Thursday, December 31, 2015

Out with the old and in with the new?

Out with the old in with the new, a fresh start, a new book, the new year is going to be the best one yet, and so the list of New Year's traditional sayings goes on. Then there are the lists of resolutions to be more fit, lose weight, tone up, get abs, run faster and so on and so forth until you end up making a better you or being burnt out by February.

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Except for me for this year. 2015 was my year to FLY and boy did I give it my all.  I tried and I failed and I tried some more with some success.  I love who I am, who I am becoming, who I am starting to to be without over thinking how I am being viewed.  The girl who used to worry about what everyone else and their mothers thought really no longer cares as long as I stick to the core of my values of being kind, helpful and at times funny ( I find myself hilarious and during certain rare occasions other people do as well).  The girl who always goes home and replays what she did, what she said and how other people reacted only does that when I am feeling worn down and exhausted.  It is a trait that is hard to fight but I am doing it and I am learning to just let it go, I really really am.  Which is why with confidence and joy I can announce to myself and have the courage to put in black and white as well my New Year's goal for the year.  While 2015's goal is not smashed by any means I am going to continue to learn to love myself but what I really want is to be present, enjoy the moment and soak it all in.  So for 2016, my goal for myself is to become to comfortable loving myself that I can sit back and just BE.  BE happy, BE sad, BE with my kids, BE alone, BE a runner, BE a wife, BE a mom, BE a friend.  BE anything in the moment that I am in. 

A lot, of my races this past year were run IN the mile I was in.  That is how I got through them.  Just run mile 9 you are in mile 9.  Just run mile 10 you are in mile 10.  And I have decided that that is how I want to live this year.  Just color with kids you are coloring right now.  Just fold this laundry you are folding right now.  Just soak in this laughter that is happening around you right now.  I want to be open and present in all that I do and I want to soak in all of the feelings I feel.  There really are no bad feelings just some uncomfortable ones ;)

So Happy New Year to you all! I am looking forward to being in the writing presence more and looking forward to connecting and communicating with a lot more bloggers in the upcoming year. What is your favorite blog to follow? 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Hello from the Runner Side

Hello?  Hello from the other side.  The other side of running pregnant that is, and the other side of running with an infant, and the other side of running for marathon training and the other side of running with any race at all in my sight. 

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Why so quiet around here lately?  All really great questions and I am not sure that I even know where to begin to find the answers to them.  I just finished up a really great year of racing.  Not great because I am an elite runner with sponsors (I wish every single day that this was the case) but great because I did so many different and amazing races that I never ever thought I would do.  I ran a marathon, yes a MARATHON!!!! I am a marathoner.  I ran in Maine’s most popular race with a sellout time of under 5 minutes and it was an experience like none other. I ran my first ever Ragnar and can’t wait to do that again.  I may be a relay race addict, or become one very easily.  I also ran color runs with my whole family, 5ks and 10ks and virtual races and a half.  I ran with my heart and I ran with grit.  I PRd a 5k AND a half marathon.  I trained and I ran and I ran and I trained and the whole time my little family just kept growing up.

I no longer have  baby I have an 18 month old ball of sweet and sassy cuteness.  I no longer have a toddler, I have a preschooler who reminds me that the time they are dependant on me is so little in the grand scheme of things.  I no longer have a kindergartener, I have a first grader and let me tell you there is a HUGE difference between the two years.  The maturity and the opinions and the all of a sudden little adult like child I have walking around here is mind boggling. 

So I sit here and I struggle.  I struggle with me.  Finding me again.  I struggle with writing and being able to get the words down and out that I want.  I struggle with the passion that I used to have to become a real blogger.  A blogger who actually has followers and readers and gets picked to do reviews has a voice in this world of social media.  I am in a funk.  I became so overwhelmed with not knowing how to even start that I stopped before I started.  I watched as my niche of being a blogging pregnant runner slipped away.  Now, the mother runner of small children is slipping through my fingers and I am in a funk big time.  Who am I as a runner? As a mom? As ME?  2015 was my year to love myself, and while I made HUGE gains in this area I have realized that I don’t quite know who I am anymore. 

Here is what I know however, some day I want to be a blogger, a real one like some of my idols (Run Far Girl and This Mama Runs forCupcakes and Movin it with Michelle, and Taking the Long Way Home to name a few). I am a runner.  I am a middle of the pack, mediocre runner who dreams of inspiring people, who dreams of companies seeing me as someone with passion, kindness and gumption.  Someone that they think represents them well and wants me to be ME while living life.  I know that I am constantly discovering myself and going through highs and lows, through easy times and rough times, where things like writing come easy and where I can sit here for hours and not be inspired to write.  I know I just wrapped up a season of a life time and next year made a small slightly difficult promise of not paying to run any races with my husband.  It is like I traded my soul in on some days but I am determined to keep the promise so that I can run a runcation half in the fall, now only if I could find myself a coach who wants a special project, would rather be paid in cookies or beer and wants to help this mediocre girl go for a dream. 

