Marathon training officially starts tomorrow!

My training program had apparently gotten lost in the shuffle, but I finally got it today. Kurt got his a week ago, and I have to admit, I’ve been pretty impatient waiting for mine.

I think I’ve been so eager to get my plan because I’ve decided to do something different this year. I’ve decided to actually do what it says.

Crazy, I KNOW.


I had said that my “A” goal for my fall marathon was to qualify for Boston. That means taking 12 minutes off my best marathon time.

Two years ago I ran a half marathon at an 8:01 pace. I need to run an 8:24 pace for twice that distance in order to qualify for Boston.  Based on my half marathon PR, Runner’s World race pace calculator says I should be able to run a full at an 8:19 pace. Yes, it’s a stretch.

Since that half marathon PR two years ago, my race times have been really slow: half marathon paces slower than previous full marathon paces; 5Ks slower than previous half marathon paces.

Coach even wrote on my program: “This is a bit of a stretch based on your recent 2013 times. I.E. your pathetic 8:11 pace at 10 miler.” OK, he didn’t say “pathetic”, but let’s face it, it’s what he meant.

Me and my lofty goals.

I think part of my problem is that I don’t run my “easy” runs slow enough when it’s hot out. I’m planning to change that this season. I’ve already run my last two easy runs at a true “easy” pace. They were slow! In order to spare my ego, I think I’m going to have to leave my Garmin at home.

I’m also going to pay closer attention to my nutrition, and make sure I take my iron supplements.

Tomorrow my plan calls for 7-8 miles with four 15 second hill pickups toward the end.

Is it tomorrow morning yet?

I’m ready to start this thing!


Three Things (July 15th-21st)

1. Take the stairs.

stairsWhile we were driving (vacation was awesome, but it did involve many hours in the car), I read an article about  Mayor Bloomberg (famous for getting NY restaurants to post calorie counts, and banning the sale of large soft drinks). He is now working to pass legislation that will make stairs in NY City more accessible and inviting.

I agree that some of his ideas may be a bit misguided, but making stairs available to people who would like to use them? That sounds like a great idea to me.

I make it a point to take the stairs whenever I can. In fact, I always take the stairs when we stay in hotels, and, at some point while I’m there, I climb to the top floor. It’s just what I do. Most hotels we stay in only have 5 floors or so, so it’s not a huge deal.

This trip, I climbed 45 flights at our hotel in PA, and we were only there one night.

Other great stair-taking opportunities are at malls and airports. Often the empty staircase is right in the middle of two jam-packed escalators.

Next time you find yourself faced with an opportunity to take the stairs, do yourself a favor and take them!

2. The Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips

Monica Reinagel (aka the Nutrition Diva) is a great resource for diet and nutrition information.

nutrition diva

I collect a bunch of her free Quick and Dirty Tips podcasts from iTunes and am in my glory listening to them for hours at a time on road trips. Kurt would prefer to listen to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, but whatever.

3. To weigh or not to weigh

scale 2One of the Nutrition Diva’s episodes that I listened to during our drive was about the pros and cons of weighing yourself.

As a personal trainer, I’m constantly telling people not to pay too much attention to what the scale says, that they should instead focus on how they feel and how their clothes fit.


Many studies have shown that weighing often (even every day) can help people stay on track with their healthy eating and fat-loss goals.

It has worked for me in the past. There was a time when I weighed myself everyday, and it did help me maintain my weight.


It felt a little obsessive. And, if I’ve gone for a while without weighing myself and I hop on the scale and my weight is down, I notice that I’m much more likely to cut myself a bigger piece of cheesecake or help myself to a muffin the size of my head for breakfast because I feel as though I can afford to because I’m getting so skinny. Or, my weight is up and I get discouraged and don’t feel as motivated to stay on track.

When we got home from vacation, Kurt announced that he was launching Operation Lose 3 Pounds (OL3P). A piece of paper with his current weight appeared on the dining room table next to our Baseball Push-up spreadsheet. I felt a little pressure to add my name.

I hadn’t weighed myself in a while, but first thing the next morning I hopped on the scale. I was 3.8 pounds above what I think of as my “happy weight”. I added my name to the sheet.

The moral? There are much better ways of monitoring health than weight, but I do think that in some circumstances, regular weighing can be a helpful practice.

