Saturday, March 30, 2013

April Fools 4 Miler!

This was the second race I did as part of the Will Run For Beer race series. The 32nd Annual April Fools 4 miler, which I am happy to say benefits The American Red Cross and The Alzheimer’s Association!

Today was a much better day for a road race than the first one with waves crashing over the course. It basically took place at a place called The Winner's Circle (or so I thought). 

It was nice to have a place to be inside while waiting for the race to start especially with bathrooms, mainly because the hour+ ride there is not something I can do wearing my compression pants so I had to change. 

As you entered the building there were lists in alphabetical order with your bib number. Once you got your bib number you headed up stairs to get your actual bib and your choice between a t-shirt or a hat. I opted for a t-shirt mainly because it is actually a tech shirt which I can always use. Then we just waited for it to all begin.

I decided at about 10:50am that it would be a good time to go out and get ready. That was when I discovered the start was not actually on Elm Street but on Old Elm Street which was a little bit of a walk but when you are not expecting that it throws you off a little bit. I actually got to the back of the pack at the Start line just as the start gun went off. I really couldn't have timed it any more perfrectly. And we were off!

It's funny because most of the runners were talking about how the only thing getting them through the four miles was knowing there was free beer at the finish line for them. First off it's not free you paid for it with your race registration, second drinking alcohol directly after running four miles is probably one of the worst things you could for your body. But I just keep to myself and carry. Ironically enough I am doing a Will Run For Beer 5k series and I don't even drink beer! So I have no idea what got me through the race. Maybe it was the fact that I know I need to at some point in the near future be able to "run" 6.2. I put run in quotations because after my experience today I have a feeling after swimming and biking there will be a very real chance I will be walking the 6.2 miles but we will see what happens.

Anyway back to the race. Everything was very clearly marked, the volunteers were amazing (as they usually seem to be for road races). They all made sure we were on the right track. My favorite thing about this race was that at each mile marker they had not just a sign but also a clock and the volunteer standing there would yell out your time to you at each mile. I run using my Garmin watch so I am always right on top of my pace and time but I observed lots of people that do not run with a watch so this was a very nice added extra bonus and I think probably helped motivate people and keep them on track. 

At the beginning of the race I try and pick a target. Which I know sounds very assassin of me but it helps keep me on track. Usually it takes a few time to actually get a real target. Mine ended up being a women who was speed walking the race. I decided after playing leap frog with her for a little bit that I was going to make sure I crossed the finish line before her. Although I have to say I am not sure I feel about my goal of finishing before a speed walker but I will let you know what happened!

When I did the 5k a couple weeks ago I had set a goal for myself to finish in under 40 minutes which I missed by 4 seconds. There was no way I was going to let that happen this time. At about 2.98 I decided I was going to run my hardest/fastest until I reached 3.1 miles. I reached 3.1 with a time of 39:18 so I successfully set a new personal record for a 5k. However I did this directly after having chugged water at the last water stop. My stomach did not appreciate that! This was the one time that I thought I might actually vomit. The feeling came and went for the remainder of the race but I decided I was not going to let that stop me. I was about 0.4 miles away from the finish line and I just decided to give it my all and go for it. I ended up crossing the finish line with a time of 50 minutes and 38 seconds!

Photo by: My mom, she missed the finish pose and got me stopping my watch instead...oh well!
 I was very happy with that considering I had set my goal to finish in under an hour. And yes I did cross the finish line before my speed walker mark but for that last little bit I wasn't sure it was going to happen.

At the finish line there were a few bagels left with peanut butter, some power gels and water. I was very sad to see that all the fruit was gone (bananas and watermelon) as was the pizza, peanut butter crackers and granola bars. I know these things are hard to plan but I feel like this was a very large over sight. 

We walked back over to The Winner's Circle which of course was packed to the gills because everyone wanted their free beer. I on the other hand just wanted the bathroom. I seriously considered the port-a-potty to avoid the building but then decided against it. I heard several people say that there were more participants and supports than they anticipated but I am telling you the amount of people in the building had to of been a Fire Hazard. It took forever to get in and just as long to get out. Whoever designed the doors to open out and block the staircase was not very smart. At any rate we got the bathroom changed and when you come out all you could see was a sea of people and these everywhere...

I know there was mention of trying to setup and outside space for the beer but that didn't happen. I hope for next year it does because that would have really helped the over population problem. 

