It’s Time to Go The Distance – Goofy Challenge Pre-Cap

“I’ll be there someday, I can go the distance
I will find my way if I can be strong
I know every mile would be worth my while
When I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong” – Michael Bolton, from Hercules

It’s time, it’s time, it’s time! Well, almost. I don’t leave until Thursday but my bags are packed and ready to go! Having registered for the races and booking my hotel 10 months ago, I honestly felt like this week may never come. I’m having some mixed feelings going into the races, but it would take a lot to wipe the smile off my face until I get on the “not-so-Magical-Express” back to the airport on Monday.

Of course, I’ve been training pretty hard for these races. It wasn’t quite the buildup I hoped, but I feel prepared to run a marathon. While I’ve been running great long run paces, I still don’t feel as “in shape” as I did for my first two marathons. While I did run 17, 18, 19, 20 miles on double weekends, I didn’t run those numbers as often as I normally would. And even though mileage wise it’s not that much less, I do like running two 10’s and two 20’s before race day from the confidence standpoint.

Mostly to keep myself accountable with race plans, here’s how I plan to run out the big kahuna double race weekend.

Saturday – half marathon: SLOW SLOW SLOW. I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t set a new PR WORST in the half marathon. I mean, like, 12:30-13:00  miles. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll do 30:30 or 60:30 intervals. I have never run at 30:30, but I feel that’s my best bet to conserve energy. It may depend on how cold it is – if I’m too cold doing 30:30 I’ll definitely do 60:30. I also plan to stop for all the character stops that I so desire and just have fun.

Sunday – marathon: This is where things get wonky. Seriously, it’s stupid to think that I can run a PR the day after running a half marathon. But how my training went, I feel that I am so capable of potentially succeeding if I have a perfect day and maybe a little pixie dust as well. So while a PR isn’t my utmost goal, it is on my mind. The first thing I’m going to do is tape my watch. Because the #1 goal is to have fun, I really don’t want to be stressing. There are mile markers where I can generally see where my time is, and my tracking splits will get sent to my phone.

Just a little throwback to ’97. I was always a Goofy fan.

My run plan is to run 60:30 through the half and then up to 90:30, which is similar to how I ran the NJ Marathon (I think I did 10/16.2). I’ve run consistent long runs at 11:30 and below paces easily while running 60:30, so I don’t think it will affect my speed negatively.  I do not plan to stop for character photos in the first half of the race. When I get to mile 13, I’ll re-evaluate. Am I on pace to potentially PR? How am I feeling? If I’m on pace and feeling good, I’m giving myself permission to go for it, and I’ll re-evaluate at mile 20 and keep going. Maybe I’ll stop for desirable photos with short lines, maybe I won’t. If not, I’ll just to to finish and have fun and stop at whatever photo stops I want. First and foremost, my #1 goal is to have fun. I’ll probably cry going down Main Street USA and I’m totally okay with that. If I were to set time goals, my heart is set on that 4:59:59 mark.

Another thing I’m really excited for is to make videos! While I was burnt out in November, watching videos that runners filmed during the WDW Half and Full really helped to keep me looking forward to this weekend. I first watched these videos while (unhappily) on the treadmill, and I cried three times in the gym. Seriously. I’m excited to pay it forward a little and make my own! Filming video, let alone talking on camera and editing is completely unknown territory for me. I’m excited to see how the videos will turn out. Hopefully they will help someone out like the videos kept me going. I still have been watching at least one of these videos a night before bed. I’m also excited to make a video of memories for my Mom, family movie style. To do this I considered borrowing a friend’s GoPro but ended up buying a small point+shoot camera with good image stabilization. AND IT’S PURPLE!

For those who’ve come across my small little blog while I’ve been training for this race, let me know if you’ll be there! I hope you all have a wonderful race (races?) in the most magical place on earth. While my blog isn’t much, it keeps me motivated and helps me reflect. I truly believe reflecting is a huge component in success. And to my few regular readers, you can (almost) finally stop hearing about Disney for a while! I’m so ready for this daunting task to be over, but I know when I cross that finish line on Sunday, I’ll also be a little sad (*crying as I write this at work*). I’ve been dreaming running the WDW Marathon for 10 years, and it’s finally happening. I hope it’s everything that I have dreamt of!

