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My Own Race

September 7, 2013

Once a year I like to treat myself to a race all to myself.  (OK, I did it in 2012, and being that it’s 2013, it doesn’t exactly constitute an annual pattern yet, but I like to think that it will become one.)  This is what I do, and it’s not shocking or special.  I sign up for an out-of-town race, book a hotel, and go all by my lonesome self.  No friends, no hubby, no sidekicks.   Right now I’m sitting on a plush couch, in a hotel in the lovely Bethlehem, PA for the Lehigh Valley Via Half Marathon.

Chillin' in a random park in Bethlehem PA.

Chillin’ in a random park in Bethlehem PA.

I love my Ragnar buddies (DC in FOUR WEEKS!) and it’s always fun to have a familiar face waiting for you at the finish line, but these me-races are a whole different breed.  Restful, replenishing, rejuvenating.  (Ok, ask me how I’m feeling 90 minutes into the half marathon tomorrow morning.  I might have a slightly different perspective about the restfulness of race vacations.)

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Hopefully the course won’t have a ton of hills like this. Please?

But for now, it’s like a total me-vacation.  I can geek out at the expo without my husband wondering why I need to look at so many tech shirts.  I don’t need to follow a crowd into a restaurant that I don’t really want to go to.  I just go wherever.   I explore the town, usually with no destination in mind.   Book and water bottle in my backpack.

Library book in my lap = happiness.

Library book in my lap = happiness.

I realize how blessed I am to be able to “waste” an entire hotel room on just yours truly.  (I think I might jump on the bed I’m not going to sleep in just so it gets some use. )  For many people who travel for business, it might not feel so decadent to go on a mini-trip alone, but for me it’s a total hoot.  (I did just use the word hoot, and truth be told, you probably will too in conversation in the next three days.  Go on.  Do it.)   I even considered ordering room service, but that’s going too far.  There looks to be a sweet burrito joint around the corner that I’m going to hit up for my solo dinner before curling up with a book tonight.  (Don’t worry – I’ll order something tame.)

Love this house...

Love this house…  Bethlehem, PA

Catch you on the flipside (of 13.1 miles.)  Here we go!

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In Other News…

August 17, 2013

So in other news, I have not blogged in nearly a year.  I think I was so emotionally involved in the posts following Max’s death (my dog), that nothing else seemed important to write about.  But lately, I’ve felt the urge so I’m going to break my nearly 12 month fast.  Or at least try to.  (How many posts have I started like, “I know it’s been a while since I blogged.  I’m the world’s worst blogger.”)

A year in the life of Carrie via photos?  How about that?  That’s an easy way to catch up…

Met some super huge trees…

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Hiked here… (Tahoe)

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Ran here… (More Tahoe)

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And fell here… (perfect camera moment, right?  I love that my husband took a photo as I was flying through the air…)

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Went camping with my best friends (and their dogs..)

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Went to Turks and Caicos and enjoyed empty beaches…

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Couriered a Potcake across international boarders for an adoption…

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Oh, this, BTW, is a Potcake (an “island dog.”)  His name is Buddy and he now lives with an awesome family near Philly.

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Lots and lots of stuff going on with The Monster Milers…  our volunteers continue to amaze and humble me…

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Planning is kicking into HIGH GEAR for The Rescue Run, Philly’s first race to benefit animal rescue.  (And I can’t believe it’s actually happening….)

481254_10151467300496740_243621948_nSpending time with my own two monsters…

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My husband’s family visited Philly (from New Zealand); his parents for the first time…

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And we decided the logical thing would be to take a family trip to Mexico (w/ my in-laws, brother-in-law and my mom.)  I took my mom to see pyramids.

998330_10151515236732826_1381539171_nWe got lost…

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And saw things like this…

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Oh and I swam in this cenote…

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And saw a legit Luche Libre match in Mexico and kissed a wrestler…

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Ran another Ragnar – this time in CANADA!

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Lots o’ hiking, living, cooking, loving, laughing and being with Lindsay…

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Basically, I am ridiculously blessed.  I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier in my life.  And it’s scary to admit that because I always feel like something bad has to happen when life gets this good.  Work has been great and I feel like I’ve finally found my managerial style.  I think my staff are happy and we’re actively working to build relationships with them.  Most of our clients are thoughtful, respectful and grateful for what we do.  Our non-profit volunteers are just… inspirational.  I still can’t believe that a silly idea I had while out running would blow up into what it has.  I’m running often (injury free in 2013!) and loving it.  Friends are wonderful, family bonds are strong, Philly is where my heart is.  My dogs are healthy and my cat has attitude.  Linds and I are best friends and we’re finally planning that wedding we’ve been talking about for ten years.  Life has just been…  good.

