were EVERYWHERE. I could feel them hitting my face, even when I kept my head down and looking at the ground. I began breathing with heavy exhales to avoid swallowing any in my path (this proved somewhat ineffective) and it was only a matter of time before one flew directly into my right eye causing me to stop completely, step off the path and blink until it was gone. When I stopped I realized that there were bugs stuck to the front of my shirt, my hands, and legs and I was beginning to get so frustrated I wanted to turn around and give up. I wanted to admit defeat and go home.

I was so close to quitting, but I made myself push on. "Just keep going," I told myself. Even if you don't end up doing the ladder workout, just get in the miles. Just shut up and do it so you can go home and feel proud of yourself. So I did. I kept going, shaking off my shirt and wiping off my face every now and then. I even managed to get through one ladder, my turn around point, and was halfway through my second ladder when another bug ended up in my eye. This time it was my left eye, and it hurt. Being that I was on the side of the road with no mirror I wasn't really sure how to get it out, but eventually I got it to feel better and I kept going.

Finally, as the sun went down, the bugs disappeared. I was able to complete the workout as planned, and was really proud of myself for not giving up when I was incredibly frustrated. I knew that pushing through something terrible will make parts of the marathon feel easier. And even though that run was incredibly disgusting, frustrating, and a little bit challenging at times, it STILL beat having to run eight miles in the gym.

This is what I felt like last night. Minus all the facial hair. And the really cool goggles.

xx Sara

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's in a name, a title, a number?

I don't often spill much of my personal life onto these pages, often times because there is too much running related to talk about, but I also am of the belief that personal life is personal for a reason. I still have trouble accepting the direction that our society is going with all this over sharing (this coming from a self admitting twitter addict...) and the fact that so many people have access to so much information on the internet.

But the other day (ok yesterday to be exact) something happened at work that made me draw a parallel to the lessons I have been learning as a runner. I always love those moments when life and running come together and you realize you learn the same lessons throughout life that apply to multiple situations and help you become a better person.

Now I love my job, and when I say that I mean I love what I do every day. I may not always like certain aspects of what it means to be in the fashion industry, or being part of a corporate environment, but I like being a technical designer. I love working out patterns, and learning about the fit of garments. It's actually fascinating to know so many intricacies about something most people don't even know exist or take for granted. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else (unless that something else was coaching running, or working as a personal trainer. . . anyone want to hire me?). But I also know that your success in your career does't just depend on how hard you work or driven or dedicated you are, it depends on how much the people above you want to see you grow. Why someone would hold you down is beyond me, but I know it happens. And unfortunately I had to go through a year of my career where I more or less felt like I was left to fend for myself with no direction (and this is my opinion).

A year later, many departmental shifts and some staffing changes later, I am finally learning and enjoying my job more than ever instead of wanting to pull my hair out by the fist full before 10am. And just like you can train for months for a PR and miss my mere seconds, I have been working very hard for the past year to move forward, only to fall short of my goal.

I went through the typical emotions, anger, resentment, dissapointment etc. until I started to wonder what was more important to me, a title that said I was smart, or knowing that I have learned an immense amount in the past year and that I have a very technical job and I should be proud of my growth. Why does a title mater so much? So that everyone else knows I am smart, something I already know? And then it hit me, this was the EXACT debate I have with myself after ever race that doesn't result in a PR. Every race where I have to go into work the next day and when people ask me how I did, I try my best to explain that it was a well run race but I did not run my best time. But I know better than that. I know that through every race I have run this year my skills as a runner are getting stronger. I am learning even pacing, better training, better recovery, and with that will eventually come better times. Life requires a lot of patience, something I do not have a whole lot of, and along the way it should be your experiences that mark your growth and success, not the titles you have. I may not have the "right" job title, but I love my job. I may not have the "best" race PR, but I love racing. And on top of all that I have figured out how to have a really great relationship with Boyfriend, and make sure each area of my life gets the attention it deserves. Maybe if I only had one thing in life to focus on, I could be perfect at that one thing, but wouldn't that be just a little bit boring, not to mention lonely?

