Living and loving life in vermont

Welcome to Friday Free-For-All, where I talk about anything and everything on my mind.  This is usually just a great big brain dump, so brace yourselves!

New posting schedule.  Some of you may have already noticed, but I’m going to be backing off on the posting a bit.  With the wedding slowly but surely creeping up on me, and the half looming, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I don’t want to be posting a lot of junk for the sake of having a post every day.  For the foreseeable future, I’ll be on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday posting schedule, so at the very least you’ll be getting Manic Monday training updates, Friday Free-For-All brain dumps, and a little bit of random stuff thrown in.  If the spirit moves me, I may post more often, but no promises.

Tonight is Ladies’ Night!  My friend Emily has a 16 month-old daughter and doesn’t get out much.  We try to have lunch once a week, but her schedule changes often, and I haven’t seen her in a few weeks.  Tonight we are going to get dinner and drink adult beverages and go shopping.  It’s going to be excellent.

I get to see my parents this weekend!  We were supposed to go stay with my parents last weekend, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to cancel at the last minute.  I haven’t seen my dad since the first week of September and I haven’t seen my mom since we went wedding dress shopping, so I’m really excited to see them.  We’re going to have dinner and drinks on Saturday night, and talk about wedding stuff.  Yay!

Today is the last day of my #100HappyDays photo challenge.  I have to say, I’m happy this is ending.  At first, it was pretty effortless and spontaneous.  It was on my mind, it was new and exciting, and I had no trouble finding at least one thing every day to take a photo of (and remembering to post it).  However, as time went on, it was more of a burden than a fun activity.  I started missing days and being annoyed that I “had” to remember to post a photo.  That being said, I sort of enjoyed the challenge too.  Starting January 1, I think I’ll be doing Project 365.  I tried it once and stopped after 5 days, but that was before there was an iPhone app, which I think will make it easier.  Plus, I think it’s a really cool idea to have one picture every day, regardless of whether it’s “happy” or not.  That way, it can be a more accurate reflection of where you were and what you were up to at that time.

Have you ever done an extended photo challenge like #100HappyDays?  How did it go?

What are you up to this weekend?



Looking Ahead

Now that I’m most of the way through the training cycle for half marathon #2, I’m feeling very introspective.  This summer, and really, most of this entire year, has been very run-centric.  I’ve logged a lot of training hours, covered a lot of miles, and spent a LOT of money on gear, fuel, and race entries.  I’ve spent countless hours reading running blogs and articles on Runner’s World.  I’ve made an incredible group of friends that I know I will meet In Real Life and race with some day.  And I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I know I can do hard things.  I can stick to a training plan.  I can achieve my goals.  I can run 13.1 miles in 80 degree weather, 90% humidity, and full sun.  I can keep going when all I want is to stop and rest.  And that’s pretty amazing.

Best picture ever--can you spot my mama?

I’ve learned a lot about running, too.  The thing at the top of my list right now is this:  long distance running requires a lot of time, and I’m not sure I want to make it a priority anymore.  I’m reasonably sure that I will never run a marathon.  I’ve said this before here, so it shouldn’t be that shocking.  But at this particular moment, I’m feeling pretty burned out on distance running in general.  My shorter training runs are feeling great, even the “tough” ones like hill repeats and 400s.  I can tell I’m getting faster and stronger.  But I’m starting to realize that I’ve really not been looking forward to long runs.  I’ve been putting them off, rescheduling them over and over, missing and making them up later, and pretty much just not wanting to devote my weekend mornings to running for multiple hours.

So not me right now

So not me right now

I’ve been doing what I need to do to get me through this race, but I don’t want to keep forcing myself to do something I’m not enjoying.  It’s starting to feel like an obligation rather than a gift.  I’m not saying I’ll never run another half marathon (in fact, there are several I want to do next year), but I just need some time to get my distance mojo back.  I’ve run two half marathons this year, and I think that’s plenty.  So after the half on November 2, I’ll be backing off on “long runs” and working on shorter distances.  Maybe focus on 5 ks and 10 ks for a while.  Do more speed work.  Do more lifting and yoga.  Read.  Watch TV.  Drink wine.  Ski.  Sleep.  Have a social life.  Hang out with my soon-to-be-husband.  All of the things that I haven’t been doing as much because I’ve been running long and “training” so much.  I think if I keep my fitness level up through the winter, I can maybe work with some shorter training cycles next year for longer races and not get this burned out feeling.

