Monday, July 28, 2014

Climbing Back on the Wagon

Well it's been that long again, even longer than my last hiatus. I think I need to find my balance as a blogger and figure out a realistic amount of posts to stick to. I really love posting and LOVE the feedback and interactions, but I realize that summer for more both professionally and personally is such a hectic time it's hard to fit in one more thing.

On top of my normal crazy trial schedule during the summer, this year I actually got picked to serve on a jury, which set me back by a week! Last week was family vacation and well, we all know how things just get lost in the mix.

My main concern though is that my running has also taken a back seat to everything else. I know that I can get back on the horse, I just need to get myself out there consistently for the next two weeks.

I will let you know how it goes. I'm planning on trying to participate in the WOW and Friday-Five link-ups that I love so much, so you should see something again from me shortly!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WOW Link-up: How Does Speed Work Help You?

Well it's been way to long since I joined the awesome Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club,  Sheila @ The Frugal ExerciserAmanda @ Eat Hard Work HardNatalie @ Clean Eating Teen and Jenn @ Come Back Momma for the fabulous Work Out Wednesday link-up!! But I'm back and ready to join the party.

Please check out these ladies great blogs and others you see on the link-up. It's a great way to share, learn and support!

Today's topic I'm writing about is speed work and how it helps. I  am relatively new to speed work, but can honestly say that in the 4 weeks I've been doing speed work, I've had two PR's in the two races I've run in that time (5k and 10k)

Speed work or sprint training is generally defined as short high-intensity intervals usually run at a pace much faster than that of runs of longer distances.

I've recently availed myself of the Big River Running summer speed work sessions where each week is a different speed work out divided into groups based upon a 5k goal time.

We've done ladders, 400 repeats, 600 repeats and a mile time trial. All of them have felt to be beneficial and honestly really fun! It has been a long time since I ran all-out on a track and just left every single thing I had right there. So other than having fun, what is the real benefit?

A 2005 study out of McMaster University in Canada tested 8 fit cyclists during 6 sprint training sessions to see what the benefit, if any, of sprint training was for these endurance athletes. The following summarize the results:

The cyclists showed a significant increase in muscular markers for storing and processing fuel during exercise.
No change in their VO2 max, the amount of oxygen they used during exercise.
Performance of the cyclists in a ride-to-exhaustion improved dramatically as well, moving from 26 minutes until exhaustion to 51 minutes.1

So the oxygen consumption during exercise didn't change, but efficiency for fuel storage and exhaustion levels did increase, quite significantly. These seems to indicate that the benefit is more from an efficiency in muscle usage rather than cardiovascular endurance, which is what is strengthened during longer training runs.

This increase in efficiency is from an increased level of a protein called MTC1 which is produced during sprint training. This protein helps move lactic acid from less-stressed areas to the legs in order to replenish energy stores during longer training runs.

So there's the science behind it, however there's also a mental aspect that I feel is beneficial. Once you get out there and are running fast and it doesn't kill kind of feels great. No I cannot sustain sprint pace over a large amount of distance, but I have found that I've been pushing myself to go just a little bit faster each time.

I highly encourage you to start incorporating speed workouts into your training. If you're not sure where to start, I would suggest the following possibilities:


1. Burgomaster, K. A.; Hughes, S. C.; Heigenhauser, G. J. F.; Bradwell, S. N.; Gibala, M. J., Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology 2005, 98, 1985-1990.
Do you sprint? Do you do your sprint workouts with groups or individually?
Happy Running!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Five: 5 Reasons Running in Summer Can Be Awesome!

Hi all! So I'm linking up again with Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC (congrats on your big day lady!), Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @ You Signed Up for What?! for their Friday Five link-up. Please check out their awesome blogs as well as others you find on the link-up!

I love this particular link-up because it's free form but encourages you to really think through a particular topic. I decided to do 5 reasons that running in summer can be awesome. If you're like me and live in a place where the summer heat and humidity can be oppressive, to put it mildly, then you're constantly bemoaning the summer running weather. So I thought we should talk about what's good about running in the summer!

1) No More Layers!

Sometimes it is great to get out and run without looking like the Michelin man! This past winter was hard on almost the entire country which meant tights, gloves, hats, scarves, extra socks and the like. It can be pretty miserable to have to put this much effort into dressing for a run...not to mention that almost nothing can make you avoid that "chilled to the bone" feeling you have when you return. Now we are firmly in the shorts n' tanks running weather (or if you're a lot braver than me shorts n' sports bra) and it feel great! So celebrate the fact that your summer running gear weigh ounces rather than pounds!

2) Pools!

Well water of any type will do, but there's nothing better than jumping into a nice pool, lake, ocean, etc. after a nice long run! In the winter all I want to do is get back inside and into a hot shower and under a blanket, but in the summer, dive on in!

3) Post-run Patio Brunch!

If you haven't done this yet, then it is now your weekend must! If you're like me, you typically do your longer runs on the weekend. One of the best ways to celebrate that accomplishment is to change into some flip-flops, find a casual brunch spot with a patio and get yourself a Mimosa (or Bloody Mary if that's more your style)!

4) Sweating It Out!

Now I sweat plenty when I run during the winter, however something about sweating under the sun in the summer with not much between you and the elements feels like I'm really getting back to basics and just running like Pheidippides did back in tehe day!

5) Let There Be Light!

I will admit that when we get to mid-July and August there are times when I will wake early or go to bed late in order to avoid running in the sun; however for the most part it is nice to be able to get your run in during daylight hours. In the winter that's rarely possible for me with my work hours, so I relish the times I'm able to do it.

So there you have it folks, 5 reasons why running in summer isn't so bad at all! Have a great weekend and hit the road!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Brave New Route: My Jost Running Adventure

As you may have seen from my previous post, I am a guest blogger for Jost Running. If you are not familiar with Jost Running, it is a mother-daughter team who hosts virtual races each month with a percentage of the registration fee going to a designated charity. You choose your race distances (5k, 10k, 1/2 or full-marathon), register and complete your race within the designated time period. You receive some really cool medals as a result, all while helping charity and participating in a fun virtual race that inspires you to challenge yourself.

One of the things I like the most about working with Jost is that they focus on just getting out there and moving rather than distance, pace, finish times, etc. They do not even require that you run all the miles, just that you log them in. I think this is great for people who may have mobility issues that prevent them from running distances and therefore feel left out of race experiences and also great for encouraging people to explore a variety of different fitness options.