All in all this was a good race. The course was a nice flat out and back so you knew what you were in for by the time you reached the second mile. I would definitely do it again but probably stay away from The Winner's Circle post race if there is no outside area for the beer.

Thanks to everyone at WCRC for all your hard work as well as the volunteers. These races couldn't be done without you. I am looking forward to my next race in the series The Beyond The Rainbow 5k next sunday in Newmarket, NH. Even though I heard another runner talking about it being a hilly course. :( 
Still time to register if any of you would like to do it with me!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tri Mania Expo

I found out about the Tri Mania Expo very late. I got an email from Max Performance because they had a booth at the expo. I had no idea such an expo existed so I looked into it. This was Thursday and the expo was Saturday. I got Sara to go with me so I registered. It was hard to believe there was this whole expo with seminars and it was free!

I did also take a look at the clinics they were offering as well. There was only one that I was interested in called eating to peak. However it started at 8am which meant I would of had to out of the house by 6:30 to get there on time. I decided against that, leaving at 8am was  early enough.

We got there at about 9:15 and headed in to the seminar room. There they were talking about the science of training which turned out to be quite interesting. But the one at 9:45am is what we were
really there for, The triathletes guide to weight loss and weight management by Nancy Clark. It was fantastic!

I already knew that weight loss relies mainly on diet and not exercise. But I know I was one of those people that thought 'I have increased my training so much why am I not loosing more weight.' This reminded me that I need to focus on what I am eat as well as my training.

I loved that Nancy took the time to explain how to cut calories and still have the energy you need to train. 

I also had no idea how to figure out how many calories you burn without additional exercise so this part was also extremely helpful! All in all this was a fantastic seminar and I definitely learned a lot of new things that will help with my training.

After the weight loss and weight management seminar there was another seminar about preparing for a triathlon swim. Sara and I both decided that was something we would be interested in staying for as well. It was lead by Rick Lil. As the seminar got started we quickly learned that it wasn't going to be what we thought it was. I then read the whole description of the seminar and realized that it was dealing with the mental/anxiety part of the swim. Which don't get me wrong is a very big part of it but not what we thought we were going to be hearing about. We thought it was going to be more of play by play on how the swims were going to go. But that is what you get for not reading everything. It was still helpful to learn about how to learn to figure out where your stress or anxiety is coming from and how to deal with it in a way that will help you get through the swim.

After that there was a break and there weren't really any seminars that we wanted to go to until later in the day so we headed down to the expo.

I learned a lot from the seminars but the expo was what I was looking forward to the most. Although I have done one triathlon I am still a newbie and really don't know all that much or have all the appropriate gear so this was the place to be!

We walked in and there was a crowd of people but it wasn't overly crowded which was nice. We were only about three booths in when I spotted the Leukemia and Lymphoma Societies Team In Training booth. Since I had been an honored hero for two of their training teams I figured I would take a look at what races they were starting teams for to see if there were any I wanted to do. One the immediately caught my eye was the Tufts 10K For Women. Since I had started this whole "racing" lifestyle everyone I have talked to (well all the women I had talked to) raved about the Tufts 10K. I really wanted to do it BUT it is held on Columbus Day and that is a teacher training day at my school and they don't let you have the day off. So I wasn't going to do it. Sara talked me into it with the argument of the race will always be on Columbus Day so sooner or later I will have to take that day off. So I signed up and then of course played the same trick on her and so now we are signed up together. I think this will be fun!
We then moved onto another booth that was online training/coaching for athletes of all kinds. Sara was interested so she was talking to them. Not that it isn't something I would be interested in but unless someone wants to sponsor my training there is no way I can afford to have coaching. But they sounded great!

I started to think about how I should tweet that we just join TNT and realized I didn't have my phone. Now I have never lost my phone and since this was a huge expo I figured it was long gone. The only saving grace in my head was that I could use find my iphone and at least maybe get it back or delete everything on it (which would suck royally). The only place it could be was in the seminar room so we left and headed back up there; in the middle of them talking to Sara I might add.

As we were walking along the hallway we looked at all the little places we stopped. but of course I noticed this right when a seminar was letting out so we were basically going up stream. As we were walking along a man asked us if we were looking for a cellphone. I of course said yes and he told me that he had told one of the volunteers about it and they should have it. Ironically enough he recognized me from being up there earlier. Sure enough I walked in the they had it sitting on the table. I was so thrilled!! I guess there is still good in this world and not everyone is out to just take things. So now that that little crisis was averted we headed back to the expo and Sara finished with the online coaching.

