Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back on 2012

I am amazed how quickly Christmas came and went this year. Now we are on the last day of 2012. I keep asking myself where has the time gone? I can still remember very clearly my mother telling me to enjoy my youth because one day time will fly. She was so right and that's why today I try to live each day to the fullest.

As I look back upon 2012, I can't help but feel so blessed:

In January, my honey and I took a big step and made our living together official.

In March, my niece Tori came to NYC with her school and we got to spend a lovely evening together!

In May, my sister Mary Beth and her daughter Tori came to NYC for a whole week. We had so much fun being tourists together and my favorite day was when we spent a whole day Thrift shopping in Brooklyn. 

In June, we went on a week long vacation to Los Angeles. So many memories!

In July, I commenced my NYCM training (with my honey getting up with me at 5:30am for runs before work) in hopes of running my 2nd marathon in the Fall. We also decided to complete our Sunday long runs up at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The trails are beautiful and I can't imagine completing local long runs anywhere else after running on these trails for 5 months now.

In August, I tried to turn 41 gracefully and not let it bother me too much. I also stuck with my marathon training while suffering from a sinus infection for 3 weeks of the month. 

In September, I re-entered the racing world by completing a 4 mile race. I hadn't run a race since Summer 2011 and at that only entered 1 race that year.

In October, I sacrificed attending Rhinebeck with my fellow knitting friends whom I hadn't seen in a year so I could stick with my marathon training. 

In November, I was prepared to run the ING NYCM Marathon, and my sister Mary Beth came to show her support for the weekend, but Hurricane Sandy had other plans for it. I still got to run my 2nd Marathon, just two weeks later thanks to Philadelphia graciously opening up spots for us displaced NYCM runners. My honey also flew home with me for Thanksgiving and was able to meet the rest of my family.

In December, I was forced to take almost 3 weeks off from running because of a nasty head/chest cold I got at Thanksgiving. However, as of this past week I got my running game on again and am getting my running legs back. I also stayed local for Christmas and was able to celebrate the holiday with my honey's family. My honey and I completed our last trail run of 2012 up at Rockefeller State Park Preserve yesterday and it was so magical because it was in 2-3 inches of fresh, untouched by machine, snow!
Just ran 6.25 miles in the snow!
I am closing out 2012 with having run a total of 615.77 miles! I am thrilled with this number, especially since it's been a few years since I have run that kind of mileage. 

Overall I would say 2012 was a good year for me. I am excited to see what 2013 has in store. I have set some goals for myself and I look forward to sharing with everyone what they are tomorrow. Until then, I hope everyone has a Happy and Safe New Year's Eve!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Little Life Tidbits

Edited to add: I wrote this post this morning and as of now we have all heard of the tragedy that struck Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. I am deeply saddened by this and my heart and prayers go out to all who have been affected by this. I can not even begin to imagine what all these families are feeling and going through, especially so close to Christmas.

I can not believe it's been almost a complete month since I last posted! The past few weeks have been such a whirlwind. I think I will sum it all up with a few Life Tidbit bullet points.

1. 11/18/12 - I completed the Philadelphia Marathon. With a 05:00:01 finish, I became a two time marathoner! Everything from the super warm welcome us displaced NYC Marathoner's received at the start, to all the awesome crowd support this marathon offered, it was a perfect day for me. My honey ran around the course to cheer me on at three different mile marks and the most important one was at mile 25.5 when he ran out to me and told me that if I hurried I could have a Sub-5 hour marathon. From that point on, I kicked it into high gear and sprinted towards the finish line. I didn't get that Sub-5, but I am sure proud of my 5 hour finish. Not bad for being 6 years older since my first marathon. I was only 11 minutes slower.
2. Thanksgiving Weekend - My honey and I flew to Atlanta, Georgia to spend the four day weekend with my family. Lots of fun was had by all. Tons of delicious food (Peanut Butter Pie), alcohol (Home-brew) and football.  Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures to document our adventure and by the time my honey and I flew back home on that Sunday, I was going home with a soon to be bad head/chest cold courtesy of one of my nephews that left me out of it for just over 2 weeks. I can now say thanks to this illness I was forced to not run for 2 weeks and my body has fully recovered from the Philadelphia Marathon (with the exception of my 2 baby toes, but that's another story I will spare you from for now).

3. 12/01/12 - Decided that I was going to knit 6 Christmas presents! My head must of still been clogged from the cold to think I could knit that many gifts in less than 21 days, but hey I'm crazy like that. I 411'd my sister and told asked her to drop everything and help me pick out yarn colors. To my astonishment within minutes I had an emailed list of her choices. Must have been the amazing night of sleep she got because we never decide yarn colors that fast! By Wednesday (12/5, just over 2 weeks to knit 6 gifts, EEEKS) I had my yarn! 
4. 12/06/12 - Decided that I couldn't stand my piece of crap Android phone anymore (I mean really I had to turn the phone off/on to be able to make/receive a phone call), I stopped by my local Verizon store and turned to the Darkside. I am now a proud owner of the iPhone 5 (was eligible for an upgrade) and I could not be happier!

5. 12/11/12 - My running boot saga ended! Ya'll may remember me asking for some helping picking out boots that would fit my ginormous muscular calves and then subsequently had to return all 3 pairs? Well, the 4th time must have been the charm because I hit the lottery with a pair of Clarks Mascarpone Mix Boots that zipped up around my calves beautifully! I have been asked to provide the information for them because there are more lovely ladies out there than we know who have the same problem. So I got them from Zappos and you can find them here.
6. 12/12/12 - Company Christmas Party at the office! Of course I wore my new boots! Here's proof that a good time was had:
Well it doesn't really show that, but trust me we had fun! 