The Brave New Route theme was well-timed for me as I had an upcoming trip to Door County, Wisconsin where I was already slated to participate in a 10k and was planning on doing a variety of other activities to log some miles as well!

Door County is an active vacationers paradise with endless biking, hiking, kayaking, running, etc. opportunities all throughout the peninsula. My husband and I were lucky enough to have our wedding there just about 7 years ago and we try to get back at least once per year to enjoy the beauty and relaxation it offers.

I have a ton of pics from the weekend that I was hoping to share, but alas Blogger does not seem to be working in conjunction with my photos right now, so you're going to have to make do with the ones from my phone!

Finish line pic of me and Joe after the 10k. As you can see the start/finish line was the beautiful shore line of Lake Michigan. What was crazy is that the route winded it's way inland a bit over the course of the 6 miles and we had a 20ish degree temperature increase along the way! That was not fun, especially as the first three miles were pretty much one long hill. However finishing with that site in the background and the cool lake breeze was awesome! Not to mention I earned myself a nice little PR at 61:43!

Took these while trekking around the peninsula in the Village of Ephraim; the weather was just absolutely perfect!

All in all it was just an amazing weekend and I'm so excited that I earned my Jost Running medal while doing so. It's a wonderful organization and I'm proud to be a part of it!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekly Chase and new Jost Running update!

After a three-week blogging hiatus with my work schedule going crazy, I am ready to get back into the swing of things. I thought a great way to do that would be to once again participate in the Weekly Chase hosted by the awesome Road Runner Girl and Ask Miss Molly! The point is to inspire yourself by putting your goals in print. It's a great way to ensure accountability.

Since I did not participate last week I don't have progress to report on goals so I'm just going to put my new goals out there.

Goal #1- Get all my running in this week. I'm in a bridge training program that is keeping me on-task before my fall half-marathon training program begins in June. This includes speed work, shorter maintenance runs and a long weekend run. For the most part sticking to this isn't difficult for me but I HAVE to get out early for the long weekend runs. Summer in St. Louis is just not conducive to running at any other time than early in the AM. This past Saturday I didn't get out until 11 as I had errands and things to do early and I could only do 4 out of my planned 7 miles because it was almost 90 with 87% humidity and the blazing sun. I get up early so I need to get out there early!

Goal #2- Blog! I have a few blog posts I need to write about my awesome Jost Running "Brave New Route" adventure and a review of my awesome Bio Skin calf sleeves. My goal is to do them both this week.

Goal #3- Strength train! I've been good with my running and cardio in general (I do at least one spin class per week in addition to running) but my strength training has suffered in the past few weeks. Have to hit up the kettle bells!

Goal #4- Track my points. My weight has not gone up (in fact I was down a pound since my last weigh-in) but I haven't been tracking or attending WW meetings for the past month and that needs to change ASAP. I want to lose another 7 lbs. before my July vacation, so I have about 6 weeks to do so, which is doable if I track.

That's about it for now...I'll let you know how it goes next week.

Jost Running and Girls on the Run

I am lucky enough to be a guest blogger for Jost Running for the summer months and yesterday they shared their commercial for their new Girls on the Run virtual race. This is a race that will be supporting the San Diego Chapter of GOTR. I am especially enthusiastic that Jost is teaming up with GOTR as it is something I'm really passionate about. If you've read my blog previously you know that I am on the Board of Directors at an urban charter school here in St. Louis. I am happy to announce that my bid to get a GOTR site at our school was accepted and we are in for the Fall I'm double happy to share this commercial with you as GOTR is an organization that I think can make a huge difference for girls in our communities.

Girls on the Run-Jost Running

Thanks for reading all and stay tuned for more!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Sound of Crickets

Well, three weeks is clearly too long to go without posting and I hope that it doesn't happen again.

Unfortunately in the past three weeks I have had my first continuing legal education presentation and a major trial for which I was the solo attorney. Needless to say it was hectic and left me little time to post or follow the blogs that I love!

The one thing I have stayed consistent with is my running however. Since my last post I have run the Girls on the Run St. Louis 5k with my niece. Since it's a celebration run and I wanted to do it with my niece it was really just a fun run and I had a great time. It's so inspiring to see young girls enthusiastic about running.

I also did the Bark in the Park 5k and scored a PR!! I was incredibly excited with my time of 28:40 as I had not yet broken the under 30 mark on a 5k. I ran with my much taller and much faster brother and his very fast dog, so I was inspired to keep up and really push myself. I felt great after that. My results on the race website didn't come through :( but I crossed the finish line with my brother, so I'm posting his results since they're the same as mine!

I also have begun group speed work in training for my fall half-marathon and I really can say that it has already helped in the three weeks I've been doing it (see above for the 5k).

Finally, I ran a 10k this past weekend on our trip to Door County, WI. I am doing a separate post about this trip as I earned my Jost Running "Brave New Route" 1/2 Marathon medal while there and I want to tell you all about it! Expect to see that tomorrow!

Sorry to type and run but I just wanted to get something out there to get me back in the groove of posting and Blogger is being weird!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I'm a "Featured Runner"!!

Hi all, just wanted to invite you over to Maria's awesome blog Lil Mys Ninja where I am the Tuesday Featured Runner!!

Thanks again to Maria for featuring lil' ol' me!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Energybits and my new 6 mile PR:#Bestfoot Link-up

Happy Monday! I am again participating in the #bestfoot link-up hosted by the awesome Run to the Finish, Darwinian Fail and Sweetlife Ericka. Each Monday we share how we put our #bestfoot forward last week. Please stop by the host blogs and check them out!

Energybits and a new PR!

After some social media communications, I was offered a free sample of Energybits to try in exchange for my review of the product. I did not receive any other compensation in exchange for my review and all opinions are my own.

I typically do my long runs on Saturday mornings and this past Saturday was no exception. However I had to do the run even earlier than I typically do as we were going on a day-trip with my mother-in-law and had to pick her up and hit the road by 8 A.M.

I thought this was be a good test for the Energybits as I really needed energy to make it through that long run and then drive 3 hours without a lot of time for relaxation or recovery (*I still did stretching/rolling before heading out on the can't skip that!).

