Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hyannis Marathon Relay Race Recap - Part 2

Sorry for leaving you hanging yesterday! (Go read Part 1 of my recap if you haven't yet).

Where were we? Oh yes, Mike had just finished his half of the relay and it was my turn to be the Sherpa!  Crystal and Mike ran the first half of the marathon in 2:17, averaging around 10:30 pace.

 "I'm mad at you for not taking the baton" - what Mike was thinking in his head

As soon as I started running, I caught up to Crystal and handed her the rest of her fuel for the race. I said that I had missed her, and then we stopped to walk through the water stop briefly (I obviously didn't need anything since I had just started running).

This woman ran by us and said, "so nice that you have pacers for both halves of the race". I guess Mike had told her what we were doing and she had said that she was considering dropping out of the race, I'm not sure if she did or not (Side note: 650 people registered for the full marathon and only 386 completed it, either they DNF'd or dropped to the half).

Crystal let me know that Mike had been telling her their pace every half mile or so, which I could definitely handle doing for her. I asked her how she was feeling and she mentioned that she had gotten a side stitch during the first half but other than that she felt good. It was still pouring out, but I hoped that it was going to get better.

 The course map

We turned down Sea Street and then right around mile 1 (mile 14 for Crystal), I heard her say, "I just popped a blister on my foot". Her feet were soaked at this point so I'm sure she had a lot of blisters forming, I told her to just try to run through it (which I guess she didn't like me saying at the time, but kept that to herself until after the race).

This was the only point during the race where I was actually worried about her not being able to finish.  I knew that she was struggling a little bit but I just tried to keep her spirits up.

At this point, we almost missed a turn because we weren't sure which way to go. Crystal had mentally blocked out parts of the first half (it was a two loop course) and she wasn't sure if we went straight or left.  I thought straight, but right at the last minute the volunteers pointed us in the right direction. One guy said that the flaggers were sleeping on their job!

This was when it started to get rough.  The wind was in our face and the rain was coming down harder.  We also saw Eric at this point and we both waved to him.

It was around this time that Crystal told me to just get her to mile 20 and if we got there that she would finish the race.  I knew that Mike and Joe would be at mile 5 (mile 18 for Crystal), and we only had about 2.5 miles to get to them.

Then things got really interesting. We ran by the Kennedy Memorial and the streets had HUGE puddles, maybe even lakes, in them.  We were told by a volunteer to go on the grass on the left and then smile for the cameras after we went by.  The grass was so muddy that I was afraid I was going to fall on my face!

Crystal and I ran by the cameras, and we must have smiled nicely since they said we looked good for being so far into the race.  I told Crystal that they were lucky because I normally don't smile that much while I am racing.

Right after the cameras there was another HUGE puddle!  Crystal said she was going to the left, on the grass, and I said, "I'm going through!"  Immediately after I did that I said, "that was a bad decision!"  If I wasn't soaked by then, I was definitely soaked after doing that.

Crystal said that there was going to be a slight hill coming up, and then after that I knew we were going to be at mile 5 (mile 18). We were still doing well with our paces, but we had slowed down a little bit because of the conditions/terrain.

 Still doing well

 mile 5/18

On a downhill, I saw the water stop and took my only energy gel during the race. I also saw Mike and Joe and waved at them. After walking through the water stop, we headed out on our way. I just had two more miles to go to get Crystal to mile 20.

Miles 5-7 (miles 18-20), were probably the worst. Crystal hadn't been talking much, but I just tried to encourage her. Then right before mile 20 we saw a girl wearing a Wineglass jacket. We caught up to her and I said, "I ran Wineglass last year", and when she looked at us she recognized Crystal from twitter! I also knew this girl from Instagram and we all introduced ourselves (with our handles of course), and Sarah joined our group for a little bit.

 A tweet-up right there out on the course

At mile 7 (mile 20), Crystal got a welcoming sight: her training partner Jenn. Jenn had run the half and she ran with us for about a mile. Crystal was so happy to see her! At this time another girl joined our group because we "looked fun" and we just kept trudging along. We were so cold at this point, but there wasn't really anything we could do about it. Sarah kept telling Crystal to think of warm things like Alabama and hot soup!

