Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 7 in the books!

This week brought alot to my plate.  The mileage is really starting to step up and I am going into unknown territory very soon! I had a lot of firsts this week, including shutting a treadmill down by running for over an HOUR on it and fueling with Honey Stingers before and during my long run.  I
also had a lot of stresses this week in addition to trying to fit in some run times and weather problems.  My daughter was diagnosed with asthma, my son had xrays to check on a possible enlarged heart and the baby is still not double her birth weight so we need to talk supplements.  But run I did and I nailed each and every scheduled mile, mostly because I NEEDED an outlet and a little because I am stubborn and skipping a run would, in my mind, be failing the training week.

Marathon Training Week 7:

The Miles:

Tuesday ~ 6.2
Wednesday ~ 3.14
Friday ~ 3.13
Sunday ~ 12.2

The Weather:

Cold yet then a HEATWAVE came through!!!! My Saturday morning long run was -20 degrees at
the start time so we postponed it.  Glad we did because 24 hours later it was FIFTY degrees warmer!!!!  Sunday was GORGEOUS and WARM.  Those 12 miles were a blessing to be out in nice weather!!!


Two runs on the treadmill, which was BORING but DONE! And then the outside routes were where ever I could go that was safe and as snow free as possible.  Guess what?  The only roads like this or that were not high traffic roads were the HILL routes.  Yeah I just ate them up and chalked it up to perfect training for the Maine Coast course.


Treadmill, new fuel choices and a FITBIT!!!!! The Hubs bought me a FitBit for Valentine's Day and
it has been interesting to see my steps on days I run vs days I don't and of course my sleep pattern.The treadmill I need to find balance with.  I have it in my mind I can't run over a 10 min mile on that thing and I am messing with my mental state.  I think I need to FORCE myself into running a 34 min 5k on it and let it BE OK!!!! Fuel, I added some Honey Stinger chews and gels in.  They were not that bad and I will be trying them again next week :)

Lessons Learned:

Oh wow, this was a learning week. I learned that I am capable of outrunning a treadmill.  I tested this out with my midweek 6 miler.  I finished my 6 miles before an hour but barely and because I had always heard after an hour the machine would shut off I had to test it of course! 6.2 miles later and I had the biggest treadmill high ever! Causing me to walk into the men's locker room to boot!!! EMBARRASSING! I learned that runners will do whatever they NEED to do while out on a run.  I was 5 miles into my 12 miler when I just really really REALLY had to pee.  Normally this Maine gal would think nothing about finding a tree.  Yet we have about 5 feet of snow on the ground and 8 foot
snow banks to climb to even get into the woods.  Yeah that wasn't happening.  Instead, I managed to remember that I was running on Sunday, I was near a church, the door would be open.... Yeah I totally slipped into the Church in all my running gear glory and found a bathroom to use.  To make matters worse as if I wasn't embarrassed enough, my RunKeeper app went off at full volume while I
was in there. So I learned to pause that thing if I ever need to do that again ;) What a memorable run that will be! Memorable not only for the Church pit stop, or the use of fuel for the first time ever through out a run but also because it ended with some very VERY VERRRRRRY unfortunate chaffing.  Ummmm yea apparently those pants have a seam that I wasn't really aware of.  Being frozen I didn't feel any problem until my shower... Oh and speaking of showers I think I have finally figured out water temperature after a long winter run!! It's an ease into the spray method, hands and feet first, increase warm water then legs and arms, final increase of hot water then rest of my body :)

Have you ever just done something while running that caused some red cheeks?

Marathon Monday ~ Elizabeth

For so many people running is more than just running, it is more than a form of staying fit.  More than lacing up and hitting the pavement.  More than the feeling of accomplishment for PRing.  More than any medal.  Running goes deeper than.  Running can help heal.  It can help overcome.  It can help you forget yet discover at the same time.  This week our Marathon Monday is brought to us by Elizabeth over at Sweet Tea and Cupcakes .  She is joining us today and is open and vulnerable. Sharing her reason for running.  

This will be a very vulnerable post but I think it's time to let people know my story.  Hopefully I can help someone who may be going through this same thing. 

When I was 19, I met a guy. He was great. We ended up dating for a few months before I moved out of my parents house. He would come over and hang out like typical dating couples would do. 

One day I was having a rough day so he offered me a Xanex. This became an everyday thing. I couldn't go a day without some kind of pill. Half the time I didn't even know what I was taking. I just wanted to shut out the world. 

One night we got into a huge fight and he left. I was pretty upset so I found some of his pills and took one, just to calm down.  About an hour after a friend of his came over claiming to be looking for him. I told he wasn't there but he claimed he didn't want me being there alone. So of course I let him in. He was a friend of course, right. By then that first pill was wearing off, so I went to get another. 

That's when this "friend" pulled out a bottle of pills and said they would be better. So I stupidly took one. I still don't know what it was. He waited till that one kicked in then did something to me no one should ever have to go through. Something so bad I can't even type the word. As a result of that, I suffer with ptsd. I still have nightmares about it. 

However, when I run, I forget all of that. I forget the pain. I forget the panic. It's just me and the road and my music. I have gotten help for my ptsd. I haven't taken any pills since, other than when I had my kids and that was only when needed. I have found myself again. 

Ten years to the date I ran my fifth half marathon. On March 7th I will run my first full marathon. 

I am in charge of me. Not a diagnoses. Not an addiction. I am. And that's how it will stay. 

Elizabeth is just a few weeks off from becoming a MARATHONER!!! If we could visit her Facebook page Sweet Tea and Cupcakes and offer some encouragement I am sure she would appreciate is :)

Does running mean MORE to you than just fitness?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Five ~ Five Races for 2015!

