Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Runniversary Virtual Run and Giveaway...

...is now OPEN!

To celebrate that day last February when I decided to hit the streets and begin my running comeback, Maine Mom on the Run will be hosting a Two-Mile Virtual Run!
Why two miles? Because that is the distance I covered my first time out! Looking back, I'm not sure why I decided to start with two miles rather than just one or even just half a mile. I honestly can't remember. I do remember it being hard. I do remember walking at least twice. The course I picked has a pretty steep hill, like close to needing climbing equipment steep. What a dope!

Get out your ropes and carabiners!
My time that momentous day: 20:25. Really not that bad, all things considered. I hadn't run in years and was carrying 30 extra pounds. I ended up running this loop a few times before moving on to other routes. One, I was upping my mileage. Two, it crosses over Route 1 in Wiscasset twice. Not so bad in the winter months, but I wasn't about to try it during summer traffic. I keep away from downtown like it's the plague at that time.

So in honor of my One Year Runniversary come run two miles with me! At any time during the first two weeks of February (2/1-2/14) go on a two-mile run. It doesn't have to be a separate run, designate two miles in one of your regularly scheduled runs if you like!

The contest starts on February 1st at 12:01 AM EST and will run until  February 15th at 12:01 AM EST. Use the Rafflecopter options to make your entries. For the photo entry you can print out a race bib to make it official. At the end of the two week window I'll draw a name using random.org for the winner of a runner's goodie bag.

The Streak Comes to an End.

The month seemed really long when participating in something like Jen's January Streak on Running with the Girls. We did it though! I never thought I'd have a log that looked like this:

And pictures from our record setting run:


Thanks for a exhausting fun challenge!

Don't forget, tonight marks the beginning of not just one, but two giveaways for my Runniversary celebration. You can read the details of my virtual run here. The second giveaway will be announced later.

In other news, Handful, creator of (in my opinion) the world's best sports bra, released an awesome promotional video.

To celebrate it's release, they are also holding a giveaway. Here's how you enter:
  • 1 entry per Tweet: Mention @MaineMomRunning@handfulbra in a tweet with link to video "Enter this incredible @HandfulBra giveaway @MaineMomRunning told me about! Watch: http://youtu.be/lAi5m1csr5I?hd=1 & visit http://mainemomontherun.blogspot.com!" 
  • 1 entry per Blog post (send me an email with link or post link on our facebook pages!)
And you know that second Runniversary giveaway I was talking about? It may have something to do with the aforementioned company...


Sunday, January 29, 2012

One Year Runniversary Two-Mile Virtual Run

To celebrate that day last February when I decided to hit the streets and begin my running comeback, Maine Mom on the Run will be hosting a Two-Mile Virtual Run!
Why two miles? Because that is the distance I covered my first time out! Looking back, I'm not sure why I decided to start with two miles rather than just one or even just half a mile. I honestly can't remember. I do remember it being hard. I do remember walking at least twice. The course I picked has a pretty steep hill, like close to needing climbing equipment steep. What a dope!

Get out your ropes and carabiners!
My time that momentous day: 20:25. Really not that bad, all things considered. I hadn't run in years and was carrying 30 extra pounds. I ended up running this loop a few times before moving on to other routes. One, I was upping my mileage. Two, it crosses over Route 1 in Wiscasset twice. Not so bad in the winter months, but I wasn't about to try it during summer traffic. I keep away from downtown like it's the plague at that time.

So in honor of my One Year Runniversary come run two miles with me! At any time during the first two weeks of February (2/1-2/14) go on a two-mile run. It doesn't have to be a separate run, designate two miles in one of your regularly scheduled runs if you like!

The contest starts on February 1st at 12:01 AM EST and will run until  February 15th at 12:01 AM EST. Use the Rafflecopter options to make your entries. For the photo entry you can print out a race bib to make it official. At the end of the two week window I'll draw a name using random.org for the winner of a runner's goodie bag.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A New Way to Follow.

As I'm sure many of you who have a blog already know, Google Friend Connect will no longer be available starting March 1st. And for those of you who don't, Google Friend Connect will no longer be available starting March 1st.