It would seem that we are a society obsessed with labels. So the question is what do YOU value more, the skills you have, or the titles and times associated with them?

xx Sara

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

Saturday was a big day, filled with cupcake baking, running errands, and a date night among other things. But first I had to conquer sixteen miles. Lately though, I have been feeling like my life is beings stretched thin in all directions, and a long run was just one more thing I felt like I didn't have enough time for. I ended up working late on Friday, and had to skip my run that day altogether. By the time I left the office I was just totally drained. I decided a large bowl of coffee ice cream would be the perfect way to decompress. For one reason or another I ended up staying up way later than I had planned so when my alarm went off at 6am I was not in a good mood.

I did not have my usual Shot Blocks (Instead I had Gu Chomps from the Philly RnR race expo) and I had a minimal amount of Gatorade left in my apartment, and I was plain old just not looking forward to my run. Despite all those reasons, I left my house ahead of schedule, hoping I could fit in some extra miles before Team Challenge practice. Practice was being held at Mondauk Commons, which is a one mile loop trail with soccer and baseball fields in the center. I wasn't sure how I felt about running sixteen one mile laps, so I packed my Ipod along for the ride (and thank goodness I did).

Luckily as I arrived at the park, so did one of our wonderful coaches Dana, and we were able to fit in five miles (not sure why I was running at such a fast pace). The whole time I was feeling great until we stopped and I was hit with an intense wave of nausea - most likely because it was H-O-T and sticky out and I needed fluids ASAP. I downed my Gatorade and felt much better, ready to start round two. After a quick stretching clinic all the Team Challenge participants headed off for an hour workout around the park. My group completed five miles, which brought me to a total of ten. Not bad, if I could just get through six more laps I would be golden! And it was only 10 am.

I desperately needed my Ipod for those last six laps though. The first one was a bit slow, my legs were a bit sore from having stopped and rested, but after that I was warmed up and in a nice groove. The music kept me moving, and I kept drinking as much fluid as I could, did I mention it was HOT? I kept counting down the laps, four more, three more, two more, last one, only half a mile, home stretch, and before I knew it I was done! Not only that but I totally picked up the pace for that last half mile. When it was over, I felt that familiar feeling of disbelief. it's not that I am not confident in my abilities to run long distance, it's just the amount of miles is so great I always surprise myself when I complete a long run.

After a run like that, I would have loved nothing more than to go home and soak in an ice bath with some coffee, but that wasn't the plan. It was a long day of baking cupcakes, a few glasses of wine, and a dinner date with Boyfriend for some CPK (I had a BLT pizza - YUM!)

Quite frankly I am really proud of where I am in my training. Right now the only thing that stands between me and the marathon is eight weeks of training. No other races, no other goals, just training for the big show at this point. I have made it very far with out getting myself hurt, although last week was a bit of a disaster with work taking up so much of my time, but every now and again running is going to have to take a backseat as I learn to balance everything out.

The only thing I struggle with at high mileage is my diet. Up to 20-25 miles a week I can usually keep myself balanced out, I eat really well only treating myself to sweets or junk food every now and again. My usual rule with eating is eat what I want when I want it (within moderation) and drink a lot of water (it helps you feel fuller and hydration is good for you!). But once I hit upwards of 30 miles a week all I want to eat is ice cream and cupcakes. it doesn't help that I am on a big baking kick lately either. Do you experience intense food cravings when you get into higher mileage? How do you keep from going crazy and eating everything in sight? (As in Sunday morning, I woke up and ate two slices of pizza, a cupcake, a glass of chocolate milk, and an egg sandwich for breakfast) Help!!

xx Sara

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Your best race isn't always your fastest

I am still adjusting to waking up in the dark. But on this morning I am up before my alarm goes off, almost hopping out of bed before I realize it is only 5am and I need my sleep. It is Sunday. Race day. So I drift back into dreamland for a while longer, until my alarm shakes me from the quiet and I know I must start getting ready.

