Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What's the Skinny?

Oh, you know. 

The usual. 

Been running a little (yes, still running a marathon in less than 10 weeks...AHHH!), but it is still insanely cold. 

We woke up to this last Tuesday...
But, it is supposed to reach 40 tomorrow! 40? That is like bathing suit weather...well, at least shorts. 

After nearly two weeks of a run slump after a crappy treadmill run (feeling sick, stressful crap going on, not used to running in one place in a warm room, definitely didn't hydrate enough, blah, blah, blah)... 

I'm crawling back.

For February I ran 55.15 miles (1 race...the Mid-Winter Classic...perhaps I'll get around to recapping that before summer hits) and biked 124 miles. I've got to get that run total higher, but I'm very happy with my cross-training!

My recumbent bike has been my new best friend. Last week I did 90 biking miles! Then Jen and I ran our 16-mile long run on Saturday...OUTSIDE!  

It was a little chilly, but most of all it was a big confidence booster. Sure it was a little tough and I petered out a bit at the end due to a fueling snafu, but we did it and I'm again believing that I can do this crazy marathon thing. 

Following the run I took the boys ice skating. They have never been. I haven't been in at least 20 years. 

I don't recommend ice skating after a long run, but it was fun and the boys had a blast. 

It shredded my legs though. Basically skating in a squat position to hold the boys up for an hour mixed with my own balance challenges meant it felt like I had run a downhill marathon afterward. I could barely walk down stairs for two days. 

I'm feeling a bit better today and have been doing some recovery miles on the bike. 

I just finished reading Lauryn Evarts new book, The Skinny Confidential. She's the voice behind the fitness and lifestyle blog of the same name. 

I found the book to be full of great little tips on how to better your life and touched on many topics including healthy recipes, tightening and toning exercises, skin and hair care, and more.

The book is written in a conversational style. It was more like talking about it over coffee rather than your standard how-to book. I'm really looking forward to incorporating some of her exercises into my routine and trying out some of her recipes. 

There is a big focus on eating simply with whole ingredients, but she also doesn't hesitate to mention that it is okay to cheat every once in a while. The cravings that we have are natural, but completely shutting them out isn't necessarily the healthiest either. It's about moderation. 

And Lauryn doesn't shove all this down your throat. She's honest and approachable and not the least bit preachy when sharing her experiences. 

I definitely recommend checking out The Skinny Confidential, there is a little bit in there for everyone. I know I'll be revisiting it again and again.

It's also available both in paperback or e-book versions on Amazon and from Barnes and Noble.

Until next time...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Let's Do This...

Oh, hey there! So I've been keeping busy and am always updating on Instagram in case you've missed me, but the Maine Coast Marathon is 14 weeks away (oh crap!) and I'm thinking I'm about ready to do this blog thing again! 

And since this is my first blog post of 2015, I'll do a quick recap of the past year. 

Miles run - 659.4
Considering I pretty much just ran when I could/felt like it, I'm happy with this number. It was higher than 2013 (491.8) and I ran a marathon that year. It also explains why I sucked so much at that marathon.

Races run - 11
Despite the heat, the Bath Heritage Days 1 Mile and 5 Miler were my favorites. I love racing in my hometown I was a super proud mama to see both boys finishing their first mile race.

PRs earned - 4
The Murph 5-Mile Trail Race, Bath Heritage Days 5 Miler, Topsham 250th 5K, Great Osprey 10K, and the Maine Mile, by default as it was my first mile race. 

Me and Jen at Great Osprey 10K

So how's 2015 going so far? 

I'd like to say that it is awesome and that I haven't missed a run. Of course I'm lying. It's been snowy and cold and icy and cold and...well, my run mileage is no where near where it should be. A measly 26.8 miles for January. I have, however, covered 164 miles on the indoor bike. I read somewhere that a bike miles to run miles ratio is 3:1, so every 3 miles biked equals 1 mile run. So if I counted those I did about 80 miles in January, which is pretty great for me. I'm not really counting my biking miles as running miles, but if I didn't have this bike I would be freaking out a lot more because I wouldn't be doing anything. 

The Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler is supposed to be on Sunday and I'm just awaiting word on if it will still be held since today we are getting snow yet again. 

