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, October 31, 2013

Taken down by Ballet Barre

Last night Lululemon sponsored a free ballet barre class at Pure Movement. I love that they offer these free classes at different locations around the city. It lets me try new classes and new places that I might not even know about. As a former gymnast and dancer, I've been wanting to try ballet barre for awhile. And I can't pass up a free class!

Pure Movement is on Middle Street in the Old Port on the second floor above Akari Salon. I couldn't get over what a beautiful space it was. There was a high ceiling with gorgeous exposed white beams and a fantastic chandelier. The walls were lined with mirrors and ballet bars and the whole room felt spacious and luxurious.

I took a crappy picture.... it was pretty, I swear!

Since, it was the night before Halloween the class had a dance recital theme and we were encouraged to dress up. It was pretty funny seeing a room full of grown women (and 1 guy!) rocking tutus, leotards, and legwarmers.

We started class with a few minutes of cardio to warm-up and them moved on to upper-body. Jaime, the instructor recommended that us newbies only use 2lbs weights. Since I lift regularly, I was pretty skeptical that 2lbs would do anything for me. So wrong! We basically held our arms out at shoulder level and did little pulses in different directions for a solid 10 minutes. My shoulders and triceps were on fire!

We then moved on to a leg series standing at the bar.  Again it was a lot of small movements that we did many, many times. My quads were screaming for mercy. This was following by a glute series on the floor. Can you guess what I am going to say? Yep, my butt was burning! We finished with a long abs series that nearly did me in. Luckily they had free pumpkin protein smoothies waiting for us after the class for instant muscle replenishment.

Photo: Barsculpt dance recital class is sold out and amazing!!

Ballet Barre is a totally different workout that anything else I do. I wasn't dripping sweat (my usual barometer of a good workout), but I definitely felt like I worked my entire body. I really liked both Pure Movement and the instructor, Jaime. The space was great and everyone was so welcoming. Jaime struck the perfect balance between pushing us (she totally called us out if she taught us cheating), offering modifications, and sympathizing with the pain we were in. I will definitely go back.

I woke up this morning pretty sore, but I still had to go for a run. I had to put in at least 3 miles to get myself over 100 for the month. I ended up with 104! My first 100 + mile month in awhile. 

Have you ever tried Ballet Barre? What did you think? What are your Halloween plans?

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Balance 870 v2

I used to be a shoe loyalist. Once I found a brand and model I liked, I would keep buying that shoe for at least a couple years. But after a bunch of different foot/ankle issues, I have a new theory that maybe it is better to switch up the brand/model of shoes I wear when it is time for a new pair. Since each shoe puts stress of slightly different parts of your foot, maybe this will help prevent overuse injuries.

I wore New Balance back when I first started running over 10 years ago (yikes, time flies!), but I haven't tried them for at least the past 8 years. BUT, I love that they are an American company and even have factories in Maine, so I wanted to give them a try again.

I went with the New Balance 870's version 2, Women's size 8.5. They are the type of shoe I usually in- a cushioned shoe with some stability, but honestly, the color is was won me over. I couldn't say no to the hot pink.

I love New Balance as a company, and I love how these shoes look, so I want so badly so love how they feel running....... but I don't. 

I've been running in the them about a month now, and I am still not impressed. My main issues are:

-The shoe is too narrow in the arch, but way too wide in the toebox. I found this is actually a common complaint. A Runner's World Review said that people complained the original 870 was too narrow in the toebox, so New Balance tried to correct that in this update. But, I think they went too far. The shoe looks, and feels, too wide up front. 

-The cushioning in the heels feels too smushy. I am a heavier runner and I heel strike, so I like a fair amount of cushioning to help with the impact. However, in this shoe the cushioning feels more like a crappy pillow than a nice spring. 

-There isn't enough cushioning in the front, or the sole isn't thick enough. I run frequently on a dirt/crushed rock trail, and I can feel every rock I step on in the front part of my foot. I don't want to run in a marshmallow and lose all contact with the ground, but I don't want it to hurt when I run on crushed rock either. 

These shoes aren't so bad that I am going to stop running in them (plus, I am too cheap to toss a month old pair of sneaks!), but I don't think I'll be getting another pair.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Falling Apart

I am feeling very discouraged. So discouraged that I cried all the way home from the gym today. I'm only in my second week of marathon training, which is barely more than the base training I do year round, and I am already falling apart.

I have been going to PT and doing my at home exercises for my right foot/ankle issue faithfully. It has been feeling much better, until yesterday when it started to hurt again.

While the foot was slowly mending I was starting to feel occasional twinges in my left knee. This has worsened into frequent pain and a terrible grinding noise. My PT said that it's not unusual to uncover a new weakness or issue when you fix something. Basically the body starts to compensate in new ways. But he can't figure out exactly what the issue is and arranged for me to consult with a knee specialist next week. He taped me to help support the knee, but I am still feeling a lot of pain, especially when walking. 