Jenn left us and shortly after Crystal and I left Sarah and the other girl. Crystal told me that at mile 21 she was going to have to walk to eat an energy bar and when I turned around near that mile marker, she was already eating it and still running. We slowed to a walk so she could finish it and then we continued on.

We actually picked up our paces a little bit and then right before we hit Route 28, Crystal needed to walk briefly. Whenever we would walk, only through the water stops and these other two times, I would always try to get her going as quickly as possible, knowing from experience that walking wouldn't help. I asked if she wanted to start running again at the mailbox or the street sign and she said street sign. I'm so proud of her for running the entire thing and never giving up.

On Route 28, I was pretty much over the race, but I never let Crystal know how I was feeling. Whatever I was feeling or going through was nothing compared to what Crystal was experiencing.

My hands were numb and even Crystal said she couldn't feel her arms. I told her to try to move them and we both probably looked like weirdos shaking our arms/hands. My sparkle skirt had been riding up in the back the entire race, but at this point when I tried to fix it I couldn't tell what I was grabbing so I just gave up.

When we had about a mile and a half to go, I got so emotional for Crystal. I was more emotional than when I finished my own marathon. I was so happy for her and I knew that we only had about 15 more minutes or so to go.

Right at mile 26 we saw another welcome sight: more of Crystal's friends and their kids cheering her on.

 We are in the distance (Mike and I gave the kids our extra medals since we had a 2-person team)

With .2 miles left to go I tried to pick up the pace. I could hear people cheering for other runners who were finishing the marathon and as we rounded the second to last corner I could see the finish line. We turned into the conference center and as we got closer to the finish I saw Mike. He handed me our relay baton, I grabbed Crystal's hand, lifted up our arms and said, "you did it!"

 You did it!

After 4 hours 39 minutes and 34 seconds (35 seconds if you were on team "Drove From New York to Run with a Dork"), we were done! Crystal and I ran the second half of her marathon in 2:22.

 The marathoner and her Sherpas

After getting our medals, going inside and taking a few photos I went to change. It is embarrassing to say that the toughest part of the day was changing my clothes. My hands were completely numb (my fingers were white) and I couldn't unzip/zip my clothes. It took me a lot longer than I would have liked to change.

 We had to do a jumping photo

After we were all ready, we went to Dunkin Donuts (needed coffee to warm up) before going to Crystal and Joe's house.  Later we went out to dinner at our other usual restaurant: British Beer Company. And of course we sat at the same table.

 Perfect end to a great weekend

I am so honored that Crystal wanted us to be a part of her first marathon. It was an incredibly special moment and it is one that I will cherish forever. She called us her heroes, but she is mine. I am thankful for her and Joe and that they have become such good friends.

This weekend was never about us, sure we were "racing" but it was more about being there for a friend. A friend who would do the same for us (I told her she owed me at one point during the race, and that she could come pace me sometime). A true "sole" sister through and through. 

Congratulations Crystal on becoming a marathoner!

Please go give Crystal some support and congratulations on her blog, and check out her three part series of her race experience:

Leading up to the Marathon
My 26.2 Mile Adventure - Hyannis Marathon
After the Finish Line

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hyannis Marathon Relay Race Recap - Part 1

I had the BEST weekend! I know I say this almost every time I race, which is one reason why I LOVE racing, but this weekend was so special.

After stopping briefly at my grandmother's house (who made us a turkey dinner, so cute), Mike and I made our way to the Hyannis Marathon race expo. On our way there, it was about 3:15pm, we found out that the race was ON!

We pulled into the parking lot of the conference center, almost went into the EXIT only even after Crystal told us to not do what Joe did, and we found our friends. Crystal was her hyper self and Joe was mellow as ever and we quickly made our way to packet pick-up. After some confusion about where the relay pick-up was, and trying to get out of taking a baton, we browsed the racks (for some rain gear) and then left.

