Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Simple Life: A Water Bottle Giveaway

January 31 - A couple of weeks ago I found the best running accessory. A Simple Hydration Water Bottle. I heard about this bottle from another runner, checked out the website, and ordered one.

Let me tell you why I love this water bottle.

I get thirsty when I run. Not gulping-water thirsty. Just need-to-wet-the-whistle thirsty. However, I do not like to carry things when I run or wear things around my waste.

This bottle is perfect because of its shape.

It is made to rest in the small of your back and hooks onto the waste band. If you run with a belt, it will also hook onto that. Holding 13 ounces of water, it is the perfect size and weight. Simple.

I have worn my water bottle with shorts, capris, and running pants. Initially, I had to tighten my waistbands to accommodate the water bottle weight and worried that it would feel awkward when I ran, but this was not the case. The bottle rests comfortably on my lower back and is light enough that I actually forget that it is back there. Simply wonderful.

This water bottle is so awesomely simple that my running partner, hubs, and stepson have all ordered their own after seeing mine.

I think you will love this bottle a much as I do. Simple Hydration has generously offered to let me give away TWO bottles on my blog.

Here is what you have to do to enter:

Take a funny running picture (it can be posed). Could be a shoe on the head, race numbers pinned all over, funny running pose - have fun and push the limits. Then post the photo on the Simple Hydration Facebook page. After posting try to get as many people to like your photo as possible. The winners will have the most likes. The deadline is 7AM EST February 4, 2012.

While you are here, please take a minute to support my blog.

  • Like Running Escapades on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Subscribe via RSS
  • Tweet about this giveaway with something like "Make life simple. Simple Hydration Water Bottle Review & Giveaway http://runningescapades.blogspot.com/ @runningescapade @SimpleHydration #giveaway"

Head over to Simple Hydration and tell me what you think!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Testing the Temps

January 30 - Unexpectedly, I found myself packing for a quick weekend trip to Orlando. Now I know the weather in New England has been pretty mild this winter, but who wouldn't be excited about visiting the sunshine state?

I took a quick peak at the forecast for Saturday morning before packing my running bag: 51 degrees. My scheduled run on Saturday would give me a chance to see how I felt running in temperatures that are pretty average for May in Providence, which is where I will be running my second half marathon of the year at the Cox Rhode Races.

Saturday morning after a quick breakfast of PB&J toast at the hotel, hubs and I headed toward the Airport Lakes Park that the concierge recommended. It was a picture perfect day to run. Sun, sun and more sun.  

The run to the park was much shorter than we expected and it was smaller than we hoped, so we decided to follow the sidewalks. We ended up looping around the hotel before trying inside the park. Duh. There we found a nice, though short, running trail. At one point it led out to a small lake.

Since we didn't really know the area (and hubs was only running 4 with me) we decided that to be safe I should stick to the immediate area around the hotel. This was a combination of several other hotels as well as shops and restaurants. After 7 miles, I was done running what felt like circles. 

Admittedly, the warm weather did affect me. I was wearing a short sleeve running shirt, but could have easily worn a tank. When I get excited I also tend to run too fast, just like on race days. All things to remember for my half marathon in May. The best part was running on beautiful sidewalks and having water delivered. He's training for my halfathon, too!

Best hubs EVER!
After the run, we headed to the hotel pool. At 70 degrees, it wasn't warm enough for me to get in, but I did take a dip in the hot tub. You have to spoil yourself when you can, right?

Do you pack your running shoes on trips/vacations?

How do you spoil yourself after a run?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My 30 Day Challenge

January 24 - A few weeks ago, I was reading a post by Kristy and learned about a challenge that would help me improve my running.

This seemed easy enough. So I vowed to do it. 

Then I saw a great video by Patrick Goudeau, a Nike Elite Fitness Trainer, that promised to boost metabolism and keep me in my skinny jeans. Another pledge.

Around the same time Fitness online sent me an email with a promise for 
Sensational Legs in Only 3 Moves. One more oath.