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Goofy Challenge Training – Taper Time

IT’S RACE WEEK!!!!! EEEEK! I have been waiting for this since last year when the WDW Half was cancelled. AGAIN: RACE WEEK IS HERE!

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Sorry I missed last week’s recap – I didn’t bring my laptop home to NH for Christmas. When I returned, I was sick and my laptop charger was at work along with my iPad. Not much was missed though – my taper weeks were lower in miles than even I like to run in taper, but it is what it is. So instead of bringing you through each day of each week, here is what I did do:

Week 16:

Tuesday: 5 miles easy

Friday: Napped through my run time – oops!

Saturday: 3 miles moderate effort on the treadmill

Sunday: 5 miles + 7 miles on the treadmill. There was seriously so much snow when I went home!

Weekly total: 20 miles

Week 17:

Tuesday: 4 miles easy

Wednesday-Thursday: Sick. Ultimate taper!

Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill with some mini speed-work thrown in to keep my legs moving. It felt great and quad felt the best it has in ages.

Saturday: 4.5 miles. Plan was for 9 outside to make it to 1,250 for the year. With just getting over being sick, I chose the warm (more like sauna-esque) gym at my complex. I was dripping by the end of the first mile! I did 3 easy then tried to bring it up to marathon effort and my body was just not.having.it. Then I slowed and it was still not.having.it. So I took it as a bad run and just went home.

Weekly miles: 12.5.

Now the training is almost 100% complete! I was bummed about Saturday’s run, but it is what it is. The hay is in the barn anyways, as they say. My body is feeling good going into the marathon. While I’m still a little stuffy after being sick, the extra rest of being at home and literally being in bed all day was great (although inconvenient). I’m packed and ready for my trip, and I am seriously so excited! I’ll posting more about that sometime this week though.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and has a wonderful, prosperous new year!

 

2017 Goal Recap and 2018 Goals

I seriously love this time of year because I have so much to write about! I’m not one who has super unique post ideas or makes workouts. However, I have become quite good at reflecting and it has made a huge difference in my running.

This time last year, I set out with five goals for the year. In June, I looked back at those goals and updated them. Here’s what came about six months ago:

  • Run 1,000 miles –> Run 100 miles/month and 1,200 miles for the year.
  •  PR in one distance –> Run at least 1 more PR this year.
  • Run 1 more sub-2:15 half marathons
  • Run a running club race.
  • Foam roll/injury prevention 2-3 times a week.

Now that December is almost over, here’s how I ended up:

  • I have hit 1,200 miles for the year! I didn’t hit 100 miles in July, but did in every other month. I hit 1,000 miles during a race, as well as 1,200 miles – how crazy is that! Goal met!
  • Run at least 1 more PR this year – I ran a course/12 mile PR at the Charles Street 12 Miler. While it’s not a traditional race distance, I’ll take it. Goal met!
  • Run 1 more sub-2:15 half marathon: I ran a 2:12 in April. Since June, I have only ran two half marathons, which were two of my slowest (I wasn’t in shape for a PR in either circumstance). However, I did run a 2:03 at the Charles Street 12 Miler in August with a big negative split. My last 4 miles were in the mid 9’s. Seeing as I finished with plenty of steam and if the race were longer I likely would have finished around 2:12-2:13, I’m giving myself this one. Goal met! 
  • Run a running club race: I ran the Too Hot To Trot 10K in August. It was very low-key, and it was also more than .2 short. I ran it in just under 59 minutes, so if it was full-length, it would have been a minute or two short of a PR. I would love to join the Baltimore Road Runner’s Club again in 2018. However, most of their races are on Sundays and I work on Sunday so it just doesn’t work for me at this time. However, goal met!
  • Foam roll/injury prevention 2-3 times a week: Uh, lol. That was funny. I definitely did not stick with this. I’m good if I touch my rollers twice a week, which I’m paying for with continued quad tightness. I do need to try harder. I still firmly believe in my warm epsom salt baths, and try to take one every week or two.

