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

Monday, February 10, 2014

A blog make-over!

I woke up today feeling inspired to totally re-do my blog. I wanted a new look and a new name. First of all, in just a few short months I will no longer be a twenty-something. So I needed a new name. And while I was re-naming it, why not also give it a new look? Don't forget to update your bookmarks, Bloglovin subscriptions. etc to the new url! 

Twenty-Six for a Twenty-Something is now Mainely Running @

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tokyo Training: The END!

It's taper time! Some runners hate tapering. I, however, am a fan. I love knowing that all my training is in the bank and that I can let my body rest and recover so I am race ready.

The last 4 weeks of my training were certainly not by the books. Due to weather, illness, and a generally busy life, I had to play around with the timing of my long runs and I missed some runs in the way. Despite that, I still feel pretty good about my training. I did every single one of my long runs and felt strong on all of them.

a solid month of training

Level 21
4 runs. I actually did my longest run for this week the Thursday of the week before. The forecast for the weekend was dismal and I had a full schedule.
Longest Run: 12.61 miles

Level 22
4 runs for a total of 30.03 miles
RTE_13.1_ultimate_mediaLongest Run: 18.91 miles

Level 23
3 runs for 21.36 miles
Longest Run:  7.2 miles

Level 24
3 runs for 32.44 miles
Longest Run: 20.3 miles

Overall, I really liked the Level Up Training Plan. Although I didn't follow it to the letter, I did 90% of what was in the plan. I really liked the gradual progression, the mix of runs, the built in rest weeks, and the satisfaction of crossing off my runs and jumping up a level. The proof though, as they say, is in the pudding. So we will see how well it prepared me for a marathon.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I'm done fighting winter

I am a Maine girl and I usually love winter, but this year I have either been fighting it or fleeing from it. I either tried to run outside and spent the whole run angry at the terrible road conditions or went to the gym and suffered on the treadmill. I think this was because I was trying a new marathon training plan. I felt like I needed to get every single run in.

But now that I am in taper mode, I am trying to get out of this mindset and embrace winter instead. Why keep forcing myself through runs that I don't enjoy when I could be doing a winter activity I do enjoy?

I was going stir-crazy by the time I was done with work yesterday. I was just SO tired of being in my house. So I decided to try my snowshoes. I got them a couple years ago thinking I'd use them all the time- most of the trails near me are too snowy for running and too uneven for skiing. The first time I tried them they didn't stay on my feet, and I got so frustrated I threw them in the basement. But yesterday I dug them out and success!

I went for a 40 ish minute tramp around Hinkley park right across from my house. It was so beautiful and peaceful and I worked up a good sweat!

Inspired, as I started thinking about my workout for this morning, I decided to go for a cross country ski instead of a run. I headed to the Eastern Trail in Scarborough. It was an absolutely beautiful morning. The sun was shining, making the snow sparkle. The marsh was all frozen and because of the cold, there was cool sea smoke rising off the water,

When I first arrived I was excited because I saw tracks. Someone else had already been there and done all the hard work of breaking trail! Unfortunately, those tracks only lasted about 20 feet and then I had to break trail.

 I was not moving very quickly, but I was sure getting a work-out. Pushing 10 inches of snow out of the way gets the lungs and the legs burning!

Once I turned around and headed back I got to use my own tracks and the skiing got much easier! I felt like I was actually gliding a little instead of just slogging forward. I only went about 3.5 miles in an hour, so I certainly wasn't flying. I probably would have gotten a better workout doing a speed session on the treadmill, but I was so much happier out on the trails. 

Have you been enjoying the winter weather?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Three Things..... Wednesday?

Okay, so I know it is supposed to be Three Things Wednesday. But I feel like I owe you guys a post, and I just can't come up with a coherent post about a single topic today. So here is what is happening in my world.

