Training In Paisley

You may be thinking that “Training in Paisley” means that I am now running in wild outfits covered in colorful paisley print. But it doesn’t . . . Well at least not yet that is!

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Fresh Paisley-This may be my new spring look!
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Or perhaps this dress?

Although this skirt and dress from RUNNING SKIRTSare both super cute!
Training in Paisley means I just spent a week in a little town called Paisley, Florida on Lake Lulu with my husband’s family. The weekend before we left I spent one day running up a mountain at the last Winter Wild in the snow and the next running 15.5 miles in 85 degree weather in Franconia, NH. This was a good warm up to running in the hot humid Florida weather.
The week in Paisley was perfect! A recovery week for me in my training plan. Hooray (my legs say thank you)! I got to spend a ton of time swimming in fresh water springs and tidal pools with my kids at the beach and quality time with my husband (away from the family biz) and extended family.
We also spent one day at The Magic Kingdom which I must say was quite magical seeing as it was also my first visit. Also, seeing my daughter Piper mesmerized by meeting the princesses and seeing the castle was priceless.

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The Magic Kingdom. A magical day!
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Mesmerized!
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Fresh water springs=gaining confidence in the water and having a blast!
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A goal oriented toddler-determined to fill a hole with water.
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My family

When I was not chasing my kids around I spent some time running in the little neighborhood. On my runs I was happy to find the most gigantic aloe plant I have ever seen (useful for the wicked sunburn from a complete fail with sunscreen, ouch!)

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Got sunburn? Try giant aloe for relief.

I also loved seeing some friendly goats (that are everywhere in this area of Florida) but not so
much the dead snakes on the road or the raccoon out in broad daylight.

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Well hello there my bearded friend

And at the end of a super hot and humid marathon pace run I finished at a local landmark, The Pirates Pub. Seeing as I was totally dehydrated and covered in salt like a salt lick (and not because it is a biker bar wink wink) I decided it would be best if I run home and enjoy some cool water and a freshly picked grapefruit from a tree in the yard instead with my own little biker babes.

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It think this speaks for itself
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Looking for ice-cold refreshment?
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Biker Babe (It is only a trike and her Grammy rides it, I think she's ready)
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Biker Dude-"Coooooool. Wheeeeels!" This boy loves anything with wheels.

All in all it was a fantastic vacation. Everyone came home from the vacation tired (and perhaps in need of another vacation) At least my legs are rested now and ready to hit the roads again with some serious mileage!

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Exhausted
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This vacation is hard work
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Winter Wild Championship at Bretton Woods

Over the weekend I completed the Team Amp Winter Wild race series. The championship event took place at Bretton Woods and was hosted by Acidotic Racing.
The weather at race time (6:30 a.m.) was an unseasonably warm 40 degrees so I decided it was time to break out my green Skirt Sport running skirt with nothing on my legs but some crazy purple patterned Smartwoolsocks. Very festive for St. Patrick’s Day.

20120319-104925.jpg I was super psyched too to try out my new Kahtoola Micro-spikesfor better traction on the way up the mountain (especially helpful in the mushy slush covering the mountain). I was psyched about my new “bling,” a raffle prize from the series given to me by Magrethe a fellow Kingdom Krazy since my luck in the raffle was no luck at all (more on that later).

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The race began and I felt energized and strong. My calves and quads have definitely gotten a lot stronger since the series began which will definitely be helpful for my marathon this spring. The mountain was draped in an eerie fog from the warming snow. The runners at the front of the pack disappeared into the fog as they reached the summit. The strong women racers on the mountain have been inspiring at each race, so strong and determined and so fast!
The descent was exhilarating. Today the footing was a little softer and slippery allowing you to slide and glide with each foot strike. Running down the mountain I always feel like a kid, arms flailing, running free and light.

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I finished the 4.25 mile course today in 38:57. A fifth place finish which put me in a 3rd place finish overall for the series! Sweet!
It was great to see all of these high energy racers every week which today included my friend Martha aka Outdoor Mom enjoying her first race on skis with skins and Kingdom Krazies too!
The only disappointment for me at these races was that I did not win any of the excellent prizes in the raffle. Wait . . . I actually did win one prize . . . my number was called so I excitedly went to the front to find that I had won some organic eggs. Not just any organic eggs, ironically they were our Pete an Gerry’s Organic Eggs the eggs that we had donated to the race as prizes. Too funny!

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All in all what a great experience! We were lucky this year to have mild winter weather to make each race extra enjoyable. This race series is definitely something you should add to your race calendar next year to add a little adventure into your winter. Plus these races are extremely well run by energetic race director Chad Denning.
I can’t wait for the Western NH Trail Series also put on by Team Amp starting this spring.

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Happy running and hope to see you on the trails!

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Up, up, and away!

