Sunday, February 23, 2014

GIVEAWAY! Entry to BoMF 5 Miler

I first heard of the Back on My Feet (BoMF) organization last year when I saw a story on the news about an organization that used running as a way to help homeless people.  From what I could tell it wasn't just holding races to raise money but also helping homeless people to run themselves.  As with most things you see on TV I thought, "hmmm that's really cool." But then never thought of it again.  Until I became friends with Rebecca Schaefer.  Based on her twitter and instagram, I knew she was a huge BoMF advocate.  Then when she organized the Rocky 50K, she was collecting running shoes for BoMF and there were also a few representatives from the organization hanging around cheering that day.  They are all so passionate and upbeat.  So when Rebecca asked me to host a giveaway for their 5 miler, I didn't even give it a second thought! 

Here is BoMF's mission from their website:

The organization’s mission is not to create runners within the homeless population, but to use running to create self-sufficiency in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. The program’s success is measured by how many Members achieve independence through employment and housing.
Through dedication and hard work, Residential Members (those experiencing homelessness) earn the opportunity to create a new road for themselves.   Running leads to personal transformation and dedication to the program leads to access to training, employment and housing resources.  Through community and corporate support, the program strives to change the perception of homelessness.

I love this as it shows how running can be and is so much more than just running.  I have been saying it all along how running has transformed my life as well as many others in so many different ways.  And BoMF has taken that a step further to help those with much more serious issues.  Just AWESOME.

So about this race!  It takes place Saturday March 29th at 8 AM.  It starts and finishes on West River Drive.  It's the perfect tune-up race for those who are running Broad Street.  Or perfect if you just want to run 5 miles, have fun and help a fabulous organization.

 2013 BoMF 5 miler

 2013 BoMF 5 miler

 2013 BoMF 5 miler

Enter my giveaway for a chance at free entry!!!  And even if you don't win entry, I encourage you all to sign up anyway.  It will be a lot of fun while supporting a great cause!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 21, 2014

I race so I can travel, I travel so I can race

This week I have seen many posts on the topic of planning travel around races. I'm not sure why there is a surge on this topic right now but since I saw so many questions posted, I figured I would weigh in.

So do I plan trips around races? Ummm hell yeah! I also plan races around trips. I chose my very first marathon based on the fact that I was going to be traveling to Bosnia and Croatia. I was lucky enough to find out by doing some research that there was a marathon in Plitvice National Park in Croatia in early June while I would be there. This past summer when Emir and I wanted to race again in Croatia, we planned our trip over there based on when Plitvice was being held. We opted to go early in the summer so we could run the race instead of later in the summer. 

Plitvice Marathon June 2011

Plitvice Marathon 2013
Also, last year we planned a trip to Roanoke after Emir won entry into the Blue Ridge Marathon. This year we will be making the journey down there again as I am an official race blogger and Emir won entry (again!). Even better is this year it looks as though it will be a family trip! My mom, my uncle, maybe my sister and the kids will be coming as well to support us while we try to conquer the double Blue Ridge. Yes, we will be starting at 2:30 AM so we can finish our first time through "America's Toughest Road Marathon" in time to start the official race at 7:30 with everyone else. Most likely we never would have gone to Roanoke ever let alone go on a trip with a bunch of family members if we hadn't been going there to run a race. 
Blue Ridge Marathon April 2013
Finishing together at Blue Ridge

As you may remember, last month we went to Key West. Yes of course we wanted to go back because that's where we were married 10 years ago however the main reason we planned that trip was so I could run the half marathon. If I hadn't won entry to that race, we definitely would not have gone on that trip. 

Key West Half Marathon January 2014

And of course, if you know me, you know that Emir and I labored long and hard to figure out a trip for our 10 year anniversary this spring. It was not even an option to plan a trip that didn't include a race. In the very beginning, we tried to base it on location (key west) but that wasn't working out. In the end, we just searched for a race that really peaked our interest. Once we found Born To Run, we knew running our first 100K and a trip to California was the way we wanted to celebrate 10 years. BTW did I mention that last May we spent a long weekend in Bear Mountain, New York to celebrate our 9 year anniversary? Yup you guessed it! We went there so we could run our first 50K.  

Bear Mountain 50K May 2013

Bear Mountain at the Finishline

We haven't been running incredibly long however already running has had a huge influence in our lives including where we travel. Definitely, we would not have taken any other trips beside our usual Bosnia/Croatia excursion to visit family the last couple years if it wasn't for running. And we would most likely never have gone to these places ever if it wasn't for running. Even our anniversary trip, most likely would have been way different if we weren't ultra runners. If we were planning this trip 4 or 5 years ago, it most likely would have been to some all-inclusive resort on an island somewhere. Instead we will run our 100K and then spend a week exploring national parks and the grand canyon. And you know what? I wouldn't want it any other way. I literally cannot wait!
I love running and I love traveling

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I've Got the Winter Blues!

This winter has definitely been the toughest winter for me since I've become a runner.  Ok so that's not really saying a lot since my first winter running was 2011 but whatever ;-)  I love a good snow run.  And since receiving my Icebug's, ice ain't got nothing on me either. 