Pre-race ritual is usually sunblock all over, then body glide, then getting dressed. I start to make breakfast, and pour myself a glass of half water half Gatorade and at the same time I prep my water bottle for the race. Everything is laid out neatly on my living room table, my bib pinned to my shirt, extra clothes already packed, it's almost too easy. I am excited about this race, even though it is dark, and I am tired and want to crawl back into bed, I have a really good feeling. This really good feeling may be because I have Katie Perry's "Teenage Dream" playing in my ears and I am fashioning my hair into a perky ponytail onto which I will attach my lucky team challenge bow. But it does't matter why I am feeling good, just that I am. Before I know it Boyfriend is outside and ready to go. I throw on a jacket, grab my bag and we are on our way.

I should have known when I walked out the front door and did not feel a chill of fall air that it would be a warmer day than planned, but under my jacket was my Team Challenge singlet, the perfect race top. Parking was a disaster. I chose to park in the Powelton village area, because it's just a short walk across the Spring Garden Bridge to the art museum (which is a really good warm up) and because I used to live in that area in college and I like the familiarity of it all. It took about fifteen minutes to find a spot, after lots of cursing, and and U-turns. Thankfully I had left plenty of time for this.

Poor Boyfriend was not feeling well, and could not sense my urgency of getting to the race area so I could use the bathroom. If there is anything I am afraid of, it is being in the bathroom when the race starts. The bigger the race the more afraid I am. Yes I realize afterwards there is a whole lot of standing around and waiting but I would rather have the bathroom thing out of the way. We found the finish line, picked a meeting place (for after the race), and by some sort of dumb luck found a group of port-a-potties that did not have an insanely long line. Hey I'm not complaining one little bit.

This is when I started to feel nervous. I don't know why, maybe it was that I hadn't spend the day before resting, or that I had gone on a 3 mile walk the day before, or maybe I realized this was a true test of my fitness thus far, and I didn't want to disappointed myself. I had my plan in my head, drink and food in my hand, and I went over the course with Boyfriend. I told him where the race went, how long it would take me to get to each point, and when I expected to cross the finish. I advised him to go down to the start and watch for me to cross the start line so he would know when to expect me to finish. As it turns out that wasn't very helpful.

The corals were crowded and full of conversation. I chose to stay quiet and simply observe everything going on around me. All the first timers, the decorated shirts, discussions about playlists and choice of media player and headphones. Fuel belts, headbands, I watched others stretch and discuss strategy. It is probably one of my favorite things about races, being surrounded by so many others that understand your passion or love for the sport. Of course there are plenty of newbies and people that don't get like you do, but the chances that the ones who understand are right there with you are higher than ever. Slowly but surely we made our way to the start (coral 11) and the race was beginning. This was my race, I owned it, I was in charge of it.

Mile 1 is always the hardest to keep pace. There is always so much excitement, the spectators are out in full force cheering, hollering, ringing cow bells and waving signs. It feels great and you just want to rocket through feeling like a rock star. But I hold myself back because I know this race is a test, this race is a practice for Philly and I want it to be right. I soak up the scenery, the people around me, the music, but a part of me is alone in my head, concentrating on what I need to do. Thankfully it worked, and at mile 1 I am happy with my split time, right on target and I feel great. Mile 2-3 felt great as well but pacing wise, that is where things started getting screwy. I never saw the mile 3 marker, so I didn't check my pace until I got to the 5k marker, which threw me off a bit (the downfalls of not having a Garmin, but I hear they were all screwy in the city anyways). So when I hit mile 4 my pace was also thrown off. I started relying on my breathing to gauge my pace instead of my time. If I was out of breath I was too fast and needed to slow down. Between 4 and 5 I saw Boyfriend on the sidelines (who was finally able to get some coffee) and then caught up with a co-worker who was running the race as well. I stuck with her for about two miles (missed a marked in there somewhere) until I realized I was going a bit fast, but at this point the race was more than half over and the idea of slowing down wasn't sitting well with me.

