Dragging A$$

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Hello Helloooooo!  How is everyone doing on this fine spring-like day :)  I feel like I have, in general, really been dragging butt.  My runs have sucked since Broad Street (a clear sign that I need to rest physically, but mentally can’t wrap my head around it). My legs just feel sooooo lead-ish and my glyco-stores feel constantly empty.  You know what that means…

Time to take a break from running for a few days :/  So, yesterday, I took to the pool.  Well, helloooooo there, old friend!  Remember how I pool ran throughout my entire pregnancy?  Ha.  Yea….

So, in case you are wondering:

1.  Speedos are sexier than ever.

2.  Even after two years of kiddo-grossness, the floating band aid in the pool still takes the cake

3.  Carrying said kiddo is very hard due to the engagement of muscles I don’s normally have and was surprised were even there

4.  Trying to keep good form while swimming is not as easy as one might think.

5.  Attempting turns in the pool is not only uncomfortable and feels similar to what I think water-logging might, but is incredibly awkward looking and embarrassing

6.  The half hour I swam felt like an eternity…or two

7. Running fitness has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with swimming fitness

8.  Yes, I did plan my swim around my hair washing schedule lol….Really.

So, yea, this is a really good cross training activity for me:

-  It engages different muscle groups

-  It forces your to engage in a completely different breathing style

- I like feeling like a mermaid

- I find water to be extremely serene and peaceful and might even get more thinking done than when I am running!

- It is great for cut back days because I can literally only do half hour right now (with breaks)

SOOOO…I have received the following question after posting on FB about my swim: WILL YOU DO A TRI?!  Here is my short answer:

NO. Bullet pointed:

- The bike portion. I just DO NOT trust anything where I am not on my own feet. I know, wuss.

- The swim portion seems actually really cool, though

- I am really just interested in perfecting my running. It gives me such a great sense of accomplishment and happiness.

- I don’t need to do it all, you know?

- THE BIKE.  Did I mention that scares the crap out of me?!

ANNNYYYYWAY, so that is my post on how I have been hauling ass lately ;)  And for your dose of Z cuteness today…

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Ugly Races: Broad Street Run 2014

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Pre-race pic; this is the only one you will see and the prettiest it got :)

Pre-race pic; this is the only one you will see and the prettiest it got :)

Oh well hellooooo there!  This weekend was sooooo good!  Capped off by the BSR, I’d call it a great one ;)  So yesterday I was trying to explain to my friend why this race was SUCH an UGLY one.  I think this is the ugliest race I have EVER had!  I’ll explain in a sec (because why in the world would I go from point a to point b when I could just off-tangent to point C, D and E?! lol).  I will start out by saying that I CRUSHED my PR for this race (1:27:37) by a few minutes and made my (secret) goal of 1:25.  I even SUBBED the 1:25!

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OK, so here is where it gets ugly.  Despite my success in my finish time, I actually DO NOT think I ran a good race.  It was ugly.  Physically and mentally. Point by Point:

1.  I was NOT fueled well.  I hadn’t been feeling good the days prior and hadn’t been able to eat or keep much in my belly.  The day before the race I at two doughnuts, a piece of pizza and a mozz stick in an effort to pack it in.  Bad choice.  I just felt REALLY backed up against a wall.  I felt the lack of fuel from like mile 2.  Cute.

2.  I woke up with a bad cold, that I was able to “suck up” and push off with some Emergen-C but physically was not in good shape. REALLY sick now, btw.

3. I thought it would be a good idea to try to pace a track coach.  Yup.  Bad idea.  I lost him at about mile 5…believe it or not, I left him behind (SORRY BUDDYYYYY).  It messed w me mentally though for a full half of the race bc I didn’t feel like I was running MY race.  I NEVER run with people and this is why.

4.  I felt entirely UNFOCUSED the WHOLE time.  That is SO not like me.  The race went by suuuuuper quickly, and it think is because I just wasn’t thinking!  I wasn’t taking in the sights and sounds, I wasn’t appreciating the experience, I just wasn’t focused.

5.  Rookie mistake (ALWAYS do this) of going out waaaay too fast (running sub 8 miles the first five miles…um seriously, Kara Goucher I am NOT).  And was really hurting my mile 6.  I saw my amazing friend who gave me a G2 (which I TOTALLY needed) and sour patch kids (which I could not stomach at the time but boy, did I slam those last night) and I am pretty sure I cried at her and asked her to take me home with her.  LOL.  Really.