In terms of running goals, I really couldn’t have had a much better year. I met many goals, ran injury free, and have had a pretty good training cycle for the Goofy Challenge. I did hit a 2-3 week road block in November but I ended up in a better place after it.

So, what’s next?

  • Run a Sub-5:00 marathon – With 2017’s 5:03, I am so, so close! I’m doubtful this will happen at Disney, although I’m confident that I could do it if I didn’t have a half marathon to run the day before. At this point I don’t think I’ll be running a spring full, making this a fall goal.
  • Try new things – 2018 is going to bring many new things for me on the running front. I’m excited to do more trail races and new distances. My cousin and I are planning on getting a Trail Ragnar (VT) team together, and with BibRave I’m hoping that we can get a team together for Ragnar PA. I also intend to put my name into the lottery for the Mount Washington Road Race. I also hope to do some different (and smaller) races locally.
  • Stay healthy again! This will especially be important in January as I recover from the Goofy Challenge. Continuing to use run:walk intervals and running at an “easy” pace will continue to be mainstays, as well as trying to implement more strength training again (without going too hard like I did this year)
  • Further work on increasing run:walk intervals – Once I started Goofy training, I began using 90:30 run:walk intervals regularly, and used 120:30 intervals for speed work and tempo days. I also like to use 120:30 for races. I dropped back down to 60:30 as my main interval in November to lower the pressure on myself. I am excited to increase my ratios once again.
  • A PR in the 5K, 10K or Half – I don’t love setting time goals, but I think it is important to go for at least one next year. I would be thrilled with a sub-60 10K (I am at 1:00:27 right now) and a sub 2:08 half (I’m at 2:09:05 right now).

Goofy Challenge Training Week 15: 12/11-12/17/2017

I’m coming to you all straight from taper town today. With the completion of my 20 miler this weekend, I officially made it through the bulk of training for the Goofy Challenge! I’m ready to enjoy the next few weeks of less running, more sleep, and eating well. That won’t be hard with the holidays! I indulged in cookies yesterday. I don’t deny myself sweets, I’m just not a huge fan of them (give me doritos or cheese and crackers any day). However, I ate 8 cookies last night and I’m totally okay with it.

Let’s look back at how week 15 was.

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Monday: Rest. I was planning to run, but my quad was bothering me so I played it cool.

Tuesday: 5 miles during my afternoon break. I used 90:30 intervals for the first time since my period of “burn out” and ran pretty fast for me (10:47 average pace) and felt good!

Wednesday: Rest – I was planning to go to NP, but it was a windchill of 9 degrees when I woke up. NoThankYou.

Thursday: 5 miles during my break again. I made a conscious effort to run easy. I didn’t fuel well in the morning, and I felt really bad when I finished.

Friday: 8.13 miles. My plan was for 10, but it started snowing as soon as I got to the trail. By the time I was done, I was running on two inches of snow. I didn’t have my trail shoes, so I was slipping everywhere and kept having to de-clog my treads. Man, I forgot how much harder it was to run on snow. I was beat.

Saturday: 20.01 miles at 11:17 avg pace! GUYS, I RAN  20 MILES AT FASTER THAN GOAL MARATHON PACE!! That wasn’t even a goal or on my mind. I just wanted to finish. This long run was weird, though. I ran 6.2 miles to a race, ran a 4.9 mile race, then ran just over 8.8 to finish it out. Running to the race was almost all uphill, and the conditions were pretty icy. The race was full of hills. I ran some miles fast (like a 9:40ish first mile) and some slower (11:30). I kinda did my intervals, but ran the downhills straight. I didn’t want to screw myself up for the rest of run, but wanted to push a little. Then I ran 8.8 miles back down towards Jake’s house and finished around the harbor. I was tired when I finished, but could have kept going. My body felt great, aside from my tight quad.

When I got to Jake’s I saw his roommate outside, and he said “I’d invite you skiing, but you look thrashed.” Yes, Andrew. I felt pretty thrashed, but also pretty stoked that I was officially in taper town.

Sunday: REST. My legs were a little sore in the morning, but felt better as the day goes on. As I write this (about 7 pm) I feel fine. I’ve been ravenous all day, but I normally am after that long of a run!

