Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Injury Prevention - Growing Smarter Athletes

Something that I am proud about is that my family is active.  We all have our own forms of fitness that make us happy, which is even better!  

Izzy loves dancing.  This girl fell in love with it a few years ago, thanks to the best babysitter ever!  I'm thrilled to see Izzy's smile when she talks about dance, practices her moves, and even more - the smile when I pick her up.  You know that smile.  The dancer's high.  For me, it's the runner's high.  But Izzy - it's definitely a dancer's high.  

Tucker, on the other-hand, LOVES soccer!    He's been playing soccer since he was 4 years old in our Boys and Girls youth league, made the 7th/8th grade middle school team this fall and is currently playing indoor soccer with a local league.  

One thing that makes me nervous is his safety.  Tucker's a smaller kid for his age.  Huge feet (size 9 men's) but barely 5 feet.  Most kids in the 7th grade tower over him!  For this indoor soccer league- he's playing again some other kids who are nearly 6 foot tall!

Storelli Next-Gen Soccer Protection, a new soccer equipment was developed to protect and not interfere with your athlete's performance.  The BodyShield is has a great design to it - as it acts more like a second-skin under your kiddo's jersey while adding some much needed protection.  Because soccer really is a contact sport.  As a mom and teacher, I've seen more kids injured this past year playing soccer.  

I'm bummed the ExoShield did not fit Tucker as I'd love to see some added protection for his head during his indoor soccer games this winter.  The smaller "field" means the ball is moving faster and harder.  Those boys are hitting that ball with so much more force and it's a bit worrisome.    

Can you imagine what it will be like with the added protection for all of our athletes?  Could we possibly see a decrease in injuries?  I'm hoping so!  I'd love to see them continue to play their favorite sports and be absolutely FEARLESS in their endeavors.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Leftovers and a side of Birds Eye #BeFlavorFull

Say what? A side of Birds Eye® Steamfresh® ?

Tis the season for Thanksgiving leftovers. I do enjoy roasting my own turkey and eating it throughout the week. There are so many delicious recipes you can make with turkey or you could just simply warm it up and have a side or two of veggies - pictured here - Teriyaki Broccoli and Barbecue Sweet Corn.  YUM!

No need to complicate things. Life is too complicated already! Some nights are just crazy and I want to still eat healthy with the family. I was excited to see the newest Birds Eye® Steamfresh® section at the grocery store - packed with new flavors to add to any meal.

Or if you want a light snack with flavor - feel free to pop a bag of  Birds Eye® Steamfresh®  into your microwave and enjoy - just like I am with the Buffalo Cauliflower!  It was quite delicious!

Ready to try out Birds Eye for yourself? Download this $1.00 off coupon and try it today! Find out if your local grocery store is carrying the newest  Birds Eye® Steamfresh®  here.

Move It Monday!

I definitely picked the best marathon this fall!  My week "off" fell on Thanksgiving Week - which is busy anyway and means all of the food!   

A week off you say?  Yep!  It's my reward to myself and my body for all of the hard work I put it through to rest and recover.  I have finally learned that if I don't give myself ample time to recover, I'll have a miserable return post-marathon and more than likely will end up injured.  


This week I let go of my clean eating and just enjoyed the food.  I mean all food  It was rather nice to not worry and just enjoy!  

guac and chips!  yummy!

And no running?  Seriously?  It was a little dicey.  My sanity wained and I felt a little anxious...which is easily settled with running.  But I needed to listen to my body (and Ward) and not run until Sunday.  My arches were a bit achy earlier in the week...and I didn't want that ache to progress to Plantar Fasciitis...so I rested.  

Butternut squash burrito at Lisa's Legit Burritos, downtown Gardiner.  The best!

In addition to the food and no running - I made it a point to spend far more quality time with the kids.  

no ponytail?  makeup?  who am I?  

hugging this kid a lot more lately...more on that soon

They are my heart and soul and sometimes I feel like I don't do enough with them when I'm training for a race, especially a marathon - which is like having a 2nd job.  

