Sunday, April 29, 2012

Team Need For Speed

We're getting there - 19 more days until Reach The Beach.  Last night some of us met for dinner and meeting at the Sea Dog.  

Capt'n Fancy Pants - aka Sarah

Mr. Fancypants 

Considering we team members from all over New England, having 7 out of 12 members make it last night  made for a pretty good turn out.  It was especially nice to meet Eric and Andy in real life since we have been chatting on twitter/facebook here and there.

Lauren & Andy


 Capt'n Fancypants was organized out get together and brought along the huge rules booklet.


Some of the rules to remember:
- run on the side of the road with the RTB arrows - easy enough
- be quiet during quiet zone hours - okay, I can handle that
- no pooping along the road/on people's lawns/etc.  - okay, I get it! I wouldn't want people pooping on my lawn or on the side of the road, but what if I'm in the middle of the woods and really have to go???

& the rules go on and on - mostly all common sense


We're getting there!  This is going to be one fun adventure for sure.

and me!
Have you done a relay race before?  What tips can you share?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Team A.L.I. Virtual Run

Suz & Allan over at Cows and Lasers and Everything In Between are currently hosting a virtual run for their niece, friend Jenn, and Suz's mom - all who came into this world as premature babies.  Head on over to their blog to read these amazing stories.  You will tear up for sure.

Their stories hit home for me as well.  A very dear friend's baby girl came also came into this world as a premature baby.  Reading these stories brought me back to the day I met A in the hospital.  She was so tiny and incredibly fragile.  My heart ached for her and her family.   She is now a very strong willed 3 year old girl who is indeed a fighter.  I am thankful for having her in our life.

Last night Pepper and I went out for another run and I decided that I was going to dedicate that one to Team A.L.I. and our A.  

5 miles w/ Pepper - done!

Here's hoping Team A.L.I. raised quite a bit of money for the March of Dimes.   Thank you for putting together this virtual race, Suz and Allan.  I hope your fundraising efforts were successful!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Altras Review

When I came home from work and saw the box from Altra – I tore into the sucker like I was a 5 year old on Christmas morning.  I was beyond excited to receive these shoes!  More importantly, I think the fantastic people at Altra knew I am a purple person.  When I saw that they sent me purple Delilahs, I nearly peed my pants in excitement.

aren't they beautiful?  

And because I have zero patience, I put the shoes on immediately and went for a run.  Dinner could wait.   I didn't want to overdo it, so I went for a quick 3 miler.  I really enjoyed the lightness and the ability to feel exactly where I was landing each foot strike.    

I truly have a shoe problem and I love taking pictures of shoes

Did you notice that the laces are purple in the picture above?  Yes, in the box was extra pair of laces in purple.  Obviously I was going to be switching out the black laces for purple ones.  A no brainer for me. 

I have since worn these shoes for my shorter runs during the week.  I've gone up to 4 miles in them and they feel great.  As with any transition to zero drop, the transition should be slow.  I don't want to overdo it and injure myself especially with Reach the Beach coming up, so I'm taking it easy.  

a bit dirty - but that's what happens when one wears them all of the time!

Altra does suggest that people taking the minimalist route do need to take their time.  In the literature provided by Altra, I came across this factoid

"A lifetime of wearing an elevated heel has neutralized your Achilles and lower calf... They need time to re-develop.  It is highly recommended to listen to your body.  Start with very short distances and slowly work your way up (a few minutes at a time).  This will allow your muscles and tendons the necessary time to adapt back to their natural state & into the Altra experience!"

For additional information regarding transition, please check out Altra's site here.

What do I love about the Delilahs:

  • Wide toe box - Perfect for my freakishly wide feet equipped with bunions. 
  • Zero Drop – love. 
  • Weight - 6.5 oz.
  • They are purple!  I know, I shouldn't like a shoe because of it's color, but it does help.  

In addition to running, these shoes are excellent for everyday wear as well.  I've worn them to school.  

I must be one of the most casual dressed teachers around...
but at least I look cool sporting my purple Horny Toad pants with my Delilahs!

