Why I Chose the Maine Coast Marathon

In case you didn’t know, I signed up for my fifth marathon in May 2016! I’m running the Shipyard Maine Coast Marathon on May 15, 2016.

I chose this marathon because of the good reviews it got on Marathon Guide. It boasts scenic views along the coast line of Maine, a place I have never been! I wanted to run a Spring marathon and this seemed like the perfect one.

I also signed up for the 39.3 challenge, which means I’m going to run the half marathon on Saturday, followed by the full marathon on Sunday! (No I’m not crazy, I’m awesome.)

I’m also a Race Ambassador for the marathon! So, if you are interested in signing up for the half or the full (or both!) keep in mind that early registration ends at 11:59 PM on 12/31/15.  Prices will increase by $7.00 for the Half Marathon, Bosom Buddy Relay and Marathon.  The price for the 39.3 Challenge will increase by $14.00! So sign up now! Use my discount code JenM for $5.00 of your registration.

Shipyard Maine Coast Marathon_0

Also, check out their RaceJoy Mobile App. They are providing free live tracking this year for anyone who runs with their smartphone.  This means that spectators and friends will get mile split updates at every mile. For runners that carry their phones, there is also the new Text-to-Cheer function that allows friends and spectators to text the runner a message which is delivered in audio form.  (Think about how much fun you could have with that!)

So if you sign up for the Maine Coast Marathon, here is what you get:

  • Custom finisher’s medal for the marathon
  • Two complimentary beers after the finish from Shipyard Brewing Company
  • Post race food, including bagels, bananas and other snack foods
  • One complimentary slice of pizza after the finish from Portland Pie
  • High resolution race photos of nearly every participant will be made available about 4 days after the race: download to computer, email to yourself or friend, share on Facebook, and Tweet
  • Real time results on your phone, including splits via the Race Joy App
  • Live tracking, with mile splits at EVERY Mile, if you carry your smart phone on the run
  • The ability to rent locker space via The Mobile Locker Company or a free bag drop if all items fit inside a single one gallon zip lock bag

I’m really looking forward to heading to Maine next year to run these races. I will be a blast, I know it!


50 Mi Tour de Habitat

Saturday morning I rode in the Tour de Habitat, a local bike ride to benefit the Habitat for Humanity. I rode this ride a few years ago and was happy to see that it was happening again after a few years off. The Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates homes and brings neglected neighborhoods back to life.


There ride began at Druthers Brewing Company in Downtown, Albany. I was doing the 50 mile ride! I was a little nervous because I haven’t been road biking in a while and the last time I rode that far was back in July. Oops.

Thankfully, I felt great all day! I brought along two 25 oz water bottles, snacks such as Gu, Honey Stinger Waffles and a cliff bar. There were three aid stations on the route that provided water, electrolytes, and pb&j sandwiches! There were about 25 riders doing the 50 miles. The route took us south of Albany all the way to Alcove, NY. I’m really familiar with area since I grew up south of Albany so it was nice to ride some familiar roads. The scenery was gorgeous!



Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 9.05.45 AM

3 hours, 46 minutes of riding later I was riding back into Druthers! They were serving pizza and beer at the post-ride party.


Very delicious after such a long ride!


Ragnar Trail New England

A spot opened up on my friends Ragnar Trail New England Team and I got in last minute to run last weekend!

I’ve done Ragnar Relay Adirondacks a few times now so I was pretty pumped to try their trail relay. It was held in Northfield, Massachusetts, about 2 hours from Albany, at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environment Center.

The concept behind Ragnar Trail is a lot different from their regular road relay. A team consists of 8 runners and you set up a “base camp” at the location.


Each runner has three trail loops to complete and each runner runs the same amount. For us it was the green loop of 3.5 miles, followed by the yellow loop of 4.8 miles, and finally the red loop of 6.7 miles.

Trail Map

Our team captain Loretta set it up so we actually had two teams so we could double up and run with a partner, which in the end was a fantastic idea.

The day on Friday began early–we got to Northfield Mountain at about 9:30AM. I was runner eight so I had a while to wait to run my first leg with Loretta who was my team partner. The weather forecast for the weekend looked grim, but it turned out to be a beautiful weekend! Such good luck.


I hung out with my team at the start/finish area watching runners come in.


Finally, at around 11:30PM, Loretta and I started our first leg.


