Marathon Training – Week 6 Phase 3, Marathon Focus

Week 6

Critical Runs

  • Tuesday, 9/15/15 – 6 miles with 5 miles at half marathon pace
  • Thursday, 9/17/15 – 90 minutes medium long run with at least 10×30 second pick ups
  • Sunday, 9/20/15 – at least 2 hours with 45-60 minutes at marathon pace

Monday, 9/14/15

  • 45-60 minute easy

I ran 3.32 miles with Kate in 45:10 (avg pace 13:37min/mile). Busy day. I’m getting a little tired of running in the dark early mornings. I waited and ran while Carlos was at swimming practice.

Tuesday, 9/15/15

  • easy 2 miles, 5 by 1 mile at 1/2 marathon to 10K pace with 400 meter walk/job between, 1 mile cool down

I really wanted to tackle this run. I was going to do it in the evening, but then I found myself with a window of opportunity to go for a run before a hair appointment. I mean who really wants to get their hair colored, washed and styled and then go for a run? My hair is a complete disaster after any run longer than 30 minutes. I’m talking snarly rat’s nest. So I threw on my sneakers and hit the road. It was ridiculously hot and I only had time to do the critical run rather than the optimal workout. I ran 6.02 miles in 57:01 (avg pace 9:29 min/mile). I got to the salon and let my hair dresser untangle my hair!

Wednesday, 9/16/15

  • Cross training or Yoga

I did a few sun salutations and called it a day.

Thursday, 9/17/15

  • 90-100 minute medium log run with 20 x 30 sec pick ups throughout the run

9.04 miles in 1:30:02 (avg pace 9:57 min/mile). I accidentally programmed in 20 second intervals on my timer, but I did do 20 of them. It was blazing hot and of course I did this run around noon. I was nearing my house at around 1:25. I could have gone a different way to tack on the last 10 minutes, but I needed water badly.

Friday, 9/18/15

  • 45-60 minute recovery run

5 miles in 46:14 (avg pace 9:14 min/mile). What?!! And again it was another hot midday run. The time worked out better for me this week, but the weather was unseasonably hot.

Saturday, 9/19/15

  • Cross training or yoga

Carlos had a soccer game in Amherst at 1:15 and then he went home with my mom for a sleepover. I had loaded my bike on the bike rack and set out for an absolutely glorious solo bike ride through the valley. The fall scenery in the Amherst/Hadley area is beautiful. The air was warm, but the leaves were starting to turn. There were lots of people out and about. I stopped and had a salad at Whole Foods before heading back to my car. In total I biked 15.60miles in 1:42:37.

Later in the evening Orlando and I went out to dinner just up the street at the commons across from Mount Holyoke College. It was still so warm we were able to sit outside. We strolled around a little afterwards. It was nice low key evening.

Sunday, 9/20/15

  • 150 minute long run with first 90 minutes easy, 30 minutes at marathon pace and 30 minutes at half marathon pace

I may have skimped on some of my runs this week, but I never short change myself on the long run. I ran 15.08 miles in 2:30:10 (avg pace 9:57 min/mile). Miles 9-15 were all under 10 minutes per mile. My half marathon pace at this point is around 9:54. I’m trying to work my way back to a sub 2:10 half. My marathon pace is around 10:13 as I shoot for a sub 4:30 once again. This was a great long run. I felt good and worked hard.

Total running miles = 38.46

Total activity miles = 54.06

Marathon Training – Weeks 4 and 5 Phase 3, Marathon Focus

These posts are probably really boring. I am doing it more for myself to be able to look back on the training and also it’s been a nice way to gauge my progress. The last two weeks have been so full and I am just now able to sit down and carve out a little time to write.

Week 4

Critical Runs

  • Tuesday, 9/1/15 – 4 to 5 miles at half marathon goal pace
  • Thursday, 9/3/15 – 50 to 60 minute Easy Run with Stride Workout: 10 to 15 times 20 seconds with 1 minute recovery job between
  • Sunday 9/6 – Boothbay Harbor Half Marathon

Monday, 8/31/15 

  • 45-60 minutes easy

I decided to sleep in and get up at 6am. I needed a break after the long run on Sunday. Carlos only had a half day on his first day of school so I wasn’t able to run in the afternoon.

My baby is in 3rd grade! He had a wonderful first day and seems very excited about the year ahead.

First day of 3rd Grade
First day of Pre-4…Time Flies

I had posted the first photo on Facebook and then the second photo popped up as a memory. I was doing ok that day until I saw my little 4 year old in his uniform. Seriously?! When the heck did this happen, he’s wearing high tops and is almost as tall as I am? The Mom tears were flowing!

Tuesday, 9/1/15

  • 10 minute warm up 4-5 miles at 1/2 marathon goal pace (hilly course), 10 minute cool down.

