Vacation, Tattoos and Excuses!

Coming back from vacation is not fun at all. It’s Wednesday and I am still not caught up on emails at work. The most time consuming part is sorting through what was done while I was out and what wasn’t. I’m down to about 150 emails now so that’s good.

The trip to Disney a few weeks ago was unplanned and kind of last minute but last week is an annual trip my in-laws take every year and it’s been a lot of fun. They used to go when my hubby was little and then stopped going until maybe 10 years or so ago they started going again. They rent a house on a quiet lake in the Pocono’s for a few weeks and the whole family goes and hangs out. I don’t have a lot of my own family around me so its nice to get that fun family vacation feel with my in-laws. Plus Frankie comes with us and he loves vacation!

Last year we ran quite a few times while up there but this year we didn’t even walk once. We brought our shoes, garmins and all but just didn’t do it. I like running up there because its much cooler, higher elevation because you are in the mountains, and dirt roads. Its like trail running without trails. It just seemed like every chance I had to go for a run, I found something else to do with my time. I have been in a funk lately and I KNOW its from lack of movement but I still haven’t been able to force myself out the door. Training NEEDS to start next week. No more excuses! Time to get busy.

I lent my Cannon T1i to my brother, he needed it for a school project, so I was limited to my iPhone but I still got some pictures of vacation.

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Frankie is a rescue dog. We got him from a shelter. You would never know it. He is not really a lay on the floor/ground king of dog. He insists on chairs. Even if he doesn’t fit.

This year we bought a water kong so he had a good toy to fetch. I wasn’t sure if he was going to destroy it right away or not but he was really good about it!

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For the most part ;) He would retrieve it and bring it back onto the beach and want you to tug with him. He’s 70 pounds and packs a punch. I can’t tug with him, he will pull me in the water! He seems to know that though so he doesn’t tug as hard with me. Sweet boy.

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He did so much better with swimming this year too. He tends to breathe with his mouth and take in water more than he should but he was using his nose more and did much better.

I also love when he gets wet because he has these black spots all over his skin that you can’t see as good when he is dry.

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As he has gotten older, he has gotten more spots.

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He did not like when people left, and had to see where they were going.

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He demanded a boat ride, but then really wasn’t a big fan so didn’t get to go too far.

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Sunsets on the lake are always nice, and Frankie liked them too. He was very concerned when our nephew was out in the canoe though and had to keep a sharp eye on him.

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He even protested when we were packing up to go home!

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Poor guy! My in-laws are still up there but sadly we had to come home and get back to work. Can you tell we have no kids? HA! Dog overload!!

While on vacation, Brian and I hit our 12 year anniversary! We know the date but since we have been on the family vaca the past few years we haven’t really been able to do anything. This year we did, without even realizing it.

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We got tattoos! This is my 7th, and his FIRST! They were not intended on being matching or anything like that. I’ve wanted more for a while now and he just got on this itch to get some. I loved the look of the anchor and he mentioned his thumb and we went with it. His is his left hand though and mine is my right. I added the heart to make it a little more girly. The next day I noticed the day and started laughing because we got tattoos ON our anniversary date! That is not the best angle/picture of his but he took it right after we got back from the shop. Mine is from the day after.

At work the cafeteria is adding in more organic food and such and the other day I noticed a new snack at the register. I am kind of obsessed now.

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It is like granola, but made out of quinoa with coconut, cranberries and cashews. There are a few others but I’ve only tried this one and a vanilla almond raisin mix. So far, this is my favorite. I know they aren’t new or anything but I just discovered them. Delish! My soon to be official Registered Dietitian brother says this does not count for me eating quinoa but what does he know ;)

 

 

REVIEW: Arm Pocket

Full disclaimer: I am not nearly cool enough to get free stuff. I 100% paid for this product with my very own money.

After I ran the Rutgers Half Marathon in April with my friend Lindsay, I really wanted to stick to the run/walk method. I never really followed a specific walk/run interval. I would walk when I needed and eventually it got to a point where I wasn’t stopping to walk at all. Then I went and took a few months off of running and getting back to my glory days is not as easy as I had hoped. The run/walk that we did for the Rutgers race seemed to work pretty good. I didn’t have leg pain or stiffness after the race and overall felt pretty good.

