Sunday, November 30, 2014

Let's get strong and run FASTER...Nat's Runbit #4

We all love running and hate injury, right?

We all have specific goals that we want to accomplish (finish our first marathon, run a PR, qualify for Boston) right?


I found this strength training program on the Runner's World 2014 Gift Guide for Runners: Men (but this is not just for men - it's for ALL runners).
When I researched the program - Strength Training For Runners - I immediately knew I must buy it and start the exercises right away.

I also knew that I had to share it with all of you!


Click on the Image

So, go buy it for yourself or put it on your holiday gift list. Let's start being better, stronger, faster runners today!

I always ask for comments, so tell me - have you used this program? How is it working for you? Would you recommend any other strength training programs?

Happiness Is Running Life!


Friday, November 28, 2014

Newbies to Vets...5 tips to remember - Nat's Runbit #3

I read an informative article today (by Kara Mayer Robinson) that all runners need to read.
Its a quick read - 5 reminders of bad habits that runners have.

Break Your Bad Running Habits

I totally related to this (MORE SLEEP) and it was a kick in the pants to do myself a favor and just DO THEM.

Hope everyone had a great post Thanksgiving run today!

Leave a comment below! I would love to know - do you have a bad running habit and how do you plan on breaking it?

Happiness Is Running Life!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Oh, yeah baby - running shorts! Nat's Runbit #2

Hey Party Running People!

Here is Nat's Runbit #2 (oh yeah!).

I love running in shorts.
GREAT shorts.
Shorts that make me feel fast, have a few pockets without feeling bulky, great fabric AND they have to look good.


The Lululemon speed short 4-way stretch.
These shorts are so awesome.
At $54 a pop (ouch!) - not cheap (I only have 2 pair and that feels like a big deal!)

Click the pic

But, I ran my last marathon in them and loved every minute. I felt great with out feeling like I was showing too much.

On a long run, I can fit my cell phone (sans cover) in the back zipper and it doesn't even feel like its there. Ditto with my GU during the marathon. I fit 2 in there, no problem.

AND... that's the Nat's Runbit of the late night day!

Happiness is Running Life!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope you had a wonderful day with your family and friends.

Ahhh... it is the end of the night, the kiddos have been asleep for many hours and I have a bit of time to reflect.

It really was a joyful, fun day. I was up at 5:30 am to get breakfast started for everyone, start my hydration and jump into my running clothes for the Turkey Trot later that morning.

We arrived with plenty of time for me to run a 1 mile warm up, followed by stretching and a few sprints to loosen up my muscles. I knew going into the race that I was NOT super ready, just getting back into racing shape and my mileage has been on the lower side since the marathon in September.
Nevertheless, I was excited to get another race under my belt and it would be a great way to get a speed workout in.


8 am starts the race. I had set my Garmin to 6:30 pace and knew within the first 1/2 mile that I just wasn't feeling fast. "Forge Ahead!" I tell myself. "There is still time to pull it together."

First mile = 7:13
Whoa! Feeling not on top of my game..

Second mile = 7:02
Better, but need a major sub 7

Third mile = 7:22
Bummer! That hill really got me (note to self - more hill repeats!)

Official finish time 22:18 - 5th place in overall women, 3rd in my age group. Yay!

This was a good indicator of where I am right now and the hard work I need to put in over the next month and beyond to get ready for Boston.
Bring it on!

The race had 2 very cool bouncy houses to keep the kids entertained and we all a great morning together.

Hubby drove the kids home and I decided to run home (6 1/2 miles) to add more to the weekly total.

Total mileage for this Turkey Day... 10.5 miles

The weather was stinkin' UNBELIEVABLE here today. So much so that we had our Thanksgiving celebration outside. It was wonderful and kind of weird all at the same time (I'm from Ohio - you don't EVER do Thanksgiving outside!).

I hope you all got a great run in today - be it a Turkey Trot, or just a run to help negate the calories we all consumed today.

Leave a comment below - tell me about your Turkey Day run!

Happiness Is Running Life!
xo, Natalie

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fantastic running socks - Nat's Runbits #1

Okay, it's Thanksgiving Eve and I am finishing up the cooking for the big day.
Have to get to bed relatively early so I can be fresh and ready for the Turkey Trot tomorrow morning :)

So, here it is...the very first "Nat's Runbit" of the day!

This is super simple, but (as we all know) oh so important for running. 


I had been running in okay socks, and I didn't realize until this summer how much more lovely running could be with superior socks! 

