Showing posts with label Rhode Scholar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rhode Scholar. Show all posts

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cox Providence Half Marathon Weekend

May 7 - My Cox Providence Half Marathon weekend was packed full of expo-ing, shopping, eating, meeting running friends, and of course running! I began blogging about this race in January after being asked to be a Rhode Scholar Blogging Ambassador and I'm excited to share my recap.

Saturday: Hubs and I arrived in Providence around lunch time. To our surprise, the host hotel was ready for us and allowed us to check in early. We loved this because our goal was to park the car and walk during our stay. The Providence Renaissance Hotel was gorgeous. Our room was at the cul-de-sac end of the winding hallway and it was beautiful. The large bathroom was the best with a glass enclosed shower and extra door leading back into the main room (sorry no picture). The hotel also offered free valet parking and late check out as part of the race weekend package. Awesomeness.

After checking in, we walked to Providence Place Mall where we grabbed a quick lunch at the food court before heading over to the Health & Wellness Expo. I've been to two other expos: Rock 'n Roll and Boston. I'm sorry to say that the Cox expo was disappointingly small. There were limited vendors and it was crammed into one small, dark ballroom at the Rhode Island Convention Center. I did get a good deal on Sport Beans at the Discount vendor though.

I can say that bib pickup went smoothly and the volunteers were friendly. The goodie bag was filled with the typical samples from sponsors including a cute clown nose promoting the circus which was in town.

Since we didn't hang out at the expo as long as we were expecting to, hubs and I did a little shopping at the mall, stopped in PF Changs to have a drink and then walked around a little before heading to the Cheesecake Factory to meet Kat, the only other Rhode Scholar able to make it to dinner. Kat blogs at Eating the Week and ran her first marathon yesterday! Although it would have been nice to meet all of the Rhode Scholars at dinner, we had a great time chatting and sharing running stories. You should read about how she broke her finger during one of her training runs!

After dinner, we took another walk to the local CVS and picked up some snacks and bottled water for later. It was fun strolling the sidewalks downtown and along the waterfront.

Sunday: The marathon start was at 7:30 and the half followed at 8:00. We made it to the starting line area just in time to see and offer good luck sentiments to Kat and Portia before they started the marathon. After a last port-a-potty stop, it was half marathon time. Both races had a great turn out of both runners and supporters, and they both started right on time.

The Race: I knew that this race was going to be challenging because of the month I'd had dealing with my calf issues and not getting in a long run of more than 8 miles since my last half marathon in March. My goal was to keep my pace around 9:30 and hopefully have enough energy left in my legs to get me to the finish. The course was exactly what I had expected: beautiful, lined with cheering supporters, and hilly. The gray skies started clearing up right away although it stayed cool. Great running weather.

For most of the race I felt good. My calf was pain free and loose, I grabbed water at nearly every stop, and cruised slowly up the hills. The first couple of miles were uneventfully straight while mile 3 was a series of turns through a neighborhood. Mile 4 (which was also mile 8 on the way back) was a straight-away supporter-lined boulevard. After mile 6, I pit-stopped at the port-a-potty and then hit a tough hill. Around mile 10 my legs started to tighten up and fizzle. I ran the last three miles on empty. Even though I ate Sport Beans and grabbed Gatorade when available I was fuel-less. I kept thinking how great it was going to feel when I could sit down and take off my shoes. I got a small burst of energy when I saw hubs and my step daughter near the finish line. It was just what I need to make it up the final incline. (I hate finishes that end uphill!) My tired legs and tired feet managed to get me across the finish line in 2:11:01. Not my best, but not my worst. Someone handed me a medal and a bottle of water, and I began to search for my cheerleaders. Before finding them I ran into Samantha, another Rhode Scholar, who PR'd her half marathon. Way to go, Samantha!

After walking back to the hotel and getting cleaned up, hubs treated step daughter and I to lunch in the hotel at Temple Restaurant, which offered a Mediterranean inspired menu in a relaxing but sophisticated setting. Between us we had New England Clam Chowder, Margherita Flatbread Pizza, and the Temple Mezze Platter. With full bellies we checked out of our room and drove to Providence College to drop off one almost finished freshman.

The Cox Providence Half Marathon Weekend was a success. We absolutely loved the host hotel and wish more hotels would offer one night stays, free parking, and late check-out. I would like to run this race again in the future with a regular and healthier month of training leading up to it to see if I could do better against the hilly course. Even though my performance wasn't stellar, I am happy with my ability to push through and finish the 13.1 miles. Today I'm feeling really good and am already looking forward to my next half marathon in August.