rungryWhile time is a huge factor in this decision, another factor is my overall fitness and health.  I love running and I know it’s good for me, but when I’m in training I eat A LOT.  I’m hungry ALL.THE.TIME–a painful, not-to-be-ignored hunger.  I understand that this is normal and good–I need the energy to run.  However, this has caused me to keep the extra 10 or so pounds that I put on last year.  I’ve talked about this a few times here, but I’m definitely not comfortable with where I am currently, and I obviously need to change what I’m doing if I want to see results.  I’m very curious to see if backing off on the long distance/endurance training and focusing on overall fitness with cardio, lifting, yoga and other activities will help me get back to where I was/where I want to be.  If I’m not so focused on completing specific training runs, I’ll have more wiggle room in my schedule for classes like Body Pump and Zumba, and more opportunity to just pop on a yoga video if that’s what I feel like doing.

So, yeah.  Distance running and I will be taking a break after November 2.  I feel good about this decision.  Like I said, it’s not a permanent breakup, I just need some time.  Sorry, distance running.  It’s not you, it’s me.

How do you deal with burnout?

How many long races (longer than 10k) do you typically run per year?

Do you suffer from debilitating runger when training?

Manic Monday – 10/13/14

Welcome to another edition of Manic Monday, where I recap the previous week, and lay out a plan for the upcoming week.

Monday (Scheduled Rest Day)

I rested in the sense that I didn’t go to the gym, but it wasn’t a restful day.  Work is still really busy, and then after work I ran all over town trying to find wedding shoes.  In the end, I just decided to order them online.  I’ll be sporting these babies under my wedding dress :)  Cute, comfy, and warm-ish for my late November wedding.


Tuesday (Scheduled 40 Minute Tempo Run)

I knew when I was typing this schedule out last week that this was a bit of a stretch, but I put it out there anyway to try and stay on top of my training.  But by the time my haircut was over, it was too late to get to the gym, do my 40 minutes at tempo, and get home at a reasonable hour, so I just headed home.  I did, however, do 30 squats and some arm stuff, so it wasn’t a total rest day.

Wednesday (Scheduled Bike and Elliptical)

I decided to make up Tuesday’s tempo run on the treadmill.  I used Energy Bits for the first time (ordered some samples from Cape Cod Runner Stacey), but I think it’s too soon to say if they helped or not.  The run ended up not really being super tempo-y.  I ran for 40 minutes at a 10 min/mile average pace, which is technically faster than race pace, but it felt pretty comfortable the whole time.

Photo Oct 08, 6 29 16 PM


Thursday (Scheduled 5 Mile Easy Run)

I was responsible for cooking dinner, so I ended up just going to the grocery store and going home.  I intended to do a few strength/balance exercises for my legs, but video games won out.

Friday (Scheduled Rest Day)

I guess I could have made up my 5 miles today, but instead I went downtown to find a strapless bra to wear under my wedding dress.  This cost an arm and a leg, which was super annoying (remember when I talked about how frustrating bra shopping is?), so I just went home after.  Ben’s folks invited some friends over, and we had a nice shindig.

Coco the Beer Dog

Coco the Beer Dog

Saturday (Scheduled Virtual 10k Race)

After our shindig on Friday night, sleep carried the morning.  We slept in, ate a big breakfast, and proceeded to be productive.  I did laundry and cleaned our room while Ben did homework.  On Saturday night, we went over to the Johnsons’ house for dinner and had some more libations.

Sunday (Scheduled Rest Day)

I decided not to pay the $25 fee for the virtual race I was considering because with our wedding and the holidays rapidly approaching, I need to start cutting back on some unnecessary expenses.  That being said, I decided to treat the run like a race.  I fueled up and geared up as if I were actually going to be running with others in a race setting.  I pushed it pretty hard and ended up with an unofficial 10k PR of 58:31, which is two and a half minutes faster than my last virtual 10k, so I felt pretty awesome about that.

Photo Oct 12, 12 18 03 PM


I just realized I’m about 3 weeks out from the Half Marathon–yikes!  With wedding stuff ramping up, I’ve got a lot more appointments and obligations during the week that are starting to take away from my training schedule.  I’m hoping that I can stick with it as much as possible, but I’m starting to get a wee bit nervous…

This Week:

  • Monday:  Bike, Elliptical and Legs
  • Tuesday:  Dress fitting! (Rest)
  • Wednesday:  7 x 400
  • Thursday:  5 miles easy<–I have a wedding makeup trial at 5 pm so I’m not sure this will happen…
  • Friday:  Rest/ladies’ night
  • Saturday:  10 miles
  • Sunday:  Rest/Yoga

Do you use Energy Bits?