I'm personally a little bummed. I love seeing my numbers grow and all your faces in little boxes on my page. I guess the new thing out to replace GFC is Google+, but I won't be using it. Actually, it's more like I can't. My circa 2005 dinosaur of a Mac is so out of date, I can't even install Google+. And I really don't want/have the time to keep tabs on another page. You'd think that I could get a hook-up since my brother works for Apple. ;-)

Yesterday, I put some new ways to follow Maine Mom on the Run up on the home page. On the left-hand side right below my "About Me" blurb are a series of buttons. Five ways to get your Maine Mom on the Run fix! So I invite you to join me through Facebook, Twitter, email, RSS, and Blogger (this is GFC, so don't do this one).



*I just checked them and actually the RSS feed links to email and the Blogger icon to RSS, I'll get to fixing that ASAP...oh and for whatever reason if you click just left to center of the email icon it brings you to Twitter, so bear with me as I fix the bugs*

I'm going to keep GFC up until it doesn't work, but I'll be giving friendly reminders on most posts from here on out. 

And hey, did you see that I was featured on Running with the Girls a couple of days ago? I know a few of you did because I gained about five new followers on that day! If you didn't, here's the link

And this is my sixth post in as many days! I've been busy. Stay tuned for another exciting post tomorrow. You don't want to miss it! It is (in my opinion) the most exciting one ever seen on Maine Mom on the Run. Let's just say it has something to do with this post. Excited yet?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wow! 50 Followers!

I just wanted to give a little thank you to all who read my little blog here. Thanks for all the support you give through comments and I'll do my best to reciprocate to those of you who have blogs too. February is going to be a fun month with my Runniversary celebration, so I hope to be able to give back to some of you. Thanks again!

Happy running and reading,
Carrie

Thursday, January 26, 2012

3.5 Mile Virtual Run Recap

Toni over at Running, Loving, Living has been celebrating her birthday and blogging anniversary with a virtual run with some incredible sponsors and product giveaways. Today, in honor of Toni, I participated in the virtual run. 

It sounded like a good opportunity to try out my new Brooks Pure Connects that came in the mail yesterday. Oh. My. Goodness. These shoes. Would you believe they were my Christmas present? And I just got them yesterday. I had originally ordered a purple pair, a new color to the Pure Project family, but they had been on backorder for over a month. My New Balance Minimus just passed 300 miles, so I really needed to get a new pair of shoes into a rotation. So I opted to switch over to the in-stock aqua pair and got them in two days! And I got 25% off! So worth it! 


They are like clouds on my feet. They are definitely a lot more supportive than the Minimus and with much more cushioning, but they are super light. A tad on the narrow side, but I think they will be okay since I was wearing thicker socks due to the temperature outside.

I created a special course for the run, sticking to the sidewalks mostly since I am really hating running on the road in the dark lately. 1.75 miles out and 1.75 miles back.


Of course it had some fabulous hills. At least I'm getting hill training in now since I'm no longer on the flat track.

The results:
3.5 miles in 32:21, 9:15 pace

Not really a race pace by any means, but I had fun doing it!

I think I'm turning into a Brooks fanatic. So far I'm three for three in loving the Brooks gear!
My post run picture in my Utopia jacket and sporty new shoes. Love the reflectivity! 


I always get a kick out of the running pose shot. I better look out, I'm going to run right into the wall!

Thanks for hosting such a fun event, Toni! Happy Birthday and Blogiversary!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Upcoming Runniversary Announcement

February 7, 2012 marks one year since my return to running. Throughout the month of February, I will be hosting a One Year Runniversary celebration complete with reviews, giveaways, and a virtual run with prizes! I hope you stop by often to join in the festivities!

 
The first giveaway will begin next Wednesday, February 1st. It's a good one, so stay tuned for more details!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Heat Wave?

Last night I checked the weather to see what it would be like this morning. At 11:30 PM it was 46 degrees. This morning at 5:30 AM it was 46 degrees! That's like summer...not quite, but definitely warm enough to sport capris, my vest, no gloves and no hat! Today's run was supposed to be my speed workout, but I'm modifying my training plan since I can't get onto the track. I decided to do my five-mile loop on the road and just enjoy the warmth. Armed with my reflective gear and lights I hit the road.

At first I was thinking I might only go to the high school and back (three miles) since my knee was iffy yesterday, but once I got there I felt great and decided to keep going. Plus the other side of the road has a much narrower shoulder and it was "safer" to stay on the loop. That being said, I really don't like running this route because it goes along a fast part of Route 27 and there are few (as is maybe three) streetlights for the middle 3 miles. That, along with the fog, had me waving my light as cars approached to ensure I was seen and I was ready to jump in the snowbank if I needed to. I didn't. Everyone, except for the school bus, moved over.

