Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 goals?

apparently the thing to do at the end of the year is recap it in pictures, make some goals and wish everyone a happy new year. so...i'll jump on the bandwagon. why not? get ready, sit back, have a glass of wine and enjoy my 2012 goals.


...injury free

....and happy

...however fast or slow i want


...enjoy every step

 no more of this...

 or that....

but a lot more of this...

 and that!

hope you threw back that glass of wine cause im done.

yup, short a simple. im not going crazy. yea, ive got a few things in mind but if they don't happen, im quite ok with that.

so ive got goals. a few pictures and now ill wish you all a happy new year! peace out 2011...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

how the grinch stole christmas & $$ money from autism

When Sam Felsenfeld started the Operation Jack Marathon last year, it was to fulfill his goal of running 61 marathons a year to raise awareness and funds to fight autism.

(also, he’s crazy)

((there are 52 weeks in a year, for your reference))

That was last year. This year they brought it back because people loved it. And they’re doing it again next year. And probably the year after that, and after that, and after that. The event, the cause, and the faces behind it have been swallowed up in an outpouring of support from the running community.

Everybody is Team OJ.

Except in Houston, apparently.

If you don't already know, the OJ Marathon raised about $40,000 to fight autism the day after Christmas. It would have raised about $500 more if not for two Grinches residing in the Longhorn State.

On the same day as the race in Southern California, runners across the country participated in Satellite runs that contribute to the cause. From a group of girlfriends running off their Christmas cookie binge with a 10K to a hardcore athlete going out to tackle 26.2, participants completed the run at a location and time of their choice and received a bib, shirt, and medal, for their efforts.

John Strohmeyer offered to coordinate a satellite run in Houston, guessing he’d have about 10 people. With at least five starters and three finishers, it would be an official marathon according to Marathon Maniacs.

So in theory 10 people show up, run 9 laps around a three-mile loop in a park, one guy sits at a table pouring water and Gatorade and money gets raised for charity. Perfect, right? Yeah, so much so that 29 people signed up! Basically, a fun run that counted as an official race and raised more than $1,500 — everybody's happy!

Well, everybody except Michelle Wolpert and Ron Morgan of Houston Area Road Runners Association — Mrs. and Mr. Grinch.

Michelle and Ron caught wind of the charity event and got pissed. If they weren’t allowed to host a big race in the park, well damnit neither can this grassroots foundation raising money for a good cause! 30 people running laps around the park? Absolutely unacceptable. Nuh uh, not fair.

Temper tantrum, party of two.

They went to the park director and got the event shut down. PERFECT! Congratulations, throwing sand in the sandbox and tattling can still get you what you want as adults.

Except shutting down the event wasn’t enough. Shortly after, Ron sent out an email blast to every running club member in Houston planting seeds of doubt about all the good Operation Jack does.

John (OJ Houston) worked with the parks department and eventually did find a new location for the race. Four days before the event. A lot of runners ran at the new location, but a lot of them didn't. The debacle ended up costing the charity about $500 in refunds.

Congrats Grinches, you sure showed 'em. Merry Christmas.

Why am I telling you this? Not only because I’m a supporter of Operation Jack. Or that I really enjoyed the event. Or that I think(thought?) the running community is a loving and supportive group of people that band together to do great things both individually and together, and share a mutual love of RUNNING.

Mostly, I want you to hear the story of how two spoiled Texans with delusional senses of entitlement fought to shut down a charity event that brought funds and awareness to a worthy cause.
And I want to call them out for it. Because it angers me that there are people like that in the world.
(probably the same ones that leave their shopping carts in the parking lot and don’t wave when you let them out in traffic)

Feel free to let them know how you feel about it. Or congratulate them – I’m sure autism research really didn’t need that $500+ anyways… Michelle can be reached at and Ron would love to hear from you at

More importantly, SPREAD THE WORD. Repost, link back, email, Twitter, Facebook. Buy a billboard. Pass out flyers on the bus. Print it out and mail it to 10 people and insist they have to do the same or the chain will be broken and they’ll never meet their true love.

And then ask your cootie catcher if JTT will ever ask you out. (he’s still hot, did you know?)

Whatever you choose to do, thanks for your support. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Operation Jack Satellite 10K: Hometown Style

December 26, 2011, time for the annual Operation Jack Satellite 10K. For those of you who are not familiar with should be! I am feeling super lazy tonight so I'm stealing right from the Operation Jack Marathon website.

