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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The rail-trail ride and goals

What a great weekend the boy and I had.

Saturday we rode our bikes for 20 miles on a chain of rail-trails that start in Trumbull and end in Monroe, CT.  Most of the of the trails were either paved or well packed dirt.
The last mile was on a very undeveloped section of trail but it was David's favorite part.  He got to use his mountain bike for what it was designed for, rough terrain. I, on the other hand, had to be a bit more cautious maneuvering around the tree roots, rocks and railroad tracks.

Rail-trails are great for families because you don't have to worry about cars except when you cross from one section to the other.  The trails I have encountered are at least 1 mile in length so you can enjoy a nice ride before dealing with crossing a road. You can find your local trail by visiting the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.
We almost let a beautiful Sunday slip by.   Our original plan was to drive an hour to a beach that is closer to the open ocean.  We heard we were going to have showers all day so we decided to hang out at home.  By 10am the sun was still shining brightly so I told the boy that if it was still beautiful by 12pm we were going to the local beach.  Thank goodness we did! It was a beautiful, relaxing day.  I relaxed and read on the beach while he rode his bike on the trails around the park.  Win-win!

We packed it up around 4 with black skies creeping up behind us. We made it home just before some of the loudest thunder I had heard in a long time.  Rocky was going nuts!

It seems like all I do lately is set new goals.  I guess we need them in our lives to keeps us going...I know I do.  Here are my recent ones:
1. Pick an official training plan...and stick to it.
I chose Runner's World Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan(Specific to their Half Marathon course in October). 
2. Reduce and eliminate any type of sweeteners from my beverages.  
I have been gradually reducing it for about 2 weeks now.  It's hard to get use to it.
3. I had become reliant on Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies as my nightly snack.  I would leave enough calories for the end of the day so I could enjoy 2 of them.  The calories were my issue.  It was that I felt I NEEDED them to be satisfied at the end of the day.  I didn't like being dependent on them. They are so processed and I felt that I could find a fruit or recipe I could make for myself with whole foods.
I ate my last brownie about a week ago.  I REALLY miss that chocolate taste.  I have been eating fruit instead but I think I need to find a chocolate recipe.
4. Run back to back races
I am training for the Runner's World 10k & Half Marathon that they are holding in the same weekend.  I know it will be a challenge but I have my training plan in place.  I think the key to the piggy back races is to run smart races.  I will not be running to PR.
5. Work on realizing my self-worth.  
This will be an on going goal for a while.  This is something I really need to fix.

What are some of your goals?

Happy Running!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest Post from Seattle Police Officer Johnson : Self - Defense

With the recent stories of runners being attacked I asked my friend, Seattle Police Officer Jeffrey Johnson to write a guest post on the best defense strategies.
"My name is Jeff Johnson (JJ to my old Army friends) and I am a police officer for the City of Seattle. I am typing this at the request of my friend Deb, but it is in no way intended to reflect the opinions, or policy, of the City of Seattle.

I’ve been in law enforcement for about 20 years, not including my time with the US Army Military Police, so it’s safe to say I have plenty of life experience dealing with the issues Deb wanted me to discuss on her blog site.

Personal safety, while running, jogging, or walking.

I’ve determined that being “civilized” has dampened our instincts. It also effects are common sense. You ever have that feeling that something isn’t right, but choose to ignore it? I can’t tell you the number of investigations, involving crimes against persons, where the victim would say, “I felt something was wrong, but didn’t act on it.” STOP! Do something!

Too often people feel safe and don’t think about the consequences. I know many joggers like to listen to music when they run, and sometimes they play the MP3’s from their Smart phone. Criminals are aware of the cost for a Smart phone (or similar device), and look for volunteer victims. Would you hold $500 in your hands, so others could see, while you run? You make a nice target. So here’s my second piece of advice (my first being, “STOP! Do something!”). Do not show off your “Bling.” A less expensive MP3 player plays music too.

Another issue, along the lines of listening to music, is that it distracts you from your surroundings. Situational awareness is key in personal safety. If you can’t hear someone approaching you’ve given them the advantage. In law enforcement we call it “Keeping your head on a swivel.” Look around. Of course we cops tend to be paranoid, so we’re looking for ambush sites, avenues of approach and escape, etc. I’m just saying from time to time look left and right. If something seems a little off? Look a little longer.

Cell phones. You’d think everyone age 5 and up has one, but where’s it at when you need it? I’ve talked to many joggers, reporting a crime, who tell me that it happened some time ago, but they were without a phone. You can keep the old cell phones, without even having a phone carrier, and can still use them for calling 911. Cheap, disposable phone simply for calling 911 in an emergency.

Never underestimate your opponent. The fatal flaw in those who are highly trained. Do not think you can outrun a criminal, because they have the initiative. Surprise is on their side. That’s why law enforcement is so dangerous. We’re reactive to bad actions. Limit your exposure to bad actions by choosing the environment. Avoid high crime areas, paths with too much foliage (bushes and trees close to trail), run during daylight hours, or on paths that are well lit, run with others, carry cheap cell phone, no “Bling” and last, most important, NEVER GIVE UP!

Mace? Pepper spray? Taser? All good tools, but just remember they do not solve the problem. In my professional opinion they just buy you time. It’s what you do with the few seconds afterwards that determines the outcome. I’ve experienced all 3 and can tell you I can fight through them. In fact I fight harder. So have a plan “B” when you use them. Spray the criminal and run? or spray the criminal and fight? No need to hang out and see what happens.

