Saturday, July 25, 2015

All Or Nothing Day

I've been anxiously waiting for this weekend for a long time now.  This weekend has so many emotions wrapped into it, it is hard to explain.

Let me back up a bit.  Last year, I agreed to be the runner for a relay team for Tri For A Cure with my friend, Stacy.  I seriously had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Not the relay part. But the emotional piece.  The race starts off at a gorgeous setting on the Coast of Maine - next to one of my mom's favorite lighthouses - Bug Light.  The ceremony at the start of the race is moving - honoring all of the women who have fought, won or lost the battle to cancer.  I wasn't prepared for this last year, but I am sure happy I witnessed it.  I was (and still am) amazed by the stories behind the women who started this race and some of the stories I heard at the race.  I knew at that moment that I would be doing the full tri this year.   

Back when the lottery opened up, I put my name in immediately.  Lucky for me, my name was drawn in the first round.  I knew the swimming and biking would be no problem for me.  But the swimming.  Yes, that terrifies me.   But that small part of a race is nothing compared to the pain and suffering people experience when battling cancer.  If my loved ones - Vicky, Carissa, and Janie can battle this horrible disease, I can shove myself into a wetsuit and doggy paddle 1/3 mile in the ocean.  

last year

This morning, I loaded my bike up in my car and headed down to South Portland for registration and to rack my bike.  Tears overwhelmed me and I had a very therapeutic cry, missing my mom, knowing she is going to be with me tomorrow.    

Tomorrow is about so many things.  It's about honoring women (and men) who have fought the cancer battle and won.  It's about giving strength to to those who are currently battling this disease.  It's about honoring those who lost that battle.   It's about giving strength to the families and friends who provide strength to cancer fighters.   It's about facing my own fears and living life to the fullest.  

Everyday should be about putting it out there.  Living full hearted life and giving it your all.  

each athlete was given a scarf stitched with love in honor of a cancer survivor
This past week I was coincidentally contacted by Heather, who was diagnosed with Mesothelioma 10 years ago.  She looked cancer in the eye and said no.   She is the woman behind All or Nothing Day, which is tomorrow.  While I don't even know Heather in person, her story is incredibly inspirational to me, which is why I am happy to share her story and All or Nothing Day.  I want to share the message that we need to live each day like it's our last.   Thank you for contacting me, Heather.  I am proud of you and your message. 

I will wear this scarf with honor and remember to live each day like it's my last

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The WINNER is Carrie!

But most of you already know that!  Carrie will be joining myself along with other super awesome woman bloggers at the Rise.Run.Retreat this October.  I'm still not sure how I got the invite yet.... but I'll go with it.  

Carrie blogs at EightCrazySoles and her husband nominated her!  How cool is that!  

Congrats, Carrie!  I cannot wait to meet you this October!  

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Funday!

In the summer, everyday is Funday for us!  Sorry.  Just had to rub it in.  We're super busy this summer - but we still have time to play!  

And by play - I mean we spend a lot of time outside: at the pool, beach, camp and we need to protect ourselves from the sun as much as possible.  

I was sent the Cappelli Straworld Pack A Hat to review.  As soon as Izzy saw it, she stole it from me.  Normally I'd be sad about this, but it looks far better on her anyway!  

The Pack A Hat is not only adorable, but it's rated UPF 50+ and comes in a small wristlet tote to make travel practical and simple.   The Pack A Hat is also super affordable - $25 retail price.  I love how you can stuff it in the little bag and when you pull it out, it looks great!   

We have a huge weekend planned with tons of outdoor/water fun and I've already tossed the Pack A Hat in my bag to make sure it comes along for some cuteness and summer sun protection!   

disclosure: I was sent the Pack A Hat for the purpose of a review.  I was not further compensated and was not required to provide a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Join Me for the Rise.Run.Retreat

Back in 2010, I took my first leap into the half marathon world with the Maine Half Marathon.  

It was after that race I was determined that the next year I was coming back to the course and complete my first marathon.  And I did.  In the pouring rain.  

best feeling ever is coming into the finish line and seeing your family...even better, your son running with you!  

This year, I'm happy to announce I'm going back!  I wanted to do a fall half as a tune-up race prior to the Philadelphia Marathon (at the end of November), and the Maine Marathon - Half, is absolutely perfect timing.  

But I have something even bigger going on that weekend than simply showing up to the race and doing it.  I'm going to attend the first ever, inaugural Rise.Run.Retreat.  

I'm excited to join this group of women runners and I'm happy to announce that there is room for one more lucky lady!!!!  

