It’s been a long time…

It’s been over 6 months since I’ve written in my blog and a lot has happened.  After chatting with my friends over wine last week they convinced me that I should make it a priority in my life again.  I took up my blog to work on my writing skills and of course to document all of my running and training.  So here I am.  My goal is to post at least once a week again.  So to bring you up to speed on my life (at least running wise) here are the highlights from January through August 2013.

  • I was out of my walking boot within a few days and fully mobile just a week after my surgery
  • I walked A LOT in February.  As a runner, going out for a casual walk is not the easiest thing.  I traveled to San Diego for work in February and my favorite thing to do when I visit a new city is to run, and I couldn’t, so I went out for a walk to see the city.Amanda & Jackson copy
  • My adorable and sweet nephew was born on February 26th – he’s brought a lot of joy to our family and I’ve been lucky to visit him in March and July!
  • I started running again on March 1st – it was a very exciting day!  It also was REALLY hard!  I ran 3 miles that day.
  • I signed up for the Portland Marathon two days later.  🙂
  • I ramped up my mileage slowly in March and April and was running 10+ Miles on weekends in May30th Birthday Dinner!
  • I turned 30 on April 29th, a pretty big milestone.  I celebrated with my parents and friends who surprised me with a great dinner followed by drinks.  It was a wonderful weekend!
  • I ran my first 10k in over two years on Memorial Day weekend.  I ran a 49:56 – a new PR for me!
  • On June 8th, I ran 10.3 miles of the Lake Tahoe Relay with 6 other women from my running club.  7 of us ran 72 miles in 11:05:39 in nearly 90 degree heat!  It was hot and exhausting but a total blast!Lake Tahoe Relay
  • On June 16th, I ran my first half marathon in over 7 months!  I ran the first half of the SF Marathon.  It was a tough race, very hilly.  I finished in 1:45:59.
    My cousin Michaela and I after the SF Half Marathon

    My cousin Michaela and I after the SF Half Marathon

  • I traveled back to Maine/NH/Boston for the 4th of July and spent two weeks back East.  My family ran our annual 5k.  It was 88 degrees with 100% humidity at the start, it was my slowest 5k in the last few years.  Ugh.  On a more positive note my little sister surprised me and ran her first 5k that day, I was so proud of her!
  • I ran over 148 miles in the month of July.  (My highest mileage month since October 2010)

Family 5kI am running pain-free after my surgery, it’s wonderful!  I am getting very excited for the Portland Marathon in October and looking forward to the Disneyland and Nike Women’s halfs coming up this fall!Family Hallke 5k


Fantastic Fall 2012

It’s been awhile since I’ve written.  Life is just to fun these days to post all the time!  I do like to write on occasion though to document new races and new personal bests!  It was a great fall racing season for me.  I set 3 new Personal Record’s and completed my first International Distance Triathlon!   Although I took the Fall off from Marathons I ran 5 Half Marathons between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.  It was a busy fall!

Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving I ran the Fisher Cats Turkey Trot with Dad.  The race was a 5k and my Dad was determined to go out and do his best.  I on the other hand wasn’t feeling super motivated, I was just happy to be out for a run before eating all day. The race started at 9am which was awesome cause we got to sleep in a bit.  We were down by the start around 8:25 and decided to do a warm-up mile together.  The warm-up was ROUGH for me.  Maybe it was the cold?  I haven’t run in 30 degrees in over a year (since last Thanksgiving).  Based on the warm-up I was just aiming to finish in under 25 minutes.

We headed for the start and shortly after we were off!  I took off at a 6:40 pace which I knew I could keep but tried to hold on to for as long as I could.  (So much for not pushing myself, right?)  After heading up a pretty solid hill I finished Mile 1 around 7:20.  I got a little nervous that I was going to really fail the last mile but I kept pushing aiming for a 7:45 pace on Mile 2.  My goal was now to beat under 24 minutes.  Mile 2 had a nice downhill and then flat so I ended up running a 7:25.  At this point I knew that I would be close to my person best a 23:22 so I decided to keep pushing and see what I could.  The last half mile was rough but I kept pushing.  The race ends on the NH Fisher Cats field so you run around the warning track finishing on the 3rd base line.  When I entered the stadium I could see my Dad ahead and heard them call his name at the finish, I was only about 30 seconds behind.  I kept pushing and finished in 22:58 (7:30 pace), a new personal best by 25 seconds!  I can’t lie, pushing that hard made the run suck from start to finish but it was awesome after!  My dad finished in 22:27 his best time in the last few years!


Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Earlier in November I had to travel down to Orlando for a work conference.  It happened to end right before the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon which is my cousin Heather’s favorite Disney race.  It seemed like fate that my trade show ended two days before so I had to stay and run!  My co-worker joined my Thursday afternoon and Friday for two days of Disney fun!  Heather also joined us on Friday and we squeezed in 3 parks in one day!  Saturday was race day.  We took it easy that day checking into the Yacht Club Hotel and lounging by the pool.  We had lunch and relaxed with my cousin Heather’s friend Annette and Brian.  Annette was running the half with us that evening.  We headed back to our room around 4pm and laid around in bed for a few hours.  Around 6:30 it was time to get ready and head to the shuttle busses for the start line.

We were at the start line plenty early so we sat around eating a snack and contemplating just skipping the race.  🙂  It’s really hard to START running at 10pm.  We wanted to just go to Epcot and have fun!  We eventually got ourselves together, checked out gear, used the restroom and lined up.  I was in Coral A and Heather and Annette were right behind me in Corral B.  I had no intentions on running a fast race, I just wanted to enjoy it but the other half of me just wanted to finish quick so  I could have fun!  The race itself was really fun, we went through Animal Kingdom  Hollywood Studios and finished through Epcot!  I ended up running a 1:52:22!  I was very happy with that!

Before the race - notice the fluorescent theme?

Before the race – notice the fluorescent theme?



Love Disney Medals!

After the finish line they have changing tents set up so you can change into dry clothes and head off to enjoy the post race party at Epcot.  I finished first so I took a few minutes to sit and stretch, then I changed, collected my post-race beer (love when they have those!) and headed into the park!  I rode Spaceship Earth and Soarin while waiting for the girls.  We met up right in front of the World Showcase and went off to enjoy some food and drinks!  We had a fun evening closing down the park at the Rose & Crown Pub!

BAA Half Marathon

In October while on a work trip to Boston I ran the BAA Half Marathon with my Dad, Aunt Marie and cousin Greg.  I ran this race in 2010 with my friend Meredith while training for our first marathon.  It’s a great well-organized race but definitely a challenging course!  This race was my Aunt Marie’s first half marathon!  My family spent the night in Boston before the race so we could sleep in a bit later.  We had a nice day on Saturday sightseeing and having dinner in the North End.

My Dad and I met my Aunt and cousin at UMASS Boston to ride the shuttles together to the start of the race.  We got a bit of a late start so we arrived at the start just in time!  We headed for our place in line.  My Dad and I decided to run together, I was going to try to help him get to a new PR.  We had a great first half of the race, but most of it was downhill.   I knew that the second half was going to be tough.  By mile 8/9 I was really starting to struggle.  I knew it wasn’t going to be my day.  I kept trying to keep up with my Dad and help pace us but I was struggling.  I finally convinced him to leave me at Mile 9.5ish and he did.  I eventually caught back up with him around mile 11 but couldn’t stay with him long.  I was STRUGGLING.  It was one of the worst races I had run in a long time.  I finished in 1:55:51.  My dad finished about a minute before me but unfortunately missed his PR but just a bit.  We collected all of our gear at the finish and headed to finish line to watch my Aunt Marie finish.  She ran a great first half and finished strong.  I love watching people finish a half marathon for the first time, it’s always so inspiring.  Congrats to Aunt Marie on her first Half Marathon!


