Monthly Archives: July 2015

Runner Thoughts: A Q & A Interview with Myself

Reflective questioning leads to a deeper understanding of ourselves.  We critique and build from mistakes and experiences. 

  

1. Do I have to be fast, to be a runner? 

In my opinion, a runner is someone who puts in the workouts. A runner is someone who owns their own miles, whether it’s on the road, track or trails.  Being a runner isn’t about being faster than everyone else, run your pace.  Running is about knowing your goals, having a plan and executing your dreams. 

2. What if I never ran/raced in competition again?

Running doesn’t have to be defined by a series of races and medals.  For me, running is a lifestyle. Running is a way to maintain fitness and do something healthy for myself.  Miles run on the roads and trails are a release from the demands and stresses of daily life. 

3. Will I need surgery on my bunion?

I think about this bunion on my right foot often. A large bony knob on the side of my foot near my big toe.  The bunion doesn’t hurt, but I feel it effects my foot mechanics and stride. Every running related injury has been with my right leg. Hmm. . .

4. Is having surgery the key to my recurring issues with my right foot/leg?

Surgery is such a tough choice. I can’t be guaranteed a 100% successful surgery. I read about elite marathon Paula Radcliffe and her ordeal with a bunion. She felt it was at the root of her foot problems and running injuries. Read more about Paula Radcliffe’s surgery HERE

5. Am I still a runner if I never run another full marathon again?

The distance that one runs or races, shouldn’t define a runner. Every Mile Counts. I’ve run one marathon, but question whether my body can handle that level of training and mileage again. I enjoy distances all the way up to the half marathon. I’m able to maintain fitness and running mileage to run half marathons without over stressing my schedule as a mom, teacher and wife. 

6. Will I remember to appreciate the runner I am at that/this very moment?

Yes, the past can help to shape our present and future. However, it’s important not dwell on what was or what could be.  Runners need to embrace each phase of running as the age and change.  Setbacks with injuries happen and then running comes back. I also can’t look over my shoulder and wish for the runner I was at 16, 30 or even 35. Now, at 40, I have to appreciate and embrace the runner I am in this moment! 

7. How has age effected my running? Intensity, Quality?

I definitely have to put forth a more planned approach and methodical effort. My muscles need more prepping and tweaking now, before and after running. I don’t remember doing all this stretching, foam rolling and core work as a young teen, like I do now. 

8. What do I hope to teach my daughter about running?

Currently, my 14 year old daughter is participating in high school cross country conditioning.  She will be a freshman this year.  My daughter has been running with me since middle school.  I want  her to know that running strengthens the soul mentally and physically.  Running is a way to do something healthy for your body, for a very long time.  Running builds confidence through miles and track workouts. Even those tough runs will make her a stronger and healthier person from the inside and out!  I want my daughter to know that running opens doors to new friendships. Running can be a time for quiet clarity or sharing conversation with friends through the miles. 

My two loves, my Redhead and the Maine coast:)

Can you relate to any of these questions? What question(s) would you ask yourself? 

Hummus and Grain Bowls

 

Mixed Organic Herbs and Classic Hummus Bowl

 
The following Hummus and Grain bowls are a healthy and creative way to mix and layer flavorful ingredients! Each bowl is filled with nourishing and nutritious combinations of plant-based proteins and healthy complex carbohydrates

Tip! These Hummus and Grain bowls are enhanced when using fresh, seasonal produce! Shop your local farmer’s market in the spring, summer and fall

Classic Hummus and Grain Bowl:

A classic combination of Summer flavors and homemade hummus come together with a drizzle of robust extra virgin olive oil! The organic mix of  mild and bold spring greens adds a depth of flavor and crunch! 

  • Steamed Aromatic Jasmine Rice -1/3 to 1/2 cup in bowl
  • Classic Hummus –Recipe found here 1/4 cup 
  • Seasonal Grape Tomatoes-5 or 6 sliced
  • Organic Mixed Herbs and Baby Greens- 1 big handful shredded {My Favorite Brand HERE!
  • Olive oil-drizzle over Hummus Bowl 
  • Sea Salt and Cayenne pepper-season to taste
  • *{Top with sliced Hard Boiled Egg for added protein}

***Assemble all ingredients above over the steamed rice.  The heat from the steamed rice will gently wilt the greens and warm the tomatoes! ***

Earthy Beets and Black Olive Hummus Bowl:

This hearty bowl is filled with nutrition! The mild, nutty quinoa pairs well with the earthy beets and savory black hummus! The chopped walnuts add crunch and a healthy dose of Omega-3 fats, along with minerals including copper and manganese! 

