Friday, June 27, 2014

Sunsational Salad Burger Topper {Recipe and Review}

Once the warm weather hits, all I want to do is cook on the grill. There is something so delicious about flame-kissed food that provides me a high level of happiness.

While grilled burgers, steaks and pork are huge hits in my family, I also want to make sure they eat all their veggies too. I was given the opportunity to review the Sunshine Burger line through my affiliation with FitApproach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador and jumped at the chance to add a new staple to my family's diet.

Sunshine Burgers are all organic and non-GMO and are the #1 certified organic veggie burger in the United States. They are also gluten-free and dairy-free and contain no wheat, soy, corn, oats, eggs, tree nuts or peanuts. They have eight different varieties so there is sure to be something to please everyone's taste!

You can find Sunshine Burgers locally too! Their Find-a-Store feature on their website makes it easy to bring "sunsational" food into your home. While I could only find the Garden Herb variety in the stores near me, Sunshine Burgers are also available through Amazon.

The boys and I got my husband a new grill for Father's Day, and what better way to break it in than with a new recipe! I don't know about you, but I love crisp veggies on a hot day so I created a super quick and easy Cucumber, Tomato and Onion salad as a topper for our Sunshine Burgers! It is also great as a side as well.

Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced (I used Vidalia for the sweetness)
1 T. balsamic vinaigrette 

Combine veggies in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. 

See? Quick and easy, and now you have more time to enjoy your family and the fantastic weather.

Grilling the Sunshine Burgers is quick as well. They are pre-baked and browned so all you need to do it heat them up! I melted some sharp cheddar on them too, but you can add what ever toppings you like. There are a lot of recipes to choose from on the Sunshine Burger website. 

So how about the taste? They were delicious. The patties have a good consistency and the flavors were amazing. The grilled burger paired nicely with the crispness of the salad and made a great summer meal. They boys were a little skeptical about the burgers, but it was something completely new for them. They loved the salad though!

Would you like to try Sunshine Burgers for yourself? 

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Disclaimer: I received Sunshine Burger product to review without monetary compensation. All opinions are my own. I was given the opportunity to review through the Sweat Pink Ambassador community. Giveaway starts 6/27/14 and ends 12:00 AM on 7/5/14 EST.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spandits!® Just Wanna Have Fun

I am super excited to announce that I've been named as an ambassador for Spandits! and will be running and racing as part of Team Spandits!

If you're not familiar with Spandits!, you will be now!

Spandits! was started by two mother runners who were looking for good quality athletic apparel that was also fun and made a statement. All of the products are handmade by them and they are amazing (the products and the people). The fabrics used are environmentally-friendly and formaldehyde-free and there are no other toxic chemicals used in the printing process. I'm also very happy to be able to support a local, Maine company. 

I wear my skull Spandits! capris a lot! I wore them while scaling walls, climbing ropes, and throwing spears at Spartan Race: Fenway Park last year. 

I wore them for the MDI Marathon while my runner girls, Jen, Jill, and Stacy did a relay. Literally everyone commented on how awesome our pants were! 

With Jen, fellow Spandits! Ambassador!

I've even worn them while using power tools!

Makes the reciprocating saw just that much more badass!

I'm looking forward to sharing more of my Spandits! with you this year. 

Like Spandits! on Facebook here and follow on Twitter and Instagram! You can also check out for their full product line! And make sure to tell them that Carrie sent you!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kennebec River Rail Trail Half Marathon {Race Recap}

So the half marathon I've been training for for the last four months came and went on Sunday morning. I'll just start with saying I was not in the right frame of mind going into Sunday which disappoints me. I was trying not to get nervous about the race. I put in a fairly decent training cycle, not perfect, but I felt pretty strong. I knew I could not control the weather, but it concerned me since I am a terrible summer racer. I had to just go in and do the best I could with what I was given. But I wasn't excited. The night before Ian even commented that I didn't seem very excited about it. I just felt...indifferent.

I woke up early on Sunday and headed up to Augusta solo to pick up my bib and race shirt.

Green logo on white...soft and good for summer running.

I saw a few people I knew (Andy, Harold, Louise, Sarah) and just hung out until the start. The temperature was in the low 60s, but the sun had started to warm things up quickly. Right before the start Jen and Jill arrived. Jen decided to do the 5K instead since she was just recovering from a bout of bronchitis, but the rockstar she is still killed it and came in second female

I wasn't ready to embrace the discomfort of running for nearly two hours. I wasn't looking forward to the heat. Anyway, I tried to get my head in the game as the race started. 

At the first turn (Photo courtesy Running With The Girls)

I started off comfortable (a tad fast) and it didn't take long to find a good stride. Sarah blasted past me and I had to tell myself to run my own race. Andy snuck up on me within the first mile and we stayed side by side for the first four miles. {Miles 1-4 ~ 7:59, 8:09, 7:57, 8:04} I was running at the pace I had trained for, but by mile five I was feeling the effects of the heat. Andy and I had reeled in Sarah, but I was thinking I would have to slow down to make it to the end. 