Giants Half Marathon

In September I ran the Giants Half Marathon in SF.  I was excited for this race because I was in great running shape and it was a flat course.  I had a feeling that a new personal best was in my grip so I went into this race with a PR in mind.  The race starts right outside of AT&T park and also offers a 10k and 5k.  My cousin Michaela was running the 10k so we went to the race together, started together and ended up running almost the first 3 miles together.  I also found a bunch of girls in my running club who run around my pace at the start so I decided to try to stick with them.  Michaela and I ended up pushing each other running the first 3 miles at an 8:16 pace.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep that pace up but each mile I kept surprising myself.  At Miles 9 and 10 I slowed to an 8:30 pace but then I ran into the 1:50 pace group I knew that if kept up with them the last 3 miles that I would finish under a 1:50 and finally beat my goal of a sub 1:50 half!  I’m so glad I ran into the pace group, the leader kept really pushing me and kept me going.  I ran the last 3 miles at an 8:18 pace and was really starting to hurt.  At mile 12.9 the pacer reminded us we only had .2 miles left which is equal to two city blocks.  I was so close to my best I had to keep pushing and that reminder really helped me!  I finished at 1:49:14 according to my watch!  (My online time says 1:48:47 – I’m not sure why the 30 sec discrepancy)  I was so excited!  My running club friend, Laura, was right behind me and she had set a new PR as well!  The race finishes in the outfield of AT&T park so we took some pictures and took in the scene of hanging out on the field of AT&T park.  It was a great race and I’m looking forward to it again next year!


Disneyland Half Marathon

Over labor day weekend I went down to Disneyland and ran the Half Marathon for the second year in a row.  I was joined by my cousin Heather and her college friends Leah, Annette, and Jamie, Leah’s friend Sue and Alaska friends Annie & Martha!  We all arrived at various times on Saturday morning and met at our hotel.  In early afternoon we headed over to the Expo to collect our numbers and swag.  After that we headed for the parks.  We had twilight tickets for Saturday night and headed over to Disneyland.  We got in a bunch of rides and had dinner at “Pasta in the Park”.  After our carbo loading we did a few more rides and headed back to the hotel for bed.

The Disney races always start bright and early.  The Disneyland half is no exception.  The race started at 5:45am.  I can’t remember exactly what time we were up but it was long before any of us wanted to be up.  We took shuttles over to the Parks and walked to the start.  We did our usual routine of bathroom, bag check and head for the corrals.  I started in Corral A and was not feeling that race.  I was exhausted at the start.  I remember getting to Mile 4 and thinking, I just want to stop running and take a nap.  Never the less, I found the energy and kept pushing an 8:25ish pace.  The excited part of the race was that we got to run through the new Cars Land in California Adventure. It was so cute and entertaining!  We then headed through Disneyland and then onto the streets of Anaheim.  The next big landmark was Anaheim Angels Stadium.  As we were approaching around mile 8.5 I was really loosing steam.  I was ready to slow my pace and just focus on finishing   It was just then that my friend Katie from the year before came up from behind, recognized me and pushed me again!  She got me into the park the and then I told her to head off without me but to wait for me at the finish because I wouldn’t be far behind.  I kept up my pace and finished in 1:51:55.  I was really happy with that time, anything under 1:52 makes me happy and I was just under!  I found Katie at the finish and we chatted.


Disneyland Race friend Katie!

I headed towards our designated meeting area and one by one the other girls arrived.  We sat around and chatted as we waited for everyone.  Most of us collected our “Coast to Coast” medals at Disneyland.  You earn one of those medals for running a Half or Marathon on the East Coast and West Coast.  We took a million pictures of our bling.  It was a fun morning.

Heather & I with our Marathon, Disneyland Half and Coast to Coast Medals!

Heather & I with our Marathon, Disneyland Half and Coast to Coast Medals!


Post race we headed for the pool for lunch and relaxation.  We showered and headed to California Adventure around 4pm and had a great afternoon/evening in the park.  Of course we finished off the night with drinks in Downtown Disney.  Monday we all went our own ways throughout the day but we had a great girls weekend and were all sad to see it end. The Disneyland Half is my favorite race.  I really love it.  I think we’ll all be back next year, fingers crossed!

That sums up 2012 racing!  (Finally)  I set a 5k, 3.5 Miler, Half Marathon and Marathon personal best!  I’m hoping to get better at blogging agin in 2013 so I won’t have to do major posts like this anymore!

It’s been quite a ride!

The last two months have been incredibly busy but exciting for me!  I haven’t had much time to share details because along with a crazy travel schedule work has been busier than ever.

