A Random Thursday


7 miles easy


9:34 avg pace

This was supposed to be a goal marathon pace (GMP) tempo run but I changed it to an easy run since I wasn’t feeling it this morning.  I really want my legs to be super, super fresh for Sunday’s race.  Since my average pace on Tuesday’s long run was a little over GMP (8:52 vs. 8:45), I’m counting that as both my long run and my tempo run this week!

As usual, I started stalking weather.com for Sunday’s forecast and I’m pleased to report partly cloudy skies with a high of 57 and a low of 44 🙂

Here comes the randomness…

My Blog Causes Nightmares
…at least for my niece Andrea!  She is an amazingly creative writer and apparently those creative juices don’t stop when she sleeps either.  This is what she posted on my Facebook page yesterday:

I keep having really weird dreams involving you because I read your blog before bed. It’s happened every night this week ha ha. Last night you and I were eating DQ blizzards with white chocolate wonderful mixed in and then this guy dressed up in full gladiatior gear named Maximus came in and stabbed our blizzards while savagely screaming. So we went to flee from him but you wouldn’t run away with me until you put your Garmin on and set it up and I was flipping out. But we got away thank goodness 🙂

Is this great or what?!  I wish I was eating a DQ Blizzard with you Andrea!

Andrea read at our wedding

We got pretty lucky in that Hawk is not the biggest chewer (with the exception of an expensive Crate & Barrel rug).  The 2 things he consistently chews are his dog bed and a basket that holds all of his toys.  He thinks that the basket is also a toy that he can rip to pieces.  Keep in mind, he’s 23 lbs and it takes him forever to rip something to pieces which means we often catch him in the act.

Chewing up his dog bed

I'm so damn pleased with myself!

Yesterday’s latest causality – another toy basket.  Notice the smug look on his face…

I did it again!

Help!  Does anyone have any suggestions for a toy basket that he won’t eat?  I think we tried everything!


A Few More Things…

Thank you to everyone who commented on my post yesterday.  It seems like we are all in the same boat!  After I hit publish, I kept thinking of things to add, so here goes…

I cannot stress enough that training for a marathon should not be about weight loss.  Endurance runners need calories and if you don’t supply your body with enough fuel, how can you expect it to run 20 miles?  I’ve made every mistake in the book when it comes to training – including not fueling enough – and, trust me, that 20-miler is NOT pretty.  If you treat your body well, it will treat you well.

My cutting out sweets has nothing to do with getting rid of those 5 lbs.  I recognized an unhealthy addiction (and it was becoming an addiction) and I wanted to correct it.  It’s about making an effort to be healthier.  And it’s not permanent, I can bring sweets back in the picture post-marathon (in moderation, of course…after I eat a Blizzard the size of my head post-marathon :))

Lastly, if these 5 lbs help me PR on May 1, they can become a permanent fixture!

Check out Kara’s blog – she wrote a similar post a few weeks ago.  

Keri also made a great comment:  The same thing happens to me. I always tell people I don’t run to lose weight and that I actually gain weight. I tell my friends if they want to lose pounds to start doing weights!

Thanks for sharing Kara and Keri!

Weight Gain and Marathon Training


15 miles


8:52 avg pace

Nothing too remarkable about this run.  It was cold (again) and my hands were cold (again)…even though I brought a change of gloves.  I’m really sick and tired of this cold.  Spring, get here and stay here!

I wanted to address weight gain and marathon training.  I have gained 5 lbs this training cycle.  This isn’t uncommon for me; it has happened before.  My clothes aren’t tighter and I don’t feel that much different.  I don’t weigh myself religiously – just every now and then (that’s how I found out I was +5).  And no, this weight gain is not muscle…I can assure you of that!

It’s more common for runners to gain weight during marathon training than lose it.  It seems hard to believe that you can gain weight while doing all that running but it happens.  Non-runners ask me all the time how much weight I can lose when training.  You should see their faces when I tell them my weight remains the same or I even (gasp!) gain weight.  Training for a marathon should never be used for weight loss.  Your appetite is out of control, to put it mildly.  If you have every been around me during training, you know how much pizza I can put away!

