Monday, October 27, 2014

Protein Packed Breakfast!

I'm not much of a breakfast person, unless your talking breakfast out....then I could eat my way to china! But as a dietitian I know it is important to fuel your body properly for the day ahead. One thing that makes breakfast a "hassle" is the prep. My mornings are already filled with 3 kids, making their breakfasts, checking backpacks and shuttling them off to school. If I'm really on the ball I shoot right from kid drop off to my gym for a workout. But as the craziness of life happens I can get lazy when it comes to breakfast grabbing a protein bar on the run. But today I'm here to give you my most favorite & trusted make ahead breakfast idea!

First gather your supplies.  Once you have all these staples you can make this for many weeks! Try adding pumpkin spice instead of cinnamon for a more "fall-ish" flavor.

Sole Momma Power Museli
1 cup old fashioned oats (NOT quick cooking) 
1/4 c dried millet
1/4 c dried quinoa- preferably red or tri-colored
1/3 c Manitoba Hemp Seeds
1/4 c raw almond slices
1/4 c dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins)
1 tbs of each chia seeds, flax seed, wheat germ
1 tbs pure maple sugar
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Dry ingredients before you add your almond milk.
Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl. (if you have kids at home like me they can help you measure out the ingredients.  Good news is that measurements don't have to be 100% accurate. (a little more millet won't hurt anyone) :) Using a 1/2c scoop, portion into glass containers or mason jars and cover. Place in refrigerator over night or up to 5 days. The almond milk will absorb into all the wonderful oats & seeds. Open & enjoy!

These awesome glass jars are from William Sonoma we use them for drinking & food storage.
Pull it out in the morning-add fresh berries & enjoy!

I love to eat it cold with fruit or berries on top! The quinoa & hemp seeds help to provide complete proteins which is a great way to start your day!

If you haven't tried Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds your missing out on some nutty tasting protein goodness. As a dietitian I love it on yogurt, hot cereals and even a salad.
Hemp is lower in carbs than flax & chia seeds and provides a vegan non-GMO complete protein. Getting enough protein can be tough but with the help of these yummy hearts you can get 10gms of protein & 10 grams of omega three for 3-yes - 3 tablespoons!!!  The recipe above provides 17.8 grams of protein per recipe from Hemp Seeds!

So there you have it! Literally you can make all your breakfasts for the week! BaBam!
How do you prepare to tackle your weeks? Do you pre-make meals or prep in advance?
Would you like to try Manitoba Hemp Seeds use promo code HHSweatPink14 at their web store to get 20% off your order.  Their site has a ton of recipes and lots of vegan protein options! Check it out!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Day I Didn't Run...

We all have those days...the one where according to your runningbible training plan you should be running but you don't.  It can mess with your mental focus.  But like I've mentioned in previous posts you have to be willing to bend and meet the training plan.  However even the best of people can have life get in the way.  For me training for this ultra marathon started in July.  I had to build my base mileage up so I could begin the 16 week plan, so really this has been about a 20 week process.  I met the plan with enthusiasm and was successful getting in my runs.  One blip was hip pain that came with the increased weekly mileage.  But I was vigilant and sought care from an ortho, just to make sure there wasn't anything serious going on and then I started with PT, having Graston work on my IT bands and deep muscle massage and on my TFL (a muscle in the hip).  It worked after only a few short sessions my body became more flexible and my hip pain subsided.
VT 50- 0600 Conditioning Relay Teams! Looking pretty good at 6am!
On Sept 28th I went into the Vermont 50 mile relay with just enough confidence and trepidation that a newbie ultra runner should have.  As I explained in my last post I took a dive on the trail around mile 15.  I finished my 20 mile leg, running on my ankle.  When I got home and explained to my husband what happened I pulled up my pant leg to show him my ankle, even I was in shock at how swollen it was.  It hurt, but honestly I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, so I kind of shook it off.
1 day after the fall...this was the beauty on my ankle.
My longest run of my training was slated for Oct 4th, 32 miles.  Mentally I had been looking forward to this run for a month.  It's that mix of terrified excitement, where you think to yourself...Can I really do this?  It's terrifying to think of it in terms of miles, 32 miles is far, but when you've hit that long run on your training plan, you look back and say "come on race day, I've got this".  For me that day didn't come on Oct 4th.  For the week after the race I didn't run, not at all...I didn't do spinning or the elliptical, I declined going to walks with friends all in hopes of healing faster.  I laid low.  I spent a lot of time with a bag of frozen peas, watched some chick flicks and rested only being on it when "mom duty" called.  I thought maybe, just maybe if I totally give it time off It would be better by Oct 4th.
This was a week later I had my PT tape it and it seemed like it was getting better.
 Well Oct 4th came and went.  I talked with my running coach, and she said the long run could be pushed out to Oct 11th but after that your cutting it too close to race day to recover for a successful 50 mile race.  Oct 11th I could deal with.  I set my sights on that weekend.  Surly it would be better by then right?  Well I hate to say it but here we are two weeks and a half weeks out I'm still NOT, I repeat NOT doing anything and actually it is now re-swollen and the last two days I have had shooting pains up the side of my ankle.  

Not being active is horrible.  Mentally running is my drug of choice (hahaha!)  It keeps me sane.  Not running has been a test of my mental sanity.  Depression has started to set in.  I thought maybe just maybe I could downgrade to the marathon instead of the 50 miler.  I can see now that, those thoughts are probably wishful thinking.  I had my pity party this weekend.  Reading all the blogs of my beloved running friends who ran Chicago, Hartford CT and those running Columbus this coming weekend.  I had 1 full marathon and a 1/2 marathon planned into my training for this ultra.  I absolutely love races.  The atmosphere has so much positive energy that it's palpable. Race day is what keeps me going through crazy training days. Knowing that the best part is yet to come gets me through.  I was 6 weeks out when I fell.  10 weeks of training lost.  It sucks.  But I have decided to turn my attention to things within my control.  More of that to come.

Have you ever suffered an injury that took you out of your race?  How did you deal with it?  How did you adjust your exercise and what did you focus on? Inquiring minds want to know!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Run Intentionally!