I stopped at the next water stop and dumped one cup on my head and drank some while I walked for a few seconds to slow down my heart rate. {Mile 5 ~ 8:33} Andy pulled ahead while Sarah and I stuck together for a few miles. 

Me and Sarah

I saw my parents on the side of the road which was a nice pick-me-up. And it meant that we weren't far from the turnaround point. {Mile 6 ~ 8:40} Seeing this split was a bummer since it was slower than my half PR pace, but I had banked some time in the first few miles I was still thinking I had a chance (even though it would be tough). We hit the turnaround point and the race clock said 55:xx. I'd have to run back (albeit a shorter distance) in the same time to get my A goal. I knew a sub-1:50 was not going to happen today. They weather was just too warm. 

On to goal B: better than 1:52:03, 8:33 average pace (current half PR)

I had to keep reminding myself to just run the mile I was in. I was thankful for running with Sarah, even though no words were exchanged between us, I was nice knowing someone else was there with you. {Miles 7 and 8 ~ 8:31, 8:54} At each water stop I would walk through grabbing two cups and sipping from one while dumping the other on my head. Sarah dropped off at mile eight and I just focused on getting to the point where my parents were spectating (which was right after the mile 8 marker on the way back). 

At least I can still manage a smile!

Immediately after seeing my parents I heard Jen's voice. SPONGES! The sponges were near! 

She handed me one that was ripped in two as well as a small bottle of water, I yelled "I love you!" and carried on. I tucked the wonderfully ice cold sponges on my shoulders while I walked for a moment and drank. I had only eaten one Shot Blok at mile five, but my tummy was feeling a tad sloshy which in turn was making me nauseous. I decided to wait until the next water stop at mile 10 to eat another. {Miles 9 and 10 ~ 9:04, 8:57}

I had come down the big hill into Hallowell and through town and knew that I would be able to make it to the end, but by this point my average pace was right around my PR pace. I didn't feel like I could run any faster. My legs were dead and I was so hot. I had hit the wall. Thankfully Jen was waiting right before I got on the trail again and I switched out my sponges for a cold one and promptly stuffed it down my shirt. 

My average pace was now above my PR pace and I felt like I was barely surviving at this point. Now I was just trying to hold onto my C goal, PR the course (faster than 1:55:05, 8:47 average pace).

{Mile 11 ~ 8:53} All I could think about was getting to the finish line. I thought about if I saw the boys at the finish I'd slow down and get them to run across the line with me. Usually I'm all about racing to the finish. But even if it meant missing my time goal, I'd still choose to run with them. Thinking of those two were what got me through the last two miles. 

I didn't care anymore about the time on the clock and as a result posted my slowest mile of the day (Mile 12 ~ 10:06} While my watch was beeping the miles just before reaching the posts along the course in the beginning, I was now reaching the mile markers prior to my watch reaching the split. Once the finish line came in view and saw that it was a lot closer than in years prior, I knew the course was going to be short. I scanned the sidelines for Ian and the boys, but didn't see them. I crossed the finish just as my watch beeped 13 miles {9:02}. The race clock and my watch read the same number 1:52:50. A course PR...though it was short. 

Not quite a half.

Andy's watch read nearly a tenth of a mile short too. The final results added on 16 seconds to my finish time, so they must have been adjusted to take the short course into account. 

And with that, my third half marathon was over. Not what I wanted the outcome to be, but given the weather and the fact my head wasn't in it, I'm happy with the number I got. I will get that sub-1:50, I know that I just have to put in more work to get there.

Official stats:
1:53:06, 8:38 average pace (course PR by 1:59)
77 out of 195 overall
32 out of 114 females
15 out of 43 in age group (30-39)

Final thoughts on the KRRT Half Marathon:

Pros - 
  • best course support from volunteers I've experienced in the last three years of doing this event (half in 2012, 5K in 2013)
  • nicer looking race shirts with softer technical fabric
  • they gave out medals for the first time this year (though not fancy)
  • it is on a paved trail I have run on a lot and am familiar with
  • quite a few shaded areas and it runs along the pretty Kennebec River
Cons - 
  • the race fee is pretty high ($45 for pre-registration) for what you get. It is run on a trail and there is only one road crossing, so there isn't much needed for police presence. While I don't run for the shirt or a medal, there is nothing special about either. Registration fees go toward the upkeep of the trail, however it is unusable in the winter months. One reason for the higher fee might be that because the race is capped at 250 participants due to the trail width.
Overall, I'm happy to do this race even though it's always a tad warm. Other than one significant hill, it's very flat. It's nice to be able to run a race that is within an hour drive and I know I'll always be coming back. Maybe next year I'll go back to the 5K and defend my age group title. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Week in Review and Another Mother Runner!

Well I've certainly been taking the taper well. I actually didn't get in my run this weekend, but oh well. It happens. This is what last week looked like.

Tuesday - 10 miles, 9:10 average pace, last mile 8:27 + dinner with the girls for Stacy's belated b-day!

From this... this!

Wednesday - off

Thursday - hilly tempo run, 6.39 mi, 8:49 average pace

Couldn't even manage to stand for a picture.