Nutrition Diva

  • “I’m here to help you sort food facts from fiction, separate the good information from the bad, and to make eating healthy just a little bit easier – and a lot saner.”
    Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

    Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.
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Summer Vacation 2013 in pictures

We stopped at Gifford’s for ice cream.

IMG_20130713_152629_139IMG_20130713_153621_411I really like ice cream.

Ran the PFBF Half Marathon.

pfbf-1pfbf-4That’s all sweat. It wasn’t raining.

Went for a swim in McGrath pond.

IMG_20130714_113841_655Ate more ice cream.

IMG_20130714_130430_115Swam, kayaked and relaxed at Sibley pond.

IMG_20130714_055115_423Made a friend.

IMG_20130715_182819_140Chilled out.

IMG_20130715_183251_548Went for an early morning run (hoping to see a Moose) followed by a swim in Moosehead Lake.

IMG_20130715_143205_414We both agreed that it was possibly the most refreshing and peaceful swim EVER in the history of swims. And there have been many swims…

We took the ferry over to Mount Kineo.

IMG_20130716_085717_291And hiked up to the fire tower for some spectacular views.


Climbed Mount Katahdin.


IMG_20130717_062943_521IMG_20130717_074436_354IMG_20130717_073433_711IMG_20130717_081546_993IMG_20130717_085748_555IMG_20130717_092740_025-FIXsummitThis is us the last time we were on Katahdin, when we finished our Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2003. Can’t believe it’s been TEN years!

We stopped at Coos Canyon and jumped off rocks and acted like 10-year-olds.


Although, the actual 10-year-olds who were there were jumping off much higher rocks.

We stayed in New Hampshire’s oldest Motel.

IMG_20130719_065812_360Visited the world’s longest candy counter.

IMG_20130718_193133_288IMG_20130718_193424I discovered that I still like good old-fashioned gum drops. Especially purple, yellow and red ones. I also like sea-salted, dark-chocolate covered toffee.

Kurt got a little hungry on the drive back to Virginia.

IMG_20130719_131111_138That’s a 2lb treat.

PFBF Half Marathon (Sunday, July 14)

pfbfKurt and I like to incorporate races into our Vacations. We were planning to go to Maine this summer, and Kurt was excited to find a half marathon near the small, rural Maine town where he grew up. So we signed up.

I’m supposed to be increasing my base mileage in preparation for fall marathon training, but because I’ve been running so many races (and for other reasons, too) my weekly mileage has not been building the way it should be. So, I decided to make the week leading up to the half marathon a higher-mileage week and just treat the race as a training run.

We stayed with Kurt’s parents at their camp in Canaan the night before the race. The Dunkin’ Donuts in Canaan opens at 5am on Sunday morning (4am every other day!) so I was able to get some iced coffee on the way to the race. Their slogan is “America Runs on Dunkin,'” which I think is hilarious, but in this case perfectly true.

IMG_20130714_070705_595There were only about 80 people running the half marathon, and a little more than twice that many running the 5k.

It was hot out. High 7o’s and humid at the start.

I quickly decided that even though I was supposed to be running this as a training run, I still wanted to run it pretty hard, because looking at last year’s times, I had a pretty good chance of placing. (Not Smart! Do as I say, people, not as I do!)

So when the gun went off, I settled in at a fast-ish pace.

It was hot.

The first several water stations had only water. The first Gatorade I saw was at mile 8, and by then I was already starting to fade.

By mile 10, I was walking. In a half marathon. WALKING!! Yikes.

People were passing me. One guy caught up to me and said that I’d been pacing him the whole way, and that I needed to keep running. I tried, but soon had to tell him to go on.

Just before mile 12, he started walking and I caught up to him. I told him he had to keep running, and he took off! I couldn’t keep up with him.

I finished in 2:04:10.

I was so over-heated that I had goosebumps. I grabbed a bottle of water and found Kurt lying in the shade. The heat had really gotten to him, too.

IMG_20130714_102854_963Showing off my medal.

In hindsight, I really wish I would have stuck to my original plan and just run easy. I think if I’d started at a 9 minute/mile pace I probably would have done better. Instead, I started too fast and completely crashed. I hope you learn from my mistakes!

pfbf elevationFinal Stats:
out of 11 in my age group
13th out of 42 women
41st out of 84 finishers

Kurt finished first in his age-group, so we stuck around for him to pick up his $25 cash prize.