I've worn them for my trek around Boston while spectating the Boston Marathon.  I made sure to make it to the Altra exhibit at the Boston Marathon expo on Sunday.  I really wanted to try on the Intuition to compare with the Delilahs.  The 12 mm sole did make a difference.  Verdit – my next running shoe will be the Intuitions for the longer runs.  The only bummer is that they aren’t as pretty as the Delilahs.  I think Intuitions have an odd appearance to them but this is when wide toe box and comfort are more important than looks.   

I wore my Delilahs all over Boston on Sunday and Monday.  Afterwards, my legs still felt great.  I wish I could say the same for my hip and arms from holding a 35 pound toddler all day.  But at least my feet and calves were not aching. 

I even wore them for a 4 mile hike with the kids on Friday.  I was a bit nervous that the thin sole would be an issue with the rocks but they were not an issue.   But again, my feet felt incredible after the hike. 

rocks, sand, gravel were nothing for these shoes - they were perfect for the hike
I also need to mention this - the wide toe box on this shoe is amazing.  Yes, I have bunions - but I also have the funkiest little toes.  I actually returned the Brooks Pure Connects (mens) because they were still too narrow and really irritated my left little toe.  From time to time, I feel some weird rubbing in other shoes with that freaky little toe, but not in the Delilahs.

pic of ugliest feet around - gross toe 
And the best thing of all - these are women's shoes, designed specifically for women. It seems like forever since I've been able to wear a pair of women's shoes and not feel any pain.  Thank you, Altra for providing me with this amazing experience.

I was provided a pair of Altra Delilahs free of charge in exchange for a review.   All opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yay Pepper!

As I was heading out for my 8 miler yesterday, I caught a glimpse of Pepper's big, brown, doggie eyes and I couldn't say no to her.  I grabbed her leash and opened the hatch to the good ol' station wagon and in she jumped.  We were off to the rail trail.  I contemplated making the run shorter because Pepper hasn't done 8 miles before.  When we arrived to the rail trail (only a 3 mile drive from the house), I decided we would try for 8 and see where it got us.  

My girl started off so strong, she was quite happy to be out with me again.  When we reached the 3 mile point, she still seemed strong and happy, so we continued.  At 3.5 miles, you guessed it, still strong.  When we arrived at the 4 mile point & turn around, we paused for a moment, I patted her and told her how awesome she was.  She wagged her cut lab tail in agreement and then we were off.  Well, sort of.  I forgot to mention, it was windier than ever yesterday and it didn't seem to matter which direction we were running, the wind was horrible!  

Still, Pepper powered on.   When we arrived at the car, she promptly jumped into the back of the car and laid down.  She was pooped.  And so was I.  

Before heading into the house, I had to get a picture of us together to remember this great new milestone with Pepper reaching 8 miles! 

What's next for this dog?  10? 15? 20?  Who knows?   I do know that I have a fabulous dog who really seems to enjoy running with me.  Maybe she'll start joining the human girls and I for our long runs!  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Little Maine Gem

This past Friday, I took the kids to this cute little beach in Phippsburg.  It's actually called Bate-Morse Mountain Conservation Area or as I've heard it called Morse Mountain.  I don't know why, but I had no idea this place existed.    I need to get out more.

We had three busy days earlier in the week in Boston, so what we really needed was a low key adventure day in our own state.  

What is it with boys climbing up on huge rocks and insisting on tons of pictures?  

What's great about it is that it's a 2 mile hike into the mountain and beach area and then a 2 mile hike back.  The hike isn't challenging at all and the hiking trail is quite wide and easy to walk on.   I did use my Garmin to measure the distance to ease my curiosity and so I could really answer the questions like "how much longer?  are we there yet?"  

Since I had never been and I thought I was going for a true hike, I took Izzy and put her in the backpack.  Izzy was a trooper in the backpack, especially after never really going for any hikes or walks in it before.  

The hike in was so easy and gradual, I really had no idea we had climbed a mountain.  At the top of the mountain was also a vacation home that can be rented out.  I just looked up how much it costs to rent these vacation homes and they are $3000 for week during peak tourist times.  Ouch!  I'll just stick to the 50 minute drive.  