Oh Friday how I love thee, let me count the ways... FIVE which means it is time once again to link up with Mar on the Run, You Signed Up for WHAT?! and Eat Pray Run DC for the weekly installment of the Friday Five.

This week we are talking about 5 races to run in 2015.  Who doesn't love a good race?  There is nothing like hitting that button that makes it official.  For registering for something that you have been just itching to do.  For having a goal and a training schedule in the works.  So here is what I decided should be the 5 races to do in 2015.

1) The Ragnar/Relay Race.  These are fun and team building.  It takes a group of people who love to run and throws them together for an unforgettable weekend of miles, memories and moving.  Often taking you across an entire state or through some pretty amazing scenes.  I am signed up for Reach the Beach in September.  I really don't know my team...YET! But I will and I am pretty positive that we will have fun going from the mountains of NH to the beach,  Holla if you will be there too!!!! 4

2) The Fun Run.  Go out and get some color or some sparkle.  Run through mud, foam or obstacles. Join some friends and forget about pace and time.  Just do it for the pure love of getting out there and running with some of the ones you love most.  Introduce running in a fun way to your kids or neighbor.  Let go of the stress of training and constantly trying to PR and just RUN for FUN!

3) The Virtual Race.  So many great races, for some fantastic cause can be found VIRTUALLY! Why not pick a cause, find a race and then run it ANYWHERE at ANYTIME!  These can be a lot of fun and the bling can get pretty awesome!! I have done a handful of them and it is always exciting knowing that when I step out my door the race is on! It helps me get out and push it for all I have, even when there is no one else around!

4) The Bucket List Race.  Just go and DO IT! That one race that you have been dreaming about, turning green with envy every time you hear someone who is going to get to run THAT race.  Look into it plan and DO IT.  Make 2015 the year you ran THAT and let some of your dreams come true!!!

5) The Marathon.  Or really any race that you may be a little scared of.  A first 5k, a 10k or a half.  Or hell if you have done all that then maybe an ultra will scare you a bit.  Sign up for a race that will challenge you.  Make you push your limits and test your mental strength.  A race that training for will make you lay it all out on the road and discover just a bit more about yourself.  Whether it is distance you are pushing or terrain let it scare you and then go CONQUER it!!! I will be out there in May seeing if I can do something that is just a little crazy and a whole lot of scary!!! If you want to come join in you can use code Christina2015 to register for the Maine Coast Marathon and save $5.  The code is good for any of the Maine Coast races happening that weekend!

What races would you put on the must run list?  Have YOU ever done a bucket list race?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Treadmill high?

So I am not sure if you know this or not but I hate HATE treadmills. I am a Maine girl and because of it weather just doesn't phase me.  I have literally run in every type of weather that is thrown at us,
blizzards, hurricanes, rain, shine, humidity, Arctic cold and even a lightening storm a time or two (on my way home, I did NOT set out in lightening), but due to the amount of snow in the short time span that it has been snowing this winter the roads are really unsafe to run on.  The banks are too high to jump in case I need to dive out of the way of any vehicle not to mention that not only has the shoulder of the road disappeared so has most of the travel lanes, making the road barely passable for two cars at the same time.  Let alone two cars and a runner.  So, I gave in, sucked it up, put on my big girl panties and joined a gym to become acquainted with "The Treadmill" (dum dum daaaaa...).

Until today the most I had ever done on "The Treadmill" was 4 miles.  It was torture.  Actually, even
the 3 milers have been torture.  I get on and immediately am bored, and just do NOT want to be on it. I play games, mental games where I can't look at the distance until I see the TV switch to a commercial, or I mess with the pace, increasing it every 1/10 of a mile until I am full out sprinting (7 min mile for me) then hold the sprint until I want to die and go all the way back down and start over again.

It was one of those days today.  I remembered ear phones and I had my sister next to me.  Nothing good and distracting though was on and I was MISERABLE.  I kept making promises to myself about just getting it done.  Then around mile 4 I realized I was going into uncharted mill territory for myself and I got a little excited (you know you are a runner when you get excited realizing you are pushing limits).  I was playing the pacing game and I was holding down a pretty good pace.  I was thinking of you know what I may finish 6 in under an hour if you can just manage to not throw up just yet.  Then it hit me.  Into my brain flashed what I had been reading from lots of other mill runners.  "The Treadmill" shuts off after an hour.  What?! No it just couldn't be true.  As the minutes ticked by I was giddy, I was about to see if it was indeed true and then join the ranks of other runners who run long enough on the mill to have them shut themselves down!!! I knew I would hit 6 before an hour BUT I had to keep going I HAD to find out.  Sure enough, at 58 minutes it wouldn't let me increase my speed anymore and at the hour mark IT happened.  The machine slowed right down and forced me into cool down mode.

It was so totally COOL!!! I mean wicked cool.  How much of a badass was I?  I just ran until the machine shut OFF.  I outlasted that damn thing and I was still standing!!! I am a BAMR and there is no denying it now.  I was on an INSTANT runner's high.  Not the kind that happens when you are out in the fresh air, with the sun on your back (or in my case a soft rain on my face), or the gentle breeze blowing across you.  Not the kind you get when you just take in all of the beauty around you and sink into an easy pace as the scenes unfold and you just go whatever route your heart takes you.  Oh no,
this runner's high was all gym sweat and machines, TV and people watching,  This high wasn't all about the run in so much as I out lasted a damn machine! Me, the one who is just a mediocre runner.  I don't look like a runner and I am pretty sure all of them watching me thought that at least once while we were all hamsters going round and round. I do not have experience in training like I am training or going as far as I am going but I OUTLASTED the damn machine AND turned it back on for more.  I was so caught up in floating on this stale sweat smell high that I paid no attention to where I went after I wiped down the machine,  Ending up in the men's locker room.  Only realizing it when I opened locker 24 (SCORED my favorite number for a locker today!!!!) and nothing was there except the smell of Old Spice....