As a side note, by the time I got above ground on the subway ride home from the office party I checked my email, on my super duper new phone by the way, and received an email congratulating me on being selected in the lottery for the Inaugural Nike Women's Half Marathon DC in April! I entered myself, my beautiful niece Tori (will be her first half marathon race) and my honey (also his first official half marathon even though he ran more than a marathon while training with me this summer/fall) as a group into the lottery and didn't really think we'd be one of the 15,000 lucky runners! Don't be fooled by the word Women in the name of the race, they welcomed male entrants too so my honey decided to sign up also since he would be there with us anyway.

7. 12/13/12 - I am really having trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year, even despite my last minute insane Christmas gift knitting idea I had. I am hoping sending out Christmas cards will help me out with this little issue. Of course, finding the time to address them will be another issue, but at least I have them purchased.
So that brings us all up to date with my oh so exciting life these days! I am looking forward to only 1 more week of work and then I am off until after the New Year! I will be having a little staycation this year in which I hope to accomplish many great things like reading, sewing, knitting, running, figuring out some goals for 2013. I am sad I won't be able to go back to Georgia to see my family over the holiday (by the time I received the extra vacation days to take the week off, the airline prices were way to high to try to visit), but it will be wonderful to spend this time with my honey and his family

I am off to knit like a fool! I'll be back next week and we'll see what great things I am accomplishing.

In the meantime, tell me what are some of your most favorite Christmas holiday memories and/or traditions? One of my favorite traditions that I started several years ago is to watch my most favorite Christmas movie every Christmas Eve, "It's A Wonderful Life."

Anyone else out there making Christmas presents? I have been known to make my gifts in the past, whether its something knit, sewn or scrapbooked, but I don't usually start three weeks before Christmas. Madness I tell ya!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Marathon Goals

The Philadelphia Marathon is in 2 days and since it looks like the show will go on this Sunday, I thought I would talk a little about what my marathon goals would be for this race.

This marathon will be my second marathon ever. I ran my first marathon back in 2006 and fulfilled my dream of running the New York City Marathon. It was something I dreamed of doing ever since I moved to NYC in 1997 and wasn't even a runner at that time. My mindset for running that marathon was that I just wanted to come in at 5 hours. Those who completed the marathon in 5 hours or less had their name and results listed in the New York Times the next day. To me, having my name in the paper meant so much to me. I completed that marathon in 4 hours 49 minutes and 27 seconds. Can you imagine how proud I was to come in 10 minutes faster that I had planned?

When I started my training this time around for my second NYC Marathon (which of course now I am running the Philadelphia Marathon), my heart was set on a PR or at least finishing in the same amount of time it took me six years earlier. While my training this year has been solid, and even improved from 2006, I realized about a month ago that PRing or even finishing in the same time was probably not going to happen for this marathon. I have been having little pains here and there along the way that contributed to this decision. Once I accepted it, I felt so much better because I took the pressure off myself. I realized that while my heart is the same now as it was then, my body is not the same. I had settled on having fun with this marathon and to finish in 5 hours and 15 minutes. I felt that was doable.

Now that the marathon I am running is the Philadelphia Marathon have my goals changed? Partly. This marathon course is a predominately flat course. There are a couple of spots with some hills, but I know I am well prepared for them since I completed all of my long runs on trails where there are major, steep hills. I have gotten stronger and faster during the past few weeks so knowing that I am running on an easier course gives me some hope of finishing faster than I had planned for NYC. I also think that having run the back half of this course during the ING Philly Half Marathon back in 2009, I know what to expect and will give me a little edge to finishing the marathon in a time I would like.

What are my goals? I have set 3 goals. Any of which I will be happy with because this 41 year old is thrilled to be actually running another marathon.

Goal A - Finish in 4 hours, 45 minutes or better (My original goal for NYC when I started training)
Goal B - Finish in 4 hours, 49 minutes and 27 seconds
Goal C - Finish in 5 hours or no later than 5 hours, 15 minutes

I think with the flatter race course now, there is a possibility of setting a PR. While I am not going to kill myself or hurt myself to get there, I am setting my sights on it. I believe if I enter Sunday with a solid plan in regards to my pacing, I could achieve this goal. If I don't, I won't be upset because I am just excited to be able to still run a marathon this year.

I will also be channeling some positive motivation from this speedy lady who just ran the Harrisburg Marathon this past Sunday and not only came in first place, but also PR'd with a Sub 3 hour marathon!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Four Days

Well it's four days until the Philadelphia Marathon! I am getting really excited about it now. Walking home from the subway tonight, I was thinking of just how close I am to running my second marathon. It was something that I wasn't sure if I was ever going to do again. 

It still boggles my mind that I have been able to complete, now, 18 weeks of training with relatively minor issues this year. During the past five years, my training always got derailed with an injury and I ended up having to defer my NYC Marathon entry. While I was ready to run NYC for the second time this year, mother nature had other plans, and I almost thought all my hard work and training was for nothing. Thankfully Philadelphia has adopted us NYC'ers and I get to fulfill my dream of running another marathon. Eeeks!

As of today, I have completed my second easy 3 miler run. I almost didn't think today's run was going to happen. I woke up this morning not feeling well. Ever since Hurricane Sandy came through I have been having a non-stop runny nose and am constantly cold (even at work where the air conditioning runs non-stop above my desk) and last night I was so cold I went to bed bundled up like I was sleeping outside in Alaska. Besides the constant nose issue, this morning I felt run down and had a little sore throat. The last thing I need right now is to be sick. I have boosted up my vitamins and drinking lots of hot tea in hopes of getting through the next few days without feeling worse. I did decide to run at lunch today because I didn't want the pressure of taking today off and then knowing I HAD to run tomorrow. But let me tell you right now, I will be running on Sunday!!!

So now I am in this stage of preparing for race day:

I have started gathering the items I will need for both during and after the race. I haven't completely decided on my racing attire yet (i.e., whether I will be wearing my running skirt, shorts or capris), but I am pretty certain I will be donning my NYC Marathon technical shirt we got. Philadelphia mentioned they wouldn't have our race shirts in time for Sunday and encouraged us to where our NYC shirts. I thought it was a brilliant idea. I will be sporting my pride for NYC.