I really don't know what I was thinking.  My back was so sore after this hike.  Izzy IS 36 lbs now and to be honest, I don't think I've ever put her in the backpack.  Ward and I used to hike with Tucker in the backpack quite a bit when he was younger and I don't remember it being so challenging.  Perhaps I was thinking "I'm tough, I can handle this. No sweat!"  Next time we go, we'll take the jogger with us!  The trail was really wide and easy to navigate - it will surely accommodate a jogger for sure.  

You can't see it, but there is a lighthouse out in the distance.  

The beach was perfect!  There were only a handful of people.  It was such a gorgeous area.  The boys immediately started collecting shells while Izzy had a blast playing in the sand.  

Tucker really wanted to bring this buoy back with him.   I finally convinced him that it would be a long 2 mile hike back holding that thing.  

She is loving beach life.  I see many days at the beach this summer.  

 Of course there was more rock climbing.  

My tough guys!  

We will definitely be heading back here several times this summer.  Such a beautiful little spot.  If you are ever in the area, you need to check it out!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Training Contest

Running shoes is hosting a fun contest in conjunction with New Balance.  Visit them to read about spring training, share your tips, and while you are at it, enter the contest!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

First Double

With Reach the Beach: MA less than a month away, I need to put my energy into getting ready to run multiple legs in a 24 hour period.  Actually, looking our team's spreadsheet - it's more like 30 or so hours, but you get the picture.  My plan is to dedicate two days per week that are back to back to get in three runs within 30 hours.  So far I'm rocking it.  Well, I think so anyway.

okay, I know I just used this picture earlier today,
but this was after the 5 miles yesterday
11 am:  5 mile run (with Tucker biking along)

6 am: 6 miles
12:30 pm: 4 miles (with Tucker biking again)

15 miles in 25.5 hours.  Not too shabby.  

Today was my first double, ever.  Now that Ward is done with Boston and probably not going to train for anything anytime soon - it's all me!  Yeah right.  This little fantasy world I'm living in will only last about a week until he decides he's going to train for something.  I may as well run as much as I can while the schedule is open, right?  

It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I've been a little quite nervous about multiple runs in a short amount of time.  For the past few months, I've been trying to get in two longish runs during the weekends as well.  Actually, I really enjoy piling the miles on during the weekend anyway.     

My "leg" for the team consists of three runs totally 16.74 miles.  If I just pulled off a respectable 15 miles amongst three runs, I'd say I'm on the right track.  We'll try the three run thing again next weekend.  Next time, I'll aim at 17 miles total.  I think "over-training" will be better for me in this situation anyway.  

Have you ever run a 24 hour relay race?  This is my first time ever.  Heck, I never even run a relay race in high school!  

Headsweats Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Supervisor from Headsweats

I really enjoy running with a hat.  In the spring and fall, I can get away with running with my hat.  This is perfect for keeping the sun and sweat out of my eyes.  I’ve tried running in sunglasses and either I am challenged in choosing the right running sunglasses or sunglasses are just aren’t for me.  I always seem to find glasses that fog up which is incredibly annoying.  Then there’s the problem of what to do with said glasses when they annoy me.  Do I just toss them on the side of the road? Put them on the top of my head and have them slip around.  No thank you. 

This is why I love wearing a hat but my head gets way too hot to always wear a hat.  In comes the Supervisor.  For me, it’s the perfect option.  I have protection from the sun, something to soak up the sweat and there’s this big hole on the top of my head to allow for tons of ventilation and no overheating. 

A little bit about the Supervisor:
- Eventure elastic band for fast moisture transfer and comfortable fit
- COOLMAX fabric shell
- COOLMAX fabric terry headband to keep perspiration out of your eyes
- Ultra-light comfort weighing in less than 1.3 oz

Initially I was worried that the band was not adjustable.  I wasn’t sure how it would work for me.  Would it be too lose? Too tight? 

Of course I had to go for a run to find out. 

