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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What do you count as exercise?

Yesterday the BF and I spent the day at a local water park. There was a Groupon offering super cheap tickets and we both had the day off, so why not? I haven't been to a water park in years, and I forgot how many stairs you have to climb. It is a good 8 or 9 flights for most rides. Multiply that by the 5 hours we were there and that is a lot of stairs!

And yet, I had felt the need yesterday morning to go to the gym where I pounded out 20 minutes on the stair-stepper before kickboxing. In my mind that 20 minutes on the machine at the gym counted as "exercise" and went in my training log. The hundreds of stairs I climbed at Splash Town didn't count.

Well that's kind of silly isn't it? But I do this all the time. I have the time I designate as my official exercise for the day and that gets logged and everything else doesn't count. Anything at the gym I count. A designated run counts, but not any random running I do during the day. Walks with the dog don't count, but a day hike would. Tennis with my family doesn't count. Yoga sometimes counts depending on how hard I think the class was. Downhill skiing doesn't count, but cross country does. In summary, my logic makes has little rhyme or reason.

Do you log your work-outs? If so what do you log?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Portland to Bailey Island Ride

I have been a member of the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club, or MOAC, for the past 2 years, but have mostly limited my activities with them to skiing. They have a lot of neat stuff, so I don't really know why I haven't done more. But, since I am just so darn tired of running and biking alone all the time, I am making more of an effort to do more. I started yesterday with the Portland to Bailey Island Ride.

This was about a 50 mile trip on the coastal country roads along Casco Bay and then out to through Harpswell, Orr's Island, and finishing Bailey Island. We started in Portland with a group of 3 and then picked up 3 more riders within the first 5 miles. John, our leader, planned an great route. We totally avoided the traffic, which is a minor miracle in Maine in August. The route was beautiful.

I really can't imagine a more perfect ride. It was bright and sunny, but with comfortable temperatures and a slight breeze. We rode just below my normal pace, so it felt very comfortable, but not too slow. We were running ahead of schedule, so we were able to make a stop at the Brunswick Farmer's Market. There was a live music and so many different booths. I tasted some fresh cheese curds and perfectly ripe tomatoes, and then topped off my energy stores with an iced coffee and dark chocolate, pecan, coconut cookie.

The last 10 miles of the ride were the hilliest, including a very aptly named mountain ride, so I was very excited to finally see the bridge leading onto Bailey Island. The bridge is the only cribstone granite bridge in the world!

Just over the bridge we stopped for lunch at Morse's Cribstone Grille. After 50 miles, I was more than ready for lunch!

There were no outside tables available, but we got a great table inside right by a huge window that looked out over the water. I immediately ordered a Seadog Blueberry beer and then set to work studying the menu. I went with the lobster quesedilla which was a great choice. It was stuffed with fresh lobster, artichoke hearts, and cheese and served with a fresh mango salsa. I housed that thing. 

After lunch we poked around the island a bit before climbing on the Island Romance for the ferry ride back to Portland.

That was the best part of the ride- we didn't have to bike back to Portland! Instead we got to chill out and enjoy a leisurely boat ride. I was really interested in the narration because we went through a section of the Maine ocean that I rarely have been in. I learned about a few islands that I want to try and explore next summer on my own boat!

About 2 hours later we were back in Portland.  I will not lie, I was not at all excited to climb back on my bike for the 4 mile ride back to John's house where was my car was. My legs had totally tightened up, and I was feeling sleepy and lazy after lunch and the boat ride. But, I had to get home, so climb on my bike I did. I ended up with a total of 54 miles exactly for the day. I love when I get a perfectly even number!

It was a great, great day and I can't wait for my next MOAC adventure.

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Savoring Summer

I love all the seasons but there is something about summer that makes my heart extra happy. Summer is pretty short here in Maine, so I have been making an extra effort this week to get in as many summer activities as possible.

Tuesday night we went to a Sea Dog's game. The Sea Dog's are our local minor league baseball team and the games are always a lot of fun. This game was extra fun because the BF and I were selected to play one of the on-field games between innings. Our game was the lobster catch. There were 4 guys dressed up in four weather gear hurling plastic lobsters at us. We had to catch 5 lobsters in the lobster pot we were holding.

We failed miserably. It was so much harder than it sounded. We only got 2 lobsters. Wah Wah. So the only prize I got was a giant bruise on my knee where I whacked myself with the lobster trap. Looking at the pics, I can also see that my pronation problems are not limited to running. Look at my foot!

