Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Not Even Remotely Wordless Wednesday. Back to Back Half Marathons, Part 2

Day two started when the alarm went off at about 4:30 am. Oooouuuuch! Too early! There was no way that I was getting to the start late again, let me tell you that much! I was feeling a little stiff, but I slept fairly well, and was ready to give it a go! We were in the car by about 5:00, and got to the parking lot and parked by about 5:30. We had a race photo meet up at 6:15 so we stayed warm in the car until the last possible second. Oh, notice anything different about my outfit? Let me refresh your memory with a flat mama pic from Friday:

take note of the shirt I actually wore!
 This is what we call a packing FAIL. I packed thought I packed TWO black arm warmers for the race. I only packed one. Luckily, Gigi brought me my IGR gear, which included a long sleeved white tech shirt. Since it was supposed to be cooler on Sunday, I knew I would freeze without the arm warmers, so I wore the new shirt instead!
We took our group pic, stopped at the port potties one last time, and dumped our jackets at gear check. We made it to the start just after the anthem was sung, and within about 10 minutes or so, the Long Branch Half Marathon began!
We lost Eileen at the start, but Gigi, Lisa, and I started off fairly well with a run/walk that had my legs loosening up a bit after a mile or so. My legs were
After a few miles, Gigi kept going while Lisa and I were still walking, and we lost her. We had been doing well up until that point, but we soon began taking longer walk breaks, and then gave up running altogether and just enjoyed the race.  It became clear, once the marathoners caught up and passed us, that running was no longer an option. We cheered for all of the marathoners, and when we approached the course split, we even got to cheer on our Marathoner friend Danielle as she passed us by!

 We finally turned the last corner, and were soon walking along the ocean!
 This is about where we ran into fellow Half Fanatic Richard, and posed for a picture! He was walking back, I think to find his sister?
We approached the finish not long after, and our friends were waiting for us. Super sweet of them, considering they finished an hour before we did. Oh, wait, I had the car keys. Nahhhh, they would have waited anyway. I have the best running friends, ever!
We collected our medals, our food bag, and went over to the Awards Tent to collect our bonus medals for running in Queens last month!
Group photo time! Can you tell that it was windy!
Half Fanatics, reporting for duty!

Eileen took this awesome pic!

ooops sideways! Weekend bling!
 We took the shuttle back to our car, hightailed it to the hotel for a shower, and went back to the finish to catch the marathoners. Dangit, Danielle was so speedy (She PRd!!!) that she finished as we were driving back! We did find her, and walked with her to pick up her bonus medal. Gigi and Danielle headed home and I went back to the finish to wait for Colleen and Kaseedee to finish!

This dude juggled the entire 26.2 miles, he is almost as cool as Doctor Dribble!
 I epically failed to get a pic of Kaseedee. She took off her jacket, so when she approached I didn't realize it was her in time! FAIL! I did cheer though. I am nice like that!
Oh, and I failed Colleen as well. I did get a sassy pic of her running away though!
 Time to head home! Man oh man was i tired!
All that running and walking paid off, though!

I rarely get above the top 5, or even the top 10!

we are in the center of the Swirl Collage!

So it was an epic fail of a race. I didn't even makes the results page, because the cutoff was 3:15. Athlinks does not recognize that I finished.
I have the bling to prove that I ran back to back half marathons!
And next year?
The races are a week apart again! Whew!

What race will you be running this weekend?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Running Back to Back Half Marathons, Part 1

Wow, what a crazy weekend I had! Last year at about this time, two of my favorite half marathons, usually a week apart, scheduled this year's races for the same weekend! What a dilemma...... or not! My friend Eileen and I decided to run them both.
Makes perfect sense, right? I just ran Dopey in January, 48.6 miles in 4 days, so what's 26.2 in two days? Easy peasy, right? Only problem? I didn't really train for back to back half marathons. Oooops.