Well I'm sitting here on my Monday morning sipping my perfect cup of coffee and icing my swollen right ankle.  But instead of feeling sorry for myself I'm elated.  Let me explain why.  If you follow my blog then you know I am in the thick of training for a 50 mile trail run in November.  This past weekend I ran my longest trail run ever, 20 miles of a 50 mile relay in the mountains of VT.  To say I was scared was an understatement.  My longest trail run ever has been 6 miles.  Most of my training for this ultra has been on the road or the beloved dreadmill treadmill so 20 miles seemed a little scary.  Not to mention I was the third runner of our group of three and each runner who came in after their leg said "OMG did you see this hill..and that hill?"  All those comments just fueled the anxiety and fear that was rolling around in my head. It's interesting if you look at it how the mind plays tricks on you, fuels that anxiety ridden side and fills you with doubt when you don't even know what's coming.
It was a gorgeous day, even a little too gorgeous for running.  Temps in the 80's and full sun after the morning fog lifted.  I headed out for my portion of the run around 12:28 in the afternoon according to my GPS watch.  The first few miles were a myriad of hills and trail.  The crazy thing about trail running is that there are places you can cruise along and others where you do not have a choice but to take a deep breath hunker down and walk the trail.  Running a large hill is just a waste of precious energy and not something to squander away.  By mile 5 or 6 I started to get into it.  I felt light on my feet like a boxer in the ring.  Bouncing around, on my toes totally alert and focused on the trail ahead.  I didn't look far ahead just at what was right in front of me at that moment.  That next single step.  I surprised myself at how good I felt at the technical aspect of the trail.  What I had feared the most was really nothing more than a huge ball of anxiety that my mind created for me.  So much wasted energy.  Does that happen to you in life?  Do you waste time contemplating and thinking about what is about to come instead of focusing on the here and now?

I made it to the second aid station aprox 12 miles into my run feeling pretty darn good for the hot conditions.  I had two cups of gingerale and refilled my water.  I also took two salt tabs and went on my way.  The view from here was amazing and the pictures didn't really do it justice.  Normally I would not stop to take pictures, let alone a selfie.  But it was too beautiful not to take it all in, plus this was so posed to be a training run, not a race.
hi hot sweaty mess!

So at mile 15 it was back into the woods under the canopy and much needed shade from the sun.  I was feeling re-energized again taking the trail head on, watching my footing feeling confident in my technical ability to own the trail.  I'm not sure exactly where I was mileage wise but in one quick second I was down.  Biting it hard.  My right ankle turned and I slammed down on my left knee.  My hands dug into the dry dirt and I must of yelled out some profanity because the two runners in front of me stopped and the one coming up behind me asked if I needed help.  I gritted my teeth and said  "No no I'm ok, I just need a minute".  I pushed myself off the single track trail and collected myself.  My ankle hurt like hell, but my ego hurt more.  I knew instantly what went wrong, I wasn't paying attention to my run.  I was focused on the girl in the red shirt I had passed earlier, she was coming up on me and I wanted to stay ahead.  I could hear her coming up on me, so instead of looking at the path that was right in front of me I let myself look ahead.  Too far ahead and that was not where my focus needed to be.  What I needed to do was focus on my intentional foot steps right in front of me.  I needed to stay right in that moment but instead I heard the foot falls of the girl in the red and I let my mind wander to the 10 steps that were coming.  I wasn't watching what was right in front of me and boom.  Needless to say the girl in the red shirt passed me and I never caught her again.  

I did get up and shake it off.  My knee hurt and was bleeding, my ankle sore, but I was not going to stop.  I walked more of the last 3-4 miles than I care to admit.  My foot steps after that were very cautious like a kid that has fallen off his bike a few times after taking the training wheels off.  Your cautious to take those next few pedal strokes for fear of falling off again.  Unfortunately I could not get that fluid, light on my feet feeling back.  I was so annoyed at myself.  Have you ever had that happen to you in life where you are not being intentional with your steps and you miss the mark?  Have you ever stumbled and fell only to look back to see that if you had taken the steps properly, focused on the task at hand and not worried about what other people were doing you would have succeeded in your goal?  Well I certainly did yesterday.

Note to self:  

  1. don't let anxiety and negativity predetermine your future, you don't know what actually is to come until you get there. 
  2. be intentional in what you do.
  3. be in the moment and focus on the task at hand 
  4. don't worry about what is to come because you cannot change it or make a decision until you get there.  
  5. and don't worry about what other people are doing, this isn't about them this is about you and your goals.

I did finish the race, my time for my leg of the relay according to my garmin was 4:14 for 19.8 miles.  that's a 12:51 pace.  Not bad given the hills and the fact I bit it around mile 15, took a bunch of selfies and pictures along the way.  My lovely team members and crew cheered me to the finish line which was, if I must say pretty spectacular!  The best part of my day was when I heard them shout my name from the top of the mountain I lifted my fist to signal I could hear them and picked up my pace.  I almost cried at that very moment.  
I'm a total dork when I'm running just FYI!

Phew!!! That was a lot of inner work that was found on the trail yesterday.  Have you ever had that kind of moment where you knew you didn't do something right because you were so focused on everything else that you forgot to be intentional with that you were doing and the steps you needed to take to accomplish that goal?  Tell me about it.  I can't be the only one who has had this ah ha moment.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Running with Blueberries