"In 2010, more than 200 runners in 45 states and five countries participated in Operation Jack Satellite runs on December 26. To commemorate the 61 full marathons Sam Felsenfeld ran in 2010 as part of Operation Jack, participants ran 6.1 miles in their hometown. Due to initial demand, the Satellite Run option will be available again.

Participants will receive the Operation Jack Marathon t-shirt and medal. This year, the suggested distance is 10K, 6.2 miles. All proceeds will benefit the Operation Jack Autism Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity. The primary beneficiary of the Operation Jack Autism Foundation is Train 4 Autism, also a 501(c)3 charity"

Truth be told. I did not want to run this. Last year we had a killer crew running with Team Maine and it was AWESOME! I had promised (first mistake) that this year would be bigger and better. For whatever reason I was unable to pull together a group of runners this year. I know it wasn't for lack of interest. Several friends had family obligations with Christmas and all plus a few that just didn't have the funds to spare so close to Christmas. I know, I get it. I was feeling kinda bummed about not being able to pull anything together. However, I wasn't going to bail. Not on this run! Instead of rushing home from my family Christmas 2.5 hours north to run with my crew....or lack there of, I decided to do the run in my hometown and spend another day with my family.

Last week I blogged about how warm and snow free this winter has been and how excited I was about that. Well Santa brought a nice gift Christmas morning....SNOW!!! I woke up early and wanted to get my run done so I could be utterly lazy for the rest of the day. I bundled up and headed out. Get ready for a 6 mile tour of my hometown.

the top of my parents driveway. 
As I started running,  I started thinking. A lot. It was very quiet on the streets and the only cars that were on the roads were snowplows. I was looking in the windows of various houses as I ran by and saw families eating breakfast and playing with Christmas toys. It was pretty cool.

I didn't become a runner until after I moved away from home and so I haven't actually run around my hometown much. I started thinking about my childhood and growing up in this town. How nice it was to live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. I ran by houses and wondered if my friends grandma still lived there (I'm pretty sure she doesn't). I remembered the sleep overs I used to have there and we would sneak into the freezer and steel ice cream sandwiches.

I thought about the 2 buildings at the bottom of this hill. The one on the left used to be a frame shop owned by friends of my parents. They also sold fudge. This is where my love for chocolate mint fudge was born. I remember going into the store as a kid with my parents and sitting at the counter, swinging my legs and eating fudge. I'm not sure what is in the building now. The building on the right used to be a mom and pop video store. I remember going in with my mom and being so excited because she would let me "sign" for our movies. Now it's one of probably 6 Real Estate offices in our small town. (John, The Gagnes live directly to my left in this picture :) )

Then I ran past the Fish Net.'s a take out joint with over priced burgers, fries and ice cream. Oh, and seafood but I don't like seafood so that doesn't count. It's only open in the summer and employs all kinds of high schoolers. I used to know everyone that worked there. I'm afraid I wouldn't know anyone there now. As a kid I used to invite friends over and then we would walk to the Fish Net for lunch. Ya know....what all the cool kids did.

New first real job. A nice retail store in the center of town. I worked here during college. This place has also been a mom and pop pharmacy, Rite Aid, an empty building and now this. I would have stopped in but they were closed. Booo.

On my way to the back roads I ran through the hospital parking lot....where I was born almost 28 years ago to the date (January 5 in case you were wondering. Feel free to send presents).

Then I took a turn onto a road thats pretty quiet. Lots of summer people live on this road and so theres not a ton of traffic during the winter but a lot of real pretty, big, fancy houses. You really can't find a flat route to run in my town. This road is no exception...full of lots of hills. I was having a hard time with my footing and the snow was stuck to the bottom of my sneakers. I felt like I was skating half the time. Winter running, I've already had enough of you!!

Soooo the top of this hill I looked to my left and there was this...

and this...

I'm so lucky to have grown up in such a beautiful town. Of course at the time I didn't realize it but moving away to "the city" I appreciate it when I come back to visit.

