Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Motivations - HBBC Challenge

Happy Monday! I hope everyone made it through the weekend in one piece, despite marathons, snow (in October?!) and Halloween festivities! I know I had a pretty fantastic (and relaxing) weekend myself, with a couple yummy dinner/wine dates with Tripp, a long night out with friends Friday and a rich and delectable brunch on Sunday!  With all of that indulging in alcohol, sweets and savory goodness, I think my motivation this Monday is dead-on!

To keep me focused on my fitness priorities and keeping my waistline in check during the upcoming holidays (and cold weather, comfort food cravings), I have decided to join the Holiday Booty Buster Challenge (HBBC), hosted by Amanda @ RunToTheFinish.  This will be my first year trying out the program, and I am excited to see how much influence it will have over my work-out and nutrition attitude come vacation, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years!


The program runs from Nov. 19 - Jan 6 - so it covers all of my major holidays and chances for motivation lets you earn points for different kinds of fitness activities, such as running, biking, swimming, strength, as well as fruit and veggie intake...and the points all go towards a little friendly competition among all that are signed up.  Amanda has secured some fantastic prizes so far, and promises more additions as the date gets if you need a little holiday kick in the butt, you should definitely head over and sign up for the HBBC Challenge today!

And because it is Halloween and all, I thought I would share some fun pictures I took from our local farmers market (the SOWA Market) yesterday.  They were having a Halloween themed market, where all of the vendors and food trucks dressed festive in costumes and decorations....roomie Jenna and I took a trip to check it all out...

Funnest Costume:
 Best Decorated Food Truck: Clover
They were all dressed as zombies and re-named all of their menu items to be "scary" names (i.e. goblin fingers instead of french fries)
My new best friend :)
And last, but not least - BEST COSTUME OF ALL TIME - look at the details (sorry for a crappy pic, I was trying not to get too close/too creepy)
Her face was painted white, those black spikes were connected to her  head piece...
Did you dress up for halloween? Go to any good halloween parties this weekend?

I dressed as a ninja, at a party on Friday, but only part of the night because no one was really dressed up (I just flung a black T-shirt over my head and wore all black - worked like a charm and was free!)

Are you (have you already) joining the HBBC Challenge? 

How do you stay motivated during the holidays?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Focus on: Forrest Yoga

So I started yoga at a new studio this week, Back Bay Yoga.  I joined for a few reasons such as fantastic reviews, a buywithme coupon :), class selection is very diverse, and I fell in love with their Hip Hop Yoga at Salutation Nation.  Now I went to my first class on Sunday, which was a Core Vinyasa class, in a heated room, which was delightfully relaxing, yet challenging and provided me with a good sweat on an otherwise lazy Sunday.
Wednesday night I decided to try out one of their Forrest Classes, which also takes place in a heated room.  This class, however, was significantly more intense than the previous yoga classes I have tried.  It is made up of several physically intense, and mentally focused moves, which are intended to cleanse the emotional and mental mind blocks that accompany our everyday lives.  It is also developed to help heal and support the body from the environmental ailments we each face, such as tight upper back and shoulder pain.
No, not that kind of forest...Forrest yoga is a whole nother story
The class I was able to attend, focused largely on opening our shoulders and concentrating specifically on not tightening up our shoulder blades.  It took a lot of focus on balance, core, and keeping those shoulders loose, in order to complete and hold each move.  I had to keep reminding myself that chest openers, don't have to mean squeezing together the shoulder blades (like I had done previously), but rather focusing on pulling the shoulders/arms away and back.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga Chest Openers?
The class started with upper back opening poses, such as laying with block under upper back, as well as several twisting poses in lunges.
Supported Chest Opener
Now what is the difference between Forrest and Core or Restorative yoga?  Forrest Yoga is founded on 4 pillars (taken from

  • BREATH Forrest Yoga teaches you how to breathe deeply, connect in feeling with your body, use the power of breath to bring aliveness into every cell of your body and ignite your passion for living.

  • STRENGTH  Forrest Yoga teaches you to connect to your core, to be strong and centered. The intense pose sequences are designed to help you develop the skills to awaken each of your senses. The long holds help you progress in the poses and go deeper. Aided by the use of heat, your body is freed from toxins; the deep breathing  oxygenates and rejuvenates every cell in your body.
  • INTEGRITY  Forrest Yoga teaches you to become proficient at safely tailoring each pose to work best for you, particularly with physical and emotional injuries. By learning to work honestly at your edges, you develop effective tools to deal with fear and struggle. This makes it possible for integrity, self-awareness and playful curiosity to become part of your daily life.
  • SPIRIT  Forrest Yoga's intent is to create a sense of freedom, a connection to your Spirit and the courage to walk as your Spirit dictates.

From my own experience, I had a little trouble keeping up with the different types of breathing and deep belly breathes, but I think with more practice, I will be better able to enjoy in their benefits.  I also have never had to hold poses for so long, as I had to with was tough! The poses were intense, and included some binds, and core movement.  My obliques are still sore, 2 days later!

The integrity piece was definitely contagious, as the teacher provided moves for every level or modification, so that we all could feel comfortable with the moves, regardless of what level we were or if we had injuries to watch out for - a very encompassing feeling for sure.
This zen thing is not me...
The spirit part never really happened, as I don't have a deep spiritual connection to yoga like so many can find.  I am not ruling out my ability to find zen in yoga, but I just am not there yet.  Yoga to me is still another form of exercise, that allows me to gain strength, confidence in myself, and experience deep stretching.

I would definitely recommend trying this variation of yoga, especially if you are in need a of new challenge in the practice, physically and/or mentally.

