Friday, June 28, 2013

Fitness Friday: BAA 10K 2013 Weekend

Last weekend we made our way to Boston for the BAA 10K, the second race in the BAA Medley Series. This time I had a running partner: my step daughter.

Our mini race-cation started on Saturday with our first destination on Boylston Street. The last time we were there was for the BAA 5K on marathon weekend. It seemed fitting to pay our respects on the same weekend of the BAA's first race since the tragic events of April 15.

We spent the rest of the afternoon milling around Faneuil Hall, Waterfront Park, and Boston Common before heading to dinner. We chose Maggiano's Little Italy because they offered 15% off to race participants and we scooped up some cookies from the Chip Yard for dessert.

After dinner we strolled back to the hotel. With some time to spare before the start of the hockey game, we took advantage of the spacious room to do some family-time yoga and get our game plan for race day ready.

In the morning we walked the short two blocks to the starting area to meet up with some runner friends prior to the start. The BAA encouraged runners to wear blue and yellow as a tribute to April 15 so I chose my blue Nike running skirt and yellow tank, but I was loving all the Boston tees.

First we ran into Nicole and then Michelle! I also saw Alaina in the corral and on the course!

With the race capped and sold out to 6500 runners, getting into the pace corrals was no easy task. We got in Wave 3 with the 9-959 runners and it took about 10+ minutes to cross the start line.

Here's a glimpse of us at the start turning onto Beacon Street caught by mr C.

We spent the next 6.2 miles cruising through Boston's Back Bay, enjoying the cheers and cow-bells from the spectators, and sweating our butts off. IT WAS HOT! As much as I love bright sunny days, running in the heat after being sick was tough. I just wanted to get to the finish line as easily as my Wave Creations would carry me. 

The out & back course followed Commonwealth Ave. on the south side of the Charles River and led us to the turn around at Boston University. My step daughter and I stayed together until the last port-a-potty at mile 6. It sounds crazy to pitstop so close to the end, but I knew it would be a maze at the finisher's corral and I had no idea how long it would take to get to the port-a-potties there. The next time I saw her, she was showing off her bling!

We hung out on the Common afterwards long enough to cool down a bit and see the 2013 Boston Marathon Champion, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, gift his championship medal to the city of Boston to honor the victims and families of the marathon bombings.  

As much as we would've liked to enjoy the festivities on the common all day, we were mere visitors and had to get cleaned up and checkout of the hotel. It was a great weekend, a great race, and a great first 10K finish for my step daughter at 1:02:03 - and I came in right behind her at 1:02:44. 

See you in October for the BAA Half Marathon!


On a side note, Shlomo from the Brain Tumor Foundation in New York City asked me to share this for readers who are interested in running the ING New York City Marathon on November 3 but were not chosen in the lottery: "The Brain Tumor Foundation has a limited number of slots left on Team BTF in this year’s ING New York City Marathon, and we can offer guaranteed entry into this year’s race for those who will run with Team BTF." You can find more information on the website or go directly to the Team BTF application.  

There's still time to enter to win a Bestowed box delivered right to your door! Click here!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Bestowed

About a month ago, I was contacted by Bestowed to see if I would like to review one of their monthly subscription boxes.

Normally I would pass on this kind of thing, but since I have found some great products simply by testing them at an expo or race, I decided to give it a try. Plus there is something in it for you!!

Bestowed is a monthly care package filled with five healthy product samples that are hand picked by a nutritionist and shipped to you each month to try out. The membership is $19 a month or $209 annually. I received a complimentary June box.

When my box arrived, I was happy to find that not only did it contain a variety of products to try, but also a What's Inside insert. This information sheet describes each product and gives suggestions for how to use them.

Here's what I liked in my box:

If you had asked me as a kid to put anything other than cheese on my salad lettuce, I would've shrieked at you in horror. I was a picky eater, still am in a lot of ways. But I have evolved and now put more on my salads than my teenage self ever dreamed I would. I used the GimMe Cheddar Cheese Seaweed Crumbles as a replacement for croutons and it was very tasty.

I love smoothies, especially the ones made by someone else, but sometimes I use the pre-made kind you can get at the grocery to make them at home. I added some healthiness to my "homemade" smoothies by mixing in a package of Roots Superfood Powder. I made one with Zizo coconut water and one without because I'm not a fan of the flavor coconut. I didn't like the one with the coconut water, but the Roots pack actually added some flavor.

