Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hula Hustle 10K

Over the years I have learned that running races in the summer heat is not that much fun. This summer Millennium Running changed all that with promises of a post race luau poolside at the Executive Health and Sports Club. There's something very appealing about grass skirts, leis, and a dip in the pool.

So, to celebrate turning another year older, I treated my birthday-boy husband to a 10K at the Hula Hustle 5K/10K. The Hawaiian themed event benefitted New Horizons for New Hampshire.

We arrived at the event about 30 minutes before start time and found that parking was much further away from the festivities than we thought, but we still had plenty of time to pick up our bibs, race shirts, and grass skirts and head back to the car to get ready and drop off the shirts.

As usual I did not look at the course earlier and learned on race day that the 10K was two laps of the 5K. I'm not a big fan of this kind of course, but it allowed me to see my amazing friend Ellen, who was volunteering at the water stop, multiple times!

After weeks of sizzling hot weather, we had a break in the temps, but with the sun shining it was still a hot day for running. The race started at 10AM, which is nice because you can sleep in, but earlier starts in the summer are better. So, even though it was an super fun race, we were ready to cross the finish line and receive our leis.

Photo by Keith Tharp

After the race, we grabbed our swim suits and headed to the pool for the post-race luau at Sizzle's poolside tiki bar. We were able to rinse off and change in the locker rooms of the club even though we aren't members (but boy do I wish we were!). We found some lounge chairs and then grabbed some food: burgers, chips, and watermelon.

This was the best summer race I have ever done. If you are going to try to run in the heat, it's nice to know that you can jump in the swimming pool to cool off afterwards.

Do you like to run races in the summer?

There's still time to enter my Reebok Spartan Race entry giveaway! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Training Truths: ZOOMA Week 3

Even with the best intentions, it is hard to keep to a half marathon training schedule while you're on vacation.

As I packed my bag for the trip to Cincinnati, I included three running outfits and my Wave Creation 14s. I was hoping to squeeze in three workouts and stay as close as I could to my weekly goal of 20+ miles.

I scheduled the first run for Tuesday morning at East Fork State Park so we could run 5 miles and then hang out at the beach. It was a gorgeous sunny day and there were beautiful views of the lake.

Run #2 on Thursday did not happen. Blame the travel or the comfy bed, but not the weather. It was a perfectly beautiful, no humidity, mild temperature kind of day. Instead we spent the day driving to Columbus, stopping for a light lunch and some shopping, and hanging out with good friends.

On Saturday we took the long run to Loveland and jumped on the Little Miami Scenic Trail from Miami Riverview Park. Every trail should look like this one: paved, maintained, and beautiful (look for my review later this week). Despite the first mile in pouring rain, we ran 8 solid miles and enjoyed every minute of it.

So my week of vacation and training didn't exactly turn out the way I'd hoped, but I'm ok with that. I had a great time visiting family and friends, and I didn't miss my long run.

If you are in the Boston area and training like me for ZOOMA Cape Cod in September, Social Boston Sports and Muscle Milk are teaming up with ZOOMA to host a training event tonight at 7PM at the Washington Square Stop in Brookline. There will be a 5 mile run with a 3 mile option.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fitness Friday: Are You SPARTAN Strong?

Happy Friday everyone! It's time for another race entry giveaway. Aroo! (not something I would normally say, but completely appropriate today!)

I've been in Ohio visiting family, but I couldn't resist signing on and letting you know about another great race taking the country by storm. You have probably heard about the Reebok Spartan Race Series. 

From the website:

Spartan Race is on a mission to get you active, healthy, excited about change, and return to our ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life. Our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal.

Our events challenge the familiar, today’s perception of normal living and getting you out of your comfort zone! At Spartan Race, we do this everyday and it shapes everything we do.
Having experienced many different racing events, we wanted to make adventure racing more accessible to everyone, but do not be fooled by the word ‘accessible’, as our events have a challenge for everyone’s needs.
Spartan Race now introduces a level for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate level Super Spartan, the advanced Spartan Beast, and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race. 
Whatever your level, Spartan Race will test your strength, stamina, and sense of humor.
There are Spartan events taking place all over the US in 2013, which means that there is probably one near you!

Use this url to access a discount code that will give you 15% off any Spartan Race.

