Organic Runner Mom

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Treadmill Review. I have a Vision Fitness Premier, what about you?

Vision Fitness Premier T9600 Treadmill Review

Vision Fitness Treadmill Review | Organic Runner Mom

Vision Fitness Treadmill Review

Whether you love or hate running on a treadmill this is when they sometimes become a necessity. Michele from NYCRunningMama asked me to join her in sharing a treadmill review. If you are currently in the market for a treadmill you can find more excellent reviews HERE on Pinterest.

Since I live in New Hampshire, my treadmill and I have become best friends. I have trained for many marathons including two Boston Marathons (2013 and 2014). Training for Boston in the middle of the Polar Vortex last year meant that I got to do plenty of running on my treadmill or “dreadmill” as some people like to call it. I’ve run everything from an easy 3 mile run to a 20 mile+ run when the temperatures have dipped too low to step outside. I have to admit that I am not averse to running on a treadmill because it means I can pop on it for a run even if I can’t escape my house (moms of little kids you totally know what I mean!). My treadmill is also situated on our porch which has big windows looking out at our fields so even if you can’t get out for a run their is an illusion of being outside. The only drawback is that the porch is not heated so in the dead of winter I still have to layer up like I am going outside (at least the porch acts like a windbreak, hahaha!)

Vision Fitness Premier T9600 Treadmill–The Specs

Click here to read more about what to look for when purchasing a treadmill. | Organic Runner Mom

Treadmill Review

  • Purchased: 2009
  • Cost: Around $2500 (I think?)–This was a priceless investment for my mental health as I suffered post partum depression after both pregnancies. Exercise was important to overcoming PPD.
  • Min/Max Pace: .5 mph – 12.0 mph
  • Min/Max Incline: 0 to 15% incline
  • Dimensions: 60 inch deck
  • Preset workouts: 6 classic programs, 4 heart-rate programs, 3 goal programs, 5 custom programs, 5K, 10K, 15K
  • Heart Rate Monitor:  Hand Pulse sensors are located on handles under the console and their is a wireless Polar heart rate strap.
  • Miscellaneous: Console has video display which has 4 different run scenes, a track, heart rate display or profile display. You can also access your daily-monthly stats. AV connectors on the back of the console allow you to attach a device so that you can view movies while you run. This treadmill has two cup holders. The side rails are non-slip.
  • Warranty: Limited Home use warranty. Frame and motor have lifetime warranties. Electronics and parts have a five year warranty.

PROS

  • This treadmill has 6 user login profiles so multiple users can use it and store their data.
  • The Vision Fitness Premier T9600 Treadmill has an orthopedic cushioned belt which makes it easier on your joints.
  • This treadmill has not required much maintenance other than deck waxing, belt tightening and deck cleaning.
  • I like the quick start function and also the pause feature in case you need to jump off for a minute to stretch and need to stop the belt.
  • I have logged many many miles on my treadmill and she just keeps going. This treadmill is high quality and very durable.

CONS

  • This treadmill does not like the extreme cold (but then again who does).  When it is too cold the screen goes on the fritz and the motor gets loud (I guess this is a cue to go back inside).
  • I have had some trouble with the treadmill memory holding data from workouts.
  • The cost is high but the treadmill has been very reliable!

If you are on the hunt for a new running partner treadmill I would definitely consider check out Vision Fitness treadmills. I was just perusing their website and they now have treadmills with touch screens and they also have viaFIT which is wireless connectivity for your treadmill. viaFIT interfaces with your computer to better help you to track your fitness goals and progress.

A treadmill should be fun? Right? | Organic Runner Mom

A treadmill should be fun? Right?

What kind of treadmill do you currently train on? Do you have a favorite treadmill workout that you’d like to share?

Organic Runner Mom

Be sure to check out my latest post on the ARMPOCKET Blog–Training Tips for New Runners. #ACTIONACHIEVES.