I decided to combine all three of these short and simple exercises into my own 30 Day Challenge. Each exercise takes only a few minutes to do and can add maximum benefits to my running through form, strength, and toning. 

And because I want legs like these:

Creating this personal challenge appeals to me because I'm the type of person who needs variety. My runs are never the same. Different distance. Different route. Different days

I also need direction. Focus. A goal

My 30DC gives me a perfect combination of everything I need. At the end of thirty days, I can create a whole new challenge. Beautiful.

Have you ever joined a 30 day challenge or made your own?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Warrior-ing

January 21 - It has been another fun week of winter running here in New England and half marathon training continues. It snowed a little Tuesday morning but that didn't stop hubs and I from getting out for another snowy run. We don't believe in shorts cuts around here. He ran with me for 1.5 before turning around to become photographer and leaving me to do the remaining 4.5. ON MY OWN. I hate running by myself and this run was a brutal reminder of how spoiled I have been for, oh, the last 10 months. No precipitation on Thursday's run, just bitterly cold wind gusts. Turns out I run pretty good when the sidewalks are clear.

Tuesday photos by hubs
Today my training partner and I met up at Runner's Alley, a local running store, to run with the Winter Warriors group. The store itself is a perfect little gem nestled downtown. We are always greeted by friendly and knowledgeable sales people and they have an excellent selection of running shoes, clothing, and gear.

I'd been hearing about the WW Runs but never attended mainly because we don't live that convenient to the store. Even so, I was interested in finding out for myself what the group runs were like. Here's a blurb from their newsletter:

It's Not Too Late to Be a Warrior!
Winter Warriors
You keep hearing about Winter Warrior runs, and since there are a lot of chilly months ahead of us, how about another friendly reminder on what WW is all about?
*Group Runs (all paces/levels): Thursdays at 6:00pm and Saturday mornings at 8:00am
*Throughout the winter, each store will host try-on nightsfrom different brands, plus raffles and other giveaways!
*Every time you come to a run, you get a point.
*Every time you bring a canned good, another point!
*25 or more points at the end of the season means you score some free gear with the Warrior branding. Suh-weet!
*Have we mentioned it's a blast? Yeah, it is...cuz that's how fun we are.... 

I arrived at the store 5 minutes before 8 and found about 15 other runners already inside getting ready mostly in small groups with little conversation. After figuring out where to sign in, someone announced that the run would be about 4 miles because of the snow. I have to admit that the irony of that statement made me smile a little inside.

So, we ran with the group for 4 miles, took a short break back at the store, then went on for another 6. Even though the group was a little tamer than I expected, today's run was a blast...from old man winter! I can now say that I have experienced the following: snow flakes in the eyes, snow covered face, icicles in my eyebrows and lashes, and possibly even some frozen snot (lovely). I also learned that if you buy a pair of snow cleats, they probably work better if you wear them.

Due North Traction Aids
Today, I also completed the Twitter Road Race 5K. I loved being able to print my own personalized bib! Not the easiest day to run a race, but I did the best I could in the snow!

Twitter Road Race 5K: 30:33

What kind of WARRIOR are you?

Did you run the Twitter Road Race? How did you do?

Monday, January 16, 2012

No Shortcuts

January 16 - I saw this the other day on Pinterest:

                                               Source: flawlessfitnessbook.com via Amy on Pinterest

It fit perfectly with my training run on Saturday. My running partner and I had made plans to run 8 miles on the local trail, one of our favorite routes. We had a mini-snow storm on Thursday followed by some freezing rain on Friday, but Saturday looked good. Cold temps, but no bad weather forecasted.

Before heading out, I gathered the necessary gear for my run.

This is what we saw when we got to the trail:

No problem, right? Wrong. The freezing rain had left a layer of crust on top of the snow. When we ran, we crunched our way through the four inches or so left over from Thursday. We did this for about 1.5 miles. It was like running while doing knee-ups at the same time, so we ditched the trail. After quickly discussing our options we made our way out to the main road and started an alternate route hoping we could make our 8 mile goal.

We ended up combining one of our regular routes around the lake with a loop through the village added at the end. Although we missed out on our trail run, we did get some amazing views of the frozen lake.