Have you ever abbreviated your training before a big race?

How do you power through a challenging race?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Strength Training: 30 Day Challenges

May 1 - The past couple of months I have been adding strength training to my exercise routine. I have been using some of my own and daily workout challenges that I found on Pinterest.

The first one I found was FAB AB FEBRUARY:

Then in March I found MAD ABS MARCH:

Last month it was AWESOME ABS APRIL:


Source: via Amy on Pinterest

This month it will be MAD MUSCLE MAY:

I'm still on the hunt for a daily workout calendar for abs, so let me know if you have seen one!

**Update!! Found it...MUSCLE MANIA MAY:

I love these daily workouts because they are quick and get progressively more challenging each day. The simplicity of three focus exercises makes them doable for someone like me who doesn't particularly like strength training. I do them because of the benefits: strength training helps you burn more calories, run more efficiently, and prevent injuries.

What is your favorite strength training exercise?

Are you starting anything new this month?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring Break Training

April 28 - Today I completed my last longish run before the Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon next weekend in Providence, Rhode Island. I've been on Spring Break this week, and even though I didn't find myself flying off across the pond to Paris or Austria, or even taking a more local vacay to sunny Florida, I did have a good week of running.

After more time spent dwelling on my calf tightness issue, a trip to the doctor, and a wasted session with the PT, I am still in the dark as to what is going on. Despite the discomfort and sometimes tenderness, I managed to get in three solid runs. Tuesday I ran 6 miles with hubs. He rode his bike for 1.5, ran for 3, then back on the bike for 1.5. Thursday I ran 6 again with hubs on the bike body-guarding me the whole way. Today I ran 8 miles. I ran the first 4 by myself, but on my way past the house I grabbed the dog for the final 4 miles. He's still a pretty awesome running partner for a nine year old pup!

Now my focus turns to the week ahead and the plans for the weekend. My running this week will be easier as I continue to taper in preparation for 13.1 on Sunday. I'm looking forward to getting to Providence on Saturday afternoon, exploring the Health & Wellness Expo at the Rhode Island Convention Center, (hopefully) watching the start of the 5K at Roger Williams Park, and meeting the other Rhode Scholars for dinner. After a night at the host hotel, the Renaissance Providence Downtown, I'll be trying to connect with Samantha at the starting line for my 4th half marathon. After the race, I'll be going out to eat with my cheering section - hubs and my PC stepdaughter before depositing her back on campus.

What have you been Spring training for lately?

How did you spend your Spring Break?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Zensah-tional Socks!

April 21 - Today for my half marathon training run, I decided to try out a pair of athletic compression socks that Corey over at Zensah sent me. If you've been reading my blog or following me on Daily Mile, you know that I have been struggling with some calf tightness and have been looking for a magical instant cure. I didn't find that, but keep reading.

I like compression socks because they help reduce recovery time, increase blood flow, and lessen post workout soreness. I also like the squeeze you get from a good pair. It's like a little hug for your calves.

The first thing I noticed about the Zensah compression socks was that they looked good. No one wants to feel like a walking-medical-advertisement. Next I was impressed by the sock's thickness. The material felt a little heavier than other pairs I've tried, but it was super soft. Then I spotted the padding from the toes to the heels. It looked like a little extra support was built right into the socks. I'm also a fan of socks that designate left and right.

I'm happy with the performance of these socks. It was a little warm this morning, but despite the thick material, my legs did not get hot during my seven mile run. My feet were nice and comfortable in my running shoes, unlike times when the extra padding crowds my feet.

Now even though I still felt some tightness in my calf during the run (no magical-instant cure), my post-run massage time was more productive. I even zeroed in on a firm knot that I was able to work on. I don't know what role the socks might have played in my painful-trigger point therapy, but I'm not one to question successful progress!

I like these socks. They look good and they feel good. In fact they were so comfortable that I kept them on for most of the day and even wore them during a two and a half mile trail walk with hubs and the dog.

Which do you prefer, compression socks or sleeves?
I used to prefer sleeves, but I'm liking socks more lately.

What was your happy moment today?
Mine was holding hands with hubs during our walk =)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product to review without compensation. All opinions are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, April 16, 2012

It Was A Marathon Weekend

April 16 - Good luck to everyone running in the Boston Marathon today! You rock!

The weekend was a whirlwind of running events. On Friday my Crazy Running Partner and I headed to Boston for a running girls night out.

