Wednesday, May 29, 2013

#WhatsBeautiful Wednesday

WhatsBeautiful to you?  I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately.

Yes - strength, determination and setting goals are all part of it.  But what it really comes down to is -
Inspiring and Involving my kids in fitness.

I wouldn't be who am I today if it weren't for my children.  I want to be a better, healthier person for them.  They are what makes me beautiful.

Disclaimer: I’m part of the Under Armour campaign through Fitfluential.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Are YOU going to be a SPARTAN? Read to see if you won!

Lucky lucky #1 - Carrie @Maine Mom on the Run
 - YOU won the Spartan code!  

Send me an email and I'll send you the code.

I wish I had more codes to giveaway because I am so excited for Spartan Fenway and want everyone to do it with me!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

AROO! You know you want to do a Spartan Race! {Giveaway}


How does this sound?  Mud, fire, water, barbed wire all rolled into one hardcore obstacle race?

The Spartan Race has a level for everyone.  

  • Spartan Sprint for beginners (me!)
  • Super Spartan for the intermediate
  • Spartan Beast for the advanced
  • Death Race for the extremist 

Spartan races are taking place all over the country.  Want to see if there is one near you?  

I've been eying up the Fenway Spartan Race on 11/16.  I'm kind of curious how the ballpark will be transformed into a Spartan course.    This also means that in addition to all of the marathon and ultra marathon training I'm doing over the next few months, I need to focus on strength training.  

Reebok Spartan has offered one of my readers the chance to win a free entry to a race of your choice.  All you need to do is comment below with why you want to enter.  I will choose a winner on Monday, 5/27 and will announce the winner on the blog.

Bonus entries for those who tweet the following, then copy and paste your tweet link in a comment below as well!    AROO!  I want to be a Spartan for free with @runningwtg @SpartanRace

or if you want to register, I have a 15% discount code you can use

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Post Marathon Bliss

For my first two marathons, I only hurt for a day afterwards.  This time around, it's been 3 days, I hurt so much!

I know I ran my best on Sunday, not only because of my new PR, but because my body is telling me in these not-so-awesome ways.

I go down the stairs backwards.  

My four year old pushes me out of the way going up the stairs because I'm going too slowly and then proceeds to 
grab my hand and pull me up the stairs.  

I'm in love with this massager from Brookstone.

Getting in and out of the car results in a loud 
grunt and sometimes a cry.

Compression shorts and socks are permanent pieces of clothing.

Friends feel bad for you and help you take your shoes off and put on your sweatpants after running said marathon.  
(Thank you Carrie!)

I want Ward to install one of these in our bathroom.

When I try to run, I pump my arms like hell, 
but my legs won't move.  This only happened once and 
I'm grateful that nobody was around to witness this!

I cannot get enough of these.

Tell me, how do you handle the days after a marathon?   


Monday, May 20, 2013

Sugarloaf Marathon Recap

Marathon #3 is done!   Yesterday was the Sugarloaf Marathon and it was an amazing experience.   If I could register for next year, I would have definitely registered by now.  It was that good!

isn't this the best marathon sign ever?

The Day Before
On Saturday, Jill, Wade, Izzy, Tucker, and myself headed up to Sugarloaf for packet pickup and to meet Stacy and her family.

The skies didn't look too happy for most of the ride up there and we hit quite a few downpours.  It wasn't supposed to rain at all!  

I was quite happy with this year's shirt.  Don't you just love the sleeve?

Stacy knew someone with a house on the lake 15 minutes from the starting line.  This place had tons of space - a loft on the third floor with 5 beds, the second floor had 4 bedrooms, and the 1st floor had a bedroom.  Needless to say, we had tons of space and everyone had place to sleep.  Awesome!  Considering our crew had 5 kids, a babysitter, 5 runners, and then Ward, Joe, and Stacy's husband, Scott, (14 people in all!) we needed a pretty large place to stay.  And we had this incredible view:  

Marathon Morning
We set our alarms and got up at 4 am Sunday morning.  The shuttle was leaving for the starting line at 5:30 am and we didn't want to be late.  Carrie, on the other hand, hung out and waited in her car for a bit until her shuttle left to take her to the 15k starting line.  She was so sweet to come along and see us off!   Here you can see a little bit of my incredible Spandits skirt!  I loved it.  I felt like I should have been listening to non-stop Poison the entire time.   I also chose to wear my Crow Athletics shirt from My Happy Pace.  I will add that the skirt and shirt were both made in Maine.  