I am really hoping that by sitting down today and writing about how I am all jumbled up will help with letting more writing flow.  I miss this emotional cleanse of seeing my feelings and thoughts in black and white.  My 2016 goal will be 1,000 miles run and 52 blog posts at least up!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from one Crazy Mama Runner   

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I will forever be Team Kyle in my heart

Remember that little 26.2 mile jaunt that I did way back in May?  The day that I became a marathoner was also the day that I discovered the amazingness of Team Kyle.  After I had run, after I
showered and changed, after I tucked my sweet little sick mini into bed I sat down with my runner's high and of course Facebooked that I was in fact a MARATHONER now.  After all, if you don't post it it didn't happen right?  The comments of congrats came flooding in, including one from a guy who happened to be out on the course with me.  Sean Kelley, a follower had recognized me as I passed him at mile 20 and although he didn't say hello (we were ALL struggling in that heat) he mentioned he saw me onFacebook.  Then, a few days later I received this message:

My wife and I are co race directors for the Team Kyle 5K. This year will be the 3rd Annual. We would love to have you join us for free in exchange for you writing a blog post about your experience at this race. (Including a TK5K tec shirt) Sound good? Please checkout the Team Kyle 5K run/walk page on Facebook as well as the regular Team Kyle page. This is a great family event. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I immediately went to the Team Kyle page.  And from the moment that I first started reading I knew that I ran that Maine Coast Marathon for a reason.  It was not for me to become a marathoner, I could have run any other 26.2.  I was not for me to push my limits or challenge myself, my kids do that to me everyday 24/7, I can get challenged and pushed without the running.  It was for me to have a connection to this little boy that is no longer Earth side.  It was for me to come into contact with people that do everything in their power to grow Kyle's legacy.  It was for me to become so humbled and yet blessed by the knowledge that a little boy who wasn't very big when he left this world had the biggest heart there ever was.  

Kyle St. Clair was born premature.  His life started with a 9 month stay in the NICU.  He accrued over 45 surgeries and many more long hospital stays.  He passed away on January 8, 2013, leaving his strength, love and hope inside all of the people that he had touched.  Kyle still touches the lives of people with his abundance of strength, love and hope by the work of the Team Kyle Foundation.  The mission of the Team Kyle Foundation is to "Pay it Forward". They identify needs of local children with illness and disability and offer any support that they can.

After reading about Kyle I knew that I would run that race even without having my registration fees paid. Paying it forward is right up my alley and I could feel the amount of love shining through the foundation in Kyle's honor.  I wrote back that I was all in and then sat back to wait for October.

Summer flew by and before I knew it, it was Friday night, the night before the race.  Although, they offered packet pick-up the morning of, I knew that my schedule of getting two kids ready for a soccer
game, a third packed to spectate with other fans on the freezing cold sidelines and myself actually to the start would be tight.  Having my bib the night before would take some pressure off.  We made it a family date night and drove the 40 minutes to Cabela's the packet pick-up location.  20 minutes away I knew I would barely make the 7pm end of the event so I posted on their page that I was in fact coming and VIOLA as I walked in with 3 minutes to spare they had my stuff already in a pile ready for me.  This was the beginning of the nicest group of volunteers and race personal ever to be found.  We chatted and they all admitted to following Crazy Mama Runner (YAY!!!!!), I admitted that I was crazy nervous for my first 5k that I would be racing myself since before I was pregnant (over TWO years ago!) and I grabbed my goodies (great tech shirt in orange for Kyle, bib, pens, pencils and sponsor swag). 

The day of the race dawned and with it the freezing cold and insane winds, along with the monster of a sleepless night entwined with the doubts of fear.  I dressed in my orange shirt for Kyle and a few more layers and headed out to make the drive alone, sending my mini support team in the other direction for a soccer game.  I arrived at a lovely location with the easiest parking I had ever had for a race.  Crossed the street and admired the live band they had playing as I made my way to the port-a-potties.  Four of them, which was more than enough and there was no line at all.  It was then that I contemplated just staying in the port-a-potty until the start of the race to try to stay somewhat warm.  Glancing down at the time I decided that 30 minutes in one was INSANE and so I headed back to the car.  Updated Facebook of course and worried some more.  I made up my mind that I was not going to let the excuses win.  It didn't matter that it was freezing, my legs were still dead from Reach the Beach, my support team wasn't there or that I am battling a pretty miserable case of the shingles.  Kyle endured so much more and still managed to look at the world and want to help OTHERS.  If it wasn't a day for a PR or even a sub-30 then who the hell cares.  I am honoring a little boy that left too soon and I wanted to be present in that face.  I said a prayer and I got out of my car.

I made my way back to the start line for the second time.  Used the potty again, and yes again contemplated staying in it as long as possible for warmth.  In fact I stayed in for 3 minutes before I sucked it up and stepped back out into the cold to shiver.  The band was still playing and the energy from the other runners was starting to kick up.  I joined in on the high knees, and hip swings as much to stay warm as to prepare for running.  The horn sounded and we were off.  I was out in the front of the pack and just stayed 
there, still ramped up on RTB running and counting my "kills".  I started to want to puke as the course left the dirt parking lot and made it's way into a development of adorable houses. My Runkeeper hadn't yet made a noise and I knew that I was not even near a 1/2 mile.  Then I heard her speak to me 5 minutes in and I was running an 8:26 pace.  SAY WHAT?!  That is when the first stroller runner passed me and I decided to run it all out.  The course wound it's way through more housing developments and around some gorgeous water scenery.  Cute little wooden pumpkins marked the mile points.  At mile 2 another runner and I gave each other the thumbs up.  We were both pushing it and with just over a mile left to go it was going to be all guts and glory to the finish.  Around mile 2.5 we made out way back out to a main road and headed back to the dirt parking lot.  The wind was something else as it was a strong head wind and here came the only sort of hill that was out there.  I powered through and turned in to the last tenth.  Not many runners had made it back yet but the crowd that was there was cheering everyone on.  Full on sprint to the end and I was done.  