Here are the details: 
* the lucky winner will receive free retreat registration
* must be available October 2-5th
* must provide your own travel to and from Wells, Maine and be responsible for some meals 
* is responsible for your own Maine Half Marathon registration
* must be active on social media (in some form - you don't have to have a blog)
* must be over 18

It's rather simple to enter.  All you have to do is let me know why you want to attend Rise.Run.Retreat in 200 words or less in a comment below. 

Check out Allie, Christine, Laura, Sandra, Tina, Sarah, Jesica, and Angela's blogs for their giveaway posts.  We will each choose one candidate from the entries on our blogs.  From that pool - one overall winner will be selected.  Follow Rise.Run.Retreat on Instagram and Twitter!  

The giveaway will run from today through 7/10/15.  The winner will be announced on July 13th.  

I'm super excited by the sponsors who are helping to make Rise.Run.Retreat possible!  

Disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited. Must be 18 years or older to enter. Contest runs 7/1-7/10. Winners will be selected based on their response. Winners announced 7/13. Winner is responsible for all travel and meal costs. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Umm....FINALLY my Maine Coast Marathon Recap

On Mother's Day.... yeah...WAAAY back to May 10th, I ran marathon #5 - The Maine Coast Marathon.... otherwise known as my personal worst marathon ever.  And let's seriously HOPE that will be the case forever.

A little rewind...3 weeks prior, I ran the Boston Marathon and scored my first worst marathon in sub 40F/25 mph headwinds/downpours - you know - fabulous weather.  I made smart marathon choices and only brought my singlet with me and froze my ass off.  Seriously?  Who am I only bringing one top?  Anyway, this post is not about Boston. 

Maine Coast Marathon Gear - Skechers GoRun3, ProCompression low socks #twopairdontcare, Spandits singlet, Spandits custom (and out of print) boardies, Headsweats Visor, FlipBelt (which I lost at the marathon...and had to buy another because I love it so much), SOS Rehydrate, and HoneyStinger.  

Fastforward 3 weeks later, I was ready.  I felt absolutely ready to get myself a marathon PR (which would be a sub 3:56).   Carrie and I headed down to the expo, got our shirts and beer bracelets, snapped some photos with the mermaid - then headed to our hotel.  

We met up with our friend Gretchen and her husband (who had both done the half marathon earlier in the day - Gretchen was doing the 39.3 challenge - because she is badass) and went out for dinner.  I stuck with my normal burger and beer which has worked wonderfully before.  

when I was still feeling good.... 

The next morning, Gretchen's husband took us to the starting line.  By then it was already rather warm and I was getting rather nervous.  Thankfully I ignored Ward and brought along a water bottle to hold (and toss if I felt like it).  

still feeling good.....

The first 15/16 miles flew by.  I felt great.  I sipped my SOS Rehydrate as I ran, listened to my fab playlist and just keep great paces in the 8:50-9:00 min/mile range.  

and was all over and it was time for selfies!
But then I seriously hit the wall.  I suddenly felt like I was running in an oven and I felt my arms and they were dry....then I felt a chill.  When there was no reason to feel a chill.  OHHHH crap, I thought. I put on the brakes and called Ward to let him know I was done.  I was going to run/walk/crawl to the end...but it was going to take me forever.   I seriously didn't have a choice - I wasn't going to push it as I had to drive the 2 hours home and the rest of my family was 3 hours away at Tucker's soccer game.  So I played it smart - I think and just took in the gorgeous coastal Maine scenery the race had to offer.  

Hey look!  A Citgo Sign.  

After a bit I was hoping Carrie would catch up to me, so I texted her.  She was feeling like crap too...I told her I would wait for her and she said that she was about 2 miles behind me.  I offered to nap on the side of road for her and she said no.  Boo.  I was kind of hoping to take a nap.  

trying to look like I'm not dying

So I trudged on.  Filling my water bottle with water/gatorade at every-single-water stop.  I was so thirsty and I felt like crap.    
seeing friends at water stops ROCKS!!!!

Finally I met up with a lovely woman who had run the half the day before...and I hung with her.  She and I would run together, then walk, then run and so on an so forth.  

I finally did it---  4:49:10.    I completed Marathon more to go for 2015.  Now let's hope it doesn't blizzard or something because I obviously have this horrible race weather mojo.   

thank you sweet nice woman who got me to the finish!!!

And let's not forget...I had to eat pizza and enjoy my beer at the finish.

My knee was throbbing so much for the last 10 miles...and I'm thinking it was because I had slowed down so much....but I wasn't I asked for ice pack on my knee.  

