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So…Moving on :)

22 Aug

My good intentions have not been so great at keeping up on this so I’m hoping to throw a bunch of race recaps out her interspersed with some …you know…life kind of stuff!!

So back in April, after the Hershey 10K and my make-up WDW half, I only had one more 5K on my schedule – it is one I started doing a few years ago. MahoneySabol 5K.

This 5K is kind of the kick-off event for the Traveler’s Championship, a PGA tour that I have volunteered at for 9 years now!  It is run out at the golf course and is really a fun, family friendly event!

Stormtroopers make good parking lot attendants….

It’s a bit of a late starter – usually 11 am- which is a nice change. Sponsors are Mahoney Sabol & Company, a regional , tax, assurance, and business advisory firm, and Traveler’s Insurance. Partners  include Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Bears BBQ (my favorite!), Dunkin Donuts (another fave!), and Two Roads Brewery among others.

The tents with all the goodies….and The First Tee of Connecticut building

Dunkin is there with a hearty breakfast of jelly donuts and coffee as well as bagels if you’re into that kind of thing! And at the finish line Bear’s provides a delicious sandwich that you can wash down with Two Roads IPA!

The course starts and ends at the TPC River Highlands and has it’s nice moments and it’s meh moments! There is a small part of running around the golf course itself (not through!) and a nice residential area. The meh comes in the form of a little less than a mile on the main road through Cromwell – it isn’t awful but…ya know…meh.

I spend a lot of time at this course for the tournament and I’m always surprised how different it looks when there’s no tourney!

Luckily the race starts by running *down* this hill!!

There are kids races which are always awesome to watch and cheer before the 5K and this year we had some characters! I’m pretty sure I saw Batman talking to a Stormtrooper!

 

O’ – All the Shenanigans

26 Apr

Happy April and belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Haven’t been so great about keeping up in March, and most of this month,  but let’s turn over a new leaf. Again 🙂

Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, the Hartford Marathon Foundation puts on a few 5K races. In the past, there were three. This year, FOUR! So that meant 2 weekends of 5 K’s. Starting with…

The O’Shenanigans 5K

This was the new one. Run in Cheshire/Southington CT and finishing up on the rails to trails path behind the Kinsmen Brewery (a new not even open at the time brewery!) It was cold this Saturday morning — well, not cold actually. It was FAH REEZING!!! Like…11 degrees air temp with a wind-chill near…1. So it was a layer up and hope for the best kind of day!

Swag was a colorful buff which came in handy in the cold!!

The course was, as advertised, a flat out and back. The back was on the path which was really pretty. I ran my new favorite intervals of 45:30 which seems to be working for now. The finishing snack was a Kinsmen beer and some really delicious pizza along with the usual Main Street Bakery bars/snacks and water!

After we finished snacking, Kathy and I headed back to the house to warm up. She headed home to RI while I showered and got ready to head over to RI for the night. Tomorrow’s race would be in Putnam, CT which is closer to her house than mine – plus I hadn’t visited in a while so it would be a nice time!

Sunday afternoon’s race is …

The Courthouse O’Putnam 5K

Putnam is a nice little town up in the northwest corner of the state. This is probably the 4th or 5th year I’ve done this one and it’s a fun day. This one is no where near Flat. But I kept to my intervals, mostly – there’s one or two pretty hefty hills to get up!!

And, it was another chilly day for sure!

And today’s swag was a great knit cap! They’ve learned from prior years and this year it’s a hat that will actually stay on while running!! Bonus!

Post race is a delicious corned beef sandwich (really the only time I have one!) and, of course a beer – which I enjoyed!

We also have a post race tradition of stopping into the little hole in the wall bar (literally, if you didn’t know it was there you’d miss it!) – we stopped in here after our first O’Putnam and have come back every year since. This year we sat at the bar and had a great time talking with the bartender/owner? learning some history of the building and hearing some great jokes!  At one point she commented on the fact that she thought we were familiar and so we told her we come in every year!

As we were leaving she hollered out “See you next year!”

Then it was time for me to gather my things, and my dog, from Kathy’s and head home. I had a big week ahead. In addition to the 2 final O’Races, I was throwing a Skirt Sport Trunk show open house and needed to get the house somewhat presentable!