So I have come to realize that running is much like blueberry picking. Does that sound crazy?  It probably is but think about this.  We have four big blueberry trees here on our property.  For the past couple weeks I've been going outside every couple of days to pick the new ripened blueberries.  It's really my favorite time of day.  I usually go out in the late afternoon.   It's very quiet.  I can hear the trees in the wind.  Birds flying overhead, sun warm on my face.  I'm not really sure what made me think of it but as I was moving under the bushes to get another look for ripened berries is dawned on for this 50 mile ultra is like blueberry picking.  Have you ever gone blueberry picking and you look at a branch from the top and you don't see a lot of berries.  Maybe you see one or two berries and you pick them off.  If you stopped there your bucket wouldn't be very full would it?
But if you go around to the other side of the bush or you bend down and look up you see ripen berries that you never saw before.  It's all about perspective, taking a second look.  That's really what this whole process of training for this ultra marathon is like for me.  I've had to take a second look at many different aspects of myself.  I've had to bend, reassess and be honest about what I am doing and not doing consistently.  My perspective on the larger goal is shaping and changing.  But instead of the training bending to meet my needs I must bend and form to meet it.  I cannot just look at it head on,  I must wait, be patient and look at the bigger picture.  Much like blueberry picking if you pick a berry too early it will be tart.  But if you wait a day or two it will ripen into a sweet treat.  Training is a delicate balance of working hard and waiting.  Each facet of the plan is important to the next.  Getting in your runs, strength training, eating properly, stretching and rest are all essential to the next part of the plan.
What I have found is that I am not working each part of the plan.  One facet being my nutrition. As a dietitian I eat fairly well. You can see many of my clean eating food posts on IG. But I'm not consistent when it comes to getting my protein after workouts or making sure I'm properly fueled or hydrated. As my mileage is creeping up the demands on my body are that much greater.  I have to really think about eating as part of the training plan.

Another perspective is warming up and stretching. I've never been good at that. I think I'm just so busy sometimes that I don't take the time. But it's not optional anymore.  My muscles need to be warmed up prior to heading out. They need to be stretched and rolled on the foam roller daily.  I need to take care of them, so they take care of me.

I have also had to mentally change my expectations of my physical capabilities. I cannot look at my garmin watch and look at my time.  If I am honest it's crap.  My legs are so tired all the time from running, cross training that I can't keep a fast pace, it's defeating.  I'm actually happy if my over all time comes out in the 10min/mi range.  That's a huge mental change from someone who's always been obsessed with catching the BQ.  But I'm having to bend my expectations.  I have to take a different look to what the ultimate goal is.

So the next time you go blueberry picking. Take a moment to think about how taking a second look at something; whether is training for a race, an issue at work, a relationship.  How can you come at it from a different angle?  What things are you doing or not doing to help the situation?  For me I have to work on my nutrition, taking better care of my body and be kind to myself.  I have to let go of time expectations during my runs, knowing it's part of a larger goal....50 Mile Ultra Nov 8th!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

So You Want To Be A Runner?

Well one thing I'm learning very quickly training for this ultra is that you can't just run and think that's good enough.  I have always been someone who cross trains.  Since moving to MA I have tried multiple gyms to try to find the perfect fit for me.  I like doing classes and also being able to use the free weights and workout on my own.  Over the past two years my cross training has been very haphazard. I go to a few classes, do some of my usual weight routine but nothing consistent.  I can totally feel the places where I need more muscle strength to keep up with the demand of this training program.

It's funny because looking back at all my different race experiences the races that I did well were ones that running was on par with my weight training.  So I'm back at it a minimum of two days a week.  If your looking for a place to start or maybe take your weight training to the next level check out Mountain Athlete. My running coach introduced me to this site and it is awesome.  The people at Mountain Athlete know their stuff!  They have training plans to fit different types of goals, ultra running, mountain climbing, skiing.  They provide video demonstrations of all the different exercises so you can make sure your form is correct.

So if you want to be a runner utra runner, then you cannot just run.  You need to strength train to get your body to perform at it's peak.  Do you strength train?  How often?  What keeps you motivated?  I want to hear all about it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday Tunes Week 2!

So here we are on to our second installment of Tuesday Tunes!

As I  stated last week I am definitely a runner who runs with music.  I know some of you poo poo that idea but for me it's motivating.  I have been known to skip a run until later because my iPod was not charged.  For me when I hear certain songs it pumps me up.  I'm also a spin instructor so we all know how important music is to those classes.  A bad mix of music can make a 60 minute class painful. 

Like it or hate it music is motivating.  Come on even the most dedicated runner who never runs with music can attest that certain songs can bring out your "beast mode" pretty quickly.

Did you like last weeks selection?  If you missed it you can find the post here.  This weeks song is one that mixes a little techno with an oldie.  It's California Dreaming by Royal Gigolos.  Listen to the whole 30 second preview before you make your decision.  It's such a fun song.  When I play it in spin class people are like what the heck is this but as soon as the beat of the older version gets mixed in and people love it!

Let me know what you think.
Happy Tuesday!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday Tunes!

I am definitely a runner who runs with music.  I have been known to skip a run until later because my iPod was not charged.  For me when I hear certain songs it pumps me up.  I'm also a spin instructor so we all know how important music is to those classes.  A bad mix of music can make a 60 minute class painful.

Like it or hate it music is motivating.  Come on even the most dedicated runner who never runs with music can attest that certain songs can bring out your "beast mode" pretty quickly.

So I thought I would start sharing some of my favorites.  I always am tweaking my play lists and before my races I will make a play list based on the time I want to complete my race in.  I will put a certain song at the 2 hour mark so I can gauge how I'm doing.  Yes I have my garmin or Nike+ watch to look at but sometimes hearing that song at the two hour mark will refocus me on my goal.

So for today I am giving you one of my favorite songs, I Feel So Close To You; by Calvin Harris EP remix.  This has been on my spin class play list as well as my marathon play list.  It has a great beat.  Take a listen you won't be disappointed.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Am I Crazy?

Does it seem like everyone thinks I'm crazy?  When you tell people you are training for a marathon they look at you and nod appreciatively.  Most people even if they haven't run one can relate in some form or fashion.  When you tell someone that you are training for an ultra marathon you get a blank stare....

Oh what is that, they ask.  So you try to explain that there are many types of ultra races, 32 milers, 50 miles, 100 miles, 50K, 100K, 12 hour 24 hour...the list goes on; but you've chosen a 50 mile ultra race.  Again with the blank stare and maybe an eye roll. The next question I get is....50 miles in one day?  Yes in one day I say.  Again the blank stare, eye brows furrowed, you can see the smoke billowing from there head trying to imagine running 50 miles.  The next question I get is Why?  Honestly that's a hard one to answer because I have many reasons for wanting to take this on.
For starters I like a challenge.  I like to push the limits of what I am capable of.  I know fitness is important for a healthy life but having a goal, big or small keeps me motivated.  I like to have races on the books, it makes me accountable.  Also I really enjoy running long distances.  I relish my long runs.  I do most of my training alone.  I love being with my thoughts, it's where I find some space from the hectic day to day. I can think through things and gain perspective.  It is something that is solely mine which being married and having three children you can lose sight of yourself.  So that's why I run...that's why I'm taking this on. 

