Happy Blogiversary!

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Today marks exactly one year since I started this blog. I can’t believe it! It feels like yesterday my sister and brother-in-law suggested I try blogging. I spent the beginning of my Thanksgiving break playing with formatting and building up the courage to hit the “publish” button on my first post. It’s been a whole year since JoyRunner became real!

I didn’t really know what I was doing. Let’s be honest; I still don’t really know what I’m doing. The good thing is that there isn’t a “right way” to blog. This is my own creative space to do whatever the heck I want with. There’s no rules or deadlines to adhere to. I do start feeling guilty when I haven’t posted in awhile, but it’s not like I’m going to get an F if I turn something in late.

I’m not a professional writer – far from it! I’m a junior-year science major that enjoys bolding random words, using improper grammar, and typing with CAPITAL LETTERS… because I can. I do hate when I find a typo in my blog after posting it, though.

For years prior I kept running journals where I would log my miles, my workouts, but also my everyday thoughts. Turns out I’ve got a bunch of weird things going on in my head. I decided to give it a shot and share those things with other people. Luckily, it’s gotten a positive response for the most part from you guys.

I’ve come to love blogging ALMOST as much as running. I love being able to share my ideas and connect with other people. I love coming on here and reading your comments. I love running into people that little known to me have been keeping up with my posts. I love creating my own personal space on the Internet. It’s just a lot of fun!

Here are the most popular posts as of today:

  1. My Compartment Syndrome Journey
  2. The Ultimate “If You Fall, Get Back Up.”
  3. Baystate Marathon Recap
  4. 4 Running Pet Peeves
  5. The Day I Realized I’m not a Sprinter
  6. Saying Goodbye
  7. Vegetarian Athletes DEBUNKED
  8. Bridge and Back 10k Recap
  9. Being Honest
  10. Wedding Weekend

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me along the way! Your support means a lot to me. Here’s to another fun-filled year. I hope you come along for the ride!

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Wolf Hollow Race Recap

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To start off my Thanksgiving break I ran in the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon yesterday in Nashua, NH. The weather was absolutely perfect; 40’s and not windy. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Last year when I ran this race it was 20 degrees, but felt like 6 degrees because of the windchill. I wore spandex, a jacket, headband, and gloves. This year I was perfectly fine in just shorts and my jersey.

I started out pretty conservatively. My legs didn’t feel fantastic, but were alright. Things were going very smoothly for the first half of the race. Then we hit the hills at mile 5ish. There were no gigantic hills, but a series of good rolling hills with some sharp turns that took the spring out of my legs.

Things started to get a bit grim in the second half. I’m not sure why, but I don’t remember the course being as tough last year. Maybe I’m just getting spoiled with smooth road races, but the hills and trails definitely kicked my butt. There’s a hill in the last mile of the race that I literally thought I was going to die on. I felt like I was just about crawling up it. Nonetheless, I still finished with a PR of 1:37:05, which is over 2 minutes faster than my time from last year. I was definitely expecting more out of myself, but a PR is a PR and I should be happy with that.

Just after cresting the final hill in the race. I look better than I feel.

Just after cresting the final hill in the race. I look better than I feel.

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Here’s a slow-mo video Santi took of me at the finish. Don’t be too critical of my form, though. Remember, this just after mile 13 where my legs officially felt like jell-o.

My mom and sister also ran in the 5k and both got 1.5-minute PR’s. Woop woop! Those are huge chunks of time to take off a 5k! I’m so proud of them.

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Thoughts on the Race

The course starts out on paved roads. Then it comes back towards the finish before going into Mines Falls Park where it does two loops. The hills are towards the end of each loop. It kind of reminds me of a cross-country course. Part of it is on bike paths while most is on trails. It has some more technical running where there are rocks, leaves, and even a bit of sand and mud. Someone I talked to after said that she even tripped twice on the trails. Granted, it’s not what I would call a “PR course.”

With that being said, Wolf Hollow still is one of my favorite courses. It’s absolutely gorgeous going over some cute little bridges and winding by a river. Last year I even remember seeing swans in the river. It wins the prize for the prettiest course I’ve ever run.

There were aid stations about every 2 miles on the course with water and Gatorade. Or, as someone said when I ran by, “watah.” I guess I’m back in the Boston area, haha. The course was well marked and all of the volunteers were very helpful and nice. There was a good assortment of food afterwards including some yummy soup and baked goods. Plus, there was some seriously awesome race swag! I got a really nice technical shirt with a cool design, a finisher’s medal, and a pint glass for my age group place.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this race and I definitely want to come back and run it again. Thanks, Wolf Hollow, for putting on a great race!