Weekly total: 38.x miles. Not the 40 I had planned, but with plenty of miles atop snow and ice, I’m cool with it!

How was your week of running? Have you had any snowy runs yet?

Facing My Holiday Hurdles: A Day in the Life

*Disclaimer: I was originally provided with a pair of Aftershockz Trekz Titanium as part of my work as a BibRave Pro. However, all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!*

I love when people post “A Day in the Life” posts, and I have even shared a couple myself! I think it’s great to look into others’ lives and see how their days go. Especially people who are super social media and blog savvy – seriously. Do you gals work?!

As we all know, this time of year is especially crazy. Not only are we in the depths of the holidays, but I’m also in my peak week of training for the Goofy Challenge. I’m trying to get all my reports at work done before Christmas and subsequent vacation. I set yesterday (Thursday) as a great day of my life to share – busy, but typical. Who knew that things would change a little!?

Wednesday, 10:30 – settle into bed, charge my Aftershockz, and watch my nightly Disney marathon/half marathon video. They’re keeping me going these days!

Thursday, 6:00 – I finally get up and out of bed (planned wake-up: 5:30). I hop in the shower and make the most of my morning. These days, instead of running, it’s grocery shopping and chores. This morning I have laundry to fold (it had been sitting for three days) and tried to meal plan for the days ahead. I was hoping to find a dessert to bring to Jake’s family’s Hanukkah dinner this weekend, but failed.

7:30 – I look out the window – we got snow last night? A whole dusting? I find out that my morning pre-schools are on a 2-hour delay. This saves me a commute to east Baltimore and gives me more time at home!

8:15 – Clean off my car and head to the clinic (it’s a private practice, speech, occupational and physical therapy clinic for kids). This morning I’m listening to Christmas music. Many days, it’s podcasts. I’m at the office by 8:45 to make coffee and clean my office a bit.

9:00 – Start to work. I had 5 kids scheduled for the morning between 2 schools and the clinic, but with the delays and cancellations I’m down to only one – so crazy! I have lots of time to get paperwork done. I didn’t get anything submitted, but I’m very close on three out of my 8 reports due. I make some more pictures for a visual schedule for my one kiddo, and he screams my ear off for 30 minutes. While I’m doing paperwork, I’m listening to Star Wars music with my Aftershockz! I love these headphones because the signal reaches when I’m walking around the office, and I can still hear what’s going on while I listen to my music!

12:30 – The start of my afternoon break. I work split shifts, which makes for a really long day. I try to make the most of my 2:15 in between my shifts. I used to go to the gym most days, but I’ve started to run from the office more often. I’m changed and out the door just after 12:40. I use my run to get a dose of Harry Potter on audiobook.

1:40 – I’m back to the office after my run. I’m seriously light-headed because I had hardly ate that morning, oops. I have a salad in the fridge but need more so I run out for lunch and bring it back to the office. I try to keep my door closed so I’m not bothered during my break, and it actually works today! I listen a a little more Christmas music before I need to get back to work.

2:45 – My second shift starts. I typically have 6 kids on Thursday afternoon. I have one cancellation, but also have one random kid that was dumped onto my schedule. We play some verb games, read some books (There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell this week), work on some sounds, and play with Play Doh and Mr. Potato Head. The toys have purposes, I swear. In the middle of all this, my friend bails on our plan for the evening, which adds some stress to my day.

6:45 – Since my last client cancelled, I leave work early! I’m off to the movies to see the new Star Wars!! Thankfully, my roommate came and met me, which lessened the blow of another friend bailing. I planned to eat an overpriced dinner there, but their menu was broken and they refused to tell me prices. So I ended up with a dinner of popcorn and an icee. Not ideal.

10:45: The movie’s over (it was fantastic) and I’m home within 10 minutes! I should have had some real food, but I was beat. I opened my mail to find my secret santa gift from the Oiselle Volee DC/MD/VA gift swap. It really brightened my day! I still feel like I have so much to do. My room’s an absolute disaster and I can’t decide if I’m going to do a race on Saturday as part of my 20 miler.