This was the part of the race where the course gets boring, and it is easy to slow down, but my body refused. All I could remember was the last four miles of the PDR in 2007 and running as everyone around me passed me, my legs just not containing enough energy to keep up the pace from earlier in the race. I kept telling myself "not this time, don't let yourself slack, just keep pushing". As a practice race for Philly I should have slowed down. But there was a part of me, a selfish irresponsible part of me that really wanted to see what I was made of, that really wanted to see how hard I could push myself. I held the pace. Before I knew it we were at Falls bridge, the rest was just a home stretch, and that's when the sun came out. I was still feeling somewhere between good and great, literally singing to myself every now and again to make sure I wasn't pushing it too hard. I can't explain what happened to me in those last few miles, where my energy came from or why, but I pushed forwards in a way I never have before. In the last few miles of that race I tapped into an energy that had laid inside me dormant, just waiting for me to learn to race properly. Start out easy, give it everything you have at the end.

Oh and what an end it was. The sun in your eyes, the crowd cheering louder and louder as you approach the finish, that 13 mile marker looking like heaven to my tired eyes. A mere 0.1 mile stood between me and glory. And as I looked at my watch and realized I was going to have my best half marathon race of the year I was in such disbelief. That race, was amazing.

2:02:47 is my official chip time. And while this is not a PR (1:57:01) I am more proud of this race, than my PR race. When I got my PR I was sloppy and inexperienced. I went out far too fast and paid for in on the second half. I didn't drink or fuel at all during the race, and when I crossed the finish line I wanted to die. Literally die because the second half was so miserable. I think it shows I have come a long way. I am proud and excited in so many ways I cannot even explain. Because I know once I perfect my racing skills of even pacing and even effort, faster times will come as well. I am now more excited than ever to keep training for Philly, knowing that I am only going to get stronger with the right training. I'm ready to fall in love with the marathon again.

What do you value more? Running a smart race, or running a PR no matter how miserable it was to get?

xx Sara

Friday, September 17, 2010

Let's Rock & Roll

Two days stand between me and one of my favorite races, Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon (previously known as the Philadelphia Distance Run. One of the main reasons I would say I am so fond of this race, is it is the course where I have my half marathon PR. The time of year is a perfect mix of summer and fall. It will also be my third half marathon of the year, and I still have two races left to go after this one. Crazy? Maybe a little bit.

Although I have only run this race once before, I also coupled it with the Philadelphia Marathon. It has never been my "main event" race, so it has never made me nervous. Maybe that is why I did so well. The night before I hung out with friends, I ate pizza, and stayed up a little late (for a pre-race night). When I was running I just had fun. Hopefully Sunday brings all those same things. I am also super psyched that I know so many people running! It is a little strange knowing that this race was originally going to be my "main event" race, but plans changed when I signed up for the Philly full instead of the half. Part of me feels weird knowing that of all the races I'm running this year non of them really reflects my best effort in terms of speed. Which isn't a big deal because I know with every race I become better at other skills than just running fast. It's almost as if i am delving beneath the surface of the race and learning to become a better runner.

