Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sesame Street Live!

I do a lot of blogging about running, but not a lot of posts are about being a mom...so I am going to change that today.

I love Sesame Street and have as long as I can remember. My parents tell me of how I used to dance on one foot to the opening song. I learned how to count to ten in Spanish amongst many other things watching that show. It is one of the only shows I remember from my childhood (that, and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood), mostly because we only had four television channels in those days. The Christmas Eve special is one that we now own on DVD and watch every year...even before Ian and I had kids. One of my earliest memories was going to the "big city" Portland to see Sesame Street Live, parking in a parking garage (a big impression on a little girl from small-town Maine), and getting a huge button with all the characters on it. Even with the endless list of children's shows available to our kids now, Sesame Street is one that we watch on a regular basis. It has stood the test of time for over forty years and has changed with the times, but the lessons and messages that it promotes are those that I agree with.


Sesame Street Live
“Can’t Stop Singing”
Bangor, ME; Bangor Auditorium
Tuesday, October 30: 6:30 PM
Wednesday, October 31: 10:30 AM & 6:30 PM

About the performance:
When Elmo gets his furry fingers on Abby Cadabby’s magic wand, there’s something in the air - and Sesame Street becomes a nonstop, all-singing, all-dancing musical montage! Grover and Baby Bear sing their highs and lows, Cookie Monster sings fast and slow, Bert and Ernie converse in song and Murray makes mouth music for all to sing along! Learn why it feels good to sing a song, but why it feels good to stop, too! What will Elmo learn about the power of musical magic? Join the conga line of fun to find out!


How would you like to join me to go see Sesame Street Live? The folks at Sesame Street Live are offering a family pack of four tickets to one lucky Maine Mom on the Run reader. 


Entering is easy - just leave me a comment using the Rafflecopter widget below telling me who your favorite Sesame Street character is and why. Please include which showtime you would like, as well. This contest will run from October 25th to Sunday, October 28th at midnight EST. A winner will be chosen at random and notified by the morning of the 29th. 

If you don't win this contest, don't fret. You can still get discounted tickets!


$3 OFF EACH TICKET!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sesame Street Live "Can't Stop Singing" is playing at the Bangor Auditorium, October 30 &31!
Use the passcode ERNIE at ticketmaster.com to receive this special offer.
(Offer excludes Gold Circle & Sunny Seats. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. 
Cannot be combined with any other offer.)

Disclaimer: Sesame Street Live and VEE Corporation provided the tickets free of charge for this giveaway. All opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Well-Together Challenge: Conclusion

Week four of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care's Well-Together Challenge is now complete. Did you miss my previous posts? You can link to them here:


Last week, I chose to make Elle's Lazy Girl's Cordon Bleu

It was very easy to make and took very little time and preparation. First I sliced the chicken and stuffed a piece of honey maple ham and extra sharp cheddar inside each breast. I then coated each in plain bread crumbs and layered another piece of ham, roasted red peppers and more cheddar on top. Pop into the oven and wait! That's it! I served the chicken with rice and three-cheese focaccia, though it would have been good with a green veggie or small salad, but it was delicious all the same!


The boys liked it too!


This marks the official conclusion of the Well-Together Challenge, however it has inspired me to incorporate new meals into our family dining plan throughout the year. I hope it has inspired you as well. 

I want to thank Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Digital Influence Group for inviting me to participate in this challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed trying something healthy and new with the opportunity to share with all of you. Head over to see how Elle of Elle's New England Kitchen did with her getting back into the practice of yoga challenge.


I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn. You can also follow Harvard Pilgrim on Facebook and Twitter - use the hashtag #welltogetherchallenge for more tips on how to live well.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hitting the Trails

I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday weekend than running a race. Technically, my birthday was yesterday, but the festivities continue this weekend with dinner with the girls tomorrow night and then we are running the Bond Brook Tread Fest 5-Miler on Sunday as Team Rail Trail Chicks.

Let's back up just a little bit. I first want to show you what I got for my birthday. 


And yes, I fired that baby up at 10:50 PM. And technically (geez, this post is full of technicalities), I won the Keurig in a drawing, but I'm counting it as the best birthday present because I didn't have to spend any of my own money to buy it...it was free!

Mmmm...chai latte

So back to this coming weekend. The Tread Fest is taking place at the Bond Brook Recreational Area on the trails through the woods of Augusta, ME.

I haven't run on trails since high school cross-country when I looked like this -

Circa 1994
When I had skinny legs and no butt.

