Hartford Marathon Training – Week 2 – Phase 2

My dad is one of eight children, 4 boys and 4 girls. His mom, my grandmother Theresa, died shortly after I was born. She had cancer. She apparently knew she had lumps in her breasts, but she never went to the doctor to have them checked. By the time she was diagnosed with cancer it was too late. My dad’s oldest sister, Theresa, died of cancer when I was a teenager. My Aunt Joanne was diagnosed with leukemia years ago, but thankfully it’s in remission. My Uncle Joe also has leukemia. My Auntie Mag died of pancreatic cancer.

This left my dad and his younger siblings my Uncle Kenny, Uncle Billy and Auntie Nancy. Two years ago my Auntie Nancy, the youngest of all my dad’s siblings, went to the ER for nausea and vomiting. She was sent home only to return a day later as the symptoms had intensified.

I’m not sure of the exact course of events, but she came home with a diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer with metastases. She did one round of chemotherapy I believe. The cancer was ravaging her spirit, energy and will to live. She chose to forego treatment at that point and for the last 6 months or so she has been quietly and painfully dying.

Of all my aunts and uncles on my dad’s side Auntie Nancy had the most stable, picture perfect life. She married her high school sweetheart and together they had 3 children. Whenever I saw them it was evident they were still as much in love as they were when they were young. My cousins are successful and all three settled locally to raise their families. My aunt was one of the sweetest people. However, like her mother before her, Auntie Nancy did not see a doctor for over 20 years despite knowing her family medical history.

On Sunday, July 12, 2015 my aunt passed away at home surrounded by her family. She will be missed by so many. Yet another reminder that life is too short and we really must embrace each day as though it is our last.

“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.”

My training is broken up into 4 week blocks. For Phase 2 of training, during which I am also preparing for the Bridge of Flowers 10K on August 8th, I’m following these pace recommendations:

Recovery runs: 10:00-11:00 pace
Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace
Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (or moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)
Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace
Speed workouts: 7:00-7:30 pace (just go for hard effort)

  • Monday, 7/13– 40 to 50 minute Easy Run with 10 by 10-20 second sprints on an incline at the end

I woke up super late at 6:50AM. Carlos did too. These busy weekends and late Sunday nights need to settle down. My friend came over around 11:30 and we ran 3.08 miles in 44:36. I had loose intentions of doing my planned training run in the evening when Orlando got home, but he worked on a side job until after 8PM and by the time he got home I had made the executive decision to just go to bed. 

  • Tuesday, 7/14 – 45-60 minute Recovery Run

I did yesterday’s missed 40-50 minute Easy Run with 10 by 20 second sprints on an incline at the end. I found a great incline near the end of my run and I gave it my all 10 times up. I ran 5.04 miles in 52:12 (avg pace 10:22 min/mile). 

  • Wednesday, 7/15 – Hill work: warm up 10 minutes, run up a steep hill (30 seconds to 1 minute) 5-8 times, jog back down, cool down 10 minutes

I was planning to run the Recovery Run I missed on Tuesday, but I inadvertently came across a perfect hill for hill repeats so I switched gears and ended up doing 10 hill repeats. My warm up and cool down were both about 17 minutes. I ran 5.06 miles in 52:49 (avg pace 10:26 min/mile). It was super hot and humid. The hill repeats were kind of fun!

  • Thursday, 7/16 – Off or Yoga

I wrote in my gratitude journal for this day that I am grateful for the strength to see me through this difficult day. I worked Wednesday night. I got home around 6:45am and immediately started up my computer for my other job while preparing breakfast for Carlos. I zipped off some emails and faxed a few requests for medical information to doctor’s offices. I took a shower and then hopped onto our Thursday morning 8AM webex meeting. It ran a bit longer than usual and we finished just before 9. I spent the next half hour working. At 9:40 I had to take a power nap. Up at 10 to get ready to go.