Reaction to Runner’s World “Don’t Go Into Those Hills…” article

September 3, 2012

As a dog lover, pet professional, rescue advocate and the CEO of a non-profit that does as lot of work with mixed-breed dogs, I was disheartened by the sensational article printed in the Oct. 2012 issue of Runner’s World magazine.

Since it was all said on our non-profit blog, I’m just going to link to the post.  I sincerely hope the editors of RW think twice before publishing the article online without SERIOUS edits.

And here’s a picture of my loyal running partner, who in some municipalities, would be labeled a “Pit Bull” even though she’s likely some mix of a terrier/boxer/who-know’s-what.   She is my best-friend, my protector, my pavement-pounding partner, my snuggle-master.

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Redefining Running Goals

August 14, 2012

Remember this from earlier this year?  My goal list:

There comes a time when it’s not only practical, it’s also impossible not to, redefine goals.  My main goal this year  was to run 900 miles; the list above contained sub-goals in my pursuit of the lovely 900 miles.  Surely, it’s not an epic distance for many runners, but for injury-prone-Carrie, it was a big jump over my 700 miles of 2011.  I knew that total-body fitness was going to be important for injury prevention.

Which is where I fell of the wagon… in a big way.

Yoga?  Yeah, maybe four times January-April.

Strength training?  Who has time when I ran an Iron Girl half marathon one weekend, the next weekend ran Broad Street (10 miles), and the next weekend ran my second Ragnar up in Cape Cod.  I was all about miles, miles, miles.

Rest?  Did you see my last point?  I didn’t even have a five day’s recovery between Broad Street and Ragnar.  I had a mere seven days between my half marathon PR of  8-minutes and Broad Street (another five minute PR).  Note to self:  Never again.

Listen to my body?  Right before my third Ragnar leg (after 45 minutes sleep the night before) I just about cried because I was so physically tired that my emotions started to get a bit haywire, but I couldn’t let the team down, duh.  (And I didn’t.  I ran my heart out.  And then drank some beer.  And then slept, like a baby.)

Keep it steady?  Well…

Eat better?  Hooray!  I did this.  I’m thrilled with the amount of fruits and veggies I’m putting in my body.  (I’m drinking a Great Lakes – Burning River Pale Ale as I type this, but for the most part what’s gone in, has been good.)

Anyway, needless to say this is what happened:

I’ve been half-running / half-not running for the last three months.  A good week is twelve miles; a bad week is six.  I learned all about a new injury this year:  posterior tibial tendonitis.  PTT is keeping my runs to no more than 3 miles, 2-4 times per week.  It’s BRUTAL.  So basically what I’m saying is – that goal of 900 miles?  It needs to be redefined.  And for a while I was REALLY bummed about it.  But in retrospect, it’s a luxury to be able to redefine my fitness goals.  Sometimes in life we’re bound by goals we can’t get out of.  Everyday I deal with work deadlines and goals that aren’t flexible or pliable.  I have things in my personal life that HAVE to get done.  I have phone calls I’m required to make.  Bills I have to pay.  Chores around the house that need to get done to maintain sanity.  But with my running, I have the freedom to just say, “Stop.  It’s just a number.  Enjoy the process, not only the end-goal.”   I’m not going to cling to an arbitrary number and drive myself into a stress fracture.  I’m going to let it go.  So that I can open myself up to healing.

I haven’t even put a number goal on this year.  To be honest, once I’m feeling more optimistic about my injury (and healing), I might grab a calculator and look at a calendar to come up with a number that isn’t only challenging, but also realistic.  I haven’t registered for any Fall races, but I would really love to do two halfs this Fall.  I think it’s doable if I’m smart about how I approach race day.

So back to the basics.  Last weekend, a dear friend of mine (who is gearing up to become a yoga instructor) came over to my house after a run to tailor a post-run yoga routine just for me.  And you know what?  I’ve completed it after each run this week, and I’m starting to feel a difference in my foot.  (I also did two, hour long yoga classes this week.)  I can’t go out and run ten miles yet, but I can see a time in the not so distant future, when I can head out for a double-digit morning (after a few weeks of training of course.)  Until then, I’m resting.  I’m stretching.  I’m doing squats.  I’m doing all of the things that I was supposed to be doing.  I guess this is a another lesson, right?