It was my first time trail running at night, but we were prepared. I carried a small flashlight and wore a headlamp. It was pretty thrilling out there! My first leg was supposed to be the yellow loop, but because we were so behind on time due to our pace as a team, Loretta and I decided to run the shorter green loop instead. We definitely weren’t in this for any prizes so we knew it was okay.

leg 1

I didn’t connect the app until about a half a mile in, so the pace is a little off for this leg. I was pleased at how strong I felt on the trail! After we finished, our two Runner 1s were up for their longest leg. Loretta and I went back to camp and enjoyed a hard cider and a late night snack. Then I went to bed until about 7am. Another awesome aspect of this race–no sleeping in vans!  My second leg, the actual green loop, was next up at about 9:30AM! The hardest part about all of the loops was that the first mile or so was directly uphill.






leg 2

Because we were so far behind on time there was no way we could actually finish in time. Ragnar let us start to double up on runners so we could all finish our legs. Everyone who had the red loop remaining was going to run the red loop (that would be me!) and everyone with the yellow loop left was going to run yellow and so on. About an hour after my second leg, it was time to run the most difficult loop, red.


Teammates going in to run the red loop.




Since we were each pretty tired and this trail was so steep, we hiked the majority of it. We knew we would finish the 6.7 miles in about 2 hours. Karen and I decided when we saw the time at 6 miles in that we would aim for a time under 2 hours. We did it!

leg 3

Check out that elevation profile!

Needless to say, it was tough! At about 5:30PM when everyone had finished their loops, our team finished!




Overall, Ragnar Trail was a great experience and a really fun time. Ragnar really knows how to organize events and they did a great job with this one also. I would really recommend it!


Ragnar Relay Adirondacks 2014

This past weekend was my third Ragnar Relay Adirondacks! Ragnar Relay is a 200 mile relay race from Saratoga, NY to Lake Placid, NY. My team had two vans, 6 runners per van. This year I was in Van 2 after two years of being in Van 1. I got to see what the course was like for Van 2!


Van 2 started running their legs at Gavin Park in Saratoga. I was runner #10!


We definitely had some gorgeous weather this year for RagnarADK!





Friday afternoon I had my first leg, 4.7 miles in Glens Falls. It was getting hot and my legs were feeling kind of tired (theme of the weekend) but I pushed through!



Leg 1 – 4.7 mi
Average Pace – 10:25


Our team, the Fitastics, was 80s inspired, hence the  hot pink tights I was wearing!



Our team ran all the way to Lake George, where the next major exchange was, and we handed off to Van 1.


Soon it was time for us to get some actual dinner! We all went to the ADK Pub & Brewery in Lake George for dinner, which was fun! It was cool to see all the other Ragnar teams there, all decked out in their team costumes and running gear.

We went to the next major exchange point to meet up with Van 1 when they were done with their second legs. We also tried to get some sleep, but I didn’t get much. The exchange was located at a high school and we had some designated sleeping areas where we slept right out under the stars. My next leg was in the middle of the night at around 3:30am in Westport along Lake Champlain, and was also my longest leg.

Leg 2 – 8.3 mi
Average pace – 11:10

This run was so mentally challenging. It was so long and hilly, and not to mention I was running at 3:30am on very little sleep! But thanks to one of our teammates, Emily, I made it through. She ran the last five miles with me, after her own leg. She was amazing! Thanks, Emily!


When our van was done with our second legs, we arrived the last major exchange to wait for Van 1 to finish!


We tried to get some more sleep outside, but again, I didn’t get much. Then it was time to head off to run our final and third leg of Ragnar.



My third leg started in Wilmington and went to the parking lot at Whiteface Mountain. Even though it was challenging, hot, and mostly uphill, it was gorgeous.



I didn’t mind the hill, as long as I had this view!


Eventually I hit a point where I was just getting too hot and tired to  keep running strong, and with about a mile left, I added some power walking to the mix.


Leg 3 – 4.9 mi
Average pace: 12:00

I was glad to be done. Thankfully at one of the exchanges, we had the opportunity to park near the Ausable River. We walked/hobbled down the path, and enjoyed a very refreshing foot soak.






Just can’t get over how gorgeous it is on this course. The one thing I did like a lot about being in Van 2 was the scenery!

Once our final runner, Christine, was almost done, we drove to the finish line in Lake Placid.


Soon she came running up and we crossed the finish line as a team! Yeah Fitastics!



Another successful and fun RagnarADK in the books! Despite some pretty challenging runs, I had a great time and I’m proud for pushing through some of those legs. I ran 18 miles total for the weekend which is indeed an accomplishment.


Want to read more about Ragnar Relay?

Check out my past recaps from RagnarADK 2012 and RagarADK 2013!

So You Want to Run a Relay Race?

What to Pack for Ragnar Relay


2014 Trail Running Camp at Dippikill

This past weekend I finally participated in something I’ve been wanting to do for a while–but couldn’t for various reasons–the ARE’s Trail Running Camp! TRC is a three night getaway at Camp Dippikill in the Adirondacks for runners who want to learn more about/experience some trail running. It’s open to runners of all abilities and is pretty much a guaranteed fun time.

Thursday night

I arrived at around 4:45 on Thursday night, checked in and got my bib for the evening’s run, along with our handbook and our Frog. The theme of camp is Frogs–because of the Froggy Five Mile Race held on Sunday. Frogs were everywhere!





I was staying in Garnet Lodge with my friend Loretta, once of the nicer lodges on the facility. We had electric, woohoo!


After getting settled in we had a 5:30PM group run. We got to meet our fellow campers and had the option of running various trails throughout the woods around Dippikill. I chose a shorter 1 mile loop and did it twice. It was such a nice night for running.


After our run, we had some dinner (all meals were provided for us, cooked by the awesome John, one of the staff members at camp!) and an orientation, followed by s’mores. Also, the camp was BYOB so campers must be 21+ and are allowed to bring their own adult beverages. 😀



Yes! It really felt like Summer camp for adults (which it pretty much was)–which is fun for me since I never went to summer camp as a kid.


Friday morning we had another run. I chose the Pond loop, a 2.6 mi look down to Dippikill Pond. It was gorgeous!



After the morning run, I went to a seminar on running injuries, which was really interesting. We learned some important ways to prevent injuries (LESS SITTING!) and how to properly stretch. Followed by that, I went to the first yoga class of the day. We had the option of going to ab workout class, but I chose yoga instead.


The yoga was intense and was something my tight running legs needed. I hadn’t done yoga in a long time. After yoga, it was time for swimming. Or better yet, kayaking! There were canoes and kayaks down by the lake so I grabbed a kayak and just paddled around the pond for a bit, while the other swam. It was nice and relaxing.




After our pond adventure, there was more yoga. This session focused on stretching the hips and IT band, and it hurt! But in a good way. After dinner there was trivia. This was really fun and our team tied for first place, which was awesome. There was also an ice cream social. 😀


Saturday was the Run & Tube event. This was open to other ARE members, so a few people came up just for this. Saturday morning we took vans to a tubing company in Lake Luzurne, where the tubing bus dropped us off five miles from the launch point on the Hudson River. We ran the five miles (or had an option of three miles), down.  I was kind of worried about how tired my legs would be but they held up fine.  It was time to cool off after our run.




We really had the perfect weekend for all this.

When we got back to camp, we had some down time. After dinner there was the famous Talent Show, which was really fun. Some of the skits were hilarious. It ended with a video recapping the weekend.

Sunday morning

Sunday was the last day of TRC 🙁 and the Froggy Five Mile Trail Race! The race/run goes all the way up Dippikill Mountain and back down again. I just wanted to enjoy it and did a run/hike, since I was determined NOT to fall and get injured.


The race start.


So many frogs.

At the halfway point of the race, there was a summit and a gorgeous view of the Adirondacks. I stopped just in time to take picture and then went on my way. And just because I’m a hiking nerd, I had to find: out the summit of Dippikill is 1,562′ in elevation. I was worried again about how tired my legs would feel, but they were fine. I think the yoga and stretching helped a lot.

1,562 ft
1,562 ft
1,562 ft


I finished in 1 hour, 11 minutes, which is pretty slow, but who cares. I just wanted to enjoy it. There was a BBQ following the Froggy Five and with that–camp was over. We squeezed a lot in over the three days and it was so much fun. The ARE does such a great job at organizing this event, I was really impressed. It was one of the best weekends of my summer so far, because I got do everything I truly love in one weekend: trail running/hiking, kayaking, yoga, spending the entire weekend outdoors enjoying my favorite place, the Adirondacks. I’m definitely going to try to go back next year!