Looking ahead to the Syracuse Half Marathon

Whew! Happy Friday! Between a hectic schedule and trying to prep for another race weekend away, this week has gone by quick. Travis has been doing local travel for work nearly every day this week and we’ve also had two registration nights for baseball. We’re coaching mini tee ball again this year and Travis was also asked to be the commissioner for the league. He’s going to be traveling for a month at the end of April so I’ll be taking half of the season as coach and he’ll take the other half.

 

We’ve also kicked into high gear in terms of preparation for our annual Piece By Piece 5K. We finalized the medal design early this week and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. We’ve also secured some great sponsors confirmed. It’s shaping up to be another great race! If you’re not local to us and would like to participate, there’s a virtual option available. As always, all proceeds from the race will be donated to Team Up! with Autism Speaks. You can click HERE for our race website!

We’re headed out first thing tomorrow morning for Syracuse. First stop will be at Fleet Feet Sports for bib pick up and their #bantheblizzard party. We’ll grab an early dinner and then we’ve got evening tickets for the traveling production of Wicked. I”m beyond excited about this! I’ve been dying to see it on Broadway, but every time we’re in the city we’ve typically got the kids with us so it hasn’t been a possibility. They’re doing a 10 day run in Syracuse that matched up perfectly with the race weekend so we jumped at the chance to see the show.

In terms of the race, in true North Country fashion the weather is looking pretty miserable. Thankfully, unlike last year we’re not looking at blizzard conditions…but temps in the 40’s and a 70 percent chance of rain. I’ve never run more than a few miles in the rain, so I’ll take any tips you have! I’m planning on bringing several options just in case the weather decides to change

On Wednesday evening, the Syracuse Half announced that starting this year they would now be a fall race. This means that there will be two 2017 races. The one this weekend, and one in November. We’re considering signing up for the fall race as well! Bad weather seems to be a given with this race, so we’ll see what the date change will bring!

We’ll be posting on Instagram/Twitter all weekend, so you can follow along if you’d like! Have a great weekend!

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Picking Up Where I Left Off…in NYC

It’s been over four months but its nice to be able to say the words, it’s race week! My first event of 2017 takes me back to the big apple to participate in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon for the first time.

After wrapping up my 2016 season at the NYC Marathon in early November, I took the remainder of the year off and began training for this event in early January. Sadly, training has not been very successful and has been riddled with missed workouts, poor performances and nagging injuries.

I reached out to my wife’s running coach, Denny Krahe,  to gain some insight into my struggle these past 3 months. The short answer he concluded was a lack of rest – primarily regular sleep. I have been working an overnight work schedule and getting a solid block of sleep where I wake up feeling refreshed has been nearly impossible. Unfortunately, since I can’t change whats happened, I am forced to adjust my goals for my two races this month.

Despite my setbacks, I’m excited to head back to New York City and experience the city in a whole new way. I’ll be making the trip without Jen or kids this time and staying with a friend a little outside of the city. The morning of the race is full of logistical nightmares since it’s a weekend, trains and buses into the city do not run their normal schedules and it looks like we are going to be forced to drive into the city. Heaven help us!

Stay tuned here for recap of my adventure and be sure to check out our Twitter and Instagram this weekend.

Weekly Wrap 1/23-1/29: Vacation Edition

We were going to start the post by saying “Happy Monday” but let’s be honest, Mondays following vacation are probably the worst. Today we snapped back to reality after having a week sans kids in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

We left for Punta Cana on Saturday the 21st and arrived after one scary “blind” landing and a three hour delay while our second plane was fixed before traveling across the ocean. When we arrived, we were greeted by our friends, quickly got into our villa and began enjoying the vacation. Our wrap is going to be a little different this week, featuring mostly photo galleries and maybe a few short words. Hope you enjoy, because I know we did!

Sunday: We spent Sunday getting a lay of the resort and enjoying the beautiful weather on the beach.

Monday: We enjoyed our morning at the resort before taking our first excursion Zip-Lining above the forests.

Tuesday: More relaxing! Our friends had booked an extra excursion so we enjoyed our day at the swim up bar!

Wednesday: Guess what? We did more relaxing.  We also enjoyed our first formal dinner.

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Thursday: We spent our entire day traveling to/from and visiting Catalina Island where we got to snorkel, enjoy a massage on the beach as well as an awesome BBQ right on the sand!

Friday: Our last full day was spent doing nothing. We arrived at the beach in the morning and stayed till 5 p.m. Each one of us enjoyed naps and getting some serious pages read in our books of choice.

Saturday: We were leaving at noon, but it gave us plenty of time to enjoy the ocean, pool, and alcoholic beverages one last time.