Energybits are unique in that they look like a supplement as they come in a small pill form, however they are NOT a supplement OR a pill. They are FOOD. They are made from 100%  spirulina algae, which contains the highest concentration of protein over any other food in the world and they have one calorie per tablet. They have been hailed as one of the "world's greatest superfoods" by NASA, the IHO and the UN. Apparently the rest of the world has figured this out, but here in America we are a bit behind on the algae front.

                                                Pic courtesy of

I think one of the things that I've seen other exclaim about the most is that the recommended serving size is 30 tablets and if you are still not wrapping your mind around the fact that it is FOOD not a supplement, it seems odd. But, as the website states, think of it like having almonds, you're not going to have just one and expect that to do the trick, you need a handful. It's the same with Energybits as they're also food.

I took the recommended 30 tablets (just swallow with a glass of water, no need to chew!) and headed off to the park where I have been doing a 6 mile loop. I have to say that I noticed an immediate difference in how I felt and my energy levels. Normally I'm someone who takes a good two miles to really feel like I'm in the run, but it wasn't so this time. I felt great at the beginning and strong throughout. Lo and behold when I looked at my splits after...I had a new PR for this 5:25!

I also managed two miles under 10 minutes without sacrificing the other 4, so I felt pretty awesome about that.

One of the other noticeable difference was how I felt afterwards. My general soreness was markedly decreased and I didn't feel a dip in my energy levels a few hours post-run which tends to happen to me. However the biggest thing was that I didn't feel hunger until lunchtime and my only breakfast had been the Energybits!

I am not a starve yourself person by any stretch of the imagination, but I also know that runners often feel a hunger and consume calories that are disproportionate to the actual amount of energy expended. Having such a pure protein source allowed me to avoid that.

All in all, I feel like I put my #bestfoot forward this past week (with the help of Energybits) with my new PR!

Keep checking back as I should have an Energybits giveaway coming to the blog shortly!

What was your #bestfoot this week?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Five: 5 Things I Love About Spinning

Once again, I am participating in the Friday Five Link-up hosted by the fantastic ladies behind Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up for What?! and Mar on the Run. Please visit these awesome blogs to find out what 5 things these ladies are loving on this fine Friday!

5 Things I Love About Spinning!

Even before I got back into running following my long hiatus after college, I was spinning regularly. Spinning class is my cross-training activity of choice and although running has become my focus, spinning is just as important in my weekly routine. Here are five things I love about it:

1- Cycling Without Thinking!

I know this sounds weird but if you hit the road on your bike you need to worry about several things including weather, equipment failure, road safety and preparation for possibly being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Spinning allows for you to turn off those worries and just zone out on the bike, focusing on the ride and giving it your all.

2-No Impact!

Those of you who also run understand that all the strength training, stretching, yoga and foam rolling in the world does not change the fact that sometimes you just have aches and pains from running on pavement. I mean you're basically flying through the air then landing over and over again for miles upon end, which is actually super awesome. However, I feel that it is incredibly important to incorporate low and no impact cardio and cross-training work whenever possible. Don't get me wrong, spinning can hurt if you gear incorrectly or do too much, however it's a great way to get a challenging workout without the pounding!


I run with music or podcasts, I just like having something in the background, but spinning to music is really different as spin classes are designed to have the beat of the song play a part in the actual workout. I love different classes with different music themes and songs I never even thought of for a running playlist but work really well in spin class! A long, winding hill to some inspiring Celtic instrumentals, jumps to Broadway tunes, fast flats to classic rock...yes please!


I love jumps during spin class, it's a great way to get the heart rate going and to really work on your core while on the bike. My usual instructor is awesome about incorporating a lot of jumps into her classes and I love how the sweat really starts to pour on those songs.

5-Combo Classes!

Spinning is a great combo class component. The spin studio I go to has a variety of spin/other class options with a 45-60 minute spin and a 15-30 minute "other" component. Some of my favorites are Spin/Core, Spin/Yoga and Spin/Fitball. If you've never tried one of these classes, I would highly recommend seeking one out in your area, they're an amazing total body workout!

Do you spin? If so do you love it?
What are you favorite cross-training activities?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why Running and Volunteering Go Hand-in-Hand-WOW Link-up

I am again participating in the WOW (Workout Wednesday) link-up hosted by the awesome ladies at Femme Fitale Fit Club, The Frugal Exerciser, Work Hard Eat Hard and Mean Green Clean Eating Teen. This link-up is designed for link-minded bloggers who are focused on wellness to link up and share stories and ideas. Please check out the great blogs in the links above!

Why Running and Volunteering Go Hand-in-Hand

As runners, we are routinely putting ourselves out in the community in a way that isn't that typical these days. We hit the streets routinely, traversing our neighborhoods and our cities on foot while many people are whizzing by in their cars, never really taking it all in.

We also participate in races that often wind through downtown, historic districts, large parks and other areas that host cities like to showcase. Through our running we can see the best and the worst our communities have to offer.

We get to see our parks at their best with freshly mowed lawns, blooming flowers, bubbling fountains and clean paths. We have races that take us past beautiful museums, bustling waterfronts, sprawling universities and all the other wonderful sights there are to be seen in any given area. When I see these things in their glory, it makes me appreciate them even more and makes me want to keep them that way. I want to be a supporter of these parks and museums and schools, because I both use them as a resident of our City and I feel pride when they are showcased for others to see. I know they make my city a better place to live.

The flipside of this is that we also see some things that other people in the community don't see because they're not on the ground daily like we are. That dog that is always on a chain, the local school with broken windows or broken play equipment, the kids who have nowhere to go after school, the stop sign near the park where you run that people blow through on a regular basis. We see all those things.

So what does this mean? To me it means that runners are uniquely positioned to identify the best things about their community that they want to ensure remain and the things that could be made better with change.

Runners are doers. They are the people who have a focused goal and just get up and get on with it, despite what is going on in their life. Runners are needed in their community to bring this focus to the issues that need it most because runners always find a way.

I'm sure you've often seen the hashtag #ifeverybodyran. This would be an amazing thing to achieve, to have everyone out there working toward a common goal. I also think that #whatifeveryrunnervolunteered would be a an equally amazing thing. To give credit I think that MANY runners already do volunteer in their community, but if you haven't because you don't know what to do, consider the following:

Volunteer as a coach with Girls on the Run or start a site at your local school
Start a running buddies program at a local animal rescue or shelter (our largest rescue Stray Rescue of St. Louis does this where volunteers run with shelter dogs in conjunction for training for races!)
Volunteer at a race
Sign up to help clean up at your local park
Conduct neighborhood safety meetings
Ask your local school if they need volunteers for after-school activities (especially focusing on health and fitness)

The options are endless! Thanks for reading

How do you volunteer?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Conquering THE Hill-#bestfoot

Just like last Monday, I am participating in the #bestfoot Monday link-up hosted by the awesome ladies at  Run to the Finish, Sweet Life Ericka and Darwinian Fail. Please check out their blogs as well as the other linkers!

