Finding Progress with Reflection: Reevaluating Training Plans

Pause and reflect.   The last week of May (about 4 months ago), I jumped on board with what  I thought would be my “perfect” training plan.   Filled with renewed excitement and energy to follow a plan, carve out goals and train hard-I mapped out the first 6 weeks of training.  This was around the time that school was winding down and my Redhead’s high school track season was also coming to a close for the season.  April and May had been less than what I had initially planned in terms of my own running, but that was okay because I really hadn’t been training for anything in particular.  I was more focused on cheering on my Redhead and spending my Saturdays as “track mom”!

Ready to Take on a New Training Plan.  The end of May came and summer was around the corner, but I was ready to set some plans in motion for a fall half marathon.  (New Hampshire Sea Coast Half Marathon)  The half marathon is that distance that makes me feel challenged, yet capable of taking on the miles to reach my goals with that distance.  I”m still chasing that sub 1:50 mark.  After some googling and other searching around through social media, including some well known and very informative running blogs, I decided to map out my training based on five to six  days a week of running.  My goals were to solidify a base that I already, pretty much had in place and focus on track/speed workouts and increasing weekly mileage.  I had the first six weeks of this training plan -written out in my Believe Training Journal.  I had even accounted for travel in mid June and getting settled in Maine for the summer.  Each week I was supposed to run five to six days a week, two days of tempo or interval work and a long (double digit) run and the other days -filling up the bank with miles.  

Knowing when to stop, reflect and change course-  By the fourth week of training, I found myself already feeling burned out, left with no energy to get in my long run on the weekend and feeling a bit dejected about the way my training was going, well actually not going anywhere.  It was around the last week of June, home in Maine, that I could feel the “wheels” of this training plan coming loose!  My paces were off,  I wasn’t hitting the numbers and I was starting to cut back on miles with each workout.  I knew I was getting enough rest, hydrating and eating well, but my body still couldn’t keep up.  By the end of week six, I knew it was time to stop and reflect and make changes.  There was plenty of time-November 12th-the New Hampshire SeaCoast Half-was still about five months away.  I crossed out the next two weeks of training that I had already written and my journal and decided to reevaluate my goals for this training cycle and journey to Seacoast Half. 

A new approach to training and quality over quantity-  I was able to look back over the last six weeks written in my journal, notice what was working and what wasn’t and fill in the gaps that were leaving me feeling inadequate as a runner.  Lessons learned-every plan doesn’t fit every runner and I had to build a plan that would meet my needs as a runner and fit my life schedule.  Taking the time to reflect allowed me to refocus and see that progress could still be made, that I was actually still capable of reaching my goals.  I didn’t see this as a step backwards, more of a step forward-growth comes from reflection and finding opportunities to improve.  

Balance and quality – As I looked back on my training, the missing pieces were more time for core and strength training, and still building in one complete rest day.  As I am  getting older,  I am seeing the benefits of classes like barre that focus on core and strength with resistance bands and light weights, as well time for yoga, foam rolling and stretching.  As I mapped out a new training plan,  I made sure to include two key running workouts-tempo runs or hill repeats, along with a long run (10-12 miles) and then two other days of easy running.  

Growth comes from reflection and finding opportunities to improve #training Click To Tweet

Seven Day Week-

  • rest day
  • tempo run/or hill repeats
  • easy miles
  • speed intervals
  • long, double digit run
  • core and strength training
  • Yoga, stretching and foam rolling 

Seeing progress- These changes brought a renewed sense of accomplishment and energy to my weekly training.  I once again, felt capable of getting the workouts done each week and I was seeing my paces strong and in the range I was shooting for based on the workout.  I also felt really good about carving out more time for the core and strength training.  This was a plan that fit my needs as a runner and fit my day-to-life.  Progress comes from knowing when to pause, stop and reflect.  Take the time to acknowledge what is working, but at the same time-be okay with moving on from what is not working.  

Have you ever had to ditch and training plan and start over?  What have you learned from less than great training cycles? 


ZoomaRun Annapolis June 2017: Race with Benefits

Maybe not the most perfect race finish pic, but this is what running and friendships is all about.

So. . . five years ago, I was introduced to the ZoomaRun Women’s Race Series by a friend in my neighborhood.  That Saturday morning, back in June of 2012, I raced my first 10k after returning to running at the age of 37.  You see-back in high school I had been a sprinter, then went off to college and didn’t run competitively.  Life continued on, after college, I became a teacher, got married and then mom life happened.  At the age of 37, a year after an “ovarian cancer” diagnosis, that thankfully turned out to be wrong, I decided to start running again.  My Redhead (daughter) was eleven years old and I was starting to put a little more focus on “me time” back in my life.  