The O’Niantic 5K

Saturday morning following St. Patrick’s Day, I headed south on Hwy 9 to meet up with Kathy for Saturday’s 5K – Niantic is a great little beach town and this 5K is another fun one!

Once again, I bundled up – though fortunately it was a *little* warmer than last weekend – I think we were getting up into the 30’s this week! It was supposed to be a fairly sunny day, but the clouds moved in before the start and didn’t really go away at all.

Swag report – great green gloves! The kind that you can keep on and still be able to take pictures and use your phone!

Again I kept to my intervals, except for that one big hill!

At the end of this race, we got our doohickey to hold our medals together and we also got our “Lucky” mug for doing all 4 of the races!! We also got some vegetarian chili and a beer! After hanging out at Smarty’s for a bit I headed back towards home to grab my voucher for the Trunk Show food and go get that picked up at Noodles and Company!

Then it was time to shower, finish setting up and wait for friends to show!

And, finally, the last race of the series:

The O’Hartford 5K

This year was a year of many changes for this race! New location, new craft brew festival put on by Small State Great Beer.

O’Hartford is a late starter …like 1 in the afternoon late! Which means we got to sleep in, which was nice. And the sun was shining fairly brightly too so there was some hope it would be a little warmer.

But the wind was also blowing so it was still pretty chilly out-

Final Swag – a Pair of Run Irish Socks! And also, I got a replacement for my “Lucky” mug that I managed to shatter in my driveway the day before…

We headed down an hour or so early, to beat road closures and park. Then my friend Pam let us hang out in her office before the race to stay warm (and, bonus! Indoor potties!). Her parents were meeting her down there so when they arrived we headed over to the start.  I was curious to see how I’d like this new course.

Again, kept to my intervals except on the bigger hills (I know, I just need to get over it..see what I did there?) and had a fairly decent finish.

Post-race we grabbed some sort of soup…and beer. This time we could choose from multiple CT breweries and I think I chose well (except at this late date I can’t remember though I think it was from 30 Mile Brewery)

After goofing off a bit we went back to Pam’s office where I may have had a second beer – but a smaller coffee mug sized beer 🙂  And by now it was getting pretty late – so we all headed to our respective homes.

All in all, it was a really great couple of weeks! I had hoped that it would motivate me to get back to a regular running schedule but so far, I’m still hoping…I’ve been feeling really scattered and like there are other things I need to get under control before I get my running back in line — more hoping that Spring will snap me out of my slump!!

All Of The Pictures – 

Using our awesome new buffs to help stay warm…#foggyglasses

All the Skirt Sports winter gear! Love my Toasty Tights, my Toasty Vest and my beanie!! I wore those pants every race during the series!

Swag from the first two races…

PreRace Niantic…I need to get back to Dublin one of these days…SOON!!

Post race Niantic!

This outfit again?!!

Swag from last 2 races…

All the medals, and extra glass. For drinking. Water

 

Coming up next — the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon!!

Hello, It’s Me.

23 Sep

Once upon a time, I thought, “hey! I’ll write a blog! It’ll be great for accountability and I’ll meet new people and…it’ll be great!”

So here I am.

 

But haven’t been terribly consistently accountable.

I *think* I might be getting close to organized enough in the other areas of my life to jump right back in – and hopefully, to even eventually share some of the awesome things I’ve done so far this year but never posted. We’ll see. No promises, right?

And now it’s coming up on Fall Race Season – you know, that time of year when I spend several weekends either travelling somewhere to run or running at home (mostly the former though). Last year wasn’t completely disastrous. Until I got to the end of October and then beat myself up – privately of course – for my horrible performance at Marine Corps Marathon.  I swore that I would never again run a marathon without doing the training.

Well. For the last 2 months I HAVE been doing the training. Mostly. Yeah. I started late, missed a couple of the shorter long runs and more than a couple of the short mid-week runs.

But I’m hitting the road. And the treadmill. Ya’ll I did FOURTEEN miles on a treadmill when the temps were over 100 a few weeks ago. I ran nearly every day when I visited my dad at the end of August. Usually around noon. In Texas where, again, it was pretty darn hot. But it all felt good!!

