Saturday, April 26, 2014

My Run with Andy

Ok, so as I said in my last post, Andy asked me to run with him and his family at the UCP Life Without Limits 5k.  They do this race to raise money and awareness for Maddie.  She is Andy's cousin and due to complications at birth, she suffered brain damage. As a result she has cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and limited verbal communication skills.  She is now 16 years old.

UCP has been a huge resource for Maddie and her family as they have helped them time and time again.  I have donated to their team in the past but this year I actually got to run with them.  I was excited to meet everyone!

For those of you who may be new here, a little history about Andy and me.  I can't say for sure, but I think one of us commented on the other's blog and that was it.  We started talking after that and a friendship was formed.  We have supported each other for the last 2 +years and in fact, he is usually the first person I go to when something new or exciting is coming up with my running.  For instance, when I have something big to say, he usually knows before everyone else, except Mr. RWM of course. We finally got to meet in person last year and we ran together for the first time.  Such a great day.  I was hoping to be part of his Broad Street team this year, but timing did not work out.  I will, no matter what, be there next year!

Now, we had to leave for Rhode Island right after the race.  I had to plan for that. Clean, dry clothes, snacks, cleansing towelette so I didn't have to drive with a sweaty face for 5 hours. Yuck!

The plan was to meet Andy at 5, have some hang out time, race, and then hit the road.

The weather was supposed to be stormy and I decided to dress for strong winds and rain.  As we were leaving my parents to head to the city, the rain started.  By the time we were on the bridge, it had ended.

Parking was very easy and Andy arrived at the same exact time.  Andy's wife Jenn was the first person to see me and she gave me the biggest hug hello. It was the first time I was meeting her.  Hugs and introductions all around. I knew from an earlier post that it was the third birthday of Tessa, Andy and Jenn's daughter. So a big Happy Birthday to her as well.

Andy and crew had a lot of stuff to unload and I was not registered, so I headed to the tent while they got their things together.  I met Maddie's mom and Andy's mom at the registration tent. From there, Gracie started to run the Rocky steps.

Meanwhile on the weather front, sunny and warm, no rain.  However, the radar said it was coming.  I had on capri's and a long sleeve tech shirt.  Over that was my Miles for Maddie team shirt.  I went back and forth with just wearing the team shirt and in the end, decided to keep both.

Andy and Jenn had a huge tray of Chik-fil-A nuggets and fruit for everyone. That was so nice of them and my kids went to town. I am pretty sure they ate the most!  Since it was Tessa's birthday, they also had cupcakes for everyone.  Again, my kids were in heaven. It was so nice to sing and be part of the celebration.  I did skip the cupcake though. I was pretty sure it wouldn't sit well right before running.

Right after that, I asked Andy if he had a goal in mind?  He said he would do whatever I wanted but sub 30 would be cool. I have not hit a sub 30 since October and was not sure I could do it.  This was also a PR course for Andy. I think he said 24:xx last year or close to that.

Team Miles for Maddie
Me and Mr. RWM

George and I

Just people

Coming down the steps for the 100th time.

Miles for Maddie was a team of about 60 people.  Some were walking and some were running.  Same with all the teams. They were all big and consisted of walkers and runners.  We lined up pretty close to the front as did some walkers.  This was pretty low key and no one seemed to mind.
Here we go!

I decided to try for the Sub 30 and if I couldn't do it, no big deal. I did make sure Andy knew that I did not want to hold him back from a new PR. He said I came all the way from Rhode Island to run with him and he was sticking with me. Ok, let's go!

The gun went off and we were running.  Had to go around a few people at first and then we hit a downhill pretty much in the first tenth of a mile.  "Yes", Andy said, "We have to come back up this hill at the very end."

Pretty much right away, I knew I should of taken off a layer. The sun was still out and it was much warmer than the weather man had told me.

I was running, feeling hot and my chest was a little tight and Andy said something like, "How are you doing?'  I said I was struggling a little and he told me were doing an 8:40 pace!  I am pretty sure I laughed and then we slowed down a bit.  I started to feel better.

