Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Changing Gears

So far this year I'm about 50% the way towards my goal.  You can read my goals here!
  • 5K PR - check!  (read it here)
  • 2 Half Marathons - check! (read it here)
  • Coordinated a successful Celebrate Fitness - check!
The other goals I had were predominately triathlon focused and I'll be honest, I'm probably not going to accomplish those.  A HUGE issue I'm having in that realm is pool access that also has child care.  My only real option is the YMCA down the street and I just can't justify $80 a month for the family membership when I'm only paying $20 for a fully equipped gym with good childcare.  I'm cheap I guess!  I will get back into triathlon next year!

As for the rest of my racing schedule, I'm kind of in a lull till October when I'll be doing a 5K and two halfs back to back, St. Louis on October 19th then Los Angeles on October 26th.  I've never done two halfs back to back this way so I'm looking forward to giving it a try

But until then I was really planning taking it easy you know, running without any real goal with the exception of working on my speed.  BUT...turns out someone/something needs me.  Bike MS is a 2 day ride benefiting MS research and support programs.  The goal is to rid the world of MS.
I'm not super comfortable on a bike for long periods of time so this is going to be a challenge for me.  My goal is to do 80 miles (40 on Saturday and 40 on Sunday) others will be riding as much as 200 over the course of September 6th and 7th in Columbia, MO.

My financial goal is to raise $1,000...right now I have raised about $630.  If you want to donate to the ride, you can do so here..every little bit helps! Donate here!

Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone to help a charity or group?  Have you ever done a ride like this? What advice do you have for me? Lay it on me!

If you have a minute, could you head over and vote for me for the Refuel with Chocolate Milk contest? Vote daily here!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Smarter, Slower, Prouder

First off let me just say that when it comes to putting on an event like a running festival, the Rock ‘n’ Roll team knows how to do it! It’s not easy to orchestrate a race of any size but to do it for 17,000+ takes it to a whole other level. The event itself went so smoothly which is probably part of the reason they just keep getting bigger and bigger. They understand the celebration is as much a part of the run as miles 1-13. Ok, enough of that…let’s talk about the half.

Don’t close the browser after what I’m about to say…I am not a fan of the half marathon….when I’m training for it. I just don’t have the attention span to run for longer than 8 or 9 miles but when it comes to running it the day of, I LOVE IT.

For me it’s all mental. It’s about focusing long enough to finish the race strong. Back in April I ran the GO! St. Louis and had a pretty good race and I realized then that it’s all in my head. I started off this half knowing that it was going to be slow since the day before I had run the 5K and then proceeded to walk around Chicago for 5 hours, not ideal the day before a race but I couldn’t help it. We brought E with us on this road trip and I knew we had to show him as much of the city as we could.

Without going into a mile by mile recount of the race, lets talk about the highlights…I mentally broke this race up into 4 5Ks. I told myself if I got through the first three that I would walk a little at nine. Last year, that’s when I was really struggled and didn’t want to have a rotten rest of the race this year. The first 9 miles actually felt really strong. I found a pace that I could leisurely breath through my nose for and regardless of what watch said I went with it. At mile 10 I was starting to feel my left hip tugging a little but I tried not to think about it. At mile 11 I remember thinking I’m gonna do this. I’m going to run the entire race no matter how slow. At mile 12, it hit me that I might have this half marathon thing figured out, at least for the time being. I crossed the finish line feeling physically exhausted but mentally rejuvenated. I had done something that for me has taken 34 years to figure out.  I realized when it comes to the half, slower and smarter is better for me right now.

After the race, I got stopped by the Maui Jim team for a quick interview, then headed back to the VIP tent and sat down to eat a little something and change my shoes.  I looked around me and realized I was sitting at the table with finisher 1, 2 & 3.  Needless to say, I didn't say a word, just sat there, sipping my mimosa and listening to them recount the race.  A 10 minute conversation I will never forget.
I went to pickup my hardware, met up with this guy, said our good byes and headed our separate ways. 

I love what running is...I love what it does for us as individuals and as a community.  I'm proud of my weekend.  I'm exhausted and fulfilled.  Hopefully you had an amazing weekend too!

What's next for me?  You'll find out soon but let's just say I'm "changing gears" for a little bit.

What lessons has running taught you?  Did you race this weekend?  What made you happy this weekend?

Check out the recap from the first half of the trip. READ HERE!

Want to run Rock 'n' Roll LA? Use code: MomsLRBLA for $10 off  - REGISTER
Want to run Rock 'n' Roll STL? Use code: MomsLRBSTL for $10 0ff - REGISTER

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rockin Chicago

I have been looking forward to this weekend for so long that I was afraid that I had hyped it up in my head too much and that it would be sort of a letdown but it did NOT disappoint. Hubby and I took E with us. We headed up Friday night so I could be there for the 5K Saturday AM. E was so excited be going, this was his first time in Chicago. We stayed at the Springhill Suites on Dearborn, right down in the middle of everything.
Saturday morning came early! I walked down to the start which was about a mile from the hotel down along the lake front. I picked up my number and ran into Chris (RunWestin) and PavementRunner! When I saw them, I knew it was going to be a good morning. Chicago is fairly flat so I knew this might be a good place to PR. That was my plan all along, a new PR would’ve been anything less than 26:15. We lined up right behind Shalane Flannigan at the start which scared me slightly but I went with it. Shalane was pacing the 8:00 group so I knew if I could stay close to her, I would hit my PR no problem. I was doing just that until I lost my sunglasses (15 seconds lost) argh! I didn’t give up. I kept the pack in my sights and ran hard. My first mile was 7:43…HOLY CRAP! I could tell though that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain that so I tried to slow down to 8:15 and hold it (mile 2 8:16). That’s when I realized I started too fast.. I could feel my legs turning over slower and I couldn’t make them speed up.. Mile 3 8:48finish time: 26:10!!!