Most runners I know have "a hill". This is a hill that you study and ponder but don't quite feel ready to face. I actually have two of these hills that I think to myself when driving them "I'm going to get you one day."

Well, this past weekend, I officially ticked one of them off my list. I have been running my long (6 miles right now) runs in Forest Park, which is about 2 miles from my house. Forest Park is a HUGE urban park (bigger than Central Park) and is a really amazing benefit of living in St. Louis. There is an incredible amount of things to do and see there, so running it is always a new experience.

One of the best parts, for a runner, is the fact that there is a foot path for walkers/runners that circumnavigates the entire park, forming a nice 5.66 mile loop. Normally I begin running south from my preferred starting point so to avoid "the Hill" which is the western edge of the park along Skinker Blvd. It has a climb of about 219 feet in .7 miles. I know that's not huge but it is a long constant hill. I decided that this Saturday, I was instead going to begin my run north and face it.

The start of the run was good, but we are quickly moving away from ideal running temps here into hot/humid conditions, even fairly early in the morning. I could really feel it on the run as it seemed like the sun was much hotter and the air was thicker...and it's only April, it's just going to get worse!

By the time I got to the hill I felt ready for it and just plowed on ahead. As I was running it I reached three separate times when I thought I was "at the top" but forgot about "one last turn". I kept reminding myself that I wasn't worried about maintaining pace (which would be crazy) but only with maintaining effort. By the time I finished it I was SO happy for it to be over and also really feeling drained.

It made me realize that with the increased temps, I really am going to need to start hydrating on my runs, even ones that are only an hour. I probably made it for another 3/4 of a mile after reaching the top before I did something that I haven't done on a run in well over a year...I stopped to walk. I know many people are fans of walk/run intervals and I think they're great for those for whom they work. For me, I've always found that it's that much harder for me to start running again if I stop to walk and it's just not been my thing (this could change when/if I start training for a full marathon). I only walked about 20 seconds or so and then got back to it.

However the second half of my run was just bad pace wise, I had forgotten that after "the hill" the back half of the park consists of quite a few rolling hills, and I ran over 11 minute miles, which is slower than I've been doing lately. Overall I was not happy with the run. I didn't like slowing, I didn't like having to walk, and I was super annoyed that my hat blew off twice (I hate distractions like that). So why in the world am I including this for #bestfoot? I'm including it because I beat the hill, even though it took its toll. I faced something that had been a fear of mine and lived to tell the tale. It wasn't a great run, but that's just the way it crumbles sometimes. I'm still proud of myself for doing it and ready to face it again!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WOW Link-up-Happy Heart 5k

I seem to have gone a bit link-up crazy lately, but as a new blogger I think it's a great way to interact with other bloggers and to share tips, ideas, stories and inspiration so here I go again!

The awesome ladies at Femme Fitale Fit Club, The Frugal Exerciser, Eat Hard Work Hard and Mean, Green, Clean Eating Teen are hosting a Workout Wednesday (WOW) link-up to connect like minded bloggers to link their posts on fitness, healthy eating and general wellness. I like the idea that this link-up is open to a variety of ideas and topics!

Happy Heart 5k-

This morning I participated in the Happy Heart Virtual 5k to support Krysten at Darwinian Fail. Krysten is a great blogger who has overcome a variety of health issues, including a rare heart arrhythmia, to live a fit and healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately Krysten lost her dad at the age of 61 to a heart attack and is raising money for the Happy Heart Project to benefit the Heart and Stroke Foundation. If you would like to participate or learn more, please click the link to her blog above!

Every day that we, as runners, get to lace up our shoes and hit the streets or the treadmill is a gift. We often take for granted the health that we have that allows us to pursue our chosen athletic and fitness endeavors. Some people will never have the opportunity to walk, run, or anything else that some of us do without even thinking about, we are lucky.

When you do your run, bike, swim, spin, weights, walk, yoga or whatever it is you love to do today, please take a minute to remember those who cannot do the same and add a little extra gratitude and purpose to what you are doing!!

Have you had to overcome health issues to reach your fitness goals?
What can we do to be more grateful for the gift of health?


I've been participating in the #FFaprilabs Plank-a-Day challenge from Fit Fluential. I've been posting my times on Twitter and Instagram and I'm pretty pleased with my progress. Over the course of April, I've gone from holding it for a minute to a minute and a half, and got to two minutes earlier this week. While it doesn't seem like a lot, I'm happy with a 50% improvement on average and a 100% improvement every now and then! I did have some wrist issues yesterday that made me stop at 1:30, so I really need to focus on form over just trying to hit a certain time at any cost. The last thing I want is a plank injury!!

What do you do to improve your planking form?
Do you have a planking goal?

Thanks for reading and please remember to check out the blogs of the link-up hosts!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

#Bestfoot Link-up

Hi all,
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! The weather here was gorgeous which allowed for a lot of outdoor activity including a 6 mile run on Saturday around Forest Park (biggest urban park in the country).

Today I'm joining the #Bestfoot link-up hosted by Run to the Finish, Darwinian Fail and Sweet Life Ericka ...three awesome blogs that you should really check out.

#bestfoot is about keeping yourself accountable and writing about how you put your best foot forward the week prior to keep your progress moving forward.

As anyone who has read this blog before knows, while I'm not new to the world of running, I'm new to the world of racing, training, etc. I am running my first half-marathon in October with a goal on eventually running a full marathon sometime in the future.

In order to start my progress toward my half-marathon, I know that I need to increase my weekly mileage totals. Right now I'm not too focused on pace, just on building my endurance.

This week, I put my #bestfoot forward by increasing one of my weekly runs by 2 miles and rolling/stretching daily. I know in the grand scheme of things adding 2 miles to one run isn't a huge deal, however this move is designed to help me transition my weekday "short runs" from my typical three miles into something more, thereby allowing me to get to a place where I can increase my weekend long run more significantly.

