Tag Archives: marathon challenge

HMC Finale! We Did It!

Congratulations everyone, we did it!

With pretty impressive stats too!

2808 miles run in one (very cold, busy) month!

Are weekly averages were:

  • week 1: 31
  • Week 2: 20
  • Week 3: 19
  • Week 4: 16

The vast majority of people surpassed their goals, and almost everyone ran at least a marathon in miles!  YAY!  **hand claps**

So the prize winners are the two top mileage challengers for the both the ultramarathon and marathon distances.  Three additional winners were selected randomly.  I listed the names of all commenters  in comment order, numbered them, subtracted distance winners and previous winners and used random integer generation to select 3 numbers.

So the winners are…

Ultramarathon distance winners:

Matt from Run Like the Wind  242 miles!

SallyAnn 210 miles!

The marathon winners are:

Lora from HoneyNutLo 52 miles

Maureen 50 miles


The randomly selected winners are:

Chandra from Chandra’s Shenanigan’s  (72 miles)

Heather from Hangry Pants (141 miles)

Tami from Go Momma Go (75 miles)


Please email your addresses to me at thelittlerunnerthatcould at gmail dot com. 

As a final gesture of our group endeavor,  I collected the “favorite running songs” that challengers left in the comments and created an itunes imix sports mix called Holiday Marathon Challenge playlist. You can find it here.

Here it the list:

Holiday Marathon Challenge Running Playlist:

Love Lockdown: Kanye West

Stronger: Kanye West

Money Honey: Lady Gaga

I’m The Bomb: Electric Six

Island in the Sun: Weezer

Circus: Britney Spears

Don’t Stop Believin’: Journey

American Boy: Estelle

Don’t Stop the Music: Rihanna

It’s a Beautiful Day: Sarah Brightman

If U Seek Amy: Britney Spears

Let it Rock: Kevin Rudolf

Just Dance: Lady Gaga

On a side note: someone asked why they can’t find Girl Talk on itunes.  Girl Talk is not available on itunes, you can download Girl Talk’s newest album, Feed the Animals, at a pay what you wish price here.

HMC: Day 31 Staying Inspired in the New Year

superstock_1166r-4752_blow-angle-view-of-a-young-female-runner-crossing-the-finish-line-postersWow, the month came and went so quickly.  Tomorrow we get to start a new year fresh with no mistakes in it, as Anne Shirley/Miss Stacey would say.

Since I realize most people will be really busy today and tomorrow, you have until January 2nd at 9AM to log  your miles and comment on this post to be entered in the prize drawing.  The top two mileage for marathon and ultramarathon challengers will automatically receive a prize, and 3 challengers that comment will be selected at random to receive a prize. 

The questions, responding to one or both is fine!

-running goal for 2009? or

-your favorite running song of 2008?

So on with the post.  I have done a bunch of posts on inspirationand motivation, but here is one last wrap up with help from runners world to supplement my own thoughts!

Getting Started:

Sign up for a race: this was the definitive starting point of my running/jogging journey.  Find local 5k and sign up with a friend to keep you motivated, committed and excited.

Buy some good shoes-which will make all the difference in the world and give you the all important monetary commitment.  There is actually a great article on this in the Jan. 2009 issue of RW page 54,  Get Serious from the newbie chronicles.  My tips for finding shoes.

Join a running group or find a committed friend: Talking while running makes it about 4000 times more enjoyable!  Road Runners, Team in Training, Team Fox, Nike Town, YMCA clubs, the group options are endless.

Once you are a “runner” keep it going:

Set goals: Time, distance, or speed, pick one, identify your goal and give yourself a time line.  Of course, joining a marathon training group makes it easier because the training plan and workout times are set up for you.

Picking and signing up for a race (5K, 10K, half or full marathon) that you are really excited about or in a place you want to visit is a really great motivator! See Runner’s World Marathon 2009 guide for ideas.

Find ways to make it fun: If you are a gadget person, maybe a heart rate monitor or even a garmin will keep you excited.  Maybe mapping each run onmapmyrun or logging it on a spread sheet is enough.  If you are a music person, new tunes always get me motivated to don the ipod and block the world out for a few miles.  Or set up a standing running date with a friend.

Mix it up: if you aren’t lucky enough to be head over heels in love with running; in fact, if it is more a labor  than a love, don’t stop doing your favorite type of exercise. Make running a once or twice a week habit, or maybe you are a triathlete at heart.