As a lover of snacks and chips, I enjoyed trying the Acai Berry Nut Butter. I tried it on Ritz and saltines, and it was good on both. I could easily see throwing the packets in my lunch bag and snacking at work.

The rest of my box included a coconut cashew TrueBar (which I didn't try because of the coconut), some antibacterial hand wipes from Herban Essentials that I already stashed in a desk drawer at work, and a free download of the Bon'App app that would be great for someone counting calories. I really wanted to use the coupon for a free package of Dr. Praeger's California veggie burgers, but they aren't sold in any of my local groceries.

A monthly subscription to Bestowed is great for people who are really focused on healthy products, but honestly that's not me. It's nice that you can try a sample of something and then go buy more because you already know that you like it. You have to acknowledge that there are going to be some items that you won't like or don't want to use, and some of the products might be available online only.

Bestowed has generously offered to give one lucky reader a free one-month subscription.

To enter all you have to do is share this review and giveaway - on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, anywhere.

That's it.

Leave a separate comment for each way that you shared. The more you share, the more chances you have to win.

Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Monday!

Bestowed is also offering $5 off all monthly/yearly subscriptions when you use the cod5OFFBSTOWED01 at checkout.

Monday, June 24, 2013

TrainingTruths: One thing to Love

Last week I talked about how happy I was that my legs were feeling good again and I was ready to start building my weekly mileage back up.

Then I got sick. I had been fighting off a cold that turned worse before it got better. I even took a day off from running! That hardly ever happens unless I'm injured. Needless to say, I didn't like it, not one bit.

But there was one thing to love about last week...seeing my stepdaughter complete her first 10K!

On Tuesday my stepdaughter and I did her 10K training run together after school. At first we thought it might rain, but we got lucky and managed 4 dry miles. It was a regular route for me, but she told me afterwards that she didn't like the out & back. They can be mentally harder than loops.

I took an extra rest day on Thursday after I went home from work early and napped the afternoon away. I thought I might feel well enough to make up the run on Friday, but instead I took a sick day. I was too tired to do much of anything except wonder if I would be well enough to run the BAA 10K on Sunday with my stepdaughter.

In spite of my cold, I did finish the #SeizetheSolstice Instagram challenge that Athleta hosted. It was fun (most of the time) trying the new poses. Here are some of my favorites from the week. I'm still planning to focus on improving my yoga skills, but hopefully I'll find another challenge to help keep me motivated.

Clockwise: eagle pose, locust pose, shoulder stand, and dolphin pose

We drove down to Boston on Saturday and spent the day enjoying some of our favorite places. We made a stop on Boylston to pay our respects. It was our first time back since Marathon Weekend when I ran the BAA 5K. I was touched by the variety of memorial tokens, and this Manchester City Marathon shirt tucked in a corner caught my eye.  

On Sunday my stepdaughter and I laced up our Mizunos for her first 10K race while her dad took the role of escort, photographer, and master spectator. I'll share more in the recap, but running in the heat after my worst NH cold wasn't easy, but she did awesome!

What's one thing you have to love about last week?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: Mizuno Wave Creation 14s

For about two months now I have been running in a new pair of Mizunos...the Wave Creation 14s. I picked these up at the Boston Marathon Expo back in April, but the review was put on hold after the horrific events on Marathon Monday.

To be perfectly honest, when I bought these I did not NEED a new pair of running shoes. Not really. I had just bought a new pair of Wave Rider 16s in January. I wear the Wave Riders on my shorter runs and usually wear Wave Inspires on my longer runs. I have a pair of Inspire 8s and at the expo, I was actually hoping to get a pair of the new 9s. Unfortunately, they did not have the color choice I wanted. Enter Mary from Mizuno.

I first met Mary from Mizuno in Manchester at a fun run at Runner's Alley when she brought along a bag full of Wave Rider 16s for everyone to test. This of course let to my purchase. This time Mary showed me the Wave Creation 14s as a optional choice for long runs.

I slipped them on and they felt amazing. Like the WR16s, they are soft and very lightweight. Unlike the Inspires, the Creation is a neutral shoe, but Mary assured me that there was good stability in these shoes and that they would work on my long runs.

I have worn my Wave Creation 14s on a variety of runs: short, long, road, trail. They are my new favorite. Even though I bought them to go into the rotation as a long run shoe, I find myself reaching for them for any type of run.

