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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's Next?

Now that MDI is over, I've been doing some thinking as to what I want to work toward. Having a goal keeps me motivated. I've been resting and recovering for the last nine days and plan on hitting the streets for my first run post-marathon on Thursday. I felt great four days after with no muscle soreness or ache in my hip and even considered running a 5K in my town this past Sunday, but really wanted to fully recover. 

So what am I going to do next? 

I would like to break some time goals in shorter distances - sub-23 in the 5K, sub-50 in the 10K, and sub-1:50 in a half marathon. I'm pretty close in all with current PRs of 23:47, 50:11, and 1:52:03. Totally respectable yet reachable goals, right? But am I dreaming big enough?

My high school running buddy kicked some serious butt this summer and accomplished her goal of a sub-4 hour marathon.

Way to go, Mo!

When we ran together (many moons ago) I was so competitive that I would push my hardest to be out in front. My drive to be the best was what drove me to an individual state championship win and placing in three other events in track and field. This is not saying that I wasn't proud of the accomplishments of my teammates and my friends, I was always out there cheering them on and celebrated their successes and still do. I am beyond proud of Maureen and her awesome marathon accomplishment. However, there is a part of me (the old, uber-competitive self) that hates - okay, hate is a strong word - dislikes the fact that I lost the drive to be the best I can be...that she beat me to this milestone. I'll give you this one for now, Maureen! You earned it, you rock and I love you!

Now that I have children, they are my number one priority and consume much of my thoughts. These days, I sometimes feel guilty going for a run instead of spending time with them. Often times I might skip a training run or cut it short because my running is taking time away from them. Finding that balance is difficult. But I do want to set a good example. I want to teach them if I set a goal, I will work my hardest to accomplish that goal. It was Zeke that came up with my mantra for MDI, "Don't give up, just keep trying." When I told him that I used it to get me to the finish he was so proud and said that he was my hero. Yes you are, buddy. 

In the final, uncomfortable miles of MDI, I had sworn off all marathons and was going to follow Jen's plan of waiting a couple of years. But then afterward, I seemed to forget all the discomfort and this conversation happened the next day:

I still don't know. Part of me wants to keep building on my training from this summer. I have even been as crazy as thinking of becoming a Marathon Maniac in May. There is the Maine Coast Marathon on Mother's Day and then the Sugarloaf Marathon is the week after. Pretty insane for someone who claimed to not do another just over a week ago. What I do know is that I still have a "dream big" goal of making it to Boston. I just don't know if it is possible that it will happen in this decade or the next (or the one after that).

So should I work on my speed while I'm still under 40 and focus on PRs in shorter distances that are easier to train for with a busy mom schedule or go all in for my "dream big" running goal? Can I do both?

Friday, October 25, 2013

MDI Marathon {Race Recap}

What a weekend. While the race didn't go as I had hoped, my time on Mount Desert Island could not have been better.

We headed out on Saturday and reached the hotel where we were staying in mid-afternoon. Check out the view from our room. Seriously, how gorgeous is that?

The expo was here as well, which made it convenient for picking up our race packets. I searched the Crow Athletics booth for the race singlet I had been eyeing and found it. And Jen bought it for me as a birthday present! Sweet! It was a perfect fit and I was so excited to wear it the next day!

Instead of race shirts, runners get jackets instead. From past years I know that they run large, so I requested an extra small. It fits great in the torso, but the sleeves are out of control! Oh well, I earned it, I'm going to wear the darn thing!

We headed to the start line to snap a picture,

got a delicious pumpkin latte,

did a little shopping for the kids,

had dinner at Paddy's Irish Pub,

Photo courtesy of Running With The Girls
and headed back to the hotel to try to get a good night's rest.

But not before opening my awesome birthday gifts from Jill and Stacy.

Morning came soon enough with not a lot of sleep, but I still felt pretty rested. We got breakfast and headed to the start with time to see the early starters begin and snap another picture of our kick-ass outfits.

Photo courtesy - Running With The Girls

Photo courtesy - Kevin Morris Photography
Jill was running the first leg, so she and I found a place and waited for the race to start. After the National Anthem and a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon tragedy, a bagpiper started playing Amazing Grace at the back and the crowd of runners parted as he walked to the front. Talk about an emotional moment.

The race started and we were off.

Left of center - purple visor (Photo courtesy - Maine Running Photos: Kevin Freeman)

The plan was to take it slow for the first 2/3 of the race and then pick it up when I got to Jen and the third leg of the relay. However, that didn't quite go as planned.