I was still active in other ways.  We walked the dogs.  I practiced yoga. Did cart wheels with Izzy.  I cross trained with the elliptical.  I wasn't a complete couch potato.  But there was a lot of resting too.  

And you know what?  I survived!  REST is just as important to training as the active part too.  Well, for me anyway!  

But as I said, 1 week off from running meant my first run was Sunday.  Which was seriously at the top of my priority list on Sunday!  I enjoyed an easy 4 mile jog, no time, no looking at the GPS,  nothing.  Just me, the fresh air, my GORE jacket, Karhu shoes, ProCompression PC Racers, GORE windstopper gloves, and Royal Fowl Thermal Spandits....loving the feeling of running again.  

Now.... to think about what races I'll be doing in 2016.  I've already signed up for one - the MidWinter Classic 10 miler on February 6th.    That's all I have so far!  

talk about torture when I'm on the elliptical and ALL of these treadmills are empty and calling my name!  

Tell me - are you still racing until the end of 2015?  Do you have your 2016 race schedule filled already?  

Friday, November 27, 2015

My GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap

No matter how long I live in Maine, home will always be Pennsylvania.  Running the GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon was one of those dream-come-true marathons for me.

at least one of us made it to the Rocky Stairs!  The best husband, race supporter, driver ever.  

Well, it was a long drive.  It seemed like it took forever.  Because, well, it did.  Which left us with like 5 minutes in the expo to get our race packets and head over to dinner.

Brooks Ghost 8 - GoreTex.  So cushiony and perfect in many ways.  I am loving them!

I was invited to dinner with Cynthia from GORE, along with the other bloggers who were invited to run Philadelphia.  Bad blogger here...didn't get any photos of the people...but the food.  Oh my!  

I opted for the signature dish - pasta with meatballs.  Absolutely delicious!  

And to top it off, dessert was a fancy cannoli.  Oh my, heaven.  I inhaled it in like 2 seconds flat.  That is why I should never eat dessert.  

Then Ward decided to fall under a plane.  You'd think he was drunk.  But, he doesn't drink.  He's just crazy.  Finally around 9 pm, we made it to our hotel.  

That's when the outfit decision had to be made.  I threw my Spandits and tops on the floor - looked at the weather forecast AGAIN - and finally decided to go with the Mamba print from Spandits, my purple top, black Headsweats visor, Altra One 2.5, Ultimate Direction handheld, ProCompression PC Racers, and fleece lined Brooks arm sleeves (given to me by my fast friend Amy).   My fuel of choice? HoneyStinger, Untapped, and SOS Rehydrate.  And then I had my ShowerPill wipes on standby to wash up post race!  

My alarm went off at 4:30am and I hopped out of bed like a rocket.  I quickly put my race outfit on and then a throwaway sweatshirt.  I went to make my coffee and saw a long, curly blonde hair hanging out of the coffee maker.  This made me want to throw up and hence, meant no coffee.   Ward and Leslie were up and ready in no time as well and all three of us were heading out to the car by 5:15.  The drive to Philly took almost no time and thanks to Leslie's friend Sam, we scored a $5 parking garage literally right off the highway!    

We met up with Sam and headed over toward the race.  

Almost immediately, we were greeted by a super ass long ling for the security check point.  It was a bit chaotic and it wasn't clear if it was for runners only - so Ward stuck with us and made it through security no problem.  I guess when you are a runner and dressed like you're running a marathon, you'll get through as well.  As soon as we got through the line, we headed toward the starting area but needed to make a pitstop at the port-a-potty line.  Instead of long lines of port-a-potties, there were groups of them all over the place.  This still didn't decrease the long lines waiting for them, but I found it a little confusing.  

I was excited by my Media Pass...but sadly didn't get chance to use it!  :(  

We headed toward the bag-check area and that's when Ward decided he would just keep my bag, since he planned on seeing me along the course and meeting me at the finish.  At this point, I lost Leslie and Sam, so Ward and I headed to the green corral area.  