At 11 I met my family outside of Holy Name Church for a private memorial mass for my Auntie Nancy. She did not want a wake or public funeral. In keeping with her wishes it was just immediate family and a few close friends gathered for a full Catholic mass followed by a luncheon. My sister and her husband came and my dad had flown in the day before. It’s always nice to see everyone, but not under these circumstances.

The rest of the afternoon was busy. I picked up Carlos from camp and then had two of his friends over for a sleep over. By the time I went to bed around 9:45PM I had been up for an ungodly number of hours. Needless to say this was a completely OFF day!

  • Friday, 7/17 – 40 to 50 minute Easy Run with 8 by 100 meter (or 20 second) striders in the last mile

It was really tough getting out of bed this morning, but I’m glad I did because the weather was perfect running weather. It was cool like a fall morning. It was such a welcome respite from the humidity we’ve had lately. I ended up doing the 45-60 minute Recovery Run I missed on Tuesday. I ran 6.16 miles in 1:00:34 (avg pace 9:49 min/mile). I have to say I was really surprised by my pace on this run. I have felt really weighed down the last few days both mentally and physically. This pace was a little faster than my pace goal, but my splits were very consistent.

  • Saturday, 7/18 – 120 minutes long run

I ran 11.50 miles in 2:00:56 (avg pace 10:30 min/mile). Typically I get my long runs done early in the morning, but since Friday was a long day and night I decided to take my time in the morning. My dad came by around 8:30 to pick up Carlos. He stayed and chatted for a while. Then Orlando took my car to run a few errands. While he was gone I cranked some music and cleaned all of the downstairs windows, vacuumed and did laundry. 

I decided to head to the bike trail for my run. The sky was grim and the forecast was calling for thunderstorms. I hit the trail around 11:50. The skies opened before mile 2 and within minutes I was completely soaked. I really never contemplated turning back. If it were race day I wouldn’t quit. 

The sun broke out around mile 4 giving way to a steamy sauna. I veered off the trail for a few miles and during mile 7 a car nailed a huge puddle as I jumped on the curb sending a substantial wave of water into my right side. I didn’t think it was possible to get more wet than I already felt. The remaining miles were slow. My running pants and shoes were heavy, filled with water. My hat kept dripping water down my face. It was awesome!! 

  • Sunday, 7/19 – Cross train or yoga

Aside from a few sun salutations I haven’t been doing yoga. I can’t make it to classes right now and despite all the free classes online I haven’t committed to in home yoga. I don’t enjoy it as much. After meeting with my health coach she took me on a fantastic trail run. At the end we added the 8 by 100 meter (or 20 second) striders I missed on Friday. We ran 4.06 miles in 54 minutes. It was incredibly hot and humid, but this was by far one of the best runs. I managed not to trip over any roots although I did get knocked down by a dog and scraped up my right elbow pretty good. I do love trail running and wish I could do it more often.

Despite the ups and downs of the week I squeaked out just about 35 miles.

The Pursuit of Passion

I stood at my kitchen counter yesterday afternoon. My eyes welled up with tears. It has been one frustration after another this week and it was only Tuesday. On top of that my paperwork is out of control. My case load is growing daily. Is there a limit? How much is one person expected to do? What the hell am I doing? This job, it’s not me. It’s not what I want to do with my life. I slammed my computer shut, changed into my running clothes and drove to Skinner Mountain. I had to pick up Carlos in an hour, but it was just enough time to get there, run up and down. I stood at the top of the mountain looking down. I felt small and so did my problems from that vantage point. Sure in the grand scheme of things I have it great. I do and I am grateful for all the goodness in my life. As I tore down the mountain at a rapid speed my thoughts turned over as quickly as my feet. I’m destined for something more, I’m sure of it, but what and how do I get there? I have so many more questions than I have answers.

