Dopey Challenge – It Really Is A Challenge

This past month I started a new job. I really enjoy the new job and so far it hasn’t gotten in the way of my training for the Dopey Challenge. The challenge for me is that I was Dopey to sign up for this challenge when I never before even did the Goofy challenge! What have I gotten myself into?

My training has been going well, I will admit that. But I don’t feel as successful as I think I could feel. Maybe I just don’t know how I am supposed to feel. I do know that at times running does feel like work. Mike and Michelle talked about it on their podcast in a recent episode and it hit home with me. I do enjoy running still and I get out for my two short runs during the week and then my assigned run per Jeff Galloway. Typically if it isn’t a long run or race weekend then it is a 4 or 6 mile run. Again, I still enjoy those runs. It’s when I have the long run showing up closer on my calendar that I start to feel anxious.

I knew that next weekend I have a long run on the schedule and I can’t take a day off of work to fit it in. This means I will have to spend a weekend day running for 5 hours. It also means that I have to figure out when and how I will get out there because my husband is starting a new job and has to work on Saturday. I don’t want to spend my Sunday out running for half the day when it is the only day he will be home with the family.

So we discussed the plan over breakfast and since he will only be working 5-9 on Saturday I will head out when he gets home. This is similar to when I would go out for my long run after getting Kevin on the bus and dropping Adrienne off to preschool last year. So if I keep that mentality I will be ok.

However, the difference this time is that I have to do a 3, 5, 8 and 23 mile run in 4 consecutive days – The Dopey part. It’s getting dark out very early and it’s also dark early in the morning. I can’t run in the morning because my husband is starting his new job this week. So I’ll have to plan on doing my 3 miles Wednesday after work, 5 miles Thursday during lunch since I am taking online training at home, and I am not sure yet how I am going to get in my 8 miler on Friday. Here’s where the crazy juggling comes in.

I think what helps me not freak out too much is knowing that I only have 2 more groups of training runs like this in the next two months. One right before the Philadelphia Marathon and then before the WDW weekend the week before Christmas. I guess I’ll worry about how I’ll fit that all in when the time comes. I may have some accrued vacation time to squeeze in the long run on a Friday. I may have to fire up the treadmill in a few weeks and put in the miles indoors early in the morning. I don’t know how to get back into treadmill mode. I swore it off four years ago.

Do you have any advice on how to integrate the treadmill back into my training routine?


Running When It Is Humid

hotrunnerThis is the time of year now when I have to be smart when I am running.  I have made mistakes that were costly and ended up requiring physical therapy because I got cramped up in the heat.  I also learned about dehydration when I was a beginner and was pushing too hard in the heat to the point where I was seeing tunnel vision and stars in my eyes during my run (usually uphill).  I saw a doctor for it and they told me I was dehydrated when I ran and pushing too hard for the conditions. I need to invest time at home for 30 minutes a day to do the simple exercises to prevent injuries and strengthen my core muscles and my glutes and hips. This is especially important during this time of year because it doesn’t matter how much I drink, I still lose a lot of water during the hot runs.  However I prefer to spend 30 minutes getting on a good sweat instead, therefore I get injured.

Running in the heat is one thing.  Running when it is very humid is another.  The humidity is more taxing on the body because of the higher moisture content in the air, making it feel hotter.  When you are running on a very humid day, the moisture that your body produces to help cool your body off doesn’t evaporate so the heat never leaves body.  This is dangerous.

I noticed that after running the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon two weeks ago that I felt flush all throughout the afternoon and evening after the race.  That is because body was heated up and couldn’t cool off with the hot and humid weather.  I also had a headache that afternoon and I think that was because despite having water and Nuun with me and taking water on the race course, I was dehydrated.

heatwaveSo what do you do when you need to get in a run and you don’t want to use the treadmill? Find a shady course to run on.  Try to run early in the morning.  Run along the water where there is typically a breeze, and take walk breaks.  You also shouldn’t try to get your best race pace during these conditions.  Train to run in these conditions, but don’t expect to be at your peak performance.  When the temps heat up, your heart beat also increases by 10 to 20 beats per minute.  That’s going to cause you to work even harder.

Jeff Galloway says when it gets hot out to slow your pace down by 30 seconds/mile for every 5 degrees above 60F.  That’s a lot to slow down.  But he is totally right.  If you don’t slow down in the beginning you are certain to be slower at the end because your body just won’t be able to cool off and you won’t be running at your best.  He says:

 For every second you run too fast during the first half of a race on a hot day, expect to run 10 seconds slower at the end.

