Thursday, July 28, 2011

Post-Island Getaway and 5K #5 Recap

We're back from three and a half days on Long Island in Casco Bay. We had a lot of fun in the sun, relaxed, and hung out with relatives. I love seeing the boys interact with all their cousins and enjoy that place just as Ian did when he was little. A few pictures from our trip -
Long Island Sunset
Ian and Zeke - Fowler's Beach
Finn and I - Fowler's Beach
Finn
Is this picture of Finn seriously the cutest thing you've ever seen?!? Freakin' adorable! And he reached some major milestones while we were away. He pretty much mastered walking and even walked through the sand. He also started clapping. So proud of my little man...and he turns 14 months old tomorrow.

I didn't get the porch remodel finished, but at least got the paneling primed. The pillows I made look awesome and I'll post a pic when the whole project is complete. I think we are headed back for the day on Monday to finish up and Ian needs to mow the lawn.

I did get a run in this morning. Just shy of four miles and some of the nicest four miles you could ever run. And it's great that the only traffic you get is the random golf cart or car with no muffler that you can hear from half a mile off (state inspections are not required...license plates either!).

Speaking of running, I suppose I'll get to the race recap portion of this post. I ran the Old Port 5K in Portland last Sunday morning before heading out to the island. I was looking forward to the race, although the forecast was still calling for hot and humid. And despite my pasty white torso and less than six-pack abs (I'm working on it!), I decided to forgo the running shirt or tank top and just wear the bright teal sports bra I just bought. Paired with my plum running skirt, I thought my outfit was pretty cute.

Ian and the boys dropped me off at the start where the half marathoners were also starting. I headed down the hill to find my friend Meghann who was also running the 5K and get in the line for the port-o-potty. Meghann showed up wearing the same skirt (we totally planned it) and we waited for the start. The field wasn't too large and we ended up lining up only two or three people back from the line. The race director went over the announcements mentioning the steep hill/stairs we would be traversing and then sounded the cow bell and we were off.

I felt good going up the hill at the start knowing there really weren't any more hills the rest of the way. We made a sharp turn onto the Eastern Prom and followed that for the first mile with a bit of a gradual uphill. Then came another right where the hill/stairs were. Granite steps were to the right with a dirt path on the left. Slower runners were to keep to the steps while the faster runners should keep to the trail. I was still pretty close to the front so there wasn't much of a bottleneck here. Man, was it steep!!! You had to be really careful and take small steps, it was pretty loose gravel in parts and it was narrow and curvy. The last 20 feet were so steep, I actually blurted out "holy sh*t." Never in high school cross-country had I ever run on anything like that. My first mile split was 7:56, just off the pace I needed to be for a PR.

Now we were running on the pedestrian/bike path all the way to the finish. There were a couple of short hills, but for the most part it was flat. But it was so friggin' hot. It also doesn't help that it goes right by the sewage treatment plant...literally on the other side of the fence, I could have thrown a rock and got it into the churning vat of poo water. 80-degree weather and a huge vat of sewage does not mix when you are running a race. Mile two split - 7:56. Ugh. Now I was 12 seconds behind a PR.

The course was really out in the open now, absolutely no shade and my face was so hot. There was a girl who I was running behind and was keeping the pace, but I could not get past her. I don't know what it was, if I had given up in my mind that I couldn't make up the time to PR or if I didn't think I could make it to the finish if I sped up or the heat or what, but I finished with a time of 24:40...24 seconds slower than my best time.

And you know what else? I would have won my age group if I had matched my PR! I hate that as soon as I'm done a race I think that I could have done better. If only this, if only that. I tell myself I'm not going to hold back and even though during the race I think I'm giving all I've got, I feel afterward that I had more to give. Next time, right? All things considered, I ran a pretty good race despite the heat, the hill, and the poopy smell. Out of 223 runners I placed 42nd overall, 11th out of 138 females, and 2nd out of 25 in the 30-34 age group. Really not too shabby, but it seemed like the field as a whole wasn't very competitive or the heat was really affecting everyone.