I was so high from running on "The Treadmill" that I was oblivious to anyting else.  Now that is what I would call a successful training run!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Marathon Monday ~ Running Loving Living

It's Marathon Monday!!!! And today we get to talk about the NYC Marathon and meet Toni! I am so excited to have Toni on today's blog, with her passion and love for running I found this marathon story to be exactly what I needed in the middle of yet another blizzard and blisteringly bitter temps.  I love that I am not the only one who has "secret" goals, that I am not the only one who is running her first marathon in "local" territory!!!!

A Marathon of Dreams from Toni:

Running a marathon has always been a goal of mine from the very first time I ran at age 19. I knew that someday I would run a marathon and my first would be NYC. Being a life long New Yorker I couldn’t imagine starting my marathon journey with any destination or than the New York City Marathon. I had tried for years to get in and finally was accepted in 2012 only to defer due to an injury. This worked out because that was the year of Sandy which led to the eventual cancellation of the event anyway. In the beginning of 2013 I developed the flu and pneumonia. During this illness I had to decide the fate of my deferral status and choose a year 2013, 2014 or 2015. Since I was so ill and couldn’t imagine running a marathon I decided to defer to 2014. No matter what I knew that 2014 would be my year to run NYC, finally! When I began training for this marathon I had never run longer than 14.2 miles so I knew I would have a lot of firsts during the training. I decided on a 4 month training plan and while there were some definite stumbles along the way I hit all the mileage goals I set out to do –14 miles, 16 miles, 18 miles and 20 miles. I had no goals except to finish and that was what I was doing, training to finish. I did have a “secret” goal to finish in under 5 hours. The weather predictions for marathon day were not great, cold and extremely windy. Predictions showed that for 21 miles of the marathon we would be fighting 20-30 mph headwinds, luckily for me my 20 miler eerily resembled these conditions. When I heard the predictions I quickly changed my mindset from my “secret” goal of running in under 5 hours to finishing without dying. Marathon morning arrived and the predictions of wind were not exaggerated, but it didn’t matter because I was finally going to accomplish my goal of running the NYC Marathon. My friend Crystal has been my running partner from the beginning and we always said we would do this marathon together and while we wouldn’t run it together, we would start it together! NYC Marathon Start I will admit that I teared up when the race began. The emotions of actually running NYC were overwhelming, but they were quickly replaced by trying to run in a straight line while fighting the terrible winds on the Verrazano. That bridge kicked my butt. I even missed the first two mile markers because after I got off the bridge the next thing I knew I was turning into Brooklyn and seeing mile 3, I only wish the rest of the race felt that way! I savored every moment of this race. I stopped and took pictures, I talked to other runners, I interacted with the crowd. I never once even put on my headphones because I didn’t need them. The best thing I did was wear a shirt with my name on it because when I was feeling down the crowds lifted me back up by cheering me on by name. The halfway point of the race was a small bridge connecting Brooklyn to Queens, I stopped briefly to document it. IMG_2285 We stayed in Queens for a couple of miles and then we headed to the Queensboro Bridge, which was the worst part of the race. It was almost 2 miles long and without the crowds all you heard was the breathing and footfalls of all the runners. It felt like we climbed that bridge forever. The best part of the bridge was when we started downhill. All the runner’s started cheering and I knew the bridge would be over soon. Coming off the bridge you could here the crowd’s cheering and it was amazing. I was told that the turn onto First Avenue was the most intimidating part of the race, but I just found it amazing! IMG_2287 Four miles of runners on First Avenue. The sight brought tears to my eyes, plus at this point I was two-thirds of the way through the race! After First Avenue there was a brief visit to the Bronx and new territory for me because I had only ran 20 miles during training. The last 6.2 miles were rough, but I had some friends and family on route to support me just when I needed it the most at miles 22-24. After I left my family I knew the end was near and it was surreal. Crossing the finish line was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I had done it. I accomplished my goal of running the NYC Marathon and I had done it in 4:49:14!!!!! NYC Marathon Finished photo
I even got a tattoo to commemorate the achievement and what accomplishing this goal meant to me.
NYC Marathon Tattoo Collage
Aim high and live your dreams! You can follow all of my running adventures on my blog Running, Loving, Living.

Please go on over and follow Toni, she is so full of love, passion and inspiration.  

And speaking of running tats, do YOU have one? Want one? What would YOU get?  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Week 6 ~ Eh

Eh, that's how I feel about this past week of marathon training.  My enthusiasm is being sucked out of me by trying to conserve my sanity with the never ending snow storms.  It is remaining hard to balance it all but I am working on it.  And as much as I did NOT want to, I had no choice.  I joined
Planet Fitness this past week.  Which meant with the exception of my long run on Valentine's Day I hit the Mill for all my week day training runs.  It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be to run on the treadmill and I managed a couple 4 milers.  With timing and schedules I didn't do the exact mileage planned for each day but I DID run all of the miles I was supposed to run. So I did a two 4 milers instead of two 3 milers and a 5 but it all equaled 11 miles and I figured that was what was important.

Marathon Training Week 6

The Miles:

Tuesday~ 4 miles
Wednesday~ 3 miles
Friday~ 4 miles
Saturday~ 7 miles

The Weather: 

Maine winter, really enough said.  Usually, I am fine FINE absolutely FINE with Maine in the
winter.  I truly love it here, all four seasons plus mud season and nothing bothers me.  I am just fed up with not being able to run outside due to it being unsafe NOT cold.  I am not a wimp just a cautious runner.


