Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Blessing 2013 Recap

What a difference a year makes!

I was so unprepared for last year's Blessing, it's not even funny.  This year, I trained exactly the way I should of and was more than ready.

The fun thing about this year is our running friend Mary, lives on the course.  Not only that. her house is at the very end of mile eight.  She offered to have us all meet at her house, leave the husbands and the kids with tons of food and beer, while the ladies ran. Perfect!

Meeting at Mary's was easy. We had to get there a little early because they close the roads.  Once everyone was there, we walked to the Pier Middle School and to the start line.  

We had a great group.  Me, Beth, Elaine, Mary, Linda and a couple new people including our friend Agnes.  I have known Agnes a couple years now.  Her son is the same age as George.  

When she got there, she told us she had been running but never as far as ten miles and on top of that, this was her first race!  For some reason, that got me excited.

Once we got to the school, I finally got to meet Monica of Insert Witty Running Pun Here, a fellow runner, blogger and RI'er.  She was super cute and had on some really fun glasses.  
Monica in the cute glasses, me and Beth in the cutest outfit.

We snapped a pic, lined up and the gun went off.  
The whole gang!

It was crowded and hard to stay together.  Elaine, I lost right away.  Everyone else was close by.  It wasn't until we were in mile two that it started to loosen up.  Agnes and I were together.  Beth, Monica, Mary and Linda were a little ahead of us.  

I was happy where I was and didn't go out too fast.  Agnes was right with me.  We started to talk a bit and it was clear that we were not going to catch everyone else.  I was just happy not to be alone.  

As we were approaching the first water stop, I told her I would walk through it.  She liked that idea.  I knew I wasn't going to leave her.  I will never forget my first race.  I had my friends with me and they never left my side.  That was a big deal to me and that was a 5k.  I was not leaving a first timer for 10 miles!

I took her lead.  If she slowed down or pick up her pace, then that is what I did.  I told her a little about the course and what was coming up.  When we hit St. Mary's Church, I grabbed a bag of ice.  The people handing out ice are there every year.  This race is usually very hot and the ice is a treat.  This year it was much cooler but I took the ice anyway.  I held it on my head, my face, my chest and kept it for a mile.  It was very refreshing.  Thank you ice suppliers! 

When we hit mile five, Agnes said she needed to walk.  I was fine with this and happy that she spoke up and didn't push herself until she was hurt.  This was also the part of the race that is my least favorite, rt 108.  Crowd support it good on this part and that is what helps you get through it.

Once we are off 108 we hit a nice road that is all trees.  I loved this part, it was pretty and peaceful.  We chatted a good bit here and I loved getting to know Agnes better.  

The tree road dropped us off into Ocean Road again and then back up past the start line.  Agnes lives in this town and knew where we were,  but when I told her that the school was up ahead and then Mary's street to the right, you could tell she was happy and surprised. She was gonna make it!

The Blessing parties on Pier Road were still going strong and it was nice to see people still out cheering us on.  

Once we passed the school there was a nice hill that we had to tackle.  We walked some but the top of that hill was Mary's street and my family was there waiting for us.  I was so excited when I saw my kids and Mr. RWM.  Gracie had a cowbell and George had a Run Strong, Think Big sign.  I loved that they were cheering everyone on and not just us.  
Love this pic of George and I!
The kids cheering on the runners.
Me, running up to Gracie!

I got to Gracie first and gave her a big hug, then George who had the biggest smile.  I gave Mr. RWM a kiss and high- fived the rest of the hubbies.  Then, we were off again.  Just up ahead the sign that we all were waiting for. One Mile to the Beer Tent.  I said, "You got this Agnes, we are almost there!"

We ran/walked the beginning of this mile.  You could tell Agnes was tired but determined. With about a half mile to go, she asked me if I wanted to sprint to the finish?  Of course I do.  We took off.

I have to tell you, for ten miles I felt great!  I was running strong and smiling.  I heard my name and saw my neighbors who cheered me on. That is always so cool.  

I was running pretty fast and Agnes wasn't next to me.  I looked back and slowed up a bit.  She yelled go to me and I did.  

I crossed the finish line in 1:53:55.  I turned around to see Agnes cross in 1:54:07.  This was not a PR for me but it was a course PR which is still kind of cool.