TWENTY-FIVE minutes and FORTY-TWO seconds it had taken me to run the adorable and mostly flat course.  A PR by almost 30 seconds.  I stood next to the finish and started clapping for all the other runners coming in.  I stood there until the very last of the Team Kyle participants came through.  I watched his little sister run through the finish shoot over and over again with squeals of giggles and I watched everyone smile and chat.  I felt warm from the inside and I couldn't have been happier. 

I stayed through the awards and the raffle drawings and the mood of all of those people never wavered.  I listened to Kyle's mom speak and I couldn't help but feel like Kyle was there too, even though I had never personally met him.  The overwhelming feeling of community and love was everywhere and I walked back to my car when it was all over forever grateful that I had run that marathon way back in May.  

These are the races that I love doing.  The ones where the cause is in your heart the whole time.  You remember the charity that you signed up to run for.  The ones where you can actually see the lives that are changing and growing and helping.  I will forever be a Team Kyle runner.  This will not be the only Team Kyle 5k I do.  I am looking forward to running it again next year and to helping spread the word to others to run it as well.  I promise you that if you ever run this one you wont be the same.  And the coolest thing of all is that there is a virtual option as well.  I highly recommend Maine running of course but if you just cannot get here sign up for the virtual race and let Kyle touch your heart too.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Top 10 Reach the Beach Lessons

Whenever yo`u push yourself outside your comfort zone things happen.  You break, you rise and you grow.  You also learn, you learn things about yourself that you never knew.  You learn that you can do things that are completley daunting.  You learn that you can overcome mental obstacles as well as extremem physical ones.  You learn that when you are broken down the most you are also at your strongest.  However, running a Ragnar you also learn a thing or two about relay running.  Here are 10 things I learned while running Reach the Beach.

Top Ten Ragnar Lessons:

1) Port-a-Potty lines are longer in the morning and the runner on deck line is the best thing EVER!

2) Poop talk will become so natural, you will forget that you are in a van of strangers.

3) A van can make 6 strangers banter like ole chums, and also hold the smell of bananas and sweat no matter how long you leave the doors all open.

4) Running in the middle of the night is scary, yet the line of bobbing headlamps and blinking red lights ahead of you is the most comforting site.  Making you feel like part of a whole other world of awesomeness.

5) Food, you never want what you packed yourself.  In fact, cheeseburges start becoming a foremost thought everytime you start running again.

6) Ziplock bags are the best invention ever.  Seriously, best invention ever.

7) For days after you will want to continue to tag vans, report kills and scream wildly out your window at runners.

8) Volunteers are the best thing in the world! Homemade soup in a cup at 11pm after running your second leg is gold and the ladies who are still serving it with a smile are saints!

9) Sleeping in a van isn't impossible. Yet, you don't even think twice about laying out in the median of a parking lot, feild of a school, or any bench you can find.

10) You will never feel so accomplished.  There will be a point out there that you can not take another step.  Your legs are lead and you are exhausted, but you keep going.  When you are done the impossile has turned into the been there ROCKED that. Beastmode ACTIVATED!

What would you add to the list of lessons learned?  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Epicness in 200 miles

Its Wednesday. It has been 4 days since I last stepped out of the white beast of a van that we called George. George was my home on wheels for a few days as myself and 11 other teammates made the trek from the mountains of NH to the beach.  It has been 4 days and I still want to roll my window down each time I see a runner and scream wildly. I still want to count my "kills" as I pass people. I still smell bananas and other funky smells stuck in my nose hairs. I still want to "tag" other vans and look for "tags" on my own as I walk out of Target. However, my bed. Yeah I love my bed!

Some of you may have guessed from the moment I introduced George, others maybe when I was talking about the "kills" or "tags" or 11 other teammates. That is correct. I ran a Ragnar relay race. And to even begin to describe it in words is daunting. I can't blame exhaustion anymore due to the fact my body has crashed by 9pm every night since the race and slept through to 6:30am. Clocking some serious sleep hours and leaving me rested. Which means I can only blame it on the fact that I lack the vocabulary to explain what an epic adventure that was. Serious hard core, beast mode, bad ass mother runner epic shit went down.

I was runner #1 and it was the toughest thing I have ever ever done which includes med free child birth three times (first time was a 56 hour marathon labor too!) And running 26.2 in 90 degree temps after winter training in nothing above 50 degrees.

Our van headed up Thursday evening because we had an early start time. We checked in to a hotel, grabbed some yummy flat bread pizza and settled in for about 4 hours of sleep. We awoke predawn, showered and hit the road. I munched on an apple and sat looking out the window trying to calm my nerves. I had them under control when 50 minutes later we pulled into the base of the mountain. The fog was heavy the sea of white passenger vans was endless. We checked in, found bathrooms and the fog lifted, giving me a view of the ski mountain. Ummmmm yep, nerves were back. The mountain was daunting and as I joined my wave start runners at the start line I was overwhelmed. I was one of just three women that would be starting that wave. The rest of the 40 other runners were men.  Very very fit runner looking men and the other two females? Yeah like Olympic runner forms. I was in trouble. The countdown ended and off we were sent. All of them passing me and leaving me there at the base, struggling to go up and up and up. 1.3 miles straight up the ski slope, all the way to the top. Then a very unflattering chaotic never in control of my body decent as we went straight back down to where we started. Flailing like a wild banshee I came crashing in, broken, battered and crying as I handed off the bracelet to runner two.