Mile 1 - 9 : 9:29, 9:21, 9:23, 9:01, 9:13, 9:25, 10:06, 9:36, 9:53.

There were hills, but I felt that we were going at a comfortable pace. My Garmin was being a huge jerk and lost the satellite at mile 2.39 and would not find it again. Thankfully, Jill's was still working and she let me wear it for the remainder of the race.

Photo courtesy - Kevin Morris Photography
Photo courtesy - Maine Running Photos: Kevin Freeman
Marathons are FUN! (Photo courtesy - Kevin Morris Photography)

I started taking a Shot Blok every mile starting at mile three and there was a water station every two miles. It really felt like the miles were going by so fast which it made it easier to focus on the mile I was in instead of dwelling on how many more I had to go.

We ran by the campground Ian and I stayed at ten years prior which was the first time we ever went camping together. That gave me some positive thoughts to think about for the next few miles.

Before long, 8.5 miles had passed and it was time to say goodbye to Jill and hello to Stacy. I was still feeling pretty good at this point. My legs were getting tired, but it was nothing I couldn't push through. Stacy and I were able to slow the pace a little bit, until this amazing view came into sight and we accidentally sped up.

Not the exact view, but something similar! (Photo courtesy - Maine Running Photos: Kevin Freeman)

We were taking walk breaks on the hills until we saw a photographer up ahead and had to start running. We might have broken out into song, "You're so vain..."

Before long we passed the halfway point in 2:08:19. Slower than the first half of my first marathon last fall, but I was still feeling pretty good and this race wasn't about time for me. I hear my name from behind and it was Jamie, who was running her third full marathon. You can read her awesome MDI race recap here.

Mile 10 - 19 : 10:11, 9:50, 10:01, 10:15, 9:58, 11:05, 10:03, 11:48, 11:02, 10:42.

Toward the end of Stacy's leg I could feel my stomach start to cramp up. I had been taking a little more fuel than I was used to during my long runs to try and ward off any bonk, but I think it was starting to get to me.

When Jen took over for the last leg, I was hurting. My legs were starting to cramp and running made it feel like I was going to throw up all over the side of the road. Jen commented that she could tell by how I was running that my legs were tired. We'd try to make it to the next water stop running and then walk for a bit to recover. We'd walk the hills and try and run down the other side. The sun was out in full force now and I was more than warm. These miles also are away from the water views so the course isn't as interesting in miles 20-25 and there is a lot more vehicular traffic and a bunch of tough hills.

So for the majority of the last 6 miles, we walked. I felt terrible that Jen had waited all day to run and here I was with a broken down body forced to walk. Honestly, I'm sure I could have sucked it up and run more than I did in those last few miles. But what I really wanted to do was have the most fun. For me, puking is the worst thing in the world and not in the least bit fun. It was a gorgeous day in one of the most beautiful places, why not make it last as long as possible while still moving toward the finish line with an awesome friend. Jen, I am so sorry for all the grunting and in-extreme-discomfort noises I was making.

The plan had been to take it easy until mile 24 when the rest of the course after was downhill, but once we got to 24 my stomach cramps would not stop. I hadn't taken in any fuel (only water) since mile 19. I tried eating another Shot Blok around 21, but had to spit it out. But we were still moving forward, albeit very slowly. I don't even want to post my splits for the last miles, but here you go.

Mile 20 - 26 : 10:44, 12:30, 14:09, 14:41, 17:15, 18:16, 16:22.

We got closer to the finish and I wanted to time it so I could run at the end without stopping. Soon we saw Jill and Stacy waiting for us and they joined us to cross the finish. And look I'm smiling!

The girls even let me take the lead to finish my second marathon.

It was unbelievable, but my legs felt fresh in the last 100 meters. What the heck? Maybe I could have run a little sooner, but oh well. I did see 4:59:xx on the clock and booked it to get in under five hours.

And just like that, the marathon was over.

I received my medal and we looked for the food, but all we could find was a table of water in cups and milk. ??? Either we were just blind or this part was not very organized, but this is my only complaint for this race.

