July Runfession…My first! A Running Update

I originally started this blog to document my running adventures. However, due to Life, this blog has evolved and now includes poetry sometimes about running, more often about my non-running life. This mirrors changes in my own life. While running was so central to who I was for so many years, now that’s shifted and other activities are center stage. But I want to bring running back into limelight hence this new feature called “Runfessions”!

I found out about Runfessions through two running blogs that I follow, Confessions of a Mother Runner and Meditations in Motion. They link up with Marcia’s Healthy Slice (the originator of the Runfession), so that’s what I’m doing too! I’ve always enjoyed reading about other runners and reading about what other runners are thinking and writing about – especially if they are women, mothers, and/or people of color. When I first started running, it was rare to find articles written for or by women, POC, mothers and now there is a lot more!

So here goes…my first Runfession Session!

Forgive me Saucony, for I have sinned….

I Runfess…. that I haven’t been running as much this summer and have missed several group runs. The reasons aren’t that important (basically, kids not being in school) but I haven’t been making it a priority. But that is about to change!

I Runfess….I signed up for two more races! The Hershey Half Marathon in October and the Hot Chocolate 15K in April 2020. Time to get going on my training plan!

I Runfess….I don’t have a training plan! I’m relying on my BRF, Michele, to keep me on target. She’s been doing great with her training. I’m pretty sure she’s going to beat her PR at Hershey this year.

Is that enough? My running sole (see what I did there?) is feeling lighter already!!

©️ iido 2019

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Radiance Running – A Haiku and Race Review of the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon

Grey clouds have no chance

When radiance runs with heart

Summer sun follows

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, I ran the 8th Annual Niagara Falls International Women’s Half Marathon and 5K. I signed up because a good friend of mine, Danielle had signed up for it and I wanted to run an “international race”. Niagara Falls is a few hours drive from my in-laws’ house so we were able to see them on the way to and from the race – bonus!!

Read my pre-race ramblings here!

If you’ve never visited Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, then you are truly missing out on an awesome sight. The majesty and power of water as it rushes over the rocks is truly humbling. You can hear its roar and see its misty beauty from the walkway next to it or a boat ride (for an up close and personal view) or even overhead on zip lines.

The morning of the race was cold and grey. The forecast said rain later in the day but obviously the weather did not get that memo. It started to rain as I waited for Danielle to pick me up at my hotel and the rain would continue on and off during the race.

As if the rain wasn’t enough of an ominous start to the race, Danielle arrived frazzled – she had left her running belt at home and her lucky sunglasses had broken that morning. She also just had a baby a year ago so her First Big Race after the baby. But, Danielle is one determined woman who doesn’t give up with or without her lucky sunglasses. She joked that as long as her pants didn’t fall down, she was going to run this race!

When we got to the race site, Danielle’s friends, Tiffany and Angie, were already there. This was Tiffany’s first half marathon. Angie was coming back from an injury as well. If there ever was a tougher group of mother runners, this was it! Check out the awesome shirts they had especially made for this race just to show how truly kicka$$ they are!

There was some music and a tent at the start of the race but not much else. There were a few moments of heavy rain that stopped just as were starting – the sun showed its face for a brief second before it became overcast again. Perfect running weather in my opinion!

One cool thing that Danielle reminded us when we were lining up was that when the announcer was saying that there were so many other countries represented at the race, that those “other countries” included us. We were Americans in Canada so that made us one of those “other countries” running the race. This is what it’s like running my first INTERNATIONAL race! Mind blown!

The course started out by Marineland, went out towards the Rainbow bridge then back on the same street, past the start area and then further down the other side of the falls along the Niagara river. This was a pretty flat course on streets right by the water. The course formed a “lopsided bow tie” shape. While the first loop was beautiful and had some people cheering, the second loop was almost devoid of spectators – not even the people who’s houses we passed, opened up the front door to cheer us on. Maybe it was the rain at the start of the race that kept the spectators away?

It didn’t keep Katherine Switzer away though! That woman is simply amazing and so full of energy and positivity!

The four of us started out together before Tiffany went ahead. This was her first half marathon and she totally ROCKED this race finishing about an hour before Danielle, Angie and I did. While this race wasn’t the my fastest, it was full of great moments like this one

and this one

and of course, this one!