How do you stay on top of training when life gets busy?


Welcome to Friday Free-For-All, where I talk about anything and everything on my mind.  This is usually just a great big brain dump, so brace yourselves!

I am COVETING Pro Compression’s sock of the month.  It’s seriously so pretty.  I may have to suck it up and finally pay the $30 to get a pair.  With discount code “BOOM” you get 40% off, and they’re offering free shipping on orders over $20.


I’m FINALLY mailing out the prizes from my True Citrus giveaway.  Yeah, remember that?  Way back in August?  Well, first we were moving, and then we decided to move up our wedding pretty much an entire year, and then lots of family stuff happened…. So yeah.  Salt, Amy, Erin, and Jordan, you should each be receiving a package soon!  Sorry I suck!

We’re going to visit my folks this weekend.  My parents live in Quechee, VT, which is about an hour and change south of where we currently live.  It’s a cute, touristy little town, and is home to the very scenic and beautiful Quechee Gorge.  We’ll be doing some wedding planning, and a lot of relaxing :)



Who’s buying the Pro Compression sock of the month?  I want to, but need to prioritize my budget…

What are your weekend plans?


The Race that Got Away

On Monday morning, thousands of runners will be toeing the line at the Tufts Health Plan 10k for Women.  It runs through the streets of Boston and surrounding areas, and usually has somewhere around 6,000 registered runners/walkers.  I worked for Tufts Health Plan in Watertown, MA for almost three years.  As an employee of THP, I could have gotten a free entry to the race every year.  But I never did.

Each summer, as registration opened up, I would think to myself, “This is the year!  I’m gonna do it!  I can do it!”  And then I’d hit the treadmill and suffer through two miles, and think, “There’s no way I can run 6.2 miles. Forget it.  I don’t want to embarrass myself.”  Two of my colleagues were in the top 5 male and female finishers every year, and I didn’t want to be compared to them.  I wasn’t a “runner,” whatever that means.

Now, of course, a 10k is totally doable, and I’m absolutely kicking myself for never having done the race when I could have done it for free.  I really regret that I doubted myself so much, that I let fear of failure stop me from doing something I really wanted to do.  It is my goal to someday go back and run that 10k, just to fulfill the dreams of old, non-runner me.  I feel like it would really help me celebrate how far I’ve come with my running–from not being able to even imagine running a 10k to having completed a half marathon, and signing up for another one.  It’s really easy to lose perspective and get caught up in paces and times, and worry about progress and being faster and stronger.  I want to make sure I never lose sight of how amazing it is that I do what I do, regardless of how fast or slow I go.

Tufts Health Plan 10k for Women 2015:  I’m coming for you!

Best race slogan ever

Best race slogan ever

Do you have a race that you’d like to conquer, just to prove you can?

Who wants to run this one with me??

Blister Relief at Last!

Please Note:  I was not asked to write about this product and I am not being compensated in any way for this post.  I purchased this product for myself to try.  All opinions are my own.

In one of my recent Manic Monday posts, I mentioned that I was having blister issues.  I won’t post any pictures, but suffice to say, it’s been bad.  I’ve always been prone to blisters in the exact same spot–along the outside of the balls of my feet.    Over time, I built up some calluses and I was doing OK.  My feet were ugly, but I wasn’t in pain.

And then, the Catamount Half Marathon happened.  I took off my shoes after the face and found that I had developed blisters UNDER and AROUND my very, very thick calluses, and I was in an enormous amount of pain.  I took 2 full weeks off running after that half because of the gaping wounds on my feet, and since then, I haven’t really had a blister-free run, because my calluses came off with the blisters.

I tried new socks; no dice.  I tried blister relief band-aids; they disintegrated and mashed into a pulp and ruined one of my favorite pairs of socks.  I tried SLATHERING my feet with Body Glide; more blisters.  I was starting to be extremely discouraged and wondering if I was ever going to be able to run without experiencing blister pain.

I was wallowing around in the first aid aisle at CVS, and happened to spot this: Nexcare Absolute Waterproof Tape.


I figured, what the heck?  What’s another $6 towards my running problem?  I bought it without much hope, but figured pretty much anything was worth a try at this point.

