What a fabulous day for snowshoeing!  I will admit it, I thought it was a tad too cold when we started.  The wind was whipping!  Combined with 24 degree temps and partial sunshine… brrrr!  I did, however, have enough layers and warmed up quickly.  This was my first workout since Christmas Eve due to a cold I have been battling.  My energy level has been terrible all week and my face literally hurt!

If I counted correctly, there were 10 of that went out this morning (plus 2 more and their kids!).  There were quite a few other people out on the trails at Kingman Farm, but it was spaced enough to be enjoyable.  I finally got my snowshoes out of storage.  They are Atlas 1222 circa 2003.  They were bought for me by an ex-boyfriend.  Some girls have jewelry from previous relationships… I have copious amounts of outdoor wear.  To this day, I still wear my windblock fleece vest and my Marmot shell he bought me all the time!  Thanks buddy!  Once I strapped into my snow shoes (wore my speedcross) I immediately fell back in love.  What an enjoyable 2.5+ miles.  I felt great, worked just hard enough to get warm and cannot wait to do it again!!!!

I also wore my Wink again.  Worked great, no leak today (huh?).  I noticed the hose was fine as long as I sipped every ten minutes or so.  It was able to hold up to the cold, but the line and valve would start to freeze up if not used.  Better than I expected though as far as usability in the cold!  I really do love that pack.

I am considering running the Kingman snowshoe 5K (moonlight) in February.  This will give me a goal to work for!  I need to the follow equipment:

– windblock/water-resistant pants

– Gaiters

Run planned for tomorrow on the snowmobile trails!  Happy New Year to all… it’s going to be a fabulous 2013 for fitness, running and adventures 🙂


Ultimate Direction Wink Pack Review


I bought myself a Christmas Present!  After hemming and hawing about how to approach long distance un-supported running, I finally decided to go with a pack and bladder.  I tried a run about a month ago with an old Camelbak pack.  Loved having my hands free, but that pack was definitely not appropriate for my needs.  It bounced, didn’t sit square or centered and loosened every few miles.  What I did learn from that run (12 miles at Pawtuckaway) was I needed storage that was easy to get to.  I don’t want to have to take my pack off every few miles just to get to energy packs, food, or put away small items.

So I welcomed the “Wink” into my life.  Made by Ultimate Direction SPECIFICALLY for women, it had excellent reviews by ultrarunning women.  I almost went with an Ultimate Direction specialty vest designed with a 20 oz. bottle on each front strap.  Bad reviews for women for obvious reasons :).


The first thing I noticed about the pack is how LIGHT it is.  It is 20 oz. to be exact.  It included a 70 oz. bladder too.  It was a little pricey at $82.00 but as I learned on my test run, worth every penny!  There are tons of pockets, including FOUR on the front straps alone!  The bladder hose is insulated to keep liquids cool and the back of the pack super vented.  One reviewer tried this pack on a 90 degree day in Florida and did not get overheated or wet from the bladder sweating.


My test run was a 28 degree day at Northwood Meadows (5.5. miles, trail).  It was breezy enough I needed to wear my fleece vest.  I put my pack on and strapped it down.  Made a few size adjustments and immediately felt comfortable.  It sits high so it doesn’t interfere with my mid or lower back at all.  I had about 50 oz. of water in the bladder, a first aid kit, snacks, and my phone in a front pocket.  Of we went.  I was in love within the first mile.  The kicker is, I forgot it was there!  So comfortable, ZERO bounce, no strap issues and I don’t even remember hearing the water slosh around.  I can’t wait to wear it with fewer layers and really fine tune the adjustments.  My camelbak would wear on my shoulders within a few miles but I honestly felt nothing at the end of this run.  Super centered and light.  I really do feel I could load this thing up and still be completely fine.

