Best. Weekend. EVER.

After a solid week of training last week, I took my rest day Friday pretty seriously:


And drank WAY too much Merlot with some of my favorite ladies in the world. I regret NOTHING.

Once I washed the chlorine out of my hair on Saturday, I aimed for “active recovery” which meant movement but nothing too strenuous: perfect for a day wandering around NYC with hubby!


This was a selfishly-planned trip on my part: we went in to see the Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit in Times Square, which I’d been silently fangirling over it since I clicked “Buy Tickets” earlier in the week.


Me, since last Monday.


If I was this excited over cardboard, you did NOT want to see me when I rounded a corner and came face to face with the real Chewy.

And BOY was I not disappointed:


Okay. I’m better.



I may also be crying just a little bit in this picture.

Alright, I’m all good now.

After a few hours wandering around and snapping pictures, I had my fill of riding the emotional rollercoaster of seeing Carbonite Han, Amidala’s crazy get ups, Rey’s scavenger gear, and all the rest of it. To ease back into reality, we went for a nice early dinner at a British pub, complete with a Shirley Temple because I’m a big girl and I can order my own big girl drinks.


Once we finished dinner we did a little shopping (and I may or may not have dragged Mike into the Disney store where I purchased Star Wars gear, #sorrynotsorry) and we made it back to Penn Station just in time for the 6PM train. I was a little worried that I’d burnt out my legs before the 9 miles I had scheduled for Sunday, but evidently those worries were all for nothing.


Spoiler Alert: I nailed my best 10 mile run EVER.

I set out down in Asbury and ran right into Jenny who was just about to finish her 8 miles (what up, girl!!). I struggled through the first mile because I had overdressed: I had to peel off my extra arm warmers after half a mile and ran them back to my car so I didn’t have to hold them for 2 hours. It was kind of a mess.

But even with the stutter start I kept an eye on my pace and managed to stay under 12:00/mile the whole first half. I told myself I’d spin around at mile 5, around Spring Lake. It was nice to charge down the boards at a decent pace like that, and once I fell into a rhythm by mile 3 I felt pretty unstoppable. The St. Patty’s Day parade was happening in Belmar so it was fun seeing all the folks (and pups!) in their green gear – I even spied a few bagpipers!


And the seashell mantras are back again too, hooray! Love spotting these random beauties along the route.

I was particularly impressed with my consistent pacing: between 11:20-11:55 basically the whole time! My only stop was at Mile 5 when I took my gel and finished the last of my water. I paused my watch and gave myself one full minute to stretch, but when I started up again I was hit directly in the face with a wall of freezing wind. GREAT, I thought, there goes my pace!

My too-warm (now super sweaty) shirt was COLD. For a half mile or so I thought I might be ruined, but after glancing at my pace and seeing a pretty effortless 11:55, I changed my mind. By Mile 6 I had warmed back up, the wind calmed, and my pace was still around 11:45. At Mile 7 I took inventory: everything felt surprisingly great, despite having run 7 miles at one of my best paces yet! Suddenly I thought: wouldn’t it be great to do 10 miles? I know the schedule says 9, but imagine the ego boost you’d get nailing a double digit run so early in your training! Let’s see how we feel at mile 8.

Well, as you can see by the Garmin shot up there I stuck it out for 10, and ended up NAILING my first double digit training run since October. My legs were ready to call it quits at around Mile 9, but I wasn’t experiencing the real pain and tightness in my hips, knees, and calves that I’d felt in previous training runs. So I pushed through that final mile on pure adrenaline really, and celebrated with some “boardwalk running” pics.


It was so great – I stretched a little on the boardwalk and practically floated back to the car (well, hobbled, but you get the idea), then headed home for a quick lunch before heading over to a friend’s to meet her new baby and spend some quality time with her family.

By the time I got home at 7pm, I was ready for BED in a big way. This was one of my busiest but most fulfilling weekends yet, but I loved every second of it. How about you – how did your weekend go? Tell me all about it!

Playing Catch Up

OK, first: I am SO sorry it’s been so long since my last post! We’ve got a big product launch going on at my day job, and my new role is heavily involved in almost every aspect of the marketing launch, so I’ve had to log lots of extra night and weekend hours trying to get things ready in the past two weeks, meaning this blog had to suffer! The good news is that we launch today and I can finally breathe now. And to make up for it, I’ve got a fun, picture-filled post for you today!

Let’s rewind to almost 2 weeks ago, when I hit my peak mileage in preparation for the Asbury Park Half Marathon. My weekly runs were going well, and the spring weather made things even better – I was finally able to run outside after work again!


These solid weekday runs had me feeling pretty good leading up to my long run of 10 miles that Easter Sunday. I decided to run for the first time with the Jersey Shore Running Club down in Ocean Grove, and I was super stoked! I joined a month ago to connect with local runners and to take advantage of their long boardwalk runs on Sunday mornings, and since Easter was going to be a full day, their start time of 6:45AM worked well. The only catch was the 5AM wakeup call I’d have to make. Ugh.

