Friday, July 31, 2015

Oh my word! This is HUGE!

I thought my fall racing plans were sealed - Maine Half Marathon then Philadelphia Marathon.  BOTH pretty awesome opportunities for me!

But then I just found out that I've been invited to run The Runner's World Half Marathon this October!   I haven't quite decided which races I'll be doing for sure - my options are the 3.8 trail run, 5k, 10k, Half Marathon - or the Hat Trick, Five and Dime, or all 4 Races.  But I do know I WILL BE there with other super cool and inspirational bloggers and I'll be running and loving it!  

It's been my dream since traveling with the husband and brother-in-law when they ran the Lehigh Marathon a couple of years ago.  I had never been to Bethlehem before and I immediately fell in love with the beautiful city.  The Runners World Half Marathon has been on my bucket list ever since!  Seriously - A Dream Come True!  

Now - I have something to share with YOU!  Discount codes for the Runners World Festival!  Oh yes!  Use the code blogrunningwiththegirls for $3.50 off the 5k, $4 off the 10k, $7.50 off the Five and Dime (yep - 5k and 10k), $9.50 off the Half Marathon, and $17 off the Hat Trick (5k, 10k, and half).  Register here.

Now - tell me - which races would you run?  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I really did that? #onlyonehill

Yes.  Yes I did!  I did it.  I ran Mt. Washington.  This girl.  Who hates hills.  Who is afraid of heights.  Who has never ever been to Mt. Washington before.  
Not Mt. Washington, but a gorgeous view on the way.

I became intrigued by this race a couple of years ago and have been obsessing about it since then.  Last year I put my name in the lottery and wasn't selected.   This year the husband and I both put our names in and we were both selected!  

seriously so pretty!!!

I had done quite a bit of reading about how to train for a race up a mountain and the best sources I found said running on a treadmill at an incline.   Ummm... okay.  I can definitely do that!  

pretty...but OH Crap!  I have to run that?
I did a few training runs on the treadmill, starting out at a 10% incline and running for as long as I could physically and mentally handle, then would power-walk/run for the remainder of my training session.  My final training run I ended up doing 30 minutes of running at a 12% incline and then would power-walk for the remainder of the time.  

I had no idea what to expect, prayed for great weather (I have bad weather vibes for races - usually it's awful weather - pouring or crazy hot) and set a goal of getting up the mountain in under 2 hours.  
The day before, I met up with my volunteer - my crazy running partner, Carrie.  As I was going as a Maine Track Club member, I was to provide a volunteer.  Thankfully Carrie offered!    

I have the best running  friends!  Carrie volunteered to be my volunteer.  She rocks!

Ward, Carrie and I made the trek to New Hampshire.  It is quite sad that I've never been to Mt. Washington before.  It's absolutely gorgeous there and seriously not that far of a drive.  

One of the best race shirts ever!  How badass is this?

We found our way to check-in and got our pretty fabulous race shirts and bib #s, then drove back into town to check in to our motel and get some dinner!  My Facebook friend, Anne, sent me a message that she and her family were eating at Mr. Pizza (which turned out to be only a few doors down from our motel, so we walked down).  On the menu - burgers of course!  

The next morning we woke up bright and early and put on our Spandits.   Another no brainer!  What does one wear to the Mt. Washington summit for volunteering?  Fleece lined Spandits.  Carrie had to represent.  And so did I, in my custom skull/fern shorts, with my ProCompression Heather socks and black Headsweats visor.  I did have arm sleeves on, but took those off before the race as it was warming up fast!  

We met up with Anne at the start (her family took Carrie to the top to volunteer and then they brought us all down!).  It was great to hang out with her and chat with her and make my facebook/instagram friend a real-life friend!  Here we are posing with some random dude who jumped in the photo.  

We are the coolest, ever.  I know.  

There was as downhill.  Like 5 feet, but there was a downhill.  

Now the race was starting to feel real and the butterflies were starting to flutter like crazy.... but then Anne spied this.  

This cute little cannon was our starting cannon.  It was small, but packed quite a punch.  Not too much later, we all lined up, the cannon went off and we were all off.  

It didn't take long for the incline to get crazy steep.  I noticed people around me power-walking and thought I'd try it out.  It was so much more efficient on those super steep inclines.  

And it started getting super hot.  But I kept moving along!  I kept my music blasting too and found myself singing aloud at one point.  Just slightly embarrassing.  

I noticed some people would run and then turn around and walk backwards.  I thought it looked interesting, but when I tried it and turned my head to look back down the mountain, my stomach started flipping and I knew that would be a bad idea.  So I just kept my eyes facing forward and up.  

Once we got past the tree line, it cooled off a lot, but it was super clear and gorgeous.  What a perfect day for a race!!!!  Definitely not my normal race day weather.  

The steepness never really let up, but when it did, I ran as much as I could.  But honestly found that power-walking was far more efficient on those super steep parts.  

At half way, I was feeling great and my time was just about an hour.  I figured if I kept up what I was doing, I'd definitely meet my goal!

I was super shocked by a dirt section.  The road was rather narrow here and I kind of got nervous about the drive down.  

And the mountain road just kept going and going....

But then finally, I spied the top.  It was in reach!  Now I just had to get past this last section.  And then I saw Ward...and I just gave it all I had.  When I got over this crazy 22% incline, the spectators were shouting that I was almost to the 2 hour mark!  

And as soon as I crossed the finish line I saw Carrie.  I gave her the biggest hug and she gave me the warmest fleece blanket.  The best post-race blanket ever!  

I did it!!!  1:59:39.  632 overall out of 1052.  15:45 pace.  

And then I found Ward, all bundled up, taking a nap.

And I didn't freak out at the top.  Yay!!!!  Perhaps I can handle more heights now!

Ward and I were saying we need to definitely bring the kids there for a hike!  It was breathtaking there and absolutely perfect weather.  

And this guy here is my hero.  95 year old, George.   I want to do badass things like this when I'm 95!  

And now I have this badass sticker on my car...and I earned it!  

Will I ever do Mt. Washington again?  Heck yes!!!  

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.