Feetures socks are the best! They prevent blisters, they are super-comfy and they keep your feet cool, dry and happy. 
I buy two or three pair every time I go to my local running store.

Happy feet  = a very happy runner.

I like the light cushion, low cut version as seen below, but they have so many variations!


Click on the sock

What is your favorite running sock?

Hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Happiness Is Running Life!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Nat's Runbits

Hey Everyone,

As a runner, I know we are always looking for great pieces of advice - whether it be a helpful book or article, delicious new recipe, or awesome new gear. Everyday (gulp!) I will post a "Nat Runbit" of the day. Check it out here and if you have any suggestions for a Nat Runbit of the day, please let me know.

Happiness is Running Life! 


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Return to Marathoning - off and running...

The first week of February 2014 I stopped nursing our youngest child. 

She was one year and one week old. 

Cross Country skiing in Colorado - February 2014.

"Wow" I thought sadly, but a bit excitedly, "This is truly the end of an era".
We knew that our family was now complete (babies = all done!)  and we could sink our teeth into raising these amazing little ones.
No more hard pregnancies, no more bed rest, no more NICU.

I also knew that it was time to start getting a bit more serious about my running. I had been running a few times a week since I gave birth to our daughter in January 2013, but hadn't done any races and I was feeling really ready to get back to it.
Also, I knew that it was time to go to Boston. One night after putting the kids to bed my husband said to me "So what's going on with your running?" 
I knew at that moment how much I wanted to run a marathon again. To have that intense feeling of accomplishment that finishing a marathon gives me...its refreshing, addicting and wonderful.

Plus, I had just turned 41 years old! That meant that I would be running Boston in 2015 - at the age of 42. The thought of being 42 was a huge wake up call. I had been waiting to run Boston for a very long time.
I had qualified two times before, but life happens (injury and my wedding) and I had not yet run this iconic race! 

Time to get down to business.

March and April 2014 I started running more consistently, slowly logging more miles and remembering to be smart about not doing too much too soon.
I realized that it would be better for me to pick one of the last possible BQ (Boston qualifying) marathons at the end of the summer.

Humm... somewhere close to my home and an easy flat course. 

The Ventura Marathon - BINGO!

It was both of those things and so much more. It started and ended right at the beach (love that!), it was a new race, only the 2nd annual, so the race wasn't too crowded. The race organizers seemed to run a tight ship, the race had received good reviews and a big percentage of people got their BQ there. 

Perfect. Sign me up.

Now the question was, "How do I attack my training?" "Which method should I use?"

After a bit of research, I decided to go with Hal Higdon's Advanced 2 Marathon training plan.
His plan seemed challenging but doable for me (although he does really want to make sure you are a seasoned enough runner to take on the advanced 2 plan, which was cool. I knew I was in for an intense 18 weeks). And for $30 bucks I could have daily emails from him delivered to my inbox telling me exactly what to do and why.

The last time I ran a marathon I was 31 years old, had no kids and was living a pretty footloose and fancy free life. My husband and I were enjoying our married life, traveling quite a bit, working hard and just having FUN. I had more than enough time to run whenever I wanted and definitely had time to train for a marathon.

Now it would be SO different. I would have to juggle my training along with 3 kids and a pretty crazy life. I had been inspired by watching so many women who were running a ton, balancing their families + lives and succeeding. 

I can do this!

Hal's program is 18 weeks long. I had never trained for 18 weeks. It seemed like forever...

I started the week of May 7, 2014 and went for it.

We had a great summer - the kids had camps and swimming lessons and lots of time at the beach.
And I was running. And running. And running.

Everyone in the house knew that Mommy was back to running everyday (except the one day off) and there was a buzz about it. An excitement. 

"Mommy is running 16 miles today!"
"Mommy is running hill repeats today!"

I bought a Garmin forerunner 10.

And my husband was so mad, because he bought me a Garmin for a Mother's Day present, all wrapped in pretty paper and ready to go.

But I beat him to it.

I'm sorry honey!

I bought my go to, always reliable, Brooks running shoes and some new running clothes.
Ooh! I found some new running socks that I LOVE. Feetures performance socks. Can't run without them.

This was fun.

I was going to the track once a week to pound out 800 meter repeats. Yippee! I felt like I was in college again!

I ran a 4th of July 5k and was kind of nervous about it.  

Time was 22:07, first in my age group. I was so excited to get FASTER.