Here's what I loved the most about this race:

  • the course - Just beautiful. There is a reason it was named the second most scenic marathon by Runner's World. And it is in my home state. I promise, the beauty of this course will not disappoint.
  • the course support - Water/gatorade stations every two miles was very helpful in breaking down the distance into small parts. It's easy to keep going if you know exactly where you can get water or schedule a break. Everyone was very supportive and having fun. Spectators were also amazing and were often moving along the course as well, so we'd see the same people cheering for us again. I have to admit any time there were kids cheering it made me think about my boys. But I had worn my bracelet that Jen gave me last year on my birthday with my boys' names on it, so they could be with me every step of the way.
  • our outfit choice - Seriously, we had no less than 100+ comments about our Spandits! skull capris. Runners, spectators, and volunteers alike were all giving us love. The fun part was since the girls were running a relay, runners and spectators would tell us that there were people with the same pants waiting for us just ahead or let them know that we were coming up to an exchange. 
  • running with the girls - This was absolutely the best! While I'm a little disappointed that my body didn't cooperate, this was the most fun I've had running a race. I've never been so smiley! Five hours literally flew by. I can not thank them enough for being there for me. I am such a lucky girl. I love you all!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Two days to go! And my favorite day!

In less than 48 hours I will be toeing the line at my second marathon. I am so excited to spend a weekend away with these lovely ladies.

Bond Brook Tread Fest - October 2012 (photo credit - Jen's Dad)

I am happy to report that my hip is doing much better. I'd say it is at least at 95%. I don't have any discomfort when walking and only feel a little niggle if I think about it. With two more days of rest I'm hoping to go in close to 100%. Phew, that was a close one.

And today is one of my favorite days of the year - my birthday! I think this is kind of amusing now since we don't have parties or anything. More often than not, I purchase my own present. No surprises here. That tends to happen when you are in charge of the checkbook. Yesterday I headed to Maine Running Company to pick up some Shot Bloks and Body Glide and couldn't resist picking up this Nathan fuel belt. I made sure to thank my husband for my present when he got home.

It matches my Mizuno Wave Sayonaras perfectly! I'm going to break a rule of racing by wearing it for the first time on Sunday, but at least I can opt to get rid of it when we go through a relay exchange if it annoys me. I'm thinking it will be fine, but does anyone else use this belt?

My race outfit is finally complete.

C9 tank, Spandits! capris, Zensah arm sleeves, Mizuno Wave Sayonara, Nike visor, Nathan fuel belt

I might breaking that don't wear anything new of race day again because while I like my tank, I really want to pick up a Crow Athletics tank at the expo. I hope they save me one.

This is my first race as a member and it would just look badass with my skull Spandits!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just get me to the finish.

So I was going to do one more run on Thursday before the Mount Desert Island Marathon this weekend, but I'm going to drop it. I've stayed pretty healthy this entire training cycle. I haven't been sick or injured. My only setback was a slight piriformis issue a few weeks ago that seems to be resolved. 

With one week to go, my children came down with stuffy noses and Zeke has quite the cough. Of course this would happen now. Being a mostly stay at home mom, I can't escape and put myself in a bubble. I'm usually pretty healthy and can fend off their sickness for the most part, but I am feeling a little stuffed up and my throat has the beginning scratchy feeling. I've been taking echinacea to try and boost my immune system and keeping a positive attitude. I am not getting sick. Mind over matter, right?

On top of that my hip is bothering me. On my right iliac crest. 


I've had this issue before a year or so ago and it hurt going upstairs the most. Eventually it went away. Just the other day I was thinking I was glad I didn't have to deal with that this time around and I go and jinx myself. I did have a brilliant run yesterday. Maybe too much of a good thing, though. 

After a quick two miles on Monday, I wanted to go to the bike path in Brunswick so I could have an easy 4-mile run without the hills. It was awesome. I was just going along at a perceived easy pace only to look down at my mile one split and see 8:19. That's not your easy pace, Carrie. Not yet, anyway. Then I clocked mile two in 8:02. I walked a few steps at the turn around in hopes that would force me to slow the pace for the second half. According to my watch, it didn't work. In my mind I was making an effort to run easy, but my legs were on cruise or something and just kept going. I think I instinctively speed up when there are people to pass (which there were others running and walking) and I always finish every run with a kick. I don't even think about it, I just do it. Anyway, miles three and four - 7:58 and 7:44. Oopsie.

I felt great after. My legs were not at all fatigued and had no aches and pains. The only injury was to my Mizuno Wave Sayonaras - my toe finally busted all the way through. 

I'm not all that happy about this, I don't even have 200 miles on them.

I pick up Finn from preschool and work on the computer a little when we get home. I go to stand up and wham-o, shooting pain in my hip. I seriously could barely walk all day, it hurt that bad. WTF? So I iced it off and on for the rest if the day, stretched and foam rolled and tried to take it easy. 

