Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post-Christmas Post

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did. It's so crazy how it is such a whirlwind beforehand and just like that, it's over. Here's a little bit of what we did the last few days...

In the middle of an ice storm, we headed over to my parents' house on Sunday for Christmas with my brother and family as they were heading to California for Christmas this year. We also managed to fit in Zeke's birthday since it was cancelled due to a snow storm the Sunday prior.


I pretty much lost count of all the lego sets Zeke got, but has spent the last few days building them all. 

Eight are pictured, but there are at least 3 or 4 more that he has since completed!
We also got a Wii U and it is awesome! Thanks Mom and Dad!



A lot of folks up here lost power (thankfully we didn't), but my parents did for over 30 hours. They were coming over on Christmas Day for dinner, but the problem was that there was a good 1/2 inch of ice on my dad's ramp that needed to be removed before he could get his wheelchair out of the house. I got a good workout and smashed it up with a sledge hammer. Between that, raking the snow of their roof and then moving all the wet, heavy snow, and shoveling the snow that the plows don't remove in front of our house, I've done some serious strength training in the last two weeks.

We made gingerbread cookies for Santa and the boys had a fun time making (and eating) them. 


Apparently Santa liked them as there was quite the haul in the stockings and under the tree on Christmas morning.


My husband got me some really great running gear for Christmas and I had to get out to try it.


It's been snowing again today, so the roads and sidewalks are pretty slick and it was slow going.


I did take a new route and managed 3.4 miles. Now only 8.2 more to go until I reach 500 for the year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The end is in sight...

It has occurred to me that it has been a while since I wrote a post about the actual running I have done. I've been busy with Zeke's 6th birthday party that didn't happen due to the snow, but also been trying to finish up a few projects I promised people that would be done before Christmas. It looks like I'll be down to the wire getting everything done, but honestly that's when I tend to be the most productive...no room for procrastination. 

I've managed to get out there a couple times a week over the last month, but the long run is currently eluding me. I really need to get in some longer runs in preparation for the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in February. We've been in a deep freeze with a couple of major snowstorms this past week here in Maine, but the temps today are in the 30s and it will be even warmer tomorrow.

I'm thinking that the bike path in Brunswick is going to be my go-to spot this winter. The Brunswick Parks Department does a pretty good job keeping it clear and it's much safer than running on the roads. It's also on the way to pick up Finn from preschool so it's convenient to fit an a few miles every Tuesday and Thursday beforehand. That also means that I don't have to run when it is pitch black out and even colder.

I did four miles on Tuesday and managed to squeeze in three today. It was a little slick with ice and slush in spots and in my haste to get out the door I forgot to bring my Stabilicers with me. I still managed some decent negative splits despite the slippery conditions - 8:31, 8:25, 8:17.



I'm super close to reaching 500 miles for the year...only 11.6 miles to go. I got this, right?  

Okay, I need to get back to work. Just in case I don't get another post up before Christmas I'll wish you a Merry Christmas, now!

Monday, December 16, 2013

KOSS Fit Series {product review}

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Koss. All opinions are 100% my own.

It's not too late to get those last minute gifts and this is a great one for the female athlete(s) in your life. 


Koss teamed up with Olympian Dara Torres to create a series of headphones with women's smaller ears in mind. In fact, the Koss Fit Series earbuds have a diameter of just six millimeters. But don't think because they are smaller, they don't give a good sound. Music is full and pure through these little babies.

Both the Fit Buds and Fit Clips come with three interchangeable cushion sizes since all ears are not created equal! I found that the smallest size on the Fit Clips fit my ears best, while the middle-sized cushion holds the tightest on the Fit Buds. The both are sweat resistant which is a must for an athlete and come in five vibrant colors.

I wore both while running and found that the Fit Clips worked best for me. I really liked how they wrap around my ears to ensure they hold tight no matter how fast you run. 

After a run in my Koss Fit Clips

While I also really like the Fit Buds, I did find myself adjusting them a couple times, but this was before I put on a larger cushion size that fit better. Being smaller, the Fit Buds might be well suited to use as an everyday headphone or for lower impact activities. I do have to say they tucked very comfortably under my headband.

Koss Fit Buds peeking out

Note: For safety's sake, I only wore one Fit Bud/Clip when running on the roads. Being able to hear oncoming traffic is of utmost importance to staying safe.

Both the Fit Buds and Fit Clips regularly retail for $29.99, but are currently on sale for the holiday season for only $19.99. They can be found at major retailers such as Best Buy, Walgreens, K-Mart, Sears, and Wal-Mart. It's the perfect gift for active women.