I’m writing from the Atlanta airport en route to Maine for the 4th of July.  This is my 5th trip in the last 60 days.  I’m really looking forward to spending time on the beach and with my family friends.  I will be in New England for two weeks, working part of that from home.  It will give me lots of time to catch up with my friends and family and I’m sure it will fly by.  I’m very grateful to have a job and manager that allow me to work remotely once or twice a year, it allows me nice quality time with my family.

Here is my recap of the last 60 days:

  • Visited 3 new countries (Germany, Luxembourg and Amsterdam – ran in Lux and Amsterdam)
  • Visited and ran in 2 new states (Utah and Oregon)
  • Spent time in Chicago
  • Ran a Marathon and ran a half marathon
  • Decided after the half marathon to take a month of off running – started swimming to replace it

Here is a Recap in Pictures:

4/28 -4/29 – Eugene, Oregon for my 4th Marathon.

(It’s really excited I ran on the track that is now hosting the Olympic trials)

5/3 – 5/13 – Luxembourg, Amsterdam and Germany

Spent a great 10 days with my childhood best friend Laura and her husband Tim.  It was wonderful to see them and to see their new home.  All in all, it was a spectacular trip.

5/29 – 6/1 – Chicago, IL for work

I was able to get in two great runs allowing me to see a good chunk of the city and lake and took an architecture boat cruise with my co-worker.  The tour was awesome!

6/3 – See Jane Run Half Marathon

My cousin Michaela decided to run the “See Jane Run” women’s half marathon in Alameda on June 3rd.  Because I’m a marathon/half marathon addict I couldn’t help but sign up and run too.  The race ran along my running route from my first month in SF.  It’s a beautiful run along the Bay with a view of the Bay Bridge and city skyline in the background.  I stayed with Michaela the whole race and we chatted and pushed each other along.  My cousin Hilary joined us on her bike for the last 2 miles and got some fun pictures of us running which I need to track down.

6/8 – 6/9 – Paso Robles, California

Wine Tasting with Hilary and then a drive back up the Pacific Coast Highway


6/15-6/17 – Park City, UT


My college roommate and close friend Andrea got married in Deer Valley.  It was a great weekend seeing old friends and making new ones.  I loved Park City, I’d really like to go back and spend more time there.  The wedding was BEAUTIFUL and a blast.  Congrats again to Andrea and Eric!

6/29 – 7/16 – Maine, New Hampshire and Boston

I am functioning on 3 hours of sleep but it’s okay because once I get to Maine in a few hours I’ll change into my bathing suit and hit the beach.  I am very much looking forward to a late afternoon nap on the beach.

I’ve been quite busy but I’m really also very fortunate to have seen as much as I have in the last two months.  I love travelling so I really have been thriving on all the fun trips.  I am looking forward to getting back to SF and staying put for a bit, the airport feels more like home then my apartment in some ways.  I’m also over jet-lag so sticking to one time zone for a while will be helpful!

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Running!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (belated). Yesterday I ran 15 miles and then met my cousin out for her Birthday! Happy Bday Hilary! It was a fun filled afternoon!

Just wanted to wish Good Luck to…
  • My cousin Heather running the NYC Half this morning
  • George a friend from college running his first marathon in LA
  • Anna running the St. Patrick’s Day 5k in Southie (totally wish I was in Southie this weekend
And Congrats to Kelly for an awesome half down in Atlanta this morning !
Hope everyone has a great weekend and happy running!

Thank You Mother Nature & Apple

Drinks - I'm representing Beantown with the Sam Adams

I had a really nice and relaxing weekend.  After my 15 mile run  Saturday I showered, ran a few errands, made a nice lunch and headed down Chestnut Street to get a mani-pedi.  One of the best parts of SF is that mani-pedis are $20.  Yes, that’s right, $20 and it includes a neck rub.  I get my nails done on a regular basis now.  I love it! After nails, I met my friend Kate and her out-of-town friends for drinks and then we grabbed dinner.  It was a nice night.