I was rocking the taped knee and the ankle brace at the gym this am. so cool.

And then my good old hips have started to ache again. I have a chronic hip issue from gymnastics, but it doesn't usually flare up until I start getting into 18 to 20 milers. Yet this morning after an hour of step it was aching away on the way home. 

I feel like I am too young, and it is too early in my training, to be hurting this much. Especially when I have been so diligent about stretching, foam rolling, and icing.

I know, know, that the one thing I do wrong is not take rest days. But, since I am trying to drop some weight I really need that daily calorie burn. Plus mentally and emotionally, I need that time to myself and chance to get out frustration.

Sorry for the whine and doom and gloom. Tell me something funny to make me feel better about life!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Damn you doghnut

I have a serious problem. A serious doughnut problem.

It all started Saturday afternoon. The BF and I were both wanting something sweet after a late lunch. We didn't have too many options since it was so late in the afternoon. Most of our favorite bakeries were already closed for the day. Finally we thought of The Cookie Jar. It's just down the road and the BF said they have amazing donuts.

I'm not usually a huge doughnut person, but I went with it.

And I haven't been the same since. I got a glazed pumpkin doughnut and it was amazeballs. The pumpkin flavor was so intense and rich. The glaze was thick and sweet and perfectly crispy.

I wanted another one almost immediately. I have seriously spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about it since. And I am ashamed to admit that I gave into my cravings 2 more times.

Today I managed to restrict myself to just a doughnut hole.

Damn you pumpkin glazed doughnut. Why are you so good?

What is your favorite fall treat right now?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I am going to be a yoga teacher!

Over the past 5 years, I've gotten more and more into yoga. I've found it increasingly appealing to me both mentally and physically. It stretches and strengthens by body, which it really needs to balance out all the high impact activity that I do. Mentally, and emotionally, it helps me let go of my natural type A, anxious personality and work on living in the moment.

Partendo da questi presupposti, magari alla prossima lezione non sarĂ² cosi competitiva... buahahaha, sono credibile?! 5 things yoga has taught me...

So for the past couple years, I've been debating getting certified. I'm not sure that I ever want to be a full time yoga teacher, but I really would like to deepen my understanding of the practice, and potentially teach part time. Ideally, I wanted to do the 200 hour certification class at my local studio, The Breathing Room. However, their schedule just didn't fit into my schedule.

Most of the time I predict that I'll have to study is nights when I am on call. This means that I have to be at home monitoring my computer. So after a lot of deliberation, I decided to go with a distance learning program through Aura Wellness.

I spent quite a bit of time researching the options- and there were a lot. There is no one national standard for yoga certification,but the one that seemed to be generally the most accepted and respected is the 200 hour certification. I don't just want a piece of paper to say I am certified. I actually want to learn something.

In all honesty, doing this through distance learning it isn't my ideal. I would have preferred to do the program at the Breathing Room or even an intensive residency type training.

But I just knew those wouldn't fit into my life right now. And it would be a little counter-intuitive if the yoga certification introduced a lot of additional stress into my life. You have to go with what works for you right no.  And this is what works.

Any yoga teachers out there? Any advice for me?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

We have a Plan

Last week I was having a little pity party for myself because I'd had a bad few weeks and gained back most of the weight I'd lost. I had been feeling bored and lonely lately which lead me to overeat.  I felt like I was working my butt off working out, but was stalled out in terms of running and fitness. 

And then I got to thinking about it this weekend. I was making a classic mistake. I don't think I could phrase it better than Albert Einstein, so I'll just steal his words.....

Someone once said this to me: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

To get myself out of this rut I need to change something. But unlike I've done it the past, I can't just say "I want to change." I need to force myself to clearly define what I want to change and exactly how I want to change it. #goal #beachbody

So with the hope of publicly shaming myself into following through with these goals I am making them public.


Weight Loss: Lose 5 lbs by Thanksgiving

Fitness: Complete the first month of marathon training while building strength and staying injury free.

Personal: Find a new social activity and make a new friend

Weeks 1 & 2

Weight Loss: No eating snacks or dessert in front of the TV. 

Fitness: Complete all the runs on my training plan for the week. 1 upper-body, 1 lower-body, and 2 core strength sessions. PT exercises and foam rolling EVERY day. 

Personal: Research new volunteer opportunities or social groups. 

Weeks 3 & 4

Weight Loss: Pause 10 minutes before eating seconds.

Fitness:  Do at least 1 speed work session per week. Find and do new strength sessions. PT exercises and foam rolling EVERY day.

Personal: Go to a new social activity by myself.