Anyway, I got up Saturday morning and got dressed for race #1. I was super excited for RunAPalooza, because the course was supposed to improve over last year. Now, let me pause for a moment to assure you that the race course from last year was NOT the directors' fault. Totally Superstorm Sandy's fault. This race is supposed to run along the boardwalk in Asbury Park. A simple out and back. Last year, the boardwalk was nowhere near being done, so they altered the course. This meant a lot of sidewalk running, and sharing half of the roadway with the faster runners that were on their way back. At mile 10, I tweaked my knee and walked the rest of the race. I blame the up and downs of the sidewalk/roadway/sidewalk/roadway of the course. This year's course was an improvement, but not 100% fixed, although next year should be back to normal!
But I digress!
Another reason I was excited was my tutu. I know, I wear them all the time. This tutu was special though, because my buddy Bryce, from I Run For Michael, sent it to me. He picked the colors himself! Bryce is 3. He is the light of my life and I adore running for him!
Half Fanatic Group Photo with Tilly

before the race with Eileen and CarolAnn
 We all started the race together, along with my friend Lisa, but we quickly separated. Eileen and CarolAnn are far speedier than me! Lisa was playing it safe because she was running the next day as well. Smart smart girl. I was somewhere in the middle of them. It had started out rainy, but while we were inside staying warm, the sun came out and it ended up being a beautiful day!
 The course started in the street, and stayed that way for the first half. There were less turns than last year, which was awesome. I did commit a huge race sin, and ate a Luna Bar beforehand. Why is this a sin? I have never eaten one before a race, I usually eat BelVita cookies. I love Luna Bars, but this one sat in my stomach like a lump and by mile four I was nauseous! I never felt like vomiting, but oh my heck did I want to! That heavy feeling lasted four miles, but you would never know it from my times!
My half marathons this year have been pretty big train wrecks, so this was amazing for me! I was cruising! The weather was fine, we got back onto the boardwalk and the change of surface was energizing! (The pic above was from somewhere around mile 10). My only complaint was that there was some twisting and turning on the boardwalk and the faster runners were not staying on their side. It made the turns difficult and I started to slow down. This was at about mile 8 or 9. I saw Dave the Trumpeter at about mile 10, and he complimented me on my outfit and played me a jaunty tune, and I continued on. I was approaching the final turn around and looking forward to heading back.
This is also the spot where I saw Eileen on her way back. She said the wind was killing her, and I started to fret a bit. I also noted that my time was still pretty good, I was way on track for a course PR (last year I finished in 2:53) and I could even slow down a bit. I also realized that I still had to do this again. On Sunday. :::::insert screeching tires sounds here::::: I totally slowed down at the turn and didn't worry about the wind too much!
Just as I saw that we were closing in on the finish line, some evil volunteer told me to turn left! Left? The finish line was right there! Right there!
Oh well, time to stop and smell the roses take some pictures.
Ocean Grove Meeting Hall

Tentless Tent Houses in Ocean Grove

last little bridge we crossed before we got back onto the boardwalk
 I made the final turn to the boardwalk, and saw some High School friends who had finished before me. I stopped for some hugs and high fives, and then continued on my way. My Garmin time was 2:39 but my official time was 2:41, a 12 minute course PR! Holy heck! If I had pushed myself, I would have been right back to where I was last year! What a relief! I am glad that I held back, though! I needed to save some gas for tomorrow!
I took some pics and looked for my friends. They.were.nowhere. So unlike them, but I finally figured out where I had to go for my race tee and food (like 6 blocks away, no lie, maybe more! UGH) and as I moved in that direction, there they were, at the turn, wondering where I was! We must have just missed each other!
beach view from the finish area

decorated bench on the boardwalk

my medal, with a running Tilly on it!
 I changed my clothes in the back seat of my car, and then Eileen and I headed to the expo for Race #2! After lunch at a local mall, we headed back to Asbury Park where we were staying at the Berkeley Hotel, so we could finally shower!
please excuse us, we just ran 13.1