The visor fit me perfectly.  Absolutely no slipping, zero sweating and my eyes were protected.  It wasn't too tight or too loose - amazing!   I’ve since worn my new Headsweats Supervisor for several runs and it feels great.  

And what's even better is that it is Scoutie approved!  

Disclaimer - I was sent the Headsweats Supervisor Headband in exchange for a review.  All opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Boudreau Family Takes On Boston

Early Sunday morning, two cars loaded up with some of my favorite people left Maine for the Boston Marathon experience.  Our first stop was the expo at the Seaport World Trade Center.

After the expo, we packed ourselves back into the cars and set our sights for Ward and Wade's Aunt Judy and Uncle Pete's house just outside of Boston.  While I don't have a lot of pictures of this part, it was definitely one of my favorite parts of our trip.  Great times, awesome family, and a place to sleep and eat = ever grateful.  Thank you Aunt Judy and Uncle Pete!

the kids had a blast on the best trampoline ever too
Marathon Monday

Let me start out by saying every single person who took on Boston on Monday is a ROCKSTAR.  They battled 26.2 miles in the grueling heat.  The newspaper article I just read about the race said that the temps rose to 89 degrees during the race.   Now that's just crazy.  I know there are people who run in hot temperatures all of the time, those people must have super powers or something.  But for good old New England, we've been living in 40/50 degree weather for the past 3 weeks, so this spike in temps really made running quite challenging.  According to the BAA email sent out regarding the heat advisory, it is recommended you have 10 days to acclimate to running in new (hot) temperatures.  This was quite unfortunate because the temperature only spiked the day before, giving 1 day to acclimate.  Not going to happen.  Monday's race was not about time for sure, it was about the Boston experience.

Ward and Wade's Aunt Judy offered to take the guys into Hopinton in the morning.   They left the house at 6 am.  Wade looks completely ready to take on a marathon, not so sure about Ward here.  Don't they look stylish?  I especially love the hunter orange hats and Ward's torn up sweatshirt.  We call it his homeless sweatshirt.  I was hoping he would leave it somewhere in the runners village, but low and behold he checked it in his bag and it has returned.  Bummer.

After Aunt Judy dropped them off, she and my in-laws headed for a spot near the starting line with their chairs. They had to get there quite early to claim those spots.  As soon as Ward and Wade ran past them, my father-in-law called me to let me know they were on their way!  

Jill and I were not about to battle driving in Boston (or even near Boston) on this day.  Maybe experienced Boston drivers would do it, but we were going to play it safe.   We opted to take the Commuter Rail in from Grafton, only 10 miles from Ward and Wade's aunt and uncle's house.

Here are the kids, waiting to board the commuter train.

The purple line stopped at Back Bay.  Honestly, I had no idea where we were.  According to the map, we were somewhere near the finish line but I didn't know how close.  First, Jill spotted a Starbucks so we made a beeline there first to load up on frappucinos while the kids had their dose of donuts and pumpkin loaf.  We started walking down the road and came to the finish line.  I didn't get any awesome shots because it was corralled off, but at least we were there.  I hope someday to be crossing that finish line as a runner.  

We were heading to an old friend's apartment on Beacon Street - at about mile 23.   We lucked out big time when Kim's mom, Gail (a retired teacher) was subbing in my classroom a few weeks back. She asked me where I was watching the marathon and I told her I had no idea and was stressing out about it.  She told me that her daughter Kim lived on Beacon Street and that she was going down to watch the marathon.  She invited Jill and I and the kids to come down and watch with them.  This was an incredibly generous offer and a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders.  

Since we started out not too far from mile 26, I thought for sure we would have zero problems walking there.  The crowds weren't crazy yet and we had time to kill.   Jill and I carried the girls on our hips almost the entire time (ouch!).  The boys did their absolute best trying to keep up.  To Jill and I, 3+ miles is nothing.  But I need to remember that this distance for  two 8 year old boys is quite far. Tucker was hobbling around like some type of cripple and I thought I was going to have to amputate.  Next time we're taking the T. 

