Chasing 13.1-Fall Races and Celebrating Autumn!

13.1 – Half marathon-Not just half of anything.  This is the distance that challenges me and pushes me to my limits.  This distance is a combination of speed and stamina over a period of 13.1 miles.  

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2016 Navy Air Force Half Marathon 

13.1 – Goals-  Since this past spring (2016), I have been building base mileage, increasing my weekend long runs and working on my mental stamina and speed for this distance.  Last fall of 2015, I ran my 7th half marathon-back in November (Annapolis Classic Half Marathon)  and prior to that, the Navy Air Force half marathon, last September.   Both half marathons were sub 2 hours.  Earlier this summer, I ran the Portland Maine Shipyard Half marathon-an early July race that was cool and cloudy-very hilly course (1:59xx)

Break Down -Navy Air Force Half (2015, 2016) September races

  • 1:55:31:31-  cool morning, low humidity
  • 1:58:18- warm morning, extremely humid

Break Down-Annapolis Classic Half Marathon (hilly course)  Early December and Late November Race (2013 and 2015)

  • 1:57 in early December of 2013-cold start
  • 1:56:46 in late November of 2015-chilly start

Looking back on my last several fall marathons- I see consistency, steady pace and overall strengths.  Looking back at my individual splits for these races, I see that I go out strong in the first 6-7 miles, then slowly my pace declines and I “sputter”.  I feel that I am still working on and training for that combination of sustained endurance and maintaining speed.

Training this past summer and early fall- I have been focused on “long runs” of 10+ miles every week.  Also, adding some tempo runs of 6-7 miles, along with breaking up my 3-4 mile runs with 400s and 800s for speed.

Two More Half Marathons for Fall 2016

I have two more half marathons on the schedule for this fall racing season.  A very hilly, new to me race in Vermont-Leaf Peeper Half Marathon which I am running as part of the Rise Run Retreat weekend, hosted/created by Sarah of RunFarGirl and Jessica of RunLadyLike !  Vermont is going to be another strong, tune up race!! Some good hills to work in that race!  Vermont Half is next weekend-October 2nd!!

Then, I have the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon in mid/late November.  This will be my “goal race”!!  This will be my third time running the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon!!  I feel ready to shave off 3 minutes-(aiming for 1:53xx)  Join me on November 19th in Annapolis for this awesome race!  1 dozen oysters and beer at the finish line!  CODE MAINEGIRL2RUNS16 for a discount at REGISTRATION  

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Image Credit: Found Here

Okay!!  Time to celebrate fall weather, autumn related activities and cooler, less humid weather!!  Fall is my absolute my favorite time of year!!  I love the 70 degree days and the 50 degree nights!!  I am a jeans and sweater kind-of-girl!!  Hoping for one more trip north, to Maine, before the end of October! I am looking forward to –

  • apple picking
  • bonfires
  • wine on the deck
  • wearing all my Ll Bean Sweaters!!
  • A/C off-windows open and fresh air in
  • Enjoying those gorgeous fall colors in the trees

And-this time next week, I will be spending time with some amazing women!!  SO excited to meet some fellow runners/bloggers in person, for the first time!!  I am attending Rise Run Retreat  in beautiful Waterbury, Vermont!  Even though I grew up in Maine, I have never been to Vermont!  This retreat is going to be the highlight of my fall season!  Running has brought me the incredible gift of –experiences, meeting other women, and creating lasting memories.  I am looking forward to a long weekend of running, laughter, sharing life stories and learning so much from this experience!!  The retreat is hosting some great guest speakers/companies that will be presenting on topics related to nutrition, recovery and overall wellness! The Sponsors at RiseRunRetreat are amazing companies/brands!!  A few months ago, I posted about my blood work analysis –Training, Nutrition and A Blood Test  and so I am really “pumped” to meet the faces behind Inside Tracker at this retreat!

 

So-there you have it!!  Happy Friday!  What’s on your fall race schedule?  What are you celebrating?  