The shuttle bus got us to the starting line at 6 am, just as the early starters began their marathon quest, which meant we had 1 hour to wait.  It was about 35F and a bit chilly.  We tried to keep warm by walking around, visiting with friends, and of course we visited the port-a-potties several times.  A few minutes prior to the start, I checked my bag, gave the girls a hug, and then the gun went off.

The Marathon
Moments into the marathon, I noticed I messed up my watch the night before when I was playing around with it.  Instead of average pace, I somehow managed to program my data field to overall time and distance.  Instead of freaking out, I really had no choice but to embrace this and just go with it.  My plan was to just pay attention to my overall mile paces when my Garmin beeped at me at the end of each mile.  Which was an okay plan had I been paying attention to the miles or had the volume of my iPod a little lower so I'd hear the beep.   Most of the time I'd look down and I'd see that I had just missed the pace/mile.  So I really just ran by feel.  Good and bad.  Of course, by doing this, I started out a bit too fast, but I feel like I still ran a strong race.  I didn't feel like I fell apart at any point.  I kept my goals in check, took in the scenery, enjoyed my music, and tried to keep smiling.

Photo Courtesy of Carrie @ Maine Mom on The Run 

I took Ward's advice and decided to take a shot block at every mile.  Keeping that constant level of fuel really helped.  I never hit that low feeling.  I even brought my Camelbak and took a sip whenever I wanted, which was probably just about every mile or so.  It wasn't a lot, but it was enough.   At one point, I decided I wanted Gatorade, so I did stop and drink a cup at one of the water stations, but that was the only time I stopped.  Well, not really.  I did see these awesome kids (along with Stacy's husband and kids, and our babysitter - Beth) at one point.  So I did have to stop for some hugs and kisses.  It's not like I was winning this thing.  

Ward was riding his bike on the course supporting his brother and it was his plan to come back to me after Wade crossed the finish line.  I didn't see him until mile 23.  Which meant - I did 23 mile BY MYSELF!   At that point, I was pumped to see him because I barely uttered a word to anyone for the last 23 miles.  As always, he was incredibly supportive and I loved seeing him.  But I will admit, I did get a little cranky with him with less than a mile left.   

My Garmin time said 3:56:30, but my official time was 3:56:14.  I like my official time better, so I'm going with that one.  This earned me a solid 4 minute PR.  And that is a huge score on my part.  

The Girls
Stacy and Jill were running together.  This was Stacy's first marathon and Jill's second. Jill had sworn she was never going to do another marathon again - but then when Stacy announced that she was going to do Sugarloaf, Jill changed her mind.  I'm so happy these two fabulous ladies had each other to get them through the race!  The looked awesome and strong coming in.  

And Stacy had the best signs and cheering section ever!  

Carrie had already finished long before I finished since she was far smarter and did the 15k.  It was awesome coming in to the finish to see her jumping around and cheering for me.  She had a fabulous race herself and I'm positive she'll be posting about it shortly.  

Sugarloaf Finishers!  Wade, Jill, Carrie, Jen & Stacy

All in all, it was a great marathon.  My first marathon with perfect conditions.  Not too hot, not too cold, zero rain.   Next big races - Great Cranberry Island Ultra, Beach to Beacon 10k, and MDI marathon.  

What KIND of Runner are YOU? #KindRunner

Disclaimer:  I am an ambassador for  I will be doing campaigns involving product reviews and giveaways by KindRunner.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  

My husband calls me a shoe whore all of the time.  Inappropriate? Maybe.  True?  Perhaps.  I do have a shoe addiction.  But let's clarify.  What KIND of shoes do I have an obsession with?  Running Shoes!  I love a variety of shoes - drop, minimalist, cushioning, support, zero support.  Each shoe has a different purpose.

Running shoes are the #1 piece of gear a runner needs.  Never again will I think that any old shoe will get me through the miles.  I need to know that the shoe I buy, because they aren't cheap, is going to be a great fit for my feet and the rest of my body.  I'm not getting any younger (I wish!) and I'd love to continue to run for as long as I possibly can.  The right shoe is important so you can avoid injury and continue to run pain free.

I am not a shoe expert, nor will I ever pretend to be.  I know that if I have a question about gait, form, shoe type, that I need to ask the experts.  Unfortunately, the closest local running store is about 30 miles away.  It's not that far, but it's far enough to be inconvenient when my time is already packed with working, training, and being a mom and wife.  Plus, when I do have a free moment to get to the store, I do not have the luxury of going there alone.  I'm usually with the kids and while they are really good kids, they still drive me crazy when we going into the running store.  They feel the need to touch all of the gear, fuel, shoes.  It's quite hard to concentrate when I'm worried about what they are going to do next.

