Friday, October 28, 2011

Great 18 Mile Run

A Pretty Bar Harbor, Maine Restaurant (seen on recent trip)
Today I had a primary goal: run 18 miles. I did that!

I also had a secondary goal: run 6 miles at marathon pace just before my cool-down mile. That's the part that I wasn't so sure about.

It was very windy and I was averaging a 10 minute pace until mile 11. Then I jumped on the Memorial Park track thinking that it would be easier to fight the wind in short spurts rather than running into it for a mile or so at a time.

My goal was 8:47 pace or better for 6 miles and I averaged 8:41. It's only a 1/4 mile track and I ran around and around it 23 times! (I ran 1/4 mile off the track.) Finishing those 6 miles felt great because it was a tough workout that I wasn't sure that I could finish.

Today I ate three vanilla Gu gels. Just for fun, I've been experimenting with eating raisins (1/4 cup) or Fig Newtons (2 cookies) in place of a gel packet while running. They work fine. Have you eaten regular food during your runs?

Friday, October 21, 2011

15 Miler & Apple Crumble for 2

Maine Marathon Start 10/2/11
I ran 15 miles today. At first, it was cool outside and I didn't have any problems, but after almost two hours, it was warmer and the running got harder so I turned on some music and stopped more often at the water fountains. It's great to be adding on the miles in preparation for the marathon.

Mile 13 seemed to go on forever, but when I figured out that I was almost done, I felt a lot better and picked up the pace for a mile. And then came the lovely, slow cool-down mile, and not too soon!

Temperature: 63-70° F
Running Fuel: (pre-run) Gatorade, bagel with honey; (during) 6 shot bloks; (post-run) chocolate milk
Mile Splits: 9:40, 9:31, 9:05, 8:50, 8:28, 8:53, 9:03, 8:50, 8:55, 8:44, 8:56, 8:54, 9:56, 9:19, 9:58; Average Pace: 9:09/mile

Apple Crumble for Two
I bought some extra apples so that I could make Apple Crumble for Two (Cooking Light recipe) and I really like it. Orange juice sweetens the apples. The recipe makes two small bowlfuls and I ate one already. This is so good that I don't know if I'll be able to save the second bowlful for my husband!


For apple mixture:
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups diced, peeled Granny Smith apple 
  • 1 tablespoon raisins 
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • For topping:
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon chilled butter
  • Cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, apple, raisins, all juice and cinnamon, tossing well. Divide apple mixture evenly between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins coated with cooking spray.
  • In the same bowl that you used to make the apple mixture, combine flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over apples. (If you like topping, you might want to double the topping.)
  • Set on cookie sheet to make transfer easy. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Crazy Scale

Blue Bench in Bar Harbor, Maine (Much prettier than my scale!)
Oh, the scale... The number goes up. The number comes down. And life goes on. It's not a big deal. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind losing a couple of pounds.

A few days ago, I stepped on the scale and I was finally at my goal weight. After chowing down on cake for a couple of days, it didn't make sense, but I wasn't going to argue with my scale.

A couple of days later, my husband asked me about my weight. I told him that I gained 4 pounds overnight. That seemed high and I carried on and on about how much my weight fluctuates when he finally, finally told me that he'd played with the scale this week, bumping it down a bit and then up four pounds. Are you kidding me? No!

I should have known better - he loves to tease me. The good part is that he's always making me laugh, usually at him, but sometimes at myself, and this time was no different.

I'll tell you one thing - I checked the scale for accuracy before I stepped on it this morning. I'm over my goal weight by a couple of pounds. That's okay, though, maybe he figured out a sneaky way to adjust the scale again.

Next Post: Revenge of the Wife

Not really! : )

Recent workouts:
11/17: 10 miles with 4 miles of hills (preparing for overpasses and underpasses in Houston Marathon)
11/18: 4 easy miles
11/19: 9 miles with 4 miles @ 10 Mile-1/2 Marathon Pace (Thanks to cool temps, I averaged 8:14 pace!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Air Show and 13.1 Miles

Canadian Forces Snowbirds
When my husband suggested that we go to the Houston air show today, I had no idea that it would be such a fun day. The pilots did fly-bys with breath taking head-on passes. A helicopter flew upside-down and people sky-dived from a plane, too. It was amazing!

The Maine Marathon was 13 days ago. Now I'm training for the Houston Marathon in January and I'm running more miles than usual after a marathon. You never know just how far you can push yourself until you try. The first week after the marathon, I walked a lot and I ran 4 miles. This week, I ran 35 miles.

4 Planes Oh-So-Close To Each Other
Before I started yesterday's run, I wasn't sure if I'd do a short run or a longer 13 miler. I wanted to play it by ear and see how I felt. After 6 miles, I decided it was a long run day because I felt great so I took a Gu gel and continued running. During the middle 9 miles, I averaged a 9:28/mile pace, thanks to the cooler temperature of 61-68.