The routes were pretty stationary this week.  However, Saturday's long run was again run around the local high school area.  The roads are rarely traveled and the looping is easy to get the miles in.


Well, I added in a treadmill as gear and I got to break out my tank tops.  That was sort of nice to not have to layer up so much to run.  I also enlisted some friends to hit the gym with me so that talking to them while I ran would help pass the time of me running yet going no where.  And yoga!!! I am taking part in the #bringingyogaback challenge put on by prAna and Fit Approach.  I have realized I NEED to add more yoga in.  I am so so so tight and if I could stretch out I could probably run better! (speaking of prAna use code  leapnpinks15 for 15% off valid through February 28th) 

Lessons Learned:

I learned this week that a -9 degree run never felt so good.  After a week of running inside it was such a welcome treat.  That winter running friends are hard to come by.  Not everyone enjoys being cold and running in small loops until the mileage is met, but you CAN find others who are as crazy as you.  I am so thankful that I met up with some wonderful ladies from the neighboring town run club.  I am
thinking they are going to be priceless to getting my training in! I have also learned that by taking a friend to the gym, it's not so intimidating OR boring.  My biggest lesson though was probably that I am NOT a failure if I don't do every run on the exact scheduled day with the exact scheduled mileage.  I can be flexible and getting the miles in is getting the miles in.  That's not always an easy feat to do.  Being a mom and a runner means I need to see running as something I can fit in within MY life.  I can't do what the other runners out there are doing.  We are all doing our best and make what works for US happen.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Marathon Monday ~ Maine Coast style!

This Monday is a little different.  Instead of bringing you an inspiration Marathon story or a Marathon race recap I thought that I would change it up and bring you the RACE that inspired me to want to run a marathon.

I came across the Maine Coast Marathon last year and immediately without thinking signed up! The course from Kennebunk to Biddeford sounds amazing and it taking place on Mother's Day was the perfect gift to myself.  But then, after I was already registered I found out that I was pregnant with my precious little Sugar Plum.  Not wanting to be 35 weeks pregnant running my first marathon I deferred until 2015.  

I am sooooo glad I did, why?  Because this year they switched their logo to a mermaid and I absolutely love it!!! I know, I know but it's the little things that make me happy.  This year they also
had The Shipyard Brewpub sign on as their title sponsor, so it's FREE beer after the race, SCORE! All of the bling aside I am drawn to the coast and I absolutely love Maine.  I figured there wouldn't be a better place for me to test my limits and push them, then with the views of the coast that I love the most.  Last year I volunteered at the finish line handing out medals.  The amount of
inspiration that crossed that line was UNBELIEVABLE.  I can not wait to do it myself in just a few short months.

If you are thinking about joining in on one of the awesome races that the Maine Coast has planned for this epic mermaid weekend then sign up! The race is at 70% capacity now and last year it sold out in February.  With the addition of the new half marathon course, the Bosom Buddy Relay and the 39.3 mile challenge it is going to sell out sooner rather than later! The shirts are awesome, the finishers jackets amazing and the event will be epic! And if that isn't enough to make you want to come run maybe the course video will.  Totally look for my Runfie in front of the Wedding Cake house come May!!!!

So use code Christina2015 to sign up today and save $5 on your entry and then come share a finisher beer with me after I become a rock star and complete my first 26.2!!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week 5 ~ I QUIT!

Oh wow what a training week.  This week was HARD.  I am really really REEEEAAAAALLLLLY struggling.  The constant battle of arranging schedules and balancing the three kids and nursing the baby and school projects, and babysitting and dance lessons, and play dates, and errands and house stuff and my husband and ME and it is all just too much!!! Not to mention the SNOW.  I can not take anymore!!!! Which is really too bad because as I am sitting here yet another storm has started which is predicted to drop some more feet, yes FEET of snow on us.  Which means we will have another snow day tomorrow and it will be hard to get out to get my first run of training week 6 in.

All of this has been too much and I can normally handled it all BUT with the added snow the juggling is just overwhelming.  I am so limited at when I can get out to run that not being able to SAFELY get out there is driving me nutty INSANE.  It is just too much, so I am quitting.  I am quitting my road running only.  The stress of making it out during the time of day where I can most likely be seen is really taking its toll.  My husband is so supportive but he can't be here to take over with the kids until late evenings, which by then means I will be running in the dark and the cold and the ice and the snow.  It ISN'T safe. The shoulders of the roads are gone.  Replaced by 8 feet snow banks.  Sidewalks are not being maintained because the snow is just coming on so quickly and the ice build up is hidden and tricky to maneuver.   As much as I hate to admit it, it's not safe at all and I am going to be continuing on for at least the next few weeks at a gym, trying to make friends with Treddy the treadmill.  So yeah, that bad ass mother runner is going to challenge the mental strength she has built to run like a hamster for a few weeks.

Marathon Training Week 5

The Miles:
Monday~ 3 miles
Wednesday~ 5 miles
Thursday~ 3 miles
Saturday~ 10 miles

The Weather:
Snow, snow and more snow.  Really that is all that has been happening.  And for the foreseeable future all that IS going to continue to happen.  I can't even complain about the wind chills or temps because all of this darn white has me seeing red.  Monday's run I literally did during a snow storm.  -16 degree wind chills and 3.5 inches on the ground with more coming down fast and furious.  It was NOT pleasant at all.  It wasn't a fluffy white winter land run of beauty.  My eyes were stinging and I was dodging plow trucks all over, sticking to as many untraveled routes as possible to not have to worry about being hit.

Same old same old. I again revisited the Energybits before my long run on Saturday and I managed to choke down 15 bits.  I also brought along another GU and this time got it down without much trouble.  Even with all of my blinking lights I still felt invisible out there.  I am also LOVING my Nuun before and after.  I am finding it a perfect go to, to get me ready and I love having more when I come back.  ESPECIALLY on my long runs.