 Team "Drove From New York to Run with a Dork" is ready!

We went to Marshall's and while we didn't find any running gear we liked, Joe found this SWEET (sort of sarcasm for Mike) Bruins hoodie. Then we went to our usual place, Stone L'oven. We've only been there one time before for the Cape Cod Half, but we did sit at the same table!

Love our friends!

Crystal and Joe were nice enough to let us stay with them, so we all went back to their place to relax for the rest of the night. Their dog, Atlanta, was really happy that Mike and I were there. Around 10pm we all went to bed and tried our best to sleep (I actually wasn't that nervous and slept pretty well).

In the morning we all got ready and since I was going second, I wasn't sure when/how much I should eat. I decided to just eat a piece of bread before we left and packed a peanut butter sandwich for later. We got to the conference center and we all dreaded what the weather was like: pouring rain. We thought that the rain was going to let up, most likely during my half of the marathon, so we just put on brave faces and got ready to run.

We also had a tweet-up in the conference center ballroom!

 We met Eric and Sara!

Right before 10am, we all went outside to see Mike and Crystal off. Joe was going to meet them later at mile 5 and I didn't want to risk not getting back to the exchange point in time so I was going to chill out in the conference center.

A little after 10am, they were off!

 There they go! Mike is holding the baton and Crystal is right behind him

I hung out in a hallway in the conference center and just played on my phone, and eavesdropped on conversations.  I started to get a MASSIVE headache and I began to worry slightly. I didn't want to say anything to Crystal (or anyone else really) before the race, but I was worried about fulfilling my Sherpa duties. I didn't want to let her down during her first marathon!

I just drank some water and slowly ate my peanut butter sandwich. Joe let me know at 10:58am that they were at mile 5, so I quickly calculated when they would arrive at the exchange point.  I wasn't sure if Joe was going to come back before I had to go to the exchange point, but he did.

Meanwhile, this was happening:

 Mile 5!

Mile 8!

One of my favorite photos from the race

Around noon I went to the bathroom, stretched and went outside in front of the conference center.  The relay exchange point (#2 for 4-person teams) was right at the start, and all we had to do was wait for them to call out "#30 is coming in" (our bib number).

At 12:18, I told Joe that I thought I saw Mike coming.  I then saw Crystal's red sparkle skirt and knew it was my time to be the Sherpa. I gave Joe my jacket and stepped out into the exchange point. I quickly asked the guy if I needed to carry the baton and when he said, "I won't be looking", I decided to forgo it (sorry, Mike!)

 Great job, Mike!

I high-fived Mike, started my watch and ran to get to Crystal.

And now you'll just have to wait to see how the rest went!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow Storm Marathon

Thank you for the comments on my post yesterday, bullying isn't a fun subject to talk about but we need to if we ever want it to stop.

Mike and I are heading out today to run, hopefully, the Hyannis Marathon relay.  Other New England races are already being canceled or postponed because of this, yet another, weekend storm.

The race director for Hyannis and the Barnstable police haven't made a decision yet, but I'm 90% sure that the race will go on.

The email from the race director this morning said, "I have had a conference with the Barnstable Police Department this morning and we have decided to hold off until 4:00pm on Saturday to make a decision. The snow on the Cape is expected to be light with rain but there is a possibility of very high winds - as high as 50 miles per hour and this would be my reason for canceling the event".


Right now weather.com says rain/wind, with the wind at 37 mph, and 41 degrees. I won't mind the temperature but the rain could put a damper on things. And with the wind, it won't feel like 41 degrees on the coast that's for sure.

Either way, we're ready. Crystal and I have our red sparkle skirts and we both got haircuts.

I haven't had a haircut since 2011, not even a trim

Mike and I are read to rock team, "Drove From New York to Run with a Dork" and sherpa like the best of them. 

 Maybe this should have been our team name?