I didn’t want to mess with my Garmin because I like how it’s set up so I downloaded the Runtracker Pro app and was able to set it up for a 4:1 interval pretty easy. The downside to that, it meant I had to carry my phone. 98% of the time I run with my husband so I never have my phone on me. I have an iPhone 5 and it is too long for most pockets. I did a few runs wtih the phone in my hand and it worked, but carrying it got real old real quick.

I’ve used various different belt type things over the years and hadn’t really found one that I loved. That’s when I found Arm Pocket! (I am pretty sure I came across them from Twitter) I wasn’t overly thrilled with an arm band and it took me a week or so to finally break down and order it.

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I got the i-15 in purple.

From the website:

The ArmpocketTM has been developed by a team of active athletes.

Needing to carry their cell phones, car-keys, energy bars and gels on their long pre-marathon training runs and the gym—they tried every type of carrying device known—hip-packs, back packs, belts, multi-pocket running shirts and shorts. After several bruised hips, strap welts, dropped and moisture-damaged cell phones and car keys, they came up with idea of the “Arm-pocket”. After 3 years of constant improvement, the first Armpocket was launched in 2006, creating the world’s most comfortable and versatile hands-free carrying system—best of all, Armpockets are ECO-Friendly.

I wanted to use this on a few runs before I gave my opinion on it.

I love it! While I can still definitely tell it’s there, it doesn’t bounce around, doesn’t hurt my arm, doesn’t leave marks, and my phone doesn’t get wet. I also love that I can still use the touchscreen through the protective film!

You may recall on a run last month, I tripped and face planted. My Arm Pocket didn’t budge! It’s been hot and humid and sweat hasn’t caused it to move at all either.

I got the smallest option for my phone because for the most part all I need to carry is my phone and maybe my ID and some cash depending on where I am and all. I can fit my car key. with the little key fob thing in there too but anything more and I would probably need to upgrade to the i-25

Shipping was super fast and I would definitely recommend it to people. I thought $35 was a little much at first but it is really made well and worth the price!

If you have any questions, let me know! I’d be happy to answer.

 

 

Vaction, Motivation and Princess Half Marathon Early Registration!

I’m such a dork, but that title totally rhymes and I didn’t even plan it that way.

Vacations are great and all but man I have the hardest time getting back into the swing of things once I get back! I did really well before I went away.

I ran 3.1 miles 5 times in one week. June 16th, 17th, 19th, 20th  and 22nd.

Then I went to Florida for a week. Got home on the 30th and haven’t logged a mile since.

It was a great trip though! My older brother and his wife and kids were going to Disney and since my mom lives in Florida she was going to hang out for a few days too. I had a free flight (Thank you Southwest points!) and since I have an annual pass, no need for park tickets. Mom was getting a hotel room anyway so I crashed the party!

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My older brother lives close enough to me but with our busy lives we don’t get to hang out that much so it was fun to spend a few days with them in my favorite place! I also got to eat a few places that my hubby won’t so that was a plus!

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Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare!

We stayed at All Star Movies. I don’t want to sound like a total snob, but I am generally not a Value Resort girl. I don’t have kids and the moderates aren’t that much more so we usually stay there if we don’t find a good deal on a deluxe resort. Since I wasn’t paying for the hotel, I didn’t really have a say in where we were staying. Plus this wasn’t a normal Disney trip for me. We were going to be out of our room much more than I usually am. It was a quiet room and everything was clean and all but the biggest downfall- NO coffeemaker! I like a cup in the morning and my mom has to have some or its ugly folks. SO we paid a stupid amount of money ($18?!?!) for a freaking mug to have coffee in the mornings.

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I got there EARLY Tuesday morning. Flight out was 5:50 so I was at the resort by 10. Once my mom got there we checked in and waited to see where my brother and his crew were. The first day we were in Animal Kingdom and it was HOT. I love that park but its one of the hottest, IMO, because everything is outside. We had fun and my neice and nephew got to see and ride a bunch.

