Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016 CHaD Trick or Treat 3K and Little Pumpkin Dash Recap

Let me just start by saying I really didn't want to run this race.  I signed up last minute because I thought it would be fun for my daughter to participate in the kids' run and frankly, I knew I would need something to motivate me to get my butt moving again after my second half marathon.  But I woke up exhausted from Trick or Treating the night before and staying up way too late watching scary movies.  Can we talking about The Conjuring?  OMG.  I must have jumped 50 times!

How I wanted to spend my day!

It didn't help that the race was held during The Pats game and if you don't know already football is an institution in this house.

Opening game at Gillete for the 2015 season. 

But after I ran a barefoot mile on my treadmill, I schlepped my butt to Manchester with my costumed family in tow.  

I'm glad I did.

They have a little Halloween "festival" set up for the kids before the races.  Scarlett loved the bounce houses and the bunnies in the petting zoo.  One of her friends from her class was running the race too so she was overjoyed to run around with him.

After a quick warm up led by a man in an apple costume, the girls' ages 4 and under race started.  I ran behind Scarlett so we wouldn't lose her in the crowd.  She sort of stopped towards the finish line so I grabbed her hand and pulled her along.  She loved the medal they gave out but unfortunately it went missing somewhere along the way.

Luckily, she hasn't realized the medal is missing... yet. 

Then it was time for my 3K, the shortest race I've ever run by the way.  I was looking forward to being done in a decent amount of time.  Mentally I couldn't handle another half marathon not with the amount of pain I've been in since my last one.  

This race also had a first for me:  I lined up in the corral WITHOUT MY BIB ON.  What was I thinking?  I was so distracted by helping Scarlett with her race that I completely neglected to put mine on.

I realized this 30 seconds before it started.

Luckily, my family was standing not too far away so I mouthed to my husband that I forgot my bib and we got to work grabbing it out of the bag.  Thank GOD I always pack extra safety pins for just in case.  This was definitely a "just in case" moment.

It probably took me less than a minute to fix my mistake, but I was stuck behind the walkers and strollers by the time I was ready.  In a way this helped me because I took off at an 8 MM pace!  I quickly slowed once I hit the first of 2 decent sized hills.  It didn't help that I was dodging a lot of people who were walking or running intervals.

The second hill helped because I was able to zoom by a lot of people.

OMG, I zoomed up a hill!

Since this was just a 1.86 mile race, it was a nice out and back so you could see the leaders at one point.  It made me feel better to know I wasn't that far behind the pack not that I'll ever be in the front.

Overall, I felt great!  My lungs were a little full but I've been battling colds lately and I changed up my allergy medicine.  My feet were a non issue and it was so nice to run down hills without wincing. 

As I approached the finish line I tried to really kick it. My arms were swinging hard as they did most of the race, but I looked on helplessly as a flood of people passed me.  The last kick has been an issue for me lately and I really don't know what it going on.  I just can't seem to sprint anymore.

My final time was 19:23 and my pace was 10:23/mile.  Not too shabby all things considered.

Next, I'll keep rowing, running barefoot on the treadmill and strength training.  I've got to work on strengthening my hamstrings.  They are so weak!   

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Undertrained and Over Confident: Smuttynose Half Marathon Recap

If you've been following my running story lately then you know that over the summer I developed a nasty case of Plantar Fasciitis. It first started in February but didn't hit its peak level of pain until July after I took a break from running and started up my Half Marathon training again.

As my runs got longer and harder the pain grew more intense until I was completely disabled by it. I forced myself to go to the podiatrist where I was quickly diagnosed with PF.

Long story short, I was barely able to train. The podiatrist assured me that rest would help my feet. He gave me 2 cortisone shots in each foot over a period of 2 weeks. They did nothing to touch the pain.

My training consisted of strengthen my arms and using our rowing machine to keep up my cardio. My nutrition suffered as hard as I tried to get it back on track. Depression set in and my emotions decided my food choices.

In the days leading up to the race I hoped that it would be cancelled due to rain as thunderstorms had been foretasted. No such luck.