Now I’m 36 days away from my redemption at MCM – and feeling confident that I won’t repeat last year’s mess. Because I’m spending a lot of time with hills. BIG hills

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Just an example of how things are running at home….this from my 18 miler turned 19.5 miler last week….

I’m kind of being helped along by a couple of changes being made by the Marines due to some logistical difficulties this year. The Guantlet and The Bridge have both been moved up by a couple of miles so SCORE! And, as I mentioned, I’ve actually done some training this year.

But before then, I have a few other things on my plate –

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Tomorrow is the Hogsback Half Marathon – I discovered this one on the Twitters when someone mentioned the great post-race feast and I’m glad I did. It’s a fairly small event, with a gorgeous course – seriously, no part of this course is ugly! – great post-race festivities. And, they offer an early start for us slower folks which is really nice because you’re finishing with #allthepeople and not straggling in

After that, starting in October, there is the Hartford Half Marathon – I did this one once before I moved to CT. A few years back they changed the course and this will be my second year running the new course. This is another fun post-race – particularly the Mile 27 Beer Garden (the Hartford Marathon Foundation also offers a full on the same day) and the longest drinking fountain ever! Instead of bottled water, you get a water bottle which is pretty awesome.

The following week I will be travelling to the Sweetest Place on Earth. That’s not a typo! I’m heading to Hershey PA for the Hershey Half Marathon. This will be my third time running this one and one that I plan to keep on my must-do list for as long as I can. I mean, great swag and fresh chocolate at mile 12? Yes please!  A few of my friends are planning to run this one as well which adds to the great weekend!

Then. Dun dun dun….it’ll be time to head down to DC and #runwiththeMarines. I’m not out to set records, but I am out to do the best I can. And again, lots of friends running this one as well but I will probably spend most of the 26.2 on my own. Laser like focus right? And I have a plan…

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My MCM Race Day plan – based on the original timing

My plan – for all of my events coming up but most especially for the Marathon – is to stick with the intervals I’m training with. No funny stuff!! And really work on not taking off so “fast” and holding back the first few…or first 10-15 miles.

Run my own race, work towards the goals I’ve written down. Trust myself. I’ve done it before and I can do it again, right?

It’s Getting a Little Green in Here!

27 Mar

slainte

Well, I missed out on wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day last week — so a belated Slainte to all!! When I was growing up, my parents would have a party for St. Patrick’s day and it was almost bigger than Christmas! It was a Par. TAY! To this day I try to celebrate in some way, big or small!

The last few years, my big celebration has been to run the Hartford Marathon Foundation‘s “O’Trinity” — a series of 5Ks run during the “holiday” season.

To start things off, there is the Courthouse O’Putnam 5K, in the northeast corner of the state. The Courthouse is actually a bar, not a courthouse, which makes it a little better than the name would make you think! The first few times I did this one I would stay at my friend Kathy’s. She lives about 25 minutes from the late-starting 5K so…more sleep, less drive? Yes please! Plus I get to spend time with friends and Phred gets to visit his friends too!

Putnam, CT is a “typical” New England small town and I really should go there more often! And, I say this every year 🙂 The morning started out pretty chilly, but the sun was out. By the time we started it was actually warm…

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Ended up taking off my long sleeve top — LOVE my new Emerald City Lotta Breeze Capri!

I did intervals of 45:30 and kept them up, most of the time – except for the big freakin’ hills! I didn’t have a great time, but I had a good run! Post race beer and corned beef sandwich always help!! And then we headed to this little dive bar we found one year for a couple more — by now it was time for me to drop Kathy at home, pick up Phred and get back home before it was *too* late!

The next weekend was a two-fer – 5K Saturday and the grand finale on Sunday

Saturday was the O’Niantic 5K — Niantic is a cute shore town that I also don’t visit enough 🙂 The run was delayed due to a funeral on the course but not a long delay. This one was a little cooler, but still VERY sunny! This one didn’t start out great, my blood sugar tanked right at the start and I had already eaten my sugar so I had to stop and make some adjustments but managed to get back on track pretty quick. Same intervals, same caveat re: hills 🙂 Did a little better than the week before but still not so great!

