Saturday, November 28, 2009

giving thanks

thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. i mean really, whats not to love about getting to eat complex carbohydrates all day?! i also get the added bonus of having my birthday on or around this fabulous day of food. win all around.

another great part of thanksgiving is the running. and this year we took it to a whole new level. my friend sarah and i set out in the morning to run the portland thanksgiving 4 miler. i ran this race back in 2005 but had not done it since, so i was excited to be a part of it once again. this was going to be one of my races for next years resolution, but when i went to the expo on wednesday night i discovered there was no race bib, so that race is out. (turkey trot in. stupid 5k's).

this is us running up one of the hills in the race... sadly this race does a 2 mile loop so you have to go up this hill twice. ugh.
post race i went over to my parents house for thanksgiving dinner, where my brothers gave me my birthday present a few days early since they didnt know if they would see me on my birthday or not. they definitely love me... LLBean hot pink headlamp and a reflective belt with a pocket for my cell phone and GU! xoxo

after thanksgiving dinner, sarah and i headed out again for a midnight madness run at LLBean in freeport. santa drove ahead of the runners on his Harley, we all got free water bottles, and then some of the shops in freeport were open for some early morning black friday shopping. quite the unique experience!

heres another action shot for ya. i think we're just a little crazy.... and by crazy, i really mean hardcore :-)
and after a day of shopping, ty and i enjoyed a few egg nog drinks, watched "love, actually", and set up our very first christmas tree. DONT HATE! pink rocks.

and finally, thanks to all who wished me a happy birthday today and who came out to celebrate :-) last year of my 20's... wow, time goes by way too fast.

me, rachel, and melissa... and for the record, my heels are SALMON, not orange. and i got them at payless. no shame.

jpell, andrea, and myself.... we love it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

2009 turkey trot

ill start out by saying i havent done a 5k race since november 2005. and it was the same race that i did today. and it still sucked. i. dont. like. 5k's.

when i did the race in 2005, i felt slow, sluggish, legs were sore, lungs hurt, and it was a PR for my 5k distance. today i felt slow, sluggish, legs were sore, lungs hurt, and it was a (unrecorded) PR for my 5k distance. note to self: NO MORE 5k's! (and definitely no more races post working the overnight shift).

throughout the whole race i swore i had bronchitis (mind you ive never even had bronchitis, but i figured this might be what it feels like). i couldnt breathe. i had to turn my music up so i wouldnt hear myself panting. i had phlem stuck in the back of my throat that i couldnt cough up. my capri pants i wore were too big so i kept having to tug at them to stay up. it wasnt as cold as i thought it was going to be so i was overdressed and hot (and not hot as in good looking). my shoes werent tied tight enough. must i repeat? NO MORE 5k's.

however, i trudged on. got to mile one at 7:05, which definitely surprised me since i felt so crappy. mile two took a bit longer; got there at 14:50. and then.... three stupid hills later, i crossed the finish line reading 24:02. looking at those numbers just now i feel so awful. how did i go from 7:05-7:45-9:12?!?! ugh. MAJOR major fail. see last sentence of previous paragraph. and to top it all off, when i showed up to the race i went in to buy my number and get my chip and for whatever reason i thought the entry was $16. of course it was $18 and i had no more money. so i dont even have my official time. the clock says i finished in 24:02. i did not cross the starting line exactly when the time started, but i dont know exactly how many seconds it was for me to cross. the person who came in 6th in my age group finished 23:58, the person in 7th came in 24:03. so i would have placed 5th or 6th. grrrrrrrr.

lucky for me i signed my friend Andrea and myself up for another beast in december just last night. is there time to get my money back? she and i have already planned to run 10 minute miles dressed as naughty elves (oh yeah, there will be pics dont you worry), so maybe i wont feel as crappy.

