Organic Runner Mom

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Heart Rate training and the Maffetone Method

The Maffetone Method and NH runner Larisa Dannis

What is the Maffetone Method for Runners

What is the Maffetone Method for Runners

If you are a running junkie like me then I am sure you heard about New Hampshire Native Larisa Dannis‘ incredible finish at the USATF 50 Mile Championship. She was the women’s winner with the fastest women’s finish time in 20 years. Her pace for 50 miles, 7:11 min/mile. What?!? Yikes! That is crazy fast! To give you an idea of how this compares to what I run, when I ran Boston in 2013 I ran 26.2 miles at and average 8:09 min/mile pace. I cannot even begin to imaging running almost 1 min/mile faster for 50 MILES! Larisa was also the fastest non elite Boston Marathon Runner at the 2014 race with a finish time of 2:44. The crazy thing about her amazing finish times is that she was able to complete her races maintaining an aerobic heartrate the entire time!

Since Larisa is from New Hampshire I have been hearing a buzz about her on the running circuit and how she has gone from recreational runner (and hiker, being a “peak bagger” going after the 4,00 footers and “the Grid”) to a USATF champion in 4 short years. I am intrigued to learn more about her approach to training which is called the Maffetone Method, a heart rate training method developed by Phil Maffetone author of “The Big Book of Endurance Racing and Training.” When I was a rower in college our coach, Mark Davis trained us using heart rate training methods. Every day for practice we would strap on our Polar Heart Rate Monitors to ensure that we stayed in the correct training zones. I wish that I had paid more attention to the philosophy and scientific reasoning behind this. Now my curiosity has been piqued and I am ready to learn more about the Maffetone Method.

What is the Maffetone Method–Larisa Dannis, “I became increasingly efficient aerobically” (UltraRunnerPodcast).

How does the Maffetone Method work?  The Maffetone Method, developed by Phil Maffetone works with his mathematical formaula, the 180 Formula. The 180 Formula is, “180 minus a person’s chronological age, which is then adjusted to reflect their physiological age as indicated by fitness and health factors” (SOURCE).  This method of training is not new by any means but according to Runner’s World is a more unconventional method of training these days.

The Maffetone Method 180 Forumla (Source  httpphilmaffetone.com180-formula)

The Maffetone Method 180 Formula (Source httpphilmaffetone.com180-formula)

According to the Maffetone 180 Formula using my age and the fact that I struggle with ongoing allergies (seasonal, environmental) I would calculate 180-38-5=137 beats per minute. 137 beats per minute should be my maximum heart rate for training at an optimum aerobic level to increase my aerobic base within 10 bpm so my range would be from 127 bm-137 bpm.

According to Larisa Dannis’ interview on the Ultra Runner Podcast as she continued to train at her optimum heart rate zone she found that she while her heart rate remained consistent her paces began to quicken the longer she trained following this method.  Because Dannis relies on her heart rate to tell her how she is doing she does not focus as much on split times therefore not becoming a slave to the watch! I like the idea of this. Sometimes when you become too focused on pace per mile it can create a lot of stress during a race.  Dannis also shares that after two years of strictly training using the Maffetone Method she has added in more speedwork-hill repeats, fartleks, to address the body’s need of being able to work in an anaerobic zone as well.I am still learning about the Maffetone Method and am excited to follow Larisa Dannis’ running journey as she continues to race and tries to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.

I am curious to talk to my coach Denise Goode of The Sustainable Athlete to see how this might fit into my own training plan. In 2012 when I first qualified for the Boston Marathon I was definitely in an upswing with my racing seeing many PR’s including my Boston qualifier. 2013 after Boston I had to work to regain my running shape after my bout of tendonitis and this year I finally feel like I have regained some speed.  Now that the majority of my racing is done for the year I am excited to refocus and set new goals for next year.  I am hoping to pick up some speed again come next spring and summer and know that I have some work ahead during the winter months.

Have you ever heard of the Maffetone Method? Do you use a specific training method? I’d love to hear all about it!

Organic Runner Mom

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Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when I start to feel S.A.D. As the leaves fall, the sun begins to set earlier and the air begins to change. Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. is a disorder that affects people during this time of year.  This disorder is thought to be caused shorter periods of sunlight which increases melatonin and in turn disrupts regular sleep cycles (SOURCE). S.A.D. is a form of depression and can cause fatigue, sadness, lack of interest, irritability, and other symptoms similar to depression with the key characteristic being that Seasonal Affective Disorder improves as the daylight hours get longer in the spring.

