Friday, June 29, 2012

A Compression Miracle

As I mentioned on Monday, we had a big family wedding over the weekend. In preparation, I tried on the bridesmaids dress the week before the wedding to see if it still fit. Small crisis: it was too tight. (I was training for the marathon when I was originally fitted and I've gained a little weight since then.) Trying not to panic, I put on the corset leftover from my wedding to see if it would work. It helped me fit, but it looked weird because of the seams of the dress and where the corset ended. Thinking I needed to go out and get some cheap Spanx from Target, I tried one more thing, my CEP Compression shorts. I've worn them under a pencil skirt, what made a dress any different?
under a pencil skirt

It worked and the dress fit! It was a compression miracle! Since the dress was black and just at the knee (with no slit or anything), it totally worked and no one knew. It was also nice to not have to worry about sitting like a lady. Haha. This is just another example how compression is the best invention ever.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Olympic Track Trials Update #1

In case you have been living under a rock (or just aren't as nerdy as me), the Olympic Track & Field trials have been going on recently over in the faraway land of Eugene, Oregon (aka Tracktown USA). There have been some upsets, some sweet victories, and some close calls. Thankfully NBC has been playing the coverage live on one of their stations. There must be some track nerds at the station or there are enough of us out there! I thought I would post some of my favorite highlights from the first half of the events in light of Olympic Anticipation! For full results, click here.

1) After coming in 4th place and being an alternate in the Women's Marathon Olympic trials in January, Amy Hastings (in the neon yellow tank top) went on to win the 10,000m in the track trials and secured her own spot on the Olympic team! Shalane Flanagan is a familiar face in this shot below. She came in 3rd and was using this 10,000m run as a tune-up for her London Marathon race.

2) Shifting gears to the men, a similar story can be found. Dathan Ritzenhein is the alternate for the Men's Marathon Olympic team, after coming in 4th in the trial. He also secured his spot on the Olympic roster after coming in 3rd in the 10,000m. Galen Rupp (1st) and Matt Tegankamp (2nd) also made the team.

3) I talked a bit about Lolo Jones a few posts back and her disappointment in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She wasn't favored to qualify and the critics aren't sure if she's worth the hype, but she did qualify by coming in 3rd place after Dawn Harper (1st and Olympic gold medal winner from Beijing) and Kellie Wells (2nd)

4) The Decathalon is an event that intreagues me. Only the most well-rounded overall athletes are successful in this event. The 10 events that comprise this take course over 2 days. Day 1 consists of: 100m dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m dash. Day 2 consists of: 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole valut, javelin throw, 1500m run. Ashton Eaton broke the world record in this event including some rainy conditions as well! I think these track trials in Oregon is great precursor for these athletes because it rains a lot in London!

5) After an injury took her out of the running for the Olympics in Beijing, Alysia Montano (middle with the flower in her hair) came back with vengeance and dominated the 800m race finishing in 1st place. She is famous for wearing a flower in her hair to accentuate her femininity while training with men when she was younger. It was a trend that stuck and is now her signature. she will be representing the US in the Olympics along side Geena Gall (2nd in the green jersey) and Alice Schmidt (3rd in the grey jersey on the far right).

6) The favorite to win the men's 800m was Nick Symmonds but there were a few wild cards in the mix too. Starting off in the back of the pack, Nick Symmonds kept pace with the group and didn't make his move until there were about 200m left in the race where he kicked his way to a strong victory. He is headed to London with Khadevis Robinson and Duane Solomon Jr. Duane (red jersey) led the race until the final 100m where he was outkicked by Nick (green jersey) and Khadevis (black jersey), but he ran a strong race and was overcome with emotion at the finish line that he had made the team. He shed tears and showed that it is okay to show emotion and have pride in what you've accomplished.

Are you pumped up for the Olympics yet? The Track Trials are only half over! I'll be posting another update with my favorites from the 2nd half of the trials! If you're interested in more in-depth highlights on some of the other events, the RV Goddess has some great recaps and information. She follows track all year long so she can shed some more insights on these athletes than me.

The source of all photos can be found here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mizuno Mezamashii Run Project

I recently received some information from the folks at Mizuno about a new promotion/running project that they have put together. Since they so generously donated a pair of the Wave Rider 15s to my Open Heart Magic charity raffle, I thought I would share with you some information about the Mezamashii run project. The information below is directly from the folks at Mizuno.