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Stuffed pockets but keeping warm in my Go The Distance tights under my Free Love Lioness! #IrishPrincess

Sunday is the biggie – the O’Hartford 5K. I actually do visit Hartford more often than the other two towns! This is another late starter but we still headed in early to find (cheap) parking. We hung out waiting to catch  up with friends. I hadn’t seen Meg since a 5K last year on my birthday weekend – so it had been awhile. We ended up deciding to “run” together and it turned into more of a chatfest than a run, but that’s what happens. We had a great time – waited in a huge line for our post race beer, pretzel, and stout ice cream (new this year!)  then hung out eating and drinking before heading over to a pub for…you guessed it, another drink.

**No outfit pic for Sunday — but I wore my Heartbreaker Skirt in Grey. It was another cold one and it’s ALWAYS windy in downtown Hartford (or at least it seems like it!)**

For the last few years, the Hartford Marathon Foundation has given out medals for these 5Ks and then at the end of Hartford they make a special design – there has been a pot of gold, a shamrock, and this year it was the Irish Flag!

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The spoils!

And, instead of t-shirts, a few years ago they also started giving out winter beanies — but this year, if you registered for the Trinity, instead of ending up with 3 nearly the same beanies, you got a beanie, socks and a pair of gloves!!! Pretty neat swag and a really great idea!

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The swag!

This is a series I have enjoyed every time I’ve run – and I’ll keep it on my yearly running calendar for sure!!

Though belated, I hope everyone had a great St. Patrick’s Day!!

And don’t forget, you can grab some great comfy running gear at Skirt Sports and get 20% off with code ORF20

Hartford Marathon Weekend!

14 Oct

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This weekend, I ran the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Half Marathon – definitely one of the best small fall marathons out there

I went to the expo on Thursday evening – hoping to score some new shoes but came away empty handed- I had heard a rumor that the new Skecher Nite Owls would be out – they weren’t and the guy in the booth was a…well, not as helpful and friendly as the Skecher reps tend to be usually.  The whole event seemed kind of small to me and not much to look at that I was interested in so I only spent about a half hour there at most.

But I got the most important items — my bib  and my shirt!!

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I really wish there were separate shirts for the 5K and the half….

The plan was to get to downtown Hartford as early as possible on Saturday morning – to avoid road closures and find parking. I managed to accomplish both and parked in one of the state lots near Bushnell Park — super tiny parking spots and really crowded at 6:15 in the morning but VERY convenient!! I hung out in the car for a little while then gathered my things to start meeting up with my friends!

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As usual I was running with no belt since my shorts have pockets and I made the last minute discovery that my jacket has a HUGE pocket in the back!! Carrying my ID, a lip balm, 2 packets of GoGoSqueez applesauce, my external charger for my phone (because it dies SO FAST!) and a cord to charge. My plan was to do 30:30’s since that had worked out so well at Disneyland when I ran with Kim.

I met up with Kimberlee at the VIP area (she was the VIP not me!) and then we hunted down Pam and Diana – eventually all 4 of us were in the same spot near the start, waiting for the signal to go. I decided to hang with Pam and Diana doing 30:17 intervals and we started off with a great pace – not too fast, not too slow! Pam and I were looking at this as a training run for Marine Corps Marathon in 2 weeks so the idea was definitely not to push it since it was definitely more important to get in the miles that break any records!

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A gorgeous fall New England morning at the start line

Things were moving along smoothly til somewhere between miles 4 and 5 – this is when, of course, I felt a pull in my right calf, like someone had just reached in – very gently – and was ripping the muscle down the center.  Not quite a cramp and not a full on incapacitating muscle pull, just a bit of a strain. This slowed me down for the next mile or so but the girls stayed with winning some awesome friend points!

Then, in general, I just started slowing down – partly to compensate for my calf and partly because of my usual lack of pushing myself too hard. Around mile 9 or so, Pam decided to stay with me but Diana had things to do!!! She ran on a head and we finished up the last 4 at a little slower pace

The new half marathon course (new the last 3 years I think) is beautiful – we spend a couple of early miles winding through downtown Hartford then move out to West Hartford and at mile 9 head into Elizabeth Park and out the back side to head back into town. Something new this year was a Candy Station at the entrance to the park – and you KNOW I love this concept! Especially since right before Mile 8 my blood sugar had dropped quite a bit and I was working through my snacks (and Pam’s!) trying to get it back up – 3 gummy bears, 1 packet of Vanilla Bean GU and a pouch of applesauce steadied things out but I grabbed a caramel apple Milky Way mini just to be sure!