6.  PHYSICAL ugliness:  This came from #5.  Usually I am the girl who smiles at the camera, fixes my form often, and “tries to make it look easy” and am therefore interested in seeing my race pics.  Holy Hannah those pics are going to be BRUTAL.  I was an ugly mess.  I had Gatorade and water pouring down my face half the time, gummy candies sprouting from several areas of my body (that sounded better in my head), and had a pained look for pretty much the entire race.  Sexy.  I know.  Note that I have not and will not post any after-race pics?!

Some things I learned:

- DO NOT put unwrapped Swedish Fish fuel in your bum pocket because they WILL get slimy, nasty and stain.

- DO NOT try to pace a track coach ;)

- DO NOT get so caught up in your time that you run an “ugly race.”

- DO (attempt to) stay FOCUSED!

I truly judge the success of a race by how I FEEL (physically) both during and after. And again despite my time, I am not proud of how I ran this race. Yes, I left it ALL out there.  But did NOT I enjoy it as I would have liked to and for the reasons that I usually race for.  

OK, so for your daily Z cuteness and news, yesterday my baby starting sitting forward in his car seat (gasp!)!!!! Where has the time gone?!

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So tell me about your race.  Was it as ugly as mine?!  Have you ever had an ugly one?!

UMMMM and PS:  is this seriously the best pic they could get on the website?!

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PPS:  This post is dedicated to a dear friend of mine who lost her father over the weekend. Had I known I would’ve surely added him to my memoriam bib.

 

Pre BS Run: A Wicked Good Playlist and More

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HIIIIIII!  I just finished my last little run before the big race (2 sloooow miles).  I don’t think I mentioned this, but I’ve pretty much beentrianign for this since the monday After last year’s Broad Street Run.  I ran that one conservatively (was having some health issues; look in blog archive for more) and after snagging a (GREAT) 1:27:37, I desired more.  I cannot share my secret goal (I never do, totally jinxes me) but I will say that I am NOT happy that I got an EVEN bib.  Those long-time readers know that I NEED an odd!  AND my bib starts w 13! Superstitious much?!  YUP.  Embarrassed about it?  NOPE.  So my number is 13330.  WTF.  ANYWAY, I made an AWESOME playlist to share, as I love looking at other peoples’ play lists for inspiration. Mine are always interesting too bc they are just about as random as me :)  OK, here it is (DO NOT JUDGE, or do, whatever, IDK):

Just for Tonight- The Casting Out

Sabotage- Beastie

We Run this World (Girls)- Beyonce

Spirit of Radio- Rush

I ain’t leaving without your love- Nashville Cast

Shackled and Drawn- Boss

On top of the World- Imagine Dragons

Vindicated- Dashboard Confessional

Wagon Wheel- Darius Rucker

Intergalactic- Beastie

Quixotes Last Ride- Casting Out

Izzo- Jay Z

Sample in a Jar- Phish

Cheers- Rihanna

Free Will- Rush

Baba O’Reilly- Who

The Show Goes on- Lupe Fiasco

Moment for Life- Nicki Minaj

Wrecking Ball- Boss

Blackbird- Beatles

Holy random, right?! So anyway, I am beyond stoked for Sunday but of course nervous.  And I think I changed my outfit already (most important part, right!?)  I was going to go with this:

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Sticking with the white skirt and (poss) white compression socks, my normal Newtons and obv bra, but I think im changing the top to a neon orange.  You know, in case my loud singing on the course doesn’t catch enough attention.

OK, one more thing.  I will be running this race in honor of Erika and I am trying to figure out a way to represent her.  I will let you know ;)

Taking it to the Streets and Forgetting to Taper

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Helloooo!  I hope everyone is enjoying this gorgeous weather!  I certainly am!  I had a LOVELY (almost 6 mile) run today; one of my favorite routes; to the Ben Franklin Bridge, over to New Jersey and back.  GREAT bridge for hill repeats as the bridge itself is about 1.5 miles across so you have a nice .75 mile hill repeat built in there accompanying the most gorgeous scenery.

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ANYWAY, I wanted to do a little post about running the streets, as you might know I am quite the treadmill runner.  Here are some reasons I “take it to the streets”:

1.  To prep for races (gotta mimic race day)

2.  To enjoy gorgeous weather

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3. To remind myself that I AM A RUNNER (sometimes I worry that I wouldn’t be able to run without the spinning belt of the treadmill and running outside really builds my confidence as a runner especially when my pace is good).