Make it a group endeavor: a relay race is something I really hope to have the chance to do in 2009. I loved reading about Chandra’s Ragnar Relay, and I would love to do the New Hampshire Reach the Beach Relay in Sept.! If the more the merrier is your MO, than this could be the event for you!

Refocus each day: I don’t plan out my week or month exactly, but an hour or so before my workout or a few days before a long run, I give myself a pep talk, think about how great the run or workout is going to be, and plan my speed, distance or intensity goals for the workout.  This has helped me tremendously, a little visualization goes a really long, strong way!

Find some workouts you love: just having a few fun workouts in your arsenal can get you to the gym or the road when you feel like skipping it all together.  Find a few challenging speed or interval workouts you enjoy and put them in your backpocket on reservation for desperate times. Or download a few itunes nike + sport workouts, so you have someone to talk you through a run and keep you motivated! It’s great to have the motivation part done for you, so you are only responsible for moving your legs.

Happy New Year!


HMC: Day 21 Video Post

So I did a little UNEDITED video post this morning.  It’s just to encourage you a little.  It got cut off, but I wanted to show you the street right past the colored houses because that is where the NYC marathon runs through Queens down Vernon Blvd.  Anyways, really cheesy, but I am bored.


To be entered in this week’s challenge winner drawing, please comment on this post and log your miles on the spread sheet.  Here are the questions, you can respond to just one or all of them;

After 3 weeks, what is your mileage goal for finishing the challenge? 

-Do you have an ipod? I am really curious because I recently realized that they are not as popular outside of the city–where they are necessary to block out the world. haha

-After the challenge do you have another marathon or half marathon or ultramarathon in your sights?  If so, what is it?

HMC Day 19!!!:Time for a Treat

Wow, we are more than halfway there.  Is your enthusiasm waning a bit?  This is a good time for a temperature check….how are you feeling?

You don’t want to push yourself too hard and risk injury.  You don’t want to start getting lazy with warm up, cool down, and stretching.  At the same time, you don’t want sell yourself short and be disappointed that you didn’t reach your goals.

You want to harness that same excitement you had those first few days and continue racing toward marathon or ultramarathon status based on how your body is feeling at this point in time.

I think it is high time for a treat! 

bubble_bath_pamperRewarding yourself is really essential to maintaining your enthusiasm and recognizing how far you’ve come and how hard you have worked. 

Yesterday, I treated myself to a manicure and an eyebrow wax on my lunch hour.  Okay, the eyebrow wax was more of a public service…things were looking B.A.D.  But the manicure, which as only $9 including a really great 3 min. back massage, made me feel so much better about life.  Seriously, as silly as it is, having my nails done makes me feel so girly and pulled together. SMILE!

So pick something, it can be  small or even free, but it should be a special little treat that makes you glow a bit inside.  Such as:

  • A magazine
  •  a new energy bar to try
  •  sauna time
  •  a new bubble bath
  •  a manicure
  • a scented candle
  • your favorite lotion
  •  dvring a guilty pleasure reality show
  • a book
  •  a new tea flavor
  •  download a new itune to add to your running playlist
  •  a card game–computer or with the bf
  •  an hour to window shop or sit and flip through a huge pile of books in B&N
  •  a new journal
  •  blog reading time
  • go to see a movie

It’s hard to justify taking the time or spending the money on something purely for yourself, but I am giving you permission; in fact, it’s an order.  Live a life of simple abundance.

What are your favorite treats?

So keep it up, we are almost there!  If you need an energy boost check out these strategies.

The Week 2 HMC Winner

Is Seabreeze from The Gym is My New Boyfriend!  Congratulations!  Please email me your address!  More on the fabulous prizes later!

Thanks for the comments everyone! I will update some of the later questions and answers later too!


Look what arrive today!  Goodies from Honest Foods Granola Planks, Keribars and Skin Appetit!  Thank you awesome sponsors.  I will be telling you guys all about these great products over the next week. Get excited and don’t forget to comment on this morning’s post, so you can be in the prize drawing tomorrow morning if you are a challenger.

I had several great comments, questions and anwsers this morning.  I posted them below. My thoughts are in blue and the other answers are in black.  Thanks guys!

100_1861I’ve decided I am going to run 2 half marathons within 28 or so days of each other (one Mar 28th, one Apr 25th).  Should I be training differently than I did for my last half since I plan to do 2 races so close together??  Or should I train as normal and just be sure to keep up my training in between races?