Yay for 70+ Degree weather in March! (Thank you Mother Nature)

Sunday I was up kind of early.  (I can’t sleep in anymore)  I headed to the gym in the morning to do weights.  I skipped cardio to give my legs some recovery time but wanted to get some exercise in.  It was a nice workout and the gym was empty on a Sunday morning which was great.  After the gym I headed home and was trying to decide what to do.  I finally decided that it was 70 degrees out and hot in the sun so I was going to head to Stinson Beach for the afternoon.  I figured if it was warm enough to lay out and tan that I would and if it wasn’t I was prepared with pants and a long sleeve shirt so I could just sit on the beach and read.  (When you grow up going to the beach in Maine  you always bring warm clothes)  It turned out to be a great day!  The drive to and from Stinson Beach is so beautiful.  It’s right along the mountains the views of the ocean are breathtaking.  I was fine in my bathing suit and got some sun.  I spent two hours there reading and relaxing.  I really enjoyed my alone time, sometimes I just need a day to myself.  I laid out on the beach, 45 min from my house in March.  That is like a dream come true to me.  It was a GREAT afternoon – thank you Mother Nature.

Beach in March = Heaven

View on the way to Stinson Beach

My Monday

This morning started off a little “shaky”.  Haha.  By shaky I mean, I woke up to an Earthquake at 5:33am.  It was little scary.  It was my first Earthquake in my apartment and alone.  I really don’t mind living alone but this morning I wished I had a roomie.  It was a little unnerving.  Things were clanking (I realized later I think it was medal rack with all my medals) and my bed was shaking.  I just laid in my bed paralyzed in fear…probably not the smartest move.  (I did read if a big earthquake hits while in bed to cover your head with a pillow and try not to get up so I guess that I’ll do okay.)  Turns out we had two Earthquakes right in a row a 3.5 and 4 and then their was an aftershock a half hour later which I didn’t feel.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to Earthquakes.

Tonight I skipped yoga.  The worst part is, I left work, rushed there to find out that it was not the normal instructor but the one woman I really don’t like.  I turned around and left – I really don’t enjoy that woman’s class.

To give you some background, I started practicing Bikram Yoga when I arrived in SF last August.  I hated the classes at first.  However, I had bought at 30 day trial so I stuck with it.  After about 2-3 classes I was hooked.  I love the good deep sweat (I’m hopeful I’m sweating out all the bad toxins I put into my body, like wine….) and I love the stretching, it feels like a great compliment to all my running.  However, this particular teacher started teaching a few months ago  and keeps the room REALLY hot.  (She doesn’t sweat which I can’t understand but I think that is why she keeps the room so hot)  I have gone to her class 2-3 times and each time had to leave the room, couldn’t push myself in the poses and have left feeling sick to my stomach and couldn’t eat dinner for hours.  (Many other people leave the room during her class too so I don’t think it’s just me)  I hate doing things half way, I’m a perfectionist, so leaving and not being able to push myself in class really stinks.  I also don’t like getting sick from class, I don’t think that is healthy at all.  With all that being said, once I spotted that instructor (fortunately before I checked in) I was out.  I turned around walked out – again, I’m not really a quitter so I hated doing it but I really hate her class. I did run 5 miles this morning  so I didn’t feel as bad skipping.

Love technology (Thank you Apple!)

Bruno - newest addition to the Family

On a brighter note, I texted my brother and sister-in-law on the way home and asked them to FaceTime.  Hannah (sister-in-law) just got an iPhone so this was our first time FaceTiming.  They just got a new puppy and I really wanted to see him!  We chatted for about a half hour and they introduced me to Bruno the new puppy and I got to say “Hi” to Artie their other dog as well.  I gave them a tour of my apartment and we caught up for a bit.  It was fun!

After they hung up with me I FaceTimed with my sister.  I haven’t really talked to her since vacation expect for a few texts, so that was fun as well!  I really love that I can FaceTime with my family and friends.  I talk my good friend Laura who is now living in Europe quite often.  It’s free and we can see each other.  It’s so great to catch up, see her new apartment and even say “Hi” to her husband Tim.  It really is better than just a phone call.  Seeing your family and friends makes all the difference in the world.  Thank You Apple for making my friends and family thousands of miles away feel like they are hanging out in my living room with me!  Anyone else want to FaceTime?