I ran 7.50 miles in 1:10:33 (avg pace 9:23 min/mile). I was up at 4:25am and out the door by 5. I felt great, but worked hard to push it up the hills. Awesome run to start the day.

Wednesday, 9/2/15

  • Cross training or yoga

So it’s evident from my training logs that I have done a horrible job at cross training nor have I reignited any semblance of a yoga routine. Instead I ran for a short time with Kate as she finished up her own run. We ran 1.64 miles in 23:54. Then I continued on for 2.31 miles in 21:53 (avg pace 9:20 min/mile).  I was trying to fit in Monday’s 45-60 minute easy run, but I made the mistake of going out for a run midday and it was stifling hot. I couldn’t bear to run anymore.

Thursday, 9/3/15

  • 50 to 60 minute Easy Run with Stride Workout: 10 to 15 times 20 seconds with 1 minute recovery jog between

I ran 4.51 miles in 41:43 (avg pace 9:15 min/mile) – 10 minute warmup, 15×20 seconds/1 minute recovery, 10+ minute cool down. I woke up a bit later than I had hoped and it was too late to do the entire 50-60 minute run. I thought about scrapping the run, but then I figured I could still do the stride workout. I am so glad I went out anyway.

Later on I ran 2.80 miles with Kate.

Friday, 9/4/15

  • 45-60 minute recovery run or off

I ran 6.22 miles in 1:00:06 (avg pace 9:40 min/mile). Oh if only I could maintain this pace for the full marathon. It was simply a nice run.

Saturday, 9/5/15

  • Cross training and optional 15-20 minute jog

I had to take advantage of the change in scenery in the Boothbay Harbor area so I ran 3.12 miles in 29:40 (avg pace 9:30 min/mile).


Sunday, 9/6/15

  • Boothbay Harbor Half Marathon + 2-3 miles

The full recap of the half marathon is here. My finish time was 2:30:33 (avg pace 10:43 min/mile). So not my worst half marathon time ever, but it was by far the most effort I’ve ever put into a half marathon. Prior to the half marathon I ran 3.01 miles in 31:19 (avg pace 10:24). It was a beautiful morning and I was taking my time enjoying the scenery.


Total Mileage = 44.21 miles

Week 5

Critical Runs

  • Wednesday – 60 minute progression run
  • Thursday – 6 by Yasso 800
  • Sunday – 18 miles

Monday, 9/7/15

  • 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run

I did a run/walk with Carlos from our cabin to Fort Edgecomb. We did 4.46 miles in 1:00:32 (avg pace 13:36). We ran down a long dock on the water and checkout out the fort. It was nice to have some company even if he was a little crabby about the early run.

Tuesday, 9/8/15

  • OFF or 30-45 minute Easy Run

3.08 miles in 30:26 (avg pace 9:53 min/mile). It was so hot even at 6pm when I finally had time to run. My legs felt like bricks and the humidity was stifling. Not a bad run though.

Wednesday, 9/9/15

  • 60-80 minute Progrssion Run: Start slow, and increase to 10K pace by the last 10 minutes of the run.

I slept a bit later than I had planned because I had worked Monday night and was up for an ungodly amount of hours/days??? I drove and parked close to where Carlos goes to school and ran there. I’m getting really bored with running around my house. I didn’t start until 1:40pm. It was blazing hot again. I really wanted to go the full 80 minutes, but I had nothing left after an hour. I ran 6.12 miles in 1:00:17 (avg pace 9:51 min/mile), the last mile was 9:11min. I dream of holding that pace again for a half marathon! I walked another .70 miles after the run.

Thursday, 9/10/15

  • 15-30 minute Warm Up + 8 times Yasso 800 + 15-30 min Cool Down.

This was a new to me workout though I’ve heard about Yasso 800s. The idea is that your time in minutes and seconds for a workout of 10 times 800 meters with equal recovery time is the same as the hours and minutes of your marathon time. So if your marathon goal is 3 hours and 10 minutes then convert that to 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Well a 3:10 marathon would mean I was running with someone else’s legs. For me it’s more like a 4:29 right now (must beat Oprah’s time…again!). So this wasn’t exactly a standard Yasso 800 workout, but it was a fun way to change up the workout and get in a mid-long run in during the week.

I ran 12.54 miles in 2:10:33 (avg pace 10:24 min/mile). The full workout:

Warm up – 32:16, 3.20 miles (avg pace 10:05) – I ran from my house to the pond at Mt. Holyoke College
Yasso 800s – done around the pond at MHC
1 – 4:29
2 – 4:26
3 – 4:27
4 – 4:38
5 – 4:41
6 – 4:22
7 – 4:22
8 – 4:21
Cool down – 36:07, 3.26 miles (avg 11:05) – ran home from the college in the hot, humid, sticky rain. It wasn’t even refreshing.