Yikes - and no boobs either.
I might have had more speed back then, but I am certain I could beat my younger self endurance-wise. Needless to say, I am stoked about hitting the trails on Sunday with my girls for my first race post-marathon. See you at the finish line!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Well-Together Challenge: Week 3

I am now three weeks into the Well-Together Challenge with food blogger, Elle, from Elle's New England Kitchen. I have to say that I have really enjoyed trying out new recipes and so far we are two for two! You can read about my introduction to the Well-Together Challenge here and my week two recap here.

I decided to go with Elle's Tortilla Wrapped Burger recipe for week three's challenge to try adding new, quick, and easy meals that the whole family will enjoy. 

It's been a rainy October here in Maine, but that doesn't deter us from grilling up some great food. Luckily, the rain held off while I was outside preparing this fun and delicious meal!

I decided to make our burgers out of lean ground turkey to save some on the fat. I make some mean turkey burgers with ginger and spinach on a regular basis (I'll share that sometime), and I wanted to see how the turkey would translate into this recipe.

I first mixed in a packet of taco seasoning with the turkey and formed it into sausage shapes. Then, I tossed them on the grill. You can't get much easier than that!


After the turkey links cooked, I warmed up the tortillas, giving them a little bit of char...not too much, because I'm sure the boys would have complained about them being "burned." I used a store-bought whole-grain 12" tortilla.

Then comes the fun part of putting them together with whatever taco ingredients you like. We used spring mix, roma tomatoes, green chilis, and extra sharp cheddar. I added a little hot sauce to mine to give it a little kick. I did slice the turkey links in half (the longway) per Elle's suggestion, but if you wanted a meatier taco, going with a whole link would work out fine. And the size of the tortilla I used made it easy to create a burrito out of them to keep all the ingredients together while eating.


These were a hit with the boys! They basically deconstructed them to eat them, but they both cleared their plates and ate the leftovers for dinner that night!


Week Three Challenge - 

This week I will be making Lazy Girl's Cordon Bleu. I figure it's got to be easy with the word "lazy" in the title. 

Photo courtesy Elle's New England Kitchen
We do eat chicken a lot (because it's fairly cheap) and the boys love ham and cheese. How can I go wrong? You can find out next week in the conclusion of the Well-Together Challenge! Meanwhile, I invite you to go visit Elle and see how she's doing in my "Get Back to Yoga" challenge.



I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Taking a Rest

It's now been eleven days since the marathon and I still haven't gone for a run. It's not that I haven't wanted to or that I haven't felt like I am physically able. I'm motivated to go, but it's been nice for the first time since I started running again in early 2011 that I am not training for anything. 

That's not entirely true. 

I am running in the Bond Brook Tread Fest 5-Miler on the 21st with my Rail Trail Chicks. I'm also planning on training for the Sugarloaf Marathon, but that's not until May and official training won't start for that until the last week of January. And I'm pretty sure there will be other races in between.

I have enjoyed staying up a little later and getting an extra hour of sleep in the morning. I've enjoyed not waking up to the aches and pains of plantar fasciitis now that I've taken a break from running.

I do think that when I start running again (next week, I promise), I need to follow a training program. I'm a list person and am better at getting things done if I have it down on paper. I have been really happy with the Run Less, Run Faster program and have used it throughout from the 5K all the way to the marathon. It works so well with my schedule and I think has helped keep me relatively injury free. I want to keep my mileage up through the winter months, but not as high as the marathon training, so I plan on following the half marathon program until the end of January. That sounds right, right?

I think I will be ready next week to start back up. I'm finding that I've got a shorter fuse since I haven't gotten my run in and the marathon high has worn off. I did watch Spirit of the Marathon on Netflix this morning for a little motivation and I've lived vicariously through my running friends in real life and in bloggyland through this little hiatus.

Have you ever taken a voluntary break from running or working out?


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Well-Together Challenge: Week 2

Last week, I began the Well-Together Challenge with food blogger Elle, from Elle's New England Kitchen. The Well-Together Challenge is sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and matches up two bloggers with the premise that they will challenge each other to try something new in health and wellness. I have challenged Elle to re-introduce yoga into her life through short sessions 3-4 times a week. She has challenged me to try new meals that are easy to prepare and the whole family will enjoy. For my post from week one, click here. You can find Elle's here

The recipe I wanted to try for the first challenge was her Supreme Pizza Soup. I'll cut to the chase...SO DELICIOUS!

I followed her recipe fairly closely, though I cut the amount of stock in half because my pot wasn't big enough. It still tasted fine and had a brothy consistency, but I had to add more liquid when we had it for leftovers.