Small and repetitive was the theme.  Even the 10 mile long run was done with small laps.  I met up with some great runners and together the four of us conquered the boredom of doing laps around the local high school until we hit 10 miles.  I was so thankful to have these ladies by my side yesterday for the 10 miler.  It was my longest run since November 10, 2013 and I would have probably lost my mind in the middle of all of the mountains of snow from the parking lot and most definitely would not have gotten 10 in by myself out there in white hell....

Lessons Learned:
This week I learned that even Maine girls can become violently hateful toward snow.  I am so over it.  Never before have I actually had any sort of seasonal mood effects before.  I am thinking that the PPD coupled with this extreme snow and cold and being shut in my house and being overwhelmed and not getting out easy for a run is what has caused this.  But if anyone even says the word snow I am instantly angry about it.  I hate snow, I hate THIS snow.  I probably say that a bazillion times a day.  I have also learned that meeting new running friends can lift the mood and make 10 miles fly by.  I learned to NEVER EVER EVER, under no circumstance do a nice relaxing foot soak the night before a long run.  My feet were soft and tender then I ran 10 miles.  Ummmm yeah all the soft spots were then extremely SORE spots as they were raw from not having the callas protection.  There is a reason runners have gross feet!  Also, I have learned that I can be as tough as ever and bad ass in just about anything but there comes a point when even I need to call it and go seek out a treadmill.  Safety is always ALWAYS trumps running outside.  The elements didn't get me, I can still handle a -20 degree run but the snowbanks have.  Also that coming home from a 10 mile run and seeing your door decorated with cheering signs from the kids and a sweet note from my husband about what a great job I am doing will move any mama to tears.  Especially one who is cold, hungry, sleep deprived and yet feeling like I just kicked major ass.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday Five ~ Snap Shots

It's Friday!!!! Yay the only thing I would have liked to say more than TGIF is it's SPRING! This week I have to say the snow after more snow and the cold followed by more cold is getting to me more than it has ever done before.  I am a Maine girl born and raised, usually I am tougher than this but I am thinking of caving and finding a treadmill.....

But anyway, it's Friday!!! Which means as of this evening my best friend and parenting back up is home.  Running wont be as difficult to coordinate and one long run is in the way of me and the wrapping up of Marathon Training week 5!!!

This week I am teaming up with the great trifecta: You Signed up for WHAT?!, Eat Pray Run, DC and Mar on the Run, to bring you the Friday Five!! This week was Fitness Snapshots.  Since I spent my week mostly running and complaining about the snow that is never ending, I figured posting 5 snapshots of me looking like a Winter Warrior Ninja standing in 4 feet of snow would get sort of boring  repetitive.  So I decided to post 5 snapshots of my thinking this week.

1) I AM a Badass Mother Runner.

For real.  I may be complaining about the weather but I am kicking some serious ass out there ESPECIALLY since I do NOT want to be out there!!!! I am pushing limits and holding strong. (Even though I am breaking, I am currently contemplating a gym membership and dreaming of getting my hands on a treadmill.)

2) How can there BE so much snow?  Seriously, stop stop stop!!! I do NOT want to run on anymore unplowed sidewalks!  It's like constantly beach running, yet there is no ocean, sun, WARMTH or pina coladas.

3) Snow shoeing with the inquisitive wonder of a 3 year old and a 6 year old is amazing.  It makes for one beautiful winter wonderland of smiles and memories.  Not to mention that its great cross training.  I loved how we stopped to look at snowflakes and a babbling brook.  How we followed some deer tracks and some rabbit tracks.  How we even took some tiny pieces of nature home because they wanted to join our family.

4) Planks! Really there isn't much more to say.  I love them! They hurt, yet I can't stop pushing myself to see how far I can go with them.  Not to mention I LOVE how the kids love them too.  I will be folding laundry or picking up and the request to plank is immediately fulfilled.  They love to be cheered on and timed.

5) I want to quit!!! The constant trying to fit training in, rearranging schedules, making it work while being a mom to three and not having other people around that understand is draining me. Training is hard.  It's exhausting and challenging and I am giving it every ounce I have.  But every time I get to put a tiny little heart around the mileage I conquered I am giddy.  I love that my calendar is full of these little hearts, showing that I am really doing this and sticking with it!!!!!

What about you.  Do you have any fitness snapshots to share?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Breaking up all the WHITE with a GIVEAWAY!!!

I am sure that you all are as tired of hearing about the snow as I am of seeing it fall.  This morning we had yet some more of the white stuff dumped on us.  And it is still coming down.  Due to the snow we had a late start to school for one and a canceled school day for the other.  So I spent my morning doing Cosmic Kids Yoga and shoveling and playing outside until the bus came.  However, the whole time I was out in that terrible, awful, no good, very bad white stuff  I was thinking about.......


Yes, that is right I have teamed up with some very awesomely amazing ladies to bring one heck of a giveaway YOUR way!  Winter can be boring and dreary BUT with your chance to win one of THREE prize packs it could be fun, exciting and full of awesome new stuff!!!!

We wanted to say THANK YOU to our followers and supporters so we put together what we thought would be some amazing prizes to win.
Enter today through February 13th for your chance to take home a goodie bag :) Open to US residents only (I know I know I am sorry but we had too!)  The prizes are BIG so please stick with it and fill out the whole entry form, it's worth it I PROMISE!) For an extra chance to win head over to Instagram and search #FitGiveaway2015 for more entries!!!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Which prize pack would YOU most want to win?  Have you ever done a group giveaway before?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week 4 ~ It's all about the mental game

Week 4 came to an end and with it the very first month of marathon training is wrapped up! Wow, that month went fast.  I wasn't prepared for all of the ups and downs and feelings of doubt and
exhaustion and wanting to quit.  Yet at the same time I had some pretty awesome feelings of bad assery and excitement.  This week the mental games were out in full force, yet I even managed to find ways to add to them.  Making challenges to test my dedication and persistence.