Over the last five years, I have run the ZoomaRun Annapolis Race five times.  I have run the 10k course three times and the half marathon course twice.  The weather in Annapolis, the first weekend of June, tends to run a bit warm and humid.  It is nice to have the option of running the 10k, the half marathon or the 5k.  Why do I run the same race year after year, in the same location?   I know some runners only run one race once, they don’t return to the same race, again and again, year after year.  

So. . . Why race the same course, in the same location year after year?

Well, some years it has been about going for a new PR on the same course.  Returning to conquer the heat, hills and humidity of the year before, but really-with the Zooma Run Annapolis Race weekend , it is so much more than the race.  For me, this particular Women’s Race Series has given me intangible benefits.  

The Intangible Benefits- 

Zooma Run races have built friendships for me. I love gathering with women for the weekend to chat and share our running and non running lives.

These two awesome runners-now “forever” friends.

The saying- “Running Friends” make the “Best Friends” is so true!  In 2013 I met Lisa-Lisa Runs For Cupcakes and in 2014, I met Colleen- Live Free and Run.  I have now been friends with these two amazing ladies for over four years! Each June, Zooma Run Annapolis has been a weekend of running, catching up and celebrating the happenings in our lives!  It’s become an Annual Tradition in our running lives!

ZoomaRun Women’s Race Series-  How many race series can create an atmosphere and opportunity to come back and gather year after year, not only to enjoy a beautiful race course, but celebrate running accomplishments and friendships.  Over the years, I have loved meeting up with some incredible women and forming lasting connections.  Each June, in Annapolis, during the ZoomaRun race weekend, I have looked forward to seeing familiar faces and sharing the race weekend with these special ladies!  ( Sue-ThisMamaRunsforCupcakesCourtney-EatPrayRunDCCynthia-YouSignedUpForWhat, Mar-MarOntheRun  and Kathryn-DancingToRunning )

Many of these ladies, including myself, have returned to run ZoomaRun races year after year, as race Ambassadors for ZoomaRun.   “AMBASSADORS-a group of inspiring women we are proud to call friends.”– ZoomaRun

Zooma Annapolis Race Ambassadors-2017

(The Ambassadors sporting some gifted headbands from Bondi Band )

Race Weekend Benefits- ZoomaRun Women’s Races

  • Many of us have stayed at the same Host Race hotel for Annapolis- Loews Annapolis Hotel, a beautiful hotel that is about a mile from the start and finish of the race!  
  • Friday night packet pick-up at the Host hotel and time to shop the vendors and enjoy the some pre-race dinner and drinks-just a few drinks.  
  • Spend hours the night before-chatting, drinking and eating -then go to bed knowing that we will all be crawling out of the bed the next morning as the sun comes up, to run all the miles!
ZoomaRun Races Create Lifelong Friendships Click To Tweet
Gathering for drinks and tons of chatting!
  • Race morning and running the miles-love that we can all gather for this weekend and regardless of race distance or pace, we all cheer, encourage and celebrate each other’s finish!  This past June 2017, I ran the 10k and during the last two or three hilly miles, Courtney and Colleen pushed me through the tough miles and encourage me to finish the race strong!

ZoomaRun creates opportunities for women runners of all levels to come together! This year, having this opportunity to return as a ZoomaRun ambassador was inspiring and motivating!  I met women who show strength and determination through running and varied lifestyles! ZooMANation is women who motivate, challenge and engage other women runners!

Why ZoomaRun?

I really want to highlight the reasons that I keep running Zooma! Over the last several years I’ve run Annapolis many times! I’ve also followed ZoomaRun to Cape Cod! Each year ZoomaRun races return to some favorite race locations and add new ones! Checkout the ZoomaRun RaceCations here-Zoom Run Races

Thoughts on ZoomaRun and What Keeps Me Running with ZOOMANation:

  • Beautiful, scenic courses in gorgeous host towns and cities
  • Relaxing and luxurious host hotels
    ZoomaRun Women’s Race Series is all about inspiring women, supporting women and developing relationships with women owned companies! Through ZoomaRun I’ve had the opportunity to network with other women and form some lasting friendships with fellow runners/bloggers! 

ZoomaRun Partners with Women Owned Companies! Empowering and Uplifting Women:

  • Another Mother Runner
  • Every Mother Counts
    Over the years, I’ve watched ZoomaRun continually reflect on and strive to improve the race experience for all women.  ZoomaRun continues to network, engage and form relationships with women through races and social media.