There was some great things there
We got this calendar that actually has a lot of the races on it for you. The good/bad thing was that once we looked through it we found a bunch more that we wanted to do!

There were also lots of place giving out free samples!
I have never tried either on these. The Aero Shot sounded interesting it is basically just a very fine powder that you suck into your mouth and it dissolves almost instantly. I will definitely let you know how that one works if I use it during one of my races.

Max Performance was also there and they were giving away a wet suit which would have been great to win. Tim one of the race directors was there and we got to chat a little as was Megan one of their swim instructors. I was also able to saving $10 on my registration to the Title 9 Women's Triathlon in Hopkinton this fall which is always a plus cause we all know how expensive this can be. I loved the experience with Max Performance last year so I am looking forward to doing not only the Title 9 but also the Mass State this year!

We also met a lot of teams and clubs that were around the area which was cool. There were several that sounded like they were fun and also more low key. As in perfect for me because they were more focused on offering training but in a go at your own pace kind of way. I was really interested in Dreamfar Triathlon Club but all their trainings I am already booked and they are in concord so that wasn't overly exciting but they were so nice I would have seriously considered joining them.

I also found a place that I could finally get some stuff that says triathlete etc. So of course I bought this for my car!
I also got a triathlon license plate holder cause why not make the car complete? The best part is that I really don't look like what most people think of when they say triathlete and neither does my husband so we get some funny looks but hey I did it therefore I am a triathlete!

For those of you who know me you know I LOVE the color purple so when the people from Hero Triathlon told us we could take a swim cap I just had to get this one. Who doesn't need an extra swim cap? The why not wear one that says be a hero? I have already worn mine during one of my training swims this week.

I then found something I thought was too good to be true. It is called Choffy! Now when you think about Choffy you might think it is some kind of gourmet coffee or something. I know I certainly did. However I couldn't have been more wrong. It is actually brewed chocolate. Well actually brewed cocoa beans to be exact. I could not wait to try this. They added french vanilla creamer to it which gave just enough sweetness/flavor. It was really good. I am really upset that I didn't buy some while we were there cause now I have to order it to get any because there is no store or distributor here. But I have to say if you ever get a chance to try it go for it because it really is good!
The most upsetting thing that because we registered so late we were not one of the people that got a swag bag. HOWEVER at 1pm if there were any leftover they were giving them on a first come first serve basis. Sara and I were first in line, which aside from being the most likely way to getting a bag we also got to chat with one of the volunteers who as it turns out is also a blood cancer survivor and had done a race with Team In Training. So needless to say we ended up with a swag bag and it was filled with some fun stuff...take a look!
All in all this was a fun experience and I will definitely be going back again. Hopefully as I get more into triathlons and get more comfortable with my own abilities I will be able to get involved with the competition parts as well.

Thanks to everyone at Tri Mania for arranging this. Of course to all the volunteers cause lets face it with everything relates to theses kinds of races, etc they wouldn't be possible without and this certainly wouldn't have been either. and last but certainly not least all the vendors and presenters for the seminars. I learned so much and feel like I am more prepared for my adventures ahead of me!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Delicious Experiment!

My class did a berry tasting last week. We turned it into snack and they got to choose which berries they wanted to mix with their yogurt. As it turned out there was a giant bowl of cut up strawberries and blueberries that was left over. I don't know about you but I hate throwing perfectly good fruit away. So I put it into a bag a brought it home.

When the weekend rolled around I knew I had to make something with it before it went bad. But I had no idea what I wanted to make. Then I remembered a strawberry bread that a friend of mine had made and figured it would be fun to make a bread. I turned to my friend Google and started searching for a recipe. After not that long I came across this recipe for strawberry nut bread.