Are you racing this weekend or did your race get canceled?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Bullied

Wow, I am on a roll this week. Three blog posts in three days, I guess vacation is good for my blogging.

I saw this video on Facebook and it sparked a post that I probably should have written awhile ago, but it doesn't really relate to swimming, biking and running at all.

Please watch it.

 

Amazing, right? I'm sure that almost everyone can relate to that video in some way.

Growing up, I was bullied. Again, I'm sure we all were in some way but it started very young for me. In Kindergarten some of the boys would pick on me and then later some of the girls. We had two "cliques" in my elementary school (remember I went to a K-8 in a small town so I had to deal with the same people for a long time).

One girl in particular would constantly bully me. I was actually friends at some point with all of the other girls in my class, but this girl was one that I had to keep my eye on.

I even remember crying in our upstairs bathroom when I was in fourth, maybe fifth, grade that I wanted to be home schooled. My parents couldn't do that, and my mom did look into having me go to a different school on the island (Mount Desert Island), but the taxes would have been too much.

My eighth grade year was one of the happiest times in my life, not because things got better but because I graduated. I had a different "family" that loved me, my swim team.  I would be joining all of those kids in high school and I'm sad to say that as soon as I got there I did cut all ties with anyone that I went to elementary school with, at least for a little while.


I thought high school was going to be so much better. It was for a little while and then this group of girls started picking on me. Saying that I "stole their boyfriends", that I was a "slut", a "bitch", etc. I was afraid for my life at times, especially since one girl threatened my life.


She came up to my locker and said, "if I ever catch you outside of school alone I will beat you with a baseball bat". My mom and I went to the police station to get a restraining order, but we never ended up getting one for some reason.

The only year I felt like I could "breathe" was my senior year. Most of my bullies had graduated and there weren't too many left.

I truly hope that the people who bullied me growing up have changed, but because of the magical world of Facebook I know that for some this isn't true. I'm honestly glad that I didn't grow up in the technological age that we are in right now, because I don't know if I could have handled it. The bullying that I received was far less than what kids are dealing with right now, which is scary.


One reason I am sharing this with you is because of one line from that video, "so we grew up believing no one would ever fall in love with us, that we'd be lonely forever". My wedding vows, that we wrote ourselves, even stated, "most importantly, you have taught me to love in a way that I never thought possible and that I deserve to be loved in return".

If people think that bullying doesn't affect you, I'm pretty sure I'm proof that it does. It has hardened me, but for the most part that has gone away.  More importantly, I don't take crap from anyone now, I do not let myself become a target and I won't ever again.

Please feel free to share your stories, either here or you can email me at fromcouchtoironwoman@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Things I Love

Check out my guest post over at Healthy Happier Bear.  Ashley does a Marathons+Moderation series every week and today my story was featured.

Today I wanted to talk about things that I am loving right now. I am loving being on vacation, but here are some other things that I'm loving at the moment.

Thrift Shop

Oh I hope you have heard this song before, it is safe to say that I am obsessed with it.

Warning: some of the language may be offensive.

 

Alright, I'm back. I had to listen to it of course. You should see how I dance to this song, it is hilarious, to me at least. My goal is to be able to rap the entire song soon. 

Back when I was in college there would be some nights when I would listen to the same songs over and over again. Mike is lucky that this was before we were dating because my playlist rotation would include quality hits like "The Sign" by Ace of Base (sorry, I just had to go listen to that right now, I never said I was cool), Twista's "Overnight Celebrity" and "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston (the Junior Vasquez mix of course).  I think now I would listen to Thrift Shop over and over again.

New Running Clothes

I am obsessed with new running and triathlon clothes, I am planning on doing a post about all of the clothes that I own if I can find a time when they are all clean. Last week I saw that Running Warehouse was having a two day sale and I decided that if the two items I wanted were still there the next morning I would buy them. They were!

 Beautiful
Last night I ran in my new Saucony sportop and tights, and my headband and shoes of course. I looked like a running Saucony advertisement.