When this time of year hits, I start feeling exhausted and have those unexplained feelings of sadness that can creep in. Through the years of living in New Hampshire and dealing with S.A.D. I have picked up some important strategies for coping with this disorder. It is important to monitor and manage S.A.D. to ensure good health and wellness during the long winter months.

Here are some ways to cope with S.A.D.

  • Light therapy. Portable light boxes and dawn simulators provide your body with wavelengths of light that you miss out on during days with shorter daylight.
  • Soak up the natural light! No matter what the weather is like I always try to get outside at least for a little bit to take advantage of the benefits of the Vitamin D that your body absorbs from the sun.
  • Stay active. Keeping my body moving through exercise to get the natural rush of endorphins can be a mood booster
  • Laugh More! Playing with my kids and giggling or laughing with friends provides a natural boost of serotonin to create greater feelings of positivity.
  • Add more lean proteins such as fish into your diet. Fish contains higher levels of Omega-3’s which can give your more energy.
  • Keep your sugar intake low so as not to create sugar highs and lows.

I hope that you are not S.A.D. too but if you are struggling with this like I do I hope these tips have helped you.

*disclaimer: I am not a medial doctor. Please consult with a physician if you are struggling with depression and in need of help.

Organic Runner Mom

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CHaD HERO Half Marathon Race Recap. A great day to be a Super Hero

CHaD HERO Half Marathon.

Wonder Woman ready to race the CHaD Hero Half

Wonder Woman ready to race the CHaD Hero Half

Yesterday was my first time racing the CHaD Hero Half Marathon. A race to benefit the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth a critical care center for children in our area of New Hampshire and also a hospital that has helped our family with amazing general pediatrics doctors as well as specialists. This event has grown to include events so that anyone can participate, a 5k run, Cam’s Course 1 Mile Fun Run, 5k walk, and 10k wooded hike and be a part of the fundraising that is needed to continue to provide service to over 60,000 children each year.

I was happy to meet up with some fellow heroes before the race and I loved seeing all of the amazing superhero costumes. The spirit at this race was positive and my energy to race was definitely buzzing.

We are all superheroes!

We are all superheroes! Congrats to my awesome friend Joanna on a super speedy race!

Half Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday I felt inspired seeing children and adults run and walk together as teams in superhero costumes and teams bearing the names of children and their families in need of hope and care at CHaD. Everyone who participated in this event yesterday was there for a purpose other than just to run or to get a new PR. The race began with the National anthem sung by a Dartmouth A Capella Group and a Super Hero Oath read by the race director and repeated by the 5K and half marathon runners.  With the words “Heroes Together!” we were off.

The clouds parted as the race began and although it was in the 40’s  it was gorgeous. The race ran through the beautiful Dartmouth, TUCK and medical school campuses as well as through neighborhoods in Hanover, NH and across the river into Norwich, VT across the Connecticut River and then back again. The course was rolling with some long gradual relentless uphills and downhills but it was a good mix to let your body settle into a pace.

I began the race in the 7:00-8:00 pace group behind a “pacer” wearing a 7:3o pace shirt. It was hard not to get sucked into the quick pace off the starting line with all of the 5K runners and the 7:30 pacer was cruising along at closer to a 6:45 pace.Yikes! I knew I was falling into a trap of going to fast which was confirmed at the 10K point of the race where I matched my fastest 10K with 46 minutes. It just felt so good to stretch out and run long and strong. Plus I was I was living out my childhood dream of always wanting to be Wonder Woman! I felt like I was in my invisible jet, invincible!  After the 10K I reevaluated my pace plan and slowed it down a little bit.  I worked hard to use my upper body, core and length and to stay relaxed especially on the downhills so as not to waste energy.  Powerful messages graced signs as you climbed each hill and ran along the course. The volunteers and spectators cheered as you flew by (I was wearing a cape you know!) and encouraged you to be your best. The other racers were determined and strong. I kept my attitude positive and decided not to really check my watch for the rest of the race. I wanted to just run and enjoy the love of racing.

Racing to the finish line!