4.  When I have run out of TV shows to watch on my iPad while running

5. When the husband is home and can therefore watch Z while he is napping

So speaking of race day, I COMPLETELY didn’t realize how close Broad Street is (in a week!) and have not tapered ONE BIT.  Recipe for failure.  I had a SUPER stressful week and I tend to up the mileage as stress increases.   SO, with that said, I NEED to start tapering!  My knees have been aching a bit (a sure sign of over usage) and I REALLY want to run a successful race.  Anyway, speaking of successful, I am TRYING to commit to more strength training.  SO hard.  I am aiming for twice a week…

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And now for your daily dose of cuteness:

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Zach said “STOP SIGN?”  SERIOUSLY.  SO close.  SO cute.

A year ago today: Remembering Boston

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I write this post quite aware that there are many posts already out there on this topic, many different perspectives and many stories to tell.  I am telling mine.  This is what today means to me.

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Last year at this time, I was lounging on my in-laws’ couch in Pound Ridge, NY as Zachy napped, sporting my compression socks for post-race recovery.  I had run the More Fitness Half Marathon the day before, on my birthday, my first half post-baby.  I was filled with calm and pride as I had just reviewed the race pictures.

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As I turned on the TV, I learned of the terror in Boston, the images flashing on the screen, and me, in disbelief, mind reeling.  I logged on to each and every social media outlet to update myself more (a sign of the times, no?).  I knew some distant friends (some bloggers) who were running the race, and I also knew a particular friend was in Boston cheering her Mama on as she ran the race (I had seen this on Facebook earlier that morning).  I didn’t think much about particular people or situations, but more about the running community as a whole.  Call it selfish, but it honestly freaked me the F out.  Selfishly, I thought, “that could’ve been me and my family,” as we had just been involved in an enormous race in NYC the day before.  But then as the individual stories and pictures rolled out from the days’ events, I began to internalize it different.  I felt a deep pit in my stomach, one that I will remember always.

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It was the next day that I discovered how truly “close to home” this tragedy had struck.  The lovely aforementioned friend that had been waiting to watch her Mom cross the finish had been seriously injured in the bombings.  I found this out after receiving a very eery phone call from a reporter asking me to comment on my involvement in the attacks.  Apparently another Jessica Downes had been seriously injured in the bombings and the reporter had traced the name to me via old race records.  Creepy and very close to home.  My dear dear friend Erika, a preschool teacher who had been my own student teacher years ago, was broken and shattered and I was devastated for her.  Erika was there with me for some major events:  the acquisition of my first puppy Oscar, a crazy year of teaching first graders, relationship ups and downs, babysitting at my sister-in-law’s wedding and many other things.  I had taken her under my wing as a young teacher; she was bright, vibrant and LOVED children.  Erika was the last bombing victim to leave the hospital.  Today, she stands strong and is back in Boston for this year’s event.  I am more than proud to know her and I love her dearly.  I am SO sorry for what she has been through but am filled with pride at the way she has overcome these challenges.  Her preschoolers are so lucky to have her as is each person who is lucky enough to know Erika.  And now I am crying.  Please consider donating to the Brannock Fund.

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Anyway, that is what today means to me:  it is a day to reflect but be proud of our rebuilding, to tell those we love that we do,and to run because we can.  Today I ran for those who cannot.  Today and every day, I feel blessed.

Thomas the Tank Engine: Zachary’s 2nd Birthday Party

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I die.

OK, now you all KNOW that I like a good party.  ESPECIALLY a themed one. And I don’t take themes lightly.  Remember last year’s Elmo themed party?!  Yup,  I brought it again this year but switched up the venue. This year, I decided to have Zachary’s party at Nest. (DUH).  I LOOOVE it there and the party could not have been more fantastic. If you are looking to have a party for your little one, NEST is the place to do it.  The hosts are fantastic, the facility is amazing, the price is right and you DON’T HAVE TO CLEAN UP!  WIN WIN!!!!  Anyway, I will let the pictures do the talking :)

The cake I made for Zach's actual birthday (funfetti for the win)

The cake I made for Zach’s actual birthday (funfetti for the win)

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Setting the Scene:

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Edible treats

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Edible train, but of course!

Edible train, but of course!

Favors

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Family

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Fun

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And yes, I bring it with the themes :)  It really was a fun party though!  Do you do theme parties?!