The lottery entrants haven't received race bib numbers yet. They said we would of had that information emailed to us this past Monday. Of course it hasn't happened yet. I'm just happy that the race fee charge has finally showed up on my credit card. As soon as I have my bib number I will let ya'll know so you can track me on race day. I'll give you the details of that too.

Now I am off to eat and rest! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Taper Week Take Two

I have officially entered my "Second Time Around Taper Week." One would think I was a pro at it by now, but I am truly just riding it out by the seat of my running shorts. I am not quite sure what the "proper" training is for tapering for one marathon and then having to kick training back up for a week before tapering for a second marathon. I am hoping what I have done this past week is enough to get me to the finish line at the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday.

Here is what the past week of training looked like for me:

Ran 5 miles at the Astoria Park Track. I originally was just looking to do 4, but once I got out there it felt good to stretch my legs and clear my head from all the craziness of the NYC Marathon being cancelled at the last minute. This run just felt so easy and that is what I needed.

No run planned for the day. After I got into office, I was told by a co-worker that the Philadelphia Marathon was adding 3,000 more bibs to the closed out race for NYC Marathoners. I immediately got excited and completed my application for the lottery and crossed my fingers that I got selected. I was once again pumped and quickly tried to figure out what my running would look like for the rest of the week just in case I got into the race.

Ran 3.5 speedy miles on the treadmill during my lunch hour. I started the first mile at a 5.5 and after each mile I increased my speed by .2. The last half mile was at a 6.1 speed.

Excited because today is lottery picking day at 5pm! Ran another speedy 3.5 miles on the treadmill at lunch. I decided to start my pace out with an even number of 5.6. Increased my speed by .2 after every mile. The last half mile was at a 6.2 speed. Felt freaking awesome.

I tried not to be too excited about the possible marathon on the 18th. I didn't want to get my hopes up just in case I didn't get into it. So when I got the email letting me know I was selected, I felt like a kid at Christmas! I chose to run a slow recovery 3 miles on the treadmill at lunch. I stayed at a 5.4 pace for the whole ride.

Rest Day Please!

I knew I had to do some sort of a long run to see where I was at with my distance. I had been tapering for 3 weeks before the NYC Marathon and then when it was cancelled I didn't even attempt any sort of a long run that Sunday. I had family in town and didn't really know of the organized runs until after the fact. I don't have tv, nor any other racing friends, so I was kinda out of the loop. Needless to say, trying to come up with an ideal distance for my long run wasn't easy. I didn't want to do too short of a distance and leave myself unprepared for race day, nor did I want to do too long of a distance that would leave my legs exhausted for the race. In the end, I decided that I would run anywhere from 15-18 miles.

So off to the Rockefeller State Park Preserve Trails I went early Sunday morning and 15 miles ended up being the magic number completed. For having missed one long run in the past 16 weeks, I was amazed at how good I felt during this run. I knew I wanted to take my pace a little slower since I wasn't quite sure how everything was going to go, but after the first 3 miles, my pace just fell into place and I felt great. At least until I hit mile 10.5 where I hit the Sleepy Hollow Trail, as indicated in the picture below:

I like to call this part of the run the "Slow Painful Death Trail." This part of the run isn't long, it's just very steep in a few spots and after running on legs that hadn't stopped to rest at all, they began to say "Oh He$$ No!". It took all I had to get to the top of the hill and I somehow managed to run another 1.75 miles after reaching the top to get to 13 miles before I stopped at the car to rest, refill my hydration belt with new bottles and visit the bathroom. 

After that, did I want to go back out and run 2 to 3 more miles? My heart did, but my legs were saying a big fat "No Way Man." I chose not to listen to my legs, and managed to tweak out 2 more miles to get to 15. When all was said and done, I was very proud of myself. Even though I didn't hit 18 miles, I knew that with this run I was prepared to finish the Philadelphia Marathon because the trail run is a ton harder than the nice, mostly flat course I will encounter on Sunday.

Now I am at a taper race week again. I am choosing to follow the original race week training plan I did 2 weeks ago. I will run an easy 11 miles during the week just to keep my legs fresh for marathon Sunday. I will add a little more carbs and salt to my meals. Nothing crazy. I don't really believe in carb overload. I will spend this week getting my race stuff together to prepare for heading to Philly on Saturday. I am excited that I am finally getting to run my race! I am so thankful that Philly made room for us NYC Marathoners!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Exciting News

Guess who got into the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18? Me!!!!

I can not believe I got selected in the lottery! I feel like a kid a Christmas right now. I am so EXCITED! Thank you Philly for letting us into your sold out marathon!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Moving Forward - Next Steps & A Helping Hand

As we all know, the NYC Marathon was cancelled at 5:30pm on Friday. I have already voiced my thoughts about that decision on my Facebook page and those closest to me know how crushed I was at the 11th Hour cancellation. I do not want to rehash any of it here on the blog. Instead I want to focus on moving forward and what will happen next with my running/training now that the marathon date has come and gone.

So what are my plans?

Plan A:

Well this past weekend, after some talking with my honey who convinced me I didn't need an official marathon to run 26.2 miles, I decided and proclaimed on Facebook that I was going to do this:
As you all know from reading all about my training for the past 16 weeks, the Rockefeller State Park Preserve is where I completed all my long training runs. This run will all be on trails in which will make it tougher for me. The farthest I have run there is 22 miles and that took me 4 hours and 43 minutes. So while I was looking to finish the NYC Marathon in 5 hours (road is much easier), completing this distance will most like take me close to 5.5 to 6 hours to complete. It just depends on how my body holds up.