I have also been making an effort to get to the beach as much as possible. I am working at home still, but my schedule is much stricter. Still, I have no excuse. The beach is 5 minutes away. So days I am on the late shift, I try to go at lunch, and days I am on the early shift I go right after work before dinner. The water is only hovering around 60 degrees, so I haven't exactly been swimming for an hour, but I do at least make myself stand up to my waist for 15 minutes. The Maine ocean is like a giant ice bath!

warning: objects may be colder than they appear
Then, last night I finally got to do an activity I have been wanting to do all summer- full moon yoga outside on the beach. The class is offered by Beach Bliss Yoga and it was amazing. It was a perfect evening- not too cold, with a gentle breeze, and a huge orange moon hovering over the ocean.

Photo: FULL MOON YOGA TONIGHT! 8 PM at Higgins Beach.  Join us for a soulful and fun flow.  $10 cash we will be off to the left of the second entrance - look for Tiki torches!  See you yogis tonight!

It was a big group- about 35 people and we were way at the back, so I did sometimes have a hard time hearing the teacher. Plus the lumpy sand provided a real balance challenge. But it was just what my achy body and stressed out mind needed. The sound of the waves, the breeze on my face, and the sight of the moon made all my troubles float right away. 

What activities are you fitting in before the end of summer?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Organizational Queen

I always knew that as a type A person, I am often the one making plans and taking care of the all the details. However, I didn't realize to what extent people expect me to do this until I tried to stop. I have been feeling a little off lately- not my energetic, motivated self. So, for a bit I wanted to take a break from making all the decisions, from being the leader. I just wanted to follow-up along for a bit. Except, it turns out when I am not in charge, things were kinda a mess.
making my detailed plans and sticking to them
I had made tentative plans with my friend for Thursday. I told her to tell me where and when and I'd be there. I didn't follow-up with her or make a back-up plan of my own. And, I never heard from her and sat at home feeling lonely and grumpy.

Friday night I told the BF he had to decide where we were going to dinner. He hemmed and hawed forever. I ended up choosing the restaurant in the end, but he had vacillated for so long that by the time we got there there was no parking and long waiting line.

Saturday I was up at my Mom's on the island. I knew we'd be spending a lot of time in the boat (yeah new outboard!), but I didn't stop at the store on my way up to get boat food. So at 2 pm Saturday (way past my regular lunch time), I was starving, cranky, and trying to pull together a meal for 4 people. We ended up sharing 1 can of tuna on some stale bread.

apparently I need to be the leader. ALL the time
Saturday night, both my Mom and I had a friend visiting for the night. No one would make decision whether to go to the store and get things to cook at home, or weather to take another boat adventure and go to dinner in the boat. We waited so long that the store closed, so boating it was. We tried Five Island first, but it was packed and there was no place to tie up. So then I had to navigate into Cozy Harbor, which is really tricky to get into because there are a lot of submerged ledges. The restaurant was super slow so by the time we finished it was very dark. So I had to deal with both the tricky navigation and the dark on the way home. I was a cranky pants because it was far from the relaxing, lazy evening I wanted.

I don't really know where this is going. Most of the time, I don't mind being the organizing force. I usually prefer to make sure everything is pre-planned and goes the way I want it to. But sometimes, I guess it would be nice if other people would step-up too.

Are you an organizer or a follower? Have you ever tried to get the other people in your life to take a little more responsibility? What happened?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yoga Certification

In the past couple years I have been gotten more and more into yoga. I try to make it to the studio at least once a week, and then practice on my own for at least a few minutes a day. For my body, yoga is the perfect counterpart to all my high impact activity. For my mind, yoga eases my anxiety and constant need to be in motion.

seaside yoga = my heaven

I have been thinking more and more about becoming certified as a yoga teacher. Last year I taught an informal class for a family friend's gathering and I did the same again this past week. I loved the feeling of guiding a group through a yoga class.

I went to the info session for the 200 Hour Teacher Training at my favorite local studio The Breathing Room, but ultimately didn't sign up the session which starts in September. It all came down to time. The schedule is 12 Saturdays, 10 Sundays, one Thursday, and five Fridays over a six-month period. I realized that I already had conflicts for 4 of the weekends.

The thing is that I don't think there will ever be an easy time to do this. I will always have to have my full time "real job and" I will likely have to start travelling more again for work too. For the next few years I will also be marathon training and trying to accomplish my 7 continent goal. After that, it's pretty likely I'll be thinking about having kids.

So I started looking at alternatives and found that the American Fitness Professionals and Associates also offers a yoga certification that is done through distance learning. They offer a Yoga Instructor Certification Level 1.

Has anyone heard of this? Is it reputable? It is a quality program?

I really want to get certified. I don't know that I will ever teach regularly, but thats okay. I am willing to do it just to take my own practice to the next level. However, I want to do it right.