But just because I have good equipment that makes it safe for me to battle these elements I do wonder how good is it to constantly be running in the snowy/icy conditions? It's one thing to tough it out once in a while but to do it for weeks on end could really take a toll. They say running through snow and on ice is alot harder than running in normal conditions and it's equivalent to running extra miles. If you are like me and have a training program with specific mileage, it could be pretty detrimental to constantly be out fighting these elements especially long run after long run. And this winter has not been just about the snow/ice, it's also been about the constant bone-chilling temps, I'm talking it feels balmy at 30 these days.  Typically I would be outside after work 1-2 nights a week with my headlamp but this winter once it gets dark, temps plummet.  Yes I see all the posts of the badasses that went out with sub zero windchills.  But when I see that, I have to say "what's really the point of that?"  Of course I want to run outside as much as I can too but do I want to risk doing harm to my body that could really set me back or cause something to happen that I can't even run my spring races??  One day a couple weeks ago, I got home from work a little early, I had 60 minutes to do and enough time to finish it before the sun went down.  It was about 25 degrees out, not sure about wind.  I bundled up including my Icebug buff (that thing has been a lifesaver!) and headed out.  The run was fine but by the time I finished up, I could start to feel serious cold on my nose and cheeks that I couldn't cover.  When I came in, Emir looked at my face and basically said the same thing that I was feeling that it's really not good to be out there any colder than what it was or for any longer than what I was out there.  That run made me feel better in that I wasn't "wussing" out of running outside on a lot of runs this winter, I was being smart.  It's always nice to feel smart ;-)

Love my Icebug Buff almost as much as the shoes!

The other major issue for me this winter has been sickness. I spent alot of time sick as a kid. I had asthma and sinus issues that were constantly wreaking havoc on me. Which is probably a major reason running never worked for me but I was able to swim competitively.  Fortunately, a surgery when I was 17 and a gradual growing out of my asthma has really changed things for me. Of course I get little colds here and there but nothing that really sets me back a ton especially since I've started running seriously. Probably over the last few years I've missed maybe a few days of training total (not counting the last few weeks of my second pregnancy and some weeks of C-section recovery).  Since the beginning of 2014, I've already missed 4 runs including 3 last week because I was so sick.  And the other run I missed was right before the Key West Half for which I probably wasn't fully recovered.
bunch of sick people last week :-(

So between the weather and all the nasty germs going around, this winter has been a bit frustrating.  I went into this winter training really excited to work with a coach and make the most of the opportunity that Emir gave me.  Coach assures me that all will be ok and having a really bad week last week shouldn't affect my goals for the OD Marathon in March.  I know he's right however I think I'm beginning to develop "treadmill fever" I literally am screaming inside "I just want to get out and run like normal!!!" And with  yet another major snow storm starting as I type this, I can only dream of spring.
Yes, I have managed a little fun this winter ;-)
No need for spring training! Snowball!

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's ok to be different

I can't lie, it's pretty awesome to have a husband who is also an ultrarunner.  He totally understands that there is no other option than getting all my runs in.  It's a mortal sin in our house to say "just skip this one."  It's nice to have someone who completely understands all the ups and downs of ultrarunning.  I also enjoy supporting him and being there for him in good runs and in bad. The occasions that we get to do a training run together is so nice and until now we have done all our races together.  Of course it can get dicey when we have life things going on and each have to go out for a super long run individually due to someone has to be home with the kids.  But overall it's great. 
rare training run together this weekend

I ran my first marathon on my own and then Emir ran his while I was pregnant with Una.  After Una was born and I got back into the swing of things, we ran about 11 races together.  I think we had it in our heads that we had to always run the same things.  After Emir had some major disappointments with his road marathons (due to sickness and injury), he just felt like he wanted to take a break from that and focus more on improving his trail 50K.  I on the other hand was very successful in 2013, dropping a ton of time off of my road marathon time.  Of course this only made me want to run another one in the spring to try to lower my time more and work on possibly making a BQ in the next couple years.  We also differ on this point due to the fact that Emir as a guy would have to take off way more time than I would to BQ.  It took some lengthy discussions and time for us to figure out, hey it's no big deal if we do some different races than each other and actually it might be a really good thing.

When Emir had to skip Runner's World Half and then didn't do as well as he wanted in NYC and Philly due to an injury, it was tough.  I felt so bad that I was able to run and that I was able to get PRs.  I know he was happy for me but I know how bad he felt inside about himself.  I felt that exact way when he felt much better at Bear Mountain than I did.  So while it's nice to do things together sometimes it can be extra tough especially when one of you has a great day and the other one doesn't. 

My buddy and I out for a winter run together

So this spring I am focusing on improving my marathon and Emir is focusing on his 50K.  Of course we are going to do the double Blue Ridge and the Born to Run 100K together but we are doing a couple of races separate in March.  I'm actually pretty excited about this.  Last week when I ran the Key West Half by myself, Emir was able to be there with the kids in support.  It was SO great to see them during the race.  It was not only the support of Emir but the look on Niko's face was priceless, just beaming with pride.  I am really looking forward to bringing the kids to Emir's 50K in march to support him.  There is some kind of loop to it so we will be able to see him multiple times and have aide for him, etc.  Then he will be my support for the OD Marathon that is my "A" race of the spring.  I think it will be a great experience for all of us as a family.  I can already tell how much of an impact it is having on Niko who is only 4.  He asks daily about when we are going for our runs, he asks how many miles we ran.  He's been talking non-stop about how he watched mommy run a race in Florida and always points out my medal hanging in our room.  He has even completely on his own come up with an idea for his 5th birthday party (which is not until the end of August!).  He said he wants to have a medal party which he explained is a party where he and his friends all run a race and get medals for finishing.  I just was in awe of what a great idea from a 4 year old but also that what we do does totally influence our kids.  I am just so happy right now that we are having such a positive influence.  It makes me want to work harder and to keep trying to be
the best mommy/runner I can be. 

Niko with my Key West medal