If you want to find out some more information about Forrest Yoga, you can check out or HERE.
Have you ever tried Forrest Yoga?

What is your favorite type of yoga?

I fell in love with the Hip Hop yoga - I am going to try it out again tomorrow!

Do you fall asleep during shavasana? 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday, Baking, Racing and a Recipe!

Hello there...I am glad my Tommie Copper Review was able to help out a few of you, or at least give you a little more insight into the different kinds of compression available.  I know everyone will have different experiences and opinions, but I hope my own thoughts on the benefits of the product were helpful!  If not, I hope you at least enjoyed the red-faced model in the first picture :)

So, it is already Thursday - which is kind of blowing my mind, but I won't complain because that means Friday is tomorrow, and such a fun weekend awaits! There will be Halloween celebrations, a celebration for a good friend who just got a new job (yay!) and perhaps a race on Sunday! So let's get right into this, shall we?!

1. Baking...if you haven't seen or heard yet, Kari @ Running Ricig is hosting an online bake sale to raise fund for Kisses from Katie, which is a non-profit that raises money to help and support families with children in the pediatrics ICU.  All of the proceeds from the sale will go directly to the organization, which is run by one phenomenal family.

I was definitely interested in helping out, so I volunteered to bake something for the sale, and donate my time and baking skills to the cause.  This is just a little teaser of the treats I will be baking up :)
Because I forgot to picture last time I made them...Source
Yes, those are the Oreo cookies, from the famous Flour Cookbook :)
Love, Love, Love this bakery! If you come to Boston, you must check out the sticky buns, or the sandwiches, or the breads, or everything!! Source
The bake sale will be held THIS SUNDAY (oct. 30, 2011) from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM - that is an entire day to check it out, drool a little and make some offers.  I hope you all will go over and check out the sale on Sunday!

Also, If you'd like to participate in baking, the sign up will be open until this Thursday (that is tonight ;) ).

2. Racing: This Sunday, I will also be taking part in the Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure 5K, taking place in my own hood, South Boston! My co-workers reached out a couple of weeks ago for more employees to join the corporate team for the race, and my "reply" and "send" button were clicked faster than I could have blinked.  We actually had our own little office bake sale last week, that was a leave what you want to donate and take what you want to eat, that raised over $6,000! See what a little love and a good sweet tooth can do?!

Anyways, I will be dressing up in my best pink outfit for Sunday's event, and meeting a group of 15 or so coworkers for the race, which I am hoping to run...but with the state of my achilles tendon post-marathon, it isn't looking pretty.  I busted out a slightly agonizing 3 miles earlier in the week (first and only run since the marathon!) and my achilles was just not having it.  So I am back to acupuncture and low impact rest :)

3. Recipe: Homemade Peanut Butter to be exact!  I have received a couple of questions about how to make your own nut-butters, and how interesting it would be to post on it...and since I was in the dark until I asked a friend, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you guys too.  Trust me, you will wonder how you ever were worried about doing it when you see how easy it is!! 

Homemade Peanut Butter (and I believe would work for most any nut-butter)

What you need:

  • 3 cups peanuts (I used sea salted dry roasted)
  • Food processor/chopper/magic bullet (I used a small Cuisinart chopper)
  • Empty jar with lid (I used an old Teddie's PB jar)

  1.  Gather materials (nuts, chopper, jar)
  2. Fill chopper with nuts (I had to do two sets of 1.5 cups in the small chopper)
  3. Press and hold the "Grind" button (I had to switch between the grind and chop buttons to keep the blade working and keep the peanut powder from getting stuck)
  4. You will get a fine powder, and eventually it will turn to paste - you will want to check the consistency every minute or so to make sure you get the smoothness or crunchiness you crave 
  5. Put paste into jar
  6. Enjoy spread onto a whole wheat english muffin with a nice hot coffee on the side :)
Confusion, I still don't have a costume...what are your best last minute costume suggestions?!

Have you ever made your own nut butter?  What is your best concoction?

I just started, but it is so much cheaper and more convenient to do it myself (I buy the big costco container for like $6 and it makes a ton of jars that I would have been paying (minimum) $2.50 a piece for.  I want to try out chocolate/pb next :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What I Love Wednesday, Tommie Copper Review

So this Wednesday will be a little different from my typical What I Love Wednesdays (which I am embarrassed to say, last posted in September!)...because it is all about one thing, well two, but one company, following?

What I love this Wednesday (and most every other day since I received these beauts) is Tommie Copper Sleeves...
Excuse the horrible pic of me, and focus on the important piece, the sleeves
What are Tommie Copper Sleeves?
Their unique compression uses multi-directional support and proprietary copper-infused yarn to provide relief from arthritis and other joint pains, promote muscle recovery and reduce inflammation all while being comfortable enough to be worn throughout the entire day. (from their site)
Copper-infused yarn? I was a little skeptical about this at first, but if you notice the buzz words that stuck out to me...relief from arthritis and joint pains? muscle recovery? reduced inflamation? All while being comfortable? Sign me up!

After seeing some mixed reviews about these sleeves around the blogosphere, and suffering with my nagging knee tendinitis pains, I found myself in conversations with the most patient and helpful Jordan, who was thoughtful enough to offer me the chance to test out and review the sleeves for myself.  Now if you remember, with my first marathon coming up, I had tried acupuncture, cortisone, PT, everything - so hey, it couldn't hurt to gives these a shot, right?!

I picked out a set of knee sleeves first (as that was my problem area) and a pair of calf sleeves for good measure...I knew if my knees were bugging me now, it was only a matter of time before my calves, and down to my plantar would be hurting.  Jordan was phenomenal to work with, and as soon as I sent my sizes off (w/ a little note that my calves are usually too small for compression sleeves) she replied with a thoughtful suggestion to choose the smaller of the two sizes based on her own experience (I loved the personal touch).