My advice, based on what my coaches recommended for people doing multiple half or a half and a marathon in the same month, is to train normally for the first half, and make sure to ease up on the running the week before, the more “hungry” your body is for miles before the race, the better you will do.  If you run the first half hard, take about 4 days off to recover, and get a massage! Then before the second race just do your normal training. You will not lose your base, even if you do just 30 minutes every other day, and then a long run on the weekend, you will finish no problem. 

How do you dress to not FREEZE while running in -6 and 5″ of snow?

Good question, I am a wuss.  If there is 5 inches of snow you, risk frostbite if your feet get wet. So I wouldn’t risk running in snow/hidden ice.  But, if the path is clear and it is just cold, you can run if you want to.  I would recommend shelling out the dough to buy real outdoor running clothes; taking time to warm up; and making sure your hands, face ,and head are covered.  Base layer turtlenecks are amazing insulators!  Here are a few good articles for more advice:

Cold Weather Safety Running Tips

More Cold Weather Running Tips

Weathering the Weather

Winter Running

As for my clothes: I plan on wearing tights, on top of that sweat pants, then a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, hat and gloves.</b> I believe this will do the job!

as for winter wear clothes, i highly recommend REI, go there or online, i run in 10* weather last winter and i was never cold

i like a shirt that has a hood vs a hat  (not a jacket but i shirt) and that same shirt has hand wrap things, i can’t stand running with gloves on.  the end of the shirt has an extra piece of fabric that you can turn over to wrap around your hands.


What is the best stretch to prevent shin splints?  Any time I up my speed  above 6 even if it just intervals I get really bad shin splints.

I have never had shin splints, but this ivillage article has good stretch and prevention ideas

how do you push yourself further?  I’m thinking it’s more mental than physical?

I agree with everything below. 1.) I also HIGHLY recommend signing up for a race, even before you are ready!  That has always really helped me.  2.) You are right that running at least 70% mental, having a clear goal, workout plan, and race in mind is crucial to my ability to run long distances.  Even if you make up your plan the day of your workout, it will help.  3.) Finally, joining an organization like Team in Training is a foolproof way to reach a distance goal.  I had great new running friends, coaches, a commitment to a cause (blood cancer), honored teammates to inspire me, plus people donating lots of money to my race! I couldn’t miss practice, and I used the knowledge of all the good I was doing and people I was helping to push me through hard runs!

I have to say that music is what gets me to go further than I thought I could. :) (Love this, music is by far my favorite thing about working out)

I think the key to pushing yourself is to keep making concrete goals-be it another, longer race or a faster time or whatever.  If you have a goal that is past your current physical abilities, you can push yourself more and more.  Having something exciting to look forward to will help the mental part.  Think of how great you’ll feel when you finish a 10K or even longer!  Use that mentality and keep pushing!

Take your time when increasing speed and/or mileage. Too much, too soon will eventually catch up to you and leave you injured. I learned the hard way!

running advice: i know studies say you should or might not need to, but i think stretching is necessary; it has kept me out of so many injuries!

I always start out slow(er) and then work up to a quick pace. I like the feeling of pushing it really hard for the last half mile or so!

Is it better to increase milage by going slow and steady or doing intervals? I’ve been going slow and steady for about 4 miles, but want to increase my mileage, so what is the better way?

 Slow and steady is the best way to prepare yourself for longer distances because the time on your feet is the most important factor when it comes to endurance. However, adding tempo runs, which are longer distances done at a comfortably hard pace, will give you an added challenge. Intervals are ussually done for speed work, but any runner can use them to bust boredom and mix up their routine!

For all those trying to add mileage, I would recommend finding a running buddy. The miles fly by when you’re talking, and your partner can push you on that last mile or two when your brain tries to turn off your legs.

What should I do about a blood blister under my toenail? It is at the base of my toe and the pressure is awful! I am wondering if my shoes might be to blame? Any ideas?

This is a tough one. You can get a small toe pad to put under your toe to relieve the pressure of contact with your shoe.  My friend had a toe sprain and they actually have a little toe elevator to support it!  I think your shoe size is the problem. If you are rubbing that much, you need to go up a size or at least find a shoe with a roomier toe box.

Where can I find this excel spreadsheet you speak of? :)

The spreadsheet can be found here, it is a log for everyone who signed up for the challenge.  Unfortunately sign up is closed, but I will definitely do it again at some point! Like summer when I don’t have to use a treadmill

I have a question- I am tempted to get a Nike + but I havent seen anyone really on the blogworld use one so…do any of you have one? do you recommend it?