The ZooomaRun Women’s Race Series is more than just running a 5k, 10k or half marathon! It’s about continuing to encourage and promote a healthy and active lifestyle for women.

Have you ever run a Zooma Run Race?  Is there a race that you return to run each year?   

Use Race Discount code Kara2017 for ANY ZoomaRun Race 

Motherhood and Running Lately, Bittersweet

Miles and Motherhood Lately: Seasons Change Click To Tweet

     Just when you might think. . . the older your child (children) gets, the less they’ll need you, simply not true.  The difference may be that your child doesn’t always realize or want to admit that they need you.  

     This has been a bittersweet year for me-my Redhead is 16 years old. Time goes too fast. Running for me in April was’t the mileage I wanted, but I had to be more present in my Redhead’s day to day stuff. The teen years are a whole other phase. Just when you think your kids will need you less, with them not even realizing it, sometimes they need you more.

Happy Sweet 16 to My Redhead

     I had to take a few steps back from my own running and be more present and available over the last few months in my Redhead’s life.  The teen years can be crazy, stressful and bittersweet.  You know you have to let your child flutter, find their wings and soar, but the flight is sometimes bumpy and they need a co-pilot to guide them along the way.

       My Redhead has run indoor/outdoor high school track for the last two years now.  She’s a strong, fast and talented runner.  Over the years, I have watched her grow and excel at the sport.  The months of April and May were spent doing daily, weekly track practice pick ups, once a week track meets, followed by an all day track meet almost every Saturday.  I happily and proudly cheered on my Redhead and her teammates.  In fact, my Redhead and her teammates ran their way to the State meet on the 4×100 meter, 4×200 meter and 4×400 meter relays.  

     Along the way, I helped my Redhead recover from her first boyfriend break-up, the flu, a bruised foot and other trials and tribulations that occur throughout the teenage years.  It was during this time that I felt my running take a “back seat”.  Some days, running helped me release stress and worry (you never stop worrying) other days, I knew I had to be home and present.  Running will always be that constant, dependable thread in my life, I knew during those moments that the miles would be there, the roads, trails and even the treadmill would be waiting, but these moments with my Redhead were passing too quickly.  

Click To Tweet

     That’s the beauty of running, for me, the miles are there to lean on and help strengthen me.  Sometimes, those miles strengthen -not just my mind and body for racing, but for life and all it’s crazy, stressful and unsure moments when you really need to dig deep.   This past year, I really had to dig deep and take a deep breath, as I watched my Redhead grow up.  She has so many miles ahead of her and I want to be there for the whole journey.  

So Proud of My Redhead-State Track Meet


How do you balance running and motherhood?  Is there always a perfect balance?  


Running and Teaching Intersect

Runner and Teacher

Over the years, I constantly find myself using running as a metaphor for life, in my classroom.  I have been an elementary teacher for 19 years now.  So many of my students have shared in my daily and weekly musings of my running and training for races.  So often, a conversation in the classroom about goals and struggles, leads to me sharing a story about a recent run or race.  

Writing– Many stories that I write in front of my students as a model for good writing, are about running or races.  A narrative of a recent run in the rain and how the drops soaked my shirt and left my shoes soggy.  Or a piece of writing in which I wrote about struggling through the heat on a warm and humid evening, after school.  These stories help my students as writers, but also give them a glimpse into my life as a runner.  I am more than just their teacher, I am runner.  

I am more than just their teacher, I am a runner. Click To Tweet

Brain Breaks-  When your teacher is a runner. be prepared for “brain breaks” to consist of stretching, foam rolling and yoga! 

teacher life/runner life

Not only do I love that I can get students up and out of their seats, but it gives me a chance to squeeze in some yoga, stretching and foam rolling throughout the day.  Yoga happens daily and weekly in the classroom,  the students love to engage in various stretches and yoga poses.  I brought my foam roller in for my students to use as stress relief.  They love to roll out their calves and lower back muscles. 

This past month, class participated in International Kids Yoga Day.  We loved gathering in a circle on the carpet and challenging ourselves with various poses.  I have been so impressed with the willingness and dedication of my fourth grade students to participate in yoga!  Our favorite poses are pigeon pose and warrior.  My boys love warrior because it sounds strong!  

Recess–  When your teacher is a runner, everyone runs at some point during recess.  Students know that if they ask me to run laps with them at recess, I always say yes!  Usually one or two students start off running with me and then gradually more and more students join in on the laps around the playground and soccer field.  Another “sneaky” way for me to get in some light jogging! 

