No lamb, no garden, no immaculate conception but there IS something about me.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

1) I gave Archie a phone book this morning and it was the equivalent as if someone were to surprise me with a Louis Vuitton Neverfull in Damier Azure. No joke.

2) I've been drinking wine since 11am and it's now 2. I don't drink often but I have a lot of girl issues and I've found that a glass or two of wine is much more effective than the 15-20 (no exaggeration) 200mg ibuprophen I usually take so wine it is. My liver is a lot happier about it too. I just wanted to throw that out there in case this post is even more disjointed than normal :)

3) I have a weird pain that is shooting from my ankle to my toes and I don't know what it is but I don't like it.

4) I changed my own windshield wiper blades today which is a very proud achievement. My dad was a mechanic for almost all of his life so he taught me a lot of things when I was small but I like to block them out so that I can be a girl and make someone else do it. However I needed new wiper blades and the oil change place and dealer never have the brand I want so I did it myself. YAY!

Today was the second of the Mountain Goat Training runs which is what I consider The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. I pretty much live for the Mountain Goat training runs because they are what moved me from being a 5k runner to a distance runner two years ago and I get SO excited about them every year.

The Mountain Goat is a 10 mile race in Syracuse held on the first weekend of May.  And when I say 10 miles I mean it's almost 10 miles of ALL hills. I have no idea who came up with the course but I swear that almost all of it is uphill and Syracuse had some pretty hardcore hills. I wasn't able to run the race last year due to being in the Bahamas (although I did train for it, it was the last running I did until this February) but I ran it two years ago and it was a really fun race.

However even better than the race are the training runs. Starting 6 or 7 weeks before the race there are training runs put on every Saturday morning at 8am in downtown Syracuse. It starts at 6 miles the first week and progresses up to 9 miles and then drops back down. These training runs have become somewhat of a cult classic around here because it draws more attendance than some races do. Last week I believe there were 700 people for the first session which is a lot.

When I first trained for this race 2 years ago the longest I had ever run was 4 miles. However given that I was training for my half marathon too I figured it would be a good way to get in my long run for the week. It was a great way for me to build up my base miles and even though I was training for my (new at that time) job and was flying home from all over the country at 11 or 12 on Friday night I really started looking to meeting up with my new running friends on Saturday morning. I had so much fun talking and running with other people in a relaxed way that it even made me change my mind about running with other people (up until that time I only wanted to run alone).

Since I started running again in February I had been counting the days until the training runs started last week and for good reason. I was nervous to go since it was only a week after my half marathon but it was AWESOME. I saw some girls I hadn't seen in a while and I had a great time even just running behind them (because I am S. L. O. W. right now). I was really slow and hurt pretty bad last week but this week was 6 miles and I felt so much better.  I walked a little bit on some of the hills but overall am really happy with what I was able to do and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can push myself to do next week.

I am really lucky that I live in a city that has such a strong running community and I do my best to take as much advantage of it as possible. After the Mountain Goats runs it will be just a few weeks until the Hot Feet runs put on by Fleet Feet will start at 7:30 on Sunday mornings. The Mountain Goat training runs get me up to my base mileage and then I use the Hot Feet runs to work on my speed. Right now I am running pretty sad 12 minute miles but I am hoping that by June I will be down to my normal 8-9 minute miles (my fastest is 7:30 minute miles but that's only on really good days). 8-9mm really isn't that fast either but I'm not in it to win it, I'm in it to finish it. And if I can talk to some friends and have a good time along the way then even better.

If you've finished up running your first 5k or are progressing into longer mileage I really recommend doing some research and finding some running groups in your area. I am a member of the Syracuse Track Club and often run with the Lake Effect Run Club. There are runs almost every day of the week from somewhere in Syracuse and I'd be willing to bet that a lot of cities have something similar. I know that there are some awesome developmental runs in Utica for the Boilermaker and I am hoping to finally make it out there this year for a run or two since I haven't been able to yet. Racing is a way to push yourself harder than you thought you could and training runs/running groups are a great way to get that feeling without the stress of race day. It really is pretty amazing how much harder you will push yourself when you're in a group. It's also a great way to start weaning yourself off that ipod ;)

The start of last week's first training run outside the MOST in Armory Square. I'm standing on the far right but you can't see me because I'm a ninja ;) Photo courtesy of the Mountain Goat Facebook page.

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