What are your goals? What steps are you taking to accomplish them?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Self Sabotage

Earlier this fall I set out to get a little more serious about eating better in order to lose a few pounds before I started marathon training. I started logging my food, eating smaller portions, and not going crazy with dessert. And it worked! I dropped about 5lbs in the first couple weeks.

I figured my biggest challenges would be a busy fall full of events with lots of food. Not so much. I made it through those without going crazy. The problem is just me.

Self sabotage is a bitch.

As soon as I start to see a little progress I see it as an excuse to let up a little. I let myself have one bowl of ice cream because I am bored and home alone and watching TV. And then I have a second bowl. And then a third. I know that I don't enjoy that second bowl as much, and I enjoy the third bowl even less. And I sure hate that feeling of waking up the next morning with a food hangover and feeling guilty. But, I just can't seem to get out of my own way and keep a good thing going on.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Level Up Training Plan

It's about that time to start training for the Tokyo Marathon. For my last 4 marathons, I've used the Jeff Galloway Training Plans. They've worked just fine, and I've arrived at my marathons plenty prepared. But, I am a little tired of them. I know (and thus start to dread) the runs. I am ready for something new and fun to put some spark into my marathon training. I decided to try Kara Goucher's new system, called Level Up. 

Blog Cover.006

The motto is putting the fun back in running, and that's just what I need! Plus, Kara Goucher rocks. 

Basically the training plan looks like a game board consisting of levels. You need to get a certain number of points from completing runs of cross-training in a 7 day period in order to move up to the next level. If you don't get enough points, no prob, you just do that level over again. You get virtual medals as you complete the levels to help keep you motivated. And there is a virtual coach at the end of every level there is a virtual coach to help you reflect on your training and make wise decisions.  

Blog gameboard 1

I bought the Premium plan for $29.95. Although I have run quite a few marathons and probably could have gone with the Ultimate Plan which includes more speed work, I tend to get mentally and physically burned out if I run more than 3-4 times a week. 

I know it is still marathon training and it will be hard at points, really hard. But, I am really excited about trying this new plan. 

What training plan do you think? Would you be willing to try a new plan like this?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thank you Columbus

I had a much needed relaxing three-day weekend thanks to my pal Christopher Columbus. The BF and I headed up to see his mom on Islesboro, an island off the mid coast. There is something about being a ferry ride away from the mainland, with very limited cell phone service, that just makes me totally relaxed. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by life last week, but now I feel totally refreshed. I got everything I needed this weekend!

Silence and Solitude: Every one in awhile I need to be in a place where I can't see or hear another human. I need this time to remember who I am and to reset myself. I spent some time sitting on the rocks watching the ocean, hearing nothing but the waves and some grumbly ducks. The spectacular views didn't hurt either!

A long run and a long bike ride. For the first time in a long time, I got to sleep until I woke up naturally and then bike and run as long for as I wanted. I had nothing to get back for. Saturday, I biked the whole island, which is about 25 miles. This morning I went for a challenging, hilly 7 miler. The weather was absolutely perfect- sunny and crisp. I even cooled down and stretched after. I'm a superstar.

Time with loved ones (and dogs). We stayed with the BF's Mom and my Mom came out for a night as well. Between us all we had 5 dogs. So there were lots of ambling dog walks and belly rubs. Time to watch our hometown teams (go Pats and Red Sox!) win. Time to enjoy yummy meals, balanced out by long games of tennis. Time to be lazy, do cross word puzzles, and play games. 

Quality time with the BF. We have been like ships passing at sea lately, busy working opposite shifts. So it was so nice to have uninterrupted time together when we were both awake! Feel free to gag and punch me, because that's what I would have done 2 years ago, but I love this guy so much. Never ever did I think I'd find someone who makes me so happy and that I want to be with so much. But I also know that it takes some work to keep a relationship going, and that devoting time to each other is important. 

How was your weekend? Did you get a three day weekend?

Friday, October 11, 2013


I have noticed this strange dynamic in one of my friendships lately. When it is just the two of us, all is good. It is easy and relaxed and fun. But lately, we have also been hanging out with some new friends, and that is where things don't feel so good. There is an underlying element of competition. I feel like she interrupts me when I am talking, and no matter what I say, she has to one up it. 

It's a strange thing because I can't just call her on it. In running, it is easier. You know that if you are in a race, then everyone else is your competition.You don't resent them for being there. In my world at least, I welcome this competition. I am mostly only competitive with myself. But, I know that if someone else picks it up at the end of the race and tries to pass me, then it will spur me to pick it up as well. Competition in running makes me better. 

In the case of this friendship, it doesn't feel like that. It's exactly the opposite. Like we are trying to tear the the other person down. I know, it doesn't have to be like this. That I could just rise above it. I should rise above.

Are you competitive in your personal relationships?