Lesson of the day: Anything worth having is worth fighting for. We did not give up on our run. We did not quit because it was hard. We are training for a half marathon. There are no shortcuts. 

What obstacles have you had to overcome during your training?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snow Day & Ice Cleats

January 12 - Today I got the heavily anticipated email stating Due to the weather, all schools...will be closed today. It was snow day number three. No school for me. No flights for hubs. Just a good 'ole fashion mini-snow storm in New England. I was still up early (after telling the kids to sleep in - go figure), so with the downstairs to myself for a couple of hours I did my first day of the #100Ups Challenge that I read about on INSPIRUNNING's blog along with my usual NTC workout. Then I relaxed with my coffee, the computer, and the news while waiting for hubs to wake up.

Fast forward. After lunch, I FINALLY coaxed hubs into going on a snow run with me. It was still snowing a little but it felt pretty good out. Hubs offered a pair of snow & ice cleats which I happily accepted to try out for the first time. Made of rubber each cleat slips on over the running shoe and has six spikes positioned to help with traction. I've never used them before so I was excited to test them out.

We made our way easily enough down the plow-guy deprived driveway through about six inches of snow. Our short out and back run of three miles would take us on the main road briefly before turning off onto a side back road, and then on to a dirt road that led to a pond.

The roads were semi-plowed so it had that chunky feel. Where the plows had passed, the cleats worked really well. No slipping at all. Feet felt firm almost like they were on pavement. Where the roads were still snow covered I felt as if I were running in sand. It was just hard. The snow was the powdery slippery kind and it made my legs really have to work. I never felt like I was going to fall or slip though.

Our snow day run was a lot of fun. We had to jump in the snow banks as cars passed, wait for the snow plow to push by a couple of times, and almost help a car that was stuck pulling out of a driveway, but definitely worth going out and avoiding the treadmill. I love the white wonderland that is created after a fresh snow.

My next run is another training run for the half marathons coming up. Running in the snow today was a great workout in my training. It wasn't speedy or lengthy, but it was challenging. And, you never know about the weather in New England. You have to be prepared for anything!

Do you run in the snow/bad weather or head to the treadmill?

What was your weather like today?

Monday, January 9, 2012

To Keep Running

Almost to the finish line!
January 9 - Last year my major running milestone was running my very first half marathon. This year (cross your fingers for continued healthy running) I will attempt to run THREE half marathons while keeping up with my goal for 2012: TO KEEP RUNNING

After taking some time off from running to let my shin heal once I completed the half marathon in August, I basically had to start over.  It is amazing what a couple of weeks without running can do to your body! I had no idea. Since  then I have been running non-stop. Through the fall and winter I ran a bunch of 5Ks and a couple of 10Ks.

To keep me motivated (and prevent the whole starting-over-again thing), I am attempting to run a race every month. This requires planning. Here is what I have scheduled: (highlighted = races registered/finished):

January 1 - First Run 10K - Lowell, MA - 58:09 PR
February 19 - Half at the Hamptons - Hampton, NH
March 11 - St. Paddy's 5 Miler - Portsmouth, NH
April 21 - Stonyfield Earth Day 5K - Londonderry, NH
May 6 - Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon - Providence, RI
June ? - Kickoff to Summer 5K - New Boston, NH
July 3 - Manchester 5K - Manchester, NH
August 19 - Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon - Providence, RI
September 22 - Zooma Cape Cod 10K - Falmouth, MA
October ? - My Dogs Are Barking 5K - Bedford, NH
November 11 - Newport Pell Bridge Run - Newport, RI
December 1 - Santa Shuffle - Manchester, NH

For me to complete the above schedule I have to focus on my training and stay healthy.  In "How to Run Injury-Free" on Active.com, Jeff Galloway offers great advice to runners on how avoid overuse injuries and enjoy years of running. The main points Galloway makes include:

  1. Train fewer days during the week
  2. Slow your pace on long runs 
  3. Take walk breaks 
  4. Massage instead of stretch
  5. Prepare for speed training
  6. Stop if you experience pain
Also, on his blog Galloway stresses the importance of resting after long runs to allow muscles to recover, rebuild, and reduce the chance of injury. Rest days are great for doing some light cross training activities. I have found some good workouts on the Nike Training Club app. 

