February 27, 2013

The Essentials

So I was recently asked what are the absolute essentials that you must have for your runs...I thought it was a really good question and a good topic to discuss while in the midst of my Cap City Half Marathon training. So here are a few of the essentials that I must have on my runs:

EOS Lip Balm
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this lip balm!! I mean I'm a fanatic about it. By far the best lip balm ever made! I always wear this before going out on a run, especially if I'm running outside in this cold weather. I have one of these beauties in each one of my purses, on my desk and by my bed....yes I LOVE it that much!! They are amazing! And not to mention they are 95% organic and 100% natural. My faves are summer fruit and lemon drop, but I'm really enjoying my new raspberry pomegranate...it's delish! Try them if you haven't yet...you won't be disappointed.

I must have gum on a run....keeps my mouth moist while I run. It's a must! My favorite....Stride Spark Orange. I love the fact that it has B vitamins in it....a nice plus! But regardless of what kind of gum it is, I just have to have gum....it's not a good run without it.

I can't do a run without my auditory motivation. I love my music!! I always have my iPod Touch with me and playing my tunes...and with an ADD girl like me it's nice having that musical distraction while I run. One of my favorite spots to get great running tuneage right now is from Rock My Run. They have great DJ mixes of great workout songs. My favorite right now is 80 Reasons to Run and Mash Up My Run. They also have great Christian running mixes by a DJ named Lloyd which I like as well. So if you are looking for great motivating music...check out Rock My Run....they have lots of different genres and great mixes.

Fuel Belt Handheld Water Bottle
I just recently found this water bottle and I'm glad I did! I was looking for a water bottle to conveniently take with me on my long runs. It's not too big and fits nicely in the hand. I was debating between handheld or a fuel belt that wraps around the waist. I think for me this will be better for me and less distracting. I really like it. It also has a zipper pocket to fit an ID, some money and energy gels so it's great. And I found it on a recent trip to TJ Maxx and got it for $ 7.00!! Works great AND a great deal?? Yeah I'll take that!

Mizuno Shoes
I heart my Mizunos!!! Anyone who knows me knows I love these shoes soooo much! My favorites...My Wave Precision 13. The color on the link is not the ones I have are these beautiful pink pair.  I can't say enough about these shoes. When I first got them I swear I heard angels singing...it was that monumental. They are amazing! I also have a pair of the Wave Rider 16 and I like them too now that I finally broke them in....I think I like my Precisions a bit better though. But honestly you can't go wrong with Mizuno. They have this amazing precision fit program you can do on their website that tells you which running shoe is best for you...absolutely amazing! Check them out!

Well that pretty much sums it up. As long as I have these essentials I know it's gonna be a pretty decent run. What do YOU need for a good run?? Have a great day!

February 25, 2013

The good, the bad, the TMI...

When it comes to talking about my half marathon training, I'm all about keeping it real. As much as I would love to post about how half marathon training is like rainbows and butterflies it just isn't always going to be that way...that just isn't reality. At least I've found that it's never been MY reality. Life gets messy...things get messy and it sometimes just isn't so pretty.

This past Friday I did my run at Kids America because it was just too cold outside and we had ice earlier in the day. (It's funny how last year I was out in snow and rain and cold...this year I'm such a wuss...lol!) Anyway, I ran in my new Mizuno Wave Rider 16's again and I think I finally broke them in. It was a good, actually really good 6 mile run. Felt really good, did a nice negative split on my last mile...it was really good.

So this morning I opted to do my long run. Now I usually try to do my long runs on the weekend, but with my middle son's birthday party and the weather I opted to do another Monday long run (and can I just say I really like it, starting off the week with the long run). Now I've been trying to finally get to my 10 miler....the last couple weeks it just wasn't working out and I'd get to about 9 miles and would just have to quit...just couldn't go any farther. Well on the good side of things, I was finally able to break through that. 10.29 miles to be exact. I was able to do it in 1:36:56 with a pace of 9:24...was pretty happy with that, and I was even able to pull off negative splits the last 3 miles of my run which I was pretty happy about. After today's run I think I may be able to do this. Though I know most plans say that you only need to train to about 10 miles in order to do the half...the type A personality in me is thinking I need to not only make sure I can do 13.1, but I may if I feel up to it try to surpass that. I figure in my mindset that if I can go past that then surely I can do it and in my mind it won't seem such a hard feat. I'll be honest by the time I got to 10 miles I was glad it was about over....again after my long run I'm saying to myself...how am I going to add more miles to this?? I think come race day it will be ok. I need to calm my mind for sure.