As we crossed the “ball” bridge back into Hanover we ran back by the boathouse and up a tough hill at around miles 8-9.  On this hill their was a perfectly placed sign with a quote from one of my favorite running bloggers Sarah from Run Far Girl–”Embrace the Hill!” So I did! I pushed hard up the hill and at the crest kept on moving for the final loop.  We ran through the starting chute across the campus green and the cheering from the crowd brought a new boost of final energy which was definitely needed for the last 3 mile push up some tough hills.  The last mile was tough. My muscles were beginning to tighten from the cold and from the faster earlier miles. I emptied my energy and pushed up the last small hill and down through the finish chute crossing the line in 1:44:48. 13th out of 141 in the women’s 30-39 age group.  A strong but tired finish made perfect by the smiles of my kids and Organic Runner Dad (and our friend Paul too) greeting me at the finish line.

The best finish line cheering section! My own little superheroes!

The best finish line cheering section! My own little superheroes!

Overall, this was an amazing day and I am so thankful for everyone who donated to my fundraising team to help raise over $700,000 for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth! I want to race this race again and to increase my fundraising efforts. And, if I run again next year I can be Wonder Woman again!!!!!

Thank you for cheering me on and wishing you many wonderful runs this week!

Organic Runner Mom

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Smell Great with Win High Performance Sports Detergent. #sweathardsmellgreat

Have you tried WIN High Performance Sports Detergent?

Win Detergent. Sweat Hard Smell Great.

Win Detergent. Sweat Hard Smell Great.

Ok, I admit it, I have probably spent half of my life in spandex doing some form of athletic athletic activity. It started with ice skating, turned into horseback riding, then crew and now of course running (and triathlon too). I have to admit that probably half of my wardrobe consists of workout clothes and clothes that are are workout clothes disguised as “real” clothes. I admit it, I don’t mind being sweaty and dirty. I like adventure and with adventure comes dirt, sweat, laughter and happiness and of course lots and lots of smelly laundry. I love that my kids (ages 4 and 6) see me as an athlete and don’t mind (well ok, they mind a bit) when I come back to the house smelling a bit “stinky.”

WIN High Performance Sports Detergent

WIN High Performance Sports Detergent

But all of this stinky, adventuring on the roads, on the trails, in the mountains and in lakes and rivers leaves me with mountains of smelly laundry  Sometimes ordinary detergent doesn’t cut it.  The smell of adventure can sometimes be difficult to remove from technical fabrics which is why I was psyched when I was asked by Fit Approach to try out the new and improved WIN high performance sports detergent!. WIN deteregent generously sent me two full size bottles of their HE (high-efficiency washer) detergent to try.  WIN comes in either regular WIN or WIN Green.

The Benefits of WIN Sports Detergent.

Here are some features of the new and improved WIN High Performance Sports Detergents:

  • designed to remove sweat, oil, and odors from technical athletic/sports apparel
  • made in the USA
  • bottle made from 25% post consumer recycled plastics
  • 32 oz Bottle
  • retail price is $9.95
New and Improve WIN Sports Deteregents

New and Improve WIN Sports Deteregents

We especially love WIN Green in our house because it is Eco-friendly and also delicate on sensitive skin which is an issue in our house so I have to be careful when choosing laundry detergent.  I have tried both detergents and am loving their ability to remove the workout funk from our clothes.  The price for WIN is definitely reasonable with each bottle of WIN sports detergent being good for 21 loads of laundry, now that is a lot of running and adventuring!

How can I get some WIN sports detergent?

If you want to give WIN High Performance Sports Detergent a try you can purchase it on AMAZON. I even have a $1.00 off CODE for you to use at checkout! CODE: WINGIVE1 .

You also have a chance to win 1 bottle of regular WIN and 1 bottle of WIN Green by entering my Giveaway.  The Giveaway will last for one week and I will notify the winners via e-mail once the giveaway has ended.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here’s to happy adventuring and sweating hard and smelling great! Organic Runner Mom More ways to connect with Organic Runner Mom

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Running. It isn’t always glamorous . . .

The glamorous life of runners and athletes told in a few anecdotal tales. 

Running. It isn't always as glamorous as it looks . . .

Running. It isn’t always as glamorous as it looks . . .

I always marvel at the runners who look as though the just stepped out of the salon as they cross the finish line. When I finish a race I am a sweaty mess and look completely disheveled, I sometimes even have energy gel on my face . . . does this happen to you? I usually share the positive aspects of racing but now I’ll share a few of the unspoken true stories about the non glamorous side of running that have had me and my friends and hopefully you too in stitches. It is actually many of these silly, goofy, giggle inducing moments that make me love the sport of running (and any athletic competition for that matter) even more because while running can be serious when you are racing it can also be a source of great entertainment too!