For sure going to be wearing something warmer as the forecast is a high of 17*!

I was hoping to be in a little better shape at this point (I'm surely not feeling PR ready - 1:21:28), but given the conditions I think it will just be for fun and treat it as a long run.

I've got more to share, but I'll save that for my next post...I promise I won't be away too long!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top 5 Holiday Fit List

There are a lot of gift ideas going around, so I thought I'd share my top 5 fitness-related items I can't live without!

#1 FlipBelt

This little belt is simple in design, but sure holds a lot! There are four openings where you can slide in your phone, money, ID, running fuel, or key. There is even a little clip attached that holds your key secure.

They come in a rainbow of colors. I chose the aqua to match my favorite shoes! The FlipBelt stays in place with very minimal movement or bouncing and I'm really looking forward to using it during marathon training. The FlipBelt retails for $29 but you can save 10% with the code Sweat10 here! I also have some special coupons for a few lucky Maine Mom on the Run readers for 33% off a FlipBelt! I'll email the first 14 people who comment below a code for amazing deal...and make sure I can contact you back!

#2 Spandits!

A few from my Spandits! collection!
It really goes without saying how much I love my Spandits! The colors and patterns, the fabric that feels like a second skin, the great fit, and the fact that they are made locally here in Maine are all reasons I am a huge fan! They have something for everyone in the family including the kids. Save 10% on all orders with the code SPANDITSLOVE or 15% off all in-stock items through the end of the year! Visit them here and make sure to tell them Carrie sent you! 

#3 Mizuno Wave Rider 18

I've been wearing Mizuno running shoes for over two and half years now and they just work for me. I first wore the Wave Rider 17 and while I loved them, however I love the most recent edition the best. I picked up a pair of 18s at my local running store after trying a couple of other shoes of another brand and fell in love. They are honestly the best shoe I have ever worn and my favorite out of all my Mizuno shoes. They are a much better fit than the 17s and give my toes plenty of space, provide good support, and the materials are far superior and are holding up after many, many miles. I truly forget I'm wearing them. They retail for $120 and sorry no coupon code for these. For me, they are worth spending full price! Check them out here.

#4 Garmin Forerunner 10

I don't need a lot of bells and whistles for a running watch, but I am a numbers person and like to know how far I've run and look over my paces. The Forerunner 10 does just that. It's easy to use and program, and apart from occasionally taking a long time to connect to satellites (only when I'm running in a new place) it hasn't let me down! I like that it is small enough to even wear as a regular watch and the battery life is decent for a basic GPS. The Garmin Forerunner 10 retails for $130 and comes in several colors. Learn more here.

#5 LRS Gift Certificate

While it's not a specific item, I love getting gift card to my local running store. Sure, I like to shop online for a good deal, but you can't get that personal attention and care shopping from a website. I'm a big believer in supporting local business and give my local running store my business whenever I can.

And speaking of local running stores, my friend Seth Hasty, is opening up a shop in Hallowell very soon! From the photos he's been posting, it is going to be an amazing space. Check out Granite City Running on Facebook or on Twitter for updates!

Well, that's it! Don't forget to let me know below if you'd like a special code for 33% off a FlipBelt and have a Happy Holiday!

Disclosure: I was provided a FlipBelt for inclusion within the Sweat Pink Holiday Campaign, but all opinions are my own.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Great Osprey 10K {race recap}

Seeing that I registered for my first race of 2015 this morning I suppose I should get around to posting the recap of my last race of 2014.

A couple few weeks ago I ran the Great Osprey 10K in Freeport. I ran this race back in 2011, about 9 months after I started running again and I earned a 10K PR of 50:11. I just missed going sub-50 because I walked the last hill. You can read that recap here.

Great Osprey 10K 2011
Photo Credit: Maine Running Photos

Since then I've only run a handful of 10K races and they have been in the heat of summer when I just can't manage to race well. After three years I was due to earn myself a new personal best. 

I wasn't stressing about the race at all. I am just getting back to building up my mileage before marathon training starts so I haven't been following any sort of training plan, I've just been running. That also means I haven't done any sort of speed work. I did surprise myself with a new 5K PR in October, but the course was pretty flat. The course at Great Osprey is anything but flat. While I was pretty sure I had a PR in me, I didn't want to worry about it and would be fine with whatever the day brought. 