Right now I work as a nurse case manager for the senior care options of a large insurance company. My case load is currently at 98 members and only going up. All of my members are senior citizens, a population I adore working with. I see them at least 2-4 times a year and my job it to assess their need for services, safety concerns as well as assist in coordinating their often complex medical care. I do not assess vital signs or participate in any hands on care. I order shower chairs, canes, incontinence products, etc. I arrange home delivered meals for home bound members. I communicate with primary care physicians to report my concerns about a patient who is confused about how to take their medications. I set up visiting nurse services for a variety of issues. I connect with members after a hospital stay to ensure they have the support required to continue the recovery process.

The reality is the bulk of my work is assessing members who are interested in what is called the PCA or Personal Care Assistant program. If a member requires assist with 2 or more activities of daily living (ADLs) they may qualify for this program. ADLs are essentially personal care – bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, ambulating, toiling and taking medication. If approved for this service the member may select a family member, relative or friend to be their PCA. That person then receives compensation for the supposed care they provide to the member. In nearly every case of a member requiring assist with ADLs they also require assist with IADLs or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. These are things such as cleaning, cooking and laundry. It is assumed that the PCA will also assist with those needs as well.

In my experience the PCA are almost never fulfilling their role and responsibilities. I don’t manage the program. Outside agencies provide support for billing and training. The program operates more like an employment agency for patients to employ an out of work family member or friend. More often than not the member is not receiving the extra care they require, but the PCA is receiving a paycheck. It’s maddening.

What qualifies a person as in need of assist with 2 or more ADLs are symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath on exertion, unsteady gait, balance impairment and dizziness, all of which put the patient at a high risk for falls or induce fatigue. It’s a slippery slope. People know these programs exist. They know what to say to get into the programs. A member in need of assist with 2 or more ADLs yields more money for my company, a considerable amount. How I word my assessments can demonstrate a member’s need for services. This is what I hate most about my job.

Then why do it? I won’t do it forever. I will do it for a little while because I need to work and right now it is my job. There is another side to the job that I love. On Friday I received a call from a very sweet 89 year old member. At my last home visit with her she asked if I could get her a hospital bedside table for her bedroom. I told her truthfully I wasn’t sure if that was possible, but I would look into it. There are so many details of this job and you can’t possibly know everything. I have an amazing group of colleagues that I am able to tap into for absolutely any question that comes up. So I reached out and was given information on how to go about ordering the hospital bedside table. When I answered the phone last Friday the first words I heard were “I love you Aimee. You’re my angel.” I knew the voice and I knew why she was calling. After nearly 5 weeks she had received her hospital table. It was a simple request yet it will truly make a difference in this woman’s life.

I’m not really an angel, but it is moments like these when I am proud of what I do and grateful to be in a position to help. It is those moments, though far and few between, that make all the frustrations of this job almost worthwhile. I haven’t quite figured out “what I want to be when I grow up,” but I know for sure insurance nurse is not it. However, I will use the opportunity I have been given (and yes it is an opportunity) to learn, grow and move in a direction that is more suitable for me. I was taught you never leave a job until you have another and when you commit to something you give it your all. That is what I will continue to do for now.

I really envy people who are doing something that they are passionate about and I am genuinely curious to know how they pursued their dreams. Work has always been an obligation for me, a paycheck if you will. I am an incredibly hard working dedicated employee and I give every job 110%. I want to feel excited and energized by my work. I want to do something that moves others as much as it moves me. I want to give back. I want to feel alive in every aspect of my life.

Are you pursuing your dreams? Are you doing a job you love? What is it and how did you get there?  

Hartford Marathon Training – Week 1 – Phase 2

My training is broken up into 4 week blocks. For Phase 2 of training, during which I am also preparing for the Bridge of Flowers 10K on August 8th, I’m following these pace recommendations:

Recovery runs: 10:00-11:00 pace
Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace
Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (or moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)
Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace
Speed workouts: 7:00-7:30 pace (just go for hard effort)

  • Monday, 7/6 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run

I ran 4.72 miles in 53:28 (avg pace 11:19 min/mile). Oh this was a terrible run. My legs were so lethargic. I was up and out the door by 5:40 even though I wanted to stay in bed. I did a lot over the weekend including an 18 mile bike ride and a roughly 6 mile hike. I’m not making excuses. I felt really off on this run and it was a struggle every step of the way. 