Only negative to note was a very slight leak on the right side of the bladder.  I threw my pack into the backseat of my truck when we got done.  By the time I got home, the back of the pack was wet.  The bladder was literally dripping.  I tried a variety of folding and toying to no avail.  I have an e-mail into Ultimate Direction.  I hear they are good about replacement.  What I do love about the bladder is the super wide mouth and the hose.  This hose completely disconnects from the bladder for flushing and cleaning.  I will have no problem using Nuun in this bladder.

All in all, I am thrilled with this purchase!  I will continue to review this in future posts.

Feeling good!

I made it to the gym three times last week!

Tuesday – Combat

Wednesday – Body Pump

Thursday – 5 mile run (more on this in a minute!)

Saturday – Boot Camp

I also started Hammer’s Tissue Rejuvenator this week.  It is essentially a joint supplement with some herbal anti-inflammatory support.  While I am a “review” shopper, I don’t generally believe everything I read about food/supplements.  This one does have 5 stars across the board though so I will be curious as to how I feel about it.  Recommended dosage is 1-2 capsules a day for maintenance or 4 for injury/training support.  I am starting with 2 capsules and will see how that does.  No major complaints this week.  Legs feel good.

So on Thursday, Tony and I went for a run at College Woods.  This was my first run in over a week.  I went out in my Kinvara TRs not expecting much.  Guess what?  Ran an average 10:30 pace!  Legs felt good (tired, little tight at left knee… didn’t stop me).  And I felt great the next day.  This was a confidence booster for me since my training is transitioned to inside work.  It re-enforced that mountain climbers, stairs, jumping jacks, step work, kicks, punches, and lifting are helping my overall fitness level.  I leave classes soaked and satisfied that I am working my whole body and my heart.  Ultimately, I hope this helps me become an ultra marathoner.  I need a strong base for this coming spring!

Today we have a Northwood run planned.  Still not sure if I will take the Speedcross out.  I feel like I should since they need some more miles and we are planning Mt. Major in two weeks.  I am also thinking I am testing my Ultimate Direction Wink Pack too (  Look for the review of that run!

Cross training is where it’s at… when it’s crappy out


It’s been a week since I have run.  My last run was #100, it was terrible.  Since then, I have attended a boot camp class and a Body Combat class.  I have a little guilt associated with not running, but my interest in classes has been completely renewed considering it’s done nothing but rain and snow for the last week.  I have read various articles about breaking from running.  The theory is to give your body a break so you come back revived and strong.  One author once said he doesn’t start running again until it’s all he can think about and can’t stand to stay away any longer.  I don’t think I quite feel that way about a break, but I am happy to see my feet heal (on and off blisters for months) and my legs feel good and not overly fatigued.

For now, I am hitting the gym as often as I can.  In a perfect world, I will get there three days a week and run 2 days for the winter.

On a side note, I was the cool kid that flew across the floor 30 seconds into class today!  We were doing a side shuffle maneuver as a WARM up and the sole of my sneaker stuck.  I went flying right, almost took Amanda out and landed with my right hand first.  The heel of my palm struck hard.  Still stings a bit but I will survive.  What a moron!

Goal for the next two-three weeks:  I would like to shed 2-3 pounds.  I am at 134 (5 pounds heavier than I was when I was running constantly).  I would like to shave that back down.  I have started to create paleo style meals and will start watching portions again… with obviously cheats here and there!

Run #100

I just realized completely by accident that yesterday’s miserable run was #100 since I started tracking about a year ago.


And my legs are sore.  I once read you should take one day for each mile of hard effort as rest.  That would mean I should have taken 12 days off after the Vulcan.  Um, no.  I don’t agree with that.  But I will rest today.  And I will lift tomorrow.  And maybe run Friday.  And probably go to Boot Camp Saturday.
See what you are dealing with?  Insanity.

I have months until my first planned 25K in Maine.  15 miles… halfway to the VT50K.  I would like to climb Mt. Washington in June.  My mind is going a thousand miles per hour and my legs can’t keep up.

Time for the metronome.  And therapy :).