From that moment on, it was chaos.  The crowd was nuts.  We should of just met up and headed back to Mary's where there was free beer and food not to mention our dry, warm clothes.  Beth and Monica were at Trio and we were in the stupid beer tent.  I was without my phone which I will never run without again when I am with such a large group.  

We all eventually ended walking back to Mary's but not all together.  It was dark and we were cold.  When we were close, I realized the roads were open and there was very little traffic. Why were we walking an extra mile when there are people who could of picked us up!  Lesson learned and next year we will plan better.

We hung out at Mary's for a while.  Warmed up and ate.  The kids were having such a good time I hated to break it up but I had hit my wall and needed a shower and sleep.  

It was wonderful for Mary and her hubs to open their home to us and we all thank them very much!  She did say we should make this an annual event and I think that is a great idea!

Congrats to all my friends who finished and here is to many more!

16 weeks to Philly!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blessing Ready!

Here we are, Friday, the day of The Blessing.

On Monday, I had a nice three mile run.  It was a little later in the day but only 79 degrees.  I had very limited time and ran at a nice clip in the last mile.  I actually had negative splits!  I finished in 34 minutes and felt pretty good after.

From there we headed to the Narragansett Youth Track Series.  We love this event every year and the night was perfect for it.  My kids did all but the last race and smiled the whole time.  This week they got medals instead of ribbons and Gracie wore hers all day on Tuesday.  Love it!
Such a ham!
100 meter.  George came in second.
Go, Gracie!
Gracie and her medal.  Why they are growling at me, I will never know.

Wednesday was my gym day.  Five miles on the hamster wheel.  Usually this would be difficult for me.  Long and boring.  However, it really was a good run.  In fact, I didn't stop at 5.  I kept going until the machine read 60 minutes and turned off.

I left the gym that day, knowing that I was ready for the Blessing.  I have trained hard, at night, and in the heat and I am confident that I did it all right.

Now as far as goals go, I don't really have one.  I want to run smart and finish.  I want to enjoy the crowds and my friends.

In April, if you remember, I ran the Newport 10 Miler.  Fantastic race, and I had a 13 minute PR.  I think it would be difficult for me to top that in just a couple months, so just run it and have a good time it is!

The really fun part is Mary, who is running with us, lives on the course. We are all meeting at her house and the husbands and kids are going to have a Blessing Party. She is at the beginning of mile 9 and I can't wait to see them as I run by!  This will be the perfect motivation to get me to the finish.  Well, that and the beer tent!

I have a little PF that has been under control for quite some time.  On Wednesday, however, I spent most of the day bare foot on the beach.  That aggravated it.  I have been rolling, stretching, and icing and feel pretty good today. I think I will run without any problems.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Great waves!

One of my favorite pictures!

Two cool things happened this week.

First, Running Bloggers posted the top 100 running blogs of 2013.  Guess who was number 35?  I had a few people nominate me and I thank all of you, especially Connie, who they quoted in the list.  You all rock!

And second, 30 Something Mother Runner is doing a Friday post on favorite races. Today, mine is up.  I really had to think about my favorite because we have so many great races here in RI, but when it really came down to it, The Ocean's Run is what I went with.

I would love to hear about your favorite race!

Will I see you at the Blessing?

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Off To a Good Start

Well, training started and things are good.

My first training run was three miles that I ran outside.  I went out a little later than I wanted to and it took me three minutes longer than I had hoped but I felt good the whole time.  I did come home knowing that 10 am runs were not longer an option as it is way too hot for that.

Tuesday was run number two.  I dropped George off at Basketball camp but had no one to stay with Gracie while I ran.  I did not have the motivation to push a 5 year old in the stroller or the patience to listen to her complain about the heat.  I am not so sure she would of complained, but I wasn't taking a chance.

I headed to the gym. I love my gym but I have not been there since April because I prefer to run outside.  They have a great playroom for the kids and Gracie was excited to be going.

Training called for three miles.  Normally, running on the treadmill is boring.  You all know what I mean.  However, this was a fantastic run.  It was so nice to be in the A/C and I was running at what I consider, my normal pace.  I felt great.  My spirits were lifted with such a good run.  I left there knowing that I will hit the gym for a run at least once a week during the summer. The speed work will be good for me.

