Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hello again!

It has been a while since I've blogged, which seems like the story of my life. Things have been going well for me. Here's a quick update on what I've been doing:

Just chatting it up with my BFF Bart Yasso on Twitter. He's such an inspiration and I look forward to seeing him at another race soon. One of the coolest moments in my running life continues to be when he called me up to speak at the Utah Valley Marathon expo.

We saw Hanson! They've been my favorite band since I was 15 and I just saw them for the 10th time at the end of August. As always, they put on an amazing show!

Last weekend, I graduated from Yoga Teacher Training and am now officially a RYT-200. I just signed up for a Relax and Renew training with Judith Lasater in March. It should be a pretty amazing training. I am currently teaching 3 classes per week, one at a local rock climbing gym and the other two at local exercise gyms. It has been an amazing experience and I am really enjoying it. I am working hard to also make sure that I get my practice in.

Earlier this week I reached day 150 of my #runforBoston streak. On that day, I ran 1.50 miles for each of the four people that lost their lives due to that tragic event. I sometimes can't believe I've made it this far. There have only been a couple of days where I really didn't feel like running so on this days I just did one mile.

Tonight was day 153 and I had a great run. My "easy" runs are getting faster and I am really enjoying running in the cooler weather that we have been having. It makes the run much more enjoyable.

Earlier this week, I applied to run the Boston Marathon with the Melanoma Foundation of New England. I realize there will be a lot of people who try to get in so my chances are slim, but I am giving it a shot. I feel it would be a great way to honor my grandma who I lost in June (her cancer started with melanoma in her eye and spread to her liver). It is amazing how many times during each week that I think of calling her. Running for MFNE would be very emotional but it would be great to raise money for research to help save lives. Time will tell.

My next race is on October 13 in Ohio. We are running the Towpath Half Marathon with a bunch of my virtual friends from Runner's World and will be sporting orange for Jenny. It's will be state number TEN for me (IL, CA, RI, MA, NY, PA, VA, CO, UT) and I can't wait. It'll be a quick trip to Ohio but very memorable, I'm sure. I am hoping to break two hours again. It's a flat course and I got a 2:02 and change during my last half and that was a super hilly course. Depends on the weather and how I feel that morning but I think I have it in me.

What's your next race?

Mallory

 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finding time to blog?

I don't understand how some people blog every single day. I don't have that many exciting things to tell you about. Although I would like to try to get back in the habit of blogging on a more regular basis again. My schedule remains pretty packed, as I'm sure most of yours do too. I am gone for work 12 hours per day with commuting, teaching yoga 3 times per week, running each day and trying to attend yoga classes as well. Plus it's nice to hang out with my fiancé from time to time :)

I am at day 95 of my running streak! Well, once I run today. It's currently 91* out and "feels like" 97* so yeah.... Not sure if I will put myself through that torture or if I will wait until the sun goes down. I've only been running a mile or so most days but I am consistently running each day. The passing of my Grama has taken a toll on me so I am just happy that I have continued with my streak.


I did run the Jamestown Half Marathon on Saturday, July 13 for the second year in a row. If you remember, I DNF last year. Well this year I kicked Jamestowns' butt!! I came in with my second fastest half time yet: 2:01:32 on a very hilly course! I think with the right training, I could get under two hours on a more difficult course compared to Utah Valley.

I am teaching yoga regularly and this past week I've gotten to teach twice at the studio where I took teacher training. It has been an incredible experience teaching at a studio and I hope I have the opportunity to do it more. This Saturday is my "final" practice teach and the class is open to the community. I feel very prepared and ready for this event!

I can't believe we are this far into the summer already. This Sunday I am racing the Mass Ave Mile for the second year in a row and hoping to PR. Sunday afternoon we are taking Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga and it should be a lot of fun!

We signed up for a race series in the fall in our area including the Monster 5k, Turkey Trot 5k and the Downtown Jingle 5k. The most exciting part, for me, was signing up with my new name because we will be married by the time we run the second two races in the series!!

What are your weekend plans?

Mallory

 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 75

Of my #runforboston streak. Honestly, on April 15 when I started this streak, I never would have guessed I'd make it this far. I thought 26 days would be a stretch for me. Prior to this streak, 3 days was the most I had run in a row.

Since the passing of my Grama last week, I've only done one mile, or just over, each of the days. It's not that I haven't wanted to run, I just have a loss of energy and feelings of lethargy. I am pushing through to at least continue the streak.