Since this race is essentially a dress rehearsal for the big 26.2 in November there are a few things I am working on
- even pacing -
- carrying a water bottle and hydrating through out the race (this should be interesting as race pace will be faster than training pace -
- carrying shot blocks and eating one every few miles instead of three at mile six, or nothing at all -
- Shooting for a pace/finish time that would be similar effort to the marathon -

Oh yea and I hope the T-shirt is cool looking. Lord knows I need another T-shirt like I need a hole in my head (as my mother would say).

xx Sara

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mantras Chants and Cheers

True story - I was a high school cheerleader

It only took a few steps into my run last night before I realized I had made a tragic wardrobe mistake. No I didn't forget to put on any items of clothing as I have done before, I was wearing the right socks, shoes, shorts, sports bra, and then I looked down at my shirt. I was wearing my younger sister's Spartan Basketball T, and although it is pretty common for me to wear my sister's T's, this was one that I liked to save for non-working out. Instead of turning around to change, or getting all bent out of shape at the thought of permanent sweat smell, I was instantly reminded of a cheer.
"We are the Spartans
The mighty mighty Spartans
Everywhere we go
People want to know
Who we are
So we tell them
We are the Spartans
The mighty mighty Spartans. . . "

And it goes on for something like three repeats. Yes I was a Spartan, a Red and White and Grey Spartan. Not of the SNL version, but when I was in college, someone actually mistook my high school cheer sweatshirt for an SNL.

Get to the point girl! Ok so as I am running, I am chanting this Spartan cheer in my head. I loose track of the scenery around me, I don't focus on my pace, or my steps, and before I know it I have ran two miles. Every now and then I will get distracted by a thought of something to plan, like what to make for dinner. But like a tag-a-long little sister it is always trailing behind me ready to pounce "Everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell them. . . "

Then I start to realize, most people have running mantras, and I have cheers and chants. Saying things like "stay strong" or "keep moving forward" don't help me as much as they bore me. Do they help you? Do you use them? Instead of saying something that reminds me of what I'm doing, I need something to take my mind OFF of running. So I chant, I sing, I make up stories. Anything to distract my mind from the rest of the miles left to go.

And so the run went on into the night, the air getting cool and dark "everywhere we go. . . " thinking about what I needed to get done at work the next day, what needed to be sent out and what could wait until later "people want to know. . . " wondering what I had to make for dinner when I got home. Was there anything to cook? Was there anything in the freezer? Was there any wine? Should I even have more wine? Maybe I'll just have cupcakes for dinner. No that would defeat the purpose of being out here on this run burning all these calories. "who we are. So we tell them. . . " Also things I have to do when I get home, write emails, write some fundraising letters. Since I have a night to myself (not staying with Boyfriend) I can probably accomplish a lot of things! Oh maybe I'll even blog when I get home, that would be great, because otherwise I can't do it at work tomorrow "we are the Spartans the mighty mighty Spartans."

And before I realize it, I am rounding the corner to my apartment. Another run conquered.

xx Sara

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fun Fact - I am obsessed with cupcakes

Strawberry banana nomnomnom

One of our fun "getting to know the team ice breakers" at the first few team challenge practices is saying your name and a fun fact about yourself. So of course I have to confess my obsession with cupcakes. Baking decorating and eating.
And of course it relates back to running - I run to eat.

When did I start baking like Betty? In college, whenever it was rainy or gloomy or cold, all I wanted to do was bake. Usually cookies, sometimes brownies, and on occasion cupcakes. I loved mixing and tasting and then sharing a batch of freshly baked goodies with all my classmates. After all we spend so many hours a day together sewing masterpieces we became more like family.
After college money got tight and I took a baking hiatus. It just didn't make sense to spend so much money on so many calories, or food I was giving away to everyone else. I managed to buckle down, pay off a lot of debt, and get myself in a better place. And then I decided to make cupcakes for Boyfriend's birthday in July. His favorite being red velvet. At first I was scared at such a serious recipe, the first time I made cupcakes from scratch they turned out dense and the frosting was overly sweet. I carefully measured, sifted, whipped, stirred and frosted. And they were AMAZING. Every day I had one cupcake for lunch and it literally was the highlight of my entire day. They were THAT good.

Chocolate peanut butter - amazingly rich and delicious

Pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting and trying my hand out at some rosettes.