Marathon Training: Week 4

The Miles:

Sunday~ 3.52
Monday~ 4.05
Tuesday~ 1.02
Thursday~ 3.03
Saturday~ 9.02

The Weather:

Oh the weather.  Right now I am in a terrible foul mood over the weather.  Week 4 training was insanely tough.  Living in Maine I am very well versed in getting out there in anything, or I would never be able to get out at all.  However, over THREE feet of snow was dumped in just four days.  Mountains of snow are now everywhere, EVERYWHERE.  I bumped up my runs so I ran Sunday and Monday to get as much of training in as I could before the Blizzard of 2015 hit, aka Juno.  And hit boy did it hit.  The snow started and seemed to never stop.  I did not have to go out on Tuesday but decided 1 mile in the blizzard would be great training mentally for the marathon.  Mental toughness to run in a blizzard can come in very handy! Friday a new storm came in making Saturday's long run 9 miles of beach sand feeling running.  It was hard to get footing and the constant fighting through was exhausting.


This week I added in an LED high visibility light up belt for better visibility.  With all of the snow and whiteout conditions I wanted to give myself as much visibility that I could.  For Saturday's long run I re-visited the GU.  This time taking Energybits before I left and a GU pack halfway through.  Again the GU was difficult to get down but I managed.  If it ever stops snowing I need to get out and get some Honey Stinger chews.


Routes again for the most part small loops around sticking to what is the safest with all of this darn snow! Being extra careful for cars backing out of driveways, knowing full well that they can't see me over the snowbanks.  For the long run my sister-in-law and I headed off on a giant loop that we knew on a Saturday morning would be very lightly traveled.  With all the snow cover and the shoulders of the roads mounded with snow we knew we were going to be doing most of our running in the middle of the road.  Thank goodness for small country towns because this was a real option for us.  This route was also hill heavy with some great elevation changes, adding in some great training for the actual marathon course.

Lessons Learned:

This week I learned that I DEFINITELY have the toughness to do this.  I also probably definitely have the crazy to do this as well.  Getting out there in the snow, the negative temps and the pure just horribleness of a Maine winter means I am tough, I am bad ass and I am very capable of accomplishing this feat.  Not many people run marathons (1% of the population right?) and not many of them are willing to push through with their training in the winter circumstances.  I have never ever been a treadmill runner so I am making it work in anything.  That being said it is getting dangerous out there.  If the storms continue to roll in I may actually need to give the Mill a try.  Because after all living is important to seeing this thing through :)

How are YOU a bad ass?  What are some mental training tricks you use?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Marathon Monday~ Jennifer is a MARATHONER!

The thoughts of a runner are funny things.  They can go from one extreme to the next.  Focus on the weird or the mental obstacles.  I know that even in the first 4 weeks of training for a marathon that my thoughts have been all over the place.  I have no clue what they will even settle on the day of the actual 26.2 miles trek.  Which is why I absolutely LOVE this race recap from Jennifer, over at Runs With Pugs.  Jennifer just finished her very first marathon!! YAY you ROCK Jennifer!!!!!!!!!! Join us this Marathon Monday for her recap of the Walt Disney World Marathon.  I love how she broke this up and kept it real.  Hey Marathoner, you INSPIRE me and gave me excitement to see where my thoughts go for my own 26.2 mile jaunt.  

I was awake before the alarm.
In fact, I had only managed 40 minutes of sleep the entire night. And that’s being extremely generous.
There was nothing I could do but shower and change into my race clothes. Mr PugRunner was incredibly sweet and supportive about it, but that didn’t stop me from bursting into tears.
Marathon: 1. Me: 0.
At 4:00 AM we met everyone in the lobby. Rather than hop on the shuttle, we planned to drive over. Mr PugRunner was going to drive back after dropping me off to get my brother-in-law, who was en route. And then we would be able to drive back to the hotel after.
I was pretty numb at this point. Part of it was probably the chilly weather. The other part was obviously flat-out denial. I just kind of followed the crowd, not really absorbing anything. For some reason, it didn’t feel as crazy or busy as Tower of Terror in 2013. Maybe that’s because we stayed close to the gear check and didn’t venture anywhere else. Maybe things were better organized. Maybe I was in the zone. Who knows?
While waiting for friends, we hopped on the portapotty line. Everything went pretty quickly, but I did have a small emergency for which I was completely unprepared. Mr PugRunner saved the day for me once, and then again when I had to trade his regular Hurricanes visor for my sparkly one. It was pinching, and I knew that if it was bothering me at that point, it would be unbearable in a mile or so. He was a trooper.
And then it was time to head through to our corrals. We made our final checks of everything, I said goodbye to Mr PugRunner, and we started the long walk to our respective positions. It was actually so far that we stopped at another bank of bathrooms on our way! It was a little nervewracking because the fireworks signaling the start of the first corrals started sounding and we still had a bit of a trek to go.
However, there was at least 45 minutes between Corral A and Corral M, from where I was starting, so I forced myself to take my time and relax.
Since the marathon had already officially started, the wait in the corral wasn’t too long.
I was able to make my way to the front of the middle and felt pretty comfortable with that. Finally, we were walking to the start line, the music played, and our fireworks rang out.
I was running my first marathon.
Here’s how it was going to go.
Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 6.48.34 PM
I broke the race into segments, because it seemed easiest. And that’s how my brain remembered everything.
Miles 1-5
This was the road to the Magic Kingdom. I crossed the start line and fell easily into my intervals. I was surprised at how crowded the course was, and also, at how many guys hooked a hard right to relieve themselves on the side of the road, especially so close to the start. I had to do some weaving to get around blocks of people, but it wasn’t too bad. As it was still dark, there wasn’t too much to see and the weather was ok. I was able to shed my long sleeve shirt at around Mile 3 and felt ok with that decision.
There were some character stops and while the lines weren’t too long, I didn’t feel like stopping. I grabbed Gatorade at the water stops to conserve what was in my own bottle