I did convince Jen to run it with me...though it wasn't hard. You can read her recap here. We got there at the same exact time and she gave me my birthday present! I'm already having a winning day and the race hasn't even started yet! They are really awesome arm sleeves with thumbholes and my blog name down the side! I love them and immediately put them on. It was cold!

Pretty cool, huh?

We did a quick warm up and found a place at the starting line. My Garmin refused to find a satellite. Jen has the exact same Garmin as me (only purple), but mine would just not lock on in time. Now I knew I had to keep up with her if I wanted any stats! 

The beginning of the race is a bit of a bottleneck as the course first goes on a dirt path to get out of Wolfe Neck Woods State Park, but we managed to stick together however had no idea really how many people were ahead of us. We both commented that our pace seemed fast, but it was showing just over an 8-minute pace. I needed to average less than an 8:06 pace to PR.

We passed by David of Maine Running Photos. The things he and the whole crew that volunteers their time to give the runners of Maine free racing photos is just awesome and so appreciated!

Photo credit: Maine Running Photos

The first mile came in at 7:58, so we had banked a few seconds of time here, but knew that some good sized hills were coming. I was trying to stay relaxed and get into a good groove. Mile two split was 8:20, but there was a hill or two in there. I can definitely tell that I'm a much stronger runner both physically and mentally than I was three years ago with how much easier the hills felt. Jen and I seem to even each other out, I would pull Jen up on the incline and she would make sure we keep up the speed on the declines. We couldn't talk much because we were racing, but we were working together and I was having fun!

Miles three and four splits, 7:54 and 8:11, which meant I was currently on the pace for an equal time from three years ago...though my fuzzy runner's brain couldn't figure that out at the time. I knew that we were very close. 

A little before mile 5 we hit a dirt road that was a little tough on footing as well as having an overwhelming smell of cow manure. Ugh. Once we hit the mile marker and Jen announced a split of 7:35 I knew I had a PR. I may have done a little fist pump and jumped in the air at that point. I felt incredibly strong at this point and there was no slowing me down now. David was taking more photos at this location and there was no wiping the smile off my face.

All smiles! Go Team Spandits!
Photo credit: Maine Running Photos

There was one last hill to go, the one that my brain and lungs forced me to walk three years ago, but this time I charged up that sucker and did not turn back. I did feel a little guilty at this point only because Jen fell behind a bit and I had thought I should slow up so we could finish together. 

Soon I turned into the park with a quarter mile to go. I rounded the corner to the finish and saw 49:3x on the clock and was ecstatic! Not only would I PR, but I got that elusive sub-50. Jen finished just a few seconds behind me.

We grabbed some water and headed back to our cars to get warm thinking there was no way we placed. Ward, Jen's husband, told us that there weren't many women in front of us...maybe there was a chance. We made it back just in time to hear them call the third place woman's name and time in our age group and we had faster times! We collected our medals, squealed and hugged like a couple of teenagers (hey, it was exciting!) and then headed out.

Photo credit: Running With The Girls

Final stats:
49:41, 8:00 pace
45/202 overall
8/107 women
1/49 in AG (30-39)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Next 26.2 {and a discount code}

Hi everyone! I've got some news! While I've already posted it on Instagram, I've yet to fully make it blog official, but I'm happy to announce that I've decided on a spring marathon! It's been a great year of relaxed running with racing shorter distances and fairly lax training, but I'm again ready to step it up a notch and see what this gal can do!

My choice was between two races, the Maine Coast Marathon on May 10 or Sugarloaf on May 17. While I love the course at Sugarloaf (ran the 15K in 2013 and 14+ miles of the course with Stacy as she did the full this spring), I'd like to switch things up a bit and try something new. 2015 will be a building year, and maybe, just maybe, if all goes well I might just attempt to BQ at Sugarloaf in 2016. And if I did, I would be moving up to the next qualifying time. So far, this is the only thing I'm looking forward to about turning 40. ;-)

So Maine Coast Marathon it is! Originally founded as the Nike Maine Coast Marathon in 1980, it was dropped as a Maine race in 1988. It was brought back as the Maine Coast Marathon in 2013 using the same course as those early years. A point-to-point race in southern Maine from Kennebunk to Biddeford, the Maine Coast Marathon boasts some gorgeous coastline views. It's also a Boston Qualifier!