11:15: Realize that I can’t get everything done in one day. During the Holidays, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I listen to some  music (more Star Wars, duh) while I get ready for bed and crash, hard. I set alarms for 6:00 on Friday (my day off!) but deep down, I know I won’t be up until 7 or 8.

The holidays are great. You get to spend time with family in friends, hopefully get a little break from work, get to shop and give to others, and eat delicious foods. They’re stressful as well. Make sure to take care of yourself. Eat well (which has been my struggle this week), get enough sleep, and understand that you just can’t do everything in one day! Today I still have to run 10(ish?) miles, get car insurance/registration straightened out (I need to register my car in Maryland by the end of 2017), make Christmas gifts, prep for 20 miles tomorrow, and do more laundry. But I also want to work on my Christmas puzzle, go to Old Navy, start getting stuff together for Disney, write some more posts, bake some treats and make a nice dinner. Will it all happen? Probably not. What I do know, is that my aftershockz will make it all a little more festive and manageable!

What are some of your holiday hurdles?

What are some of your favorite holiday albums/songs? For me it’s Hanson – Finally it’s Christmas (song and album), Straight No Chaser, and the Barenaked Ladies Christmas album!

Running in 2017: A Look Back

With December almost halfway over, it’s time to reflect on the year that has been 2017. I can’t put into words how good 2017 was to me in many ways. In terms of running, it was my best year yet. I’ll be sad to see it go, but 2018 also has a lot in store for me!

Throughout the year, I stayed healthy and injury-free for the first time. GUYS. I RAN A YEAR INJURY FREE!!!!!!!! Sure, I took extra days off here and there for aches and pains, but I was never hurt. I ran more miles than I ever have. I started to cross train regularly (then stopped, oops). I also experienced my first period of “burnout”, but I made it through.

January – March: In late 2016, I signed up for my second marathon. I started training the week before the new year began. Aside from a cancelled half marathon I ran relatively consistently. The worst part of these months was stepping away from November Project due to work-related stress. I remember one, 18-mile run that went very poorly but besides that, running was great. I ended up running 93.8 miles in January, 98.4 miles in February and 125.1 miles in March.

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With two of my fave pals (who run) at the trail half!

Races: Little Patuxtent River Run Trail Half (2:32), Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon  (2:19:35), Shamrock 5K (27:01 – PR), Baltimore Road Runners Club St. Patrick’s Day 5K (27:51)

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April-June: April brought peak week for the New Jersey Marathon, the taper, and of course, the race! I was so proud of myself for setting a huge PR. It took longer than I had hoped to recover from the marathon and I kept a pretty low running profile in the following two months. I ran my personal worst half marathon at Zooma Annapolis on a very challenging course. I also started to ride my bike more in preparation for my first Duathlon! I ran 134.1 miles in April, 46.4 miles in May and 74.8 miles in June.

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Sole of the City 10K (easy run before a 20 miler)

Races: Oldfields Half Marathon (2:12:43), Sole of the City 10K (1:12:22), Columbia 5K (aka Hangover 5K – 33:19), New Jersey Marathon (5:03:42 – PR), Stoneleigh Stampede 5K (28:52),  Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon (2:33:27), Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K (38:56)

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*don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry*

July-September: Once July hit, I really started to get back into the swing of things. My mind started to get back into training. I worked really hard to set a PR at the Charles Street 12 miler and went straight into training for the Goofy Challenge. I also completed my first multi-sport race and won an age-group award for the first time. Things got a little funky when I started my new job, but I was able to keep going strong. Summer seriously felt like it would never end, but it made me a stronger runner! I also ran my first RAGNAR! I ran 81.9 miles in July, 125.4 miles in August and 106.8 miles in September.

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Post Ragnar DC leg-3. I ran so hard my bib belt broke!

Races: Towson 4 on the 4th (39:44), Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon (2:29:08), Maryland Sprint Duathlon (1:43:04), Too Hot To Trot 10K (58:55 – short), Charles Street 12 Miler (2:03:33PR).