The course itself was rather hilly.  Perhaps it was the weather...but it seriously felt hillier than any other marathon I had done before.  The views were spectacular.  I wished there were more water stops...but I honestly do not know how many there were as my mind wasn't really working at its fullest capabilities.  There could have been more portable toilets at the start....long lines are never awesome.  And the shirt?  It's ugly as sin.  I never even put it on.  I tossed it as soon as I got home.  Will I do this one again?  I'm not sure.  

and this is the temp at the car when I got back to it..... just a little hot.   Boo.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Happy National Sunglasses Day! #NationalSunglassesDay

*Disclaimer: I was asked by the Vision Council to participate in this webinar in exchange for a blog post. I received a sunglasses, a cooling towel, and other summer accessories, from the Vision Council in exchange for my post.

I recently participated in a webinar - Healthy Bodies, Healthy Eyes: Protecting Vision from UV Radiation, which was presented by Dr. Justin Bazan, OD.  The webinar was sponsored by the Vision Council and the primary focus was how and why we should protect our eyes.  

A few tidbits I learned is:
- 1 out of 4 American rarely or never wear sunglasses
- 2 out of 3 Americans leave they eyes unprotected on cloudy or rainy days
- 3 out of 10 Americans do not protect their eyes in the winter 

Personally, I was shocked to read this!  I find I squint a bit on rainy days or winter days (hello reflection on all of that white stuff that continuously falls to the ground!) - of course it would make sense to wear sunglasses year round - in all types of weather - sunny, rainy, cloudy, snowy - heck just wear them all of the time....even at night!  You Corey Heart says.  (I seriously LOVE this song!)

AND did you know that athletes are amongst the group of people who wear sunglasses the least?  Crazy!  With all of that time we spend outside - sweating our asses off, training for all of those races - we don't protect our eyes?  

Oh wait - I'm SOOO guilty of that.  I usually have a hat or visor on - but sadly that is not enough.  So before you head out on your next run or bike ride.... grab those sunglasses and protect your eyes!  

And you don't have to drop a ton of money on sunglasses to make them good sunglasses.  Just make sure your sunglasses of choice have - protection from UVA/UVB rays, lens colors that cut the glare and are from a sunglasses retailer that follows industry standards.  

Now - get your sunglasses on and take a #SunglassSelfie #NationalSunglassesDay and tag @OpticalIndusty!  
Time celebrate!  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tried It Tuesday

7 more school days.  I can do it.  To be honest, the last few days have been incredibly crazy.  The seniors are done (with school) but planning project graduation and doing all of the last minute organizing is absolutely overwhelming!  Thankfully I have incredible co-workers who allow me to ask them 6,000 questions a day.  I am so thankful my class officers helped out as much as they did...but now is the time that they need to be focused on themselves and enjoying the last few days!    I just need to get through until 7am (ish) and hopefully not too much longer after that....   It's going to be tough, but a ton of fun!  

They did the senior prank last week and my room got hit.   I actually thought it was funny!   

Now.... you know I love my smoothies!  You also know I love chocolate.  So, when CocoaVia offered to send me samples of their daily cocoa supplements, I had to try them out!  Um HELLO dark chocolate!!!  

Sadly, the dark chocolate was the first to disappear.  But that's easily remedied...just a few clicks of the mouse and I'll have another package arriving at my house in no time!  

So....what DID I use my CocoaVia in?  

Well.....  COFFEE!  

I love dark dark chocolate ONLY made sense.  This was amazing!  I could seriously drink this daily!  

And then ICED COFFEE!  

Step 1: Brew coffee
Step 2: fill shaker bottle with ice 
& add in your creamer and sugar

Step 3: pour coffee over the ice
Step 4: pour CocoaVia over coffee
Step 5: put lid on and shake like hell 

Step 6: Enjoy the deciousness!!!!  

And then SMOOTHIES!  

Added to my morning smoothie with cashew milk, 
greek yogurt, hemp seeds and a tablespoon of peanut butter!  

Or - cashew milk, greek yogurt, handful of frozen berries and 
then CocoaVia Cran-Raspberry.  

Not only does CocoaVia taste's actually good for you too!
*each dark chocolate powdered stick has 25 calories per serving, 0.5 grams of fat and no cholesterol.  
*375 mg of cocoa flavanols per serving - which are scientifically proven to help support healthy circulation (important for cardiovascular health!)

Have you ever tried CocoaVia?  What would you try it with? 

disclosure: I was sent a sample pack of CocoaVia to review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.