So on my Thursday run instead of 3 miles, I did 5 and I felt great! I then did another 6 on Saturday, brining my weekly total to 20 miles. This is my highest weekly mileage to date, and my goal is to replicate that for the next two weeks or so before increasing it slightly again.

So how did you put your #bestfoot forward this week?

PS-Congratulations to all those who ran Boston today and to those volunteering and cheering them on. I watched the coverage of the elites and now have the live feed camera on to watch two of my friends cross the finish line!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Five Link-up: Fitness Goals

Happy Friday all and Happy Holidays to those that are celebrating a holiday!

I participated for the first time last week in the Friday Five Link-up hosted by You Signed Up for What?!, Eat Pray Run, DC and Mar On the Run. Thank you ladies for hosting this link-up and for giving us great ideas each week!

This week is 5 Fitness Goals. This was a great one and really got me to focus on my fitness goals are in general and for the immediate future. So without further adieu, here they are:

1- Complete My First Half-Marathon

I am registered for the Rock n' Roll St. Louis Half-Marathon on October 19th and I'm incredibly excited for it. Last year I went and cheered on some of my friends and sister-in-law who were all running and wondered, "When are you going to get there?" At that point I was just running 3 miles a few times a week and had a few 5ks under my belt with no real specific plans for more. After my first runDisney event a few weeks later, the race bug had taken full hold. So now here I sit with a few more 5ks, a 6k, a 5 miler, a marathon relay and a 10k under my belt and I'm feeling good about this goal!

2- Get My Pacing Correct

I run about 10 minute miles. During my leg of the marathon relay, I ran 9:36 or under for the first 3 miles, but that's the most I've ever done at that pace. The thing is whether I'm tracking myself or not, that seems to be my pace and truth be told, I think I can run faster. I feel like I just have too much left over at the end of some of my runs. I know training runs are not supposed to be difficult, but I feel like I'm just kind of hanging in this space where I could be doing more. Last night I ended a 5-miler with a pretty steep hill. While it was awesome to feel so good finishing 5 miles, I know I should probably have left more out there. I'm not going to do anything about this until I meet with my new running coach (yay!) on May 6th. I do not want to assume anything and would rather go with what he prescribes after talking about goals and watching me run, etc.

3- Hold a Steady Plank for 2 Minutes

I know this seems like a small one, but I'm currently participating in the #plankaday challenge on Instagram and increasing my hold time is not going as fast as I'd like. I'm finding it's taking me a few days to hold 5 more seconds. I'd like to get to the place where I'm holding a plank for at least 2 minutes, steadily and with good form...which will hopefully be helped by my next goal-

4- Backin' it Up!

I, like so many others, do not focus nearly enough on my back strength and conditioning. It's so stupid considering it's the thing holding the rest of me together! When focusing on core strength, I tend to focus too much on ab work and throwing a few Supermans (Superman's...Supermen...who knows) in just for good measure, but I know to really achieve a strong core, it's all in the back!

5- Just Breathe

During my awesome runs I don't even notice my breathing too much because I am just in the zone and doing everything I need to be doing without doing a mental checklist. But I'll admit that as a new-ish runner there are times where I know that my breathing is off and that I should be more focused on getting it in line. I know I'll be a more effective runner with proper breathing so it's something I really want to work on as I move towards my half-marathon. This is also something I plan on addressing with my running coach.

Thanks for reading and have a GREAT weekend...hope Spring has sprung wherever you are...unless I randomly have some Southern Hemisphere readers then I hope that the Fall is treating you well!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekly Chase Link-up

Mindy over at the awesome Road Runner Girl has a weekly link-up entitled the Weekly Chase where you post your goals for the week just to give you a little added accountability ;)

This is my first time doing this, so I don't have goals to report on from last week, but here are my 5 for this week:

Goal #1- Get 20 miles of running in...this will be a slight increase to my weekly mileage, but I think it's a good aim as I move towards upcoming 10ks, 15ks, 10 miler and 1/2!

Goal #2-Roll and stretch daily. I'm haven't been good at developing a stretching routine so I used one that I found on Amazon Prime Instant Video called Ultimate Flexibility. It was a good one and has three different levels for differing levels of flexibility. (side note...I finally convinced Joe to roll yesterday and later in the day he said, "I didn't want to admit this earlier but my calf feels like 110% better..LOL!)

Goal #3-Do at least one day of yoga. I have done yoga in the past but really felt like I could not get out of my own head enough for it to be effective (if that makes sense). However, I know my running will likely improve with regular yoga since it focuses on flexibility and breathing.

Goal #4- Get at least three strength training session in. I'm obsessed with kettlebells so my goal is to get at leas three kettlebell workouts in at some point (I've even been known to bring them into my office!)

Goal #5- Eat salmon at least once. I know this seems like a crazy simplistic goal, but the truth is that while I don't hate salmon, I'm not a fan of fishy tasting fish. I know the health benefits are so high and I know that it's likely something that I'll love once I find different and interesting ways to cook/pair it.

What are you goals for the week??

I'll check back in next Monday to let you know how I did and what I'm working on for that week!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Five-Transitioning from Neighborhood Jogs to Races

So since I'm new to blogging this is my first "Friday Five" and my first blog link-up. I apologize profusely if I did something wrong in the linking or the mentioning, but I am so appreciate of  You Signed Up for What?! Mar on the Run! and Eat Pray Run DC for hosting!

Since it's a "free" Friday and we can choose our Friday Five, I've decided to go with my five tips for runners who are transitioning from running around their neighborhood to participating in races with the goal to challenge their endurance and speed.

1- Find a Group!

As we all know most of our life's big goals are best accomplished when we have someone alongside us who wants to achieve the same thing. The mutual support and accountability can be invaluable. Local running stores, running clubs, MeetUp groups, etc. are all great options. I have recently started the Women's Running Series at Big River Running in addition to attending some of their group run. This has been a great experience and I've met some awesome ladies who invited me to run with them. I'll be joining their half-marathon training program in July which is free!

                                                    Yoga at our first session of Women's Running Series

2-Get the Right Shoes!

There are A LOT of cute "running shoes" out on the market right now and it can be so tempting to buy ones that are your favorite color or look. When I first started running consistently a few years ago I threw on whatever athletic shoes I had at the time. Most of the time these were cross-trainers and not designed for running. I would often end up with an injury a few weeks in and I know having improper shoes played a large role in that. Once I was fitted it made all the difference
 A store specializing in running will fit you for the proper shoes by analyzing your gait, build and a variety of other factors. However if you feel like you're being pressured or upsold, you don't have to buy whatever they tell you! While giving them your business is good if you feel comfortable, you can certainly utilize the information they gave you about your needs and take time to weigh the options.