I didn’t run 10×800, but if you average my 8×800 then I would be predicted to run a 4:28:50 marathon. I’ll take it! I really enjoyed this workout. It pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Friday, 9/11/15

  • 45 to 60 minute Recovery Run

I had a super busy day at work. I thought I wasn’t going to get a run in, but around 4pm my friend texted to ask if Carlos could sleep over. He went to his friend’s house after school and the boys were lobbying for a sleep over. Sure why not! So I packed up work around 5 and went to my happy place for an evening run. I ran 6.67 miles in 1:05:01 (avg pace 9:44 min/mile) at the reservoir. It was a gorgeous night and there were lots of people out at the res. I love seeing people out and moving in any way possible.

Ashley Reservoir

Saturday, 9/12/15

  • OFF, Cross train or 30-45 minute easy run

I worked Friday night at the hospital and then went straight up to my favorite Esselon Cafe to meet my BFF for my birthday breakfast. I knew I would get there early and my plan was to do half of a 40ish minute run before she arrived. Well I didn’t get there as early as planned. I ran 1.72 miles in 17 min (avg pace 9:51 min/mile). After breakfast I had a ton of errands before picking up Carlos. The morning flew by, then it was off to soccer, and both Carlos and I were wiped by the afternoon. I was done for the day.

Sunday, 9/13/15

  • Long, easy pace run 18-20 miles

I got up early, felt rested. It was a nice cool morning to run. I ran 20.02 miles in 3:40:10 (avg pace 11:00 min/mile). I was a little surprised and admittedly disappointed in my time. I felt like it was a consistent run both mentally and physically. This is not what I want to see on race day, but hey if it is I will still be proud of myself. Oddly my last two miles were my fastest, both 10:15min each.

I had received an email the week before announcing that the Hartford Marathon would be using a new gel called Boom. I ordered a sample pack to try out before the race. I’ve been using Vega gels for a couple of years now, but I really can’t stomach them anymore. The Boom was very “gel” like and the texture was a bit different than what I’m used to, but I liked that the flavor was light, not so strong and sugary like most gels. I tried Apple Cinnamon and the Grape Pomegranate. I liked them both. The gels are vegan, have no added sugars, artificial sweeteners or colors. I only use gels during my long runs and races. These seem like a nice change.

Total mileage – 55.29 miles

Labor Day Weekend in Boothbay Harbor, Maine

After a labor intensive summer for both my husband and I it was only appropriate that we spend the long Labor Day weekend reconnecting as a family. My marathon training schedule called for a race this weekend so I found a half marathon in Boothbay, Maine. Maine has yet to disappoint and Boothbay is a place we have never visited.

We arrived to our small rental cabin in Edgecomb, ME late on Friday night after a quick stop for dinner in Portsmouth, NH. Portsmouth is an eclectic, vibrant little seaside town. There are a variety of restaurants to appeal to all tastes. We settled on the Friendly Toast. It was kid friendly and offered some vegan dishes. After we walked around the bustling town to stretch our legs.

I slept until I woke up on Saturday morning, no alarm or need to get up for anything. I was still up before 7, but it felt really luxurious to “sleep in.” In need of coffee we traveled into Boothbay Harbor. Though it was early, there were lots of people out and about. The weather was gorgeous. We grabbed coffee at the Red Cup Coffeehouse and then booked ourselves on a harbor boat tour. We had enough time to explore the town a little before the boat tour began. Boothbay Harbor is a quaint seaside town. The narrow streets are dotted with old inns, stores, galleries, ice cream shops, and restaurants.

I’m a Star!
Love these two :)

Our harbor tour took us out to Squirrel Island and then back to the dock in Boothbay Harbor. On the way we were given a narrated history of the harbor. There was a wedding party on board who were headed to Squirrel Island for the wedding. At 10:30 in the morning the party was well under way as they were all enjoying a beverage or two! It was a fun group.

Squirrel Island



The afternoon included a quick 3 mile run for me. It was really hot by the time I went for a run, but I was enjoying the change of scenery. I ran from our cottage in Edgecomb into neighboring Wiscasset. Right before the bridge in Wiscasset there is little stand on the side of the road that sells lobster rolls. They must be amazing because there is always a really long line.

IMG_2800 IMG_2801 IMG_2802

After my run we went to visit my cousin and his family at their cottage on Damariscotta Lake. Carlos was in heaven. He went kayaking, swimming, tubing and floated in a classic inner tube. I relaxed on the dock. Orlando swam and went tubing too. We were invited to stay for dinner and then sat around the camp fire chatting and roasting marshmallows.

I got up early on Sunday morning to run a few miles before the half marathon to get some extra mileage in for marathon training. I ran about 3 miles. There is absolutely nowhere you can run without encountering giant hills in this part of Maine. I felt good though. I slept well the night before and have been eating healthily. However, for some reason by the time I got back to the cottage I was feeling really on edge about the race. I’m usually a little nervous on race day, but this was different.