I cheered for each runner after this on the outside as on the inside I was defeated and left wondering how the hell I was going to get out and do leg 2. As the time ticked by and we fell further and further from our estimated time to run again I knew I would be doing more pitch black running then I had anticipated. I was correct in that at around 6:40 pm I was handed the bracelet yet again. This time for 9.3 "easy" miles. It was very hot and I had spent the last 6 hours under a tree stretching, rolling and napping. Hydrating and trying to eat. I was as ready as I could be. I set out and even managed a few "kills" before mile 3 when I ran out of water, the dark was setting in and I turned to lead as I realized that "easy" on this course still meant 600 feet of elevation gain. My van did not leap frog me for water or support stops and it was just me out there with the occasional passing of a runner who would fly by leaving me with just the view of a train of blinking red lights in the distance. Around mile 7 I broke down and called my husband. He kept me company out there. Telling me about the kids and daily stuff while I just answered back in heavy breathing. Around this time other vans took pity on me and I had some wonderful offers of Gatorade, Pringles, water and pretzels. Finally, I could make out the transition area and I had completed leg 2!!! I ran in and found no runner waiting for me. It was difficult to see who anyone was with headlamps shining back at you. A group of us just started yelling and finally runner 2 appeared. Took the bracelet and left me to find our van.

My legs now were pure lead and quivering masses of muscle that was dead to me. I got in the van and drove from each transition spot then after our last runner made it back we headed out to try and get some sleep before our third and final legs.

4 hours of broken, frozen, van sitting sleep later I was back out and gearing up for my last leg. My poor legs were dead I could barely walk and knew running would be slow and painful. I was right. The hills on the 500+ elevation change over my last 5 miles broke me the rest of the way and I ended up walking the ups. At the top of one of these hills I found a team of pure bliss. Out on the side handing out mini snickers to all the walkers. Yep don't mind if I take one.  The hills and heat broke me down but that mini snickers put a huge smile on my face. I finished up, found some wonderful food and a place to change then spent the rest of the day driving George and cheering on runners beyond thankful that I was done.

Our team did in fact reach the beach and I made it home where my kids ran outside to cheer me into the driveway and straight into an Epsom salt bath followed by bed. I slept like I had never slept before. 12 hours of not moving a muscle. Got up then because I didn't get enough hills and I in those 12 hours of sleep missed torturing myself set out on a family hike up a local mountain to a fire tower. And you know what?! I wasn't the only Reach the Beacher at the top. I found a sole sister on the crazy train since she too was hiking with her family after reaching the beach.

Will I ever do a Ragnar again? Yes. Will I ever do Reach the Beach again? Probably. Will I ever be runner 1 again at Reach the Beach? Hell NO. Did I have an epic, soul searching, growing as a runner, facing fears, accomplishing goals, making memories journey? HELL YES!

HAVE YOU EVER RUN A RAGNAR? What did you think?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Race Recap Link-up! Beach to Beacon!!!

Welcome to the 17th Race Recap Link-Up!! I love reading recaps from other bloggers. Its a great way to learn about different races, support other runners, and gain motivation. A recap is the final leg of the race. It’s your chance to relive your race and allow others some insight. The training miles, the race day jitters, the glory of crossing the finish line. the good - the bad - the ugly We want to hear it all….

Meet the hosts...

august 25 Jessica at The Silvah Lining: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Bloglovin'
Mary Beth at Tutus and Tennies: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest
Christina at Crazy Mama Runner: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

We'd love it if you'd follow us on all social media & let us know you've shared a post.


You must check out Amanda's (Unapologetically You) recap of Pike's Peak Ascent Race in CO. Her recap makes you feel like you were there with her. Ever wonder how to train for a 14,115' climb? While you there, poke around her blog and check out the training that went in to a race like that.

About this link up...

It is active every Tuesday - Friday. Link up your most recent recaps, or throwback to an old favorite. *If your post is unrelated to the theme, it will be deleted. One recap will be featured on the next link up! Read at least 3 other posts and leave them some love. The more the merrier… share on your social media so others can link-up. #TuesdayTales Grab the code to the link-up image below on your post or somewhere on your blog.
The Silvah Lining
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Thank you for linking up this week - be sure to come back next week.

And speaking of Race Recaps I have been holding onto one for awhile now, since August 1st actually! This link up day is the perfect day for me to release the recap for the very sought after Beach to Beacon!!!

The quest for the TD Beach to Beacon 10k 2015 started in March.  Yep March for the August 1st race. No the training didn't start but the registration did.  Beach to Beacon is Maine's most popular race. Hosting over 6000 runners on a 6.25 mile course.  Being the most popular race the spots fill fast.  And by fast I mean like blink or have a typo and your chances of running it are slim to none.  This race sold out in just over 4 minutes.  FOUR MINUTES! Which means you have to be fast OR hope that one of the 1200 lottery spots they open after registration closes goes to you with the luck of the Irish on your side.  I happened to have my act together on the morning of March 13th and my typing fingers flew because I GOT IN!!!! For the first time ever I was going to be joining the masses and running this sought after course! 