Advice please!!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rest Day

So that whole New Year's Resolution to take at least a day off a month? Yeah, it didn't happen. At all. I know it is not good for my body, and there are definitely some emotional issues, but I just can't make myself take days off. The first 3 months of the year, I did okay because I counted days I went downhill skiing as days off. Since then however, I have had a solid streak of working out every day.

It is not like I do hard multi-hour workouts every day. I usually aim for 45-60 minutes of cardio a day, and then 10-20 minutes of strength 2-4 times a week. I do take easier, shorter days after a particularly hard or long workout or race. Or, if my schedule is just super busy, I will just do a 30 minute workout. So, my worry is less about the physical impact on my body and more about the emotional side. I get anxious and upset when I try to take a day off. I am not a physiologist, but that sounds an awful lot like an addiction to me.

I recognize the problem and I am working on it.

In fact, Monday I took a day off. No running, no biking, no strength, no yoga, no nothing. Just a day filled with boating, sunshine, family and fun.

at the wheel of the boat!

We took off early in the morning and spent the whole day out on the boat enjoying our new outboard. I figured that since we were leaving super early in the morning and would be gone most of the day, it would be a good day to take off. I wasn't in a place where I could work out, which helped alleviate the feeling that I should be doing something. Even when we got home earlier than expected, I didn't use that as a chance to get in a run. Instead, I enjoyed a long, leisurely shower, and then an equally long, leisurely dinner with my family.

In 20 years, I will remember a wonderful day on the water with my boyfriend and family, but I probably won't remember whether or not I worked out.

How often do you take rest days? Do you have to force yourself to take them? Or do you look forward to them?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Annoying Gym Habits

My last post about favorite machines at the gym got me thinking about the strange things I see there all the time. I already mentioned the lady who is so possessive of "her" spot in step class that she makes other people move if they are in it. She will also moved their benches for them if she thinks they are too close to her.

Sadly, she is not alone. There seem to be a lot of people that do strange and annoying things at the gym. Here is my list of the weird (and annoying) things I see at my gym:

-One lady wears a heavy winter coat year round as she walks on the treadmill with 12lbs weights in each hand while wearing wedge flip-flops.

-One guy brings in half the world with him. He brings his laptop, coffee, water, a snack, and the Wall Street Journal. He then sets up his laptop and does P90X, taking frequent water, coffee, and newspaper breaks. He manages to take up the entire stretching and free weight area. And did I mention he wears super short, tight shorts.

-One guy walks around and talks to all the guys lifting. He talks REALLY loudly and swears every other word. I've never actually seen him lift anything himself though.

-One lady ALWAYS takes the machine right next to me, even if there are like 10 of the same empty machines with no one near them. Then, her friend comes over to talk to her and leans on the base of my machine. I have to wipe my face every 2 seconds so I don't drip sweat on her. They talk so loudly I can't hear my music.

What weird things do people do at your gym? What annoys you the most?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Playing Favorites

I woke up this morning to pouring rain, which was a bummer because Thursday is a running day. I briefly considered going to the gym, but I just hate the treadmills there. I hate pretty much all treadmills, except one. My Dad has a Nordic Track treadmill that I really like. That is the only place that I will ever voluntarily choose the treadmill over running outside.

I don't know what it is exactly. There are quite a few things I like. It has adjustable deck so you can choose how hard or soft the surface is. I feel like it is a lot easier on my legs. It also has built in fans, and because it is in a side room in the basement I can open the door to the outside and get a fresh breeze. So, I am not quite as much of a sweaty mess, and maybe I just don't care as much because there isn't a whole gym full of people to see me? I can also blast my own music, and hop on and off the treadmill as I like without worrying that someone else will take it. 

It is my favorite treadmill by far. But actually I guess I have all kinds of favorites. At the gym I have a favorite elliptical, a favorite spin bike, and a favorite tread climber. I get annoyed if someone is on my favorite machine. These make no sense, because really they are identical to all the others around them. I also have a favorite place to stand in step class and a different favorite place to stand for kick-boxing. I can be quite territorial about my spot. But not as much as one woman who actually makes other people move and goes and takes back "her" fan if someone moves it!

Do you play favorites? Or does it make no different to you what machine you use or where you stand?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

King Arthur Flour and Home-made Bagels!

After my trapeze class on Saturday, we headed to the King Arthur Flour Flagship Store in Norwich, Vermont. My Step-Mom and Sister went over the winter after a ski meet and have been raving about it since. 