1. I leave for Japan two weeks from today! I signed up for this trip more than 9 months ago, so my initial excitement faded a long time ago. It always seemed so far in the future and then it was overshadowed by the whole getting engaged and planning a wedding thing. But now I am just starting to get super excited again. I went and checked out a couple travel books from the library. I can't wait to eat my body weight in sushi.

2. It is snowing here today. A lot. And it is supposed to snow again Sunday. I don't care though! I have all my marathon training long runs done and now it's time to relax and taper. Plus, it means the skiing should be awesome this weekend.

3. I have the taper munchies. Seriously. I.can.not.stop.eating. There is something about tapering that just makes me want to stuff my face. Last night we had some cake after dinner. Then I went out to do errands and I stopped at Orange Leaf and got an absolutely enormous fro-yo. Someone stop me!!
I made this dark chocolate caramel sea salt cake for my BFF's birthday. And ate most of it myself.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

International Race Series: Choosing a Race

I am about to run a marathon on my 5th continent. Tackling all 7 continents, or even just running one international marathon, is becoming more popular. I've learned quite a bit along the way about how to successfully and enjoyably run an international race.  So, I've decided to start an international race series to share this hard earned wisdom with you all.

Today we are going to tackle how to chose a race.

I would first consider what is is most important to you- running a particular race or running a race that fits into your current circumstances (calendar/budget/vacation time, etc)?

If you have a dream race, then the decision is easy. For example, for Antarctica I only had 1 choice. I picked the race first and then planned around that. For the rest, I've chosen based on the timing of the race, the amount of vacation time I have, and cost. I try to find a race that fits into my life at any given time.

When do you like to train? I hate training in the heat, so I try to run late winter/early spring marathons so I can train during the cooler months. When do you like to travel? I like to get the heck out of Maine in the winter and stay here and enjoy the summer. So again, late winter/early spring is my ideal time for an international race.

How much vacation time do you have? Some years, I want to take as little time as possible. In those years, I tackled the continents closest to me. Other years, I've saved up all year so I can take a long vacation. In those years I try to chose a destination that is farther from home, or where I want to spend more time after the race.

if you only have 4 days off- you don't want to pick as destination that requires 2 days of travel!

How much money are you willing to spend? Where are there travel deals? I travel a lot for my job so I am lucky to use frequent flier miles for most of my trips. Once I have figured out roughly when I want to travel and the general continent I want to visit, I spend some time on-line. I look to see where there are current promotions. I see when and where I go for the least amount of miles/money.

Then, once I roughly know when I want to go and were I want go, I use this calender to see what races might be available.

Once I find some races that meet my criteria, I do some research on each race. I look at the race's website. Is there an English version? Is the website helpful and well organized? The race website is often an indicator of how well organized and international entrant friendly the race will be as a whole.

I also read race reviews. I use the 2 sites below the most often. I also do a general Google search to look for bloggers who have posted race reviews.
Runner's World Races

Spending time to do your research in order to find a race that meets exactly what you are looking for is so worth it. You spend a lot of time, money, and effort training for a race and then travelling to a race, so it is important to find something that will be worth it!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Yesterday morning when I was driving home from the gym I saw a few police cars heading towards me with their lights flashing and behind them were a few runners. Once I saw one of them carrying a wounded warriors flag, I realized that this was the guy who is running from Maine to the Super Bowl to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. 

image source Maine to Superbowl

I got so excited. I honked my horn and yelled out the window that he is an inspiration. He smiled and waved at me. I started to cry. 

I don't have any connection to him or to the Wounded Warrior Project. But I was just so inspired by this guy that I was overcome with emotion. I was driving home from the gym because I had thought it was too nasty out to run outside. But there he was running through the freezing rain. Conditions for this run have been far from optimal- it has been frigid with gusty winds pretty much everyday. Yet, this guy is running is running 50 miles a day! (He is aiming to cover the 500 miles in 10 days). WOW.