Which is why I'm excited about and their website launch on June 1st.

Some facts about Kindrunner:
- You will get the expert shoe advice through the convenience of online.
- Kindrunner is comprised of a group of runners who have a combined 40+ years working in the industry and are passionate about what they do.
- It is the ONLY place on the internet where runners can trade in their old running shoes for new shoes, you'll receive 'Kindness Cash Rewards" for every pair you send in.
- The "old" shoes you send in will be donated to Soles 4 Souls and the More Foundation - where people in need will be given the shoes rather than filling up our landfills with old shoes.

Don't believe it?  Check out this video!

Follow Kindrunner on facebook, twitter, instagram and youtube and be on the lookout for some pre-launch giveaways!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Than Just Butterflies #SLS3

Mr. Running With The Girls always says "it's okay to have butterflies, just as long as they are flying in formation."  This saying definitely rings true for me before any race.   So I'm hoping that the butterflies I've been feeling all week get into formation Sunday morning!  

It seems fitting that SLS3 sent me their newest print in compression socks to review with BUTTERFLIES!

I've been wearing these socks as much as possible in the past few weeks and I'm impressed.   Long runs, tempo runs, speed workouts, and recovery runs have all been pretty tough on my legs.  I looked forward to wearing these all day long, during runs, and after running.  I wish I had three pairs of these socks so I could rotate through them and not have to wear stinky socks.  Which, I admit, I did do a few times.  

In comparison to some of the other compression socks I've worn, these socks feel a bit more tighter around heal and foot, which I needed during this last training cycle.  I had some issues with my achilles feeling tight, and when I wore these socks, the pain disappeared.   

The price for the Butterfly Compression socks is right around the same price as many other compression socks available ($54.90 with free shipping).   In addition, they come in three different colors - Azure Blue, Violet, and Hibiscus Pink.  

There is only one drawback to these socks.  And it's quite minor.  They were a tiny bit long.  But after readjusting a little and pulling the sock down more into the foot area, they fit great.  

The History behind SLS3 - 
Sebastian and Sylvie, two German, pro triathletes, met and fell in love.  Together they created SLS3 which began with only a few products.  A majority of their products are produced in the United States and they strive for the highest quality athletic apparel and gear.

SLS3 just revamped their website.  You should check it out and all of their products.  They have quite a few to choose from.  Since they are Sebastian and Sylvie are triathletes, they do specialize in tri race apparel, so if you are a triathlete or someone who is going to take on your first tri, you need to check out what they have.  

Like SLS3 on facebook or follow them on twitter and tell them Jen from Running With The Girls sent you!

Are you a fan of compression socks?  When do you wear your socks?  All day?  During workouts?  Before? After?  What do you look for in a sock?  

Disclaimer:  I was sent a pair of SLS3 compression socks to review and as always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

#WhatsBeautiful Under Armour Campaign

This post is sponsored by Under Armour through FitFluential

How do you define beauty?  When I was a little girl, I used to think beauty was princess dresses, high heels, curls, and make up.  But now, I think of beauty as determination and pushing through to the next level.  

I remember when I thought a 5k was a long distance and 10k's scared me.  Then I tried out my first half marathon, and now I'll be running my 3rd marathon on Sunday.  To me, pushing past those limits, is simply beautiful.  It's what I want my kids to see.  I want them to see me as a mom who loves them and enjoys spending time with them, and one who is also going to strive for her own goals and continue to push past my own comfort levels.  I want them to push past their comfort levels as well.

Even in my professional life as a teacher - I WILL is an everyday slogan I use.  

one of my classroom bulletin boards

I'm honored to join Under Armour's campaign What's Beautiful designed to challenge and celebrate women.  This campaign is a perfect fit for me, as I have found that I thrive of challenging myself.    The What's Beautiful campaign is an 8 week campaign and we're in week 2.  You have plenty of time to declare to the world what your goals are!  

My own personal goals:
1.  Crush the 4:00 hour marathon time 
2.  Complete my 1st mud/obstacle run
3.  Complete my 1st ultra marathon 

Completing this goals cannot be done alone.  It's going to take a lot of hard work on my part.  I also want my kids to be involved in my path to meeting and crushing those goals, so I'm going to play hard with them too.  I'm looking forward to finding inventive ways to play with my kids at 

the playground or around my house - while building strength.   When all is said and done - I'm going to see some results.  