I ran down this road for a while before turning around and heading home. As much as I didn't want to get out of my comfy, warm bed I was so grateful to be out there running and supporting a cause so close to me. I thought of Zach who was at home designing car washes with pipe cleaners, cable ties and straws that he got for christmas from Santa. Yes, at 14 he still believes in Santa. I thought of Jack who I've never met, who had no clue hundreds of people were out there running for him that day. As always, I was pleased I got out and went for my run but I was especially pleased about this one. Even though I was running alone, I really did feel like I was running with a large group. I knew there were lots of people running Satellite 10Ks all over the US and Afghanistan as well as the OJ Marathon & Half in California. The best part? We were all running for the same cause: Autism.

And seriously, for a 35 dollar donation where else can you get a kick ass shirt an even better medal AND a bib for the collection? Well done Sam. Next year I'll get my act and a team together.

Monday, December 19, 2011

oh, hello winter running!

As I'm sure most of you know we've had a crazy warm winter so far (and since I'm writing that I know we will be punched in the face with sub zero temps for the next month...It's just how things work). Once we get dumped with snow and the sidewalks are covered in ice I will no longer be running outside. You see, there is no law about having to shovel sidewalks (or maybe there is but it doesn't get followed) and so once winter hits my outside runs become much more dangerous. I am jumping snow banks, skidding across patches of black ice and spending more time concentrating on not breaking and ankle or getting hit by a car then I am on my running. Really, I'll use any excuse to not run outside in the winter if I can help it. Infact, I probably would have resorted to the gym several weeks ago buuuuuut I kinda canceled my gym membership when I was injured up this summer. I am waiting for the "Hey! It's the new year, everyone come to the gym and get fit for a month and then give up that resolution and start eating like crap and sitting on the couch all day" deal to hit Planet Fitness. If I sign up now it's 29 bucks and then 15/mo. If I can wait just one more week it will go down to a 1 dollar sign up and 10/mo. I WILL hold out!

Mother nature has been very kind to me though and provided me with 40-50 temps to run in after work. I really have no excuse to not run outside. Warm temps, clear sidewalks and a college track 3/10 mile from work. Last wednesday I had a great 8 mile run. I haven't done many long runs since MDI but focusing more on track workouts and tempo runs. I was eager to get a few long runs under my belt before the Mid Winter Classic 10 miler in February. I texted Danielle after my run and asked if she would be up for a 10 miler on Sunday. She agreed....until we discovered that it would not be 50 degrees....or even 40. Nope, in fact we were going to be running more miles then it was degrees outside. Sweet, whos idea was this!?

We were lucky enough that the temps reached 15 before we set out. The run was ok and by ok I mean, my legs felt like lead pipes and my butt was so frozen I was pretty sure it had fallen off and at one point as we were running into the wind I couldn't feel my face. I must have apologized to Daneille 101 times for my slow pace. I keep telling her I am rocking my runs and kicking butt and then we run together and I suck. Haha. Luckily shes a great friend and said "We can't always have a good run". Ahhhhh....true friendship right there. It felt really nice to get out there and log the miles, despite the pace. 10 miles is better then 0 miles, correct? While on our run she assured me that "I don't think it's ever been this cold for the mid winter classic". Thanks, cause I was seriously thinking of bailing on it. Who signs up for a 10 mile race in February in Maine? Oh wait, me. Oy!

Danielle and I post 10 miler in our stylin' MDI Marathon jackets!

So thank you winter for punching me in the face. Can we make up and be friends now? I really didn't mind the 50 degree temps.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

coming back with a bang...

One of the things I've been itching to do since being laid up after surgery is to get another tattoo. I wanted something that symbolizes and represents all that I went through. The highs, the lows, the strength and patience I needed to get through tough days. Tough days when I was popping vicodin every 2 hours so that I could stand up straight. Tough days when I was getting in trouble at work for forgetting things (maaaaybe all those pain meds didn't help in that department). Tough days when I burst out crying for no reason except that I was tired of living like this. Yeah, I know this whole ordeal only totaled 6 months of my entire life but it was a difficult 6 months for me.

This summer I spent many hours watching NY Ink....oh, Ami please open a shop in Maine, k thanks. Every time I watched it my idea for my tattoo got bigger and a little crazier. Of course twitter didn't help "just go for it Sarah", "go big!". I designed and redesigned for several weeks. I had pretty much figured out what I wanted to get.