How do you know if you are getting heat exhaustion?  These are the signs to look out for:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Tingly Skin
  • Confusion

If you feel any of these symptoms, end your run and/or walk home.  It’s not worth the risk.  If you do feel these symptoms coming on, get into the shade, pour cold water onto your head, and if possible put ice on your neck.  Lay down and elevate your feet.

You can work towards the ability to run in this heat by taking it slow and in small increments. Being from the East Coast, I really only have these conditions to run in for about 4 months out of the year.  I usually don’t do races in the summer and the last time I did it was my first injury that required PT.  So I have learned what to look out for.

Why I Love Jeff Galloway (and the Lose It! App)

I am using Jeff Galloway as my training coach and he trains you for more than just running.  I gave him my recap for my week and the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon and I mentioned to him about my goals for the summer.  One of my goals was not about running.  Despite all of the running I have been doing and the two marathons I did this Spring, I have slowly been gaining weight.  I have been getting frustrated about this and I have Jeff and Barbara’s book Fat Burning For Women.  I have been meaning to read it but just haven’t gotten to it.

In my weekly recap email I just told Jeff that I had a goal to lose some of that weight.  He simply stated to me the following information:

Fat Burning:  It’s about having a cognitive eating plan every day.  Write down everything you eat, and log it into your preferred website or app.  Then analyze it each day.  You will then start using your conscious brain to choose what and how much to eat.  Barbara’s material has helped thousands of women get the 10-15 pounds off without starving.  You can still have the glass of wine—just have put it in the “budget”.


This may sound like a “DUH” type of response, but it was an A-HA moment for me.  I had been “trying”, but I was never really trying to be conscious about my eating.  My friend Jindy has just lost 14+ pounds using the 21 Day Fix.  I was talking to her and she recommended the Lose It! App.  So I took Jeff’s advice and I downloaded the App and I have successfully lost 2.5 pounds so far in less than a week just because I started to keep track of what I put in my mouth and then I can plan my meals and snacks and treats/drinks accordingly so they are within my budget for the day and I don’t feel deprived!

The Lose It! App is great!  You can scan the bar code of your foods you have and specify the serving size you are eating.  You can also search for foods in the program and add them to the daily log.  You also keep track of your weight and can connect with friends if they are also using the app.



You can also insert your exercise from the day in there and while you carry your phone around with you, it keeps track of how many steps you take during the day.


Sometimes you need someone to state the obvious to you in order for a light bulb to go off. Jeff did that for me and I am so glad that I am moving in a direction that I feel like I have been swimming against for months now.  Thanks Jeff!  And thanks Jindy for recommending this app!  I was going to use but when she told me about this, I downloaded it, tried it and loved it from the start.

Providence Post Marathon Slump

Why does it seems like after I finish a marathon I start to fall apart?  After I finished the WDW marathon this past January my hip flexor gave me trouble for months. I figured it was because I walked 20 miles of it to help my friend cross the finish line during her Dopey challenge while finishing chemo.  Now I am experiencing random issues here and there after the Providence marathon.  I had a very good race, it was a great race actually! I don’t know if I could have done that race as fast as I did if I didn’t have my friend there to get me to that finish line goal I set.

After my last easy 4 mile run my left calf started cramping up on me towards the end of my run.  It was a warm day out but I had been hydrating all day.  I am suspicious that it happened because I started wearing flip-flops the day before.  I iced it up and then used a heating pad on it last night and it’s feeling better, but I am cautious now.

I feel like once the big accomplishment is over, my body tells me to take it easy for a bit. Maybe the release of relief in my brain that my goal was met lets the rest of my body know it will be on a break for a while.  Who knows!  But I just want to stay healthy.  I don’t have any big races planned until June 8th when I run the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon.  I would like to get my 3rd PR in a row with this race, but given the name of Heartbreak Hill half, I am going to assume that it will be a challenging race in the hills of Massachusetts.

With a vacation coming up, I plan on taking it easy for a little bit to let my body recover, but I am going to still get in my 2 runs per week or more if I have the time and then I have to get in a 14 mile run Memorial Day weekend.

Mentally, I was having a little trouble getting out for a run the other day.  I had a lot of stuff to get done around the house and was toying with the idea of skipping my run, but I knew it was better that I get out there and do it.  I actually just put on my running clothes and my Garmin 220 and hit the road, I forgot my headphones and didn’t realize it until I was a mile into the run.  It was just me and the road and I enjoyed that.  I was going to do 3 miles, but decided to do 4.  My pace was slow though.  Since my coach told me to do easy runs post marathon for the next 2 weeks I didn’t do any speed work or hills.  I just ran for the sake of running and I enjoyed it.  It was nice to run “naked”.