So then for the the bad and ugly....so about half way through my run my stomach was really starting to bother me. I know this may be a bit of TMI but I'm about keeping it real and helping inform others so if they are training too that they will know what can happen. Well anyway I really needed to find a bathroom...and of course my long run I usually go to our local park called Lake Park across town. Now, this place is a nice place to run and pretty hopping when the weather is warmer...not so much this time of year...which is fine for me...except when you are looking for a bathroom. I usually run around the Lake Park campground...which I might add is the FARTHEST point from my house possible...so I thought I would try to see if the campground bathroom was open....of course it was not...not that I was surprised. Needless to say I went to try the bathroom which was probably less than a half mile away by the pool...nada there too. So back around the Lake I go...I got around the soccer fields and back up by the lake and crossing over the parking lots and I see it....the port-o-potty. Definitely not my first choice by any means...but desperate times you know....so thankful it was there. Felt better afterwards but not sure what caused it. Not sure if it was the egg I had for breakfast or the orange juice/ pineapple smoothie....I'm gonna guess the OJ....so now I'll know not to do that again before a run. I usually have those AFTER a run...don't think I've ever had one before....and I will definitely won't be doing that again....not good at all. So lesson learned.

So 67 days until the Cap City Half Marathon...I think I may actually be able to pull this off. :) 

Have a great week everyone!

February 20, 2013

Sometimes you just gotta do it

So this week so far seems to be going a little better. Ended up taking Sunday off and resting one more day and went for my long run on Monday...and I'm glad I did. My foot was still bothering me a little on Sunday, but when I woke up on Monday...no pain. I decided I was going to run as long as my body felt good, despite the fact it should have been my long run. Surprisingly I felt really good and I ended up doing 9 miles. The only part of me that started hurting towards the end of my run were my glutes...I may want to concentrate on those during my cross training sessions. And speaking of cross training, I have really struggled with doing my cross training...I'm just not entirely sure what to do...I know cross training is supposed to help, but the last thing I want to do is do something that will jeopardize my running or make things worse. If you have done any sort of research on running, cross training or preparing for any sort of race, you'll find as many opinions and options as Lindsay Lohan has had altercations with the law. There is just so much...which is right? I think the reason I've really drug my feet on this cross training is for fear of doing something wrong. Well after the miserable runs I had last week I knew I had to do something...even if it was wrong. 

So after some research I've decided to go this route:  Nike Training Club. It has many different types of workouts (including stretching exercises which are wonderful) and it's motivating because you earn badges....and for me motivational items are key...gotta be striving for something :)  So for right now until I find something better that is what I'm going to use. Yesterday I used the Body Flexor workout and I'm definitely feeling it in my arms today...which I'm not surprised since my upper body strength is non existent. It's sad...and push ups are the worst thing known to man!! I hate push ups...but I'm determined to get through at least 10 decent push ups (regular...not the wimpy kind) and do them well. We shall see how that goes. I've got to get my upper body strong so I can accomplish the Indian Mud Run in June. There is a bit of climbing on these obstacles so I'm bound determined to do it well.  I'm going to be going to my first Indian Mud Run meeting tonight so we'll see how that goes. I'm hoping to get involved with cleaning and helping with the course...I love that trail and anything I can do to keep it nice or make it better I'm all for.

Well time get moving...got some errands to run and have to fit in a 4+ mile run in somewhere today as well...though with this cold snap we are experiencing, I have a feeling I'm going to be seeing the Kids America track real soon. It's gonna be another busy one! Have a great day!

February 17, 2013

Sometimes things aren't rainbows and butterflies

Sometimes things in life are amazing, great and you think they can't get much better....as far as my Cap City Half Marathon training goes however, this was NOT one of those weeks. Definitely no rainbows and butterflies...just lots of hardship and pain.

