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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal: February

I can't believe it is already the end of February. This year is flying by! The end of the month means it is time for Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!

FPP post Foodie Penpals

Foodie Pen Pals is awesome idea thought up by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean. Every month she sends out a list of matches. You send a package of goodies to one person and get a package of goodies to another. This month I sent to Terri at Eco-Crazy Mom.

My goodies came from Elizabeth of The Law Student's Cookbook. Elizabeth is from California and sent me a great box of stuff from the Sacramento Natural Foods Coop.

In my box was:

-3 Justin's nut-butters: I LOVE these. They are perfect for taking
- Annie's Mac and Cheese: another old favorite. I wanted some comfort food for dinner last night and this totally fit the bill.
-Alter Eco Dark Chocolate: Super good. It is dark but not bitter. I used half to make a glaze for the almond frangipan torte I made for my Mom's birthday. It melted really smoothly.
-Teecino Herbal Coffe: I haven't tried this yet, but I can't wait. It will be perfect for when my 2 pm coffee craving hits. It's caffeine free, so I can drink it all afternoon and night.
-Apricot Fruit Spread: This has a great real fruit taste and isn't too sugary.
-See's Chocolate Pop- A perfect way to satisfy my afternoon sweet tooth.

Thanks Elizabeth!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A winter beach to beat the blues

I have been feeling a little down this week. It is nothing major, just a few little things, but I knew I needed to do something lift my spirits. It was the warmest sunniest day we've had in weeks yesterday so I used my lunch hour to walk on the beach.

Mitten on a fence at Willard Beach

Sea-side Snowman

Flamingos in the snow

Casco Bay

It was just what I needed. The sun, the fresh air, the sound of the ocean, the pink plastic flamingos in a snowy yard, and the snow man with seaweed hair totally revived me. It made me wonder why I don't go every day. It is seriously 5 minutes away, but I always convince myself I don't have time.

What is your go to place when you need a boost?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Know when to hold them, know when to fold them

There is something that I have been struggling with for awhile now. I wasn't sure whether to make it public, or even whether to talk about it with my close family or friends. When I am struggling with something, my natural instinct is not to tell anyone. I don't like to admit any sort of weakness. So I retreat inward and try to deal with it alone.

Hyped up on post Antarctica bliss, I set a goal that wasn't right
 I am considering giving up on my goal of running a marathon on all 7 continents and instead just trying to run a half. I am determined and driven and I hate not meeting a goal that I set, especially one that I made so publicly.

 Why? Mostly because I have realized that the joy has gone out of running marathons for me. I feel far more dread than excitement when I think about marathon training and the race itself. I start worrying about my long run days in advance and just want it to be over. There are so many things in life that we just have to do even though we don't necessarily enjoy them, why should I add to that list. This is my free time, shouldn't I be doing what I enjoy? I feel like marathon training is taking up all my time and I am missing out on other things that I enjoy. I feel like I am at the point where I am doing this because I told people I would, not because I want to.
Not a happy runner girl

Running a marathon on every continent was supposed to be a unique way to see the world. Instead, I feel like I am so micro-focused on getting my continents done that I am not enjoying the experience. If I am only in a country for 4-5 days and one of those is spent running the marathon, it doesn't leave a lot of time to see the country. I don't want to do too much new or exerting in the days before the race and and I physically can't do much after the race. So yes I may have run a marathon but I missed out on long meandering walks, bike rides, hikes, nights out dancing, exotic street foods, and local alcohol. I like to live like a local when I travel and I can't do that if I am holed up preparing for or recovering from a race.

I've also had to admit that physically, marathoning is not right for my body. I already pounded it hard during my many years as a gymnast. After long runs I ache for days. Even using a conservative training plan, I still always get hurt. Marathon training doesn't match up with how I like to live. I like to do something active every day. I don't like the soreness and fatigue I feel for days after a long run. I don't like feeling crappy for a month after a marathon.

I didn't sleep well for almost a year because I had to sleep in this stupid boot for my plantar fasciitis

I am honestly not sure where I am going with this, or how to end this post. I haven't decided for sure, but I wanted to share this struggle with you. I still feel like a failure for giving up on my original goal, but on the other hand I feel such a sense of relief at the idea of changing my goal that it feels like it must be the right decision.