I got started. I already knew that I wanted to change the recipe slightly by using whole wheat flour instead of bleached flour, I was planning on omitting the nuts and using a mix of the strawberries and blueberries. I started collecting the ingredients and got to the cinnamon. I looked all over the kitchen with no luck. Then I remembered my husband had made a cheesecake recently and asked where the cinnamon was. That is when he told me it was gone. Cinnamon is not really something you can replace with a similar taste so I thought I wasn't going to make this after all. But I remembered I had this...
I dumped some into my small food processor and pulsed until it was basically a cinnamon flavored wheat flour. I got about a 1/2 cup from what I processed. I filled the remainder of the cup with oats. So I eliminated a cup of flour. I also cut the sugar down to only one cup. I also thought the 1 1/4 cup of vegetable oil was alot. If I had bananas I think I would have tried to substitute with them but I was all out. As it turns out I had chocolate flavored olive oil that my cousin had given me for Christmas so I used 1/4 cup of that and 3/4 vegetable oil (I cut out 1/4 oil as well). I mixed everything together except the fruit and the batter was a little thick. I added a 1/4 of water to thin it out a little. I folded in the fruit and it seemed to be working.

I like to be able to give things away as gifts so I decided to put this into small loaf pans. It made four small loaves. I spooned the batter and in and they were ready for the oven.

I just hoped this little experiment of mine worked out.

After about 50-60 minutes they seemed to be done. I pulled them out of the oven and let them cool.
I could not wait to taste them. So I sliced it up and hoped for the best!
It was fantastic! I even got my husband to try it and he was just as surprised as I was at how good it turned out. I have since tried it for breakfast adding a little bit of chocolate peanut butter to it and it is just as delicious! If you want to give it a try I have included my adjusted recipe but you can always what kind of experiment you can come up with!

Strawberry Blueberry Bread:
2 Cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup processed cinnamon harvest Kashi cereal
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries and whole blueberries
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1/4 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 4x2.5 inch loaf pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, cereal, oats, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Beat together the eggs and oil and pour them into the well. Stir just enough to moisten the ingredients. If batter is thick slowly add in up to 1/4 cup of water. Fold in the strawberries and blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared pans; fill containers no more than half full.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven about 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 20 to 30 minutes before removing from pans. Move to a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Smuttynose Palooza 5k Race Report

This is a little later than normal but better late than never!

I believed I was fairly prepared for this race. Aside from the Santa 5k I did in December this was going to be the first time I was running outside. I was interested to see if treadmill running was doing anything for me or if in fact it might be even hurting me. I started my race preparations by constantly checking their website to make sure the race was still going on due to all the snow and such. However they announced that everything was still on. I then discovered that I had an hour and half drive...woohoo! Luckily my husband surprised me by talking the morning off to come with me so I wouldn't have to be alone.

We got there around 8:30am and picked all my race stuff. I picked up a friends as well who couldn't make it. Got myself dressed and ready to hit the road. The great thing about this race was that it was at the Blue Ocean Music Hall which was great cause that meant all the runners and cheerers could wait inside in a warm place before having to run in the cold. Oh yeah and fantastic bathrooms as well (which is always great when you are used to using port-a-potties at most 5k's) the morning was very pleasant. They announced that it was time for the runners to go out to the start.

We all started to head out. As we got to the end of the driveway a giant wave crashed into the street and basically flooded the whole start lane. Luckily I hadn't actually walked into the start lane yet and avoided getting soaked before running. I have to admit waves crashing onto the run course was definitely a whole new experience for me. I went around to other side of the parking lot and stood at the very back in hopes of avoiding any other waves coming our way.

photo curtisey of - trying to avoid the waves/huge puddles

The race started and we all took off...walking. One because there were so many people and it is always difficult to have a running start when your so close together and two because there was so much water and sand everyone was trying their best to avoid it so their feet weren't wet and cold for the run. After we got past that the rest of the course was pretty clear. There were some spots that had black ice but my general rule is to avoid any wet pavement.

The course itself was pretty easy mostly flat, only very small inclines which was a nice treat. I set a goal for myself to finish in under 40 minutes. My last 5k was somewhere around 42 minutes so I thought that was a realistic goal. It was nice to see the aray of people doing this race. There were the "elites" who were finishing when I was just getting to mile marker 1 then there were your average folk and families. I have to say I always love to see families doing this kind of stuff. Based on my own childhood of always being inactive and over weight and working with children on a daily basis I understand all to well how important physical activity is as well as spending time with their parents, siblings, etc. and then there were the walkers which I am always equally excited to see because at least they are doing what they can and getting out there moving. I LOVE IT!

I tried to keep up my normal run route of running half mile, tenth mile break, then quarter mile runs with tenth mile walk. It took a lot more effort and I was exhausted by then end. I actually was thinking how in the world am I going to do 6.5 miles after swimming and running? The triathlon is only four month away, AAAHHH!