  • Tuesday, 7/7 – 60 to 75 minute Pace Booster Run: Run 20 or 30 minutes at Steady State Pace in the middle of the run (Up skinner mountain for example)

This did not happen, but I did hike Talcott Mountain in Simsbury, CT. It was not exactly a strenuous hike, but the beginning was a little work. It was a steamy hot day. We drove to the mountain in torrential downpour, but when we arrived it stopped raining though it did feel as though we were in the rain forest. I went with a friend and our boys. It was a really nice afternoon and we were rewarded with gorgeous views of western Connecticut. My photos don’t do it justice.






  • IMG_2516Wednesday, 7/8 – Off or Yoga

I really wanted to and needed to run, but I didn’t. I woke up late around 6:30. My day was busy. I brought Carlos to kayak camp for 9. I had two scheduled patient visits at 9:30 and 10:30, but first I had to check in on a patient at 9am. That took much longer than I anticipated so the rest of my visits were pushed back a bit. This unscheduled visit resulted in a great deal of work that took up much of my day.  

I picked up Carlos at noon and continued to work at home until 2:30. Then we went to pick up Carlos’ friend at his camp. I took the boys for ice cream and to a playground. At 5 I took them for dinner where the friend’s dad met us to take him home. 

After dinner Carlos had his first cross country meet. It’s a fun running camp on Wednesday evenings. Low key, no pressure, the kids do some stretches and then run on trails near a pond for about a mile. It was the first night and Carlos loved it. I could have run with him, but I had to continue working on my paperwork from the other two patients I saw earlier in the day. Next week I will run with the group.

  • Thursday, 7/9 – 40 to 50 minute Easy Run with 8 by 100 meter (or 20 second) striders in the last mile

5.50 miles in 52:17 (avg pace 9:30 min/mile). Maybe my legs just needed a couple of days to revive. I felt great on this run and I really love those striders at the end. I found a free no frills interval timer app called Flexible Interval Timer. I set it for the 20 second intervals so I don’t forget how many I’ve done. I included a 25 second recovery in between the striders.

  • Friday, 7/10 – Speed workout: 10 minute warm up, 4 sets of 2:30 hard, 2:30 easy, 10-15 minutes cool down

I loved this workout. I ran 5.28 miles in 50:07 (avg pace 9:29 min/mile). I hate doing the speed intervals while I’m doing them, but I love the feeling I get when they are done.

  • Saturday, 7/11 – 115 minutes long run

I ran 10.48 miles in 1:48:04 (avg pace 10:18 min/mile). For all the astute mathematicians you may have noticed that my run time does not equal 115 minutes. In the midst of the run I couldn’t remember how far I was supposed to go, was it 105 or 115 minutes. At some point while I was planning my runs over the week I had it in my thick head that I my long run of 115 minutes was 1 hour 45 minutes. Don’t ask! I then became a mathematical idiot during this run trying to figure out how long I was supposed to run. In reality I probably did walk the rest of the remaining 7 minutes because I stopped my app about 1/3 of a mile before home because I was navigating my way around a busy rotary. Either way I ran for a long time.

If I confused anyone, good now I’m not alone! 

  • Sunday, 7/12 – Cross train or yoga

Orlando and I biked 6 miles round trip. We went up to the town commons for coffee in the morning since Carlos had slept at a friend’s. I spent the rest of the incredibly beautiful hot day lounging at my favorite little lake with friends and our kids. 

I know this was not a stellar week for mileage. I felt off at the beginning of the week. Actually I felt like an enormous jelly fish all week. Hormonal in part I’m sure, heat and humidity, waking up late, too much mindless snacking…I’m not going to overanalyze this.