*Disclaimer-all names and some details have been removed to protect the identities of the athletes in these stories.

Scenario 1

Picture it. You are transitioning from the bike to the run in your first triathlon. So far everything has been going smoothly. You change your shoes and grab a granola bar as you head out onto the 10K course. What you don’t realize as you pop this tasty treat into your mouth is that this is no ordinary granola bar. You have chosen poorly out of your stash at home and grabbed the one containing Chili Peppers. Yes, that’s right, mouth and throat burning chili peppers. You chew for a few seconds and then realize your mistake as you begin to cough and wheeze and inhale more of the spicy mouth burning bar.  You are coughing and trying to get air. Finally you reach the first mile marker and quickly grab as many cups of water and gatorade as you can to wash away the spice. Thankfully the heat in your mouth subsides and you are able to regain your strides.

Scenario 2

This next story is an oldie but goodie from my days as a rower. Caution do not read any further if you are easily grossed out. The Scene: spring break for the crew team in Virginia. Rowing practice has ended for the day.  Your teammate finds two novice rowers down by the boathouse “washing” their hands in a spicket. He wonders out loud, “what are you washing with?” “The soap! from the sink in the Porta-Potty” they exclaim in unison . . . “Ummmmm, that is NOT soap!” he says and that was NOT a sink!” . . . that is all I will tell you about this one but if you have spent any time racing you will know exactly what the girls had found to wash their hands with. ICK! I tell this story every Reach the Beach Relay. You will never look at a Porta Potty the same way again!

Scenario 3

You race 24 or so glorious miles of trail. Along the way you consume your favorite energy gel which is made from figs. Have you ever seen the color of figs? Well, the color is brown.  So fast forward. You cross the finish line and are stoked to be finished.  You wander around for about a half hour after the race talking to other runners  with your good friend. You are unsuspecting of the odd looks everyone is giving you. Finally you go into the bathroom to freshen up. You look in the mirror and notice a giant brown glob of energy gel on your face. Your friend has failed to tell you about this . . . all you can do is laugh about it!

Scenario 4

You are waiting in line for the race and come to find out that a fellow trail racer was a bit worried about the run, “Why?” you ask with curiousity.  The runner discloses with a look of embarrassment, “Well, two weeks ago I was out for a trail run with a friend and I really had to go . . . to make a long story short I made a mistake.  I should have thought about the rhyme. Leaves of three let it be if you know what I mean . . . OUCH! Thankfully she was able to laugh about it. Let this be a cautionary tale!

Scenario 5

You were out for the perfect morning trail run with your running group. It was chilly so at the end of your run you proceed to change your clothes after the run so that you can stay warm during breakfast and your morning errands. Little do you know you failed to properly remove one of your items of clothing.  At lunchtime you return home. Your husband takes one look at you and cracks up. You look in the mirror. You are wearing your sports bra danlging around your neck like a necklace and have been for the whole morning!

Now these are just a selection of run funnies from my unglamorous life of racing and training. I hope I didn’t gross you out too much and at least put a smile on your face! I’d love to hear your tales from the glamorous sport of running or any other sport for that matter.

Happy trails and look out for those leaves of three and beware of those leaves of three! Get out there and get running!

Organic Runner Mom

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5 Tips for an awesome half marathon race experience

5 Tips for An Awesome Half Marathon

5 Tips for An Awesome Half Marathon

Make your half marathon awesome!

Do you have a half marathon coming up? Whether you a new comer to the 13.1 mile distance or a half marathon junkie, tips for race success are always helpful.  Every race can be so different and sometimes having a new trick or tip in your race day “tool kit” can be a big help.