Here we are, ready to take on the trek to Kim's apartment.  

At least we didn't miss a thing while getting to the apartment - here's the first wheel chair.  He was flying, well not really, but he was moving quite fast and he broke the world record by 2 seconds!

Finally, we spotted Kim's apartment building.  I know it's blurry - but oh well.  You really don't know how happy we were to get there. The kids (finally) had a chance to sit down and rest.  And we had an incredible view.   

Not long after we got there, the elite runners started coming.  I was able to spot elite Maine Mom Runner - Sheri Piers.  This woman is a goddess and she finished in the top 10.  

This little runner girl was wiped out because she had no problem laying down on Kim's couch and taking a power nap.  Unfortunately, the nap didn't last too long because I got the automated text saying Ward and Wade were at the 30K mark, which meant they should be approaching within 30 minutes.  At least she got some rest.  

Our friend Mark and his two kids came down from Maine to join us at Kim's apartment as well.   Mark came down to watch the marathon last year and is a bit more experienced getting around Boston.  Having him with us was a huge help.  Mark pointed out the the T was across the street and if we wanted to get across, we should go before the massive waves of runners started coming.  He was right.  When we got downstairs, it was almost impossible to cross the road without taking out a runner.  We waited for some type of break and just went for it.  Thankfully we didn't have any casualties - runners or kids.   

We stood on the other side of the road for what seemed like forever, but was probably only 20 minutes.  I was quite nervous that we somehow missed the guys.  I was starting to feel bad that Mark had come all the way down here, toting along 2 kids, to miss out on seeing the guys.  But finally, Mark spotted them!   

Wade sharing some of the sweat with Mark.  

Here's Wade again - blowing kisses to Jill and the family.  

Then they are off again, for another 2+ miles.  

Kim snapped a photo of the guys from her balcony.  There they are - our men in short shorts just before we saw them.

Mark's daughter took this picture of the guys as they were leaving us.  Here's Mark, Izzy and myself as well just before we went over to the T stop.  

After the guys took off for the finish line, we gathered our little heard of children and walked the 10 yards or so to the T stop.  We boarded within minutes and were off on another (shorter) T experience.   

We got off the T at Arlington and headed to the park.  This gave the adults a chance to sit and rest a bit and gave the kids a chance to run around.  The plan was to wait there for the guys, but after thinking about it a little more, I thought it would be awfully cruel to make them walk there.  Again, we gathered the kids again and battled the crowds through the family meeting area looking for the guys.  I had no idea where I was going and kept calling Ward and making him describe where he was - the description I got was "we're on the corner of Stewart and Trinity, across from a big shiny building".  I tried so hard to not get mad at him but really?  Like I have any idea where that is.  Finally we got more details and asked some police officers for help.  Then after a more crowd maneuvering we found them.  

Ward & Tucker
Wade & Jackson

By this point the other toddler girl - Scout was out cold.  This was one long day for those girls and everyone else for that matter.   

Once we found the guys, the next thought was now how far are we going to have to walk to get back to  Back Bay?  Oh man.  Then Jill spotted the first Starbucks we stopped at and we knew we were close.  That woman can spot a Starbucks out in any crowd.  

Ward, Mark, and Wade just before we boarded the purple line to head back to Grafton.  

Post race massages on the Commuter Rail.  

The end result - both guys crossed the finish line with a time of 3:45.   Like I said earlier, Monday's race was not about time, it was about the Boston experience. The weather was not going to allow anyone any PR's.   I am incredibly proud of both guys and their accomplishment by taking on such an grueling race.  The next time they qualify and run, let's just hope for better weather.  

As for me, spectating wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  I was paranoid about getting lost, losing a child and never finding Ward.  We didn't get lost, we didn't lose any children and we found the guys.  I couldn't ask for anything else.  

Now I cannot wait to go back to Boston.  I would love it if Ward and Wade BQ'ed again for next year so we can head down there and cheer them on again.  Then, someday, if the stars align perfectly, I'd love it if I could actually qualify and run it as well.  Here's hoping.