Were you ever forced to redefine your goal?  How did you feel about it?

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The Color Run Philadelphia 2012 Recap

July 31, 2012

I saw the video on Facebook for The Color Run and signed up five minutes later.  It’s really a testament to the power of social media (or humans’ craving to simply have a good time.)  It was probably the quickest race decision I’ve ever made in my life.  I don’t even think I checked the calendar before registering for the race.  Thankfully it didn’t conflict with anything!  And surprisingly, when I asked my non-running husband if he’d like to register he didn’t skip a beat and said, “Sure. Sign me up.”  (Whoa.)

We were in the middle of one of the region’s longest heatwaves, so we rode our bikes to packet-pickup early to beat the 95+ degree heat.  I gawked when I saw the volunteers checking us in with ipads.  (Who needs paper and highlighters?  Though I will admit, it took them about a minute to “search” for our name.  Maybe paper beats technology?)  Despite a crowd of 23K runners, packet pick-up was quick and easy.

One thing I love about living in the city? My (mostly) car-free lifestyle!

I have to admit, I knew this was going to be a large race, but when I heard that 23,000 people had registered and it was walker/stroller/kid friendly I began to doubt just how much running we’d actually be doing.   Since I was running with my husband (and it was a non-timed event), I wasn’t planning on racing, but I did want to RUN a 5K.  They released the runners every few minutes in waves of 2,000 runners and while we passed some people walking in the first quarter mile, it wasn’t too bad.  The event was more of a silly experience anyway so we had fun, stopped a few times to take photos and just enjoyed the fact that we were running together.

Not very colorful… yet…

Every kilometer, we ran through a “color zone.”  (AKA volunteers doused runners with a spray of chalky-color-madness.)  We could spot the “color” zones ahead and when we got to the first one, my husband said, “And this is what chemical warfare probably looks like.”  Yikes!

Oh, there’s some color!

So much fun…

But the best part of the entire experience had to be the “Color” throw at the end.  Every 15 minutes, a crowd of runners gathers at the finish, and are instructed to throw their “color” at the same time.  Throughout the race the organizers remind runners to “wait to throw your color” and it’s a good thing they did.  I probably would have pelted the hubby the first second I got a chance. My patience was rewarded.  The “color throw” was quite magical.  This was easily the most photogenic running event I’ve ever participated in…

Nice cloud!

This wasn’t a timed race, and I didn’t wear a watch.  To me it was more about just getting out there and having fun.  I didn’t even think about stopping to take a snapshot, and that was refreshing.  Not everyone who participated was a runner, and many participants walked most of the course.  The event was well coordinated, the waves worked, the lanes were wide, and the walkers didn’t really affect me much.  In many respects, I hoped that this event showed folks of all fitness backgrounds that events could be fun and non-judgmental.  It can be scary entering a “race” – and I hope the first-timers who signed up for The Color Run will continue racing.  I kinda wish this was my first race, though it would make non-colorful races seem a bit bland in comparison.  (And no, I didn’t have any problems washing it out of my hair, though I’m not a platinum blonde…)

Wouldn’t the world be prettier with more color?

Riding home, covered in color…

Final Time:  Who knows?  Color:  Yes please.

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A-Month-in-the-life-of-Carrie-recap

June 26, 2012

So this is another post that begins with excuses about why I haven’t written in a over a month.  The truth is, I just didn’t feel like it.  So I didn’t.  That’s all.  In the weeks leading up to Max’s death and the days following, I wrote some pretty emotional posts about preparing for the loss, coming to grips with losing him, and realizing life was going to go on.   To be honest, after writing about the experience, I found that anything I wanted to write about seemed trite in comparaison.

But lately I’ve been getting the itch to write again, here you have it.  A month-in-the-life-of-Carrie-recap!   (I know, not a super exciting post, but I’m hoping that inspiration will find me along the way if I start writing again.)  In many ways, the last few weeks have just been about enjoying my life and my family.

We camped.

Mmmmm… Coffee over the fire!

We spent time with wonderful friends and neigbhors at a Memorial Day block party.

Yes, I live on the best block in Philly.

And had a block dinner party.  (If you can’t tell, we enjoy eating food in our street, literally.)

Eating in the street… the perfect way to spend a Summer Saturday night.

I lead two “Adopt a Running Buddy” events for our non-profit in May.