New PR..mark it off my 2014 goals!

After the race, I walked back to hotel, picked up my boys and we were off to explore the city. First stop, navy pier and the Children’s Museum. E had so much fun. I loved watching him. Next up, look at big boats then head to Cole Haan to visit my cousin. I forgot to take a picture of him but he’s adorable and really tall. Go in to Cole Haan on Michigan Ave and look for the tall dark haired guy and buy some shoes.
By that time, it was 2:00 and E was delirious. The boys went back to the room to nap and I headed for the expo. To say I love expos is an understatement. The Rock ‘n’ Roll expos are the best, by far. So many amazing brands bringing their amazing products. Here are a few of my favorites:

Apera Bags   |  Jaybird Earbuds  |  McDavid Compression |  Timex Watches
 And after I had spent some money, drooled over races I probably won't get too like Tri-rock, I was about to walk out when I ran into this girl!! (BTW, there was no way to crop out the photo bomber)

We ended our night at a good friends house.  This was the first time meeting her baby so I was happy to get to snuggle him a little.
Saturday day was so full but so satisfying.  I knew that I was going to pay for it Sunday during the half but you'll have to wait to see just how it went!

Does anyone else think that the 5K mentally challenging hard?! How was your weekend? Did you race?

Check out some of these brands: Apera BagsMcDavid | Timex | Jaybird

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Oh Hey LA...I'm Coming Your Way

Can you believe it's July 17th already?  July...this weekend is the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Festival and I am so pumped to run and share Chicago with E for the first time.

My relationship with Rock 'n' Roll doesn't end after Chicago, I'll also be running the St. Louis Half on Oct. 19th.  I'm looking forward to the race.  They found a way to make the run hit some of St. Louis' most beautiful neighborhoods.  It really is a great race route.

I'm excited to tell you that I'll be adding another Rock 'n' Roll event to the Fall race schedule...the hubby and I are packing up and heading out to LA the weekend after St. Louis (Oct 26th).  This is going to be SO MUCH FUN!  We haven't been to LA since E was born over 4 years ago.
Not to mention that so many of you are out there on the West coast, it's going to be a PARTY!!  Not to mention this is a Halloween themed race so now I have to figure out a costume...something I'm NOT good at.  HELP!

This is just one of two big additions to my fall race calendar that I have been excited to tell you about.  I'll be sharing the other big thing coming up but for now...

Anyone racing the Rock 'n' Roll LA?  Do you have any recommendations for a costume? What else should we do in LA?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Instagram Honor Roll - Recognition Phase

I love Instagram and I know lots of us do. So I thought it would be fun to share our favorites and create the first ever:
So here's how it works!  You share your favorite accounts, the form will be open for a week!  Share, get the word out!  The more people that fill out the form, the more we all get to find new fun friends.

Then, after a week, I'll compile the answers and post the top 4 in each category to be voted on as the "Best" in each category but I'll also post the entire round up so you can search and explore and find all kinds of fun fitness friends to connect with.

Are you ready?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why I Won't Follow You

I think I just need to get this off my chest.

I hate the term "followers".  If you ask me to "follow" you, chances are I won't.  I don't think of the people I'm connected to on social media as followers.  I consider you friends, many I've never met in person but slowly we are meeting and that's awesome!

So ask me to "connect" or "engage" but don't ask me to "follow" and I won't ask you!

Do you have any social media pet peeves? What drives you crazy?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Shoe Review

Turns out my shoe obsession can be used for good.  I get the chance to test out a lot of different shoes and tell you all about them.  You can check out my Running page for all the reviews of shoes past.  One shoe that I seem to get a lot of questions about are the New Balance Fresh Foam Shoe. 
New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Shoe
I have had a lot of questions about them myself.  I have seen them at a few expos now and am intrigued by the design.  Coming from someone that likes some cushion in her shoe, the idea of running on foam sounded amazing.  So when I got the chance to get my hands on the Fresh Foam Trail Shoes I jumped!

This is prime trail running weather so these types of shoes are in high demand.  The New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail shoe is a legit trail shoe. 

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Shoe

  • Tons of cushion and support - If you're a runner that likes cushion and support this shoe is for you!  You really do feel as if you're walking on a cushion
  • Confidence on the Trail - one of my constant concerns on the trail is whether or not I'm going to roll my ankle on a rock or branch or something.  The way this shoe is constructed, every step is a solid step.  
  • Great cross trainer - In the gym I love to have a shoe with a little more support and structure especially on leg day so this shoe has been filling that role too.
  • Flexibility - If you're use to a pure running shoe or even a minimal shoe that is super responsive and flexible, this shoe will take some getting use to.  What you get in cushion you lose a little in flexibility but as a trail shoe, the trade off is worth it!
Overall, I do love the shoe.  I love New Balance and know they work hard to create a quality shoe and this one is no different.  My recommendation, at least try them on and if you're in the market for a trail shoe definitely consider it!

What do you look for a in a trail shoe?

I was provided this shoe by New Balance but all opinions are my own.