Organic Runner Mom's Training Tips for New Runners

Organic Runner Mom’s Training Tips for New Runners

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Why Starting with ‘Why’ Means More Success Before Embarking on a Triathlon Training Plan

Starting with ‘Why.’ Goal setting for your Triathlon Training Plan

WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE QUITTING THINK ABOUT WHY

WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE QUITTING THINK ABOUT WHY

Today I am very excited to be presenting a guest post for you by an inspirational triathlete and female company owner, Melanie Mitchell from Poppy Sports. I hope you enjoy her post about choosing your why!

Melanie Mitchell Founder of Poppy Sports and Triathlete

Melanie Mitchell Founder of Poppy Sports and Triathlete

Bio–Melanie Mitchell is the founder of PoppySports.com and PoppySportsTraining.com as well as mother, Sherpa, triathlete and juggler of time. She actively supports women entrepreneurs and aims to empower more girls into the sport of triathlon while rocking her own ‘why’ in her chosen race distance of Ironman 70.3.

What’s Your Why?

Have you ever listened to the TED talk Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’? (To Sinek’s talk click HERE  ). He explains how great leaders inspire action. It has become synonymous with great talks on motivation, drive and inspiration.

Sinek showcases what it means to motivate people, not by force or obligation, but by making sure you know your ‘why’ or your reason for doing something. That, he says, is the success factor of major thought leaders like Apple and Martin Luther King Junior

The Concept of ‘Why’

This concept can be applied in many aspects of life and business.   Starting with the ‘what is your why’ question has been one of the fundamental starting points of our half Ironman training plan at Poppy Sports (click here to see a Poppy Sports Half Ironman training plan).

We mentor women athletes through a stretch goal. It might be a new distance, a new race goal and we (and I count myself in here!) have all benefitted from going through the process of gaining clarity and understanding why they have set a specific triathlon goal – the real why.

Newbies and seasoned athletes alike, the answers we see never cease to amaze.

How to Find Your Why

Know your 'WHY'

Know your ‘WHY’

Through carefully crafted questions in a self-assessment workbook, we ask each athlete to take the time to commit.   We ask each person to consider what is their true motivation in life, career and sport and the answers are always revealing.

What might start out as a simple, ‘Well, I want to get fit again’, or, ‘I was tired of just running,’ can turn into, ‘I was overwhelmed by the early years of motherhood and I want to find out who I am again.’ And ‘I want to prove to someone that I can do this when they told me I couldn’t.’

We all know that triathlon training and racing is an endurance event and not a sprint (despite a race distance called just that). Keeping focused on a 16 week triathlon-training plan requires time management, internal motivation and commitment.

If you understand the real reason for your journey to the start line, the chances of reaching race day increase exponentially.

Your ‘Why’ Statement

After these carefully crafted questions, we finally ask each athlete to complete their ‘why’ statement

The reason I want ___________________ an Ironman 70.3 is ______________________so I can _________________and _______________________________

Getting Fancy

Then we start to get really fancy.

From there we create vision boards supporting the statement that are framed and mounted somewhere to be seen every day!

The response in our own lives and those we mentor has been remarkable! A simple process and a reminder on the wall, is an amazing motivator, reminder, and inspiration.

Here’s an example of my vision board – conjured up on a great free resource called Canva. It’s personal to me and every time doubts start, I take the time to sit down and contemplate the board.

My Journey To Success. Melanie from Poppy Sports

My Journey To Success. Melanie from Poppy Sports

So we challenge you dear reader, to start with your own ‘why’. It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie into triathlon or a seasoned veteran, anyone can benefit from a little introspection before embarking on a journey, whether sport or otherwise.

We’d love to know them all! Share with us below what is your triathlon/running/cycling/ ‘why’.

Poppy Sports. Endurance Athletes Together.

Poppy Sports. Endurance Athletes Together.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed today’s post from Melanie at Poppy Sports.

Organic Runner Mom

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Find Your Happy Pace. A Rundown of Different Running Workouts.

Why is it important to diversify your running workouts?

Want to Discover Different Types of Running Workouts to improve your Speed and Endurance? Click through to find out more! | Organic Runner Mom

Discover Different Types of Running Workouts. Improve Speed and Endurance.