So Why am I training for a 50 mile Ultra Marathon...because I can and it brings me joy.  Oh and PS to all of my blank stare friends....I'm not crazy.  Well ok maybe a little :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's really happening!

I've got so many things to share I'm not sure which one to tell you all first!  OK first I am officially registered for the Stone Cat 50 Mile Ultra Run- November 8th! Whoot whoot!  It was a lottery for entry so even though I signed up right at 12am when the lottery opened I wasn't sure I had gotten in until it closed 12 days later!

Other great news surrounding my latest challenge is that I have an amazing coach and friend to guide me through this next journey.  Her name is Tara and I will be sharing more about her experience as an accomplished ultra runner in another post.  But all I can say for now is I cannot wait to learn from her and embrace the ultra running community.

Tara & I after a hot 2014 Boston Marathon finish.
As my coach Tara asked me to think about what my goals were for this race.  Goals....humm that's an interesting concept.  It's a great question and one I probably would have over looked in thinking through my plan.  I mean when I run a road race, time is usually the first and foremost goal for me.  A personal best is always in play at most of my races now.  But when going for a 50 mile ultra run the goals must be different.  So I pondered this for a few days and I jotted them down.  This is what I came up with and emailed to her.

OK so I have been thinking about what you asked me, i.e. My goals for this 50 mi trail race.
1. Make it through the training uninjured.
2. Learn how to eat/hydrate properly. Complete the race without being nutritionally depleted. (This one is big for me because I have had many races where I have experienced the repercussions of dehydration.)
3. Finish the race feeling strong both mentally and physically. (I think I have mentioned that I have been having issues with psyching myself out, so I want to feel totally confident in my abilities and not doubt myself or the training process.)
4. Finish under 11 hours.  (I do think this is a lofty goal, but hey a girls gotta dream right?)

Pretty basic I know, but right now I'm not feeling in tip top physical shape.  As for running I feel good.  My base mileage is where it needs to be, but I need to work on some strength training and find a balance.  Unfortunately cross-fit just isn't fitting into my training schedule right now, so I have to look at other options for me.  Hot yoga is very important for my flexibility so I have to get that in at least 1x per week now.  I have an initial plan that I got off of this site.  But Tara has taken all of my requests i.e.  Yoga, Strength Training, need for variety into account and she is mocking up my plan as we speak.   I am very, very, VERY scared to trail run by myself so that is going to be a huge obstacle for me to conquer.  But what is life without challenges?  

This past week was my first full week of training, where I accomplished training runs and required weekly milage.  The first 4 weeks are really about ramping up my mileage again to get a good base.  I was pretty psyched that I rocked my first back to back long runs a 12 mi Saturday and 10 mi Sunday.  ((It is to be noted that I was only so posed to do 8, somehow I had it in my head it was 10 miles and I did 10, oh well).  I felt amazing, way better than I thought.  In fact Sundays run was much more enjoyable than Saturdays who knew!  I guess the object is to keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed! LOL.  This was last weeks schedule and what I actually did.
Jul 21Week 3 0        104          02          04     4.58012 12.018   10.3330   36.3     
I did more than I needed and I understand that cannot continue.  The 10 on Monday was actually soposed to be done the previous week but I couldn't get it in so it happened Monday, hence the 0 mileage on other days.  On tap this week was this.... I'm off to hit that 14 miler!  I really feel like this is happening! Yippee!
Jul 28Week 402     5.584          06      5.58014834

Monday, July 21, 2014

That little voice...

Isn't it crazy when you embark on a new journey? The endless questions, internal battles, all asking the same questions "what if"....

I have been on this mental roller coaster for about 18 months. Since we moved to Massachusetts in Sept of 2012.  There were so many "what if" scenarios that played out in my husbands and my head before we made our big move. But I'm here to attest that we are still together, happily married (most days😉), we are not destitute, living on the streets....our children didn't crumble from the trauma of leaving their friends or family, we are not friendless or unhappy with our choices.  So right now I look back and think it was all for naught.   Not worth the time and energy.

But yet here I am snarled into another worrying frenzy.  Allowing  myself to be mentally sucked into the contemplating of my decisions.  As soon as that starts self doubt takes over and I'm rethinking everything.

Last night as the hubs and I snuck away for a date night. We talked about our goals for this year. So many were house related, some were career/family driven.  But then we spoke of my next life goal I talked about my 50 mile run. As soon as you tell anyone your planning on attempting that mileage they say "why?"  "Why would anyone want to do that?" Actually I have that answer.  I want to prove to myself that I am capable of something I never thought possible. In 2009 when I secretly started training for my first 1/2 marathon I thought that was the impossible. Yet here I am.... Crossing the finish!
Long Branch NJ May 2009
 I couldn't even run a mile when I made the commitment to myself.  In 2011 I took it to the next level, my first full marathon.  That was hard... I over trained, was injured, I learned a lot. 
Napa Valley CA, March  2011
Have I won 26.2 for me? No not completely. I have run four marathons none up to my expectations.  Many races have been lost "between my ears". Yes you read that correctly.  You know what I'm talking about we have all experienced it at one time or another, that little voice that says "Yes you can!" or "Are you crazy girl, you can't do this?" That little voice haunts me.

That little voice....controlled me my whole skating career.  My mom would say "Why bother going to the meet you already decided you lost or are going to fall."  She was right.  I was and still am my own worst enemy.  Last year I ran the Hartford 1/2 marathon with my husband.  By mile 6 I had I talked myself out of racing and gave up.  My worst half marathon time ever.  I was so disgusted with myself.  It's pathetic that a 43 year old woman can psych herself out, but I'm laying it all out there and it's the truth. 

But change needs to happen...I need to take back my little voice.  So little voice listen up... I'm hear to tell you your days are numbered! I'm running this 50 mile ultra! I RECEIVED MY LOTTERY SPOT! I'm in and I will win this for me.  I will train on the trails, which I am scared of.  I will push through both physically & mentally and I will not allow you to own me any longer.  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Goals and Letting Go of the Old Ones

The time has come to put it out there....Do you ever notice that if you put something out into the universe by telling someone or writing it down that it becomes more real?  I have felt that way over the past few weeks.  Let me explain...