It took me about an hour from start to finish, so it is a great meal to make on the weekend when you have a little more time to prepare a meal and then you have plenty of soup for the rest of the week. You could save a little time by not making the breadsticks from scratch, but we are used to making our own pizza dough. 


The best thing (and most importantly), is that the boys loved it! Using alphabet pasta is a great idea to get kids interested eating something new. They had the best time taking a spoonful and calling out the letters as they ate them. It was very cute to watch!


I highly recommend trying this recipe, we will definitely be making it again! The great thing is that you can alter it and put in any pizza ingredients you like. 

Week Two Challenge -

This week is a busy one (honestly, what week isn't?), so I wanted to choose something that would be easy to throw together. 

Introducing Elle's Tortilla Wrapped Burgers

Photo courtesy Elle's New England Kitchen
Even though I live in Maine and the days and nights have gotten cold, we grill year-round...even in the snow. Nuts, I know. What intrigues me about this meal is that the boys can put it together themselves, choosing what and how much to put in their tortillas. A twist on tacos and burgers! It is a very versatile recipe that can be adapted to individual tastes.

Check back next Tuesday to see how these came out and what is in store for week three of the Well-Together Challenge. In the meantime, visit Elle's New England Kitchen and see how she's been doing in her yoga challenge and for more recipe ideas for your own family!




I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Post-Marathon Thoughts

Now a full week post-marathon, I've had some time to digest what I did and how I felt then and now. . 

My first goal going in was to finish standing up. I accomplished that goal with flying colors.

How I did it:

Take it slow. Don't get caught up running someone else's pace. Don't think about how far you still have to go. Run one mile at a time. One step at a time. 

I was worried that I would crash and burn if I started too fast. I didn't want what happened during my 22-mile training run to happen. I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable. I was comfortable if I wasn't breathing too hard, so I paced myself accordingly to make sure goal number one got accomplished.

The day after I was still on my feet, sweeping leaves off the deck and lugging loads of laundry up and down the stairs! Other than a tiny blister on one foot, I came out completely unscathed! My legs were a little sore (particularly my quads), but a good sore like after you have an awesome workout. Four days after I felt at 100% I will run again soon!

In addition to keeping a steady pace, I made sure to keep with my fueling plan of three Shot Bloks every 5-6 miles and drinking water at the next water stop. At one point, spectators were offering orange slices, but I declined. I had never eaten oranges on the run, and as good as they looked, I didn't know how they would affect the race. A little while later, some kids were offering water and Skittles. I love me some Skittles, but again, eating something I wasn't used to while running was not worth the risk, even though Skittles are one of my all-time favorite candies.

Stick with the plan.

Goal number two was to run a 10-minute pace or less. My final time of 4:24:01 gave me an overall pace of 10:05. That's pretty darn close. I don't think I vocalized it on this blog, but I had a time goal of 4:30. So I do consider goal number two a success.

Goal number one took precedent over any time goal for my first ever marathon. If I didn't focus on pacing myself I might have had a big DNF beside my name instead of a number.

That brings us to goal number three which might have been the most important - HAVE FUN!

And oh, I did. Even though I was holding back tears for the few days leading up until halfway through the third mile, it was not because I was sad, but because I was so excited about what I was doing...and the fact that I've got a lot going on in my life outside of running. Even the weather didn't get me down. Ranging from a mist to torrential downpour, it just made me smile even more. I started reading Zen and the Art of Running by Larry Shapiro just a few days prior to the race and one thing Shapiro talks about is mindfulness, right effort, and keeping a positive attitude. I couldn't do anything about the weather, so why not just embrace it, stay positive, and enjoy the journey. I do happen to like running in the rain...it's much better than if it was hot and humid. It's also pretty difficult to have fun if you are thinking negatively.

Everytime I saw someone I knew, it put a smile on my face. And to have Jen run with me for eight miles from miles 12-20 was just incredible. She was more than happy to just run at my pace, distract me when I needed it, walk the hills, fuel when I needed....whatever. It was just awesome. Thank you, Jen, so very, very much. I'm so happy that you were a part of this journey of mine.

Invincible. Grateful. Proud.

Yeah, a lot of people have run marathons (though it's really only .5% of the U.S. population according to Runner's World). A lot of people run them faster. A lot of people run even further than 26.2. But not everyone.

I love the marathon.