                                         Even the property fitted shoes come in cute colors!

3-Slow Your Roll!

I think for any person who is just thinking about making the jump from running a lap around their neighborhood once a week whose goal is to compete in a distance race, a 5k is the absolute best place to start. You can have ideas in the back of your head of getting to Boston someday, but focusing on the more manageable goal of a 5k is a great way to get bitten by the race buy. First it's a manageable distance that people with baseline running levels can complete with a non-intrusive training program. Secondly the atmosphere at most 5ks is that of a casual and fun environment which is a great way to introduce yourself to racing. Starting with the ever-popular Couch 2 5k program is a great way to get used to running consistently multiple days per week and really does give you the base for moving onto longer distances.

                                                    One of my first 5ks!

4-Run Outside!

Now I know a lot of you love your treadmills and that they can be necessary in certain weather and I'm not advocating of never using a treadmill under any circumstance. However, for me, one of the greatest joys of running is being outside and just being out there, in your neighborhood or on a long country road, city park, field, trail, etc.

Moving around your world powered only by your own two feet is an amazing feeling. I ran to my office this morning. It's only 5 miles but it was such an amazing feeling knowing that I was doing my commute on foot. The energy from being out there is carrying me nicely through the rest of my day.

                                          Pic taken while running at Forest Park...this is what it is all about!

5-Don't Get Overwhelmed-

The running community is one of the most inclusive and encouraging group of folks and they are so supportive of anyone who wants to get out there and run. That being said when you're first starting out reading/talking about the gear, the races, the fuel, the rolling, the pacing, the tempo runs, the speedwork and all the in-between can seem SO overwhelming. Remember running is really putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, you don't need to jump into all that stuff right away to be a "runner" just need to run! Sooner or later you'll want to scratch the surface a little more as your distance increases to see what it's all about, but for now...just get out there!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Marathon Relay Recap

So this weekend was the Go! St. Louis Family Fitness Expo and Races. I participated in the marathon relay event and I just have to say that I absolutely LOVED being a part of a relay team. While my goal is to run 1/2 marathons as they seem like the distance for me, I can see myself doing the relay event at this race each year, even though it's the big spring race in St. Louis and the 1/2 here is a big one.

Being a part of the relay added a whole other level to the race and it was just fun to get to be a part of  team and have accountability to others. I was a team-sport athlete all the way through college so I think being part of a team is just something that is ingrained in me.

First things first, however was the expo! I love race expos, there is a such a great vibe and the most of the vendors there are so chatty and friendly. I had a seminar for work that was close to the expo center so I went during the lunch break to check it out. It was at Chaifetz Arena, which is the arena where St. Louis University plays their basketball games (Go Billikens!). I really liked having it in the arena there, however parking there is a nightmare! No, I don't want to pay an additional $5 to park for the expo after I've already paid my $75 entry fee...thanks very much! I chose street-parking instead, but that meant about a 3/4 mile hike in some pretty brutal wind.

The expo itself was great though, the vendors were, as mentioned above, very friendly and chatty. I got some fuel samples (Sport Beans and Gu) some Zoom Immune Booster supplements, a pacer tattoo to help you keep your pace without having to do math or have an app for it, some awesome lime-green shoe laces and a variety of coupons for local running stores and future race entries.

Of course I couldn't go and only get free stuff though, now could I?! The two big race expos in STL during the year are also the time when some of our local running stores have their best sales. I was on the lookout for a pair of Ghost 6's and wouldn't you know that I found a my size...for $85!! Score!

Love the colors and love the shoes!

I also snagged a Handana as I've been on the lookout for something like this for a while. The day before, in spin class, it was so humid that my hands were sleeping off the bike wheel and my towel fell off the bike twice. This worked really well for the race and was great at wicking away the sweat without absorbing it!

                                            image courtesy of Handana

So leaving the expo about $100 poorer, I was ready for the race!

Saturday we took it easy, I did some kettlebell work and took the dogs for a long walk to stretch out, but I didn't do any running. I had been fighting off a sinus infection all week and hadn't really decreased the exercise at all, so I thought it best just to take it easy before the race. We went to see the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the afternoon (I'd recommend it, I thought it was really good!) and then did an early birthday dinner for my mom. I had pasta primavera in a light olive oil sauce which was delish.

I hit the hay by about 8:30 to prepare me for the 5 AM wake-up call. I will have to say this was the tricky part about doing the relay when I was up, dressed and out the door before 6 AM, but not actually running until about 10:30. This made breakfast and warming up a bit tricky. I had a Greek yogurt and a cup of coffee before leaving the house then brought a banana that I had about an hour before I ran. I probably could have used a bit more food, maybe some peanut or almond butter on the banana...but overall it seemed fine.

It was pretty cold at race start (about 36) and the wind was kind of nasty. I was happy that I was the jacket Sherpa as it meant that I could wear my teammates jackets over top of my own to stay warm!

All of the relay stations were close to stops on our light-rail system, the MetroLink and travel on the link was free for race participants. So after each leg, we'd hop on over to the other one to watch our teammates in. Since I was the anchor, I was ferrying a lot of bags and the like, which also meant no pic were taking of my teammates (so bummed about that!).

When it got to my anchor leg of the race, I was so pumped that I foolishly took off like a bullet. My goal was to maintain 10 min/miles as this is a pace I'm comfortable with for 6 miles, however I did my first mile in 9:02, second in 9:19 and the third in 9:36. However after that my time began to increase and the course got hillier, my fourth, fifth and sixth miles were all over 10 with the 5th being 11:38 and basically uphill for the entire mile. Overall I ended up with a 9:54 average and I was really happy with that.

Despite the fact that we hadn't really come up with a plan for meeting, Joe managed to get to the finish line a few minutes before I arrived there and snapped some pics. I really like this one.

After the race we walked around the post-race festivities for a bit, although none of the food really appealed to me as it was all "St. Louis themed" and pretty heavy stuff. We decided to head to a local Mexican place to get some lunch and I attacked the chips with gusto and had a celebratory margarita!