I was up at 4:30 in the morning to get my family to the beach where the race was before the 8 am start time. I woke up to rain and although the weather report said otherwise it never stopped.
I had no delusions of grandeur going into this race. I just wanted to get it done giving it my all in the process. My two mantras that I wrote on my hands to remind myself of when the course got tough were "No Regrets" and "Leave it all on the course."

Did I look at those mantras often?  Oh yeah I did.

The traffic getting to the race wasn't too nuts, we got to the beach by 6:30am, but there was a long line of cars behind us. For anyone thinking of running this race in the future then I suggest getting there early because they closed the roads at 7 am.

About 10 minutes before the race started I got in my corral with my family by my side and they stuck around until the last minute. They sent us out in waves so I didn't start until a few minutes after 8 and I was getting anxious to start. Of course, it was just a few hundred feet after the start line that I stepped in a puddle and had soggy feet for the rest of the race. That's alright by the end of it I was soaked to the bone.

The first 3 miles were like something out of a Spartan Race because we were jumping puddles left and right. I felt really good those first few miles although I secretly wished I had dropped down to the 5K they were holding simultaneously so I could just be done. I knew the pain was just going to get worse.

The way the race is set up spectators have 4 chances to see runners:  the start and finish and two times in between during the first loops. I was able to see my husband and daughter two times, both times when I rounded the beach. The last time I saw them before the finish I shouted, "See you in 9 miles!"

I did great the first 5 miles up until I had to slow down to take my fuel. After that it was hard to keep up my momentum.  

By mile 7 my feet hurt. My quads hurt too. I stopped to stretch a few times and I'm glad I did but I actually felt pretty good for miles 8-10. 

So much rain!

It wasn't until mile 10 that the rain really started to get to me. It didn't help that the cold air from the ocean started to hit me so my arms and fingers went numb. It was so cold I could see my breath. 

By mile 11 I was picking out markers to run to. I'd tell myself to just run until the guardrail ends and then walk to the person wearing the red coat. Doing this kept me going. 
It was all mental by the end. 

By mile 12 I was literally seeing stars. I knew the pain from my feet was increasing my blood pressure. At this point it was all mental. I told myself that if I kept running I would be done with this race a whole lot sooner than if I walked it. 

I was desperate to be done.

The pain in my feet was intense and I was a soggy mess. 

When I finally entered the finish chute and saw my husband holding my daughter I was overjoyed. I quickly snatched her from his arms and told her to run. I started screaming, "Go, Scarlett! "  She just giggled beside me. 

After we crossed the finish line and I looked up from grabbing my medal and turning off my watch, I noticed she had a medal too and the biggest grin on her face to go along with it.

It was a great moment to share with her. 

After hugs from my husband and daughter we snatched up our free lobster roll, clam chowder and beer and then we ran back to the car to dry off. 

I've never been so happy to be done with a race in my life!  Looking back, I am glad I did it, but considering my injury, it might not have been the brightest idea I've had. 

Now it's time to heal my feet and get back to basics. I can't wait to run a 3K this weekend!

There is no shame in starting over. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Winter Running Essentials for Mother Runners

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Whether we like it or not Winter is Coming (yes, I'm a Game of Thrones nerd).  

Just because it is zero degrees outside doesn't mean you will be stuck on the treadmill for the next several months doomed to a life of monotony of staring at your basement walls or if you are lucky some re-runs on Netflix.  There are several cold weather running items that you can pick up to make cold weather running much more enjoyable so you can step away from the treadmill and out into the world.  

Ever question what you should be wearing when the temperature does dip below 50 degrees?  I've included a handy guide below to help you decide what to wear because there is only one thing worse than being under dressed on a run and that is being OVER dressed.  Nobody wants to have to shed their $40 fleece coat on to the side of the run and hope that it is there when you come back.  

Sugoi Women's Subzero Running Tights

They are a little pricey, but if you consider them an investment then they are a sound one.  I can attest that they kept me warm in 0 degree weather during a 5K in New Hampshire back in February of 2016.  I did add an extra layer for protection since it was dangerously cold that day, but I couldn't have done it in the first place without these tights.