Wednesday was the Magic Kingdom and we had a jam packed day! It was hot, but we had a great time. We did not get on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train but that’s ok- I’ll be back soon for that. I even rode Dumbo for the first time since I was at least 8 years old! I rode then with my dad and this time with my mom so that was pretty cool.

Thursday was my most favorite park- Epcot! I know World Showcase isn’t that fun for kids but I had hoped to get them to do that Agent P thing but just our luck- it was BROKEN! That’s a bummer because they would have loved it. We resorted to Duffy and Perry on a stick

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Yes this is mine.

Friday was a relaxing day for my brother and his peeps because they drive to Florida and were leaving early Saturday morning to head back home. We met up wtih them for dinner at Raglan Road (a first for me) and it was good! I had Guiness marinated ribs with a side of au gratin potatoes! Delish!

June flights weren’t that bad if you weren’t trying to leave on a weekend. The flights home on Friday, Saturday and Sunday were over $300. Monday was $120. I convinced my mom to stay until Monday so we had a few days left of our trip. AND Brian was able to fly down for Saturday and Sunday.

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Lapu Lapu

I’m not sure how or why it was available but I was able to snatch up a resevation at O’hana for the 3 of us on Saturday for dinner. At 5:00. Usually I only get 9:40 at night, since 5:00 popped up and we hadn’t eaten there in at least a year or so we booked it. I was not a huge fan of the lettuce wraps. Holy spicy, and the salad was better without the passion fruit but it was still a good meal and I’m glad we were able to eat there.

Sunday of course was spent back at Epcot! Lunch in Japan at our fav place- Teppan Edo and no trip is complete without a stop at La Cava de Tequila!

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Best chips and Queso ever!

I also got a henna tattoo in Morocco

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I came home Monday, worked 3 days and had off for Fourth of July. My body still wants to be in vacation mode! I have a few races this fall and I’m going to work on a training program for my mom and that has been getting me pretty pumped up. Lets hope it stays that way!

While in Disney with my mom, we were talking about Princess weekend next year. I run the half with her and if she wasn’t going to do it I wasn’t sure if I was. Half of the fun for me is that we get to hang out together. She really likes the 10K distance but didn’t want to downgrade from the half since she’s done that one the past few years. She wasn’t sure about Glass Slipper because she didn’t think she would be able to do both races. She even talked about doing the 5K and 10K instead.

Because these races have become so popular I planned on actually using the AP holder early registration perk for the first time ever. Been a passholder since 2007 and never registered early! There wasn’t ever the need to though so I just went with general registration.

Thankfully for me, I work at a desk on a computer so being online right at noon wasn’t a problem. I was registered by 12:02 and text my mom to let her know registration was open. She was having internet issues- always drama I tell ya- and had trouble getting the website to load. It took a few minutes but we are both now registered to run the Glass Slipper Challenge! I am so excited that she decided to register for both races. I am going to work up a training program for her and hopefully she will stick to it and have a fun weekend.

I will say that the price went up quite a bit from last year. I pulled my payment info from Glass Slipper 2014 and I paid $288 for the race, two pins and the processing fees. This year the race alone was $295. Pins are $16 each and the processing fee was almost $20. I skipped the pins and just paid for the race. $314. That’s quite an increase. runDisney races are expensive and I love these races which is why I continue to pay and do them but holy wow…that hurt my bank account! I’m glad they offer early registration for AP and DVC holders though. Definitely a nice perk and I’m happy to be done with it because it was stressful! And…I will be away next Tuesday with limited cell phone access and NO internet so unless I planted myself in a Dunkin’ Donuts right at noon I don’t know if I would have been around to regsiter and I’m sure it will sell out fast!

 

Last Day of Spring!

Tomorrow marks the official start of summer!

We had our first bit of heat this week and I am not ready for it! I don’t know if its because the winter was so freaking long or what but Tuesday was the first time this year it hit 90 degrees. The first time in 11 years it took that long to get that hot. The past few years we have been in triple digits with insane humidity and there were multiple times it was hotter in NJ than it was in Florida. It will be interesting to see how the summer plays out.

I’m not quite acclimated to the warm weather yet. I actually like running in the humidity. I don’t know why but I do. BUT not when the sun is out. I prefer summer evening runs when the sun is getting ready to set. Brian does too so at least I’m not alone there!