I had one, but I didn’t have the right shoes, and I tried to just tie the chip into my shoe, but it flew out on my first run.  I have seen bloggers mention them.  Roni at Roni’s Weigh loves hers.  Now all of nike’s shoes have the little slot for the nike +
chip, when I had one, one a few pairs did, so if you like nike you can pick the best shoe for you, not just a pair that are nike + enabled.  Also shoe pouches are everywhere now, for around $10. I plan to get another one,  you can’t beat the price. Although I asked for a polar heart rate monitor and shoe pod for xmas, so we’ll see what happens.


Wow everyone deserves a shout out! So many are already at over marathon or ultramarathon mileage! ROCK!



Shane: 26.4!

Chandra: 31.6!

Maggie: 65

Melissa (TTH) 36.5



Amanda M. 41.3!

Hangry Pants-58.25!

Tina 31.9


Jessica G-37


Amber 46.85


Sharon  80.15

Sarah 38.3

Colleen  31

Erin C.  29.2

SallyAnn  104.9



Gina -29.55

Matt- 101!

Holiday Marathon Challenge: Week 2 Finale

Hi Everyone!

Huge congratulations for finishing week 2!  Wow, only a few more weeks left, and let’s face it these next few weeks are the busy ones.  But we can do it–yes we can!

So I am so sorry for not posting yesterday. I was so tired from writing papers that I could not type or read another letter!  So I will try to make it up to you all with some extra fabulous, relevant and motivational posts over the next week.   Only one final to go!

So, for the winner this week, I thought I would make it more interactive and useful–since I was clearly useless this weekend–please log your miles on the spreadsheet and to be entered in the prize drawing, please leave a comment on this post by 7AM tomorrow morning with one of the following:

  • one piece of running advice
  • one question you have about running or staying motivated
  • a response to one of the above

Anyone can comment but only challengers will be eligible for a prize.  I will select a random number from the total number of comments.

Have a great day!

So as you are marathoning, do you ever think about what marathon you might want to do?  Here is a list to some of the best in the country:

Best Rural Race: Napa Valley Marathon

Best Small-Town Race: Richmond, Virginia

Best Big-City Race: New York City

Best Destination: Honolulu

Best Chance for a PR: Chicago

Toughest Marathon: Pikes Peak (Colorado Springs)

Most Charitable: Marine Corps (Washington, D.C.)

Most Legendary: Boston

Best New(er) Race: Baltimore

Best Race at Altitude: Salt Lake City

Best Place to Feel Like a Movie Star: LA Marathon

Most Scenic: Big Sur

Best Marathon/Vacation Combo: Vancouver, B.C.

Best Race to Leave the Kids Behind: Las Vegas

Best Race with a Half Marathon: Flying Pig (Cincinnati)

Best Race That Lives Up to the Hype: Twin Cities

Biggest Bang for the Buck: Houston

This is based on Active’s picks.  For the full article and descriptions, click here.

I would add most girly: San Fransisco Nike Women’s Marathon, coat check, chocolate, tiffany’s, pedicures and massages, what more could you want?

HMC Day 10:Keeping it Going

w_5_19_08We are in the middle of week 2.  Definitely a time when energy and enthusiasm could have waned a little.  It’s a good time to check in and see how you are feeling about working out and running, etc.

This morning I was feeling pretty tired.  I truly thought after a marathon, running would be easy.  But yet, not always, but often enough, even three miles can be a monumental feat.  This morning for example: “This.Is.Not. Fun…It.Will.Be.Worth.It.Later.” Anyways, tonight I am delivering food to the homeless for from 7 to midnight, so I will get a lot of on foot exercise.  Fortunately, the temperature went from 14 degrees on Monday to 61 this morning!

Back to the post intended–a round up of some resources, my own and outside.  Just a quick note about my posts, I never mean to sound like a know it all, because I’m not.  I do tons of research before writing advice type posts, but I am still totally aware that many of you know are as knowledge hungry as me if not more so, please feel free to correct me!

If you are sick of running, Marie Claire new issue has some great 10 minutes (JUST 10) workouts to spice up your routine.  I like to mix running with other things, especially when indoors!

If you just need some no bail inspiration to stick with it, check out this funny post from Vital Juice Daily.

Finally a few of my old posts you might find relevant/helpful.  Believe me the right shoes can make a world of difference!

Tips for finding the Perfect Shoes

So You Want to be a Runner? Part 1

So You Want to Be a Runner? Join the Club

PS most exciting announcement ever coming soon…hint: we have sponsors!