If you are attacked only you can make the choice of fight, or surrender? Each comes with risk and a price, but I can say this, if you choose to fight, then FIGHT! A study on officers killed in the line of duty, showed the victim officers were “Too nice.” The criminals, those who were interviewed, said they attacked the cops, because they thought they could win. Most criminals shop for a victim. They want someone who is unwilling to fight. You ever see a pride of lions take down the most healthy, strong, zebra? Show the world you’re a fighter.

Now get out there and run a marathon!"
Thank you so much JJ! As I have said before, Seattle is lucky to have you looking after them.  You be safe out there too or I'm getting on a plane......!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Man, it's HOT out here!!!!

Image by Sam Weber
If your neck of the woods is anything like mine it is H-O-T!!!! This past week of training has been a struggle.  The heat and humidity makes our bodies work so much harder.  Monday I ran @ 7pm and I could not wait for it to be over.  I took every opportunity to walk or wait for the crosswalk to give me the all clear.  When the run was done I checked my pace. My running buddy and I were so surprised we had run so slowly.  It felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest the entire run.  We agreed that we would never complain about running in 32 degrees again.  The good news is that according to Runner's World  Magazine athletes who train in heat and humidity perform so much better when racing season rolls around.  That's enough to keep me going! :)
Speaking of racing season. A few weeks back I gave away a free race entry to Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 Marathon® Series race in Boston on FacebookThe awesome organizers have also provided me with an entry into the raceon September 16th .  I am so excited!!  

They are boosting a really awesome course that will take us through East Boston, Revere, & Winthrop with a view of Downtown.  Let's not forget my favorite part of the course...the smell of salty sea air.  We will be running all but 2 miles along the ocean.  There's nothing like it and it is why I have chosen all my Halfs to be running along the ocean.

At each mile marker there will be a "gun time" race clock and an Event Status System that will alert runners to the race conditions concerning weather and other concerns.  This system will enable us to have an enjoyable and safe race experience. 

The benefiting charity is Autism Speaks and you can sign up to be part of their team.  A team is a great way to keep motivated as well as receiving Virtual training from a certified coach.  Your fundrasing will do so much good for such a worthy cause so check it out.

If a Half Marathon is not your cup of tea? They will also be holding a Karhu 5k.   A fun twist of this race is the first 10 runners to "Beat the Karhu Bear" will win a coupon for a free pair of Karhu running shoes.

For more information on the Boston race and other races in the series  click here: Allstate Life Insurance 13.1 Marathon® Series  or find them on Facebook. Don't wait to long to check them out though as the entry fee will be going up on July 13th. I hope to see you there and check back here after the race for a full recap and pics of me with my race bling! 

Happy Running!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Goshen All - American Weekend & 10k 2012

After last weekend's little mishap I was looking for a motivational boost via PR in my 10k this weekend. Unfortunately that didn't happen and I am ok with it. I was out there trying my best and I finished.  In the end, as I was reminded by some of RHMB members, that is what matters most. 

I was not impressed with the race, the organization, or the lack of runner's etiquette.   I also didn't like that I had to strap a used timing strap on my ankle. Yuck!

The course itself was challenging which was nice. Lots of hills. One thing I found odd is that it started on a hill. :/ They also didn't have a timing pad at the start which made it impossible to get an accurate time (of couse I forgot my GPS watch @ Mom's).  It was a very rural course so they had police at every intersection to make sure traffic was diverted. The water stations were great! They were well staffed and they had lots of kids helping. I love when kids help at races.  There were a few people out cheering but on a hot, difficult course we could have used a few more people encouraging us.  We did get a good laugh at the 2 Pekingese barking their heads off. 

As I mentioned above I had a problem with runner's etiquette.  We need to remember that eventhough police close the roads on a course people live on at some point we are bound to encounter cars.  If we are going to safely share a roadway both drivers and runners alike most follow the rules and respect each others place on that roadway.

After the race David and I got some pool time! Yay! Thanks Cooper Dave, Sue and Travman. It was exactly what I needed.  Cooper is such a funny dog.  He had a blast trying to get the ball away from the boys.

I even got to see my brothers bear. It was a 350+ black bear he shot a while back and he got it stuffed.  He is such a sportsman and I am so proud of him. 
Then it was time to get my wine on.  I bought my Dad a groupon to a local winery for wine tasting.  While the region is not a huge producer of wine grapes, we do have several winerys that make up the Wallkill Valley Wine Trail. I picked this gift because it is right up my Dad's alley. He loves wine.  He makes his own beer as well. We got to try 5 wines. I wasn't surprised when I only enjoyed the Reisling.  I am not a big wine drinker but there is a wine I really enjoy, Green Apple Reisling, but cannot get it around here . We picked the perfect weekend because they had live music. After the tasting we order kalamata olive goat cheese and it was sooo good!

Adult time was over too soon but we had to go home to the kiddies and pick up pizza for dinner.  We topped of the night with some ice cream. Yum! Not much happend after that because when I layed down on the couch I was out! Dead to the world for 10+ hrs.  I don't remember the last time I slept so long.

I'm back at home and it's almost time for bed.  Guess I better go get things ready for the week.  The running club will be meeting tomorrow morning and I am looking forward to getting back on my normal training schedule. Goodnight all!

Happy Running!!!