  • Two small to medium steamed beets, peeled and chopped
  • Steamed Quinoa-1/2 cup
  • Black Olive Hummus-RECIPE HERE use 1/4 cup
  • Chopped Walnuts-1/4 cup
  • Drizzle of Walnut Oil and Sea Salt to taste
  • *{Roast Chicken slices for added protein}*

Honey Sesame Hummus and Sweet Potato Bowl:

This bowls plays up the natural sweetness of the roasted carrots and sweet potatoes! The honey sesame hummus adds a plant-based protein and touch of sweetness! Add wild caught salmon for extra protein and Omega-3 fats! 

Shitake Mushroom Hummus Bowl:

This roasted garlic hummus bowl is full of comforting and rich fall flavors! The meatiness of the mushrooms paired with the nutty and fiber filled Farro is outstanding! Roast the garlic before using in the hummus recipe! 

  • Steamed Organic Brown Rice and Farro 1/2 cup
  • Shitake mushrooms-a handful or two sauteed with chopped garlic and olive oil
  • Two Roasted Carrots-chopped 
  • A handful or two of fresh spinach 
  • Oh She Glows Garlic Hummus 1/4 cup
  • Added Protein {Wild Caught Cod Sauteed in olive oil SIZZLE FISH

** layer all the ingredients on top of the steamed brown rice and Farr

Do you have a favorite Hummus and Grain Bowl? 

Throw Back Thursday: Beach2Beacon Race Recap 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014
Saving the Best for Last. . . For Now: Beach2Beacon Race Recap
 

  
The views of Portland Headlight, off the rocky coast of Cape Elizabeth, Maine are always stunningly breathtaking! This lighthouse is one reason for the name of my blog. Portland Headlight epitomizes my love for Maine. I feel my heart wrapped around every nook and crevice of this lighthouse that sits perched on the edge of big rocks, overlooking Casco Bay, which leads out to the vast Atlantic Ocean.

 For the third year in a row I have been lucky enough to get through registration for Beach2Beacon. Beach2Beacon is in its 17th year as one of the world’s most prestiges road races. The BEACH2BEACONwebsite has a great description of the road race and the story behind its organizer, Joan Benoit Samuelson. The registration for this 10k race takes place online in March. The first day of registration is reserved for Cape Elizabeth residents. The second day of registration opens up to the world at 7:00am Eastern standard time. I wait at my keyboard with fingers poised and credit card ready! Registration is a “race” in and of itself! Within mere seconds of registration opening, it fills to capacity in less than 5 minutes! 

Training for Beach2Beacon

 My training leading up to this year’s Beach2Beacon was a struggle. I’d been plagued with plantar fasciitis for all of March and April. May through July, I was training and even running races, but still dealing with lingering stiffness in my right foot/achilles and heel. Leading into August, I truly debated driving up to Maine for the third time this summer and running this race. I love the scenic Beach2Beacon course, but it is challenging. There are some rolling hills and then an incline in mile 5 leading to the finish line. In the end, my heart won and I made my final summer trip up to Maine for the summer to run this race. I was also excited and thankful to be running this race again with my great running friend Lisa, from LisaRunsforCupcakes

 On Friday I drove up to Maine from Maryland with my faithful and sweet golden retriever, Airiel. She was my buddy for this quick weekend trip. Hours before packet pick up at Cape Elizabeth high school, we hung out Portland Headlight. Airiel and I soaked up the warm sun, salty ocean air and gorgeous views. 

 

Airiel, my Golden, enjoying the view from Fort Williams Park

 
 Despite a line at 2:15pm at Cape high school, for the packet pick up which started at 2:30pm on Friday afternoon, the line went smoothly once the doors opened. While waiting in line for my race packet and bib, I spotted and met Jennifer from
http://www.runningwiththegirls.com It’s so much fun to meet up with fellow bloggers!

The night before the race Airiel and I headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s rest. Beach2 Beacon has an 8:10am start time for the point to point race. However, with nearly 6,000 runners, it’s imperative to get parking and then the school bus shuttles to the start line in route 77 in Cape Elizabeth. 

I prepared for my morning breakfast and hydration that night.  I really love the BeetElite crystallized beet shot powder that you mix into your water bottle! It’s a great boost of long lasting energy!

Running Beach2Beacon is a “Coming Home” race for me. It’s a race that has me running roads and scenic coastline that I grew up in and around for a good part of my life. 