Friday-Monday - off 

Sunday was a day for Ian and my dad, so I wasn't going to take time out to run then and couldn't manage to wake up early. I was a chaperone for Zeke's field trip to Popham Beach State Park on Monday. 

Zeke (stripes) on a beach scavenger hunt with a classmate.

By then I didn't want to screw up taking it easy this week before the half so I'm making sure my legs are really rested before next Sunday. Not that I can do anything about it, but I've been checking the weather at least three times a day and it is currently showing partly cloudy with a low of 54 and a high of 72. I'm just hoping it stays on the cool side until just before 9:30 AM when I cross the finish line then it can heat up all it wants. 

Some exciting news! I was interviewed for Another Mother Runner's Follow This Mother blog segment. Run Like a Mother by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell was the first book I read when I was getting back into running in 2011. 

Hey, that's me!

To be featured on their popular blog is an honor, to say the least. You can read my interview here.

Well, only one more training run on Thursday morning and I'll be as ready as I can be for Sunday's half. Though it hasn't been perfect, I've put in some really good miles and had many solid runs, so I'm feeling pretty confident. Here's hoping for rain!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Week in Review and Other Stuff (for lack of a better title)

Whoops, I missed my "week in review" post for last week. Here's a quick rundown a couple days late...

Tuesday - 11.75 miles, 9:17 pace

Wednesday - off

Thursday - 5.25 mi of speed work, 1 mi WU, 3x1 mi w/ .5 mi rest {7:29, 7:11, 7:34}, .25 mi CD (ran out of time)

Friday - off

Saturday - off

Sunday - off

Monday - 4 mi easy, 9:15 pace

I've been recently named a new Sweat Pink Ambassador through FitApproach. If you don't already know, it's a community of women who support and challenge each other and promote healthy lifestyles through food and fitness. I'm honored to become a part of this great group.

Finn finished up preschool on Tuesday, so I'm back to the early morning runs. At least it's light out and cooler at that time. 

We're really going to miss Pejepscot Day School!

Today was my first early wake up and once I was up it was fine. Thankfully, Finn's been pretty much sleeping through the night in his own bed for the last few nights and it's made a world of difference. It was even in the 50s and cloudy with a couple sprinkles this morning. I would like to order the weather to be EXACTLY like this morning for the half marathon on the 22nd. Please!!! It has to be because I've threatened the girls that I plan on running without a shirt if it is hot.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Week in Review, 100 Miles, and the Heat

Last week was a big week! I hit 100 miles for the month of May, making it my biggest mileage month ever! I did it over 13 training runs and one trail race. It took me 15 hours, 54 minutes and 55 seconds of running which translates to a 9:33 pace. I'm feeling pretty good. No crazy aches or pains. I wear compression after every run as well as use the foam roller which has really made a difference. 

Here's a quick rundown of last week - 

Tuesday - 13 miles, average pace 9:01 (in detail here)

Crushed it!

Wednesday - off, Finn's 4th birthday

Thursday - 6.44 miles, average pace 8:42, middle 4 mi tempo (7:56, 8:01, 7:59, 7:52)

And it was 34 76.

Friday - off

Saturday - 4.34 miles, average pace 9:18, makes exactly 100 miles for May

Sunday - off, Finn's birthday party

Super Mario party not complete without a little action.
All. The. Lollipops.

Monday - off

I contemplated running my long run for this week yesterday but wasn't feeling it so I decided to do it again on a Tuesday. I knew that it would be tougher than last week's long run with it being over 20 degrees warmer and sunny, but the heat really took a toll on me today. I did another two out-and-backs on the bike path while Finn was in school and it started off really well. Actually, a little too fast. I also didn't carry water/fuel with me, so I only got a drink when I finished the first part and stopped at the car. I contemplated carrying my hand-held on the second half, but didn't and soon regretted it. 

Once I did 8 miles, my legs felt really heavy and by mile 10 I realized I was no longer sweating and my face was dry with salt. I didn't feel fantastic, not terrible either, but I walked a couple of times up the small inclines and still managed an 8:59 on mile 10. I felt like I should ease up on the pace since I knew I was dehydrated, but it actually felt better on my legs to run faster. Crazy. When I got back to my car the second time I was at 11.1 miles, but had 13 on the schedule. This time I sipped a bit on some Ultima to get in some electrolytes before heading out to attempt another 1.9 miles. I was running a little short on time, but would still be okay if I ran 10-minute-miles. When I got a little more than half a mile out, I decided to head back and finished with 11.76 miles and average pace of 9:17. 

Glorious shade.

I knew that I could have made it to 13, but at what cost? I felt that it would be more beneficial to not get even more dehydrated and recoup for the rest of the week. I'm trying to look at the big picture here. I've had a really long string of great runs and I was due for a mediocre one. At the end of the day, this run wasn't bad. I was still within my long run pace and it was my first long run in the heat - the first run of the year over 70 degrees! 

I am a tad bit worried about about the temperature at the KRRT Half Marathon. I'm not sure 19 days is enough time to get acclimated to the heat, knowing how much it sucks out of me. I'll just have to adjust my goals and try my best. There's not much else I can do!