My issue (and probably the reason for my weight gain) is my out of control sweet tooth.  This began around Christmas (which I think is normal; everyone overindulges in sweets during that time) but it has not gone away!  Coincidently, I started training for this marathon during Christmas.  I often use sweets as a “reward” for training.  And that is where the problem lies.  I really shouldn’t be rewarding myself with a DQ Blizzard after every long run!  Totally unnecessary.  The cravings for sweets are so strong that I just give in.  We can’t have sweets in the house – they are gone instantly.  I’m not one of those people who can have 3 Hershey Kisses to satisfy my sweet tooth!

So my solution is to cut out ALL sweets until after the marathon.  I gotta do this cold turkey.  I think by taking a drastic approach (i.e., total withdrawal) I can “calm” my never ending desire for sweets.  Ugh, it’s gonna get ugly around here 😉

Funny thing is these extra 5 lbs don’t make me feel sluggish when I run!  I feel so strong.  Odd, huh?  And no, it’s still not muscle!

Yesterday I went to Whole Foods to pick up some more crack White Chocolate Wonderful.  I was about to also pick up Dark Chocolate Dreams but then realized that would be too close to a sweet.  Chocolate + PB = Reese’s Cup.  Maybe after May 1!

Stocking up. Taking a picture of your cart is normal. I don't think anyone saw me.

Do you reward yourself with treats during training?  Ever gain weight while training?

Tapering For A Tune-Up Race


6 miles easy


9:35 avg pace

Brr, still chilly Philly here…with no end in sight.  Waaah!

As I mentioned yesterday, my training this week will be switched up a bit to allow for a mini-taper for Sunday’s Cherry Blossom 10-Miler.  I really want to PR in this race (previous 10-mile PR is 1:23) but I still need to maintain my weekly mileage and key workouts.  Also, since I’m knee deep into the Monster Month, my legs aren’t as fresh for racing.   So this mini-taper is really necessary.  So how do you finagle a mini-taper into marathon training for a tune-up race?

With the race on Sunday, I know I want 2 days of complete rest (meaning no running; an easy yoga class is OK).  This has worked well for me in the past.  So Friday and Saturday are mandatory rest days.  I got my easy run out of the way today and I will do my long run tomorrow morning (thankfully, it’s only 15 miles this week).  This will allow enough time for recovery before Sunday.  That leaves a tempo run and speed work.  I’m counting my race on Sunday as my speed work for this week (I will be running like someone is chasing me) and my tempo run will be on Thursday.  The tempo will also be at an easier pace (goal marathon pace) so I can recover faster.  For you visual people:

MON:  easy run
TUE:  long run
WED:  rest/yoga
THU:  tempo
FRI:  rest/yoga
SAT:  rest
SUN:  race

I’m still getting in my 39 miles for the week and still hitting my key workouts.

I’m a big advocate for doing tune-up races during marathon or half marathon training.  Your tune-up race can be great practice for the “big event”.  But sometimes fitting them in your training schedule can be difficult.  It’ll require some planning and a little knowledge about your own recovery but it’s totally worth it 🙂

Do you have any mini-taper tips?  How do you handle racing and training at the same time?

Week 12 Recap


8 miles tempo


8:30 avg pace

2 miles warm-up
5 tempo miles:  8:17, 8:02, 8:00, 8:09, 8:07 (on target:  training plan called for 5 miles @ 8:09 pace)
1 mile cool-down

I ran this with “Maximus” my neighbor.  I’m happy since these 5 miles were truly “comfortably hard” – the way tempo pace should feel.  I was still somewhat able to talk (although it seemed to take forever for me to get a sentence out).  Twelve weeks ago this pace wasn’t so comfortable and that is what makes me so happy.  Seeing progress is motivating!

Here’s what Week 12 of NJ Marathon training looked like:
MON:  rest
TUE:  7 miles speed
WED:  yoga (I have to confess that I was sore for the next 2 days after this class)
THU:  7 miles easy
FRI:  18 miles
SAT:  rest
SUN:  8 miles tempo

A total of 40 miles for the week.  I cannot believe I only have 2 weeks left of the Monster Month and then it’s taper time.  This training cycle has flown by.  This coming week I’ll be switching things around a bit since I’m running the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler next Sunday!  More on that in another post.

I feel like I haven’t posted pictures of Hawk in awhile.  He got a new Spring ‘do last week so why not show it off?!

Have great Sunday everyone!