People often ask me what helped me to get fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon? How did I get to my “Happy Pace?” While there are several factors that helped me,  I would definitely say that one of the most important was adding speedwork into my training. Before I started working with my coach Denise Goode  my running consisted of short runs and long runs mostly at a similar pace. I always felt like I could run forever but when I went to races I never got any faster. Once I started diversifying my pace and workout type during training I began to shave significant amounts of time off my race times at different distances. I began to set P.R.’s and eventually I was able to run my fastest marathon to date a 3:33 and to qualify for the Boston Marathon!

So if you are looking to improve your running performance for the coming season, variety in type of running workout is the key.

Different types of training runs to get you to your “Happy Pace”

Base Run

The base run is meant to be run at your natural pace and the distance should be short to medium. Base runs are essential for building your aerobic capacity. A base run will do exactly what it says, “develop a strong base” or endurance.

Tempo Run

A tempo run will help your body learn how to maintain high levels of speed for longer periods of time. When you do a temp run you are training  at your lactate threshold.  At this rate of speed your body is working hard to remove the lactic acid from your body.  Tempo runs simulate running at race pace although for a shorter distance than the actual race. When you do a tempo run this is the time that you will learn how to “leave your comfort zone.” An example of a tempo run would be a 15-20 minute warm-up (including dynamic stretching), 4 miles at your 10K pace and then a 15-20 minute cool down.

*This is my favorite type of training run!

Long Run 

Oh, the long run. The longer the race the longer the long run so it is highly suggested that you find a good running buddy or group to join you on the run, some music to keep you motivated, or use the long run for some extended meditation and quiet thinking time.  Think of the long run as an extra long base run. Training on the long run will ensure that your body has the endurance to sustain on race day all the way to the finish line.

Hill Repeats

A necessary evil. Hill repeats will build muscle. This is a way to strength train while you are running.  Your speed will also improve after doing hill training. You need to have a strong base before you begin hill training.  A warm-up is always necessary before you do hill repeats to get your muscles nice and warm.  Pick your most dreaded favorite hill and set your watch for work time and rest time.  Hill repeats are done at a fast pace on the uphill, think 5K (youe lungs will be burning and your heart will be racing!).  Decide on the number of repetitions. You will repeat running uphill and slowly jogging or walking downhill for recovery.  An example would be 45 seconds uphill with 2 minutes downhill for recovery and then repeat. You will be extremely fatigued following this workout and may want to plan a recovery run or day to rest or cross train for the following day. Being that this is a tough workout physically it is always great to bring a running friend along for the torture fun!

*When I was training for the Boston Marathon I also completed downhill repeats to acclimate my body to hard effort on a downhill course.

Fartleks (Speed Play in Swedish)

Fartleks are fun because this workout can be lacking structure. Essentially the idea is to add in quick burst of running at random intervals through a run to get your body ready for quick speed pick-ups.  Add in things such as a sprint to the next mailbox or to to the next driveway followed by an easy pace. Then build your pace back up again and follow it with another burst.

*In college we used to do a fun Fartlek Alphabet run around campus. We would run around campus looking for each letter of the alphabet and then would add in a sprint to tag the letter and then we would repeat all the way from A-Z

Interval Workouts

Intervals are the Type A cousin of the Fartlek. Think of intervals as an organized fartlek. Intervals involve quick short bursts followed by recovery in regular intervals. During intervals you want to focus on obtaining the same speed for each fast burst of speed. By doing intervals you will become more efficient and your body will learn to recover better.

*I am not a certified running coach but am a marathoner, triathlete, and rower who has worked with many different coaches with different styles throughout the year and also spent two years coaching collegiate freshman rowing.

Which type of running workouts are your favorite and why? Which ones do you just hate but grit your way through anyways? Share your training stories with me!

Organic Runner Mom

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An unexpected recap of the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Describe your running year in one word. 

This post was inspired by Amanda from Run to the Finish who asks, “If you could describe your year of running in one word what would that be?”

Her question sparked an unexpected recap of my 2014 Boston Marathon, a recap which I have struggled to write.

In one word, my year of running was EMOTIONAL.