For more information on the Koss Fit Series or entire line of Koss products, visit www.koss.com. You can also follow Koss on social media to stay up-to-date on all the latest products.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/koss
Twitter: @KossHeadphones
Instagram: @Koss
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/KossHeadphones

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 {Product Review}

Disclosure: The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. All opinions are my own.

You all know how much I love my Mizuno shoes, right? Well, I was very excited when I was chosen to test out the new Wave Rider 17 that will be in stores December 5th! 


Prior to the Wave Rider 17, I've run in the Wave Precision 13 (discontinued), Wave EVO Cursoris (discontinued), and Wave Sayonara. I'll be mentioning these shoes within this review for comparison.

Wave Precision 13, Wave Rider 17, Wave Sayonara

The Wave Rider is Mizuno's flagship shoe and had been through many transformations throughout the 16+ years of it's existence. It is a neutral shoe with a little bit of support and great cushioning. So what's new with the Wave Rider 17?

Like the Sayonara, the Wave Rider 17 now sports the U4ic (pronounced "euphoric") midsole that is lightweight, but still delivers excellent cushioning. Out of the box I thought the Wave Rider 17 was a little stiff, but after wearing them for a few runs and around the house I love how they feel. I am a huge fan of all the cushioning around the ankle.


I do wish it was carried a little further forward by the laces as this is a very stiff part of the shoe that tends to put pressure on the top of my foot. The Sayonara do that as well, but they do loosen up with wear. The tongue is also well cushioned that helps protect from the stiffness in this area.

Both the Sayonara and Cursoris are lightweight shoes (closer to racing flats in style) and the Wave Rider 17 has dropped the weight about an ounce compared to the Wave Rider 16. 

Because I had been running recently in shoes with a lower heel-toe drop (Cursoris and Sayonara), the Wave Rider 17's felt a little clunky on that first run. 

Wave Rider 17 vs. Wave Sayonara

I hadn't run with this much of a heel since the Precision 13's several months ago. After a couple of runs, I don't notice it as much anymore. I am looking forward to running in the Wave Rider 17's for long runs (as of this review my longest run is three miles). They do remind me of the feel of the Precision 13's (which I loved and ran my first marathon in) much more so than the Sayonara does which replaced the Precision. 

Wave Rider 17 vs. Wave Precision 13

The Wave Rider 17 seems very breathable, yet has kept my feet quite warm on cold days. The mesh is very flexible and hopefully will hold up to use. I was initially worried about the width and height of the toe box. While the Wave Rider 17 only has two areas with sewn overlays, the one on the toe ends precisely where my pinky toe is and seemed a little tight on the first day.



It has since stretched out and is perfectly comfortable. This is one place on my Precision's that blew out (but not until I put over 400 miles on them). I also have a tendency to lift my big toe when I run and it will poke through the top of the toe box after awhile. In my Sayonara this happened with less than 100 miles (sad face), but the Wave Rider 17 seems to have a little more room and the material feels more resilient so hopefully they will hold up fine. I wear a Women's size 9 and even though some suggest going up a half size, I feel like the Wave Rider fits true to size. It is important to note that the Wave Rider series is offered in multiple widths to ensure a good fit.

I really like the sole of the Wave Rider 17. I did a short run with a light dusting of snow on the ground and in freezing rain with no problem with slipping. I think it will be a good winter running shoe. 


I also like how the outer edge of the forefoot is rounded rather than a sharp edge at the transition from the side to the sole. I land on the outer edge of my foot and the shape of this area keeps my stride smooth. 

The Wave Rider 17 will be offered in three different colorways for men and women for $115, so head out to your local running store on December 5th and pick up a pair. I'm hoping Santa will bring me another pair for Christmas!

Overall, I think Mizuno hit it out of the park with the Wave Rider 17. It is an all-around great shoe that will make Precision fans happy with the structure, support, and cushioning, and Sayonara lovers will be stoked to have a lightweight training shoe that can go the distance. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quick Catch Up.

Geez, how has it been over a week since my last post? What a slacker! Sorry about that.

Anyway, we had a great Thanksgiving and I feel like I ate my weight in turkey and all the fixings over the last several days. And there are still leftovers in the fridge.

My marathon and Spartan recovery month has come to a close with a dismal 22.9 miles run, a close second to February with 19.8 miles. I really felt like I needed a big step back month to recover and now I'm ready to tackle the last month of the year. I will hit 500 miles if it's the last thing I do. 