As soon as the package arrived, I ripped it open and put on the sleeves...
resting, compressing, you can see the band was tighter than the sleeve,  but not uncomfortably so...
At first I  thought the knee sleeves were too big, they weren't the tight compression I was used to with knee or calf sleeves in the past, even though I had ordered based on the suggested measurements.  However, after sending another email to Jordan (see, patient) she replied that the knee sleeve is actually not supposed to be tight, because they are meant to be worn all day, they aren't the typical tight constricting compression gear I might be used to.  Again, I was skeptical, but I told her OK, I will give them a try!

I wore them the entire next day at work, without anyone being the wiser, and it was the first day I didn't constantly think about the throbbing in my left knee.
haha, you would never know what's under here :) 
I mean I knew the sleeves were there, and the pain hadn't totally disappeared, but the throbbing had been largely reduced, and I was able to concentrate longer on projects I needed to work on  (instead of thinking constantly about my knee).  This was ground-breaking for me, as I had been in agony for weeks prior to trying these, and in a few hours I was almost comfortable again.  Needless to say, I wore the knee and calf sleeves almost every day and even to bed some nights leading up to the marathon...and you know what was packed on the top of my post-race bag for Tripp to bring for me? Oh yeah, the Tommie Copper sleeves.  I wore them the rest of the day Sunday, and overnight and honestly, my knee hasn't hurt since mile 17 :)

I can't even begin to explain how amazing it is to not be constantly thinking about my throbbing leg, and living in pain every moment...and I am attributing a good portion of that relief to the effects of the Tommie Copper sleeves.  The copper used in the materials helped to get my blood and oxygen circulating again and gave my knees the relief they were in need of.

Now that you know about my love affair with these sleeves, here are the quick and dirty details....


  • Almost immediate relief (for me - everyone's bodies are different and therefore the reactions vary)
  • For the most part pretty comfortable, I didn't feel like I was losing circulation like with some compression gear, and I could (and did) wear them under jeans, dresses, leggings... 
  • Customer Service: I couldn't have had a better experience than I had with Jordan.  Her responses were dead on and fast and she was willing to work with me to answer any questions or concerns in full.
  • Price: I think the price is reasonable - in the world of knee braces and calf sleeves, $24.50 is not completely unreasonable. 


  • They were a little scratchy at first - there is a tag on the inside seem of each sleeve (helped me know what was the back though :) ) 
    • After the first couple wears, I didn't notice this anymore, but if you have sensitive skin, you might want to cut the tag out of them (I never had to, as I don't even notice it anymore)
  • The fit is tough to get used to - as I mentioned above, I was really nervous that these were too big at first, but after speaking with Jordan and giving them a full day's try, I realized the fit was perfect, and any smaller and the bands holding them up would have been too tight.
  • Price: Although $24.50 is not completely unreasonable for a single sleeve, I can see that if you need multiple sleeves, the cost can add up pretty quickly. 
I thank you Tommie Copper for the opportunity to review these sleeves and bring some sanity back into my active lifestyle.  I whole-heartedly recommend these, especially if you are suffering chronic pain and are having trouble finding relief. Just remember...these are only one part of the equation (RICE...make sure if you are injured, you are resting, icing and elevating as well!).

If you want to find out more about the CU29 Copper sleeves, please head over to the Tommie Copper website - they have knee, calf and elbow sleeves, along with shirts (think shoulder/back pain) and gloves - they also have a great FAQ section that explains the benefits of compression and copper for the body.

Oh, and if you don't believe, me go check out how the T-shirt they offer helped out my friend Elle avoid back cramping and soreness when she had to stay face down for 72-hours post eye surgery!

I was provided these sleeves from the Tommie Copper company for review, free of cost; however, the views and experiences described/expressed in this review are 100% my own. Please keep in mind that this was my unique experience and not everyone will react in the same way.

Have you had luck with compression gear and injuries?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Total Body 360 Workout

So yesterday, I told you all how I needed a good kick in the butt to motivate me to literally get off my butt!  Well after I hit "publish", I got to motivating myself, via articles, workouts, pictures, the thought of my vacation in just a few short weeks....and with the help of Katy @ Fit in Heels (she has some killer workouts laced with a heavy dose of should definitely go check her out!) and (seriously, what do I have to do, eat, think to get those abs?), and some mandatory PT exercises, I put together a fabulous little workout, I would like to call "Total Body 360".
Zuzana is my new girl crush...source
Now I am not a licensed trainer, nor do I do this for a profession, but I will tell you, this kicked my butt hard.  I even got a compliment from the trainer giving a personal training session next me saying my workout looked great and kudos for getting through it which I replied, "thanks, I think it might have killed me, and if you had been inside my head, you would have known I was yelling at myself to just push out a couple more reps", but anyways...back to the will see why I called it the 360 afterwards...but for now...Total Body 360:

Warm-up: can be any 10-15 minute warm up you want (skipping, running, bike)
I did 30 minutes of elliptical intervals (5 minute warm up, 30 sec sprint/30 sec recovery x 5, 5 minutes backwards, 30 sec sprint/30 sec recovery x 5, 5 minutes backwards, 5 minutes forward)


Total Time: about 30 minutes
Equipment: mat, pair of dumbbells (I used 8 lb.but use w/e is comfortable for you), medicine ball (could just use dumbbell if you don't have a medicine ball), exercise ball