I think I mentioned I ran the Cape Cod Ragnar race in May.  Just two short weeks after Boston.  I wasn't running on the freshest legs and it was a hard experience.  Hard mentally and physically.  But it was on my 2nd leg at 4am that I had a "Come to Jesus" moment.  I was coming off of running at 7pm, one and half hours sleep and doing it again at 4am.  When I was running there was not a soul on the road,  I was completely alone.  My music was annoying me so I turned it off and just listened to the world waking up around me as I pounded the payment.  My body was cramping, my legs felt like lead, I was practically in tears.  This 6 mile leg felt like 600 miles.  I remember prodding along my legs weary and I thought I don't want to train for another marathon... I don't have it in me...I'm tapped out emotionally.

The Boston Marathon although amazing in some respects, was a total downer for me this year.  In 2013 I was having the race of my life, (you can read more about my full Boston experiences here and here). But in 2013 I was 20 minutes faster than any of my previous marathons, I was on my game the stars were aligned.  2014 the conditions were HOT, the course was so crowded you couldn't race it if you wanted too.  I walked multiple times and I ended with my worst marathon time ever.  Mentally that wrecked me.  Right after Boston I was determined to try to qualify.  After the race my friend Tara said We will find a race and qualify in the fall.  At that point functioning on my runners high I was like YES we will, game on!   After Boston I immediately went home and started researching the best BQ marathons for the fall.  I even registered for one.  But after my runners high subsided from Boston and the mental crap I thought about during my lonely runs at the Cape Cod Ragnar I knew it wasn't for me.  When I was talking to Tara we were sharing our struggles with motivation, goals etc.  I finally got up the courage and told her; "I just don't have it in me to try to train and qualify for Boston is that bad?"   Just to say it out load was huge for me.  Putting it out there was scary because I don't want to seem like a quitter, I didn't want to let her down, but at the same time needed to be true to myself.  Her response was was an emphatic "no it's not".  Ahhhh it was out there.  I had support, I wasn't condemned.  The running Gods didn't strike me down.
Atalanta the accent Greek Goddess of Running

 Finally I let that huge secret roll off my shoulders.  It had been a big weight I was carrying mentally, really since Boston 2013, only realized in 2014.  I told her that my two experiences at Boston were both amazing in their own way, but I'm just not there anymore.  I want this Ultra.  I want to trail run.  I want to push through the mileage and do something that requires more effort than I ever thought possible.  That's where my mind is at, not qualifying for Boston, at least not right now.  So this past week I have been working on my Ultra plan, which I will share as soon as it's been tweaked.  My friend Tara will be my coach since she is an Ultra veteran having two 100 milers under her belt and a few 50 milers to boot!  I do have some road races planned in the fall. A 25K and a 50 mi trail relay in Sept.  I am still planning on a mid Oct marathon but I will not try to BQ, it's more of a training run for my Ultra and then the Ultra in November. Whoot Whoot!

So I've put it out to the goals have changed and it's ok...More importantly I'm ok with it.  It's the love of the run that I crave.  The thrill of accomplishing something I never thought I could do.  That's what gets me out each day.

So do you have anything you want to do but are afraid to put it out there? Any goals that you need to let go of but are afraid of rejection or seeming like a quitter?  I'm here to tell you don't be afraid the universe is here for you!
xoxo~ deana

Thursday, June 5, 2014


I don't know what is wrong lately but I just can't shake the feeling of exhaustion no matter how much sleep I get.  It seems things are coming at me 90 miles a minutes, keeping up with three little ones schedules, year end hoopla etc is draining.  I succumbed to having a physical this week.  Which I was 6 months over due.   I told her I was exhausted all the time.  Her answer to me was "Welcome to your 40's."  Well that wasn't what I wanted to hear.  All my blood work came back normal, which is good I guess although it is rather frustrating.  I work out, eat reasonably well and feel like crap.  How is that fair.

I don't know if my body is just rebelling against me.  I went through something similar after my first marathon.  I ran the marathon, a half marathon and a few 5K's and then I hit a wall.  Exhausted tired.  I didn't exercise etc.  They thought I had lyme or some other tick borne illness.  It finally passed but my summer was plagued with exhaustion.  This winter I trained for the Boston Marathon and ran that April 21st.  On May 8-9 I ran the Ragnar Cape Cod race and logged another 23 miles racing. Almost another marathon.  Maybe I just pushed by body over the edge?  The Ragnar wrecked me. (which I have a post started on that race) I was exhausted for over a week.  You don't realize how much the no-sleep and being awake for 23+ hours can wreck you.  Plus it's not like I have no responsibilities once I got back.  Life continued to move at it's hectic pace.  I had to dive right back in.

So what do I do?  I feel like a slug.  I'm slated to start my training for my newest goal- my first 50 mile ultra in the fall.  But my body is telling me something else.  I had hopes of also pulling a BQ this fall.  But as of right now I'm not on top of my game.  Have you ever just needed a break?  But I'm afraid to stop.  I'm afraid of not going back.  Exercise and running are a part of who I am.  They keep me sane but right now my body says slow down.

What would you do?  Suggestions please.

xo~ deana

Friday, May 2, 2014

Celebrate all Accomplishments!

Have you ever taken the time to look back at all you have accomplished?  Well I did just that when I was writing my Races & Bling page.  I figured if I am going to be true to myself and obtaining my goals moving forward a BQ this year and my first 50 miler I should look back on my running journey thus far.  I was surpassed at how many races I have done.  I don't think I realized how many.  Each one has taught me something different about myself.  Some were surprising, like the Hoof it for Hatit 5K, I came in 4th in my age group!