Rewind to last Sunday...I had an amazing 9.6 mile run...I felt like I could have run longer if I would have had the time to. Monday was a rest day and then Tuesday's run I ran outside and it was HORRIBLE!! Awful to say the least. My legs felt tired and like I had lead in my shoes...totally miserable almost 4 mile run. I gave myself another day off on Wednesday then proceeded to do another 4 mile run on Thursday. Though it wasn't quite as miserable, I had pain in my left foot/ankle area...not good. I've been dealing with that the past few days since. It just feels like my calf muscle is tight and the bottom of my foot is bruised or something. I tried breaking in my new pair of Mizuno Wave Riders 16's since my other Mizuno's are getting towards the end of their life cycle. Not sure if it's the breaking in the new shoes, running in the old ones earlier in the week...who knows. 

So I get to today...it was supposed to be my long run. Was hoping to put in some good miles today, but the longer the day went on the more I felt it wasn't the best idea. My foot still hurt a little and I just don't want to push it. Hubby gave me a wonderful foot massage and that helped a lot....so I opted to not run my long run today. Am I bummed...yes, but I'd be even more bummed if I hurt myself so bad that I couldn't run, so I'm glad that I'm far enough before race day that I can afford the luxury to take a few extra days off...so today instead of running I did some stretching exercises which really did help and I'm seriously thinking of incorporating these into a post run routine. Also I'm thinking that maybe stretching a little before a run would be somewhat beneficial. I don't usually stretch before a run (I do a warm up walk, but not a stretch). I've heard both sides that you should or shouldn't. I may try it and see if it helps me. I do stretch after a run though. So what's next?? Well I'm going to try and do a run tomorrow and see how I do. And if I don't make it into a long run, I'm ok with that...it's not the end of the world and I don't want to push myself so hard that I ruin this for myself....and that is my ultimate fear. That something happens that I hurt myself and can't race. So I'm just going to ease back into it and go from there and see how it goes.

On other news, had a great girls day out yesterday. It was just nice to get out and enjoy some shopping and cheesecake. :)  Though it was funny because most of our purchases were all running related. I found myself some much needed new sports bras and a cute tank that I think will match my running skirt perfectly. Also found one of those little hand-held water bottles....gonna try that out on my next long run and see if that works for me...not sure yet if I want something to hold during the race or something around my waist. Luckily we have some time to figure that out.

Well I know this wasn't one of my more cheerful witty posts, but I just want to keep it real...not everything about training is fun, easy or rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes there are obstacles and struggles on the way to a dream. The thing is to not let it beat you, defeat you and to overcome those things. So here is to the next few months of overcoming ;). Have a great weekend!

February 15, 2013

In the thick of it

Sorry been away for a bit...life gets busy you know...

So training is going...it's been kind of a rough week this week. Rough just trying to fit in the time to get my training in and then doing it. Did my long run this past Sunday, 9.53 miles....and though I usually dread the "long run" this one was actually really good and if it wasn't for the fact that I needed to get home I might have gone longer. Learning to refuel is something I'm trying to figure out. Took some Gatorage energy chews with me (by the way it's not something I would want to take all the time) they are OK, kind of like gummies, but after running 7 miles and having a dry mouth it just wasn't the most pleasant thing. Need to invest in a portable water system to take on my long runs...just haven't found that right thing yet....need to work on that. But yes, my long run this past Sunday was great...good thing because my shorter runs this week were horrible!! I ran on Tuesday...outside...which is always a good thing, but I had very low energy and my legs felt like they were in concrete boots. Horrible...and my left calf would start cramping...overall, one of the worst runs I've had in a while. Decided to rest Wednesday and went out yesterday at Kids America...the first mile or two again...legs felt awful. By mile 2.5 I had to take a break because where my leg meets my ankle was hurting terribly and I could tell my form was off making it worse. Decided to walk a couple laps to regroup and then ran the rest of my 4.6 total miles. Second half was better after I regrouped but my left leg and foot are sore today. I think I'm going to take today and tomorrow off and then maybe try to attempt a run on Sunday. It should be my long run, but we will see how that goes. Don't want to push too hard...my next long run I was going to shoot for 10 miles, but may have to hold off on that...we shall see.