It was so nice to catch up with Andy. We talk a lot on line but being so far away, it is hard to actually meet up in person.  And to be able to chat and run together, well, I was just in runner heaven.

Now we were cruising pretty good and boy was it hot!  We were approaching a mile and a half and there was a water stop there. This was also the turn around to head back.  I slowed and had water.  On the way back we started to see other Miles for Maddie's team members.  It was so nice to cheer each other on.

About 2.5 miles, I wasn't sure if we would get our Sub 30 and I gave Andy one last out to take off and go for it. Again, he was not leaving me.  At 2.65 miles, we saw Jenn, the kids and few other team members.  At this point, the kids came running out to meet us. I started to run with Braden who made it clear that he was a fast runner and would most likely beat me.  He was adorable!  He told me his age which was four. The excitement on this little boys face just warmed my heart.  All I could do was smile.  Then, I looked back and saw Andy running with his daughter and his niece Jamie.  Again, such an awesome sight. You just can't say no to the kids, especially on their third birthday.  And if you know Andy and I, the kids are part of why we run in the first place.  This race was as much for them as it was us.
See, what did I tell you! How could you not run with these two cuties!

Can you see me up ahead. I am turned talking and running with my buddy Braden.

I can't say for sure how long we ran with the kids. Probably just a minute or so.  Once they tired, Andy was next to me again and we got back to the pace we were running and up the hill we had first came down and then through the finish line.
The finish

We hugged and congratulated each other, then I saw Mr. RWM and the kids and hugged some more. We had to go and Andy wanted to run back to his family and walk them into the finish line.  Sadly, we said our goodbyes and thanked each other for such a fun night.

A couple shots of the kids and Rocky and then to our car.  I changed into dry clothes and got the kids in their PJ's for the long drive home.  I handed Philadelphia pretzels back to the kids and Mr. RWM and we pulled out of the lot.  The skies opened up and and the rain finally came.  How lucky were we!
My little champions!

I texted Andy to make sure they made it to the car in time and they had. He then texted me that our official time was 30:25.  Wow, that is great for me and I know we could of hit that sub 30 but I am not  sorry, running with he little ones was so worth it!

Our drive home was fine and it did not rain the whole way. I was so happy to be in dry clothes and the cleansing towelette really did a good job. We made it home at one in the morning and it was so nice to get into my own bed after sleeping on a blow up mattress for four nights.

This truly was a nice vacation and I am sorry to see it end.  We promised George that we would take him to a PawSox game, so we did that on Thursday. It was our first family baseball game. From there we shopped a little and then went to a Japanese Steak House. So very yummy and the kids really thought it was cool.

Sunday is the Newport 10 Miler so I will blog about that a day or two after.  Anyone else racing this weekend?

I have said this before but I have met some really wonderful people through this blog and my running.  Every time I get to meet one of you in person, just thrills me and when we get to actually run together, well, it just doesn't get better than that!  Thank you again for all the support that you have given me the last two and a half years.  I never dreamed that I would still be blogging but I am happy to still be here.  You all rock!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Run with Diane

We had a fantastic Easter!

We had plans to travel to my parents house in New Jersey for the holiday and my sister Kathleen was having Easter dinner.

When we were making our plans, my friend Diane sent me a message to see if I wanted to do a color run with her and a few friends that Saturday. I am a little leery of color runs with my asthma and said no, but asked if she could maybe run the Monday after Easter.  She was available and a plan was set.

I met Diane for the first time at the Philadelphia Marathon.  I was so excited to be able to see her again!

On our drive to Jersey, I sent Andy a message to see if he could run Monday with us.  He, of course, had to work but asked if I could run Tuesday night.  He and his family were doing the UPC Life Without Limits 5k which they have done the last several years.  They raise money and run for Andy's cousin Maddie who has Cerebral Palsy.  After a little back and forth with Mr. RWM, I told Andy we would be there.

Our drive was uneventful and we arrived at midnight.  This time we were staying at my sister's house who lives across the street from my parents. Picture, Everyone Loves Raymond.