I still felt great when I neared the finish and since I only needed to run a little more to run a half marathon, that's what I did... I ran a half marathon yesterday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mt. Desert Island Drive

Somes Sound Area
Since it was rainy on our second day on Mt. Desert Island (north of Portland, Maine), rather than ride bikes on the carriage roads (roads closed to motor traffic) like we planned, we took a drive across the island and down to the coast with Bass Harbor lighthouse our target.

Follow Me Down the Must-do Path
When we got there, we took a short walk down to the light house. That walk takes you right up to the lighthouse for a close look. Then we saw this other path to the side of the parking lot. If you visit this lighthouse, take this path!

Go down these steps. (See the water?)

And these granite steps, too. 

Because you can get a nice view of the lighthouse from this side with the trees and the water, too.

My Husband Jumping Over Rocks
And the rocks along the water are really something! I skipped the rock fun - not completely recovered from the marathon two days before. I could walk quickly and climbed up the steps without much trouble, but going down the steps was a little uncomfortable. But, worth it, of course!

Moss-covered Ground
Except for the rain, I can't think of a thing I'd change about our vacation. On the other hand, since Texas needs rain so badly, that's changed my perspective on rain. I appreciate it more. It makes Maine beautiful and green.

Driving By a River in Acadia Nat'l Park

On the way home, we flew into Newark, NJ, and saw New York City, the Empire State building and the Statue of Liberty from the plane! So many firsts on this trip - our first trip to Maine!

Previous Post: 1st Day in Bar Harbor

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bar Harbor, Maine

Blackwoods Trail in Acadia Nat'l Park
A couple of hours after finishing the Maine Marathon, my husband and I drove a few hours north to Bar Harbor, which is on Mt. Desert Island. When we got there, we ran through the rain to get ice cream at CJ's Big Dipper ice cream store where I had delicious soft-serve blueberry ice cream. Visiting Maine = eating lots of blueberries! 

The next morning, we drove to Cadillac Mountain. It was interesting to see the fog roll in and out over the mountain. We walked a lot that day - probably good for my legs.

We could see down the mountain when the fog rolled out.  

A pretty drive - water falling over the rocks. The sun came out!

We drove back to Bar Harbor and separated for maybe three minutes when I spotted my husband who bought ice cream without me. I caught up to him and he put a white bag into my hand, full of yummy fudge, both chocolate and blueberry cheesecake fudge, so I forgave him! 

We ate fudge and ice cream and walked along a mile long path along the bay of Bar Harbor.

Seeing the woods meet the water - what a view! 

Sunshine and flowers!

Later that day, we drove to Sand Beach. There were a lot of steps down to the beach. Walking down steps one day after a hilly marathon is painful and slow. 

But it was worth it! We walked along the beach and back up the stairs, which was easier for me than going down.

We ended the day with dinner at Poor Boy's Gourmet. (Make reservations and go before 6PM to save $.) I had read the lobster was good there, but we had lobster earlier that day so we split some chicken fettuccine. It was a good ending to our first day in Bar Harbor.

Next Blog Post: Mt.Desert Island Drive

Friday, October 7, 2011

Maine Marathon Report

Happy (and Exhausted) After Finishing My 11th Marathon
Welcome to the blog post in which I tell you everything you wanted to know about the Maine Marathon and more!

Race Date: October 2, 2011

Results: 4:02:44, 96th out of 401 females, 7th out of 46 in 45-49 age group, 13.1 mile gun time: 2:01:30. This was my 2nd fastest marathon, my 11th marathon and my 6th state.

Course: Portland and Falmouth, Maine. Beautiful woods and bays, nice houses, hills and lots of puddles. The uphills made me feel like my lungs would explode and on the downhills I kept thinking, "Don't fall!" - afraid of the slick, steep roads.

Weather: Most of the time when I trained this summer, by the time I neared the end of a long run, I slowed down because of the heat so I'm so glad that it stayed around 53 degrees for the race. I wore a trash bag for the first 3 miles. Just make mine a size 39 - gallons, that is! I didn't need my jacket (or my arm warmers and sun glasses in the pockets!), but I'm glad I wore a hat because it rained the whole time.

Only 19 More Miles To Go! 
Volunteers: I'm so thankful for the volunteers. It was not a good day to volunteer. There was a group of teenage girls who helped me up a long hill by screaming their lungs out. We slapped hands. Another volunteer cheered me on and high fived me as I ran through the intersection where he directed traffic.

Spectators: There weren't a lot, but they made me smile.