Running Inspires Teachable Moments-  As a teacher who runs, I am constantly weaving health and fitness routines into the day.  My students definitely enjoy being active throughout the day, instead of being stationary at a desk all day long.  Of course, when your teacher is a runner, morning meetings and motivational speeches to get the day started, inevitably intersect with running. I find myself sharing the same motivational mantras and quotes that I use on long runs and in tough races.  

The Journey (Training and Finish Lines) – The school year is much like a training cycle.  This is my greatest opportunity to coach and get my students to the finish line.  The finish line happens to be the end of the school year.  The journey to the finish line is filled with days, weeks and months of training-coaching each student to reach his or her full potential.  I’ve told my students many times that there are obstacles and challenges along the miles.  Miles are filled with learning and growing, challenging ourselves.  As the school year nears its end, so does this journey.  My fourth graders have 35 days of school left in this “training cycle”.  My words to them as they prepare to cross the finish line of 4th grade are:

“Finish Strong.  Push through towards the finish line” 

Motivation and Inspiration- A Marine amputee, carrying the American Flag for 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon.

When your teacher is a runner-she shares these images -that inspire and motivate.  A reminder, that when things get tough, remember that anything is possible.  

My Teacher is a Runner- 

I asked my students, “What is it like to have a teacher who is a runner?”  Some of my students wrote me notes on post-its.  I love what they had to say. . .

Click To Tweet
Student Post-Its –
  • ” My teacher makes you strong and brave and makes sure that you make the finish line.”
  • “She helps me move to finish strong”
  • “Having a teacher that runs, inspires us to stay on course and pushes us to reach the finish line.
  • “My teacher will make sure you make your mark in life and she is sure to make her’s too.” 
  • “Having a teacher that runs feels good because sometimes they do yoga with you to keep you feeling good and to take a break from the subject.” 

Just a few thoughts on what it is like when-“Your teacher is a runner.”


How does running impact other parts of your life?  

Running and Life: Weekly Reflections

So. . . honestly, I should rename this post Monthly Reflections.  Some how, the days and weeks of March just simply ran away from me.  I had every intention of keeping up with my weekly blog posts.  Running and life, lately, have been a mix of highs and lows and a bit in-between.  

Reflect: Live, Run and Celebrate

Running Lately-   I was in high training mode through January and February, seeking a PR in a late March half marathon.  There were some bumps in the road with consistent training through those months-life happens and the flu knocked me out for almost two weeks total!  My weekly mileage was shaky and I was getting a lot of quality workouts, the long runs were only ten or eleven miles each week.  Reflecting back now, on those weeks of training leading up the March 25th, half marathon, I realize now that despite having a good base of running fitness, I was lacking in the benefits that tempo runs and speed work can provide for half marathon PRs.  

March 25th, 2017 Old Orchard Beach Half Marathon-Not the Race I Intended:

The struggle to finish. . .

What went wrong that day. . . First, lesson learned- never underestimate a “flat course”.   Despite inconsistent training the last few weeks,  I figured I could still nail my goal time.  I envisioned a flat course that would allow me to “breeze” through the miles.  That did not happen. Instead after the first six miles, my leg started to feel “tired and heavy”.  I struggled to maintain my pace and by the last three miles,  had no fast, “leg turnover”.  Interestingly, I found this article online –Disadvantages of Running on a Flat Course  

Lessons Learned:  I had some cracks in my “foundation” and I should I have done more research on training to run a completely flat course.  Be sure to understand and do training runs that mimic the type of course you’ll be racing. Understand the demands that a particularly course will place on your muscles.

Reflections: Lessons Learned from Disappointment Click To Tweet

I was disappointed and feeling a little dejected, once again, by this distance.  Looking back, two weeks prior to this half marathon, I raced stronger and faster at a hilly, Run Rock and Roll DC Half.

Cold, Windy Run Rock and Roll DC Half with Colleen!

 For me, I think a course with rolling hills, suits me better.  My PR is also from the hilly Annapolis Classic Half marathon last November.  It’s interesting how our bodies react to various types of courses.  

Any race, where you can look back and find an opportunity to see what went right, what went wrong and come out feeling like you have at least learned where to go from here- is an opportunity.  Setbacks, Can Be Stepping Stones.

Running: Setbacks Can Be Stepping Stones Click To Tweet

Running and Training- What’s Next (Goals):

  • Get back into my consistent, five days of running
  • Continue to focus on increasing muscle strength
  • Be consistent with a core set of strength exercises -squats, monster walks with resistance band, kettle bell exercises and balance/mobility exercises
  • Build up my base mileage again and really be better about incorporating tempo runs and shorter speed work into my weekly routine
Rolling out and stretching with my favorite tools!