Thursday, I met Beth, Elaine, Mary and Linda again for our last long run before the Blessing, 9 miles.   We met at 6:30 and Elaine was going to be about 10 minutes late. She told us to go without her and she would catch up.  I am so inspired by my speedy friends.

We took off and fell into conversation about our week.  It was warm and the streets and beach seemed more crowded then the week before.  I do live in a vacation spot, so...

Right before we hit two miles, I looked back and saw Elaine.  It didn't take her long to catch up and then the 5 of us went on our way.

Because it was hot and we were running long, I had arranged for Mr. RWM and kids to meet us with water and gatorade.  We passed them at 4 miles but thought it would be easier to go the 4 1/2 and then turn around.  To my kids disappointment, that is what we did.  We made it to where they were parked at exactly five miles.  It was such a treat to see them and just wonderful to have the gatorade and fill up our water bottles.  Wish I could have that kind of service for every long run.
Our water crew.

Mile 5, hydrating and still smiling.

After that quick water stop, we started to break up a little.  Elaine and Beth in the lead and Mary, Linda and I just a bit behind them.  That only lasted a mile and then I was behind Mary and Linda.

My hamstrings and calves were really tight and I stopped and stretched but it wasn't enough. I still ran but at a much slower pace then the rest of the gang.  I kept Mary and Linda in my sight but there was no way I was catching them.

I was fine until I realized I did not have my phone and the road started to curve and I psyched myself out that I would be lost, hurt or worse and no one would find me.  This was just my head playing silly tricks on me but boy did I pick up my speed until I was able to see Mary and Linda again.  LOL

Once we were back at the beach, I didn't worry so much about being alone.  Tons of people were out and I knew I would be fine.

When I approached our meeting spot, the girls had beach towels out and were stretching and chatting.  I loved seeing this and was in desperate need to stretch my hamstrings and calves.  I was a little afraid that I would need help getting up once I was on the ground, but I was pleasantly surprised that I got up just fine.

From there we headed to the Coast Guard House for our after run beer, chips and salsa! Sitting there, talking to my friends I couldn't help but be thankful for every blessing I have in my life.  My family, my friends, running, and our health.  I am so looking forward to seeing these ladies on Friday for the race we have trained so hard for.  If nothing else, it should prove to be a super fun time!

The last training run of the week was a 3 miler.  This I did Sunday evening.  George has been asking to run with me for a couple days now and I thought this was a good time.  I assumed he would stop somewhere between 1 and 2 miles.  He did not.  He walked a little more than I would of liked but he stayed with me the whole three miles.  The next race he is registered for is September and I have no doubt he will do well.

George can be stubborn and moody and hard to talk to.  Every time I run with him though, he has real conversations with me.  Sometimes the conversation is silly and sometimes it's serious but they are real and I will treasure every one.

In other news, we finally got our fourth and last door installed.  Our home renovations have been a slow and unsteady process but we are getting there.

And lastly, since I was preregistered for The Blessing, I was able to pick up my shirt and number a week early.

Do you worry about your numbers? I don't really. I tend to just go with the flow but some numbers are cooler than others.  This one, 1072, is a good one.  72, the year I was born, 10, my favorite month, my sons birth month, and how many miles we will be running. What does it all mean?  Nothing, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

17 weeks to Philly!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bad Blogger Catching Up

I have been a bad blogger.  No post since July 4th!  From the beginning, I have always said that I would only write if I had something to say. I have stayed pretty true to that but the problem with this last week is that I did have stuff to say, yet, I did not take the time to write about.

Now, just to fill you in, I have my in-laws here.  They have been staying with us for the last two weeks and they leave tomorrow.  We only see them a couple times a year and I love when they visit. I have not been on the computer as much as I usually am. Honestly, this is not a bad thing.

The other side is it is summer.  Both kids home ALL THE TIME!  Ok, it's really not that bad, but you know what I mean.

So I guess this will be quick catch you up kind of post.  You all read how horrible my last race was.  In fact, the runs prior to that were all stinky.  Finally, on July 7th, that all changed.  I headed out for a run, no set time, just wanted to make it good.  From the moment my feet stepped outside, I was in runners heaven. I felt good, my pace was good, and I was smiling.  When I finished, I cried out of pure joy.

I can't say for sure what changed but I can say that I am happier than ever and I have been looking forward to every run since then.