Plan B (or Could Turn Into Plan A):

This morning the Philadelphia Marathon announced they were opening up 3,000 bibs to NYC Marathoner's. Half of the entry fee will go to the Red Cross Hurricane Victims. I was excited to hear that they decided to do this. I know the race was closed, but I mentioned the other day to some friends that nothing but good could come from them opening up some spots and the next day they did! 

The bibs will be filled by a lottery pick to be drawn at 5:00pm Thursday, and after talking with my honey, I decided to put my name into the hat. The race is scheduled for November 18, so if by some luck I get picked, this will become Plan A for me.

I am really hoping that Plan B will become my Plan A. I know I don't need an official marathon to run the distance. I just love the racing atmosphere and the feeling of family when I toe a start line so much. Either way, I am hoping to be completing a 26.2 mile run before Thanksgiving.

Hurricane Sandy Relief: There is still so much need for help for the Hurricane Sandy victims here. I myself have made a donation to the Red Cross, even set up my own fundraising page, but I also felt the need to help one particular Hurricane Victim in Staten Island. I am a frequent reader of Healthy Happier Bear's blog and Ashley brought my attention to a young lady named Jen (who incidentally was suppose to run the NYC Marathon). Jen,her husband and 2 children lost everything when Sandy hit Staten Island. Ashley and her husband created a Target registry to help this family get back on their feet. They have nothing. While I can't help every single person out there, I knew I could help make a difference for this family. You can read the story about Jen here (and even see a news clip where they appear) on Ashley's blog. What Ashley has created even got the attention of ABC news and an article was released on Over 116 items have been purchased through the "Wedding Registry", but there are still so many more items needed. If you want to take a look, please do and maybe you might be able to help just a little too.

Friday, November 2, 2012

American Red Cross and NYC Marathon

As you all know, Hurricane Sandy came through this week and caused so much devastation to the surrounding area. I was fortunate to retain my power and not have to endure what so many of my friends and loved ones are going through right now. The Mayor has decided that the NYC Marathon will happen as planned. The show will go on and with that, I will be toeing the start line this Sunday morning. It is not an easy decision, but it is one that I have made. I will be running through the city I love so much and hope to bring some spirit back to it. 

Early this morning I made a donation to the American Red Cross through the Recover Fund the New York Road Runners organization created to donate $1 million. I have chosen to take it one step further and have created my own fundraising page. I ask that if you can spare a small donation to help those who desperately need it, I would greatly appreciate it and thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Comment Replies

The other day I mentioned that I was following-up to all comments here on the blog by replying through the comments section. I use to do it via email, but have found that I do not always have  email address to respond to and I want to make sure everyone gets a reply from me.

Today, a dear friend of mine mentioned that to ensure everyone who commented on my blog would see my replies, I needed to add that "Email follow-up comments" option to my blog. When I revamped my bog awhile back I thought I had enabled that little option. After researching it today, I have been unsuccessful in locating that option.

After researching Blogger Help section, I did not find that particular option. What I did find is that when you comment on a post, you can click on the "Subscribe by email" link, as highlighted below, to receive any follow-up comments.

From what I can tell from Blogger, is that you will only receive additional comments to that particular post you subscribe to and that you will have to click that link on every post you comment on to receive the follow-ups. It is not the same as subscribing to my blog.

I hope this actually works, because I would hate for y'all not to see my replies. Since I am the blog author I automatically receive all comments, so please let me know if this does not work, or does not do what Blogger says it does. Thank you!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pile On The Miles 2012

November is almost upon us and with that the official start to the holiday season will be here. Starting with Thanksgiving, and lasting until the New Year, we start to fill our bellies with all of our favorite treats. I know I am one who has a hard time resisting home cooked meals and delicious desserts! 

With the colder weather, and dark hours before and after work, we also find more excuses to not go for an outside walk or run. I can tell you that just in the past week or so I didn't want to get my butt out of bed for my 5:30 A.M. run in the dark before work. If I didn't have my honey for support and motivation, I think my runs would have been kicked to the curb into the afternoon hours.

I think having some motivation to stay active during the holiday/winter months is important, plus it's nice to keep those holiday pounds off our bodies. So this is why I decided to join up for the Pile On The Miles event that Monica over at Run Eat Repeat is hosting again this year. 
I think she has summed this event up perfectly by saying, "Pile On The Miles is an annual event in blogland where we challenge ourselves to walk or run more during the month of November. The goal is to pile on extra miles not pounds during this food filled time of year!".

Not only is keeping off the pounds exciting, but everyone also has a chance to win some pretty cool prizes while staying active for the month. You have until October 31st to sign up. Go ahead and click on the "Pile On The Miles" link below and check out all the details for yourself.


So my friends, who's with me on this fun adventure? How many miles will you pledge to walk or run?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It Is A Craft Blog Too

I know there hasn't been much craftiness going on around here lately on the ol' blog. My life has been consumed with running and training. They say when you train for a marathon it's like a second job. I agreed with that back in 2006 and confirmed it again this year.

In a couple of weeks the marathon will be over and life will be somewhat back to normal. I'll have more time/energy to devote to my other loves. There will be more sewing and knitting happening around here (for those who come for the running, I will still be posting about that too). I have many projects that need to be finished and am working on a master plan to get them done.

So here's what's been happening in the craft department during the past few months:

1) Last winter I showcased my first ever quilt here on the blog. I mentioned it here and here. This is what the finished top looked like:
The question is, "Did I ever finish it?" By the end of the last class in December, I had the top and back layers completely sewn together and all layers had been pin basted together in anticipation of quilting. In January I did start the actual quilting process. I managed to quilt two of the blocks before I put the quilt in a timeout. Why did I do that? Because I currently live in a basement apartment with little space and terrible lighting. To accomplish what I had done, I had every light on in the apartment along with an Ott light and I still had difficulty seeing the dark fabric. My honey came home one afternoon to me practically in tears because I was so frustrated. So sadly my beautiful quilt has been put away until we move to the upstairs apartment where there are lots of windows and lighting.