We finished strong and saw our friend Kimberly just as we crossed the line – she had been going for a PR but missed it by 5 minutes or so (but still kicked some serious butt!) and after getting a heat blanket, Medal, our Finisher’s water bottle (an awesome way for races to “Go Green”) and our snack back (with a reusable bag!) we found Diana – or she found us – and we headed into the Finisher Festival in Bushnell Park

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I love that they give us a water bottle!!

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And a new lunch bag with some treats!

After trying to find Kimberlee, and failing (since she wasn’t feeling great and headed home) we went to the food tent. Now, one of the places that HMF excels is the post-race festivities — the tradition is chili and apple cobbler. Over the years I’ve done this event, the menu has expanded to include holiday breads baked by local schools, fruit, cornbread, and, I think this year, mac and cheese. We didn’t see any of the mac in the tent but it was wandering around on plates!

Did our chowing down and then headed over to Mile 27. That’s right. The Harpoon Beer Garden. Because what better way to finish things up than with an ice cold beer.

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Eventually it was time to call it a day – or at least a morning!

All in all it was a great morning!! This is becoming one of my favorites!

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Nice course

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Some pretty decent splits along the way…

Up next, the Hershey Half Marathon this coming weekend!!

Race Recap – NU Hartford Half Marathon

14 Oct

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Ten years ago I moved to the East Coast. And about Nine years ago I ran the Hartford Half Marathon for the first time. It was (and is!) a great event, best known for the flat, fast course and the post-race Apple Crisp!

The first time I ran this, it was pouring rain at the start, but eventually that slowed to a drizzle and then by afternoon the sun managed to peek out sporadically.

So, since I’m in the middle of my training for #Dopey15, and seriously lacking in personal  motivation, I decided at the almost last minute to sign up for the half marathon that took place last Saturday. I headed to the expo Friday after work – got stuck in traffic and missed the One Miler  which made me feel:

sadbaby

Headed directly to the expo then and after picking up my bib was greeted by the Skechers booth!! Now, I’m not sure I’ve adequately expressed my love for my Skecher performance shoes I got at the Houston Marathon expo last January — they’re light, they’re comfy and…they Glow. In The. DARK!

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I’ve been wanting to get a new pair and when I saw they would have a booth at this expo I was excited! I checked in the the folks in the booth and saw that they had the new, upgraded model available. And, yeah, these will glow too!! (They also come with an extra insert if you need the extra cushion!)

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On my way to grab my shirt I stopped by a couple of other booths — OohRah Hydration: Hydration products that support our armed forces and disaster relief efforts. The flavors and colors of the bottles reflect the branch of service being honored – so pretty cool! And the flavors I tried were nice (Chargin’ Blue -grape, and Fightin’ Green -lemonlime) and Generation UCAN: a great source of energy with a SuperStarch source of carbs which gives energy while helping stabilize blood sugars!

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The Shirt. My only issue is that the Half marathoners have to “share” a shirt with the 5K and the Relay people…:(

After picking up my shirt, and grabbing a new pair of Skechers, I got back in the car and headed home to rest up.

As expected, when I woke up Saturday morning, it was….well, drizzly…and a little chilly. You know the weather, the kind that makes you want to just stay in bed. But too many people knew I was planning on running this so…up and at ’em!!! When I went to bed I told myself “Don’t forget to wear your DryMax socks on account of the rain”…then I woke up and threw on my ProCompression socks. That are not my DryMax socks…and by then it was too late! 🙂 But I love my Compression socks for long runs so I was hoping to not run through any puddles …hahahaha

By the time I got to Downtown Hartford, it was actually raining, not just drizzling. And it was still kind of chilly. I had on a plastic rain poncho that I figured I would throw away when the rain stopped and the sun came out (spoiler — I wore it the whole time!). I dropped off my bag with a dry sweatshirt and some flipflops and tried to find a potty before the start. Success.