My next run after that was Thursday.  I usually run with Beth on Thursday at 6 with the Narragansett Running Association.  This week, Elaine called to say that she was meeting some friends at 6:30 and would Beth and I like to join them.  Well, of course we would!

Eight miles were on the schedule for this run.  The five of us are all running The Blessing 10 Miler in two weeks.

We stayed together for the first 4 miles.  Some of us were meeting for the first time, and it was really nice getting to know each other.  I swear, when you run with someone, you are instantly friends.  Once we got into mile five, our paces changed a bit and we broke up into a 3 and a 2 group.  The difference in the finish times were about three minutes.

(On a side note, my Garmin is being goofy and it beeped at me for the last two miles of this run. It locked up and no matter what button on combination of buttons that I pushed, it would not change from the screen it was on.  So frustrating!)

That run ended with a drink on the deck at the Coast Guard house which is how I like to end every run.   : )

Since I ran my long run on Thursday, my Saturday run was just three miles.  I know I shouldn't say "just".  Anyway, another awesome run! It was hot and humid, but aren't all our runs this time of year?

We are exactly 18 weeks away from the Philadelphia Marathon and my first day of training will be tomorrow!  I can hardly believe it!

The first run calls for three miles and I will knock that out in the morning.  Because I have The Blessing coming up, my long runs for the next couple of weeks will be longer than the plan calls for.  I don't think that should hurt me since I have been running consistently this year.  What do you think?

Ok, so my plan for blogging is to keep you as updated as best I can.  I will have at least one post a week but I guessing it will be way more than that.  I tend to write more when I am in training.  That's not a bad thing, right?

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend.  I know a few of you are also training for a fall marathon.  Did you start your training yet?  How is it going?

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Friday, July 5, 2013

Firecracker 4 Miler Recap

Well, friends, my race was not pretty.

When I got into the car, the temp read 80 degrees.  It was 7:40am.

Let me go back a bit.  Last nights dinner put me into salt overload.  And on top of that, Mr. RWM and I shared a Volcano at the Chinese restaurant.  Not my best choice.  I did not sleep well, but that is not too unusual before a race.
Looks good right?  Who could resist and yes, that is fire!  So fun!

OK, back to the race.

I was pre-registered so I just had to pick up my number and shirt.  I ran my shirt back to the car and then straight to the nearest port-a-potty.  Not a good sign.

Beth found me while I was standing in line and I saw Elaine parking from where I was. Yay, friends are all accounted for.

Before the race, there was a kids fun run and that is always very cute to watch.  Then it was time to line up.  Beth and I stayed together.  We usually run on Thursday night anyway, so this was good.

The sun was not out, yet, but it was HOT!  We chatted and I also had another friend come up along side us to say hello.  It is always so nice to see people you know.  I walked through the water stop and then we ran again.  In the turn around my stomach started to rumble and I was really feeling the heat. Don't think that was a good combination.

Right around the start of mile 3, I told Beth to go on without me.  I needed to slow down. Honestly, I started casing bushes just in case...  Luckily, I didn't need one.  Slowing down helped a lot.

I was running again and I had Beth in my sights but I was pretty sure I couldn't catch her.  I got mad.  I may have yelled in frustration.  It also may have been in my head.  I can't say for sure but it was here that an older gentleman came up along side of me.  When I say older, I mean 75.

He said hello and mentioned how tough the course was and the heat.  I couldn't help but agree.  He asked why I started running and I told him a little about myself.  I told him about my marathon and training coming up and that I have only been running for two years.

He on the other hand, has been running a long time and has run almost 900 races!  His name was Wayne and he came up to me in the moment when I needed someone the most.  Thanks Wayne!

Wayne knew one of the volunteers and stopped to talk with them.  I keep on going.  I knew any chance of even coming close to my PR, 43:01, was gone.  I decided to just go with the flow and do what felt right.  I chatted with a women for a minute who was also struggling.  I wished her luck and moved on.

In front of me at this point, was a girl in a yellow shirt and she also was having a hard time.  I ran up next to her and said hello and told her to hang on, you can do it.  I needed to hear it to.

I turned right and a volunteer told me less than half a mile. Yes!  The girl in yellow was behind me and I heard her say it was her first race.  She picked a doozie!