HMC Day 9: Workout Fuel

Yes, there is controversy about whether or not one needs to eat before or after working out. Here is my opinion, if your body says you are hungy, EAT!  Nevertheless, I do have a basic stratgey for not completely obliterating my (calories buring) efforts at the gym in my snacks.

I thought I would share it with you, although, it’s not ground breaking.

I try to work out before a meal, like breakfast, so I can eat after when I am hungry. If I am going to workout a few hours after a meal, I typically have a reasonable sized snack (150 cals or less) about an hour before I go to the gym. Such as if I am heading to the gym straight from work.  This gives me the extra energy to have a strong workout, rather than sludging through, it satisfies my 4:00 cravings, and it helps me get from the gym to my apartment to make dinner without stopping at the nearest deli to stuff my ravenous mouth with the first thing I see…which will probably not be an apple.

I find this to be a good strategy for me.  I can make a good snack decision because I am not starving and it helps me get t othe gym rather than deciding to just head for the subway after a long day at work.

Here are some of my picks for snacks, many traditional, and hopefully a few new ideas all around 150 calories. ( Sometimes I divide them in half to have half before the gym and half on the way home to tide me over until dinner.)

  •  glenny’s soy chips (caramel)
  • Clif zbar (pb)
  • carrots, celery, broccoli and hummus
  • fruit
  • yogurt with a bit of crumbled HF granola plank or curve bar 
  •  mcd’s fruit and yogurt parfait
  • Keribars-apple peanut butter or cherry almond
  • kashi tlc bar (pb)
  • ww crackers with slice LF cheese
  • frozen nanner
  • 3 dates stuffed with almond butter or prunes with pb
  • soup-Tabatchnick
  • oatmeal-I love Quaker Raisin, Date, Walnut, but I just realized it has some sketch ingredients…BOOO!
  • ww sesame pretzels with babybell cheese
  • cottage cheese with a bit of honest food granola plank
  • skinny tall misto (and chocolate biscotti—can never resist!)
  • 100 cal popcorn
  • sports beans-in a pinch
  • gnu bar-cinnamon raisin
  • frozen lowfat pudding snack pack-yumo
  • slice toast with almond butter
  • frozen stoneyfield yogurt
  • Luna teacake (vanilla macadamia)
  • nutritious creations oat bars
  • couple fruit filled kollar cookies

HMC Day 8: Week 1 winner and more!

This week’s winner is Rose from On a Lobster Placemat!  Congratulations on all your hard work this week.  You are well on your way to finishing your first marathon by New Year’s with no problem!  I just used on online number selector. Rose please email me your address and I will send out your prize.

For today’s motivation, I thought I would round up some fun questions and answers on marathoning and running from the ASK MILES column from Runner’s World.

What’s the average finishing time for most marathoners? 
The median times for U.S. marathoners in 2007 were 4:20 for men, and 4:49 for women. In 1980, they were 3:32 and 4:03. The sport hasn’t become less competitive; it’s become more inclusive. In 1980, there were fewer charity runners, walk-run participants, and jogglers. Runners of all ability levels are welcome at marathons today. And without a doubt, the sport as a whole is better for it.


Is it crazy to want to PR at a New Year’s Eve race?
Of course it’s not crazy to want to, especially since the place is going to reek of resolutions and of the hup-to-it gumption it takes to stick to them. Executing your PR, though, may be a different matter altogether. Between your costumed compatriots and perhaps a few revelers who started the party early, you’re probably going to be in more of a woo-hoo type of mood than a oorah kind of one. But give it a shot. After all, if you don’t make it, it’s hardly a burden to wait till next year.

What percentage of the population attempts and finishes a marathon?While it’s hard to say how many started, an estimated 423,000 people finished marathons in the United States in 2004, according to the Road Racing Information Center Annual Marathon Report. With a population of about 280 million, that comes out to about 0.15 percent of the population-though it’s likely a much smaller percentage when you consider that many of those finishers ran multiple marathons. So when you finish your next 26.2-miler, give yourself an extra pat on the back.


Do certain marathons attract more women than men, and vice versa?The gender ratio at marathons nationwide is 60:40, men to women. But certain races do appeal more to one gender. The Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco is more than 90 percent female, and the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon is 56 percent female. More men head east: The Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the New York City Marathon are nearly 70 percent male.


If you are hungry for more q and a, I have a rough FAQ’s section too.