2) I started a second quilt and first blogged about it here. I mentioned at the time that a co-worker commissioned me to make a baby sized quilt for her and this is what the fabric looked like:
Progress has been made on the quilt. I was given the challenge of incorporating a few personal memento's into the quilt. I decided to do a total of 9 (12x12) blocks, with 4 of them containing the personal items.

Here are what the blocks look like:
Fabric from a doggie sweater. I decided to use the fabric to make little doggie prints.
These appliques came from a leather doggie jacket. I added a couple strips of the leather for accent since I could not incorporate the whole jacket.
This is from a doggie harness. I still have the clasps and am thinking of hand sewing them on the block so the doggie will have something to chew on besides the quilt.
The doggie's name. I might embroider some elements on this block.
This is the center block of the quilt.
There are 4 of these blocks to put in each corner of the quilt.
As of right now, all blocks have been sized and I have machine appliqued all the personal item blocks, except for the one with the name. I have sewn the first two rows of blocks together and will complete the third after I finish the name block. As soon as that is done everything will really come together quickly.

3) Finally there was some knitting over the summer. I visited my sister in Myrtle Beach in early July since she was going to be moving to Georgia in August. We couldn't help ourselves from visiting one of the local knit shops one last time.

Of course I found some yarn that I loved and had the perfect project already in mind. Four skeins of Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK hopped in my arms and wanted to grow up to be "Some Cloudy Day" Legwarmers (Ravelry Link).

By the time I left my sister at the beach, I was only a few rows from finishing the first legwarmer. Within a couple days it was complete.
Legwarmer #2 is on the needles, but hasn't seen any action since casting on. If I had planned on making it to Rhinebeck this year, I would have made sure that it got done. Now that it's the perfect weather to wear them here in the city, I will be picking them back up after the marathon. I only need a week or so to finish it.

So that's all the craftiness I have been up to lately, or not. I did purchase some yummy fabric while in Myrtle Beach for a couple new quilts that I will have to share with you soon.

Until then, tell me what are on y'alls knitting needles and/or sewing machines?

*Note: I want y'all to know that I am now responding to everyone's comments within the comments section. I find it much easier to respond to everyone this way. So please make sure to check back to see my response. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do love hearing from everyone!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Will I Run Faster Now?

While all my lovely knitting friends were off parading around the NY Sheep and Wool Festival at Rhinebeck this past weekend, I spent some time with my stylist on Saturday and with my running shoes on Sunday.

I am wondering if this new look will help me run faster?
I think it did, because on Sunday I had a 12 mile run on my schedule and believe it or not I felt great and was running some of my fastest miles on the Rockefeller trails. Even with a calf pain/cramp/pull issue at mile 6.
But seriously, what about the hair?
I decided with the cooler weather here in NYC and the Fall colors popping out everywhere, I needed to transition to a Fall/Winter color of my own. I wish I had a really good before shot to show you just how much of a drastic change this was. I am naturally a dirty blonde (like in my profile picture above) and over the summer I went to a complete white blonde. Now I am back to my second favorite color, red.

This is not the first time I have dyed my hair this color, but it is the first time I let a professional do it. I have to say that I am absolutely loving it. I feel it's a more natural color for me and matches my spicy personality that I can have at times. I didn't tell anyone I was doing it, so you can imagine the shocked faces I encountered at the office today. Everyone loves it though!

Now I am wondering if this fiery new hair color will help me run the marathon faster so I can eat some ricotta pancakes at Almond before they stop their brunch at 4pm on marathon day?!?!? I already know the answer is: Not a fat chance in h-e-doublehockysticks, but a girl can dream, right?

In regards to my calf issue during my last long run of my marathon training, after the first 6 miles I did some stretching before I headed back out to try and finish the run. While I still felt a presence in my calf muscle, I was able to successfully run the last 6 miles. I modified my course to avoid major hills, because I tweaked the calf on a tiny, but steep, incline and I didn't want to risk making it worse. I was happy I finished, but all I could think about how I only had 2 weeks until marathon day and a serious injury is the last thing I need. I have been icing the calf and took today off from running. I can still feel a presence in my calf when I go up steps, but there is no pain. I have a short run scheduled for tomorrow and I am hoping it will go well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

36 vs. 41: Keeping It Real

Sorry about the radio silence this past week. I found myself in a bit of a funk and didn't want to write post after post of blubbering about my woes.

To keep a story short, my woes began the day after, or more like the day after that, I rocked my 22 mile long run on Sunday, 10/7!

But first, I have to tell you that I was way nervous about hitting a 22 mile run during this round of marathon training. I've mentioned before that the training program I am following is only 16 weeks and caps out at a 20 mile run. With my past marathon experience, I felt it was super important, maybe even just for my mental health, to hit a 22 mile run. I was plagued with trying to figure out how/when I would be able to incorporate it without screwing myself.

So on the 7th I was scheduled for a 20 mile run. I entered it saying that if I can hit 18 again great, if I can make it to 20 then I hit my goal, if I can push it to 22 I will have money in the bank. I've been having back pain/issues for the past few weeks which I have been able to manage and still keep on running. So I was hoping for a good run that day.

As you can see below, I hit the 22:

It took me 4 hours and 43 minutes (trail running slows ya down) and it started to rain on me during the last 2 miles, but I did it! Even better, I didn't experience any back pain. Just had some normal aches associated with long runs.

The day after I had my normal aches, along with a sore/stiff lower back. The day after that I was still dealing with back issues. And actually I didn't attempt running until Thursday the 11th. My back was still giving me some issues, but I got up to attempt a run with my honey that morning. I can tell you that run SUCKED! I was in discomfort from the very beginning of the run and it didn't end until 4 miles later when I was finished. I did hit the gym for an additional 3 miles to bring my weekly mileage to 7 miles. Ugh!

At this point (so much for a short story) I was becoming very discouraged about even finishing the marathon. I was questioning whether my 41 year old body was gonna make it to the finish line.