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October-December: These were, without a doubt, my hardest months of the year. In September and October I went full force training for Goofy. I was running doubles and putting in a lot of strength- and cross-training time at the gym. That, combined with work and putting tons of pressure on myself in my relationship, led to getting really burnt out. I thought about giving up on Goofy and just not running any more after. I stopped cross/strength work and really minimized my training – I began to do just enough to make it to the finish line but took all pressures off of myself. It took 3-4 weeks, but I finally found my way through it. During these months I’ve experienced some quad pain, but it’s nothing that made me take more than one extra rest day a week. I ran 121.6 miles in October, 116.8 in November and I have run 54.8 miles in December as of December 13 (I have 35 more on the plan for this week – HAH!).

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Favorite race photo ever – my nephew’s first finish line!

Races: 4 Miles for Eli 4 miler (38:XX – short, but with a stroller!), Baltimore Running Festival 5K (38:06) and Half Marathon (2:31:12), Towson Homecoming 5K (37:17 – short), Towson Turkey Trot 5K (31:50).

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October + November = 3 5Ks with friends!

In 2017 I ran 1 marathon, 6 half marathons, 1 10K and numerous other races. I set PRs in the marathon, 5K, and 12 mile. I will also hit my big goal of 1200 miles for the year in mid-December! It’s hard to pick out a favorite moment from the year, but if I had to choose it would be the entire New Jersey Marathon. I trained well, trusted my race plan, and ran my race. Or maybe hitting the 1,000 mile mark for the with friends by my side – it was amazing to share it with others, even if they were just a small part of it.

I also loved being a Bib Rave Pro in 2017! I ran three great races with them and tried numerous great products. I’m really looking forward to another year as a Pro!

As you know if you’re a regular reader, my 2018 is going to start off with a huge bang with my 18th half and 3rd full. I’ll be back soon with racing plans for 2018 as they are largely set in stone already. Crazy – right?!

What were some of your running highlights this year? What was your favorite race?

Goofy Challenge Training Week 14: 12/4 -12/10/17

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there is just ONE MORE WEEK until I start to taper for the Goofy Challenge! My magic bands have arrived, all I have left to buy is Disney’s Photo Pass service, and our fast passes have been booked for a month (well, some I re-did this week). This week didn’t go quite according to plan, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

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Monday: Rest. My quad was really achy, so I took an extra day to let it recover a bit.

Tuesday: 5 miles before work. This was my first morning run in forever that I really enjoyed and was happy that I got out of bed for. I kept it pretty easy on the hills.

Wednesday: Rest. I woke up feeling ill and stayed in bed. I thought about running in the afternoon, but ended up going home and sleeping through my break. My daily resting HR was about 6 BPM higher than normal, so I took it as a sign my body was fighting something and needed rest.

Thursday: 5 miles during my afternoon break! It was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside, and it really helped me keep up my motivation during my last work hours of the week.

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Friday AM: CRYOTHERAPY! I’m planning on writing a post on this experience soon, but I’m so glad I went. My quad does not feel 100%, but it certainly helped it feel better and also helped my calves loosen up.

Friday PM: 7.31 miles. I honestly didn’t think I’d make it that far, but I felt great!! If I didn’t need to get home to start making dinner (homemade sauce, yo!) I probably would have ran another 1-2 miles.

Saturday: 19 miles! Guys, this run was fantastic. I think it was my second fastest long run pace of this training cycle, and I felt like I could have gone on and on. Now that I look back, it was :23 sec/mi faster than any 20 miler I’ve done. I had almost decided to go for 20; however, it started snowing the minute I started to run and by the end I was sick of my eyes burning by being pelted with snow. Then I spent the day celebrating my Birthday! I had an amazing night out with friends. Now, I’m ready to “detox” without (almost any alcohol) for the next 4 months until it’s time to go to Florida!

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My phone was almost dead by mile 10, so no run picture happened. So you get this beaut instead!

Weekly total: 36.6 miles!

I’m so glad that I’m finally, truly starting to feel like myself again. This week is my “peak week.” I’m aiming to hit 40 miles in 4-5 runs. Then it’s taper time, just in time for the crazy holidays. Taking two trips in 2 weeks is going to be draining, but so worth it. I’m hoping work will be nice and quiet in-between so I have some good downtime.