I think sometimes after a big goal is met, it’s ok to have a little downtime in your running routine.  I need this time now to regroup and focus on what my goals are for the summer and leading up to training for Dopey in January.  This is also a good time for me to give my legs a little break and do some bike riding as well to prepare for my fall Sprint Tri.

Do you ever have a running slump after a big race?

What I Learned From The Cox Providence Marathon


What I love about running is that you can learn something all the time.  Always growing. What I learned from this race also came from something Jeff sent me in my follow up email about the race.  This past weekend I ran the Cox Providence Marathon with my friend Gail.  Here’s what I learned from that experience.

Gail has done several marathons this year and is an experienced runner.  So running together for this race was going to be easy for her (I assumed).  What I learned was that when you are going to run a race together it’s a good idea to discuss the intervals that you plan to use for race day ahead of time so that everyone trains with the same intervals. Since Gail uses longer intervals, the frequent stop and starts of the 20/20 intervals bothered her legs and hips.

Jeff Galloway also asked me in my race recap email what her longest run was 3 weeks prior to the event.  I don’t recall excatly what her longest run was, but this is good information to know to make sure that the person you are running with is sufficiently trained for the race you are running.  Since Gail has done multiple marathons in the past few weeks that thought never crossed my mind.  In my opinion, she is sufficiently trained.  But what Jeff is referring to is for anyone.  Be sure you talk to your running partner and make sure you are both trained equally if you plan to stick together for the entire race.

Something else that occurred to me is that we should talk about a bail out plan.  If someone is on the quest for a PR and are running with a friend, you need to know ahead of time what the plan is if someone is falling behind or having trouble.  When Gail began to hurt I wasn’t sure what to do.  We tried to use different intervals to see if we could sync up where she could run her longer intervals and I could run using my shorter ones, but then we were pulling apart from each other.  We found a middle of the road interval pace that worked for both of us.  But I was on a quest to get a 5:30 marathon finish and she was doing an awesome job of getting me there.  Then when things started to slow down we weren’t sure if we were going to make it.  But I didn’t want to leave her behind. I am too loyal like that.  I also didn’t want to run to the finish alone without her because she helped me get to where I was.  So it’s important to talk about the plan of action ahead of time prior to the race and not when someone is having a hard time because honestly, it’s hard to think and make decisions like that on the race course and you don’t want to worry about hurting someone’s feelings during that part of your race.

Despite the rough patch we hit during mile 18 of the race, we found a plan that worked for us and we happily crossed the finish line together and I am so glad I had a friend there to help me and to also experience this special event with me!  Thanks Gail! Looking forward to more races and more PRs!


Mission Accomplished – I Got My PR in Providence!

I am so glad I signed up for this race! I had a fantastic time and I got my PR!

I don’t know why I look like I am scared!

On Saturday I picked up Kim and we drove up to Providence talking all the way, as usual. We ran next-door to the convention center once we arrive in Providence and picked up our bibs then as girls love to do we hit the Providence mall for a little shopping.  Non-running related for a change. After shopping we checked into our hotel and Kim turned on the TV for the Kentucky Derby pre-race shows.  The excitement about the Derby was starting to build!  The hotel was great!  It is right across the street from the Convention Center and the starting line so we could walk wherever we needed to.  The rooms were very large!  We got the junior suite with 2 king beds and it was awesome.  They were running a special for the race weekend, too so I highly recommend this hotel for next year.

Junior suite with 2 king beds

Junior suite with 2 king beds

We heard from Gail and then she picked us up at our hotel and we headed over to the Red Striper restaurant. This is where we watched the Kentucky Derby.  That was a fun 2 minutes!  I wish our race was that short!  The food at the restaurant was great.  I ordered the beet salad and a Grilled Pizza Margherita.  This was definitely a great choice of restaurants for a pre-race dinner.  Warning: if you eat the beet salad before a race, your pee will be red the next day, it’s not that your bladder got irritated from the marathon. (Runners, this is good information to know ahead of time because it could leave you with quite a scare!)