This vacation was just what we needed to recharge. We loved not having a schedule to follow for the week and being able to do whatever we wanted. We definitely missed the kiddos though, and were happy to see them when we got home very early Sunday morning. Now, back to reality!

We’re linking up with HoHo Runs and Misssippipiddlin for the Weekly Wrap

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Three Keys To Any Training Plan

We’ve got a guest post today from my running coach Denny Krahe. Denny  is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Running Coach specializing in helping runners prevent common running injuries and experiencing the joy of running pain free. He also hosts  “Diz Runs Radio”

Denny Krahe Headshot

Officially getting into the workouts on your training plan for your next race is an exciting time.

You’re no longer running just to run, you’re running in the pursuit of a goal that is 16ish weeks away.

Whether you have downloaded a training plan online, are putting one together on your own, and have purchased a training plan from a good coach you now have a plan to help you get from where you are currently to where you want to be on race day.

So all you need to do is follow the training plan, right?

Not exactly…

3 Keys to a Successful Training Cycle

Honestly, is there anything in life that ends up being as simple as it sounds on paper?

I didn’t think so.

Here are 3 keys that I stress with all of the runners that I coach and that I stress in my upcoming book Be Ready on Race Day. I would strongly encourage you to keep these tips in mind as you dive into your training plan and start preparing for your race.

  • Your Plan is NOT Set in Stone

If I were only going to give you one tip to be successful in your training, this would be it!

Your plan is not set in stone. It is not gospel.

If you need to change something in your training plan because of factors beyond your control, that is fine.

The kids are going to need something that will screw up your plan for the day. You are going to have to go into work early/stay late which will cost you a run. The weather might take a turn and you might be too stubborn to even consider running on a treadmill.

(Maybe that last one is just me…)

The point is, at some point in your training cycle the odds are that something will pop up and conflict with your training plan.

No worries.

Be willing to adjust your plan as needed because I can almost guarantee that you’re going to need to.

  • No Single Run is “Do or Die”

When life happens and you’re forced to miss a workout, how do you react?

Whether you turn to hysterics, break down and cry, or give up on your training altogether I have news for you: the sun is going to come up tomorrow.

Meaning, when you miss a run life keeps going and you need to as well.

I promise you, if you only miss one run while you are training for your race, you will still be fully prepared for your race.

Think about it, how many miles are you going to put in between now and race day? Probably a few hundred? Do you really think that missing one run is going to undo all of the progress you’ll have made during this training cycle.

Please.

When you miss a run, let it go and move on because that run isn’t going to cost you a thing.

You know what will cost you? Missing a run and then trying to make up for it the next day and you end up with an injury.

Please, don’t make that mistake.

If you miss a run, do your best to simply brush it off and move on to the next day.

  • Listen to Your Body

Our bodies are amazing.

The things that your body allows you to do, the amount of information it processes every second of every day, and how it adapts to the demands that you place on it are astounding.

When something isn’t right, our bodies know about it right away.

And, for the most part, it does a great job of letting us know that something is going on that needs to be addressed.

We, however, tend to do a terrible job of listening to our bodies.

We may notice that there is something that doesn’t feel quite right, but since we are training for a race we keep grinding and try to ignore the pain.

Has that ever solved anything? I didn’t think so.

What happens instead is that the problem gets worse in order for us to accept that there is a problem and do something to try and fix it.

But here’s the thing: if you listen to what your body is telling you and act accordingly, you can often prevent it from getting worse while you continue running. When you wait until it gets bad enough that you have to address it, you will likely need to take time off for the body to do the necessary repair work.

Learning how to listen to your body and adjust your training appropriately is a skill that takes some time to learn, but it is invaluable if you plan to make running part of your life for many years to come.

Perfection is Impossible

In a perfect world you’d get your training plan, follow it to the letter, and nail your goals on race day.

This is, however, a far from perfect world in which we live.

As you begin your training plan to prepare for your race, remember that perfection is impossible.

You will not adhere to your plan perfectly.

So when life happens, and it will, keep these tips in mind as you continue to prepare for your race.

Welcome to 2017…wait, what?

We would like to wish each and everyone reading this a Happy New Year! As you may have noticed, we have been pretty absent since November. This absence was partly by design and mostly because life has been kicking our butts.

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No excuses, we need to be better. We want to be and we will be. Not just for our readers, but for us. We started this blog in the spring of 2015 as a project to work on as a couple. It’s a spot where we put down or thoughts, list out goals, talk about our struggles and mostly keep it real.

I wish we had some grand plan for 2017, but we don’t. What we do know is that we will both be members of the SLS3 Racing Team for 2017, we will be hosting our third charitable 5k in June and representing Autism Speaks at this year’s 40th  Chicago Marathon in October.

The rest of our race calendar for 2017 is nearly finished. You can check out the race calendar  page to see which races we’ll be attending throughout the year.

As always there are going to be some challenges ahead- Travis will be undergoing surgery at the end of March. Barring any unforeseen complications he should fully recovered and ready to go for Chicago training.

Also, we are eagerly awaiting the end of the month when we get to take our first vacation sans kids in over five years. We love our kiddos, but Mom and Dad need a quick recharge! We’re headed to the sunny Dominican Republic for a week with some good friends. We’ve got some fun excursions planned like snorkeling and zip lining. Can’t wait!

Over the last couple of weeks not only did we celebrate Christmas and New Years, but both of our kids birthdays as well! Parker turned five this year and Peyton turned two. We’re having a party for them this coming weekend, but here’s some photos from their birthday  celebrations at home. With having birthdays only a day a part, we make sure that each child gets their own celebration. For Parker we had a pizza picnic on the floor and Peyton was turned into a princess for the day complete with nails and a ball gown.

We are very much looking forward to what 2017 has to bring, and hope to connect with you all very soon!

Our 2016 Holiday Gift Ideas – and a Present to One Lucky Reader

Christmas is only ten days away, and while we think we are finished with our shopping there always seems to be one gift that we forget we needed to purchase and end up shopping at the last-minute.

Today we wanted to share some gift ideas for the runner in your life. Keep reading all the way through, we’ve got a giveaway from Holloway to share as well!

Stocking Stuffers:

Road ID– Every runner should have one of these. We seriously can’t recommend them enough! Customize it with a badge or two to match their personality. They even make ID’s that snap onto an Apple Watch and Fitbit or Garmin fitness trackers and watches.

Nuun- A tube or two of a favorite flavor makes the perfect stocking stuffer.

Buff– These are such versatile pieces! With 12 different ways to wear it, a Buff makes a great addition to any runner’s closet!

A Personalized Gift:

What better way to surprise a runner than to commemorate hitting a goal, or celebrating a year of accomplishments? This one can go a couple of different ways.

If you’re the crafty type here’s a fun idea that only takes a short time to make.


I made these last year using the bibs from all of the races that Travis ran in 2015. Rather than cutting up the actual bib I made photo copies and cut them to fit the letters. A couple of layers of mod podge and some dry time (they should at least dry over night, but preferably a couple of days so they’re not tacky feeling) and you’re done!

You can also find a ton of running related gifts online that can easily be personalized. Each year we have a tradition of getting a new ornament for our tree, and I had this one made to commemorate Travis’ (former) PR in Chicago last year.

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One final awesome personalized gift idea is to get a race course print made with all the pertinent information to remember the day. These are designed well, hand-made and look great in any room in your house.  I know from experience these are a wonderful gift to receive and will help commemorate that special someone’s hard work and dedication.

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New Gear: 

Some awesome new gear is always on someone’s wish list. Here are a few gift ideas we know we would (or have) loved.

Every runner wants a GPS watch. You still don’t need one to enjoy the sport and get healthy but they are nice and provide a ton of useful information. In our household, we would recommend the Garmin Vivoactive lineup of watches. The Vivoactive and the Vivoactive HR are perfect watches for those maybe looking to take their training to a new level. Although not the most expensive or the cheapest available, they are respectably priced and offer way more features than simply time and distance. Be sure to check out our YouTube videos on the Vivoactive HR if you have questions (click the link in our “Connect with Us” section).

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When your special someone is logging a lot of miles over the course of 2017, they will need to take every opportunity to recover. May we suggest the best compression socks / sleeves available anywhere. The SLS3 Compression lineup is amazing, affordable and best of all they come in sizes to fit your legs and an array of colors to match your outfit!  IMG_1647

If you run in cold weather like we do, you need a jacket that you can layer and will provide a break from the elements, without weighing too much or being to bulky. Enter, the Raider Softshell Jacket by Holloway Sportswear. This lightweight and weather-resistant jacket will become a staple for all your outdoor activities no matter the time of year.

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Our friends at Holloway Sportswear have offered us a Raider Softshell Jacket (the men’s version is here and the women’s is here) to give away to one of our readers! Keep it for yourself or give it as a gift, that’s up to you! Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment telling us one thing on your Christmas List
  2. Follow @hollowaysportswear on Instagram and leave a comment telling us you did
  3. Follow @taleof2halfs on Instagram and leave a comment telling us you did!

The giveaway will run through December 21 and we’ll update this post with the winner. Good luck!

*******Winner!*******

Congratulations to Maggie for winning the Holloway Sports Raider Softshell Jacket!

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