Here is a snapshot from part of my year. The Boston Marathon 2014 #BostonStrong

Organic Runner Mom. Boston Strong. #BostonStrong

Boston Strong. #BostonStrong

2014 was a year of putting myself back together both physically and mentally.  2014 began and Boston Marathon training was in full swing.  Training for Boston in 2014 was important. I had run in 2013 finishing the race a mere 10 minutes before tragedy would occur at the finish line.  My training for the Boston Marathon 2014 was full of highs and lows. I continued with weekly therapy sessions to work through PTSD that had plagued me since the 2013 race.  I wanted to be at the starting line in 2014 in order to heal, to run and to be able to finish. I needed to be there. The emotional journey has been hard and sadness about what occurred on the bluebird sky day in Boston still sneaks up on me sometimes when I least expect it.

Along with emotional healing at the start of 2014 I knew I would have to work hard to get my body physically strong for the Boston Marathon.  The miles during this training cycle never came easy as they had the year before. I still had nagging tendonitis in my foot and the polar vortex had a strong grip on New England ensuring that every long run would put ice on your breath and cold in your bones. Thankfully I got in my miles with strong running friends as my partners who were somehow convinced to join me in my journey of healing to the Boston Marathon starting line.

Make the best of the freezing miles. Bundle up and get it done!

Make the best of the freezing miles. Bundle up and get it done!

I felt nervous leading up to marathon weekend. I wasn’t sure how the emotions would fill me or if I would even want to be there on race day. Organic Runner Dad and I arrived in Boston for marathon weekend and even though I felt overwhelmed I also felt lifted up by the energy of all of the people in the city wearing blue and gold.  We arrived at race number pick-up where I was glad to pick-up my bib to begin my trip to the finish line. I needed to be with all of these other runners many of whom shared the same fears as I did.

Run Together. Boston Marathon 2014. Organic Runner Mom

Run Together. Boston Marathon 2014.

There were many overwhelming emotional moments during the weekend that stuck out in particular.  During packet pick-up I spoke with a man at the ticket desk in a quiet corner.  He asked, “had I run last year?” I told him I had and told him my story and about how I needed to be at the race to find healing. He too shared his story how he and his wife had been late to the finish line where they usually watched runners crossing when they heard the news on the radio.  They would have been there. Instead he lost a friend, Krystle. She had been standing there when everything happened. Tears welled in his eyes. I was silent but knew to offer a hug. The pain and emotion and the tears filled us both as we hugged for a moment. He told me he knew that he had to be at the race in 2014. He needed to. I understood but can’t even come close to understanding his level of grief.

Run Together. Boston Strong.

Run Together. Boston Strong.

On the morning of the marathon I felt on edge. I wanted to be at the starting line and to just get going.  When I arrived at the bus to the starting line I ended up in line with a woman named May. She had run the Boston Marathon every year for an amazing streak including 2013. In 2013 she had finished even closer to tragedy. She had just passed through the finish line when the bombs went off. Initially confused by the commotion and then upon realizing the danger was real she new she needed to get out of there. She told me she was able to get away from the finish area and then out of Boston as quickly as she could back to the safety of her home. She told me about the fear of returning to the city and how she hadn’t been back in the city since April 15, 2013.  She too was on a quest for healing. To run the race, to run strong and to finish.  We spent the entire morning leading up to the race together in the starting area and even in the starting corral. Her strength and resolve along with that of everyone at the start and lining the streets brought me new energy and strength to be there and be running. There was such comfort in being with someone who understood my experience.

I am lucky. Boston Marathon starting line 2014. Organic Runner Mom.

I am lucky. Boston Marathon starting line 2014.

And finally. The race. We stood at the starting line. Nervous. Muscles twitching and ready to go. Words for the tragedy. The National Anthem. A flood of tears as we crossed the starting line.  I felt strong and ready to run. Fooled by the ease of the downhill at the start of the race. Running the first mile past the tower of shoes for Meg (Meg another runner lost to tragedy during the year, another person to run strong for, #MegsMiles). I felt strong emotionally until about 9 miles in, I was running too fast and then I saw runners for Team Martin Richard. A wave of emotions crashed over me. I had to catch my breath. I slowed my pace. Trying to find something that was comfortable and trying to settle my emotions. I could not stop thinking about 2013. Now I ran with a small edge of fear and sadness. I ran on. I ran to finish. Knowing I had gone out far too fast I tried to focus on running and the experience. I worked to embrace every emotion that hit me. I ran and ran and ran.