At the end of the race we were treated to cold towels, which was perfect for cooling off from that final sprint. There wasn’t much in terms of post race festivities. Maybe it was because of the rain and/or because we were towards the back of the pack? There were still a lot of ladies left so this was somewhat disappointing (don’t they know the back is where the cool kids are??).

Still, I couldn’t have asked for a better first race of the year! Thank you, Danielle for telling me about this race and training with me. Thank you Danielle, Angie and Tiffany for some wonderful memories!

©️ iido 2019

Before – A Poem for Paulette

Before you crossed the finish line

Before you said, “I’ll sprint the last few yards”

Before you couldn’t believe there was only a 5 K left to go

Before you passed the halfway point and were surprised you made it that far

Before you changed your strategy, doing intervals so you can finish strong

Before you ran 4 miles, your longest race distance since you had just raced 5ks

Before you toed the line at 8 AM in the pouring rain

Before you signed up for your first ever half marathon

You were already a winner

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #190 – Before and written for a lovely young woman I met at the Niagara Falls International Women’s Half Marathon.

Paulette was walking the course during a stretch when my friend, Danelle and I, were also walking. We struck up a conversation. I don’t remember what we said but when Danielle and I started running again (since we were doing intervals) Paulette joined us. She said she liked our energy and felt she would be able to finish if she continued doing intervals with us.

This was around mile 4, after the 5K racers had turned towards the finish line so we still had a significant amount of the race left to do. As we did our intervals, Paulette told us that this was her first half marathon, that she had only done fun 5Ks before. She was also running it alone since her friends had other things come up last minute. I was really impressed by her! This young woman had jumped feet first into an international half marathon – no 10K in between, minimal training beforehand and all on her own! What a strong and brave individual!

I could tell Paulette was also determined, bold and ambitious. She stayed with us despite dealing with cramping in her inner thigh area. She already had the mindset of a runner!

Towards the end of the race, her sister, brother-in-law and nephew came to cheer her on. Oh, the look of happiness on Paulette’s face! And the look of awe and happiness and pride on Paulette’s family’s faces! Her nephew even joined her running for a mile or so.

As we neared the finish line, Paulette kept on repeating that she couldn’t believe she had ran as far as she did. 13.1 miles (or 21.1 kilometers for the rest of the world) is no joke!! Going around the final bend, Paulette was hesitant to run to the finish line, but run she did, crossing the finish line looking powerful, happy and accomplished!

I am so honored to have run with Paulette on her first half marathon. This was a PR (personal record) for her. I look forward to hearing about her next race – because I know she will continue to run!

****

My full review for the half marathon will be coming soon! Stay tuned!

©️ iido 2019

It’s official…

Merry Christmas everyone! And Happy Chanukah to all my Jewish friends!

This post was supposed to go out in October however it didn’t. Blame it on my continued issue with being distracted (also called “4 kids syndrome”). Blame it on the outcome of the presidential election (also called “proud to be a snowflake because it means I am a caring human being” syndrome). It’s been an exhausting two months and running with my MRTT group has been one of the few things that has helped recharge me. 

As the new year approaches, I am again re-committing to practicing self-care through running and writing/blogging.  No more hiding out and using other people’s words to speak my truth. 

It’s official….
*****************

I ran my first race in PA last weekend (*meaning back on October 16, 2016) – the Hershey Half Marathon. That means I am officially a Pensylvanian Runner!


It was a hilly course, but getting to run through Hersheypark and having kids from the Milton Hershey School cheer us on was totally worth it.


I wasn’t too fond of the sections where we ran through the parking lot around the stadium (especially towards the end – that was like the Sahara Desert of parking lot runs!). But overall the course and the course support was pretty good. 

I did 2:1 intervals the entire race and it felt really good! I have become a true interval convert – I haven’t been injured since doing interval running and I feel great and energized at the end instead of feeling like I am dying! That’s a good thing right? 



The one disappointment at the end was the non-chocolate chip cookie. We got a great lunch bag with other goodies, but when I bit into the cookie and realized it was oatmeal raisin – what the what??!!  This is HERSHEY – the chocolate capital of the world! I don’t care if oatmeal raisin is a better “recovery cookie”….I want my chocolate!! Maybe next year they can make it chocolate chip oatmeal raisin? 

Pretty please with a Hershey kiss on top? 


(Above image from Quotesgram.)