Ready to find out if you are Spartan STRONG? Founder of Spartan, Joe De Sena, is traveling around the country giving free Spartan workouts in local gyms and facilities.

Reebok Spartan wants me to give YOU a free race entry to any open heat event in the continental US during the 2013-2014 event calendar. Use the rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was asked to help promote the Spartan Race Series. I have not been compensated for this post.

Monday, July 22, 2013

TrainingTruths: ZOOMA Week 2

Holy hot weather people!

Last week we were melting here in the northeast and trying to run when there were multiple heat advisories was not easy. I spent more time on the treadmill than I like, but at least I was able to get my miles for the week above 20 again.

Monday - I've been reading about how it should only take about two weeks to acclimate to the weather changes, but I cannot deal with deer flies this summer. Instead I ran 5 miles on the treadmill.

Wednesday - My morning was spent at a dental appointment, so I convinced mr. C to do a 5 mile evening run with me. He came home with a surprise pack of deer fly tape to make my run easier. Even though there were hundreds of those little suckers flying all around, I only caught ONE! I didn't get bit though.

Friday - Between playing chauffeur and running errands, my chance to do a morning run to beat the heat disappeared. Once again I found myself running 5 miles on the treadmill. I'm thankful that we have the treadmill, but I'm still struggling with my speed (why do I run faster outside?) and how to make these runs more fun.

Sunday - It was mr. C's birthday and I thought the perfect gift would be a race entry! We ran the Hula Hustle 10K and then cooled off in the pool at the post race luau.

Do you like to run races in the summer?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fitness Friday: Summer Favorites

Happy Friday! 

Everyone looks forward to summer and I'm no different. It's been very hot and humid here in New England and the bugs (deer flies) have been making me a little crabby. So today, I thought I would think about some of my summer favorites and bring back the happy!

Swimming - it doesn't matter if it's a pool, a lake, or the ocean. I love to swim when it's super hot and jumping in the water makes you feel so refreshed.

Exploring - in the summer there is more time to go exploring. Whether we are walking around town or going for a walk in the woods, I love seeing new things in old places or checking out new spaces.

Traveling - Summertime means weekend trips to Newport, maybe a race-cation, and going home. I always try to spend at least one week in Cincinnati visiting with family and friends.

Reading - I have always been a reader. It's hard to read for pleasure during the school year when you're an English teacher, so I love diving into books of all kinds in the summer. Between the bookshelves at the library and the local transfer station, I can stock up.

Racerbacks - It wouldn't be right if I didn't mention some of my favorite summertime running attire. With the high temperatures and a decent tan, racer back tanks are most comfortable to wear in the summer. One of my current favorites is the Go Long Tank from Oiselle.

What brings a smile to your face during the hot sticky months of summer?

Now, some giveaway business. Congratulations to Emma Cross Moyer! You are the winner of the Allstate 13.1 giveaway. You should receive an email from my pal Dom with details on how to claim your race entry.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Snacking on Stonyfield

I've been a fan of Stonyfield Organic Yogurt since running the Half at the Hamptons in 2011 where I was given some greek yogurt at the finish line. Last week the New Hampshire Blogger and Tweeters got together for another Blog&Tweet event at Stonyfield Farm to find out more about the amazing organic yogurt being made right here in New Hampshire.

Here's the scoop on Stonyfield in a nutshell:

It all started with a man and a mission. Samuel Kayman, an organic farmer, teamed up with Gary Hirschberg, an environmental activist, to make great yogurt and help the Earth. A school fundraiser in the 1980s turned into Yogurt Works in Londonderry which has made Stonyfield the biggest producer of organic yogurt in the world!

Our Blog&Tweet group was met by our hosts Kristina and Chandra who explained that although tours of the plant no longer took place, we would be taken on a virtual film tour (similar to this one) which gave us the history of Stonyfield Organic Yogurt and a peek into the process.

Now, I went to this event already knowing what my favorite Stonyfield organic yogurt product was, but that didn't stop me from trying some new things that Kristina and Chandra pointed out to us. Ok, they really just told us to grab and try whatever we wanted from the chillers.

I first tried some Blends. This is the new yogurt for people (like me) who don't like big chunks of fruit. Instead of being on the bottom of the cup, the fruit is blended. It was good, but I still like the thicker Greek (formerly Oikos) yogurt best. Thanks to the taste-testing, I discovered two new greek flavors: raspberry and honey. 