Racing

Mike and I haven't raced since January 1st, shocking I know. We haven't really had the time and very few races have fit in our training schedule, but all of that changes this weekend. We get to race again!

We're running the Hyannis Marathon relay as a two-person team.  More importantly we are reuniting with Crystal!


Our original plan was for the three of us to run the half, but then Crystal decided that running her first ever marathon should happen in February, in New England. A girl after my own heart, because I would probably do something just as crazy (our original, original plan was to run the Martha's Vineyard 20 miler, so yes I would do something just as crazy).

When I saw that they had a relay, I devised the BEST plan ever. Mike and I would still be able to get a half marathon in (which was really just so we could get it in as a training run) and we would run with Crystal. In essence, we are her marathon sherpas. I still don't know what order we are going in but it doesn't really matter, team "Drove From New York to Run with a Dork" is ready to do whatever we need to get her across the finish line.

(And I tried really hard to find a clip from "New Girl" when Jess is running across her toilet paper finish line and loses to someone from Zimbabwe, but I couldn't).

What are you loving right now?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What I do While on Vacation

Ahh, vacation.

A time when you get to smell the flowers, breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sun.




Alright, I'm not on that kind of vacation, but it's still wonderful in its own way. The college where I work is on the quarter system (for only one more quarter, unfortunately) so right now is finals week and spring break.  Since I have been working there for over five years I received an extra five days of vacation this year.  I decided now would be the best time to take my extra week so I am not interpreting any final exams, critiques, presentations, meetings, etc. It is LOVELY.

Now, what do I do while I am on vacation and everyone else (for the most part) that I know is working?

Absolutely nothing.

I sit around almost all day long and I am completely fine with that, granted we are still training for the Cleveland Marathon right now so I'm not sitting around all the time.

Vacation is my time to let my body and my mind recover. Interpreting can be physically and mentally exhausting and I know that spring quarter is going to be just as, if not more, busy than winter quarter.

While on vacation I like to catch up on shows, or watch new ones, that I know Mike would never want to watch. Some of my favorites right now are Switched at Birth (even though it is cheesy, I am a sign language interpreter so I have to watch it), Nashville and Smash. 

 
Seriously, goosebumps

 
Another good one

Mike has also gotten me addicted to Fruit Ninja.  It was hilarious last night when he came home and we played "against" each other. We were just sitting next to each other playing and would compare our scores, ha! My high score on arcade mode is 525, I'm sure it will be higher than that at the end of vacation.

What do you do to relax while on vacation?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Favorite Running/Triathlon Tools

I already shared with you some of my ways for finding workouts online, but there are so many other great tools out there for runners/triathletes.  I'm sure you are familiar with most, if not all, of these websites/tools but I thought I would share them just in case you weren't.

Dailymile

I joined dailymile (here's a link to my profile, add me as a friend!) a few months after I started blogging, which was about 6 months after we started running.  It is like the Facebook for athletes, you post your workouts and others can leave comments.  You can even share photos. 

 Do you like my profile picture?

Dailymile isn't the best website out there but if you like to see what other runners and triathletes are doing for workouts this is a great tool. It also allows you to keep track of gear that you use during your workouts. This is a great way to keep track of how many miles your shoes have on them.

 Just my running miles

RunningAhead

I found out about RunningAhead a little while ago, and since I joined I LOVE it! I am never going to make training plans using Word again.

What the calendar page looks like

RunningAhead isn't as social as dailymile but it has a lot more tools and is more intuitive than dailymile. It keeps track of your exact mileage (not rounding like dailymile does) and you can customize it to keep track of different activities on your summary page.

 My Summary page

I haven't really delved that deeply into RunningAhead yet, but I am loving it so far. One thing that is really nice is that you can add up your interval workouts and it will provide the duration, pace and total time. No more adding it up by hand!

 My last track workout

Cool Running Pace Calculator

I don't use this often but sometimes I will use it to see what pace I need to run a specific distance at to get the time I want (I did this before pacing Sarah, even though we didn't hit our goal).  This is a great tool for new runners to get comfortable with different paces.