Boston Strong. Organic Runner Mom #BostonStrong

Boston Strong

Exhausted by the unexpected heat, the tireless steps on the relentless pavement and exhausted emotionally I pressed on passing through the “Scream Tunnel” and tackling “Heartbreak Hill.” With each step I knew I was one step closer to conquering my fear of running down Boylston Street. Before we turned onto Boylston I came upon two men running on prosthetic legs, soldiers, injured in war.  If they could run this 26.2 then I could too. I ran for them. I ran for Martin Richard and his family I ran for Lingzi Lu and Krystle Campbell. I ran for Jeff Bauman. I ran for 264 people injured that horrible day and for everyone who was touched by the tragedy. As I crossed into the final mile. my head was spinning. I could see the finish line but needed to run down the metal chute of fences keeping the crowd safely from the runners. The previous year the fences were ripped away into a metal pile as spectators became heroes racing to save lives.  I pressed on. I pushed my pace. My breath quickening with each step. Until I crossed the line. A medal placed around my neck and immediately a sudden silence as the announcer marked the time of the tragedy that took hold of the heart and soul of Boston in 2013

Finisher of the 2014 Boston Marathon. Organic Runner Mom

Finisher of the 2014 Boston Marathon

I will save you the tale of the aftermath of my race as it was not pretty. But what happened on Marathon Monday 2014 brought me much needed healing.  I will always carry these experiences with me. I often reflect back on what I was a part of. I know I am lucky. I was close. But I was far enough to be able to walk away. Far enough to be able to live every day to be my best and to be with those who love me. I am stronger every day.

So yes, in one word, this year was emotional.  It has taken me a long time to write this. I guess I am finally ready to share my story. I hope that you will share my story with others.  What is your word? Tell me your story.

Organic Runner Mom

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Discover the Benefits of Being a Solo Runner.

Being a solo runner.

Discover the Benefits of Being a Solo Runner

Discover the Benefits of Being a Solo Runner

I was born a people person. I get energy from interacting with people. I thrive off the energy of being with a group or a team. My personality type according to the Myers-Briggs personality test is ESFJ which in a nutshell means, “ESFJs are people persons – they love people. They are warmly interested in others. (SOURCE)” So why is then that I have ended up as a runner and often a long-distance runner where running is mostly a solo sport. Now I often find myself out on long solo runs with no one to interact with except for myself and the world that surrounds me as a log the miles on asphalt and dirt.

Over time I have learned to love being a solo runner and I even crave those long quiet solo runs that bring peace and quiet and a time for deep introspection or a time to let it all go.

What are the benefits of being a solo runner?

  • You can focus on your form without the distraction.
  • You can focus on your breathing by listening to the rhythm of your breath in time with the cadence of your foot-strike.
  • Being a solo runner requires you to learn discipline. You have only yourself to be accountable too. If you are training to be at a certain pace you won’t be tempted to run someone else’s pace.
  • You will learn to work through challenges by yourself which you will need on race day. Your training runs are your practice for race day so you need to be able to work through the physical and mental challenges that will happen when the big day comes.
  • You can pick how far, how fast, and where you want to go. The decision is all yours and not dictated by a group.
  • Sometimes you just need peace and quiet and a solo run is the perfect place to do it. Use your solo run as a time to organize your thoughts.
  • When you are a solo runner you can find the rhythm and the pace of the run and just run driven by the sound of your breathing, your feet hitting the ground, and the beating of your heart.

Don’t get me wrong I still love my group runs but running alone has made me a stronger runner and I have found a deep love for being by myself on the run. Sometimes being a solo runner is everything that your soul needs.

What do you love the most about running alone. What benefits have you found of being a solo runner?

