Thursday, January 31, 2013

Three Things: Fun & New

Today I have some fun and new things on my mind.

It's almost time to announce the winner of the Chilly Challenge. All miles must be logged by midnight EST tonight to count for Team Escapades. Check back tomorrow to see which team won!

My friends at ZOOMA have launched a Personal Best Program. The program challenges runners or walkers to complete a distance best or set a personal record. If they achieve their goal, athletes will receive a special “PR” medal at the finish line party, offering the opportunity for extra bragging rights.

There's a brand new race happening in one of my favorite places. The Newport Ten Miler has a fantastic course lined up that takes runners down scenic Ocean Drive, past beautiful mansions, and through the gates of Fort Adams. Best registration price ends today! 

What fun things are you thinking about?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 16s

I first saw the Mizuno Wave Rider 16s in early December at a fun run sponsored by my local running store. Mizuno Rep Mary brought a bag of running shoes for us to try that day and I choose the 16s since I already loved my 15s. 

After that run, I couldn't stop thinking about them. I admit, I put a lot of miles on my running shoes last year, but the 16s felt unbelievably soft and light. 

I hadn't noticed any discomfort while running in my 15s or my Inspire 8s, but a quick 5 mile run in the tester 16s clearly made my old shoes feel hard. One reason for this feeling lies in the change of material used in the heel which improves shock absorption and increases smoothness.

Another noticeable difference is in the upper part of the shoe. With the removal of overlays and the open mesh design, the shoe moves with your foot easier and improves breathability.

At 8.2 ounces, the Wave Rider 16 is half an ounce lighter than its predecessor. A subtle difference, but when combined with the other design changes it creates that soft, lightweight feel.

Once again, Mizuno does not disappoint. The color options are vibrant so they look good, and the material changes add a plushness so they feel good. Win, win.

What running shoes are you loving?

Chilly Challenge Reminder
Only one more day to run and log your miles for Team Escapades! 

I have not received compensation for this post.

Monday, January 28, 2013

#TrainingTruths: Paying Up

I entered a little Runner's Wager hosted by pavement runner and NYC Running Mama and since the Patriots didn't win the AFC Championship, my workouts last week included some #milesofshame settling up. On the upside, I could also add the miles to my team.

#TrainingTruth: There is no downside to running.

I took advantage of the day off from school and put in a Monday morning run. It was too cold for me to run outside by myself, so I jumped on the treadmill to run my first 5 #milesofshame. In or out, miles are miles. They all feel good.

Instead of waiting until after school, Daisy and I decided to use our hour long lunch break to go for a run. It was only 18 degrees, but we came prepared with our Lululemon brisk run neck warmers and lots of layers. I love running in the cold and barely breaking a sweat. It just feels easy.

With temps in the single digits, I took my run back to the treadmill on Wednesday and finished up my Runner's Wager #milesofshame debt. After reading about treadmill pacing problems I suspect that mine is also inaccurate because it feels so much harder to run the same pace as my outdoor runs. But, who can complain about TM runs when you have a buddy keeping you company. 

Still in a deep freeze, we canceled our normal Saturday morning long run (for fruit smoothies) opting instead for treadmill miles where we wouldn't lose any extremities to frostbite. With hopes that it might be warmer in the afternoon, I ran errands and went out to lunch with my husband, only to realize that I would be seriously crazy to run outside when I have a perfectly good treadmill in the basement. So I ran my longest distance on the treadmill while watching Run For Your Life - a documentary about NYC Marathon founder, Fred Lebow.

Has the weather been affecting your training lately?

#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fitness Friday: Ready for the Cold

It's been frigid here in New England lately. Temperatures are low, wind chills are even lower. This season, I'm more prepared for my cold outdoor runs with a new piece of winter gear.

Lululemon's Brisk Run Neck Warmer:

After seeing my running partner wear this, I had to get one. This multipurpose piece is a neck warmer that can also be worn as a hood. I hate to wear hats because my head gets warm and then I have to carry the hat or end up overheating. But sometimes the temperatures are too cold to just wear bandless earmuffsWith the brisk run neck warmer, once you warm up, you can just pull it down and wear it loose around your neck. 