I didn't run again until this past Sunday. I successfully ran 10 miles. However, that 10 miles felt like 20! I could tell that my terrible running mileage (barely existent mileage) from the week affected this run. So my mental state was still not that great about heading into the marathon in 3 weeks even though I rocked the 22 miles.

I took yesterday off from running. (Enter stiff/throbbing back). This morning I got up for a run (even though I wanted to say screw it and stay in my toasty warm bed) and approached it very differently. I decided that I was going to force myself to run almost 1 minute slower on my pace per mile. Guess what? I ran 5 beautiful pain free miles today. Yippee!!!!

So where is my mind now in regards to the marathon?

I have to accept that my 41 year old self is not the same as my 36 year old self. I am older, heavier and slower (which I think is a direct reflection of my current weight - I have lost 15 pounds since May, but I am still 30 pounds heavier that I was when I ran the marathon the first time at 36) than I was 6 years ago.

I have to accept that I will not finish the marathon in the same amount of time it took me in 2006.  I am going to run this marathon with a slower first half (probably around an 11:40ish per mile pace - this pace keeps me pain free and gives me the hope I can finish) and increase my speed to what my original race pace of 10:52ish per mile for the second half of the race.

I am accepting that I will finish in over 5 hours this year even though my young heart wishes it could be faster. I will be proud of myself no mater what to just cross the finish line on November 4th!

Friday, October 5, 2012

New Boots?

So my adventure into purchasing new boots for the Fall has been a total FAIL. I have spent the past week ordering boots only to return them within the same day. While I have learned to accept my ginormous muscular calves over the past few months, I am now starting to dislike them all over again. It's frustrating to say the least that I can not walk into a shoe store and purchase a pretty pair of boots.

So after carefully pondering everyone's opinion the other week on what boots I should get, I decided on the Durangos. I thought they were really adorable and were in a price range I was willing to accept. I ordered them on Thursday and received them on Friday and by Friday afternoon I already had the return shipping label attached to the box.

Let me just say that I really liked the boot in person. They even fit my calves perfectly. So why did I return them? I didn't think they were truly my style and for the cost they weren't worth keeping for only wearing them once in a while with my jeans.

So after some pondering and a text discussion later with my sister, I decided to get the Naya boots that my heart were a fluttering for from the very beginning. After researching the boot on Amazon, I found them for $30 cheaper than Zappos and also an additional $50 off as a special promotion through September. I thought SCORE! I am getting my first choice boot for cheaper than the Durangos. Double SCORE!!

Since I am a Prime Member, I purchased the boot on Friday (maybe even before I had boxed up the other boots to return) and received them on Tuesday.

My initial reaction of the boot when I pulled them out of the box and sprung one from the individual cloth bags they arrived in was OHMYGOODINESSIAMINLOVE! I completely understood why the boot came with a hefty price tag. These boots are beautiful and well made. I saw them lasting me for years. 

I immediately kicked off my left shoe and slid my foot into my new boot. I held my breathe as I pulled it up over my calf and then wanted to cry and cursed my ginormous calf, because at this point I wasn't speaking very nicely to it. The circumference was not wide enough. 

I felt like a disappointed kid at Christmas!
The sad part is that the boot fit nicely on my right leg. I curse my odd sized calves. So with great sadness I packed the boots back up today and have shipped them back to Amazon land where some other lucky lady will get to parade around in these boots.

So, am I going to give up? No. 

I know I am not going to order my third choice boot because the calf circumference is the same as the Nayas, which were half an inch smaller than the Durangos. I am already stalking Zappos for boots than are in the next circumference size up which will guarantee them fitting. I may have even already found a pair but the only downside of them is that they are an inch taller than I may want. I will probably also go to Aerosoles and see if they have the riding boot that Tawana mentioned in her comments to me. I will find something, I know. I just have to be patient. I will find them.

Anyone else have any clothing/shoe purchase that ended up in a big fail and left you feeling like the only kid in a candy store without any candy?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

5 Weeks and Once Bitten

It's hard to believe that the NYC Marathon is in less than 5 weeks! I have been training my heart out for 11 weeks now and haven't let anything stop me. I ran through the entire month of August sick as a dog with a sinus infection. I ran the past couple of weeks with lower back pain and praying that my current regiment of icing and stretching keeps it in check. This week Daily Mile congratulated me with an Epic week of training!

I hit peak training a couple of weeks ago, but since I had the back pain I had to scale back my runs during the week in hopes of hitting my long run mileage.  So far so good even though I haven't hit the 30+ total miles for the past 2 weeks.

With this past week being another modified running week, I have managed to keep my back pain in check with icing 2 times a day and lots of stretching. My long run on Sunday was only suppose to be a 10 miler, but since I was feeling so good I turned it into a 13 miler!
I really wanted, and had the energy, to hit a total of 15 miles but I stopped at 13 because I ran out of hydration. I only planned for 10 and managed to make what I brought with me to last the extra 3 miles. I came close to hitting the 31 miles total for the week, just 2 shy.

I really love completing my Sunday long runs up at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. It is such a beautiful and peaceful place to be. I've said in past posts how I have seen chipmunks, turkeys and many a deer! 

I also see a lot of dogs! I love dogs. I have never met a dog that didn't like me. Well at least until this past weekend and one bit me. Yes, you read correctly. I had a dog bite me on Sunday. I am still shocked from it because it was not my fault and I don't see how I could have done anything different. Let me just say I am fine. No skin was broken or blood drawn on my arm. I am just bruised and sore on my tricep and bicep where the dog got a hold of me.

I am really upset at the owner of the dog. She was barely concerned and acted like it was no big deal. I wanted to tell her that she shouldn't be out on the trails with 3 dogs she can't control where there are many runners and children. 

Here is what happened...