In the quest to deliver more brilliant running, Mizuno has recently launched the Mezamashii Run Project. One aspect of the Project is a running shoe giveaway. Over the course of the remainder of the year, Mizuno will give away thousands of shoes and exclusive invitations to join the Mezamashii Run Project to runners who are looking to experience more euphoric, brilliant, mezamashii running.
Basically, the folks at Mizuno decided to give away a bunch of pairs of shoes to individual runners instead of spending tons of money on an ad campaign. That means us everyday runners have a chance to win a free pair! Since the promotion is still gaining traction, the chance to win is still pretty good. They are giving away shoes weekly and if you enter once, you are entered into every weekly drawing. All you have to do is go to this website and click on the "Apply for an invite" button. If you receive an invite, you get a free pair of shoes! If this sounds like some sort of scam where no one actually wins, I know for a fact that Kim over at the Ilax Studio and Bobbi actually won a pair (and maybe you can too). Best of luck!

Although I'm an Asics girl at heart, I have been wearing a pair of Mizuno Inspires for racing and speedwork. I really like how they grip the ground. They are also a fairly stable shoe to help with my pronation issues. Here are some photos of the inspires in action at the Jim Gibbons 5k (left) and the Sheryl 5k (right).

Mile Repeats and the Giveaway Winner

I haven't done mile repeats as a workout before. I had them as the first workout this week so I was looking for redemption after Friday's not so great long run. I was going to try to meet up with my running group but by the time I got home, I was hungry and realized I needed to have dinner first if I wanted to have a quality workout.

"Wow" is all I have to say about this workout. This was a tough one, possibly the most challenging workout I've completed on this training cycle (or ever?). I had to tell myself that PRs aren't easy. If they were easy, everyone would get them. They needed to be earned and I was earning mine. After the 1st repeat was finished, I knew this was going to be a challenging workout. Sweat dripped from my brow as I still had 3 more to go. Traffic lights worked in my favor along the way, which I took as a sign that I could do this workout. I wasn't meant to stop or the light would have changed. I tried to keep all my thoughts positive during this workout and I think it worked in my favor. The goal was to finish all 4 repeats between 7:35-7:40. Actual splits were...
Mile 1: 7:38
Mile 2: 7:37
Mile 3: 7:39
Mile 4: 7:38

Consistent and within the target. I tried to push that last mile towards a 7:35 or 7:36 but with the slight up hills and down hills along the way, I was just short. It is only a few seconds though and I'm still really happy with this workout! Of course I had to grab a quick action shot between intervals.

Talk about a quality photo...

I can't believe how light it remains well into the evening. Summer is here, officially. The 100 degree temps we're expecting on Thursday are solidifying that...

I'm trying to work on a running mantra to help keep me motivated during a tough workout and on race day. I'm having trouble coming up with some on my own that keep the message positive (without words like "don't" or "can't"). I'm going to do some Googleing today but I thought I would ask what works best for all of you? What is your running or workout mantra that helps you get through the end of a tough workout??

In other news, the winner of the Warrior Dash helmet giveaway is...
Congratulations! Please contact me with your mailing address so I can get these sent out to you asap!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Running Buddies

Time for another post about a Mag Mile Runner photo challenge! This week's challenge is:

Your running group. Who do you usually run with? A running club? A group run at a store? A buddy? Your dog? No one? Whatever, take a picture of it, even if it’s just you looking lonely.
There are a few different groups that I like to run with, and I am very lucky in this sense. Running with a buddy or a group has that important element of accountability.

My Number 1 running buddy is:

(as if you couldn't have already guessed that one) She's always ready for a run, no matter what. She never complains, is always excited, and watches out for me. She really is a great companion in every way!

As much as I love running with my pup, when it is hot or rainy she stays at home. She doesn't do so well with speedwork or long runs so she gets jealous when I have to go on a run without her. When I'm not running with my dog, I'm usually meeting up with my local running group:
(aka the FN Runners)

We meet to run if it is hot, cold, rainy, snowing, or anything in between. Some days there are large groups and other days there are only a few. We still get out there and run, and have fun doing it!

When I was training for my marathon back in 2011, I signed up for the CARA training program which led me to another amazing running group:

These folks are so inspiring. There is so much to learn from these marathon veterans including words of wisdom, tips for race day, and lots of tips/ideas on how to fit runs into any schedule. Many have qualified for Boston and they are always ready to cheer on a friend during a local race. I'm lucky to have found so many wonderful running friends that helped lead me to my first marathon, and other successful races along the way. When I lace up my Asics and decide to do another marathon some day, I know my fellow Yankee Runners will help me get there.