I wasn't pushing it, I was just enjoying the run. I looked at my watch only once right after hitting the one mile mark and didn't again until I got home and pressed stop. I was surprised when I logged the fastest time ever on this particular route. Granted, the last time I ran it was back in September and I have done a lot of training since then. But it was very exciting that my perceived effort was so low and the results so fantastic!

And I was sweating! Crazy to think that 48 hours ago I looked like this:


And today, this:


 Think Spring!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Rail Trail Chicks Take to the Road

The rail trail is a dangerous place, at least at the moment, as it is covered with a sheet of ice with snow on top. So, most likely until spring, the ladies and I are going to have to run on the roads for our long runs on Sunday. Yesterday we met at Jess's house and ran to Jen's house, just short of ten miles away. 

The roads were still a little messy with snow and patches of ice, but overall traction was decent and we left our Yak Trax behind. Despite the three semi-monsterous hills near the beginning, it was a nice route.

The great thing about this route is it is not very traveled on Sunday morning. I think we came across five cars the whole time. Those drivers must have thought us crazy to be out running in sub-zero temps. At one point we were taking up the whole road, running five across (Stacy was missing due to a sick babysitter), and I commented that it would have been a great picture. Not just because the setting was picturesque with snow-covered farmlands and woods surrounding the country road, but because we looked like this:
Jen, Jill and me
Kim and Jess with her awesome ice goatee!
Jen's husband, Ward, came out with the camera as we got back to snap our pictures then treated us with coffee and delicious pumpkin scones fresh from the oven.

Today we are bummed because tonight's yoga class has been cancelled. Some of the girls are running tonight instead, but my left IT band is aching so I think I'm going to stick close to home to take it easy with my one mile.

Happy Monday!

Photos courtesy of Running with the Girls.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Long Run Sun. on a No Track Tuesday

This morning I was a wuss. I did not get out of bed. It might have had something to do with Finn waking up for about the sixth time in the night. I got fed up and crawled into his toddler bed with him. Super comfortable...if you considered cramming yourself onto a four-foot-long mattress comfortable. It might have had something to do with the fact it was snowing. And dark. And cold. And it might have something to do with the fact that my beloved track is now buried under inches upon inches of snow. This does mean that I now need to get my mile in for the January Streak in sometime later. I'll figure something out. Track Tuesday is no longer until spring. How do you do a track workout without a track? I guess I'm going to have to just run basing the distance on time and hope for the best. Any suggestions?

Since I'm a couple days behind on posts, I'll take this opportunity to write about two days ago when I was quite the opposite of today. Sunday's long run with the Rail Trail Chicks. Thank goodness for them. I think we had something to prove, how tough and dedicated we are. And perhaps a little crazy. At least my husband said I was when I got back.

This is what my home thermometer read:
Negative NINE!
And this is what the car read when I got to Gardiner:


Just a tad cold.

And the rail trail was pretty much a sheet of ice. Should have brought my skates! The plan was for ten miles, but coming off a race the previous day, Jen and I decided to go with how we felt as the run went on. We reached the four mile marker before deciding to cut it back by a mile and turned around at the 4.5 mile marker. Jill and Stacy came back with us and Jess and Kim continued to do the full ten. Speaking of Jill, she went to the gym after the nine miles to do four more!

Of course we had to take pictures to document our sub-zero run!
You can just make out the frost on our eyebrows and lashes!
And me.
I had brushed off my brows, but you can see it in my hair.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January Thaw 4.5 Mile Race Recap (and a PR!)

Jen and I ran in the January Thaw 4.5-Miler last Saturday. I have to say I was a little nervous going into this race. It was a new distance in racing for me, but of course that means an automatic PR! I think it also had to do with racing against with Jen. Sounds a bit silly, because I love having others I know in the race, particularly someone who is faster and can make me push myself.

It was definitely cold with temps in the 20s, but the wind wasn't too strong. I dressed in my long sleeve C9 base layer shirt with my Brooks vest and with the exception of my frozen feet, I was very comfortable.
Jen and I staying warm before the start.
Jen and I did a quarter mile warm-up to test out the road conditions. There ended up being some pretty slick spots but in all traction was decent. The race director called for everyone to head to the start, did the announcements, and we were soon off.
Synchronize watches!
Fairly decent form...we'll come back to this topic.
I was hoping to run an eight-minute pace. Imagine my surprise when we hit mile one at 7:40! At that point we both felt like we were going slower, but I felt good. We had yet to get to the long, and I mean mile long, gradual hill. Speaking of this hill, Jen did a great job keeping up the pace, but I had to slow a bit. Somehow I missed the second mile marker, but averaging the third mile split they came out to a 7:55 each.