The Soothe Regime from Rodan & Fields

This is more for after your run to keep your face from drying out from the cold air and bone-chilling wind.  Rodan & Fields special formula was specially designed to alleviate dry, chapped, cracked skin and reduce visible signs of redness.  If you are interested in learning more you can contact my friend, Diane Hodge at, follow her on Facebook or check out her website at:  


Whatever you do don't ask me to pronounce this!  But it is a necessity when you are running in cold weather especially if wind is a factor.  I had a version of this balaclava when I ran that above mentioned 0 degree race.  It protected my lungs from the bitter cold.  In fact, when people ask me how I run in such cold weather I tell them I wore one of these.  They are great too because you can pull them down if they get too warm and then easily pull them back up when you regret that decision.  

Convertible Running Gloves

If you are running in below 40 degree weather you'll want to keep your fingers protected.  These gloves are great because they start out with lobster shells for extra protection, but as you warm up you can peel back the lobster claws to reveal 5 fleece lined gloves.  They are wicking and wind resistant too for extra protection.

Lightweight Fleece Running Jacket

I find that no matter how many layers I wear when I run, I always top it off with a lightweight fleece jacket.  Make sure all of the layers that you wear are wicking because even in freezing weather you will be sweating and the last thing you want when it is cold out is to be wet.  That mistake right there can make you really sick.  Get yourself a good one and you won't regret it.

Well, those are my most important winter running essentials. 

What are your's? 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Silencing the Bully in My Head

You've gained weight.

You're faking it - you're not injured.

Stop eating your emotions.

You can't do this anymore.

You weren't meant to run. 

You were never an athlete and you aren't one now. 

You're fat and old and you should just give up.

These are just a few examples of what the Bully who lives in my head says to me on a daily basis.
My obesity struggle has been a life long one which feeds into my lack of self confidence. Honestly, I think the lack of self confidence is harder to overcome than the  weight issue. I've been fat all of my life so I know how to lose it. I just don't know how to have the confidence to keep it off or to believe in myself.

Turning off the bully that lives in my head was challenging this summer. It hit its peak when I realized that my foot pain wasn't just some soreness that would go away with a little rest. It was in fact an injury, plantar fasciitis to be exact. I was repeatedly told to stay off my feet and stop running by doctors. "Rest!  You're body needs rest!" They'd tell me. So I did. I was given clearance to use our rowing machine but even that hurt to use at times - little did I know it was more my shoes than the physical activity at the time.

I was lazy per doctor's orders.

Without the ability to run I started to question myself, "Am I even a runner anymore?"  I felt awful. I was in pain. The only way to feel better was to do what I've been taught - eat. Eat all of the food that brings me comfort in an effort to ease the pain.

Seriously,  plantar fasciitis is no joke. I feel like I am wakling on hot daggers with every step. No medications were helping me. Ibuprofen wouldn't touch it. I had 2 cortisone shots in each foot and felt worse afterwards. The intense pain level took its toll on me not just physically but mentally too.
I fought to keep from falling down the dark hole of depression.

All the while the bully in my head, that nasty little voice that is always there judging and critiquing me l, kept right on telling me how fat I was getting that I should just stop running altogether because I'm not worth it.

So when my half marathon came around and I had barely trained for it I willed the weather gods to do their thing so it woks be cancelled due to a thunder storm. Anything to keep me from having to run in agony or even worse to not complete it.

But that didn't happen. It rained for the race alright. The whole time as if the weather gods were laughing at my silent request.

It wasn't pretty but I finished that damn race, all 13.1 miles of pounding pain and dare I say I came out the other side stronger for it? 

If I can run a half marathon feeling like I was running on hot, sharp goals with each step then, I began to wonder, what else am I capable of?

Now, that bully hasn't completely gone away she's just quieter now.  Running helps combat her.  

With that race conquered, I now have the freedom to start over to bring my training back to the basics.

Time to work on getting stronger both physically and mentally.

I am worth it and I need to believe that.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

5 Day Runner's Detox

If you, like me, overindulged during the long holiday weekend then this 5 Day Runner's Detox is for you!

I'm it we will be given support, meal plans and an exercise routine to follow.

The best part?  It is only 5 days. You can change your eating and exercise habits for just 5 days right

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