Our first stop was the 2012 Boston Marathon Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center. CRP has finished the Boston Marathon twice and she thought I needed to see this expo. Huge. Loved it. Wish we had more time to hang out.

Cute display, but we kept moving (can't afford to stop there!)

My favorite marathon shirt

Great colors on the running shoes

So many Sweaty Bands!

Thought they had too many, so I took two!

Chatted with the girls at the RNR PROV booth

Then we headed over to Saucony's Evening of Running Inspiration Party at The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts. The event included keynote speakers sharing their stories of running and life followed by a reception highlighting the new Kinvara 3.

A special tribute to Caballo Blanco (Micah True) the Mythic Hero of Born To Run by Luis Escobar, friend and Ultramarathoner

2012 NFL Superbowl Champion for the New York Giants; Boston College All-American; Cancer Survivor, Mark Herzlich

3X World Triathlon Champion; Ironman Kona Champion, Karen Smyers

4X Winner Boston and NYC Marathons, Bill Rodgers

Q & A with the audience 
(hey Dorothy Beal from Mile Posts - love your #strong)

Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and beverages! 

Mark Herzlich tells us to #FindYourStrong

(We met up with FitFluential Ambassadors: Samantha, Nancy, and Dani
- too dark to take pics with my phone, but you should check out their blogs!)

After the Saucony Party we had a late dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery in the Theater District.

Saturday afternoon hubs and I dusted off the bikes and took our first ride of the warm season; a three mile bike ride to one of our favorite running spots, Scobie Pond (aka Haunted Lake). 

Sunday afternoon we ran a 10K at the 19th Annual Walk & Run for Food & Shelter in Nashua, NH. This was my running goal race for the month of April and my last race until the Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon on May 6.

There was a really good turn out for this race. They offered a 3K walk, 5K and 10K runs. I'm guessing there were over 500 participants in all of the events.

I registered for the 10K. Hubs came along and ran bandit!

We had plenty of time before the race to do the usual stuff...stretch

People watch

Chat with other runners and then ask them to take our picture

The course consisted of two different loops. The first loop was nice and easy, rolling hills and a good breeze. I ran this part with hubs. The 5K and 10K split near the finish line and this is where hubs and I also split. The second loop was much hillier and hotter because the breeze pretty much disappeared. The last half mile was a steady uphill to the finish line. Hate that. My finish time was 1:02:51.

Hubs unofficially finished in 1:14:08

After grabbing as much water and Gatorade as we could carry, we made our way to the food tent. They had apples/bananas, hummus & chips, chocolate chip cookies, and assorted sandwiches. An excellent post-race selection.

It was a beautiful day for a race in NH. Hubs and I had a great time!

Today I will be following the 116th Boston Marathon and cheering for my fellow runners.

Have you ever participated in the Boston Marathon?
Runner, spectator, volunteer?

Last year I spectated from the start line in Hopkinton, MA

Next year I'd like to run the B.A.A 5K

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Running BFFs

April 1 - Today I want to tell you about some of my favorite running gear. Gear that has been helping me get ready for my next half marathon.

#1- I never run without my Nike GPS Sport Watch. GPS changed my running world. With the push of a button, I start my run and the satellites track my route. When I'm done, I can upload my data and view my route. It's that easy. And, I don't have to spend hours trying to map it myself.

#2 - I simply love my Simple Hydration Water Bottle. Fill it up, stick it in, and go. When I need a sip, all I have to do is reach back and grab it. It stays put no matter what type of bottoms I'm wearing and sometimes it feels like it isn't there at all. I love this bottle because it is completely hands-free. It is perfect for my half marathon training runs.

#3 - My favorite source of fuel at the moment is Sport Beans. I already love jelly beans and Sport Beans taste just like jelly beans to me. Before a long run I fill my pocket with beans making it easy to grab some when I'm running. They are super easy to chew and swallow, so I don't need water to eat them. There's nothing better than munching on something that tastes like candy.

#4 - I am falling in love with my new made-just-for-me orthotics (and maybe Mr. Chiropractor for recommending that I get them). These babies have helped alleviate my calf tightness and put an end to my knee-knocking. They are easy to insert and remove, so I can wear them in all of my running shoes! Maybe I can even get more running shoes? Hmmm...

What is your favorite (can't live without) running gear?

**The winner of the CLICK-Start Pack is Amanda from RunToTheFinish!
Congratulations Amanda. I hope you find CLICK as yummy as I do.
Please email me at within 48 hours
with your mailing address so I can get your prize shipped to you right away!**

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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”