 We know what's on my mind

McMillan Running Calculator

Compared to the Cool Running calculator, this one is way more advanced.  You can use this calculator to "predict" what you should be able to run a specific distance at based on your other race times. (I say predict lightly because if you use your 5K time to predict your marathon time, it isn't going to be that accurate).

 My current half PR and goal half time

MapMyRun (or MapMyRide)

This is a great tool! So much easier than mapping out your runs (or rides) on Google Maps. The map will mark each mile and then when you generate the map it will provide an elevation chart.

Our long run a few weeks ago

It will also provide turn by turn directions while you are generating the map, which can be helpful for people like us who write out routes.  Mike and I use this for running and biking.

Do you use any of these tools? What are some others that I didn't mention?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Your Heart

Happy Valentine's Day! Did you also know that February is Heart Month?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women, but you can take some preventative measures to reduce your risk.  There are plenty of resources out there, such as these articles from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but two important steps are eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Well, we all already know that I exercise enough but I may not always eat the healthiest that I could.

Case in point: I LOVE peanut butter. It isn't a secret that I will eat it right out of the jar, but some peanut butter isn't really that healthy.

Enter: NuttZo


NuttZo was developed by a mother of nutrient-deficient adopted children. Now NuttZo spreads the love through the charity Project Left Behind, a charity focused on helping orphans around the world.

How is NuttZo different than regular peanut butter?

It is 100% Organic: All seven nuts and seeds used in each 3 flavors of NuttZo are 100% organic.

It contains no added sugars: One serving of NuttZo Original (2T) only contains 1 gram of sugar. 

It is full of healthy fats: One serving (2T) provides 50% of your daily value of Omega 3 ALAs (Alpha-Linolenic Acid).

It also does not use palm oil, which is often used in most nut butters, which was proven to be unhealthy in a study done by the United States Department of Agriculture.  It has a negative effect on bad cholesterol (another cause of heart disease) and the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association warn against the use of palm oil because of its link to contributing to heart disease. You can find more information, here. (Luckily, the peanut butter I normally eat, Wegman's brand, doesn't use palm oil).

 Making hearts with food is difficult!

I used NuttZo in place of peanut butter on my sandwiches, and I had it just on toast and English muffins, and it tasted great! Now, if you don't like chunky peanut butter (or any nut butter), you probably won't like NuttZo.  I will eat it, but Mike won't, so this nut butter is just for me.

The seven nuts and seeds in NuttZo Original are: Peanuts, Cashews, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds and Hazelnuts.  They also have a peanut-free version and a chocolate version.

What are you doing to take care of your heart?

I was provided NuttZo free of charge in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

February Book Club: Running on Empty

Yay, it's book club time!

February's book was "Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America" by Marshall Ulrich.


Let me just say that this book solidified the fact that I WILL run an ultra someday, it might not be until 2015 but I will do it. But when I say ultra, I mean 50K, 50 miles max.

The book started out perfectly, with a Foreword by Christopher McDougall, the author of "Born to Run", and it jumped right into how Ulrich started his career as an ultramarathoner.

As the title of the book suggests, Ulrich's life was filled with love and loss. Actually, love and loss are what started his career as a runner. He began running when his first wife, Jean, was affected by cancer. The cancer eventually took her life and Ulrich delved even further into his running and adventure-seeking lifestyle.

This meant that he missed out on a lot of his children's lives (he eventually remarried and had two more kids, and remarried another time) and his eventual ex-wives' lives.  He was running to get away, literally and figuratively. 

Ulrich describes his endeavors in adventure racing and ultramarathons with so much detail that I felt like I was there with him running Badwater, climbing Mt. Everest and eventually running across America. 

Ulrich eventually remarried for the final time (as far as I know they are still together) and his wife Heather did not want him to embark on his run across America (she herself had experienced a traumatic situation that had changed her life forever).  She did not want to lose him, but eventually she knew that she had to let him fulfill his last lifelong dream.