Running is Both Solitary and Social

 I have always felt that running has been both solitary and social.  Solitary in that sense that many runners train during the days, weeks and months leading up to races, alone-out there on the roads and trails, putting in the miles in solitude.  Whether it is solitary by choice or just circumstance.  The social aspects of running bring with it many benefits and rewards.  It is a sport that thrives on encouragement, motivation and the celebration of hard training. 

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Solitary miles can be soul searching and therapeutic.  Out there on the roads, trails or track-hearing just the sound of your own breathing and your stride hitting the pavement.  This is where you are not just strengthening your body, but your mind as well.  Willing yourself, motivating yourself to put in the work, even when no one else is around to push you through the workout.  Getting up in the early dark hours or getting out there in the late evening hours, no one but yourself to push and motivate.

It is in these singular/solitary moments, that you remind yourself that there are others out there at this very moment, training and putting in the early morning or late evening runs.

Running is a social sport, in the sense that it brings camaraderie and  common goals together through training programs and on race day.  Social Media has also made running a social sport, virtual cheers along the way during training and race day.  Runners sharing their ups and downs with training and celebrating their accomplishments on various social media outlets.    Even in those dark, solitary hours during training-thoughts of other runners motivate you to keep going.  Running can can connect people. Running grows friendships among individuals, through training, blogging and racing.  

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A celebration of hard training on race day

On race day, runners celebrate together.  It is a social event of ‘cheers and high fives’ along the course, everyone moving towards the finish line.  Out on the course. runners giving each other words of encouragement.  The sense of belonging-every runner out there for the same reasons-to be strong, trust their training, and be the best of themselves.  We are all out there-feeding off the energy of each other on race day! 

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That moment when all runners toe the line on race day.  All of us waiting to give our best. 

Whether you train alone on a regular basis or meet up for regular training runs with a partner/group, running straddles the line of both solitary and social.  There are those common threads that connect and motivate us through the training miles and on race day.  Miles of sweat, moments of doubt and trusting our training.  Knowing that we are all out there giving our best effort and sharing the celebrations of hard training, connects us.

 

A Quick Look Back, Update and Summer Memories

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Geez!  I totally fell off the blogging wagon this summer!  Summers are usually my best blogging months too, because I am not teaching!

Okay, so here it is in a nut shell!   I ended up in Maine for the entire summer!  I rented a house on Peaks Island, Maine for two weeks in July, then stayed at my parents’ new beach house in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  (OOB)

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Peaks Island, Maine

Backstory-  I was born and raised in Maine until the age of 13.  My parents are from New Jersey, but met up in Maine during College.  They raised my brother and I in Alfred, Portland, and Gorham, Maine until January of 1988!  Then, we moved to Upstate New York, along the Hudson River.  A year later, my parents bought a second home, a condo in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  So we would spend summers and holidays at the condo in Maine through my high school years. (End of June through Labor Day, because my mom was a teacher)  Maine was always our second home, but first in our hearts.  My parents would own that condo in Maine, until the fall of 2003.  Life happens, things change and my parents sold the condo in Maine, just after my daughter turned two years old.

My parents eventually ended up living in southern New Jersey.  I ended up going to college in Baltimore, Maryland where I met my husband-he is from southern Maryland!  I have taught in an elementary school in southern Maryland for the last 18 years.  My Redhead (Daughter) is now 15 years old and a sophomore in high school.

Fast Forward- My parents are now retired, well my mom is definitely retired from teaching, but my dad still works, for now.  As of right now, southern New Jersey is still their permanent residence, but this past July 4th –they bought a seasonal beach house in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.(six months out of the year)!!  So. . . I spent 6 weeks in Maine this summer!  Excited that once again, Maine is home-at least 6 months out of the year for my parents!!

Summer Was. . . magical. relaxing, and rejuvenating!

  • two weeks at a beach house on Peaks Island, Maine-then headed to my parents’ house in Old Orchard Beach
  • tons of days spent on the beaches
  • evenings sipping wine and watching the Olympics with my mom
  • running my favorite roads and beaches that I grew up on
  • seeing old friends and new friends in Maine
  • Running two Races
  • Simply unplugging and enjoying the salty sea air
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Took my mom back to Peaks Island by ferry for a day!