The kids were so excited Easter morning and tried everything in their power to get out of going to church.  I was not having it, such a mean mommy!  We were going to an unfamiliar church and they survived. I think the egg hunt that the Sunday school had helped.

By the time we got back to my sisters, the house was already smelling delicious.  Kathleen made a most fabulous meal and it was so nice to have the whole family together. It was such a joyous day.

I spoke with Diane that night to firm up our plans to run in the morning.  We were meeting at 10 at the Art Museum in Philadelphia.  Mr. RWM drove me because driving + city = Nicole lost forever.

It was a sunny warm day, and I was happy to be able to wear a skirt and my Women Run Boston Strong shirt.  It was, after all, Marathon Monday.

For some reason, my Garmin never found a signal and that pissed me off but I was able to turn on Endomondo.  Diane was up for 4 miles and that was fine with me.  I may have over done it the day before with the food, pie and candy.

Our run was on Kelly Drive, which was also part of the Philadelphia Marathon route. I was so happy to be back there running.  To be with a friend only made it that much better. The only thing missing was Barb, who ran Philly with me. I miss her so much. Barb is about to run her sixth marathon!  She will be running Pittsburg on May 4th. Way to go Barb!

Diane had a rough winter and her running took a backseat with so many snow days and a little one at home, but she was running great!

We talked the whole way, laughed and just had an all around good time.  The time flew by and we both felt good.

A friend had sent her a Flat Stanley and asked if she could take a few pics with him.  We stopped at her car to get him after our run and headed to the Rocky Statue.  We got our picture taken and then we met Mr. RWM at the steps of the museum.

I asked Diane if she ever ran the steps like Rocky and she said no.  Well, guess what, me either so lets do it!

We took a running start while Mr. RWM videoed this historic event.  We ran the whole way and I may have sung the Rocky theme song.  When we got to the top we jumped up and down just like Rocky. It was awesome!

We snapped a few more pictures, walked around a bit and then unfortunately, we had to say goodbye.  I can't wait to run with her again. We may not live close by, but we will run together again.

Once we were home and I showered and had lunch, we headed out for a little shopping.  My mom has been wanting to get out more and walk.  Not far, just around the neighborhood but her feet hurt so much.  I had her try on Saucony's and she liked them as soon as she tried them on.  Later that night we went for a walk and she loved them!  With her old shoes, one loop around her neighborhood and her feet hurt.  We looped around three times and she was pain free! Happy walking mom!

Check back tomorrow for my recap of my race with Andy. For now here are a few pics from Easter.

My family.

Had to!

My parents, Gracie and George.

Easter bunny left a lot of eggs!

Beautiful basket my sister made for everyone.

Just fun!

The kids and the bunny.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Friday, April 18, 2014

Skirt Sports Product Review

I am excited about this post! I have been for over a month but had to wait until the weather warmed up.

Skirt Sports, one of my favorite companies, asked me to wear and review part of their spring line.  They sent me a Gym Girl Ultra with drawcord and an Eclipse Tank.

Now you know if you are a regular reader, I LOVE the Gym Girl. I was interested to see how it worked with the drawcord.  This would be my first tank from Skirt Sports so I was really happy to try that on!

It arrived when it was very cold and snow was still on the ground.  I know I could of worn it on the treadmill, but where is the fun in that? So, I waited.

I kept in touch with my SS contact and made sure she knew I was just waiting for the right day.  Finally, the weather started to look promising.

(Just a little side note.  During our emails back and forth, I was asked if I wanted to work at the Skirt Sports booth at the Boston Marathon.  That was cool enough and then I found out that Katrine Switzer was also going to be at their booth. I am sad to say that our Easter plans keep me away from Boston and I will not be able to attend. To say I am disappointed is an understatement but my family has to come first.  She said she would keep me in mind for next time though!)

After checking the weather one more time, I laid out my clothes the night before and woke up to a most beautiful morning!  I got dressed and posted to FB, of course, that it was a running skirt kind of day.  Another great thing about this morning was that it was Monday.  I run with the girls on Monday's and it is usually our long run day.  We had nine miles planned for the day.