In below freezing weather and running against the wind, my head and ears stay warm and comfy. The BRNW has an adjustable cord at both ends so that you can wear it as snug a you like. The Rulu fabric is super soft and wicking.

Next weekend I'm heading up to Maine to run the Mid-Winter Classic 10 Miler in Cape Elizabeth. I have a feeling my new brisk run neck warmer will keep me safe and warm there.

What are you wearing this season to stay warm and safe from the cold?

Chilly Challenge ReminderLog your miles for Team Escapades!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Firmoo Eyeglasses

In a couple of months, my running partner and I will be driving to New York City for the NYC Half Marathon. Obviously there's a lot of miles involved: running and driving. I can see to run, but I need glasses to see when I drive, especially at night. Just a few of weeks ago, I went for my regular eye exam. Around the same time, I was contacted by Firmoo to do a review of their eyeglass wear. So I jumped at the chance to try some new glasses.

I used Firmoo's virtual try on system that lets you see what the glasses look like on similar shaped faces to help me pick my frames from the large variety of options on the websiteLess than two weeks after choosing my frames and submitting my prescription, my new Firmoo eyeglasses arrived. They came with a hard case, pouch, cleaning cloth and tool kit. The durable plastic frames are strong yet comfortable, and just as stylish as they presented on the website. 

Firmoo offers men's and women's glasses, designer glasses, RX sunglasses, and fashion eyewear - that's right, glasses are officially a fashion accessory. There is also a First Pair Free Program for new customers. You only have to pay for shipping.

I'm very happy with my new eyewear and being the frugal shopper that I am, I already have plans to pick out some new eyewear for my husband. He is the one who attempts to take great race photos by riding around during a race reading a course map. 

Disclaimer: I received this product for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 21, 2013

#TrainingTruths: Bouncing Back

At the beginning of last week, I fell victim to some sort of illness. Whatever it was knocked me off me feet and put me to sleep for about 8 extra hours on Monday afternoon. One sick day later and I was bouncing back.

#TrainingTruth: It's ok to be down, as long as you get back up.

Monday's run did not happen. Tuesday became a sick day. Wednesday I was granted a snow day. As soon as I received notice, I changed into my running clothes and jumped on the treadmill. Usually a long run on the 'mill is torture, but I was eager to run. With the loyal hound keeping me company and the first episode of The Bachelor tuned in, I logged 7 miles. I forced myself to do an easy one mile warm up, then upped my pace to 9:30-ish for five, before ending with another easy one mile cool down. It felt good to be back.

Itching to run again, on Friday night I jumped on the treadmill. First, I wanted to stay on track to get at least three runs for the week. Second, I had some new shoes to try (review coming soon). Once again, I sandwiched my five mile run between a one mile warm up and cool down. This is pretty easy to do on a treadmill where pushing a button controls your pace. I need to learn how to do this on my outdoor runs because it makes my legs happy.  

On Saturday morning, Daisy and I met downtown for our weekly run for smoothies long run. We did the same loop as last week only she had the great idea to do it backwards. The tough hill was at the beginning, and the rest of the run felt mostly down hill and easy. Fresh fruit smoothies after proved that I was indeed feeling better.

How was your week?

#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fitness Friday: #ChillyChallenge Update

I am so happy with the results of the first two weeks of the Chilly Challenge.

We have over 300 participants!

We have logged more than 8000 miles in just over two weeks!

Proof from Meagan Katherine Nancy Michelle

I've seen tons of motivation, encouragement, and inspiration on Twitter and Facebook!