For anyone who has struggled with their weight you know the struggle never really ends. I made a remarkable discovery this week though when I got really tired of feeling so heavy. I weighed myself for the first time in months. For the last 2 years or so I’ve been critically aware of the fact that I have gained some weight back after reaching the lowest weight I had ever seen on a scale in my adult life. That was in the spring of 2013. I stopped weighing myself last fall because I just kept bouncing up and down. Interestingly my last recorded weight on 11/23/14 and my weight last Wednesday, 7/8/15 were identical right to the 10th of a pound. Although it was not my ideal weight, seeing the number on the scale actually made me smile because it held a greater significance. After all these years of yoyo dieting, binge eating, trying every fad under the sun I am finally learning how to maintain my weight even if it’s not the exactly the most comfortable weight for my body.

From 2007 until the spring of 2013 I had successfully lost 80 pounds. I’ve gained back 15 pounds. The point is 8 years ago I would have let this weight gain spiral out of control. I would have gained back the 80 pounds and then some. I didn’t this time. There have been periods over the last two years where the gain was only a few pounds. It’s bounced around a bit, but I know based on how my clothing has fit that I haven’t gone above the 15 pounds.

I’m not going to lament about how horrible I feel because it won’t do any good. It’s simply time to get back to a more comfortable weight. I’m not jumping on some new fangled diet bandwagon. I’m not going to fast for days. I’m not even going to start weighing myself again.

The holy grail of weight loss is simple. Weight is lost in the kitchen not in the gym. Michael Pollan sums it up best, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Hartford Marathon Training Week 4

This was a rough week for me and I was not quite on target with the plan. I had a really difficult time waking up early most days. I am striving to get back to my 4AM wake up time, but I have not been successful. Late summer nights combined with working even later hours to fit in afternoon activities with Carlos makes it a challenge to wake up early. I’m doing the best I can and I keep trying.

For the first 4 weeks of training I’m following these pace recommendations:

Recovery runs: 10:00-11:00 pace
Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace
Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (just do moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)
Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace

  • Monday, 6/29 – 45 to 60 minute Easy Run

I ran 5.11 miles in 53:26 (avg pace 10:27 min/mile).

  • Tuesday, 6/30 – 60 to 75 minute Pace Booster Run: Run 20 or 30 minutes at Steady State Pace in the middle of the run (Up skinner mountain for example)

I was up at 5:10, but honestly I would really have to leave my house by 4:30 to get to the mountain, do the workout and drive home. I’m not big on driving places to run these days. It was easier when I had to travel that way to pick up Carlos at school. I’m going to have to figure something out because I don’t think Tuesdays are going to work for my Skinner Mountain run anymore. I thought about going in the evening after Carlos finished karate, but in the back of my head I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Carlos and I went on a quick 3 mile bike ride before I had to get ready for work. I walked with Kate for an hour while the boys were in karate. I also did a 30 minute yoga class taught by Erin Motz on Do You Yoga before bed. 

  • Wednesday, 7/1 – Off or Yoga

I got up ready to run, but it was pouring, thundering and lightening out. I’m just not that adventurous. Carlos spent the day at Kate’s and they all went to the movies in the early afternoon so I took advantage of the time to do the Fartlek Workout I missed from last week.

10 to 20 minute Warm-Up + Fartlek Workout: 8 to 10 times 1 minute at slightly faster than 5K effort with 1 minute recovery jog + 10 to 20 minute Cool-down 

For the above workout I ran 4.6 miles in 45:08 (avg pace 9:49 min/mile). It was hot as hell out. I ended up running to Kate’s for water. She was going to bring Carlos and me back home, but the boys wanted to play longer so I ran home a slightly shorter way to get my car to pick up Carlos. My run home was more of a sweaty walk/run. I covered 3.35 miles in 38:53 (avg pace 11:37 min/mile). 

  • Thursday, 7/2 – 60 to 75 minute Easy Run

I worked Wednesday night so there was no chance for a morning run. Carlos and I biked 8.88 miles in the afternoon. Orlando got home late and having been awake for oh about 30 hours at that point I was too exhausted to run. 