Am I giving up too easily? Have you ever had to revise a major life goal?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shrimp Cakes and Kale Saute

I made such a yummy dinner last night that I just had to share!

I based this recipe on the Spicy Shrimp Cakes with Avocado Corn Salsa in Cooking Light, but tweaked it to my own tastes and to make it even lighter.

Shrimp Cakes

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg 
  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided 
  1. To prepare cakes, place shrimp in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add garlic and scallions to  pan; sauté for 3-5 minutes until garlic is browned. Remove from heat. 
  3. In a large bowl combine shrimp, scallions, and the next 5 ingredients (through egg), stirring well. Add 1/2 cup panko.
  4. Divide shrimp mixture into 10 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Dredge both sides of patties in remaining 1/2 cup panko. Chill at least one hour.
  5. Heat oven to 400. Mist shrimp cakes with olive oil before putting in oven. Bake shrimp cakes 20-30 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.


  • 1 cup frozen white corn, thawed 
  • 1 diced peeled avocado 
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Kale Saute

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion- chopped
2 gloves garlic- minced
2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup chicken stock

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes (until onion is soft). Stir in mustard, vinegar, and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add kale and cook  covered, stirring frequently until liquid is reduce by half (10-15 mins)

I served the shrimp cakes and salsa over a bed of the kale. Yummy Yummy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

26.2 with Donna Race Report

Life can't be all good days and all races can't be good races.

 I loved the 26.2 with Donna last year and I have been running really well lately, so I was really looking forward to this year's race. My enthusiasm was dampened early. The race started at 7:30 so we left the hotel at 5:45, thinking we'd be at the start by 6:15. I pounded a coffee, a water, and a piece of peanut butter toast in the car and figured I was good to go. Then, about 4 miles from the start we hit the traffic. In the next hour we only made it 2 miles. At 7:15 I finally got out of the car and started running to the start. I hadn't planned to really warm-up, but I didn't have a choice!

I reached the start line easily enough, but I absolutely had to use the bathroom before the start. I kept going back and back and back and still wasn't at the porta-potties. When I finally got to them, the lines were atrocious. You'd think at a race that is mostly women they would extra bathrooms. Right after I got in line, I heard a big cheer go up. I thought I had missed the start, but it was just a race organizer tossing rolls of toilet paper into the lines. I snagged some right away.

I then booked it to the starting line. I had discovered in the car that my Garmin had frozen overnight and was dead, so I really wanted to find the pacing groups so I could stick to my Galloway intervals and stay on pace. Miraculously I fought my way through the crowd, climbed over a fence, and found the 2:10 group. I decided on 2:10 partly because I couldn't get to the 2 hour group and partly because I had already run almost 3 miles at a sprint to get to the start and bathrooms.

But as soon as we started running I realized the pace was too slow so I pushed myself to catch up with the 2 hour group. But the effort of reaching them, plus my unanticipated sprint warm-up, left me tired already. I managed to hang on to the very back of the group for the first 6 miles but then I had to let them go when we hit the beach. My hamstring was really bothering me and I just couldn't sustain the pace. It was a cool morning for Florida, but not bad until we hit the beach. The headwind hit me in the face like a brick wall. We only ran for a little more than a mile on the beach, but it was miserable.

Since I had lost the pace group, I held my ipod in my hand and used the stop watch as my interval timer. Having to watch the timer made time feel like it was crawling. I did see my boyfriend at mile 7.5 which was a nice pick me up.

I was tired but handling it until mile 10. Then we ran up and onto the highway for the last 3 miles. Once again we had a strong headwind and the road had strong cant that bothered my legs. Plus, then my ipod died so I lost my music. Luckily I had my phone and whipped that out so I would still have a timer.

The climb up the bridge at mile 12 was rough. I was gassed. The hill, the wind, and my hamstring were all working against me. But, finally I was at the top and determined to push it on the final .5 to the finish. I pushed it in and finished with a chip time of 2:02:58. Not a PR, but my fastest half in years and a big improvement over last year. So I made my B goal.

One I finished dry heaving I grabbed my medal. I really like the medals this year- they are stained glass in the middle, which is pretty unique. I didn't see my boyfriend at the finish I headed straight to the athletes village where I got in the massage line. As I waited I used a 110% recovery roller ball massager. That thing was amazing! My actually massage was pretty darn good too. She really dug into my hamstring and loosened it up.