And now I am just obsessed. So far I am just floating in the realm of looking up and trying different recopies online. Combining different cake and icing flavors so suit my different cravings. I watch Cupcake Wars on the Food Network to get inspired for fun new creations (and of course Boyfriend teases me because I cannot stand the host of the show but I watch anyways). Really i cannot think of two things that go better together than running and baking. Burn calories, replace calories. Pretty perfect if you ask me.

Are you hungry yet?

xx Sara

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fresh as Fall

The past two days I may have been in a slump. I may have felt like there just weren't enough hours today. And this morning when I woke up at 6am and it was still dark I realized why. It's that time of year again. Fall. Don't get me wrong, I love fall. I can find something beautiful and amazing about every season, and fall in particular I can find many somethings. Running amongst the rainbow of changing foliage, the cool temperatures for long runs, apple cider (cold and hot), cider donuts, the need for chic running jackets (Like THIS ONE), my lungs love the crisp fresh air and of course it is the height of marathon season.

At the moment I am bogged down my work, boyfriend, friends, Team Challenge (Please donate today!), and just trying to have a life. The days are getting shorter, and fitting everything in just seems like a chore some days. I have to keep reminding myself of all the good things that come with the season change. Yes the fall may be more challenging but it brings a fresh change and perhaps I will start breathing better. After my little bitty set back from the past two days, I was very excited to wake up early today and hit the treadmill before work. A little Jackson 5, N'sync and four miles later I felt like myself again. I'm glad I let my body take the break it was asking for. I don't want to get in the habit of skipping runs, but I am happy to know I can survive if it happens every now and again. And I am really happy that I have lots of people around me who support me and push me forward when I am falling back.

Are you in love with fall and all things pumpkin flavor as much as I am? This weekend I am testing out a new pumpkin cupcake recipe, after my 15 mile long run of course!

xx Sara

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Playing hookey

You know those days where nothing is going right? Everything seems to be wrong and all your mistakes come tumbling down into your lap. Yesterday was one of those days. And I literally couldn't wait to leave the office and head home for a 7 mile run. The weather was gorgeous, not to hot, not to cold. A Goldilocks just right late summer evening. I was stressed to the max. I knew running would clear my head and serve as the perfect outlet for my frustrations.

But when I walked in the door to my apartment I decided to take five minutes to sit down and decompress. Five minutes was all it took to turn me off completely from the idea of running. At first I tried to guilt trip myself. I thought about pushing it off until tomorrow. In the end I gave up and went to make dinner. The rest of my night, although relaxing still felt lacking. I knew the real reason I wanted to skip my run. Time. There just wasn't enough of it in the day. I wanted to cook dinner, I wanted to go to bed before 11pm. Running is just taking up too much time. But I still want it. What a dilemma.

Today, although I had all the optimism in the world nothing was going my way. I promised myself I would make up for yesterdays missed miles, but before I knew it, it was after 6pm and I was still at the office. Boyfriend and I had dinner plans, I had things to prepare before visiting a friend of mine after work tomorrow. Yet again, not enough time. No running.

Partly, I was disappointed that I had scared my "perfect record". I had run every workout that was given to me since the very beginning of training. I had been so proud of myself, and my dedication. But with this little miss comes the realization that no one is perfect, and I cannot expect to hit the mark every single time. Old Sara would have looked at this as a huge set back. Old Sara would have blamed work for stressing her out and gotten angry that there wasn't enough time in the day. But when I started this journey I promised myself I would change. Even if that means how I react to set backs.