Here's Jen right before mile three:

And me:

And now I have to address my form. Oh.My.Goodness. Horrible. Jen's dad, as well as David Colby Young who shot these awesome photos, took video of the race. The above picture doesn't look terrible, but in a sequence or in video I am now aware I do some crazy shoulder twisting, arm thing. Particularly when I am tired and I'm more focused on sucking wind than my running form. Instead of keeping my arms to the side and go forward and back, I hold them tight to my chest and go side to side.

Exhibit A:
Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:
Jen approaches at 3:00, then there is a guy in orange, then me around 3:20.


This is what Jen's dad captured:

video

What the?
Have you ever seen this video? I cringe now that I know I belong in it. 


I'm borderline dandy...

Anywho, now that I've covered that...back to the race. Once mile three arrives there is a long downhill, a little more uphill and before I knew it, the finish line was near! And my finish time?

I was shooting for 37 minutes which was just under Jen's time from last year. Speaking of Jen's time, she PR'd the course by almost three and a half minutes! Yay Jen! You rock!

So the final results:
34:50!
7:44 pace (which is only three seconds slower than my 5K PR pace on clear roads)
12th out of 31 overall
4th out of 13 females

I'm not sure how many of the 13 were in my age group, but it's definitely competitive in the 30's age bracket. I at least know that the top four of us are all 34-37 years of age.

We also got to meet up with another Maine blogger! 


Harold blogs over at A Veteran Runnah and you should go check out his story, it's a good one. This was his first race in many years. Congrats on your re-entry to the racing world, Harold!

So, overall it was a great day and now I have a new PR under my belt, my third PR in as many races. That streak will keep growing by default too, since my next two races are new distances to me (ten miles and a half marathon).

Photos and video courtesy of Maine Running Photos.




Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Track Tuesday

The January Streak is now ten days strong, though I'm starting to feel the effects of higher mileage and lack of rest in my tired legs. I've almost run 40 miles already this month which is a lot considering I averaged about 60 miles per month the last four months of 2011! So in the interest of staying injury free, I'm slightly modifying my regular runs to take into account the miles I put in on my off days (which is only one mile per day). I am also running a 4.5 mile race this Saturday and want to have semi-fresh legs.

Today's run called for 3x1600 @ 7:24 pace w/ 1:00 RI. In my mind, my hardest track workout yet. I had already decided going in that I was going to cut that down to only two repeats. Not to be soft, but I know I could do two quality 1600s instead of three mediocre ones and would be scaling back my mileage for the reasons above. After warming up for half a mile I psyched myself up for the first interval and killed it!

7:05! 

I only remember running a mile faster than that once and that was in high school during the timed mile in PE.

The second repeat wasn't quite so fast at 7:29, but it was within five seconds of my target pace so I was happy with the outcome.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Yoga!

Tonight was the first night of yoga at River in Richmond. My Sunday running group, a.k.a. The Rail Trail Chicks, and I make up almost 2/3 of the class! I was a little nervous going in as I have only done any type of yoga by myself in the comforts of home and only once or twice. Read: I had no idea what I was doing.

It pretty much kicked my butt and my arms are jello from all the downward facing dogs. 
(Source)
I have a serious lack of balance, strength, and flexibility, but it was only the first class and I definitely feel more relaxed after. I'm certainly looking forward to the next nine weeks and seeing how much it helps my running and overall well-being. 

In other news, the gears are turning for some super exciting things that will be happening on the Maine Mom on the Run blog next month. And that's all I'm going to say for now and leave you checking back for more. :-P

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ugh, slugs.

No, we don't have any problems with slugs at the moment. Way too cold for that. But I certainly felt like one of these lovely creatures on my run this morning.
(Source)
Well, I guess minus the slimy part and I wasn't invading any gardens. In my quest for knowledge and accuracy, I did a little research for this post. I mean I don't want to go around offending slugs, you know. I want to get my facts straight.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia (because Wikipedia is known for being a reliable source *wink wink*), slugs are slow-moving, slimy, hermaphrodites (I'm not that part either, in case you were wondering). Basically a snail with no home. Poor things. I feel a little bad for that one I stepped on in bare feet last summer. Yeah, that was gross. Did you also know that there have been a few cases of humans contracting meningitis from eating raw slugs? And in parts of Italy, live slugs are eaten to treat ulcers. I've never had an ulcer, but I don't think I'd be eating slugs if I did. No escargot for me, thanks.