But I'll tell you it takes a lot of guts to post all of your races, times and paces.  So if you see someone who does it on their blog, give them a shout out, because it's not always sunshine and roses. Some races and finishes are just terrible.  I know when I was working on my page I wanted to write my reasons for my crappy times, like it was 85 degrees in March, (DC Marathon) or I fell in a pot hole (Hartford Half 2013).  But don't we all have excuses for things that happen in life when they are less than perfect?  Even my 13 year old comes up with great excuses for a poor quiz grade or not handing in home work.  But my mantra has always been...
You can stress about the weather.  Track the 10 day forecast everyday up until race day.  But honestly it's out of your control.  So be prepared.  Train even when it's raining, run on the snow covered roads....if there's a chance it could be better run in the heat because it just might be hot on race day, look at Boston in 2012, 90 degrees in April!  No one ever gets the perfect day.  Ok maybe some do, but it doesn't happen often so you better be prepared for whatever race day brings you and celebrate when you do get that magical day!
A rainy 8 miler :)
What are your running mantras?  Do you train for all "what if scenarios"?  Have a great Friday!

Monday, April 28, 2014

CrossFit....Love it or Hate it?

Have I told you yet I have this deep love hate relationship with CrossFit?  I started last September so I am still a newbie for sure.  I haven't reached fanatic stage yet by any means.  Still have not mastered the double under or the pull up.  I'm not sure if I "get it" or if my other goals i.e.: marathon training and now training for a 50 mile ultra get in the way of me really "getting it".

My fitness background has included working with a trainer.  I started after the birth of my 2nd baby and continued until my youngest was 5 years old.  Sometimes it was just 1x/week, but I just liked how it pushed me out of my comfort zone.  My trainer from Catalysts Health & Fitness is fantastic!  I was devastated when we moved because I had to leave him.  My husband says if he ever comes home to find me gone...he knows I'll be back in CT with my trainer.  Hahaha!  But seriously my trainer was so knowledgeable.  He trained me to my first full marathon.  He was really good at modifying my training sessions as my runs got longer.  He was very big on proper form and he would tweak the minutest things when I was lifting.

I come to CrossFit, with my years of personal training experience and I just can't seem to try to lift these heavy weights without being afraid.  Let me say my CrossFit gym is very, very big on safety and I never feel pushed to do more than I am comfortable with.  However I see these people lifting these massive amounts of weights and I cringe thinking they could easily get hurt.  Also I really hit a wall when I was training for the marathon this past winter.  When I got up into my higher milage I couldn't do my training runs properly with CrossFit in the mix.  My legs would be wasted for days and it was very discouraging.

Two weeks before the marathon I fell doing a box jump.  It was one of those days where I was jumping and every time I made it to the top of the box I was thinking wow- I did it.  My brain and body were not in sync, my body was slower than my brain.  Then wham...down I went.
This was 1 week after I did it (ugh)!
I am now starting to look at my training plans for my next races.  I just signed up for another full marathon, the Wineglass Marathon, Bath NY October 5th and I'm hoping to get into my first 50 mile Ultra for November.  The lottery for that is in July.  So I just am not sure how CrossFit is going to play into my goals for the rest of the year.  When I'm in class I love it, when I'm running I usually hate that I went.  Hence the love hate relationship.  Do any of you cross train?  How do you fit it into your running schedules?  I'd love to know.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Boston Marathon 2014 Race Day Recap!

Well I did it! I did cross the infamous finish line that has eluded me since April 15, 2013!  

But....It wasn't my day to PR.  I knew early on that I wasn't going to be able to "race" this event.  First off my wave was slated to leave Hopkinton at 11:25am, but there were 9 corrals per wave, I was in corral 7 with my friends in other waves & corrals.  I tried to get into my friends corral #4 that was within my wave but they were going 100% by the book and I got turned away when I went to enter the corral.  With that said I didn't even start my race until almost noon time, full sun shining down.  We were boxed in like sardines at the start.  Last year it seemed to thin out by mile 4, but not this year.  At mile 6 when I saw my hubby in Framingham we were still packed shoulder to shoulder.  He even commented to me after the race that he didn't know how I could run with people that close all around.

It was a beautiful sunny spring day 72 degrees with no breeze and blue skies.  As a spectator it was lovely.  But as a runner who trained in the 20 degree weather I melted like a candle.  I threw water over my head, ice down my shirt.  I drank so much water that I actually stopped to pee 3 times!  I never stop to pee during a race.  I knew by the 15K mark I was just going to enjoy the day.  The crowds were crazy.  The signs were funny!  Little kids with their hands out to be slapped.  I made sure I took it all in.  My favorite sign was "HEY YOU RANDOM PERSON GO!"  All the towns were fantastic but my favorites were Wellesley and Newton.  People lined the streets screaming.  I had my name on my arm so people would scream your name.  If you raised your arms like I'm doing in the photo below the crowds would go wild!  It was the crowd that carried me to the finish, it wasn't just my race, it was their race too and I felt that connection.  
It was after I crossed the 25 mile mark I became hypersensitive to everything around me.  I took out my headphones so I could concentrate on this moment, on this 1.2 miles that was stolen from me last year.  That last mile last year was such a blur.  I knew by my garmin watch said that I was stopped at mile 25.9 but I could not really remember that actual spot.  I continued down the last 1.2 miles, I kept looking at all that was around me and saying...Nope I made it to here, no here, no here...When I got to the area where I knew I had been stopped I realized I was literally a few 100 feet from turning right onto Hereford street.  
For those of you who don't know the Boston Marathon coarse, Hereford street is a small 1/2 block street you turn right onto and then you turn left onto Boyleston to the Finish.  It was the most surreal moment of my life.  I knew I had been struggling with the events of last year.  It has affected me more than I have wanted to admit or talk about.  My motivation and love of running was squashed.  The safety and serene calmness of running was replaced by angst.  As I looked ahead and saw Boyleston street I felt this emotional release and an odd calmness came over me.  My eyes welled up, I got goosebumps down my arms and legs.  I remember a heaviness in my chest I almost started to cry and I thought, "I'm really going to make it this time".  
It was a tough race.  Emotionally and with the weather conditions.  The Boston marathon is a challenging course filled with hills and the hot weather made it even more difficult. Medic tents were filled with people with heat exhaustion and dehydration.  To say I wasn't disappointed by my time is an understatement. Last year I was slated for a 4:15, and I wanted that moment back.  But this was a different day, a different race and this year I did a 4:57.  Actually my worst marathon finish to date.  But this day wasn't about my time, it was about me taking back my run, my finish line, my Boston!
XoXo to all my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter followers and blog readers~
 Thank you for following my journey, providing words of encouragement, and support.  Next on my list another Marathon in October where I will try to Qualify for Boston and a 50 mile Ultra in November!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Calm Before the Storm, I mean... Boston!