I went home and rolled, stretched and iced my left knee (arthritis from an old field hockey injury) and we rented some DVDs from Red Box and got take-out from my fave Crazy Bowls and Wraps after hitting up Lowe's for some stuff we needed for spring landscaping. I made a comment to Joe that it was so funny how you reach a certain age and life is waking up early to run and spending an afternoon at Lowe's. What would our 21 year-old selves think of it?!

I had also taken off work on Monday as it was opening day for our St. Louis Cardinals (big fans over here) and we had tickets to the game in the afternoon. I was glad because my legs were still a bit sore from my too-fast first few miles of the race, so I got some much needed walking, stretching, rolling, etc. in.

The weather was rainy and cold but the festivities were still in full swing downtown and we loved taking part in it. We met some of Joe's friends at a stadium bar for a pre-game drink then headed into the stadium early to watch the Opening Day festivities. One cool thing they had were a bunch of ice sculptures to commemorate the beginning of the season and our great season last year. Kind of cool, huh?!

The Cardinals won the game and we headed home. I hit the hay early as it had been a long day out in the wind and rain but it was great nonetheless!

Have you ever done a relay, and if so did you like it?
How do you fight the urge to head out fast when the racing adrenaline is high?
Are you a sports fan? Who are your teams?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When did you decide you were "really a runner"?

I feel like this is a common theme on many of the blogs I've been reading since I decided to enter this little corner of the internet. Most of the bloggers that I'm following and admiring seem to describe an early phase in which they "didn't really feel like a runner" and "didn't think they should call themselves a runner".

Right now I'm trying to move out of that phase. I've been actively running for a few years but I just started participating in the running/racing community. For some reason this makes me feel like I shouldn't call myself a runner or that it is doing a disservice to people who have run faster and longer for me to put myself in the same category as they are. As if they are going to look at me and think, "you don't get to say that you run...only I run!" I know that's not the case and if anything, it's just the opposite! My very first group run on Monday, I met two really nice and friendly gals (I use that word a lot, I just like it better than "ladies" or "women" as gal to me kind of means "friend") who talked to me and gave me the lowdown on the group runs and invited me on another group "pub run" that is coming up in a few weeks. This was all within a few minutes of meeting them!

Last night I attended the first in a series of 4 Women's Running Clinics at my favorite local running store, which was aimed at nutrition for female runners and yoga for female runners. The content was great and I can't wait for next week where we focus on apparel (what girl doesn't love some new duds!). However I questioned myself even while sitting in a room with women of varying ages, fitness levels and the like. I still thought, "I wonder if they know that I haven't done a half-marathon yet if they would still think I belonged here." What the heck is that about?! When did I become Sally Insecurity??

I am going to try and change this mentality and have decided that my new mantra will be, "as long as you get out there and put one foot in front of the other, you're a runner."

Did you ever have trouble calling yourself a runner?
When did you decide it was ok to make the leap?
What can we do to encourage people who want to run to do so without stigma?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekend Recap-03/31/14

Well March is mostly over and I couldn't be more ready. We had a ridiculously long and cold winter here in St. Louis, which I know is a common complaint amongst most of us that live in the Midwest, North and Northeast. I am so ready for spring, however now that we're getting our first glimpse of it, I'm also getting my first round of awesome allergies (good think allergy medicine was on sale at Target this weekend). If anybody does need to stock-up on their allergy medicine, all Up & Up brands were discounted, which I combined with a Cartwheel coupon for an additional 10% off along with my RedCard 5%, so it ended up being a good deal. Just FYI.

It was a pretty good running/fitness weekend, but of course Sunday had the nicest weather and was also my strength training day so I didn't get to run in the sunshine.

On Friday evening Joe and I did the Rock n' Roll Las Vegas Kick-off Weekend Virtual 5k. We decided to hit up Tower Grove Park, one of many city parks with a nice perimeter trail and pretty scenery (think fountains, lakes, gardens and turn-of-the 20th century pavilions). I was excited to do the Virtual 5k as it was my first "virtual race" but I felt like things were working against me from the very beginning. First I was wearing some of my "bottom of the barrel shorts". We had a back-up in our drain in the laundry room, which prevented us from doing a normal laundry cycle and really limited my gear options. I felt like I was tugging at them the entire time.

Secondly, I managed to get a rock in my shoe in the first 1/2 mile which required stopping and starting...annoying. Lastly I forgot to take my phone out of its case before putting it in my armband and by the time I realized it after the warm-up walking, I was already far away from the car so decided to just shove it in there...which made it stick out of the top of the armband and therefore it kept falling forward. So...this annoying combination lead me to an average pace of 10:45 which did not make me happy.

But not every run can be a great one and at least I did the 3.1!

Saturday was SUPPOSED to be nice, sunny around 65 for a daytime high and around 50 at 8:00 AM when I typically do my weekend run. Not so much. I went to my Weight Watchers meeting at 6:30 and there was frost on the car. I foolishly told myself it would still get to 50 by run time.

It was 31 at run time, which pretty steady winds out of the North. I've run in colder (if you want to run outside in  the St. Louis winters you need to be ok with below-20 temps) but as I was anticipating sunny and 50 it just felt cold and damp and yuck. I felt like I still had a good run though and did 6 miles with an average pace of 10:09, which I was happy about. However 10:00 is what I anticipate myself running as race pace, however I've been hitting it at most of my training runs because I have it stuck in my head for some reason.

After I returned from the run Coach Charlie decided he had to get right up in my face and help me stretch...

Question to those more experienced: do you think this means I need to speed up my race pace or slow down my training runs?

This coming Sunday is the Go! St. Louis Marathon weekend, and I'll be participating in the marathon relay as part of a 4 person team. I'm really excited to participate in this event for the first time and I really like the team aspect of it...we'll see how it goes.

How was your weekend, did you race?
When do you decide to take your pace up a notch?
To slow the training or pick up the race pace...what do you think?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Compression and Gu and Rollers...oh my!

So, if you've read my first entry yesterday and the "About Me" section, you'll see that I'm not necessarily new to running, but I am a bit of a racing neophyte. Reading other runners' blogs has been so inspiring and informational but also a bit overwhelming!

There seems to be so much competing information on the right gear, training programs, fueling strategies and recovery that I feel a bit frozen as to which way to turn. I know most of it will come down to personal preference and the "what works for me" strategy, but there seem to be a million things to try!