  1. Relax. Easier said than done but on days when you are able to keep race day jitters to a minimum you are guaranteed to have the most fun and a greater chance of having a fast time. Take a few minutes the night before and the morning of the race to sit down in a quiet place and visualize your race plan When your nerves get the best of you just try to roll with it and let that extra jolt of adrenaline carry you along the course.
  2. Split the Race.  When racing longer distances I try not to think of the completing the whole distance.  Instead I break the race into manageable pieces. For example, when running a half marathon if you like running 5Ks. Complete a 5K and then imagine the next 5K as a whole new race and so on until you see the finish line in view. Playing this kind of mind game when you are racing can help you to focus on what is going well and to forget the tough parts.  
  3. Set 3 Goals. Set a dream goal–going for that mega P.R. Set a realistic goal–use your training and previous race experiences to predict a finish time. Set the goal of finishing the race with a positive attitude having enjoyed the race experience. Being comfortable with achieving any one of your goals before the race gun goes off can take the pressure off and allow you to relax at the starting line (see Tip #1)
  4. Wear tried and tested gearYou want to be comfortable on race day without the fear of surprise chafing or wicked blisters.  Choose gear that you know your feet and chafing prone areas will be comfortable in for 13.1 miles. Road test your gear prior to race day so that you don’t have a race day wardrobe malfunction if you know what I mean.
  5. Soak up the race day atmoshphere. Keep your eyes on the finish line but remember to enjoy the race.  Get to the race course early enough to pick up your race number and get your fueling and hydration for the race ready if you will be carrying your own. Leave time to hit the bathrooms (hopefully not porta potties) and to go for a warm-up that you have pre-planned.  Take some to time to check out the course and course maps.  When the race gets going stick to your plan but also look around and use the positive energy of the people cheering you on and the energy of the other racers to pull you through the tough parts. And most of all celebrate your finish and the race celebration at the finish line. You made it!

Good luck chasing your half marathon goals this season! Please share your best half marathon tips!

Organic Runner Mom

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Applegate HALFTIME Review and Giveaway! #LunchingAwesome

Have you tried the new Applegate Farms Halftime Lunch Kits?

Applegate Halftime Lunch Kits with Stonyfield and Annie's Homegrown

Applegate Halftime Lunch Kits with Stonyfield and Annie’s Homegrown

*Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

As a Stonyfield yoGetter I was recently given the chance to review Applegate Farms HALF TIME™  Lunchtime meals. As a mom who is always thinking about the healthier alternative for my kids I was excited to see this great grab and go HALF TIME™  lunch kit. This is the perfect solution for those days when you are in a hurry and need something quick for your kids but don’t want to be feeding them food with high levels of nitrates, preservatives and artificial ingredients. Applegate Farms has partnered with “teammates” Stonyfield and Annie’s because they have the same goal of raising and growing food responsibly.

What’s Inside

What's inside an Applegate Farms Halftime Lunch Kit?

What’s inside an Applegate Farms Halftime Lunch Kit?

  • Applegate natural meats and cheeses (which have no artificial ingredients or preservatives, and are antibiotic- and hormone-free).  The kits come in Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, and Bologna & Cheese so pick your kiddos favorite!
  • Annie’s Homegrown crackers and snacks
  • Stonyfield Organic YoKids Squeezers.
It's HALFTIME.

It’s HALFTIME.

As a part of the review we were sent a cool starter kit which includes: All three varieties of HALF TIME: Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, and Bologna & Cheese, a draw-your-own lunch bag, a set of permanent markers, coupons, and a fun activity book or the kids. My kids definitely thought this was #lunchingawesome and my Organic Runner Girl was eager to decorate the lunchbag to bring to school! My kids were excited to find some of their favorite goodies in the Halftime lunch kits including YoKids squeezers from Stonyfield which is a staple in our house. My kids love the Applegate Farms cold cuts, cheeses and Annie’s crackers which are perfect for make little sandwiches. And of course the “gummy buns” or bunny crackers from Annie’s are the perfect sweet treat at the end of halftime. These kits are great for lunch or an after school snack before swimming lessons or after soccer practice.

Organic Runner Girl loves the new Halftime Lunch Kits!

Organic Runner Girl loves the new Halftime Lunch Kits!

HALFTIME Giveaway

Now you can enter to win your very own HALFTIME lunch kit for you and your kids so that you can have a #lunchingawesome lunch with your kids!

HALFTIME Giveaway

HALFTIME Giveaway

If you win you will receive:

  •  All three varieties of HALF TIME: Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, and Bologna & Cheese
  • A draw-your-own lunch bag
  • A set of permanent markers
  • Coupons
  • Activity book

Just enter here and I’ll be choosing a winner soon. It will be #LunchingAwesome!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Please check HERE to find out where you can get your very own HALFTIME Lunch Kits You can also find a printable coupon for Halftime Lunch kits from Applegate, Stonyfield, and Annie’s HERE  

Thanks for checking in with me!