I remember hating this last half mile last year and this year proved no different.  I sped up a bit because I just wanted to be done! However, I thought about the girl behind me and I turned back to see her walking. I stopped and yelled to her, "Come on, let's run in together!'  I knew the finish was the next turn but she didn't.  She caught up and we went.  When she saw the finish, she took off and I loved watching her cross her first finish line.

After she was gone, I saw Beth who was cheering me on and then I saw Mr. RWM.  I thought he might be there but there was on definite plan so I was so psyched to see him! Elaine was closer to the finish cheering me on, and I was just so happy to be done. 46:14 is my official time.
So happy to see the finish and Mr. RWM!

Beth and Elaine had great races.  Beth finished in 42:xx and Elaine, 34:xx!  Nice job ladies!
This does not look like 3 ladies who just finished the race from hell, does it?  LOL

So yeah, not my best race.  It was hot, full of hills, stomach issues for a short time, and my head was just not there.  I was bummed that I had told Beth to go on without me, but happy that I spoke with Wayne and New Runner Girl which may or may not of happened if I stayed with Beth.  I truly believe that things happen for a reason and I was meant to talk with the people I did yesterday.

We got water and fruit and waited for the official times to be posted.  New Runner Girl found me and thanked me for getting her to the finish.  I told her this is a tough race and the next one she chooses won't be so bad, most likely. I also told her that she did a great job!  I hope she continues to run.

Beth, Elaine and I headed out for a lovely breakfast.  And yes, I love this part.  Hanging with my friends and talking and laughing.  The bad run vanished into a happy memory of running with friends.  I finished and did more than I ever did two years ago.  That is what really matters. It's all good.

I hope you had a great 4th!  Remember, if you are running and dressing in Red, While and Blue to post you picture to my FB page.  The pic with the most likes will win a Believe Shubeez.  The winner will be announce on Monday.

We spent the rest of the day with friends and finished it off with fireworks.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Red, White and Blue

Quick post!

If you are running in a July 4th race tomorrow or this weekend and will be dressed in Red, White and Blue, post your pic on my FB page.  The picture with the most likes will win a Believe Shubeez.

Simple, post your pic, and then share it with your friends and family so that they can like it!  Monday, I will count up the likes and announce the winner.  Good luck and have fun!

I can't wait to see your pictures.  I will post mine also.  You can like my pic but I will not be a winner, LOL, of course!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~Nicole

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rachelle's Birthday Virtual

Today, I woke up later than I wanted to, needed more coffee than I usually drink and had to get a run in.  Motivation was low.

I sat at the table with a large mug of Joe and checked my email.  In there was the latest blog post from Living the Sweat Life.  I have followed this blog for a long time now.  Not exactly sure how long, but I have only been running two years so it is almost that long.  I love it.

Today is Rachelle's 38th birthday and she is hosting a virtual race. This is a really great one.  First, because it's free and second because there are some great prizes.  And, who doesn't love to celebrate birthdays!

You can check out all the details here, but quickly, you need to run 3.8 miles and enter through Rafflecopter .  You have until July 15th to get it done.  You are running anyway, right?

This was the motivation that I needed.  I finished up my coffee, ate a little something, got dressed and downloaded the latest podcast form Another Mother Runner.  It was Dimity telling us all about her Ironman from last weekend.  Wow, you need to listen to it!

I headed out much later than I would of if I planned correctly and it was hotter than I would of liked.  I ran easy on my usual route and enjoyed every step.  I was dripping when I was done but happy.

Good luck if you enter.

So speaking of running for two years, this month is my runiversary.  I ran for the first time in July 2011 but I am not sure of the exact date.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate than by kicking off marathon training.  Who knew I would be here?  I certainly didn't!

On Thursday, I am running in the Camire's Firecracker 4 Miler.  I ran this race last year. It is not the easiest course but it is a nice, local race.  Last year, I finished in 43:01 which is a really good time for me. I am very doubtful that I can beat that right now, but you never know.

Are any of you running on July 4th?  Are you dressing up in Red, White and Blue?  Post a pic on my FB page if you would like to share your patriotic outfit.  Let me know if you run for Rachelle's Birthday also!

Oh, and if you like to read and learn more about Ironman, then you should check out Swim, Bike, Mom's recap.  She did the same race as Dimity.  At the end of her post, I had tears in my eyes.  Just amazing.