After my massage I was really cold so I headed to the soup line. The post race food was a little skimpy. They had bananas, oranges, and Panera soup. I had to turn in a tag from my bib for the soup, and only got like a 1/3 of a cup. Once I had my soup I headed out to the family reunite area to meet the BF. I gave him a nice sweaty hug and we walked around checking out the booths. We got some chips  at the Jet Blue booth, tried pink champagne at Barefoot, and a mini smoothie from McDonalds. I was too cold to want to stick around for long and the post race celebration wasn't that wonderful.

While now I am happy that I pushed it to get a good time, it really meant that I didn't enjoy the race as much. Last year I had a great time making friend in my pace group and enjoying the crowd support and scenery. This year I didn't talk to anyone and hardly notice anything. I just felt cold and tired and wanted it over as soon as possible. Does it make me less of a runner that I'd rather go a little slower and enjoy the race?

I also though the race expo and race organization weren't as great. The new start was a total fiasco. But I guess they can't all be winners. Now however I am a happy camper. I had an absolutely massive fro-yo for dinner last night and now I am on my fight home watching Full House, eating my free nuts, and playing angry birds.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

26.2 with Donna Race Pace Dilemma

good-bye 6 foot snow drifts blocking my garage
The BF and I are off to Florida tomorrow for me to run the half  in the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer. I am super excited, mostly for reasons that have nothing to do with running. Work has been crazy lately, so I really need a long workout. The BF has a new schedule at work so we never get days off together anymore. And it has been especially cold and snowy here in Maine. I can't wait to be somewhere where I don't need boots and 10 layers to go outside.

Back when I signed up for race, I was secretly hoping I'd break 2 hours. But I realizing that it not going to happen. I honestly just haven't put in the speed work required. That is partly due to weather. Everything has been covered in snow and ice for the past couple months, meaning that a lot of quality workouts turned into just try not to fall and break something runs. It is partly due to conflicting priorities. I love winter activities- alpine skiing, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, etc. So I have replaced quite a few runs with one of those. I also signed up for an April marathon, meaning that my marathon training started earlier than expected. So speed work was replaced with some long runs. And it is partly just laziness. Running is my Zen time. It is hard to be Zen when you feeling like you are dying from running so hard.

So what should my goal be? Should I have a goal?

I pulled up my past half-marathon results on Athlinks (a suiper cool site that collects and organizes all your race results for you).

My A goal if everything goes super amazing is to PR. My PR was set in 2008 when I was training (and racing) with speedy friends. 

My B goal is to beat 2:05. This will beat my 2 most recent times, including my time from last year.

And of course my C goal is just to finish. Sometimes you have a crappy day and finishing is all you can manage.

BUT here is my dilemma. One of things I love about this race is that they have pace groups that use the Galloway run-walk method. I want to run with a pace group for most of the race. BUT there are only 2:00 and 2:10 pace groups. I am right smack in the middle.

Last year I ran with the 2:10 group until mile 10 and then took off. This year I am thinking of starting with the 2:00 group and seeing how long I can hang out. But I am a little afraid this might lead to a major blow-out. On the other hand, I am afraid that if I start with the 2:10 group I will be too far behind to meet my goals.

What would you do?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Meaty Matter

I realized that pretty much every meal I ate last week had meat in it, and several had red meat. Sunday night the BF made pulled pork in the crock-pot and we made BBQ pulled pork nachos to eat during the superbowl. I tossed the extra meat on my salads for lunch Monday and Tuesday.
We made the nachos on pita chips..... so good!

 Monday night I roasted a spaghetti squash. Instead of just making red sauce, I made some meatballs because I had a ton of ground beef in my freezer left-over from a charity dinner I cooked at Ronald McDonald House.

 Wednesday night I made pad thai and tossed in some chicken at the last minute.

During the big blizzard I made a big pot of turkey soup.

This is highly unusual for me. While I am not a vegetarian any more, only about half my meals have meat, and that I usually seafood or chicken.

I blame the boyfriend. Really. He is a total meat and potatoes guy. While sometimes I make us separate but equal meals (like a spinach, onion, mushroom and egg white omelet for me and a ham omelet with corned beef hash for him), more and more I am just making one thing for us both. Or when we go out and want to share things, I lean more towards his tastes than mine.