Orlando and Carlos drove me to the packet pick up at the Watershed Tavern. They went off in search of breakfast before going kayaking in the harbor. I sat alone waiting for the race to begin. I couldn’t shake the unsettled feeling in my stomach. The race began at 9am, a rather late start for what was shaping up to be a very hot morning. I had read a couple of reviews of the race and both indicated it was a challenging hilly course. I wasn’t too worried about that because I’m used to running hills around home. Well the reviewers weren’t lying. I started off ok. I felt better once I got going, but by mile 5 or so my stomach was a bundle of nauseous nerves. It was really hot and the water stations were far and few between. The hills were relentless. My legs felt like blocks trying to push myself up. The climbs were steep and the declines were short or nonexistent. I entered into that head space trying to convince myself I was going to make it to the finish. I have never DNF’d a race, but I have also never felt this horrible during a race.

The rest of the race I spent more time walking than I would like to admit, but my legs would not power up those steep hills. I felt as though I was able to walk them faster. I walked and ran, walked and ran. It was a demoralizing race. Each time I slowed to a walk I was disappointed in myself. Mile 13 seemed to last an eternity. I told myself I was going to run the last mile. I didn’t, I couldn’t. By that time my energy felt sapped. My stomach was on edge, I hadn’t even been able to take my Vega gel and every time I turned my head to the side I felt a bit dizzy. I ran as much as I could in the last mile. The race ended on an uphill and I forced myself to run up that last hill to the finish line.

I finished. I have absolutely no idea what my time was, but I am certain it was my slowest half. All I could think about was water. I sat for a little while to catch my breath and rehydrate.



More than a few times throughout the day I lamented about how disappointed I was with my performance during the race. I have been feeling really great about my training and running. I have improved so much throughout the summer.

With each bad experience I typically learn something about myself and I can identify something I could have done differently. I felt as though I prepared as well as I could have leading up to race day. I ate really well the day before. I went to bed fairly early. Was it the three miles I ran before? I did not give up or did I? Although I felt as though I had nothing more to give, I am frustrated by my failure to push harder and move faster.

After a much needed cold shower, we spent the afternoon at Popham Beach. It was restful and relaxing, exactly what I needed. I read a few chapters of a new book, Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham. Carlos instantly made friends with an 8 year old girl who had an extra boogie board. They were hysterical together, seemed as though they had known each other forever. Orlando took a long walk on the beach.


Sunday evening we went on a Red Cloak Haunted History tour of Boothbay Harbor.

Lady in the red cloak

It was a fun and interesting way to see the town and learn more about it. It was a beautiful night, perfect for walking around the town. We had dinner at the Boat House Bistro.

Monday morning I invited Carlos to join me on my recovery run. We did a run/walk to Fort Edgecomb where we learned a bit more about coastal Maine history. The Blockhouse in the photo was built in 1809 and overlooks the Sheepscot River.


It was a great weekend. I love Maine. The air is cleaner and time moves a little slower. It’s rustic, scenic, and most importantly relaxing.

Hartford Marathon Training – Week 3 Phase 3, Marathon Focus

After sharing my disappointment about last week’s training and concerns that this week may be just as busy and unpredictable I was presented with a different plan for the week which gave me the option between optimal and critical runs. If all was going well I could do all of the optimal runs, but if I ran into time constraints then I could just focus on the three critical runs.

Critical Runs

  • Tuesday, 8/25/15 – 6 miles with 4 miles at half marathon pace
  • Thursday, 8/27/15 – 90 minutes medium long run
  • Saturday, 8/29/15 – Long run at least 2 hours with 20 minutes at marathon pace

Monday, 8/24/15

  • Optimal – 45 to 60 minutes easy

I did 2.21 miles on the elliptical in 20 minutes followed by 40 minutes of strength training at the gym. My legs were a bit sore and I just wasn’t feeling like a run after the miserable run the day before.

Tuesday, 8/25/15

  • Optimal – 2 miles easy, 4 miles temp (1/2 marathon pace), 1 mile easy, 4×1 minute hard/1 minute easy, 1 mile cool down

I ran 6.05 miles in 1:00:17 (avg pace 9:58 min/mile). I woke up a little late and didn’t have enough time to do the entire tempo workout so I did the shorter critical version.

Wednesday, 8/26/15

  • Optimal – Cross training or yoga

I ran 9.70 miles in 1:40:07 (avg pace 10:18 min/mile). In looking at my schedule for the week I knew I needed to get the medium long run done before Thursday. I was scheduled to work at the hospital Wednesday into Thursday and didn’t want to push the run off too close to a long run. My legs were still sore from Monday’s strength training squat workout and I ran this run on a rather hilly route.