Favorite Tool for Rolling Out My Calves– this Acuball .  I bring this ball everywhere with me-school, travel and at home!  The Acuball really gives a good, deep pressure to the calf area and I love how relaxed and refreshed my calves feel after a good roll. 

April Race Calendar- Well, April is half way done, but I do have another half marathon on tap.  The very last Sunday in April.  Goals for that race?? Up in the air right now. . . the race is the day after my 42nd birthday.  My race calendar after April is pretty wide open,  however, I do have some ideas in the works! 

Healthy Choices- 

Over the last year and a half, I have had blood work done with Inside Tracker twice.  The results have shaped my choices in nutritional needs and more specifically, choosing the right supplements and vitamins for my body.  I feel good about choosing what I know my body needs,  based on in-depth blood work analysis.  My most recent blood work with Inside Tracker, recommended an increase in Vitamin D,  B Vitamins, and Iron.  Having this information from my latest blood work helps me to make informed decisions and I am not purchasing unnecessary vitamins and supplements.  

Vitamins and Supplements

I have also included, Omega 3s and BCAAs in my supplement routine. I decided to incorporate the BCAAs to aid in muscle recovery and improve performance- BCAAs provide energy to my muscles during a workout.  I am proud to say that I have been remembering to actually take my supplements and vitamins each morning!! 


Aww. . . Life Lately- The last few weeks of March and then sailing right into April have flown by.  I am bogged down in grades, summative evaluations and weekly track meets for my Redhead.  Between teaching during the day and tutoring three times a week, life has been hectic lately.  I am not always able to fit it all in,  but that’s okay.  Sometimes,  not everything fits into place neatly.  

Running Makes Me Feel Good– It reminds me to stop and reflect as I run the miles, celebrate the things around me and aspire to reach new goals.  

Celebrate- Being asked back as a Zooma Run Ambassador -this opportunity means so much to me.  This women’s race series has lead me to lifelong friendships through running, racing and social media.  I love that Zooma has always been about encouraging and empowering all levels of women runners from diverse backgrounds.  More details to come as ZoomaRun celebrates its tenth anniversary this year!! 

What’s going on in your life and running lately.  What has made you stop and reflect, celebrate or dig for new goals? 




Weekly Reflections: Life and Running

Reflect: Live, Run and Celebrate

Our weeks are full of so many activities.  Activities that include running, training and all things life.  My week runs from Sunday to Sunday.  Yup, I work best on a seven day cycle of trying to balance, manage and fit most things in to a sometimes, crazy hectic week!  By the time Sunday rolls around, I have had a full week!  Sundays are my day to rest, relax, clear my head, but at the same time, reflect on the week.  

Reflect: Take the time to look back on the week.  Focus on what went right, things to love and what’s next!  

Weekly Reflections: Life and Running Click To Tweet


This week of running ended on a strong note after a two week hiatus from running due to the nasty flu.  The flu had me down for the count for almost a week, then it took me a few days to build up my strength again and get back into running.  It’s important to listen to your body and take it easy as you return to training after a sickness like the flu.  

Saturday, February 25th- The weather was warm and humid, so this probably wasn’t the best day to return to running after the flu.  I just did an easy 4 mile run.  I felt sluggish, but it felt good to get in those few miles after days and days in bed! 

Easy miles with my little four-legged running buddy!

Sunday February 26th- Okay, so lately the weather has been wicked moody!  This 6 mile run felt so much better in the much cooler temps from the previous day.  As I eased back into running, I just focused on running familiar routes.  I didn’t focus on watching the pace on my watch.  

6 happy miles in cooler temps

Tuesday February 28th- Wow, where did the month of February go??  I was able to squeeze in a great speed workout, before heading out to tutor a student that evening after teaching!  

Track Tuesday-On the Road: 1 mile warm up, followed up with four 400s on the road.  I jogged 400s in between and then did a .5 mile cool down jog home. 

Total mileage: 3.5 miles

Wednesday and Thursday- Wednesdays are busy with teaching, track practice pick up and tutoring two students.  This is my midweek rest day.  Thursday is usually a scheduled run day, but that didn’t happen this week due to a later than normal evening of track practice pick up and supper! 

  • 30 minute strength and core session on Thursday- side planks with clamshells, monster walks with resistance band, stability ball pikes, squats and push ups

Friday March 3rd- Winter temps returned!  I was able to get out the door after work for a 5.5 mile run.  I took this run easy because I knew I would be doing my double digit long run on Saturday! Ending my work week with any miles is a great way to unwind after a busy week!