The Dorrance

After dinner we brought Gail up to the room and dropped off her things, then we decided to head out to a bar that her husband recommended called the The Dorrance (Dorchester to us).  The concierge didn’t know what we were talking about so we took a walk down the street and found it on our own.  It was a gorgeous building.  The inside was spectacular, but it was closed off for a private wedding.  So we walked back to our hotel and grabbed a drink in the bar downstairs.  Then it was time to head up and call it a night. Staying at the Biltmore was great.  The beds were big and comfortable, and because the location was right across the street from the starting line, we didn’t have to get up extra early to drive anywhere.  The only downside was that because the building was so old, it was hot in the rooms because the heating system is set to hot for winter and cold for summer and we were in the season in the middle.  If we had know that maybe we could have opened our window. But it was also not our own beds so we didn’t have the greatest night’s sleep but that happens usually prior to a race.

When the alarm went off at 6:00, that’s when I was really sleeping well.  I was grumpy.  I honestly didn’t want to run the race at that moment! At this point I was having so much fun having a girls weekend I really didn’t feel like running the full marathon that I have been training for. But once I had my tea and oatmeal and got myself ready it was okay. The girls made fun of me because I put on full makeup and earrings!  It was a spectacular morning for a race.  The starting line was set up across the street and the music was playing.

The starting line view from our room

The starting line view from our room

I wasn’t feeling nervous, but I wasn’t all that revved up for it yet either. I reviewed my notes from my coach, Jeff Galloway about the paces that I should be doing for each mile.  He said to use whichever intervals that I was comfortable with because I trained with different ones to see what I liked.  I decided I wanted to do 20/20 and see how I do with that.  This is what he told me to do:

  • Miles 1-5 12:45 – 12:50 per mile.
  • Miles 6-13 12:35 – 12:45 per mile
  • Miles 14-20 12:25 – 12:35 per mile

When I was reviewing that with Gail and Kim I was a little nervous.  That seemed fast to me.  When I did my training at home, I was going slower per Jeff’s advice.  So to know that I had to go faster seemed intimidating.

At 7:10 we decided it was time to head over to the start line. We went downstairs I’ve powered up my Garmin watch to find out it was dead so I ran back upstairs grab my other watch and my gym boss timer and we started back downstairs again. Then we walked over to the starting line where we waited about 20 minutes because the race got off to a late start.  It was a beautiful crystal-clear morning with brisk air perfect weather for running a marathon. The plan was to do 20/20 intervals and see how we feel throughout the race.

Miles 1-5 we were going at a consistent pace of around 12 mins per mile.  I took a Gu at mile 5 because I wanted to stay ahead on my fuel.

Miles 6-10 were also similar.  We passed Janice around mile 9.  There were bananas at mile 8.  I took a few bites and that was good.  Since we had a banana, I held off on Gu at mile 10.

Miles 11-15 were good.  There were a few rolling hills, but they were comfortable to run. We ran past a beautiful Country Club and golf course.  I had a few bites of a banana at mile 15.  I had to remember to start drinking more of my Nuun as well.


Miles 16-18 were harder.  Because we were doing the 20/20 intervals it was beginning to take a toll on Gail.  She is used to doing longer intervals so the start and stop was starting to bother her hip.  At mile 18 she needed to sit down at a bench and really stretch out.

Miles 19-22 were very challenging for both of us.  I was worried about the discomfort Gail was in and also concerned about our finish time. But I kept doing the math in my head and it seemed like we were still in pretty good pace to get in around 5:30.  At that point we were around the 4 hour mark.  Gail and I were talking and trying to figure out which intervals would work best for her so she wouldn’t be so sore.  So we tried 1:00/30.  I did that for a few reps but found it was harder for me to go longer because I didn’t train with that interval.  So then I had her continue on with that and I would try 20/20 and see if we could keep up with each other.


We did that for about a half of a mile.  Meanwhile we were in a very open area of the course on the water so the winds were howling and pushing against us from the side.  I was feeling spray from the ocean coming up on me.  Our pace slowed down to around 13 and 14 minutes.  I caught up to her and we both decided to try 45/30 and see how that felt.  But we would walk for a little bit to give our legs a little rest.  We did pose for a picture with the official photographers so I can’t wait to see that picture.  At mile 21 I had 2 bites of banana and that was the last of the food I had during the race.


Miles 22-26 we PUSHED to get to the finish.   We walked more frequently but we kept pushing forward and our pace was 13/14 minutes per mile.  There were a few hills towards the end (one very steep, one to an overpass, and one through town).  We walked the hills and ran the downhills.  The wind felt like it was getting stronger and stronger the closer we got to town.