Miles 5-6 – Magic Kingdom
This? This was fun. We cruised through the crowd-packed Ticket and Transportation Center (Mr PugRunner and K were there cheering for me, but I didn’t see them!), around some paths and then we were rounding on to Main Street.
Half the road was lined with spectators cheering us on, and the other half was open to runners. We turned into Tomorrowland, wrapped around through Fantasyland (there were rumors that Mine Train would be open for the runners, but that proved untrue), and then we were headed to Cinderella’s Castle.
There was a line of cast members holding out tissue boxes so we could wipe eyes and noses on the way through the castle. Queen Elsa, Princess Anna and Cristoff waved us on as passed through,
and on the front side? Snow fell softly on us. I did stop for a castle photo. I couldn’t not.

Miles 6-7 – Speedway
We wrapped around Magic Kingdom and after a bit, I heard someone behind me yell “Watch the ramp!” and I knew we had reached the Speedway. I had read about the super-steep ramp that led down, then up to the track, and was prepared to carefully pick my way.
It wasn’t awful.
I feel like I am questioning the choices that led me to this point in my life.

The track was not my favorite. Fortunately, we got to run on the flat, pit portion, and it was really neat to see all the spectators who had parked their cars for the occasion. I loved the classic Corvettes and the Mustangs lined up. I half-heartedly thought about snagging some selfies, but the sun had peeked through the clouds and was beating down on us and I didn’t want to linger. The track was huge and I was really, really, really thrilled when I saw the other runners veering off to the left to the next portion of the race.

Miles 7-12
This stretch of road beat me down. Badly. It was still so early in the race, but there was nothing to see and no end in sight. It was hot. My foot was hurting, I was crampy and for some reason, I was having a really hard time taking full deep, breaths. Maybe it was the humidity? I tried to lose myself in my music and even in admiring some of the costumes and outfits around me, but it wasn’t working. I was extra discouraged because I knew that there were tougher stretches ahead, and I hated expending negative energy so early on.
On the plus side, there was a banana station at around Mile 11.5, and they were quite yummy. I don’t usually take food on a race course, but I am ever mindful of my calves and it was nice to get a boost of potassium. I just had a few bites, but it was enough.
We passed the recycling center, and the smell was absolutely awful. I’m usually good at ignoring things like that, but ugh.
Would it ever end?

Miles 12-14 – Animal Kingdom
After what seemed like hours, we turned a corner, into the back of Animal Kingdom. Cast members were lined up with some of the animals from the petting zoo, namely some adorable goats and an owl. I would have stopped to pet them but I was on the other side of the road. They were certainly sweet, though.
The pavement in this park was pretty tough – pitted and uneven. I wasn’t the biggest fan. The park had also just opened, so guests were starting to filter in. We turned a corner and I saw a real restroom with no line and made the decision to take a necessary pitstop. I hated having to stop, especially for something as un-fun as going to the bathroom, but it had to be done.
Right after the bathroom was the queue for Expedition Everest. Stopping for this roller coaster was something I had been toying with the entire time I have been in training. On the one hand, who gets to ride a roller coaster during a marathon? On the other, I was out there to run. Since I had stopped for the castle and for the bathroom, I just didn’t want another break. It killed me to pass on by, especially when another woman caught my eye and said “Come on! This is the fun part!” The line looked long and I just couldn’t make myself do it.
One day, I will figure out how to be spontaneous.
Two parks done. Two to go. Crowd support on the way out of Animal Kingdom was amazing. So many signs and smiling faces. It was a great sendoff.

Miles 14 – 17
The road to Wide World of Sports was supposed to be dull and mind-numbing, and I was prepared. I switched from my music to Episode 10 of my Serial podcast, figuring I could just zone out and listen to the story of Adnan and maybe even get to the finale by the time the finish line came.
My top of my foot was really bothering me now. There was nothing I could do: if I took my shoe off, there was no way I was going to get it back on. I didn’t think anything was seriously wrong – it was something with my laces or the tongue or the insert that was creating a painful rub. I adjusted as best I could and tucked back in.
The beauty of this stretch of road was the spectators. There were TONS of people out with signs and cowbells and music. And most of them were offering treats. Dixie cups of Coca Cola, Twizzlers, pretzels, oreos, gummy bears…. It was like a buffet! The idea of a Coke sounded awesome, and once that went down, I was suddenly ravenous and no longer interested in my own fuel. I took some pretzels and a Twizzler and an Oreo, and I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly happy it made me. (I was, of course, amused. I’m not really a germophobe, but here we all were, sweaty and snotty and God only know what else, taking food out of open packages from strangers, without hand washing or sanitizer or anything. PS. It didn’t matter. Everything was delicious and I would do it again.)
It’s the little things.
My joy was short-lived, because as we started down into Wide World of Sports, the rain started. Soft and freezing, but wet and gross all the same. I hate running in the rain, and it’s even worse when there’s no getting out of it. Fortunately, it was light and short-lived, but it was rough all the same.
Ironically, even though I wasn’t hurting anywhere (besides my foot), I decided to get some BioFreeze.Kristin had told me several times to just get it at a med tent because it would change my life. I didn’t think I needed it, but I didn’t want to miss out. It felt great and cold, but no sooner did I apply it then the cold rain began. So I don’t think I got to really experience the true benefits. Oh, well.