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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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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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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I’m running the Kingdom Marathon!

Kingdom Marathon

Kingdom Marathon

So I’m not sure if you’ve heard my big racing news yet. My friend Joanna somehow convinced me to sign up for a marathon this coming weekend. On sunday, October 5th (the day after my birthday) I’ll be running 26.2 hard glorious miles of scenic dirt roads in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont at the inaugural Kingdom Marathon.  In no way has my training been anywhere normal for running this type of race. Sometimes I feel like I have ADHD when it comes to selecting races. There are just so many fun races to do and not enough days for racing so my race schedule usually ends up being totally crazy. Oh well, I guess its just my sense of adventure taking over.

I have actually not even been doing that much running other than at races because after all of my races I have needed to give my body time to rest, recover, refuel, and rehydrates which means taking it easy during the week.  In the past 4 weeks I have raced the Lobsterman Olympic Distance Triathlon, The Reach the Beach Relay (19.9 Miles), The Lost a Lot Trail Race (7 miles) and finally an easy Scarecrow 2 mile fun run/walk with my family last weekend. So I guess that means I’m ready to run 26.2 miles right?????

Scarecrow Family Fun Run

Scarecrow Family Fun Run

I am going in to this race with no expectations other than to enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage as we run and that I will run my own race.  I plan to run EVEN splits, hoping for pacing somewhere between 8:05-8:25 WITHOUT going out too fast like I did at Boston last spring. I hope to run a smart race and if I feel good at 20 miles I will reassess and work on dropping my pace for the last 10K. I have no idea how the dirt roads will affect my pace so we’ll see. It will definitely be a race to write about.

The race website entices you to sign up by saying we will run,

“Through “The Gut” of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont
Coventry, Brownington, Barton, Irasburg, Glover, VT
Dirt Roads – The Kingdom – Fall Foliage”

Who wouldn’t want to run on that course. The race director also says,

“It’s a Marathon Race You Will Talk About the Rest of Your Life
One of the most challenging and beautiful marathons in the East”

Have you ever signed up for a race on a whim? Did your race go well. Did you exceed your expectations for finish time or was it harder than you thought it would be. 

Organic Runner Mom

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The Active Times in NYC

Active in NYC with The Active Times. Be Fit. Find Adventure. Visit the Wild.
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Organic Runner Mom visits The Active Times and The Daily Meal

Organic Runner Mom visits The Active Times and The Daily Meal

During our recent trip to New York City where Organic Runner Dad spoke at the United Nations about family farming we had the chance to squeeze in a brief visit to take a peek at what goes on inside The Active Times (and also the Daily Meal).  Earlier in the spring I was asked to join the Active Times Blogger Network which is a new and exciting opportunity for me and my little blog.  If you haven’t yet heard about The Active Times and you are and endurance athlete, outdoor enthusiast and in search of adventure The Active Times is an awesome resource for you.  Here is a little bit more about The Active Times and the mission,

“The Active Times aims to be the world’s best source of authoritative, inspiring, enlightening content for living the active, adventurous life. Whatever your passions in outdoor and endurance sports, travel and adventure, The Active Times provides the tools and information you need to do your best—and enjoy the ride.”

Hungry Runner (AKA Katie), Organic Runner Mom, and Ethan at The Active Times

Hungry Runner (AKA Katie), Organic Runner Mom, and Ethan at The Active Times

At the Active Times I was greeted by Katie of Hungry Runner who I originally met a the firs Fitness and Social Media Bloggers Conference in Colorado.  Katie is an editor at The Active Times and a passionate runner and blogger herself.  She introduced me to Ethan, another editor and gave me a quick peek into The Daily Meal Kitchen which was so cool!

The Kitchen at The Daily Meal

The Kitchen at The Daily Meal

In addition to being a part of the blogger network I have contributed quotes to several articles about running on The Active Times and hope to be able to do more!

The quick impromptu visit to The Active Times was fun and I hope to be able to stop in again the next time I am in NYC!

Have you ever checked out The Active Times?

Organic Runner Mom
Gear for the Active Athlete

 

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