Oh, and really no pictures for this one either. The camera was packed away for the island trip. I can't bring myself to spend $20+ on a professional photo. On one hand, I would like to have one, but... Maybe if I had won I would. Search bib #542 here for one of my photos if any of you would like one! Hee hee... Do any of you buy the photos of your races?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Island Getaway and 5K #5

Tomorrow we are leaving for Long Island, ME for a few days, so I'll be away from this internet thingy until Wednesday. Well, I could get it there, but it is going to be three days of rest and relaxation, with the exception of putting up trim and painting the wainscot on the porch. I did get the pillows all sewn and am very excited to see this project finished.
Zeke on the cottage porch - Long Island, 2009
Oh, and I'm running the Old Port 5K tomorrow morning before we get on the boat. I'm looking forward to this race. There is a good possibility I can PR as there is a negative elevation gain and the latter part is flat. My only concerns are that a good part of the course is on the relatively narrow bike/pedestrian path and we have to run down stairs. Seriously, stairs. That will be interesting. There is also a half marathon that starts 15 minutes before and I think the majority of participants are running that, so hopefully there won't be too much of a bottleneck in the 5K.
Old Port 5K course map
The other cool thing about this race is that the finish is on the Maine State Pier, right where we be catching the boat. Very convenient! Oh, and you get free beer at the end. The only problem with that is the beer tent is opening at 10 AM and our boat leaves at...you guessed it...10 AM. Oh well.

The rest of Sunday will be spent at the Hubs family reunion on the island, more fun and games and eating and such. But in order to get there, I need to get packing. So I need to stop blogging and get to it.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Track Tuesday

Inspired by Jen's (Running with the Girls) track workout last week, I decided to head up to the high school this morning to do three miles. It felt really good to run on the track - so cushy compared to the road. It also brought back really great memories of my high school track and field glory days when I ran on this exact same surface, though it's been resurfaced since then and is in much better condition.
Circa 1993/94 - Recieving the final handoff in 4x100 relay (I want those legs back)
I started out slow, jogging the first lap at a 9-minute pace, then ran the next at a 7-minute pace, and continued to alternate on each consecutive lap with a final time of 26:05 and overall 8:42 pace (some of the jog laps were nearer a 10-minute mile). I did clock one run lap at a 6:35 pace, though! It makes me wonder how I ever ran a 400 faster than that...oh yeah, that was literally half my lifetime ago! I'm looking forward to incorporating more track workouts into training to work on speed and mix it up. Just as I was leaving, my high school track coach pulled up. That kind-of made my first visit back to the track complete. Coach Cossette was a major reason I was as successful as I was.

Not long after getting back home, Stacy pulled in with a delivery of fresh Swiss chard from her garden. She had just finished her morning run. Stacy arranges for a babysitter in the morning so she can run - that is super dedication. Thanks for the chard, Stacy! I can't wait to eat it!

Oh, and I got my embRACE bands that I won in the mail. Yay!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Running with a Friend

Today I got to run with my friend, Heather. We work together and she's super fun and bubbly. This is a picture I hijacked from her Facebook page of her and her baby girl, Mya.

By the way, they are celebrating Mya's 4th birthday with a party tonight. Too funny! I remember celebrating our four-legged children's birthdays before we had the two-legged variety, too.

As for the run - first of all, I got home ridiculously late last night from work. Like getting in the door at 12:30 in the morning. Ridiculous. Second, I couldn't get right to sleep. Third, Finn slept like crap. Every 20 minutes or so he'd let out a yell and then fall back asleep, but it was enough to totally disrupt our sleep all night. I mean, it was 2:50 in the morning the last time I looked at the clock, and this continued throughout the night. I was trying not to think of the fact that I had to run in the morning. We finally got through the night, I got up and ready, had a piece of toast with peanut butter, and left as Ian was making eggs for himself and Zeke. I have to admit, if I hadn't already made plans with Heather, I probably would have skipped the run this morning. I'm glad I didn't though.

Oh, and it was so hot! We bumped up our run time from 9:30 to 9 AM, but it was in the high 70s already. We met at the Androscoggin River Bike & Pedestrian Path, approximately halfway between our houses...both of us live about 30 minutes away, just in opposite directions. We went along at a good pace considering the heat and did the full out-and-back 5.25 miles at a 9:15 pace. It was so nice to talk about our various goings-on. Just to be able to talk to someone and have the support of each other made the run so much more enjoyable. We were able to push each other up the hills (though there aren't many), but I'm not so sure I would have done as well considering the conditions and my lack of sleep had I been alone. But we did it! Thanks Heather, I can't wait until we run again!

I actually remembered to bring my camera to capture us post run. Thanks to the fisherman who took the pic. Here we are - hot and sweaty.
Do you know what was the first thing I noticed about this picture when I saw it? How white my legs are!!!!! It doesn't help that I'm standing next to super tan Blondie, but wearing black shorts and dark socks doesn't help either. You can tell these legs only see the light of day when I'm running! I guess I need to run more.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Early Morning - Day 2

Nothing major to report other than I was able to get up early again to get out there and do three miles. It was a bit harder this morning since I got home a little late from work and need some down time before I can actually go to bed. But it did help that it was only 52 degrees out and the crisp air really woke me up. Another easy run as I build up my weekly miles, with splits of 9:03, 9:09 and 8:36. I really booked it up the last hill.