Back to Winter Running

Saturday March 4th- I dropped off my daughter at the local high school for her two hour track practice.  Outdoor track season has started!! I knew while she was at practice that I would get my long run done!  

After a breakfast that morning of oatmeal and almond butter toast- I was ready to pull on the layers and head out for my run.  I planned on ten hilly miles through town.  I just wanted to maintain a solid pace of 9:00 to 9:30 miles.  

Cold and Hilly Ten Miler

Warm and Cozy in my Spandits Thermal Tights and Beanie I love these tights and beanie!  


Celebrated 29 miles total for a 7 day training cycle.  These are the kind of weeks that make me excited and motivated!  Those weeks where training clicks and you feel accomplished! Yes!  It is not easy every week to fit everything in to schedules, but when everything comes together- It. Just. Feels. Good!

Things to Love and What’s Next! 

The weather on Saturday’s long run was cold and windy!  I was happy to recover and relax that afternoon in my RunFar Embrace the Hill warm and coy sweatshirt and Skins Compression Leggings

Relax and Recover!

Weekends were made for long runs and warm banana bread! Yummy! 

This recipe from Stonyfield for banana bread did not disappoint!  It was easy to whip up with quality ingredients from great companies!  I love using products from companies that “Make a Difference” in communities and have a positive impact on the environment!  Stonyfield, King Arthur Flour, Pete and Gerry’s Eggs are part of the B Corps – These are products that always staples in my kitchen! 

“Individually, B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.” –Why B Corps Matter

B Corps - Companies Making a Difference: Quality Products Click To Tweet

Amazon Fresh – Taking one thing out of my busy schedule helps me fit in more time at home to run and get other things done!  Who has time to go the grocery store every week?  I have always loved planning and shopping ahead for weeks at a time!  I have been loving ordering from Amazon Fresh (About) 

  • one click ordering
  • fresh, frozen and refrigerated items
  • my favorite organic brands
  • free delivery to my house 
  • save time and money-prices are similar or better to Target and other supermarkets! 
  • I can shop and order groceries in 10 minutes!

What’s Next-the Week Ahead!  

On my mind this week is continuing the momentum with training.  My mileage is creeping up again into the 30 miles a week range. Those miles work for me, I feel strong, confident and capable!  

  • Oh yeah!  I am running the Run Rock and Roll DC Half marathon this coming Saturday, March 11th!  My good friend, Colleen from Live Free and Run
  • Any more snow in the forecast?  We Shall See! 

How is your week of training going?

Does the company and its impact on the community and environment matter to you when purchasing products? 

Have you used or considered using “Grocery Delivery” services? 

Running Lately and Build Up to Spring Races

Lately, life is has been hectic, busy and time consuming.  In the midst of all things-motherhood with a teenager and teaching 4th grade, running is what keeps me together and sane! 

A rare Monday morning run on the last day of January! School was delayed two-hours. This was the last time it snowed in southern Maryland-sad face:(

I will admit, my weekly running and fitness routines have not been as consistent as I would have liked everything to be at this point in the training season.  However, most weeks I am still managing to hit 26-28 miles weekly.  Out of a 7 day cycle, I am running 4 or 5 days.  Squeezing in a 10-11 mile long run on Saturdays.  During the week, managing 5-6 mile runs.  These last several months and weeks have been good, solid base building for aerobic training.  I am steadily building a solid base and will work in more speed and high intensity training as I head into early March.  

Six Weeks till Old Orchard Beach Maine Half Marathon

I have been gearing up for this first spring race of the season! And according to the calendar, spring equinox is March 20th!!  Of course, with all the snow that New England has been receiving as of late, there could still be snow on the ground!  This race is a very flat course that runs along the coast of Old Orchard Beach, Maine!  

Weekly Running and Fitness Routines-

Creating a Schedule and Routine that Fits Your Life! #runchat #running Click To Tweet

Mondays– I typically use this as a rest day.  Coming off a weekend of running, getting ready for a week of teaching 4th grade and my evening tutoring session-it works for me to use this first day of the week as a rest day!  I have found with running and fitness, you have to create a schedule and routine that fits your life! 

Tuesdays- After picking my Redhead from track practice at 5pm, (she runs indoor and outdoor high school track) I am able to get home and run 5-6 miles!!  Thankfully, the sunsets are getting later, but I still head out with my reflective gear to be safe as the sun sets! 