We have awesome sponsor support from some of our favorite product lines.

from Janine

When Janine and I began talking about putting together a January challenge, I never imagined so many people would be interested in participating. It is so exciting to see so many people being motivated and having fun. To those of you who have taken the time to send me an email or comment online, Twitter, and Facebook: thank you for being fit, for being inspiring, and for your support.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: FRS Healthy Performance

During the day my energy levels sometimes dip, as if I could take a nap. On long runs I always fill my Simple Hydration bottle with some kind of performance drink to give myself a mid-run boost. I was pretty excited when  I received a box of sample product to try from FRS Healthy Performance

FRS is a product line that offers an energy boost from natural ingredients rather than using caffeine or high levels of sugars. The main ingredient in FRS is Quercetin - it's basically a source of energy from plant extracts instead of calories. 

My first test of the FRS product was a 20 calorie Healthy Energy Bottle. About mid-morning on a non-running day I drank the wild berry before hopping on the treadmill for a walking workout. When I saw the yellow color of the liquid I was expecting it to taste like oranges, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a very sweet berry flavor. Although the drink was good, I can't say that I felt a change in my energy level.  

I next tried the Healthy Slim Bottle during the slump between lunch and dinner when I sometimes feel like snacking. What I really liked about this product was the low 20 calories it packed; that's my kind of snack! I opted for the tropical flavor which reminded me mostly of grapes. It wasn't as sweet as the Energy Bottle, but it was still good and it held my appetite until dinner.

I tried the Energy Powder packets at work mixing them right into my bottled water. At first the bright yellow color of the orange flavor mix was surprising, but I was relieved to find the taste refreshingly sweet and quickly followed by an energy boost. The single serving packets are just 10 calories.

For one of my long runs, I put together an FRS line up. I used the cherry limeade Healthy Energy Bottle pre-run and also put some in my Simple bottle. I ate four orange Healthy Energy Hard Chews at the start of my run, but they left a slight chalky taste in my mouth, so I did not use the rest. The blueberry pomegranate soft chews were better. Even though I never felt sluggish during my run (which usually happens), I didn't feel a burst of energy either. The blackberry Acai Healthy Protein Bottle was very tasty after my workout and I can easily see myself using this as a recovery drink. 

My favorite FRS product is the single serving Energy Powder packets. After using these for multiple days at work, I have noticed that I do have more energy and the orange flavor is just yummy. I have already placed a couple of boxes in my online shopping cart. I also really like the Healthy Slim and Healthy Protein Bottles and can see myself purchasing these individually in a store. 

Do you use specialty drinks as part of your workout routine?

I received this product to review as a FitFluential Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 14, 2013

TrainingTruths: NYC Plans

Training for the New York City Half Marathon has officially started. In a short nine weeks, I will be lacing up my Mizunos and readying myself for a running tour of Manhattan. My running has been in maintenance mode since the Manchester City in November, so my training plan for NYC is really just upping the mileage on my long runs. 

#TrainingTruth: I plan to be running for as long as I can and have no plans to stop - Frank Shorter

A busted water heater at Daisy's (sorry chick) led to a cancelled run date, so I went home for a runch (lunch run) with my husband. The weather was a cool 42 degrees, so I pulled out the Nike capris and matched my Mizuno Wave Rider 15 Limited Editions to my new pink Nike thermal top. We enjoyed a quiet unplanned run. 

Thursday's six mile run after school served up some challenges. First we had melting snow puddles to dodge, followed by slippery sidewalks and some strong headwinds. At the end my Wave Inspire 8s looked like they been on a trail run. 

We took our Saturday morning long run to downtown Manchester. The heavy fog at the start never dissipated and was even joined by some drizzle. Our run ended at Baked, a new local cafe, where we ordered fresh fruit smoothies with a shot of protein as our reward.

My goal for the week was to do a walking workout on my rest days. Walking workouts have many benefits for runners. It keeps leg muscles loose, alleviates soreness after a tough run, and helps maintain good circulation. For me it's about elevating my heart rate to burn as many fat calories as possible, and I can add my miles to the Chilly Challenge for my team.

Are you in maintenance or training mode?
If training, what are your training for?