So many times, I wanted to type a blog post-a ton of thoughts swirling through my head, but in the end it just didn’t happen this past summer.  I was just enjoying so much “down time” and honestly living out a dream, that just a year ago seemed unlikely.  I had wished for so long for my parents to own back in Maine again.  I know it’s only 6 months out of the year (May through end of October) but, it’s ‘one foot back in the state of Maine’-my happy place.

Here are my summer memories in pictures!

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Lobstah Supper on the Beach

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Cuddling goats at Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook, Maine

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Evenings included Wine at my Parents House

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Sunrise Runs -Old Orchard Beach, Maine

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Paddling out to sea-Pine Point Beach, Maine

Running Update-

I had a good, solid summer of running.  Running to stay in racing shape for 10ks and half marathons.  Logging weekly mileage of 25 to 30 miles a week.  Some good hilly running through the Cape Elizabeth, Maine-near Portland Headlight and sandy beach runs!  In July I had run the Old Port Shipyard Half through hilly Portland, Maine.  In August I ran Beach2Beacon for the 5th time/year in a row! I haven’t really put in the time to write race recaps for both of those Maine summer races.

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Old Port Shipyard Half Marathon-Portland, Maine

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5th Time Running Beach2Beacon -Cape Elizabeth, Maine

My weekly training looked like this-

  • weekly long run 10-12 miles
  • easy 6 miles runs twice a week
  • 8 mile progression run 1x a week

Upcoming Fall Races: 13.1 is the Lucky Number!

So excited for Rise Run Retreat in Waterbury, Vermont!  An amazing weekend of running with some awesome running/blogger women at a lodge overlooking picturesque mountains in Vermont!  Stay tuned for more on this event!!

Share your summer highlights!  What fall races are on your schedule? 

Fall-“Must Run” Half Marathon or 10k-Annapolis Running Classic

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Save with Code MaineGirl2Runs16

Running with the A-Team!!  Excited to share the news that I was chosen as an ambassador to represent the Annapolis Running Classic Half Marathon and 10K!

This will be my 3rd year running the the half marathon for the Annapolis Classic Running event!!  Come run with me-use CODE MAINEGIRL2RUNS16 to save 10% on race registration for the half marathon or 10k!

Race Details: Annapolis Running Classic save 10% on registration with code MAINEGIRL2RUNS

When: Saturday November 19th, 2016 at 7:00am

Where:  United States Naval Academy Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland

Race Course-Scenic, but a bit hilly!  Part of the course takes runners through historic downtown Annapolis near the water!

United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

Why Run!! –

  • Great Race Premium -last year was a dark navy half zip long sleeve shirt!
  • Finisher medals
  • Hot soup, beer and oysters!!
Enjoy fresh oysters and a frosty beer at the finish!

Enjoy fresh oysters and a frosty beer at the finish!

Beautiful Fall Weather!- Cool, crisp temperatures!!

Me and LiveFreeRun!  Gorgeous autumn colors!

Me and LiveFreeRun! Gorgeous autumn colors!

Hotel- Stay at the Loews Annapolis Hotel 1 mile from the start and finish line!  

Hope to see everyone in Annapolis for this race! Save money and use code MAINEGIRL2RUNS16  for race registration discount!

Summer Update: Run, Relax, Repeat

So. . . where do I even begin with this post!  After school let out on June 16th, I made the trip North from Maryland to New Jersey and then onto Maine!

Maine is my “happy place” and full of so many great memories from growing up in this gorgeous state!  As I a kid, I spent so many summers on the beaches of coastal southern Maine, however, I had always had one life long dream!

I had always longed to stay on one of Maine’s many islands.  So, for two weeks this summer I lived in a beautiful 1900s victorian on Peaks Island.  Two weeks of walking and running from the house, to the beaches, and the ferry.  It was a relaxing, blissful two weeks of unwinding, spending time with great friends and my daughter! {My Redhead)

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Ferries take people,cars and other cargo from the city of Portland, which sits along the Casco Bay, to many of the surrounding Maine Islands.