I challenge YOU to join the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign.  

And after you've gone and created your own profile, declared your goal - I urge you to join a team or teams.  This is a way to cheer each other on during this campaign and to receive some motivating from your teammates!

There are weekly prizes as well as the chance for 3 epic women to win a trip to the Under Armour Retreat!  

There are a number of teams in the What's Beautiful campaign to choose from.  There are teams focusing on weight lifting, yoga, running PR's, or trying new distances.    My team is WORK HARD, PLAY HARD, GET RESULTS.  If you would like to join the team, please join now!

What are your goals?  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kinvara 4 Review #kickassimus

Coming home from work to find a box of shoes is always exciting.  But when I'm not expecting the shoes and they are a newer version of shoes I've loved before, I'm just pushed over the top with excitement.  

With that said, I changed into my running clothes as quickly as possible, tied these new fabulous shoes on, and went for a run.  My schedule called for a tempo run, and these shoes felt great!  They were light on my feet, offered great support where I needed, and I had zero rubbing in my previous trouble spots.  

I also really love the lack of upper structure.  I don't have the weird rubbing going on with my toes and toenails and that makes for a great run as well.  

As you know, I wear men's shoes because I have super wide feet.  Women's wide don't always cut it for me and most of the time, shoe companies don't always make low profile/minimalist shoes in women's wides.  I've found the footbed of men's shoes to fit my feet quite well.  Sometimes I have to deal with "manly" colors, but the color isn't what's important when it comes to my feet feeling good.  But, with these shoes, I'd say Saucony's men's shoes don't really look too manly to me at all.  

I find the slogan for the new Saucony 4 most fitting.  My runs have most definitely been Kickassimus.  

Kinvara 4 specs:
- PowerGrid in heel
- redesigned upper - FlexFilm
- weight: 7.7 oz (so light!)
- drop: 4mm

Disclaimer– I was sent a pair of Saucony Kinvara 4′s as part of my relationship with Fitfluential.  That said, all opinions are completely 100% my own.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bestowed Winner

Just stopping in for a quick announcement - I'll be back later in the day with a great shoe review!

Congratulations to......

You are my Bestowed Winner!!!!  Laura - please email me at runningwiththegirls at gmail dot com with your mailing address!

If you didn't win - I have a code for you to save $5 off your order at Bestowed - 5OFFBESTOWED01.  That's a great deal!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Very Inspiring

Last week Amy @ Running Escapades tagged me as a Very Inspiring Blogger.  Thank you, Amy!

There are a few rules that go along this award -
1.  Add the Very Inspiring Blogger Award photo on a blog post
2.  Thank the person who presented you with the award and link back to him or her in your post.
3.  Share seven things about yourself.
4.  Pass the award along to up to 10 favorite bloggers.
5.  Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award. 

I'm going to take Amy's lead - and alter it a bit and tell you 7 things that I'm loving right now.

1.    The weather. The past week has been absolutely gorgeous!!!   I am loving my afternoon runs either solo, with Pepper, and waving to Tucker as he rides past me in the school bus!   Sometimes I like to think I'm racing the bus.

2.  My new bed.  After spending the night at Ward's aunt and uncle's house in April and sleeping on the super comfortable bed in their guest room, we decided that we needed to get a new mattress.  We have been sleeping on an old, full sized mattress for years.   Let's just say it was a bit cramped when Izzy would join us.  The problem is that we really liked our iron bed.  After much discussion and trying out mattresses, we upgraded to a queen and Ward built us a new bed.  We feel so grown up!  

and Izzy is quite comfortable in it as well

3.  The other day I received an unexpected surprise in the mail.  I ran a virtual 5k for my friend Amy's co-worker a few weeks back and I apparently came in 1st for my age group.  Awesome!


4.   My new Garmin!  To be honest, I haven't been using my older green 405 Garmin a whole lot lately.  I've only been using it for races and was set on just keeping it.  But then Garmin had to go and make a purple Garmin 10 and I fell in love.  Granted, it has a lot less bells and whistles than the 405, but I actually like it a lot more than the 405 for that reason!  

5.  My April mileage!  202 miles is huge for me.

6.  This little cheerleader and her sense of style.  Last weekend she came out to welcome me home with this little outfit on - you can't see them, but she has on her bathing suit bottoms on as well.  Freakin' adorable!

7.  I have a little speedster!  Tucker's had this go cart for years.  But he's been too short to drive it alone until recently.  All of a sudden he's a big kid.  I cannot believe he's going to be 10 years old in a couple of months.  Where has the time gone?  