My next run is scheduled for Sunday morning and I'm going running with a friend!!! I've been running solo for the last 5 months, I'm so excited to be running with someone. My friend, Heather, is training for the Maine Marathon in October, her first! Yesterday, she had a 14-mile training run and was still going strong last night at work. You rock, Heather!

In other news, I participating in The Great Bloggy Post Exchange hosted by P at Adventures of an Average Athlete. Now I've got to think of something to write about! For more information or to join, the link is here.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Early Riser and Feeling Lucky!

As planned, I got up at the 5:30 alarm (I was actually awake at 5:11 and looked at the clock to see how much time I had left), got ready, and hit the pavement at 5:45. Today's run took me on a 4.2 mile lollipop loop. The humidity was so much better today. A good part of the route is wooded and the sun had yet to rise above the trees. You notice a lot more about nature that early in the morning and only a few cars were on the road. About a mile and a half in, something HUGE made a rustling noise in the trees/bushes right next to me. It startled me and when I looked a big deer bounded off further into the woods. It was seriously less than 10 feet away from me! How I got that close, I don't know, but I must have pretty quiet footfalls! The lowlight of the run was being swarmed by deer flies at mile 3. So freaking annoying! All in all, it was a good run - 9:03 pace and I felt good afterward. I got back right before Ian's 6:30 alarm went off. I wondered if he even knew I had gone. So day one of early morning runs was a success. As of right now, I feel that I can do this! I think I am going to have a rest day tomorrow since I have to work in the evening, get out there again early on Friday morning, and do a run at least every other day while I build up my weekly mileage.

And now for the second part of this post. I seriously think I need to play the lottery. Like tomorrow. A couple of weeks ago, we went down to Long Island, ME for the day. While the boys and I were waiting for Ian to go get the golf cart, we played in a grassy area in front of the Community Center. I look down, and for the first time in my whole life, I find a four-leaf clover! And then another. And another. And another. And ANOTHER! Five four-leaf clovers!!!!! Either there is some crazy plant thing going on or a leprechaun peed on this spot. I always thought Long Island was a magical place, but to never in 34.5 years find a four-leaf clover and then find five in the matter of five minutes? I'm really not that superstitious, but I think these clovers are working.
My Lucky Charms
There are only four in the picture because Finn got his hands on one and it turned into a no-leaf clover. I figure I've now used up two of the remaining four clovers.
 
Last week, I entered a giveaway on a blog and won. I never win contests. My mother will tell you, my brother had all the luck in this department when we were growing up. He seriously won this birthday radio contest, like three or four times in a row. Maybe it was more...I can't remember. But it was definitely more than once. Anyway, thanks again to Mainely Running and embRACE Bands for your giveaway. I got an email that my bands were shipped today...very excited about the headbands!

Then today, I entered a giveaway from Amanda at Run to the Finish and one of the products in the giveaway is for a t-shirt from Be Seen. Very cool by the way, and if I don't win I might be buying one. One of the ways to enter was to 'like' Be Seen on Facebook, so I did. Then I was contacted by the folks from Be Seen that I was their 200th fan and they were going to send me one of their reflective running hats! Yay me! You should definitely check out Amanda's Head to Toe Feel Good Giveaway here. She's selecting a winner on July 21, good luck and start searching for some clovers!


Do you have any good luck charms or superstitions?

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Easy Three and a Burn

This morning I finally got to get out for a run. I'm really getting to the point where I'm going to have to get up early to start getting these runs in. And it is way to hot to run in the middle of the day. If I want to get to the place where I want to, I need to get out there more than once a week. So I also suppose that means I should go to bed earlier...like right now. Oh well.

Today's run was a nice and easy three miles to the high school and back. There is heavy construction and/or tree trimming in either direction from my house, so unless I want to get hit by a dump truck...up the Hooper Street hill I went.
Google Maps Street view
I also decided that I wanted to see what my comfortable pace is. I have mentioned before that I always start out my runs, training or races, way too fast to keep a steady pace and really seem to struggle more at the end than I would like. It went well and I clocked a 9:14, 9:17, and 9:15 mile at just a bit faster than a jog. I was pretty impressed that I came within seconds on each respective mile considering the elevation changes I deal with. I was also impressed that it was so easy to cover three miles without a struggle and at a pace that is only a little bit slower than my first 5K race three months ago. Again, not bad for my piecemeal training.