I did a quick three miles today and stayed really consistent with my splits - 8:18, 8:17, 8:19.


It's time to start amping up training for the Mid-Winter Classic in February which might be one of my favorite races.

As part of a FitFluential campaign with Mizuno (and we all know how much I love Mizuno),  I have the opportunity to try out the new Wave Rider 17's due to come out in a couple of days. 


I'll have a review of them here tomorrow or maybe the next day. But a little spoiler until then ... I LOVE them!

I'm also trying out some new headphones by Koss and will be reviewing those as well next week.


Let's see, what else?

I decided I've had it with our downstairs bathroom. The ugly plastic tile walls, the nasty shag carpet...it's got to go. So I'm doing a low-budget mini-makeover before the holidays. 


Speaking of the holidays, the whirlwind has begun. Zeke's 6th birthday (six? how did this happen?) is in two weeks followed by Christmas. So far, I've bought two things. Fantastic. 

Oh, and I spent THREE hours with Finn getting new tires on my car today. I was seriously freaking out a little since we had to be home to get Zeke off the bus. We made it with ten minutes to spare. 

How was that for a random post about everything and nothing at the same time?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Spartan Sprint: Fenway Park {Race Recap}

Settle in, this is a long one...

Last Friday the girls and I headed down to Boston to participate in the Spartan Race held at Fenway Park. We first stopped in Freeport for a yummy dinner before heading south, oh and a Starbucks at the Kennebunk rest stop, and finally got to our hotel well after the sun set. 

Though the beds were much more comfortable than our last road trip, we all had a fairly restless night. After getting ready with plenty of time to spare, we headed to the T station with the final destination of Fenway Park, home of the 2013 World Series Champs!



The pick-up of our bibs and timing chips was very organized and easy and we had about an hour to check out the venue, as heats of the race had been going on for almost two hours. It was nice to be able to see a few of the obstacles that we would soon be facing.



I was actually pretty calm, but very excited inside!

Maybe I look a little concerned...

It was getting close to our start time (9:30 AM) and we got word that they were running a little behind, so we headed to the start and got in line. After a few minutes we had to scale a 6' wall and then stood in another line for a good 20 minutes or so until it was finally our turn. We started out with a warm up of ten burpees and then we were off. 

A lot of this is going to be pretty fuzzy, there were a lot of obstacles/challenges and I can't quite remember the order of them all. What was nice was how they seemed to be evenly spaced along the course and we used the running sections to recover after each one. We all commented on how the running was actually the easiest part of the entire thing.

After running up a series of steps we scaled another 6' foot wall and carried a 5? gallon jug down two flights of stairs and back up. We then did a series of ramps with ropes zig-zagging across that we had to either duck under or step over.


There was a heavy jump rope that we had to complete 40 rotations before continuing on. At this point, my arms were already feeling like jello! Next was a rock/concrete that we had to pick up and carry to another spot, do five burpees, then return the rock to the starting point. There was a weighted ball slam that we had to do 30 repetitions and a row machine for 500 meters. 

Next we headed into the locker room! For 20 pushups...ugh. But it was super cool to be laying on the floor were the Red Sox were celebrating a huge win just a couple weeks before. The closest I've come to kissing the shoes of greatness. Maybe I should hope that they cleaned the carpet? Then the next bit of running had us going through the dug out...so cool!

There was a challenge that had us lifting a very heavy stone attached to a rope and pulley that you had to lift to the top (at least a good 20 feet). Luckily, cross-fitter Karen was in our group and went first and showed us how to get it done. Use your body weight!


There was a series of six or so walls that you had to go over, under, or through. Shortly after that was a 7' wall followed by monkey bars. They weren't your run-of-the-mill playground monkey bars, but a series of 4-5" pegs over a span of approximately 16' that had some higher than others. 

We had to place rubber bands around our ankles and bunny hop up stairs and over ropes. Not my most favorite thing...I really had to pee! 

Next was the "rock wall" or blocks of two-by-four attached to plywood that you had to get across. Not quite as picturesque as when I rock climbed in Cornwall, England in college, but I remembered how to do it!

Then came the javelin throw. If you didn't get the javelin to stick into the hay bale, the penalty was 30 burpees! Luckily, I hit the target and passed this obstacle burpee free!

Now we had to carry a large weighted beanbag (pancake) throughout the stadium, up and down the bleachers.


