Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas Eve Run

I was supposed to run with a group at Chestnut Ridge park this morning, but late last evening I got a text that my friend I usually go with couldn’t make it, and that the people we usually hang with while running all had to cancel for various reasons.  I happened to mention this to another runner friend at a Christmas party last night, and he invited me to join them at Losson Park to run the trails this morning.

It turned out to be one of my most awesome runs this year!  It was a chilly 20 degrees, but there was no snow and very little ice, no wind, and it was gorgeously sunny.  I’d run at this park before, but never back on the trails (since I typically run alone and that doesn’t seem the safest idea to me).  We ended up running just over 7 miles through the woods, past a pretty little creek.  We had hoped to see some deer or fox, but ended up only seeing a few ducks hanging out in the water.

Afterwards, we all went back to one guy’s house for bagels and fruit, tea, chocolate milk and …… he gave each of us a package of sponge candy for Christmas!! YUM!!

The best part: another newcomer, Mark, joined us this morning too.  He was super friendly and told us all stories of running Boston and many other marathons.  We realized at the end of the run, though …. none of us actually knew who he was!  Throughout the seven miles, we each figured that one of the others had invited him along.  What I loved was how a perfect stranger could join up with our group, fit right in, and feel right at home with all of us.  I think that level of acceptance and openness is one thing that defines a runner.

Happy Holidays, all!


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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


My 2012 Running Plans & Goals – including a big announcement!

I’m mostly writing this for myself,but if anyone else is interested in reading, the more the merrier!

I ran three marathons in 2011. My first, second and third, between the end of May and the beginning of December.  I thought that by the time I finished my third marathon, I’d be ready to take a break. Maybe run less in 2012.  Instead, I feel exactly the opposite.  Every day since the marathon I’ve felt like I would literally pop if I didn’t get out for a few miles.  You know that feeling … you just HAVE to run.  I’m forcing myself to take it a little easy, though… maybe an extra rest day here or there.. for the next few weeks, because my plans for 2012 are BIG.

Marathons four and five are in the plans.  In May I will likely run Buffalo.  Although I don’t want to repeat marathons, there’s something about running my home town. I also have my sights set on Chicago in October.

In March I will run in Columbia, SC.  I am debating whether I want to run the half or the full but am leaning heavily towards running the half.  More importantly, one of my dear friends is running her FIRST 10K the same day!  That makes that race extra special.

Aside from a bunch of 5K races, the usual Shamrock and Turkey Trot 8Ks, and hopefully a 10K in there somewhere, at the end of March I’ll run the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton, Ontario.  I also plan to give back more to the sport. I’ll start by volunteering for a local ultra, the Beast of Burden 100 miler here in January (yep people actually run 100 miles in Buffalo in January).  I’m really looking forward to that.

But my biggest plan for 2012  ….. I decided to train for and run my first ultra!!  Beginning the first week of January, I’ll embark on a 24 week training plan that will lead me to the completion of the Niagara 50K in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario.  This idea had been cooking for a while, but since I have become extremely excited about it recently, I know it’s the right thing to do.  So, .. I’m going to give it a shot!    I found a training plan that builds up slowly, with plenty of cut-back weeks, so I can be careful to avoid injury.  Training through the winter in Buffalo is not for the faint of heart .. but … I do believe it makes me tougher by the time spring rolls around!

I chose this race because it seems to have just what I want in an Ultra.  It begins in Niagara on the Lake and goes down to Niagara Falls and back.  I’ve driven this route before, and it is incredibly scenic and beautiful.  The race is on an asphalt footpath that is traffic free the entire time.  There are well-stocked aid stations every 5K, and from all I’ve read online, the volunteers are some of the best around.

So…. here goes …

What are your goals and training/racing plans for 2012?


Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


St. Jude Memphis Marathon Race Recap

The St. Jude Memphis Marathon on Saturday, December 3, 2011 was my third marathon.  Again, I had high hopes and total determination to come in under four hours, but again I finished just shy of that (my Garmin had me at 4:16; I am awaiting official results).  I was, however, happy with my 4:16 considering the following  reasons excuses:

  • This was my third marathon since May, and my second marathon in seven weeks (#2 was Columbus, October 16).
  • I was plagued by an annoying injury starting the beginning of October (SI joint misalignment).
  • Due to things that came up and the above mentioned injury, I hadn’t done a long run longer than ten miles between marathons.
  • I did not sleep well at all the week leading up to the marathon, and I woke up Saturday morning with a cold.
  • This course was not, in any sense of the word, flat.  At least not to this girl from the land of flatness known as Buffalo, New York, who PR’d in her previous marathon in the land of even more flatness known as Columbus, OH (seriously there was one teeny hill in Columbus).  I seem to have blatantly ignored the “rolling hills” part of the course description and believed my friend when she said Memphis was flat (compared to Eastern Tennessee, I guess??).

Overall, I have nothing but good things to say about this race.  The start was fantastic.  We were divided up into corrals, and each corral started two minutes after the previous one.  This made for an amazingly un-crowded start to the race.  No dodging people.  No hopping up onto sidewalks to get around slower people.  It was awesome.

I started out the race with the 4:00 pace group.  The pacers, Bob & Carolyn, were great. They were super friendly and chatted with all of us.  I stuck with them through the first 10K or so.  Then I noticed that while they said their goal was 9:09 miles, the past two had been about 8:30-8:40.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold that pace and not tank later in the race, so I chose to drop back.

The road to mile 2 brought a beautiful view of the Mississippi River.  The highlight of the race, for me, came around mile 6 or 7, where a lone teenage girl danced on the sidewalk singing about how “frickin awesome” we all were.  It literally made me laugh out loud (the other highlight, for me, was the volunteers basically lifting runners onto the steps at the stadium after the finish).  Around mile 5 you get to run through the St. Jude hospital campus.  The reception there was overwhelming.  What touched me most was a young woman holding a sign that read, “because you are a runner, I am a survivor.” (in case you don’t know, all proceeds from the marathon weekend benefit St. Jude Hospital).

Things got a little more lonely after the half marathoners turned off.  I understand there were about 3,500 people running the marathon, and about 13,000 half marathoners (I could completely be making that up).  We ran down Beale Street again and headed back out East of the city.  After the halfway point I started to feel a little tired, so I decided to walk the water stops, to make sure I was staying hydrated (it had warmed up a lot, and the sun was pretty hot!), and I figured that if I took short walk breaks, I would be able to keep up my 9:00ish minute mile pace.  That actually did work for a while, up until about mile 20 where, for the first time ever, I had to use the porta potty during a race.  I was getting uncomfortable and figured if I gave in and stopped really quick, I’d have an easier time running.  I ended up taking a walk breaks a little more frequently after mile 20.  Miles 23- 25 seemed to drag on forever, and at one point I recall thinking, “I am NOT running up another hill. I’m just not.” (the crabbiness usually hits me between miles 21-24).   However, somewhere between miles 24 and 25, I saw a young boy with his mom and dad walking the grounds of St. Jude.  He was bald and was wearing a mask.  My crabbiness disappeared and I felt a little more perspective.  I made myself run again.  Because I could.

As we neared mile 26, a spectator said that the mile marker was right around the next turn.  I asked her if she was lying.  I was desperately tired at this point.  She reassured me she was a marathoner herself and would never lie about something like that.  I smiled and carried on.

The finish was along the first baseline of Autozone Park. It was really cool to run into the stadium and see it filled with cheering spectators.  Crossing the finish was, of course, amazing.  No matter how crabby I get, how down I get on myself for not meeting a specific time, or how many times during the race I swear I am never running ever again, there is no feeling in the world like crossing that finish line and knowing I have just run a marathon.  And now, of course, I can’t wait for the next one!  It will likely be Buffalo, possibly Pittsburgh, in May.

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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Race Recaps