  • 15 reps - Plank in/out jumps w/ oblique crunch
  • 15 reps - Burpees 
  • 15 reps - push-up, turn to side plank left hip dip, turn center push-up, turn to side plank right hip-dip (1 rep-these are a killer!)
  • 15 reps - russian twists w/ medicine ball
  • 15 reps - backwards lunges (w/ dumbbells)
  • 15 reps - mountain climbers w/ hands on medicine ball
  • 15 reps - bicep curl, squat, overhead shoulder press, triceps extension (1 rep)
  • 15 reps - hamstring curls 
    • lay flat on back with legs extended in front of you, ankles on top of exercise ball 
    • tighten butt and core and bring hips off ground into bridge position, head stays put on ground, can use hands for support
    • use core, hips, and hamstrings to pull ankles into butt, bending knees up to 90 degrees
    • release legs straight, keeping hips lifted, and repeat
Rest for 30 seconds, grab some water and Repeat x 3

You see why I called it the Total Body 360 (besides that it is a catchy label?) I did 15 reps * 8 moves * 3 rounds = 360 reps, including moves that worked each part of my body head to toe :)  This was in large part inspired by Katy's 300 Workout, but not as fancy as hers :)

  • Next time I try this workout, I will adjust the order of exercises, as my shoulders burnt out quickly at the beginning with all of the planks and push-ups and would have benefited from interlacing the leg workouts in between each upper body move
  • There are modifications for most all of these moves, for beginners, or if you are feeling fatigued towards the end (better to take the modification or stop, than to push through bad-form and fatigue)
    • I had to do most of the push-ups in move 3 (push-up, turn to side plank left, turn center push-up, turn to side plank right (1-rep)) from my knees and stuck to a normal side plank (no hip dip).  
    • You can also do the burpees w/o the push-up and the jump - start in a plank, jump feet to hands and power push up to standing, squat down, jump feet back to plank and repeat
    • The mountain climbers can be done on the flat ground, you do not need a med ball
    • backward lunges and russian twists can be down w/o weights
  • This was tough, and I would not recommend doing an interval cardio workout right before :) I was just so excited to be back in the gym (please hold me to that last comment when I am content on my couch in a week).  I would keep the warm-up nice and light.  
  • Lay out all of the equipment you need BEFORE you start and have your list of exercise highly visible.  I did lose some time going to fetch weights and such the first round, and I had to keep reaching for my list to double check what was next (when I got tired, I kept forgetting).
Remember, I am not a professional or licensed trainer, so if you are interested in trying this workout, please check with a Dr. or a trainer at your gym first, and if it hurts...stop/don't do it!
What are you going to do to kick your butt today?

Have you heard of/seen
I found this site months ago, but had forgot about it until yesterday.  This woman is beyond ripped and her workouts are short and exhausting!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Motivations - Getting Back on the Horse

Hey everyone! Hope you had a fantastic weekend and aren't too sluggish this wonderful Monday :)  I know I had a relaxing, friend-filled, and just plain great weekend myself.  I had a nice brunch with close friends on Saturday, got a full body massage (which I was supposed to get on Tuesday as a post-marathon treat, but missed due to traffic), watched a couple of lifetime movies, baked a yummy dinner for myself to eat while watching Dexter, and finally returned to yoga, for an awesome core vinyasa class at a new studio (Back Bay Yoga) - loved the studio, the employees, the teacher, the vibe!

Today's Monday Motivations come to you from my post-marathon let down I am experiencing right now.  I haven't run yet because my right achilles and bottom of foot have been bothering me.  Last week I only went to one spin class, and one pilates class.  I need to get back on the horse, but I am having trouble motivating to workout, without something to train for right now.  I do however have a pretty cool trip coming up in a couple of weeks, so that is my little boost of motivation this week...because sometimes, exercise motivation needs a little push :)

Borrowed from this article on 50 Ways to Boost your Fitness Motivation

Here's to getting back on the wagon and finding that inner exercise motivation!

Do you get the post-race blues?

What is your current motivator to get out there and move/sweat?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friendly Friday

Hi guys...just checking in quick on this slow Friday afternoon....I was perusing through FB just now and saw this awesome picture of Chris and I post-marathon, and I seriously cracked the biggest smile.

 I have amazing friends, that do incredible things...I am just lucky enough to have one of those amazing friends be incredible with me :) Thank you Chris...for the long runs, the mental pushes, the last minute ITB proud of you!

Cheers to the Freakin Weekend....
  Have a great weekend everyone!! I have a busy Saturday, and some fun for you guys coming up :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Three Things Thursday, random marathon thoughts

Thanks again for sticking with me through part 1, part 2, and part 3 of my marathon recap.  I decided to recap in this manner so that I can always look back and remember the moments, good and bad, that I experienced.  This is my way of remembering and learning from this event.  I will be happy to give a Pros/Cons post (and most likely will), but for now, this is what I needed.  I appreciate all of your words of congratulations and positive comments, I am blown away by the amazing responses I have been for some random thoughts :)

1. Music...if you had met me about 2 years ago, you would have known that I never run without my ipod (unless I forget it, and I have been known to leave the gym or not run because I didn't have my headphones).  My first taste of having to run music-less, was my first relay experience about a year and a half ago - because they wanted us super aware of our surroundings.  Since then, I have learned it is OK to run without your headphones when you are running with a group, a friend, in an area that needs your full attention, and in some race circumstances.

I made sure I charged up my ipod fully the night before and even the morning of the marathon.  I clipped it onto my fuel belt w/ the headphones tucked into the belt (I was running the most I could with Chris, so I figured we would be talking most of the way).  As I mentioned in my recap, I actually tossed my ipod to my friend Katie at the halfway mark, and told Chris I would run with him the rest of the way and I didn't need it anymore....then lost Chris 3 miles later...