It makes me take a step back and think. I did go home and pledge him some money and I would urge you to do the same. I have no personal connection to this cause, I just think it's pretty darn amazing.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

An Impromptu Run

I woke up this morning really wanting to run outside. I've been stuck in the gym since Tuesday because I didn't want to subject my poor sick lungs to the frigid air because they are under enough stress with all the coughing I've been doing. So I told myself if it was above 15 and not windy, I could go outside.

Well that was wishful thinking since I was up at my mother's house doing some wedding planning stuff for the night. She lives at the end of an island, basically at the end of the world, and it is ALWAYS windy. This weekend was especially windy, with 40-50 mph gusts. The sea was wild and things were flying everywhere. Plus there was a nasty layer of icy snow on top of the roads. So instead I had a lazy morning with my family and then got in the car to drive back to Portland.

When I got in my car the temperature said 15. I figured it could only get warmer as I headed inland and south. I figured wrong..... As I drove the temperature kept dropping by a degree. I was hoping that there would be a miracle and by the time I got back to Portland it would be 20 with no wind. Then, as I was about to Brunswick, there was a miracle! I looked down and saw it was 16. The wind wasn't crazy and I looked over and saw quite a few people on the bike path that runs by the road. Sold!

I quickly veered over toward the exit. I couldn't exactly remember how to get to the trail head, so I parked in a random parking lot somewhat close and ran to the trail.

Competitor Glo-Mitt, Black with Hi Viz PinkIt wasn't tropical, but it was pretty darn nice. The sun was so bright and felt amazing on my vitamin D deprived skin. There was some wind, but nothing like what it had been like at my Mom's. Being outside in the fresh air totally revitalized me. It was also really nice to be running somewhere different. I did have a coughing fit when I got back in the car and out of the cold air, but I don't even care. I needed that run.

I also LOVE my new mittens. The are the New Balance Competitor Glo-Mittens. I usually start off cold and want full mittens, but then my hands almost always get really hot and sweaty. These have a flap that folds over to be a mitten, but then can also be flipped back where it clips automatically with a magnet, leaving you with just a little sleeve. This works so well! It still provides some warmth, but also lets my sweaty hands get some air. It is also super convenient for when I need to adjust my i-pod or watch because I don't have to take the whole mitten off.

Competitor Glo-Mitt, Black with Hi Viz Pink

Have you ever been driving along and seen a great spot for a run and decided on the spot to stop and run?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sicky sicky

So that cold I though I somehow outran on my long run two weeks ago? It came back a week later and it's a sneaky little devil. Just when I think I've beat it, it comes roaring back.

Last Saturday I woke up with a scratchy throat. I went to my favorite Saturday boot camp and then did a treadmill run, but I was just not myself. I had NO energy. So I spent the rest of the day on the couch, drinking tea, and taking my zinc every 4 hours.

Sunday and Monday we had planned to go skiing and I didn't want to ruin those plans. I actually felt quite a bit better both days. My sore throat was getting better and my energy levels were higher.

So Tuesday, I figured I was okay to go for a run outside, even though it was only 4 degrees. I really wanted to try out my new hat and gloves. I felt okay during the run but during the day I felt progressively worse. It didn't help that we were getting the front door replaced, so it was frigid! Tuesday afternoon I started coughing a little. By Tuesday night I was coughing a lot.

And it is that darn cough that is doing me in. It's been a long time since I've had a bad cough and I forgot how terrible it is. It is making my throat raw and mostly I just can't sleep. I cough myself awake all night, even when I take cough medicine. Last night I finally gave up and retreated to the couch in the middle of the night.

I wanted to prop myself up and see if that helped, plus all my hacking was waking up R and the dog as well. I spent the night on my little loveseat, squished, coughing, and shivering. 

I am so ready for this to be over. I've been doing moderate exercise every day because it makes me feel better. I've been drinking veggie/fruit juice and about 15 cups of tea a day. I've been trying to sleep a lot. Sunday starts my last 2 weeks of marathon training and I need to be healthy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Right Time

Decisions quote via in December, I was struggling with a job decision. I deliberated and deliberated, but just couldn't make up my mind. I felt like I had no good options. I ended up taking the path of least resistance and just continued on with things as they were. I didn't necessarily think it was the right choice, but I just couldn't figure out what the right choice was.