Although I'm not a huge ice cream person, I tried some frozen yogurt. Stonyfield is the only maker of organic greek froyo at this time. I really liked the honey flavor, and lucky for me, Kristina and Chandra encouraged us to take home the leftovers.

The last product I tried will probably become one of my favorite Stonyfield products: frozen yogurt bars. These bars are nonfat frozen yogurt dipped in organic dark chocolate. I thought the Gotta Have Vanilla tasted just like the ice cream bars I used to get with my elementary school lunches. 

So after an evening spent learning all about Stonyfield and eating a whole lot of yogurt, Kristina and Chandra sent us all home with a reusable ChicoBag filled with Stonyfield goodies including a Yogurt Cookbook and coupons along with a case of Brown Cow (sister company in California) Cream Top Greek Desserts.

Yogurt is a runner's best friend. For one thing, it is a great source of protein, carbs, vitamins, probiotics and calcium. Walk into any grocery and you will find a lavish amount of yogurt choices, but what sets Stonyfield apart is that it is organic. 

from Stonyfield website

Ever wonder how organic yogurt is made? Here's what I learned from my visit:
1. Organic milk is delivered to Stonyfield Yogurt Works from organic farms
2. The milk is heated to kill the bad bacteria
3. Good bacteria is added and the mixture is put into cups with fruit or other ingredients
4. Filled cups are put into the incubator (hot room) to form into yogurt
5. The yogurt is then stored in a refrigerated warehouse

Besides being good for you, Stonyfield Organic Yogurt is also good for the Earth. Here are some of the ways they try to decrease their carbon footprint:
1. Solar panels are used to generate power to the plant
2. They use foil tops instead of plastic lids
3. The waste from random testing along the process is fed to farm animals
4. They built a wastewater treatment plant to reduce energy use 
5. They select the most direct routes for delivery trucks

In addition to making great yogurt and helping the planet, each year Stonyfield celebrates Earth Day with a festival and a 5K. The 5K has been on my bucket list for a couple of years, but I hope to run it in 2014. Maybe some of these ladies will join me?

Monday, July 15, 2013

TrainingTruths: ZOOMA Week 1

For the first time I am feeling a little blah about my next half marathon training. It has nothing to do with the race or running. It's the weather and the bugs. The hot temperatures, high humidity, mosquitos, and deer flies are really taking the fun out of my runs. Running with a partner on humid days makes a huge difference on where my head is, but lately I've been whimping out and taking solo runs to the treadmill.

Monday - Instead of struggle with the high humidity and battle the deer flies, I took my run to the treadmill. My basement was a lot cooler and I could aim the fan on myself. This was also a chance for me to try my Mizuno Wave Sayonaras on a little longer run and on the 'mill. While my run felt good, I think my lower legs felt the effects of the lower heel drop afterwards. Nothing hurt, but my lower leg/ankle muscles were a little sore.

Tuesday - After noticing a new class time being offered at TI Fitness, mr. C and I decided to go to SurfSet. As usual we got our butts kicked by Christine. She really knows how to work the abs and squats on a surf board!

Wednesday - I convinced myself to run 5 solo miles in the morning to the Floating House. This is not my favorite route because there's a really big hill right in the middle, and the humidity only makes it more dreadful.  Later we went on a 3 mile hike to Purgatory Falls, although we didn't actually make it to the falls.

Thursday - It had been a while since I used my Polar HRM, so I decided to walk on the treadmill and just try to burn some fat calories. It still amazes me how inaccurate our treadmill calorie counter is.

Friday - A friend came to visit for the weekend, so mr. C and I got in an early 5 mile run. It was a repeat of Wed's run, but a little cooler. I don't think I would've gone out alone on this one, so I'm glad that he was available to run with me.

Sunday - After a busy weekend, I ran 7 miles after dinner on the treadmill. This was just one of those I can't get myself moving days. I almost didn't even get it done on the treadmill, but mr. C reminded me that I would feel better after I did it. He was right.

It turned out to be a good week. I ran a total of 22 miles (hitting my weekly goal of 20 for the first time since April!) and did a lot of cross training.

There's still time to enter to win a race entry to the Allstate 13.1 half marathon or 5K in Boston.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Boston 13.1 - Race Entry Giveaway!