Around mile 22 I had Tripp ride up ahead to grab my ipod...I was in some serious need of motivational tunes!  Well, Tripp went and got the ipod and biked back by my side...but by that point in the race, I was so engrossed with the immediate and overwhelming feelings of finishing, that I didn't want to bother with the ipod.  I finished my longest distance ever, 26.2 miles, on I survived :)

2. Nutrition....I know I didn't mention much about the nutrition details of my marathon, so I thought I would share my strategy and choice in nutrition with you...I think having sufficient fuel with you (or available along the route) is key to running a smooth race and avoiding the "bonk", "wall", etc...I carried with me 3 Gels, 1 stick of shot bloks (there are 6 bloks I believe on it), 1 bag LUNA moons (no longer exist :( ).

  • Breakfast (6:10 AM): poppy-seed bagel, cream cheese, strawberry jam.  1 cup coffee w/ skim milk.  Big glass of water (or 2)
  • Before the race started I had another 8 oz. or so of water
  • From the start of the race I decided I was going to stop (or jog through) every water stop possible.  I only missed 1 or 2 water stops throughout the entire race
  • At around 45 minutes (about mile 6) I took my first Gel (caffeinated lemon-lime Clifbar Gel - w/ as much water as I could get down)
  • Another 45 minutes later, I took the second lemon-lime gel (w/ as much water as I could get down)
  • Another 45 minutes or so later, I took my last GU (chocolate mint GU, thanks Rachelle - got it from one of her giveaways!)
  • When I was in between water stops and needed something to occupy my mouth/mind - I would pop in a LUNA moon...which are delicious little hard electrolyte bloks shaped as moons (kind of the same as a DOT candy) - throughout the race, I sucked on 2 of these throughout the second half - they are small and since I was stopping at all water stations, I didn't have a problem with them.
  • Throughout the second half, I grabbed 1 cup of gatorade at each station it was available, along with 1 or 2 cups of water.
  • Around mile 24 - 25, I took 2 shot bloks from the package (margarita flavored - extra sodium, delicious taste if you are a super salty sweater like me)
I re-fueled with 15 minutes with a LUNA dark chocolate cherry protein bar, and a little bit later a slice of pizza.  My stomach was crampy (probably from the gus and gatorade), but my energy was consistent and high - I didn't crash at all, which I consider a success.

3. Battle Wounds...I feel like everyone scares you into believing that every marathoner will encounter lost toenails, chafing, blisters, a week of hobbling...I tend to think I got out lucky when I think about how many people have brutal wounds and defects as the result of pounding out 26.2 miles...

I came out unscathed...the only things I experienced were a slight chafing under my bra, that had already started from the Tufts 10k earlier in the week (so it wasn't even really from the marathon),a foot bruise where my orthodics end, and a blister that resembled a helium balloon at first glance, but since has deflated to a red nothing...

Is this normal to not experience anything totally traumatic? I was almost upset I still had all of my toe nails and none were nasty black or gone!

One last little tidbit...I would stay tuned for a marathon accomplishment giveaway coming soon :) I want to share my love and excitement with all of you, since you were all so inspirational in getting me there!
What is your musical preference? headphones on a run or is silence golden?

What is your nutrition of choice on a run? Did I overdo/underdo it?

Tell me your best running battle wound!! I want to live vicariously through you guys!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Newport Marathon, The Final Stretch...

Thank you all for following along with my marathon story...and if you are just jumping in at the end of it, you catch part 1 HERE, and part 2 HERE
Taken from the Amica Marathon FB Page - This beach marked the start, half, and finish point - how beautiful!
Where was I? Oh, yes...mile 20...the infamous "wall" that marathoners are supposed to hit.  I am happy to announce, that I hit that wall at mile 17...I kid, I kid...but really, I can't pinpoint any moment in the race that there was a significant exhaustion all at once.  I was exhausted, I was moody and emotional, but I didn't feel completely drained, and especially not at mile 20.
I am smiling, I swear, somewhere inside...
Tripp even joked with me that I must have a bunch more gas left in the tank around this point, because I was talking to everyone that passed, be it a runner or the volunteers - I honestly, couldn't shut up.  I believe that I was trying to be motivating and high spirited, not just to be nice to my fellow runners, but to motivate myself as well! It works, positive thinking and telling others a simple "great job, keep it up" can do wonders for your self esteem around mile 23 or 24...

I read an article last week that I found on Dorothy's blog, about avoiding the wall in a marathon, and I highly believe that consistent fueling and hydrating were the main reason I didn't bonk on Sunday.  Starting at 45 minutes, I began taking nutrition, and I continued every 45 minutes after that, and in the second half, I stopped briefly to walk through or slow jog through each and every water station, taking both a Gatorade and one or two waters at each stop (I am now officially on strike from Gatorade due to overdose, kind of like after the relay back in spring).

Mile 21 was about the time I hit the last turn around and I realized from then on out, I was heading home...this was an awesome feeling, and I definitely got a little extra pep in my step, but not for whole second half went in waves of solid, quicker pace, and slower shuffling pace...Tripp, who was meeting me every other mile on his bike up until this point came cycling up towards me with his usual..."you're killing it babe, way to go, you look great! Need some water?" and all I could think about was sitting down.  I wanted to stop, I wanted it to be over...I asked him if he could stay next to me for a little while on the bike and just keep me company, I was fading mentally and needed the support.