Packet Pick-up/Expo
After the high of securing a spot in the 4 minutes of active registration I let the race slip from my mind.  I mean after all I was in the middle of Marathon training and raising three kids so I thought nothing of it, knowing that training was something that I wouldn't really need to focus on too much for a 10k.  After all I in May I held my own for 26.2!!!! But alas packet pick up was upon me.  There was really no choice of a morning of packet pick up like I was accustomed too.  Morning of pick-up was held only for the most needed cases, think those traveling from afar or having some special circumstances.  With 6000+ runners they really needed bibs to be picked up before.  So the afternoon before after spending the morning at the beach as a family we headed to the expo.  And it was immediately very clear as to why the packet pick-up was mandatory the day before.  There was pick-up TRAFFIC.  Yes, we sat in lines of traffic and then had race volunteers direct us to the very last lot left for parking.  I was starting to realize how big this race was going to be.  After the let down of the Maine Coast Marathon expo I wasn't expecting much but I was very VERY pleasantly surprised!!!! The packet pick up was a breeze, very well organized and over quickly.  Then I was sent out to enjoy the vendors and pick up me free Beach to Beacon shirt.  We were treated very well.  Given lots of samples, gift cards to a sports store and Dunkin Donuts.  (When all was said and done after that weekend I walked away with $15 of Dunkin Donut gift cards.  Enough to keep me happy for a long time!) The kids had a BLAST, each collecting their own little race expo goodie bags, including cow bells to cheer Mommy on!  A very well organized and fun expo for sure!

After such crazy traffic for packet pick-up we decided that a VERY early morning departure was needed.  Which meant that my little cheering crew would not be attending.  I left the house at 5am after 3 hours of sleep and made my way to the Biddeford park and ride where two lovely ladies from the Lebanon Lady Runners run group met me and we then carpooled to a designated parking lot.  There were 4 such lots.  Since this was a point to point race shuttles were being used to get us all were we needed to be.  We arrived at the lot and had port-a-potties waiting for us.  A quick stop in and we were in the shuttle line. Awaiting our turn to board the school bus and be bussed to the start.  This was all done very quickly and organized.  Stepping out at the start line we were welcomed with oranges and bananas and some Gatorade if you so chose.  A sunscreen station was set up for those who may have forgotten to put it on and the smiles and welcomes were plenty from all the volunteers. Also awaiting us was the most glorious set up of port-a-potties EVER!   A line as far as the eye could see with alternating side entrances to keep the lines from being so chaotic.  Another stop in for a bathroom break and we had enough time to head down to the start to see the start of the wheel chair participants AND then the special guests.  This year the special guests were a 90 year adorable lady and her support crew and a strong and brave Boston Marathon bombing victim and her husband.  It was a pretty emotional send off.  Here we paused to snag a picture at the start line AND managed to even get Joan Benoit Samuelson in our shot!!!! It was really cool to see her at the start giving orders and saying good luck to all she came across.  One more trip to the port-a-potty line and I was off to seed myself.  

The Race
6000+ runners is something spectacular to see and to be in the mix of.  It was heads as far as I could see in both directions.  All gearing up to run.  We were packed in shoulder to shoulder and no where to move.  I had put myself up with the 10 min milers and as an after the race thought I wish I had gone closer to the 9 minute ones.  I however, was locked in.  There was no where to move once you stopped in your place.  People who were obviously late were trying to fight through to their pace section and were having no luck.  It was just wall to wall bodies.  The gun went off and somewhere over two minutes later I crossed the start line. I was running.  I was weaving and I was dodging and being dodged.  I waited for it to thin out so that I could get my groove and get focused.  It NEVER did.  In fact, they closed the whole course and we had the entire road to run both lanes but the people never thinned.  With no music and just the spectator cheers to focus me I put my head down and just made the best of it.  I weaved, I bobbed and I was passed or passing runners the entire time.  Not once did I have a spot where I could breathe and settle in the run.  I was constantly all over the place.  Things got a little worse at the finish.  I have always been one to save some for the end.  And when the two lanes of runners were funneled into a 6 foot wide single lane about .4 miles from the finish line it got tight and I got a little frustrated.  I was stuck in the spot I was in.  I couldn't open up and sprint, I couldn't try to get in under the hour like I had wanted to do.  I had to bid my time stuck behind groups of people running three across and not moving aside to let others through.  When I crossed the line not breathing that hard and 1 minute and 20 seconds over my goal I knew that I would have had it if it weren't for being stuck in such a tight pack the last quarter mile or so.  But I had done it. I had finished Maine's most popular race and I was feeling great.  Hot but great.  We were herded up a hill to find water and then down the other side for food.  

Post Race
The food lines were long and being one who never eats after a race, I circled around the lines and found the ladies I carpooled with.  We then headed out to find the shuttle line.  Although, the lines were long they were organized and went smoothly.  After about 45 minutes we were on the bus and headed back to our lot.  Once I got to my car and had 40 minutes to drive home alone in my thoughts I had time to decompress about the event.  Overall it is a spectacular race.  The energy from the expo right on through to the finish is unbelievable.  The spectators line the whole course and the cow bells, cheering and even live music blaring is an amazing sight.  To see so many runners together is chilling, the goosebumps from the inspiration of all sorts of runners.  The elite Kenyans who won to the back of the packers smiling high fiving and staying the course is all so beautiful.  The volunteers were plentiful and amazing.  The small touches of having sunscreen tents and pre race fuel were touching.  The smoothness of that many people being parked and shuttled and cared for during a race was phenomenal.  If this was a race you were hoping to PR in or beat a time you will be disappointed as the sheer amount of runners leaves the course packed and crowded the whole time.  But for a race to run just for fun and to see the running spirit in full force go for it!!!!! I do not think I will be up on a morning in March with my fingers ready to race for registration in 2016 but I am oh so glad I had done it this year! Oh and the FREE amazing race photos are a HUGE perk! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


It is National Running Day.  The love for running is flying around all social media outlets and I get so excited and giddy seeing all of these runner's coming together and running to celebrate today.  In true runner fashion I too laced up and hit the road running.  The whole time marveling on the difference a year makes.  Last year on this day I did 3.1 miles while pushing the double and being 36 weeks pregnant.  This year I went out early and met a friend out there.  4 glorious talkative miles later I came home to the screams of delight from all three of my miracles.  Great start to my day hands

In honor of National Running Day I am super excited to team up with Kristen from JonesInForARun and a bunch of other blogs for a fun running interview.  Thanks Kristen for heading this up and sending the questions. I had so much fun answering them!!!