Last but not least, there are my friends Kate S and Kate LF. When we first met, we realized that we liked to run and started running races together. We've all come such a long way together as friends and as runners, accomplishing so much along the way. I'm so lucky to have friends that love to run as much as I do, to train and race with.

Don't forget to enter my Warrior Dash helmet giveaway! Today is the last day to enter!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Run Fail but That's Okay

Because we had a big family wedding on Saturday night (and I was meeting the bride and wedding party on Friday afternoon), I was debating to do my long run on Friday morning or Sunday night. Thursday night before going to bed, I had every intention of doing this run on Sunday morning. However, when Friday morning came, I decided to give it a shot. Having not properly planned the night before, this was a big mistake. I thought 12 miles wouldn't be a problem. The plan was actually to do this as a progressive run with the first 6 miles easy and the last 6 progressively faster. Since I decided to do this run kind of last minute, I didn't properly hydrate the night before. Waking up thirsty when you have a warm long run ahead is never a good sign. Also, Thursday's dinner could have been much better. Can you see where this is going?

I started off feeling strong and had to force myself to slow the pace. The trail was relatively shaded and not very crowded. Miles 1-5 were right on target, no problem but I was starting to get warm and pretty sweaty. At mile 6 I realized that a progression run was going to be more difficult than I thought. This run soon became "just get through it." I was so thirsty and the hard core stomach sloshing started around mile 9. I was so sad that this run was sucking, so thirsty but couldn't drink any more, and so hot that I wanted to cry (and did a little at during mile 10). Miles 11 and 12 included a lot of walk breaks and left me feeling defeated. The more I thought about the things that went wrong, they all seemed to point to my poor pre-run planning. There is definitely a lesson to be learned from every run, and I'm walking away from this one trying to focus on the positive. Amanda reminded me of something I had once told her during marathon training and it totally holds true. Not every run is going to go as planned. Bad runs make you appreciate the good ones just that much more. I've had many successful workouts in this training cycle. This was just not one of them and I'm okay with that.

So now that the run was done, it was wedding time! We really had a fun weekend and I'm very happy for my cousin. Here are some photos from the day!
On the party bus

At the reception with our cowboy boots on!

the bride and I

me and my bros!
Note: mixing beer and Tom Collins is not a good idea...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Friday

Today I'm a bad blogger. I just finished a miserable 12 mile run and I'm about to head into the big city for a family wedding on Saturday. Therefore, I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite someecards. That is all.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Olympic Anticipation

The London games are less than a month away (27 days away to be exact). I CAN'T WAIT!! Ever since I was a little girl, I always loved the Olympics. Whatever event was on, I wanted to watch it. The winter Olympic games are fun, but the summer games are where its at. Ever since 2012 began, I knew it was coming. Each month, I continue to get more and more excited. In April, this commercial made its way around the internet and the TV. It still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.

Then, there have been the Visa commercials highlighting some momentus struggles and triumphs. These are two of my favorites (more goosebumps)

And then last night a Lolo Jones video popped up on my Facebook feed. Naturally I HAD to watch it. She was so close in 2008. She will get it in 2012. I just know it. :)

So the fever has continued well into this morning and I decided to watch more YouTube videos during my commute (instead of blogging or reading). I caught up on what Lolo has been up to since 2008 including some successful indoor events and additional wins in 2011 and 2012. Ahh! Can't wait!

Even though he isn't from the U.S. I can't help but cheer and get excited to watch Usain Bolt. I mean, this is earth-shattering, record-breaking stuff. How can one man break so many records and still have room for improvement?!

Then of course, there is the women's marathon. Perhaps the event I am looking forward to the most. The trials were in January. The final races before the big event have been completed by most of the US participants in recent months. During Desiree Davila's 2011 Boston marathon, you could literally hear the papers shuffling of the announcers, trying to look up information on who this amazing racer was. Now she is part of the 2012 Olympic team alongside my besties Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan. Seeing these women race is so inspiring in so many ways (hello, Kara is a mom!)

