Mainely Running
Join me as I train in Maine and race all over the world in pursuit of my goal to run a marathon on all 7 continents

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A weeks worth of workouts at home

Before Thanksgiving I shared what a typical week of workouts looks like when I'm on the road. This week I'm lucky enough to be working for home. Here's what a week at home in the fall/winter looks like:
Monday AM 45 minute kickboxing class. 45 minute strength class.
Tuesday AM: A 60 minute run, usually an interval or tempo workout. Yesterday I cranked out a 7:30 magic mile. Go me! PM: If my work schedule allows, I hit up the noon yoga class at . If not, I do a DVD at home at night.
Wednesday AM: 30 minutes on the elliptical and then a 45 minute absolute kick butt boot camp class PM: Fit club. We do something different every week, but usually 25-30 minutes of a cardio turbo fire and then some strength
Thursday AM: A 60 minute run with some hill repeats thrown in PM: Pilates or yoga
Friday: AM: A 60 minute step class, and then either a 45 minute class that is a combo of zumba and strength, or just weight on my own
Saturday: AM: 60 minute kickboxing class if I am home. But I try to ski or do some seasonal day long activity.
Sunday: AM: Long run

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas in the New House

I am so excited to get to decorate my new house for Christmas! My Dad and I went to get our trees the day after Thanksgiving at a great farm by his house. It is always fun to tromp through the snow and find the perfect tree. It's not so fun to lie down in the snow to cut down the tree, but it's part of the experience I guess. My Dad just had surgery so I got to drag both trees back through the snow to the car. Talk about a workout! My Dad picked such a fat tree that it took 4 of us to stuff it through the baler to wrap it up! When I got home Saturday night I was so excited to see how my tree would look in the house, that I decided to set it up by myself. Big Mistake!! I couldn't hold it straight and screw it into the stand at the same time. And there was a branch on the bottom that kept it from going all the way into the stand. Of course I don't have a saw, so I hacked away with a kitchen knife. But eventually I got it! I let it rest for a night and then decorated yesterday.
Sunday I thought I'd quickly put up some lights outside. There was nothing quick about it. First I realized there is no outlet outside, so I had to string a couple extension chords together. Then, after stringing the first string around the tree it occurred to me that I should make sure they worked. They didn't, so down they come. Most of my neighbors are older, so they all came out to watch me climb up and down on the tree. By the time the lights were up, I had the little red berries from the tree all over myself!
And then just a few finishing touches. My coastal wreath that I got at Early Bird.
Some pine garland and decorations on the mantel.
And my little Norwegian village set up on the buffet.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Thanksgiving was a little up in the air this year. For awhile I stressed out about it and started to get mad that things weren't going to be exactly how I wanted them to be. But then I just took a deep breath and let go. In the end I have so much to be grateful for, that it doesn't matter if the details of the day aren't perfect. I am healthy. I am still having dizzy spells, but for the most part I am healthy and strong. I went to 2 great, intense, fun classes at the gym this morning- spinning and kickboxing. I was just letting it all out. My family is healthy. We are lucky to live in a place where we have access to great healthcare. SO my Dad was diagnosed early, got treatment, and is home with us for the holiday. I have a great job that constantly challenges me and lets me travel the country. I have an awesome house that is MINE! And finally snow!! We got a storm yesterday, and while it was a dud at my house, it left nearly 8 inches at my Dad's in NH. I just took one of the dogs for a long walk. I love walking in the quiet woods hearing the snow fall off the trees around me.
So from me (and Luna the puppy) I wish you all a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bed Racing

Long before Black Friday became a national event, Boothbay Harbor has been having an early bird sale. It's a chance for the stores to clean out their inventory before the stores shut for the winter, and an excuse for the locals to dress up in silly pajamas and get out and see each other before the worst of winter sets in. It's a tradition that I love, the shopping part is secondary. We all gather at my Mom's house the night before and stay up too late playing music and eating and drinking. The house is always overflowing, so I usually volunteer to sleep in the boathouse with my Mom and cousin. We snuggle down under many quilts because the boathouse is not heated or insulated and listen to the wind and the waves. Morning always come way too soon, but we drag ourselves out of our warm beds and up the hill to the house. And then before the sun is up, we're on our way to town. All the stores have free coffee and snacks, so we eat, drink, and shop our way through town, stopping often to visit with friends and neighbors. And then we all gather at McSeagull's for mimosas and lobster omelets. And then go home for a nap. This year though, there was something new- a bed race. I of course, was the first to volunteer. Running and pajamas- I was totally there. I was racing for the Boothbay Region Greenhouse team. Our theme was fairy houses, and our bed was beautiful! It was decorated with pine boughs and berries. We all wore wings and our fairy rider through rose petals from the bed.