R- Wave Rider 16
L - Wave Creation 14

What sets this pair of Mizunos apart from the Wave Riders and Wave Inspires that I own is the two-tiered Wave plate that makes up the heal. It makes the bottom of the shoe look bigger and it's divided into two parts. And even though they look bigger and are technically heavier, they feel just as light as the WR16.

Every time I get a new pair of Mizunos, I think they are the best. Mizuno just makes great shoes!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kickoff to Summer 5K 2013

For the third year in a row (4th time overall) I ran a local PTA sponsored 5K with my husband and youngest step daughter. The Kickoff to Summer 5K is near and dear to my heart because it is the first race I ran in New Hampshire after moving here in 2008. At the time my husband was working overseas, so running helped ease the pain of missing him.

This year, my step daughter is training for her first 10K, so we combined the race with her long training run. We planted a car in the parking lot and then ran 3 miles from home to the race.

Our first starting line - in the driveway

We arrived at the race with about 20 minutes to cool off, hydrate, and pick up our bib and race shirts. The course starts at the local elementary school and winds out & back through the fairgrounds. I've had some good finish times and not-so-good finish times with this race. This year I had no plans. No goals. I just wanted to run what felt good and not do anything crazy - like aggravate a healing ab muscle.

Waiting at the second starting line

The race is completely organized and run by volunteers, so you will not hear me complain that the race started a little late especially since it gave us some time to take pictures. Once it was under way, it was pure fun. The gorgeous weather, the cheering spectators, and the happy runners/walkers make this race one of those that you come back to every year.

My step daughter jumped out ahead of mr. C and I at the start. I ran with him for about a mile until we caught up to her. I was feeling really good, so I just went with it. Part of the course is an out & back on a dirt/gravel road (not my favorite terrain) and I got hung up here behind runners, but most of the time I was able to just let my legs go.

Long run & 5K finishers!

My times for this race have been: 32:13, 28:06, and 27:35. This year I was not chasing a PR, but I did finish strong with a time of 28:56.

How do you "kickoff" your summer?


Speaking of summer, how would you like to kick yours off by winning a HUGE runner prize package valued at $400? My friends at Simple Hydration are having a photo contest and all you have to do is submit a photo to enter. 

Here are the details:

Take a picture with #RUNSIMPLE. Enter your creative photo here for a chance to win a Runner’s Prize Package ($400 Value!). Prizes include choice of HOKA ONE ONE shoes, a 4-pack of Simple Hydration Water Bottles, 1BandID ID tag, HVLO Headphones, Yankz! SureLace System, Mizuno visor and socks and Chica Bands headbands.

Monday, June 17, 2013

TrainingTruths: What's Beautiful: You Can Count on Me

Last week the attention I've been giving my legs started to pay off. The yoga, the stretching, and the strength exercises have eased the pain and strains I've been dealing with for a while.

Tuesday - I started the day with a leg strength workout that I found posted by Laura. After school I ran 4 awesome miles with mr.C and as Katie would say, the #magicmilefairy blessed my legs. They felt so light! Afterwards I did my trusty yoga for runners post-run stretching sequence.

Wednesday - It was a rest day, but I did the leg strength workout after school before heading out to the theater to see Spirit of the Marathon II. What an awesome movie!

Thursday - I decided to repeat what I did on Tuesday since I felt so good, so I did the leg strength workout in the morning again. After school I ran 4 fun, rainy miles with mr. C followed with the post-run yoga stretching sequence. It worked. The legs felt amazing.

Friday - Trying to keep consistent even on rest days, I did the leg strength workout after school.

Saturday - I had put 6 miles on my step daughter's training plan and we signed up for the local annual 5K, so we got creative. We ran 3 miles to the 5K, and then ran the 5K. Even though I ran the first 3 miles faster than the race, I'm still happy because my legs were happy.

Last week I learned that if you take the time to take care of yourself, you will feel the reward. My legs have been very happy since I started consistently stretching and strength training.

I'm also excited that I'm able to start building my weekly mileage back up and continue working toward my goal of 1000 miles for the year - which also will help my FitFluential and Under Armour What's Beautiful team goal. Although we have logged over 1300 miles, we are still pushing toward our team goal of 5000. If you like to rack up the miles, head over to Under Armour and sign up with Team Escapades.

What body part is your biggest ally?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fitness Friday: Yoga & Running

Athleta has been hosting a yoga pose-a-day contest on Instagram that couldn't have come at a better time. I mentioned that I had to re-focus after a recent injury, and yoga has been a source of inspiration.

So in addition to using the Yoga for Runners app that I love, I have been trying to replicate Athleta's Insta-Pose of the Day. From the different poses, I have learned a lot about myself.

I'm pretty good a planks. I used to do them after every run. I've even done a monthly plank challenge. Since they're so good for the core, I should probably do them more often. I wish I knew why I lose interest.

My hamstrings and quads are VERY tight, which of course makes me realize that they are the root of all my running injuries. Then after seeing the pictures, I noticed my poor stretching form. So not only do I not stretch enough, but when I do it's relatively ineffective. Ugh!

Some poses are brand new to me and I've been having fun experimenting. Even though I've never heard of them and need assistance getting my hands, feet, body in the right position, I'm happy that I'm trying and learning more each time.

Athleta's contest has inspired me to learn more about yoga. Since I'm new to it, I figured I'd better start with the basics. I found a great source of basic poses on the Fitness Magazine website, so I have somewhere to start.

Do you yoga? What is your favorite pose?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spirit of the Marathon II

Happy Hump Day!

Tonight I am joining a small of group of running friends at the Cinemagic Theater in Hooksett, NH to watch the US screening of Spirit of the Marathon II presented by NCM Fathom Events and Competitor Group. The movie follows seven inspiring runners as they prepare for the 2012 Rome Marathon and includes motivational interviews with running legends such as Paula Radcliffe, Frank Shorter, and Katherine Switizer.

I took one look at the trailer that accompanied my invitation from Fathom Events and knew that I had to see this movie.

So after immediately adding Rome to my bucket list of places that I want to run, I looked up the 2008 award-winning original documentary Spirit of the Marathon and found it on HULU and Netflix. Saturday evening you could've found mr. C and I cheering for the runners of the 2005 Chicago Marathon as they trained and competed. This movie is about more than running marathons. It's about passion, motivation, inspiration, and celebration. It's a must see for all runners and anyone who loves a runner.

Tonight I will be watching the much anticipated sequel and cheering on a new set of runners as they embark on their journey to the finish line of the Rome Marathon. To find a select theater near you, visit the Fathom Events website. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the One Fund Boston to assist the families affected by the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Many thanks to NCM Fathom Events, Competitor Group, AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark Holdings Inc., and Regal Entertainment Group for the complimentary tickets to the event.

Monday, June 10, 2013

TrainingTruths: Pack Mentality

Last week I was spoiled and enjoyed several workouts with family, friends, and co-workers. It was fun to mix things up and organize a fun event.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my stepdaughter will be running the BAA 10K with me. I wrote up a training plan for her that she has been great to follow. On Monday we went on a bike ride to keep her company on her training run since it was a rest day for us. She ran 4 miles and made it look so easy! I tried out my new shoes from Under Armour as part of my participation in the What's Beautiful campaign with FitFluential and it's nice that you can slide them right on.

Tuesday - A normal run day 4 miler with mr. C on the same route that we biked on Monday.

In celebration of National Running Day on Wednesday, I convinced my co-workers to wear a running shirt to school, donate old running shoes and go for a group run on the local trail. The group ran anywhere between 3-5 miles depending upon how speedy you were.

Thursday - A 4 miler with my regular running partner miss daisy through the local neighborhood.

The weekend started off nice and rainy thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea, so we delayed our run to Sunday when the best weather would arrive. Mother Nature did not disappoint! It was gorgeous blue skies for the entire 5 miles with mr. C.

I'm still building my mileage back up after my strained ab muscle, but overall it was a good week with some short easy running and lots of yoga for focused stretching.

Do you prefer to workout alone or with buddies?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fitness Friday: #GoalGetter 2013 May Update

Happy Friday! It is hard to believe that it is already June. I wish I could say that it was summer vacation already too (like my Ohio peeps!), but that will not come until the end of the month (thanks to all those hurricane/snow days).

For now I will happily say goodbye to the month of May, although I did have some seriously fun adventures.

Here's a look back at some memorable moments and my running goals:

I started the month with a crazy, unexpected two day trip to Atlanta courtesy of Mizuno to participate in the Mezamashii Run Project. The project launched this month, but my role in it has yet to be revealed. Stay tuned!

