Thursday, April 10, 2014

My First Half Marathon!

I did it! I ran my first 13.1 miles ever! 

The Inaugural Philly Love Run. 13.1 miles in pouring rain, with 8,000 of my new best friends.
I'm a little excited, if you couldn't guess.

I signed up for this race last October, and convinced Kevin and 4 other friends to join me. 

This picture was taken prior to the race, when we were all still dry and warm! 
This is a really great group of runners. Each of them inspires me, and I felt fortunate to share my first Half Marathon with them.
Andrea is one of the most positive people I know! We went to High school together, and although we live more than an hour from each other, we've done a couple of Tri's together, and now a half!
Adrienne and I ran several long training runs together all winter. Having a friend to talk to, makes 10 miles seem fairly short. It was her first half, also. 
Lisa is another friend from High school. We ran track and cross country together back then!  She lives quite far away, but thanks to the world of Facebook, we've been able to reconnect over the past few years. She's the speed demon of the group.
Darlene and I met on my first 10k.  We encouraged each other up a long, never ending hill during that race. It was great to share this experience with her too.
And Kevin. We didn't do a single training run together all year long. I like conversation on runs, and he does not. Despite that,  one of the best thngs of the race, turned out to be him! We did not anticipate running together, but due to a few unforeseen circumstances, we ended up at each others side for the full race! He didn't talk a lot, but he did keep me laughing with his jokes. 

The race itself was cold and rainy! Philly had a record breaking 3 inches of rain on that day! Just to put that in context, if it had been snow, the race would've been cancelled. Because that equals about 30" of snow! 

When all was said and done, I finished at the tail end of my goal time range. The rain, and a knee injury held me back. 
But, the course was beautiful..even in the rain. The volunteers were fabulous, and there were many wonderful spectators on the course. I don't know yet if I'll ever do another half marathon. But if I do, The Philly Love Run would definitely be on my list of possibilities.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Virtual 5k/10k

Recently, I created a team to participate in the Albany area Walk to Cure Arthritis.
In the spirit of  full disclosure, I am employee of the Arthritis Foundation. 
However, My decision to form a walk team was personal. Most of you know that I'm an avid runner. Few of you know that I have Osteoarthritis in several of my joints. At this point in my life, it's often uncomfortable to start walking in the morning. Within the past 2 years, I've developed OA in my wrist. I also have several family members with various forms of arthritis, including juvenile, Rheumatoid and Fibromyalsia. Many of the people I love deal with Arthritis pain on a daily basis. Most of them have much more pain than me.
So, it's become very important to me that we fight to find a cure for this lousy disease.

But, I'm not really a fan of just saying, "Hey! Support my Cause, and throw some money at my team!"

So, I came up with a plan. An alternative way for people to support our team, and get something in return.

A virtual 5k/10k run!

So, what is that and how's it work?

 You make a donation of at least $20 to Team Dragonfly on the Arthritis Walk Website. Once I receive notice from the Arthritis Website of your donation, you will be enrolled in the virtual race. I'll send you a race bib, and you'll be ready to roll!

If you'd like a finishers medal, simply add $10 to your donation.

**By making the donation directly to the site above, you will receive notice from AF of your tax deductible donation.**

Once you're enrolled in our virtual race, the ball's in your court! Choose which distance to run, choose your course, and complete the run any time between April 12 and May 10, 2014.

After you complete your run, leave me a message with your time and distance on our Facebook event page

Virtual races are great for lots of people and lots of reasons:
    Want to run your first 5k, but are a little self conscious about joining a huge crowd?
    Is fear that you'll be the slowest runner, preventing you from running your first race?
    Do you work crazy hours, and you just can't find a race that's scheduled when your free?

No worries. We've got you covered!

Please join us! 1 in 5 people in this country has Arthritis. Let's work together to make a difference.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Background

Hey! Guess What! The new background design for the blog is titled, "Shayna". I had to choose it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Whew! That was A LOT of sewing!