If you said I'd think that last year, I'd say you were crazy. Hey, even after my first half marathon this past April, I could not imagine running twice that distance. But I did. And I fell in love. Though I might reconsider that love after my next one. Yes, next one. Now that I know that I can do it, I want to see how fast I can do it if I push myself. I will qualify for Boston some day. It might be when I'm old and gray(er), but I will do it. I am sure of it.

Confidence.

That's what completing a marathon gives to you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Maine Marathon {Race Recap} and a PR!

Where to start? I guess at the beginning, right? Settle in, it could be a long one.

Last week, I was still a little in disbelief that I was running a marathon. It didn't seem possible that the time was actually here, but I started carbo-loading and hydrating on Thursday. I went to the expo after work on Saturday to pick up my race packet. I look up my bib number on the list and smile to myself when I see "999" by my name - I love cool numbers like that. I was also pretty impressed by the swag bag and shirt.


I got to bed by ten that night and woke up a couple of times. It was 1:30 AM the first time I awoke and I felt completely rested and ready to go at that point, but settled back down to sleep for another four hours. The alarm went off at 5:30 and we got up, dressed, and out the door by 6:15 to make the fifty-minute drive down to Portland. We made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for the boys and got another 15 minutes down the road when we realized we didn't bring the boys' rain jackets. It was raining...oops.

We arrived in Portland and headed to the start, found a parking spot, and I headed to the port-a-potties before returning to the car to take off my jacket and sweatpants. It was barely drizzling and in the low- to mid-50s. I gave the boys kisses and headed back to the start line with about five minutes to spare and settled around the less than 10-minute pace sign. The race director did his announcements and I was trying my hardest to hold back tears through the National Anthem.

"The start will be marked by the sound of a cann-" BOOM! And we were off.

I just kept the pace of the people around me. I didn't worry about weaving in and out of people or about my pace. There was plenty of race to get into a groove. I was feeling pretty emotional for the first couple of miles that led around Back Bay, but finally got focused on the task ahead around mile three.

Runningschultz shared some marathon clips on YouTube and I found myself! See if you can find me on the left side when he pans to the runners around the 11 second mark of the first clip...


Mile 1 - 9:47
Mile 2 - 9:20
Mile 3 - 9:17

I saw Ian and the boys holding up their signs they made and it made me smile so big.



I was happy with the pace I was holding. I felt really comfortable and my breathing was completely in control. I wasn't pushing the pace, I was just going with the flow - so much that I missed the mile five marker as we did our first loop off the main route.

Mile 4 - 9:13
Mile 5 - 9:13 (both an average from the missed marker)

I saw fellow Rail Trail Chick, Kim, who was also running her first marathon up ahead. I contemplated speeding up to catch up to her, but reminded myself to run my own race. I knew a water stop was coming up around mile 5.5, so I ate my first three Shot Bloks on the run. I was able to eat and run without a problem since I was keeping the pace easy. I took a cup of water at the stop and walked while I drank, but it was only 45 seconds at the most before I started running again. I was feeling good. I missed the marker at mile 7, so the following splits are just an average.

Mile 6 - 9:27
Mile 7 - 9:27

The rain got pretty heavy at times, but I tried my best to keep a steady pace and even effort up the hills. I think it was around this point that I got surprised by Ian and the boys again who had driven up the course to see me go by. I yelled out their names and that I loved them and Ian gave me a thumbs up and yelled, "Good pace!"

Mile 8 - 9:12
Mile 9 - 9:07
Mile 10 - 9:23

Kim stopped to retie her shoe and I passed her without even realizing it until she yelled, "Carrie, is that you?" from behind. We ran together for a little bit and chatted, but I was still trying to run my own race and not get caught up in someone else's pace and she went a little ahead of me.

Mile 11 - 8:57

It was time to fuel up again before the water stop at mile 11.5. Shortly after, I came to the turn that would loop around past the halfway point and there was Jen, who was planning on joining me when I came back around at mile 14, but she jumped in with me at mile 12 instead.

Mile 13 - 9:34

I reached the halfway mat in 2:02:45, just about where I hoped I would be.

Mile 14 - 9:43
Mile 15 - 9:47

My mile times are slowing down at this point, even though they seemed to go by more quickly with Jen to talk to to keep me distracted. I was still breathing easy, but my legs started feeling fatigued. I was happy to see the mile 16 marker, only 10 and change to go!

Mile 16 - 9:40

Time for a third fueling and a short walk at the water stop at mile 16.6. I then felt a huge urge to walk a hill (the first time I walked other than to drink water) which really affected my split.