We looked totally awesome at the start and went out with a roar.
Unfortunately we soon discovered that our bed did not go in a straight line. We kept drifting off to the left and into the crowd. By the time we got to the turn around, we were far behind. And then we got even further behind, because when we tried to pick up the bed to turn around, we found it weight a TON! On the way back we were laughing so hard we could barely push. We lost by a lot, but had a blast and worked up an appetite for brunch!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fitness on the Road: In the Hotel

This morning I had to leave my hotel by 5 to catch my flight so the hotel gym it was. Granted, I am now still sitting in Orange County because we boarded and then had to get right back off because of a ground hold at my destination, but that’s another story.
Most hotels have some sort of gym, usually a treadmill, bike, and sometimes an elliptical. They aren’t usually great, but you can get in a decent workout and not get too bored.

20:20:20- Twenty minutes on each machine- elliptical, treadmill, bike. It keeps you from getting bored on one machine, and inspires me to work harder on each segment because I think of it as only a 20 minute workout.

Tobada and Strength Elliptical Workout- Warm up for 5-10 minutes. Then do 5 minutes of tobada (20 seconds all out, 10 seconds of recovery), then 5 minutes of increasing resistance (start at a level that is slightly challenging and up it every minute, by the last minute it should be very hard), then 5 minutes at a moderate effort to recover. That is one set. Repeat 3-4 times.

Treadmill Interval Workout- Warm up 5-10 minutes at easy pace, I usually use speed 6.0 which is a 10 minute mile. Now time for intervals- 1 minute at 6, 1 minute at 7, 1 minute at 8, 1 minute at 7, and 1 minute at 6. That is one set. Repeat to reach desired time. If I am doing a long workout (40+ minutes) I usually throw in a couple ½ or 1 mile repeats at 7 in to break things up and build some longer speed endurance.

No equipment workout- Sometime the hotel doesn’t have a gym, or it’s too crowded. No excuse to skip a workout. You can do this in your room with no equipment at all. I always carry a jump rope and resistance band because they don’t take up much room, but you can do with just your body weight. For an hour I alternate 2 minutes of cardio (jump rope, jumping jacks, high knees, skips, mountain climbs, etc) with 1 minute of strength. For the strength, I do a mix of upper body (push-ups, rows with band, biceps with band, tricep dips, handstand pushups, etc), core (planks, crunches, leg lifts, swims, oblique crunches, side planks, etc), and lower body (lunges, squats, side leg lifts, etc). 1 hour and you’ve done a total body workout!

Keep your fingers crossed that I get home at some point today!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fitness on the Road: Gyms

This morning's workout was a spinning class at the Bally's next to my hotel. I like to check out local gyms when I'm traveling because it gives me a chance to try new equipment and classes. I've gotten to try some really cool classes like Kangoo where we bounced around on these sweet bouncy shoes, and pitch dark yoga which really challenged my balance and helped me completely let loose because no one could see me. I have also definitely been to some pretty terrible classes, like a body toning class where all the equipment was broken the instructor rushed us through with terrible form. But you win some, you lose some. It helps to do some research before you go, checking out reviews of the local gyms. And you can also check out the class schedules in advance so you know what you want to try and when! Using a gym away from home can be pretty cheap, and often free! I don't mind paying a day pass fee once in awhile, but when you are on the road as much as I am, it could add up quickly. Here are my strategies for getting in free:
1) Check with your hotel. Many hotels have an agreement with a fitness facility that allows guests to use the facility free of charge. When I was working in Santa Rosa for months, I picked up hotel mostly because it allowed me to use a state of the art fitness facility for free.
2) See if your home gym allows you to use other gyms in the network for free. At home I am a member of the YMCA, so I can use most Y's around the country for free. Most chains like Bally's or Gold's let you do this too.
3) Check out the gym's website. Many of them have free day or week passes you can print and use.
4) Ask and flatter. I find I am pretty successful if I just chat up the front desk person and explain that I'm traveling for work, and I heard this was a great gym and I'd like to give it a try.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fitness on the Road- Running

This morning I went for a run by my hotel. Running is great while traveling because you don't need a lot of gear, technically just sneakers and clothes (but I include my i-pod and garmin in my must have category as well). The treadmill bores me to tears, so I always try to find a way to run outside. It's worth it to spend a little time researching your destination before you go, so that you don't end up running somewhere unsafe, or get stuck running laps around the hotel parking lot. Here are a few strategies I use.