 My nominations - 

1.  Carrie @ Maine Mom on the Run
2.  Jamie @ Couch to Iron Woman
3. Louise @ Runners Ramblings 
4.  Michelle @ Average Girl Doing Average Things
5.  Danielle @ Ohh Breathe Just Breathe 
6.  Sara @ Middle Aged Runner (even if she isn't quite middle aged)
7. Rachelle @ Livin The Fit Life
8. Lisa @ Run Wiki 
9.  Suz @ Cows and lasers and Everything In Between 
10. TriMOEngr @ Climb Those Hills

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bestowed Review + Giveaway

There are no excuses to not eat healthy when there are excellent options available just about everywhere, including deliveries made straight to your house!

When I was offered to try out a month's subscription to Bestowed, I jumped at the opportunity because I am excited to try new, healthy foods, especially some that my kids will enjoy.

As you can tell, my box was packed with a ton of great food!  Obviously, because there is nothing left of it.  My box was packed with EBOOST, iTrain, Oloves Hot Chilli Mama Olives, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts, KIND Healthy Grains Oats & Honey Granola, Gnu Foods Hi- Fiber Minis, and Nektar Honey Crystals.

I could go on and on about how awesome these foods were.  Really I could.  I really enjoy trying out new foods.  I love KIND bars, and was super excited to try the granola.  I had to hide the bag from Izzy, because she loved it just as much as I did.  I had never tried hemp before and loved how great it was for me and it tasted fabulous with greek yogurt.

A Bestowed monthly subscription will cost $19/month.  Each item in the box is hand-chosen by author and nutritionist Heather Bauer.  Each month you'll get a different items, so it's always going to be a happy surprise when you open up your bright orange box!

Each Bestowed box also comes with a printout of "What's Inside" with information about each product you've received.  I thought this was a nice extra touch because I got to know a little bit about the companies, especially companies I've never heard of before.

I'm pleased to announce that the awesome folks have offered a Running With The Girls reader a one-month subscription of Bestowed!  

Entering is super easy.

All you have to do is leave me a comment letting me 
know why you'd like to try Bestowed!  

I will choose a winner at random on Friday, May 10th.  

Disclaimer: I was sent a Bestowed box for review purposes only.  All opinions are 100% my own.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

April In Review & Looking Forward

May is here and it's hard to believe that I only have 27 more days of school left this year!  Very exciting!

What's even more exciting is that my mileage was an all time high for me for April!  I ended the month with 202 miles.  That's huge for me - considering my highest month for my fall marathon was 180 miles.

In terms of marathon training, the Hanson Method has been one ass-kicking plan and quite intensive.  The speed workouts have been challenging but doable, and the weekly mileage is definitely higher than I've done before.  I have made some minor tweaks to the plan, but nothing super major.  Or at least I hope not!   

Ward also used the Hanson Method to train for Boston.  After his race, he suggested to Wade and I that we add in a few higher mileage runs - like an 18 or 20.  So, a few weeks ago, Wade and I ran 20 miles together.  It was tough, but definitely a great boost in the mental capacity.  I also didn't feel as worn down after the run as I've felt in earlier 20-milers.  This Sunday I'm going to take on my final 18 or 20 miler - I say this because I'm going to go with how I feel.  If I start feeling that I'm overdoing it, especially being so close to marathon time, I'm going to stop and call Ward.  While I'd love to have a 2nd one under my belt, it's not worth hurting myself in the process.   

Today marks 17 days until Sugarloaf.  I'm feeling ready.  I'd really just like to fast forward through the next couple of weeks and get it done right now.  But I'm also nervous.  I want my bowels to agree with me - so that means I should probably not eat any onions, hot/spicy things, and just eat rice for the next couple of weeks.  I know that is not going to happen.  You would think this if I know those things don't agree with my system and running, I would avoid them, but somehow I continue to go back to those naughty foods.  

Sugarloaf Elevation Profile

I might be obsessing about the profile, course, lodging, food, clothing, and weather right now.  I know I should probably stop obsessing and focus on other things - like work, but it's far too exciting!  I really do like the elevation profile.   And the weather - well, I know I can't do anything about it.  I know I'm just going to have to go with the flow - obviously.  I'll have a few different outfits ready to go depending on what the weather brings us that day.  

Happy Friday everyone!  It's another gorgeous day out there, and I'll be heading out for 6 miles in a few minutes.  I'm so excited!