5k's. not hardcore.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

my biggest fan

for many people (me included) running, in addition to being good for your health (minus the knees... stupid knees...), is a way to clear the mind. some might even say they use running as a form of therapy in one way or another. i even have a tshirt from nike that pretty much sums it up:(although running has gotten pretty expensive over the years.... what is the going rate for therapy these days? pretty sure an entry fee, new shoes, gear, etc has started to add up...)
but anyway, for those of you who know me, running is and has been a big part of my life for many years now. but there is something else that has also become a big (6'7", no pun intended) part of my life. ill try not to bore you with all the silly, romantic details, but long story short my friend melissa introduced me to her best friend, tyler, in 2006. she and i had been talking one day and the following conversation occurred...
BlueRaineSP: Ty just said this to me: "i mean how many girls do you know that would love to spend a day by getting up in the AM, playing a round of golf, and then grab a 30 rack, go sit by the pool, drink beers, and watch sports?"
BlueRaineSP: and my answer was... I bet my friend Danielle would love that hahaha
danhoops22: you can tell him that might be my dream date as long as i can drive the golf cart
um, does she know me or what?! he is and has always been extremely supportive of my running adventures... although not always interested in coming with me to run, he will on occasion (literally) drag himself out of bed to join in on some early morning runs... i think its a sort of love hate relationship hes got with running.

hes crazy and fun, he makes me smile, shows up at my races ready to cheer me on, and i am thankful to have him in my life :)

power (crazy) 8's

some people have been asking me about my "power 8's" workout (mainly my mom, my boyfriend, and sarah.... but i thought maybe more people would like to know too?) so i figured i would share incase anyone wanted a HC workout that pretty much kicks your ass and can be modified for all levels of fitness!

i first and foremost want to say that i have been doing these for quite some time, so you might have to ease into it if... dont say i didnt warn you (*fun fact- wish someone had warned me about easing into the 100 push up challenge that @MyTrainerBob put out last week on twitter. arms have never been so sore.... and apparently i didnt learn from the first time, i did a 300 challenge from bob... 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats. ouch).

power 8's consist of pretty much what it sounds like, different exercises with 8 reps of each exercise. a normal routine for me looks like this:

8 x .25 mile sprints on the treadmill
8 x 25 crunches
8 x 5 (each side) tea pots with 15 lb weight
8 x 50 jump rope
8 mile bike on level 8
run one mile on speed 8.0

now as you can see, that can definitely be changed up to tailor to what you enjoy doing at the gym, as well as different distances and reps (could even do power 6's or power 10's.... the possibilities are endless really).

i usually find a treadmill that is not near a lot of people (a plus to working the overnight shifts, i can go to the gym during times where there are not a ton of people around to stare and make funny faces at me). sprint .25 miles (i usually start off about 8.6 and go up after i get warmed up), get off and do 25 crunches, get back on the treadmill and sprint .25 miles, off for 25 more crunches.... repeat 8x. you get the idea. and you see why people would probably look at me funny.

"tea pots" is what i call putting a dumb bell in one hand hanging down to one side, while placing my other hand on the back of my head. then you bend down towards the side that the dumb bell is, and back up (thats one rep). kinda makes you look like a tea pot. makes you want to sing "be our guest!" from beauty and the beast! ok, thats probably just me.

the rest is pretty self explanatory i think... i try to do a power workout at least twice a week. im thinking ill start trying power 10's sometime soon, once my body adjusts to 8's. still havent brought myself to add in a pool workout, but that could easily be added to the mix.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"there will be days..."

...when i dont think i can run a marathon... there will be a lifetime knowing that i have"

"pushing my body to limits never before experienced with a goal of experiencing 26.2 miles ill never forget"

date: october 4th, 2009. location: portland, maine


as mentioned in an earlier post (ok so i have like 3 other posts... the one where i said i would run a marathon, im sure you just read it about 5 minutes ago...) i once stated that i wanted to run a marathon before i turned 30. well folks, that dreaded date was fastly approaching (fastly? a word? eh whatever).