I’m falling apart!

North Hampton

What should have been a fantastic run was absolute crap.  But I got a great photo!  My plan was a 5.6 mile loop starting at Causeway Road in Rye and heading into North Hampton along Oean Blvd.  From there my loop would take me onto Atlantic Ave., through side streets and back to the beach.  The sun was shining, it was 45 degrees and I was dressed lightly rocking out to my “power lifting” station on Pandora.  Ahhh, amazing late fall/early winter day.

My calves however did not enjoy the nice day.  They were uncomfortable.  Then around mile 3 they started to spasm.  I tried walking.  I tried stopping.  Ironically it was more comfortable to run.  My splits were insane… 8:23, 10:35, 9:17 and 7:49.  And that was with multiple walk breaks.  I was apparently running like a nut.  I finished 4.1 miles in under 40 minutes.  That is fast for me.  No wonder my calves actually started to spasm.  What is wrong with me?  You used to be able to set your watch and garmin to me.  I was as steady a pacer as you could ask for.  Now I am a psycho.

I have run once since last Friday’s Vulcan.  That run was just under 3 miles and felt awesome.  Only issue there was not getting my breathing right.  Today my breathing was AWESOME and I was so uncomfortable.  Good news is no hip, quad or foot pain.  The issues I had from the Vulcan did not linger.  But my calves are begging for a little rest.  I was going to lift tomorrow, combat Thursday and Boot Camp Saturday, but I am rethinking that plan especially since Mt. Major is next week.

On a related note, I bought my long distance pack!  The Ultimate Direction Wink pack for women:

WinkThis pack has amazing reviews from runners and run bloggers.  I am SO excited.  My camelbak was a PITA to run with so this should be a huge improvement.  Look forward to a review on this after Mt. Major.

So the moral of today’s story…. rest when your body screams for mercy.  There is always tomorrow.  Or rather the next day after I rest.  And stretch.

Vulcan Redux


Yesterday was our second attempt at the Vulcan run in Pawtuckaway.  Our first attempt was about 300 degrees (ok, maybe 65) with crazy wet humidity.  That was 10/20/12.  I finished 11.4 miles in 3:01 and was exhausted.  Our redux was cool (high 20s to start, 36 at end) and cloudy.  Total distance was 11.7 miles and time was 3:11.  I was still exhausted.  How do I know this is a good training area?  It kicks my ass.

The first part starts deceivingly flat and peaceful with rolling hills… about 1/2 mile in it gets technical and stays that way on and off until mile 5.  Here you hit “Tower Road” and start to make the climb to the fire tower.  As you would expect, there is a sharp elevation change as you start to make your way to summit.  In my head I crushed it up and over the tower and on the way back down.  Somewhere between 8 and 9 my right hip started to nag me.  I remember rolling my right ankle at one point and don’t know if it’s related, but the rest of my right leg started to bother me all the way down to my right big toe.  Hamstring, quad, knee and hip were all effected.  I alternated walk and run, but the pain continued to nag.  I also became ravenous about mile 10.  I had a Clif bar with me, which helped, but I now know I need more than just gels to get by at this about of time on my legs.

I think I started to hit the wall or my dark place for the first time.  And I honestly think it was more induced by lack of food than by pain.  I use the term pain loosely in that yes it was SORE, but I could keep moving.  And walking didn’t so much bother me.  The blinding feeling came when I realized I was so hungry I might eat Tony’s leg.  Seriously.

This run reminds me that this sport is hard.  It reminds me that no matter how far I have come, I need to work harder.  But, I also managed to complete it close to my former time with a little more than half the miles on my legs in the last month.

My quads are a little tight two days later, but my hips feels fine.  No feet issues or calf issues either.  I am ready to put my sneakers back on!  On a side note, I threw caution to the wind and ran the entire distance in my Speedcross.  I do love the shoes, but I think my body needs a little more adjustment time 🙂

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