Well it's here....ready or not Monday is a coming people.  I think God had serious taper plans for me this week.  If your not a runner tapering is when you pull back on your mileage prior to race day to give your legs a chance to rest and rejuvenate prior to race day.  My poor little girl has been down for the count since last Saturday, high fevers, congestion, coughing so she has been home sick all week.  This has made me home-bound much of the week.  I haven't been to the gym or cross fit since last week.  Which is a blessing...but driving me crazy!

Poor monkey...on her way to the Dr's in the car...

I have never mastered the art of the "Taper" and I know doing absolutely nothing isn't perfection either but if I told you what I've done in the past this would be perfection.  I am one of those people that is so addicted to the runners high that tapering is so emotionally draining that I breakdown and run something ridiculous the week prior just to keep my sanity.

Let's recap less my desirable tapering efforts over the past, shall we?

  1. NJ 1/2 Marathon May 2009- Ran a 3 mile "lock in marathon pace run" on Friday before the race on Sunday.  UGH just plain stupid!  When I told my trainer I thought he was going to kill me.
  2. Fairfield 1/2 Marathon May 2009- Ran a 9 miler 1 week prior. Again what was I thinking?
  3. Napa Valley Marathon March 2011- Oh this is a good one...ran a 22 miler 3 weeks out, 24 miler 2 weeks prior to race day (in under 4 hours) I was stoked! Then ran an 8 mile tempo run 1 week prior pace 7:30...needless to say I was hurting on race day and many weeks after, horrible finish time on race day.
  4. Boston Marathon April 2013- Not as bad, finally smartening up a bit...but did too much cross training in the 2 weeks prior to the race.  Taught multiple spin classes- took a legs class Friday before Mondays race...when will I ever learn?  Although I was crushing my previous marathon times by 20 minutes.  But we won't think about that.
So today I sit here 3 days prior to race day....with this sick little cutie.  Who has saved my legs for me for race day!  Everything happens for a reason!

xoxo~ deana

Thursday, April 17, 2014

T-Minus 4 days to the Boston Marathon! Yikes!

My emotional readiness for this marathon is fluctuating like crazy! One day I think GAME ON BOSTON! BRING IT!  The next I say OMG AM I GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS...AGAIN?  I am in full on panic mode with every "what if" scenario running through my head.  I have 3 little's and a husband who I adore..."what if..."

But then my mind becomes logical... I remember how great my race experience was last year.  The crowds, the camaraderie, it was so amazing.  I have to go back.  I have to claim this marathon for me if I don't it will haunt me forever.  Every race is different you can't repeat the past and that is what I am learning.  As much as I want to have that amazing feeling I had last April 15th prior to the horrific bombings, it will never be the same.  It's impossible so we move forward, step by step, day by day.

There is a running quote that is one of my favorites.  I will never forget unfortunately, no one will nor should we.

 If you were here running the Boston marathon you knew exactly where you were at the time of the bombings, what mile marker were you stopped at, me it was 25.9  If you knew anyone who was running you knew where you were when you heard the news....and unless you lived under a rock you knew the events of that day. My memories are burned fresh in my mind.  It's haunting really. The feeling of helplessness, that nothing in your immediate future is in your control is a very real and scary feeling. 

I live in the Boston area and the hype over this years marathon is crazy.  I am so proud of my city and the way they are rising up from last years tragic events.  But at the same time it makes me jittery.  It didn't help that on Tuesday night they arrested some man with a hoax bomb.  The media says it's going to be the safest place on earth to be next Monday...but then I think there are still crazy,    psychotic, terrorists in this world who would like nothing less than to break our spirit.    

One of my closets friends and my running mentor and I spoke on Monday.  She said "Deana I am so in awe of you, going back to finish the race.  I don't know if I would have it in me to do that."  I guess for me there was no question about whether or not I would go back.  I just know I have take control back.  I have spoken with my mother over the last few days who lives in NJ so I haven't seen her since December.  I told her that I really missed her and just felt like I needed to see her before the race.  (Do you ever feel like that?, man I need my mom).  Well even at 43 sometimes a good ol' fashioned hug and a few words of wisdom from your momma are all you need to make it all OK.  Unfortunately it's not in the cards to see her prior to the race, so a phone call or two will have to suffice.  But she sensed my uneasiness and asked me what was bothering me.  She listened nonjudgmentally and then said; "I think what is bothering you is that you were stranded last year in the city, not knowing what was happening, how to get home.  So get your plan together now."  She was right.  It took me over 5 hours to get out of Boston.  I wound up dehydrated, sunburned and panic stricken.  So that night I looked over the map of the finish line, I studied the T-stations and commuter lines and figured out how I could get out of the city if I need too.  I am planning on going home with friends, but that was my plan last year and we all know how that ended...

I cannot live my life in fear of the what if's...So today, with 4 days left until race day, I chose JOY....I chose to LIVE....I chose to RUN the 118th Boston Marathon!