1. Why do you run? I run to feel limitless. To believe. To be brave. To discover me.

2. How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day? Hitting the road in the quiet start of the day.  When all there is out are the other runners and the birds waking up the neighborhood.

3. How many miles have you run so far this year? Oh my gosh how many miles have I run this year? It will take me a second but I will go add them up.... 492.5!!!!! Which means a part of me wants to push for 1,000 miles this year!!!

4. What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year? First and foremost the biggest event was my first marathon.  Yes, I am now a MARATHONER and totally badass in my own personal opinion.  The events leading up to that 26.2 plus the insane INSANE heat after a very VERY long winter of training made me feel totally kickass :).  The rest of the year my calendar is surprisingly filling faster than I thought it would.  I have a Vermont 5k, a very sought after10k (hello Beach to Beacon!!!), my first EVER Ragnar with Reach the Beach and then I am doing a half with my sister.  Her first half, it is going to be epic!!!!

5. Before I leave for a run you must have: A dozen or more kisses from each of my littles, my epi pen and my phone.  My phone is only for emergency calls now, like in case I actually need to use the epi pen.  I learned last year to run sans music and I actually do not even think about putting it on anymore.

6. Do you have one favorite app to track your runs? RunKeeper!

7. Who is your favorite running partner? I LOVE having running partners and each time I have one or more I feel so lucky to be out there doing what I love doing with others!!! But hands down my fav is my hubby.  I love that he slows down for me.  I love that we can go out and be together and talk and catch up and he believes that I can do it.  He is my number one cheerleader and the one who most gets my crazy. :)

8. What races have you ran so far this year? Opps, here is where I should have mentioned that marathon huh?  I did the Maine Coast Marathon in May.  I completed the 26.2 miles and was so so so proud to cross that line to the cheers of my family!!!

9. If you had to give someone one piece of advice about running what would it be? The miles do not make the runner, the pace doesn't make the runner.  The fact that you are out there giving it your all makes you a runner.  Do NOT fall into the trap of thinking you are not a runner because you run 13 minute miles,  you don't look like the stereotypical runner, or because your long run is 4 miles.  You are a runner its all in a state of mind.

10.  Describe your relationship with running in one word: Evolving!

Why do YOU run? Have you put in some miles for #nationalrunningday?

Linking up is so much fun!!! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A GiVeAwAy!!!!! Dream Big and GO for It!

Here I sit.  A few weeks after my marathon.  A few weeks after I actually toed the start line.  A few weeks after all the hard work, training and dreaming came to a conclusion, I AM A MARATHONER.  

Never in a million years have I ever thought I would say that.  I never thought that I was runner enough to achieve that goal but I had dreams and I had support and because of those dreams and support I was able to go for it! And go for it I did, I now have the amazing mermaid medal to prove it :)

Which is why as a mom and a runner, a supporter of healthy living I am beyond excited to have come across Go! Go! Sports Girls.  As a mom I want to instill healthy living and activity into my kids.  I want them to make choices and have fun while getting active and choosing healthy snacks. You can even find tips on how to get your kids involved in sports on the website here) While I live that example to the best I can to show them what it is like I am so thrilled that there are companies out there in society and the media that are promoting the same values that I am trying to.  It is like the founder of these amazing dolls, Jodi Norgaard, got down to the core of what I am trying to teach.  She has coached "Girls on the Run", a program which encourages girls to make healthy choices in life through running, for many years.  It was while working with these girls that Jodi had an idea. 

"I realized there was a need for a positive doll for girls that would be age appropriate, proportioned properly and send a positive message about a healthy lifestyle - physically, mentally and emotionally - through sports." -Jodi 

YES EXACTLY THAT Jodi!!!!! I am excited that this message is starting to make waves into our littles lives. "The whole point of the business is to send the message to girls to dream big and go for it." says Jodi. 
This right there is EXACTLY the type of message that I dream of for my daughters to embrace, hold on to and pass on.  I want her to dream her dreams and then go for it.  Even when in a million years she never thinks it will be possible.
Back in March I reached out to Jodi and the Go! Go! Sports Girl company to ask for a donation to our Daddy Daughter Dance raffle.  I was in charge and I wanted to put something together for the girls that embraced being active.  Jodi did me one better.  She sent a doll in for the raffle AND she sent me one to GIVEAWAY!!!!! 

Yes I have a doll, Ella the running doll to be exact to give to one lucky blog reader!!! Just leave a comment telling me how YOU Dream Big and GO For It!!!! 

By the way, how perfect is it that Ella is the name of the running doll?  My oldest is named Ella and I love that the runner here is also an Ella!!!! Now to just convince Jodi that she needs a doll named Lucille/Lulu/Lucy...... Maybe an extra bonus entry if you write in that suggestion ;) 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

MARATHON recap and a GiVeAwAy announcement

I did it!!!! I. AM. A. MATHONER!!!!!!! enough said right?  Not really, just like child birth there is always a story, a journey of how your life was changed.