IMG_20130714_105616_335Then we went and found a local lake to cool off in.

IMG_20130714_113841_655The heat really wiped me out. I couldn’t keep my eyes open waiting for lunch.

IMG_20130714_122904_659But rallied enough to tackle the 6-flavor adventure series ice cream sampler at Gifford’s.

IMG_20130714_130430_115Mount Katahdin Crunch and Campfire Smore’s were the best. In case you were wondering.

Three things (July 8th-14th)

1. My husband loves peanut M&M’s, so we always have a giant bag in the house. Every once in a while, I sneak a handful. I have nothing against having a fun treat every once in a while (and my definition of “once in a while” may be on the liberal side). That’s something  I’m working on. I do, however, prefer my treats to still be actual FOOD. I don’t like the idea of the artificial flavors and colors in M&M’s.

I saw these in Target earlier this week and was intrigued.

IMG_20130707_121059_892The back of the label says “No chemicals, no hydrogenateds, no preservatives, no corn syrup, no artificials, no GMO’s”.

They’re colored with turmeric extract and cabbage and beet juice.

IMG_20130707_121007_696I figured the only difference between these and M&M’s would be that they are made with all natural ingredients. I was surprised to learn that their nutrition profile is actually better, too.

Peanut M&Ms                                         Unreal
Calories per 1.5 oz: 220                        Calories per 1.5 oz: 200
Protein: 4g                                              Protein: 6g
Sugar: 22g                                               Sugar: 16g
Fiber: 1g                                                   Fiber: 3g
Calcium: 4%                                             Calcium: 45%

So, how did they taste? A little strange at first, probably just because I was expecting them to taste like Peanut M&M’s and they don’t. I also thought that I could taste the powdered milk. I tried them again the next day, though, and loved them.

Verdict: A good swap!

2. I started using the Lose It! Ap on my phone again.

lose itMy afternoon snacking was starting to get a little out of control. Knowing that I will have to look at my total calories for the day makes me think twice about eating that extra granola bar or piece of chocolate or 6 handfuls of Unreal chocolate covered peanuts.

One of my favorite things about this Ap (other than being able to scan barcodes, So cool!) is that it gives a realistic “calories burned” estimate for activities. Most people tend to grossly overestimate how many calories they burn while exercising.

I have to admit, though, that the calorie budget is low, at least for me. If I try to stay within the calorie budget it sets for me, I am too hungry.

3. I went to Rachel’s Boot Camp class at Snap Hollymead.

It was not like this.

UntitledMore like this.

group exBut I liked it.

Kiwanis 4th of July 5k 2013

IMG_20130704_083029_216My only goal for this race was to beat last year’s time. I was in a rough patch as far as running goes at this time last year, so my time had been quite slow. I had intentionally set the bar low. I’ve been working on setting goals I can actually reach. Eventually, I will need to start setting more lofty goals, but for now I am mentally in need of some accomplishments.

So, anything faster than 26:24.

We had registered online ahead of time this year. Picking up our race numbers was quick and easy again. With the exception of the clueless guy who cut in line right in front of us. I’m pretty sure he didn’t see us, but I had no idea how that was possible. Kurt pointed out that he was wearing the new Google Glass,which probably explains why he seemed to have no idea what was going on. I don’t even want to think about how disconnected everyone will be to the world around them, if these take the place of iPhones.

IMG_20130704_064952_997The man in this picture is not the one who cut in front of us.

One of my favorite things about this race is that so many families run it together. I love to see families making running a part of their holiday traditions.

It was 73 degrees and muggy at the start. About what you’d expect for a July 4th race in Charlottesville.

Kurt and I did a mile warm-up. Our 10:12 pace was a little discouraging.

I made it a point to not go out too fast. The first mile didn’t feel terrible. Mile 2 started to get a little harder, but when I got to the hill that I had to walk up last year, it seemed so insignificant. Mile 3 was the hardest. I was hot and tired, but I still felt so much better than I’d felt last year.

I crossed the finish line in 24:37.

IMG_20130704_081425_966Goal accomplished.

Happy 4th of July!