Chilly Challenge ReminderLog your miles for Team Escapades!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fitness Friday: No Gym Required

When I lived in Ohio, I was a member of the local YMCA. It was affordable, conveniently located, and offered many amenities that appealed to me. Since moving to New Hampshire, I have opted not to join a gym and instead find other ways of working out.

Running is obviously my first choice and because we have a treadmill, I have the option of running inside when the weather is bad. Lately I have also been using the treadmill to do walking workouts on my non-running days.

One thing I have learned over the last couple of years is that to be a better runner, you must cross train and do strength training. One way that I incorporate strength training is by following various 30 day challenges. Several sites publish calendars to follow making it easy to find one that works for you.

I also search for workouts in magazines that I can tear out, tack to the bulletin board, or save for future use. 

A new workout that I recently learned about is a challenge from TribeSports called British Military Fitness: Blue Workout. It's a circuit workout that anyone can perform because all you need is your own body weight. 

I like these workouts because they are easy, quick, and can be done indoors or out. No gym or equipment required.

How do you feel about gyms or fitness centers?

Chilly Challenge Reminder: Log your miles for Team Escapades!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: Rock My Run

I live in a very rural area in New England. Now even though it was deemed one of the best small towns in New Hampshire, I would never run on the roads and use earbuds to listen to music. Instead I save my music for indoor workouts or blast the volume from an armband.

I first heard about RockMyRun after running the Rock 'n Roll Providence Half Marathon. It was one of the goodies I found in the swag bag. I used my free download credits right away and fell in love with the mixes. Here are a few of my favorites:

I love that you can choose music by the beats per minute. I really started using the RockMyRun mixes consistently when I was training for Reach the Beach and the ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon. I knew I would be running solo and needed a way to maintain my pace. Lately I have been using the mixes more during interval treadmill runs or walking workouts to keep me entertained. 

Do you have a favorite playlist?

RockMyRun is one of the prize sponsors for the Chilly Challenge. If you haven't already, show them some love on Twitter and Facebook and tell them I sent you!

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I just really like RockMyRun and they were generous enough to donate prizes to the Chilly Challenge that I am hosting on this blog.

Monday, January 7, 2013

TrainingTruths: Fun Challenges

Last week my training coincided with the kick off of a couple of fun monthly challenges. Challenges are fun because you can find motivation, sometimes win prizes, but most importantly improve your overall fitness.

#TrainingTruth - If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you

This month I am hosting the Chilly Challenge with Janine from The Purple Giraffe and I want my team to win the prizes. I logged my first miles for Team Escapades with a 10K race on Tuesday. 

Shrinking Jeans has me motivated again with Fab Abs January. This 30 day challenge is meant to supplement your current fitness routine (like running) and build your strength by progressing each day. I did a couple last year with positive benefits to my running and overall fitness, so when I saw this one I had to do it. 

With temperatures at a feels like 8 degrees, I took my Thursday run indoors where I could wear my favorite Oiselle shorts. After logging another 10K on the treadmill, I cooled off in front of the fan - which just feels weird when it's so cold outside.

Temperatures warmed up to 29 degrees on Saturday, so it was time to head back outside. I layered up in my favorite Nike thermal top with built in mittens and mixed up some Cytomax to put in my Simple bottle. For the first three miles around the frozen lake I felt like I was overdressed, but the higher elevation and winds kept me cooler on the second half.

Last month I mentioned that I was learning how to use my Polar HRM. Mid-morning Sunday, I drank half a serving of FRS and then fired up the treadmill for a 30 minute walking workout determined to get in one day of cross training for the week. I listened to Grrl Power Vol. 2 from RockMyRun and watched the end of Legally Blond while treading out 1.77 miles.  

How was your first week of 2013?

Want to know more about how to join Team Escapades in the Chilly Challenge? Check out all the details here or skip right to the sign-up part and be sure to choose #TeamEscapades! Already a member? Don't forget to follow #ChillyChallenge on Twitter and join the Facebook group.