Friday Favorites


18 miles (12 outside / 6 treadmill)

2:38 total time

8:48 average pace

It’s freezing here.  The wind chill was 19 degrees when I started running (Spring is in the air, huh?).  I dressed appropriately and felt warm enough except my gloves got wet really fast.  I normally carry a dry pair of gloves but today I didn’t.  Big mistake.  Around 11 miles, my left hand went from numb and tingly to downright hurting.  I knew I needed warm, dry gloves so I ran back to my house which was only a 1/2 mile from where I was.  My intention was to grab gloves and head back out.  Once I got inside I just headed down to my treadmill for an additional 6 miles.  When did I become such a wimp?  About 2 months ago I ran in 0 degree weather!  Apparently I get a taste of Spring and can no longer hang in cold weather.

This week’s Friday Favorites are all about summer. I’m trying to think warm thoughts since it feels like winter…

Summer Running
– The obvious favorite here is the weather. Give me hot and humid any day! You don’t have to worry about snow, sleet, ice, bitter cold wind, and if it rains, no big deal! Running in the summer rain is refreshing (minus the thunder and lightening).
– I love not having to obsessively stalk weather.com. It’s sunny and warm every day.
– Tanks and shorts are my summer running uniform. No need for tons of layers that take forever to put on.
– Since the sun rises earlier (for you AM runners) and sets later (for you PM runners), you can do longer weekday runs. I love to be out the door at 5:45AM and knock out a medium long run before work (maybe that’s just me though?).

Grilling/Eating/Drinking on the Deck
When Matt and I were looking for a house one of our requirements was for the house to have a deck. We have a deck that is totally private (no sharing hamburgers with the neighbors) and it backs up to trees. We eat out on the deck (and grill) almost every night. On Fridays, we have some drinks Miller Lites and it is so relaxing.

Clearly this is not our deck...enjoying beers on a deck in Santorini, Greece.

Jersey Shore
My parents live at the shore (they retired there) and we love to go down and, again, hang on their deck.

The whole family at the Shore - can you spot Hawk?

My Bachelorette Party at the Shore

Summer Weddings
There’s a reason Matt and I got married in the summer!  Luckily I have 3 weddings to go to this summer (hi Camille, Wendy, and Amanda)!

I think we were all starting to sweat at this point!

What are some of your favorite summertime things?



7 miles easy

10:00 pace

7 miles on the boring treadmill while watching Teen Mom.  It’s freezing here and doing the rain/snow thing.  I kept the pace real easy since I have an 18-miler on schedule for tomorrow. 

Moving on to more important stuff…welcome new readers!  To say I’m overwhelmed by being yesterday’s featured cat lady would be an understatement!  I’m still in the process of reading all of your comments (thank you!) and plan on responding to each and every one of them (all while stalking your blogs).  To bring you up to speed, I figured I’d include some running fun facts in this post.

  • I’m training for my 8th marathon, the NJ Marathon, on May 1.  I’m thinking of sporting a Snooki-esque bumpit and faux tan for the marathon….to, ya know, blend in.  I kid, I kid…my parents live at the Jersey Shore.
  • You can read about my training plan here.
  • I’m obsessed with the Boston Marathon (trying to qualify, that is).  I don’t plan on qualifying on May 1 (I hope to run a 3:50); just hoping to get one step closer.
  • I LOVE long runs – especially 18-20 milers.
  • I LOATHE speed work but do it each week.
  • I incorporated yoga into my training cycle this time around and it has made a huge difference in my flexibility.  I didn’t realize how tight my hips and hamstrings were from running until I went to a class.

Speaking of yoga, last night I went to RYAH for a 75-min vinyasa class.  Maura was the instructor; I’ve taken her Wake Up Yoga class before and really like her.  Her class last night was kinda intense (holding poses for a long time) and kinda relaxing (letting us stay in child’s pose for just a wee bit longer).  The only problem?  The music!  Didn’t help that I was right next to the speaker either.  I know I tend to fixate on things while practicing yoga but this was like a techno song that never ended (but it was chanting…nonstop).  During savasana all I could concentrate on was “om shanti om shanti om shanti shanti om”.  Over and over.  Eek!  I’m still singing chanting it!

Is it just me or do you fixate on certain things during a yoga class?  Or while running?  Sometimes during races, if I’m iPodless, the sound of feet smacking the pavement gets to me after awhile!

A Whole Lotta Randomness

Happy Hump Day!

Warning:  this post is very random.