Happy Friday! I'm excited to tell you about a great fall race and how you can be a part of it.

Two iconic marathoners will lead the charge in Boston this September in the Allstate Life Insurance Boston 13.1 Marathon. Five months after the Boston Marathon bombings, Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers will help honor the victims in this race dedicated in their honor.

The race, which will help raise money for THE ONE FUND, is set for September 15 and in addition to the half marathon distance, a 5K has been added to the event. Both distances start and finish at Suffolk Downs in Boston. The half marathon follows the McClellan Highway through East Boston and Revere.

Would you love to be a part of this event? Thanks to the organizers, US Road Sports and Entertainment Group, I have a race entry to giveaway for the Boston September 15, 2013 event! The race entry can be used for the half marathon or the 5K. Winner gets to choose.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends at 11:59 July 18, 2013. Winner will be announced on Friday July 19, 2013. In addition to hosting the giveaway, I have been given an entry into the 5K.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's Time to Start Training

I have been blissfully thinking that I had a bunch of unencumbered time before training for my next half marathon would begin. Then it became clear that the ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon is actually just 12 weeks away. So with this weekend's long run, I will end my training vacation, and start increasing the long run mileage.

ZOOMA Training Care Package
It's not too late to join me for the half marathon or the 10K and if you register before July 14, you will receive a Training Care Package in the mail. Here's what's included:
  • Samples of Muscle Milk & Cytomax
  • 3-month pass to
  • Samples of Bogy Glide & Performer Pain Reliever
  • GU
  • Training plan & playlists from National Blogger Panel

When you register, you automatically receive the ZOOMA Swag Bag along with an unforgettable weekend of a pre-race Mocktail Hour, After-Party Expo, and a Recovery Yoga Session. You will also receive a special room rate at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel, the official race hotel, if you choose to stay there. You can also get 10% off your registration by using my Ambassador code CCAMB3.

I ran this race last year and had such a great time that I knew it was one I would do again and again. You can read my recap here. So as the ZOOMA Half Marathon Challenge Athlete, Lara, says "It's time to put down the martini!"

And just to keep things interesting for those of you returning to Cape Cod for your second go at the 10K or half marathon, ZOOMA has issued a Personal Best Challenge: run a new distance best or PR your event and you will receive a special gift at the After Party Expo! All you have to do is indicate your eligibility when you register.

So will I be seeing you in September?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Swagtastic Virtual 10K Recap

I really enjoy virtual races. They're fun for all sorts of reasons as I mentioned when I talked about my first experience in 2009. Since then I have done a few more including the recent Swagtastic Virtual 10K.

This race is organized completely online and race bibs are emailed to registered participants prior to the five-day race window. Participants run the registered distance and self-report their results online.

I normally do long runs on the weekends. Since most of my "long" runs have been under 7 miles recently, it made perfect sense to run 6.2 miles on Saturday. To make it even better, we would be in Newport for the holiday weekend, so the route was going to be gorgeous.

The goal was to get out the door as early as possible: 1) to beat the heat and 2) we had a sailboat to launch at 11AM. So, a little after 7AM we laced up our shoes, grabbed our Simple Hydration water bottles filled with Cytomax and stepped out into the SOUP!

We made our way off the base and along the waterfront into town. Along the way, we passed numerous other runners, walkers, and bikers all out getting their workout done early. The sun was shining, the water was glistening, and the wind was...well, light. With little shade except through a section along America's Cup Ave, we pretty much felt like we were melting.

With each passing mile, the run got harder. At King's Park, our turn around point, we took a little break, used the port-a-potties, and took some pictures. It was difficult to get going again after that. On the way back, we walked and hydrated at each mile.

Mile 4: The Wave

This was a very tough, sweaty run. During the last mile, we saw a dog owner throwing a toy into the water for his dog to retrieve and I was ready to join the dog! I remember saying to mr. C, I just want this run to be over!

So we might not have made the smartest run decision on Saturday: it was warm, it was humid, it was sunny, and we were sunburned. We did it though. Fortunately receiving the swag from this race has nothing to do with how well you do.

What's your favorite virtual race? 

Monday, July 8, 2013

#TrainingTruths: Body on Fire

It feels good to not be training for something specific right now, especially since the summer heat and humidity is making it feel miserable. But I know it won't be long before I need to focus on getting ready for my fall half marathons: ZOOMA Cape Cod and BAA Half in Boston. For now I am happy spending the first part of summer just enjoying my runs and adventures as they come.