A few days after the MDI Marathon relay a new idea popped into my head. MDI was a killer race for me. It's where I grew up. It's a  tough course that going into I just hoped I could finish. It's a race I felt so strong, so happy and so blessed. It wasn't easy but I did it. I've never really been emotional during races but the last mile of that race is one I will always remember. My relay buddy Ally met me 1 mile out from the finish and I remember saying "I'm on my way to a killer PR, just get me there!". I came into the finish and heard the announcer say something about a strong women (Or in my mind thats what I heard. Really, I have no clue what exactly she said). At that point I threw my hands up over my head and had a huge smile plastered over my face. As soon as I crossed the finish line I pumped my fists my friend and one of the race directors came up and gave me the biggest hug ever. We twirled around for a while and she told me how proud she was of me. Then I saw Jamie who finished the race hours before (still not quite sure why he was still hanging around) and I gave him a huge hug and yelled "Jamie! 6 minute PR!". He later told me he saw me coming into the finish and saw the look on my face that he had no choice but to be equally as excited for me.

Annnnnnyway, you get the idea. MDI was huge for me. I was supposed to be running my first full that day. I probably shouldn't have been out there running as hard as I was but I busted my butt to get back in shape and I was not going to miss it.  The course is absolutely beautiful....
Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
I swear...these are all views along the course taken the day after the race. It's hard to pick a favorite spot on the course but one of them would have to be the couple mile stretch along Sargent Drive. No cars and you literally run along side the water. Sargent Drive is also home to THE tree.

My original idea for my tattoo involved a Celtic Tree of Life. Symbolizing a new life and strength. A few days after the race though I decided to scratch that idea and use this tree. A tree thats a long a course that means so much to me. After countless drafts and various ideas of how to make it work we came up with this...

Live Life Full Throttle is a motto I really like, but also means a lot to me. I added the crow because A. I like it and B. Crow Athletics is the host running club of the MDI Marathon (among a ton of other kick butt races) and anyone that gets a crow tattoo becomes a lifetime naturally I had to do it. I'm a lifer! Caw! Caw!

So in the spirit of living life full throttle I'm thinking about my 2012 plans. It's going to be awesome. I just don't want to plan/announce too much too soon.... last time I did that I was out of commission for 6 months. No more of that! I'm taking it day by day but be prepared for some exciting things!

What's 2012 looking like for you? Anything you think I should add to my list?

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm baaaaaack!

Yeah, I's been a while....a long while. HEY! It's my blog, I'm allowed a break. I needed a break. I needed to step away from social media and spend time with my amazing family. We've been super busy this fall...

We've been to baseball games...

apple picking...
to the fair...
to the top of cadillac mountain... 
and trick or treating!

I've had an amazing fall, setting PR's like it's my job and falling in love with running....speed work....hard work and sweat. I'm refreshed and ready to come back. This fall I ran a half marathon and PRd by 3 minutes, in the pouring rain, heavy winds and a nutrition bonk at mile 10. Then 2 weeks later I ran a 2 person marathon relay on a difficult course and PRd my half again, this time by 6 minutes. I also ran a couple 5ks this fall. The first one was on a Sunday and I PRd by 10ish seconds?? Then I ran one the following Thursday and set another PR, this time by 50 seconds! I tried to write race reports but I couldn't. I wanted to share with you how excited I tell you about the highs and lows of every mile. It just wasn't coming to me, believe me I tried. I have several drafts but nothing was working. I couldn't accurately express how blessed I was to be able to run, to run well, and to love every minute of it . Instead of trying to write them now, I'll just share a few photos. I think they say it all...

ally just completed her 13.1 mile leg and im about to take off on mine
the top of some hill (hence the "i wanna die right now" face)  
the finish line after a kick ass 13.1 mile leg and a 6 minute PR on a tough course
ally my relay buddy,  danielle who just became a maniac and me!

So don't fear. I'm still here and I'm defiantly still running. I just needed a bit of a break.  I'm ready to kick some butt in 2012!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

who is this girl!?

who is this girl...

