Archive | October, 2013

Leaving on a jet plane

18 Oct

The bags are packed and we’re ready to go! Tonight we’ll be on a plane and off to Italy to travel through Florence, Rome and Sorrento.

The carry-on challenge has been met! I fit 10 days worth of clothes, accessories and necessities into one piece of luggage and a handbag.


A few minor sacrifices needed to be made in the toiletry department, but I fit 2 pants, 5 shirts, 2 cardigans, 2 dresses, 4 scarves, 3 belts, accessories and all my underroos. Mission accomplished! (Sadly, no running shoes though.)

We’re so excited for this trip of a lifetime! Don’t worry, we’ll take a picture or two to share. 😉


Race Recap: MHR Half Marathon

17 Oct

Between running a half marathon this past Sunday and getting ready to leave for Italy tomorrow, it’s been a whirlwind week! Before heading off, I want to share with you my experience with my second running of the Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon.

First, it was a beautiful Fall day! The air was crisp in the morning and opened up to a sunny and warm day. This made the colors on the trail along the river absolutely breathtaking to run by. The warmer weather also made it easier to get up early and get to the starting line.


My half-crazy friend Jaimie and I before the start

I wore a breast cancer bracelet in memory of my Aunt Kathy

I wore a breast cancer bracelet in memory of my Aunt Kathy

Maybe it was because I was feeling really strong and I had in mind that I was going to surpass my time from last year, but I was giddy with excitement at the start of the race. I really tried to pace myself in the beginning, but we all know it’s hard to pump the brakes when the gun goes off. Mile 1 – 8:20. I found a strong pace of about 8:00/mile and tried to focus on staying there as much as possible.

I made sure to smile a lot more this time

I made sure to smile a lot more this time

I was feeling really strong and happy, so it was hard to get myself to pull back and save my energy for the second half of the race. Especially when we hit a big downhill section for miles 4 and 5. I couldn’t put the brakes on in mile 5 and ended up with a 7:41 split. Oops. What can I say? It’s a fast, flat course!

As I went along, I noticed more about the course than I did before and I really enjoyed that. I think that helped me stay strong throughout the majority of the race. Also, smiling as much as possible really kept me in good spirits.

Things didn’t start to get tough until I neared the 10 mile marker. My pace slowed a little to around 8:10. It became a mental game for a while and I repeated to myself a mini-mantra:

“Just keep running. For Aunt Kathy. For Mark. For my mom. For my family. For Boston. For me.”

As I came toward the finish line, I saw my support team by the sideline with these amazing signs that my mom made:

Best signs ever.

Best signs ever.

Seeing that display made it impossible not to smile.

My new Finish Face

My new Finish Face

I finished the race in 1:46:08, a solid two minutes ahead of my previous time. This PR felt amazing and I left the race satisfied with my effort despite somewhat of a positive split overall. I feel like I earned this fist pump…



One of the best things about finishing a race is meeting up with your number one cheerleaders:


Finish line hugs

My stepdad even bought a running shirt to wear in support!


My mom and stepdad

Just like last year, the race production seemed flawless to me and everything went smoothly. Baggage check was seamless, the race started on time, there were plenty of volunteers, water stops were fun and fully stocked, and medics were available on bikes. At the finish line, there were free massages, tons of food and goodies, and music. And the finisher medals had an awesome sun catcher effect, which was pretty sweet!



All in all, I had a really great experience. Knowing I have come so far since taking on my first half marathon a year ago is a really incredible feeling and I look forward to seeing how far I can get for the next time.

If you want to read the super-epic recap of the first time I ran this half marathon, click here. 

Stay Tuned

15 Oct

It’s been a busy couple of days, but I’m working on that race recap from Sunday’s half marathon. We are also working on packing up for our big trip to Italy Friday, so there’s a lot of excitement going on around here!

Here is a little teaser to hold you over until I get the full recap out.

It was a beautiful day and I had a great race! I met both of the goals I set for myself – I came in well under my previous time and I smiled at the finish line! Actually, I am pretty sure I smiled the whole way.


Headed toward the finish (pic via stepdad's cell phone)

Stay tuned for the full recap before we head out of the country!