One of my first steps into narrowing down and trying out different strategies is my upcoming participation in Big River Running's Women's Running series which is "devoted solely to the unique needs and experiences of women who run". The series of clinics focuses on running nutrition, gear, injury prevention and safety over four weeks in April. I'm really excited about it not only for the information but I think it will be a great way to meet other local runners!

I will also be going to my first Big River group run with Joe on Monday after work. My friend Jessica (whose pic is in my previous post) started with Big River's group runs and then transitioned to their marathon training program for her upcoming Boston Marathon. So proud of her! (* I am in no way affiliated with Big River and I'm not receiving anything in exchange for the mention...just giving a shout-out to a local company that I like!)

The group run route is 3 or 4 miles, you can do a second loop around the park pictured to get you the additional miles. I'm guessing I'll end up going for 4 and Joe will end up going for 3.

This week's workouts have consisted of the following:

Sunday- 5 miles in Forest Park in wind gusts of about 30 MPH out of the North, which was pretty brutal. The wind brought my average pace down to 10:42, which was frustrating.

Monday-Core Concepts and Power Sculpt classes at the gym...oh so many burpees!

Tuesday-3.5 miles around Clayton (suburban area of St. Louis) on my lunch break, got myself back down to 10 m/m pace which made me happy.

Wednesday- rest

Thursday-45 minute spin class

Friday- Virtual 5k for Las Vegas Rock n' Roll Marathon Kickoff Night Run with Joe. St. Louis isn't hosting a run, so we're doing the virtual option. Hey, we could win entry to the race in Vegas, so why not?

Saturday- Doing the Forest Park perimeter loop which will be my last long-ish run before the Go! St. Louis Marathon Relay next week. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful park so close to our house, it's got an amazing zoo, History Museum, Art Museum, Science Center, outdoor theater, miles of trails, lakes, etc. and all the attractions are FREE!!

Here's a shot of the lovely Forest Park I took while on a run last fall. That is the famous Art Hill, where people head to sled when it snows and the Art Museum looking over the Grand Basin.

Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a great weekend and the Spring has sprung wherever you may be.

Food for thought:
What is your go-to fuel on long runs?
What is the distance at which you think you need to carry water?
What is the one running-related item you cannot live without?


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Here we go...the year of the race.

Well, I told my husband I was actually going to do this, so here I am! I've done the "About Me" page to give an overview of myself but I realize that as a result of my blog title, people may assume that my name is Jaynie/Janie. It is actually Jayne and the only person that calls me Jaynie is my grandmother. I'll answer to pretty much anything though (within reason).

One of the main reasons I wanted to start this blog was to keep motivated toward my goal of 10 races this year. I've completed two so far and have 4 more that I'm registered for, so I will need to add a few more to get to goal, and I already have some in mind.

The year started off with the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge Run here in St. Louis. It was a run to open a new bridge over the Mississippi River that was awesomely named for Stan "The Man" Musial, a long-time Cardinal great/Hall of Famer and hometown hero. His number was 6, so the race was a 6k in honor of that number. It took place on February 8th, and even though the race time temperature was 14 with crazy wind chills, it was so much fun.

Unlike a lot of annual races, this was a one-time only opportunity. A few hours after the race was over, the bridge was open to traffic and became part of the interstate little feet to ever pound over its lanes again ( really shouldn't run on interstate bridges). Plus the race started in Missouri and ran into I basically ran from one state to another (that counts as something, right?).

I am in literally 0 of the pics they have tagged on the race result site (apparently they thought A LOT of different people were me, of varying heights and genders) so I don't have any fun "action shots" to post but Joe (my awesome husband who ran with me) did snap this one on the bridge (oh yeah, it had snowed that morning too!)

I finished the race at 37:37 which is right about a 10 minute mile as a 6k is 3.7. I was pretty happy with that time as I've picked up some speed over the last year or so and being right around 10 feels good for me right now.

Two weeks ago was the St. Patrick's Day Parade Run in downtown St. Louis, which is a 5-mile race that precedes the parade along the route. This one is really awesome as the parade spectators are mostly already out and they are awesome cheerleaders (it might be because of the tendency of the spectators to have an early morning adult beverage or two, but hey...cheering is cheering).

This also randomly happens to be the largest 5-mile race in the country with over 20,000 runners (some of who pull a keg with them). It was a great time and I ran it in 51:13, which is just over 10 minute miles. It was significantly better weather than the February race, but it got pretty warm toward the end, into the 70s by parade time!

Before the start with two of my gal pals, Jessica to the far left (who is running the Boston Marathon in a few weeks) and Shannon

Next up for me will be the Go! St. Louis Marathon weekend on April 6th where I will be participating on a marathon relay team with my friend Courtney and two of her cousins. This will be my first relay and I'm really excited to be part of a team event like this, although I hear logistics getting from one leg to another can be a bit annoying when you want to support your other team members.

Here's a copy of the course Go! sent out to the runners, I can't decide which leg I'd prefer as the shorter legs are the hillier ones...of course.

After that one is the Girls on the Run 5k during which I'll be supporting my niece who is running it for the second proud of her! Here's a pic from last year's race.

Over Memorial Day Weekend Joe and I will be heading to Door County, WI for a long weekend. This is where we were married about 6.5 years ago and we try to get back there for long weekends when possible. Not only do we love it, it's a great place to take the dogs! While there we've decided to run the Jacksonport Maifest 10k, which looks to be a really scenic run in and around Lake Michigan.

The jewel in my race crown this year, however, is the runDisney Tower of Terror 10 Miler on October 4th. This is the race that I knew I wanted to do as soon as the race bug bit me. Joe and I are both signed up and pumped for it. I'm a bit nervous as it's a night race and it will likely be pretty warm (not that STL doesn't get ridiculously hot, just not typically during race seasons) but the excitement far outweighs the nerves. This is NOT a race pic but just to give you a sense of our love for's us at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in 2012. We typically make it to Disney twice per year and LOVE it!

In July, I'll be joining a local running store's 1/2 Marathon training program to prepare myself for the 10 miler and hopefully the Rock n' Roll Half-Marathon that will be taking place in St. Louis in late October. I've cheered on friends there before and it seems like a really great first half-marathon.

I'll fill in with some other races, but that's what's on the books for now! Ok, that's a really long first post, hopefully you made it all the way through, I promise to try and be less wordy in the future.

I'd really appreciate comments and feed back! To get the conversation started:
What races are you looking forward to this year?
Have you ever run a Disney race?
Have you ever run a night race and if so, how did you modify your training?