Tuesday is usually a rest day but our plans changed so we decided to head out for our new typical 3.1 miles. Since it was the first hot day of the year, we decided to stick to the mostly shaded trail.

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I forgot to check the humidity but I don’t think it was too bad. Maybe 60%?

I HATE carrying anything when I am running but when it gets warm, having water is a good idea. I’ve tried belts of all sorts and even a plain Aquafina bottle but nothing ever really worked for me. Last year I found these bottles on twitter (I totally forget who tweeted about them :( but THANK YOU!) and I headed over to the website.

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I got the 16oz ones so that I could get the carry thing for your hand. (Which I didn’t use) and basically you use these liner things, kind of like those baby bottles, to help with the air and keep the sloshing to a minimum.

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I have to say, it still sloshes. Maybe not as bad as a normal water bottle but I can still feel and hear it. Even with the sloshing still going on, it wasn’t bad to carry and I was thankful to have it- even if it was a short run.

The run itself was not great. The trail is really hard! I still don’t know how I was able to have such great runs there!

Mile 1- 14:38

Mile 2- 15:29

Mile 3- 15:02

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Average Pace: 14:55

Blah! But at least I did it. Once I got home and showered, was trying to watch some TV and was petting the dog- mostly because he sits on your feet so you can’t ignore him. And…like clockwork, jealous head comes strutting over from across the room and stands on my belly and stares at me.

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Brat! Grey One is 16 and has a little white beard. He loves the dog but it is hilarious because he makes sure to come over and jump in my face the second I give the dog attention. Jealous much? He’s his mama’s boy that’s for sure!

There were thunderstorms in the area for Wednesday so we took that as a rest day. It rained but didn’t end up storming until overnight. Figures.

Yesterday I could tell Brian wasn’t in the mood to run. He didn’t sleep well the night before and had a long day at work. He was just totally spent. I had already changed into running clothes though and kind of wanted to get a run in so I headed off to the park alone.

I am not a huge fan of going out alone. I don’t know why because he doesn’t run my snail pace anyway but I get freaked out alone. Since I planned on the park I felt OK with going solo. I waited until just before 7 to head over there and by the time I got parked, keys tucked away and all it was just about 7:10. The sun was still out but not too bad. I had water again and hit the pavement.

Mile 1- 11:50

I felt better with this run and I don’t know if its because it wasn’t quite as warm or if its because I was on pavement. Could be both I suppose.

Mile 2- 11:58

I was trying to keep my under 12 minute streak alive and mile 2 was rough.

Mile 3- 11:45

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Average Pace- 11:46

NAILED IT

Not as good as last week, but still a good run. I have another 3.1 on schedule for today and I usually don’t run on Friday’s so it will be a nice change. I am starting to get that love for running again! I thought it was gone forever.

Busy weekend ahead, Happy Friday Folks!

Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day and if I could have ignored the entire day, I would have. But I’m married and my in-laws are local so we had a family outing. We went to a late lunch/early dinner and then out for ice cream. It was nice for what it was- but still something I would prefer to skip. I made sure to wish my step dad a Happy Father’s Day too. (He is a great guy and I adore him!)

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My dad had a personalized accordion, keep the jealously at bay lol

Its hard to believe its been 15 years since my dad passed away. I remember the day so vividly. I know exactly where I was when I got the phone call that forever changed my life. I was 19 years old. My dad was a good man. He wasn’t perfect and had his flaws but the man I remember taught me so much about life. He was easy going and a lot of fun. He would wake us up at 1 in the morning because “Santa Clause came” and he was too excited to wait until we woke up. We spent our weekends camping and when I rode my bike into the lake, in April, and came back to the camper soaking wet and hysterical crying- he shook his head, made a hook out of goodies in his trunk, tied to to a piece of rope and fished my bike out. He could make something out of nothing. He once tied a rope to the engine of a car because the clutch was broken. He shifted the car with rope all the way home. We had a boat and we would take it out in the Bay all the time. On our way back to our slip, we lost steering and was dead in the water. Surrounded by other boats, its not a good place to be. We got my brother off our boat and onto the beach. He ran all the way around the marina with rope and by the time he got to the other side, my dad got the steering to work again. My poor brother.