Mile 17 - 11:50
Mile 18 - 9:53
Mile 19 - 9:57
Mile 20 - 9:51

We ran along with a guy who was running a marathon in each of the 50 states. This was number 36 and he had just run the New Hampshire marathon the day before. Awesome! Now it was time to say goodbye to Jen. She was going to meet up with Jill and run with her from mile 20-26. I gave her a hug and was so grateful that she got me through those middle miles. So grateful.

The mental game begins. From here on out, I just wanted to make sure I made it to the finish. My breathing was still in control, but my legs were tired and started to feel like stumps and my lower back was starting to ache. I let myself walk up any hill or what seemed like an incline. I would run to something like a sign or telephone pole and walk for a bit. Thinking back, I really didn't have to walk. I could have kept running, but my brain was telling me that it would feel better to walk, when in actuality, it felt better to run. So, for the last six miles I did this run/walk thing. Time to fuel up one more time so I ate the last three Shot Bloks I had and walked through a water stop.

Mile 21 - 12:45
Mile 22 - 11:01
Mile 23 - 11:28
Mile 24 - 11:50

I saw the Boudreau's again, as well as Jess, Joe, Stacy, and Andy (Kim's husband), who were all standing in the rain supporting Jill, Kim, and I. I turned for the last little section through a neighborhood  and continued leapfrogging several runners, including "lobster girl" who was dressed in a red tutu and a lobster claw headband.

Now back to Baxter Boulevard along Back Bay. As flat as it is, it's hard because you can see the finish line over 1.5 miles away. Run for a bit, walk for a bit...until I saw Jill's husband with Scout who thought I was her mommy. "Keep it up, you've got people waiting for you up ahead!" He got me running again all the way to the finish.

Mile 25 - 11:19
Mile 26.2 - 13.19

Photo courtesy Maine Running Photos

Everyone else was right before the curve that heads to the finish and I just started smiling and picked up the pace. They announced my name as I crossed the finish line and it was over. I did it. 


I happily took my medal and a heat blanket and Ian and the boys were waiting there for me at the end of the chute. I grabbed some water and a bagel and went over to where the others were standing to wait for Jill to come through, while Ian and the boys went to the car to get out of the rain.

My fingertips were numb (and stayed that way for about an hour), but I really did it. And I was immediately ready to do another, knowing that I can do the distance relatively comfortably. I don't know as if there is any such thing as an easy marathon, but I was able to cross the finish line within my goal time in the pouring rain with a smile on my face without any major aches, pains, chafing or blisters and feel fully recovered three days later. My first marathon was a complete success!

My stats:
4:24:01, 10:05 pace
529 out of 1003 overall
176 out of 411 females
25 out of 51 in my age group (35-39)


I am a marathoner!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Well-Together Challenge

Now that school is in full swing, it seems we are always on the go. From taking our oldest to and from preschool, being a stay-at-home-mom during the day, renovating a house, training for a marathon, and working a job at night, finding time to cook healthy meals is often a challenge. When you mix in a husband who works an opposite schedule, making a meal that everyone can enjoy at various dinner times is even more difficult. We seem to me stuck in a rut of the same meals week after week and I will admit that they are not always the most balanced in nutrition. 

I recently joined Harvard Pilgrim Health Care's Well-Together Challenge. In an effort to encourage others to try new things within the realm of fitness, nutrition, mindfulness, and living, the Well-Together Challenge partners two individuals from different health channels to improve their lives by encouraging each other to add something new to their day-to-day schedule.

I am very excited to be partnered with Elle from Elle's New England Kitchen. On her blog, Elle has something for everyone, from snacks and desserts (check out these ice cream recipes!), to full meals for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters. My challenge from Elle is to try to add one or two recipes a week onto our menu for a month, meals that are easy to prepare and will satisfy every member of my family. I'm fortunate to have two kids that are not very picky eaters, so I should be able to try out some great meals!

This week, I will be making Elle's Supreme Pizza Soup

Photo courtesy Elle's New England Kitchen

This recipe is perfect for my family in so many ways! Making pizza (from scratch, I might add...including the crust), is one meal that we make every week. The days and nights are getting pretty chilly here in Maine and soup can really hit the spot. The fact that it can be made ahead of time, is great as leftovers, and that both of my boys LOVE soup, not to mention they will get a kick out of the alphabet noodles, makes me confident that this will be a winner!

Stay tuned for my next post for the Well-Together Challenge where I'll let you know how successful this meal was, along with my meal challenges for the next week! In the meantime, I welcome you to check out all the recipes and information at Elle's New England Kitchen, as well as how she is doing in my yoga fitness challenge to her!




Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.