Today I completed a base run in Bethlehem, NH. I ran with my BOB today and my littlest companion Brock as my passenger.
We ran into the town of Bethlehem from the dance studio where I left Piper happily twirling in a small sea of pink tutus.
Traveling at an easy pace today was welcome after pushing the pace ion a tough solo tempo run yesterday. When we reached the town center I was reminded of the challenging terrain for training in NH and Vermont. At the top of the hill leading into Bethlehem the banner gracing the light post read:

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Gaining elevation

Hopefully all of the hill work and mountain runs (Winter Wild-Championship at Bretton Woods this weekend) will prove to have built strength and stamina. I am feeling stronger from all of the climbing especially in my quads and calves.
Today during my run I was contemplating the marathon and ironically as we headed back to get Piper this is the mile marker that I noticed:

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Marathon here I come!

Almost halfway through the training I am looking forward to continuing the challenge towards 26.2!

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Not sure Brock will be along for all of the miles though . . .

Blast Off-Winter Wild Round #4

Winter Wild #4 at Mt. Sunapee, New Hampshire took place over the weekend. The morning started off very abruptly as my alarm failed to go off. So after some muddled 4 a.m. phone conversations about to do, I literally threw on my clothes (almost forgot my running shoes!) and headed out the door to find slick snow and ice-covered roadways. Why is it that it always snows and ices on the morning of the races?

I met Bridget for a treacherous drive to the mountain where we saw cars off the road along the way. So rather than being able to travel at mach speed (in our still somewhat incoherent sleepiness we had an in-depth conversation about mach speed on the way to the race) we had to travel at a snail’s pace. The arrival time on the GPS kept creeping up until it said 6:15 which was the time registration ended (note to self pre-register for the championship)! When we got to the mountain the adrenaline was pumping as we raced to throw on our spikes and head to the starting line. There was no time to think before the race which as it turns out is sometimes a good thing.

BLAST OFF!

Since this winter has been lacking in the snow department, the course had been changed yet again so that on the way up we would be racing up a trail aptly named “Blast Off.”  A warm-up would have been useful prior to the start of the race but, oh well!

The race began and I found the trail covered in a nice mix of corduroy and hard crunch from the earlier sleet and also some loose powder. I ran about half way up and then it was a POWER hike! The key was to get in a rhythm and also to work on following someone else’s tracks for a stronger foothold. The energy was awesome on the way up. Strong sounds of breathing and exertion and the scraping of skis on the snow. I am amazed by all of the powerful competitors and especially by the super strong women runners and awesome kids on the course! The kids are fast and determined! The race director Chad Denning of Team AMP has partnered with Let’s Move!  to provide free entries for all kids in the area. What an awesome, healthy adventure to introduce kids to so early on. Plus they all look psyched to be a part of it!

When we reached the summit and turned to head down you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief.  The descent was quick but the footing was great. The groomers had just hit the trail and the beautiful corduroy runway down to the finish beckoned, “RUN FASTER!”  Time to switch gears and stay loose and let your feet fly. The endorphins hit me full force on the way down and I felt like superwoman bounding over a cluster of trees (which by the way I used to pretend to do when I was a kid!) I think I was grinning from ear to ear at the finish . . .well ok maybe not . . .perhaps a small grin, sucking wind, and feeling slightly nauseous from the exertion.

Another great Winter Wild adventure under my belt! Post race we headed out for breakfast to refuel at my new favorite diner in West Lebanon, NH-Four Aces Diner. The food at this diner is amazing. This time I chose the Stuffed French Toast with Blackberries and sweet cream cheese, one egg over medium, and some bacon of course. And Captain D. ordered “The DONUT” for the table which is a donut that is about the size of your head.

Stuffed French Toast-Ooh! La! La!
THE Donut-need I say more?

Next weekend is the final race of the series at Bretton Woods. If you think you are up for the challenge here is a YOUTUBE video courtesy of “huckNr0ll” from this years race at Ragged Mountain. The video is shot from the perspective of a snowboarder which is super cool. You can even check me out at around 1:57 in to the video.

As an added bonus for participating in these races is raffle at the end which includes excellent prizes such as skis and snow shoes and Cannondale biking gear. Plus  our family farm will be providing our Pete &Gerry’s Organic Eggs again as well as some other sweet prizes!

Fueled by Organic Feed!

Happy running and see you at the race!

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Chicks on the mountain

I’ve been missing wearing my skirts this winter for racing. Today I felt like being a kick-a$$ chick on the mountain so I pulled out my favorite gym girl ultra Skirt Sports in purple haze.

It was a beautiful winter morning. A low hanging crescent moon guided us (with a few “Bridget” detours) to Pats Peak in Henniker, NH.

