Looking Back and Looking Ahead

I debated about whether to write a 2011 recap post.  Last night I decided not to but then today I had this nagging feeling like I should.  2011 was a good year so I should do it justice!

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you probably already know what I’m most proud of in 2011 – qualifying for Boston at the Lehigh Valley Marathon on 9/11/11.

3 weeks later, I found out that I would be running Boston in 2012.

There were other PRs too.  Cherry Blossom 10-miler (1:19), a hot and humid 5K (23:22 – I need to revisit this!), and a not-what-I-wanted-but-a-PR-nonetheless at the Philly Half Marathon (1:47).

I can’t forget our travels in 2011 either.  San Francisco in February.  Ireland in May.

Other good stuff:  I started a blog and “officially” started my own little coaching business.

Instead of resolutions, I prefer to make goals.  I want to document them here on the blog so, one year from now, I can see my progress (or lack of).  In no particular order, here’s what I’d like to accomplish in 2012:

1.  Run a sub-3:40 at Boston and BQ again (more on this later).

2.  Study and pass the CSCS exam.

3.  Revamp the blog and switch to self-hosting.

4.  Grow my coaching business.

I think that is enough!  I also don’t like to be unrealistic!

Happy New Year!

Tell me something you would like to accomplish in 2012 (it can be anything)…


I could easily be a lady who lunches

I definitely have this not working thing down pat.  What day is it?  Does it really matter?  Every day feels like Saturday!

I’m pretending this is my normal lifestyle – a lady who lunches – in order to avoid the reality of work come Tuesday.  Let’s review the last 24 hours…

7:45AM – a glorious 5 mile run, although cold (41:14 / 8:15 avg pace).

10:30AM – my last PT session.  I graduated!  I’ve been going faithfully twice a week for the past 4 weeks.  My hamstring feels strong and I haven’t had a twinge of tightness in 4 weeks.  I no longer need the ART so I can just continue my exercises at home.  I must give a huge shout-out to Excel Physical Therapy (Villanova location) and my PT Desirae.  I highly recommend her and Excel.

1:00PM – lunch with Ann and Sara.  I coached Ann and Sara for the Philly RnR Half this past September (easiest coaching gig ever – both are seasoned half marathoners).  They took me to lunch to thank me!  Thanks ladies!  My goal during lunch was to convince them to run a full (Ann’s 2nd full and Sara’s 1st).  I think Ann is on board; we just need to work on Sara 😉

ann, me, and sara

7:00PM – coffee with Beth.  This was a total surprise.  Beth texted me in the morning and said she would be in the area.  I’ve been friends with Beth since 1st grade and she is my pseudo sister-in-law.  She is married to Matt’s brother.  So we married into the same family (duh).  It’s awesome, having your best friend at all the family parties.  And no, Matt and I did not set-up Beth and his brother.  Ages ago, when I first started dating Matt, we all ended up at the same bar one night.  I merely introduced Beth to Matt’s brother and the rest is history 🙂

7:30AM –  10 mile “long” run (1:26 / 8:36 avg pace).  I’ve been alternating between 10 and 13 miles on Saturdays.  Beginning next week, it’s only 13 miles and up!

And…tonight Matt and I are seeing The Nutcracker and going to dinner.  Yes, I could get used to this!

Plans for NYE?  I loathe NYE…highly overrated.  We are hanging in and I’ll probably be asleep before midnight.  

Blogiversary and Updates

Run The Long Road turned 1 on 12/26!  I missed the actual blogiversary but better late than never.  I swore I wrote my first post on New Year’s Eve last year but nope…12/26.

I was so hesitant to start a running blog.  I thought it would suck.  I though it would be boring (well maybe it is).  I thought I’d run out of things to write about by February.  I was scared to lay it all out there.  Splits, finish times, marathon goals, oh my.  I wanted this blog to be honest.  Running isn’t always rainbows and butterflies.

254 posts later, I would say Run The Long Road is probably in my “top ten” of the best things I’ve done.  Wow, bold statement!  I truly enjoy writing this blog, chronicling my training, and figure I’ll get a big kick out of it when I’m 50!

The best part is “meeting” so many amazing bloggers.  I am constantly inspired by all of you and have learned so much this past year.  I’m always overwhelmed by the pre-marathon support and post-marathon congrats.  I love each and every comment (no haters…yet!).  It means so much to me that people read RTLR and enjoy it – thank you!

I hope (soon) to re-vamp RTLR and move to the self-hosted wordpress.org.  I have to find someone to do this for me since this is way outside my realm of tech-savviness.  If anyone has any recommendations, please pass them along!

Let’s talk about running.  I’m still running, although I haven’t really blogged about it.  I start Boston training on Monday, kicking off the New Year right!  I’m doing a 15-week plan, but I’ve been “pre-training” for the past 5 weeks.  I’m actually dropping back my mileage this week so my legs will be fresh come Monday.  I’m excited.  3 1/2 months without a training plan is far too long.