Monster Miler Volunteers hang out with Greg, an adoptable running buddy from PAWS at the ODDyssey Half Marathon.

Survived a heat wave Philly-style.

Who popped the fire hydrant?

I ended up injured and didn’t run for over three weeks.  (Three endurance races in three weekends was a bit too much for me… another lesson learned the hard way.)

But I was able to hike throughout my injury (thank heavens!), and did a loop-trail to two summits along the PA Appalachian Trail.

The view from the top! Weeeeee!

My favorite hiking buddy gets some smooches!

We scouted out various wedding venues for our “Second Wedding” with my mom and Grammy.

LOVE.  (Mom and Grammy, touring Tyler Arboretum…)

I ADOPTED A NEW DOG, Jax, from our partner shelter, Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)!  He’s a stellar running buddy and Lola is thrilled to have him around.  (Friendly reminder:  Don’t shop – adopt a running buddy.)  We had been “looking” for a dog at various shelters for a few weeks.  PAWS called us last week and said, “We have a dog, the running volunteers love him.  He’s REALLY stressed out in the shelter and not doing well at all with all of the noises and commotion.  Can you pick him up to foster?  We have to get him out of the shelter.”  Of course.  Once we got him home, I knew he was the right fit.  No dog is ever going to replace Max, but our home feels whole again with two dogs.  We’re still learning his quirks and gaining his trust.  It’s a fun time in our household.

Jax gets a bath the day after we brought him home…

I check my roof garden everyday for signs of non-green tomatoes.  Today we got our first tease!  By the end of the week, we’ll be eating tomatoes, warm from the vine.  (The only way they should be eaten IMHO.)

My roof-tomatoes are killin’ it this year!

We booked a trip to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite!  The hubby and I are going to spend a week hiking, drinking local wine and searching for hidden swimming holes.  I’m counting the days!

Oh and I’m running again.  I came off the injury, and logged 12 pain-free miles last week.  Gonna kick it up to 20 this week and see how the ol’ tootsies feel.  And did I mention, I have two running buddies now?  Yeah, it feels awesome.

Jax & Lola stop for a picture break. “Mom, why aren’t we running? Take the photo already!”

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Race Recap: 2012 Broad Street Run

May 21, 2012

Can you tell I’m behind on posts?  A BSR recap, three weeks late?  What gives?  Well, almost immediately after I took of my shoes from BSR, I started to pack for Ragnar Cape Cod…  And then I was off for an insane four days of running, no sleep, running some more, clam chowder, still no sleep, and then more running.  (It was heaven!)  Can I even remember what happened at Broad Street? Let’s see!

As always, Broad Street logistics are great.  I heard a few grumble-grumbles from the Twitter-sphere about really long lines at the expo.  (I heard someone say they waited two hours?  Note to self:  Don’t think you’ll beat the crowds by going on your Friday lunch hour.)  I visited the expo Friday at 3:30PM and went right to the volunteer table to grab my bib.  No lines! I was chatting with a few of the vendors and told them about The Monster Milers, and two said, “Oh, we met another Miler today already!” and another two, “Oh, we’ve read about you guys!”  (I have to admit, I did feel slightly like a celebrity.)

Sleepy face! No one else is awake…

Race morning:  I jumped on a train a few blocks from my house, and 20 minutes later I was at the start.  I always enjoy getting to large races quite early.  (I usually head straight to the portapotties and then find a nice spot to eat a snack and lightly stretch out.)   For last year’s race, it was my first double-digit event so I was a ball of nerves before the race.  This time I just took in the sights and enjoyed the energy of tens of thousands of other runners.

After a really awesome watch-free PR the previous weekend at the Iron Girl Half Marathon, I decided to run without a watch for Broad Street.  I PRed it by five minutes, though I was expecting to PR it so it wasn’t that much of a surprise to me at the end.  I could definitely feel that I had just raced a half marathon the previous week.  I could just “feel” that my legs could go faster, but I couldn’t make them go faster.  And the wonderful thing about the entire scenario?  I didn’t really care.  I knew that the way I felt was directly related to the effort I put into the previous weekend’s half marathon.  I found solace in the fact that I shaved 7 minutes off my half marathon record just seven days before.  When it’s taken in perspective, there wasn’t much to fret about.  So I just enjoyed the race, and gave it my all.

Broad Street Medal and Bib…

Final Time:  1:25:53 (Overall:  8885/34062, Sex: 2881/19050, Div: 549/3705)

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