Island Life-Maine Style

Peaks Island, Maine  is truly a magical island.  You won’t find palm tress, white soft sand beaches or tropical music, but you will find a quiet, relaxing lifestyle.  This island is a twenty minute ferry ride from the city of Portland, Maine.  Maine’s largest and most populated city.

The island is about 4 miles around and 2 miles wide.  Along the island are pockets of inlets, little nooks and crannies of rocks to sit and watch the ships, sail boats, Sup boarders and kayaks go by.  There are some areas along the shores of the island that have a sandy stretch of beach at low tide.

Maine summers can get warm along the coast, but there are many weeks at a time when the humidity is very low and the day time temps barely reach 78 degrees.  The water temps  in Casco Bay are usually hovering around 60 degrees!

And days were spent. . . 

  • Running around the island
  • walking to the beach from the island house
  • hopping the ferry over to Portland for lunch, dinner or walks in and out of the shops!
  • Caught sunsets on the island overlooking Casco Bay and the city of Portland
  • Ice cream at the local store on the island
  • Beer and wine-loved not having to drive anywhere for pretty much two weeks!

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During my first week on Peaks Island, my good friends-Colleen and Jim stayed with me!

Sharing the fun with friends. . . 

Over the few last years, with running and racing and social media, I have developed some great friendships!  One friendship in particular has been with Colleen, Live Free and Runs she and I have just clicked!  It was great sharing the first week on Peaks with her, her husband Jim, her mom and daughter!  Me, Colleen and Jim, got in several gorgeous “sight seeing runs” around the island.  We also just enjoyed some quiet time on the rocks and beaches.  I loved having a buddy to run with, chat with and sit on the docks drinking coffee while watching the boats and ferry come in to the island.

 

July 4th Fireworks-Spectacular Views!

July 4th Fireworks were viewed from Peaks Islands.  The fireworks are set off from a barge out in Casco Bay!  Colleen’s husband, Jim, took some great pics of the fireworks that night! The night was breezy, clear and perfect “sweater weather”!!  Love summer nights in Maine!

 

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Lobster Supper on the Rocks! 


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My Redhead enjoying some beach time on the island!

Running Along the Shores

So many gorgeous views on my runs around the island.  Even the warm days were still filled with cool breezes off of Casco Bay.

Two Weeks of Running, Relaxing, and Reflecting

I needed these two weeks on Peaks Island to just unwind, unplug and recharge.  I even forgot about tv for two weeks.  Even now, I am realizing that TV isn’t that important to me! Time spent running, actively walking, sharing moments with friends and my daughter.  Maine is truly my “happy place”.  I soaked up the quiet beauty of this Maine island and treasured the old and new memories I have in Maine.

Where has summer taken you?  Share your summer happenings! 

Quick Update on Blood Work Results

So. . . I’m currently analyzing and reviewing my blood work results from InsideTracker!  So much valuable information about my health that will aid in stronger #running performance and overall health!
I love the InsideTracker website for analyzing my results, creating a nutrition and training plan and setting goals! Here is a quick glance of my 9 biomarkers out of 28 that are At Risk or Need Work! 

InsideTracker Dashboard

InsideTracker Website Dashboard

As this point in my summer training and racing phase, I’ll be making some nutritional changes based on dietary recommendations and reworking my weekly training workouts! InsideTracker provides a breakdown of nutritional and training recommendations based on biomarkers! My goal areas are for improving endurance, strength and recovery/injury prevention. 

This is just a snapshot of what I’m analyzing and focusing on right now. I want to take some time to also review and discuss these results with my family doctor. I feel so much more equipped to take on a more active role in discussing my health concerns and goals with my doctor, now that I have this information.

I will continue to update and share my nutrition, training and racing as I make changes! 