Organic Runner Mom

 

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5 tips for marathon recovery to get you back up to racing speed.

Why is marathon recovery so important?

Yes, I will need to recover from those crazy mountain like hills I just ran up at the Kingdom Marathon.

Yes, I will need to recover from those crazy mountain like hills I just ran up at the Kingdom Marathon.

A week and a half ago I was the women’s winner at the Kingdom Marathon. Since then I have been taking it “easy” and letting my body recover because I’ll be running the CHaD Hero Half Marathon on October 26th. In the past I have often jumped back into training too quickly after a marathon and my body has rapidly reminded me to slow down by throwing me into sickness. Another reason to take marathon recovery seriously is to avoid injury. No one wants to be sidelined with an injury (believe me I know firsthand!). I have been racing a lot this fall and after the Kingdom Marathon I knew I needed to take it easy.  My legs actually recovered fairly quickly from the marathon but my body was noticeably fatigued. I have been feeling extra exhausted and have been needing more rest than usual. Also, I have been feeling a bit blue with my big goal races being done for the fall. I want to be feeling like a superhero at the half marathon, ready to fly down the course for 13.1 miles (which should hopefully feel like a breeze after conquering the crazy hills at the Kingdom Marathon).

Tips for Marathon Recovery

Here is what I have been doing to effectively recover from the marathon so that I can feel energized and ready to go on at the half marathon.

  1. Extra zzzzz’s. Kick your feet up. It’s time to relax. Squeeze in a power nap if you can or try to get to bed an extra half hour earlier than usual.
  2. Mixing it up. I have done a little bit of running but have been focusing mostly on cross-training to give my muscles extra time to recover.  My favorite ways to cross-train–cycling, swimming, yoga, and hiking.
  3. Fueling.  I always find that I am extra hungry the week after a marathon so I focus on eating lots of carbohydrates and lean protein.  I also up my salt intake to replenish what I lose during the race (I am a heavy sweater when I run!)
  4. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.  I often fail to do enough of this anyway and we all know how great fluid loss can be during a marathon so rehydration is extra important the day of and the days after the marathon. Also, staying well hydrated can help prevent fatigue! The best way to stay hydrated is to always keep a filled water bottle at your side.
  5. Focus on things that are positive! I am prone to depression anyways (and with daylight hours waning in New Hampshire, seasonal affective disorder or S.A.D. is setting in) so after a marathon I always tend to feel a bit blue. Accomplishing a great goal is such a high but when the event is over their can be sadness associated with final goal being over. In order to stay positive I spend recovery time focusing on fun with my kids and my family.  We have been going for great walks, playing tons of silly games and during a day when my daughter was sick my silly son even joined me for some treadmill time. This is also a great time to start dreaming up those next big race dreams in order to refocus and to start building a new training plan either on your own or with a coach.
How could this cutie pie not put a smile on your face?

How could this cutie pie not put a smile on your face?

What are your best tips for marathon recovery?

Organic Runner Mom

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More triathlons, the ZFIVE and a triathlon inspired giveaway!

Swim, bike, run with the ZFIVE!

The ZFIVE. Triathlon Inspired Design.

The ZFIVE. Triathlon Inspired Design.

*Disclaimer: I was provided with two t-shirts for my review by the ZFive.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Remember back in September when I raced my first triathlon (The Lobsterman Triathlon)? Well, I’m hooked and I am already beginning to plan my race schedule for next summer.  The new big goal on my list . . . A Half Ironman. Yes, that’s right, 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running fun.  I have already signed up for the Timberman Half Ironman which is held in mid-August in New Hampshire.  I am stoked! I also plan to race several olympic distance triathlons as a part of my training leading up to the big 70.3.  Don’t worry there will still be plenty of running too.

ZFIVE

ZFIVE

With triathlon on the brain and feeling totally inspired after having watched the KONA Ironman World Championships over the weekend I am happy to be able to bring you a great triathlon inspired giveaway. Have you heard of The ZFIVE? ZFIVE is a company that creates triathlon inspired t-shirts for men (with a women’s line coming soon!).  ZFIVE was started by three self-proclaimed endurance junkies.  The name of the brand refers to the 5 Zones of training with ZFIVE being the zone where you are going all out and your heart feels like it might pound out of your chest.