Thursday, 8/27/15

  • 90-100 minute medium long run

I took a short work break to shake off some stress. I ran 3.04 miles in 30:31 (avg pace 10:04 min/mile). It was really hot and humid and also about 3pm. I ran up to the park to meet my friend who had taken Carlos and her kids to the spray park there. Note to self: Ludlow Road hill is killer.

Friday, 8/28/15

  • 45-60 minute recovery run

I was really dying to do the full tempo run from Tuesday so I ran 9.15 miles in 1:30:11 (avg pace 9:51 min/mile). I like these runs for some reason. I felt as though I really pushed it on mile six and my split was the slowest of all 4 tempo miles. Kind of annoyed by that, but overall a really good run.

Saturday, 8/29/15

  • 150 minute long run with last 20-30 minutes at marathon pace

I hiked with Carlos and his friend for about 45 minutes and then went on a solo 6.38 mile bike ride. Carlos’ friend slept over and Orlando had to work so I already knew I would be pushing my long run to Sunday. I didn’t want to run the day before a long run. I ate carefully throughout the day. I prepped by pre-run fuel for the morning, got my water pack ready and went to bed by 10:30. I was determined to have a great run.

Sunday, 8/30/15

  • Cross training or yoga

I ran 17.51 miles in 3:00:20 (avg pace 10:18 min/mile); last three miles were 10:26, 9:47, 9:48. This was a much better long run than last week. I felt better although not as great as I would like to feel. It’s the extra weight I’m carrying. I know it is. I also tried out a new pair of wireless headphones. Not a great idea. The ear buds were popping out of my ears about 5 minutes in and the charge died 2 hours in. I pushed it on the last 3 miles as prescribed which was challenging without music. I was hoping to keep them all under 10 minutes. I am not sure why the first of the three was 10:26, but the last 2 miles were my fastest miles throughout the entire run. I finished with a smile!

Total running miles = 45.45

Total miles = 54.04

It was a great week. I think having the option of focusing only on the critical runs took the pressure off of me. It was the last week of Carlos’ school vacation. I kept my workload light so I could enjoy as much of him as possible. Plus Orlando and I both celebrate a birthday during the last week of August. It was a busy but fun week. Carlos’ summer vacation culminated with a day at the beach with friends, a sleep over, and the first soccer game of the season.

Hammonasset Beach

Marathon Training – Week 2 Phase 3, Marathon Focus

My training is broken up into blocks. Phase 3 is a 6 week block and the emphasis is now on the full marathon so I will be running longer and increasing mileage. I think this was the first week since I began training for Hartford that I was reminded of how mentally taxing distance running can be. I think learning to push myself out of my comfort zone and being uncomfortable at times is part of the allure of marathon training for me. The growth and reward that comes from achieving that which I once believed impossible is invaluable and applicable to many other areas of life.

  • Monday, 8/17 – 45 to 60 minute Easy Run

I took the day off. On Sunday I did my long run. My car broke down on the highway late in the afternoon. By the time my husband got home and we were able to bring my car to the mechanic it was after 7pm. My mom fortunately does not use her car very often so she offered to let me use it while my car was being worked on. We drove down to her house to pick it up. Then I went grocery shopping. What was supposed to be a relaxing evening turned into a busy late Sunday night. Monday started with a bang. I woke up too late to go for a run. Carlos had half day camp. The patient I was supposed to visit in the morning wasn’t home and I ended up seeing him at 5pm when I could have gone for a run. By the time I finished my paperwork it was time to get ready to go in for an overnight shift at the hospital.

  • Tuesday, 8/18 – Stamina Building Workout: 15 minute warm up + tempo interval workout: 2 times 2 mils with 4 minutes recover jog followed by 3 times 200 meters (50 sec-1 minute) with 200 meter recovery job + 15 minute cool down.

I did yesterday’s 45-60 minute easy run while Carlos was at soccer practice. Aside from the mile long gigantic hill at the beginning of the run it was a nice evening run. I ran 5.01 miles in 50:03 (avg pace 9:58 min/mile).

  • Wednesday, 8/19 – 75-90 minute medium run

I ran 10.18 miles in 1:35:26 (avg pace 9:22 min/mile). Awesome pace! Unfortunately I think Map My Run somehow miscalculated my first mile because it shows a 7:53 mile. Oh how I wish! The other splits look reasonable all in the 9 minute mile range. My legs felt amazing during this evening run as though I was running with a wind behind me. It was a really great run.

  • Thursday, 8/20 – Cross train or Yoga 

I took the day off. Feeling off and really busy at work.

  • Friday, 8/21 – 45-60 minute recovery run

I took another day off. I hated doing it, but I just wasn’t feeling great.