My favorite Reflective Vest along with my wicked awesome and comfortable headlamp  and super warm, thermal moisture wicking Tumbledown Hat made in Maine!

Wednesdays- This is my morning of the week dedicated to core and strength building fitness! I am loving my resistance band routines-such as Monster Walks, Side Clamshells and Bridges!  Check out these resistance band routines!  My other favorite routine is with the Stability or Swiss Ball  Wednesday mornings are busy, but I fit it in because I tutor two students after school on Wednesdays! 

Thursdays- Yes!!  Back to running, after track practice pick up!!  This is usually my speedy 6 mile run in the evening!  I use this night of running to build in a bit of speed through miles 3, 4, and 5. These miles are somewhere from 8:30-8:20 pace.  It’s a solid night of running, then home to eat supper and hit the sheets!  

Friday-TGIF!!  After 5pm track pick up, I am able to get home, prep supper and then head out the door again for an easy 4-5 miles at conversation pace. This evening run is a great way to unwind from a busy, hectic week!  I don’t run hard because lately I have been participating in trail runs on Saturday mornings with my local run club! 

Saturday Trail Running!! – I would rather be running through snow with snowshoes like my New England friends, but alas, there is no snow in southern Maryland right now.  Being born and raised in Maine, I am so missing the snowy wintahs!  So, I took up trail running on Saturdays with my local run club!  Trail running has given me new scenery and terrain to motivate my Saturday long runs!  I was recently researching the benefits of trail running! 

-“, . . .running on an uneven surface can make you stronger overall. “You’re going to be recruiting more of the smaller, more stabilizing muscles that we rely on for proprioception and balance, especially around the ankles,” Dr. Levin” says. 

-“. . .Technical Trails engage different muscles than roads do, which builds balanced strength that may protect you from injury, says Jason Glowney, M.D., of the Colorado University Sports Medicine and Performance Center.” 

Trail Running-The Benefits! #running Click To Tweet

I have built up over the last three Saturdays, to my longest trail run of 10.5 miles!!  I have had to spend more time foam rolling and using my Zensah Calf Compression Sleeves for recovery!  Running on the trails has also helped me to focus on effort as opposed to paces on my Garmin watch! 

“Easy Like Sunday Mornings”- The day after Saturday trail runs, my quads and calves are so sore, but gradually this has been improving as my body adapts to more trail running!  Sundays are usually 4-5 easy paced miles and some core work with the stability ball. This past Sunday was so warm!!  I did some easy recovery and core work outside after my 5 mile run! 

So, this is my weekly running and training routine.  I have found a schedule and rhythm that works for me!  How’s your training going lately?  What works for you? 

Do you run technical trails? 

Black Bean, Garlic and Butternut Squash Zoodle Soup

Warm and Nourishing

Winter is my absolute favorite time of year!  The cold air, snowy weather and running through it all, it’s exhilarating and cold!!  This is the perfect time of year to come in from the cold and snow to a warm, nourishing bowl of soup!

I was craving a soup that was savory and filling!  The ingredients in this soup are full of “good for you” nutrients that aid in recovery after workouts and double as a germ/cold fighter!

Perfect soup to warm and nourish through the winter! #soup #recovery #nutrients #foodiechats Click To Tweet

Key ingredients such as garlic-known for its flu and cold fighting benefits and anti-inflammatory properties, black beans and butternut squash, which contain nutrients such as vitamin b6, magnesium and plant-based protein!  The added tablespoon of turmeric is warm and anti-inflammatory as well!  This soup is a sure winner in the recovery department after a run!!

One Pot Soup!!  I use my deep Le Creuset Saute Pan !  

Black Bean, Garlic, and Butternut Squash Zoodle Soup
Serves 8
Warm, nourishing and full of nutrients!
  1. 2 shallots;
  2. 6 large cloves of garlic;
  3. 1/4 cup of Olive Oil;
  4. 1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon (Better Than Bouillon Brand);
  5. 1 package Butternut Squash Zoodles ( Veggie Noodle Company);
  6. 2 cups of cooked, cooled Black Beans;
  7. 1 tablespoon Turmeric powder;
  8. 3 cups of water
Add ingredients to shopping list
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  1. Heat olive oil in pan;
  2. add chopped shallots and garlic;
  3. saute until golden;
  4. add cooked, cooled black beans;
  5. add water and 1 tablespoon of bouillon base;
  6. simmer,then add package of butternut squash zoodles
  7. cook everything until beans are very tender,but zoodles aren't mush!


5 Spring Races: See Where I’m Racing!

What Finish Lines are You Chasing this Spring?