The sun was warm today peeking over the top of the course as we climbed to the top of the mountain not once but twice (4 miles total). The race was awesome today. I am feeling much stronger when climbing and focused on staying relaxed and loose. Plus I focused on my own race a rhythm of running today and didn’t worry about time. There are some dynamic super fast women at these races which makes for an extra great challenge.

I don’t know my finish time yet but felt great especially the second time around. Plus someone even complemented me on my skirt as I ran into the finish. The added bonus was a giant breakfast at the pancake house post race. More post race laughter with the best running friends.

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Energy

It has been crazy around here. I love having a full plate and being scheduled to the max. I always feel more productive. Although sometimes when I take a break for a minute I almost feel winded (almost like after running up a mountain . . . Which by the way I’ll be doing again tomorrow morning at the “egg” crack of dawn. Winter Wild Round 3 here I come!).

2 Laps of Pats Peak=4 Miles of Winter Wild

My two little chicks keep me on my toes every day. I wish I could drink in endless amounts of twirling, dancing, jumping, laughing pure energy. From the moment they awake they are out of their beds as though the starter pistol has gone off at the start of a race. During the race of our day there are meals to be made and devoured, intense playing at home and at pre-school, a daily battle of wits between 3.5 year old and Mommy, and wrestling matches with a cranky toddler who has discovered the joy of play and doesn’t want to concede defeat to exhaustion.

In the middle of this chaos is time for me to work, to write, to run. I officially started training for The Key Bank Vermont City Marathon this week to add in a bit more craziness. A coach from my friend Doug’s awesome coaching business The Sustainable Athlete is setting up my training. I am looking forward to having a daily plan to provide extra motivation. It’s been a long time since I had real coaching for sport.

Sweet one on one coach for ENDURANCE athletes

I am hoping for a Boston qualifying time which will be a fast 3:40. I feel like I’ve built a good base this past fall and winter thanks to half marathons and long miles with the awesome Pete and Gerry’s Organic Chicks.

Now it’s time to dial it up a bit. And just to kick things off with a bang my first official workout was intervals and I chose my friend Bridget (crazy fast with the energy of my 3.5 year old ) as my interval buddy. I had great plans to complete this workout in the morning but life took over. So, this workout ended up being a headlamp run on a dark VT dirt road. It felt amazing though and always the perfect way to end a crazy day and somehow I am always able to find the energy.

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Post Intervals Glow

Now begins the race to the finish line. This time with a plan to guide me and high energy surrounding me to serve as motivation.

Where do you get your energy?

Find your power source

Sore feet, sore shins, sore buns

Round 2 of Winter Wild has left me exhausted but in the perfect way. My body is definitely sore today and I am sure tomorrow will be worse (as day number 2 always is). I feel as though I have lost some ability to bend me legs and can feel all of the ligaments and tendons, in my feet, ankles, shins, hips, quads, hamstrings, buns . . .did I leave anything out? Oh yes, my arms too. And in the words of my friend Bridget, “I may need to go home and put BENGAY all over.

Sounds like fun right? Plus we got up at 4 a.m. to get to the race.

Yes, it's early. Can you tell?

The answer is, “Yes!!!! And I can’t wait to go back for more in two weeks at Pats Peak in Henniker, NH.

At the beginning of each race the race director of  Winter Wild says, “This is the most fun you will have running uphill!” I agree and apparently so do all of the other crazy people racing  at sunrise during these races.

The morning was perfect at Ragged Mountain. About 26 degrees. A couple of inches of light fresh snow which had been freshly groomed. Running on “corduroy” was much better than running on the loose fluff at the last race. Due to the lack of a “real” winter here this year the course had been modified so instead of being a more gentle climb than the last race we ran straight up “Exhibition.”

Maybe I should take the chair instead?

The climb seemed to go on forever. I ran the first bit and then just focused on keeping my arms moving and powering up the mountain and tried to maintain a steady pace. There are some fierce competitors at these races (because who else but a bunch of psychos would be out on the mountain) and I am amazed at the powerful women that are racing. I worked hard on the way up to stay with the few women surrounding me.  Finally reaching the summit we passed a ski patrolman and another mountain worker who I overheard discussing the runners/races. The ski patrolman said, “I just don’t get this” as he watched us pass by barely catching enough air to continue on.

As you reach the top in a total anaerobic state you have to completely switch gears to get ready for the swift downhill descent.  I was still with a couple of women when we got to the top and then I just tried to “let go”. Running down with my spikes digging in I could feel the snow sliding out from under my shoes. Wind rushing, heart racing, practically gasping to catch my breath.  Each mini drop in the slope brought new speed and I basically felt like I was right on the edge of completely out of control. It’s always great when you find your “other gear.” When I reached the finish line I was completely winded, my muscles were trembling. It was an amazing rush.

I am super psyched too as I came in 4th in my age group for 30-39 and currently stand in 3rd place for the series so far.

Totally worth it and the soreness is nothing a little running can’t cure!