In addition to the full marathon, they've added a few other options this year including a half marathon and bosom buddy relay on Saturday, May 9. And if you're really daring, sign up for the Maine Coast 39.3 Challenge and run the Half Marathon on Saturday and tackle the Full Marathon on Sunday!

I've partnered up with the Maine Coast Marathon and am excited to offer you a discount code for any of the Maine Coast Marathon races! So if you'd like to join me for a fun race in Maine in May (the weather is usually perfect this time of year!), sign up and enter MMOTR for $5 off your race registration. The code does not expire and is good for any race distance, but will only be valid until the races are full! There is a cap of 1000 for the marathon and 1200 for the half/relay and the 2014 race sold out in February. I expect it to fill faster than that this year, so don't wait. The early registration prices go up at the end of the year, so now is the time to sign up and get the biggest bang for your buck!

I also plan on running a little giveaway to thank those who register using the discount code MMOTR, but I'm still working out the details so stay tuned. If you do register prior to me posting the giveaway, you will still be entered and have a chance to win!

For more information about the Maine Coast Marathon, visit their website at mainecoast262.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

MDI Marathon 2-Person Relay {Race Recap}

Okay, finally here's my recap of the 2014 MDI Marathon weekend!

Last year I ran the full marathon at MDI (read about it here), but this year I needed a break from the training. Not wanting to miss the chance of another girls' weekend on my birthday weekend, no less, we decided to run MDI as a relay, bringing two two-person teams: Kicks Ass and Takes Names!

Front of the awesome race shirt.

I rode up with Stacy, quickly picked up our race packets, and met up with Jen and Jill for dinner. We hit up Paddy's again for some yummy eats, did a little shopping for the kids and headed to our motel for the night and a marathon of Chopped on the Food Network.

We woke up, had some breakfast (with seriously the WORST coffee we have ever tasted) and headed to the start line.We ran into Gretchen, a runner Jen knows who just did the Maine Marathon two weeks prior. She's also a genius and had a space blanket wrapped around her. It was cold and extremely windy. The good news was that the wind would be at our backs. Jen and I who were taking the first leg of the relay decided that we would keep her company. Gretchen's pace would be right about what Jen and I are capable of at this moment and it was perfect.

Photo courtesy Jen @Running With The Girls
Photo courtesy Kevin Morris Photography

We took a couple of pictures at the starting line. Last year we all wore matching Spandits!, but this year decided to show the world a variety and all wore different Spandits! Soon Thunderstruck came over the speakers, the cannon shot and we were off.

Even though it was cloudy, the views of this course did not disappoint. It was nice having the wind at our backs on one of the biggest hills. It was literally pushing us up...mid-stride I could feel it shoving me forward. If we had wings, we most certainly would have been flying. Not surprising, this was our fastest mile.

Jen and I with Gretchen right behind.
Photo courtesy James Hines

The time seemed to fly by. Chatting with Gretchen, running at a comfortable pace, and the presence of aid stations every two miles made it go by fast. Toward the end of our leg I was certainly feeling the hills. I train on pretty large hills, but nothing like this course. For some reason I don't remember all the hills on the first half from last year. And as an example, one of my long runs where I made sure to hit every big hill had HALF the elevation gain of the first half of the MDI course!

Coming into the exchange

Anyway, before long we made it to the halfway point, said goodbye to Gretchen and a quick hello and goodbye to Stacy and Jill as they took over for the second half. 

Jill and Stacy by the famous tree at mile 15.4
Photo courtesy Stacy Chubbuck

Jen and I made our way to the cars and finally figured out how to get to the finish line. But not before we made a quick stop to take our picture with Wonder Woman.

Photo courtesy Jen @ Running With The Girls

Before long Stacy and Jill showed up and we all crossed together and collected our awesome medals.