And now a month later, suddenly things are clear to me. I have this gut instinct and I am ready to go with it. Nothing has changed really, but I am ready to make a real decision now. I am no longer feeling like I am being ruled by the fear of change. Instead, I just know now what is the best choice for me.

It's strange how the world works like that. It is like everything just aligned perfectly for me right now and I am ready for change. As a logical, analytic person I want to think that the world is always pretty cut and dried. A decision should be made based on reason. But, I am having to accept that it isn't that clear. Emotion and the timing of decisions are important.

Have you ever had that ahah moment where suddenly a decision became clear?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I have always loved skiing, but this winter I am loving it more than ever. Of course, I love the actual skiing, but this year I am loving even more that it gets me away from my computer and work, away from wedding planning, away from marathon training, and allows me to spend quality time with my fiance.
hot cocoa break means time for silly selfies!

I tend to live life at full speed. I have a very hard time taking any downtime for myself. I feel like I always need to be doing something. Skiing lets me feel like I am doing something, and yet relaxing at the same time. It just just enough concentration to keep my mind off other things, but also lets my mind take a break.

It also satisfies my need to do some sort of exercise every day, but lets my body recover from the high impact stuff I do every other day.  

My phone rarely works, and even if I have a signal, it usually freezes after a few minutes and dies anyway. It is good to unplug. 

Plus, no digital distractions means fiance and I actually have to talk to each other on the lift. 

It gives me my weekly fix of fresh air and nature. 

It gives me an excuse to drink massive quantities of hot chocolate. 

It also makes me feel like it is legit to go to bed at 8 pm because I got up at 5:30 to get to the mountain and skied all day. 

What is your favorite way to escape from the world?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In Sickness and in Health

No, this is not going to be another wedding related post. Despite the fact that many of my recent posts have been wedding related, I promise this isn't going to turn into a wedding blog.

This is about being sick. One of the things that I dislike most about marathon training is that I feel like I am always sick. It's like a nasty cold is always latent in my body, just waiting for my long run to lower my defenses, so that it can attach. Seriously, I feel like I get a cold after every single long run.

I do my best to strengthen my immune system so that this doesn't happen. I get lots of sleep, drink a lot of fluids, eat tons of fruits and veggies, and take a vitamin.

Yet I still get sick. Except for this week. This week my long run had the opposite effect. Saturday, I started feeling like a cold was on the way. I had a little tickle in my throat, some pressure in my sinuses, and I just didn't feel like my usual energetic self. Sunday morning I woke up drenched in sweat. Yummy.

But, I also had to get my long run in. I crossed my fingers and went for it. About half way through I felt my symptoms completely disappear and they haven't come back. I out ran my cold. I will never understand my body.

Do you feel like you get sick more often when marathon training? When do you consider yourself too sick to run?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Long Run Mistakes (and a couple good decisions too!)

I had a 19 miler long run scheduled for this weekend. As usual, I started worrying about it last Monday. And yet, knowing it was coming did not stop me from making some poor decisions before the run.

-Tuesday I decided to run in the trail shoes that have given me blisters EVERY SINGLE time I've worn them. But it was slippery and I haven't run in them for a year and half or so, so I was hoping they would work out. They did not. I got a string of blisters along the arch of my left foot. Every time I wore sneakers this week they were irritated again and hurt as soon as I put my shoes on today.

-I ate popcorn for dinner last night. We went to the movies at 6:30 (saw August: Osage County- intense and dark, but really good!) so I ended up making a small popcorn my dinner. I woke up starving and super thirsty. But, I didn't want to eat or drink too much before I ran so I was hungry and thirsty my whole run. 