ZFIVE’s triathlon inspired t-shirts first caught my eye on their instagram feed.  Their shirts are custom made, individually dyed, and screen printed. Each shirt has the ZFIVE logo embroidered on the back and bold graphics and colors. I was sent two designs to try in extra-small which fits my frame well and the cotton is super soft.

WIN one!

Now you have a chance to win one of the triathlon inspired ZFIVE t-shirts!  You can also sign up HERE  and get free Wallpapers for your phones with zfive themes.

Please enter my giveaway to win a ZFIVE shirt. This giveaway will run for one week and winners will be announced on my blog and social media sites and notified via e-mail.
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While you are reading this post I’ll be hopping on my bike trying to soak up the last of the warm beautiful fall New Hampshire days before “stick season” starts.

This Dude Girl is going out for a ride. Time to go Free Range!

This Dude Girl is going out for a ride. Time to go Free Range!

 Good luck and stop back soon for more running, swimming, biking, cooking, eating adventures and more!

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I was the women’s winner at the Kingdom Marathon!

Doin’ the dirt from Pie to Pie. The Kingdom Marathon.

The Kingdom Marathon. Running into the finish!

The Kingdom Marathon. Running into the finish!

On Saturday I turned 38 and on Sunday I was the women’s winner at the first annual Kingdom Marathon! What?!?! First place in a marathon. 26.2 (actually 26.5 miles in this race!) crazy hilly miles with a total ascent of 2,894 feet. Yikes! The true gift was the gorgeous scenery as we ran “From Pie to Pie” from Parker Wings in Newport, Vermont to Parker Pie in Glover, Vermont. My friend Joanna convinced  me to sign up for this 26.2 mile dirt road running “adventure” pretty much at the last minute.That’s right, no specific marathon training plans were followed but I definitely had the miles under my belt to complete the distance.

At Parker Wings ready to race!

At Parker Wings ready to race!

photo 4 (23)

At the last minute my friend Joanna to switch to biking the out and back option and wrangled Organic Runner Dad into biking it with her.  The out and back option gave them a solid ride of about 43 miles and yes they too had to tackle the endless hills!

Here we are! 2 riders and 1 runner ready to take on the Kingdom Marathon!

Here we are! 2 riders and 1 runner ready to take on the Kingdom Marathon!

Go Organic Runner Dad and Joanna!!!!

Go Organic Runner Dad and Joanna!!!!

After they left on their bikes I still had a half an hour to get mentally prepared for the run and to figure out what I was going to wear.  The day started out as a chilly blustery 45 degrees so I was hesitant to ditch my warm jacket but in the end decided to go with my original race day outfit because I knew I’d end up being too hot! This ended up being a great decision because they sun came out an with al of the hills I had to climb I was hot and sweaty!

I wore some race day favorites from Skirt Sports, Nike, Gone For a Run, Crazy Compression and of course my Brooks Adrenaline. I ditched the visor as the rains had passed and wore my one of my usual crazy headbands.

I wore some race day favorites from Skirt Sports, Nike, Gone For a Run, Crazy Compression and of course my Brooks Adrenaline. I ditched the visor as the rains had passed and wore my one of my usual crazy headbands.

This was the first year of the Kingdom Marathon and besides running the marathon you could also run a half marathon or a 17 miler or you could bike the marathon or ride 13 miles and I think there were relay options too (something for everyone!). I even heard some rumors that there might be horses on the course too?!?! I loved seeing all of the eager runners ready to tackle this new race. Some faces were familiar too which helped make for a fun race day atmosphere. I had convinced my friend Bob to run too and was hoping he wouldn’t hate me after running all of the hills on the course (apparently runners are like lemmings, any talk of a new cool race and we all just blindly follow each other into signing up for something totally new and crazy!)

Getting ready for the Start of the Kingdom Marathon

Getting ready for the Start of the Kingdom Marathon

Finally it was time to start. Everything was so relaxed some of us were almost ready to run the wrong way out of the driveway. This started the race of with some good laughs.  I decided to treat this run with the mindset of a training run and to go out and have a great time. My friend Bob and I decided to run together and settled into a comfortable pace. I wasn’t to concerned about having a crazy pace because I knew the hills would get me and I might not come out standing on the other end if I attacked the course with a fast pace from the get go (remember how I talked about running 8:05-:8:25 pace . . . that plan flew out the window when I checked out the elevation profile of the race–2894 feet of elevation gain is no joke!).  We ran and talked about running and racing and marveled at the spectacular Vermont countryside. The fall foliage was absolutely amazing especially when the sun came out from behind the clouds and set the leaves “on fire.” You couldn’t possibly pick a more perfect setting for a fall race! As we ran their were scenic sweeping landscapes dotted with farms and cows and views of the backside of lake Willoughby.  I loved having a friend to run with because the miles passed much faster and we had the added benefit of his family cheering us on on the course!