So in more running news...I signed up for another run today. If you've heard me talk last summer about the Indian Mud Run that my friends and I would run on last summer, then this is the actual race. The Indian Mud Run is a 3.2 mile race with mud and about 30 obstacles...I debated about doing it, but thought heck I only live once and since I already know the trail pretty well why not. If you sign up by Saturday, February 16th you can get in at last years price of $45.00. I'm kind of excited....nice to have races like this literally in our own backyard, and the best part is the money benefits the Lake Park district, which is where I also do my long runs...so it's a win win!! I'm doing the 8:00 a.m. wave so if anyone would care to join me come along!! I may need someone to point out trees for me...lol!

This week, we celebrated a birthday in our house...my middle baby turned 14 this week. How is this possible!!?!?! He's growing up so fast and he is so smart! So proud of the young man he is becoming.

On other news, I am so excited about tomorrow!! Having a long overdue girls day out with my besties! Heading to Easton to do a little bit of shopping and I've heard there is going to be some cheesecake involved. Can't wait!! I love my boys, but there is something to be said about testosterone free time....did I say I was excited?? Is it Saturday yet??

Well I've got things to get ready before tomorrow, so I better go for know. Here's hoping that next weeks running training goes better.

February 2, 2013

There is a fine line...

There is a saying that I have....there is a fine line between dedication and insanity...and when it comes to running...that line is very very fine. 

So today I knew I needed to get my long run in....8 miles to be exact....however the Weather Channel was calling for 2-4 inches of snow our way starting at around 9 a.m. Needless to say, this left me with 2 options...well 3 really but that 3rd one wasn't an option, which was skipping the run altogether. But my other 2 options were A) Go use the track at Kids America and go around that track a billion times or B) Brave the sub Arctic outdoor temperatures. Needless to say my body woke me up at 6 a.m. and though I laid there for about 20 minutes debating on whether or not to crawl out of my nice warm cozy bed, I reluctantly got my gear on (which I laid out the night before so there were no excuses) and headed out before my brain could tell me no. Though I was what I considered bundled up...it was COLD OUT THERE!! 14 degrees to be exact...6 with the windchill. My fingers were frozen by the time I got down my alley (and yes I had mittens on). I decided against going my usual long route and decided to do my usual longer school route instead since I figured the roads would be clearer and if I fell or needed help at least there were houses nearby...lol. Overall the route was clear...only a couple little icy spots, but nothing major at all. The biggest problem....the wind and keeping my face warm....definitely need something for my face...thought about one of those face masks, but afraid people would think I'm some sort of criminal running away from something.....face masks have truly gotten a bad rap! Not to mention by halfway through my run though the rest of my body (other than my face) was getting warm...my core was FROZEN!! I literally could not feel it! My core usually gets pretty cold after a good workout...but this was like icebox cold. Needless to say my core was beet red when I got home and took a while to thaw out. Needless to say I think I need to rethink my outdoor gear and maybe dress a little warmer than I did...though I thought I did, I obviously need to bundle up a bit more. So I'm on the lookout for good winter running wear...nothing hugely bulky but will keep me warm while wicking away the moisture. If you have any suggestions let me know.

So would I do it again....as insane as it sounds, probably YES. Though I froze and it wasn't an easy in the cold...I far prefer being outside than running in circles around a mind numbing track. Don't get me wrong, I like the KA track and it serves me well...just not for 8 long miles...much rather be outside for my long runs....and thus, I hope and pray that next week's long run will be a bit warmer....though I did hear that the groundhog did not see his shadow today so hopefully an early Spring will be upon us and I can continue with training outside more often!

Overall training has been going pretty well...still having trouble grasping cross training and what to do that would work best....found a new Nike app that has exercises so maybe I'll try those.

Well I'm going to get my family some dinner and continue trying to thaw out...unfortunately been a pretty lazy day...just laundry and dinner. Oh well...I'm hoping to paint the second coat on my hallway/stairway next week and finally have that project done...it will be so nice to finally have that finished...though it does make my stairwell seem a bit smaller, I'm glad it's finally having a nicer look.

Well have a great weekend everyone and stay warm!!