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Dad and baby Brandy :)

I have no problem talking about the good times. I actually don’t have a problem talking about the bad times either. Its the present day that I can’t bring myself to think about.

My wedding day was hard. I had my older brother give me away and I danced the “father/daughter” dance with my step dad. I thought of him that day, but never allowed myself to dwell on the fact that he wasn’t there.

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Mom, Step Dad, older brother and my on my wedding day

A few months ago I was talking to my one Uncle (dad’s youngest brother) and we were talking about my nephew’s baseball game and he said “Your dad would have loved to see that” and I about lost my mind. I am fully aware of this but for some reason to hear it from someone else kinda struck a different cord for me. I often find myself wishing he were still here but its easy to forget that other people miss him too. My uncle lost his oldest brother. His brother. I don’t know where I would be without either one of my brothers.

I know I am totally rambling here and this post probably won’t make much sense and I apologize for that! I talk to Brian about my dad all the time, but he never got to meet him. If I’m sad, he does his best to try to cheer me up but to be honest- he doesn’t get it. He can’t. His parents are still happily married, alive and well. Losing a parent is something you don’t fully understand until it happens to you. Growing up I had a friend that had lost his mother. I always felt really sad about that but it wasn’t until I lost my dad years later that it really hit me just how hard it is. I once had someone tell me that losing a parent isn’t so bad because its “natural” to outlive your parents. Yes, that is true- however there is nothing natural about losing a parent at 19 years old.

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t be so sad anymore because its been 15 years. I have a good life. But I really can’t help but dwell on the fact that I got robbed. My dad should have been at my wedding, he should have been able to meet my brothers kids. He would have been a great Grandpa.

On the other hand, I am closer to my mom now than I ever was before. I appreciate her and respect her more than I ever did as a kid. I see what she went through and why she made some of the decisions she did. I judged her for those decisions when I was younger and then I did the same exact thing. She never deserved half of the blame I put on her. I know that now and am so grateful to have her. I wish she lived closer to me but there isn’t much I can do about that right now. My life is in NJ and hers is in FL. One day maybe that will change, but for now we make the best of it.

As time goes by, life gets easier to live without the person lost but the sadness never goes away. I will always miss my dad and I truly hope I always remember all the good times. He had high blood pressure and didn’t take care of himself. He passed away at 45 years old. That is not a fate I want for myself. I started running because I wanted to do a half marathon with a friend. Once I got into it- I realized that running was good for my soul. My dad loved being outside and as cheesy as it is, I do feel closer to him when I am out running. It also does a heart good!

You take the good with the bad and keep going because life rolls on.

 

Friday the 13th!

Today is Friday the 13th!

13 is my favorite number and has been for years. Friday the 13th was a BIG deal when I was younger. My friends and I would rent (yes VHS, I’m old) our favorite Friday the 13th movies and camp out in my living room and watch them. My dad worked from 4pm until 8 the following morning so he wasn’t home overnight- most of the time. My older brother was there and times were different. It was never a big deal that I was home alone. For whatever reason, Part 6 has always been my favorite “Jason” movie.

Of course being a youngster watching horror movies always led to being scared to go upstairs alone and every noise you heard just HAD to be Jason waiting to attack. True story- my brother would wait until the middle of the night and start scratching on my bedroom door. I would get up to see what the noise was, and he would be standing there in jeans and a sweathshirt and a hockey mask. Scared the shit out of me every single time! He would also wait until it was real quiet and start with the chh chh chh, ha ha ha nonsense to freak me out too! Aren’t older brothers great?!

It’s been a few years since I’ve had a Jason movie marathon on Friday the 13th and tonight I won’t home AND its game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s bad enough I could very well miss the Kings winning the cup. I might stream it to my phone. We will see.

Yesterday the weather forecast was shitty. Its STILL raining today BTW. It looked like there was a small window inbetween storms but the sky was showing some pretty dark clouds. I got home later than usual from work and wasn’t sure about getting a run in. It wasn’t raining at the time so I got changed and we headed back to the park.

I remembered to take some pictures this time!