The last conversation I had with my Grama, I told her about the trip to Utah and Colorado Wendy and I had just returned from, as well as finally getting under 2 hours in the half marathon. Grama always asked about my running. So now I must really push myself back into the miles.

In the month of July, I am running 3 races and each one a different distance. On July 4, I am doing a 5k that ends at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, MA. On July 13, I am doing the Jamestown Half Marathon where I had my first DNF last year. Hoping for some redemption--at least finishing! Lastly, on July 21, we are running the second annual Mass Ave Mile which races down Mass Ave in Boston. We did this race last year and it was pretty cool. I am interested to see if I can run my mile any faster a year later.

I've been teaching a lot of yoga lately and I'm loving it! On Monday evenings I teach at a rock climbing gym. It poses some challenges like being in a loft area of the gym so there is a lot of background noise. On Wednesday nights I teach at a regular gym. This Wednesday was my first class there and the students were very enthusiastic! Thursday nights I am still teaching at a women's boxing gym. I've got a few regulars who have been coming every week since we started back in April. It's pretty cool to see how their flexibility has increased and they seem more comfortable in the postures.

Tomorrow is my last day of teacher training. I cannot believe how quickly time has flown by. I've loved working with the group we have. It's been an incredible journey but I will be happy to have my weekends back!

What races do you have coming up?

Mallory

 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Michigan

My grandma passed away yesterday morning, June19, after a battle with cancer. My heart is heavy and I needed to be with family. I drove 867 miles from my home in Rhode Island to Battle Creek, MI so I can be with them for a few days. I did my 1 mile for my streak before departing. She would be sad if I stopped the streak due to my sadness.

Here is my Grama Dee and me in September when I saw her last. She has always been a wonderful grandma. She was kind, loving and supportive. The last time I spoke with her, I told her all about our trip and she congratulated me on finally getting under two hours. She bought me the outfit I wore for my first half marathon back in 2010. She will be greatly missed.

Mallory

 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

The running part of our trip was awesome and I am thrilled that I finally got under two hours in the half marathon... but the best part of our trip was the National Parks.

This is just along the highway between Denver and Steamboat Springs. We stopped to take pictures because it was just so gorgeous.

On Monday, June 3, we arrived in Moab, UT. This is a trip we had been planning for nearly a year and it was just amazing that we were finally there. Pulling into Arches National Park was such an exciting feeling. We quickly went into the visitor's center to use the facilities and to fill our Camelbaks with water before heading out on our first hike.

The Park Avenue hike was our first of many in our time at ANP and it was so incredible. Once we got away from the trailhead (which is where most people stopped - they took pictures and then continued to other easily accessible parts of the park) it opened up completely. It was so quiet down in the canyon... it was incredible. All we could hear was the crunching of our feet in the sand. The reds were so vibrant in the rock and they loomed hundreds of feet above our heads. The sky was so blue and the sun was warming our skin. I can almost still feel it if I close my eyes and think about it. Park Avenue was an out and back hike and we really enjoyed it, until we were partially back because we were so hungry! Luckily that was the only mistake we made while hiking! After we arrived back at the car, we went and got lunch, checked into our hotel and refilled our Camelbaks before heading back out in the park.

The next area we hit was the Windows section of the park. This was more easily accessible to tourists as it had stairs built into the earth. We quickly noticed that many people ignored the rules of the park like "stay on the trail" and "don't let your kid use a rock to try to carve his name into another rock." It was pretty disheartening actually.

After viewing Windows, we took the primitive trail back to the car and it was sooooo worth it. Once again, away from the crowds and beautiful views as far as the eyes could see.

On Tuesday morning, June 4, we were able to hike the Fiery Furnace - a hike we had booked about 6 months ago - with a Ranger as a guide. Our Ranger's name was Allison and she was great! Our group wasn't too large and there was even a group of women who live within an hour or so of us! Hiking into the Fiery Furnace requires a special permit or with a park ranger. It was well worth the $10 fee charged by the National Park Service. There are private companies that bring people in at about $80 or so... Planning ahead really paid off. We scooted down rocks and climbed up others, squeezed through tight spots and jumped across gaps. It. Was. So. Cool. Our Ranger knew a lot about the park and was able to answer all the questions the group asked.

After the hike, we went back to our hotel to reapply sunscreen and to grab a quick lunch before heading out again. It's time we had set our sights on Delicate Arch, the unofficial state symbol of Utah. It was listed as a "strenuous" hike and it was 96* and bright sunshine. It took us a little over an hour to hike out a mile and a half - up up up! But when we got there...