As we were walking to the coral, it hit me.  A sudden rush of overwhelming emotions.  "I was running a a marathon today.  Holy crap, another 26.2 miles.   I'm not ready.  My long run was only 18 miles.  I need more time.  I really want to PR today. Holy crap, I'm seriously not ready.   I miss my kids.  I want Tucker to be healthy.   Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap."   Then the tears hit.   I bit my lip and held them back.  This was not the time to lose my shit...so I shifted my thinking to  "I've done this before.  I've done the work.  Now I need to just do my best and have fun.  I freaking love running."   

Ward's point of view at the start of the race!

Finding my corral was a little tricky, but once we found it, Ward came in with me, being the best supporter ever.  He was giving me advice and I was trying to keep all positive thoughts in my head.  This is when I turned and looked at him and said "I love you so much and love that you're hear, but I seriously need to get myself centered.  I'll see you soon!"   He left and headed toward the media area and I did a dynamic warm-up and collected my thoughts....turning on the positive thoughts.  Thinking about what felt good.  

7AM came and the race hadn't started yet.  7:15...nothing.   Somewhere in there was the National Anthem and then more waiting.  I lost track of the time because I was focused on keeping the GPS going on my Garmin.  Finally our corral started and we slowly started moving.   

As I neared the starting line, I spotted Ward to the right.  This brought a huge smile to my face and I knew everything was going to be alright.  Corny.  Yes.  But so freaking true.  After I passed him, I put in my earbuds and cranked my music.  

The first few miles were crazy packed and hard to manage.  Being the Maine girl, I'm not accustomed to large races like this.  Finding my pace was a little difficult but I was loving every minute of it!  Running through Philadelphia was rather cool!  Most of my races are in the woods in Maine, so as you can imagine, this is quite a change but a super awesome change.    

Ward and selfies with Leslie

Just after the zoo, I saw Ward!  I made a beeline to him.  I was feeling fantastic, like I could run forever!   He jogged with me for a bit, took a pic or two and then said he'd see me shortly. 

After I left him, I realized I freaking had to pee.  Like there was no way I was going to be able to hold it for the remaining 16 miles.  Finally I saw a row of port-a-potties with NO LINE!  I quickly ran over to them, did my thing was back in the race in no time.  I actually didn't really skip a beat at all either... as I found myself with the same people I had left just a few moments prior before my pee stop.  This is when I'm super happy for my fast pee skills...thank you teacher life.  

It turned out that I felt like I had lost like 20 lbs of bloatedness and felt way better.  Shortly after that I saw Ward again!  He jumped in with me for a little bit.  Actually, I think he stayed with me from mile 12 - 14ish.    

We got to the 13 mile point.... and I felt a small piece feeling jealous of the half marathoners as they parted off to the right.  Some others didn't like running along the Schukyl River, but I rather enjoyed it.  The name of it just makes me smile.  Growing up in the small town of Wiconisco, PA - our big shopping trips to the mall usually resulted in going to the Schukyl Mall.  Lots of fun childhood memories in this name.   But I digress.  

While we were running, Ward called my dad and we talked a little bit.  It was awesome to talk to my dad cheering me on from Harrisburg!  Ward parted off around mile 14 and said he'd be waiting for me when I got back there.  I really wanted him to just keep running with me.   

I started to feel some pains in my stomach around mile 19.  1 more mile...I kept saying to myself.  I more mile until we turn around.  1 more mile.  By the time I got to mile 20, my stomach felt like it was going to be torn to shreds.  It hurt so bad.  I ran past the beer table and was seriously tempted. Then I thought- how on earth do people drink beer and then continue to run another 5+ miles?  This distracted me for a bit and distracted me from the pain in the gut.  

