Tag Archives: adventures

Mad Half Recap Part I

Well it is safe to say that “The World’s most beautiful marathon” (as it is described on the website) was also the hilliest half marathon my mom and I have ever run! The world's most beautiful marathon- the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont. Despite all the crazy changes in elevation on the course, my mom and I had a FANTASTIC weekend and successfully bagged another state! 🙂 We kicked off the trip by first stopping by the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, Vermont. There was a bit of a summer crowd and we probably waited on line for 30-45 minutes, but our ice cream was well-worth the wait. Our visit to the Ben and Jerry's Factory in Vermont. After that, we got back on the road to go to Waitsbury and pick up our race packets before navigating our way to the little bed and breakfast we were staying in, the White Horse Inn. This little inn was adorable and so reasonably priced that we were able to stay for two nights, rather than just the one. There was a white carousel horse statue in the foyer, freshly baked cookies at all times (which were almost too yummy!), and a warm, cozy atmosphere that you just can’t get at a hotel. The owners were very friendly and gracious, and gave us a heads-up to keep our eyes out for bears! Apparently for the last month or so, bears had been visiting their dumpster, tempted by all the delicious smells. My mom was very excited when we realized our room had a nice view of where the backyard met the forest- and the dumpster. A prime bear-spotting location! After settling in and unpacking our things, we set out to explore the little downtown area and to drive the half marathon course. mad elevation I had looked at the elevation map provided on the race website, so I knew we were in for some hills, but boy oh boy, driving that course really brought those hills to life! The worst hill of the Mad Half! Are you seeing this hill?! My reaction on seeing this as we drove the course – “Are you KIDDING me?!” Sure, it had this nice downhill bit, but after that, it just goes up and up and up. Basically, we were going to have to run up a mountain.

There were some scenic views along the Mad Half course too.

the Mad Half Course

I will grudgingly admit that it was pretty darn beautiful, despite all those stupid mountains.

After seeing that course, we knew we were going to have to take it easy and not make the same mistakes we had made during the Heartbreak Hill Half (namely, getting a little too excited and going out too fast). We decided to try to stick to a run six minutes-walk one minute plan. By inserting more walk breaks earlier on, we hoped to maintain a strong pace through to the end.

Once we had finished driving the course (and thoroughly psyching ourselves out!), we grabbed dinner at a nearby restaurant, where we sat outside, enjoying the beautiful Vermont weather.

The all-important pre-race dinner.

The all-important pre-race dinner.

I’m not usually a burger person – but this burger, topped with bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions served on a pretzel roll drew me in. I can honestly say it was probably the best burger I’ve ever eaten. My mom had steak with a creamy cheese sauce, and she said that was really good too. For two people who generally stick to a more veggie-based diet, we sure enjoyed our beef! We went to bed early that night, since we had our race at 7 am the next morning. Thankfully, the inn was pretty much full with runners, so everyone was very quiet and respectful, and we slept wonderfully in our big, comfy beds (quite a step up from the freezing cold Boston College dorms we stayed in for the Heartbreak Hill Half!).

Stay tuned for Part II to hear how the Mad Half went (and how we survived all those mountains/hills!)



Filed under Half-Marathons, Races, Vacation

Greetings From the Mad Half!

Hi there!

Just wanted to post a quick update – we drove up to Vermont today, and we are getting ready for what looks like a beautiful (yet extremely hilly) course tomorrow.

Our lunch today? Well, we stopped by our friends’, Ben and Jerry’s obviously.

Ice Cream at Ben and Jerry's Factory in Waterbury, VermontWhat’s a trip to Vermont without a little ice cream? Also, those waffle cones were INCREDIBLE. And the lady who served us told us we got the last two, so that just makes it even better. 🙂

Some other glorious Vermont sites we took in-

Nothing is more Vermont than this scene right here. :)

Nothing is more Vermont than this scene right here. 🙂

A view of the Green Mountains from the Mad Marathon course

A view of the Green Mountains from the Mad Marathon course

We have to be up bright and early to run 13.1 miles tomorrow, so that’s all for now!

Hope you’re having a good holiday weekend! 🙂


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Should You Eat that Bacon ~ The New England Running Company 10 Miler Recap

Hi again! 🙂

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA this past week – I’ve been trying to sort out some of the formatting issues with the blog! If you’re reading this on a smartphone, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about (great!) and if you’re reading this on a computer, I’m sorry! I’m hoping to fix the background issues in the next week or so.

First, a quick recap of the marathon training this week –

marathon recap

So far, it’s not too intense. But I know that mileage is going to start ratcheting up soon, and I’m a little nervous for those 15-17 mile long runs. I’ve never run further than 13.1 miles right now, so it’s going to be unknown territory. BUT I don’t want to worry about that too much right now. 🙂

Yesterday, my mom and I completed our first ever ten-mile race – The New England Running Company 10 Miler! It was the first time this race had been put on, and apart from not having quite enough porta-potties (there were only five), it was really well done.

race start

The classic pre-race selfie.

The classic pre-race selfie.

The weather could not have been more perfect either – it was in the low 70s and there was a breeze off the water. My mom and I hadn’t planned on running it too fast (we knew we were guaranteed PR’s since it was our first time running a 10 mile race!), but with the great conditions, we both found ourselves comfortable enough to run harder than expected.

The views of the ocean were spectacular, and I managed to snag a photo while running. Props to me for not dropping my phone!

race pic

The course was a little hilly, but nothing compared to the Heartbreak Hill Half, and there were so many beautiful views that you could almost forget how hard you were running. Almost… 10 miles later, I finished in 1:26:43, good for a fifth place finish in my age group! I was a little bummed I didn’t finish two places earlier so I could get a prize, but oh well. Also- no medals at this race, which was a little disappointing, but we did get nice Brooks technical running shirts.  My mom came in two minutes later, so we both finished in under 1:30, which would have put us on pace for sub- 2 hour half marathons! Woo! It should be noted however, that my mom’s first words to me after crossing the finish were – “I blame you for making me run this fast.” We only ran the first mile together. Haha, so I’m not sure how I’m responsible, and if I am, I’m still waiting to hear, “Thank you Nora for encouraging me to push myself and test new boundaries.” 🙂

I managed to get a photo of my mom finishing!

I managed to get a photo of my mom finishing!

And the significantly more sweaty post-race selfie!

And the significantly more sweaty post-race selfie!

After snacking on some delicious bagels, bananas, and chips, we decided to make the 10 minute drive over to nearby Salem to walk around and explore a little.



I hadn’t been to Salem in probably a couple of years and I forgot how beautiful it is! There were tons of cute shops to explore – many of which emphasized the witch/magic/history of the location, but others which had more cute jewelry and clothes to browse through – a perfect way to wrap up a race day! Around lunchtime, my mom and I shared a turkey, brie, and fig marmalade sandwich from a little cafe. I’m not normally a big fan of fig anything, but it was delicious in this!!

sandwichWalking around, I also discovered this fascinating flowchart that I think all bacon lovers (such as myself!) will appreciate –


Are you a coward? No? THEN EAT THE BACON! Haha, I love it. And now I wish there was bacon in my house…

We got a little lost trying to navigate our way back to our car, but found it after only a little aimless wandering. 🙂 A new race, a little shopping and some eating – overall, not a bad way to spend a Sunday! 🙂

Did you have a good weekend?



Filed under Races, Training

A Look Back At Summer ’13

Happy Friday to you! 

Given that I will be leaving for school a week from today (eek!), I wanted to do a post looking back on the summer. It’s been an incredible past few months for me, and I want to take a moment to look back at the journey. As part of the commemorative aspect of this post, I did a photo shoot today of the new t-shirts I acquired this summer. There’s a lot of ‘em!

May– I came home from school in mid-May, and immediately start cooking and eating healthier. I begin browsing the internet for food and fitness inspiration and discover the wide world of health blogs! I’m hooked right from the start. At the end of May, I begin work as a head camp counselor at a track and field camp.

As a gift for being a head coach, I received this stylish, collared tech tee!

As a gift for being a head coach, I received this stylish, collared tech tee!

June- After playing around with the idea for a while, I take the leap and start my own blog! Adventures of A Mother-Daughter Running Duo officially opens on WordPress. I run a 5K in pouring rain and my iPod does not survive. I also run the “Lowell is Boston Strong” 5K.

The Boston Strong T-shirt is one of my faves from the summer

The Boston Strong T-shirt is one of my faves from the summer

July- My mom and I take a mini-vacation to Boothbay Maine and have many adventures. After returning, we run the “Berna’s Great Legs” 5K and place second in the Mother-Daughter Division. Go us!! 

Berna's Great Legs t-shirt

Berna’s Great Legs t-shirt

A few days later, we tackle the Shipyard Old Port Half-Marathon and learn firsthand how much heat/humidity impacts running performance. We survive despite the horrid weather. We have 2 shirts from this one- they were selling a different design on the day of the race, and my mom and I couldn’t resist!

Look what happens when Brady realizes he's missing out on photo-shoot fun!

Look what happens when Brady realizes he’s missing out on photo-shoot fun!


The shirts we decided to buy!

The shirts we decided to buy!


Two weeks later, I do my first triathlon!!!

Wild Cat Sprint Triathlon t-shirt!

Wild Cat Sprint Triathlon t-shirt!

August- I visit my college roommate in NY. A week later, my mom and I run the Monadnock Half Marathon, crossing off the state of NH!

Does this shade of green look familiar? It should- it's exactly the same as the Berna's Great Legs tee!

Does this shade of green look familiar? It should- it’s exactly the same as the Berna’s Great Legs tee!

I also wanted to share some favorite new accessories I acquired this summer!

First off, my lovely new iPod Nano and slap-bracelet running case. It holds my iPod perfectly while I run, but also allows me to press buttons easily (unlike those armbands).

New iPod and running case!

New iPod and running case!


Secondly, my Boothbay baseball cap with a dog on it. The dog bears a striking resemblance to Keeper, thus increasing its awesome-ness by a factor of 1,000!

boothbay hat1

Thirdly, my glamorous new shades- bought in NYC for $5. Gotta love a bargain!


Lastly, my super cute “running bear” bracelet my mom made for me (she has a matching one in a lighter shade of green!). My mom decided the bear looked like it could run fast and that it would bring us speedier times. I agree. 

bear bracelet1

I think it’s safe to say it’s been a busy summer? I’m so proud of all my mom and I have accomplished in these short 3 months, and I’M SO EXCITED FOR WHAT’S TO COME!!  Bring on the fall- new challenges, new faces, and so many NEW ADVENTURES! It’s gonna be good.


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Monadnock Half Marathon!!

Time to cross off the state of New Hampshire! 

That’s right- my mom and I knocked off another state this morning by running the Monadnock Half Marathon. And despite our anxieties about this hilly, challenging course, we killed it.

Quick recap of our pre-race carbo fueling dinner from the night before-

pre race dinner2


Zucchini pasta with chicken and pesto. Delicious, healthy, and a perfect pre-race meal. 

Today, it was another early race morning for us- up at 5:45, a cup of coffee, and a little toast to get us going. My mom also had to put on her “tattoo”. This was her little cheat sheet for where the hills were in the course, where aid stations were located, etc… It actually lasted pretty well through about mile 10, and that’s when the sweat got it. But overall, it was pretty darn helpful!




The only little hiccup we experienced was some issue with the address for the race packet pickup and our GPS. Basically, it told us we had arrived at our destination at some warehouse. There were no runners in sight, and the building was obviously not the Jaffrey Bible Church (where the pickup was supposed to be) so we were confused, to say in the least. My dad even pulled up the GPS on his iPhone, and it also said we were at the address that had been posted in the emails and on the website. At this point, we were starting to get a bit frustrated and anxious.  Luckily, we drove down the main road another mile or two, and happened upon the church, so we lucked out and still arrived with plenty of time to spare. We got our numbers and shirts (which are green again! I swear, it’s been the summer of green race shirts for us), and proceeded to hang out for a bit. My mom and I both had a Clif Bar (White Chocolate Macademia Nut, obviously) for a little more fuel and then we headed over to the porta-potties about 25 minutes before the start.

porta potties

The line had gotten really long, but we ended up chatting a bit with the women in front of us, bonding over our desire for more porta-potties. Isn’t it great when you get to chat with some new people at a race? I also spied on people’s running outfits. My personal favorite were the running tanks that two women had puffy-painted with their race motto- “WTF; Where’s The Finish?” I love a good running pun.

When we finally got out of the line, it was just about time to start.

the crowd


We're ready to go!

We’re ready to go!


We lined up… and headed out!



My mom was clearly excited

My mom was clearly excited

The first mile literally flew by, and felt like nothing. Just after the end of the first mile, we hopped on the rail trail, which was a nice gravel-packed trail through shady woods. This stretch of the race was nice and flat, and my mom and I settled into a consistent pace of 9:52 min/mile. Not super fast, but we didn’t want to risk burning out before we got to the really challenging hills in the course later on. For about 4 miles in this section, my mom and I were behind a group of friends who would cheer and give each other high-fives every time they passed one of the mile markers. It really added to the cheery atmosphere, and their optimism was absolutely infectious!

in the woods

Around mile 4.5, we left the rail trail and entered a residential area with rolling hills. We passed the one station with a porta-potty… And didn’t need to stop! Yay. Our pace slowed down a bit to 10:28 min/mi. for mile 5, but we picked it up again at mile 6, going back to 9:53 min/mi. Around this time, I had my GU. The flavor this time? Lemon Sublime! And it truly was sublime. It was the first time I tried this flavor, and I loved it! It reminded me of the filling of this lemon tart my mom makes for dessert sometimes. Yum.

My GU, now empty!

My GU, now empty!

Mile 7 was tough, as we came upon… Draag Hill. *insert ominous music here*  It was just as bad as the course description had led us to believe, and we went into our power-walking strategy. This worked amazingly well. First off, we were moving about the same speed as some folks who were still attempting to jog- and we were reserving energy. By the time we got halfway up the hill, every single runner that I could see was walking. That’s how steep and long it was.

BUT WE MADE IT TO THE TOP! There was another aid station there with some good signs- “This is a motivation poster!” and “Stop being distracted by this sign- keep running!” were two that I liked a lot.

We entered a section with more rolling hills, but the scenery here was beautiful! We got some good views of lovely farms and green fields, and the air smelled wonderful here. There was a cool breeze and the scent of pine trees was very calming. We cruised along this section, running roughly 10 min/mi.

Just keep running...

Just keep running…


*As a sidenote, I took these pics while running, which I discovered, is not an easy task! So, I apologize if they are a little blurry.

There was a scary moment just after mile 11. We were running along, and I heard someone yelling, “Lexie!”. Half-wondering if someone was mistaking me for their friend, I turned, and saw a fluffy, white dog hurtling out of a yard straight for us. A car was just about to pass us, and I freaked out for a second that the dog was going to get hit by the car right there. The car passed just in time though, which was lucky because the dog ran straight into the street, heading towards us. I stopped, not wanting the dog to chase us down the road. The dog stopped too and stared at us, tail raised. My mom grabbed my shirt, panicking for a second that the dog was about to attack us. This actually wasn’t much of an overreaction. We have two dogs and generally consider ourselves “dog people”, but this dog wasn’t looking too friendly. Finally, it turned and trotted back to its owner (who had chased it down to the edge of the yard) and we continued on. The whole situation could have ended quite badly, so overall, I guess we were pretty lucky.

In the last 3 miles, we really cranked it up, running our last mile in 9:05. By this point, we were eager to be done. Both of us still felt great too, which was a major change from the end of the Shipyard Half Marathon. We had felt pretty awful at the end of that one and both of us had ended up walking more than planned. I think the breeze, cooler temps, and low humidity played a major role in helping us with the tough course we had today.

Finally, we reached the finish! In just about 2 hours, 11 minutes. A really solid time, and much better than we had anticipated!


We grabbed some watermelon and chunks of banana, but skipped the pizza. My dad, our personal race photographer, managed to catch both my mom and I making a variety of strange faces. Apparently, one’s ability to control facial muscles is also affected by running 13.1 miles. Who knew?

I don't know what I'm doing...

I don’t know what I’m doing…

What is my mom doing?!

What’s with this expression?!

Yay! Normal smile!!

Yay! Normal smile!!

I also got a nasty little blister on my big toe. Sorry for the disgusting photo, but hey people should know the risks associated with running, right?

post race blister

After relaxing a bit with the other runners, we headed over to nearby Kimball Farm for some ice cream. My dad and I both got “Moo Tracks”- vanilla ice cream with chocolate swirls and chunks of Reese’s peanut butter cups. In our professional ice cream connoisseur opinions, it is the best ice cream there is. It was complete perfection after having run for 2+ hours.

moo tracks


Then, it was time to head home. After a long shower, I put on my new race shirt and relaxed with some iced coffee.

post race iced coffee

It was a perfect race day and SO SATISFYING knowing my mom and I have just crossed off another state! I know we’ll be sleeping well tonight.  Good night folks!


Filed under Half-Marathons, Races

The Big Apple!

I’m back! 

Sorry for the little break- I was visiting my college roommate in Long Island (hi Nicole!). It was such a fun trip, and I had a blast hanging out with her and her family.

Aaaaaannd, she took me into New York City- my first time in the Big Apple! I really got the full New York experience- I rode a taxi, chatted a bit with Kelly Rippa, spotted the boys of One Direction, and got to meet Taylor Swift!!!!!


me and kelly

one D

taylor and me

Well… not really.  But, we did go to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Times Square so it was almost the same thing. I also took a pic with N’Sync (I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve got a few of their songs in my running playlist!)

me and nsync

The hustle and bustle of New York was sooo different to me! I have been in cities before, but New York was bigger, louder, and brighter! I probably looked like the ultimate tourist, craning my neck to look up at all the skyscrapers surrounding me.


I also got to experience delicious Long Island style pizza and bagels, which really were pretty awesome. As a student at a New York college, I have listened to an extensive amount of bragging about the wonders of Long Island bagels and pizza (and I always wondered to myself if they were all that special). Well, both the bagels and pizza lived up to the hype!

I also got to see Despicable Me 2 on the trip, and it was hilarious. Seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie, go see it. I have become a big fan of minions- anyone know where I can get one? 


I came home Saturday evening, and got back into my running Sunday morning with a beautiful mid-distance run of just under 7 miles. The weather has been feeling really fall-ish lately. It’s been great for running, but I don’t want the summer warmth to disappear just yet!

sunday aug 13

This week, I’m hoping to squeeze in one last long run before the half-marathon on Saturday (8/10). The course for this one is going to be interesting (aka hilly), but more on that later!


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Adventures in Maine!

In less than a week, my mom and I will be making the journey up to Maine once again, this time for the Old Shipyard Half-Marathon! We are getting very excited. 

BUT, before that happens, I wanted to post a little update on the mini vacation my mom and I just took up to Booth Bay, Maine. The weather really did not cooperate with us. AT ALL. It was sunny for, oh, the first 30-45 minutes we were there? After that, solid rain, clouds, and fog for the remainder of the stay…

Despite the rain and chill, we managed to have quite a few adventures. We started our trip off with a kayaking tour down the Sheepscot River. My mom and I shared a tandem kayak, as we’re both newbies when it comes to kayaking.


(I snapped this picture of her from the front!) Even though it rained on us roughly the whole time we were kayaking, it was still pretty cool- we got to see a bunch of seals, and we stopped off at a little island for some much-needed snacks before making the return trip. By the time we finally got back, our hands were a wee bit water-logged-

DSC02500Between the rain and the dropping temperatures, we were freezing and starving by the time we made it back to our B&B, where we grabbed fresh coffee and some homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. I don’t even like raisins, but these tasted like the best cookies ever. room1

After grabbing a delicious dinner (my mom and I shared an order of pasta with lobster and a vegetable medley), we settled into our cozy room to watch a little trashy TV!

The next day, it was equally cold and drizzly, and we realized we hadn’t packed warm raincoats. So, off we went to shop with an umbrella borrowed from the bed and breakfast. Luckily, one of the first stores we went into had some very nice jackets, and both me and my mom ended up getting one. (Here’s my mom posing in her new jacket with the umbrella, which coincidentally matched!)


While the weather was horrible, our stay at the bed and breakfast was really, really nice. You could tell that the views would be wonderful on a clear, sunny day (not that we had any of those!)


The breakfasts the B&B served were also amazing. The first day, we had fluffy, scrambled eggs on a biscuit with a red pepper hollandaise sauce- DELICIOUS!! And the breakfast on our last morning was equally amazing- vanilla french toast drizzled with raspberry and chocolate sauce. Talk about starting the day off right!

Scrambled eggs with red pepper hollandaise on a fresh biscuit!

Scrambled eggs with red pepper hollandaise on a fresh biscuit!

Vanilla french toast drizzled with chocolate and raspberry!

Vanilla french toast drizzled with chocolate and raspberry!

garden2The last day we were bummed about having to head home in the afternoon, but we tried to make the most of our morning (even though, you guessed it – it was a cloudy, cool day)! We spent the last few hours of our trip visiting the Maine Botanical Gardens, which are apparently ranked as some of the most beautiful gardens in the US. Countless people had told us that we had to see the gardens, and they were right!  They really were gorgeous, and there was even a cute garden for little kids (and me )  to play around in.

Then, it was time to head home. *tear… Overall though, it really was a great, adventure-packed vacation, and we sure didn’t let the weather get in the way of our fun!

I can’t wait to get back up to Maine this weekend for a lil’ half-marathon fun!





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Filed under Uncategorized, Vacation