I thought this year the MDI Marathon stepped it up a notch. From the lobster claw medals to the fantastic race shirt, everything was very well put together. We even found the food afterward this year! I'm a little bummed that there weren't more photographers on the first half of the course, but oh well. I'm not sure if it will work out to go back again in 2015, but it does fall on my birthday next year, so who knows?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Topsham 250th 5K {Race Recap}

You know those days when everything falls into place and you least expect it? Well, that happened to me last Saturday at the Topsham 250th 5K. A Home Depot customer of mine, Jeff, who was the co-race director for this 5K to celebrate Topsham's 250th anniversary, invited me to run in his race. Honestly, we talk more running than home improvement when he comes in. I also managed to talk my manager into going into work late. It totally worked in my favor that he's a big runner too...in more ways than one...he is over 7 feet tall!

Seeing that it was one week before the MDI relay, I had no intent on pushing myself for this race. I wanted to focus on running easy and not bother my left hammy that had been nagging me recently. I wasn't thinking that a PR could even be possible with my lack of following a training plan or no speed work in recent months. I wouldn't say that they have been terrible, but my training runs have been a struggle to even feel comfortable at a 9-minute-mile pace. In my head, there was no way I could run an average 7:40 pace. This one was to be for fun.

The weather could not have been more perfect. 40 degrees. No humidity. No wind. I chose to wear my Spandits! 3/4 tights. 

Don't they look fast?
(from a previous day)

They worked out great in my last two training runs and the temperature was just right for them. Plus the print is called Hyperspeed. I was also wearing my go-to racing shoes, the Mizuno Wave Sayonara (not picture in the photo). 

When I got to the start I recognized another runner who I knew was faster than me, but I didn't plan on racing, right? I watched the hot air balloon giving people teathered rides and soon it was time to line up. 

From the warmth of the car.

I jostled for position with a few other women plus a little kid (his name is Dash - so appropriate!) before I found myself as the third woman within the first mile. I wasn't all out sprinting, but running relaxed and comfortably hard. My hands were a little numb, but I knew they would warm up soon. As I ran along with another woman I could hear her stomach sloshing around and either she slowed or I sped up, but at the one mile mark {7:51} I was now the second woman.

Up ahead I could see the woman I knew was fast running along with Jeff (who decided to run). Crazy thing, she was running with her hands on her hips/sides...not using her arms at all, or very little. I was slowly catching up to them when we hit the turnaround point, but then she saw that I was only a few steps behind and turned on the gas. She opened up a bigger lead, but I kept with her and eventually passed Jeff right around mile two. I was now in 5th place! Mile two split was 7:32, which completely stunned me. That meant that my average pace was at my current 5K PR pace. My effort thus far seemed easy and I focused on keeping it that way. Any time I started to tense up, I relaxed my shoulders and kept my eyes on the first place woman's back. My younger, more competitive self would have pushed hard to beat her, but I was so stoked that I was in second place (albeit a small field), and that was good enough for me. 

Mile three came in at 7:27, which meant that this was the first time EVER that I had negative splits in a race. And still I wasn't really pushing the effort. I'd say I was about 85% of red-lining. This also meant that I had a shiny new 5K PR coming my way!

I crossed the line in 23:34, an average pace of 7:36. 

5/45 overall
2/26 women
1/13 in AG 31-50

Bath, Maine represent!

They didn't do overall winner awards just age groups. I was a little taken aback that I fit into age group 50 and under...seriously, I'm only 37! But this was my last race at this age and it earned me a $20 gift certificate to Dick's Sporting Goods that I know I can put to good use. At first I was confused when they called my name for first, because I thought it would be Madison, the woman who beat me, but then she told me that she was 60 and out of my age group! Dang, I want to be you when I grow up!

My winnings!

I am still a little shocked that I now have a new 5K PR. There are a few things that I think made that happen. One, the weather was my absolute perfect running weather. The sudden lack of heat and humidity felt so good. I could actually breathe! Two, I was relaxed and not nervous at all about this race. Sometimes having no expectations is a good thing. Three, the course is flat. Not completely a pancake, but the only "hill" was the short incline right before the finish. Four, I really think my Hyperspeed Spandits! tights have magical speedy powers.

I'm hoping that this is a reoccurring race, because I really want to come back next year and seriously race it!