The run across America was described perfectly. I loved the little graph at the bottom of each page once he started the run that showed the elevation and exactly where he was during his journey. 


During the run, Ulrich experienced injuries, loss (he started the run with a friend, who eventually turned against him), joy, pain, triumph and frustration. He almost was killed a few times, and even told his wife during the first week of the run that he felt as if he was killing himself.

Ironically, when I started reading "Running on Empty" another runner had embarked on his own journey from Maine to Washington DC. Gary Allen, the race director of the Mount Desert Island Marathon (in my hometown), started running from the summit of Cadillac Mountain (he needed snowshoes) on January 7th and arrived in Washington D.C. on the day of the Presidential Inauguration on January 21st.

Allen and Ulrich's journeys, while different, were the same in many ways. They both experienced injuries, ran 50 mile days (Ulrich often ran more than that) and they had people join them on their journeys.  I wish that Allen's route had gone through Rochester so that Mike and I could have joined him for part of his run.

One thing that stood out to me, from both Allen and Ulrich, is that the run changed them. They were no longer the same men who had started the journey weeks before.

I thoroughly enjoyed "Running on Empty" and I have added "Running America", the documentary that was filmed while Ulrich and Charlie Engle ran and attempted to run across America.

Other book club members' reviews:

Carrie at Fitness and Frozen Grapes
Emily at Life, Fitness, and Me!

Now for the discussion portion of book club:

Have you ever used running to run away from something? Did it help, or hurt, the rest of your life?

Ulrich, and Allen, both ran a huge portion of their runs with injuries, which also meant that they were in pain. Do you think that you could overcome pain so that you could achieve something that is much bigger than yourself?

Would you ever run an ultramarathon, why or why not?

And finally, if you ever attempted a run like Allen's or Ulrich's, what route would you want to take?

Just a reminder that the book for March is "A Life Without Limits" by Chrissie Wellington and I will email you the books for April and May sometime this week.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Online Workouts

Sometimes the monotony of a training plan can get to me. Sure we don't just run, we swim, bike and run, but for the most part our weekly schedule is the same.

This training cycle I tried to keep it interesting by adding speed work and hill work, but I also added one (and then later two) days of strength/core work. The problem with that is it can get monotonous too if you let it.

This week I didn't feel like doing Jillian Michaels 6 Week Six-Pack on our core work day.  Enter: the internet.

If you didn't know by now, the internet is a wonderful place if you know how to use it. You can find a million different workouts online, for free or minimal cost.

I searched Hulu, I don't have Hulu Plus but if you do there are even more fitness shows on there, and found an intense 20 minute workout called Six Pack Abs: Incredible Abs. Seriously, you should try this workout.


Then, I was on DailyMile and someone posted this workout from Blogilates


You really should check out her bog, she has a TON of other workouts and videos. I found another workout of hers on Pinterest (another great place to look for workouts) and I really want to try both of these sometime soon. 


And just now while I was researching for this blog post (I always switch the "6" and "Six" in the title of Jillian Michaels DVD), I found some Jillian Michaels full workouts on YouTube. Here's No More Trouble Zones. Actually if you subscribe to channels on YouTube you should subscribe to BeFiT, they have a lot of workout videos posted online.

Like I said, it can be confusing and overwhelming, but if you know how to look you can find some great workouts online. The internet can be an amazing invention at times!

What do you do to keep your workouts interesting? Where do you look for new and different workouts? Share please!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Love the Runner You're With

Sorry about the cheesy title of the post, but I thought it was sort of clever!

Now let's be honest here, I really don't like Valentine's Day that much even after being with Mike. It is just another commercial holiday (really how many of the holidays AREN'T commercialized?), and shouldn't you celebrate your love for someone all the time rather than just one day?

With that said, I thought it would be fun to showcase a few running-related Valentine's Day gifts if you are still searching (or your significant other is) for that perfect gift for the runner in your life.


Oiselle Start Line V-Neck Tee - This shirt showcases each start line, ranging from the 5K distance to an ultra, that the runner in your life has, or will have, tackled.