I took a Barre class at 6AM this morning.  I will admit that is slightly insane, given that I have off this week.  I went to a new place that is way cheaper ($17 per class vs. $23) and closer to my house.  I plan on going to the 6AM class on Wednesdays before work.  So today I scoped it out so I could be all prepared for next week.  This class was more ballet-centric, which I prefer.  I feel like I’m getting the hang of it but it still kicks me to the curb.

I’m going to start doing a few planks a day, inspired by Cindi.  I doubt I’ll ever rock a 6-pack but I’d be happy with a 4-pack…or 2-pack?

If you are a blogger, why did you start blogging?  

Wanna join me in a (few) planks a day?

Life Is Good

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Here’s a recap of mine in pictures from Christmas Eve.

me and matt

casey...obviously missing hawk!

family shot

as close as i can get without getting licked

my nieces

my 2011 ornament from matt. saying i love it is an understatement!

Pure Barre Review

I did it.  I survived my first Pure Barre class.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I’m sore today (mostly my butt and abs) but I guess it could have been worse.

I think I may have stumbled upon the best marathon-friendly strength training class.  No jumping, no drills, no lunges, no squats…bouncing is not allowed.  Instead, movement is confined to mere inches.  So how can Pure Barre be so effective?

It’s fast moving.  Aside from little breaks to stretch out the muscle group that you just worked on, you are constantly moving.  Or I should say, squeezing, pulsing, and tucking (hence the reason why my butt hurts so much).  And you work muscle groups for minutes at a time.  We worked on abs for a few minutes (no breaks – I was dying), and then got into a plank and held it for 90 seconds!

We worked abs, glutes, quads, and arms.  The whole shebang.  My arms and quads feel fine (next time I’ll increase my weights for arm work) but my abs and glutes…not so much.  What a wake-up call.  As a runner, your core and butt should be strong to support your hips.  I’m clearly lacking strength in those areas.  I’ll never forget my RRCA instructor’s words of wisdom during my coaching certification:  the knees are innocent victims to a weak ass and unsupported foot.  So true.  Everything works in a domino effect from the foot up or the hip down.  Take care of the foot and hip and you take care of the knee.

I will definitely be going back to Pure Barre.  It definitely takes a few classes to get the lay of the land.  The only downside?  Cost.  It’s very expensive – $23 per class!

Up next…a power yoga class!  Maybe I’ll be ripped by the time Boston comes around?  Ripped or not, I will definitely be stronger!

A Strength Training Conundrum

For the past few weeks, I’ve been going to a Whole Body Strength class at my yoga studio.  It’s a 1-hour circuit training class and it’s enjoyable and convenient.  And…it’s also getting comfortable.  As in the last 2 times I went (despite upping my weights) I woke up the next day not sore at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m challenged during the class but the next day I want to feel like I did something.  And, it being a circuit training class, we do some drills and jumping which I’m not a fan of.

Marathon training is taxing enough.  Each time your foot stikes the ground it has to absorb two to three times your body weight…multiply that by miles per week and you got a helluva lot of pounding.  Add drills and jumping during your strength training class and I get very nervous about injury.  Call me a nervous Nellie but I’ll save CrossFit and Bootcamp for the off season.  I even asked my PT about CrossFit (since I have a Groupon) and she told me to be very careful.  She treats a lot of patients because of CrossFit.

So I’m looking for strength training that is marathon training-friendly (i.e., minimal impact).  Here are the options I came up with:

I would love to do this but, unless I join a gym, it’s not feasible 😦

Pure Barre
Per the website,  Pure Barre is intelligent exercise. The technique protects your joints as it does not involve any bouncing or jumping. Each strength section of the workout is followed by a stretching section in order to create long, lean muscle without bulk. The workout launches a full blown attack on the areas of the body all women struggle with: abs, hips, seat and arms. It defies gravity by tapering everything in and lifting it up.

Defies gravity?!  We’ll see.  I have heard that you feel like you got hit by a truck the next day.  Sweet.  Just what I’m looking for.  And I can unleash my inner Black Swan.  Look out.

Power Yoga
A new yoga studio opened up around the corner and they only offer power yoga.   I used to take an athletic yoga class years ago that always kicked my butt to the curb.  And I don’t even need to list the ways yoga benefits runners.

I’m thinking a power yoga and Pure Barre session each week will work out just dandy with marathon training.  We’ll see.  I plan on going to Pure Barre tonight so, as long as I’m able to type tomorrow, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Ever take a Pure Barre class?  

Do you enjoy the hit-by-a-truck feeling post-race or post-strength training?  I have to admit I love it.  It’s a nice reminder of what you accomplished!

Part II is never funny and fueled by treats

Happy Monday!  Only 4 more days of work left.  I can do this.  I can do this.  I hope some of you have a short week too!

Never mind my gibberish title.  Creativity is not my strong suit and I’ve used “weekend recap” way too often.  Speaking of which, my recap can be divided into “run” and “fun”.

Friday night Matt and I tried to watch The Hangover Part II but barely made it halfway through before turning it off.  So, so bad.  It’s the same movie over again minus the laughs.  I wasn’t expecting much for a Part II but this was ridiculous.