It was worth every step. Some things that you see in life can truly take your breath away and for me, this was one of them. The vastness (is that a word?) of the arch is just amazing. And you can see snow-capped mountains through it. Just amazing. We sat and looked at the arch for probably about half an hour before deciding to turn around and make our way back down.

After hiking to Delicate Arch, we had two more places on our agenda before we could leaves Arches. The first being Landscape Arch. The hike to Landscape Arch is pretty easy and most people can do it with ease. The thing about Landscape Arch is that they're not sure how much longer it will be there. Sometime in the 90's (if I remember correctly) a big chunk of the arch fell and at one point in the arch, it is now only 6 feet wide, which in comparison to the others, is tiny.

But it is still really cool and I got this great picture of Wendy posing near it. You're no longer allowed to go under this arch. Apparently some tourists were underneath it (and others were filming!) when it started to fall. Luckily, no one was injured. I'm glad we got to see it before something more happens to it.

Our last stop in Arches National Park was at Balanced Rock. It is exactly as it sounds.

A giant rock balancing on smaller ones beneath it. How awesome! I wish there was a way to describe how amazing it was to see this in person. It's up so high and you can get really close to it.

The next morning before heading up to the Provo area we stopped at Canyonlands National Park, which is also in Moab, but up the road a bit. It is split into three sections: the Needles, Mazes and Island in the Sky. Canyonlands is known for Aron Ralston (127 Hours) and Upheaval Dome. We didn't see Aron Ralston, nor did we get stuck in a predicament in the way that he did, but we hiked to Upheaval Dome.

It's a giant meteor-looking thing that appears to have crashed into the earth. There is controversy amongst scientists on what caused it but all I know is that it is GIANT! The guy who took our picture was funny and very concerned that we were walking too far back on the rock. We wanted to make the most of our time at Canyonlands so after a few minutes at Upheaval Dome (which took a little over an hour to hike out and back) we headed over to Whale Rock.

Here's a picture of Wendy out on Whale Rock. This picture really helps capture the pure expanse of this place. It just seemed to go on forever. I decided to practice some yoga up on the rock...

Even though Wendy was telling me to watch out for the edge. It was pretty far down :) Everything out there was just so secluded. Even when we ran into crowds, it seemed quiet. I swear I felt my heartbeat slow down and the air felt better to breathe.

Our last stop before heading out of the park was just a random split-second decision at a lookout. It was reported to take less than 30 minutes total. We could see all the way down into the canyon and tiny road down at the bottom. It was a long way down!

Everything was breathtaking out there. I still don't think I've fully processed it. I would go back in an instant and I am still having dreams about it most nights. We had such an amazing time.

On Thursday, June 6, we went hiking with two of Wendy's brothers and one of her nephews to Timpanogas Cave. I had never been through a cave before so it was a pretty neat experience although it was FREEZING in comparison to the Utah heat I had become accustomed to.

I believe this picture is of Mt. Timpanogas. If it's not, it was still beautiful. I took several pictures on the drive, this one included, and am just not sure if I captured the correct mountain!

We returned home on Sunday, June 9 and ate at the Cheesecake Factory before heading home. As we were sitting in the sun, enjoying our food and reminiscing about our trip, Wendy brought up where I'd like to go next year. Nothing really stuck out in my mind so she suggested...

ALASKA.

And so the planning begins.

Where is your favorite place you've ever vacationed? This trip was, hands down, the best trip I've ever been on and one that I will remember all the years of my life.

Mallory

 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Recaps: Steamboat Springs, Bart Yasso and Utah Valley

I have been back from vacation for nearly a week and I am still trying to process everything that happened on our trip. This first post will be related to the running we did on the trip and I will follow with another post on our hiking and other adventures.

We took a ten day trip beginning in Colorado: Denver to Steamboat Springs, before heading to Utah: Moab to Lehi/Provo and then making our way back to Denver via Wyoming. Each day was amazing and wonderful.

Our first race was the Steamboat Springs half marathon. The town of Steamboat is quant and cute and we especially enjoyed the hot springs. The expo was very small but well organized.

I love when our race bibs have our name printed on them. Something that I thought was super classy by the race director was having the "Steamboat loves Boston" on the shirt. So cool. AND the race shirt was a women's specific cut. Yes!