And now for the burn. We went down to Wells on Sunday to visit with our Massachusetts relatives who are here vacationing for swimming and a BBQ lunch. The boys had a blast playing with all their cousins. I realized that was the first time I've been swimming, all-out submersed in water, since 2003, right before I met Ian. Geez. We had a wonderful time. Then I realized I should have reapplied sunscreen because now I have this...

   
Lovely.
At least there is one cute thing in this picture. By the way, Zeke took this picture. He takes pretty good ones...lined it up and everything.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sweet!

Wow! I won something! I entered a giveaway offered by Mainely Running and am the lucky winner. The prize is two embRACE Bands.

I'm looking forward to trying them out. They are supposed to keep your hair in place without pulling or slipping. Lately, I have an abundance of wispy and wiry (a.k.a. gray) hair around my hairline that has started standing up straight when my hair is in a ponytail. The current elastic headbands I use constantly slip off the back and squeeze my head so that they give me a headache. I'll let you know how they work out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

L.L.Bean 10K Race Recap

I finished my first 10K!

On Sunday, Ian and I took a motorcycle ride and went over the course so I could better visualize the hills, and felt much better after that. We also went down to Cape Elizabeth since he is riding the bike mechanic around on the bike portion of the Tri-for-a-Cure Triathlon later this month, which just so happens to share some of the course with the Beach to Beacon. So now I have a more recent knowledge of that course too.

The day started with a 5:30 AM wake-up. I'm definitely not used to getting up that early, but it was surprisingly easy. Maybe I really can start running early in the morning? Ian got up along with me to take out the dogs and make coffee for himself, I woke the boys and got them dressed, and we were out of the door at 6:13.

We got to Freeport and found a parking spot right behind Bean's. We had brought along the portable DVD player for Zeke and he was watching Toy Story 3 while I went to get ready, scope out the starting line, etc. There was plenty of time, about 30 minutes until the 7:30 start. It was pretty foggy with substantial cloud cover. I was thankful for that, but it was pretty sticky out. I couldn't decide if I wanted to wear my sunglasses in case the sun broke through, but brought them back to the car in the end. I headed into Bean's to use the bathroom. So much better than a port-o-potty! They even have those Dyson Airblade hand dryer thingies now. Fancy!

I walked/jogged back down to the starting area, established a spot about 20 feet from the line, they did the opening announcements, played the National Anthem, and we were off. I was just a little nervous, but just kept reminding myself that I know I will be able to cover the distance and just do the best I can.


The start was slow and it took me about 10 seconds to reach the starting line. The pace didn't start to really pick up until after the first turn. Half a mile into it I was HOT! It was a weird, sticky hot. Because of the fog, the skin of my hands and arms felt cool, but the rest me...yuck, already. I was so glad the sun wasn't shining!

Like always, even in training runs, I start too fast. My first mile was 7:42 and knew I wouldn't be able to keep up the pace. My second mile was 8:02 and already my legs felt fatigued. Great, I thought, we haven't even hit the hills yet! The mental demons were creeping in. Mile three clocked at 8:41, very close to my goal pace, but at the next water stop, I walked to drink and wish I didn't. It was hard getting going again. At around 3.5 miles I saw Jen @ Running with the Girls run by. Great job, Jen! Shortly after, I saw a college track teammate, Maggie, pass by. Mile four was 8:55. Still not bad considering there were some hills here. Mile five had a hard hill with a good descent after, but the uphill climb and my tired legs showed with the 9:34 it took to get through that one. Once I hit the mile marker with only 1.2 left I felt a bit of renewed energy knowing in less than 10 minutes I would be done. Mile 6 was complete in 8:49 and a sprint to the finish! Total time of 53 minutes, 40 seconds (53:29 by my watch) was good enough to get me 495 place out of 1262, 31 out of 90 in my age group, and a pace of 8:39 a mile.

Ian was armed with the camera at the finish, but it shut off right as I was coming up. So no action shots. But I did get a picture with my friend, Meredith. I hadn't seen her in about 15 years! We were friends in middle school, went to band camp together, competed against each other in cross-country in rivaling high schools, and our moms knew each other before all that. Oh, and she is an incredible runner!!!!! She was the second woman to cross the line (11th overall) with an awe-inspiring time of 37:21! And I knew her before she was famous! :-)

Meredith and I
So overall, my first 10K was a success. I beat my goal time and pace and got to reconnect with an old friend. I'm also looking forward to the Beach to Beacon next month and seeing what I can do in Maine's largest road race. I hope everyone had a great 4th. Mine ended with watching the fireworks snuggled up with my boys on a blanket in our backyard. A perfect ending.