Do you get blood work done? After initial results, how often do you get follow up blood tests? 

www.insidetracker.com

Training, Nutrition and A Blood Test

Training Lately and Upcoming Races:

Wow, can’t believe I am approaching my summer racing season!  The months of May and June have just flown by so quickly.  I have three races on my summer calendar, I Posted My Spring/Summer Race Calendar Here  I feel ready to tackle the two 10ks, but am feeling a bit apprehensive about the half marathon!

My weekly training has been fairly consistent, but the longer-double digit runs were tough to fit in over the last few weeks.  The last several weeks of May I focused on being a “track mom” as my daughter finished up her freshman year of high school and outdoor track.  My Redhead ended up running on her 4 x400 meter relay team at the State meet! I am also “coaching” two middle school boys now, so some of my mileage is done with them during the week.

Consistent Weekly Running-averaging 27-29 miles or so a week

  • Tuesdays have been an easy 6 miles, Wednesdays have been a tempo run of 7 miles, Thursdays have been an another easy 6 miles and Friday or Saturday has been my ten mile runs
  • My ten milers were sometimes happening on a Friday night, if my Redhead had an all day track meet on Saturday
  • Long Run-I was hoping to consistently be running 12 miles on my weekly long runs, but that didn’t happen in early June.
  • Hill Repeats- hoping to work back in some hill repeats for the end of June and into July, I found another good article on Hill Workouts Here

Nutrition Update-What I am Focusing On Lately:

About a year ago, I made the decision to no longer eat meat (any land animal), however, I do eat all fish and shellfish.  I am a Maine Girl who loves her haddock and lobstah!  I also order fresh, flash frozen premium wild caught fish from my absolute favorite company-sizzlefish

I do constantly worry though, that without the meat, if I am getting enough iron and protein.  I eat a large variety of fresh, seasonal veggies, organic frozen veggies, tons of high protein beans and grains. Yet, still I wonder if I am getting the right balance of carbs and proteins, along with other essential nutrients.  I am not a huge fan of protein powders, although lately, I have been using the Aloha Plant based Protein Powders and loving the clean taste.

Smoothie Bowls are my new summer go-to! 

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Yummy! Vanilla Protein, Banana, Peanut Butter, Almond Milk Smoothie Bowl with Shaved Chocolate!

I feel like I eat fairly healthy, but still some questions linger.  I want to know that I am properly fueling my body for optimal training and overall health.  As a 41 year old mom, runner and teacher, I am constantly on-the-go.  I want to know that I am getting all the right nutrients I need to feel healthy and energized.

I don’t consistently take supplements, mostly because I always feel like I am not choosing the right ones of what my body actually needs.  There are so many supplements to choose from on the market!

The Blood Test!  Yikes!

So, with so many questions about my health, getting the right fuel and nutrients-I was excited to learn about InsideTracker the company which  offers a blood screening test for – “Accurate blood biomarker analysis plus personalized interventions for nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and supplements to optimize health and fitness”  Read about the creators of InsideTracker here at InsideTracker 

I read a very thorough blog post by Michele at NYCRunningMama here and was very interested in having my own blood work done with InsideTracker.  When the opportunity arose through Jonathan Levitt with InsideTracker to have some blood work analyzed, I jumped at the chance! I received a discount code.  I chose the Ultimate Blood Test plus Inner Age which tests 30 total biomarkers all together in these categories:

  • Energy and Metabolism
  • Strength and Endurance
  • Bone and Muscle Health
  • Brain and Body
  • Oxygen and Performance
  • Inflammation
  • Liver Health
  • Minerals

I am very interested in finding out more about my results in regards to energy, endurance, bone and muscle health, inflammation, oxygen and performance!

Check out the InsideTracker website for a variety of plans and pricing options!

Having blood drawn isn’t usually my thing- I get all nervous and clammy, but I am excited to get more in-depth information about my health and make smart, informed decisions based on the results. I will definitely consult my doctor once I get the results.  These results will help guide my training and nutrition choices.

I will be getting my blood drawn at Quest Diagnostic laboratory today!  I will be sure to share my results when I receive them in a few days!  I feel it’s important to be proactive about your health!

Have you ever had in-depth blood work done?  How often do you get blood work?  Do you find the information to be useful?