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This was when we first got there. There is a parking lot in the middle of the park and with the clouds, figured that was the best place to park. The day before there were all sorts of sporting things going on but this time it was empty. It was so quiet without all the kids chattering and such.

Back to back runs are usually unpredictable for me. Sometimes my legs feel great and sometimes they are jello. I just have to go with it and see how they feel. Brian was doing some stretches at the car and I headed off to the starting point. He is so much faster than I am it really doesn’t matter how far ahead I start. He always passes me. I made it about a mile and a half before he zoomed on by!

I felt ok. I tied my left shoe a little too tight at first but it loosened up and then I was good to go.

Mile 1- 11:30

Mile 2 goes down the long path with the still air. It’s really not fun and I felt like I had concrete in my shoes. I could feel myself slowing down a bit but I must have started out faster than I thought because instead of being slower, this mile was actually faster than the first.

Mile 2- 11:22

After that second mile, I was pretty much toast. I just wanted the run to be done. It was humid and I was hot. My legs were starting to feel it and my breathing was off. The first half was brutal. I started out so good and really didn’t want it all to fall apart on the last mile.

Mile 3- 11:59

Definitely slower but still under 12 and thats always a good thing. Last year I was able to hover between 10 and 11 minute miles so if I can stick to 11:30-12:00 for now, I’m happy.

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Average pace- 11:33, better than the day before which averaged 11:52. I can’t complain about that!

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Beat red but done!

 

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Run completed and NO RAIN!!!! It started as we were leaving the park.

Today is a rest day but hopefully back at it again on Saturday. As of right now, the weekend is looking great- rain free!

 

 

 

 

 

Keepin’ On

The rain held off yesterday so I was able to get my run in without getting soaked. It’s been raining off and on all week so hitting the trail would have been a muddy mess. I don’t do mud runs for a reason so Brian and I decided to hit pavement for a change.

I’m not sure how the park came up as an option. We haven’t run there in probably close to two years. It’s a beautiful park and we used to go there all the time because my inlaws used to live near there.

The park itself is a one mile loop. There is a few baseball field, soccer, and then they use the others for football and lacrosse. Part of the reason we limited our runs there is because the fields are always in use and there are a ton of people. That’s not a bad thing, but we found other places to run that weren’t quite as crowded.

When we got to the park, we decided to park in the middle just in case it started to rain. We would deal with the rain, but thunderstorms would force us back to the car. This way it wasn’t too far off any one part of the path. In addition to that one mile loop, there is a half mile paved path that goes down by some power lines. It is an old trolley line that was made into a paved path as part of some boyscout project. Down and back makes a mile and since we are on our 3.1 kick, the plan was one loop, down and back the path, and one more loop.

Running on the trail as often as we have been had me a little worried about how the pavement would be on my legs. My calves were a little sore as it was but nothing earth stopping. I set my favorite running app for the 4:1 run/walk and headed out. Of course I lost Brian right from the start because he is much speedier (and taller) than I am. I was pretty shocked at how good I felt. I was able to keep a decent pace on my run portion and didn’t need to add in any additional walk breaks.

Mile 1- 11:58

Mile 2 was the down and back. Seems easy enough and I had run that path a ton a few years ago. It took no time to remember just how brutal it is! It doesn’t look like much.

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The air is so still for some reason. It was a very cool upper 60s but on that path it felt like 100% humidity. Its really strange. There is also a pretty steep hill that is loads of fun going down but not so much when you have to go back up! I knew I slowed down some but pushed when I could.

Mile 2- 12:01

I wanted to keep a 12 min pace. Slow, but much better than I had done in awhile. The start of the final mile wasn’t fun. I came off that hill and had no steam left. My pace slowed but I didn’t stop to walk since I was in the “4 minute run” part of my run/walk. I glanced over my shoulder and could see that Brian was done and I was on the other side of the park! I had about a half mile to go. I pushed on that last half mile to stay under my goal.

Mile 3- 11:51

Once I hit my 3 miles, I slowed up some but kept running until I got to my 3.1

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Still quite a bit slower than I would like but it was nice to see the paces I was able to get!

I was hoping to get in another 3 today but we are having flash flood warnings and heavy rain is predicted for this afternoon and evening so I will have to wait and see how that goes.