And more importantly, any fun plans for the weekend? 
I am heading up to visit the BF's Mom on Islesboro. I am totally looking forward to a technology break. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


As I said earlier this week, life has been a little crazy lately. We have gone away the past few weekends for events and during the week I have been absolutely crazy at work and trying to fit in all the normal life stuff. This is the busiest I have been in awhile and it reminds me that I need to work on dealing with stress. 


Okay, so I am not at the point where I am eating my own flesh yet, but it isn't good. I have been tossing and turning all night thinking about all the things I have to do. Instead of using my run as a break, I stress about when I am going to run, and then while I am running continue to think about my to do list. I have had nearly constant heart burn. Partly from worrying so much I think, and partly because I have wolfed down everything I have eaten in about 3 minutes while doing something else. 

It is a vicious cycle, but I am starting to climb out of it. Last night, I laid on the couch and watched Parenthood. I didn't multi-task, I just vegged out. Today, I stepped away from my computer and ate lunch out in the sun and then took the dog for a short walk. Tonight I am really hoping to get to the gentle yoga class. I try to remind myself that the world does not rest on my shoulders alone. 

How do you deal with stress?

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Wedding Weekend in Upstate NY

Phew, life has been CRAZY lately. I have had out of state events the last 3 weekends and in-between that, absolutely crazy weeks at work.

hotel room selfie!
This past weekend we went to a wedding in upstate New York. The BF was a groomsman for one of his best friends from college. We left early Friday am. I made myself get up early and run before we hit the road because I knew we had a long day in the car ahead of us. It's about a 7 hour drive, without any stops. I was put on a strict bathroom stop schedule, so I tried not to drink too much! It was a really pretty drive through the rolling hills of Western MA and NY and the foliage was in full swing. Unfortunately, it also poured during a good portion of the trip, so we didn't have much of a view for a lot of the trip.

On the way we made a stop at Utica College, where the BF went to school. It was neat to see his school. Then we were back in the car and headed to the Turning Stone Casino. Once we checked in, we got ourselves all prettied up for the rehearsal dinner.

The dinner was a lot of fun. It was nice to get to know more of the BF's college friends and hear some stories! After dinner, we headed to the dueling piano bar. Have you ever been to one? It was so fun!

I started Saturday morning with a work-out. There was a nice 1.3 mile trail around the casino grounds with different fitness stations. I did one lap as a warm-up, 3 laps with the fitness stations, and then a final cool down lap. I love when hotels have good places to run outside!

Then we made a quick trip out to the little town where the BF's grandparents used to live. He has some land there that he inherited from them and wanted to check it out. It was nice to get to see the place that I have heard so much about. Then, we zipped back because it was wedding time!

The weather wasn't perfect, it was pretty gray and drizzling, but they went ahead with the outside ceremony anyway. It was just such a pretty spot that the bride really wanted the ceremony there. 

It was a great ceremony- really personal and touching. As always, I got totally teary. Weddings are so sweet! The reception was a blast. The food was great, the music was great, and they even had an ice cream sundae bar! I even got the BF to dance quite a bit.

The party didn't end when the reception was over, they had set up an after party at the club. We were ushered in through the VIP line, which made me feel super cool. We even had bottle service in out private area. The club was pretty crazy. They had aerial dancers suspended on hanging clothes above us, crazy lights everywhere, and great music. I danced and danced. We finally fell into bed way past my bedtime.

Sunday I woke up feeling the effects of the night before, but made myself hit the gym anyway. I know it's the best way to get myself feeling normal again. Plus, we had another long drive in the car ahead. I cranked out a treadmill and kettlebell interval workout and some time on the elliptical and then showered and packed and we hit the road. We got home last night.

It was a whirl-wind weekend, but so much fun. I am so happy we got to be part of Chris and Heather's wedding weekend.

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One step forward, One Step Back

So since I reported that I didn't have a stress fracture back at the beginning of September, I haven't said too much about my foot injury. That is because it changes from day to day.

After my first week of physical therapy my foot felt great. I was back doing everything: running, bootcamp, and kickboxing. I had no pain and my foot felt strong.

Then, the next week when I was running it started to twinge. For the next few days I was back to not being able to walk normally. And it has been like that since. Sometimes it is fine and then suddenly it hurts.

It is frustrating. I had been going to PT religiously and doing all my homework. I have been wearing the clunky, uncomfortable brace. I wore flats instead of heels all weekend at my company meeting. And yet, sometimes it really hurts and I can't pinpoint exactly what it is that makes it worse.

Even the physical therapist can't quite figure me out. This isn't a clear cut injury to an isolated body part. It is weak hips, tight hamstrings, high arches, tight Achilles, and weak ankles all forming the perfect storm. I am a problem solver. I like to know exactly what the problem is and then be able to take concrete steps and see steady improvement. I start marathon training soon and I want to go into it feeling completely healed. But, I don't think that's going to happen. Boogers.