  • Friday, 7/3 – 50 to 70 minute Easy Run with Stride Workout: 15 to times 25 seconds starting at 5K and progressing down to Mile race effort with 1 minute recovery jog between

I had the day off from work. My son’s friend slept over. I honestly don’t remember what my deal was that morning, but I did not run. We spent the day at Lake Wyola, came home quickly to shower and change and then went to my mom’s for dinner to celebrate my aunt’s 4th of July birthday because they were all heading to Florida the next day. After dinner we hightailed it back home for my town’s fireworks. We didn’t get home until after 10pm.  

  • Saturday, 7/4 – 80 minutes long run, push the pace a little harder on this one

Happy 4th of July! After a long, fun-filled day on Friday we all slept in on Saturday. Actually I got up to go for my run, but wasn’t feeling it yet so I lounged for a while. I finally went out and I nailed this run. I completed 8.16 miles in 1:20:19 (avg pace 9:50 min/mile). I pushed myself and had a great run. 

We had no major plans for the 4th other than our first family bike ride. Our first attempt was halted by the pelting down pour so we chilled out at Barnes and Noble for a while. Then we grabbed a few groceries and went home since it seemed like the rain was here to stay. Later in the day the sky cleared and it was gorgeous out so we drove back to the bike trail and rode 18 miles. Carlos did an awesome job!

Later we went to my favorite little restaurant Haymarket Cafe in Northampton. We stopped in at Herrell’s for ice cream after which was a freaking disaster. The girl handed me my ice cream, credit card and receipt all at once. I had no hands free, there was a huge line, and no place to move to organize myself. Carlos and Orlando were already outside. I went out and Orlando was trying to hand off his ice cream to Carlos because he didn’t like it. Not surprisingly as I was fumbling with everything in my hands my tiny scoop of vegan ice cream landed splat on the ground. Carlos and Orlando were on their way across the street so Orlando could get an ice cream elsewhere. I settled on a coffee. At some point the following Monday I realized I had lost my Discover card. Imagine that?!!! It probably landed next to my ice cream blog! It’s all resolved thankfully and no one tried using the card.

  • Sunday, 7/5 – Off or yoga

I just cannot seem to commit to yoga unless I’m going to a class. I also really wanted to make up for that run I missed on Friday.

50 to 70 minute Easy Run with Stride Workout: 15 to times 25 seconds starting at 5K and progressing down to Mile race effort with 1 minute recovery jog between.

I got up early and ran 5.76 miles in 57:20 (avg pace 9:56 min/mile). I’ve always done speed work on a treadmill so I’m really pushing myself out of my comfort zone and learning to do it on the road now. It’s a lot more challenging, but I love it (once it’s over!!).

Later in the morning Carlos and I met my college roommate for an awesome hike up Wachusett Mountain. It was a spectacularly sunny day. We got a little off track on the hike back so all in all I think we did almost 6 miles. Again I couldn’t be more proud of Carlos. He moaned and groaned a bit when we were trying to find our way back to the trail, but otherwise he was fine.

I just read back what I had written and I had to laugh about how I thought I had a rough week. All in all I ran a total of nearly 27 miles and moved my body for at least 62 miles if you count the bike riding and hiking. Damn I am active! Maybe I didn’t get up as early as I would like each day. Maybe I wasn’t on target with my training plan, but it designed to be flexible. I managed to get most of the runs in along with the fun cross training activities like bike riding and hiking.

Progress not perfection!

Summer School

Quite some time ago I had the privilege of writing a testimonial for a book being written by my blog friend Marion Shaw of Affection for Fitness. Marion is a lawyer, writer, blogger and most importantly a mom of four. I have been reading Marion’s blog for many years. Marion is extremely passionate about sustainable weight loss and becoming fit at any age. On the blog she presents a no nonsense hard lined approach to diet and fitness. Marion tells it like it is and this can be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s truly what most people truly need to hear. Marion is an eloquent writer and her words are intelligent and compassionate.