left side view from the room

right side view from the room

race swag, I bought a sparkly orange headband. You know, because I don't have one.
 After showers, Gigi from Running on Candy arrived just in time to have dinner! We walked a few blocks to Porta Pizza and met our friends Colleen and Raul. Porta Pizza has amazing pizzas and homemade pastas, and you all sit on these crazy long picnic tables. It was a very crazy place!
Our waitress accidentally spilled my Sprite. My Dopey Dooney and Bourke purse.
For real.
I kept my cool, though, and we teased her about it a bit during the dinner, but she totally made it up to us later. Gigi and I both ordered Bob Ross Pasta. OMG. You know who Bob Ross is, right?
If you ever saw his show, you will know that my pasta had lots of Happy Little Peas everywhere, and the Sprite was not a mistake, it was a Happy Accident. Yeah, we pretty much never let that go all night long. Honestly, though, it was amazing and I must eat it again! The waitress comped us all of our drinks and brought us a free Nutella Dessert Pizza at the end. Sprite? What Sprite?
pasta carbonara with panchetta and happy little peas

I will continue this tomorrow! But let me leave you with some fun pics....

This photo was taken for an article on

This photo was taken for an article on
Yeah. I'm famous!

Have you ever run a race that you didn't properly train for?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Flat Mama Friday NJ edition

This weekend I will be running back to back Half Marathons! Both will bring me past the ocean at some point! 
First is Runapalooza in Asbury Park:

Second is the Long Branch Half:

Are you running this weekend?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday GOTR edition

Tonight at Girls on the Run, we asked our 3-5 graders to trace each other and write words inside their outlines.
We were talking about body image, and positive ways to describe themselves:

After every lap they wrote a word or phrase on a poster to describe the team:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Oatmeal Review #organicoatmeal

****Special thanks to My Oatmeal and Fit Approach for providing free oatmeal for me try, in exchange for this post! As always, all opinions are my own!****

I was super excited to shop at My Oatmeal Organic Oatmeal for my own special blend! I eat oatmeal just about every morning, so I was thrilled to be given the chance to mix it up a little. There were so many options to choose from, but I played it safe and went with Apple Pie flavor! (I am such a flavor wimp!!) I even got to name it!
The choices were amazing, you choose the kind of oats you want, flavors, fruits, sweetener! There are so many possibilities, it is mind boggling, plus they have flavors already put together that you can choose from. Those are for the non-adventurous. You know, like me!
yeah, I named it after my blog. If you can, why not?

I also got to try PB Lean, and I went with a hazelnut chocolate flavor. I will have to get back to you, I haven't tried it yet! I am super excited about this, since I LOVE peanut butter, I adore chocolate, and I have always wanted to try PB Lean! This also comes in assorted flavors and you can add nuts! Holy heck!
Back to the oatmeal! There were so many pieces of apple in it!

Look at them all! It was so fabulous! I am really enjoying it, and you get a lot of servings out of that bag! It has been quite heavenly! I add my own cinnamon, which is something I overlooked when ordering! 

If you could design your own oatmeal, what would you choose?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Boston BAA 5K #runboston #bostonstrong

WOW! What a weekend! We left early Saturday morning, it was cold and overcast. Yuck! We crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge....
 Passed some beautiful buildings in Connecticut....
 And finally made it to Boston! Unfortunately, we got stuck in race traffic,  and suffered a bit before we found a highly overpriced parking garage, that was right across from our hotel. Score!
 We couldn't check in, and I was volunteering at the expo, so we started the long walk to the Convention Center.
Emerson College

I remember this from the Boston 3 Day!

love this historic building surrounded by skyscrapers!