Anyway...

I was feeling a bit sluggish this morning. My tempo run called for one mile at an easy pace (9:32), followed by three miles at short tempo pace (7:57), ending with another easy mile. 

My paces:
Easy - 9:28
ST 1 - 8:34
ST 2 - 8:30
ST 3 - 8:00 (really pushed the puke threshold to come close)
Easy - 9:27

Oh well, everyone has off days and this was one for me. It really wasn't all that bad, but I definitely struggled more than usual. I'm pretty sure the next run will rock. There was one awesome thing about today's run. I got my Christmas present in the mail yesterday. A sweet Brooks cold-weather jacket. It is a magic jacket. Super lightweight, but oh so warm complete with thumb holes in the cuffs with an extra part that you can flip over to make mittens!

It was hovering around 20 degrees and I was close to being hot with only a technical tee underneath. Love it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Track Tuesday

Apparently I was missed at the track last week.

"You went missing last week," the older gentleman who walks laps said.

"I was able to go later in the day on Thursday. Where were you last Tuesday when the track was snowy?" I asked.

"I guess I'm not that hard-core." Hahaha. Something was just hilarious about being called hard-core by an 80-something guy.

The first track workout of 2012 called for 5 x 1000 @ 4:30 w/ 400m RI. I don't know what it was, but although I felt fast, I had difficulty hitting my paces. Maybe it was the 12-miler on Sunday, but my legs felt surprisingly fresh...no second day soreness. More likely it was the chilly wind gusts that hit me every time I came around the last turn.  

My splits: 
4:33 (pretty close) 
4:41 (what? My watch must be off) 
4:31 (almost got it) 
4:34 (damn wind) 
4:24 (I told the wind who's boss)

I sprinted harder that last 100m than I have since college. However, I felt like a moose lumbering down the track instead of nice and light like a deer. Something to work on.  

Do you think of yourself in terms of an animal when you run? What animal and why?

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Goals and Starting Out Right

2011 was a great year and I feel like I accomplished a lot in the running department. But with the new year comes new goals that I would like to try to reach.

In no particular order:

1. Complete a half marathon. (planned for April - Race the Runways)
    a. Finish in under two hours.
2. Complete a marathon. (planned for October - Maine Marathon)
3. Run a sub-50 10K. (11 seconds away)
4. Run a sub-23 5K. (49 seconds away - is this possible?)
5. Run a race with my husband. (planning for the Father's Day 5K in June)
6. Rediscover my abs.
7. Cross-train/weight lift on a regular basis. (This will help me accomplish #6)
8. Eat better. (I love cheese, bread, beer and sweets)
9. Sleep more. (yeah, right)
10. Be better organized.

To start reaching those goals, the Rail Trail Chicks and I rang in 2012 with a 12-miler on the ice-covered trail yesterday. I am getting spoiled with these runs in the daytime...two in a row! Over the course of the run the temperature went up a full ten degrees to reach 37 by the time we got back. And by the time I got home from work last night it was 45! At 11:15 PM. On January 1st. In Maine. Sure, why not. 

Mile 6 Pit Stop (photo courtesy Running With The Girls)
Despite the ice, the run was great. Having never ventured further than 10 miles, it was an adventure and exciting to reach a new distance. It also left me wondering, how on earth am I going to run over twice that for a marathon?!? My knees were aching, but I feel surprisingly great today. Ready to tackle something to keep up with Jen's January Streak Challenge, though I think these off-days on my training plan are going to consist of only one mile.

Jen also printed us all bibs to participate in Amanda's Resolution Run over at Run to the Finish.
(Photo courtesy of Running With The Girls)
We also took part in the Daily Vitamin F's New Year's Day 5K with a time of 30:15.
(Photo courtesy of Running With The Girls)
I hope everyone had a safe and happy new year. Today is the first day in about three weeks that I have absolutely nothing planned. With the exception of running for the January Streak, I'm not leaving the house or the immediate vicinity (it is in the 40s and sunny after all). I'm not driving anywhere. We are taking down the tree. I'm going to get the dishes done. And snuggle with my boys. 

Happy Monday!