Race Morning

 On race morning I arrived early, 6:00am early, at Cape Elizabeth high school to park my truck. I texted Lisa to see where she was parking. I was also lucky enough to be catching up with one of my dearest childhood friends who was running his first 10k! Surprisingly, race morning was chilly, slightly misty and overcast. I hung out in my truck with the heat on in Maine on August 2nd! I eventually caught up with Lisa and we sat in her car until deciding to catch the shuttle over to the start around 6:40am.

Lisa and I hanging out on route 77 with approximately 6,000 other runners! There were plenty of porta potties lining the start area! Beach2Beacon volunteers were also stationed at tables giving out coffee and bagels!

Me and my dear childhood friend! We’ve kept in touch for a long time! Many summers were spent hanging out in Old Orchard Beach!
The race didn’t start until 8:10am. Lisa, Aaron and I got to chat and warm up a little before the race. 

 

Hanging with Lisa before the race!

  

My friend, Aaron, since grade school!

 We eventually made our way to the self seed section of the 8:00 minute to 9:00 minute pace section. During this time and during the introduction of race directors and elite runners such as Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi and race founder Joan Benoit, I should have started my Garmin GPS! I didn’t realize that the significant cloud cover would give me issues! Lisa and I are good at pacing each other and we were shooting for an average pace of 8:21.

Each year, I forget to get a picture of the Beach2Beacon start line that is painted in color across route 77. 

Off and Running!

So, just as the gun goes off at 8:10am, I realize that my Garmin GPS watch is not working! Thankfully I’m running side-by-side with Lisa and keeping pace with her. My own watch didn’t kick in until half way into mile 1, just passed the entrance to Crescent Beach state park. My watch was .5 off the entire rest of the race. Lisa and I paced each other until 3.5 miles. Then, I went on ahead of her and during this time, I decided to turn in my ru keeper app on my phone. I turned on the app at the mile 4 marker. I wanted the last 2.2 miles to be accurate. {Run Keeper Picture of Last 2.26 Miles Below} 

 

Running along the Atlantic Ocean! gorgeous views of Casco Bay !

 
 It was during this time that I also thought it would be fun to take a few pictures! I am not usually a runner who takes pictures during races. Of course, miles 4,5, and 6.2 are the hilliest, but most scenic part of the race! The views of the ocean along mile 5 are stunning!

Cape Elizabeth residents really come out out cheer on and encourage runners! I also love the partnership of police from the surrounding Maine Towns! The Cape Elizabeth fire department hangs the America flag overhead of runners. Such beautiful patriotic pride! 

  
 Coastal scenes from mile 5 going into mile 6.2

More stunning views on mile 5, before a hilly road that leads into the entrance of Fort William Park and Portland Headlight. 

   
 

Runners should save some heart and leg power for about the last 1.5 miles. It’s a hilly climb to the finish!

I captured this picture of my favorite lighthouse as I ran up to the hilly, grassy finish line! The skies were overcast and a light rain was falling, but this view never gets old.

For the 3rd year in a row, at the age of 39, I ran with my heart and my legs followed. My heart lies here, at this lighthouse, off this rocky perch high above the ocean. Even now, as I type these words, I can faintly here the call of the fog horn. No other race matters more to me than this race. Beach2Beacon with its sense of community, the largest, most epic road race in Maine, symbolizes all that I love about Maine. Each year this race captures my heart.

To read more technical details about The Race, course route and elevation map go here HERE

Update: I’m running B2B again, for the 4th time, on August 1st, 2015! 

What is your most picturesque race that has captured your heart? Are you running Beach2Beacon this year? 

Recipe Ideas: Healthy and Nutritious! 

Healthy, Active and Fit at 40! 

As I entered my late thirties and now forties, being active and continuing to run is a lifestyle for me.  In order to maintain this lifestyle, I must take steps to get the proper nutrition. 

Being a mom, runner and teacher means that I must make healthy food choices! It’s important to choose food that will nourish and fuel my body for life’s daily demands! 

 

Food Choices Should Be Focused and Purposeful to Fuel Your Body

 

A Well Stocked Kitchen and Pantry Will Fuel Your Body:

Plant-Based Proteins:

  • Edamame -A Complete Protein- nutrition information found HERE
  • Green Peas-A Wealth of Heath Benefits- nutrition information found HERE
  • Black Beans- A Hearty and Filling Bean- nutrition information found HERE

Other Staples in the Kitchen and Pantry:

  • Organic Quinoa
  • Various Organic and Whole Grain Rice from my Favorite Brand Found HERE
  • Raw Almond Butter
  • Whole oats Granola
  • Avocados-healthy fats
  • Seasonal fruit

Stock up on essential, nutrient-rich proteins and carbs to build daily meals! TIP-Cooked rice, beans and quinoa freeze really well in freezer bags! 