In August we took our family vacation. Oh man... I had my last 20 mile run scheduled during the time we would be gone. I felt a bit bummed about it, but I had to do it and they understood.

Turned out to be so awesome as I had my kids and husband + my Dad, Aunt and cousins waiting for me when I finished. 

NICE. I love my family.

Here we are in Dayton, Ohio visiting my Dad. 20 miles completed along the Great Miami River Trail.

So as I go into my training for Boston, I have been thinking carefully about the training plan. Do I stick with Hal (he has a training plan specifically for Boston) or should I delve into new territory?
I heard the Hanson Marathon Method is great also.

What do you think?

What training methods have been your favorite and why?

I also heard the new Saucony Triumph ISO is awesome. Has anyone tried it yet?
I ran religiously in only Saucony during college, maybe its time to go back and try it again. :)

Hope you all had a great run today! I have been mostly sticking with taking Fridays off and gearing up for longer runs on Saturday and Sunday.

Happiness is Running Life!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Welcome Zelle Readers!

Hey Zelle Readers,

I was so honored to be featured as the subject of a recent Zelle article. It's so cool that Runner's World started this website just for women runners.

Thanks so much for coming over to check out my blog!

I am Mom of three awesome kids and have a crazy busy life. I was inspired to start this blog because I had to figure out how to manage a family and become a better runner all at the same time.
Hopefully you will find the tools and ideas I use valuable. Maybe you'll share some of your tips as well!

Please subscribe - would love to hear your feedback!

Happiness is Running Life!


Monday, November 17, 2014

First marathon after 3 we go!

Sept. 7, 2014

10 years and 3 babies later, the Ventura Marathon 2014 was my comeback with the goal of qualifying for Boston + running a PR (previous PR was 3:23 at the Chicago Marathon).

After training hard all summer - 18 weeks to be exact - here is a re-cap of what happened:

We headed up to Ventura on Friday afternoon with all three kiddos in tow and checked into our hotel, which was right by the starting line.

Lots of good sleep on Friday. Saturday was a fun day on the beach with the kids as they ran the kids race and afterwards I picked up my bib number.
Saturday afternoon we had a great pasta lunch downtown and then I got to take a nap (this never happens! Feeling very grateful for an afternoon nap.)
Light dinner on Saturday evening and off to night night again.

Wake up time - 2:30 am.

Breakfast was a banana, bagel and a GU + water. Back to bed.

Wake up time - 4:30 am

Last water bottle before the race, dress in race clothes, lots of bathroom time :)

5:15 am - out the door for warm up run, stretching and one more bathroom stop.

6:30 am - Race begins!

My race plan was to run 7:30 - 7:45 pace and things worked out where I was able to do exactly that. I hooked in with a small, fun group of men and women and we all supported each other in maintaining that pace.

I felt so relaxed and ready for this moment. The taper was feeling great and my body was ready for the challenge.

7:30 - 7:41 pace until mile 18. UGH. Mile 18... Let me back up a bit.

I felt myself slowing down just after the 1/2 way point. WHAT? This is too soon to be feeling this way. Saw my group starting to pull away from me and I really dug in and fought to catch back up and stay with them from 13.5 - 16.
I felt myself slowing down again at mile 16 and again tried to fight the urge to slow down. Was still right at 7:35/7:40. Then, came the freeway overpass, which doesn't seem like a hill when you look at it, but at mile 17 - it feels like a HILL.
Mile 18, I ran 8:02. Ouch, That hurts, What am I doing?
Mile 19, 8:26
Mile 20, 8:57
Mile 21, 9:20

My breathing felt fine, it was my legs that were taking a bit of a beating. "Keep my form" I kept telling myself. "Stay strong", "Remember those 800 meter repeats"

There was a very regretful 10 minute mile in there and then I felt myself sucking it up and giving it everything I had.

Finish time: 3:32

3rd in my age group

Boston qualifier!!

I have never run the Boston Marathon. I have qualified twice before.

The first time, I got injured and couldn't run.

The second time, I was getting married and chose not to run.

3rd time has to be my charm, cause we're going to BOSTON!!

I was slightly disappointed in my time, but I really can't be mad at my body. My body has given me 3 babies (with really tough pregnancies) and the 3rd baby was just 19 months old.

I had run a few shorter races, but had not raced a marathon since I had my children.

It was so amazing to have my husband, children and my Mom at the finish line!
There will be many more races and many more marathons in my future. But this was a sweet, sweet moment.


Not too shabby, Nat.

Thank you body for coming through for me.