To kickoff summer vacation, the month of July, and the Sweaty Challenge, on Monday I took my Wave Sayonaras for another short run. Even out the door before 7:30, it was a sweat-fest. Afterwards I completed day 1 of a 30 day ab challenge that I am determined to complete along with another yoga-a-day pose challenge on Instagram.

Even though the humidity dropped some on Wednesday, we still elected to run on the city trails to ensure more shade. It was a much easier 4 miles, but that didn't stop us from cooling off with some fruit smoothies after.

Last year I ran the Manchester 5K with my friend Daisy and mr. C, and scored a crazy PR. This year mr. C and I decided to be spectators, so Wednesday evening we headed downtown to watch the 3.1 mile race and the Manchester Mile afterwards. If you watch the video, you will see the 3:42.97 finish of the fastest mile on American soil.

We spent Thursday morning at the local 4th of July parade and after sitting in the sun (getting sunburned), we decided to go swimming. Scobie Lake and Beach is only 1.5 miles from the house and we usually run by it, but the hot weather has been making it a more popular choice for swimming workouts.

We were in Newport for Saturday's long run. I picked 6.2 miles so that it could count for the Swagtastic Virtual 10K that I was signed up for. This was by far the toughest, sweatiest run of the week and the summer so far. It was warm, we were sunburned, and it was pretty much all sunshine along the waterfront. Gorgeous, but we were miserable.

King's Park Beach - I wanted to jump in at the half way point!

My first official week of summer quickly reminded me that we have to run smart when the heat and humidity start to rise. It's important to pay attention to both the temperature and dew point.

The good news is that my body will eventually acclimate itself to the warm weather and by the fall, I'll be loving the temps at my half marathons.

How do you keep your cool and get your runs in?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Say Hello to Fast! Mizuno Wave Sayonara

This probably won't come as a shock, but I love Mizuno. Ever since I made the wise choice to purchase my first pair of Wave Riders, I have experienced brilliant running. It's no surprise then that I applied to become a Mezamashii Run Project Member. I wanted to be a part of the mezamashii community and the running buzz that Mizuno was creating and spreading.

Being a MRP member has it's perks. You may remember back in September when Mizuno asked me to give away ten MRP invitations and shoes. Then in May I was selected to go to Atlanta for a MRP video shoot. And to top it all off, a couple of weeks ago I received an email letting me know that I had been selected to preview the new Wave Sayonara before they became available in stores today, July 5th!

Wasting no time, the shoes came right out of the box and on to my feet. They are nice and snug in the heel, but very roomy in the toe box. Even though they are low to the ground and only weigh 7.1 ounces, they still utilize Mizuno Wave Technology providing a comfortable balance between cushion and stability.

Being an avid wearer of Riders, Inspires, and Creations, this performance shoe was a huge change for me. The biggest difference I found with the Sayonaras was in the heel to toe ratio. The ramp wasn't that different (10mm versus the traditional 12mm), but the heel height of 19 compared to 24/25 had a significant effect on the way I felt in the shoe.

L: Sayonara R: Rider 16

I kept my first couple of runs in the Sayonara on the short side (under 3 miles) because I was worried about injury. I've read that a lower heel-drop puts more strain on your foot muscles and tendons.  All during my first run I felt like I was leaning back, although mr. C thought my form looked the same. My next run felt better, normal, and a little like the shoe was pushing me to land more midfoot. In a very un-scientific way, I snapped action shots as I ran by the camera to try to see my foot strike.

Now, I like a good PR, but I'm not one to really worry about speed. I don't do speed workouts on the track or think about tempo, fartleks, or hill repeats. But since the Wave Sayonara is Mizuno's lightest, fastest racing shoe yet,  I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I did feel lighter and faster in this shoe. My pace was quicker even though I was trying to keep my heart rate lower while running through the soupy, humid air. The Wave Sayonara definitely has a spot in my running shoe rotation.

L-R: Sayonara, Rider 16, Inspire 8, Creation 14

So that's my running-blogger review. Want all the official tech information from a real professional? I'll let Dave from Mizuno fill you in!

Say goodbye to slow. Say hello to the new Wave Sayonara!