Well halle-FREAKING-lujah, I think we have a winner!  This tape is slightly stretchy and slightly foamy, so it provides a decent amount of cushion without adding bulk.  And guess what?  It’s ACTUALLY waterproof.  Or at least, waterproof enough to stick to my sweaty feet for 5 plus miles!  I’ve been wearing this on all of my runs for the last week or so and I haven’t had any new blistering show up.  Of course, the area is still pretty irritated and there’s a lot of new, tender skin, so I will continue to tape up for every run until I get some actual calluses back.

Sadly, the tape didn’t make it all the way through my 9 miles on Sunday, but it stuck around (pun intended!) long enough that I didn’t get new blistering, just some discomfort.  I may experiment with different angles and reinforcements to see if I can get it to stay through my longer runs, but even if it only works for shorter runs, at least I’ve got some relief.

If you are having persistent blistering issues that aren’t being solved by band-aids, give this stuff a try!


Manic Monday – 10/06/14

Welcome to another edition of Manic Monday, where I recap the previous week, and lay out a plan for the upcoming week.

Monday (Attend Athleta Church Street Grand Opening Party)

You can read all about it here.  I intended to try and squeeze in some gym time afterwards, but traffic was really crappy so I just gave up and went home.

Tuesday (Scheduled Hill Repeats)

This actually went as planned.  There is a neighborhood right near my office that’s got a perfectly square block that’s flat on two sides, and an incline on two sides.  I just ran over there, ran around the block 6 times, and back to my office, for a total of 2.35 miles.

Photo Sep 30, 7 01 28 PM

Wednesday (Scheduled Cross-Training)

When I wrote my schedule out for the week, I completely forgot about our client appreciation event scheduled for this evening.  I was at our event until about 9 pm, so needless to say, I did not work out at all.

Thursday (Scheduled 5 Mile Run)

We decided to go indoor rock climbing with our friends, David and Alex.  I was happy to do some form of cross-training this week, and rock climbing is an excellent full-body workout.

Friday (Scheduled Rest Day)

I made up Thursday’s 5 mile run along the waterfront after work.  It was a gorgeous evening, and I managed negative splits the whole way!

Photo Oct 03, 7 44 01 PM

After my run, I met Ben at our friends’ house to shower, and then I watched his team play broom ball.  They lost, but it was a good game.  And then we went for a late dinner at Leunig’s Bistro, which is a very fancy schmancy restaurant.  But they have a late-night prix fixe menu that’s really good and affordable.

Saturday (Scheduled 9 Mile Run)

Yeah, that didn’t happen.  We slept in.  Made a dump run.  Did some stuff around the house.  And went to an AMAZING Oktoberfest party at one of Ben’s mom’s coworker’s house.  It’s a restored farm house with the original barn.  Can you guess where we partied?  Yeah, in the barn.  With polka music on the stereo and a keg of Trappe Brewery pilsner.  Later in the evening the instruments came out and we had a sing a long.  I was in my happy place :)

Photo Oct 04, 8 58 28 PM

Sunday (Scheduled Rest Day)

I finally did a long run!  Yay!  I slept in, and had coffee, grits, and toast with sunflower seed butter for breakfast.  I sort of took my time getting out the door, but eventually I did.  We currently live basically on the side of a mountain, so the entire “out” portion of my out and back run was pretty much downhill, and the “back” portion was essentially uphill.  Thankfully, I was smart and tacked on a bit extra in the middle so that I would finish my mileage before the really gigantic uphill portion, and walked the rest of the way home.  It was a perfect day to run–sunny, cool breeze, temps in the 50s.  I honestly felt like I could have run an entire half marathon that day.  After stretching, rolling, eating, and showering, I did two loads of laundry and then sat on my butt for the rest of the day.  It. was. awesome.

Photo Oct 05, 1 17 37 PM

I’m a bit sore today, so I’m planning to take a rest day to give my muscles a break.

Plan for this week:

  • Monday:  Rest/stretch/roll
  • Tuesday:  Hair cut and 40 min tempo run
  • Wednesday:  Bike and elliptical
  • Thursday:  5 miles easy
  • Friday:  Rest day (maybe go visit my folks?)
  • Saturday:  10k virtual race (Jost Oktoberfest?)
  • Sunday:  Rest/yoga/stretch/roll etc

Who ran long this weekend?  Who raced?  How did it go??

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