Whether or not you are opposed to a biker pacing runners during a marathon, I have to say, I am completely for this.  Before Sunday, I kind of thought bikers were almost like getting a leg up on those who didn't have support and poo pooed the thought of it...but I have seen the light, and I know for a fact I would have finished a lot slower or not at all, if he was not riding by my side those final 6 or 7 miles.  I kept asking him to tell me stories, to watch my posture, to promise me I could have a coveted space blanket at the end, if I looked as strong as the bionic woman that came bounding past me just before the hill at mile 23...
Did I take a wrong turn?! I thought Broadway was just down the road...
From Miles 22 - 25, I just kept telling myself, it's one lap around's like running down Broadway (in Southie) and've run farther home drunk from the heels!! (that one made me chuckle a little)

Mile 25 was the hardest mile of the entire had a short, but pretty steep, had very few took away the motivation from me for the first time in the race...

I wanted to stop, I kept pleading with Tripp to just stop, I didn't want to take another step...I wanted to sit, I wanted to cry, I wanted to be done...Tripp pedaled next to me, assuring me I was almost done...just a little bit more...I had come so far...

Then I saw a man walking, a man I had just overheard telling another runner he was "so close to his sub-4 goal he could taste it"...I knew we were both hopes perked legs perked up...I ran up next to the guy walking and I told him to get moving....and then I was off....

Tripp told me the mile 26 marker was just around the bend, and I didn't believe him, I welled up with uncontrollable emotions...I was happy, I was sad it was over, I was hurting, was I crazy?!

He was right, the marker was just ahead, and then there was the crowds and what looked like Chris' family as I came sprinting down that final 0.2 stretch (well I felt like I was may not have looked like that)...
I don't know why, but I gave that awkward thumbs up pose every time I saw the camera
I turned the corner into the parking lot and saw the finishers line, I was there, I had made it, just a few more feet!  Then I saw the had just clicked into 3:49:00, I could do this in under I pushed a little harder and I was smiling bigger than I have smiled in months, and I was crying, at least my body was trying to, happy tears, tears of joy...accomplishment...disbelief...

I crossed the finisher's line, as the announcer proclaimed "and here comes Danielle Marquis of Boston, smiling all the way!".  The clock still read out 3:49, my garmin read chip time read 3:49:15...

I think Tripp captured how I felt both physically:
I would describe this as the dry heave of cry...I couldn't get tears out, but my body was just full of emotions trying to get out...
And mentally:
Couldn't be happier with my medal and space blanket...
We walked...ok, I hobbled...over to where our friends were watching the finish, and waited for our friends to come into view...first we saw Jeff (who sails with Tripp)
And then we saw Chris, running into the finish with his brother Nate (the one who decided not to race prior to race day)
The feelings of finishing, and watching Chris finish were beyond describable...I was proud, sad, happy, honored, excited, emotional...I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to come and support me (except maybe my own family, none of whom could make it due to location or work)

We hung out for a little bit afterwards and took our post-race glory shots :)
Laura, me, Chris
Chris and freaking proud of us - couldn't have made it to the start line or finish without you buddy :)
 We also enjoyed our post-race celebratory (and complimentary) beer and pizza...Gansett baby....I only got to finish a third of the beer because I had a killer stomach ache...but I did get down a LUNA protein bar (chocolate cherry...heaven) and a slice of pizza

 After our re-fueling, it was time for the ice bath...Newport style...

Until we discovered it was all red tide (red seaweed everywhere....and I mean everywhere), so Chris and Katie headed home and I headed to a real ice bath...
The saying, "a marathon is just a 20 mile warm up with a 10k race" is beyond true...but the 10k race isn't what you would typically think of a sprint to the finish is a mental race, to beat your inner demons telling you stop, to beat your inner negativity telling you you can't do is a race to finish, to conquer and persevere to the end...

My first marathon was one of the most surreal feelings I have ever experienced.  I have a hard time describing it, I have a hard time believing that I really went through it, but I also have an overwhelming sense of gratitude that despite my set-backs and the struggles it took to get to the start line...I was able to accomplish something big, something many people can't even fathom, something some people will never be able to even dream of, let alone attempt to do...

Thank you for sticking with my unconventional recap, and perhaps I will provide the hard facts in a later post (good, bad, lessons)...but this story, from start to finish, is my way of remembering this experience, this incredible event in my life.

Thank you, for the support, the love, the motivation and inspirations...each of you, whether it was something good, bad or indifferent, were an immense influence on my being able to go through with this...thank you...

Newport Amica Marathon, October 16, 2011
26/333 female, 14/95 age group

Do you have a special "pose" you do for the camera during races?

I usually look miserable, but I remember looking at each camera, smiling and giving the thumbs up

Do you get really horrible tummy cramps after races?

First time I felt so sick to my stomach, I think it was the amount of GUs and gatorade I inhaled)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Newport Marathon, Race Day...

So where did I leave off? Oh, yes...I was jumping into bed for an early morning wake up and MARATHON SUNDAY!
creepy 6 AM bug-out eyes...your welcome :)
So I know a lot of you were wondering if I was really able to sleep from 10:30 - 5:30 the night before the race, with all of the nerves and thoughts of crossing that finish line going through my head...well, I did...I honestly hit the pillow at 10:30ish and was out like a light moments later.  Tripp and I did get up a little earlier than expected, we were up at 5 AM to the sounds of the dog in the house barking (we were dog sitting for the awesome couple that let us stay in their house), but honestly it was good to get some "wake-up" time and to walk around a little in the morning.

I took the time to get dressed (decided on the capris, as the morning was 52 degrees and the wind was predicted to hit 21+ mph), pack a bag for Tripp to carry (filled with post-race clothes, flip flops, extra GU and protein bars, and more body glide - just in case), and enjoyed a big and toasty poppyseed bagel with cream cheese and a little jam - my tummy can't process peanut butter enough before runs, and I really didn't want to burp up PB for 4 or 5 hours.