xoxo my friends,

Monday, March 31, 2014

21 Days and Counting....Boston Baby!

Counting backwards that is.....21days from today I will be running the 118th Boston Marathon.  To say I am getting excited, scared and full of anxiety would be an understatement.  If you had asked me in the beginning of March if i was "ready" my answer would have been an emphatic no.  But I have to say this past month like any other training plan gives you, the runner, a sneak peek at how all of your training thus far has been and what race day can look like and I can finally say "I'm ready!"
{picture via BAA- Facebook}
What do I mean by that well in a typical 16 week marathon training plan the first two months are spent building your endurance, basically getting in the mileage.  The third month you get into the higher mileage, you run longer tempo runs and you get to see a glimpse of things to come.  For me this past month has been an emotional roller coaster with my training.  I have put so much pressure on myself to meet certain goals that I'm defeating myself in my head before I even toe the line.  Totally crazy right!  I mean first of all lets be honest I'm not going to win the race.  But winning for myself is important, crossing that finish line is wicked important since I didn't get to do that last year (you can read about my Boston experience past year here and here) and setting a personal best would be the cherry on top.
So I was feeling really low about my training, doubting the process as many marathoners do.  This winter has been so brutal and this is the first winter I have not belonged to a gym to be able to use the treadmill.  So if i didn't get my butt outside in the -4 degree weather running simply didn't happen.  I have been doing cross fit 2-3 times a week, bikram yoga and running.  The cross fit is new for me and well I haven't quite figured out where it all fits into my running life.  Some of the workouts are so rigorous that my legs are just totally spent.  So that has also been challenging.  The turning point for me was an 8 mile tempo run that I crushed! I came back looked at my time and almost cried.  I said to my husband I needed that! Mentally I needed one awesome run to pump me up and this one was it.  I felt like I was on fire, unstoppable!
{pic via- solemomma instagram}
8 miles at an 8:32, I haven't done that since 2009 and that included to 1/2 mile hills, one in the beginning and one at mile 6.  The funny thing about my last couple of runs is that I have run for heart rate, NOT pace.  I don't look at my pace at all, which for me with my Nikeplus sports watch or my Garmin is hard to do.  But it's working for me.  My 20 miler this past week was also pretty good.  My knee started giving me issues at mile 15, but I continued.  My heart rate was higher than I wanted I'm not sure if it was because it was much colder.  I do think the higher heart rate did affect my overall pace.  I still have a lot to learn about running and heart rate but I was still very pleased.
{pic via solemomma instagram}
So there you have it 21 days and if we can get Mother Nature to cooperate, not too hot, not too cold things will be great!  Tell me do you run for heart rate, pace or neither.  I'm curious to know.  Happy Monday!

xo~ deana

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Memory Lane...Connecticut House Tour

So I wanted to give you some insight into the house we have in Connecticut.  It's a funny thing because this house was my dream house.  Since we had moved to Woodbury in 1997 I had wanted to live on Main Street.  All the antique homes just spoke to me.  In 2001 I got my wish, my hubby relented and we purchased a 1900's Georgian Colonial on Main Street.  To say it was a fixer up was putting it mildly.  Not so much construction but esthetically it needed a ton.  It was an antique store when we bought it.  The floors were scratched from moving items around.  Shelves were screwed into the original plaster walls to hold items for sale.  Nail holes abounded.  The yard was also a disaster. Having another business next to ours, there was no separation between their parking lot and our yard.  That had to be addressed.  But with all that needed to be done.  I saw hubby saw endless amount of work.  But he relented and we bought our Main Street home.

11 years later it was my dream home...It didn't have a glorious master sweet, or large closets.  But it had charm, character, and a lot of sweat equity.  Take a look around.

The front porch was always a favorite spot to have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine at night.  These urns were my pet project every summer.  I love them we got them from restoration hardware, they still carry them.  They are a classic.  Huge and heavy!  But I love them, they get direct sun so if you don't water them daily the poor plants are toast. 
Our kitchen was probably the only area that didn't get a major overhaul.  We had planned on ripping out the cabinets etc, putting in granite but never did. The island is an old pharmacy counter that we purchased from the antique store owners when we moved.  It's such a conversation piece, I love it!
 The back side of the island held my cook books, onions and potatoes and juice boxes for the kids.
My new stove, that I only got to use for about 8 months before we moved.  Our old stove died on Thanksgiving morning. {yes we were hosting} everything had to be cooked and heated on our grill.  this new JennAir Pro came in December. Cooked like a dream...then we moved and it stayed.
Our dining table had an old bench on one side for the kids.  
The master bedroom wasn't huge.  It has a second floor porch which was pretty neat.  We didn't use it much at all.  I just never got around to putting furniture out there. But the view was amazing.
The house has 5 bedrooms.  Our daughters was next to ours, pink of coarse! We did the Ralph Lauren linen technique on the walls.  You an read more about that in the link.  It is hard to see in the pics, but it looked like pieces of fabric on the walls.
The boys had separate bedroom when Griffin was first born.  But when he was about 2 we moved him in with Benjamin.  They are 5 years apart in age.  But so far it is working out.  Here there room was "camp" themed.  We had some old fishing pictures, and the wall paper under the chair rail is by Ralph Lauren was made to look like an old boy scout book.  

The dining room was always a work in progress.  The dining set and rug are from Ethan Allen the Impressions Collection.  It was the first furniture purchase we made after we bought our first house.  The curtains were a score from a local antique dealer who does interior design.  The curtains were made from antique french fabric and the home owner didn't like them.  The designer told me they cost the owner $1200 I bought the 4 panels from there yard sale for $120! score!
Off of the dining room was out main living room.  It has a beautiful fireplace that is original to the house.  We had it fixed and brought up to code. It provided lots of warmth and coziness in the winter months.
 The coffee table is another flea market find.  An old potting table that was made into a coffee table.  

 Off the living room was what we called the den.  It was the man cave!  Greg had a TV in there and we had a gas stove that was so cozy.  We did the Ralph Lauren leather technique on the walls with the original plaster under neath it looked awesome!  I'm looking for pic's of that room.  I'll add them if I find them. 
The yard and gardens were non existent when we moved in.  Over the 10 years we put in numerous perennial plantings such as blackberries growing up an old latter,  a small raised bed for tomatoes and cucumbers, a gourmet herb garden and cutting flower cutting gardens.  
 That's our chicken coop over on the left.  My hubby built that too.  It was still in the building stages- it needed shingles.  But the hens didn't care!
 This hydrangea tree would bloom at the end of the summer.  I could see this garden from my kitchen window and it always made me happy. 
 My husband put in the paver patio which we sat out at almost every night in the summer.  One thing I loved about this house is that it was right in town. Close to the action, restaurants, local shops, but when you were in the back yard you felt like you were miles away.
This was a cozy little spot right off the kitchen.  Just to sit and have a drink of chat on the phone!

So there you have it! Main Street South, Woodbury CT. We still own it, and have wonderful people renting it.  We also are trying to sell it as we have moved on to our next home here in MA, and have started the renovation process again.  I will keep you all updated on the progress.  Let's hope it doesn't take 10 years here! LOL.