Marion recently messaged me to let me know that she finally self-published her book and it was available for purchase on Amazon. When I read Marion’s book A-Moms: How to Raise Competitive Award Winning Students, I was turning the pages eagerly. I connected with so much of Marion’s outlook on education. I enjoyed learning about her own children’s accomplishments and successes. I was encouraged to know that I was already employing some of the same advice Marion imparts in the book. Marion presents a gentle balance between well researched data and personal anecdotes which makes the book enjoyable to read. I highly recommend it for parents looking for proven strategies to assist their children in reaching their greatest potential.

I have always loved learning and hoped to instill the same in my child. Carlos is an excellent student. He is a voracious reader and he is curious about so many different things.  However, when not prompted or motivated Carlos will take the easy road. Carlos expressed his boredom and frustration less than halfway through first grade. He was polite and respectful in class, but made it clear as soon as he would get in the car at pick up time that he was not being challenged or even encouraged to learn more. That’s when I began researching other schools and strongly considered home schooling.

Carlos’ transfer to a Montessori school in second grade proved to be precisely the right learning environment for him. His reading ability soared, he quickly picked up on the unique methodology for learning mathematics and he has really benefitted from the limitless possibilities Montessori allows its students. Although Carlos will be in third grade this year he will continue to participate in the fourth grade novel studies. He is excited to learn and knows that we are supportive of any educational endeavors.

It’s summer vacation and my son has been enjoying his time away from school since June 10th. I love summer vacation. I think it’s a magical time for children…sleepovers, staying up late, swimming, summer camps, outings to the beach, fireworks, corn on the cob, juicy watermelon and all the popsicles you can eat. What’s not to love?

Carlos is 8 and like many of his friends loves Legos, Star Wars, Minecraft, Zombies and running around outdoors. Eight is a great age. There is a little more freedom and less hand holding. There is a more interest in being with friends often, but Carlos is still very happy to spend time with his mom once in a while (at least think so).

My son enjoys a mostly traditional summer except I’m the mom that makes my child study too. This summer the emphasis is on learning math facts, spelling, reading and learning as much history as he’ll soak up from the amazing Khan Academy. He’s on board with most of it and does it with little prompting especially the history lessons, but like any kid complains a bit too.

Believe me it would be really easy for me to let Carlos hunker down in his room with Orlando’s iPad chock full of games and entertainment while I get my own work done. It’s much more difficult to make sure Carlos is engaged in activities other than electronics. So whether it’s playing or doing something educational it is my responsibility to ensure that Carlos has a balance between enjoying the summer the way all kids should and learning throughout the vacation to continue to challenge his body and mind.

Hartford Marathon Training Week 3

I’m writing this as week 4 is quickly coming to an end. June is over. Fourth of July is tomorrow. Slow down summer!

For the first 4 weeks I’m following the same pace recommendations.

Recovery runs: 10:00-11:00 pace
Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace
Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (just do moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)
Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace

  • Monday, 6/22 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or crosstrain

Somehow I woke up at 4:10 and managed to get this run done early. I ran 5.54 miles in 56:27 (avg pace 10:11 min/mile). Later in the day I ran 3.32 miles in 49:54 with a friend who is training for her first half marathon. It was a really hot and humid day and it was a difficult run for her. 

  • Tuesday, 6/23 – 60 to 75 minute Pace Booster Run: Run 20 or 30 minutes at Steady State Pace in the middle of the run (Up skinner mountain for example)

I journeyed up Skinner Mountain again. This time I ran 5.34 miles in 1:10:04 (avg pace 13.07 min/mile). I did a longer warmup which also included some hill work. I seem to pick the hottest days to do this run and this was no exception.

  • Wednesday, 6/24 – Off or Yoga

I went for a walk in the woods before picking Carlos up at camp. Again I did not do yoga. Finding a balance between training, working this new job and enjoying summer with Carlos has been challenging.

  • Thursday, 6/25 – 60 to 75 minute Easy Run

I ran 6.01 miles in 1:00:16 (avg pace 10:02 mile/min. 