Have fun everyone and have a safe and happy 4th!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Official! Summer Has Started!

Let's see, where to start?

The family and I went camping last week.  Not in a tent, which I am sure some of you might say is not "real" camping.  It was real enough to me.

We stayed in Glen, NH at a campground called Glen Ellis Family Campground.  We rented a camper that they had there on the property.

Packing for camping is crazy.  I was a bit overwhelmed by all the stuff we had to bring. Towels, sheets, food, condiments, booze.  Stuff we wouldn't normally pack for a stay at a hotel.

We pulled George out of school a little early on his last day as we had a four hour drive ahead of us.  The plan was to pack up the truck, pick him up and get on the road. However, while putting the bikes on the rack, Mr. RWM threw his back out and ended up on the floor in the garage.  I honestly thought our trip was over.  He is, thank God, Ok and an hour past our original leaving time, we were on the road.

As soon as we pulled into the office parking lot to check in, it started to rain.  Awesome!

Our camper was a bit bigger than I thought it would be.  Mr. RWM and I had our own room with a queen size bed and the kids room was the opposite side of the camper with bunk beds.  There was a small bathroom, kitchen and sitting area.  Bonus, there was A/C.

Our friends, Ozzie and Harriet, that we were doing this adventure with and more experienced campers, arrived the day before.  We unloaded our truck and walked down to their camper.  Dinner was already cooking and they literally, handed us a drink as we were saying hello.  Best friends ever!

The first night was good. Cooler than I thought it would be but sitting around the fire was awesome.  The kids rode their bikes through all the mud puddles and George thought that was the best thing ever.  We also had a ton of glow sticks left over form the Glow Bash and the kids were thrilled to decorate their bikes and ride around.  I also learned that if you put glow sticks in the freezer, they last longer.  Who knew?

Ozzie and I had planned to run the next morning.  Well, we slept in a bit longer than expected and when we woke up, Ozzie and Harriet had a nice breakfast waiting for us.  I was ready to run though.  We decided on a four mile run and soon after breakfast, we were off.

It was a humid but no sun which helped.  Ozzie had run 12 miles the day before, so this was a nice easy run for us.  In mile two, The Conway Scenic Railroad Dinning Train passed us and I waved to all the people riding by.  I got lots of waves and smiles which made me smile too.

At the end of mile two we snapped a pic and headed home.
Me and Ozzie

We showered, had lunch and then headed to Diana's Bath.  Not my video but it is better than me trying to explain it to you.  It's on You Tube so it's legal to use right?  It would of been awesome if it was warm, but it was a little cold which didn't bother the kids. No worries, they had a great time and they were why we were there.

Later, another nice dinner, more drinks, family bike ride, and sitting around the fire.

Thursday, I biked 4 miles and then we headed to Story Land.  The kids had a blast and it was a nice day.  No rain and very little sun.  It was not too hot to walk around.
Gracie, Ricky, Humpty, George and David
Ricky and Gracie with Mother Goose

Friday, we packed up, went out to breakfast and headed home.  All in all it was a nice time.  The bugs were a little killer even with the bug spray and the rain put a little damper on things.  I would probably do it again but I am in no hurry.

My shower when I got home was the best shower ever and we were all happy to be in our own beds Friday night.

Now, on to training for the Philadelphia Marathon.  For me, picking a plan was very time consuming and confusing.   It reminded me of putting my birth plan together, which was shot to hell when my 9 pound George flipped into the sitting position one week before my due date.  That is another story all together.

I have decided to go with Hal Higdon's Novice 1.  I really thought I was going with Run Less, Run Faster but after a final look at all my notes and books last night I changed my mind.  RLRF is a pretty serious plan which I am sure would work for me, but I wouldn't use it as it is directed and I don't want to mess with what is written too much.  Hal has worked well for me in the past and even though it is 4 days running instead of 3, I think I will be ok.  If my back acts up, I will bike or just take an extra day off.  I am not worried, this is going to work for me I have no doubt.

It is an 18 week training plan and will start on July 14.  A couple more weeks and I will be ready to go!  I am excited and terrified at that the same time, but I have no doubt that this is my time and I am looking forward to ever step.

Have you stressed over training plans?  Do you have a favorite?  Any exciting Summer plans?  

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole