Thursday, February 27, 2014

It's Winter. And We Run.

It's tough to train for the Boston marathon during the winter.  It's also tricky to stay consistent during my kids' winter break, which always falls right smack in the middle of the training cycle.  As I recently mentioned, vacation is supposed to be a time to check out from everyday life and hang with the family. True, my family doesn't really relax and our days are filled to the brim with activities, but it's still a break, so to speak.  At the same time, the pressure to stay on track with my marathon training, my own pressure, no doubt, is always looming in the background throughout this particular week.  Before we left, I decided to aim for getting three runs in; one longish one and two shorter ones; the goal being to keep my fitness, but also take a little hiatus from training to enjoy the vacation.  On Sunday night, after a couple fantastic days off, I decided I would drop the girls at the mountain on Monday and head back home to get my long run in.  When we woke up that morning, it was -14℉ outside.  For real.  I consider myself pretty tough, but there was no chance in hell I was running anywhere in that temp.  So, off to the mountain we went.  My sentiments... if you can't run in it, you might as well ski in it.  On Tuesday it was -1℉ when we woke up.  Ok, I thought, maybe I can handle that.  I mean, it is a whole lot warmer than yesterday.  So, I dropped the girls off and headed home to give it a shot.

When I pulled into the driveway, the temp was finally in the positive.  Two whole degrees above zero.  Yippee.  So, I geared up and mentally prepared myself for the coldest run I had ever tackled.  Truth, there's no way to prepare for this.  I just put my music on and turned up the volume to drown out the voices telling me I was totally nuts.  And off I went.  I didn't feel much at first, but I did eventually find a rhythm and about 2 hours later I was home.  I have never, ever been happier to be done with a run.  And, maybe never prouder.  Which, in the end, made it all the more worthwhile.  It's winter.  And we run.


1. Long underwear works as well, if not better than running tights in sub-zero temps.
2. Aquafor is a much better cold and wind deterrent than vaseline.
3. Don't sweat the pace.  When the road looks like this, there are no records to be set.

Super inviting, right?
4. Sunglasses or, better yet, ski goggles are highly recommended, regardless of whether the sun is out.  They help protect your face from wind, snow, and dirt and rocks that fly off the plows as they pass by.
5. Said snow plows usually can not see you and don't care if they do.  Move for them.
6. Music sounds incredible when there is no one on the road and no other distractions.
7. So does silence. (my iPod ran out of juice for the last few miles of my long run)
8. People who live in NH and deal with this weather all the time do not think it's the least bit weird to see a runner coming down the street in ski goggles.
9. Go the the bathroom 2, 3 maybe 4 times before you head out.  Squatting is not fun.
10. It's absolutely, 100% okay to brag about this run when you're done.  No one will get it.  And many might not care.  But you should do it anyway.  

*Note: This list is dedicated to Molly B. over in China, who gets a kick out of my Top 10 lists.  Rock on, Mol! ❤

Listen to this:
Gotta Get Thru This - Daniel Bedingfield**  

**The singer is talking about getting over her man, but as I was running, this song really applied to my own situation as all I wanted to do was GET THRU IT.  And I did, dammit.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Rest?

Ahhhh, vacation.  A short period of respite created by an unknown genius who understood that we all need a solid break from the tedium of our everyday lives.  In my case, a break from tasks including, but not limited to, making lunches, doing homework with my girls, carpooling from A to B to C and then back to A, grocery shopping, doing laundry, training, coaching, and just basically anything that requires being "on".  Yes, vacation is meant to be a week to sit back, relax, and put our feet up.  Or, um...not. We Trachsels...we like to keep things moving.  All the time.  Day one of vacation, there was no resting to be had.  The alarm clock went off at 6:15am so my husband could get my older daughter over to a different mountain to ski and race with her peers.  We wouldn't want to keep things easy, either, so we threw a couple carpools into the mix for that adventure.  From that point on, things were as crazy as ever, just different crazy. As it turns out, the daily tasks for our vacation week were just a slight variation from our daily tasks at home.  Here's a sample day:

~ Wake up early and gulp down 2 cups of coffee. (actually, this one is the same)
~ Get kids up, both exhausted from going to bed too late. (after all, it is vacation)
~ Get them dressed with enough layers for sub-zero temps. (not every day, but most)
~ Get their teeth and hair brushed. (not going to lie, this one didn't always happen)
~ Look for missing ski sock under bed, couch and then find it under curtain.
~ Pack boot bag and make sure all necessities are inside ie. helmet, gloves, neckie, goggles, boots, pajamas. (Rosie wanted to wear them skiing and I didn't fight this one)
~ Leave house by 7:50 in order to get Rosie off with her team by 8:15.
~ Lose and find neck warmer at the lodge....twice.
~ Get younger daughter over to a different ski school by 9:30.
~ Race home and try to get a run in before I need to be back for lunch with older daughter at 11:30. (did this 3 days out of 7. Friends helped me out with drop off and pick up, bless them)
~ Head back to the mountain to ski with husband and/or friends for a couple hours.
~ Grab Rosie from practice and shovel lunch into our mouths. (oh yeah, still made lunches every day)
~ Rush back out to the hill for a few runs before Rosie has to go back with her team.
~ Maybe go to the bathroom if there is time.
~ Head over to the other side of the mountain to grab younger daughter.
~ Ski with her after lunch until 3:00
~ Pick up older daughter and ski together as a family until 4:00.  (had to get that family time in.  One whole hour of it)
~ Re-pack bags and car and pray that we have everything that we started with.
~ Head over to lodge for a well earned cold beer or hot chocolate.
~ Chill out with friends while the girls night ski from 4:30-6:30 with their buddies. (wouldn't want to go home and rest here.  Way too much fun to be had)
~ Head home and try and drum up something for dinner.
~ Stay up too late watching Olympics with the girls.
~ Fall into bed.

And then we would wake up and do it all over again the next day.  Not exactly, but pretty close.  I suppose when you look at it this way, it's less a "vacation" and more a change of lifestyle for a week.  But, despite the chaos, we love it.  We are beyond lucky that we get to do it.  And, really, who has time to rest, anyway?

Little Grace and her cousins at Cannon Mountain
You can't see their faces, but if you could
you'd know they were having a ball!
Listen to this:
Pretty Thing - Broods  

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Long Run (& yurbuds winner)

“Do what you gotta do so you can do what you wanna do.” 
~ Denzel Washington

 The Details
Date: Tuesday, 2/18
Time: 9:00AM
Location: Franconia, NH
Weather: 2℉ & Snowing
Wind Chill: 20-30 mph swells
Temp w/ windchill: Does it matter?
Workout: Long run (12 miles)

List of Essentials
Hat: ✔︎
Gloves: ✔︎
Aquafor (smeared all over my ankles and face): ✔︎
Neck warmer: ✔︎
Ski goggles (yes, I wore them): ✔︎
iPod: ✔︎
Garmin (I was not going a step over 12 miles): ✔︎
Sanity: Nope.  Left that at the door on my way out

Listen to this: 
Feel It* - Ferry Corsten  

*Damn straight, I felt it, Ferry!


Congrats to Ellen McKenna who won the Ltd Edition Inspire Earphones by yurbuds.  Thanks to everyone for entering and to yurbuds for the awesome prize.  Rock and run on.  #neverstop

Monday, February 17, 2014

Over & Out

Like the little guy above, I'm taking a short hiatus from everyday life and enjoying some quality time with my family during this week of our school's winter break.  Unlike the little guy above, we are not on a beach basking in the sun.  We are up in Franconia, NH where the temp this morning was a balmy -13℉.  No joke.  Yes, it's cold as hell, but the sun is shining, the skiing is amazing, and I don't have to make lunches for a week, so I can deal.  I'll be checking out from the blog world for a few days so I can focus on getting crushed by my daughters as they race me down the hill.  Also, no joke.  I will leave you with a few gems that I have been enjoying over the past few days.  I'm digging them.  I think you will, too.  Oh, and don't forget to enter the Valentine's Day Yurbuds Giveaway below.  So worth the 2 minutes it will take you.  Have a great week.  Over and out.

Listen to these:
Cold War - The Morning Benders  
Skeletons - Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. 
Bird On A Wire - Rogue Wave  
Heaven's On Fire - The Radio Dept.
As I Lay My Head Down - Other Lives  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Share the Love: YURBUDS Giveaway

I'll just come right out and say that I think it's a bit crazy to have a holiday where we all proclaim our love for one another.  Shouldn't we be doing that on a daily basis; regardless of what month it is?  It's not that I'm against it, per say.  But, really, when it comes down to it, Valentine's Day is just an excuse for us to buy cards and chocolate or whatever else it is one uses to say "I Love You" and then to spend a little more time than usual just...well...loving each other.  In the end, I suppose it gives us all, grown-ups and kids alike, another day to have fun, eat candy and spread the joy of something as simple as love.  And there's really nothing wrong with that.

This Valentine's Day, I want to share the love by giving away a pair of these Inspire Limited Edition Sport Earphones by yurbuds.  I promise you will love these.  Wait.  Can you really love a pair of earphones?  Yes. Yes you can.  The Inspire's sound is impeccable and can be personalized based on your environment with either noise-isolation or ambient aware.  They are both sweat and water resistant.  And they never, EVER, fall out.  Guaranteed.  They are also really cool looking and you'll look totally badass while your rocking out. Okay, that's not 100% guaranteed by yurbuds, but I, personally, will stand by it.  Want these babies?  Enter below with Rafflecopter.   Huge thanks to yurbuds for donating the goods.  Lots of everyone.

Fine print:  Retail value of this prize is $99.99.  Contest for US residents only.  Winner will be selected via on Friday, Feb. 21st.  Good luck.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Listen to this:
Elastic Heart - Sia (ft. The Weeknd & Diplo)  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Science Says

When I run, I listen to music.  It gets me fired up.  It helps me focus.  It helps me pick up the pace.  It helps me dig deeper.  And it keeps me going.  And going.  And going.  Music has carried me through many a hard workout, countless long runs, and all of my 8 marathons.  In running, it is my most loyal companion as it never, EVER, let's me down.  I understand that running (or doing any type of exercise) with music doesn't work for everyone.  If this is the case for you; fair enough.  I'm not suggesting you switch.  But, for those of you who aren't sure or have never tried it, I'm saying, why not rock it out next time you hit the road?  Research shows that music can elevate your mood in general.  This, alone, is reason enough for me to turn it up.  Research also shows that music can improve overall athletic performance when used during training.  Again, I'm sold.  Need more info?  Watch this 2 minute video by Science Says entitled, Can Music Improve Athletic Performance?  (sent to me by one of my LHS XC runners).  The guy talks and draws ridiculously fast.  I pulled out the key points and listed them down below so you can ponder them at your leisure.  Still not your thing?  Totally fine.  It is a personal choice and I respect that.  But, if you are needing some extra motivation these days, or want to try something new while you're sweating it out, I can not recommend it highly enough.  Thanks to good old science for helping me reinforce my point.  Rock and run on.

~ Music can act as both a cognitive and physical stimulant, especially when the music has a personal meaning to the individual.

~ For athletes who suffer from pre-competition anxiety, music can be used to enhance mood, self esteem and confidence.

~ During competition, music can narrow and athletes attention, diverting focus away from sensations of fatigue.

~ In studies of athletes using music, those who listen to pop songs during training or warm up had higher heart rates and increased muscle power compared to those who trained without music.

~ Because music can trigger emotion, it was documented to enhance mental imagery; a technique in which athletes picture themselves mastering a sport before competition.

~ Almost all findings found that listening to music PERIOD, regardless of composition or speed, enhanced performance compared to no music.

Fall in Love - Phantogram  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Share the Road: A Top 10 List

This past Monday, I was running in my neighborhood, and, unfortunately, having to share the road with drivers because the sidewalks were both icy and covered in snow.  As I crested a hill, a very nice, older couple slowed their car down and moved to the side so they could pass me.  I waved to thank them and they smiled and nodded back.  Two seconds later, Joe Schmo pulled up behind them and slammed on his horn to get them to pick it up.  When he saw why they had slowed, he rolled his eyes and threw his hands up in frustration.  For real.  What I didn't get to say (or yell), because the whole thing happened in a matter of seconds, was, "Dude, where the hell else am I supposed to go?"  The bottom line is, I don't like sharing the road with drivers any more than they do, but in the winter, I often don't have a choice.  I am 5' 3", on a good day.  I am somewhat petite.  I take up maybe a foot of the road (dance moves included).  I'm asking cars to slow down or move 2 hairs to the right for a mere second of their day.  And yet, to Joe, and many others, I am still "the annoying runner that I almost hit today while I was out driving".  It is what it is.

On Wednesday, it snowed over a foot here in the Boston area.  Beautiful.  Super fun for the kids.  But a runner's worst nightmare.  The lack of sidewalks, icy streets and ridiculously large mounds of snow that pile up post-blizzard make running virtually impossible.  And yet, we're still gonna do it.  Maybe not that day.  But, certainly a day or two after.  It's just what we do.  Today is Friday and I'm lacing up.  But, I'm headed out with a few different strategies for all the drivers that get mad and honk at me.  We'll see which one works best.  Be smart.  Be safe.  Be nice.  And keep running.


1. Pick up the pace as though they are honking to see how fast you can go.
2. Shout "thank you" and nod as if their honk was to acknowledge that you are a badass (which you are).
3. Look behind you as though they are honking at someone or something else.
4. Move way over to the side of the road to give them more room than they could possibly need.
5. Shrug your shoulders and give them a confused look as though you have no idea why they are honking.
6. Stop completely and stare at them.
7. Madly point to the sidewalk that is covered with snow.
8. Pretend you don't see or hear anything at all.
9. Laugh.  Like, really hard.
10.  Smile and wave.

Listen to this:
Young Hearts - Strange Talk

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


"She lit a fire but now she's in my every thought."
~ Lord Huron

Kirsten, me & Mary Ellen 
(Cara-you were with us in spirit)
I am incredibly lucky to have a handful of ladies here in Winchester who like to go see live music as much as I do.  They are almost always up for heading out to a show; regardless of whether or not they are familiar with the band.  That is some serious trust and dedication on their part.  Last night I dragged two of them to see Lord Huron at the Royale in Boston.  The Royale is a cozy little venue nestled in an alleyway in the theatre district; ideal for those of us who are short (like myself) and those who don't like to fight a huge crowd (like all three of us).  The show started at 9:00pm and had an opening act, so Lord Huron didn't take the stage until about 10:00; which is basically my bed time.  No joke.  So, I had to buck up and tap into the energy reserves to the best of my ability.  As soon as they took the stage, though, I was instantly transfixed and my efforts to focus were no longer an issue.  Ah, the power of good music.

Lead singer, Ben Schneider
Lord Huron is an indie-folk band based in Los Angeles and led by Ben Schneider.  This was my second time getting to see them live, but last night they were the headliner, so I got the full dose; this one both heavy and sweet.  There is no band that tells a better story than Lord Huron.  From the first note, or I should say, from the first chirp of crickets in the night sky, they rope you into their dreamlike sequence and hold you there from start to finish.  Schneider's voice swings high and low, and is both calm and eery at the same time.  He uses two different microphones to accentuate the sound and depth of each pitch.  It's insanely beautiful.  The band pieces each song together just so.  They steadily lead their listeners to a place that only exists because they are singing about it and I found myself wanting to go there, if only for that one night.  But, that's the thing.  They do let you go there with them.  It's a rhythmic journey of sorts; filled with passion, doubt, ghosts and lullabies.  And you are part of that story.  There are bands that play for you.  And there are bands that play with you.  Lord Huron does both.  They are unique in that way and in so many others; giving me good reason to continue to see them as long as they continue to play.  Last night was a gift and, as I often am after seeing live music, I will be forever grateful.

Listen to these:
She Lit a Fire  

Time To Run  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Love, Birthdays & New Music

It's February.  Still cold as hell.  But, short, sweet and filled with love.  Thank you, Hallmark.  Most of us get a nice, long week-end thanks to the Presidents.  My own kids get a week long break from school.  Yay.  And all of us are one small, but significant step closer to spring.  Have you noticed it's no longer dark at 4:30pm?  I have.  Can you feel me smiling?  I am.  Punxsutawney Phil be damned!  But, seriously, February is a big one.  Looking ahead, on February 12, I will embark on the last year of my thirties.  Bring it.  Two weeks later, on February 28, my daughter will be turning 7. (sniff)  This is the highest, and in Grace's mind the only, priority of the month in our household.  Let the countdown begin.  Finally, and no one really cares about this but me, my mileage will begin to steadily creep up as I am now less than 3 months away from the Boston marathon.  Holy moly.  So, hello February.  Let's ride.

My February "To-do" List:
1. Plan my 6 (turning 7) year old's birthday party. (note how this one is first on the list)
2. Go see Lord Huron at the Royale in Boston with my music wing-ladies.
3. Ski my brains out with my family during February break.
4. Turn 39.  
5. Give my husband a funny dog card on Valentine's day. (12 years in counting)  
6. Give my children those disgusting candy hearts to eat and hand out to their friends on Valentine's day. (seriously, who thought of this?)
7. Go watch the LHS ladies crush it in their Divisional meet for indoor track.
8. Get my long runs up to 17 miles by the end of the month.  Gulp.
9. Laugh, sing, and cut a rug as much as possible.
10. Listen to, enjoy and share the RWM music of the month.

Happy February, everyone.  Spread the love.

Tourists - Bright Moments


Chiaroscuro - I Break Horses