I remember realizing that I only had one more left turn and then the finish line was right there. That the most exciting thing ever. I was so thrilled when I crossed that finish line!
I ended up missing my goal by 4 seconds. I crossed the finish with a time for 40:03, trust me when I say those 4 second will be gone next time, I will find a way! I made it all the way through the race without getting soaked which was a huge accomplishment. Lots of others were not so lucky.

After the race was fun. They had an assortment of things set up for all the runners. There was pizza, yogurt, fruit, water, cereal/granola. The line was slightly long but after going inside to change and coming back it was a lot shorter. They even let my husband eat when in most cases that stuff is just for the runners. Oh yea and who can forget the beer...
When we got back into the music hall I made the mistake of asking my husband if he wanted a beer. That is when he told me while I was running he had already been drinking. I am not sure that was an even compromise. But regardless since I don't drink beer at least I know he got whatever would have been mine. There was also a karaoke contest after the race which we did not stay for but the schedule of singers was full so I am sure everyone had fun with that.

All in all despite the "damage" from the snow storm and the occasion wave coming onto the course this was a really good race. It was well organized, an easy course and the post race was very inviting! I think this is one I will be doing again. Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers for all your hard work!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February Foodie Penpal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

This month marks my one year anniversary since joining foodie penpals and I have enjoyed every minute of it. However I must say when I got an email from Leah asking about all my likes/dislikes and she told me she would be sending me a package from Okinawa Japan I got very excited! Just knowing my package was coming from half way around the world I knew this was going to be fantastic. Let me tell you Leah did not disappoint! I really can't even begin to thank you enough Leah! The package was fantastic and I don't even know where to begin.

This is what I was greeted with as I opened the box. I love that Leah included some menus and sales flyers from Japan. She even included the letter that her electric bill comes in. She can't read it so she just pays it.
Then it got into all the goodies!YUM!
I told her that I love chocolate and peanut butter and she definitely ran with that which I love.

This was an array of chocolate "bars" that she sent me. Leah thank you so much for your notes some of them I wouldn't of had a clue; not that it would have stopped me from trying them! I have already tried the mega combo which was tasty a cross between a wafer and those hershey delites chocolates. I also drove into the Godiva bar. Who can resist anything that says it is filled with chocolate souffle? The one on the bottom left is their version of a larabar or soyjoy. I have yet to try it but no doubt that I will most likely enjoy it!

These caught my eye next. They are probably the smallest donuts I have ever seen. And they are yummy too! I had to make sure I put the bag away so I didn't eat them all at once.
I had to break this into two to be able to take a picture because it was too long for me to get the whole thing and it be a close shot. It reminds me of the candy you could get at a carnival or fair. They are all individually packaged but stuck together with perforations in between each which has been fantastic cause I can pack one in my lunch for a little something sweet and not have to worry about not eating a whole candy bar, etc.
This is probably the one thing I am most excited to try although I will admit I have not tried it yet. It is basically little packets that you squeeze together to get chocolate peanut butter. My two favorite things!!
The note had fallen off this one and until I opened it and figured out that this is the note that went with it I was totally lost what this was. I opened it and had to taste it despite that it is bitter cocoa spread. It actually tastes pretty good. I have decided I want to use this in my baking some how I haven't decided exactly how but I will figure it out.
These are interesting because when I think of caramel corn I think of popped popcorn caramelized. However these are different, the texture is more like Cheetos but they are sweet and strawberry flavored. This was a big hit with my husband. He has become very involved with the foodie penpal packages and that is what he chose to open to try.

I was very excited about these. When I went on a kayaking trip last year one of the snacks they had for us were these organic dried veggies which are very similar to these. They were really good and I am hoping these will be the same when I try them.
I love the Leah sent some hard candy too. The bag on the left is flavored sugarless candies. They are delicious and I would have never guessed they were sugarless they are that good. The ones on the right are lemon & salt. They are very good and a very interesting combo. I was a little unsure at first but it definitely a good flavor.

This package was 100% worth the wait and I really can't thank Leah enough for listening to my likes/dislikes and sending such a phenomenal package! and of course thanks to Lindsay for putting together this fantastic program!

Now after reading all this you know you want to join for March, so here is all the info!

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.

Click HERE to get more information on the terms and conditions of the program and to sign up!

Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!