I spent Saturday with my family.  Watching my tiny dancer take the stage in the most beautiful dance I have ever seen, stopping at the greenhouse and enjoying the flowers, celebrating my neices 2nd birthday and then doing things that well as a runner getting ready to run a race you are never supposed to do.  I went to Target and bought myself new running clothes to wear FOR the race.  After training all winter, the only clothes I had worn were warm ones.  I needed something that would help keep me as cool as possible for the forecast of 85 degrees.  Then, then I ate pizza and onion rings.  Yep, take out.  Not really something I would normally do and especially not before a race but I did it.  Then I went to bed at 11.  Yep, late.

The day dawned for me at 12:37 am, to the lovely sound of puking, crying and moaning that "my belly hurts it really really hurts".  My heart broke for my oldest who was clearly extrememly sick.  My hubby was amazing and dealt with all the clean up and calming her down but as a mama I just couldn't go back to sleep with her so miserable.  At 5am, I was up packing and worrying about my mini.  She was insisting she still see mama race, and considering the race start was a drop off and I never bought a shuttle ticket because the plan had been for the kids and my husband to drop me off we had no real choice.  Since I had gotten my bib Friday night at the expo (If it can even be called that?  It was pretty much just a packet pick up with two vendors there not even trying to demo their stuff), we held off putting the kids in the van until the last possible second.

I walked out my door and the humidity hit me.  It was already thick and warm, 60 degrees.  I could already tell that things were going to get HOT.  As I walked around the van I came across the best surprise I  ever!!!! At some point in the middle of the night, without anyone in the house knowing some of my wonderful friends had lined my driveway with homemade race signs for me.  I just stood there and read them and cried.  It was truly the most thoughtful thing that could have ever had been done for me right there in that moment.  This was the start of what would be the reason I finished that race.

We drove the 20 minutes to the race start with my mini puking in a bowl and then smiling at me and telling me she was ok.  I wanted to stop go home and just snuggle her but I also knew that I really needed to do this or at least try as selfish as that made me.  My husband dropped me off with 20 minutes to go before the start.  He wasn't sure what his plan would be with Princess Pie throwing up so much but he gave me a kiss told me he was so proud of me and out the door I went to stand in line for the port-o-potties.  I tried one more time to eat something while I was standing there but I couldn't do it.  I was sick to my stomach and no food would go in.  Looked like I was relying solely on that take out pizza the night before.  In line I was surrounded by runners talking about all the other marathons they had run, which ones were better to BQ at and which ones to avoid.  I felt alone.  Never have I felt so alone at the start of a race before.  I used the potty and slowly made my way to the line.  

I made the decsion to run naked.  I didn't want any time pressure on me.  I just wanted to finish so I stood and I waited and then the gun went off.  We were warned the route was only closed to traffic
for the first mile and to not run in groups after that.  I was at the back of the pack and trying desparetly to find someone who looked friendly and wouldn't mind chatting for a few minutes but no luck.  I ran the first mile, and wished I was already done.  I knew that if my husband stuck around to cheer that I wouldn't see him until mile 4.5 or so and that seemed so far off.  Then as luck would have it a runner decided to run down the center line even when the road opened back up to traffic.  He didn't budge and those of us behind him kept yelling CAR, and because of this I found my opportunity to talk to someone.  It started with a "can you believe this guy?" and ended with chatting about anything and everything.  This was exactly what I needed to shake that alone feeling.  We ran together until I veered off to use a port-o-potty.  I was alone again but I was ok.

At mile 4.5 I was delighted and excited to see my small little family standing there, with specially made Mother's Day race signs and I tried so hard not to cry.  I stopped and gave them all a small kiss and off I went again to my husband yelling you look great keep it up!  This was the pattern that kept me going.  Each time, I was feeling like I couldn't do it, I happened upon surprise support.  At mile 6
my sister-in-law drove by screaming and waving.  At mile 8 it was some page followers/friends out there cheering me on and making sure to grab some pictures so I would have some part of my journey documented.  At mile 10, a friend jumped in and ran with me for 3 miles.  Some where in there my other sister-in-law and cousin drove by screaming and yelling.  At mile 13.5 I met the whole group of them cheering for me with signs and smiles.  I stopped here to apply some more sunscreen.  It was getting hot and there wasn't an ounce of shade out there at all.  Here yet another friend jumped in to run a bit.  She had a Sunday long run planned and thought why not run with me.

At mile 15 things started getting REALLY hard.  The heat was insane and I was starting to get so sick. I was unable to drink or fuel without wanting to throw up.  Having Annette out there with me then was pure magic.  She kept me calm, going and making sure I was sipping water as much as I could.  At mile 16 my sister-in-law and cousin had ice cold water for me to drink and dump over my head.  At mile 16.5 I came across the best cheerleader ever.  A random lady standing out there with a sign and a bowl of ice for the runners.  Truly a God send.  I grabbed a handful and dropped it in my bra. At mile 18 I found the page follower/friends again and couldn't have been more excited they were still out there tracking and cheering for me.  Then came, my husband again AND one of the sign
making friends who had lined my driveway.  My fan base was growing.  They were all leap frogging each other so that I had someone cheering me on every few miles.  I found them a few more times each time MORE friends had joined them.  These people had all taken time out of THIER Mother's Day to be out on the side of a hot road holding a sign waiting and waiting for me to be spotted.  At mile 24, Annette who was only going to run 10 miles with me was still there.  It was here she suggested that she put music on her phone and we run one song, walk one song.  This is how, I finished the race.  Focusing not on how sick I felt but one song at a time.  People were now starting to lie and tell me I was almost there.  I guess in the grand scheme of things yes I was.  But when you have 1.5 miles left DO NOT tell someone it's just a mile now.  The last mile lasted a lifetime and I started getting dizzy and even more sick.  Thankfully, the last aid station at mile 25.2 had cups of ice.  I was able to chew on the ice to get some liquid in and cool off some.