...that has been getting up at 4:30am to get her run in before work?
...that is excited to run again and wants to add 5.6 extra miles into her schedule this week?
...that looks at a massive hill ahead and says "sweet, this will make me stronger"
...that has a craptastic run and gets back out the next day to try again instead of taking a rest day?
...that doesn't make excuses to not run (the rain, the early morning, too tired)?
...that is knocking off massive amounts of time to her average mile pace each time she goes out for a run?
...that is doing regular core work!?
...that is bummed that tomorrow is a rest day?

yeah... i have no clue because it's certainly not the girl that was running in march i can tell ya that much! whoever it is though, i like it!

since getting back to running things have been going so well. i have absolutely zero expectations for myself . right now it's all about building my mileage up safely so that i can be ready for the mdi marathon relay that i'll be running with ally in october. last week i started getting up before work and getting my runs out of the way. as much as i love my sleep, i am reallllly loving these pre dawn runs. it's cooler outside, no traffic and it feels amazing to be done with my run by 6:00am. so good in fact that when i get home in the afternoons i contemplate running again but i usually always opt for a nap instead!

sam has helped me with a schedule to build my mileage up safely but also in time to run 13.1 in mid october. today i asked him if i could run an extra 5.6 miles this week...he squashed that idea and said i could only add in an extra 2. fine, fine, fine...

when i was out with my injury i gained a lot of motivation to hit my training hard when i came back. i promise you all that i am taking it slow and in no way am i pushing myself. im just running what feels good and the faster pace has just been happening. i guess im just more motivated to get out there and put in some good miles and have solid runs. if im going to run the relay in october i want to be as prepared as i can be. i dont want to be running the hills of somesville and say "damn i wish i had put a little more effort into my runs".

so tomorrow is a rest day, thursday will be a 5 miler, friday a rest day and saturday will be my first big test of 7 miles. thinking about calling my neighbor to see if he will run it with me (hey mark! are you reading this from your vacation? wanna join me?... i did clean up cat poop in your house today ;) )

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beach 2 Beacon


I had gone back and forth for a while about whether or not I was going to run this race or not...and by run I mean, line up with the walkers and see if I could cover the distance before they shut down the bag pick up at the finish and made you get it later in the week at the town office.

If this was any other race I would have skipped it all together and been a spectator, yet again. This was not just any other race though. The Beach to Beacon is Maine's largest road race. 11 countries and 41 states were represented. The race is head up by Joan Benoit Samuelson and brings in a lot of, ya know, Deena Kastor! (Although she made it to town and to the finish, she didn't run the race due to the flu. booo). This year the race sold out in 10 minutes.

Up until the race I had only run 2.5 miles at the most at one time since coming back from injury. I had logged 10 miles total since coming back from injury. Clearly running the Beach to Beacon was a smart choice. Right? I talked to my neighbor the night before and he asked what my plan was. I really had no idea. Run the first 2, walk 1, run 1, walk 1/2 and run the last 1/2??? I dunno...that sounded like a good idea. Just before we hung up he says "Just go out and have fun. Be glad you can move again. Enjoy it Sarah". Although I knew these things, and I had no expectations. I took his words to heart and really set out to have fun!

My super speedy friend Maddy who is coming back from injury offered to run along with me. I warned her that it was going to be a slogfest and will include walk breaks. She was totally cool with that and really helped me along the way.

Danielle, Maddy and I at the start

I met up with everyone at the start and we all chit chatted for a bit before all the super speedy runners set off to find their place in the mass of runners. We said our goodbyes and Maddy and I hung out at the back of the pack. Since we were planning on having fun we both brought our phones to take pictures, tweet and text while we were running!

Photo by Kevin Morris
The National Anthem was sung and we were off....well....kinda. It took us 5-6 minutes to actually cross the starting line. As we were walking up to it I was busy creating a new album on Facebook from my phone called "Beach 2 Beacon 2011". I joked with Maddy and said "as if I'm making a new album right now as we are about to cross the start!".

Mile 1

then we decided that this might be a fun place to stop since I was busy tweeting through the first water stop and didn't grab anything.

Mile 3

stopped to take a picture with the best sign ever...

also got to run under this awesome flag...

Mile 6.2

Photo by Kevin Morris
Overall, I was so pleased with the race. I ran it super slow but I had so. much. fun. Not being stressed out about my time or pace was a good feeling. Like I mentioned, this course has so much crowd support it felt nice to be able to take it all in and enjoy it. I can't thank Maddy enough for slogging through it with me. I know I would have stopped to walk much earlier if it hadn't been for her. 
Maddy, Brendan, Danielle and I
Once at the finish we met up with tons of running friends, took pictures, talked about future races and watched the awards ceremony. 

Runner Army

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