 Breakfast:

Granola with fresh strawberries and almond milk

  

Breakfast:

Graham crackers smeared with raw almond butter and fresh sliced strawberries

Lunch or Dinner:  

Quinoa with cooked cubed sweet potato, steamed green peas and cooked black beans -drizzled with olive oil and sea salt

 

 Lunch or Dinner;

mashed avocado on toasted roll with roasted tomatoes and sea salt

Lunch or Dinner:

Previously cooked quinoa and black beans, sauteed with padron peppers-Think Fried Rice!

 

These are just a few ideas and variation of what I eat based on my kitchen and pantry staples! 

Do you have favorite kitchen and pantry staples? A favorite dish or recipe idea? 

Llbean 10k Road Race Recap

Patriotic pride and road races flooded roads across America on July 4th, 2015

The  Llbean July 4th 10k was the perfect start to a wonderful July 4th weekend in Maine! This race is held on the Fourth of July every year!  This year’s race benefited the YMCA of Southern Maine Casco Bay branch. Following the race each year is the Freeport, Maine July 4th town parade! 

The smile on my face says it all! Running and racing in Maine is my “happy place”

Race bib. New Balance running shoes, Awesome Tech-Tee

  Pre-Race

On Thursday, July 2nd, my parents and I drove the 20 minutes from Portland to Freeport, to pick up my race bib! The old town hall in Freeport is where bib pick up was held! Many volunteer organizers made bib retrieval smooth and easy. I was excited to learn that my name had been chosen as one of the winners of a pair of New Balance Running Shoes I was so excited! Registering on March 16th for this race had put me in the lottery for winning a pair! 

Llbean Flagship Store, Freeport, Maine

Race Day-July 4th, 2015

The weather was perfect! Partly cloudy with temps in the low to mid 60s. Very low humidity! The weather for this race two years ago was much warmer and more humid! 

Race morning went smoothly.  It was very easy to find parking. I love that Llbean was open, so runners were able to use the store bathrooms and get water.  The steps and stone walls around the store were also great for sitting and stretching before the race. 

Photo opportunity with my dad prior to the race!

Meeting with fellow running bloggers prior to the race! 

Running bloggers! Lisa, Jennifer and Karen!

It was so much fun to chat with Lisa  Jennifer and Karen We follow each other on Instagram, Personal Blogs, Twitter and FaceBook! Over the years social media has given me the amazing opportunity of developing friendships with other runner/bloggers! 

Photos from the starting area on Bow Street.  Prior to the start of the race, a train runs across the tracks at 7:20am.  

   

Spectator Friendly-My parents were able to wait along the side walk near the start line. During the race, my parents walked and ‘window shopped’ along Main Street! Mile 6 finishes along Main Street which is always lined with cheering spectators! Downtown Freeport has numerous outside benches which provide spectators with places to sit and relax! 

The race starts at 7:30am along Bow street!


Racing Strategy and Goals: 

I really wanted to run a strong, but steady pace for this race.  Two years ago, when I ran this race, the heat and hills slowed me down. I ended up running a 56:22. This year I wanted a course PR! I felt really good going into this race! My weekly running had been a combination of mileage and speed work since the end of May! 

Course map with route and elevation!

 

Running the Llbean 10k-A strong race! 

Mile splits from my Garmin:

  1. 8:41
  2. 8:42
  3. 8:34
  4. 8:39
  5. 8:50
  6. 8:06
  7. {.25} 7:15

These splits include jogging through three water stops for a bit of water! I felt strong pushing up the hills and finished fast! A course PR of 53:21!!  This is a hilly course- total elevation gain was 332ft! 

The finish line is in front of the Llbean Flagship store on Main Street!

Reflection: This race course is comparable to the Beach2Beacon 10k course which I run on Saturday August 1st, 2015. I’m really hoping to run Beach to Beacon just as strong, but faster! The first three miles of the Llbean 10k, I held back a bit.  I love running this race in Freeport, Maine and hope to run it again next summer for the 3rd time! Now I have my sights set on a course PR for Beach2Beacon 10k! 

Did you race on the Fourth of July? What’s your next goal race?