Hope everyone had a nice Monday – 5 mins until my new favorite show SMASH!  (If you haven’t watched get on Demand and watch the first 4 episodes – it’s AWESOME!)

Family vacation to ring in 2012!

So this post is a few weeks late…but Happy 2012 everyone!

I spent a wonderful week in NH/Boston visiting friends and family.  I headed down to Florida with my parents, sister, cousin and Aunt & Uncle for a week of fun in Florida.

Here is a quick recap of how I spent New Year’s Eve and the week after…

Happy 21st Birthday to my little sister - she's finally legal! (She was born on New Year's Day!)

My Uncle's 90 degree heated pool - Heaven

Beach time on New Years Day!

Fort Lauderdale beach on my run Monday morning

After a few days in Fort Lauderdale/Miami staying at my Uncle’s beautiful house we headed down to Key West for 3 days.

Lunch at Island Grill - Mile 85 Marker

My Aunt made a dangerous pull-off on Route 1 so we could get a picture in front of the “Marathon” sign in Key West.  (An area of Islands is called Marathon)

My cousin Heather, me and my Dad in front of the "Marathon" sign

Beautiful Key West

Me and my little sis

Last run before the Marathon with my Dad - I stopped for a picture at Mile Marker "0" on Route 1. (Ignore my beautiful hair and put together look at 7am)

Last Breakfast in Key West (Yes, it was cold - typical family vacation for us) L-R Sister, Mom, Uncle Sonny, Aunt Marie

Heather and I of course had “Bloody Gooses” because this restaurant had one of the best Bloody Mary’s I have ever had.

After 3 days in Key West it was off to Fort Lauderdale for one last night with Uncle Dan and then Orlando the next morning.

Disney World Marathon Recap next…

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas!  Mine was great, busy but great!  I spent lots of time with family and friends and now I’m off to Boston for 2 days to spend more time with friends!

Snickers aka "pup" in her new Christmas Collar from Laura Bass Cote!

I flew home from San Francisco bright and early on Thursday morning and arrived in Boston at 2:30pm.  My sister picked me up in Boston and brought a surprise, my little pup, Snickers.  (She’s not actually a pup – she’s 11 years old but we call her “pup”)  That kicked off a weekend of family and eating.  Friday night we went for Mexican as a family.  This is a newer family tradition but it’s fun.  Saturday my Dad and I went to spin at 8:30am at his gym and I did a total of 1 hour 45 min on the bike.  I have issues again with my feet so I skipped the 12 mile run and substituted spinning instead.  It was a good workout and felt good to burn a lot of calories before all the Christmas eating.   We met my mom and sister for Breakfast after!

My new running Garmin and Yoga Matt strap

Christmas Eve we go to church at 4pm and then head to my Grandparents house for our Christmas with my Dad’s side.  We had a great evening with lots of gifts and good conversation.  Of course we had a delicious dinner as well.  My grandparents gave me a Running Garmin for Christmas!  I’m so excited, I’ve been running long distance for well over 2 years now and have never had one.  I have been using MapMyRun on my phone which works pretty good but it will be nice not have to bring my phone out on my runs now!  The Garmin also has a heart rate monitor which I have already used in two spin classes – I love having that as well!

I finished out Christmas Eve at my best friend Laura’s family Christmas Eve party.  It was great seeing her and her family before she heads off to Europe where her and her husband will be working for the next two years!

Sunday morning we celebrated Christmas with my immediate family.  I got some new running clothes including a pair of Lululemon pants!  (My first pair)  I’m excited to give them a try.  I also got an adorable 26.2 ornament from parents!  It’s a tradition to collect ornaments in our family for significant events or places we visit. It’s always fun to put up my tree and relive my vacations and some of my great accomplishments.  Can’t wait to hang this one up!  We spent the afternoon at my mom’s family’s Christmas.  It was another great and fun Christmas!

26.2 Runner Girl Ornament

The rest of the week I’ll be visiting friends in Boston and some more family before we head down to Sunny warm Florida for the Walt Disney World Marathon!  Can’t wait!

Hope everyone had a great Holiday!

My tree in SF!