so i set out to train starting back in june to run the maine marathon in october. for those of you that dont know, maine gets kinda hot in the summer time. training during the few short months of summer we do have really sucks (and im probably the only stupid person who runs at like noon when it probably couldnt get much hotter). so yeah. 18 weeks of training. throw in there about a zillion weddings we had to go to (which also equals a zillion hangovers... im not too good at being "reserved" when bud light is around) and we'll just say training didnt go as planned for those long runs on sundays. i also got hurt with three weeks left (the monday before Reach the Beach, notice the knee brace in those pics... IT band issues. sucks pretty bad).

so for the two weeks pre 26.2, i ran three miles. i was doomed. at the expo we were given lovely hunting orange backpacks full of goodies (hunting orange? really? who is going to use this bag again?! not useful). inside i found a bag of doritos (thanks maine. dont you know i gave up chips for 2009? ugh), some other random stuff i wont use, a brochure for the Bermuda Triangle Challenge ( which i am SO doing when i win the lottery, and most importantly, KT Tape ( you might have seen this on some of the olympic athletes before and wondered what the heck it was (ok maybe that was just me). but because my knees were acting up, i figured i would try it. what did i have to lose, right?

now keep in mind i hadnt been able to run over ONE mile in the past two weeks without knee pain. i was hoping that one mile would just magically turn into 26 on the day of the race, but i had my doubts. i woke up on the morning of october 4th feeling good, but worried about my knees in the back of my mind. so i applied the KT Tape after watching the video online about how to do it, and ty dropped me off at the starting line. usually im so nervous before races, but i wasnt trying to get a PR like i usually do, i had a bunch of friends to hang out with before starting, and i knew i had good tunes ready to go, so i was pumped. they had also forcasted rain and that was not yet happening, so that kept me smiling.

here is a pic of melissa and me, right when i got dropped off at the starting line (***note the hunting bag! i was really not kidding about the color)

melissa, brett, me, and erin pre race (they all ran the half, still very hardcore!)
our pre race hardcore pic... that chick is definitely looking at us funny. shes just jealous.
i often times forget that i have the zoom on. love this pic though
so off we went...

TU (*twitter update)- "One down 25.2 to go :-)"

miles 1-4 were pain free! i dont know if it was a mental thing or if the KT Tape really worked, but i was really feeling good. i didnt run with a watch but from the times they had posted ever other mile i was doing sub 9 minute miles, which is slow for me but good for a marathon pace i figured.

TU- "Almost to mile 5 and the leader of the half has already passed me going back. Wow."

and then, it happened. the tape, which on their website claims you can pretty much shower with it on and it wont come off for like days, started to peel. and that peeling part flapped. and it was annoying. by mile 6 almost the whole thing had come off and i was very sad. thats when the pain came back (shocking). i called ty (*fun fact- i called him while running. didnt even stop. HC!) to see if he would bring the rest of the tape they had given us in our hunting pack, but when i saw him at mile 10, i was so sweaty the new tape wouldnt stick. awesome. (*side note- i knew the tape wasnt going to stick when he brought it to me but it gave me something to hope for, haha. im definitely not going to bash the tape just yet, i would like to try it out again. i think it has great potential. any one else use this with more success?)

TU- "Well that hill we just went down at mile 10 is really going to suck going up at 16.5"


TU- " - Amazing."- these soldiers started walking the course at 6am. quite an unbelievable site.

ty met up with me again at mile 17 (the race went out to a point and did this little loop, then turned around and went back to the start for the finish- yawn) and at that point i was pretty broken down but knew i could finish. id come this far, i NEEDED to finish. he was heading back to the finish to meet up with his parents, my parents and some extremely supportive friends of mine who were there waiting, so i told him i was going to try to make it to 20 miles before i walked, and that i would text him updates to let him know when i would be coming in.

TU- "guy just passed me bare foot. COME ON!"- (*fun fact- i ended up catching up to barefoot man with a mile left as he was coming out of a port-a-potty... he has had quite a few set backs in his life causing him to run barefoot for a reason. more power to you buddy!)