One thing I know that will help me achieve my goal to keep running is to let go of the idea that a "real runner" doesn't need to stop and walk. If I want to stay injury-free and enjoy all of the races I signed up for, I have to listen to my body. If I need to take a break in the middle of an 8 mile run, it's OK! I'm still running 8 miles, right?  

What do you do to KEEP RUNNING?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 Nike+ Rundown

January 7 - One thing I really like about using the Nike Running website is the Rundown Report. This report lets you see your running stats for the year and compare them to the previous year. I saw my report for 2011 today and was PUMPED UP:

I wish I knew what happened to me in 2010. I have no explanation. No excuses. No justifications. I was completely, totally, and embarrassingly LAZY!  See further proof:

Not that 2009 was by any means stellar. I ran one race, a local 5K. It was something.

2008 was the year I first started using Nike+. Then in August I moved 900 miles to NH. It took me awhile to adjust.

Last year I fell in love with running. I became addicted to the racing experience. This year I want to keep the feeling alive. My 2011 Rundown Report will be a constant reminder of what I can accomplish.

How do you use your running stats?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 First Run 10K

January 1 - To welcome in the new year and get a start on my 2012 running goals, I headed to Lowell, Massachusetts to participate in the First Run 10K. Joining me was my running buddy Daisy, and my husband who would be running the 5K. Using VZ Navigator, we found the race location and parking easily, but getting into the registration building was like trying to buy an iPad on Black Friday! Ok, maybe not that bad, but it was super crowded. Good sign for the race (a lot of people usually means it is a good race) but harder to make those last minute rest rooms breaks and find people.

Cool hat and long sleeve tech shirt
Today's race was a big festive continuation of New Year's Eve. I'm guessing at least 2000 runners turned out for both races and we were given great swag, outstanding music, and a functional starting line area with all the typical runner-needed amenities. The course was a double loop with 5Kers splitting off when 10Kers continued on to loop part 2. It was an easy course, mostly flat with one small hill and the last two miles followed the Merrimack River. The 5K portion was very crowded, but things were nice and roomy for those who kept on for the 10K.

Personalized bib & finisher's medal
The last time I ran a 10K race was at home in Cincinnati. I PR'd that one with 59:08. I had no intention of trying to PR this one because the plan was for me to run the 5K with hub and then continue on. However, he encouraged me to go ahead. I ran with Daisy most of the way, but about 2 miles in I realized that I should have gotten in the port-a-potty line. Two miles later I trailed Daisy as I struggled with my very, very full bladder! This really sucked because other than that, I was having a great running day. The 10K took a small side route through a neighborhood where, if you ask me, a couple of port-a-potties would have been like finding water in the desert! Overall, I did enjoy this race and managed to PR in 58:09l!

Stephanie & her hub!
Leading up to this race Bill from Daily Mile arranged a DM group meet up and Stephanie from Run for Fun let me know she was running and wanted to meet. I was super excited to meet fellow cyber runners for the first time. These are the other people who have what A Veteran Runnah would call RUNNERITISThey are a totally fun and loyal virtual support group.

Today I was supposed to meet them IRL (in real life). I'm happy to report that I did meet Stephanie, but only briefly. She was easy to spot in her "Crazy Bitch" running shirt. I still had to grab my race bib, so we parted ways and only saw each other again during the run.  (I shamelessly stole this picture from her Twitter post). I never did find the DMer group in the massive crowd.

Appropriately named, the First Run 10K was a day of firsts for me. First run of 2012. First race on my run-a-race-a-month goal. First time meeting a blogger friend. First time meeting attempting to meet Daily Mile friends. First time running a race in Massachusetts (another race goal). First PR of 2012. Now if I could only take my FIRST GOOD RUNNING PHOTO!

Why do I wave like that??

How did you spend New Year's Day?

What do your running/active photos look like?