Which means I am eating a lot more meat.

Probably not a bad thing. I still eat tons of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. And I can probably use the extra protein and iron while marathon training.

It is just funny to me that the former vegetarian is now a major carnivore.

Do you notice that who you spend time with affects what you eat?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard Basement Workout

In case you live under a rock or something, we are in the midst of a major blizzard on the East Coast.

I LOVE snow and I have nowhere to be, so I am perfectly content to hunker down, frolic in snow, and cook some comfort snow. The BF is not so lucky- he had to work all night (stinks being one of those essential public safety people) and this morning as he was snow blowing his driveway so he could get his car into his garage, the snow blower broke.

I obviously couldn't run outside this morning or make it to the gym so I made up a fun workout for the basement. Since I started working at home and have more control of my schedule, I rarely workout at home anymore. It's kind of nice! I cranked up Season 2 of Sex and the City and got to work.

The entire workout takes about 15 minutes so I repeated 3 times for a 45 minute workout. 

Hmmm what to do next? Read a book? Paint my toenails? Go snowshoeing? 

What are you doing to enjoy the snow?


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Aerial Yoga at Zuja Wellness

I tried the coolest thing ever last night- Aeriel Yoga. I heard a few months ago that a new studio, Zuja Wellness, had opened in Portland and was offering Aerial Yoga. As a former gymnast and current yogi, I can't think of much that sounds more fun than upside down yoga. I tried unsuccessfully to convince friends to come with me, so finally I just sucked it up and went alone.

 I got excited as soon as I walked in. This was not an ordinary yoga class!

I lucked out because there were only 2 of us there last night, so I got tons of individual attention. At first I was a little nervous that my fabric would come untied, or that I'd fall off, but I quickly overcame that. We started with some traditional yoga moves, but with an aerial twist.

In the warrior series for example we had one foot supported in the fabric. It made it a little easier than traditional yoga because your legs weren't supporting all your weight, but also made it harder because it required more balance and made the stretch a lot deeper.

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I really loved how deeply I could get into all the poses. I usually feel a little crunched during side angle pose at a regular class, but I didn't at all last night.

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Some poses felt completely different, like downdog. Usually I feel downdog in my super tight hamstrings, but last night it was all about my hip flexors.The fabric pushed against them and really forced them to release. It was one of those hurts so good feelings.

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We also did some really challenging strength work, like pushups with our legs elevated in the fabric and standing straight body extensions. Every pose takes a lot of core strength so my abs were fried by the end of class. My arms also felt way more tired than they do after a regular class.

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 Once I mastered the basics it was on to the fun stuff. Like flying!

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 And this super cool pose. I felt very Cirque du Soleil. We started by wrapping our legs in the fabric, then pulled up into a straddle, and then literally dropped down into this pose. Not only did it look bad ass, but it really stretched out my quads.
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 At the end, even savasana had a twist. We made a little cacoon out of our fabrics and chilled inside. It was super comforting and relaxing to just be hanging in my own little bubble.

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I am so glad I finally got up my courage and went because I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. Oh good, another expensive hobby!

What fun new things have you tried lately??

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I got an ipad!

Look what I got yesterday!

I have been wanting an i-pad for ages so I made a deal with myself that if I got my taxes done early and got a decent refund then I could get one. Since I am traveling less more work and more for fun, I think it will be a great alternative to lugging my laptop. I got a sweet bluetooth keyboard case for 50% off at Brookstone this weekend. So I am good to go.

But I am pretty clueless. Help! What apps do I need?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

OMG decent race pictures

All of us that run road races know that it is very, very rare to get a race picture where you don't look terrible. I have run more than 100 races and I can count on one hand how many half-way decent pictures I have had taken of me. So what a surprise when I went to look at the pictures from the Boston Prep Derry 16 miler and found not just one, but a bunch of good pictures. Not only that, but the pictures were free to download. Total score!! I am so impressed that I will give the photographers, Nuvision Action Image a shoutout.

 But of course, they can't all be winners. There were some pretty funny bad pics in there too. Like this one of me halfway up a killer hill. Don't I look happy?

What is your favorite race picture? How about the worst picture?