I did some quick calculations and realized if I slowed down anymore, the PR I was aiming for was going to be in jeopardy.  So I sucked up the pain, and just smiled and kept going.  I wasn't going to walk.  No way.  No how.  I thought about Deena Kastor and the positive thoughts she uses in a race and focused on those.  I focused on how great my arms felt, how my calves felt, how much I loved running.  This occupied my time until I saw Ward around mile 24/25.  He ran with for a bit and urged me to keep moving.   Then he was stopped by security and was told he couldn't run any further.  He shouted at me to run hard and push it.  So I did.  

Coming into the finish line felt amazing!  I high fived the mayor of Philadelphia, then was ushered through the chute to get my medal - the best damn metal ever - and my mylar blanket and water.  I stood in an incredibly long line to get my post-race snacks. And then was ushered by security to keep moving.

the back of my race shirt - this is an awesome touch!

At this point I had no idea where I was or where Leslie and Ward were. We were supposed to meet by the media tent...but since security ushered me through the area, I knew I wasn't going to be able to get back there. Why the heck did I not check my bag?  i would have had my warm clothes and my phone by now and could find him!!??  Ugh.  So I kept walking...and looked around.  I went to the family meeting area and looked around.   So I walked a bit...and finally came to my senses and asked a nice looking man if I could borrow his phone to call Ward.  Ward told me where he was so I turned around and started walking in the direction...and stood on the corner where he said he was.  Nothing.  Ugh!  So I asked another nice person to borrow their phone...Ward said he was standing on the corner...but apparently in Philadelphia there are like 4 corners with the same signs.  And a ton of construction in the middle so you cannot see the other corner....where he was standing.  I was beginning to shiver uncontrollable by this point... and considered just walking to the med tent when I finally saw him.  He gave me his down jacket to warm me up and we walked toward Leslie.... who had a freaking kick ass marathon!  (when I grow up I want to be like Leslie).  

I don't usually like race shirts - but this one is awesome!

I had no idea what my official time was since I had that pee break, I feared my Garmin was a bit off.  So I didn't even know if I hit my PR or not.   When I got to check my phone, it was confirmed.  I earned it.  A freaking PR.  Not the PR I wanted but a PR.  

I'll take it.  3:54:29.4

The GORE-TEX Philadelphia Marathon marked marathon #6 for me, my 3rd marathon in 2015 and a PR.  I have so much to be proud of with these huge accomplishments!   

A little less eventful.  We did stop at 5 Guys (how was it my first time ever eating there?) to eat.  I maybe devoured my XL sized burger in like 5 seconds.   Oops!  

But first....do I have food stuck in my teeth?  

I kept my legs elevated while wearing my ProCompression socks under my fuzzy Spandits thermal tights...while I admired my kickass medal.  

We finally arrived home just after 9:30pm...kissed the kids who were already home waiting for us with Grammy.  Thank goodness for Grammy!  And promptly passed out.  

Then the next morning I dragged my butt out of bed, put on my race shirt and medal and went to school...because obviously, that's what you do after you drive over 1000 miles in a weekend and run a marathon.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

TV Everywhere!

There was a time in college when I arranged my class schedule around my favorite shows.  Yes I did.  Sadly, working, kids, coaching, and running doesn't really give me the time to schedule my life around TV shows anymore.  Seriously, I can go days even weeks without turning on the TV.   But you better believe it, I always have my laptop near me!  

On the occasional night when I did get to turn on the TV, I would watch the Voice.  You cannot even imagine my excitement when I saw that NBC has launched a new program:  Watch TV Without the TV.   You do not have to schedule your life around your shows.  NBC has made it possible for existing cable subscribers to watch their favorite shows when YOU have time!  

One show I have fallen in love with is the Voice!  There is something about unwinding after a crazy, day with the inspirational stories on the show and of course - music.  I love music!   My favorite aspiring artist has been Braiden Sunshine and I just loved watching his Top 12 performance!  

I'm looking forward to catching up on all of the episodes I've missed and staying on top of the Voice with NBC TV Everywhere.

Now it's time to catch up and stay on top of your favorite NBC shows like The Blacklist, Heroes Reborn, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago PD!