I was running along the trail and noticed this woman with her 3 dogs. There was a little white dog, a little brown dog and a big black/brown dog. As I am running towards them I notice how the little white dog and big black/brown dog are tugging her to the left of the trail and how the little brown dog is tugging her to the right of the trail. I am thinking to myself as I am running towards them that this might be a problem for me because I felt she wasn't really in control of her dogs. As I get closer I am formulating my plan of action of how best to pass them. The owner is aware of me. She has looked back at me and can hear me coming. She knows I will be passing her and her little collection of doggies. Another 2 runners come from the opposite direction and pass the dogs with no problem. Not one of them pays the runners any attention. I am thinking this is good for me and they will be like all the other dogs I have encountered in the park. 

So I am getting closer and getting ready to pass the dogs. I have moved myself to the far left of the trail to get as from away from them as possible. As I am passing the little white dog looks at me and jumps out towards my legs/feet, thus pulling the owner and the big black/brown dog towards me on the left of the trail. I react by skipping more to the left to avoid being tripped by the white dog when all of a sudden the big black/brown dog jumps over little white dog and next thing I feel is a paw on my right shoulder and a pain on my tricep.

The owner of these dogs manages to pull her dogs off of me and says she is sorry and asks if I am ok. The way she reacted was NOT one of "Oh My Gosh My Dogs Are All Over You And One Just Bit You Are You OK?". She was so nonchalant that it was like her dog had done something like this before. My reaction was to access my arm to make sure I wasn't bleeding, which I wasn't, and then to tell her "Yes I think I am ok, but your dog just bit me!" Her response was, as long as your ok!

Fortunately for me I was wearing a long sleeve shirt because it was a bit cold out at first. If I had decided to just wear my short sleeve shirt I believe the dog would have broken skin. When I got home and looked at my arm, you could see the place on my tricep and the place on my bicep where the dog had gotten me. The spots are pretty close together and that just tells me how big the dogs mouth was because it grabbed my arm from behind under the tricep. Right now I have 2 bruises that are very tender to show for the dogs loving affection for me. I'm suck a lucky girl!

Here's to another week of training!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Thinking

As I am sitting here thankful it's finally Friday, my thoughts have been doing a little wandering. Now that summer is gone, we enter one of my favorite times of the year, Fall. With Fall the weather is starting to cool off, which makes being outside more bearable, and soon we'll get to enjoy the colors of the season.

So my thoughts started here...
Hiking at Minnewaska State Park.
 ...and then jumped to here...
Snowboarding for the first time at Sugarloaf.
 ...but they should really be here...
Crossing the NYC Finish Line in 2006.
Just my random thinking for a Friday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Whatcha Readin' Wednesday

Growing up, my mother was a big fan of making sure my bedroom shelves were filled with books. As a pre-teen, I read anything from the Hardy Boys (my sister had the Nancy Drew's) to Judy Blume. Once I hit my teen years though, my time spent with books were minimal. I didn't read unless I absolutely had to, and that was for school.

Fast forward to my mid-twenties and I started to fall in love with reading. It all began with the fantasy book, "Belgarath the Sorcerer" by David Eddings. I remember I couldn't put this book down and just started devouring book after book. 
Not much has changed today. I have been known to read a book a week, if not more. I am the proud holder of 2 library cards and have put many miles on each of them through the past few years. I am the type of person that makes time for reading everyday because I have come to enjoy it so much. I have read some really great books and of course ones that have been a struggle to finish, but I finish them because I have to know how it turns out in the end. I think also a little part of me hopes that maybe the book will just get better.

I come from a family of readers which I personally think is wonderful. We all like to read similar type books so I am always receiving some great suggestions for new authors from my parents or my sister. It's also great that a few of my co-workers are avid readers and we are always suggestions books to one another.
I will read almost anything. I am not one for liking the Fabio romance novels. However, if it's a mystery or historical fiction that has some romance in it, I am game. I may also be a sucker for Young Adult novels too.

Last year I decided it was time to become an eReader owner. Even though I am a traditional girl who loves being able to hold a book and turn the pages, I realized that it was a lot more practical to commute on the subway with an eReader. I ended up purchasing a Nook and have not regretted it at all. 
I have purchased a few books for it, but the majority of books I read on it are from my public libraries. I consider myself to be pretty lucky to have access to the NY Public Library system. They have a lot more eBooks available than a smaller library system with not much funding has. From time to time you will still see me with a real live book in my hand, but for the most part, if I can get it from the library in electronic format first, I will.

So what am I reading right now? 
I am currently finishing up the second novel, "From Bad to Cursed" by Young Adult writer Katie Alender, from the Bad Girls Don't Die series. 
When I was visiting my sister this past July, we came across the third book in this series at Barnes and Noble and we were intrigued by the description on the back cover. I remember it said something like it was the Stephen King of Young Adults. Now, I never read Stephen King because I remember both my sister and mother not being able to sleep at night because of his books. I figured since this was for Young Adults, it would be something I could maybe get a little spooked by, but still get to sleep at night.

I finished the first book a few weeks ago and wasn't disappointed. You can tell it is for young readers and I thought it was well written. There is one part of the book that I was reading at 10pm one night and got totally spooked. I asked myself, "Why didn't you stop a chapter earlier?" Fortunately, I don't sleep alone anymore, so I had a warm body snoring next to me so I felt safe. I can be such a baby sometimes.

I will be finishing my current book tonight for sure. I am not quite sure what will be next. I have a few books on hold at the library right now and hopefully at least one of them will become available soon. Until then, I will pick something that I can read quickly.
What are you reading right now?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mama Needs New Boots

With the fall weather definitely upon us, I am in need of some new boots! I had a pair from Nine West that I bought at a year end sale many many moons ago which I totally loved to death. Unfortunately I had to throw them out this past winter because if I didn't one day the heel was going to pop right off.