It was very chilly (33*) at the start of the race, but once we got going, we were fine. The scenery on this course was absolutely amazing. We ran this race (State number 8 for me for half marathons) as a long run as we were both planning to race Utah Valley the following Saturday. There were very few spectators along the course but the aid stations were great and when we got into town, the crowd was all around!

We crossed the finish line and were handed our medals and a cold towel, which felt nice at this point in the day. Also, Subway provided the post-race food, which was great compared to the typical cold pizza at other races.

Steamboat Springs put on a great race and I'm really happy with everything about the race. We had a great couple of days in town. The race at Steamboat Springs was day 49 of my #runforboston streak.

Speaking of my #runforboston streak, the Utah Valley Half Marathon had asked people to submit their running stories about a month before the race. I submitted my story about my Boston streak and how it has impacted me. Much to my surprise, I was contacted and interviewed. It wasn't a guarantee that I would be featured in their race book so I had to wait and see.

After our first stop at the Utah Valley expo, we were sitting at lunch and Wendy asked if I had checked the book. I had completely forgotten at that point.

There I am! How exciting! There was one other woman and two men featured as well. I quickly tweeted to my BFF Bart Yasso (Wendy and I joke that he's our BFF because we have seen him at a few races now and kindly exchanges words with us on Twitter) saying that I was almost as famous as him because I was in the book.

Shortly thereafter, we were at Bart's presentation and he was giving training tips, discussing Yasso 800s and getting ready to tell some of his running stories when he asked if anyone in the crowd wanted to share a running story. He scanned the crowd and, no joke, pointed to me and said, "Mallory, you wanna talk?" WHAT!? So being the shy person I am, I obliged. :)

I went up in front of the crowd that had been listening to Bart and discussed my Boston streak, why I started it and ow it has brought back my motivation and determination for running. I told them that I was at day 54 (on expo day) of my streak with no intention of stopping. What an amazing experience!

Here we are with BFF Bart Yasso. This guy is a class act. So friendly to everyone he encounters, talks to the runners and is really just a cool guy.

Awesome race shirt and women's specific cut. Thank you, race organizers. It's nice that more races are doing this, especially because trends are showing it is a majority of women racing!

The next morning we had to get up at 2:30 am in order to get ready and get to the shuttles that would take us to the start. The shuttles were well organized and quickly took us to the start line. There were ample bathrooms at the start of the race, as well as campfires everywhere to keep the runners warm. Awesome! Neither of us were feeling so hot the morning of the race, likely from the little sleep we had gotten the night before and just being up so early in the morning. I was contemplating just running the race as a long run, even though this has been my goal race to target under 2 hours.

We had stopped and gotten knee socks at Target to make into arm warmers. They came in handy at the start of the race. Moments into the race, I was feeling good. I told myself at that moment to just run the race as best I could and see what happens. The first two miles, I was just over goal pace for under two hours. Not bad. The third mile was the first of two hills in the race and I was averaging under goal pace. What? Sweet. So I kept going. And kept going. And at the halfway mark, I was averaging 8:53 per mile so I knew that barring any major issue, I could hold on and get under two hours. I almost started to cry. Right around mile 12 the finish line becomes visible and it slowly got closer and closer.

Official time: 1:58:27

I was ecstatic. Wendy's family was cheering right before the finish line and were screaming my name. It made me so happy to have such a big group there cheering me in.

Here I am ringing the official PR bell at the race. Awesome touch. Made me feel really cool. The medal at Utah Valley is one of the coolest ones I've received as the middle spins around. I saw my BFF Bart Yasso by the finish line so I went and told him I made my goal. He shared some encouraging words and we chatted for a couple minutes. Great way to end the race.

His tweet to me later :)

State number 9 was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Utah. I hope it isn't too long before we return.

The organization at both races was superb and I am very impressed. I've done over a dozen half marathons at this point in time and these two are definitely in the top three as far as scenery and being a well-organized race.

If you're still reading, thank you. Definitely check out these races if you can.

My next half marathon is the Jamestown Half Marathon in July in Jamestown, RI. This is my revenge race as I DNF last year due to vomiting on the course! Hope I have better luck this time.

I have been sick with allergies and then a cold since we returned from our trip, but today's run was day 61 of my #runforboston streak! A little dream swirling in my mind is streaking until Boston next year and actually running the marathon but I'd certainly have to link up with some organization to do that. Time will tell.

Have you met any famous runners? I also met Dean Karnazes at the Boston expo this year.

Mallory

Next up: vacation recap!