TU- "Marathon: a 10k race with a 20 mile warm up. Time to race!"

i got to mile 20 and still felt really good, so i decided to keep running. it actually hurt more to walk at this point because my body was so accustomed to the movement of running. i stopped to take this pic at mile 22, cuz 22 is my favorite number, and i think i was still not quite believing i was doing it haha. i also had only done 21 miles in my training, so everything was new now. what an awesome feeling!
around mile 23 i met up with a dad running with his 10 year old son. they were in the relay so they had loads of energy and it was so motivating to see the little kid just powering up the last hill. they really kept me going. (*fun fact- met up with the little kid post race when i was picking up my hunting gear and he looked up at me, gave me a high five, and said "nice job on your race". TEAR!)

TU- "25 down 1.2 to go"

the last mile or so is pretty much a huge blur. i took a pic coming on to back cove and sent it to ty to let him know i was almost there. i started crying (not shocking... i have this crying issue during road races. seriously difficult to breathe. maybe ill write about that later. or not, its kinda stupid. not HC). there was a couple running right near me who i had been staying up with for about the last 8 or so miles (they would pass me, i would pass them, a back and forth game really). i decided to run with them for about a half mile, then wanted to finish before them. they were super nice, both from connecticut, his first marathon (or was it hers? i forget. again, a blur).

the photographers got a pretty sweet pic of me:
and you can even see the couple behind me :-) im pretty sure this picture sarah took of me (below) out does any other pic taken of me by the professionals... this is about 20 yards from the finish (again got the couple in there). i was SO pumped to finish, if you couldnt tell. lots of endorphins flying around in that body, thats for sure. unfortunately my legs look like huge tree stumps. gross.
finishing thoughts on my first marathon? two thumbs up for sure. i really wasnt in a lot of pain here (i pretty much couldnt feel anything). i was just so psyched i actually did it. i really thought that i would have been crying at this point, maybe throwing up? nope. alllll good.
and there you have it. the next few days were a bit rough... climbing UP stairs, not a problem, actually felt good to stretch. going DOWN stairs on the other hand... close to impossible. it also probably didnt help that i spent the afternoon post marathon with family and friends downing bud light and pumpkinhead instead of water, and then went to the kelly clarkson concert, BUT live and learn i guess. i had said leading up to the race that i would probably do it once and never do it again, but now that its been a month (one month exactly!) and all the feelings have set in, i definitely cant wait to run another one, although i know nothing will compare to the experience of the very first one. i really had no time in mind, but i was happy with a) finishing before monday october 5th, and b) RUNNING across the finish line. my official finishing time was 4:43:13, and i KNOW i can do better if my knees are healthy. sugarloaf and chicago 2010, prove me right!
OH YEAH, almost forgot....

love it. stay hardcore.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

200+ miles 24+ hours

im sure many of you have heard of a "relay race" before... you have a few people on your team, carry some sort of baton, one person runs a little ways and then passes the baton to the next team member who then runs their own distance....

try doing it for 24+ hours. straight. in the cold. in the rain. in the DARK. with little to no sleep. love it.

i was kinda randomly signed up for the Reach the Beach Relay ( by my boyfriends cousin sometime over the summer because a friend of his was doing it and two of their team members had dropped out. i had thought it would be a good idea at the time... as september rolled around, i got more concerned about what i had actually gotten myself into. i had no idea what a unique/tiring/HARDCORE experience i was about to become a part of.

from the RTB website: "The Reach The Beach Relay is the longest distance running relay race in the US. (It) takes place in picturesque New Hampshire during the start of the New England foliage season. The relay will consist of (a maximum of ) 12 person teams (*fun fact: we got word of a TWO PERSON TEAM. thats over 100 miles a person for those of you counting at home) that will rotate through 36 transition areas as they cover the approximate 200 mile distance (*actually 207 miles to be exact) of the race. This means that each relay team member will run 3 legs of varying lengths and difficulty and will cover an average total distance of ~16.6 miles (*unless youre crazy and run 100 miles)."

hardcore much? i think so. here is a recap....

the start: cannon mountain, franconia new hampshire
jason and me at the start (he was 2nd, i was 3rd)... 50 degrees and raining chillin by the vans before our team started, getting some food and trying to stay warm. peanut butter was about to become our best friend.