  • Saturday, 8/22 – 180 minute run 

Like the week before my husband found out at the last minute he had to work at his regular job on Saturday. He is repairing a chimney at Mt. Holyoke College and they are scrambling to finish the job before school starts. In order to run 3 hours before he leaves for work I would have to be out of the house by 3:45am. No thank you!

However, I did get up with enough time to do Tuesday’s Stamina Building Workout. I ran 9.52 miles in 1:32:01 (avg pace 9:40 min/mile). It was an excellent run, but I knew it was going to hurt my long run the following day. I stewed about how I mismanaged my schedule all week. I was frustrated by how run down I felt. Spending time reflecting on how I felt made me realize how badly I need to change some things in my life. I long for the way I felt a couple of years ago when I weighed less, ate better and had a more stable schedule.

  • Sunday, 8/23 – Cross train or Yoga

Just like last week I had to do my long run on Sunday. I left the house a little before 6 and ran straight out two towns away for 180 minutes. Orlando and Carlos picked me up shortly after 9. As predicted it was a challenging run. My legs were feeling the effects of Saturday’s run, but more than anything it was the mental challenge that I felt even more strongly.  I fought it and had some interesting one sided conversations going on. Ultimately I allowed myself to just run and not worry about the pace. I chugged along, took a few walk breaks and in the end I ran 16.30 miles in 3:00:20 (avg pace 11:03 min/mi). This is not how I hope to run the marathon. I will accept this run as a lesson in my training. I will approach the coming week much differently. I will use this experience as a reminder for how difficult it is to have a great run when I am not feeling 100%, eating poorly and not sleeping enough.

Total mileage = 41.01 miles

Setting marathon training aside and my feelings of disappointment about my long run I am reminded that I ran 16 miles and that is nothing to scoff at. I will get back to feeling better, living a more balanced life and caring for myself the way I should. Life is not a straight line and for the last nine months since starting a new job I’ve weathered the unknown and instability much better than I would have in the past. I’ve learned so much both professionally and personally. The changes I’ve experienced this year have also brought change to Carlos’ life. I’ve felt very vulnerable about this and I haven’t done a stellar job at hiding it all from my son. I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing. Carlos has learned that quality time together is much more important than quantity. My husband and I have had to adjust to a new schedule and routine as well. The roller coaster of my emotions, fluctuation of my schedule and frustrations I’ve felt about this new job along with Orlando’s long lay off this winter followed by an extremely busy summer has inevitably caused stress on our relationship. But there is truth in the saying that what doesn’t break you only makes you stronger. Our marriage continues to grow and strengthen.

As I take one last glance behind me I am truly able to see how far I’ve come since November. I will keep moving forward and striving to reach my goals no matter how unattainable they seem at times.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Norman Vincent Peale

Hartford Marathon Training – Week 1 Phase 3, Marathon Focus

My training is broken up into blocks. Phase 3 is a 6 week block and the emphasis is now on the full marathon so I will be running longer and increasing mileage. I’m nervous about this phase because I’m not sure how I’m going to find the time to run more, but I’ve done it before so where there’s a will there’s a way.

Hopefully this week is not indicative of what is to come. It was a very emotionally charged week.

  • Monday, 8/10 – Cross Train or Yoga

I did about 30 minutes of yoga and stretching.

  • Tuesday, 8/11 – 45 to 60 minute Easy Run

Nothing! Work took over my life this week.

  • Wednesday, 8/12 – Cross train or Yoga

Again I was pressed for time and work was all consuming. I bolted out the door mid afternoon and somehow managed to run 4.60 miles in 40:17 (avg pace 8:45 min/mile). Map My Run malfunction?!! I’m not so sure I believe that pace, but I know I was pushing it nonetheless. Later in the evening I did 1.68 miles with Kate.

  • Thursday, 8/13 – 15 minute warm up and tempo interval workout: 3 to 4 x1 mile with 2 minutes 30 seconds recovery jog followed by 3 times 200 meters (about 50 sec-1minute) with 200 meter recovery jog + 15 min cool down.

I worked Wednesday night. My stomach felt off all day. Work was just ridiculously busy. So I took the day off from working out.

  • Friday, 8/14 – 50 to 70 minute easy run with stride workout: 10 times 25 seconds starting at 5K and progressing down to mile race effort with 1 minute jog in between

I ran 7.20 miles in 1:10:11 (avg pace 9:44 min/mile). Good run. Felt better.

  • Saturday, 8/15 – 120 minute run (last 3 miles push the pace)

At the last minute my husband found out he had to work at his regular job. This threw off my plan a bit so I scrapped my long run and did Thursday’s tempo interval workout instead. The day just didn’t go as planned. I actually had to work as well. I agreed to see a patient although I don’t work weekends at my insurance job. I had to bring my son to my mother’s. I saw the patient and then came home to do the paperwork. We had plans in the evening and time was ticking away. As I mentioned I was feeling rather emotional all week and it seemed to all bubble over the surface by Saturday afternoon. I had a bit of a cry and finally went for a run.