Of course, Saturday night I was hit with a bad case of insomnia and stress-dreams. Why? I have no idea! But I ended up only getting a solid 3 hours of restless sleep at best, and dragged my ass down the Parkway before the sun came up for the sorriest 10 miles I’ve ever run.

IMG_3977But oh, that sunrise!

While the run itself stunk, everything besides the actual running was beautiful and positive! The JSRC people were the most welcoming, friendly group of runners I’ve met in a long time. I quickly bonded with Hazem, who kept me company for the entire 10 miles! He’s in the bright green, I’m in yellow 🙂


Bless that man for sticking with me, too – thanks to the total lack of rest the night before, I was achy and exhausted from mile 3. We started off at sunrise going south from Ocean Grove, and after a mile or two of sticking together, little groups broke away from the pack and either dropped back (me & Hazem) or took off (everyone else). Once we were on our own, we chatted about work, life, running – the usual. Through Bradley Beach, Belmar, Spring Lake, and back we went, slogging along and taking turns going silent as you do on long runs.

Seeing as how I’d never even met this guy before, I kept telling him that he didn’t have to wait for me – because I was dogging it. It’s like I was made of lead. And as much as I now like running with others, I truly hate feeling like I’m slowing them down. It makes me feel worse and starts the negative thinking spiral. But even though I told him at every water and bathroom stop to keep going without me, he said no and stayed with me until the last half mile when he picked it up and finished, then even waited for me too! Thanks for the company, friend – you made a miserable run totally bearable!

And I also want to issue a public apology for loudly serenading you with some off-key Taylor Swift when she came on my headphones at around mile 6. The long run mania will make you do some crazy things, and I’m sorry you had to witness me Shaking it Off like that.

IMG_3980Another one of the sweet Asbury Park message shells, spotted perfectly on this Easter Sunday Runday!

Final tally: 10 miles in 2:08, Average Pace 12:50/mile. BLAH. Because I performed so poorly, I took the experience as a learning opportunity, and focused on resting and strength/cross training, which helped boost my confidence and made for some solid mileage on Tuesday and Thursday. I think it was the new Skirt Sports gear I tried out on the treadmill!

IMG_4067What up, Lioness Skirt! Want one of your own? Use code SSJRH20 to get 20% off your order!

Come the weekend, I was ready to run and do other running-related things. Namely, pick up my Asbury Park Half Marathon bib!

IMG_4112sounds like a lucky number, yeah?

I decided to go down to the shore one last time before the race to get my feet acclimated to those boards even more. Last year I explicitly remember cursing my thin socks at mile 8 because that boardwalk is HARD. My legs felt fine in the days after the race, but my poor feet were blistered from the beating. So this training cycle I purposely did most of my long runs on the race course to familiarize myself (and my feet) with the work it was going to take on.

Also, about 80% of my race-day anxiety involves the unfamiliar aspects: how will I get there, where will I park, what does the course look like, etc. By driving myself down to the race course and running it every weekend for the entire month before, all of those unknowns were now simple facts that I don’t feel anxious about anymore. I think I’m going to try to adopt this plan-ahead process for all races going forward!


I got to Asbury at around 8:30 – the sun was shining, the air was getting warmer by the minute, and I was feeling unstoppable. I set out in the same way I would on race day – back and forth on the boards in Asbury, then straight through the casino building south to Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach, over the Belmar Bridge, and down the boardwalk until I hit about 4 miles, and back for my 7.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day to run: the boards were packed with other runners, bikers, walkers, and generally nice people that were just as thrilled about the weather as I was!

IMG_4125Just breathe it in!

I was determined not to let my previous week’s long run cloud my mood, so I didn’t look at my pace until I turned around – and was so happy to see that I was averaging almost a FULL MINUTE FASTER per mile than last week!


That’s one happy (and overdressed) runner right there.

I was jamming out to some new tunes (thank you, Kendrick Lamar) and turned into a full-out whack job by the 10K mark, singing along to my music and even run-dancing a bit. I’m sure the locals appreciated that. But who cares?! I crushed those 7 miles in 1:26 at an average pace of 12:04 per mile – holy crap!


I know better than to expect a SUPER awesome performance like that again this weekend, but who knows? It was definitely the perfect confidence-boosting run I’ve needed this training cycle. I didn’t know what to expect going into the “two-halfs-in-one-month” plan that I basically created on the fly. But 4 days from go time my knees are feeling great, my legs are feeling strong, my confidence is high, and I’m nowhere near as burnt out as I have been before other races. I feel more like a border collie, with tons of energy and excitement about getting to that boardwalk starting line and showing myself how strong I’ve become!

How about you? How has your training been going? Are you loving the spring race season? Tell me everything!