So I am taking this little bump in the road as just that. So I missed a run. I realize it was one of my longer runs of the week, but I am not going to beat myself up for not running a workout I am too burnt out to do. Tomorrow I will run my four miles as planned. Saturday I will run my 15 as planned. And a week from now I will be forgetting this ever happened. Part of this experience is the journey, figuring out how to make running work around my life, my friends, my boyfriend, and work. Every now and again I have to realize that running cannot be number one. Like Jack said to me today "Running, like a good friend, will always be there when you are ready to go back to it"

Do you ever get in a running slump? Loose your passion for the road? Do you let it get to you or brush it off like nothing and move on?

xx Sara

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Long weekend get away

If you're like me, no matter where the destination, if you're packing for vacation the first thing in your bag is sneakers, and running clothes. It's the only constant that I will find time for a long run. Running on vacation gives me a sense of exploration and freedom. A chance to see the destination from a new viewpoint. This weekend was no exception. Saturday I woke to my mother tapping my foot, just itching to get out the door so we could get back and start the party. Together we ran 11 miles, along route 1 in Madison CT, and then I stopped back at the house to fill up my water bottle and ran 3 more miles to bring me to my grand total of 14 for the day. There was no time for my usual post long run routine as the party was just getting started. I quickly showered and began a cooking, drinking, eating and laughing extravaganza that lasted until I passed out around 9:30pm.

I thought that would be my only early morning beach run, until Boyfriend and I decided to stay one more night, which would mean leaving early Monday morning, and running even earlier. When I woke up morning I was greeted by a gorgeous sunrise and FREEZING temperatures. Although my pace was a little bit brisk due to the chill in the air (I could see my breath for most of the run) I ran along quiet back roads listening to nothing more than the sound of my footsteps on the ground and my breathing. It was magical. There were no cars, no city noises, no people talking except for the occasional "hello" to other runners and bikers passing by.

I was sad to leave such a relaxing amazing place but happy for the time I was able to spend there.

If I woke up to this every morning, I think I would be extra inclined to go for more 6am runs.

Imagine drinking your coffee and breakfast, and then stretching pre-run with this view

xx Sara

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Team Challenge + VEGAS!

If I learned anything from my 10+ years as a Girl Scout (thanks Mom) it's help others at all times. That and selling sweet cookies makes one awesome fundraiser. But since the Girl Scouts already have that market cornered, I guess I'm going to have to come up with some fresh new ideas for my second round with Team Challenge.

That's right. The half marathon program I so fondly talked about here and here. The one I decided to join because Boyfriend has Crohn's disease and I can't just sit around the house and do nothing, pretending I can live in my own little bubble where nothing affects me.

What's your selfless act for the year? One of our wonderful team members for this season will proudly stand up and say that joining Team Challenge is her selfless act. She is amazing. You can be amazing too. Join Team Challenge. Or if that is too much of a commitment (and I understand I really do, it requires a lot of dedication and effort) please think about making a (TAX DEDUCTIBLE!) donation. It's quick and painless (unlike the half marathon which is long and sometimes hurts) just visit my fundraising site!!!

xx Sara


Welcome to September, one of my favorite running months of the year. I am in love with September weather. Late summer heat is still around, but the nights are breezy and cool, making a post work run the most amazing way to unwind. The leaves are turning, the humidity is retreating, and they air may start to chill just enough to be comfortable. It also means race season is underway.

So yesterday morning, after checking my emails, sipping my fabulous iced coffee, and mentally plotting out my to-do list a fabulous idea came over me. I need to tally up my monthly mileage from August! Now this is not something I usually do, or care about, but I like large even numbers, like 50 and 100, and I like to see how far I've come.

Off the wall comes my trusty training calendar, out of the desk drawer comes the calculator (because it was too early in the morning to do mental math...) and after a couple of clickity clicks the number 115 is staring me in the face. At first I think there must be a mistake. 115 is the highest monthly mileage I have run all year. I sure don't FEEL like I have run 115 miles in the past month. But the numbers are right there staring me in the face. All of a sudden I start to feel really good. I mean I was feeling good before but now I am feeling REALLY good. I can't believe I had managed to accomplish so much in so little time. Especially because when August started I was coming off of two weeks of NO RUNNING whatsoever.

Just further proof that if I take things slow, follow my training schedule, I am on the road for a really good race come November.

xx Sara