Miles 17 – 20 – Wide World of Sports
Here’s where the wheels fell off my bus and I hit The Wall. Everything was ok. I ran into the complex and got my cold towel from the volunteers. It was nice to wipe the sweat off my face and kind of clean up a little. I tried to save the towel for later, but I didn’t have anywhere to stow it comfortable, so as we entered the track, I chucked it to the side.
I started on the track, expecting the springy surface to be heavenly for my sore feet, but for some reason, it had the opposite effect. It was like that Lord of the Rings Movie, I think the third one, where those little hobbits are running to Mordor, and they run and they run and they run, and every time they stop, they’re no closer than before, and it’s just impossible. Three quarters of the way around, I pulled over to the side, bent over and burst into tears. I felt like I might need to throw up and I couldn’t breathe. I had come so far, worked so hard, and yet there were still so many miles to go. I wanted to text Mr PugRunner, tell him I was done, and wait for the sweeper bus.
And then I realized that there was no way for the sweeper bus to even get to me, here inside the complex. Not only was I failing at the marathon, but I was failing at quitting the marathon. How does that even happen? I wanted to go home.
Suddenly, someone was next to me. She asked me if I was ok and then she asked me if I was hurt. I could barely speak, but I managed to tell her that I was technically ok, that I was overwhelmed and couldn’t breathe and that something was wrong with my shoe but I wasn’t actually “hurt.” She assessed for a second and told me to come on. I was going to stay with her and her friends and we were going to finish this thing.
D, G and M got me talking. Two of them actually live not too far from us! They were all doing the Dopey Challenge and they were so kind and supportive. They were doing intervals, and mostly walking at this point, but G kept pointing out that we were way ahead of the sweepers and even at a walk, our pace was well faster than the course requirements, so as long as we kept moving forward, we were golden.
I was still struggling to breathe (it was like my diaphragm had just quit working), but my anxiety was definitely lifting and I was able to switch my focus from my misery to my new buddies.
Wide World of Sports lasted forever. We went around the baseball stadium, and a few more roads, and then M promised that we were so close to done. That once we got into Hollywood Studios, everything would fly by because there was so much to see.
It sounded heavenly.

Miles 20 – 24 – Hollywood Studios
At some point, D bounded off ahead, and so it was me, G and M. They were good enough to let me stick them, and even though I was still a little weepy, I was doing so much better. With the WWOS complex behind us, things were looking up.
As we turned into the back entrance of Hollywood Studios, we were treated to the sight of volunteers with bowls of Hershey’s Miniatures. Yay! I took a couple, because chocolate makes everything better.
At this point, I was pretty familiar with the route from countless visits, and my legs went on autopilot. We swung around the hat (which is in the process of being removed) and up the main thoroughfare.

Crowds were cheering and I was getting giddy. We were almost done!
We had to follow a long path along the waterway to get to the Boardwalk and then it was on to Epcot.

Miles 24 – 26.2 – Epcot & Finish
In all fairness, Epcot is not usually my favorite park. At this moment, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see it. We burst into World Showcase, and I was amazed at how euphoric I was feeling. Talk about mood swings. Now, the sporadic tears were happy instead of defeated.
G and M had been talking about stopping for a pretzel and a margarita and I thought that was a fantastic idea. Not that I wanted anything, but it was just the idea that we could.
My tunnel vision was evaporating and suddenly, I was able to see the things around me again: runners taking a break and sitting down at a table for a beer before the finish line, guests of the park offering high fives on their way to lunch, cast members applauding us on our way.
I was even able to flash a peace sign to a photographer.
It was all so beautiful. And so almost over.
M began coaching me to the finish line. There were some turns and corners. And then there would be a Gospel Choir. And then the straightaway to the end!
I think I cried when I heard the singers. I don’t even know.
This? This is what it looks like when you realize you are going to finish a marathon. It is also what delirium looks like.

There were bleachers set up to the left, and G and M asked where my husband was. I was scanning the crowd, wondering how I would see Mr PugRunner and my brother-in-law among so many faces, but then there they were, waving and yelling.
My brother-in-law even got some pictures of me, shuffling along.
Everything was a blur. My last logical thoughts included that I was going to finish my first marathon, that I was NEVER going to do this again and also, why on earth would there be major characters with photographers right before the finish line; how do you stop when you’re so close?
I compromised by high-fiving Pluto

and crossing the timing mat.
I had absolutely no idea what to do with my hands.
And just like that, oh em gee, thank the flying spaghetti monster, it was over.
I collected my medal.
I got water and Gatorade and a snack box.
I posed for my finisher photo.
I smiled for the photographer standing right past the finisher backdrop.
And then I staggered through the crush of people to bag check to find Mr PugRunner and my friends.
All I wanted was to rip my shoes from my feet and burn them.
Mr PugRunner saw me first and ended up crying on me! What was up with that??? (In all fairness, poor guy had been stuck out there for five hours with no visor and no sunglasses since he couldn’t get out of the parking lot and back to the hotel. I guess I would have been crying, too.) I almost cried when he told me my flip flops were back in the room with his sunglasses, but what was a little more time in shoes after the past few hours?
Everyone hugged and squealed.
We had run a marathon.
At this point, all we wanted was to get clean and then possibly eat. A lot. Everything. I don’t even know. We said our goodbyes and began the trek to the car. Mr PugRunner, bless his heart, was kind enough to take off my shoes and my compression socks. I put that right up there as one of the tests of the strength of one’s marriage.

What has gotten you through to the finish line?  Who is YOUR biggest supporter?

If you loved what you read (how could you not?) then check out more of Jennifer on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. While you are at it go follow her blog as well :)