Every morning as I walk to work I tell myself that I need to remember to search online for some boots. I can't really walk into a store and buy off the rack because my ginormous muscular calves need a little extra room to breath. For the past week, once I get to work I forget that I told myself, not 30 minutes earlier, that I needed wanted to look at boots. Well let me tell ya I have forgotten no more!

After spending some quality time consulting my favorite site,, I have narrowed the search down to three boots and one just for fun. My requirements for the boots are for them to be black, have a ginormous calf circumference and either no heel or a low 1"-2" heel.

Choice #1: Naya Gazelle
This boot is listed as a knee high boot (14.5" shaft) and I like the little buckle detail. The heel is a 2 incher and will work with my wide girth of a calf. The only downside is that they are a bit on the pricey side of $265.

This boot is listed as a mid-calf boot (13" shaft) and also has a little ring detail going on both sides of the boot that I like. I've never worn a mid-calf boot and this one is a half inch larger in it's circumference than the other boots I have listed here which is fine because one calf is larger than the other. I also like that these are categorized as a cowboy boot. The heel on this is also a 2 incher. The cost of these are more reasonable at $200. That's how much I paid for my last boots and I got my $ worth out of them.

Choice #3: Nine West Shiza
This boot is listed as a knee high boot (16.5" shaft - Wowza) and has a 1" heel. The ankles also have buckle action going on with them. The only reservation I have about these is the length of the boot. Not sure my leggies can handle it. These babies come in at a price of $159.

Not a Choice - Just for Fun: Madden Girl Gemiini
I think these boots are super funky/quirky and would be great with jeans. I love the lace detail on the front with the colored zipper on the back. These are a super low price of $69.95, but from reading the reviews I think the quality is reflected in the price. Many said they fell apart and that even though the calf circumference is suppose to accommodate my calf requirement, many said they ran narrow. If not for those issues I probably would of picked these up for fun.

So now I am faced with the tough decision of which ones to get! What do ya'll think? You have any favorite fall boots you can't live without? I am hoping to have a new pair by next week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

18 Miles of Bliss?

Week 10 of marathon training has been complete, however it doesn't resemble exactly what was on my schedule. I was suppose to complete a total of 36 miles for the week with an 18 mile long run on Sunday. However, this past week my body had its own idea of what it was going to allow me to do. 

What I was suppose to do:
Monday: 3 miles, Cross-Train or Rest
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 18 miles
Total Mileage - 36

What I actually did:
Monday: Cross-Train (30 minutes on bike trainer)
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 18 miles
Total Mileage - 28

As you can see the mileage on Tuesday through Thursday didn't quite hit it's mark. Why? Well let's just say that a little lower back pain (S1 / Sciatica) on Tuesday reared it's ugly little head this week and the longer I ran the worse it got and started going down my right leg into my heel. I was really worried that I wouldn't get the 18 miles done on Sunday.

Well as it turned out, when Sunday came I got down to business and completed the run.

I didn't realize until today that I could include the elevation chart with the map from Daily Mile. It's pretty cool because you can see that from the start of my run the elevation begins at 300 feet and climbs close to 650 feet through Mile 2. I wasn't kidding when I said the first 2 to 3 miles were one serious hill climb. And let me just say that I love that beautiful decline in elevation from mile 3 to just past the 4th mile mark. My legs love this part of the recovery and I end up feeling strong into miles 5 and 6. Besides the first 3 miles the next hill I dread is at mile 11. It's one serious steady climb from around 225 feet to just over 400-450 feet. The past few weeks I have been able to run this hill without any grumbling or profanities escaping my mouth. Very proud of myself for that!

My splits show what kind of pace I was running. I keep having to tell myself that this is trail running so my pace it going to be slower than if I was on pavement.
So how was the pain? When I first started running I felt a twinge in my lower back and thought there was no way I was going to be able to complete the full 18 miles. However, within a few minutes the pain subsided and I was given some hope. 

I clocked the first 6 miles and hit the car for more hydration/potty break feeling pretty good. Clocked the next 6 miles and hit the car again for another round of hydration/another potty break (seriously need to re-evaluate my nutrition). Said hello to my honey and told him that I felt good, a bit tired and was feeling some lower back pain which intensified during the mile 11 climb. I was originally hoping to turn this 18 miles into a 20 mile run because I really want to be able to get a 22 mile run in before the marathon. So we decided that I was going to run the next 6 miles around the lake, which is relatively easy, and re-access the situation.

All motivated I went back out to finish my challenge. Mile 13 wasn't too bad. Mile 14 the pain in my back was saying hello. Mile 15 it was getting worse and I knew I would be lucky to get the 18 done, totally forgetting about 20. Mile 16 I was telling myself "Failure Is Not An Option." Mile 17 I was saying, "Run Fat Boy Run" (love that movie). Mile 18 the pain was pounding my back down my right leg to my heel. I was questioning how I would get to 26.2 on race day if I could barely eek out 18 with the pain. (Not to self: You can never ask those questions prior to and during a long run. You are not thinking clearly.) I clicked my Garmin for mile 18 in the parking lot next to the car. I immediately told my honey that I was done and I couldn't go for another 2 miles. I could barely bend over my back was so stiff. I spent a lot of time in the parking lot stretching and loosening things back up and as soon as I got home I started ice pack therapy on my back.

When all is said and done, I hit my goal of 18 miles. That's all my schedule was asking of me. I may not have hit the total miles for the week, and my long run may have suffered from it, but I did it. I will have to decide in a couple of weeks about the 22 mile run. Until then, I am working on icing, stretching and strengthening exercises in hopes of fixing this little problem. 

I am not sure how much, if at all, I will have to alter my training this week. I am taking today as a rest from running and may ride the bike trainer for 30 minutes after work just to shake my legs out. I am not in any major pain today. My lower back this morning was throbbing and stiff, but the discomfort is gone now. Tomorrow I will run on the track and see how it goes. Right now, I am hoping things will go well this week in the land of marathon training.