Around 6:30 AM we decided to head over to the start, as we had planned on meeting Chris and Emma at the bag drop at 7:20, and we didn't know how quickly we could find parking, or how far away it would be.  Now Tripp and I are NEVER on time, so it was a happy surprise that we were parked and walking to the race start by 6:58 AM...even got to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous scene on our way there!
She was just too mesmerized  by the amazing sunrise behind me
Even though I made sure I peed, twice, before we left the house...I clearly had to go as soon as we got down to the hectic start I left Tripp with the dog and our friends, and I braved the 25 minute porta potty line (so thankful I did before the race, as I know I would have had to stop to pee in the first half if I didn't).  The race started at 8 AM, and it was now 7:45 and we still couldn't see the starting line it was clearly the prime time for a pre-race photo shoot, you know, to distract us...
Mic was still not into the whole photo thing...but I think my #1fan was lookin mighty fine :)
It's early, it's cold, I am nervous, can we just start already?!
Chris and I showing off the awesome sign Katie (his wife) made to cheer us all on! 

And then out of no where, this huge inflatable start line popped up! Reality set in...hardcore.  Photo shoot done, nervous pee break done, time to race!

Because it is on the smaller side of races (821 finished the marathon I believe and maybe another 2400 or so did the half), we were able to line up at the front of the pack.  Now, I know this is not the proper race etiquette; however, there no corrals, no elite line, and not a ton of order to be honest....when we looked around us, there was a large variety of runners, so we just stayed put and made sure to get to the outsides of the lane when the gun went off.

Emma, Chris, and I planned to start together, but we also had an additional runner added last minute to the group...which I have to admit, was a bit surreal.  Chris' brother was supposed to run the full marathon with Chris and I, but a few weeks ago decided he wasn't going to go through with it, so in his place, Chris recruited this phenomenal woman, Laura.  Laura is beginning her campaign for the Olympic the marathon, and said she would come pace us for the first half, since she had a long run on the schedule for the weekend anyways.  The news that Laura was going to run with us freaked me out at first....she is a sub-3 hour marathoner, gunning for the Olympics, if we try to keep up with her, we will surely burn out early!

Chris convinced me that she was going to stay back with us, and was totally fine running our planned 8:30 min/miles for the first half of the race, and that it was her last long run of the week and she was fine going slower.

Keeping this in mind, I knew I would have to really focus on staying on pace, if I wanted to even make it to the half mark...remember, I hadn't run more than 6 miles since August 19th due to my knee injury!
 The gun went off, and so did we...Emma peeled off to the outside lane early and told us to run our race, and she would see us at the finish line.  And then there were 3...
If you look close, I am the one being ushered by the ray of light behind the guy in yellow, see my sunnies :) Chris is in the red shirt, and Laura in the race shorts and blue tank
The race starts up a decent sized hill, and still our first mile was a quicker than planned, but it was the start and the adrenaline was a flowing! We ran the first mile in around 8 minutes....then we hit mile 2, and somehow we were at 7:50s....whoa....I kept nagging Chris to slow down, and we hit mile 3 at around 8s again, which was alright...I felt good in the pace, but still really nervous I would burn out early, we still had 23.2 to go!

Mile 4 we hit with a 7:47 split, and I let my secret creep out...."hey guys, in an ideal world, we would keep this pace up and qualify for Boston!"

Needless to say, we didn't stay at 7:40s for too long...but we did hover around 8, sub-8 for the next 9.1 miles, which was blowing my mind! I had a bit of knee pain throughout those miles too, but not a buckling or "oh my god I need to stop" was more of the achy, throbbing I had experienced with the tendinitis - so I kept on going.  I popped a couple advil and fought to keep Chris and Laura in my sites for the rest of the first half, until we lost Laura at around mile 11.  Chris put it best, "it's like she switches into a gear none of us have discovered before and doesn't seem to notice" - she was gone in the blink of eye, to put it bluntly.  And then there were 2...

Chris and I crossed the halfway mark (which is also the finish line for the half marathoners) at around 1:46, which was way ahead of our planned time, and just over an 8 min/mile split!

13.1 Mile Mark: 1:46 (8:06 avg. pace)

Whether it was the crowd lining the half marathoner's finishing chute, or the fact that we had just run a competitive half marathon and were still going...I was still smiling?! This is the first race where most of my pictures are of me with a huge smile on my face...go figure, I would pick the hardest race of my life to smile :)
Hey Katie, here take my motivational tunes, I don't need them!
This was also about the time Chris and I both told Katie we didn't need our iPods because we were going to finish together what we started together...two minutes later Chris turns to me and says, "my stomach just fell"...oh no...we are at mile 13.5 and have another 12.7 to go...he pushed through the sick feelings and we were back into a comfortable pace of around 8:30 - 8:40, at this point we just kept telling ourselves that even if we do 9's, we will still pull out a sub-4 (which going into this race, I had thought was impossible - who sub-4s when they took 8 weeks prior to race day, to rest?!).  I got a wave of excitement and as we crossed the 16 mile marker we came gliding down the hill, only 10.2 to go!
16 miles, done and done :)
 Leading up to the mile 17 marker, we entered a little beach area, with big sand dunes, and horrible head winds (sand everywhere, not pretty), this is also the section of the course I lost Chris.  Our paces split, and I was trying to keep the 9 minutes despite the wind.  And then there was 1...

I had a feeling of anxiety that Chris was behind me, and not by my side anymore, and at the end of this mile, was my do or die moment of the race...I stopped to walk through a water stop and started limping pretty heavily...I could feel my knee throbbing and it was uncomfortable to say the least, but as I chugged down the little water cup and looked ahead to either press on or walk off the course, I spotted my man....he was standing up ahead and my feet started moving...I was jogging towards his clapping hands, and I ran right up to him and gave him a huge hug and kiss...then I was off
approaching my motivation
From that point on, I didn't feel my knee, no throbbing, no pain, nothing...I knew I was going to finish...I was determined to finish, and if my watch was correct, and my legs would still carry me, I would finish strong.