It is pretty amazing, especially for someone who likes to cook as much as I do! You can watch their bakers in action in their huge state-of-the-art bakery, get a snack at the cafe, take a cooking class, and browse their awesome store. Unfortunately the cooking classes were sold out for the day (I would have LOVED to take the Petite Pastries class!). But the store was more than worth the trip. They had pretty much everything a baker could ever need. 

I was too busy shopping to take any of my own pictures, so I "borrowed" one from their website

I could have easily spent hundreds of dollars there, but I tried to control myself and just get a few things that were unique and not available other places.  The first was a dough improver which helps makes dough easier to roll out. I make grilled pizza a lot and one of the secrets to a great pizza is getting the dough really thin. I frequently feel like I am fighting with my dough and get really frustrated because it keeps shrinking back as I try to roll it out. Problem solved!!

The next thing is Sir Lancelot Flour. This is a high protein, hard wheat flour. It is supposed to make extra chewy bread and work well when mixed with whole wheat flours. I try to use primarily whole wheat flours, but sometimes too much wheat flour leads to dense, heavy, not so yummy bread. Adding in some Sir Lancelot is supposed to fix this and make it tall and fluffy. Cool! 

The back of the Sir Lancelot had a recipe for home-made bagels, so I also grabbed a bag of Everything Bagel Topping. I love bagels and couldn't wait to try my own. In fact, I tried it the very next morning! For the most part it was pretty easy. My only point of confusion is that the recipe on the bag didn't have any liquid in the dough. Maybe the "instant yeast" it called for was a special premixed liquid yeast they sold? So I just added in some warm water a little bit at a time until I got a thick dough. I let my dough rise while I went for a bike ride, then came back and shaped and boiled the bagels. They baked while I showered, and then I had hot bagels for breakfast. Yum! I can't wait to make them again!

What is your favorite thing to bake?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Trapeze Class

This weekend I headed to NH to use my birthday present from my Dad and Step-Mom, a trapeze class! I was so excited. I think I was a bird in a former life, because I love anything that feels like flying.

My little sis and I were at Fearless Flyers bright and early Saturday morning. It is just down the road from my Dad's house, way out in the country of New Hampshire. It felt strange to drive down this quiet country road, turn into a driveway, and see this.

Our class was taught my the owner, his wife, and brother. They got us into harness belts (holy tightness) and went over technique right away. We practiced the bar grab, the lean, the job take-off, and the knee hang down on the ground.

And then I was up. Somehow I ended up going first (actually I was totally that person that was jumping up and down volunteering.) The ladder was the worst part for me, it was a long climb up and it was wiggly.

I took my stance at the end of the platform, with my legs wide and my toes hanging off. Even though I was clipped in, and the instructor had the back of the belt, it was still a little scary! 

He said "ready" and a I bent my knees, and then "GO" and I jumped off. 

Once I was in the air, it was amazing! The instructor was shouting out instructions so I was so busy listening to his cues that there was no time to be scared. I got my knees up on the bar easily- it was actually easier in the air than on the ground because of the momentum!

 And then I was dropping into the net and my first turn was over! I think Maddy was even more scared than I was, but she did awesome! With each turn we added a little more difficulty. Our second turn we learned to do a back flip off, and then subsequent turns we practiced preparing for the catch.

Our last turn we got to try a catch. The instructor hung from the second swing and at the height of the knee hang we were supposed to grab onto him, let go of the bar with our knees, and hang from his arms! The scary part is that all of that had to happen in just a couple seconds. The instruction was so good that it just seemed to happen naturally. Maddy and I both nailed it!

This was such a fun class. The instructors were amazing and all the other class members were so supportive. I can't believe how much we learned in just a couple hours. I can't wait to go back!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

That time I qualified for the Triathlon National Champtionships

I was completely and utterly shocked to wake up this week to this e-mail

"Congratulations Kiersten. You have qualified for the Olympic-Distance race at the 2013 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships on August 10 in Milwaukee, Wis., after finishing in the top 10 percent in your age group at the Tri for a Cure.

Click here for more information

Um for real? A national championship?

I am not going because it is in like 2 weeks, but also because I feel like I would be totally out of my league. I just started doing triathlons a couple years and ago and I only do 1-2 a year. I would get totally blown out of the water.

But it is still pretty cool to qualify! It is funny because as a gymnast I was super competitive. My goal was always to qualify for regionals and for nationals. I didn't consider it a successful meet if I wasn't on the podium. But as a runner, and now as a triathlete, I am the opposite. I am competitive with myself, but I never expect to place. Running was just so hard for me when I started and I have never felt like I am built to be a runner. Finishing, and knowing I had done my best, was always enough for me. But now I wonder if I am selling myself short?

Are you competitive with others when you race? Or do you do it mostly for the personal satisfaction?