There wasn’t a long wait before the horn blew and we were off! Now, the last time I ran this, it was a completely different course. Not a bad course necessarily, but, there were some sketchy sections. This new course is fantastic!!! I love it!! Sure, there were hills…there will always be hills. But they weren’t unbearable! I was cruising to a return to my olden day times until mile 10. I saw a sign and had a delayed reaction and turned to go back and take a picture (which I ended up not doing after all!) and strained my calf a bit. So the last three were slower than I’d been going but I was still definitely going to beat my time from 2 weeks before!

The finish line snuck up on me!! I really was expecting to have to go around a block once we got back into downtown but nope! Turned a corner and we were there! With great support from the volunteers — including a mylar blanket and a new water bottle!!

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A water fountain nearly a block long!!!

 

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Pre-filled for us even!

And the bling!!

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I knocked 20 minutes off of my time from 2 weeks ago too — which was a bonus!!

Up next — Hershey Half Marathon! And the rest of my training week of course!

**My absolute favorite part of Saturday’s run was when we were passing one of the three fire stations on the route. From a couple of blocks back, I saw runners -almost every one of them! – turning up into the station driveway where there were 8-10 firefighters high-fiving every single runner! Amazing!!

 

 

It Just Keeps Getting Bigger!!!

30 Sep

starting line

And no, I’m not talking about my rear view 😉 Note – if you are trying to find a picture of someone’s rear end, google will show you a lot of nekkid ones….

I’m talking about my list of upcoming races – or as I like to call them “events” (since I don’t actually race much other than my own self!). And since I’m doing all this training I thought a good reminder was in order.

So, in Order of Appearance, here we go:

Hartford Half Marathon – I’m actually also doing the new “One Mile Friday” which is, yep, a One mile run in Hartford followed by a beer 🙂 After the half I’ll get this beauty:

hartford half medal

Hershey Half Marathon – I’ll be doing this one with my friends Kathy and Jennifer. And, we will of course be headed to the park on Saturday before for Roller Coastering! And, I think for this one, we don’t know what the medal will be ahead of time so it will be a delicious surprise!!

Marine Corps Marathon – This is the ‘biggie’ for 2014! You know, the one you can show your support of my efforts by donating to the Tug McGraw Foundation! C’mon! It doesn’t hurt!!

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon – This one we do for “fun” — and the training miles 🙂 And after the miles and before the Food and Wine-ing I’ll get this around my neck (bonus – it spins!!):

2014 Wine Dine Half Marathon Medal

Santa Hustle Half Marathon –  This was a new add (like Hartford) since I’m getting to the point of having some really long weekend runs, I *know* it will be tons easier for me to get them in if I have an event. Not that I don’t love circling my town a few times to get my long runs in…Plus SANTA!!!

TXU Turkey Trot 10K – Everyone should do a Turkey Trot at least once!! This is a nice one – I’ve done the 5K before. And, really, it’s probably best to start the holiday eating season by moving a little!!

Then…after Thanksgiving I’m taking a ‘break’ – from organized events! That is, until I get to the Main Event:

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Dopey Challenge – 4 Races, 6 Medals (Okay, one of the ‘medals’ is a rubber medallion but still…) 4 Races? 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, Half Marathon on Saturday and Full Marathon on Sunday –  I had planned to do the Goofy Challenge this year since it’s an anniversary year and then they went and added that crazy 10K in there!

Aramco Houston Half Marathon  – I deferred this one in 2014 since I was having so many issues even walking! I’ve done this one a few times and it’s a nice course and a really great event! They’ve also added a 5K on the day before so of course I said “What the heck, why not?!

Publix Georgia Half Marathon – So now I’m entering “what was I thinking” territory! This one was registered for when I saw that I could get in for something like 34 or 40 dollars! Really. That’s it. Plus, it’s one I’ve often thought of doing so….there ya go!

The next Biggie — Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris – Another one where I entered a lottery on a whim, et voila! Making this into a fun trip with a friend. She’s even decided to do the Paris Breakfast Run the day before!

And then, my pal Jackie applied appropriate pressure to get me to sign up for the Brand New! runDisney Pixie Dust Challenge! So new it isn’t even up on the runDisney page yet!!

So there you have it. And all I can say is WHOA! If nothing else, I am definitely feeling way more motivated to train than I normally am. Which is to say, I am feeling motivated to train 🙂

liar

 

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