The Saratoga Dance Flurry happens every year around Valentine's Day, and my girls Love to attend the festivities.
This year, Shayna asked me to make a skirt for her. No problem. She wanted a pattern that I've already made for myself, and skirts are fairly simple.
She chose her fabric several months ago, and I finally got it completed, right be fore the flurry weekend.

The tricky part came when Mack asked me to make a dress for her. That's right: A dress. Now, if you know Mack, then you know that this is a big deal, because she rarely wears a dress. It's also a big deal because my sewing skills are just not that strong any more. There's a huge leap between straight lines and neck/armhole seams.

But, how could I say no? So, we took a trip to the fabric shop and she chose this pattern and fabric. "Wouldn't you like a skirt, Mack?"
"No. I really want a twirly dress."
"Of course you do." And so, she got a twirly dress.

At least the fabric was easy to work with. 
So, knowing that she needed the dress for Friday afternoon, I stayed up until 1:30 on Thursday night. I messed up several times. And, I think I actually ripped out almost every seam at least once.  Then, I had issues with thread tension, and seams had to be redone as a result of that! But, the final product was worth it, because she was so thrilled!

And so, with  a lovely skirt, and beautiful dress, my two incredible princesses went to the ball!

Now, I'm sure that many of you are wondering what the prince's in my life were doing during all this sewing and dancing. Well, my true prince was getting ready for a performance of some original music. And, our little prince was busy being his roadie.

The concert was one that Kevin has been preparing for, since August. The music was incredible, and Jack and I were so happy that we were able to attend the show. 

Maybe sometime soon we'll have a quiet, peaceful weekend.
Probably not.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Fun

It was a weekend of quilting,running, and kids. It doesn't get much better than that. Well, maybe if it was all happening on a tropical island. That would definitely be a way to improve it. But, I digress.
So, here we go.
It started with an amazing run on the treadmill. Now, I know that running on the mill is much easier than running outside, but seriously, this is a fast time for me!

That breaks down to a 9:08 mile. My goal is to complete a 5k in under 9 minute miles. I think I can get to it by sometime in June.

Keeping with the running theme, on Sunday I ran my first 15k ever. This is all part of the plan as I train for the Philly Love Run! The run was put on by the HMRRC as part of their winter race series. I love this club, because members don't pay for any of the winter races. Here's a photo of me, as I near the finish line. 
There was some serious headwinds on a few of the roads, the temp never went over 14', and you can see there was some slush on the roads. But, I finished at a pace that was under 10 minute miles! And, I'm really starting to develop some great friendships with other women runners.  
I'm struggling with how to keep my energy up on these longer runs, so I have to figure out how to fuel up around mile 6.  I love GU's on long bike rides, but I learned this weekend that they don't really work well for me on a run. If you've got any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Also on Sunday, I took Mack to her first indoor track session. She was invited to participate in a 5 week skills and drills program at RPI. It's being led by the RPI track coach and some of the team. She really had a great time, and is looking forward to the next 4 weeks. Sorry, no pictures of her because she was too far away from where I was sitting.

The weekend wasn't all running. I also finally took a quilting class on Saturday. I've wanted to learn to quilt for several years now. Unfortunately, every time I sign up for a class, it gets cancelled, due to low enrollment. Finally, I was able to go to a class with my "cousin in law" at a shop that her friend owns. So, we worked all day at the shop, and I came home with this awesome quilt top.
Quilt top on my bed, so that you get a sense of the size.

Above is the finished product, hanging on the design wall in the shop. Unfortunately, I've learned that my machine is not capable of having a walking foot attachment. So, to complete the quilt, I'll need to purchase a new machine at some point. It's okay with me, since I've been wanting to upgrade for a while now, but haven't had a good reason to. 

The icing on the cake, was that Shayna came home and spent all of Sunday with us.