1.  I was featured on SkinnyRunner today!  Holy blog views!  Thanks SR!  I’m officially a cat lady; I’m honored!

2.  This is what I had for lunch (clearly I am no food blogger).  Here’s proof that green beans are truly my favorite (a Friday Favorite, in fact).  Brown rice + green beans.  Looks disgusting but it’s not.  I go through a bag of green beans in 2 days.  No lie.

extreme close-up

3.  Today was supposed to be an easy run on the treadmill (it’s raining here) but I had no motivation to run on the treadmill (even with a new episode of Teen Mom 2 on the DVR).  To me, treadmill season is OVER!  So tonight it’s yoga and tomorrow an easy run when again it’s likely to be raining.   This weekend I’m back up to 18-20 miles.  It’s the final stretch to the taper.

4.  Someone was referred to my blog by seaching for St. Joseph’s University Hawk Hill.  Seriously?!  Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Morning Track


7 miles speed

Apparently you guys like to read about the adventures of the Mains!  I had a lot of blog views on Sunday (thank you!).  Stay tuned, the Mains have some upcoming adventures this summer so I’ll be sure to post about them as well.

This morning I went to my local track for some speed work.  Daylight savings is really screwing me up.  I like to be running by 6am at the latest so I’m done and out of the parking lot before the first bus drops of students.  Maybe it’s just me but I feel weird using the track when school is in session.  I couldn’t start until about 6:30am today (6:00am = pitch black) so by the time I finished, all of the students were getting dropped off and the parking lot was full of buses.  Fabulous.  I thought I was going to get yelled at by a teacher or a safety (do they still have them?) because I wasn’t familiar with the “flow” of traffic.  Not to mention it takes 16-year-olds numerous attempts to park their car (I waited patiently for this one; it was so funny too).  After 5 minutes of chaos, I left unscathed and not yelled at.

My training planned called for:
1000m in 4:28 (4:29 actual).  Right on.
2000m in 9:16 (9:36 actual – opps).  I was trying to figure out what pace I needed to hit 9:16 and I thought I had it.  Clearly I was way off.  I blame early morning math and lack of oxygen.
1000m in 4:28 (4:36 actual).  Damn, I thought I was going faster.
1000m in 4:28 (4:30 actual). I gave it all I got.  I think the students on the school bus heard my panting.

My biggest pet peeve about the track?  If you are running slower, please stick to the outer lanes.  Same goes for socializing.  If you are more interested in talking than running, definitely remain in the outer lanes.  These 2 women kept hogging the inner lanes and yapped the whole time.  Myself and 2 other people were trying to do intervals and had to keep weaving around them.  So annoying!


Week 11 Recap and Saturday Night Fun

Before I get to the fun stuff, let’s recap Week 11 of NJ Marathon training…

MON:  rest
TUE:  8 miles speed
WED:  rest
THU:  6 miles easy
FRI:  10.5 miles tempo
SAT:  15.5 miles long
SUN:  rest (really just a smidge hungover)

A total of 40 miles for the week.  I’m happy I was able to maintain a decent pace on my long run the day after a long tempo run.  A big fail this week was no yoga.  No even 1 measly class.  It was a rough week (cue the excuses) but I’ll get back on track this week.

Onto the FUN stuff.  Last night was “Mains Night Out” or “Mains Gone Wild”.  What the hell am I talking about right?  What is a “Main”?  That’s what my friends and I call ourselves — the Mains.  The name started many years ago, when other people used to hang out with us.

“Who’s coming out tonight?”
“The Mains and x, y, z.”

It really stems out of laziness.  Instead of naming all the Mains (8 of us), it was easier to just say “Mains”.  So years later, it’s still just us Mains, minus the other people.

We talked about last night for months.  For the past 2 years, at least one of the Mains has been pregnant at some point.  It has been quite awhile since we all went out and everyone could drink and have a good time.  No one is pregnant right now so a night out was planned and babysitters and hotel rooms were booked.

We went to a few different bars in Philly, some new and some oldies but goodies.  We had a blast.  So. Much. Fun.  It was so nice to have everyone together.  I think we are all feeling a little tired and hungover today, but it was totally worth it.  I’m not sure how the Mains with kids are doing it today!

Some pictures:

Fueling up for the night at Oh! Shea's

Skybar at Vango. Don't let the lack of sleeves fool you, it was cold out.

We love a group shot. Still at Vango.

Boo, Coors Light. Remember my Friday Favorite? It's Miller Lite.


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