Friday Five 2.0 1/6 — 2017 Goals

It’s that time of year again! Along with just about everyone, we’ve set some goals that we’d like to accomplish in the upcoming year.

 

Jen: for the most part I’ve decided on making general goals rather than specifics.

  1. Read More: reading is one of my favorite things to do and yet I never seem to find the time. My goal is to read at least one chapter of a book each night before bed. I’m starting off the year with Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I’ve started a running list of books that I’d like to read on Good Reads, so I’ll happily take any suggestions you might have!
  2. Consistency: I’d like to do everything that I can to avoid injury again this year. So one of my goals (this actually might be my main goal for the year) is to be consistent- consistent with running, consistent with cross training and consistent with prehab and everything else that can keep my hip happy.
  3. PR in the half marathon and 5K distances: I’ve been working towards a 2:30 half for a while now and I’d like to keep chipping time off towards hitting that time. I’d also like to finally hit a sub-30 5K at some point this year!
  4. Fundraise $3,000 for Autism Speaks. Ok, this one is specific. I’d like to double what I was able to fundraise through Team Up! last year. In addition to our Piece By Piece 5K in June which is the main fundraising event for the both of us, I’ve got a few fun ideas in the works. I’m currently planning a paint and sip class as a fundraiser and am in contact with a local Zumba instructor about doing something with her as well.  Autism is a cause very close to our hearts so it is very important to me to raise as much as I can and bring as much awareness as I can.team-up
  5. Run a full marathon: This is a carry over goal from last year. My hip injury prevented me from running Chicago last fall, so hopefully this is the year!

 

Travis:

  1. Run 2,000 Miles: This is by far my toughest goal this year. I ran 1,916 miles in 2016 but I am having surgery this March and will out of commission for a minimum of 8 weeks. My mileage before and after surgery will have to be high.
  2. Increase Our Charity 5k Participation to 150 People: For that last two years we have had 131 and 132 participants. I would like to hit the 150 mark this year!
  3. Finish House Projects: Owning a home means a never ending to do list. This year one of my goals is to at least get semi caught up on some of the projects that have been sitting on the back burner- like staining the decks and the new fence.
  4. Grow My YouTube Channel: A while back I posted a series of YouTube videos on the Garmin VivoActive HR. I really enjoyed doing the videos and it’s something I’d like to explore a little further this year.
  5. Run a Sub 3:15 Marathon: I’m not sure if this one will be possible given that I’m having surgery, but I’d like to PR at the marathon distance. I’ll need to take 12 seconds off to hit 3:15, so we’ll see if I can make it happen!img_0150

 

 

We’re linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0!

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2016 TCS NYC Marathon Recap

So, yeah…it’s been three weeks and I haven’t posted my race recap. Most might not be interested anymore, but I’ll write it anyway. 

The New York City Marathon is quite literally unlike any other marathon in the world. The size of the field, the number of volunteers and the logistics involved make this race absolutely unforgettable. I was lucky enough to receive my entry through the lottery on my first try (sorry to those who’ve been trying for years) and this was my second year in a row after running for Team Up with Autism Speaks in 2015.

It was great to know what to expect this year which left me able to enjoy the day more without worrying about the fine details of when, where, or how. One of the best experiences of the race is the start village. This year I was assigned the orange corral and when I arrived I was greeted with an amazing sunrise.

The weather was about as perfect as possible for early November and the few hour wait in the start village wasn’t bad. I met up with Chris before the race and we wished each other good luck before I headed to the start corrals for my wave 1 start.

What I think New York does better than anyone else is the start. The introductions of the elite runners, the singing of the National Anthem, the boom of the cannon signaling the start and then the playing of “New York, New York” as you begin your journey of the five burroughs is truly a sight to behold. If this race is not on your bucket list, add it!

Now, on to the race. It didn’t go well. I wasn’t expecting to run a PR after a good run in Chicago weeks earlier, but I was hoping for better. Unfortunately, the week leading up to the race I injured my groin at work and wasn’t 100% healthy when I lined up on the start line. I tried to run a fast race but by mile 11 I knew it wasn’t possible as the pain began to get worse. 

I understood there was more to the day than the time at the finish so I continued on. I first saw my wife right at Mile 17 on First Avenue in Manhattan. It was exciting to see her since she wasn’t able to come along last year, to have her there to share the day with, and because she had pain killers! After stopping for medicine I was back on my way, albeit way off target pace. 

Although I was in a decent amount of discomfort, I took in the sights and sounds of the final miles more than I remember doing last year and I took my disappointment and tried to encourage others as they passed me. Jen was waiting for me just before Columbus Circle with about a 1/2 mile to go. I ran over and gave her a sweaty hug and big kiss – thanking her for supporting me this year as I began to get emotional about the day, the disappointment of the race and everything I did this year.

For the first time ever in a race, I took my phone out near the finish line and recorded a short (and very shaky) video. I crossed the finish line in 3:31:23. Although I know this is a respectable time, it was disappointing to finish over 16 minutes slower than Chicago. Despite the time, I received my medal with the biggest smile on my face. 

I know I’ve written a lot about how running has changed me. The reason for frequenting this topic is because running does change you. The changes aren’t just physical, but mentally and emotionally as well. Every time I train for and run a marathon, I learn. I learn to ignore the naysayers and the self doubt that all to often creeps up. I learn about discipline, dedication to something, and most importantly, I learn that hard work has more benefits than a time on a clock. 

I watched as my family supported me, as my children wished me good luck every time I went for a run, and as I ruined shoes and some clothes along the journey to the Finish Line in Central Park after running over 1,900 miles this year. Now, I’m watching as the calendar creeps toward 2017 and as my body continues to recover from injury preventing me from running. I look forward to the next chapter and where it takes me and wonder what I’ll learn along the way.

2015 in Review

New Year’s is almost upon us and with it the end of a memorable 2015. We thought we’d take a look back and highlight some great memories.

Our year began with a headline, literally:

Canton-Potsdam Hospital welcomes 2015’s first baby

POTSDAM — It’s becoming somewhat of a tradition for Travis and Jennifer to welcome a new addition to their family around the turn of the New Year.

Jennifer gave birth to St. Lawrence County’s first baby at 8:29 a.m. Friday at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, after all of the other area hospitals’ delivery rooms were quiet on New Year’s Day.

Peyton Leigh has an older brother, Parker, who was a New Year’s Day baby back in 2012. Parker was the third baby born in St. Lawrence County in 2012.

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Our wealth in life is not measured by the money in our bank account but with the people we have in our lives. Jen and I are blessed with amazing, smart, loving and caring children who truly make our lives complete. Although we know in our hearts we are done having children, I’m sure we will miss beginning our year in the hospital.

In March, a few short weeks before starting our blog, the better half and I traveled across the state to watch a once in a lifetime musical act – Garth Brooks. We are both fans of country music and Garth epitomizes the best of the genre. He did not disappoint and any future acts we see will have a lot to live up to.
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April brought the start of Tale of 2 Halfs and it has been a learning experience along the way. What do we share, what stays private, how do we get people interested and keep them entertained? These are all questions we faced and are still working on answers to. Suggestions are appreciated.

May is a wonderful time of the year in the Northeast when the weather gets warmer as the days get longer. It’s also the start of racing “season” – although many wonderful races happen before this point in the year. We traveled to Buffalo and participated in the half marathon over Memorial weekend and were able to meet an absolute icon in the running community, Mr. Bart Yasso.wpid-imag0631_1.jpg June arrived swiftly and ushered in marathon training. With the start of training for the Chicago Marathon for Travis, it essentially ended the running year for Jen. My wife sacrificed almost a whole year to allow me to pursue a dream. Her full support and encouragement made the accomplishment even more unforgettable.

July was a very busy month as Jen and I held our inaugural Piece by Piece 5K benefiting Team Up with Autism Speaks. We had a great turnout and are actually already planning next year’s event. We also traveled to our home state of Michigan and ran the Canal Run half marathon in our hometown area. Parker was even able to get another race under his belt as he ran the kids dash.
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August was an intense month of training for me (Travis) and culminated with the 18.12 Challenge at the end of the month. A top 10 finish and a 7:00 min/mile pace proved my training was paying off for the Chicago Marathon. Meanwhile Jen was still a ‘marathon training widow.’

September saw the end of summer and brought cooler, shorter days. It also was the start to our sons first year in school. Parker broke our hearts when he walked into school like a champ and never showed any nerves or hesitation. He’s doing great and has learned so much in the first few months.
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October was the culmination of 18 weeks of training and fundraising with a family trip to Chicago. With a goal time of 3:15:00, I ultimately fell two and half minutes short, but still finished with a personal best time by taking over 18 minutes off my previous best. This race was everything I had hoped for and it was made more special by having family there cheering me on. I look forward to returning next year as Jen runs her first marathon.
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On the 1st of November, I completed my running season at the New York City Marathon. It was now time to recover and give my wife a much needed vacation. Jen would travel to Hilton Head, South Carolina for a girl’s weekend of sightseeing, relaxation and good food. This trip was her first time being away from the kids overnight. She would later say it felt like she was missing a body part for the first few days while she adjusted to this new sense of freedom.
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And finally, December brought a new training cycle to our house, this time for Jen. She is beginning to get back into running form as she prepares for a big year. She’s excited to be a brand ambassador for the first time for NUUN and is looking forward to running her first marathon (I think). In other news, I also just learned that I will get to be apart of Team SLS3 for 2016.

2015 sure gave us plenty to be grateful for. We sometimes get caught up in life and loose sight of what is important. Our individual accomplishments are great, but mean more when celebrated with family. That’s what we hoped you gained by reading the Tale of 2 Halfs this year. Hopefully, you stay with us in 2016.

We hope you have a blessed new year.

What’s Ahead in 2016 for Travis?

2015 was a year filled with amazing races, once in a lifetime experiences and many personal bests over 1,300 miles. With so much happening this year, what could I possibly achieve in 2016?

For starters, I was selected to be a member of Team SLS3 for 2016. It’s great to see a company promote and support a wide variety of athletes from beginners to professionals. I’m excited to be given this opportunity and look forward to supporting and promoting them as well.

As part of Team SLS3 I will be maintaining a busy race calendar, which is going to be very hard because I made a promise to support and encourage my wife on her journey to complete 26.2 miles at next year’s Chicago Marathon. She was very supportive of my application and selection to Team SLS3 and I know together, we can both have a great year.

Although I will be running more races than originally planned, my goal race for next year is early on during Memorial weekend at the Buffalo Marathon. I hope to finally eclipse the 3:15 mark as I slowly bring my time down. Training will be more difficult than it was for Chicago this year as many runs will take place during our long winter and may force me indoors more than I’d like.

In 2015 Jen and I became race directors for the first time after previously organizing only a virtual race. Our Piece by Piece 5K was a success and we are already working on the initial details of next year’s event. We hope to grow the event and with any luck, make a large donation to Team Up! with Autism Speaks, our designated charity.

And finally, my last goal is to see my wife succeed on her #journeyto26point2. I know how important proper training will be and she can only achieve her goals by putting in the hard work. I also know how much support from the family helps in achieving those goals as evidenced by this year. I’m going to be supporting her through every break through, heartbreak, injury (hopefully not), step and mile.

2016 is going to be busy, for both of us. We both have goals, ambitions and dreams and sometimes they come together at the same time. But it should make for great stories, so stayed tuned!

Looking Ahead to 2016

You may have noticed that only one of us has been running. Between work schedules, kids, and life in general we have found that it works best for us to alternate years for our big goal races. It becomes very difficult for us to both be training at the same time. Last year, I ran the Disney Princess Half, the Syracuse Half, and the Nike Women’s Half D.C. This year it was Travis’ turn to choose a major event to do and ended up doing both Chicago and NYC. He had aggressive goals for these races and with those kind of goals come with equally as aggressive training plans. I was able to fit in 2 halfs (Buffalo and the Canal Run) earlier in the year before his training really ramped up but decided that it would be a smart idea to forego a fall race this year. I’ve still been running, sneaking them in on the treadmill when time allows.

Now that his race season is over for the year it is time to start looking ahead to 2016. After much debate in my head, I have decided that 2016 will be the year that I go for a full marathon. To be completely honest, this idea is terrifying to me but I think that it’s time to see what my body can do. I had looked at several races and have ultimately decided that Chicago will be my goal race for the year. I plan on running with Team Up! with Autism Speaks as a charity runner (actually, both of us are planning to run with them.).

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The plan:

I’m currently building my base back up after only sporadic running for the past several months. Our lives have finally calmed down a bit after a really crazy fall so I’ve been working on getting my legs back in shape. At the end of December I will start a training plan for the Syracuse Half Marathon on April 3. I’m looking to PR at this race so there is going to be a lot of speed work thrown into this training cycle- something that I haven’t really done before. I’m still trying to decide which plan I’m going to follow for Syracuse, but I’m leaning right now towards a Higdon Intermediate plan. I’m thinking that running more miles may be the way to go for me in order to hit my goals for this race.

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I’m hoping to add in a couple other races in the spring/early summer and will begin training in June for Chicago. At the end of August I’m planning on running the 18.12 Challenge as a training run and to see where my conditioning is at going into Chicago.

So, that’s where I’m at for now! I’m planning on documenting my whole experience and doing weekly updates so you can all follow along! #journeyto26point2

For you marathoners- Which race was your first full?
Any tips for me going into my first marathon?

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