Mack is not feeling well, so she stayed home from school today. Which meant that I had time to do one more project. I finally finished the bag that I promised my niece, Emma. Here it is:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Week-end wrap up

It's been a busy week.
I  got 3 runs in this past week. The mileage total was 17. We had some unsafe road conditions on 2 mornings. Because of all the nasty snowy, cold, icy weather we've had this year, I bit the bullet and joined Planet Fitness on Friday. The plan is to hit the gym 2 mornings a week, on my way to work. So, tomorrow, I'm going for the first time to have a session with the trainer to learn proper technique on some of the machines.
Schedule for this week:
    Monday- the gym (just for learning the machines)
    Tues- 4 miles
     Weds- strength training at the gym
    Thurs- 5 miles
    Sat- 4 miles
    Sun- 9.3 miles. HMRRC Winter series 15K race.
   Total miles goal: 22.3

In the rest of my life this week, we've been busy with regular work and school things. Yesterday was a marathon sewing day. The problem is that, Mack and Jack both wanted to sew, so my time on the machine was limited.
Jack made his first ever pillow! Mack taught him all of the skills she recently learned at a Joanne's sewing class. It was wonderful to watch them work on this together. Here's his final project.

Mack spent her time working on the quilted pillow that she began doing at the Joann's class last weekend. Here's the quilted front of the pillow.

I'll post pictures of my 2 projects, when they're complete.
After all the sewing, we sat down and had a family dinner, which evolved into a game of "telephone" remember that game? Where we pass a secret sentence around the room, whispering it into each others ears? Well, it got a little silly. Here's a photo of one of my favorite moments in the game.
Today, Shayna came to spend the day with us. she was finally able to celebrate Christmas with Moma and Pops. She and Jack had lots of snuggle time, since Mack was busy at Odyssey practice.
Overall, it was a busy and productive weekend. Hopefully, I'll get to do some of my own sewing tomorrow, since it's MLK day, and I don't have to work this year!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Prepping for the Half

Did I mention that I'm training for my first half marathon?
This is exciting for me, so you'll have to deal with my obsession for the next couple of months.
In the past, I've never managed to run more than 5 miles for my long runs, without injury.
I am now up to 8 miles. That extra 3 doesn't sound like a lot, but my feet and knees tell me otherwise.
This past fall, I ran my first official 10K. Completing the race gave me the confidence to sign up for the Half.

This is after my first official 10k! I ran my second official one this past weekend, and shaved about 5 miles off my time. That's almost 1 minute per mile faster, which makes me pretty happy.
I have some great running buddies for my long runs, and they make the miles fly by. It's my first time that I've tried running with other women. I'm surprised how much I enjoy the company.

I'm completely psyched for The Philly Love Run!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014...Here We Go!

It's a new year, and some exciting changes and challenges are lined up for 2014.

First, I've largely abandoned blogging, for the world of Facebook. Although I love facebook for may aspects, there isn't much depth to be found there.  So, in an effort to go a little deeper, I'm going to return some of my attention to keeping a blog.

Second, in 2013, I had 3 different jobs.
Yes, you read that right.
I left the first one in April, because I was ready for a change. After 8 years of working with people with Traumatic Brain Injury, I was pretty fried. Unfortunately, my second job didn't turn out to be what I was hoping it to be, or what I was promised it would be.  So, that job ended on a fairly sour note in October.
Since then, I've been working for a Non-profit organization, as the fund raiser and event coordinator for the local chapter. This is my dream job! And, it seems that the organization is truly an excellent place to work. So, 2014 is going to bring some amazing career opportunities for me!

Third, It's time to dig a little deeper, and get a little intense with my exercise goals. So, Kevin and I are signed up for a half marathon at the end of March! This will be my first Half! It's in Philly, so we're making it a weekend away for us! Really, does it get any better than that?

And finally, I've taken the last 2 summers off from Triathlons. I'm feeling the tri bug biting hard, so I anticipate at least one race this summer.

Happy New Year. It's time to Roll!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Project Worth Blogging About

Mack joined a cross country team this past fall, and has run a few local 5k's. I've been searching online for creative ways to display her bibs and medals. I really didn't find any thing that I liked.
So, I combined a few ideas, and came up with this wall display!
This was so easy, and it really looks fantastic. We used the pins to attach the bibs, to keep it looking fun. This way, she'll be able to change out the bibs, and add more hoops as time goes on.

a bib
A view of the wall
No Race bib for this run. Just a photo and ribbon
To Showcase the fabric
She took first place in her age division!
The whole wall