On Saturday we hosted a Christmas party for Matt’s family.  Matt comes from a big family (youngest of 7) so we are talking lots of adults and kiddies.  Everything went very well (we also hosted last year so we had some practice).  Good food, good company and lots of delicious treats!

When I was sufficiently stuffed to the gills, Matt and I watched St. Joe’s CRUSH Villanova!  What a prefect way to end a great day!  St. Joe’s and Nova are bitter rivals and nothing made me happier then sending Nova back to the Main Line with their tails between their legs 🙂

Last week was a solid week of running (good thing, since I ate my weight in cookies and cake).  I’m still base building and won’t start officially training for Boston until Jan. 2 but I got in 35 miles.  I did 10 miles on Saturday with 6 miles at 8:30 pace.  I finally feel like I got my speed back.  8:30 pace felt good…almost as effortless as it did during the Lehigh Valley Marathon!  On Sunday I did 7 very slow, Garmin-free miles.  It was bitter cold but so refreshing.

Anyone see The Hangover Part II?  Anyone actually watch the whole movie?  

Anyone else stuff themselves with treats this weekend?  My neighbor keeps baking and bringing stuff over for Matt and I to eat (she’s an incredible baker too).  I think I may pop.  

Friday Favorites – Holiday Edition

Let’s get right to it….

Christmas cards from friends and family
I love coming home to a mailbox full of Christmas pictures!  Matt and I send out a picture of Hawk.  Nothing screams we need to have children quite like this…

Hot chocolate with candy canes
Williams-Sonoma make these candy canes dipped in chocolate than you put into your hot chocolate.  Delicious!

I eat cookies year round but somehow they taste better at Christmas.  My absolute favorite are white chocolate macadamia followed very closely by chocolate chip.

O Holy Night
Hands down my favorite Christmas song.  I have no idea why…maybe because it’s so dramatic?  Least favorite?  All I Want For Christmas Is You (or anything by Mariah Carey) and Santa Baby.  Ugh.

Christmas ornaments
Matt and I exchange ornaments every year.  We started this tradition our first year of dating so we have quite the collection by now.  I love searching for something new and different each year.  Matt’s ornament for me last year pretty much rocked.

RTLR is almost 1!!!!

Time off work
I have the week “off” between Christmas and New Years.  My company “shuts down” but makes us hold onto 4 vacation days so we can use them during the “shut down”.  So it’s pretty much forced vacation.  I’d prefer to work and use those 4 days over the summer but time off is time off and I won’t be working which makes me happy.

What are some of your holiday favorites?  Fave Christmas song?  Least favorite?  Fave cookie?  Share ’em!

‘Tis The Season

Last week it was in the 60s and I was running in shorts.  This week, treadmill running made an appearance.


Don’t get me wrong, nothing is better than running outside.  Nothing.  I have no idea how (or why) people run on a treadmill year round.

I can’t complain – my treadmill is in my basement in front of a large TV.  I can watch any show or movie I want with the volume jacked all the way up.  This helps…but not all the time.  Some days I just can’t bring myself to run on it.

This week I’ve been pretty busy at work and had to get in early (7:30ish).  I’ve opted for treadmill runs on both Monday and Tuesday.  I do have certain runs that I can do on the treadmill and certain runs I refuse to do on a treadmill.  It’s very scientific…

– easy runs of no more than 4-5 miles
– speed work

– long runs
– tempo runs
– longer easy runs



I could never train for a distance race solely using the treadmill.  It’s just too easy.  You never learn to pace yourself, deal with varying weather conditions and terrain, and run downhill.  You reap so many more benefits by running outside.

Treadmill – yay or nay?  

If you use a treadmill are there certain runs you refuse to do on it?  

All weekends should be 3 days long…

I used my last vacation day of the year very wisely.  Last Thursday night, I wrote out a rather ambitious to-do list for Friday.  After knocking out a 13-miler (it was on my list!), I felt energetic and powered through everything on my list.  Endorphins + crossing things off a list  = amazing!

After a productive day, I was ready to relax at Girls’ Christmas (explained here).  Amanda hosted this year and was truly the hostess with the mostess!  The spread of food was unreal and perfect for carbo-loading:  penne vodka, lasagna, meatballs, garlic bread.  All topped off with a few Miller Lites.  We chatted until nearly 2:30, way too late for this grandma, and then I collapsed into bed with a belly full of carbs.  Life is good.

On Sunday, I got up and braved the cold for a run.  Nine easy miles later I felt refreshed, energized, and really to tackle the mall.  King of Prussia is the “it” mall right outside Philly.  Venturing there in December can be stressful and suck the Christmas cheer right out of ya, but surprisingly it was OK.  I’m kinda like a maniac in the mall.  I don’t browse; I swiftly loop around for anything that catches my eye before speed walking to the next store.  It’s a workout.

Do you feel more productive after you run?  This explains why I feel so lazy on rest days.  I need my AM run to jump-start my day.

Are you a fast mall walker or more of a browser?  Slow mall walkers kill me! 

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