Do you prefer trail or road races? Have you run any races recently? Anyone else at Wolf Hollow this past weekend?

The DREADMILL

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What the treadmill seems like to me

As the temperature drops and the daylight hours become fewer, the fact that winter is coming is all too real. As a runner, I’m not ecstatic about the news. Winter means I have to bundle up, that my Raynauld’s will become a daily annoyance, and that there will be those inevitable days that I can’t run outside. Whether it’s because there’s unplowed snow outside or that the sidewalks are covered in a sheet of ice, there will be those days.

I do everything I can to stay outside whenever possible. I’ve run when it’s been in the negatives (Fahrenheit), when it’s been pouring rain, and when the wind is so strong I can’t run in a straight line. However, running in Vermont means that there will be those days – especially if I’m trying to get a quality speed workout in. That’s the reality of weather in this state. I should seriously live somewhere warmer… I love Vermont, but I’m not a fan of the whole 4+month winter thing.

sooooooooo much ice!!!!

Just a little icy….

my lovely Raynauld's

my lovely Raynauld’s

Let me let you in on a little secret of mine. I may be a runner, but I HATE the treadmill. That’s right, H-A-T-E hate the treadmill. I’m completely serious when I say that a 2-mile run on the treadmill feels like the same level of difficulty to me as running outside for 2 hours. No joke. Granted to say, I avoid the treadmill at ALL COSTS.

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Luckily, at my school’s gym we have an indoor track. It’s nothing special – kind of old and is only 160 meters around instead of 200 meters, but it’s a track. I prefer running in circles around there compared to staying in one place in a hot crowded gym. It’s not that much different, but I find it a little less boring than the treadmill.

I’ve had running friends that love the treadmill. They’ll pop their headphones on, listen to some good tunes, and be perfectly happy getting their workout in that way. I’m just not wired the same. Every minute spent on there feels like torture to me. That’s why I call it the DREADMILL.

Maybe if I learned some moves from this guy I’d like the treadmill more.

How are you wired? Do you like the treadmill? Hate it? How do you get your runs in during the winter?

Regionals and Pumpkin Racing

start of the guy's race

start of the guy’s race

As I’ve been recovering from my marathon and getting back into the groove, there have been a lot of other running-related things to keep me busy. First off, UVM Running Club went to regionals about a week ago. Yay! We haven’t gone since I’ve been at college, but Katie and I decided to make it happen this year.

Although I didn’t race, I had a blast cheering my teammates on. My friend Katie ran  with my bib and ran an awesome race! I figured it probably wouldn’t be the best idea to try and race a 6k less than a week after my marathon… However, being around the whole cross-country atmosphere again made me itch to do some more of those races next year.

I was so proud of all my teammates! For being a self-directed club, I thought everyone did awesome! I’m so proud of all of you! It was a great experience to be able to go and was so much fun. Me, Rachel, Katie, and Becca even ended up hanging out in Boston afterwards. A good time was had by all.

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post race

Boston selfies!

Boston selfies!

Found this cute little guy in Boston.

Found this cute little guy

We also successfully hosted a race! Booyah! We held a little 5k on Saturday to benefit the Special Olympics. Despite windy and chilly conditions, the race went pretty well. Sam dressed up like a pumpkin and everyone that ran faster than him won a prize. It was a pretty fun post-Halloween race.

Somehow I ended up being the person that biked out in front of the race to show people which way to go. I was actually kind of nervous about whether or not I could stay ahead of the runners since some of it went through trails and the last mile was up a steep hill. Believe it or not, I find running up hills way easier than biking. That’s probably because I run much more than I bike, but still. Runners have passed me when I’ve biked up from the waterfront. Talk about a blow to the ego! Nonetheless, I didn’t fall and was able to stay ahead.

The pumpkin!

The pumpkin!

Pumpkin race selfies!

Pumpkin race selfies!

Me biking out in front

Me biking out in front

Setting up for the race

Setting up for the race

I have soooooo much more respect for race directors now. There’s a lot of planning and organizing involved. I’m sure it’ll be easier if we do another event like this, but trying to figure things out the first time around was more work than we thought. Thank you so much to all of the people that helped plan/organize/volunteer with the race! You guys rock!

Did you run in any Halloween races? Any upcoming races for you? Ever directed a race before?