There was some wind, and some killer hills in the final miles, and since it was a fabulous out and back on this section, I got to experience those hills up and back...twice :)  I fell in with this group of ladies, one of them was coaching the other up the was the best strategy I have ever tried in a race, and it pick an object up ahead and you focus on it until you reach it, and if you still aren't at the top of the hill, you pick another object and focus on it, until you reach it...that compartmentalized thinking is what got me up the next 3 or 4 hills we shuffled over, and I couldn't have been more grateful...

Miles 20 - 26.2 were the toughest mental game I have ever you will just have to check back to see if I came out ahead :)

Do you start out faster in races than intended? Or do you stick to your plan?

I always start out too's the adrenaline, all the adrenaline!

What are your thoughts on letting someone quicker pace you?

I was really nervous, but honestly she pushed us through that first half and we came out all right...I admit I should have been more conservative because I hadn't run in so long, but the pace we settled into felt comfortable, not strained...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Motivations - marathon edition

Just a quick one while I get some work done...more of the marathon recap to come later on!
There were countless runners (both half and full marathon) that came up to me either during the race (as they were passing me haha) or after the race, that said they just kept repeating my shirt to keep them going.  It was the best feeling I could have had, to know that I motivated others, even when I was struggling to keep going.  It was a mantra that was easy to repeat, catchy, and true...just what I could have hoped for :)

I also had quite a few men ask me what kind of martini this was on my back, and even one that told me he was imaging it was a margarita, because he was "a margarita kind of girl"...I wish I could have ran with him a little longer!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Newport Marathon, Day 1...

First of all, I just want to take a moment to thank you all, each and every single one of you that has hung in there through my injury rants and raves, through my lack of running discussions, and for motivating, inspiring, pushing me, being there for me in general...I finished the marathon this weekend with a million emotions...excited, accomplished, loved, hurting, supported, and amazing...

I want to recap the race right now, but I am going to do this in 2 posts, so please bare with me...there are a lot of pictures!!

I finally made it down to Newport around 2 pm on Saturday afternoon, grabbed a quick sandwich with my friend Emma and her fiance Sam and his parents.  Emma ran the half marathon, so the four of them sailed their boat down to Newport to enjoy the full race weekend.  After a quick lunch, we walked down to the race expo, which was, let's say...less than desirable...
 They hold it in the "big events" tent (if you have ever been to Newport, you probably have seen one of the many festivals - wine fest, oktoberfest and seafood fest to name a few - taking place in this gigantic white tent.  These festivals are pretty elaborate, so I was expecting a lot more activity once we got into the tent for the expo...not so much...
This square of merchandise tables was about all that was there for perusing post-bib pick-up, and I already had my nutrition with me, and a water and fuel I wasn't too interested...Emma and I went right to the bib and bag pick-up and claimed out respective #'s (509 for yours truly)
Emma and her bib in line for bags and shirts (long sleeve blue odd fitting things...not the best I have seen honestly) 

I was showing this guy my running moves...I think he was impressed :)

me and the course...they didn't have any backdrop of the marathon name, so I thought the map was the next best thing
After we picked up our numbers and while I waited for my buddy Chris to show up to the expo, we all took a quick stroll in a local pumpkin was a fun nerve suppressor for sure :) I love pumpkins...everything about them :)
photos of the soon to be parents in law (Emma and Sam just got engaged in  Aug!)

We wanted to take one without the creepy guy in the above pic
In the middle of taking the above picture, Chris gave me a ring that he had just picked up his number, so it was time to drive the route!!! So I was a really prepared runner and didn't look at the route and terrain until race week...what can I say, procrastinator?!

Back to the route...I am very familiar with the first half of this race, since I did the half marathon here last year, but there were a few adjustments, so it was good to check it out from mile 0 - mile 26.2...the first half brings you down the ocean front along the cliff walk, as well as along the rows of mansions...
mile 6

Chris and his new wife, Katie 

mile 7
 We even saw two different weddings just car lengths away - such a gorgeous day for a wedding, if I do say so myself!
look closely through the bushes and you will see one bride and groom
This was the second wedding, seriously steps away from the other

Around mile 19-20 I enjoyed this gem...seriously delicious flavor!

After we were done driving the course, it was definitely time to get the carbo-loading to Mama Louisa's in Newport, for an authentic Italian feast! I enjoyed the Tagliatelle de pesce (egg pasta with shrimp and scallops and a butter/white wine/garlic sauce - perfecto!)

Seriously, if you ever get to Newport, you NEED to check this gem out...they had normal food portions (not too small, but also not enough to put you in a food coma for hours, which was the perfect amount for pre-race fuel.  The price wasn't too bad either, especially with the quality of the dishes, the authenticity of the food and wine, and the amazing service!

After dinner, we headed to the house we were staying at and I put out my outfit for the you can, I was a little indecisive about the weather and what bottoms I wanted to wear...

The socks, belt,  and T were essential...the morning was going to be cold, so I new the gloves and hat were a must! 
the back of my awesome neon pink T!
Hit the hay around 10, alarm set for up...race day!
6 AM is really early - look mom, it's still dark out!
Do you lay out your race outfit the night before?

I have started doing it for the bigger races, to minimize stress race morning and make me feel a little less jittery going to bed...

Do you stress about the weather multiple times before a race?

I think I refreshed about 5 times a day for the last 6 days!