getting our team pics before the start.... team wicked!!

van #2, packed to the brim (we apparently waited so long before getting a big white rental van like everyone else had, we had to use this little thing and jasons excursion). planning fail.
our first runner had no issues and ran his leg fairly quickly. it was chilly and quite windy, and the clouds were looming overhead. right after jason started his 9 or so miles, it started pouring. im talking so much rain. i hadnt prepared well and only brought shorts and tshirts. planning fail #2. so i was pleasantly relieved when the sun came out just as jason (soaking wet) met me at the transition area to hand off our slap bracelet. win!
my 3 or so miles was hot and sunny. and van #2 came out to see me on my first stretch! thanks team!
leigh coming in to hand off to kelly. she had a gorgeous run through those mountain passes.
the hand-off

jason and me in front of mount willey

leigh, me and kelly waiting for brian to pass

and this is why we got no sleep... it was like a 12 year old sleepover party! not to mention the parking lot we were in a)smelled like a BBQ (cuz people were bbq-ing, duh) and those who werent trying to sleep were out playing football and other such games in the parking lot. no sleep.
after 6pm runners needed a reflective vest, blinking lights on the front and back, and a head lamp. we were stylish i tell ya. however freaky, still the best part of the run by far. i had to do 8miles through these wooded back roads, and my knee was absolutely killing me. i thought it was going to take forever for this stretch to end, and not being able to see 15 feet in front of me didnt help. at one point i saw a flashing light up ahead and knew there was a hill coming, and as i got closer and closer i could see this runner was struggling with the hill. i yelled up ahead to just let them know i was coming up behind them, and just tried to motivate them to push up the hill. i met up with her at the top of the hill and we ended up running together for the next 5 miles. we couldnt have headphones on during the race or we would get docked minutes, but you could carry iphones and play the music. she was playing black eyed peas... so we bonded instantly :)

dont get me wrong, new england is SO AWESOME during the fall. absolutely beautiful. but it gets cold. and it gets cold fast. it dropped down to about 45 degrees overnight, so that was fun. here we are waiting for kelly to come in from her leg.

after our van finished (about 3:15am), we were able to catch about 2 hours of sleep on a community college cafeteria floor before heading to breakfast at the transition area. not the most comfortable place to sleep, but we needed it. i literally had to be dragged out of my warm sleeping bag... i secretly wished i didnt have to run again haha.
(side note: pancakes, eggs, bacon, coffee... not the greatest pre 8 mile run food. just sayin...)
van 2 coming in, hand off to matt... final stretch for van 1!team wicked le femme...jason and me before starting our last stretch
and after 8 more miles (in sheer pain) i... am... DONE! hardcore.i wish i could post all the pics i had of the creative vans but this one sums it up pretty well... words to live by really
and finally, WE REACHED THE BEACH! 28 hours 35 minutes 04 seconds

jason and me at the end. still cant believe we did it!

team wicked. hardcore. 184th out of 400 teams!

....and we're ready to do it all again next year. september 17th-18th, 2010! bring it.

a few pics to bring us up to date...

instead of boring all you lovely readers with write-ups about all the races ive done (which i would probably just make up anyway since i cant remember most of them), i figured i would just post a few pics to catch up to the past few months of my racing career. i apologize in advance for the poor quality (and hideous faces) of some of the pics. enjoy!
my first half marathon, portland maine, october 2005. sweet belt.
me and leni, rockin and rollin in arizona, january 2006

disneyworld half marathon, january 2007 (just a little humid i think)

great bay half marathon, april 2008

melissa, ty, and me after the beach2beacon 10k, august 2008

portland half marathon, october 2008 (my FAVORITE pic, by far)
melissa and me after the beach2beacon, august 2009
so there you have it. ive done 27 races since 2002 (see left side of the page for dates/races/times), and with my big plans for next year, that will continue to grow. ive definitely learned to love running, not only for its health benefits, but for its therapeutic benefits as well.
exciting news, this post catches us up to september 2009, which is where the real fun begins! stay tuned.....