Immediately following my trip to Atlanta, I headed to Cincinnati to get a quick family visit and run the Flying Pig Half Marathon with mr C. I wasn't into running when I lived in Ohio the way I am now, so this was my first time running this race. It was one of the best race weekends I've ever experienced. 

I began working on a sponsored campaign with Under Armour and FitFluential. What's Beautiful is a competition that focuses on inspiring women to set goals and conquer them together. My goal is to work on adding up the miles to reach my running goal for the year. May was not my best month with 56.76 miles, but I'm not giving up on hitting 1000 for the year. 

Another one of my goals for the year is to improve my overall core strength, so I jumped at the chance to try SurfSet at TI Fitness Training in Manchester with New Hampshire Bloggers & Tweeters. This all-in-one workout was the hardest thing I've done in a long time, but so fun I went back for more! This is going to be my summer core workout plan. 

Even though May was filled with amazing running adventures, I'm disappointed that I didn't meet my monthly mileage goal to keep me on track to reach 1000 for the year. What's Beautiful is that I will keep pushing through the obstacles. I will not give up.

How was your May? Any achievements or setbacks?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

National Running Day Recap

Here's how I celebrated on National Running Day!

I made a running declaration.

I wore one of my favorite running shirts to work.

I donated an old pair of running shoes.

I went on a fun run with a bunch of running friends.

Hope you were able to celebrate in some way!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

National Running Day is Swagtastic!

It's that time of year again. On National Running Day people start talking about all the reasons they run. I wrote about my reasons here and I still feel the same.

It doesn't take much to convince me to run and I'm always on the lookout for a good race. Last week I was asked to help promote a virtual race series put on by Swagtastic Virtual Races to support the organization Medals4Mettle, which collects earned race medals from runners and triathletes and donates them to children and adults facing serious illness or injuries.

The Swagtastic Race Series features a virtual 5K, 10K, and half marathon and 100% of the registration proceeds go to cover the costs of presenting medals to the victims of the Boston bombings through the Medals4Mettle organization.

What makes the race series unique is the swag - the first 300 registrants receive a swag box filled with samples from over 25 companies and all participants that self-report their race finish times are entered into a drawing for over 60 prizes. You can check out what they have lined up by going to the Facebook page or following on Twitter

What better way to celebrate National Running Day than to sign up for a Swagtastic Virtual Race? Registration closes on June 28th and they are hoping to reach 100%. If you are interested in supporting this fundraiser, you can register here.

Do you like virtual races? 
How will you be celebrating National Running Day?

Disclosure: I was comped a race entry for promoting the Swagtastic event.

Monday, June 3, 2013

TrainingTruths: What's Beautiful: Reach

Stretching has become a priority after spending most of last week nursing a strained lower abdominal muscle. I'm pretty sure that my lack of attention to pre and post run stretching is what led to this injury and I can count my blessings that it stayed minor. So last week I went on a mission to turn stretching into a habit.

I'm still working on the What's Beautiful campaign with Under Armour and FitFluential and came across the REACH challenge. This challenge reminded me that it feels just as good to stretch as it does to run. The challenge was to upload a video of your favorite stretch and cool down routine. Since I was in rest mode I'd been using a favorite app, Yoga For Runners, and stretching everyday using the pre-run sequence.

On Friday I was feeling better, so I decided to lace up my running shoes and jump on the treadmill (I didn't want to be away from home if my muscle acted up). I started with my Yoga for Runners pre-run stretching sequence and then ran 3 easy miles. Even though I felt like I could pick up the pace, I forced myself to leave the speed set to 5 and just ease back into it.

On Saturday morning I attended another TI SurfSet Fitness class in Manchester, but this time I took mr C with me. I'd been looking forward to this since my first session a couple of weeks ago. It was another sweat-fest and my first time tossing a tire, booyah! Later in the evening I completed another stretch session knowing that it would help preclude muscle soreness.

I was back in the running shoes on Sunday and up early to meet some friends for a nice trail run before the heat set in for the day. This was a new running location and we fell in love with the trail, the views, and the wildlife. About a 1.5 miles into the run I thought we were being ambushed by some wild animal when I was startled by Gary & Michelle's shouts... it was just a snake slithering across the path!

What is your training priority?