Which brings us to the one obstacle that had us all a little worried - the rope climb. I haven't climbed a rope since 8th grade...sooooo 24 years. Guess what? I freaking did it! I climbed that rope and rang the bell at the top like a boss! 

We then headed into the stadium along the warning track, so I knew that the finish line was near...of course not before a few more obstacles! 

We had to climb up a large net and back down the other side,


then scale four 5' walls, followed by an 8' wall!


The last challenge was 20 box jumps, through the gauntlet...


... and across the finish line!

We are Spartans!


I was (and still am) so proud that I did this. I successfully completed every. single. obstacle. without assistance.   The only burpees I did were the ones that were a part of the challenges. No penalties for me! Woo-freaking-hoo!!!!! (Can you tell I'm a bit excited just reminiscing about this?) But even more so, I was so proud of our little group, how we stuck together and helped each other out. It would not have been nearly that fun without them!

Here's my final results:
Time - 1:09:21
4996 out of 8040 overall
1703 out of 3352 females
287 out of 555 in age group

What I was not prepared for was how incredibly sore I was for the days following. My legs felt pretty good, just the usual soreness after a hard run, but it was my upper body that took a huge beating. I literally could not lift my arms above my head. My shoulders, lats, and abs were so, so sore even to the lightest of touches. After all that I just did, I don't know how I could be surprised! But finally, more than 5 days later, I feel close to 100%. And knowing that I did it, with zero weight training, makes me excited to do it again.

I felt that the course and entire event was extremely organized and with the exception of the delay at the start, I don't know how they could do it any better. And check out the back of the medal...

LOVE IT!
Okay, now that you've made it through all that, aren't you excited to do one too?!? Click on this link for 15% off any Spartan Race!

And don't forget to check out The Spartan Beast World Championships aired on NBC Sports on December 7th!

Disclaimer: I was provided with a Spartan Race entry code to giveaway in exchange for promotion of the Spartan Beast World Championships.

Monday, November 18, 2013

I am a Spartan!

I'll have a full recap of Spartan: Fenway up in a couple of days, but I wanted to let you all know that I survived! All of us did! We are in full recovery mode. My whole body aches and my arms…let's just say they don't work all that well right now. No serious injuries, but a lot a muscle soreness and a few bruises. Despite all the aches, we had a blast! 


If you'd like a chance to run a Spartan Race, don't forget to enter my giveaway below that will get you a free entry into any 2013-14 event in the continental United States! 

You can also follow this link --  http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior for 15% off code for any Spartan Race.

Also, make sure to tune in to NBC Sports on December 7th for the Spartan Beast World Championship!

Friday, November 15, 2013

On my way to become a Spartan!

The girls and I are headed to Boston in a few hours to participate in the Spartan Race at Fenway Park. I'm really looking forward to it, even though it might be harder than a marathon!

I'm sure everyone has heard of the Spartan Race Series or knows someone who has done an obstacle-type race. There are Spartan Races throughout North America and Great Britain with something for everyone - from beginner participants in a Spartan Sprint to the extreme Spartan Death Race. On December 7th, the World Championship Spartan Beast Race will be aired on NBC Sports. 



And guess what? The folks at Spartan Headquarters have offered another race entry to one lucky Maine Mom on the Run reader. So if you'd like the chance to become a Spartan too, enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The contest will run from now to Wednesday, November 20th. AROO!

Disclaimer: I was offered to a Spartan Race code to giveaway in exchange for the promotion of the Reebok Spartan Beast Championship on NBC Sports. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm gonna make it...

So this weekend the girls and I are heading to Boston to participate in the Spartan Race at Fenway Park. I am in no way prepared to do this. No bleachers have been run, no burpees have been done, not strength training whatsoever. My lower back is still bothering me (you'd think I'd go have it check out), but it leaves me wondering how I'm going to deal with the obstacles and crazy amount of stairs to run.  Honestly, I'm not really worried about it. There is no time limit and who cares if it takes us over two hours to complete a 5K? 

I'm taking today off from running to rest and will probably do any easy run on Thursday as a test. I am looking forward to really working on strengthening my core after this "race" as I'm pretty sure that being weak in this area is what caused my back to freak out in the first place. I won't be racing again until the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in February, so that will be plenty of time for rehab and to work toward my goal of PR-ing the crap out of that race. 

I am really excited for this weekend though. I mean, a night out with my favorite ladies in Boston?!? Yes, please! And the fact that the Red Sox won the World Series last month and we get to run around in the stadium where it all happened is so cool! 