At the finish line I ran in to the cheers of my mini family and my sister-in-law and cousin who had stayed to see me through the whole thing.  Honestly, I do not remember much about the course.  They say it is a beautiful one.  The sites are specataculr.  I don't remember.  I don't remember the aid
stations or which was my favorite as I am supposed to vote.  I don't remember how many people passed me, or the time I finished in.  I don't think I even looked as I crossed the line.  All I remember was the support and encouragement.  I remember feeling loved and believed in.  The specators I had both there physically and from away.  All of the notes, texts, messages, signs, smiles, hugs, ALL of that.  That is what I remember.  That is what made this race so special.

Those signs in my driveway that morning, those signs were a foreshadow of how I was going to get through that race.  I was going to get through with a little help from my friends.

For me this race wasn't about the running, it was about the friendships, the believing in myself and the love that can get you through anything.

Speaking of believing in yourself, and fantastic role modeling look for a giveaway coming soon!!! One I am very VERY excited to be a part of!!!!  One that will definetly have your little ones on the Go GO... Anyone care to guess what it is?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Taper Crazies!!!!!

Ahhhhhh it is upon me!!!! Marathon weekend is about to start.  I can not even believe that 18 weeks
of training are under my belt.  It honestly feels like I just started and yet I am no where near ready.  Que: Taper Crazies.

Tapering is this funny funny thing.  I never understood it completely until right this week.  The last weeks of training, I was tired, I was ready for a break and I was feeling run down.  HA! This week I am ready to go, I want to run, I feel like I should be out there running and yet I am not.  Mind games are continuing and doubt is setting in.  Tapering may actually just be harder than the actual running!!!

Here are five ways to keep the tapering crazies at bay:

1) Clean.  Yep clean your house.  My house is normally a crazy loved lived in cozy mess.  Kids art work is everywhere, shoes are strewn, toys and forts and "doctor office" stations are stepped around
and lovingly turned into whatever else the imagination needs at the moment.  During training however, well that coordinated chaos turned into a disaster zone.  Laundry piled up, dishes are stacked up, beds are unmade and floors are pretty sticky in spots (pretty sure someone snuck juice in a room where it isn't allowed...) I spent yesterday, organizing everything. rearranging furniture, folding laundry and washing floors.  I was done by 1 o'clock and still itching to run BUT I put the laundry away instead.

2) Play.  All the weeks I have had to arrange schedules and fit in runs whenever I could are no more.  This week we have had park trips and picnics at random times.  We have had "paint nights" in with the music blaring and the paint flying everywhere and a little on the canvas.  Dance parties and bike rides.  It is almost like I am a kid again and the kids and I are enjoying it.  The forced time away from running is like a welcome playtime oasis.  We even managed a fantastic dinner picnic on the beach this week.  To soak up the sand and waves and to see the kids just carefree running between tide pools was exactly what I needed to fill my heart with love.

3) Weather Stalk.  Oh boy, this in itself can drive you crazy but it's like a bad movie you watch it anyway.  So far I have seen the weather go from my perfect conditions (50's with a 30% chance of rain) to pretty much hell.  Literally, the temps are forecasted to reach near 90 Sunday.  I am not accustomed to that type of heat yet.  I trained in the dead of winter.  A winter that didn't seem to want to end.  I ran in blizzards and through snow that was taller than me.  The summer is welcomed yes, but it is definitely going to make me work to finish that race.  Although, this is Maine.  Even the forecasted weather that morning will probably change yet again. Hopefully, to cool with some rain ;)

4) Plan.  I have lists of lists that I need to make.  I am taking the time to plan what to wear, what to eat, what to bring, You name it and I have a list for it.  Because there is no parking at the start, my husband and the kids are dropping me off.  Not only do I have to plan for me and pack and organize
my things but I need to do it for three kids and a hubby too.  They will need breakfast to go, snacks, lunch, toys, extra clothes, diapers, breast milk, sunscreen and strollers.  All of this planning has me running errands and staying busy.  A wicked good distraction to the not running thing this week.  Even my lists have lists who have lists.

5) Take it all in.  Lastly, just be.  Take it all in.  All of your training, all of your thoughts.  All of the support from your supporters.  The notes, the quotes and the words of encouragement.  Just let it all soak in and store it away.  Believe, their words and notes.  You are trained for this, you have this and
it is going to be life changing.  Let those in who are cheering for you.  Let them offer you little pick me ups that you will store close to the heart and pull them out when you need them the most.  For as in the words of the amazing Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes: What will be, will be.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me, helped me train, ran with me, texted me with encouragement when you knew I was out.  Who left me notes and quotes.  Who have paved the way and inspired to me to test my limits in the first place.  This run I am doing for me but it is because of all of you that read this blog that I am finding the courage in myself to try for dreams.

A special huge thank you for this trifecta of amazing and inspiring runners and bloggers who took the time to read and comment on each weeks training journey post.  Thank you ladies for being such wonderful blog readers!!!!

Sue: This Mama Runs for Cupcakes 
Wendy: Taking the Long Way Home 
Michelle: Movin It With Michelle