 The expo was HUGE! We walked around quite a bit before I reported to the Swirlgear table. I was given some postcards to hand out to women at the expo, so that they could find the table and see the great shirts! I walked a lot! I stopped at the wall to write my name, it was at the entrance to the expo, and it covered a lot of wall!

small small portion of the wall

hallway outside of expo

banners in the hallway made great photo ops
 After I handed out all the cards, I went back to the New Balance store to get some Boston tees for my friend and I. I was so undecided, and stalling, when lights started flashing and a voice told us that there was a threat, and we may need to evacuate. Ummmm may need? Yeah I'm outta here. I texted the hubs and beat feet out of the expo. I already bought one shirt with the hubs before he left to check us in to the hotel. I could survive on that shirt alone. I must say, the evacuation was very calm and organized, and it was called off before i got to the bottom floor. I was good though, I started back to the hotel. The emergency personnel was outside, just in case....
 Runner Swag!

 We hung out at the hotel a bit, and then went to the North End for dinner. The hubs heard about Al Dente on Yelp and wanted to try it out. I didn't need to carb load, really, but we love Italian Food, and I do have back to back Halfs next weekend......
bike racks in the North End

Eggplant Lasagna
 We had to wait outside for our table, which was odd. The man who seated us was not very talkative either. Our waitress was nice, but the hubs asked for a second beer that never ever came.....
While we waited we saw a lot of boxes from Mike's Pastry, so I googled it while we waited for our dinner. We went right over after dinner and scored some delectables. It was super packed, but we got in and out quickly and took them back to the hotel to eat.
 Our view was pretty decent, if you turned your head just so....

 Finally race morning!!! I got up early, played with my phone a bit, and got dressed at a leisurely pace. It was nice not to rush around! We walked the short distance to the Start and took some pics.

 It started right on time!
Now, for my 5K pet peeves.

  1. Please do not line up at the 10:00 pace banner if you plan to walk. 
  2. Please do not line up before the 10:00 pace banner if you plan to stop at the quarter mile mark and walk
  3. Please do not elbow me as you run by, a simple "on your right" works nicely
  4. Do NOT snicker at my tutu, being 20-something does not make you cooler than me
  5. Do not stop short in the middle of the race to hug your friend! Look before you do it, so that you do not kill any innocent runners!
For real, it was chaos! The announcements made it very clear how to find your pace banner, there were almost 9,000 runners, and I lined up at the 10:00 mark. I am more of an 11:00 runner these days,  but I always start out fast, and I KNEW that it would be like this, so I moved up. As the race started, a boat load of people filed in as we were walking to the start. I tried not to judge, but I could tell that some were not going to be running. The bottle necking was INSANE, because many of these people never intended to run.
I have no problem with walkers. I don't care how fast or slow your mile is, you cover the distance, it counts for me! 
You should never line up with people faster than you if you plan to walk.
OH and do not walk 3 abreast, it is impossible for people to pass you!!

my shins hurt the first 2 miles. I had to stop twice to stretch. At the one mile mark, I stopped to take a pic for some girls failing at a one mile selfie. 
I stopped to take this pic at mile 2.5 or so. It was the Marathon Finish. OMG we ran right over it. It was crazy emotional!

 My finish time was not good. It took me almost 38 minutes! Holy heck! All that stopping did not help, and I knew it would end badly, but I just didn't care. The hills were also present, although the announcer said it was flat and fast. Not for this Jersey girl! The whole thing was just so amazing. There were survivors run/walking it, the crowds were outstanding, and the runners (for the most part) were also amazing!
The crowd at the finish was unreal. I didn't even attempt getting water right away, I just went for the bling!

 They did hand out water just before the food tent, which I guzzled. The weather was perfect, and I definitely had a good sweat going by the time I finished! They handed out drawstring bags with Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, chips, a Power Bar wafer thing, and a fruit cup. Poland Spring had bottles of flavored water as well. The crowds were making me itch, so the hubs and I beat feet pretty quickly. I even forgot to take a finisher pic!
I showered at the hotel, and while the hubs checked us out, I signed the Marathon Map in the lobby.

 We decided to walk a bit before the long drive home, and I finally scored a finisher photo!

this was before the race...
Overall, it was an amazing, terrifying, fabulous, exhilarating 36 hours! I am considering trying to get in with a charity next heart to run the marathon. The atmosphere was electric, and I got really jealous of the marathoners! I wanted to stay and run!

Have you run Boston?