How does one carefully plan and choose races to add to the calendar?!  There are always so many exciting and challenging races to choose from, but not enough time or money to do them all!  Anyway, here are some races I have lined up for March, April and May.

Choices, Choices-See Which Races Made the Calendar


5 Fun and Scenic Spring Races!!

March 25th, 2017 – On the Run Half Marathon in Old Orchard Beach, Maine

This half marathon takes me along the coast and down roads where I grew up! It’s a flat, fast scenic course!!

April 2nd, 2017– Cherry Pit Ten Miler  a great alternative to the Washington DC Cherry Blossom Ten miler!!  The race is located in Annapolis, Maryland!  It’s also a less crowded race and the cost is cheap!!

April 8th, 2017-  Hospice 10k  This race is one of my local favorites!!  I ran a PR on this course last spring, despite some hills!!  It is in the heart of Leonardtown, Maryland

April 30th, 2017- Yikes!  The day after my 42nd Birthday!!  NorthFace Half Marathon   This should be a fun, but challenging race!!  It’s run along the Potomac Heritage Trail in Virginia!!   Check out the Course Here!

May 21st, 2017- Sugar Loaf 15k   Quoted as “potentially, the fastest 15k in New England”  The location is the stunning Carrabassett Valley, Maine!  

So excited for a fun, challenging and scenic spring racing season!!  Four out the five races are “new to me” races!!

5 Fun, Challenging and Scenic Spring Running Races Click To Tweet


Where are you racing this spring?  What finish lines are you crossing this spring? 


Race Calendar Planning-Decisions, Decisions!

Checklist for Planning for the Racing Season
Decisions, Decisions! Consider These Ideas When Planning for the Racing Season! Click To Tweet

So much to consider when planning and organizing for the racing season! 

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to organizing and planning for the racing season there seems to be so much to consider.  The racing season is full of excitement and expectations!  Months are spent training in the pursuit of goals!  So, of course you want to create the most efficient and achievable race calendar that will leave you feeling accomplished and fulfilled.

Decisions, Decisions-Consider these Items When Planning Your Race Calendar! 

  • How far ahead should you plan out your racing season?  3 months, 6 months or a full year?  I am cautious when it comes to planning out my races and paying for too many races upfront!  Life happens and family obligations, injuries and other things can disrupt the race schedule.  I prefer to plan out my calendar for 3-4 months at a time.  I also consider the purpose and intention of my training cycles in regards to my goal race distance!
  • Location, Location!  How far are you wanting/willing to travel for races? Are you wanting race through a scenic country side, roads along the coast or through the city streets?   Consider area hotels, travel time and how these logistics will effect you on race day.  Depending on the distance of races from home, you will need to think about traveling by air plane, car or train.  The amount of travel leading up to race day can impact your rest and focus before the race.
  • Terrain for Racing and the Course?  Be sure when planning your race calendar that you research the course terrain and elevation maps.    Will the course be completely flat or rolling hills?  Also, find out whether the course is completely paved, dirt trails or a combination of both.  You want to be prepared ahead of time. Two other things to consider is whether or not the course is an “out and back” or “point- to -point”.  These logistics can effect spectator locations, parking and arrival before the race.  
  • Weather/Climate – As I plan my race calendar, I think about the location and distance of my races and the weather.  I race shorter distances in the summer months in places where there is heat and humidity.  I save my longer distances for either a cooler time of year or for a location that has typically cooler/colder weather.  Weather can be a factor when it comes to training for a particular race, you must consider the type of conditions that you will be racing in on race day.  Weather can be unpredictable, but keep in mind the weather/climate that works best for you and prepare ahead of time during training season. Go for some runs in the rain, embrace the hot/sweaty runs and love the cold days too! 
  • How Many Races?  Goal Race Versus Smaller Races- When planning my races, I consider my goal race.  My goal race is that ultimate conclusion to a training cycle, all those months of preparation and hard work that go into pursuing a goal time for a specific distance.  Racing distances also play a factor in how many races I place on my calendar.  It’s a matter of choosing shorter distance and racing more often or focusing on two or three longer distances and planing for less races on the calendar. Whether you are training for a 5k, 10k, 13.1 or 26.2 race, depends on how many races you organize in a season!  One idea to consider is planning your goal race distance, then focusing on adding in a few other races as tune-ups.

And Remember!  Enjoy the process, focus on your training and love the journey to the races.  Stay focused, train hard and celebrate at the races! 

What’s On Your Racing Calendar?  Any tips when organizing and Planning?