It's a lot better this morning. I can still feel it, but it is no longer excruciating. I can walk without a limp. So that it why I'm dropping my last run. Hopefully four full days of rest will be enough to get me across the finish line on Sunday. And I'll have my girls to keep my pace in check. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I should stop looking at the numbers.

It really hit me last night while I was sitting at the kitchen table talking to my husband and looking at the calendar. Holy crap, I'm running 26.2 miles in a week. Just out of curiosity I looked back at my long runs for this marathon training cycle. To be honest, I'm not really sure I like what I see. I only did ten long runs and only eight of those were 10 miles or more. Out of three 20-milers originally on the plan, I only completed one. 

They went like this:

8, 10, 12.4, 14, 18, 13.3, 20, 9.8, 15.7, 10.1

The other issue is that I didn't really follow a plan for the mid-week runs, I pretty much made it up as I went along going on how I felt, and found myself babying my left hamstring/glute by dropping miles to ensure I wouldn't get injured. I tried to get in one hard, fast run as well as a recovery run when I'd really focus on form and breathing. 

Really I'm not that worried about it. Despite the numbers, I feel ready. My last two runs I have felt strong and my legs feel fresh. I know I can do it. Even if I have to walk or crawl, I can get to the finish line. But please don't follow my so-called plan if you'd like to run a marathon. 

This year has been about having fun with running and not stressing about getting that new PR. So far it has been working for me and I've been able to do some pretty solid performances on race day. I'm hoping that streak will continue. What is really going to help is that I will be running this marathon with friends who are doing it as a three-person relay. My mind will be distracted from the discomfort since I have someone to talk to (not that I will probably do a lot of talking, I'm usually the quiet one of the group.) Though I'm sure they are going to get a kick out of all my swearing (they are team Pirate Booties, after all!)

I am running this marathon for fun. (That has to sound crazy to a non-runner.) I am running it to be with my best friends. I am running it to celebrate my 37th birthday just two days prior to the race. I am running it to enjoy the beauty of Maine and Mount Desert Island. I am running it for those who can not. 

I am running it for me.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

TTT: working with the public, final fast run, and back to the drawing board.

1. Sorry, this first one is a bit of a rant. When you've worked in retail and restaurants for the better part of two decades, you see people from all walks of life. I have seen them all. I like to think that I have a lot of patience when working with people and acknowledge that some people just don't understand how to act with courtesy. At Home Depot I work at the service desk which basically means that everyone comes to me with their problems or complaints. That's fine. I'm a people pleaser and like to try to make people happy and resolve their issues. What I don't understand is when I try to do so and they basically get angry with me. Last night I had a lady come up to the desk and ask if we had any non-toxic antifreeze. This is one of those seasonal items that we stock in various places in the store that also gets moved around a lot. I only work a couple nights a week, so I got on the phone to check with a department for it's location. I've literally been on the phone less than five seconds and she's sighing and being impatient. Oh I'm sorry, we only have 200,000+ products in this store, I haven't memorized the precise location of every one, I'm thinking to myself. The other associate said something funny as he was checking on it and so I laughed. The woman says in a very serious tone, "I wish you wouldn't laugh, time is money." I replied in a louder than I should and not-so-polite tone, "I'm checking on it for you ma'am." Whoops, I was borderline rude to a customer. I'm thinking, I'm so sorry that my good mood is so bothersome to you. So she leaves the desk to go get the antifreeze and returns with a case of it (6 bottles) and another loose bottle and I proceed to ring her up for seven and tell her the total. Looking at me like I have eight heads, "Oh, I don't want seven, only six." Uh, then why did you bring me seven? Apparently my mind-reading powers weren't working either. 

Okay, moving on... 

2. I ran my last "hard" run of this marathon training cycle this morning. I was going for six miles which  is a little bit longer than my usual mid-week runs. The weather was perfect, mid-40s and sunny and I was a bit hot in my long sleeve shirt. I ran a pretty even pace with a strong finish {8:36, 8:34, 8:28, 8:34, 8:34, 8:12}. I'm still finalizing my race day attire. My hair is getting to that snarly length so I'm thinking of going with the double-bun on race day.

3. So I made a fuel belt a few weeks ago once I decided that I would be wearing my Spandits! skull capris with the girls. They have a small pocket, but don't hold enough fuel for a marathon so I needed to come up with a solution.