And thanks to the folks at Oiselle, I won the Instagram t-shirt contest and specifically requested the London Calling tee. They obliged so I will be wearing that thing during all of these events. GO TEAM USA!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Triple Tangent Wednesday

Now that the "seal" has been broken, workouts before work don't seem that bad. My body was sore from the Warrior Dash on Sunday so I took Monday as a rest day. Tuesday I got up at 4:15am and did my speedwork before the sun came up. I gotta admit, it made that last set seem better to be in the light, having started my workout in the dark. (Usually it is the other way around.) Days where I run before work always seem to be more productive days. It was pretty humid out there so my splits were a smidgen slower than I would have liked but I still tried hard and the 2nd split was faster than the 1st. I gotta say, I feel like I am slowly but surely getting acclimated to the heat. I read that it takes 10-14 days out in the elements to become acclimated to them. I've run in the heat less than 10 times but I feel like I'm getting better at it. (With a goal half in July, I guess I don't really have a choice but to acclimate...)

The main reason why I did my workout before work yesterday was that softball season started last night. I'm in a 16" co-ed recreational league with co-workers and former co-workers. As we all work within the final industry, we try to come up with a catchy team name. This year's team is called "Occupy Ballstreet." This is the 5th year I've been playing (on and off). I play first base and absolutely love it. Last year I was a sub and this year I'm splitting the league with a friend (I play the 1st half, she plays the 2nd half). It will be nice to not have to commit the whole summer, but enough to go out there and have some fun. All of us on the team get a little competitive but we are still out there for fun. Since several of us have been playing together for a few years, we know the signals and how to work together in the infield. I always forget to take photos while put there playing but I'm going to try to remember that this year!

I forgot to mention that over the weekend we did a little dog sitting for our friends' pug, Bo. Pepper and Bo get along really well so it was a fun filled few days for Pepper. Because pugs are so adorable, I had to take lots of photos (obvi).

Goodnight kisses

Have you entered my Warrior Dash helmet giveaway yet?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Warrior Dash Helmet Giveaway

In honor of the Warrior Dash, I am hosting another giveaway! I am giving away 2 Warrior Dash helmets to 1 lucky reader! These "helmets" are perfect for playing dress up with your kids or used as a Halloween accessory.
(Only the hat is up for the giveaway.)

still in their original packaging!

What do you have to do to enter to win? Leave me a comment answering the following question:
Have you ever done an obstacle course race? If your answer is no, why not?

You have until Tuesday, June 26 at 11:59pm (CST) to leave a comment. Winner will be chosen using and announced on the blog by 9am (CST) on Wednesday, June 27. This giveaway is open to all readers in the U.S. and Canada. Thanks and good luck!

These helmets even make your dog look cool(er)!
Note: Pepper hated wearing this helmet.

Warrior Dash Race Recap

Over the weekend I completed the Warrior Dash for the 2nd year in a row. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the race, it is one of those obstacle course races. Kate S and I did it last year and had a blast.
Warrior Dash 2011

This year we decided to convince our husbands/fiancés to do it with us. We arrived early enough to pick up our packet and hang out a little before our wave time started. The race takes place over the course of 2 days and we chose the 2nd day (Sunday). It ended up raining all night on Saturday so I think the course was much muddier than usual. That's ok though, that is kind of the point. We made sure to get in a nice "before" photo.
L to R: Sam, Kate LF, Kate S, Matt, Mike Toph, me

We started right on time (9am). I wanted to just run this comfortably and have fun with it. I just ran a 5k on Thursday and I didn't want to overdo it. All of the obstacles get pretty crowded and if you're trying to go through the course quickly, you must choose your lanes carefully. This is a family friendly event full of lots of runners (and walkers) at all fitness levels, so you could easily get tied up at an obstacle if you are stuck behind someone who is struggling. Last year there seemed to be more obstacles that required upper body strength. This year there seemed to be more obstacles that required long legs (if you were tall, they were much easier).

After army crawling under barbed wire, walking across a rope net, sliding down a muddy slip n slide, climbing up a rock wall (and going down the other side on a firefighter pole), climbing up and down another net, jumping over fire, and swimming through a mud pit, I was done and wearing my medal. I quickly found my friends Kate S and her fiancé Matt as they finished before me.