The skirt fit just like I knew it would.  Perfect around the waist for me and there was no need to adjust the drawcord.  The tank, wow, as soon as I put it on, I knew I would love it forever.  I really like that I could wear my own sports bra with it. I am really not a fan of built in bras.

Now I have to say, it was a little windy once I got to the beach, so I did have to start my run with a long sleeve tech shirt over the tank.

The skirt did not disappoint.  Shorts stayed in place and it moved with me nicely. Same for the tank.  It did not ride up. Stayed where it should and never once did I have to adjust my shirt or skirt.

I eventually took off the long sleeve and tied it around my waist. It was a wonderful feeling to have the sun on my arms and legs!

At this point, Mary was running behind me. She commented that she like the way the skirt looked as I was running.  It flowed nicely and was cute.  I loved that compliment!  The girls also liked the pattern on the back of the tank.

As I said earlier, we were running nine but we ended up at 10 miles for the day.  We all felt pretty good and it truly was a fun run.  My outfit was perfect, especially since it was such a warm day.

Bottom line, you will not be disappointed when you give this skirt and tank a try.  As soon as I put the tank on, it was comfortable and looked nice.  Same with the skirt. I totally see the benefits of the drawcord even though on this run I didn't have a need for it.  To be able to control the comfort of your skirt when running is a really great addition to the Gym Girl.

Some things that stayed the same with the Gym Girl are the two hidden pockets in the shorts. I can carry my inhaler, key, a GU and ID without any worries.  There is also a Sonic Music Port for the cord of your headphones.  This keeps it out of the way and your iPod can clip onto the pocket I just mentioned.

I also love the colors that they come in.  I was given a Shadow Heather skirt and an Azul tank.  The colors compliment each other nicely and the Shadow Heather also looks great with light blue, purple and pink.  You just can't go wrong.

I had a great time reviewing part of the Skirt Sports Spring line and I would like to thank them for the opportunity to do so.

Are you a skirt lover?  I hope you try these product and I would love to hear what you think.  

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just A Few Things

Hi everyone!

I just thought I would update you on my arm.  I can now move it in all directions and can do all my normal actives but there is still some discomfort.  I was hoping to be in the pool by now and maybe just using the kick board but my PT did not think that was a good idea. The plan right now is to continue twice a week with PT and I am crossing my fingers that I will be back in the pool after Easter. If not, I am going to have to consider deferring my race until next year.  I am trying not to think about that though so say some prayers for me.

I have been running and getting on my bike but with the trainer still.

I ran eight miles yesterday with the girls and my half marathon is in four weeks. Feeling pretty good about it. I do have the Newport 10 Miler the week before my half and I am really looking forward to that. It is a beautiful course and it just makes you happy to run it.

I am in the market for new running shoes. I know I need a stability shoe and have been in Asics GT-2000's for quite some time now. It seems my foot has gotten wider, especially my right one and the narrow toe box of the 2000's is not working for me.  I am hoping to get out this week to check out some different shoes, but would love to hear your suggestions.  I have been reading reviews on different shoes and will defiantly try Saucony Omni 12's and Brooks Transcend.  What are your feet loving right now?

We are finally having some nice weather and spring flowers are blooming.  It has been so nice to wake up and see the sun shining. In fact, I was way over dressed for yesterdays run.  I will be better prepared for Wednesday and Thursday's run.  Has spring finally appeared in your neck of the woods?

I am also still patiently waiting for my Bia Sport Watch to get here.  Are you a backer? Did you get yours yet?  I would love to hear what you think about it.  I have heard mostly good things so far and the few problems that were mentioned have already been fixed. I hope I love it!

Oh, and I just wanted to share this picture with you in case you didn't see it. This is the finish line of the Ocean's Run Half Marathon. Mary is in the blue and our four kids, plus Elaine's kids are running into the finish with us.  It was such a great moment and this picture is now my favorite!

Ok, I think that is it for now.  Would love to know what you are training for and how it is going.  Let me know in the comments.  Have a good one!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole