Thursday, July 24, 2014

When did I become so bad at blogging?

It seems with the lull in running, I don't blog. While there are other things I could write about (and I'm about to), I'm not sure you're all that interested in every move I make. No worries, I'll be back at it very soon!

Without a goal race on the calendar I've gone back to running when I feel like it or when I can fit it in. I've taken the boys out in the double stroller a couple times, but I've cut way back on the mileage. I actually woke up this morning with the intention of running, but my left knee is acting a little funky and with the Spandits! 5K on Saturday, I figure heading out there may do more harm than good. I don't believe this one run would magically make me PR, though it would have felt good to run in the rain after the heatwave we've been having. So I'm taking this opportunity to write this instead since I'm awake!

I've up to my eyeballs in projects around the house. I'm still painting my fence. I've got two more panels to go on the inside and then the whole outside to paint. Hopefully I'll be done my the end of the summer! I've also taken on painting my parents' house and a small renovation of their bathroom, so my schedule is full. 

My little painter.

So far this summer has been full of fun. Last weekend Ian and the boys headed to Long Island (Maine) for Ian's family reunion. I was working so I had the house to myself (late night nachos and DIY show marathons). I met them down there on Monday and enjoyed a gorgeous day on the island. It's hard to believe that in a little over a month it will be 10 years since we got married there!

En route to Long Island

I'm very excited to be representing Spandits! as an ambassador this weekend at the Spandits! 5K in Farmington. I'll be meeting up with a couple other ambassadors and spreading the Spandits! love. 

I don't really have any goals for this race other than to have fun. I'm not expecting a PR given my lack of speedwork or running altogether. The race isn't until 6:15 in the evening, so it's going to be interesting to figure out what and when to eat beforehand. The forecast is showing temps in the 80s, so it's going to be hot. I am so taking Jen up on her offer to jump in the lake at their cottage afterward! Have you checked out Spandits! yet? The patterns are so fun and there is something there for everyone, including kids! Be sure to tell them that I (Carrie) sent you!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bath Heritage Days 1-Mile Fun Run and 5-Miler {Race Recap}

Let's get around to this race recap before next year rolls around, shall we?

Last year we all ran in the Bath Heritage Days 5-Miler with me pushing the boys in the double stroller with a ton of help from Ian. The 4th of July in 2013 was so hot, 94 degrees was too much for me. You can read about that here

Earlier this year, I had decided that there was no way I'd be pushing two even bigger boys for this hilly race and they were excited to run the mile fun run. Ian (self-admittedly) was not in race shape for the 5-miler, so it was decided that we would all do the one mile and I would run the five mile solo.

With my little runners!
We pinned on our bibs and got all lined up for the fun run. Finn (age 4) had announced that he was going to win and really wanted to start at the front, but I made him settle for the middle behind the big kids. The start is downhill and we all stuck together for a little bit. 

Finn, out in front.
Zeke, showing good form and focus.

We split up when Zeke wanted to take a walk break, so I stuck with him while Finn forged ahead with Ian. We'd run a little, walk a little, but made it all the way to the finish. It was a highlight for Zeke when heading up the hill to the finish seeing his Kindergarten teacher cheering him on followed by the people clapping and cheering at the finish. 

Photo courtesy Michelle Rooney

And Finn? He ran the whole way without stopping, and between the four of us came in first.

Right before his first 'win'. Photo courtesy Michelle Rooney

There was a little bit of time before the 5-miler so we just rested on a bench while I went back and forth on deciding if I wanted to wear a shirt or not. The humidity was high and I was already sweaty even from just walking fast/slow jogging with Zeke. In the last possible second, I decided it had to come off. I'd rather people stare at me than me suffer from the heat. And maybe my less than tight stomach distracted them from my ugly legs. But honestly, who cares?

I didn't have a goal going into this race. I knew I'd be faster this year since I wasn't pushing a giant stroller full of boys, but didn't know how fast. Really my one goal was to finish ahead of Zeke's Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. London. I knew from stalking the results of past races she ran around my pace. I was hoping for around an 8:30 pace given the weather and the course difficulty. 

The race started at a comfortable pace and Mrs. London was running just ahead of me with one of her friends. My first mile came in at 8:11. I was thanking myself for the decision to run shirtless. 

Can't miss me in my bright Spandits! skirt! 

The course is really hilly and mostly an out and back course that follows the river. But the best part of running a local race is knowing the terrain in and out. I knew what every hill felt like from running them in training and knew what was coming up next and how far I had left to go. 

Bath Heritage Days 5-Mile course map

5-Mile course profile

There was a water stop at just over 1.5 miles so I walked to take a sip of water and dump the rest over my shoulders. I had fallen a little bit further behind from the quick stop, but could still see Mrs. London and her friend. There was also an older lady that I leap-frogged for a majority of the race that was just up ahead. Mile two was 8:23 and was still feeling good.

The turn around happens just before mile 2.5 and the gap between Mrs. London and I had become shorter and I eventually passed them on an uphill (my strong point). Mile three was 8:25. I was hot, but I was managing the heat better than I expected. I did feel like I was holding back, but didn't want to crash and burn before the finish.

I walked a little bit again when I got back to the water stop, this time just past mile three and Mrs. London and friend passed me. I quickly caught back up but was getting tired and really started to overheat. The sun was starting to burn through the clouds. Between miles three and four are the longest uphills too and was thankful they added another water stop right before mile four. That last quick walk break made my mile four split the slowest of the day at 9:12, but it also gave me a huge jump in energy. 

I started running faster and faster. There is a steep downhill that I cruised down and kept up the momentum on the long uphill to the finish line. I was flying uphill at an sub-7 pace, so fast that I forgot to stop my watch at the finish! Mile five - 7:30...that's faster than my 5K PR pace!

Hey, I DO have abs!
This is what 6:58 pace looks like going uphill.

Final stats:
41:40, 8:20 average pace
87/244 overall
24/119 women
6/28 AG (30-39)

Even though summer racing isn't my thing, I love making this race a tradition. It's a great challenge and a fun way to start off the Independence Day festivities here in Bath!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Let's do a little update...

Well, I slightly fell off the blogging planet, but with the half marathon behind me, I'm not training for anything (well I am, but it hasn't gotten serious yet), I just needed a little breather from early morning wake-ups to run. I did race on the 4th and I promise to get that recap up, hopefully by tomorrow. I got to enjoy a great holiday weekend with my family so I took a short blogging hiatus. 

Before the Bath Heritage Days 1-mi Fun Run
Sparklers with cousins at the waterfront

I've been working everyday on my fence project and I am so sore. My arms and legs are so tired! Home improvement = strength training. I contemplated getting up to run this morning, but my body had other thoughts. I've been painting for a few days now, but yesterday I spent a good eight hours ripping down one side, digging holes, setting posts, and putting the new fence up. By the time I got to working on the gate a thunderstorm rolled in and my brain was so fried that I called it a day.

After! (minus the gate)

I did get the gate finished and installed today. It's not a work of art by any means, but I used scrap lumber and salvaged fence parts so it was free. It will look a ton better once I finish the'll just have to wait to see the finished project.

Anyway, my mental state is telling me that I need to run soon and I'm hoping to get back to following a training plan next week. Talk to you soon!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sunsational Salad Burger Topper {Recipe and Review}

Once the warm weather hits, all I want to do is cook on the grill. There is something so delicious about flame-kissed food that provides me a high level of happiness.

While grilled burgers, steaks and pork are huge hits in my family, I also want to make sure they eat all their veggies too. I was given the opportunity to review the Sunshine Burger line through my affiliation with FitApproach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador and jumped at the chance to add a new staple to my family's diet.

Sunshine Burgers are all organic and non-GMO and are the #1 certified organic veggie burger in the United States. They are also gluten-free and dairy-free and contain no wheat, soy, corn, oats, eggs, tree nuts or peanuts. They have eight different varieties so there is sure to be something to please everyone's taste!

You can find Sunshine Burgers locally too! Their Find-a-Store feature on their website makes it easy to bring "sunsational" food into your home. While I could only find the Garden Herb variety in the stores near me, Sunshine Burgers are also available through Amazon.

The boys and I got my husband a new grill for Father's Day, and what better way to break it in than with a new recipe! I don't know about you, but I love crisp veggies on a hot day so I created a super quick and easy Cucumber, Tomato and Onion salad as a topper for our Sunshine Burgers! It is also great as a side as well.

Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced (I used Vidalia for the sweetness)
1 T. balsamic vinaigrette 

Combine veggies in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. 

See? Quick and easy, and now you have more time to enjoy your family and the fantastic weather.

Grilling the Sunshine Burgers is quick as well. They are pre-baked and browned so all you need to do it heat them up! I melted some sharp cheddar on them too, but you can add what ever toppings you like. There are a lot of recipes to choose from on the Sunshine Burger website. 

So how about the taste? They were delicious. The patties have a good consistency and the flavors were amazing. The grilled burger paired nicely with the crispness of the salad and made a great summer meal. They boys were a little skeptical about the burgers, but it was something completely new for them. They loved the salad though!

Would you like to try Sunshine Burgers for yourself? 

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Disclaimer: I received Sunshine Burger product to review without monetary compensation. All opinions are my own. I was given the opportunity to review through the Sweat Pink Ambassador community. Giveaway starts 6/27/14 and ends 12:00 AM on 7/5/14 EST.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spandits!® Just Wanna Have Fun

I am super excited to announce that I've been named as an ambassador for Spandits! and will be running and racing as part of Team Spandits!

If you're not familiar with Spandits!, you will be now!

Spandits! was started by two mother runners who were looking for good quality athletic apparel that was also fun and made a statement. All of the products are handmade by them and they are amazing (the products and the people). The fabrics used are environmentally-friendly and formaldehyde-free and there are no other toxic chemicals used in the printing process. I'm also very happy to be able to support a local, Maine company. 

I wear my skull Spandits! capris a lot! I wore them while scaling walls, climbing ropes, and throwing spears at Spartan Race: Fenway Park last year. 

I wore them for the MDI Marathon while my runner girls, Jen, Jill, and Stacy did a relay. Literally everyone commented on how awesome our pants were! 

With Jen, fellow Spandits! Ambassador!

I've even worn them while using power tools!

Makes the reciprocating saw just that much more badass!

I'm looking forward to sharing more of my Spandits! with you this year. 

Like Spandits! on Facebook here and follow on Twitter and Instagram! You can also check out for their full product line! And make sure to tell them that Carrie sent you!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kennebec River Rail Trail Half Marathon {Race Recap}

So the half marathon I've been training for for the last four months came and went on Sunday morning. I'll just start with saying I was not in the right frame of mind going into Sunday which disappoints me. I was trying not to get nervous about the race. I put in a fairly decent training cycle, not perfect, but I felt pretty strong. I knew I could not control the weather, but it concerned me since I am a terrible summer racer. I had to just go in and do the best I could with what I was given. But I wasn't excited. The night before Ian even commented that I didn't seem very excited about it. I just felt...indifferent.

I woke up early on Sunday and headed up to Augusta solo to pick up my bib and race shirt.

Green logo on white...soft and good for summer running.

I saw a few people I knew (Andy, Harold, Louise, Sarah) and just hung out until the start. The temperature was in the low 60s, but the sun had started to warm things up quickly. Right before the start Jen and Jill arrived. Jen decided to do the 5K instead since she was just recovering from a bout of bronchitis, but the rockstar she is still killed it and came in second female

I wasn't ready to embrace the discomfort of running for nearly two hours. I wasn't looking forward to the heat. Anyway, I tried to get my head in the game as the race started. 

At the first turn (Photo courtesy Running With The Girls)

I started off comfortable (a tad fast) and it didn't take long to find a good stride. Sarah blasted past me and I had to tell myself to run my own race. Andy snuck up on me within the first mile and we stayed side by side for the first four miles. {Miles 1-4 ~ 7:59, 8:09, 7:57, 8:04} I was running at the pace I had trained for, but by mile five I was feeling the effects of the heat. Andy and I had reeled in Sarah, but I was thinking I would have to slow down to make it to the end. 

I stopped at the next water stop and dumped one cup on my head and drank some while I walked for a few seconds to slow down my heart rate. {Mile 5 ~ 8:33} Andy pulled ahead while Sarah and I stuck together for a few miles. 

Me and Sarah

I saw my parents on the side of the road which was a nice pick-me-up. And it meant that we weren't far from the turnaround point. {Mile 6 ~ 8:40} Seeing this split was a bummer since it was slower than my half PR pace, but I had banked some time in the first few miles I was still thinking I had a chance (even though it would be tough). We hit the turnaround point and the race clock said 55:xx. I'd have to run back (albeit a shorter distance) in the same time to get my A goal. I knew a sub-1:50 was not going to happen today. They weather was just too warm. 

On to goal B: better than 1:52:03, 8:33 average pace (current half PR)

I had to keep reminding myself to just run the mile I was in. I was thankful for running with Sarah, even though no words were exchanged between us, I was nice knowing someone else was there with you. {Miles 7 and 8 ~ 8:31, 8:54} At each water stop I would walk through grabbing two cups and sipping from one while dumping the other on my head. Sarah dropped off at mile eight and I just focused on getting to the point where my parents were spectating (which was right after the mile 8 marker on the way back). 

At least I can still manage a smile!

Immediately after seeing my parents I heard Jen's voice. SPONGES! The sponges were near! 

She handed me one that was ripped in two as well as a small bottle of water, I yelled "I love you!" and carried on. I tucked the wonderfully ice cold sponges on my shoulders while I walked for a moment and drank. I had only eaten one Shot Blok at mile five, but my tummy was feeling a tad sloshy which in turn was making me nauseous. I decided to wait until the next water stop at mile 10 to eat another. {Miles 9 and 10 ~ 9:04, 8:57}

I had come down the big hill into Hallowell and through town and knew that I would be able to make it to the end, but by this point my average pace was right around my PR pace. I didn't feel like I could run any faster. My legs were dead and I was so hot. I had hit the wall. Thankfully Jen was waiting right before I got on the trail again and I switched out my sponges for a cold one and promptly stuffed it down my shirt. 

My average pace was now above my PR pace and I felt like I was barely surviving at this point. Now I was just trying to hold onto my C goal, PR the course (faster than 1:55:05, 8:47 average pace).

{Mile 11 ~ 8:53} All I could think about was getting to the finish line. I thought about if I saw the boys at the finish I'd slow down and get them to run across the line with me. Usually I'm all about racing to the finish. But even if it meant missing my time goal, I'd still choose to run with them. Thinking of those two were what got me through the last two miles. 

I didn't care anymore about the time on the clock and as a result posted my slowest mile of the day (Mile 12 ~ 10:06} While my watch was beeping the miles just before reaching the posts along the course in the beginning, I was now reaching the mile markers prior to my watch reaching the split. Once the finish line came in view and saw that it was a lot closer than in years prior, I knew the course was going to be short. I scanned the sidelines for Ian and the boys, but didn't see them. I crossed the finish just as my watch beeped 13 miles {9:02}. The race clock and my watch read the same number 1:52:50. A course PR...though it was short. 

Not quite a half.

Andy's watch read nearly a tenth of a mile short too. The final results added on 16 seconds to my finish time, so they must have been adjusted to take the short course into account. 

And with that, my third half marathon was over. Not what I wanted the outcome to be, but given the weather and the fact my head wasn't in it, I'm happy with the number I got. I will get that sub-1:50, I know that I just have to put in more work to get there.

Official stats:
1:53:06, 8:38 average pace (course PR by 1:59)
77 out of 195 overall
32 out of 114 females
15 out of 43 in age group (30-39)

Final thoughts on the KRRT Half Marathon:

Pros - 
  • best course support from volunteers I've experienced in the last three years of doing this event (half in 2012, 5K in 2013)
  • nicer looking race shirts with softer technical fabric
  • they gave out medals for the first time this year (though not fancy)
  • it is on a paved trail I have run on a lot and am familiar with
  • quite a few shaded areas and it runs along the pretty Kennebec River
Cons - 
  • the race fee is pretty high ($45 for pre-registration) for what you get. It is run on a trail and there is only one road crossing, so there isn't much needed for police presence. While I don't run for the shirt or a medal, there is nothing special about either. Registration fees go toward the upkeep of the trail, however it is unusable in the winter months. One reason for the higher fee might be that because the race is capped at 250 participants due to the trail width.
Overall, I'm happy to do this race even though it's always a tad warm. Other than one significant hill, it's very flat. It's nice to be able to run a race that is within an hour drive and I know I'll always be coming back. Maybe next year I'll go back to the 5K and defend my age group title. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week in Review and Another Mother Runner!

Well I've certainly been taking the taper well. I actually didn't get in my run this weekend, but oh well. It happens. This is what last week looked like.

Tuesday - 10 miles, 9:10 average pace, last mile 8:27 + dinner with the girls for Stacy's belated b-day!

From this... this!

Wednesday - off

Thursday - hilly tempo run, 6.39 mi, 8:49 average pace

Couldn't even manage to stand for a picture.

Friday-Monday - off 

Sunday was a day for Ian and my dad, so I wasn't going to take time out to run then and couldn't manage to wake up early. I was a chaperone for Zeke's field trip to Popham Beach State Park on Monday. 

Zeke (stripes) on a beach scavenger hunt with a classmate.

By then I didn't want to screw up taking it easy this week before the half so I'm making sure my legs are really rested before next Sunday. Not that I can do anything about it, but I've been checking the weather at least three times a day and it is currently showing partly cloudy with a low of 54 and a high of 72. I'm just hoping it stays on the cool side until just before 9:30 AM when I cross the finish line then it can heat up all it wants. 

Some exciting news! I was interviewed for Another Mother Runner's Follow This Mother blog segment. Run Like a Mother by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell was the first book I read when I was getting back into running in 2011. 

Hey, that's me!

To be featured on their popular blog is an honor, to say the least. You can read my interview here.

Well, only one more training run on Thursday morning and I'll be as ready as I can be for Sunday's half. Though it hasn't been perfect, I've put in some really good miles and had many solid runs, so I'm feeling pretty confident. Here's hoping for rain!