Saucony Mirage 3s - Who wouldn't want new shoes? And with the upgrade to this fabulous shoe (I might be a little biased) the Mirage 3s would be a perfect addition to your runner's shoe rotation.

Team Sparkle Running Skirts - These skirts are perfect for relays and theme races, plus they come in pink AND red!

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts - These shorts will make any female runner in your life very happy and with the addition of Gen2 shorts they come in a new bright color: pink!

Oiselle Rundies - Instead of lingerie, how about buying your runner some underwear that is running themed? With seven different pairs, she'll never forget what is on her training plan for the day.

PRO Compression Socks - After, and during, those long runs any runner would love to slip on a pair of compression socks. PRO Compression comes in fun bright colors, including marathon pink.

Saucony Kinvara 3s - These shoes are perfect for speed work or those fast 5K races your runner has on his or her schedule this year.

Oiselle Big Run Tee - Who wouldn't want to have this shirt? Your runner can proudly wear a shirt that proclaims her love for the sport of running, and she'll love you that much more for getting it for her.

LiveME LoveME T-shirt - This isn't really running related, but you can wear LiveME's shirts while running. It would make a great shirt for any race that you run in the wonderful state of Maine!

What running-related item would you want to get for Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Miss Summer

I definitely am getting anxious for spring/summer, that's for sure.

Growing up, and even now to some extent, I would experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I think that running has helped to alleviate the symptoms, but I am starting to really miss the warm weather and the sun.  For those of you who have never been to Rochester in the winter, the sun practically disappears and we are left with a grey sky.

I love summer for many reasons, I get to run in tank tops and shorts for one, but we also get to do one of our other favorite activities: hiking. 

Mike came to visit me in Maine one summer while we were on summer break, and we decided to go hiking.  We went up South Bubble Mountain and then we decided to hike up North Bubble Mountain.

 

That was back in 2006 and since then we have gone hiking almost every time we have been in Maine during the summer. We have hiked up 13 mountains on Mount Desert Island and we have hiked three other trails that aren't really considered mountains.

 

We've gone hiking by ourselves and with our parents and my brother. 


And Bernie, of course!


Just in case you are curious here is a list of the mountains (and trail) we have hiked, in order based on elevation:

Great Head Trail (145 feet)
Kebo Mountain (407 feet)
Gorham Mountain (525 feet)
St. Sauveur Mountain (679 feet)
Acadia Mountain (681 feet)
South Bubble Mountain (768 feet)
Beech Mountain (839 feet)
North Bubble Mountain (872 feet)
Parkman Mountain (941 feet)
Bald Peak (974 feet)
Penobscot Mountain (1,194 feet)
Pemetic Mountain (1,248 feet)
Dorr Mountain (1,270 feet)
Sargent Mountain (1,373 feet)

Unfortunately, since we are doing Musselman (our 70.3) this year and we are running the MDI marathon (where I am from) in October, I'm not sure if we are going to make it to Maine this summer.  We probably won't be up for hiking while we are there for the marathon in October either!

Do you like hiking? What are you looking forward to the most this summer?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Moving for Charity

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone!

This morning Mike and I ran 5 miles before we headed out to Mendon, New York for a charity spin event at Studio Move.  Our friend Amber had heard about the event from one of her co-workers and she convinced her boyfriend Greg, Mike and I to join her. 

The event benefited Teens Living with Cancer, a local organization, and our group had the honor of riding alongside two teens affected by cancer.

The hour went by really quickly and it was a lot of fun!  The two instructors were really upbeat and kept the workout challenging but fun, we even were doing the YMCA at one point.  It was really exciting to see the studio full, as I'm sure it was each of the other three hours as well. 

If you live in the Rochester area, I would highly encourage you to check out one of the other charity spin events.


This is a great event for a beginner or an experienced cyclist.  I'm sure that Mike and I will be back sometime soon!

Have you ever "moved" for charity? Who are you rooting for today?