-Only bringing 1 water bottle. I really hate carrying water so I just brought a 20 oz bottle. But, since it was way warmer than it has been recently and I started thirsty from the popcorn, it was not enough. There are no stores or restaurants or any places to refill buy water along the way. On my last run I was able to fill it up with fresh snow, but the snow today was too old and dirty to do this. Finally I saw a lady washing her car and asked her for a refill. 

On the other hand, I also made some good decisions about the long run. 

-I considered doing my long run early Friday morning so it would be done and I'd have the weekend free for other things. But, it was 4 degrees, the roads were icy, it was dark, and I was exhausted. Today, on the other hand, it was 45 (!!!), sunny, and I got a good night of sleep in the night before. After all the extreme cold, it felt great to be out on a warm sunny day. 

-Not doing my long run the day before trying on wedding dresses. It was hard enough getting myself in and out of those things. I can't imagine doing it if I was still and sore for a long run. Plus, it was a long day of walking around and standing. If I had been tired, it would not have been fun. Instead I loved the experience and I found my wedding dress!!

Did you do a long a long run this weekend? How did it go?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

About that ring

I have never been a big jewelry person (except earrings which I love) because I always feel like it gets in my way. I especially never wore rings because I hated the way they felt on my fingers.

But now I have this gorgeous new engagement ring and I obviously want to wear it all the time.

But just to give you a clue about how ignorant I am when it comes to rings, I had to Google which hand to wear my engagement ring on.

So I am wondering how you all handle your ring when it comes to working out.

I have already discovered that my fingers swell during long runs, so I have to leave it at home for that. Also, it is not comfortable mushed into my ski mittens (plus I don't think constantly pulling my hand in and out of the mitten is good for the antique stetting). The ring stays home on ski days. For most gym activities, like boot camp or cardio, it seems fine. But it did bother me while lifting, so I carefully put it in my back pocket.

Do you wear your ring(s) all the time? Or, if you don't what activities do you take it off for? Do you leave it at home when you know you are heading to do one of those? Or do you always keep it with you and just take it off and put it in a pocket or bag?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

An Engagement Story

Work continues to be crazy busy and running continues to be difficult because it is constantly freezing/snowing/sleeting. So, I have nothing positive or interesting to say about either. I feel like on a Tuesday of a cold, cold, week we could all use a little positivism, so how about an engagement story?

First of all, I was never that girl that couldn't wait to get married. I didn't start planning my wedding a little girl. Honestly until recently, I didn't care if I ever got married. Then, I met the right guy. Suddenly, I was one of those sappy, wedding crazy people that I used to hate. I was putting pressure on the BF to propose pretty heavy all fall.

About a week before Christmas I was in the midst of some job drama and having a pretty terrible week. He made it even worse when he sat me down and said "I know you are hoping for a ring for Christmas, but I am just not ready. I don't want you to get your hopes up and then be disappointed." Well I was and I couldn't hide it. But, I also understood and told him I would wait as long as he needed.

Christmas Eve morning, the dog woke us up early. R got up to let her out and then came back to bed. We lazed around in bed, giving Dixie a long tummy rub session and chatting. Since we usually have opposite schedules, getting to wake up together and spend some time relaxing is a rare luxury.

After a few minutes R said that he had left his sock downstairs when he let Dixie out. I mentioned something about him having an entire basket of socks upstairs, but he got up and went downstairs. When he came back he kneeled by the side of the bed and put a little hand-carved wooden box in my hand. He said "I was going to wait and do this tomorrow, but I can't wait."

My heart lept, but then I thought about our conversation the week before, and told myself not to get excited. It could just be a necklace or something. I had some trouble opening the box, but when I finally got it open, there was a ring inside. I don't remember the exact details of the next few minutes, but it included me saying yes, calling him an asshole for faking me out, me starting to cry, putting on the ring, and giving him a huge hug. 

I couldn't stop smiling all day and I still smile when I look down at my hand. 

His proposal was perfect because it really reflects his personality and our relationship. We didn't need anything flashy or elaborate. We love each other, making a home together, and our little furry doggie. 

What was your proposal like? Or what is your dream proposal?