I drove to the college hoping for some shade around the pond. It was insanely hot and humid. The run sucked. I just couldn’t get my legs moving the way I wanted them to. I stuck it out though and ran 8.01 miles in 1:25:02 (avg pace 10:36 min/mile).

  • Sunday, 8/16 – Cross train or Yoga

I had no choice but to do my long run on Sunday. I ran 12.1 miles in 2:00:29 (avg pace 9:57 min/mi). I was so happy to see I managed the distance in just under a 10 min/mile pace. It was an uneventful run on a boring route near my house. I am craving new scenery.

Total mileage for the week = 33.59 miles


Everything seemed out of sorts this week. I’m not going to complain about work because I know that I am the only one who can change that situation. I’m not stuck, but I have committed to staying at least a year.

My emotions were all over the place mostly due to a visit from my father. I don’t mention him much here. He lives in Florida. We see him rarely and only speak to him once a week usually on Thursdays, his preference. He has never been very close to me, but I have given him every opportunity to forge a close bond with his only grandchild. When I found out he was coming for 10 days in August, I asked him if he would like me to keep Carlos out of camp for a week and he said yes. Carlos loves his grandpa and had a wonderful time with him last week. As the week came to an end my father made it clear that he was babysitting Carlos for free and in turn doing me a favor. This was infuriating to me because that’s not at all how I saw it. I can afford to pay a babysitter or put Carlos in camp while I’m working. I don’t NEED help.

My dad’s visits inevitably cause me a great deal of stress and always leave me feeling so small and insignificant. He has no idea how much it hurts that he prefers to spend time with his girlfriend and her kids. They’ve been together for about 20 years and she is not the warmest person. It boils my blood that her grandchildren call my dad grandpa. But I have to tread lightly  and watch what I say to my father or he will stop speaking to us. That started when I was 13 and there have been multiple episodes of silence since. The last was when Carlos was an infant. He stepped away from our lives, my sister included, for 2 years until I he finally answered my call. I begged him to reconsider his decision and I convinced him that if he came back into our lives at that time Carlos wouldn’t know any different, but if he waited Carlos would be confused. So he started speaking to us again.

It’s a fragile relationship though and as I mentioned I walk on eggshells around my dad and his girlfriend. My dad had told me they were just coming for a vacation. He failed to mention that the trip was actually planned to coincide with the birth of his girlfriend’s youngest daughter’s third child. On Friday his girlfriend was showing me photos of their outing to a local lake and then the photos jumped to the hospital room. There was my dad with the newborn all smiles like a proud grandpa. I felt like I got kicked in the stomach at that moment. I pushed away the emotions and with a smile said “oh what a nice photo.”

My son was born on my sister’s birthday a week before Christmas. My dad and his girlfriend were flying up the following weekend for the holidays. I had a c-section so I was in the hospital for 5 days. I asked if he was going to change his flight to come see Carlos.  My dad said no. He was retired at the time. He had no reason he couldn’t come up alone a few days early. This was his first grandchild. How could he not be excited about it? Seeing him in that photo brought it all back. It made me wonder how many of his girlfriend’s grandchildren he held just hours after they were born.

Of course there are two sides to every story, but my side remains that I was a kid when my parents divorced. My dad pulled away then despite my mother’s urging to see us whenever he wanted. As the years passed the distance grew as well. I can’t quite understand a parent who doesn’t want to know their child and be as much a part of their life as possible. I don’t think I will ever understand my father.

Hartford Marathon Training – Week 5 – Phase 2

My training is broken up into blocks. Phase 2 is a 5 week block. Phase 2 of training is also preparation for the Bridge of Flowers 10K on August 8th. This phase went by very quickly.

  • Monday, 8/3 – Warm up 10 minutes, long hill repeats: find a 3-5 minute climb, run up 4-5 times, jog back down (the side street Chapel Hill Drive is a good on for this)

I chose to sleep a little longer rather than get up early to run because we got home much later than expected from Pennsylvania. Therefore I had to sneak this run in just before picking Carlos up from camp. It was blazing hot, about 92 degrees, and extremely humid. I did the warmup and then headed over to Chapel Hill Drive. Holy hell that hill was ridiculous. I ran it 5 times. On my last trip up a friend drove by and told me to pop over for a glass of ice water. I stopped and chatted for a bit. I didn’t bother to shut off Map My Run so my pause is reflected in my overall time. I ran 5.04 miles in 54:08 (avg pace 10:45 min/mile).

  • Tuesday, 8/4 – 45 to 60 minute Easy Run

I ran 4.80 miles in 50:25 (avg pace 10:29 min/mile). This was a horrible run. I felt sluggish and weighed down. My legs were heavy. I just wasn’t feeling great on this run.