Rave Run

Rave Run. We were at about 8 miles here and there was one woman ahead of my who I ultimately passed. Bob is in the green shirt up ahead.

The aid stations did not have volunteers at each one however they were well stocked with water and gatorade and many stations had bananas, Cliff bars and Louis Garneau Energy Gels.  The bananas were definitely a perfect edition to my race day on course nutrition. I did run with my UltrAspire hydration pack to ensure that I would have enough nutrition and hydration on the course. At the Half Marathon mark of the race Bob and I hit 2 hours on the course which was great considering the monumental hills that we had already tackled! From about mile 2 to mile 5.68 the elevation climbed from 694 ft-1,291.  We were definitely giving our legs some killer hill workouts on both the uphill and downhill (what goes up must come down!)

Take a look at the elevation profile of the Kingdom Marathon.

Take a look at the elevation profile of the Kingdom Marathon.

We continued on through Barton, Vermont and then headed back under the highway and up a monstrous hill. At this point Bob picked up his pace a bit and I continued to grind up the hills. It was awesome to have run together for around 16 miles because that left us with only ten miles to go. Ten miles is still along way but I was still feeling strong and ready to run.  My strategy at this point was to stay steady, to keep even pacing on the uphills and to use the flats and downhills to lengthen out and relax.  I tried not to focus on my watch and my splits and just ran.

The Kingdom Marathon is the most beautiful marathon I have ever run!

The Kingdom Marathon is the most beautiful marathon I have ever run!

The hills were rolling at this point and my legs were definitely starting to feel tighter as the miles continued on. After a long run on a scenic ridge the hill finally took me down and out to a turn around point with a fully stocked aid station and some great volunteers. At this point I think there were 6 miles left (about a 10K). Bob and I crossed paths as he left the turnaround. He looked strong and determined to achieve a sub-four hour finish time. Between 20 and 25 miles the hills kept coming, they were not quite as long but my body was starting to feel heavier so I was glad to see Joanna and Organic Runner Dad as they passed me in the car headed back to the finish line to wait for me (they had completed their bike ride in about 3:45).  The cheering was just what I needed. I saw them one more time with two miles to go at an aid station where I guzzled down some water and ate a piece of banana. Then it was on to the finish!!!! Finally the uphills turned into a final descent and I stretched my legs out to take on the final miles. Organic Runner Dad ran back to cheer me on as I came to the finish.

26.5 Miles. Kingdom Marathon. Doin' the dirt from Pie to Pie!

26.5 Miles. Kingdom Marathon. Doin’ the dirt from Pie to Pie!

My final result (unofficial) was 4:10 for 26.5 (and yes that extra .3 miles felt long!) with any average pace of 9:26 min/mile! Amazingly I surprised myself by being the first place female which had me feeling super proud! The prizes for the Kingdom Marathon were perfect–A Woodal (hand-carved wooden medal), a nice jug of Pure Vermont Maple Syrup (good thing too, as we just ran out at home!) and some homemade beef jerky (or possibly bear or moose).  Since the race ended at Parker Pie we were treated to delicious wood-fired pizza and beer (although I can never stomach a beer after a marathon so I stuck to water) and we all celebrated our day together!

1st place female and 3rd place male!

1st place female and 3rd place male!

Even though it was a small race it's pretty cool to be able to say that I won a marathon and I hold the women's course record since it was the first year. I might just have to go back next year to defend my title!

Even though it was a small race it’s pretty cool to be able to say that I won a marathon and I hold the women’s course record since it was the first year. I might just have to go back next year to defend my title!

This was a crazy experience but you know what, I will probably do it again next year . . . thank you Joanna for convincing me to run! The views were amazing the atmosphere was low-key, the course was well marked and stocked with nutrition and hydration and the food at the end was perfect!

Now, I think I’ll be taking a few days off. Up next, The CHaD Hero Half Marathon in 3 weeks. Please take the time to check out my donation page. I’d love to have your support!

Tell me about the most challenging race course you have ever run

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