I headed back towards the end of the race course to wait for Toph. When I saw him coming I got really excited because I know based on his time that the non-runner actually ran a majority of the race. He also said it wasn't nearly as bad as he thought it was going to be. Who knows--he just may become a runner some day! (Maybe...) The next ones to cross were Sam an Kate who did the entire race together. It was cute to see them cross the finish line together. After we were all done, we took our "after" photo and headed to the beer tent (crucial).
L to R: Mike, Toph, me, Sam, Kate LF, Matt, Kate S

L to R: Kate LF, Kate S, me

me and Toph

recreating the 2011 photo: Kate S and I

The swag for the race this year was a super soft unisex cotton tee. I don't like that it's unisex, but I love that it is super soft. We also got a "helmet." The folks from Monster and Bear Naked were also there handing out free samples (but the Monster drinks weren't cold enough so they weren't allowed to give them out...???)

All in all, this is a really fun race. It is kind of organized chaos once you're out there, and it is definitely a "run at your own risk" kind of thing. There is a greater risk of injury at these types of races so that is something to keep in mind before signing up.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jim Gibbons 5k Race Recap

Alternative title: The PR that wasn't.

When I first met with Coach Britt a few weeks ago, we talked my goal races. The Jim Gibbons was on my radar as well as the RNR Chicago Half Marathon. Throughout my training, although I had 2 goals, my mental focus remained on my half marathon. When the Jim Gibbons race was approaching I thought a PR would come "easy" based on my training. Note: No 5k PR is ever easy.

Race day came and since the start was at 6:25pm, I had all day to be nervous about the weather, the course, and other things one is worried about during a 5k. After work was over (which felt like forever), I headed over to the blogger meet up spot with Amanda and Maggie. At the meet up spot, Lauren and Britt came out to cheer us on even though they weren't running the race. What fun blogger friends that just come out to watch you run! :)
L to R: Susan, Amanda, Maggie, Lauren, Britt, me

After the photo we headed towards the start. I did a few quick warm up laps behind the porta potties with Maggie before the race to try to get the heartbeat going. When the gun went off I was really focused on not going out too fast. The plan was to keep the first mile at 7:20. When my Garmin hit 1 mile, I was right on Target. At mile 2 I decided to pick it up. That probably wasn't the best idea and I probably should have tried to keep it around 7:20. I saw Britt at the turnaround which was really motivating. I waved and she snapped a pic of me going by.

I really like this photo. I feel I look how I felt at this point--strong and fast. My mile 2 split was 7:15. I continued to pass people that had originally flew past me in the beginning so that felt good, but I felt myself slowing down. I had my watch on average pace (not lap pace) so I don't think I really realized how slow I was going. I thought I had this PR in the bag. When I got towards the end and saw the clock, I thought there had to be a mistake. My average pace on my Garmin was equating to a PR?! I tried to kick it out at the end, but it was too late. Mile 3 was clocked at 7:32. As we all know, Garmins are not an exact tool. The reason why I thought I had a PR was that my average pace was below my PR pace. The distance on my watch was 3.14 which probably accounted for the weaving and wide course lanes. (Note: I should pay closer attention to tangents in 5ks.) My final official time was 23:02. Not a PR but close. Special thanks to Lauren who was near the finish line, cheering us through the final stretch.

The more I think about the race, I can't be disappointed in myself. I gave it a good try and it just wasn't my day. This wasn't my race (this time). That is the great thing about 5ks, there will always be more. I know I have a PR in these legs... Now it is time to refocus my energy and mentality into the RNR Half Marathon. The more I think about it, I feel this is where my heart has been all along. RNR, I'm coming for you!

The race course itself was a nice out and back. There was some gravel so it seemed a bit dusty the first mile when the super speedy folks were literally leaving u's in their dust. I loved that they had race-day packet pickup so I didn't have to stress about trying to get to whatever random downtown location days before the race. They changed the shirts this year to offer a dryfit gender specific option, but the shirts were kind of boxy and not very fitted/flattering. They were still better than a unisex shirt though. 1 post-race beer was included with our entry and we had a choice of Summer Shandy or Miller Lite. Hello Summer Shandy! To me, it was the obvious choice. They had a live band playing some fun tunes and some folks even brought a blanket to sit and hang out for awhile. It was a fun race and definitely family friendly. I continue to recommend this race as I think it is well run, well organized, and for a good cause.
Hanging out with the FNRC post-race
L to R: Me, Amanda, Wayne, Susan, Tony, Maggie

Now it is time to have some fun at the Warrior Dash this weekend! :) I'm ready to get covered in mud on a 90 degree day.