-Look for a running club at your destination. They might have group runs you can join, have route maps on their website, or if you e-mail them, be willing to provide some advice. I've yet to get a negative response when trying to hook up with a running club where I'll be traveling. Running in the USA has a great list of running clubs around the country.

-Check out a Running Route Website. There are quite a few website where people can post routes they like to run. Try US Track and Field; Map my Run; Walk Jog Run, and Runner's World

-Use your blogger connections to find a running buddy in your destination. If I have time before my trip I look for running blogs set in my destination. Best case scenario is that I connect with the blogger and we meet up in person. Even when that isn't possible, they should at least be able to provide some tips on good places to run.

-Use Google Maps to scout out potential routes. I always look around my hotel for residential areas and parks as I like to get away from the traffic.

-Use the hotel parking lot or parking garage as a track substitute.  There have been places where I didn't feel safe running on the roads, so I did a lot of loops around the hotel parking lot. This can get boring pretty quickly so I like to turn it into speed work. For example alternate sprinting up one row of cars, and then recover by jogging up the next row. This is also a good opportunity to mix in some drills like high knee skips, side shuffles, and backward running.

Any other advice out there for road warrior runners?

And as an update to yesterday's Crossfit workout- I am in agony today. I am SOO sore. I dropped my hairbrush this morning and could barely pick it up.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fitness on the Road- Crossfit

A lot of people ask me how I manage to stay so consistent with my work-outs when I travel so much. It's not easy, but I have developed a lot of strategies, so this week I'm going to share with you what a typical week on the road looks like work-out wise. Today I went to Crossfit. Crossfit is hugely popular these days, so you can find a gym most places you go. They also usually have early morning and late evening classes, which helps to fit it in around a long work day. Crossfit also gives a lot of bang for your buck. You are working HARD when you are there. And because most cross fit gyms use the same WOD (work-out of the day) you'll make sure the get the full benefit of the program and work your whole body over the course of the week, no matter which gym you go to. I have been going to Anaheim West Cross Fit. They are wonderful. They have been so welcoming and friendly. The coach spends a lot of time with me, making sure I understand the moves and have good form. It's a balls to walls group for sure, but they are always there cheering for you when you are struggling. They have a huge amount of cool equipment, and it makes me feel super hard core to be lifting huge weights, flipping tires, and doing pull-ups.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends

I have a tendency to be a control freak, to be solitary, and to be creature of habit. For the most part this is good, because I get things done quickly and efficiently. But sometimes I get stuck. And when that happens I am left floundering. I dig myself in deeper and deeper because I don't ask for help. This was one of those weeks where I fell down into a pit and was stuck sitting down there. Then Saturday morning I made the decision to go to yopa. I love, love, love the yoga studio in Boothbay by my Mom's house. But I hardly ever go because the class is at 8:30 am and I have this compulsive need to do an hour of cardio first thing in the morning. But this week I just wasn't feeling great, and I really wanted to do something with my mom, so I skipped the run and went. During the class, the instructor Romee comes along and helps you into the poses. I was doing a half hearted bow pose when she came and sat on my feet and helped lift my shoulders. At first I tensed, and I then I let her help me, rising high into the pose. With her help I was better and it was easier. And the light bulb went off. If I let people help me, I can get so much further. So I finally called my friend and invited her to coffee and just unloaded everything that has been bothering me. And just having someone listen made me feel a million pounds lighter. And now my flight is being called, off I go!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

By the Sea

I am grateful that I now live in a place where I can see the ocean daily. There is something about the ocean that calms my restless soul. There is something in the regular rhythm of the waves and tides that reminds me to breath deeply and slows my heart rate. After the snow storm 2 weeks ago, we're now having a wonderful stretch of 60 degree weather. This morning I rode my bike to the Portland Y for a Body Pump class in shorts and a light long sleeve shirt! And I was hot by the time I got to the top of the hill on High Street. I'm warming to the instructor. When I went to his boot camp last week, I was pretty turned off by his personality. He is an ex marine and very brash. At Kristen's bootcamp in MA, I felt like she expected a lot and was tough, but ultimately was on our side. This guy seems to mostly think we're idiots. But I think I won his respect a little today when I mentioned the Antarctica Marathon. I've been taking advantage of the weather and being at home this week to explore the amazing parks during my lunch break. Monday I went to Fort Williams Park. This is the home of Portland Head Light, which is the oldest (and most photographed) lighthouse in Maine. I spent a wonderful hour meandering along the cliff path, walking around the lighthouse, and looking at the remains of Fort Williams.
Today I went to Two Lights Park. It was a stunning day. The bright sun made the surface of the water look like it was covered in diamonds. There is a nice variety of trails, from pine needle covered trails through the woods, to crushed gravel paths along the cliffs overlooking the water, to rocky coast itself. I spend half and hour walking and then tucked myself into a little nook in the rocks that was sheltered by the breeze, but in the full sun. The rocks were smooth and were warm from soaking up the sun all morning. I spent a blissful half hour reading. At one point I looked down at the water and a few little seals were playing in the surf.
How lucky and I to see this everyday??