  • Friday, 6/26 – 10 to 20 minute Warm-Up + Fartlek Workout: 8 to 10 times 1 minute at slightly faster than 5K effort with 1 minute recovery jog + 10 to 20 minute Cool-down

I was really excited about this run and it never happened. Nothing happened! I did not wake up early as planned. I had a dentist appointment midday so I was unable to run between seeing my patients and picking up Carlos from camp. My husband got home late from doing side work and by then I was not feeling it. So I took the day off. 

  • Saturday, 6/27 – 105 minutes

I somehow managed to get up at the crack of dawn and get my long run done before 7AM. I ran 10.60 miles in 1:49:17 (avg pace 10:18 min/mile). The temperature was pleasant and the sunrise was beautiful.

  • Sunday, 6/28 – 40 to 50 minute Recovery Run or cross train

I ran 6.09 miles in 1:01:27 (avg pace 10:05 min/mil). I snuck in this run around noon. It was raining when I set off, but lightly. The last two miles it was down pouring. 

Hartford Marathon Training Week 2

I’m in the midst of marathon training week 3 and it’s still going great. Oh and before I forget since this is mostly a running blog I really need to mention this, but if you’re squeamish skip to the next paragraph. After 7 years of running I have finally lost a toenail, the whole thing! It was gnarly, didn’t hurt a bit thankfully and oddly enough there was some semblance of a new toenail underneath. As proud as I was deep down I was also that ashamed to show my feet in public so I hid them in closed toed shoes all day. I am too embarrassed to get a pedicure, but I might have to swallow my pride because I refuse to hide my feet all summer. I love flip flops far too much!

Here’s a look at week 2 of Hartford Marathon Training:

I’m sticking with the same recommended paces as last week, but Map My Run is set to only tell my my time so I don’t actually know my pace until the end of the run. I’m not chasing the unicorn yet.

Recovery runs: 10:00-11:00 pace

Easy runs: 9:45-10:30 pace

Steady state runs: 9:15-9:45 pace (just do moderate effort up Skinner Mountain)

Stride workouts: 25 seconds at 8:30 pace building to 7:30 pace

  • Monday, 6/15 – 40-50 easy run or OFF

I ran 5.06 miles in 51:41 for an average pace of 10:12 min/mile. 

  • Tuesday, 6/16 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run

I ran 6.01 miles in 1:02:52 at an average pace of 10:28 min/mile.

  • Wednesday, 6/17 – 60 to 75 minute Pace Booster Run: Run 20 or 30 minutes at Steady State Pace in the middle of the run (Up skinner mountain for example)

Rough day…Carlos woke up at 2:30 which is rare. He climbed into bed with us and I was left with about an inch of bed. Needless to say I didn’t sleep very well the rest of the night until about oh 6am. I begrudgingly dragged myself out of bed at 6:30. Somehow I managed to also drag my tired bum up Skinner Mountain. I ended up running a total of 5.66 miles in 1:01:56 at an average pace of 10:57 min/mile.

  • Thursday, 6/18 – Off of Yoga

I worked the overnight shift at the hospital on Wednesday. So between having a terrible night sleep the night before and working all night I was completely off in more ways than one on Thursday. I pretty much snacked throughout the day. Despite my best intentions I did not do yoga or anything else for that matter. I was exhausted!

  • Friday, 6/19 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or Cross train

I ran 5.66 miles in 57:02 at an average pace of 10:04 min/mile. 

I am still on cloud 9 when I think about the race. It really was an incredible experience. Check out the race video

  • Sunday, 6/21 – 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run or Cross train

Nope! Nada! Nothing!! My legs felt fine, but I took the day off anyway. It was raining like crazy all morning. Thank you mother nature for not raining on Saturday. I cannot imagine navigating those trails all wet and muddy.

We went to breakfast for Father’s Day then visiting family. My afternoon was consumed with cleaning the refrigerator and grocery shopping. Damn housekeeper didn’t show up – again!