During mile 23 we had to walk up a hill so we were talking about what the time was and I told Gail we were still on track for getting in just over 5:30.  I think she was relieved at that because she wasn’t aware of what pace we were going and what our time was.  She thought that because she had to take a stretch break and we slower our pace a little around 19-22 that we were not going to make a decent finish time.  I’m glad she felt that relief.  I didn’t want her to feel bad and I felt so bad that she was hurting because of the intervals I said I wanted to use.

At mile 24 we were walking through a park along the water and there were cobblestones… that was interesting for a race!  Then we went under an overpass and the winds felt like they were blasting at us at 100 mph!!!  We had to bend over and hold our hats so we wouldn’t get sandblasted on our faces!  We recorded a video of the wind blasting us as we were at mile 25.5.  We got a dermabrasion facial while finishing this marathon!

Mile 26 we ran into Janice.  She told us she was very sick during the race and had a hard time from a little while after we saw her in the beginning to the end.  We rounded the last corner and the finish line was right there.  I was so relieved!  I was afraid we’d have a far distance after we got around the corner.  Gail saw the clock was 5:39 and said if we hurry we could get in under 5:40!  I really pushed but I crossed at 5:40:03.  The good news is, that was the clock time.  Our actual finish time was 5:38:24.

As much as I wanted 5:30 my backup plan in my head was 5:45.  I had no idea I had the potential to do a 5:30.  If we didn’t have the wind to contend with I think we would have made it.  I am so thankful Our consistency in the beginning really helped because we had put some time in the bank for the issues we faced at the end.

After some post race photos we headed back to our room, showered, checked out and Gail took us to an awesome Chinese restaurant called China Inn!  It was sooo delicious!  Then she brought us back to our car and said our goodbyes and Kim and I headed back to CT.  The rain was just starting to come towards Providence so the timing for everything was perfect!


Leaving Providence as the rain clouds rolled in

Leaving Providence as the rain clouds rolled in

I really enjoyed this race.  The girls said they would do it again.  Kim said she wants to run this full.  This race was my first non-Disney marathon and it was much different.  The support on the course for this race was good.  They had sufficient water and food breaks.  They did not have medical tents, which surprised me.  I would have liked to have one because I was getting chaffing on my arms.  But there was a woman on a bike helping someone and she had lip balm so I used that and it took the edge off for me.  But overall, the organization of the race was great, the expo was very small, the hotel rates were great (especially when splitting it between 3 people).  For my next marathon (Philadelphia in November), I am going to use it as a training run towards Dopey.  I won’t do the 26 mile long run prior to the race.

Thanks for joining me for this race Gail and Kim!  I had a great time!  I am also thankful to my husband for his support while I take on these crazy adventures!

View a video from the starting line!

Providence Here I Come!

providenceWhen I finished the Walt Disney World Marathon this January, I came home and the first thing I did was research where I can do another marathon.  I found the Providence marathon and thought that was a perfect location because it wasn’t far from home.  I was hoping I could fine one sooner than the date of May 4; however it gave me time to train some more.

I used Jeff Galloway as my coach during this training. And it was very effective.  My last long run was done two weeks ago on Good Friday.  Now I am wrapping my mind around it.  I usually do my very long run prior to the race as Jeff recommends, however, I am beginning to think that maybe I don’t want to pursue this approach anymore.  I am torn over it because when I finish it then mentally I feel like I’ve already run the race.  But if I don’t do it, then I’m going to struggle when I have to add the additional last 3 miles to the course on race day.  The training to the full distance gives my body what I needs to endure the entire distance.  The harder part, the less physical part.

My goal for this race is to get in at 5:30 or less.  It is a very aggressive goal and I’m going to be running it with Gail, so I’m hoping that she can push me at the end so that I can make it.  I can almost guarantee I’m going to be hurting when this one is over, but it’s okay it will be worth it.  My back up plan is to be in under 5:45.

I am also looking forward to spending the night with the girls and hanging out and having dinner before the race.  It’s always good to get together with race friends. When I first chose this race, I was only planning on going by myself.  But when I told the girls that I was signed up for it they decided to join me.  Always a win-win in my book when people join me or I join others for races!  I have other friends who are running the half so I am hoping to see Michael and Diana while I am there, too!

I have been working on picking out my wardrobe for the race, we are in that temperature swing where it is beginning to warm up. I t looks like it’s going to be 60° but on the water I’m not sure how breezy it is.

Stay tuned for updates on how the event went! Wish me luck!

Have you run this race before?  What is the weather like running near the water?