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cider Madness and first official long run

Apparently the hurricane punch I made for my housewarming was so good that no one wanted apple cider. So I had more than a gallon of cider I need to use up. Luckily I'd saved several recipes earlier this fall that all featured cider. Apple Cider Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Apple Slaw 1 Tbsp butter 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped 1 cup apple cider, divided 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar, divided 1/2 cup ketchup 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 2 Tbsp brown sugar 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts 1/3 cup Greek yogurt 1 Tbsp sugar salt 1 apple, cut into matchsticks 1 lb cabbage, finely shredded 4 hamburger or bulkie rolls Melt butter in a large saucepan; add onions and cook until translucent. Add 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, cajun seasoning, and salt to taste, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add chicken breasts and enough apple cider to cover. Cover pan, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. While chicken is cooking, whisk together Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt to taste. In a large bowl, combine apple matchsticks, shredded cabbage, and yogurt mix, and toss to coat. Set aside. When chicken is cooked through, remove from pan, shred with two forks, and return to sauce. Serve chicken on toasted rolls with a good-sized spoonful of slaw on top. Review: I didn't make the slaw portion, just the chicken. I used bone in breasts because they were on sale. After the chicken was done, the sauce was still pretty "soupy" so I took out the chicken and let the sauce reduce. HOLY GOODNESS. The chicken was tender and the sauce was tangy, sweet, and just a little spicy. CIDER-GLAZED ROOT VEGETABLES Serving: 8 Preparation time: 15 minutes; total time: 1 hour 2 cups apple cider 4 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1-by--inch sticks 3 large parsnips, peeled, cut into 1-by--inch sticks 2 medium onions, peeled, quartered, then cut each quarter in half across the center 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the cider in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes or until reduced by about half. Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables and place them in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and toss to coat. Drizzle cider over vegetables. Scatter butter pieces over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and bake until vegetables are almost crisp-tender, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and stir vegetables to coat with the pan juices. Bake uncovered about 15 minutes or until vegetables brown and some of the juices evaporate. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl along with accumulated juices. Sprinkle with thyme leaves. Season to taste. Adapted from Review: I used these great purple carrots we grew at my Mom's house, which gave the whole dish a fun purple tint. I also used squash, onions, and regular orange carrots. I didn't let the cider reduce quite enough, because the glaze was too runny. However, it still tasted good. Finally I made cranberry sauce, using port and cider as the liquid in which I cooked the cranberries. YUM-O. Then this morning, I did my first "official" long run. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do the Rome Marathon next March, so last night I got out my Galloway training plan and started counting back from race day to see when I should start my training. 3 weeks ago, apparently! Oops! Luckily, I have been doing long runs of 10-13 miles once a month so I'm okay. Today called for 10.5 miles, which I thought would be a breeze since I did 12.5 3 weeks ago. But it was surprisingly hard. I think there were a few factors: my hamstrings were really sore from the 1 leg deadlifts we did at the gym yesterday, I used a ratio of 5 minutes running and 30 seconds walking (where as I usually use a 4-1), and finally whatever my ongoing dizziness issue is. I was more winded than usual and just felt like I was working a lot harder. I was actually really scared when I got home because when I looked down in the shower parts of my hands were purplish. Freaky.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Tina, over at Carrots and Cake, is doing a "Be Thankful Challenge." It's such a good idea, and I have so much to be thankful for, so I am going to do the same. So here is my list so far this month. 1st: I am thankful to have gotten home on time and with no major hassles. As much as I complain about travel, it's pretty amazing that I get all the way across the country so often safely and quickly. 2nd: I am thankful to be home. I love, love, love my house. 3rd: I am thankful for the new opportunities that constantly present themselves. I'm not quite ready to share this one yet because I'm not sure where it's going. 4th: I am thankful to be able to cook, and even more thankful to be cooking for people I love. I am prepping all the food for my housewarming party and having a blast. On the menu: caramelized onion tart, spanikopita dip,, rosemary pecorino cheese and crackers, and then the chocolate fountain with marshmellows, graham crackers, apples, and pretzels for dipping. 5th: I am thankful for my amazing friends and family. I didn't have a huge turn-out for the house warming party, but the people that mattered most all came. I couldn't help but think how different it was from my last house warming 4 years ago. Then we were all in our early/mid twenties and we stayed up till 3 am playing beer pong. This house warming party we ranged in age from 6 weeks to 60, and spent a lot of time jiggling babies, and playing red light green light. The party was wrapped up at 8:30 pm. 6th: I am thankful to have gotten to run with a good friend on a beautiful fall day. My friend Jen from Wheaton stayed over after the party and we went for a great run in the morning and then had brunch. It totally brought me back to my college days when I never ran alone. I miss that. 7th: I am thankful to have high quality, affordable medical care available to me. Since fainting 2 weeks ago, I've continued to have dizzy spells so I finally went to the doctor today. It was quick, efficient, and my new doctor is great. Hopefully she'll figure out what's up with me. What are you grateful for?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And Ode to an old pair of shoes