It worked great around the house and on my first run. Then when I took it on my long run two weeks ago, it rode up like crazy and I wore it wrapped around my wrist for pretty much the entire 15+ miles. Then I was thinking that it might be that I wore different capris on the second/failed run, so I tried it again today with my Spandits! to see if that was the problem. It was better, but it was still not staying in place and had to take my phone out. So now I'm going back to the drawing board and hope that the girls don't mind being my personal Sherpas.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week in Review: Long Runs are Done!

Tuesday - 10/2
This was supposed to be my last 20-miler, but I was hit with a horrible headache on Monday and had to squeeze in as many miles as I could before picking Finn up at preschool. I only got in 15.74, but they were quality miles with zero walking on the hills and an average pace of 9:14.

Wednesday - off/work

Thursday - 4 miles with an average pace of 8:14 

This run felt so good. I had intended on running between a 8:30-8:45 pace, but my legs had other ideas.

Friday - off/work

Saturday - off/work

Sunday - last double-digit run
It was by far my best longish run yet in many aspects. First and foremost, I got to run with Jen again.

What am I looking at?

We were missing Jill and Stacy, but in 13 days we all get to head to MDI for an awesome weekend together! Jen was great and came down to Bath to run as I had to go to work in the morning. I took her on a 10-mile loop full of 'wonderful' hills and I have never felt so strong. (Maybe it was a good thing Jill and Stacy couldn't make it, they would have been swearing at me the whole time). It was certainly a confidence booster and I'm feeling great about completing my second marathon. We chatted the whole time and finished with an average pace of 9:20. 

Spandits! and Garmin's unite!
I followed this up by working a 12.5 hour shift on my feet. Honest, I did not sit once and realized by 9 PM that the only thing I ate so far was one Shot Blok before the run, a cup of coffee before I went to work, and a handful of chips around noon. I was drinking a ton of water, but I was dragging so bad by the end of the day. Being that busy is a good exercise for mental strength too. Remembering everyone's orders and multi-tasking for that many hours straight made for a workout for my brain. I also wore my pedometer, so I guess yesterday was really my last long, long run! 

Because I got in two long runs in one week, I covered just shy of 30 miles this week! More if you count my walking miles. I'm taking it easy today, but am now in full taper mode! Have a great week!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Three Things Thursday


I was thinking I'd go easy on my four-miler this morning, but my legs though otherwise. Everytime I felt I was going a little fast and tried to slow down, I just couldn't. My sore left glute is feeling much better, I didn't feel it at all while I was running. Splits were 8:20, 8:19, 8:24, 7:56 for an average pace of 8:14.

It's gotta be the shoes!


I think I've found my marathon shirt and tried it out on the run this morning. It's really comfortable and I think it goes great with my skull Spandits! that the girls and I will be wearing.


Blogger is driving me nuts. For whatever reason I can not (and no one else that uses Blogger) change any text gadgets on my sidebar. You can cancel or remove them, but you can't save any changes. So until it gets fixed, I won't be updating my monthly mileage or anything else for that matter. Just as an FYI, I'm at 19.75 miles for October and 385.6 miles for 2013.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Taper Time

It's hard to believe that all my long runs are complete. It really seems that I just started this training plan, and here I am, less than three weeks from the starting line of my second marathon. 

Not all runs went as planned, but that is okay. Sure, I would have liked to get in more than one 20-miler, I probably should have run more during the week, and built up a bigger base before this cycle began. Honestly, I'm not too worried about any of that. This year, running has been more about having fun and not stressing about hitting a particular time or achieving a new PR. 

At Sugarloaf in May, I ran my first 15K. And though it becomes an automatic PR, I was very, very light on the running miles leading up to it, but the pace I ran was just two seconds off my 10K PR pace. 

I ran a 5K on the Rail Trail in June in a torrential downpour and scored an age group win and a two-second PR without doing any speedwork in preparation. 

In August, I ran the Beach to Beacon 10K for the third consecutive year and took two minutes off my time on that course. Cooler temps were a part of my performance, but as with the other two races, I honestly believe that it was my attitude that had the greatest impact on the outcome. 

So here I am, not stressing out about running 26.2 miles in 18 days. I don't really have a time goal in mind, though I'm sure I have enough mental strength to PR. If I don't, I know I'll still have an awesome experience. My birthday is two days before the race and I plan on celebrating and enjoying every step. I'll be running the whole thing with my best friends (one at a time) and enjoying the most beautiful marathon course there is. I can't lose.