Runners: We smiled at each other when we could see each other's faces on the out and back course. (A lot of smiling going on in this race!) I saw Joan Benoit Samuelson who ran the half in 1:25. A runner came up behind me in the 24th mile and said that he'd been trying to catch up to me for 20 miles and to keep running strong. I wanted to find him later to say thanks.

Fuel Pre-run: I increased my carbohydrates by 100-150 grams for three days before the race, trying not to increase calories, too, but I failed a bit. It takes planning. Race morning, I had a bagel and Gatorade. In the middle of the night, I woke up and drank Gatorade (unplanned).

Falmouth, Maine - Feeling Good at Mile 19 (9:04 Pace)!
Fuel During Race: Mostly, I kept to the plan: one cup of Gatorade Endurance at every stop (there were 14) and not when I ate a GU gel (2 vanilla, 2 Roctane) at miles 5, 11, 16 and 21 with water.

Post-marathon Food: My favorites: locally grown McIntosh apples, raisin oatmeal cookies and blueberry Greek yogurt. They also had pizza and Fig Newtons.

Expo: It was small. They had everything I needed except safety-pins in my packet. If you need some, try craft stores. Our race packet included yummy almond butter and snack bars that I ate while hiking later.

Unplanned Occurrences: We wore our bib sideways because of a mistake they made while attaching our timing strips to our bibs, but it didn't cause me any problems.

Because of the rain, I stayed in the car as long as possible before the start. When the race began, it was the first time I ran that morning and my shoes went clip, CLOP, clip, CLOP. I think my shoelace needed adjusting. Next time, I'll run a little beforehand.

There were quiet times when the marathon was like a training run though quiet woods.  My Ipod shuffle didn't work right when I tried to listen to music so it was just me and my thoughts during the race, which was fine.

We had to stop for a fire truck. I almost stopped my Garmin, but then remembered that this wasn't a training run and that stopping it wouldn't give me a faster finish time. Later, I forgot to stop my watch at the finish line. Oops!

Post-race Stretch with Food Tents Behind Me - My Next Stop
What Went Well: Except for the hilly portions, I didn't slow down until the last 3 miles. Maybe it was the training miles at marathon pace or faster, the increase in carbs for 3 days, the gel plus Gatorade during the race, the cool weather or all of those factors that helped me to feel great for most of the race.

To Improve: I checked my average pace on my watch every once in a while and was happy to be near a 9:09 average pace (for a 4 hour finish) much of the way. The problem with that is that I always run longer than 26.2 during marathons so I need to factor that in next time. However, I'm really happy that this was my second fastest marathon. I hope that with more marathon paced miles in training and maybe even more carbs in the days before the race, I might be faster next time.

Race Shirt
Special Thanks to My Best Race Support: My husband took hundreds of pictures of me while standing in the cold rain and found me on the race route twice. At the finish, he treated me like a queen, carrying all my food and clothes, opening my bottle of milk and pointing out the best porta-potty - the large one! During this vacation to Maine, we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary!

Portland Press Herald article about the marathon

Quick Maine Marathon Recap Thanks to all for your great comments on that post!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Quick Maine Marathon Recap

I Just Finished My 11th Marathon!

I had so much fun running this marathon! According to my husband, I looked very happy when I crossed the finish line. It was probably the best moment of the race!

I think my finish time was 4:02:44. (The marathon page says they’re working on corrections, whatever that means.) I started easier than usual and had more energy late in the race than I usually do.

There was constant rain, lots of hills, stopping for a fire truck and running in a trash bag for 3 miles! 

My wifi is terrible at this hotel so I'll post details later.

Thank you for all of your encouraging comments and prayers! It means so much to know that people are rooting for me. : )

Full Maine Marathon Recap

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sideways Bibs, Please!

Race Start on Day Before Race
I'm in Portland, Maine! I went to the expo today and picked up my bib. When you see my race pictures, don't laugh when you see me wearing my bib sideways. We're supposed to! Here's part of the email I received today:

This is going to sound like either a silly request or a practical joke, but we're making an urgent request to all participants to WEAR YOUR BIB TURNED SIDEWAYS. We've discovered a problem with the tags on the back of your bibs that could cause your tag not to be read when you cross the mats if you wear your bib the way your normally would. 

Tomorrow we're all going to look funny, but at least we'll all look funny together! ; )

Hill on the Race Route
My husband and I drove the race route today. I'm glad we did. It took away some of the unknown about race day. I  like seeing the different styles of houses, the woods and the water, too.  I'm afraid of the hills, though. ; )

Carb loading went okay. I was able to eat at least 300 grams of carbs for 3 days - that's more than usual and I wasn't sure I could do it. I hope it helps.

Tomorrow is the day of the Maine Marathon! It will be hard, but it's supposed to be. Can't wait! 
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