I decided today it was officially time to retire this pair of running shoes. Because I'm cheap I try to make a pair last as long as possible, but these are just done it. First of all, they reek. Seriously. A few times at the gym lately I've done some sort of jump and then wondering what the awful smell was. It was the stink of my sneakers wafting up. I am not sure why this pair is so stinky, maybe because at least twice a week I work-out and then immediately stick them in my suitcase where they usually have a good 12-18 hours to fester. Also, they are just worn out. Running the trails in Eureka last week I could feel every rock I stepped on. Normal if you are wearing, Vibram 5 fingers, not normal in cushioned running shoes.
There is always something sad about retiring a pair of shoes. This pair in particular has been through a lot with me. I did my last runs in Santa Rosa before I was reassigned to Orange, and then did my first runs in Orange. I wore them for my first 2 sprint triathalons. I wore them for the Peak's Island Road Race. I did my last runs in Framingham before I moved, and then explored the new routes around my new house in Maine. Actually I also wore them as I moved too. I ran my fourth and favorite Reach the Beach relay in them. I wore them to volunteer in New Orleans (red paint spots as evidence) I wore them as I explored Humboldt County and the giant redwoods. Good-bye blue running shoes, and hello new pink ones. May we have many good times together.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Avenue of the Giants

Okay last post about giant Redwoods for awhile, I promise. It’s just that each place I’ve gone to has had bigger trees and been even more unspoiled. Yesterday I decided to sacrifice sleep and spend my last day in Humbolt County driving the Avenue of the Giants, a 31 mile road through the largest and oldest groves of virgin redwood. We got off highway 101 and immediately were surrounded by redwoods. The towering trees made a massive canopy over the road. It was cool, dark, and so quiet. A few miles into our drive we got out for the first time at an area that had a lot of upturned trees. It was fun to crawl through the tunnels and caves made by the giant root systems. Even on their sides the trees are huge, 2-3 times wide as I am tall. The area also had a lot of ferns and moss. It was like stepping back in time, I kept waiting for the dinosaurs to show up.
Next stop was a gift shop built in a cavern under a tree. We stopped again to walk the Founder’s Grove trail, an easy 2/3 of a mile. It is a grove dedicated to the people who had the foresight to recognize the giant redwoods as a natural treasure and save it. Thank you! The redwoods are just so majestic and awe inspiring that everyone should get to experience them. What was interesting was that the trees in each place we stopped were slightly different. Some trees were more red and some were more brown, some were gnarled with uneven bark, and others were straight with smooth bark.
Last stop was to drive through a tree! I was glad Vanessa’s rental car was little, because we barely fit. She stopped in the middle to take pictures, and then she tried to get out of the car to let me in for a picture. It was a tight squeeze. Totally cheesy, but fun! Right next to the drive through tree was a little vineyard that had wine tasting. Why not? The wine was pretty rugged, since the area doesn’t get a lot of sun. My favorite was the sasquatch red, but that’s probably just because I loved the bottle. The label had a giant sasquatch lumbering through the woods.
Last stop of the day was at Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka for dinner. We were starved. I was still feeling my wine, so I skipped the beer, although I was very temped by the Apricot Wheat. Lots of people were dressed up for Halloween and they had lots of crazy decorations on the walls, so it was a fun atmosphere. Like everywhere in Humboldt County they had a lot of veggie options- I went for a portabella and spinach quesadilla. It was hot, cheesy, and yummy. Not too greasy, and the tortilla was super fresh. And since it was Halloween, and I’d yet to have a single piece of candy, I decided to spring for the apple crisp for dessert.