Source

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Three Things Thursday: A Gamut of Emotions

1. I'm happy that my run this morning went well. I went at what I perceived as an easy pace which is still probably faster than I should be running, but I've also got some things on my mind that needed sorting and I just went on feel. Splits of 8:46, 8:55, 8:47.


2. I'm excited that I received my MDI Marathon shirt in the mail yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Finn (3 yrs old)

I had planned on wearing it today, but it decided to warm up and mid-50s is just too warm for long sleeves. It's a great fit that is longer in the torso and sleeves which is going to be great this winter! It might already be my new favorite shirt.

3. I'm sad that my brother and his family lost their black lab this morning. She was a part of our family for eleven years and was a loving and very special dog. She will be greatly missed. 

RIP Maya (Photo courtesy Tim Hart)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Still Recovering.

I have been able to tell in the last couple of days that I am still recovering from MDI. Moving forward for just shy of five hours takes a toll on your body and it's apparent that I still need to take it easy. 

I met the girls at the Rail Trail on Sunday for eight miles. It's been months since I've run there (before summer, I think) and it was nice to be on a trail with few hills and no traffic. And while we all were together at MDI, it's been even longer since we all ran together at the same time. I felt fine during that run, though every once and a while I'll feel a twinge in my left piriformis or right iliac crest, two issues that I managed during marathon training.

My lower back was one area that bothered me during the marathon (and at the Maine Marathon in 2012). Ever since I was pregnant with Finn I would once in awhile tweak it, usually by bending over at the waist or not using my legs to lift something. It's just felt a little off in the last couple of days - not hurting, but just tired and I feel like I've been slouching a lot.

I ran my four mile route this morning and it was beautiful out. Cold, but the sun was shining. I had to take my gloves off and push up my sleeves about a mile and a half in even though it was only in the lower 30s. I got hit with a painful stitch in my upper abdomen at mile 2.5 that would not go away. You know the kind when it just hurts to breathe? Yup, that's the one. My usual rhythmic 3-2 breathing was more like 3-2-2-2 and I just could not get in a good groove. Oh well, there's bound to be some rough runs out there. My splits were 8:39, 8:19, 8:31, 8:19 - so not bad, but I felt like I was working harder than I wanted. 


I am pretty impressed that my C9 tights I bought when I first got back into running in February 2011 are still in great condition! Though I'm still hoping that Santa will bring me a pair of Mizuno tights or these CW-X ones...
Source

…they are so pretty!

Anyway, I'll be working my core like mad to gain some strength and hopefully by spring I'll be ready to race for a bunch of shiny new PRs. And Spartan Fenway is in 11 days…I hope I survive!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Three Things Thursday: Happy Halloween!

1. I ran for the first time since the marathon this morning. I dressed in my most festive Halloween running gear.


Spandits! skull capris, purple Zensah arm sleeves, orange Zensah calf sleeves, purple C9 tee shirt, green Brooks vest, and purple Nike visor. Of course I was wearing my Mizuno Wave Sayonaras...that's a given! It was in the upper 30s when I went so I was also wearing gloves for the first couple of miles.

I was thinking of doing 6.66 miles in the spirit of Halloween, but miscalculated and was at 7.25 by the time I got back home and then since I was feeling so good, I made a little loop to reach eight miles in 1:13:33, a 9:12 overall pace. I felt like I was taking it pretty easy and then picked up the pace in the final two miles for splits of 9:01, 9:15, 9:17, 9:24, 9:32, 9:13, 8:53, 8:57.

It felt so good to be back out there. I was getting pretty grumpy from taking the last 10 days off. 

2. You know how in my last post I was contemplating focusing on PRs in shorter distances rather than more marathons? Well, I might be going the other way. Yesterday I won an entry into the 2014 MDI Marathon! 


Of course I still may use the entry to do the half marathon option or do it as part of a relay if the girls are game. I'm still giving it thought and don't need to decide right away.

3. I had fun looking back at the boys' Halloween pictures over the last five years. This year is the first time I didn't make one of their costumes. Between their changing their minds several times a day and waiting too long, I didn't have time to get one made. Plus we found what Finn wanted to be on sale at Target. I would have spent more money in supplies, so I'll let it go this year. Here's a recap in photos of past years.
Zeke the Turtle - 2008
Raggedy Zeke - 2009

Zeke the T-Rex - 2010

Finn Rabbit - 2010
Finn the Bumblebee and Zeke as Peter Pan - 2011

Zeke as Optimus Prime and Finn the Rooster - 2012