  • Wednesday, 8/5 – Warm up 10 minutes, 8-10 by 1:30 minute hard running/30 seconds easy running. Get the legs moving and work on a rolling hill course to prep for the ups and downs of the first couple of miles of Bridge of Flowers.

I ran 5.30 miles in 50:11 (avg pace 9:27 min/mile). Now this was a great run. I felt so much. What a difference a day makes! Later in the evening I did a leisurely jog with my friend while our boys were at their cross country practice. We did 2.22 miles in 34:31.

  • Thursday, 8/6 – Cross train or Yoga

I took the day off. I was insanely busy with multiple work issues. I also worked the night before at the hospital. That always throws me off kilter. It’s much different working a night shift and coming home to work all day than when I used to only work nights. I actually miss doing nights full time.

  • Friday, 8/7 – 30 to 40 minute Easy Run

After being up for almost 2 days before finally going to bed Thursday night, the last thing I wanted to do was get up at 4:30 in the morning so I didn’t. My friend brought Carlos and her son to camp in the morning so I went for a quick run as soon as they left. I ran 3.2 miles in 30:21 (avg pace 9:19 min/mile). This run was quite a surprise. I wasn’t planning on moving that quickly, but apparently my legs were.

  • Saturday, 8/8 – Bridge of Flowers 10K

This is my favorite race and favorite weekend of the summer. Prior to last summer when I was out of commission with the Achilles injury, I had run this race for 4 consecutive years.

Bridge of Flowers 2010 – no blog post as I hadn’t started the blog yet. Time – 1:07:36 (10:52 pace)

Bridge of Flowers 2011 – Time – 1:04:16 (10:21 pace)

Bridge of Flowers 2012 – Time – 1:01:53 (9:58 pace)

Bridge of Flowers 2013 – Time – 56:01 (9:01 pace) **Currently my 10K PR

The weekend of Bridge of Flowers it has become tradition for my close friend and former UMass Amherst college roommate, Colleen to come for a visit. She has been one of my biggest supporters since I embarked on this running journey. She is a two time Boston Marathoner and avid runner and hiker. She has been unable to run until recently due to knee issues, but she is beginning to build up her mileage and hopes to join me for BOF 10K next year. The beautiful photos below from Shelburne Falls, MA are compliments of Colleen.









Orlando and I both ran the race while Colleen and Carlos spectated. Initially Orlando was planning to pace me to a sub-1 hour finish. I wasn’t shooting for a PR, but I was really hopeful that I could finish the race in under an hour despite the mega hill at mile 2. Orlando took off and I lost sight of him at mile 1! I could tell he was itching to move at his own pace  and honestly it was ok. I knew from the moment the race started I had to run this race myself, my way.

I know this course and I was well prepared for the race. The weather was ideal, sunny in the 70s and blessedly not humid. I started out at a steady pace, but I knew I had to go a little faster in the first two miles because I would lose time on the hill. Crittendon Hill is impossible for most to run because it’s so steep. The hill comes after mile 2 and it climbs sharply until just before mile 3. I power walked up the hill as fast as I possibly could and as I neared the mile 3 marker my time was a little over 31 minutes. If I was going to finish in under an hour I knew I had to attack the downhill. Fortunately the downhill is not as sharp as the uphill. It’s a shaded dirt road and it is a steady decline that levels a bit here and there which is not too hard on the knees so I let myself fly!

Heading into the last mile I was on target for a sub-1 hour finish as long as I didn’t ease up on my pace. Thankfully the back half of this race is mostly flat with just a few rolling hills. The spectators are awesome at the end of the Bridge of Flowers 10K and that got my engines revved up. Running over the iron bridge to the finish line never gets old. My eyes welled up as I saw the 59:30 on the time clock. I picked up the pace determined to sneak in under an hour.

Official time: 58:51!!! (avg pace 9:29 min/mile)

Orlando ran an incredible race especially considering he hasn’t run in months. He finished in 50:59. I am really proud of him, but admittedly a little jealous that he can just jump into a fairly challenging course and run it in a very respectable time with absolutely no training. Some things in life are simply unfair!!!

Looking all happy before BOF 10K!
My favorite race spectator
Handsome guys!
  • Sunday 8/9 – 150 minutes long run

I  was still riding the high of my race the day before. I got up very early and hit the road for my long run. Despite the energy my legs were tired. I ran 14.52 miles in 2:31:40 (avg pace 10:26 min/mile)

Later in the morning Colleen, Carlos and I went for a great hike up Mt. Holyoke. The Summit House was open and they were offering a tour just as we reached the summit. It was so interesting. We learned that it used to operate as a hotel and was once the 2nd most popular tourist attraction in North America behind Niagra Falls. It was a spectacular day and the views were stunning.


Overall it was a great training week. Total mileage for the week = 41.28